Seahawks receiver group looks richer than anyone expected

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It wasn’t supposed to be like this. After the Seattle Seahawks lost Paul Richardson in free agency Cheap Customized Seattle Seahawks Jerseys , their receiving depth seemed to take a tremendous hit, especially if second-year pro Amara Darboh wouldn’t prove capable to step into a significant role. Despite the fact that Darboh remains even more inconspicuous today than he did as a rookie, the Seahawks have way more riches at the position than anyone expected a month ago.As of March 1, Seattle’s receiver depth looked something like this:Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Amara Darboh, David Moore, Tanner McEvoy, and Cyril Grayson.As of April 1, they added Marcus Johnson from the Philadelphia Eagles and Jaron Brown from the Arizona Cardinals. The Seahawks then opted not to draft a receiver and added no significant prospect in the UDFA category. By June, the team rounded out the depth with Brandon Marshall, Damore’ea Stringfellow, and Keenan Reynolds.The hope seemed to be that out of this group you could carve out one player who would uplift the offense next to Baldwin and Lockett. With the regular season just two weeks away, it really feels like Seattle’s coaches could have some internal arguments as to which one will start and how often at least two others should get in on the action, because there’s reason for a whole lot more optimism at the position than there was when training camp opened.A month ago, Brown seemed the best bet to take the lead because he’s 6’3, 200 lbs, with five years of experience and a host of excuses after playing much of his time with the likes of Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert when Carson Palmer was unable to go. Brown seemed to have the potential for so much more than what he did in Arizona, and so far that’s what he’s shown. He’s drawn praise in both training camp and preseason play and Russell Wilson has shown some favoritism towards him thus far.That “baller” is David Moore, the 2017 seventh round selection who has clearly taken several steps ahead of Darboh at this point. Moore has caught five passes for 142 yards in the preseason, which does not mean much (I won’t start putting stock into preseason results now), but it does seem to be an echo of what he’s shown in camp and practices. The team released Moore a year ago, but probably because they knew that with his seventh round draft status and the depth of the receiver position league-wide, there was a very good chance that he’d make it to their practice squad. He did and he stuck around for the season, now getting his opportunity to make that leap in year two that many young players find after a rookie term of obscurity.The reality is that with Baldwin, Lockett, Brown, and Moore, Wilson should have enough to be able to run Brian Schottenheimer’s offense and spread the ball around (I actually wonder if Lockett starts to fade behind some of the other guys based on a career of inconsistency, or if this pushes him to become something greater as he enters year four, like Richardson did), but the “must-keep” breakouts at receiver didn’t stop there. Because Brandon Marshall seems almost certain to start at this point.Marshall became Wilson’s dependent go-to on Friday, which is what Pete Carroll said he needed to see.After his signing was brushed off by most as a “veteran camp body” in the likes of Terrell Owens and Braylon Edwards (though Edwards did make the final roster), Marshall has seemed to be as effective now as you would have expected him to be a couple years ago with the New York Jets. He’s the biggest receiver and potentially the best run blocker in the group, so Marshall’s value is twofold in that regard, threefold if you count his 12 years of experience, and fourfold if you think he’ll work that much harder to end a career-long playoff drought.Baldwin. Lockett. Marshall. Brown. Moore.It’s hard to not feel better about those five than I’ve felt about any Seahawks receiver group going into the season since perhaps Carroll took over. Last year’s group had Baldwin, Lockett, and Richardson, but Richardson had done nearly nothing in his career up to that point (another reason for a Brown comp perhaps), and was rounded out by Darboh and Tanner McEvoy. If you consider Marshall/Richardson a bit of a wash for much different reasons than just a 1:1 comp, then Brown and Moore still feels like a significant upgrade to Darboh and McEvoy, even though Darboh was an unknown third round rookie.Moore feels like a legitimate starting NFL wideout in a way that McEvoy never did.Depth guys in the past have also included Ricardo Lockette, B.J. Daniels, Chris