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Morn-Wing After: Darrell Taylor takes back starting job by running onto field anyway
The Seahawks got an unexpected boost on Quandre Diggs first interception and other thoughts for Seaside Joe 1365
Darrell Taylor got a little too excited during Quandre Diggs’ game-opening interception and ran onto the field from the sideline to throw some blocks. There’s that saying that “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”
In Taylor’s case, “If you lose your job as a starter, find a way to contribute on the first play anyway.”
However, this Darrell Taylor “12th man” thing has already been beaten to death by Twitter and the NFL shows this morning and I’m sure you don’t need to hear anymore than that and a “Way to go, Darrell Taylor” from me.
Some more morn-wing after thoughts to consider today. Please also consider giving a Seaside Joe subscription as a gift this year, either to a loved one or to yourself:
Never blame the refs or the NFL
The “Untold” documentary series on Netflix has some compelling content that could make you fear that every athlete is a cheater. Perhaps none forces the viewer to question the sanctity of the NBA, NFL, and MLB like “Operation Flagrant Foul,” the episode on former NBA referee Tim Donaghy, the guy who was betting on games and helping gamblers fix the point spread. Donaghy claims that the NBA wanted refs to push games in a certain direction, on top of the fact that we know that he was influencing outcomes.
But it’s all too easy to shuck responsibility and accountability by telling yourself that a Seahawks loss is not to be blamed on the Seahawks. I watched this play so I know for a fact that the loss is to be blamed on the Seahawks:
There’s no conspiracy by the league to hurt Seattle’s chances of winning any football games. Sometimes I’ll say this and then get the “backdoor-to-not-having-accountability” answer of, “I know it’s not a conspiracy, but they were still screwing the Seahawks by being bad at their jobs.”
That’s like complaining about the weather. But to the level that fans get upset with a bad call, it’s not to the same level that they would complain about bad conditions like the ones we saw in Germany. If your concern is that you wish the refs were more perfect (I’m still blown away with how many tiny details refs can see in real time and it’s actually more incredible when they miss something because they have such a higher rate of being right than I do and viewers have some advantages) then you should be just as mad when refs get something wrong that goes in Seattle’s favor than when it goes against the Seahawks.
But we don’t see that, do we? Because this isn’t about worrying about the sanctity of the sport and the officiating. This is about “Why didn’t WE catch this break instead of THEM?!?!”
If the Seahawks wanted to beat the Raiders, then they should have played and coached better against the Raiders. Until I watch, “Untold: The Story of How the NFL Risked Everything for a Week 12 Game Between 2 Average Teams for No Good Reason” then I’m not going to waste any of my seconds on trying to solve the riddle of how Seattle lost a game in which they gave up over 300 yards to Josh Jacobs.
Knowing that Pete Carroll will not push blame anywhere it doesn’t belong, the Seahawks can now accept responsibility for a bad performance and be better next week. Instead of quitting before the next game starts because, “eh, the NFL hates us anyway :(“
Should Pete Carroll abandon 3-4?
We had a comment in our Seaside Game Chat thread yesterday that it could be time to admit defeat with the 3-4 experiment. I’m actually not 100% sure how much different Seattle’s personnel on defense has been this season compared to last season and to what degree the scheme has been changed, only that the run defense is terrible.
What I can easily find this morning is playing time for each position as compared to 2021:
Quandre Diggs led Seattle in defensive snaps last season and he’s doing it again. The Seahawks have struggled to find a happy replacement for Jamal Adams and Ryan Neal has seen 68% of snaps, followed by Josh Jones at 48.5%.
Jordyn Brooks is an every down player. Cody Barton has gone from a bit player (15% of snaps last season) to seeing the field for 71% of the snaps. Barton isn’t seeing the field as often as Bobby Wagner did last year.
Tariq Woolen and Mike Jackson are basically every down cornerbacks, followed by Coby Bryant at 66%. Last season, Seattle had little continuity at the position, as D.J. Reed led the team by playing in 79% of snaps, followed by Sidney Jones at 57% and Ugo Amadi at 54.5%.
The defensive line leaders are Poona Ford (56%), Quinton Jefferson (52%), and Shelby Harris (48.5%) and last season that was Rasheem Green (67%), Poona (63%), Al Woods (49%), Darrell Taylor (43%), and then Kerry Hyder (40%).
Uchenna Nwosu’s 77% snaps is much higher than any other edge rusher on the Seahawks in 2021. Taylor could be the closest at 43%.
We’ve already seen Bruce Irvin play in 208 snaps despite only getting here five games ago, so he’s quickly catching up to Taylor (340 snaps), Boye Mafe (39%), and Al Woods (284).
My main takeaway from those notes is that the Seahawks were lacking premium personnel in 2021 and they’re still figuring themselves amid so much change this year, both in who is seeing the field and who is coaching them. Not just Clint Hurtt, who was Seattle’s assistant head coach for five seasons prior to being promoted, but also defensive assistant Sean Desai and defensive passing game coordinator Karl Scott, both in their first year working for Pete Carroll.
And those don’t seem like unimportant jobs. How long does it take for all of these coaches and all of these players to come together to execute at the high standard that they hold themselves to? Plus, an even more important question, is the defense completely failing?
I don’t think it is.
The Seahawks have improved from 25th in forced turnovers to fourth. The defensive performances this season against the Cardinals and Giants were both much higher graded by EPA allowed than any game that Seattle had in 2021. And most importantly, the Seahawks have gone from basically not having any young defensive starters to be excited about to having Tariq Woolen and Uchenna Nwosu already playing like top players at their respective positions.
With Coby Bryant, Boye Mafe, Mike Jackson giving fans additional reasons for optimism.
