We finally get to the Seahawks in action Sunday for the first time since last Jan. 12 when they bowed out of the divisional playoffs with a 28-23 loss at Green Bay.
As they start the 2020 season against the Falcons in Atlanta, here are three things to watch:
Will the Seahawks really start Letting Russ Cook?
The view here is that this off-season Twitter-fueled debate is a little bit overblown – Wilson’s 227 touchdown passes are already the most for a QB in the first nine seasons of his career, the season Wilson is now entering, behind only Peyton Manning (275), Dan Marino (266), Matt Ryan (240) and Brett Favre (235).
Sure, that can be evidence Wilson should throw more. But it also indicates he has thrown a few passes along the way, and maybe the way the team uses him maximizes his effectiveness. And it’s a little hard to believe Pete Carroll is going to suddenly drastically veer from his overall philosophy.
But maybe the Seahawks really start, uh, throwing caution to the wind. Atlanta was not very good against the pass last year (26th in net yards per attempt) so if the Seahawks really do intend to start throwing it around more, there’s no need to wait. Certainly, how Seattle approaches things offensively will be a big talking point afterward.
How will the running back situation sort itself out?
Chris Carson is healthy, free agent signee Carlos Hyde impressed in camp, DeeJay Dallas has drawn as much praise as any of the team’s rookies, and Travis Homer also appears ready to take a step forward in year two.
So, will the Seahawks really be able to get all four involved in the game, as Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer suggested this week was his goal?
That might be tricky, though both Homer and Dallas are good receivers and could get used in the third-down/two-minute role.
That Carson has recovered fully from a hip fracture that ended last season means he returns to be the lead back. But expect the Seahawks to find ways to mix in Hyde as well.
The Seahawks averaged 30 carries a game last year with Wilson getting almost five of those. Carson will start, but it will be fascinating to see how the Seahawks divvy up the remaining 25 or so of those carries (and hovering over it all a little is that Carson is entering the final year of his contract).
Carroll on Friday alluded to going with something of a “hot hand” approach.
“They’re going to both play,” said Carroll of Carson and Hyde. “And we’ll see what happens when they get out there. If it looks like somebody’s got something going on that day we’ll stick with it.”
About that pass rush…
The biggest mystery for the Seahawks is the pass rush and whether they did enough in the offseason to improve it after getting just 28 sacks last season. Seattle players and coaches have spoken confidently about it all training camp, with Bruce Irvin predicting this week that the Seahawks will prove skeptics wrong.
Still, that it became official this week that Jadeveon Clowney won’t return only puts that much more of a spotlight on Seattle’s pass rush. Atlanta is an opportune opponent to begin with as the Falcons allowed 50 sacks last year (though Seattle got just two of those), more than all but four other times, and the right side of the line (including right tackle Kaleb McGary of UW) is regarded as particularly vulnerable.