2 areas the Seahawks can take the biggest step forward in 2023

May 26, 2023, 9:57 AM | Updated: 9:57 am

Seattle Seahawks Tyler Lockett...

Tyler Lockett of the Seattle Seahawks reacts after catching the ball for a first down on Jan. 9, 2022. (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Progress doesn’t have to be a giant leap forward. In fact, sometimes realistic progress doesn’t even sound exciting. But it’s important. And it’s why this week on Bump and Stacy when we discussed where the Seattle Seahawks can realistically take the biggest step, we talked about some more specific categories.

Rost: 3 Seattle Seahawks veterans with young players hot on their tail

A step forward opportunity: Third down conversion rate

Much like their struggles with the screen game, the Seahawks’ issues on third down aren’t new.

Seattle was 20th last year (38.32%), 23rd in 2021 (37.31%), and 27th in 2020 (38.42%). The last time they were above 40% was in 2019 (when they ranked 15th) and they haven’t been higher than 15th since 2015, when they were 3rd (45.8%).

So no, heading into the offseason with a plan to fix their third-down rate isn’t new. But a few weapons are.

Seattle could use a sure answer – and potentially more depth – on the interior of the offensive line, but they found two promising rookie tackles who became full-time starters last season and added a pair of interior linemen in the draft. Even without tested depth, the group looks like one of Seattle’s more promising units in recent years.

There are other weapons being added to diversify the offense. Second-round pick Zach Charbonnet saw a career high not just in rushing yards and touchdowns for UCLA last season, but also in receptions (37) and receiving yards (321). First-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba was dominant at Ohio State during his last full season and gives Geno Smith a premier target in the slot. All three tight ends are returning after last year finishing with over 300 receiving yards apiece (the first time under Pete Carroll that three separate tight ends finished with as many yards).

There’s no one answer. Simply put, the Seahawks need to be a more complete offense to execute on third down. But they took a step toward that this offseason. An improvement to 42% would make them a top-10 team here, while 40% would at least put them at league average.

A step forward opportunity: Turnover differential and takeaways

The obvious answer for overall importance is their performance against the run, but the Seahawks still have some question marks on the defensive line. Meanwhile, they have a crowded and talented secondary group and the return of Bobby Wagner to hold down the middle of the defense. So perhaps it’s fair to expect a bigger leap with an area in which those players can have a hand (pun intended).

The Seahawks were plus-2 in turnover differential last season and were tied for 12th in interceptions. The league’s top teams – Philadelphia, Dallas, and San Francisco – were at least plus-8.

“Let’s just start there,” Michael Bumpus said. Bumpus chose turnover differential as his greatest leap forward.

“Take the football away. Now, you have to account for Geno Smith’s turnovers because that’s how it’s balanced out. But let’s take the football away. I’m not gonna ask Tariq Woolen to come out and get six interceptions again. If he did that would be great, but that’s tough to do, especially when the scouting report is out on you. So, let’s have more contributions from the rest of the secondary.

“How? You get pressure in that box. You get Cam Young, Uchenna Nwosu, Jarran Reed, Bobby Wagner, Devon Bush – everyone is active when it comes to pressuring that quarterback. I look at differential and interception and say ‘let’s get better there to start.’”

Salk: Seattle Seahawks observations from Week 1 of OTAs

Bump & Stacy Show

Stacy Rost

Seattle Mariners trade target Vladimir Guerrero Jr....

Stacy Rost

What will make an uncomfortable Seattle Mariners trade worth it?

The Seattle Mariners are expected to be a major player at the MLB trade deadline. Stacy Rost dives into the possibilities and two trade truths.

18 days ago

Seattle Mariners J.P. Crawford...

Stacy Rost

How could first-place Mariners address their need for offense?

Stacy Rost of Seattle Sports' Bump and Stacy details the silver linings for the first-place Mariners, but also their need to get more offense.

25 days ago

Seattle Mariners Luke Raley...

Stacy Rost

Rost on Mariners: What we’ve learned a quarter through the season

Just over a quarter of the way into 2024, the Seattle Mariners are 24-20. What have we learned? Stacy Rost breaks down a few things.

1 month ago

Seattle Mariners Bryce Miller Braves 2024...

Stacy Rost

Rost: Mariners can’t waste World Series-caliber pitching

The Seattle Mariners have the best pitching staff in baseball. The pressure is on their struggling offense not to waste it.

2 months ago

Seattle Seahawks Jaxon Smith-Njigba...

Stacy Rost

Rost: 3 things about the Seahawks that stand out after their draft

Stacy Rost breaks down a few things of interest we learned from two insiders and a college coach about the Seattle Seahawks after the 2024 NFL Draft.

2 months ago

Seattle Seahawks Riq Woolen Devon Witherspoon...

Stacy Rost

Rost: Seahawks’ future still relies heavily on previous draft classes

You know what makes a draft class especially impressive? When its high grade sticks around, which is what the Seattle Seahawks need from previous classes.

2 months ago

2 areas the Seahawks can take the biggest step forward in 2023