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Seahawks, Week 6: Extremely important notes you should definitely read
Seaside Joe 1315: On the importance of Kenneth Walker, Tariq Woolen's insane start, and Seattle's offensive and defensive struggles
The Seattle Seahawks will be without Rashaad Penny for the remainder of the season. They have claimed Tony Jones off of waivers as a replacement to the open spot on the roster, but he is not going to replace Penny. That job now falls to Kenneth Walker III.
Is now a fair time to bring back criticisms of the Seahawks for drafting a great running back prospect?
The Seahawks lead the NFL at 5.5 yards per carry: 6.1 YPC for Penny, 6.3 YPC for Walker, and “dragged down” a little by the 3.9 YPC of Geno Smith. That’s not a criticism of Smith, if anything it’s a compliment to the running backs. Seattle’s designed runs are actually doing better than 5.5 YPC.
Having Walker ready to step in as the starter—even if he’s not entirely ready as a first-year player—couldn’t be more perfect for the Seahawks. If not for the Walker pick, Seattle would be turning the rushing offense over to DeeJay Dallas (four carries, 25 yards) and Travis Homer (four carries, 18 yards) with someone like, I don’t know, Sony Michel as the other option.
There are not that many good starting running backs in the NFL. I would argue that it’s less than 20 names. Penny and Walker could be two of those 20 names. Walker should rush for over 1,000 yards this season.
Nobody who followed Seaside Joe all offseason was surprised by Walker’s 69-yard run on Sunday. He opened his career at Wake Forest with a 96-yard touchdown run. He opened his career at Michigan State with a 75-yard touchdown run on the very first play. He took over as Seattle’s number one running back by scoring from 69 yards out.
There’s a fantastic paradox in that argument people were making against drafting a running back: “The Seahawks shouldn’t draft a RB because they have Rashaad Penny, Chris Carson” and “The Seahawks shouldn’t draft a RB because RBs get injured too often.”
I know, I know, there are other arguments against the pick and they’re all so super interesting. But in these two cases, it is a paradox. Carson’s career is over, Penny is on IR, and now the selection of Walker is the only thing keeping Dallas, Michel, or Tony Jones being Seattle’s RB1. I know that for many of you, DeeJay Dallas will seem like a comparable player to Walker and Penny.
I hope that in a few weeks, we all agree that they are not comparable.
Here are some more extremely important and fascinating notes by Seaside Joe. There was another Seaside Bonus post this morning and you can expect many more, or if you just want to help keep the lights on, consider getting a Platinum Seaside Joe account to impress your Seahawks friends:
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Re-sign Rashaad Penny in 2023
Who better to sign Rashaad Penny when he’s a free agent next year than…the Seahawks? Penny signed a one-year, $5 million deal and I imagine he’s looking at more of a $2 million contract in 2023. Seattle is the only home that Penny has ever known and he has always had a higher average-per-run under Pete Carroll. He torched the league at the end of 2021 and was on pace to be one of the NFL’s best backs in 2022, so where better for him to rebuild some of his value than with the Seahawks?
Seattle will need more insurance behind Walker and I feel the tandem should continue to work well together. I could see Penny wanting to go to a team that needs more of a clear number one, but there’s just as much risk for him to get a change of scenery as there is for him to share a backfield with Walker; I think he will need to work in a committee no matter the destination.
Tariq Woolen is fast but special for so many other reasons
Woolen could be the fastest player in the NFL today. He hit 22.9 MPH on a play in Week 5 and that could be the greatest display of speed in the NFL you’ll see all year; it’s like DK Metcalf chasing down Budda Baker, except that Woolen would’ve reached Budda at midfield.
