Rost: 2 quick and 2 big fixes for Seahawks after an ugly Week 2 loss
It was an ugly loss for the Seahawks in Week 2, but with a road trip to Minnesota creeping up and a competitive NFC West division taking shape, they hardly have time to dwell.
The good news is that some of Seattle’s biggest problems from Sunday are fixable. Some of those fixes can be quick, while others are imperative for the Seahawks’ success but may take longer to correct.
Along with Jake Heaps, my co-host on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy, we came up with a list of two quick fixes and two big fixes for the Seahawks as they prepare to head to U.S. Bank Stadium for a battle against the winless Vikings this Sunday.
Big fix: More takeaways from the Seahawks’ defense
This defense needs to find as many opportunities to get off the field as it possibly can, and the Seahawks are certainly capable of producing turnovers. Here’s what makes it a big fix, though: first, no amount of preparation or talent can guarantee a takeaway every week. Secondly, they’ll need to sustain a level of success with takeaways over the course of the season. Do that, and they’ll have some wiggle room for their more irreparable deficiencies.
That’s not to negate what Alton Robinson did Sunday with the strip sack of Ryan Tannehill, or Kerry Hyder Jr.’s fumble recovery (or even the offense subsequently punching it in with Chris Carson). That is exactly what they need – just once more or so per game.
Quick fix: Clean up penalties
The Seahawks racked up 10 penalties for 100 yards Sunday, including four for 12 or more yards.
As I said Tuesday on Jake and Stacy: “A few of these penalties ended up proving costly. Like a false start on fourth-and-1 when maybe you could’ve converted that drive going. Or a roughing the passer call that gives Tennessee better field position in overtime, even if they were later forced to punt. The taunting penalty – which, I hate that penalty – but you know you can’t do it, and it cost you 15 yards there. You need to, and should be able to, cut down on those. You cannot have them in a game that’s that close against an offense with that many weapons.”
Big fix: Convert on third down
The Seahawks successfully converted 44 percent of their third down attempts in Week 1, which is several percentage points higher than their 2020 average of 38.4% (which ranked 27th overall in the NFL). Week 2 saw a regression to 33.3 percent, however.
“Pete Carroll afterwards said they need to run the ball more and get Chris Carson involved. Cool, I’m all for it,” Heaps said Tuesday. “But my concern is that you overdo it and try to go back and try to run-run-pass, and you try to overdo it with Carson and establishing that run game rather than focusing on the fact that you’re not converting on third downs and putting more of an emphasis on that for you to sustain those drives.
“You know how you naturally get more rushes and more cracks at it? By converting and staying on the field. You know how you fix your time of possession problem? By converting and staying on the field. So that, to me, is a big fix that needs to happen, and it’ll help offset a lot of those issues that came up in this Week 2 loss.”
Quick fix: Heat up the cornerback competition
The Seahawks knew cornerback would be an open battle heading into training camp, but Jake is worried that competition is cooling down, particularly when it comes to starting right cornerback Tre Flowers. The three-year vet was notably beaten for a 51-yard reception by Julio Jones on a post route Sunday.
“It doesn’t solve the entire problem when you look at the defense, but the cornerback competition needs to start in Week 3,” Heaps said. “We’ve seen what we need to see with Tre Flowers. I don’t think he’s a mystery to people. And that’s not to put the blame on Flowers – not at all – but there needs to be a standard set in in terms of what’s acceptable, and you can’t be giving up free, easy completions in front of your face and down the field. You can’t have that.
“I believe adding to that competition, whether it’s Sidney Jones or whoever else you want to throw out there, it’s time for that to be the case. You keep Flowers involved, you keep him in the game, you don’t bench him completely. But you’ve got to let that competition play out and truly find out if he’s your best corner in that spot. Because right now, I don’t think you can confidently say that.”
More Seahawks coverage from 710Sports.com
• Wyman: How Seahawks adjusted midgame to Titans’ passing attack
• Clayton: Where Seattle stands after blowing lead to fall to 1-1
• How Tyler Lockett has started the 2021 season off red hot
• Heaps: Importance of running game to Seattle on display in loss
• Groz: Why defense is the big concern after Week 2 loss
• Pete Carroll Show: Too many fixable miscues sink Seahawks vs. Titans