Our semi-regular segment on solicitations from seasoned opponents swings soon to the Seattle Seahawks. The last thing these two teams faced off, bad things happened.
Anyway, to dissect the new-look Seahawks (they’re a new-look insomuch as each year is a new look, I suppose) we talked to Kenneth Arthur from Field Gulls.
1. All the talk from the beginning of the year was about the continued disintegration of the Seahawks roster of yesteryear. How true is that right now, and how well are the Hawks keeping pace in their division?
I mean, it is true that Seattle parted with a unusually high number of its starters. I wrote this week that the Seahawks have changed at least 14 starters from this time a year ago and that is certainly a lot, including some former Pro Bowl players like Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, Jimmy Graham, and Sheldon Richardson. But the sentiment of “disintegration” as you described, as people were describing it, didn’t really make a ton of sense to me. I mean, without Sherman or Chancellor or Cliff Avril, they beat the Eagles by 14 points last season and finished 9-7, very close to the playoffs. Bennett was getting older, Sherman was coming off of a serious injury, Bradley McDougald had played really well in place of Kam, Richardson was good but not a part of what Pete Carroll had built from 2012-2016, and Graham potentially hurt more than he helped. Here’s what I cared about: Carroll was still the head coach, Russell Wilson was still the quarterback, Bobby Wagner and Earl Thomas were still on the defense.
To me, that was enough for the Seahawks to compete for a wild card, and even without ET these last couple of games, that’s what they’re doing.
Seattle dropped to 0-2 to start the year with two close road losses and they’ve won three of their last four with a near-win over the LA Rams. They won’t win the NFC West, but I think they (along with the Lions) will compete for an NFC wild card spot. Given that they do have so many new starters, and that those starters are by in large younger and cheaper than their predecessors, it keeps me hopeful.
2. Frank Clark has become a standout defensive player for the Seahawks, what’s made him so special this year?
I’m sure many of your readers are familiar with Clark’s back story as a former Michigan standout who was kicked off of the team following an arrest for domestic violence and assault. If not for that, Clark could have been a top-15 pick in the 2015 draft. Instead, the Seahawks took him 63rd overall, which from a talent standpoint was great value, but from a human standpoint, was quite a risk. Still, if Clark stayed out of trouble, the potential was always there for him to be a special pass rusher, maybe even among the elite. Compare his measurables to Jadeveon Clowney and you’ll see that even though Clowney is clearly a step above, Clowney is also arguably the greatest pass rushing prospect of the century — and Clark isn’t that far behind, even registering a higher vertical and faster short shuttle at a heavier weight. In 3.5 years, Clark has stayed out of trouble and his trajectory as a great pass rusher has been there all along; he had 19 sacks in the last two years despite spending almost 1.5 of those seasons as a backup to Avril and Bennett. He now has 5.5 sacks in six games this season and he could join some exclusive pass rushing company in franchise history, forcing Seattle to decide if they want to give him a $80 million+ extension before the year is over.
He’s incredibly strong and disruptive. He’s got the ability to just push a left tackle right into a quarterback in under a few seconds (albeit if your left tackle isn’t that good, however he’s done some incredible work against Andrew Whitworth in last couple of matchups against the Rams) or to leap right over a player if need be.
One thing that I noted in my video is how STRONG Frank Clark is... His speed-to-power conversion is incredible. Dude is a freaking missile off the LOS. #Seahawks— Samuel Gold (@SamuelRGold) October 25, 2018
Note: He didn't get the sack, but Rosen was lucky he released the ball in under 2 seconds!pic.twitter.com/Xlr9pcskxv
Frank Clark moves in the OAK game reminded me of another ridiculous play he made last year. Went digging through GamePass to find this gem from the Colts game. Athletic Freak! pic.twitter.com/DnLBqA3tUt— Nico Tomacelli (@HypnotiqNico) October 25, 2018
My next #Seahawks film room for the @TheAthleticSEA will be on Frank Clark and his dominating start to the season.— Samuel Gold (@SamuelRGold) October 25, 2018
Get ready for 6 minutes of pass rush-nerding when the video drops!pic.twitter.com/E5QgjLbieD
I think one issue is that Clark can be a little inconsistent and below the sack numbers, his pressure numbers aren’t “elite” like many of his peers.
He gives the Seahawks a pass rusher that offenses must focus their attention on, potentially opening opportunities for Jarran Reed and Quinton Jefferson, but he himself could also stand to do a little bit more pressuring and consistently getting to the quarterback.
3. How would you grade Russell Wilson’s performance through the first half of this season?
I think Wilson is having the most unusual season of his career, but that’s probably only because this is his first season without Darrell Bevell as his offensive coordinator. Wilson’s taken some time to adjust to Brian Schottenheimer’s game plan, which includes virtually no threat of a run by Wilson after six years of him being a “dual threat” quarterback. Wilson had a couple of really bad games earlier in the year, but he’s settled into things over the last four games, throwing eight touchdowns against one interception (which was in fact a really bad throw by Wilson) and 8.17 Y/A. Wilson’s on pace for a new career high in touchdowns and he’s found a nice rhythm with Tyler Lockett, David Moore, and Doug Baldwin. The Seahawks are getting tight end Ed Dickson for the first time this week after he spent the first six games on NFI and he’s here to help with the blocking mostly, so that hopefully gives Wilson even more time in the pocket behind a very-much improved offensive line.
More time in the pocket, better rhythm with his receivers, more experience with a new system, I like where Wilson is headed. But if you can pressure him, if you can take away his number one option on a play, Wilson is prone to making dumb scrambles and every once in awhile maybe a bad throw, plus he fumbles more than any other quarterback in the game. I think the Lions will be a challenge for him, especially 10 AM (our time) on the road.
4. Who is the best video game player on the Seahawks right now? If you don’t know, tell me who you think it might be.
Yeah, I don’t know what a video game player is, to be honest. That makes me think of Michael Vick, so I assume that’s what you mean?
Tyler Lockett is having a good season. In the past he was just thought of as an exciting return man, but his return game is actually kind of boring now and he’s instead a fairly reliable deep threat. Lockett has five touchdowns and is definitely someone defenses want to keep the ball away from.
I think of running back Chris Carson as more of a bruising, between-the-tackles kind of back, but he’s also one of my favorite players on the offense. That being said, I think Rashaad Penny might be more of the “video game” type; he’s fast, elusive, and he’s got the potential to be one of the most exciting backs in the league one day. I don’t think that day is this Sunday, however. He’s third on the depth chart and has been inconsistent this season.
Russell Wilson makes some boneheaded scrambles but he’ll also pull out a scramble highlight that’ll blow your frickin’ mind once in awhile. I mean:
I hope that answers it!
I originally meant that this was a question as to which Seahawks player probably plays the most video games (ie: it’s clear Kerryon Johnson has a gaming console).
Sorry I couldn’t even give you a fake answer for that. No idea. I don’t play video games myself and don’t follow.
5. What’s a good cup of coffee to have this time of year?
Well, to be clear, I haven’t lived near Seattle in almost a decade. I like one type of coffee any time of year: black. No frills, no muss. I am not picky about my coffee, but I am fully intent on having 3-4 cups a day. Find yourself some joe, I’m sure it’ll do the trick.
As always thanks to our guest for putting up with our nonsense. Have a fun weekend.