Which offensive players after Wilson are most important for Seahawks?
The Seahawks are getting prepared for a Week 17 finale against the San Francisco 49ers before heading to the postseason for the ninth time in 11 years, and the team appears to be rising at the right time, with the defense becoming a force in recent weeks and the offense remaining one of the league’s best.
It’s obvious that this team and specifically this offense will only go as far as star quarterback Russell Wilson can take them, but Wilson does have an extremely capable cast on that side of the ball.
So with the postseason just around the corner, which players on the Seahawks’ offense after Wilson are most important to the team’s success? Jake Heaps and Stacy Rost of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy made their two selections on Wednesday.
RB Chris Carson
“The biggest difference in this team this year – in addition to its defense being better and I think the offense being willing to adapt more than they have been in previous seasons – is health,” she said. “This team is a 180 from where they were heading into the postseason last year and also is frankly healthier than a couple other teams. Having Chris Carson out there has been the difference.”
Last year, the Seahawks, notably, lost their three top running backs, including two-time 1,000-yard rusher Chris Carson, in the season’s final four weeks. Carson may have missed time this year and isn’t on track for a third straight 1,000-yard season, but Rost says he’s critical to this offense.
“Jake, you’ve been talking about balance, Pete Carroll loves balance, and again, we have to emphasize this doesn’t mean 50-50 run-pass, it means being able to beat someone with the run when you need to and the pass when you need to, and it also makes your pass game more effective with the threat of that run,” she said. “They were missing that for a stretch of games, they were missing that last season. It may have been the difference, certainly in that Green Bay game and you’ve got him this time around. Chris Carson is the most important offensive player outside of Russell Wilson.”
WR Tyler Lockett
Veteran receiver Tyler Lockett may have slowed down over the last half of the season, but he’s still just 36 yards away from 1,000 yards and Rost said Lockett’s role is extremely critical going forward.
“I think Tyler Lockett is a great resource for Russell Wilson on third down and third down is the one area where even when this offense was firing on all cylinders and at its best, they were not great on third down,” she said, noting Seattle has been near the bottom on third down conversions in 2020. “… Tyler Lockett is the guy you need for those moments. When you’re going against a tough defense and it’s a must-win game and everything is on the line, go to your ‘safety blanket’ and Tyler Lockett has got to be there and be ready.”
LT Duane Brown
Heaps went with one of the oldest players on the Seahawks for his first selection.
“Duane Brown is the one that’s the most obvious, and that’s why we don’t typically say him, because obviously you can’t lose your starting left tackle, one of the best left tackles in the game and feel good about what you’re doing on offense,” Heaps said. “He’s tremendous in pass protection and the running game, he is a tone setter, he is a leader. He is (someone) when you talk about moments and toughness and a guy in the huddle, a guy that guys are looking to, your quarterback is one, and it’s going to be Duane Brown second.”
Brown has been in the league since 2008 and though he’s an older veteran at 35, he’s still playing at a very high level.
“What do you do for the future of that position, right? Duane Brown this season, to me, has proven that if he wants to, mentally and physically, he is still able to play at a very high level for at least two more years,” Heaps said. “And if Duane Brown wants to commit to two more years, I am all for that without any hesitation.”
WR DK Metcalf
Naturally, the guy who’s about to break Steve Largent’s franchise record for receiving yards is critical to the Seahawks’ offense.
“DK Metcalf, what he has done this season has been truly outstanding,” Heaps said. ” … In his second year as a pro, he has really shown himself to be a dominant force in this league. Eighty receptions, over 1,200 yards, 10 touchdowns, DK Metcalf has been the one constant in my mind this season.”
Like most players both on the Seahawks’ offense and across the league, Metcalf has had games where his impact isn’t as large as you’d expect, but Heaps still thinks his presence is critical for this offense.
“Even though he hasn’t had consistent big, big games, he has been a consistent chain mover for this offense, he’s been a guy that has come up clutch and big for this offense even when it’s been sputtering or when it’s been troublesome,” he said. “He is your true mismatch. He is your one chess piece on the board that teams don’t have an answer for … (outside of Jalen Ramsey with the Los Angeles Rams) I would take DK Metcalf all day, everyday and expect him to have a 100-plus-yard day over any corner in this league and it’s very rare to have a receiver like that who is that dynamic, that special.”
Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player below.