Dipping into the bulky Seahawks mailbag
Believe it or not, we really do look at all your questions.
I’ve got an entire file of them growing longer by the hour, so it’s absolutely time to make a dent in that stack.
There are so many things going on — Gonzaga recruiting a couple of transfer guards, Mike Leach in another war of words, Coeur d’Alene High going undefeated in 5A IEL baseball, the future of Colson Yankoff and so on.
But we’re always reminded that this is Seahawks country, and with the NFL draft still close in the rear-view mirror, I’m looking at almost three dozen email questions about the fate of 2019 Hawks — so that’s today’s focus.
Some of the questions here are paraphrased versions of several emails addressing the same topic.
Right, let’s kick this off…
Q: Now that the draft is over, are there positions where the Seahawks still need serious help?
A: Yep, and the three that come immediately to mind are edge rusher, cornerback and wide receiver.
Top draft pick L.J. Collier will indeed get after passers, but he’s a combo defensive end in the mold of Michael Bennett.
He’ll play 5-technique (just outside an offensive tackle) and even move further inside depending on the situation. Collier is a brawler with long arms and what scouts call “violent hands,” but he isn’t going to be that speed guy who flies to the quarterback.
In other words, he’s not Frank Clark, who took 13 1/2 sacks with him to Kansas City.
The Seahawks absolutely will sign one, and maybe two, free-agent veteran edge rushers.
The top candidates at the moment are former Detroit sack artist Ziggy Ansah (coming off a shoulder injury that might delay his game action just slightly into the regular season) and onetime Packer Nick Perry.
Oh, and wait a few days.
After next Tuesday, these players become “street free agents” and any team signing them would not owe a compensatory draft pick.
Q: You said three positions…
A: I did, and the Seahawks definitely drafted with the other two in mind.
Seattle wasn’t deep at cornerback last year, and lost slot corner Justin Coleman to Detroit in free agency.
Drafted DBs Marquise Blair (Utah) and Ugo Amadi (Oregon) are multi-position guys.
Coach Pete Carroll has been quoted as saying both will start camp as safeties, but at least one of them almost has to see duty at corner.
Remember that Tre Flowers was a safety in camp last year, and is now locked into a starting cornerback role.
As for wide receiver, if Doug Baldwin retires (now almost a cinch), Tyler Lockett is only remaining productive wideout — so somebody definitely has to pick up the slack.
David Moore and Jaron Brown are back, but neither was convincing last year, which truly opens the door for athletic — but totally untested — rookies D.K. Metcalf and Gary Jennings.
Even seventh-round pick John Ursua has a Baldwin-type frame and look about him, and might startle everyone by winning the slot receiver job.
Q: The Seahawks led the league in rushing last year, and it seemed like sometimes they didn’t throw the ball enough — especially considering Russell Wilson’s skills. Will it be more of the same this season?
A: You know, some numbers just don’t make sense.
If you have a highly effective running game, your quarterback should enjoy time to throw via play-action passes, and yet Wilson was sacked a career-high 51 times.
That just seems odd.
Did Russell hold the ball too long? Were receivers struggling to get open? Was that big, mauling, run-oriented offensive line just too porous on passing downs? All of those things?
In any case, Carroll is on record as saying the Seahawks will remain a run-first team.
I’m as stumped as anyone else about how they plan to keep Wilson clean.
Carroll claims to like new backup quarterback Paxton Lynch, but there’s no way in hell Pete wants to see him in a real game.
Just ask Green Bay about going from an all-world QB to his caddy.
Let’s re-visit this question in October.
Q: Is there one area of the team you feel certain will be better?
A: Special teams.
The Seahawks broke down in every phase of special teams play at some point last year (except for Michael Dickson’s punting), and they’ve really tried to rectify that.
Kicker Jason Myers was signed, which Carroll called a “kick-start” (pun intended, I think) for revamping all the special teams units.
At least five or six of the Hawks’ 11 draft choices likely will play some role on special teams, and might even earn roster spots on that basis.
Draftees like LB Ben Burr-Kirven, LB Cody Barton, RB Travis Homer — plus DBs Blair and Amadi — are all special teams demons.
We tend to forget that part of football, and the Seahawks let it drift away from them a bit last season, too.
No more of that, believe me.
Or at least believe Carroll.
Steve Cameron’s “Cheap Seats” columns for The Press appear on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Steve also contributes the “Zags Tracker” package on Gonzaga basketball once monthly during the offseason.