Wyman & Bob: The biggest surprises for the Seahawks this season
Entering a Week 8 meeting with the New York Giants, the Seahawks are 4-3 and in first place in the NFC West after two straight wins leading into this Sunday.
Seattle was seen as a team that was expected to struggle this season after trading quarterback Russell Wilson and moving towards a younger roster, but the opposite is true as the Seahawks appear to be a legit playoff contender.
With the Seahawks being one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this season, what have been the biggest surprises with the team as a whole? That was a question Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Wyman and Bob tackled on Monday.
For Bob Stelton, his gut reaction was quarterback Geno Smith, who leads the NFL in completion percentage and is seventh in passing yards and sixth in passing touchdowns.
“I’m sort of torn because Geno feels like the obvious answer because he’s playing decidedly better than anybody, or at least I thought. I thought he was a backup. He’s a guy who can win some games, but ultimately isn’t the guy that gets you over the hump. Well, that still remains to be seen. But numbers-wise and some of the throws he’s made, beyond surprising,” Stelton said.
But if Stelton had to make just one selection, he’s pointing to the Seahawks’ talented rookie class, which has anywhere from four to six players starting every week.
“The amount of rookies that are starting and how well they’re playing … It’s hard for me to get past your left tackle, your right tackle, your cornerbacks, your running back (starting) and them doing what they’re doing at those spots,” he said.
Former NFL linebacker Dave Wyman stayed with the rookie class, but singled out one player.
“If I have to pick just one thing that really stands out to me, it’s Tariq Woolen just as an individual,” he said.
Woolen is tied for the NFL lead with four interceptions despite being a fifth-round draft pick this year. Additionally, as Wyman pointed out, Woolen was a receiver in college until 2019. Now, he’s emerged as a true shutdown cornerback just seven games into his NFL career.
“He’s a phenomenal football player. And I think you can say that already,” Wyman said. “… I think we’ve seen where he’s probably going to have a hard time is a little bit with his hands and trusting himself and not grabbing receivers and stuff like that. But for him to have four interceptions at this point, he’s just a really good cover guy. I think he is my single biggest surprise.”
Another surprise this year? The offensive line, which features rookies at left and right tackle in Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas, respectively. The Seahawks also have a new center in Austin Blythe.
Even with that new-look line, the Seahawks have done a good job protecting Smith and opening running lanes. Seattle is 12th in total offense, 10th in rushing offense and fifth in points per game.
“You’ve got a new center and two new tackles, and the two new tackles are rookies. So I mean, that’s another one … You can’t undersell or overstate how huge (it is) that the line has been very good,” Stelton said. “They’re not perfect – no O-line is – but they have been really, really good this year so far.”
While a lot of attention has been placed on Blythe and the rookie tackles, Wyman thinks the play of the guards has been good, too.
“Damien Lewis has really had a good year. His rookie year was really good, especially for a rookie, but then last year, it wasn’t great. His play, I thought, dropped off,” Wyman said. “And I thought Gabe Jackson was was just OK last year. But they’ve been really good … Geno has not been sacked a lot. The offensive line could be in that (surprise) category as well, especially with the two rookies.”
Listen to the full discussion at this link or in the player below.