Matthews (2015), Lockette, Bryan Walters, Kevin Norwood (2014) www.seahawksfootballauthentics.com , and Edwards, Charly Martin, Ben Obomanu (2012).David Moore and Jaron Brown don’t seem to belong in the same category as guys like B.J. Daniels, Bryan Walters, and Charly Martin. These new additions feel like NFL receivers you can count on throwing to, not just depth players added for special teams value — which does have value, but surely does not bring the same amount of excitement.And we haven’t even discussed what Seattle has outside of the supposed top five.Darboh is not someone I’d be quick to get rid of after one season and the injuries that have held out him for so much of August feel like a Devil’s trick to get him off of the Seahawks and onto a team that’ll mine production out of him like the Kansas City Chiefs once did with defensive tackle Jaye Howard. Or he’ll fade off just like Norwood, Kris Durham, and Chris Harper.Keenan Reynolds is now in his third season out of Navy, still working on his transition from QB, and seemingly ready for a legitimate shot at the pros. It doesn’t feel like another year on a practice squad would really benefit him that much and if Seattle does cut him I almost wish him the opportunity to go to another team; you just won’t find out what he is until he gets out there in a real game and he’s already got two years on practice squads.Johnson is a player who stood out early on in training camp and seemed destined to earn a roster spot for his special teams ability alone, but as mentioned earlier, it seems a shame now to keep a receiver for special teams reasons when offensive benefits have such a bigger payoff in the long run; the Seahawks could end up parting ways with Lockett in 2019 (just as they did with Golden Tate and Richardson), while Marshall would surely be looking at retirement if he even does stick with Seattle for the whole year. Looking at it in those terms, how many offensive players do you want to risk losing — like Moore, Darboh, even Reynolds — to have an extra gunner on coverage?Besides, Michael Dickson doesn’t even need you to down punts, dude’s sticking it on the one-yard line and poppin’ it o.o.b.Finally, Stringfellow has more than zero potential offensively and Grayson could be an above-adequate returner, but the Seahawks may not have the “luxury” to keep guys like that because they have the luxury of at least five, maybe six actual receivers at the position ready to receiver. It makes you wonder if Seattle is going to be working the trade lines again during final cuts and getting some value out of the position few thought they had much value in to begin with.Pete Carroll might be holding the Seahawks back I’ll start this piece by saying the following up front:Pete Carroll is good at coaching and recruiting defensive backs. The list of players who have gone on to be perennial All-Pros or starters in the league despite draft position is long. Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner, DeShawn Shead, Shaquill Griffin and Walter Thurmond all succeeded with the Seattle Seahawks, and (some) were coveted elsewhere despite being drafted in the 3rd round or below. Carroll has, in the past, fostered an environment where players were rewarded for their hard work in practice. If you show out, you get to play.Carroll doesn’t try to change his players to be something they are not. He and his coaching staff have historically worked toaccentuate the strengths of their players and mitigate their weaknesses.Now with that out of the way, lets talk about the elephant(s) in the room. Carroll and his strategic and tactical approach to football no longer work. Carroll’s role as both coach and pseudo-GM harms the team. Carroll’s inability to adapt to the recent changes in football makes keeping him around more trouble than it’s worth.Pete Carroll’s strategic failingsRun GameCarroll’s philosophy centers around playing stout defense and running the ball. The former has pretty obvious benefits while the latter has the advantage of running the clock and, despite the protestations of the pro-run crowd, seemingly nothing else. Despite the prevalence of data literally everywhere on the internet saying that teams run too much, and the fact that the rate of success for drafting a running back in the first round is about the same as you would get from drafting one later, the Seattle Seahawks drafted Rashaad Penny with the 27th overall pick in this year’s draft. They did this despite having Chris Carson, Mike Davis and the mercurial C.J. Prosise on the roster, and a plethora of running backs available later in the draft, like Nyheim Hines, Royce Freeman, Derrius Guice, Ito Smith, Nick Chubb and Kerryon Johnson. This on top of a pressing