JAKE AND STACY

Waldron’s 2nd year with Seahawks could be huge for Metcalf, Lockett

Feb 16, 2022, 2:10 PM
Seahawks DK Metcalf...
Seahawks WR DK Metcalf celebrates a touchdown against the Detroit Lions in January. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

There’s a lot of attention being paid to the Seahawks’ defense as the offseason gets underway, and for good reason.

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Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. was let go after four seasons running that side of the ball, because while the Seahawks were solid against the run and in points allowed, the defense spent too much time on the field in 2021.

Norton has been replaced by Clint Hurtt, who was promoted from his previous role as the Seahawks’ defensive line coach and an assistant head coach, and Seattle has added former Alabama and Minnesota Vikings defensive backs coach Karl Scott and longtime Chicago Bears defensive assistant Sean Desai in key positions on the staff.

But what about the other side of the ball?

On the flip side of the Seahawks spending far too much time on defense in 2021 is the reality that the opposite was true of their offense, which struggled to sustain drives under first-year offensive coordinator Shane Waldron.

While there’s been some minor shakeup on the offensive staff – offensive line coach Mike Solari was let go and replaced by running game coordinator Andy Dickerson – Waldron has been retained, and it remains to be seen how that side of the ball will improve in the young play-caller’s second year running the show.

Luckily for Waldron, he has plenty of firepower at his disposal.

Quarterback Russell Wilson is set to return for his 11th season in Seattle, and he’ll have his top two targets back in receivers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.

Both were solid in 2021, but their numbers likely would have been even better had Wilson not suffered a right finger injury that cost him three games and limited him upon his return.

So what should we expect from Seattle’s star receivers in 2022 in their second season in Waldron’s offense? Here’s what former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps had to say during Tuesday’s Jake and Stacy on 710 ESPN Seattle.

“Tyler Lockett is ‘Steady Eddy,’ right? I mean, he is so incredibly consistent,” Heaps said. “I believe Tyler Lockett once again continues to keep building and padding his resume as one of the most consistent stars in the NFL. (If) for the fourth season in a row he went over 1,000 yards and was around eight to 10 touchdowns, then you can’t call this guy underrated anymore … He is truly one of the game’s best receivers and I expect him to continue to keep playing at that level within the system.”

Lockett had 73 catches (down from 100 in 2020) for a career-high 1,175 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021.

But what about Mectalf? Heaps called that “the biggest variance.”

Metcalf set a Seahawks record with 1,303 yards in 2020, reaching that mark with 83 catches and 10 touchdowns. Metcalf did set a career high with 12 scores in 2021, but his receptions (75) and yards (967) took a dip despite having the same amount of targets (129) as he had in 2020.

Heaps thinks Metcalf is set to have a “monster year” in 2022, though.

“The reason why I feel that way is look, Russell Wilson was either injured or not playing like himself for six games out of the season. That’s a big difference for DK Metcalf and his stat line,” he said. “He finished the season with 12 touchdowns and just under 1,000 yards. I believe he’ll be significantly improved going into Year 2 (of Waldron as offensive coordinator).”

Heaps also doesn’t expect any chemistry issues between Wilson and Metcalf to occur in 2022 like we saw at times in 2021.

“That is going to get tightened up and will be significantly better,” he said.

There’s also recent history with Metcalf that shows why he could blow up next year.

“DK Metcalf, in his second year with Brian Schottenheimer (as offensive coordinator) and with Russell Wilson, exploded and took a huge jump (in 2020),” Heaps said. “I think DK Metcalf is leaps and bounds a better receiver than what he was in Year 2 in his young career. Year 4, second year with Shane Waldron and this offense and having a better understanding of what Russell Wilson’s looking for and what Wilson is seeing out of DK Metcalf with these certain route combinations, I just truly believe that DK is in for a monster season next year.”

You can hear Heaps’ full conversation with co-host Stacy Rost in Tuesday’s Four-Down Territory, which is the second segment in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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