Three leftover questions from the Seahawks' game Sunday with an attempt at some answers.
Here are three questions lingering from Sunday’s game against Atlanta that got some answers from Seahawks coaches on Wednesday. …
1, Does Christine Michael need to run harder?
More than a few fans might have asked that question after a play in Sunday’s game against Atlanta when Michael ran out of bounds — that’s actually exactly how it is stated on the official play-by-play that he “ran ob” — two yards short of a first down on a first-down pass from Russell Wilson. Had Michael lowered his shoulder, he might have picked up the first down. Seattle went on to score a touchdown on the drive, so in that particular case, no damage was done.
And with Michael in his year as an ever-game starter, and at the moment having to shoulder a heavy workload for the Seahawks, coach Pete Carroll says the team needs Michael to be smart and pick his battles.
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But on that specific play, Carroll would have liked Michael to be more aggressive about picking up the first down.
“We coached him up a little bit there,” Carroll said. “Good decisions, smart decisions are always at hand for us, and to take that hit off of him if he’s ahead of the sticks when we’re in the first down area, I can understand that. But when you leave us at second and one, we need the first down. He needed to understand that and be aware of that.”
2, Does Germain Ifedi need to figure a few things out to contribute the way the team hopes?
The short answer — yes.
Ifedi, the team’s first-round pick in the 2016 draft, had one really notable good play, paving the way for Michael’s 9-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
But overall, Ifedi looked more like what he is — a rookie playing his second game — than the Seahawks might have liked. One play that stands out came on the first series, when on a third-and-two play, Atlanta’s Derrick Shelby blew by Ifedi to tackle Michael for a four-yard loss.
It was indicative of an up-and-down day — with maybe a few more than downs than ups — for a player whose return the team hoped would solidify the offensive line.
“Really inconsistent,” offensive line coach Tom Cable said Wednesday of Ifedi’s performance against the Falcons. “We talked right after the game that night and Monday in film. Very erratic, inconsistent. He didn’t really stay clean or get himself clean, meaning adjust during the game. So it was a cool lesson for him. We spent a lot of time on Monday working through it. I think we have a plan now because that’s going to happen from time to time in this league so he’ll learn from it.”
Cable said the hope is for vast improvement from Ifedi quickly.
“My expectation for him and I think he would say the same, is to get it cleaned up now,” Cable said. “It’s something that he can do and he’s already working on those things pretty heavily.”
3, Are the new rules going to limit Tyler Lockett’s kickoff returns?
They probably will.
Lockett, who did not handle kickoff returns the last two games (and most of the Rams’ game) due to injury, got his first kickoff return attempts of the season Sunday, finishing with four for 85 yards, an average of 21.3 per attempt.
On one of the attempts —the opening kickoff — Lockett caught it three yards deep and returned it 22 yards to the 19.
Under the new rules, if Lockett had taken a knee the Seahawks would have gotten the ball at the 25.
And Carroll said Wednesday that is pretty much what Lockett has been advised to do (though on Sunday, Seattle had only the once chance for a touchback).
“Putting the ball on the 25-yard line is pretty attractive,” Carroll said. “When you’re deep in the end zone, you have to get a big return. If you’re in the end zone, you’re looking for a minimal 25 yard return. I think we averaged 26 yards per return last year, so that means if you’re one yard deep, it’s the same. It’s just attractive to go ahead and put it on the 25 if there’s any issue at all. We’ve just been maybe a little more conservative with it because of that.”
On only one of the five returned kickoffs did Seattle get past the 25— that on a 24-yard return by Lockett late in the third quarter.