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Moore’s 10 Seahawks Takeaways: How do they keep finding diamonds in the rough for the secondary?

Safety Ryan Neal and CB D.J. Reed (not pictured) have stepped up big for injured Hawks. (Getty)

Welcome to Tuesday’s Top Ten Takeaways (TTTT), a weekly column that takes a look back and look ahead with the Seahawks.

Clayton: Seahawks have officially leapfrogged the battered 49ers

• 10) Forget about trying to figure out if DK Metcalf is the No. 1 receiver on the team now. ESPN’s Mike Greenberg thinks he’s the best receiver in the league, and it’s hard to argue with him. Metcalf leads receivers with seven touchdowns and yards per catch at 18.9. He’s also fourth in receiving yards with 680. Metcalf is on a pace for 1,554 yards, which would break Steve Largent’s single-season team record of 1,554 yards. Largent’s status as best receiver in Seahawks history had never been questioned until Metcalf arrived. DK’s not there yet and has a long ways to go to match or exceed Largent’s Hall of Fame career, but he’s off to a terrific start.

• 9) How encouraged were you by the Seahawks’ defense against the 49ers? I was very encouraged, but some were just sort of encouraged because of the 238 yards and 20 points allowed in the fourth quarter. I can see their point. How much had to do with Jimmy Garropolo’s ineffectiveness being caused by his high ankle sprain? Remains to be seen if the Seahawks can show some defensive consistency. Remember last year when they turned in a great defensive effort in an overtime win in San Francisco. They went back to their below-average ways after that.

• 8) I mentioned on Twitter that I whiffed with my post last week, stating that Bobby Wagner had not played an $18-million-a-year level. He did on Sunday, coming up with two sacks, three tackles for loss and four QB hits. Can he keep playing that aggressively? If nothing else, nice to see that he still has that kind of intensity. I still think that next year the Seahawks will try to see if they can work out a reduced contract with Wagner, and if that doesn’t work out, Jordyn Brooks, who played a lot at middle linebacker with Texas Tech, could be in position to replace him.

• 7) Now that their defense seems to be on the rise, the Seahawks, without too much of a debate, are the NFC’s best team. They’ve already got the best record (6-1), which proves as much. And the weekend results made it even more convincing. Two of their closest pursuers, New Orleans and Tampa Bay, nearly lost to the Bears and the Giants respectively, and Green Bay lost to the Vikings. Two weeks ago, some were saying the Rams had the NFC’s best team, but no one is saying it anymore after Jared Goff turned it over four times in a loss to Miami.

• 6) I thought Greg Olsen might have been the Seahawks’ best offseason acquisition, but it’s something else I think I was wrong about. For those who contend that the $7 million they gave him might have been better spent on another player at a different position, I tend to agree. Olsen had a catchless day against the 49ers and has 17 receptions for 158 yards and a TD this season. He’s been OK, but has he been that much better than Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister? Couldn’t you have gotten by just fine with them and Luke Willson? And now you have Stanford rookie Colby Parkinson on the active roster. In hindsight, the Seahawks didn’t really need Olsen.

• 5) Thanks to Hawk Blogger Brian Nemhauser for this interesting item: Over the past two weeks, Tre Flowers has been the sixth-highest graded cornerback according to Pro Football Focus. It’s a great sign for the player who lost his job to Quinton Dunbar only to get it back when Dunbar moved over to the left side last week to replace Shaquill Griffin, out with a concussion and pulled hamstring. Griffin could miss the Buffalo game because of his hamstring, and if the Seahawks have another good showing in their secondary, could you make the case for Flowers and Dunbar to remain as the starting corners? Probably not, absolutely not or maybe not? Or would you be thinking maybe so?

• 4) The Seahawks blitzed on 23 of 45 San Francisco drop-backs. Would you like to see them keep going with an aggressive blitzing philosophy? Or was this just a one-game plan with Seattle recognizing that Garoppolo was susceptible to blitzes, particularly with a high ankle sprain? Buffalo’s Josh Allen has been sacked only 13 times in eight games, but he’s in his third year and still growing, still capable of being rattled by extra pressure. I’ll say the Seahawks will blitz Allen but not as much as they blitzed Garoppolo, basing that on the Bills’ wide receivers being better equipped to burn the Seahawks than the 49ers were. Buffalo’s Stefan Diggs and Cole Beasley are both on a pace for 100-catch and 1,000-yard seasons.

• 3) On Monday, Pete Carroll painted a bleak picture for wide receiver Phillip Dorsett and his sore foot, saying “he’s not doing well.” That tells me we’re not going to see him at all this season. Not to sound cold, but has he been missed? Not with the way David Moore has taken hold of the third-receiver spot. Moore has 16 receptions for 245 yards and three TDs and is on pace to have the best season of his career. In 2018 Moore had 26 catches for 445 yards and five TDs. Moore is the same guy who was asked to take a pay cut before the season started, and now he’s put himself in position for a nice contract as a free agent in the offseason.

• 2) How do the Seahawks keep finding defensive backs to contribute in a big way as deep backups who were pressed into action because of injuries to Jamal Adams and Griffin? Ryan Neal is a third-string strong safety who has played well in Adams’ absence. D.J. Reed was cut by San Francisco before the season and picked up by the Seahawks as an injured player. Activated Sunday to replace the injured Ugo Amadi at nickel corner, Reed had an interception and made a difference as a blitzer too. That kind of depth has been vital to the Seahawks’ success, especially during an injury-filled season like this one.

• 1) Who ya got as the Seahawks’ leader in sacks at the end of the year? Certainly someone will have more than the four that Rasheem Green had to lead the team last year, right? But just one game from the midpoint of the season, Bobby Wagner, Benson Mayowa, Jamal Adams and Alton Robinson are tied for the team lead with two each. I’ll go with newcomer Carlos Dunlap to lead the sack pack at the end of the year with five – not counting the one he had in Cincinnati.

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