need for pass rush help. Not investing resources there is inexcusable, especially with Frank Clark in the final year of his rookie deal.What’s worse is that the things that matter more, like the number of men in the box, offensive line performance and run scheme (based on work done by Josh Hermsmeyer) were not addressed. Unless you consider street free agents D.J. Fluker and J.R. Sweezy, and OC Brian Schottenheimer “addressing” the problem. (I’ll spot them Solari, he looks like a not bad hire.)Investment of resources on offense vs defenseInvesting on defense is fine if you have the talent for it Seattle Seahawks T-Shirt , and historically the ‘Hawks have had that, with a bunch of Pro-Bowlers and All-Pros on the defensive side of the ball. The problem is, unlike at QB where a single player’s transcendent talent can make or break your team’s performance, on defense you need a group of players performing at a high level to even stand a chance. A group of players who are at a significantly higher risk of injury than your franchise QB. (I hate Glendale, Arizona so much.)4th down strategyI don’t mean to harp on this more than I already have, but the 4th down strategy this team is employing is both baffling and self-destructive. Seattle had 10 4th downs over the course of Sunday’s game. Of those 10, one was the final play of the game, a 52-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski, so we can safely ignore that one. Of the remaining nine 4th downs, the Seahawks faced 1, 4, 1, 20, 1, 1, 17, 1 & 3 yards to gain for a 1st down. Punting or kicking on the long yardage situations is perfectly reasonable in a vacuum, so we’re going to evaluate the seven plays that were viable options.On 4th-and-1 situations, unless your offensive line is a veritable dumpster fire, you should always go for it, based on some older research done by the NY Times. There were five such situations on Sunday and they went for it twice, succeeding once. and literally shooting themselves in the foot the other time by trying to pass—and not a play action pass, either. The other two cases on 4th down, a field goal attempt on 4th-and-4 at the Cardinals’ 20-yard line. and punting on 4th-and-3 from their own 29 were justifiable decisions. That leaves three choices to punt, at Arizona’s 35- and 44-yard lines, as well as Seattle’s 44-yard line, and cost the Seahawks at least the equivalent of a field goal and possibly more. All of this is being done to minimize the risk on defense, but ends up actually hurting the offense and could cost the team 1-2 wins over the course of a season.NY TimesPete Carroll as part GM, part head coach negatively affects decision making on the teamSeattle traded a 2nd round pick for Sheldon Richardson only to let him walk in free agency (for reasons), and a 2nd and 3rd for Duane Brown all in the last 18 months. Those were bad enough, but the failure to offload Earl Thomas before the draft has seemingly hurt both parties, with Thomas being placed on injured reserve in the coming days. I’d imagine that a large part of the reasoning behind this is that Carroll knows how much his system relies on a Hall of Fame player at the free safety position. Carroll is also on thinner ice than at any other time with the Seahawks, having missed out on the playoffs last year, and with a lower chance of making it there again this year than last even with Thomas. We’ve seen for years that every Thomas absence is accompanied by a pretty horrific performance against the pass, particularly deep passes. It’s possible, even likely, that Carroll chose the short-term (potential) win over the future of the franchise. Pete Carroll doesn’t want to/can’t change his approachSome of the things we’ve seen this year, particularly on offense, have been troubling to say the least. The thing is, signs of these problems have been obvious for at least 2.5 years but have been masked by an incredibly talented and productive defense. This offseason saw Carroll clean house and double-down on his approach to football. A tiger can’t change his stripes anymore than a leopard can hide his spots, and Pete Carroll only knows how to play and win one way. This is a way of playing that has served him incredibly well in college, and in the NFL, when he had an overwhelming talent advantage on defense. You can’t play scared in the league anymore, you can’t run the ball—and your backs—into the ground and expect to win. You can’t run a vanilla offense that anyone on the couch can decipher and predict with reasonable accuracy. You can’t do what you did in 2010 and in 2018 and if I’m Paul Allen, I’m starting a search for a new coach right now and doing so quietly, just in case.

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