It’s only been five games, but without question Woolen has been the best rookie cornerback in the NFL. That includes Sauce Gardner and Derek Stingley, even though both of those top-four picks are playing well already. Woolen is just better. He has an interception in each of his last three games, a fumble recovery, a blocked field goal, and he’s arguably the leading candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
It’s hard to even fathom a non-first round pick winning DROY, with the exception of three linebackers (Darius Leonard, DeMeco Ryans, Kendrell Bell) who were all picked early in the second round. You have to go back to Erik McMillan, a Jets third round pick in 1988, to find the last player picked outside of the top-40 to win DROY.
I wouldn’t even say that there’s another rookie who is close to Woolen at the top through five games and that’s even in a class where the first five picks were defensive players.
Would the Seahawks be 4-1 or 3-2 with Jamal Adams?
I can’t imagine we’re going to see any retractions from the people who have criticized the trade for Adams since the moment it happened. But the biggest issue for Seattle’s defense right now is the simplest explanation of all: A lack of premier talent that is typically only found early in the first round of the draft.
Adams was such a prospect only three years before he was traded to the Seahawks and it seems that many fans are carrying on this narrative that Adams is “overrated” based on his “bad coverage skills” and “bad hands.”
It’s true, Adams, a safety-not-a-receiver, can’t catch. But Josh Jones and Ryan Neal are much, much, much worse at football.
Adams’ “poor coverage skills” are exaggerated and his presence on defense in the run game, in the pass game, in on-field leadership, in presenting a threat to opposing quarterbacks—it stretches well beyond the 9.5 sacks he posted in 2020. He’s not a Minkah Fitzpatrick safety, but he’s a really really good safety.
It seems like Quandre Diggs is a really really good safety when he’s playing next to Jamal Adams. And a below-average safety when he’s not.
But you won’t see any retractions or even amended takes on the Adams trade for people who said that the deal should have never happened. Even as the Seahawks struggle through their worst defensive season since before Pete Carroll arrived. Would the Seahawks have been able to win another game this year with Adams, perhaps against the Falcons or Saints?
We’ll never know. But they would have been better off with Adams.
Seattle’s weaknesses are too great to ingore
Seaside Joe never sets out to be “positive” or “negative” in covering the Seahawks. We are only one ever one thing: Realistic.
What I am banking on is that in the long run, fans would rather find resources that cover the team with truth instead of those in the media who attempt to manipulate your emotions by telling you what they think you want to hear. Others will tell you things like “Geno Smith is an MVP candidate” and I’m not going to do that, I’m not going to lie to you.
The truth is that the Seahawks are a bad team. Why are they a bad team?
As I see it, the offense has a high ceiling and a low floor. The defense has a low ceiling and a low floor. The special teams unit is also bad and won’t be saving Seattle many times, like they attempted to spark against the 49ers. Over the course of 17 games, it is looking probable that the offense won’t have enough consistency to save a defense that is much more predictable.
Throws in the vicinity of Jordyn Brooks and Cody Barton have gone 28-of-30 for 387 yards. Jones is a bad safety, but the truth is that Ryan Neal is even worse in coverage. Coby Bryant has two forced fumbles, but he’s not nearly as far ahead as Woolen and might be an area that teams can exploit. Seattle is rotating Artie Burns, Sidney Jones, and Mike Jackson at corner, not because Pete seems to like all three…but because Pete can’t trust any of them.
Oh and the pass rush might be the worst in the NFL. The secondary can’t cause coverage sacks. The Seahawks are 31st in points allowed, 32nd in yards allowed, 32nd in yards per pass attempt allowed, 32nd in rushing yards allowed, 29th in third down defense, and it would be a miracle if any individual finished with more than six sacks. Only three teams have fewer total sacks, but that includes the Raiders, who have yet to play their fifth game.
The pass rush can’t cause pressure that leads to mistakes in the passing game. Seattle’s offense will have a good first half and a terrible second half; but the defense is going to be bad for both halves.
Against the 1-4 Lions, this formula worked well enough.
Many fans said that beating Russell Wilson in Week 1 was good enough to be the Seahawks’ “Super Bowl”. I hope they still feel that way.
