It’s the end of September, and the Seattle Seahawks are 1-2. That shouldn’t be a surprising record given expectations for this team, but it sure would’ve been nice to get that Atlanta Falcons game and enter a two-game road trip above .500. I doubt anyone believed 3-0 was going to happen, so 2-1 was the ceiling and 0-3 was the floor.
This week I’m unveiling a new Field Gulls feature, which is a month-long edition of Winners and Losers. This will not include everyone who was individually or collectively listed in specific games, rather a summary of the most notable performances (or lack thereof) through the month.
1st Half Geno Smith
You gotta admit, 1st Half Geno Smith looks like a Pro Bowl quarterback. His split is 49/61 for 498 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 1 interception. And speaking more seriously, against the Broncos and Falcons we saw Smith consistently move the offense down the field and perform above expectations on 3rd down. Perhaps the biggest stat from 1st Half Geno? No sacks.
Charles Cross and Abe Lucas
Cross was always positioned to be the starting left tackle once he was drafted 9th overall by the Seahawks, but Lucas had to beat out Jake Curhan to win the right tackle competition. Both men have favorable PFF pass-blocking grades north of 70, and Lucas has yet to give up a sack. Cross has allowed three, all curiously in the 4th quarter, but he’s been a net positive as a pass protector.
It’s hard to recall too many instances where we have praised drafted Seahawks offensive linemen for positive play, but they both earn kudos for how they performed in their respective first months as pros.
The rookie outside cornerback wasn’t supposed to be starting Week 1, and while he’s taken some lumps along the way he’s performed well overall to me. He made an impact play on special teams with his block that was returned for a touchdown against the 49ers, and then notched an interception against Atlanta that was a nice play irrespective of the Falcons’ decision to run a play before halftime.
This was a tough call considering I don’t believe Jackson actually performed particularly well at corner in either the 49ers or Falcons games, but he did score the team’s only TD in Santa Clara and those two fumble recoveries versus Denver were clutch. I’d argue the second fumble recovery was much more important because it was a 3rd down run and thus the Broncos could’ve recovered it for a touchdown.
Literally the only defensive lineman who has consistently done his job well. Big Al may be 35 but his game seems ageless. He leads the team with three tackles for loss, all occurring on run stops.
The former Chargers outside linebacker was NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his opening night outing against the Denver Broncos, and his heads up fumble recovery against the Falcons gave Seattle a chance to win (spoiler: they didn’t). Nwosu is really the only one who’s consistently producing pressure on the quarterback — he leads the team in QB hits with 6 — and for that he’s in the winner’s column.
Tight End depth: Will Dissly, Colby Parkinson, Noah Fant
Geno Smith has been remarkably efficient throwing to tight ends, and all have contributed in some way. Noah Fant has the most receptions (9), Will Dissly has the most touchdowns (2), and Colby Parkinson has the most yards (87 on just 4 catches). It’s actually Fant who’s not been overly convincing, but the main point is that the Seahawks’ use of tight ends in the passing attack is welcome and it’s exciting.
As ever, Lockett remains an efficient go-to target, raking in 21 passes on 26 targets for 211 yards. He’s yet to score a touchdown in 2022 but that’ll surely come soon enough, and in October he’s poised to surpass Doug Baldwin for 3rd place in Seahawks franchise history for receptions. I’m pretty sure he can get 23 catches over five games.
Myers didn’t perform well in 2021 and then had a couple of hiccups in preseason that had me openly questioning why he didn’t have any competition to push him for his roster spot. So far, he’s a perfect 5/5 on PATs and 4/4 on field goals. Seattle’s special teams as a whole has been very good bar the turnover against the 49ers, and Myers deserves credit for starting the regular season at a level on par with his 2020 campaign.
