Why the Seahawks don't suck, even if they are terrible
Seaside Joe 1262, 8/19/22: It's all in the context
“Context.” It’s not just a written digital message sent by a felon.
“Nothing exists, and therefore can be understood, in isolation from its context, for it is context that gives meaning to what we think and do.”
Let’s add context to the Seattle Seahawks’ 27-11 preseason loss to the Chicago Bears on Thursday night. As ugly as the game was for Seattle, it is true that many of their key starters were out, or barely played, such as Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Rashaad Penny, Sidney Jones IV, Artie Burns, Ken Walker III, Al Woods, and Jordyn Brooks.
Will Dissly played seven snaps but should play the majority of reps at tight end in the regular season; Damien Lewis exited with injury after only eight snaps but is expected to recover; Marquise Goodwin and/or Dee Eskridge could play pivotal offensive roles at receiver and did not play last night; the Seahawks’ coaching staff had to call a preseason game and can’t reveal all the cards they plan to expose starting in a few weeks.
Geno Smith went 10-of-18 for 112 yards and the Seahawks scored zero points during his two quarters at the helm, but those numbers deserve context too; Geno made two or three nice passes that were dropped by the intended Seattle receiver and if those targets had been caught—no matter the degree of difficulty—Seattle might have scored a point.
Reporters and “That’s my quarterback” fans were quick to point this out throughout Thursday night.
And no context for the Seahawks second preseason game is more important than the word baked into the middle of this sentence—”preseason”—as well as the fact that Seattle had a short turnaround and wasn’t fully prepared to start Geno Smith against the Bears. That should be less of an issue for a quarterback who has spent the majority of his career as a backup, meaning his NFL role has usually been to step in at a moment’s notice, but if it’s your goal to excuse the Seahawks for playing terrible football on Thursday then I’ve given you a laundry list of complications that will surely help you cope on Twitter until the regular season.
But stop reading at this point because we’re not done going down the context rabbit hole.
The Seattle Seahawks sat many starters before or shortly after kickoff, but Pete Carroll still gave many others an inordinate amount of preseason playing time. Charles Cross, Abe Lucas, and Jake Curhan combine to make up Seattle’s two offensive tackles and they played in the majority of snaps on Thursday.
By comparison, Bears head coach Matt Eberflus gave his starting offense only one series, pulling Justin Fields, Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, and the entire offensive line after Chicago marched 52 yards and kicked a field goal to open the game. The Bears didn’t play starting running back David Montgomery, center Patrick Lucas, or right tackle Riley Reiff, but even Chicago’s second/third team offense scored 14 second quarter points against a Seahawks defense that continued to play some potential starters and key role players.
Defensively, Geno Smith was facing a team that didn’t play their two best pass rushers (Roquan Smith, Robert Quinn) at all, didn’t have potential starting corner Kyler Gordon or nose tackle Angelo Blackson, and only managed to give several series to their starters because Seattle’s offense went three-and-out on their first two drives.
Against a patchwork preseason Bears defense (context: even the regular season Bears defense isn’t the stout force it once was), the Seahawks’ supposed starting quarterback, starting offensive line, and starting tight ends only managed 12 yards on their first two drives, then a 31-yard drive that lost two yards and then punted after Travis Homer had a 33-yard run.
Are Metcalf, Lockett, Penny, and Walker so important that they are the only difference between Seattle being completely inept against a backup Chicago defense and being respectable against the starting defenses of the Broncos and 49ers in a few weeks?
If they are, then I will be excited because it proves that running backs matter.
If they are not, then “that’s my quarterback” will become “who’s the next quarterback?” quicker than Pete Carroll can run the 40.
I don’t think the quarterback competition warrants a long discussion anymore and really the only thing to say in response to a believer is “Geno Smith is a backup quarterback” because the burden of proof is on people who believe the opposite.
Moving onto the strenuous performance by the team as a whole through two preseason games, I know that there remain many fans who believe none of this is indicative of how the Seahawks will play in the regular season. That’s also something I will have to challenge with context and not just with the most obvious information of all: We’ve known that Seattle would struggle this year for many, many months!
In fact, quite a lot of fans rejoiced at the Russell Wilson trade because it appeared to be an admission of something many of us already knew: the team was at a point where the two options were to either sink or swim and the likelihood of swimming even with Wilson felt so improbable that the franchise decided to give the bottom of the pool a dive.
So being bad doesn’t feel bad. It feels expected.
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Instead, consider that while the Seahawks played poorly and sat some starters, there are plenty of teams that sit virtually all of their starters in the preseason. Consider the Los Angeles Rams.
