Early starts and the status of some young players dominate our latest Seahawks mailbag.
Let’s get to it.
Q: “We always lose those 10 a.m. road games’’ used to be the agreed upon lament of Seahawks fans. Is that still true or has that myth been busted in recent history?
A: It’s been busted like Tampa Bay’s pass defense by DK Metcalf.
Seattle fans used to have reason to worry about the early starts — such as Sunday at Philadelphia, which is now a 10 a.m. kickoff. But they don’t anymore.
The Seahawks have won six consecutive 10 a.m. PT games dating to the middle of the 2016 season, and are 3-0 this year. And Seattle is 14-6 in its last 20 10 a.m. starts, a turnaround that began in 2013 when the Seahawks went 4-1 in 10 a.m. starts, a year after they had gone 1-3.
Coach Pete Carroll made a little shift after that 2012 season to start more of the team’s training camp practices at 10 a.m.
But what also helps is having a really good team — it hardly needs to be stated (though I will, to make the point) that good teams tend to win more road games than bad teams do, especially with a really good quarterback. The Seahawks are 5-0 on the road this year and 33-19-1 on the road since 2013. So, early start or late start (Seattle is also 7-2-1 in its last 10 road prime time games dating to 2012) the Seahawks have been pretty good on the road lately. Russell Wilson is probably the biggest reason why.
The Seahawks obviously aren’t going to keep winning every road game. Their five road wins this year already ties the team record for most consecutive road wins in one season or overlapping over two (79-80, 2005 and 2015).
But at this point, I think we can pretty much rule out the start time as a real significant reason for a loss.
Q: When will John Ursua be given a chance to see more playing time?
A: The rookie seventh-round pick from Hawaii has been active for only one game this season — Week 2 at Pittsburgh — playing just two snaps.
I don’t really know when he’s going to get a much of a chance again unless something changes with the receiver spot.
With Josh Gordon’s addition, Seattle’s top three receivers are pretty clear — Tyler Lockett, Metcalf and Gordon. David Moore and Malik Turner and/or Jaron Brown are the fourth and fifth.
Seattle typically has just five receivers active (Moore sat out the game Ursua was active). Brown was inactive vs. the 49ers with Turner getting the call instead, likely because he has a larger role on special teams — he played 17 special teams snaps in the game, a season high.
That leaves Ursua as basically the seventh of seven receivers, and just nowhere to put him on the game-day 46-man roster.
Obviously, injuries could change that. If Lockett really isn’t ready to go Sunday at Philadelphia then Ursua might get the call.
But for now this sort of just looks like a redshirt season for Ursua.
Q: Are we ever going to see L.J. Collier get more playing time?
A: The fact that Seattle’s 2019 first-round pick can’t really get on the field is disappointing if not outright disturbing given that he’s 24 and played a lot at a major school, leading to the idea he’d be ready to help immediately.
Instead, Collier has played in just six games making just two tackles and played just five snaps in the last game for which he was active against Tampa Bay.
He was a healthy inactive against the 49ers with the rest of the Seattle defensive line back to full health. Seattle has nine defensive linemen on its 53-man roster but typically has eight up on game day. It’s clear at this point Collier is the ninth of the nine and will be active only if someone else is injured.
Also clear: The Seahawks are not in the mode to just give a young guy snaps to develop. So at this point, he’s going to have to earn every snap he gets.
Q: After Carroll’s statement on Ugo Amadi, do you think we finally see him play some slot this week?”
A: The question refers to Carroll’s comment Monday when asked to assess Amadi’s progress.
Carroll said of the rookie from Oregon: “He’s doing really well. He has been a playmaker on special teams throughout. His opportunities will continue to come about because he has been so consistent in everything he is doing. He hasn’t done anything that isn’t good. … So, I’m anxious for him to contribute more. … Still a great competitor for us on a number of positions for us for play time. Coming off the break we have a chance to revisit some of that stuff so, if it fits with different positions, and guys, and individuals, we’re looking to take advantage of that.”
It’s worth remembering Carroll generally tends to emphasize the positive, especially in the wake of as big a win as Seattle had last Monday. But Carroll’s statement may foreshadow Amadi getting on the field as a nickel. While Amadi also plays safety, Seattle seems set there for the moment after Quandre Diggs’ performance against the 49ers. I think Diggs and Bradley McDougald are going to be the safety duo going forward.
Amadi played 20 snaps of nickel in the season opener against the Bengals but has played just one snap on defense since. Taylor has gotten almost all the nickel work since then, and has allowed 25 receptions on 40 targets for 260 yards and a TD, a passer rating of 89.6. For the season, Seattle is allowing a passer rating of 86.8.
I’m not ready to predict yet that Amadi will unseat Taylor this week, but we’ve seen the Seahawks make significant personnel changes in the secondary already this year, and at the least, Amadi appears to be giving Seattle coaches some food for thought.