Questions about Michael Dickson’s seasons, Jarran Reed’s return and how the defensive line will look now, and more in our latest Seahawks mailbag. So let’s get to it.
A: My hunch is that Reed is going to be in good enough shape to basically play in a normal manner from the beginning. Maybe he won’t start this week, but I’d bet he gets used quite a bit.
Recall that Reed played an awful lot last year — 78% of snaps, more than any other defensive lineman (Frank Clark was next at 73%).
That was because the Seahawks felt comfortable with Reed in the base defense and on passing downs, which helped lead to his 10½ sacks.
I’d think by his second game Reed will be back to close to that usage. Poona Ford will continue to start at nose tackle, and Al Woods — who has played 52% of snaps essentially filling in for Reed — will keep getting regular use.
Quinton Jefferson, who has played a lot of tackle this year, might not have to play as much inside going forward.
That could impact Collier’s chances to see the field more, but he already hasn’t been seeing the field much.
Somewhat lost in all the craziness in Cleveland is that Collier, the team’s first-round pick in 2019, played just five snaps. It’s not as if there weren’t snaps available — the Browns ran 61 plays (the NFL average is 63) and had 69 snaps overall (including penalties). The Seahawks had only seven active defensive linemen with Branden Jackson out (he’d dealt with a neck injury earlier in the week but wasn’t on the injury report heading into the game).
Collier played 16 and 20 snaps in his two appearances earlier this season.
The Seahawks gave most of the snaps Sunday to just four guys: Jefferson (60), Ford (58), Jadeveon Clowney (48) and Woods (44).
Coach Pete Carroll said the Seahawks went with that line to assure they stopped Cleveland’s running game first.
“It was just the way we were rotating and the commitment to the running game we were maintaining throughout,’’ Carroll said when asked specifically about Ziggy Ansah’s 27 snaps after playing 46 and 39 the previous two weeks.
Rasheem Green also is ahead of Collier in the rotations right now — he played 33 snaps Sunday and has played 30 or more in every game.
Basically, with Reed back, Collier and Jackson are now the eighth and ninth defensive linemen (or ninth and eighth, depending on the week), with Seattle having gone with just seven active DLs two of the past three games.
So, it certainly won’t be easier for Collier to get on the field much. How much he does will undoubtedly be intriguing to watch.
A: Both Haynes — a guard and fourth-round pick this year out of Wake Forest — and Christmas (defensive tackle, sixth round, Florida State) can, and will, per Carroll, return to practice this week.
Once they officially return, they can practice for three weeks without having to be placed on the 53-man roster — meaning no other move has to be made now. After three weeks, they must either go on the 53-man roster or revert to injured reserve. Seattle technically has a five-week window when the two players can return to practice, but, as noted, Carroll said it will happen this week.
Given Reed’s return, nine defensive linemen on the 53-man roster and Bryan Mone on the practice squad, the best guess is Christmas likely goes back to IR and gets a de facto redshirt season.
Haynes, who spent a few practices in the spring working with the first-team offense at left guard, might have a better chance, particularly with Ethan Pocic now on IR and D.J. Fluker continuing to battle a hamstring issue.
But I doubt the Seahawks would want a 10th offensive lineman on their 53-man roster.
Carroll said Seattle hopes it may be able to get Pocic back for the end of the season — he could return for the final three games and playoffs, per IR rules. So that may factor, too, in whatever decision they make on Haynes.
A: It’s definitely fair to say he’s not having the year he did last season, when he made the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
Dickson’s average is down to 45.1 yards per punt this year — 22nd in the NFL — from 48.2 last year, which was second in the NFL and a team record. His net punting average is down to 39.4 yards, 30th in the NFL, from 42.5 last year, a team record and sixth in the NFL.
The net punting is obviously heavily influenced by the Saints’ 53-yard TD return (and coaches said his punt wasn’t really the issue there).
Still, Dickson hasn’t been as consistent and had a notably bad punt that led to a Browns TD in the fourth quarter, the 23-yarder from the end zone.
Carroll said after the game it was just a bad kick — no other specific explanation given.
“I think Mike’s still finding his groove,’’ Carroll expanded on Monday. “I don’t think he’s really nailing it. I think he’s got more consistent, special kicks in him. … That was too bad on that one, he’d do anything to have that kick back. But, it’s too bad.”
Coaches laud Dickson’s work ethic and have to make sure he doesn’t kick too much. So, it’s not that. But they hope he smooths out the rough edges that have led to some inconsistency this year.