2022 promises to be a season unlike anything the Seattle Seahawks have faced in a long, long, time.
Every NFL team has turnover, and every team has had their day in court when a quarterback leaves and a new quarterback arrives.
But this season, Seattle has so much that’s new and unknown it’s far easier to count the things that fans can depend on than things they can’t.
Nearly every aspect of what makes a football team “go” has changed for the Seahawks. The quarterback. The defensive coordinator, and effectively the offensive coordinator’s role as well. The offensive line. The defensive scheme and formation. The franchise faces. The pass rush. The run game.
Here are the four most familiar things that Seahawk fans should expect to see this year.
1 - Quandre Diggs
There’s not one person who woke up at any point this summer saying “I sure hope the Seahawks defense will play at the level it did under Ken Norton Jr.” Except for the NFC West rivals, I suppose.
Clint Hurtt’s promotion is intended to make the defense as un-Norton-like as possible, and early indications are that it will indeed be different. The position and player that this affects the least is free safety Pro Bowl Quandre Diggs.
While the front seven will line up differently, and cornerbacks will be (hopefully) within four yards of every caught ball, the guy as the last line of defense and the only NFL player with three interceptions in each of the past five seasons will continue to be himself. Diggs was at times the only player disrupting the offense last year, and should remain freed up to attack the ball, potentially even more so this year.
I do not include Jamal Adams in this because we’ve seen Adams drastically affected both by his finger and the bewildering assignments he’s been given at times. He can play in coverage, but not how it was designed last year. He can wreck the backfield, but what will Hurtt want from him in that regard? I expect him to be markedly better than last year, and I also expect we’ll see the third version of Jamal Adams in three years here.
2 - DK & Tyler
You knew it was bad watching the preseason drops, then you really knew it was bad when 2021 oft-considered WR3 Freddie Swain was among the first to be cut.
Not only are DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett tremendous, but the others are disturbingly un-tremendous. Fortunately, Geno Smith has an observable in-game tendency to throw a “please DK” ball (which is not bad). Smith also was - as one might expect - actually quite effective when targeting Lockett in his limited preseason time.
This is not to say either will put up the 20+ yard touchdown numbers with Smith under center, but they’ll be the overwhelming share of targets this year, and it’s reasonable to expect them to continue to impress.
3 - Run game
Pete Carroll has running backs. Good ones. He loves him some running backs that run, a whole bunch, to the blissful ignorance of the scorn of the entire NFL media.
BIGGER number this season:— Tyler Alsin (@TylerjAlsin) August 30, 2022
It’s a good season to run the ball a ton, because Penny is going to be on a mission to earn a contract, and the Seahawks will want to see what they have in Kenneth Walker if they can.
Personally, I think this stigma is a bit overblown. Seattle had 413 rushing attempts last season, which was sixth fewest in the NFL. 2020 was right in the middle, then once we get back to 2019 they were third in the league at 481.
Carroll might have catered to Russell Wilson’s desires a bit, but is also more attuned to stick with what works than he receives credit.
All that being said, if given his way this is a run-first team (yes, Pete, we know you call it “balanced”, whatever). It will likely look that way once again.
4 - Scramble sacks
Geno Smith is very different than Russell Wilson.
Not in this area, however, not one bit.
.@DallasCowboys second-round pick Sam Williams registers the sack!— NFL (@NFL) August 27, 2022
: #SEAvsDAL on @NFLNetwork (check local listings)
: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/NuFDwY3j8a pic.twitter.com/67zCQvgHQu
Yessir, Geno, you take that four-yard loss and you turn it right into 13. We are familiar with this.
One would hope that Carroll and Shane Waldron are able to force a little decision-making on Smith in a way that nobody ever could on Wilson, because Smith does not have the elusiveness to really cause anything except the above outcome, whereas more often than not Wilson could.