The second half struggles are as real as ever
The Seahawks didn’t score a second half touchdown in any of their first three games, then they faced the only defense in the NFL worse than their own. Seattle had a good drive on almost every possession against the Lions:
But I feel that some people are being way too basic in their assessment of the Seahawks “fixing” their second half issues by proving it against the Saints in Week 5. Seattle’s second half possessions included four drives, one turnover, three punts, and 31 total yards prior to the Seahawks getting a spark by a Marshon Lattimore DPI that gained 27 yards. That led to a 40-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett, which I say was a great pass by Smith.
But outside of the DPI, the 40-yard TD, and the 69-yard TD run, Seattle’s offense was as bad as ever in the second half. That includes their final, game-ending drive that lost 14 yards on a sack.
It’s great to have explosive plays. Points are the stuff, man! The goods! The hot ticket! Woo, points!
But repeatable, sustainable, quality drives are the indicators of a good offense. The Seahawks second half offense is ATROCIOUS. It is also extremely one-dimensional in the air: Geno Smith throwing passes to Lockett and DK Metcalf.
The Seahawks are averaging 10.0 Adjusted Net Yards/Attempt in the first half, and 5.8 ANY/A in the second half. Smith has 8 TDs in the first half, one TD in the second half. He’s been sacked once in the first half, eight times in the second half. The rushing offense is better in the first half, but that is heavily influenced by three total runs by Penny and Walker.
It’s the presence of a dangerous passing attack in the second half that will help the Seahawks compete with teams when they are tied or trailing. Since the passing offense is so inconsistent, and the defense is so bad, it’s tough to envision many times that Seattle will be leading in the fourth quarter.
Here are the defensive splits—much more consistent:
Since the year 2000, only seven teams have allowed more rushing touchdowns through five games than the nine given up by the Seahawks this year. What does Seattle need? They need upgrades all over the defense. Upgrades like the return of Adams in 2023. Upgrades from the draft next year. Upgrades internally, if certain players start to improve. To what degree this can be blamed on schematic changes and coordinators, I do not know.
It’s just easier for me to say that the Seahawks haven’t been hitting on the draft, but at least 2022 appears to be an exception. A huge exception.
Tyler Lockett is an exceptional wide receiver
He’s so good that it’s easy to forget about Lockett while I write about so many other players, either for happy reasons or sad reasons. It’s been a long time since there was much of anything to criticize with Lockett, he’s well ahead of most receivers but especially those who were born around the same time he was born.
Of receivers aged 30+, Lockett is the only one who has more than 300 yards. And Lockett has over 400 yards.
I’ve long pointed out the fact that the NFL is getting younger and younger each season, especially at wide receiver, where it seems the rookie contract players are pushing out even the biggest stars by the time they’re 30. Did you even realize that Julio Jones has four catches for 76 yards for the Buccaneers?
Or that some other players are basically retired and they don’t know it yet.
Lockett remains one of the top players at his position and he’s only a hair behind the likes of Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson in average yards of separation.
All the more reason that the Seahawks need to draft a great wide receiver prospect in 2023. I can’t imagine what Seattle’s offense would have to look like without Tyler Lockett, best to take some shots at finding another player who is exceptional at the position and getting separation.
Myles Adams is getting in there
Everyone’s favorite preseason player got 22 snaps on Sunday. Adams made one tackle, as Al Woods was dealing with a mid-game injury.
Here’s a question: Out of everyone in the front-seven, with the exception of Boye Mafe’s potential and future and leaving him out of it, is there a single player who you feel the Seahawks can/should build around as a foundational piece? One vital talent that’s been found by the front office?
The closest thing I can find to an answer is the 35-year-old. Seattle has to spend draft capital on defensive players next season and at least one of them needs to play in the trenches.
The Seahawks got obliterated by Taysom Hill. Now it’s time to find answers for Kyler Murray. Onto Week 6.