Rost: Seahawks strengths and weaknesses on offense, defense
Sep 1, 2023, 1:18 PM | Updated: 1:20 pm
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
The Seattle Seahawks’ offense might have been a strength last season, but the defense is looking to step out of the shadows and take a massive step forward in 2023.
Where are the strengths and weakness in each phase of the ball to start the year?
Seattle Seahawks Offense
Strength: Passing offense
Two of Seattle’s best weapons are wide receivers with Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Lockett has finished with 1,000 or more yards in each of the past four seasons, a stretch that matches Hall of Famer Steve Largent’s franchise record for consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Metcalf saw a career high in targets (141) and receptions (90) in 2022, a season in which quarterback Geno Smith set franchise records for passing yards (4,282) and completions (399). This offense wasn’t perfect; Smith threw seven interceptions in the final eight weeks of the season compared to just three through the first half, and the team as a whole scored just over 21 points per game in the final seven games compared to 26 points per game in the first seven weeks. But even with its warts, the offense finished the season as a top-10 scoring unit and was the most efficient facet of Seattle’s team last season. That looks to continue with the addition of first-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Weakness: Offensive line
They found two starting tackles last season but still face questions in 2023, primarily because of youth and inexperience.
“It’s not even a weakness, it’s just a weaker part of the offense,” Michael Bumpus said during Thursday’s Bump and Stacy. “You’ve got Evan Brown, who comes over from the Lions. He’s played multiple positions and been in multiple camps, but you’re not really sure. And that’s something we’re all too common with in Seattle: not being sure with the center position. You’ve got Damien Lewis, who’s probably the best lineman they have right now, and Phil Haynes at the other guard spot, who’s battled and earned this position. But you’re looking at them as a group saying ‘Can you protect Geno?’. Geno has to help with protections, slide the protections, get the ball out of his hands and check into different plays. But if there’s a part of the offense where I’m just waiting to see what they do, it’s the offensive line. But I like who they are.”
How do you not look at the defensive backs here? Even with questions about who’s starting at corner opposite Riq Woolen or when Jamal Adams is going to return, this is a deep group. Woolen tied for a league-high six interceptions last season. Quandre Diggs has recorded three or more interceptions in six consecutive seasons and allowed the second-lowest completion percentage of his career. Adams hasn’t been able to stay healthy, but at his best is a First-Team All-Pro. Add to the mix No. 5 overall pick Devon Witherspoon, the top-rated corner from April’s draft, and you have one of the more intriguing units on this team.
Weakness: Interior Linebacker
You’d think it would be the defensive line, but it’s the interior linebackers that have Bump’s attention here. That’s from a place of curiosity rather than a denouncement of skill.
“It’s crazy I’m calling this the soft spot, but it’s the interior linebackers,” Bumpus said. “I’m looking at this group going OK, Bobby was gone last year (but) I think Bobby’s a baller, but you’ve got Devin Bush coming in and we don’t know which Devin Bush we’re going to get. I just don’t know because I haven’t seen it; I didn’t watch Bobby as intently as I would if he were with the Seahawks (last year). That’s not to say that I think he’s washed up — no! I just don’t know (what he’ll look like)! He had a great season there last year with a career high in sacks. I’m looking at Devin with the Steelers last year, there’s a reason they wanted to let him go. But I think guys have a knack of coming (to Seattle) and getting revitalized.”
What made Bump not choose the defensive line, though?
“Because of Jarran Reed, Dre Jones, and Mario Edwards. I’ve watched J-Reed over the past few years and I’ve studied Dre Jones like crazy and believe he’s going to be exactly who we think he is, and so is Reed. But I know how important that second level is going to be (to overall improvement)… and I don’t want to disrespect these dudes, because I believe in this defense. But I think that inside linebacker spot is the spot where, when they line up Week 1, my eyes are going to be glued to that position.”
Bump and Stacy also covered special teams — we didn’t forget about you, specialists! — in Hour 4 of Thursday’s show. Where’s the question mark there? Take a listen to the breakdown.