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Seahawks-Giants: Stock Up, Stock Down after Week 8
Seaside Joe 1336: Which players stood out the most and improved their value moving forward?
The Seattle Seahawks had the chance to fire Pete Carroll and they blew it.
They had the chance to keep Russell Wilson and they blew it.
They had the chance to draft Malik Willis instead of Ken Walker III and they blew it.
They had the chance to get a quarterback better than Geno Smith and they blew it.
They had the chance to tank for the top draft pick next year and they blew it.
Now I guess the Seahawks are going to have to settle for being good. Who’s blowing now?
Right now I sort of feel like Matt and Noel, the hosts of of The Great British Bake-Off. One has the unfortunate task of saying which baker is going home. One has the great pleasure of announcing star baker. For most of the year, I’ve had the unfortunate task of talking about the Seahawks like they’re bad.
But today I have the great pleasure of announcing that the Seahawks are good.
We shouldn’t forget that at one point the Seahawks were 2-3 and their best defensive performance of the season had a -10 EPA (which is bad, I think). But can we fairly chalk that up to new coaches, a new quarterback, and a lot of new players? Based on the last three games, and the last five games offensively, Seattle’s success could be more real than mirage.
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The Seahawks beat the Giants 27-13 on Sunday and remain in first place in the NFC West with a 5-3 record. More importantly, the Seahawks are playing the best football in the NFC West.
The Rams offense is so bad (with no reinforcements on the way) that reaching .500 will be difficult. The 49ers could be better with Christian McCaffrey, but are still saddled with Jimmy Garoppolo and their 31-14 win over L.A. this week is nothing new to the Shanahan-McVay rivalry. The Cardinals are 3-5 and Seattle could all but end their division hopes with a win next week.
Geno Smith is the best quarterback in the division.
I had chances to be on the Geno train sooner. I blew it.
Smith finished 23/34 for 212 yards with two touchdowns, bringing his season totals to 13 touchdowns and three interceptions in eight games. Through eight starts, Smith’s stats are about as good as any eight-game start for Russell Wilson.
Wilson had 28 touchdowns in his first eight starts in 2020, but also eight interceptions. Smith’s 72.7% completion rate is the highest in franchise history. It seems like Wilson could have been running the offense just as Pete Carroll wanted it in 2019 (first eight starts: 68% completions, 2,127 yards, 17 TD, 1 INT, 8.5 Y/A, all in line with Smith’s season right now) but “Let Russ Cook” blew that dynamic in favor of more yards and touchdowns.
As Tyler Lockett said after the game: “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when nobody cares who gets credit.”
Is Geno Smith as good as Russell Wilson? That’s a question with an abstract answer. Sticking to something more grounding, but still inefficient, the statistics are remarkably close and sometimes even in Geno’s favor. The way he’s playing is probably up to the maximum of what Pete Carroll needs and expects.
What else can you ask for? The Geno Smith contract proposal I wrote last week is getting stale rather quickly.
I might have blown it. We all make mistakes.
Here’s this week’s stock report. Tell me in the comments who you had as “Stock Up” and “Stock Down” or if you disagree with my own.
DC Clint Hurtt
Hurtt had a monumental task at the start of training camp. Being a first time coordinator, managing a coaching staff, installing a new defense, and building a roster on a budget. Look at the players out there for the Seahawks, it’s not hard to imagine that most of them don’t cost a lot in NFL dollars. Especially when losing Jamal Adams in Week 1, another challenge for Hurtt.
Another abstract label, but the Seahawks defense has been “as good as any” in the league over the last three weeks.
Hurtt’s defense just shut Kyler Murray out of the end zone three weeks ago. Can they do it again?
OC Shane Waldron
The beginning of the season was talk of “Who’s on the hot seat?” “Who’s getting benched?” “Who’s getting fired?”
Now it’s “Who’s getting Offensive Rookie of the Year?” “Who’s getting Coach and Executive of the Year?” “Who’s getting Defensive Rookie of the Year?”
If the season continues in this direction, the next question is which coaches are getting interviewed and hired around the league. I don’t know my X’s from my O’s, I just know that I’ve been eXpecting Seahawks to be Open based on what we’ve seen from Waldron’s playbook this season.
The Giants defense isn’t a soft one and Geno Smith should have had four touchdown passes instead of two. The Seahawks scored 27 but left points on the board.
Only the Eagles and Chiefs are scoring more points per game.
OLB Boye Mafe / OLB Uchenna Nwosu
Nwosu’s been winning a lot recently, perhaps part of the effect of being patient with Hurtt’s defense coming together. He had two sacks and was consistently generating pressure on Daniel Jones, Nwosu has now tied his career-high of five sacks. The Seahawks have Nwosu signed for $7.5 million next season, but at this pace he’s earning himself a re-negotiation.
Mafe had his second sack of the season. Bruce Irvin is essentially starting already and though he missed a sack, is up to speed faster than expected.
CB Mike Jackson
Mike Jackson was definitely one of Mark Sanchez’s favorite players from the booth. He finished with a team-high seven tackles and three passes deflected.
Seattle took the low-cost route at cornerback in the offseason and they’ve come out with the best bargain secondary in the NFL. That’s what the Cincinnati Bengals had last season.
CB Tariq Woolen
He doesn’t need to make interceptions to make big plays. Woolen is just consistently proving to be a natural at the cornerback position, similar to Richard Sherman.
QB Geno Smith
He’s looking more smooth and confident each week.
S Ryan Neal
Neal is a restricted free agent next year and given how he’s played in the last two weeks, he could finally be the valuable safety depth that the Seahawks have needed many times in the past six seasons. Neal had a number of key third down stops and two tackles for a loss.
Oz the Mentalist
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RB Ken Walker
More magic near the goal line.
WR Dee Eskridge
It seems the claws are out for Dee Eskridge, much like they were for Gabe Jackson not long ago. I haven’t heard many Jackson complaints recently. Perhaps Eskridge can win back some fans too.
Stock Up and Down
WR Tyler Lockett
Lockett was the story of the game, in many ways. I have received a few comments or messages this year expressing some dislike for Lockett’s post-catch playing style. Rarely is the complaint that he doesn’t catch the ball. There were miscues of both variety on Sunday.
But then, I’m rarely worried about Tyler Lockett’s ability to play good football and today’s mistakes can be attributed to “eh, that’s life.”
RB Travis Homer
Did Homer miss this?
Well, he got this.