Beat reporter Bob Condotta answers some questions about the Seahawks in the wake of Sunday's loss at Green Bay, including whether Seattle's 0-2 start could mean the end of Kam Chancellor's holdout.
In the wake of the Seattle Seahawks’ 27-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, here is our attempt at some answers to some key questions:
Q: Will the defeat spur the Seahawks to want to get something done to get Kam Chancellor to end his holdout?
A: While it’s a natural thought, and no one should be surprised by anything that might happen in this saga, there’s zero evidence to think the Seahawks will suddenly change their stance on Chancellor. Coach Pete Carroll said last week that there are not negotiations, just conversations, publicly stating what has been indicated throughout — that the team does not appear willing to do anything for Chancellor. Y0u wouldn’t think two losses — as precarious a spot as they may have put the team — would make the Seahawks crack. As for Chancellor, you’d think the losses might only embolden him to keep sitting out and see if another loss or two might put that much more pressure on the team. As is likely to be the case every week now, you’d think that if anything is to change we’ll know by Wednesday, which is when the team begins the serious work of implementing the gameplan for that week’s game.
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Q: What in a nutshell have been the major issues with the offense so far?
A: Two games, each on the road, is obviously a really small sample size. So consider that acknowledged as we go forward. Still, when looking at the numbers for the offense so far, two stand out — Marshawn Lynch averaging just 3.5 yards per carry and the Seahawks averaging just 9.0 yards per reception. The Seahawks’ success the last few years has been based on a punishing rushing attack, and one thought heading into the Green Bay game was that the Packers might be vulnerable to a steady dose of Lynch after giving up 185 rushing yards to the Bears in week one. But Lynch got just 41 yards on 15 carries. That came a week after he had 73 on 18 against the Rams. That number seemed fine until the Rams gave up 182 rushing yards and 4.9 yards per carry to Washington on Sunday.
Lynch has 114 yards on the season on 33 carries, with a long of 24 (meaning 90 on his other 32 carries). The Seahawks need to get more than that moving forward. Part of what Lynch’s running the last few years has done is set up Seattle’s play-action passing game, which often yields some of the biggest gains for the Seahawks’ offense.
But the Seahawks have mostly been forced to settle for shorter gains in the passing game so far, averaging just 9.0 yards per reception — Seattle opponents, meanwhile, are averaging 12.7 yards per reception and the Seahawks last year averaged 12.2.
A Chicago defense that allowed 48 points and four touchdown passes to Arizona and Carson Palmer at home on Sunday could be just what the Seahawks need to get their offense to looking a little more like its old self.
Q: Any defensive numbers sort of concerning so far?
A: Seattle’s secondary has had a different look in the first two games for lots of obvious reasons and the upshot is a unit that has also played a little different than past years. Consider that the Seahawks have yet to get an interception (the Seahawks had 28 in 2013) and also have just three pass defenses in 60 attempts by the opponents (Seattle’s foes have seven in 71 attempts). Part of that, no doubt, is playing against Aaron Rodgers, one of the best QBs in the NFL, and going against a hot Nick Foles in week one. But consider that last year, when the Seahawks had 13 interceptions, they had 66 pass defenses, or just over four a game.
The lack of interceptions is a big reason the Seahawks have allowed a combined passer rating through two games of 116.4, 26th in the NFL.
And it’s also a key reason the Seahawks are tied for 29th in scoring defense through two games, allowing 30.5 points per game.
Again, those are numbers that could improve greatly as the Seahawks get back home the next few weeks, and especially if they get to face the Bears with backp QB Jimmy Clausen.
Q: Everybody says it’s way too early to panic. But is it really?
A: Yes. Wait a few weeks, until the home games against equally struggling Chicago and Detroit and the trip to Cincinnati before really worrying. If Seattle gets a couple of wins at home to steady the ship, then the game against the Bengals looms as a really big one to truly get back into things.
The biggest reason to worry at the moment could be the Arizona Cardinals, who are 2-0 and have outscored their foes 79-42,including a 48=23 win at Chicago Sunday.
Arizona’s schedule includes a lot of games that suddenly look really winnable for the Cardinals, including home games the next two weeks against the 49ers and Rams and then at Detroit before a game at Pittsburgh on Oct. 18.
Seattle last year was three games behind Arizona in mid-November last year after falling to 6-4 before rallying and overtaking the Cardinals for the division title. It might be harder to pull off something similar this season, though, meaning that while it’s not time to panic, it’s also not time to dawdle.