JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: At 2-4, pressure’s on for the Seahawks at pivotal point in season

Oct 22, 2021, 12:17 PM
Seahawks Geno Smith...
Geno Smith will start his second game as Seahawks starting QB on Monday night. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

No one knows what to expect from the Seahawks when they play the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.

Rost’s 3 Questions: Can Hawks’ struggling pass rush find success vs. Saints?

The defense has been up and down. Last week it wasn’t good in the first half but rallied in the second half to take the game against the Steelers to overtime. They aren’t sure if cornerback Sidney Jones, who has a concussion, will be able to play, but will be playing rookie Tre Brown after he made a strong debut last Sunday. The secondary did play more in-sync with the linebackers, and they are getting great play from D.J. Reed, who has moved from left to right cornerback, where he feels more comfortable.

Pete Carroll has to figure out the right rotation at defensive end, though. The Seahawks have a good number of players at DE but they aren’t getting the pressure and sack numbers from that position (only Darrell Taylor has more than one sack). It was a little better last week but it needs to improve.

The thing that will be different about the Saints game is how conservative New Orleans’ offense has been passing the ball. Part of the problem is at receiver. The Saints may get some help from guys coming off injured reserve, but they have been going mostly with three receivers who weren’t drafted. They also don’t have a lot at tight end. Because of that, the Saints only have 183 completions in five games.

Quarterback Jameis Winston has done a good job getting the Saints to a 3-2 start, and even though he’s not throwing a lot of passes, he has successfully gotten the ball deep. What the Saints have primarily done, however, is rely more on the run and their great offensive line.

One thing you can expect is that the Saints’ defense will concentrate on stopping the run and not worrying as much about the pass. The defense is one of the best against the run. It’s helped that they have had the lead in their five games. They can then run the ball and then do their best stopping the run.

For the Seahawks, the offense needs Alex Collins at running back. They will have Rashaad Penny back from injured reserve this week but Collins’ status is uncertain due to a groin injury. It still might be tough for them to get a lot of rushing yards.

Hawks Injuries: Carroll’s latest on Taylor, Collins, Penny

In a lot of ways, the Seahawks don’t have a good idea who will be on the Saints roster Monday night. They started the season roughly nine players down from last year’s team because of salary cap problems, trade, a suspension and releases. They don’t have their only really good receiver, Michael Thomas. But they have designated seven players who could return from IR as early as Monday. Stay tuned.

Clearly, the Seahawks need the best from quarterback Geno Smith. He has done well except for his overtime fumble last Sunday, but he definitely needs a running game to help him.

This is an important game. If the Seahawks win they can still think of getting a wild card in the playoffs. But if they lose they will be 2-5 and in big trouble. The pressure is on.

More Seahawks coverage from 710Sports.com

Bumpus: Hawks have to roll with Collins even with Penny back
Heaps: How offense can — and why it needs to — get TEs more involved
Wyman: How Seahawks DE Darrell Taylor dominated vs. Steelers
Seahawks claim former UW Huskies starting QB Jacob Eason off waivers
Matt Hasselbeck set for Seahawks Ring of Honor induction Monday

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