The Seahawks have a bye this week. But the Seahawks Twitter mailbag never rests.
So let’s get to it, with questions this week about what happened in Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay, where Tre Brown may fit in the defense and more.
Q: @champion891971 asked: Will Tre Brown be utilized in the base defense or nickel? Will he compete for the opposing CB position?
A: Brown, a fourth-round draft pick last year out of Oklahoma, was activated off the Physically Unable to Perform list Tuesday, meaning when the Seahawks return next week he’ll be on the 53-man roster and practicing to compete for playing time.
That gives the Seahawks six cornerbacks on their 53-man roster — Brown, Coby Bryant, Artie Burns, Justin Coleman, Michael Jackson and Tariq Woolen.
Jackson has emerged as the starter on the left side, Woolen on the right and Bryant at the nickel.
Brown, who started three games at left corner last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury, has no real history playing the nickel, so I think he’ll be thrown into the competition on the left side with Jackson.
Jackson has been a pleasant surprise this season and won’t be easy to dislodge.
The Seahawks are not averse to rotating at cornerback, and they are always looking for depth. Assuming all goes smoothly leading up to the Raiders game on Nov 27, it will be interesting to see if the Seahawks find a way to get Brown some snaps.
Q: @paparuss54 asked: What took the coaches so long to figure out what the Bucs were doing on defense in the first half?
A: The first half was a slog for the Seahawks, as they gained 57 yards, which according to ESPN were the fewest they gained in a first half since the 2017 season finale, when they had 24 yards in a home loss to Arizona.
The Seahawks punted after all five first-half possessions Sunday, none of which lasted longer than five plays or gained more than 14 yards. So yeah, the offense was not good early.
But in reviewing it, I’m not sure there is a really an easy answer as to why.
It wasn’t as if the Seahawks didn’t try to mix things up with play-calling — they called passes on five of their eight first-down plays in the first half.
Penalties also helped kill the first two drives, which began with promise — a delay on the first drive and a personal foul on Damien Lewis on the second, which I think the team felt was dubious.
The third drive included the third-and-two when it appeared Geno Smith could have run for a first down but threw incomplete.
Smith actually was 4 of 4 passing for 41 yards in the first quarter.
But as noted, penalties and then a decision Smith would probably like to have back helped derail the first three drives.
By the time the Seahawks got the ball again Tampa Bay led 14-0. At that point they pretty much went into full-on pass mode. They had a 7-to-5 called-pass-to-run ratio on the first three drives but went 29-to-9 the rest of the way.
After gaining 15 yards on the first 12 plays the Seahawks gained 268 on their final 38, or seven yards a play.
So they did adjust pretty quickly.
But Tampa Bay’s three long drives meant the Seahawks had only nine possessions.
Worth remembering is that Tampa Bay ranks fifth in total defense, one of three teams Seattle has played that rank in the top five, the others being the 49ers (first) and Denver (second).
The Seahawks have been held to four offensive touchdowns against those three teams and 40 points overall, an average of 13.3 points, or almost half of their overall season average of 25.7.
So maybe Tampa Bay’s defense had a lot to do with it.
Q: @AgustingCastrop asked: How much of a concern is EDGE depth behind Uchenna Nwosu? Does Bruce Irvin lie solidly ahead of DT (Darrell Taylor) now and where does Boye Mafe fit in?
A: The outside-linebacker rotation has been interesting to watch unfold, as Irvin has returned to take on a starting role and likely is playing more than anyone anticipated.
In the past three games, Irvin and Nwosu have played the most snaps of the OLB/edge rushers.
But that has also coincided with a hip injury to Taylor, who sat out against Arizona and played just three snaps against the Giants.
He played 37% of snaps against the Bucs, his lowest total in a full game this year. But it’s fair to consider that the team was easing him back some from the injury.
It will be telling to see how the snaps are distributed once Taylor is healthy. But it’s also clear that for now he is a backup/rotational player.
Mafe has played from 37% to 51% of snaps the past seven games, so his usage has remained pretty consistent. The Seahawks have used Mafe more on run downs and Taylor on pass downs — Mafe has a 121-to-120 run-to-pass split on spans, and Taylor is at 180-to-127.
Those are the four listed OLBs on the roster. But they hope to get back Darryl Johnson at some point.
And a player who could factor in is rookie Josh Onujiogu, who is on the practice squad and could be elevated two more times, having played only against Arizona.
Q: @onlyusethelaces asked: Will we see more DeeJay Dallas/Travis Homer carries after the bye?
A: Well the easy answer is yes, because it will be impossible to have fewer than the zero combined carries they had against Tampa Bay, when the only two Seahawks to have a rush were Kenneth Walker III and Smith. I’d imagine it’s rare that they have had a game with just two ball carriers, if it’s even happened before.
Health wasn’t an issue, as both played. Homer eight snaps on offense, mostly as the third-down back, and 15 on special teams. Dallas had 13 snaps on special teams.
But interestingly, it was reported Wednesday that the Seahawks put in a claim for Eno Benjamin, who was waived by Arizona this week.
Houston, which was higher in the claiming order, got him instead.
That interest seems to speak to their desire to add some depth at running back, where the Seahawks surely want to avoid overusing Walker. Walker played 45 of 52 snaps Sunday.
Seattle getting so few plays and the bye week coming up probably influenced the way the snaps went.
But that’s a usage pace that isn’t sustainable. Maybe the Seahawks try to get something out of Tony Jones Jr., who has played only on special teams since being claimed off waivers in October. Or maybe they acquire a veteran back down the stretch, as the reported claim for Benjamin indicates they are willing to do.