Fri, 27 May 2022

You had Seahawks questions; we have answers. John Boyle

Greetings, Seahawks fans. It may be the offseason, but it's never a bad time to open up the mailbag and answer some questions from you, the fans, so let's get on with it, shall we? As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I wasn't able to get to yours this time around.

To kick off this week's mailbag, we're bringing in a very special guest to answer a question that he is far more qualified to handle than I am. So with that, we'll turn things over to Seahawks Legend Dave Wyman, who you can hear on your radio every afternoon on 710 ESPN Seattle as the co-host of the Wyman and Bob Show.

@Kari Shrine from Des Moines asks, "What really goes on at the bottom of a pileup after a fumble?"

Wyman: "Mostly at the bottom of the pile, after the play is blown dead, there's not as much going on as people think. Once, I did have a player try to poke me in the eye. I was the upback on the field goal team and my technique was to "cut-block" the outside rusher. One of the-I won't name any names, but he was wearing Silver and Black-outside rushers did not appreciate me chopping his legs out, so he tried to poke me in the eye. I told him "You better not rush on this side again or I'm going to (insert threat here)." Didn't see him the rest of the game.

"Most memorably, when I was playing in Denver, we went to Chicago to play in a cold and muddy game at Soldier field in December. Our defensive tackle forced a fumble out of the hands of running back Tim Worley. Everyone jumped into the mud pile, and at the bottom of that pile, Worley got the ball back. Briefly. I was also at the bottom of that pile and since no one could see, I stole it away from him and emerged from the pig-pile with the ball in my hands. As much as Worley screamed and yelled at the ref, I had the ball, and we all know possession is nine-tenths of the law! I did steal the ball away from him. I did not feel bad about it and still don't."

Many thanks to Dave for lending us his expertise, and for more stories from Wyman's playing days, check out the book he co-authored with Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. And sorry about that fumble, Tim Worley.

Dick Shaw from Olympia asks, "Could a fully-healthy Seahawks team, as they're currently constructed, compete with the top teams in the NFL?"

A: Considering the Seahawks beat the 49ers, who are playing in the NFC championship game, twice this season, and beat the playoff-bound Cardinals in Week 18, I do think that when they're relatively healthy and playing well, yes, the Seahawks can compete with anyone. The problem, of course, is that they were far too inconsistent in 2021, leading to a lot of close losses to non-playoff teams and teams with losing records, and the end result was a disappointing 7-10 record.

Late in the year when Seattle won four of its final six, and when Russell Wilson and the offense got going as he got back to full strength following the first injury absence of his career, we saw a Seahawks team that looked like a playoff-caliber team. Unfortunately, it was a playoff-caliber team that dug itself too big of a hole by losing 8 of its first 11 games. None of that is to say that the Seahawks don't have things to address and improve upon this season-they absolutely can and need to get better-but I think we sometimes forget A. how close the margin is from being a middle-of-the-pack team and a 12 or 13-win team in the NFL, B. how much any team's playoff success can depend on how they match up with an opponent, and C. what team is peaking at the right time.

Were people talking about the 49ers, a 10-7 team that needed Week 18 help to get into the playoffs, like one of the truly elite NFL teams heading into the postseason? If they were I missed it, yet they played a couple of great games, are hot at the right time, and now are one win away from the Super Bowl against a Rams team they've beaten six straight times dating back to 2019.

Am I arguing the that the Seahawks, as currently constructed, are a 13-win team? Hardly. Their record is what it is? But my point is that the difference between their 7-10 season and being where the 49ers are this weekend is a lot smaller than you might think.

Helen Schumacher from Kirkland asks, "Do you think the NFL overtime rules need to change? How would you change them?"

A: This question of course stems from the thrilling Divisional Round game between the Chiefs and Bills in which Kansas City got the ball first in overtime and scored a touchdown to win it, keeping the Bills from having a chance to get their offense on the field.

And while part of me wants to say that defense is part of football too and the Bills should have gotten a stop if they wanted to win, I do agree with just about everyone that the overtime rules need to be changed, at least in the playoffs if nothing else. Because even though defense matters as well, the modern NFL is set up to favor offense so much that there's a real advantage to winning the coin toss and getting the ball first. I've seen a lot of creative ideas on how to change things, and I also don't mind the college overtime set up, but the easiest fix would seem to be to just allow both teams a possession, then make it sudden death after that. Or maybe even just make overtime an extra 10-minute period with no sudden death.

I do think a completely valid criticism of any changes is that it means more time on the field for players, which creates a health risk, particularly after the NFL just added a 17th game. So maybe a good compromise would be to keep the current rules, then make a change for the postseason when a team's season is on the line.

@Heyiamgreg1 asks, "When the heck are we going to hire a defensive coordinator?"

A: The short answer is, I have no idea, they don't tell me these things. I will say, however, that the slow progress with the hiring of head coaches around the league is likely a factor in the Seahawks taking their time in hiring a new defensive coordinator. With so many head coaching jobs still open, there are a lot of potential coordinators waiting to see what happens in a lot of different job situations. As those head coaching jobs start to get determined, my hunch is there will be more clarity on the Seahawks' defensive coordinator position not long after.

Mike Shoye from Yakima asks several questions, including, "Will the Seahawks focus on the offensive line in free agency?"

A: In one way or another, the line will definitely be a topic for the Seahawks to address in free agency. Three of Seattle's 2021 starters are set to become free agents when the new league year begins: left tackle Duane Brown, center Ethan Pocic and right tackle Brandon Shell. So addressing the line in free agency could mean re-signing some or all of those players, or if they leave to sign elsewhere, it could mean looking to sign their potential replacements. Of course the Seahawks can also look to bolster the line via the draft, but whether it's adding new starters, signing their current starters, or just looking for depth that can compete for spots, it's a safe bet the Seahawks will be active in free agency one way or another when it comes to the offensive line.

@StacyRost asks, "Could Ted Lasso coach a team to a Super Bowl?"

A: We learn in the pilot that Lasso took Wichita State to a Division II title after being "a garbage program," so in an alternate world where he doesn't leave for England, Lasso probably earns a Division I job somewhere, and if he succeeds there maybe he's an NFL coach down the line, so sure, I could see him leading an NFL team to the Super Bowl.

Plus, I have a theory that Lasso is a sitcom version of Pete Carroll, from the endless enthusiasm and optimism, to the focus on players' growth and well-being as human beings and not just athletes, to the devotion to John Wooden's teachings. So if real life Pete Carroll can do it, why can't Ted Lasso?

@ "Is the Rams defensive lineman Greg Gaines related to the former Seahawks linebacker Greg Gaines?

A: According to this Seattle Times profile on the younger Gaines from his days at the University of Washington, the two are not related.

@hollyberry03 has a joke, asking, "What do dentist call it when they take X-rays?"

A: Tooth pics? I hope that's right, because that's an A+ dad joke.

@KaleMorton asks, "What is the one band/performer you regret not seeing before they retired?"

A: I hate how easily I can answer this one, because it still bugs me. Back in 1996, my friend Brendan tried to talk me into seeing Soundgarden when they were in Seattle, but I came up with reason not to go, which I'm sure wasn't very good, and even pointed out, "we can just see them next time they play here." Of course, Soundgarden broke up the next year, and while I was able to see them years later after they got back together, and also see Chris Cornell perform with Temple of the Dog in 2017, I still regret not seeing Soundgarden at their best in the 90s.

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