Moore’s 10 Takeaways: Short-term and long-term solutions to solve the Seahawks’ struggling defense
Welcome to Tuesday’s Top Ten Takeaways, a weekly column that takes a look back and a look ahead with the Seahawks.
• 10) The Seahawks are favored by nearly a touchdown at Miami, but I’m concerned about Human Nature being a factor in this game. It looks like a possible letdown spot, going from games against New England and Dallas to a lesser opponent like the Dolphins. Factor in the long road trip, 10 a.m. start and heat and humidity, and you have the recipe for a possible upset by the Dolphins.
• 9) If there’s any doubt about running back Chris Carson’s knee this week, I’d rest him and take my chances with Carlos Hyde, Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas. Besides, the Seahawks are letting Russ cook anyway.
• 8) Even though Pete Carroll has enjoyed watching his explosive offense, he wants more balance, saying as much Monday, indicating it’s hard to win championships the way they’re currently playing. That won’t go over well with the cooking people, but it certainly resonated with me. Carroll talked about the value of running the ball in colder, crummier weather, and it made me think of the last Apple Cup in Pullman when the Cougs couldn’t efficiently run their Air Raid in the sleet.
• 7) Possible short-term solution to defensive issues: Sign Snacks Harrison and Clay Matthews this week and give more snaps to linebackers Shaquem Griffin and Cody Barton. Griffin got a good grade from Pro Football Focus from his limited snaps in the Dallas game. Barton is next man up at the strong-side linebacker spot if Jordyn Brooks can’t go this week. Barton has been lost in the linebacker shuffle but is talented enough to make a difference. With Griffin and Barton, if it doesn’t work out, oh well. But why not give ‘em a go and find out? It’s not as if the defense is suddenly going to get worse.
• 6) Possible long-term solution to defensive issues: Replace Ken Norton with a new defensive coordinator, perhaps Dan Quinn if he’s fired by the Falcons. The Seahawks’ defense has steadily declined since Norton took over two-plus years ago and his Raider defenses were always below average too. Seems to me there’s enough talent on the field to be better than they’ve been. And for the Seahawks to win a Super Bowl, it’s not like they need a dominant defense, just an average one. It’s hard to see it happening under Norton.
• 5) Help me out with this – is Shaquill Griffin a great cornerback, a good cornerback, a so-so cornerback or a subpar cornerback? I was happy to see him end his 33-game interception drought with a pick against the Cowboys, but then he turned around and got beat on back-to-back long gainers on Dallas’ next drive. For quite awhile, I’ve felt like he was pretty good but not among the elite at his position.
• 4) John Clayton talked about the premier quarterbacks the Seahawks have faced thus far as a factor in the historic pass yardage allowed. He’s right about Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Dak Prescott. But Matt Schaub threw for 450 yards against the Seahawks’ defense last year. Would you be surprised if Ryan Fitzpatrick goes off on the Seahawks on Sunday? I wouldn’t either. He’s completing 71 percent of his passes and went 18 for 20 in a win over Jacksonville last week. He also threw for 328 yards in a loss to the Bills the week before.
• 3) Maybe there are extenuating factors such as opponents throwing more than running against the Seahawks, taking advantage of their terrible pass defense. But there’s still been a noticeable improvement in the run defense – the Seahawks are No. 2 in the league, allowing 66.7 rushing yards a game. Forget about the extenuating factors – the Patriots lead the league, averaging 178 yards a game, and the Seahawks held them to 57 yards.
• 2) Yes, the offensive line allowed four sacks to the Cowboys, three by Aldon Smith, but it still seems to be an improved unit over last year, giving Russell Wilson enough time to engineer one of the league’s highest-flying offenses. Wilson is on a pace to throw for 4,930 yards with 74 TDs and only five interceptions.
• 1) Do the Seahawks have the best receiving tandem in the league with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett? Statistically speaking they do. Metcalf leads the league with 24.8 yards per catch and is third with 297 receiving yards. Lockett is tied for first with Atlanta’s Calvin Ridley with four TDs. He’s also seventh in receptions with 29 and 10th in yards with 259. The closest twosome to Metcalf and Lockett are Dallas’ Amari Cooper at eighth with 267 yards and Michael Gallup at 13th with 246 yards.