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Clayton: Numbers are working against the Seahawks already with 0-2 start

Rookie tight end Will Dissly is one of a host of inexperienced Seahawks starters. (AP)

The numbers are working against the Seahawks during their 0-2 start to the season.

Despite an emphasis to run the football, the Seahawks aren’t getting the ball to their running backs. The movement to youth has made the roster almost too young. And depth is already a big issue for the team.

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As has been written just about everywhere, the chance of an 0-2 team making the playoffs drops to 11 percent. Based on the start, though, you have to figure things can’t get worse.

Or can they?

Let’s look at some of the numbers.

• The Seahawks are getting an uncommon number of players making their first starts. Rookies Tre Flowers and Shaquem Griffin started in the opener on defense. Another rookie, Will Dissly, is now the starting tight end. Akeem King had his first start at cornerback Monday night against the Chicago Bears, while Austin Calitro got his first start at middle linebacker. Even Mychal Kendricks started at weakside linebacker just a few days after getting his first Seahawks playbook.

• It’s understandable the passing offense would be off to a slow start. Until Doug Baldwin returns, Russell Wilson is working almost exclusively with new pass-catchers. Tyler Lockett is the only active wide receiver that Wilson worked with prior to this year. Brandon Marshall, Jaron Brown and Keenan Reynolds are new. David Moore was more of a practice squad player last year. Even Nick Vannett is the only returning tight end, and he was third on the depth chart last year.

• No one expected this much change at cornerback. Heading into training camp, it looked as though the Seahawks would have Shaquill Griffin and Byron Maxwell, who both finished last season as starters. Maxwell was never healthy this offseason, however, and he ended up on injured reserve and then was cut. So far, the Seahawks have had Flowers and King starting along with Griffin in the first two games. Flowers was beaten on 5 of 8 passes for 108 yards in the opening loss to Denver, but he did pretty well for 72 plays in his first NFL game. King had four passes completed on him in six attempts Monday night, including a touchdown, but he only allowed 34 yards – not bad. As for Griffin, he’s off to a great start. He’s allowed eight completions in 15 attempts for 62 yards in two games, and he and grabbed two interceptions Monday night. Justin Coleman has also done well in the slot, giving up only two completions for 27 yards.

• Russell Wilson has been responsible for running into several of his 12 sacks. Right tackle Germain Ifedi has been credited with three sacks allowed, leading the team, but only three more sacks have been credited to the rest of the offensive line. Pete Carroll said Wednesday that the pass blocking has been better.

• Earl Thomas continues to make a case for getting a long-term contract extension. According to Pro Football Focus, Thomas was rated the best safety in football over the first two games while Bradley McDougald was rated as the third-best. The way the two play together is impressive. Thomas is all over the field making plays and McDougald has been exceptional in playing near the line of scrimmage and making run stops. He’s also been great in pass coverage situations.

• Former Seahawks defensive tackle Tom Johnson thought he found a better situation going back to the Minnesota Vikings than coming back to the Seahawks. The Seahawks needed roster space Saturday, and with defensive tackle their deepest position at five players, one was expendable. They knew they couldn’t cut Naz Jones or Poona Ford because they would been claimed on waivers, so they went with Johnson, who started in Week 1. The Seahawks hoped he could have come back at his $950,000 salary, which was guaranteed once he was on the roster for the season opener, but it didn’t work out for them. Johnson can file for termination pay and get the remaining 15 paychecks while that cap charge will go against the Seahawks in the 2019 salary cap.

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John Clayton on 710 ESPN Seattle
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