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Clayton: What did the Seahawks learn in their first 6 games?

Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald recovered a fumble by Arizona RB David Johnson. (AP)

There’s plenty of positives upon which to reflect as the Seahawks enter their bye week.

While they’d like to have a better start than 3-3, the most important thing the Seahawks did was establish an identity both on offense and defense. That was important. The Seahawks are in a roster reset and are going with younger players who are learning on the job.

The team is coming off two consecutive years in which their offense couldn’t run the ball and blocking was a major problem. It would have helped to split the first two road games against Denver and Chicago, but at least they have climbed out of their 0-2 hole and have hopes of making a run for the Wild Card.

What did the Seahawks learn in the first six games?

The Legion of Boom may be gone, but the Boom remains

Over the past month, the Seahawks secondary has come together with a new physical presence. Bradley McDougald is becoming a big-time hitter and a strong coverage safety. Free safety Tedric Thompson can lower the boom. Cornerbacks Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin are excellent run-stoppers along with being strong in coverage.

Four receivers have suffered concussions in the past two games from what were determined to be legal hits. So much of the help comes from Kam Chancellor, who has been giving instructions for McDougald and Thompson on how to hit legally.

Here’s why this is important: more offenses are running crossing routes against the Cover One and Cover Three defenses because the NFL is protecting defenseless receivers by calling personal fouls. Coaches now feel as though there isn’t a fear factor of injuries going across the middle of the field.

It will be interesting to see if officials watch the Seahawks secondary a little more closely because of the concussions, but the safeties aren’t trying to hurt opponents. They’re just trying make receivers mindful that the middle of the Seahawks field might be a dangerous place to be. Chancellor did that so well.

Coverage by the secondary has been reasonably good

Sure, the Seahawks had some problems with Case Keenum and Jared Goff, but they have been respectable with their coverage. Only 19 passes for 196 yards have been completed against Griffin in six games. Quarterbacks are 12 of 25 against Flowers for 176 yards. That’s incredible for a rookie. Justin Coleman has given up only 15 completions for 165 yards.

D.J. Fluker and J.R. Sweezy have established the boom in the Seahawks running attack

Since the two took over at the guard positions, the Seahawks have gone 3-1 and are averaging 25.5 points a game. They are rushing for 155.8 yards on 25.4 attempts during that four-game stretch.

In the first two games, the Seahawks had only 28 rushes for 138 yards. The blend of Fluker and Sweezy has been an 86.8 improvement in running offense. Last year with the New York Giants, Fluker added 25 yards a game to the running offense.

Sweezy works well with center Justin Britt. They played next to each other when Britt was drafted at right tackle his rookie year. Fluker buries people. He’s had running pancakes in each of the first two games.

The pass blocking has also improved

Since Week 3, the Seahawks have the best pass blocking numbers in the league according to Pro Football Focus, allowing only two sacks, two hits and nine hurries. Fluker was rated the fifth-best pass blocker during those games by PFF.

John Clayton on 710 ESPN Seattle
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