With Seahawks making changes, 3 key players missing OTAs a concern

May 30, 2022, 11:04 AM

Seahawks DK Metcalf...

Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf leaves the field following a game against the Saints on Oct. 25, 2021. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

The Seahawks are now in OTA mode, taking part in their annual organized team activities like the rest of the NFL. There are three notable absences from Seattle’s on-field work, though.

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Wide receiver DK Metcalf, strong safety Jamal Adams and free safety Quandre Diggs, all Pro Bowlers and three of Seattle’s best players, are coming off surgeries and not participating in practices at this time. While all three have been with the Seahawks for multiple years, head coach Pete Carroll’s team is making notable changes on each side of the ball for the 2022 season, and their absences create some concern for Seattle Sports’ Jake Heaps.

On Friday’s edition of Jake and Stacy, the former NFL quarterback and current Seahawks analyst broke down why. Here’s a look at what he had to say.

Missing Metcalf on offense

First up, Heaps concentrated on the side of the ball that will have a new leader taking snaps. With Russell Wilson having moved on to the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks have a competition for the starting quarterback job going on between multi-year Seahawks backup QB Geno Smith, former Broncos starter Drew Lock, and 2020 fourth-round NFL Draft pick Jacob Eason.

Metcalf, who had offseason surgery to repair a foot injury he played through in 2021, is missing valuable time with whoever will be his new QB, Heaps said.

“It would be amazing in an ideal world (that) you get as much time with Geno Smith, Drew Lock and Jacob Eason as humanly possible,” Heaps said, “to be able to develop that chemistry, to be able to work through things, to be able to have a good understanding of how DK is going to run a route and how the quarterback sees it. You need that opportunity. It’s not as easy as everyone may think it is or how quick you can develop – it takes time. It takes extra time, and if you don’t have that extra time, you’re not going to see the very best results possible.”

Safeties losing time in Seahawks’ new scheme

Seattle is moving to a 3-4 defensive front under new defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt, but that doesn’t mean it’s just the defensive linemen and linebackers that have things to learn this offseason.

“They are also changing the style in which they play from a coverage perspective,” Heaps said, “and not being able to have two of your better defensive players and two of your strong leaders back there in the secondary practicing with the rest of the group, that is troublesome to me.”

Heaps was referring to Adams, who had his 2021 season cut short by a shoulder injury that required surgery, and Diggs, who also needed surgery after suffering a broken fibula and dislocated ankle in Seattle’s season finale in January.

“They’ll be able to get together in training camp, and hopefully it’ll come together quickly, but this is a new scheme, this is a new mindset,” Heaps said. “This is this is something that you want Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams to be comfortable with and comfortable communicating with everybody else.”

The fact that Seattle is by and large inexperienced at cornerback makes missing Adams and Diggs hurt even more.

“It’s not just about themselves getting ready. It’s about how everybody plays off of those guys, as well, especially when you’re looking at a corner position that doesn’t have a ton of experience.”

The final word

Heaps made sure to point out that there is no getting around the absences of Metcalf, Adams and Diggs right now.

“Look, they’re injured. There’s nothing they can do about this,” he said. “This is not me griping about them not practicing or they’re choosing not to practice – it’s nothing to do with that.”

He used a story from last season to spotlight the importance of having as much time on the field as possible before the Seahawks start playing games that count.

“We saw this last year play out where (then-Seahawks cornerback) Tre Flowers after the Minnesota Vikings game speaks to the media and says, ‘I have questions myself.’ I’ve never heard of anything like that in my entire life for a professional team, and a lot of that was because there were so many communication breakdowns and issues, no one was on the same page. That cannot happen again.”

It won’t be easy for Seattle to be comfortable with its changes, particularly on defense, when the Seahawks have to open the season against their former QB.

“I’m not worried it’s gonna be that bad,” Heaps said in reference to the story about Flowers, “but obviously you want them to be able to start from game one, day one, against Russell Wilson and a very good Broncos offense, and be able to say, ‘You know what, we’re locked in, we’re dialed in. We know what we’re doing and we trust each other.’ But the more time that they are not able to practice, the more in jeopardy that strong start becomes.”

You can hear Heaps’ full thoughts in the Four-Down Territory segment of Jake and Stacy in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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With Seahawks making changes, 3 key players missing OTAs a concern