What will the Seahawks do to replace Josh Gordon’s snaps at receiver? And why is Lano Hill ahead of Marquise Blair at safety?
That and more in our latest Seahawks mailbag.
Q: @MiltomoBros asked: With Josh Gordon out, is Malik Turner the next logical third receiver behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett?
A: It kind of looked that way Sunday, didn’t it? Turner got the fourth-most snaps of any receiver in the game with 20, ahead of Jaron Brown’s 11 and David Moore’s 10.
Moore was basically the No. 3 receiver before the team acquired Gordon.
Moore had played from 41%-54% of the snaps in the three games before Gordon arrived. Since then, he hasn’t played more than 28%, and the 15% of the snaps he played against the Panthers on Sunday was his second-lowest of the season.
Brown also has seen a pretty drastic drop in his snaps since the start of the season but his falloff began before Gordon arrived.
Basically, Moore took Brown’s spot as the No. 3 receiver the week of the Atlanta game. After Gordon arrived, Brown was inactive for two games.
Brown was active the last three games because of injuries elsewhere opening up spots, but his playing time has lagged greatly.
Consider that Brown played 73% or more of the snaps the first three games of the season. He played 16% against Carolina.
While Turner played more than Brown last week, I think for more of a “true’’ No. 3 receiver, Moore will see the biggest bump in snaps.
That’s mostly a guess on my part because Moore has struggled this year to build off last season’s momentum. He has 14 receptions on 30 targets this year, a 46.7 catch percentage that is the second-lowest among qualifying receivers, according to Pro Football Reference.
But he also has big-play ability, as we saw three weeks ago with the 60-yard TD that helped break open the game against the Vikings — still Seattle’s longest play of the year.
Turner and Brown are also going to play more without Gordon around, and the Seahawks will also let production help sort things out.
Rookie John Ursua could again be active and maybe get in the game more on offense — he had two snaps Sunday. But for now it remains hard to see him as much more than a spot player.
Q: Is (Marquise) Blair hurt or does coach just not like him? We know (Lano) Hill is not the answer.
A: Blair is not hurt — he played five defensive snaps and 17 on special teams Sunday.
But he is clearly at the bottom of the safety depth chart for now, as was clear Sunday when the Seahawks turned to Hill once Quandre Diggs left with a high ankle sprain.
With Diggs possibly out a week or two, it sounds like Hill could continue to be paired at safety with Bradley McDougald.
I don’t think your assessment of Hill is shared by Pete Carroll, who has a pretty good track record of what it takes to put together a good secondary.
“He tackled well, was in position,’’ Carroll said of Blair on Sunday. “Was not out of position at any time. Was on the deep end for the most part and did fine with all his chances.”
Blair has shown a flair for the spectacular, there’s no doubt about that. And that gets fans excited.
Coaches like that, too.
What coaches also like are players who are always where they are supposed to be. I think that remains the reason for siding with Hill over Blair right now.
Q: Is Cody Barton the only option at MLB if Wagner isn’t available?
A: No. Seattle could also move K.J. Wright over from the weak side and go with Barton at WLB.
One of those two options is basically it, unless they wanted to try Mychal Kendricks there and put Barton at strongside linebacker. That doesn’t seem to make sense because Kendricks is coming off a hamstring issue that has his status still uncertain, and he hasn’t played in the inside for the Seahawks this year.
Barton is obviously ahead of Ben Burr-Kirven on the overall linebacker depth chart, and there isn’t anyone else.
Seattle has only six LBs on its roster — Wagner, Wright, Barton, BBK, Mychal Kendricks and Shaquem Griffin (who has played only the strongside spot this year and of late has spent most of his time as a rush end).
For what it’s worth, NFL teams have to declare three players to wear the “green dot’’ helmet through which they can get the calls in their helmet headset from the coaches to relay to the rest of the team.
The three defensive players for Seattle: Wagner, Wright and Barton.
Q: @lighthousegulls asked: Why can we not play a complete game?
A: Here’s one thought — because the Seahawks, despite their glittering record, might not really be a complete team.
With two games left, the Seahawks are 21st in the NFL in points allowed and 27th in yards allowed.
At this point, I don’t think those numbers mask anything. Seattle has some flaws, especially on defense, where it has struggled to get a consistent pass rush, has had to go with a few different secondary combinations throughout the year, and has battled injuries to many of its key players.
Sunday probably would have looked like a complete game had Seattle not lost two of its best defensive players to injury — Wagner and Diggs — after beginning the game with four other key defensive players out.
The score was 30-10 when Wagner went out. Maybe it ends 33-17 if he doesn’t get hurt and it looks like more of a complete game.
Ultimately, what matters is they are 11-3. Once it goes in the “W” column, how you got there isn’t that big of a deal.
Get in the playoffs, then try to get home field — which Seattle still can — and anything is possible.
Just hang on for the ride.
It doesn’t figure to be boring.