When the Rams play on Friday, you won’t see a single starter on the field against a Texans teams that is destined to play quite a few. You won’t even see key role players like Tutu Atwell, Darrell Henderson, Justin Hollins, or David Long, Jr. because Sean McVay feels no pressure to risk injury to key players during exhibition contests. Therefore, no matter how the Rams do in the preseason, we know that no more than 5-percent of that team will comprise L.A.’s regular season roster.
Seattle gave way more playing time to their starters than the average preseason team and still managed to not score a single point until Jacob Eason led a field goal drive at the end of the third quarter. If Jason Myers had made his first 47-yard attempt, then Smith’s offense would currently be at 16 points over his 12 preseason drives.
That’s about half as many points as would be acceptable. Drew Lock’s offense was better, but not to an “encouraging” degree and again, I’m not really here to argue the merits of one backup quarterback against another’s. Because the Seahawks’ defense deserves at least as much of our attention for concern.
Against the likes of Mitchell Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, Kenny Pickett, Justin Fields, Trevor Siemian, and Nathan Peterman, Seattle has been porous in their efforts to stop opposing quarterbacks, running backs, and receivers. The Bears rushed for 117 yards on 33 carries, which follows the Steelers rushing for 185 yards on 27.
Poor tackling may only be a distraction from the number of open receivers and blown coverages that have not made Clint Hurtt a happy first-time defensive coordinator.
We know the players who aren’t out there or who are barely out there, but can’t we expect regular season playing time from Tariq Woolen, Josh Jones, Myles Adams, Coby Bryant, Boye Mafe, Darrell Taylor, Bryan Mone, Alton Robinson, Cody Barton, Uchenna Nwosu, Shelby Harris, and Poona Ford?
All of those players saw at least 30 snaps on Thursday.
Look at other rosters and see some of the players who are absent and those fans can feel assured that the team is without great starters. In Seattle’s case, however, nobody can rest easy yet on the prospects of Sidney Jones or Artie Burns or even Brooks to be the Seahawks defensive savior. These are, in many ways, players who have yet to prove themselves.
Thursday night was concerning for the regular season not only because of what happened but because a) there were a lot of starters on the field and b) the absent starters don’t bring the same level of confidence as past Seattle stars who would sit out these contests. The players waiting in the wings aren’t Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, K.J. Wright, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, and Brandon Mebane.
And if fans at least wanted to see special teams coordinator Larry Izzo shine amid the dumpster flames, no such luck.
The good news is that over the last three years, Seattle has started to build a stable of players who could develop in that direction—Brooks, Mafe, Taylor, Nwosu, Bryant, Woolen, Robinson—but the Seahawks are nowhere near the defensive outcomes we saw from the franchise in 2012 and 2013. They’re currently positioned somewhere in the 2010-2011 range instead.
And that’s okay. That’s something we’ve known for the last six months.
Which is why I’m here to tell you, finally, that the CONTENT of the 2022 Seattle Seahawks could be that they’re terrible. But the CONTEXT of the 2022 Seattle Seahawks is what they’re doing does not suck.
They’ve had a GREAT offseason and I won’t change my opinion on that simply because they look abysmal right now. I won’t adjust my praise for Pete and John’s moves this offseason even if the Seahawks lose most of their games. That’s not the objective this year and so even if the Seahawks are one of the worst teams in the NFL…they could still be one of the best franchises.
And there’s still stuff to like from the preseason and training camp that reaffirms Seattle’s great draft class and the likelihood of being a sweet landing spot for a QB next year.
I expect the Seahawks to be bad. And I’m not worried about the Seahawks. Both of those things can be true at the same time.
“keep trash talkin my qb, ill break out of here n find you n give you a whoopin you wont forget, boy😂😂😂”
Sorry just reading a con text from a Geno Smith fan.
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Yes. I'm not worried about the offense. They will suck, that's expected, I just hope some creative play calling makes them suck less.
The defense should be better set. I get waiving KJ to develop Brooks, but we released Bwagz to do what? He would play on discount and allow for better development. As much as I liked Woolen and Bryant, will they have any development when teams simply run throughout our porous second level not testing them at all?
I never thought we had a top 5 defense, but we could stop the run. I hope it's all in the vanilla play calling. Still the point is 2023, we might have to suffer in order to gain. I like Pete want to see big effort and very little mental errors. Come on Drew I hope you can gain all your strength back for the Cowboys. Sometimes it helps being a tad under the weather. It can stop over trying. I am in the camp that wants to see passes downfield even if there are some pics. A 45 yard pass that is intercepted on 3rd and 10 isn't bad if we make the tackle