As we head into one of the last NFL weekends of the year, it feels like a good time to open up the Seahawks Twitter mailbag again.
So here we go ….
@Bryanelwin asked: Which Seahawks players have previously won offensive and/or defensive rookie of the year? I saw that we have two nominated on either side of the ball this year.
Seattle does indeed have players on each side of the ball named as one of three finalists for the league’s official Rookie of the Year awards — running back Kenneth Walker III on offense and cornerback Tariq Woolen on defense.
The winners of the voting, which is done by a panel of 50 people compiled by The Associated Press, will be named at the NFL honors show on Thursday, Feb. 9. And the league is more than happy that the naming of finalists a couple of weeks ahead of time may elicit some controversy, and hence attention, for the awards show itself, which the league is trying to turn into a big, weekday prime-time event.
Seattle has never had a winner of the AP’s Rookie of the Year award, which is the one the league considers official.
But the Seahawks have had winners of other Rookie of the Year awards. Russell Wilson won the Pepsi Rookie of the Year award in 2012 in a fan vote. Both Walker and Woolen were named as two of six finalists for that award this week. That award is sanctioned by the league but not considered the official award.
And three other Seahawks won Rookie of the Year awards that are no longer given. Running back Curt Warner (1983) and quarterback Rick Mirer (1993) each were named as AFC Rookie of the Year by United Press International, an award that went defunct following the 1996 season. Receiver Joey Galloway was also named as NFL Rookie of the Year in 1995 by the Newspaper Enterprise Association, an award that also went defunct following the 1996 season.
@par7979 asked: Why do the Seahawks waste two possessions to start the game establishing the run! 3 and out! KC 17-0 and 49ers 10-0. You can’t give good teams a head start. Those games end up with way more passes!
When teams lose, obviously everything is fair game to be picked apart as a reason why.
But I’m not sure play calling or overall offensive philosophy were Seattle’s biggest issues this year, and in particular any perception that they were a “run-first” team.
According to a metric tabulating early down pass frequency, the Seahawks had a higher early down pass rate than all but four teams in the NFL — Kansas City, Cincinnati, the Chargers and Buffalo.
As for the 49ers game, the Seahawks did want to run it early and successfully, if possible, in large part to try to slow down the 49ers’ vaunted pass rush.
But they were hardly run-first to a fault — even in the first quarter they called eight runs and eight passes (one drop back was a sack and another a scramble, so statistically it read as a 9-to-7 run-pass ratio in the first quarter).
Against Kansas City the Seahawks threw it on seven of their 11 offensive plays in the first quarter, completing four but for just 18 yards as everything was tough sledding early in that one. Recall that Tyler Lockett didn’t play against Kansas City and Will Dissly got hurt in the second half, further depleting the passing targets for Geno Smith.
I just don’t think the offensive philosophy was as big of an issue in those games as just going against some tough defenses and on the road, which showed that Seattle needs to continue to upgrade both its offensive line, especially in the interior, and add another receiving threat or two.
Sometimes, one team is simply better than the other.
@hawksfan2O6 asked: What are the tea leaves saying about bringing back Rashaad Penny?
This actually strikes me as one of Seattle’s more interesting free-agent decisions. Carroll said in his end-of-year news conference that Penny thought he might be healthy enough to play if Seattle had made a long playoff run after his ankle injury suffered Oct. 9 at New Orleans.
“He feels pretty good about it,” Carroll said. “He’ll be back for camp and all that if we get him back up. He should have a good solid recovery.”
If so, then the assumption would be health — or at least, whether he can make it back from this specific injury — won’t be a significant factor in the decision making when the free-agent signing period rolls around in March.
Penny looked fully deserving of the $5.6 million the team gave him last year on a one-season deal before he was hurt, averaging 6.1 yards per carry.
He’s also just 27 and last year made clear how much he appreciated the Seahawks sticking with him through his previous injuries.
It’s also a pretty loaded year for free-agent running backs. A recent list of the top 10 available from NBCsports.com didn’t even include Penny, leading off with Saquon Barkley of the Giants, Josh Jacobs of the Raiders and Tony Pollard of the Cowboys.
In other words, Penny might be there to be had on another one-year deal, and maybe even less costly than in 2022.
Certainly, Walker showed he can be a No. 1 back and that position is hardly Seattle’s greatest need.
But this season also proved you can never have too many running backs to navigate a 17-game regular season, and then what every team hopes is a few more postseason games. So a return of Penny might make sense.
@mah36781907 asked: Do you have any expectations for how Alton Robinson or Tyreke Smith may fit into the Hawks defense, both LBs coming off season-long injuries?
Carroll actually addressed both players during his end-of-season news conference last week. He made clear that Robinson first has to get healthy. Robinson suffered a knee injury in the final preseason game at Dallas and spent the year on IR.
“There are some issues with his return,” Carroll said. “It’s just taking him a while. I don’t have the specifics on it, but I know it has been a struggle. I don’t have a good update for you, but he’s still in process and he’s a ways from getting back to full speed.”
Carroll didn’t offer a lot of specifics of the issues with Robinson other than to say “it’s a knee injury that there were some complications in there. It just has taken him some time. He’s worked out hard at it, but he is not full speed running yet.”
Robinson, a fifth-round pick out of Syracuse in 2020, has one year left on his rookie contract. The Seahawks will hope he can get healthy and wait and see where he is when the offseason program begins in April and take it from there. Until he’s back on the field it’s hard to know how he’ll fit in to anything, though.
Smith, a fifth-round pick last year out of Ohio State, missed the season with a hip injury.
But Carroll indicated Smith will be past his injuries by next season.
“Yes, he should be able to be fully recovered, ready to go, and all that,” Carroll said. “We didn’t get anything done this year, but good hopes for the future. He’s an active football player. He can be a factor for us.”
Smith also did not play in any preseason games, making it a little hard to figure out how he’ll fit in. Officially, the team listed Robinson as a backup to Darrell Taylor at one OLB spot and Smith a backup to Uchenna Nwosu at the other OLB spot.
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