Moore’s 10 Seahawks Takeaways: We’re seeing the downsides to ‘Let Russ Cook’

Nov 10, 2020, 10:18 AM

Seahawks Russell Wilson...

Russell Wilson has 11 interceptions this season, including two on Sunday. (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 revive pass rush but secondary is now the problem

• 10) We like to think that Jamal Adams is making a difference with the Seahawks given his passionate style of play. He’s tied for the team lead with Jarran Reed with 3.5 sacks in only four games. But statistically, the Seahawks have been better without him thus far.

In the four games with Adams:

Allowing an average of 478 yards and 32.5 points a game.

In the four games without him:

Allowing an average of 408 yards and 28 points a game.

I kind of like the suggestion from NBC Sports Northwest’s Joe Fann, who proposed putting Adams at linebacker and having Quandre Diggs and another safety behind him. Take a bigger advantage of Adams’ strengths as a pass rusher and lessen his responsibilities in coverage, the weakest part of his game. At his size, he could be a liability in run defense, but I’d contend that he plays bigger than his size when he hits ball carriers.

If you think this is a ridiculous idea, nothing’s ridiculous when it comes to potential solutions for the Seahawks’ defense. Could it possibly get worse? Check out No. 9 in today’s top 10:

• 9) The Seahawks remain on pace to break the single-season record held by the 2012 Saints of 7,042 yards allowed. They gave up 3,646 yards in the first eight games, a season-long pace of 7,292 yards. In an interesting twist, the Seahawks could break the record, only to be outdone by the Falcons, who are on an even more miserable pace of possibly allowing 7,380 yards. But in passing yards alone, the Seahawks are in a class by themselves. They’ve given up 2,897 passing yards, a pace for 5,794 yards, a mark that would obliterate the 2011 Packers’ record of 4,796 passing yards allowed. Believe it or not, that Packers team went 15-1 but after a bye lost in the divisional round to the Giants.

• 8) What kind of midseason report card would you give the Seahawks? Here are my grades: Offense A, Defense F, Coaching C (An A for Brian Schottenheimer and an F for Ken Norton).

• 7) Looking for someone else to blame for the Seahawks’ defensive issues? Defensive passing game coordinator Andre Curtis was an assistant secondary coach in 2012 when the Saints set their record for most yards allowed in a single season. Or maybe it has more to do with injuries to Quinton Dunbar, Shaquill Griffin, Marquise Blair and Adams. Thing is, every defense deals with injuries and has still managed to be better than this one.

• 6) Best single-season paces at the midpoint of the year:

D.K. Metcalf: 86 catches, 1,576 yards, 16 TDs.

Russell Wilson: 5,082 passing yards and 56 TDs, which would top Peyton Manning’s record of 55 with the Broncos in 2013.

Tyler Lockett: 106 catches for 1,230 yards and 14 TDs, all career-highs.

• 5) I’ve never truly gotten on board with letting Russ cook for five reasons:

A) The more times he throws it, the more chances he has for interceptions. Wilson has never had more than 11 interceptions in a season but is on a pace for 16 this year. I guarantee that Pete Carroll would rather see fewer passing yards and fewer interceptions.

B) The more times he drops back, the more risk he runs of getting hurt. Wilson took a pounding in Buffalo, knocked down 16 times. One of these times, he’s not going to get up.

C) If you run the ball more frequently, you control the time of possession and reduce the time you put the historically bad defense on the field. By controlling the clock, you can even help your defense not be historically bad anymore by reducing the number of yards it gives up.

D) It will be more important to unleash the running game as the weather turns. Wilson has typically turned in some of his worst games in rainy conditions, and besides the four games left in Seattle, the Seahawks also have a road game next month at Washington.

E) If you reduce the time the defense is on the field, you also won’t need Wilson to bring his A game every single time for the Seahawks to win. Running the ball more frequently should lower the scores, somewhat anyway, and allow Wilson to win with his B and C games.

• 4) Most disappointing single-season pace:

Chris Carson: 646 yards and 6 TDs. Carson rushed for 1,230 yards in 2019 and is on a pace to gain about half of what he had last year. Hopefully he’ll return soon from his foot injury and get back on track. Carson had six 100-yard games in 2019 and none this year.

• 3) The website fivethirtyeight.com lists the following odds:

Seahawks: 60% chance to win the NFC West, 26% chance to earn the NFC’s No. 1 seed and 8% chance to win the Super Bowl.

Packers: 31% chance to earn the No. 1 seed and 9% chance to win the Super Bowl.

Saints: 29% chance to earn the No. 1 seed and 14% chance to win the Super Bowl.

• 2) But when you look at remaining schedules, the Seahawks have the easiest final eight games in the league. They play three games against teams with winning records – two against the Rams and one against the Cardinals. The other five – Jets, Giants, Washington, Eagles and 49ers – have a combined record of 11-31-1. The Saints have the sixth-easiest schedule remaining, and the Packers have the 11th-easiest.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks have a much easier go of it than their NFC West counterparts. San Francisco has the fourth-toughest schedule, the Cardinals the ninth-toughest, and the Rams the 12th-toughest.

• 1) When you saw Wilson on Sunday, did it look like he was forcing throws at times? Did he look a little off, understanding that he sets such a high standard? I was surprised when he went down one time without being hit as he tried to get out of the pocket. The second half of the season bears watching.

Last year in the final seven games, Wilson had six QB ratings below 100 and threw for an average of 229 yards. I know he’s cooking this year, but maybe some load management might be in order this year with a few more handoffs in the second half of the season.

All of these sacks and hits in a nine-year career are bound to take a toll at some point, and as well as the O-line has played, he’s still on a pace to be sacked 48 times, the same number as last year.

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