The Seattle Seahawks defense is blazing with momentum, the offense has a half-dozen fascinating storylines, but one piece that’s gone under the radar this season is DeeJay Dallas and the kick return game.
Pete Carroll loves “Teams” as he calls them, and special teams has been a point of emphasis around Seattle for years. But DeeJay Dallas is doing his best Geno Smith impersonation and revitalizing his career this season in a big way.
The team’s RB3 has been kick returner number one all season, and has made a remarkable leap forward in his fourth season.
He’s added three yards per kickoff return, but the other increase is astounding - Dallas has essentially doubled his punt return average from last season. He’s gone from 7.3 Yards per Return to 13.6 YPR, and it’s not a small sample size. If Dallas returns two punts on Sunday he’ll tie his amount from last year.
The result has been fantastic field position for the Seahawks this year.
Pretty underrated stat here from the Seahawks PR department: pic.twitter.com/H0IWvFol8s— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) October 24, 2023
Surprisingly, Dallas is only 7th in the NFL at average yardage. I’ve attached the top list below, primarily to highlight a couple of features. First, the Denver Broncos have half the returns that Seattle does, and those will likely balance out soon.
Secondly, the Saints, Bengals, Ravens and Jets are bolstered by massive 65+ yard returns, when accounting for roughly 10% of the total carries is significant. Dallas’ big run at the moment is 32 yards, since he hasn’t broken one past the final defender yet. On a per-return basis, he’s been among the most consistent runners in the league, which is what the field position up above indicates.
For any who are especially frustrated at Dallas’ fumble against the Arizona Cardinals, he only has one fumble per year for his career. It’s not been a problem for him by any means. Yes, Week 7 is a bit on the early side, but I’m not concerned that Dallas is ordinarily a fumble risk.
The Cleveland Browns are mildly exploitable here. They’ve allowed almost 10 yards per punt thus far this season. It would go a long way against a stingy defense on Sunday if Dallas can add to that total.