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Seahawks approach insurmountable number of veteran setbacks

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

One of the earliest versions of Murphy’s Law has been attributed to Alfred Holt in 1877, which states:

It is found that anything that can go wrong at sea generally does go wrong sooner or later, so it is not to be wondered that owners prefer the safe to the scientific … Sufficient stress can hardly be laid on the advantages of simplicity. The human factor cannot be safely neglected in planning machinery. If attention is to be obtained, the engine must be such that the engineer will be disposed to attend to it.

Murphy’s Law is often applied to technology, a road trip, group presentations, the Seattle Mariners.

But make sure to read that quote carefully, because oh boy do we have the most Murphiest of Laws to discuss with respect to our Seattle Seahawks.

In short, the problem is this:

Seattle gambled at several key positions and with several key veterans, and nearly everything has backfired in their faces with the force of, well,

Football is a game of compounds. The running back “doesn’t matter” because five offensive linemen have to do their job first. Sacks are a “quarterback stat” because his decision making combined with the receivers talent plays a bigger role.

This year, the Seahawks have a compounded problem, and it starts, unfortunately with the experience. It seems clear that almost every player that Seattle felt it could reasonably count on to match last year’s production has fallen back. So then, when there are bright spots like Tyler Lockett, Quandre Diggs, Darrell Taylor, Alton Robinson, Alex Collins, and Tre Brown, in the long run it won’t matter because there are so many incredibly unpredicted problems across the roster.

It’s something we could theoretically apply to the majority of the team. However, here’s my short list.

Offensive Line Problems

Duane Brown

After two weeks, John Schneider looked like a big dummy for not giving Brown an extension. At the moment, he’s a genius.

Brown has specifically been really bad because he has now averaged - per game - giving up a one-on-one sack. That used to be something a guy could write a hand-written letter to his mama for the rarity of the accomplishment.

But as it stands, Brown is not the strength on this line, and that’s just weird for the Seahawks.

Gabe Jackson by way of Damien Lewis

Gabe Jackson is not the problem. He’s been great.

Damien Lewis is the problem, and it’s disappointing that a guy who fit in so naturally as a rookie, who impressed all season, has struggled this much shifting from right to left guard. It could really be that awkward for him, or it could be playing next to a tackle underperforming Brandon Shell. But the best guard duo in the NFL talk is gone and deserves to be gone.

Lewis is clearly still very good; now he’s simply more inconsistent. He’ll make some incredible plays and some uninspired ones.

Ethan Pocic

Obviously the decision to draft or sign everybody except another center has not been a benefit for this team. People had questions; nobody was predicting he’d never recover from a hamstring injury and lose his job.

More Offensive Offenses

Chris Carson

Carson is technically a health concern, having never played a complete season. People yell at me for this, because he missed one game 2019 and two in 2018. But the fact remains he’s gotten injured every year, and in 19 it was at the end of the year which caused him to miss the playoffs as well.

But now it’s consecutive weeks in the middle of a war-torn season, and now it’s injured reserve with neck inflammation. Here’s the final cherry of sadness:

Carson’s two worst games of his entire career by yards per attempt have been this season. He’d never had a regular season game under 3.0 YPA until this year.

Seattle gives him a new contract - a great team deal in the eyes of many - and he has clearly hit a wall this year.

What’s up on defense?

Jamal Adams

This hill is one worth being steadfast on, if not dying on it. Adams is extremely talented, he is (1) being used oddly and (2) really cannot catch the ball.

So far, Seattle has been wrong on this trade in part. He hits people with the ball very well; that’s his best strength. Whether they are a receiver or the quarterback, that’s where Adams does his best work. He saved a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers by obliterating George Kittle, and on plays like the touchdown to Najee Harris, he was in Ben Roethlisberger’s face while Benson Mayowa is being asked to not cover a wide open running back.

This is a year when pass rush has evaporated, and the fact that the cornerback room completely fell apart can’t have helped. Adams has blitzed about 40% less than his career average, and they gave him $70 million to send him out there looking elite half the time, and thoroughly confused the other half.

Carlos Dunlap

No midseason turnaround in recent Seahawks history was as noticeable and impressive as the 2020 post-Dunlap nonsense. One day, no sacks. The next day, four a game. Dunlap himself had five sacks in a half season in Seattle.

So this has been unexpected:

The line as a unit has been devoid of anything resembling consistent pressure. Taylor and Robinson have made splash plays, some of the only ones, but it’s not been a ferocious attack to say the least.

Meanwhile, back in the secondary

Tre Flowers / Akhello Witherspoon / literally 8 cornerbacks

This is more like 10 mini-Murphy’s all in one. It will also not really end up being a contributor in the long run, because DJ Reed on the right side is good and hopefully Tre Brown is good. But the first three games and the process throughout all camp were a big woof.

Russell Wilson

In the middle of the storm, captain Wilson’s finger bent backwards. Or won’t bend backwards, apparently. Absolutely devastating timing against a winnable three-game stretch when the team desperately needs three wins.

A team can survive three or four of these, and nearly every team must survive at least that many by the end of a grueling NFL season. But at this point, with 10 or more setbacks affecting the team every day, it’s become a big time mountain to climb for the rest of the year.