Mark Sanchez: ‘So much meat on the bone’ for Seahawks in 2023

Sep 7, 2023, 11:16 AM

Seattle Seahawks...

Seahawks QB Geno Smith and teammates gather in the huddle during a Dec. 11, 2022 game. (Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks kick off their 2023 season this Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, and one of Pete Carroll’s former quarterbacks will be on the TV call for FOX.

Hawks Live is back every Thursday at 7 p.m.

That would be Mark Sanchez, a former NFL quarterback who played for Carroll at USC before going pro.

Ahead of Sunday’s NFC West showdown between the Seahawks and Rams, Sanchez joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk to discuss what he thinks of the Hawks heading into this season.

First, Sanchez discussed the offseason moves the team made.

“You can tell Seattle’s revamped and brought back some guys that that were big-time players for them in (nose tackle) Jarran Reed and (inside linebacker) Bobby Wagner,” he said. “And I think the signing of (safety) Julian Love was huge because it gives them a little freedom. It looked a little weird maybe in the offseason, but it gives them some freedom with Jamal Adams so he can come back at his own pace, and then gives them a ton of freedom if they got Quandre Diggs, Julian Love and Jamal Adams in the game at the same time, you can play some of that big nickel stuff where Jamal Adams is free to run around in the box and make some plays where he’s been really effective.”

Something of note with the Seahawks this year is just how young their roster is.

The Hawks have 14 rookies and a number of second-year players, and nearly half of their roster is made up of first- or sec0nd-year players.

Sanchez thinks the number of second-year players the Hawks have returning could be a big strength.

“I think it’s an advantage for the Seahawks because their players that are second-year players have a ton of experience,” he said. “Think about the two tackles that played last year, think about Riq Woolen, think about Coby Bryant. I mean, those guys played a ton of snaps … Yes, (they’re) second year players, but it’s interesting because everyone’s like, ‘Oh, it’s the youngest roster in the league,’ and I’m like, ‘OK, what does that mean?’ Well, most players are under 25, well, I don’t care if he’s 25 or 24 or 23, I want to know how much football he’s played.”

And while he’s not a second-year player in the normal sense, it’s Year 2 for quarterback Geno Smith as the Seahawks’ starter.

“Think about Geno Smith getting a second year with this same coordinator in (Shane) Waldron. I mean, those reps really matter,” Sanchez said. “So I don’t really care how old you are, necessarily, I just want to know how much time you’ve had on task with this same group. And you can tell that’s been the push here for Coach Carroll. So I think it’s an advantage having these second-year players that have all that experience under their belt.”

The Seahawks’ Achilles Heel last year was the run defense, which was third-worst in the NFL. Sanchez said the additions of Reed and Wagner back will help, and that improving that aspect could go a long way for a Seattle team that made the playoffs last year.

“Let’s sound up some of that run game because the secondary looks solid and if we can slow some of these teams down — and that’s the thing. To go from whatever they were ranked last year, 30th, and just get to like 15, just get to like 12 and think about how different your season would have been,” he said.

That led Sanchez to discussing Smith’s play from last year.

“And I make that same comparison … with Geno Smith, because you look at his interceptions last year … he threw 11 picks, right? So if you could just get him to make like three or four better decisions,” Sanchez said. “When you break down the picks, there were five on first down … If you can just eliminate a couple first-down interceptions and then run the ball a couple times and you eliminate those five picks and now he’s only throwing six interceptions all year, then he’s gonna be at the top of the league for taking care of the football.

“There’s so much room for these guys to grow. I think it’s whether it’s stopping the run game, or Geno Smith improving a quarterback, there’s so much meat on the bone with this team. If I’m a Seattle fan, I’m fired up. That’s all I know.”

Listen to the full conversation with Sanchez at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

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• Huard: The 2 surprises from Seattle Seahawks’ Week 1 depth chart
• GM Schneider: Seahawks’ most improved position is DBs
• NFL Network’s Wyche: Chris Jones to Seahawks ‘would make a lot of sense’
• In Seahawks return, Bobby Wagner still feels at top of his game
• Rost on Seahawks: Making the case for each team to win NFC West
• Huard: Why is Seattle Seahawks’ ‘home run’ Geno deal now a ‘grand slam?’

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