The highs are higher but also the lows are lower; Seattle has seven games this season with a defensive EPA of -10 or worse and they only had four such games all of last year. The run defense is worse than anything that Pete could have imagined. Clearly some players should not be back next season.
But unlike pulling the plug on “Let Russ Cook” in 2020, it may be too soon for the Seahawks to completely abandon their defensive changes under Hurtt. We have to assume that Seattle made their draft picks and free agency decisions with this scheme in mind and if the scheme changes, it could mean that the need for players who Pete only just acquired are automatically less valuable and needing to be replaced.
Maybe it’s only another offseason of getting “the right players” and the return of Jamal Adams before the Seahawks are back where Pete wants them to be on defense. We saw glimpses of that defense in the middle of this season and we could see them again before it’s all said and done.
However, this is not to say that Clint Hurtt is a good defensive coordinator or that the plan is working. I don’t believe any coordinator can be called “good” or “bad” after 11 games, unless maybe the personnel is clearly leaning in a certain direction of being talented or lacking talent. I still think the defense lacks talent, so being “good” would still be a bonus. One thing is for sure, Pete said on Monday that the team will continue to make adjustments until the run defense is better and that could lead to more snaps for defensive backs who can tackle—which mean less Josh Jones.
Join us for next week’s Seahawks-Rams live game chat! We had over 300 comments on Sunday and the takeaway from all involved was, “This was nice and fun!”
Give the rookies a break-They’re rookies!
Charles Cross, Boye Mafe, Kenneth Walker, Abraham Lucas, and Coby Bryant are all playing BETTER than any fan could have reasonably expected. They have also struggled at times and under ideal circumstances, Seattle’s chances of winning or losing wouldn’t hinge on them playing like tested veterans. The only rookie who is blowing way past expectations for a first-year player is Tariq Woolen.
Lucas was facing a top-five edge rusher on Sunday. If another right tackle on the team could have blocked Maxx Crosby, Lucas should have never been starting to begin with. (Jake Curhan can’t block Maxx Crosby.)
Walker is on his third different offense in the last three years and there’s no question that Pete is going to try and harness his 1-in-a-million talent into something that more closely resembles an NFL running back. That probably won’t happen this season. What we saw from Walker in the red zone was just a preview of how dominant he could become as a running back in the future.
But running backs are not these “plug and play” types that we’ve been told they are. Derrick Henry got to spend two years sharing a backfield with DeMarco Murray before becoming Derrick Henry. I don’t even think we saw the version of Marshawn Lynch that you remember until his sixth year in the league! The loss of Rashaad Penny is being felt and the Seahawks should try to bring him back. If they don’t, drafting another running back on day two isn’t out of the question.
I remain open to all QB prospects
Last week I wrote that if the Seahawks commit to Geno Smith, then they have to mean it and not immediately draft his eventual replacement. This idea that “Well, Seattle will re-sign Geno to a team-friendly contract, he’ll play for two years, win two Super Bowls, then the Seahawks can trade him for three first round picks and it will be time to usher in the (NAME OF QB) era. This is basic, simple football rebuilding and it is foolproof.”
But let me pitch an alternative scenario: Seattle re-signs Geno Smith, there is no such thing as “team-friendly”, drafts a first round quarterback, and then they play like they have in the last two weeks with fans wondering “Shit, how do the Seahawks stop the bleeding?” It doesn’t matter if you blame Geno or not, if a team is losing and there’s a first round quarterback on the bench, where do fans start pointing the finger?
I think that by March of 2023, Seattle has to choose between one or the other. Do they believe that Geno Smith can win a Super Bowl and continue to get him help OR do they want to take their chances on maybe finding a superstar quarterback with a top-five pick from the Broncos? If “free lunch” exists, by all means, feed it to me. But in my opinion, the Seahawks can’t re-sign Geno without informing him ahead of time, “We’re taking a long look at quarterbacks at the top of the draft.”
If that is what the Seahawks want and if that will really bother Geno, then Seattle has to let him go. The Seahawks could instead re-sign Drew Lock and have him be the bridge, which would make a lot more sense than Geno, who now feels like he finally made it to the other side of the bridge and belongs as a starter without anyone breathing down his neck.
For me, I think Denver’s pick is now too high to not consider drafting Bryce Young or another QB prospect. Key word being “consider”! The temptation to draft an elite defensive player is also too good to ignore, especially going back to the previous section on how badly the defense needs talent in the trenches, so Seattle should not rule anything out yet. But I haven’t seen enough from Geno Smith to believe that the position is stable enough to ignore QB prospects OR to bring in a QB prospect who could sit for a year without fans begging for him to get his opportunity prior to 2024.
I am also open to the Seahawks trading a 2023 first round pick for a 2024 first round pick and giving Geno a longer bridge.
The Seahawks are 31st in fumbles on offense and first in fumbles recovered on defense.
Seattle has given up at least 39 points on three occasions this season. The number of times that Seattle has allowed at least 39 points: 2021 (0), 2020 (1), 2019 (0), 2018 (0), 2017 (1), 2016 (0), 2015 (1), 2014 (0), 2013 (0), 2012 (0), 2011 (0), 2010 (3). That means that from 2011-2021, the Seahawks allowed 39+ three times, as many times as through 11 games in 2022.
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Austin Blythe should be fired but Seattle has no replacement.
Tre Brown played 3 snaps, but needs time to work his way into the lineup and cornerback is only an area concern as far as tackling; can Brown help?
Darrell Taylor is playing his final season with the Seahawks, I think, but I think we all appreciate his “added effort” on Sunday.
Seattle’s still got room to add a fantastic wide receiver and I think both Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf continue to flash “damn it” moments with their “hell yeah” moments. I’d put priority on scouting receivers in the first and second round, even with all the other apparent needs.