Questions about Marshawn Lynch’s immediate and long-term future and Mychal Kendricks’ injury and what Seattle does now in this week’s Seahawks mailbag.
Q: @bigmarinersfan asked: How much more might Lynch play vs Eagles?
A: First, I feel your pain on the last decade. Hope the next one goes better.
Lynch definitely showed he still has some spring in his step Sunday against the 49ers, even if the overall numbers didn’t really stand out — 34 yards on 12 carries. Lynch got 23 of those yards on two carries to key the first scoring drive in the third quarter.
“He looked good, too,’’ Carroll said Monday. “He looked aggressive and tough. We didn’t get him a lot of space on a number of those carries, but when he got in, he kind of cracked it all. He really showed he can hit it.’’
So, that could maybe lead to more playing time than he got Sunday — 23 of a possible 75 snaps.
But Travis Homer also played really well, and was maybe the revelation of the night — 62 yards on 10 carries and five receptions on five targets for 30 yards in 50 snaps. Homer also knows far more of the playbook, and specifically the two-minute/third-down package.
Carroll seemed really happy with how Homer played and on Monday said he has no hesitation in using Homer in the playoffs.
I took that to mean Seattle will likely go into the Eagles game with the same basic plan — Homer starts and they find spots to fit Lynch in early and take it from there based on how the game is going.
Q: @samnassar78i: What would it take to re-sign Marshawn Lynch next season?
A: If you’re asking about money, that’s not the issue — he returned for this stint on a prorated share of the league minimum.
The issue is whether he would want to keep playing — he turns 34 in April — and if anyone would want him to play for them.
The situation this year is pretty perfect — a team he played for and can pretty easily assimilate back into needs him for just a few games late in the year (the fun stuff, basically, without Lynch having had to go though the grind of training camp and all of that.)
I think logically this is a two-three-four-five-game thing for this year and that’s that.
But I did ask both Carroll and Lynch’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, that question last week — would Lynch want to continue to play?
Each said never say never, while adding that’s also not really on anyone’s mind right now.
“I don’t know,’’ said Carroll. “Do you know what Marshawn wants? I don’t. I have been around him longer than anybody and I haven’t a clue.”
Seattle does have a somewhat uncertain running back situation going forward, with both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny dealing with serious injuries. The team may need a few weeks or a month or so to really get a sense of what is a realistic timetable for a return for each.
And that may mean Seattle needing to invest in a tailback or two as insurance.
But that probably isn’t the kind of role you’d give to a player such as Lynch and probably not what he’d want.
I’d recommend the same as did Carroll and Hendrickson — enjoy him now.
Q: @Kmobile1989 asked: How come there is such dedication to base D.
A: Seattle did indeed play base defense far more than any other team this season — almost 70% of snaps, according to Pro Football Focus, almost 30% more than the No. 2 team on the list, Arizona.
But I don’t think this is a question of scheme as much as it is personnel.
Staying in a base defense — meaning, leaving three linebackers on the field even on passing downs — has meant staying with strongside linebacker Mychal Kendricks on passing downs instead of taking him out for a nickel back, either the since-released Jamar Taylor earlier in the season or Akeem King or rookie Ugo Amadi now.
This started in part because, after a 2018 season, when the Seahawks were among the worst teams in the NFL against the run, Carroll wanted to be better in that area. And what Seattle felt is that Kendricks could cover well enough while providing a better defense against the run than the Seahawks would have if they went with a nickel.
“He’s an unusually instinctive, athletic guy for the position,’’ said Carroll of Kendricks, whom Seattle signed to a one-year deal worth up to $4.5 million last March. “That’s why we played him so much against three-wides. He runs 4.4s. He’s a real fast linebacker.’’
So I don’t think Seattle goes as much base defense this year if it didn’t have Kendricks, or if it had a nickel player if felt offered a better matchup.
It’s worth noting Seattle did stick with a base defense package even more in the two games Kendricks missed due to a hamstring and was replaced by Cody Barton — he got 82% and 81% of the snaps against the Rams and Panthers. But both were also games Seattle seemed most worried about stopping the run, especially Carolina.
With Kendricks again out — this time for the rest of the year with an ACL injury — it will be interesting to see how Seattle uses Barton this week against the Eagles. Seattle used King as the nickel against the Eagles in the 17-9 win in November for 26 snaps, or 35%, thinking he would match up well against Philly’s two-tight end sets. But with Zach Ertz’s status up in the air as the week begins, Seattle may not have to worry about that as much.
Q: @Amishruss asks: Was that the final game of Kendricks with Seattle? Injured and with his sentencing coming up again.
A: Carroll said Monday the team hopes to keep Kendricks around, volunteering the comment when asked a general question about Kendricks.
“I hope that we’ll get him back and get him back with us,’’ Carroll said. “Look forward for that.”
An ACL tear, though, is usually a nine-to-10-month recovery, so the best-case scenario might mean he’s not ready until training camp at the absolute earliest.
But having Barton in Year 2 and ready to play that spot allows for some leeway there.
As for the sentencing, Kendricks is set to be sentenced in February, so Seattle will at least know before free agency begins in March what his situation will be (assuming it doesn’t get pushed back again as it already has five times).
For what it’s worth, two others involved in that case have gotten probation.
But as Seattle did this year, a contract can be structured where much of the money is bonuses based on if he’s available to play and the salary earned only if he’s on the roster.
So I think there’s a pretty decent chance he’s back (and another for what it’s worth, but Kendricks’ agent is the same as Lynch’s, so there’s a good history there).