Seahawks must make the most of their biggest investments in ’22

Jul 16, 2022, 11:42 AM
Seahawks Jamal Adams...
Seahawks safety Jamal Adams looks at Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers during a Nov. 14, 2021 game. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

The Seahawks are in an interesting spot.

They’re a team without a longtime franchise quarterback, but you already knew that. They’re also a team led by a head coach who wants to run the ball from a balanced offense and play a stout, aggressive form of defense that forces turnovers, limits explosive pass plays, and stifles the run.

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They’re a team that needs a punishing running back, a decent offensive line, a point guard at quarterback, shutdown corners, a speedy free safety, and a stellar pass rush.

This year’s Seahawks have promise and potential at several of those spots. There are high hopes this year for several rookies – running back Ken Walker (second round), cornerback Coby Bryant (fourth round), and tackle Charles Cross (first round) – and a returning veteran who looked like the best running back in football last December in Rashaad Penny. The club also secured interior defensive lineman Poona Ford with a two-year deal last March and brought in edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu in free agency to pair with former second-round pick Darrell Taylor.

But as Seattle prepares to enter a season of unknowns, its most proven positions are elsewhere: wide receiver and safety. That’s no problem – any team would be just fine with Seattle’s weapons there: All-Pro strong safety Jamal Adams, Pro Bowl free safety Quandre Diggs, and a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, the latter one of the league’s young stars. But might a Seattle team without Russell Wilson, the only passer in franchise history to reach 4,000 yards in a season, prefer to have a dominant offensive line and a rotation of bulldozing running backs?

In an ideal world, sure (I mean, in an ideal world they’d love to have a bunch of stars playing on rookie deals at every key position). But in the Seahawks’ 2022 season, they’ve got talent locked down at receiver (and are expected to have it locked down for longer with an eventual mega-extension with Metcalf), so this team will need to find a way to make the most of those weapons in an offense that isn’t expected to be as pass-heavy as in seasons’ past.

“I think they can (take advantage of Lockett and Metcalf without Wilson) if they use them correctly,” said Michael Bumpus, my Bump and Stacy co-host, during our show Thursday on Seattle Sports. “You look at the Seahawks’ offense and you say, ‘Why would a receiver be the highest-paid player?’ One, because Russell Wilson’s gone and you’re waiting to see what this quarterback position looks like. If your quarterback is the highest-paid player on your offense in general, you’re probably not going to win a lot of games.

“And then you look at, ‘OK, they want to be a running team, why not go out and get an All-Pro running back?’ Because they’re just not out there like that. You get your return in DK by getting some big plays. Seven hundred or 800 yards and 10 to 12 touchdowns should be what we’re expecting because we don’t know what that quarterback spot is going to look like.”

On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks have invested a pair of first-round picks via trade and two contracts into safety. There’s Diggs, who’s led this team in interceptions for two seasons, and Adams, who’s undeniably talented though hasn’t always been able tap into his All-Pro-caliber play in two seasons with Seattle. The Seahawks’ revamped defensive coaching staff has a layered challenge: improve a defense that ranked 31st against the pass last year, but also find a way to get the very best from Adams. Adams’ athleticism is best emphasized in the box, which resulted in a record-setting number of sacks from a defensive back in 2020 but was something Seattle got away from a bit last year.

“Defensively, you’ve just got to use Jamal Adams the right way,” Bumpus said. “He’s not a cover type of guy, he’s a get-down-in-the-box type of guy who can cause some havoc and blow some stuff up. That’s what you do.”

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