The entire front seven
A bad pass rush is one thing but the collapse of what had been a solid run defense for the past two seasons has been staggering. Darrell Taylor might end up having a reduced snap count and I suspect that (outside of not producing enough in terms of pass rush) his mistakes in the run game could cost him. Poona Ford and Bryan Mone have been quiet, which I think bodes more poorly for Ford given his cap hit. I’ve not been too critical of Jordyn Brooks or Cody Barton this year, but Barton was terrible against Atlanta and Brooks’ tackles have been a lot more of the clean-up variety than anything downhill. I think too much has been put on their shoulders because of how poor the Seahawks have been in the defensive trenches. Clint Hurtt may need to rethink how much 4-2-5 they’re running because we’ve been seeing a lot of that formation thus far.
It’s not Jones’ fault that he was thrust into this position to replace Jamal Adams, whose season lasted all of two quarters before a quad injury put him on the shelf until 2023. Jones was one of the few bright spots for the defense in preseason, but looking good against backups/non-NFL caliber opposition is a hell of a lot different than first-stringers unleashing the best they have to offer. Jones has been slow in his pursuit angles, particularly bad in pass coverage, and he has not been an effective tackler. Quandre Diggs has not been his usual high-level self since returning from injury, so Jones’ struggles only exacerbate the problem at the safety position.
I’ve had him in the Losers column twice and the Winners column once. I guess on that balance he’s in the Losers for the month but it’s less to do with his gameday coaching and more to do with roster construction and the state of this defense. That we’re looking at three straight years of complete disorganization and shoddy defensive performances across two different coordinators, schemes, and sets of players I think has to fall on Pete. We’ve consistently seen roster problems that range anywhere from the inability to find a standout pass rusher to the great nickel corner drought of 2019. If it ever gets to a point where Carroll leaves this organization and it’s not on his own terms, it would have way more to do with how he’s handled player personnel than his actual coaching. That, to me, is the main reason the Seahawks haven’t been real contenders for years now.
The veteran guard has perhaps been the Seahawks’ worst performing offensive lineman, particularly when it comes to pass blocking. He was not up to standard against the 49ers and gave up the most pressures versus Atlanta. If this persists I think the Seahawks should take a real look at either switching Jackson back to left guard and having Damien Lewis return to right guard, or benching Jackson entirely and sticking one of Phil Haynes or Jake Curhan in there.
It reeks. They are 31st in run block win rate and the running backs as such are near bottom of the NFL in yards per contact. You can’t really assess Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Walker III when they’re not getting many lanes to run through. That falls on everyone along the offensive line.
The second-year man out of Western Michigan has been outsnapped by Marquise Goodwin and has just two catches for a half-dozen yards to his name in 2022. With Seattle more inclined to use Goodwin and their tight ends as “third options” in the passing game it looks increasingly like Seattle’s (I believe, justified) efforts to boost the wide receiving corps in 2021 ended up whiffing.
2nd Half Geno Smith
...Now the ugly part for Geno. While 30/41 is just a few percentage points below his season average in completion rate, 219 yards and a 4.81 adjusted net yards/attempt is near the worst in the league. While I’ve generally defended Smith and still don’t believe all of the 2nd half offensive woes start with him, he’s also not absolved from blame given some of the misfires and sacks taken.
- I have Boye Mafe and Coby Bryant on my radar as two players most likely to find themselves on the Winners side of the column at the end of October. I’m also not totally discounting what Darryl Johnson can do, as he’s been a decent contributor in limited (but perhaps soon to be expanding?) playing time.
- DK Metcalf isn’t a winner or loser but I will say that the bad drops that we’ve seen him make throughout his career were almost totally absent this month. I’d like to see him used on longer routes — at least crossers to get him in space — instead of close to the line of scrimmage, and preferably while he’s on the move and not having to take a few minutes to rev the engine up. That onus is on Shane Waldron to make the most out of such a talented receiver.
- DeeJay Dallas has a big opportunity to step up as the primary 3rd down back next month with Travis Homer out. He’s already a solid special teams contributor but I think the best is yet to come for the former Miami star.
- If you liked this idea then we’re going to continue this feature. If not... well you’re still getting Winners and Losers after gamedays anyway.