Roster report: Defensive Help coming, but probably not via trade

A third of the way through the season, the Seahawks have weathered a bunch of defensive injuries and some historically bad play on that side to open 5-0.

As they take their bye this week, reinforcements are coming for the league’s last-ranked defense, which has helped the 5-0 start through big stops and turnovers. Jamal Adams, Jordyn Brooks and Rasheem Green are all expected back from injuries shortly, and former All-Pro run stopper Damon Harrison should make his debut as well.

But what about that anemic pass rush?

John Schneider does not seem to be in a trading mood during the pandemic. He declined to make a deal in August or September for the first time in his 11 years as Seattle GM – a nod to the difficulty of bringing in new players during the coronavirus crisis (they now have to test negative for six straight days before entering a team facility).

Pass rush is the one place where Schneider failed big time in the offseason, so plenty of people wonder whether he might make up for it with a big move by the Nov. 3 deadline.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell suggested a three-team deal that would bring Atlanta’s Takk McKinley to Seattle and send out little-used Jacob Hollister and B.J. Finney. And fans keep calling for Seattle to trade for Washington veteran pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan.

Barnwell’s deal makes little sense – expensive and aging Alex Mack replacing cheap and effective Ethan Pocic. But the Hawks could try to add McKinley for a late pick. And, if the Hawks are not going to use Hollister, they might as well try to trade him.

Atlanta probably wouldn’t want Hollister, but if Baltimore or some other team did and the Hawks could get McKinley, the picks might wash to make it basically a player-for-player deal. McKinley, in the final year of his rookie deal, is cheaper than Hollister ($3.3 million). Finney still might come in handy at some point, but a fifth-round pick for him would be acceptable, too — especially with Seattle missing three draft picks in 2021.

A lot of fans keep talking about trying to get Kerrigan. The draft compensation might not be bad – a Day 3 pick — since the 10-year veteran is in the final year of his contract. But Schneider is unlikely to be willing to pay the $8 million left in 2020 salary. Would Schneider be willing to offer maybe a third-round pick in 2022 if Washington ate half that money? That might be worth a try.

The Hawks don’t have much money left – something between $2 million (per NFLPA) and $4 million (OverTheCap) – so Schneider would need to make some room. But there are plenty of ways to do that.

Don’t hold your breath, though. Odds are Schneider will not make any big moves to boost the pass rush and will rely on Pete Carroll’s staff to coach up the young guys on the roster.

As the Hawks finish their bye week, let’s see where the roster stands:

Quarterback

Players: Russell Wilson, Geno Smith

Major injuries: None

Position strength: 10

Position report: Wilson is driving one of the league’s top offenses, scoring 33.8. points per game, leading the NFL with 19 touchdown passes. He has cooled off a bit over the past two games – just five TD passes and two interceptions (both his fault). He was too tentative vs. the Vikings, and Brian Schottenheimer did not help him much. But, assuming this is not a downward trend, Wilson still looks primed to keep it going all season, this time staying in the MVP race while he tries to lead the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl.

Running back

Players: Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde, Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas, Nick Bellore

Major injuries: Hyde (shoulder), Rashaad Penny (ACL-PUP)

Position strength: 8

Position report: Carson shook off a knee injury to put together an incredibly tough, productive game in Miami. He has yet to crack 100 rushing yards because the Hawks are throwing the ball more. But he leads the team with six touchdowns. … Hyde will be back after the bye, and the Hawks might run it a little more. … Penny has rebuilt the muscles in his left leg, Carroll said, but they will take their time getting him back. They could wait as long as Week 11 to get him practicing, with a three-week window to be activated after that.

Wide receiver

Players: Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, David Moore, Freddie Swain, Penny Hart

Major injuries: Phillip Dorsett (foot-IR)

Position strength: 8

Position report: Lockett got off to a stellar start (24 catches, four TDs in the first three games) and then was stifled a bit in the past two games (six catches, no scores) as Metcalf took the lead. Metcalf had some bad plays early, but he came up with a clutch performance for the ages with two fourth-down catches, including the TD, to beat Minnesota. He is leading the league at 22.5 yards per catch and third in yards (496) and touchdowns (five). … Moore has stepped up with a couple of big TD catches, and the rookie Swain has contributed a bit, too. … Dorsett is expected to make his Seahawks debut in Week 7 after the bye. Hart, whose biggest role has been running out to celebrate touchdowns, is just keeping his seat warm. … Still waiting to be activated by the NFL is suspended Josh Gordon.

Tight end

Players: Greg Olsen, Will Dissly, Jacob Hollister, Luke Willson

Major injuries: Colby Parkinson (foot-NFI)

Position strength: 8

Position report: Other than Olsen’s pick-six drop, this unit has played well when called upon. It’s the deepest position on the team and should be used more, as that Minnesota nail-biter proved. Brian Schottenheimer has three good tight ends and he needs to start using them, especially when defenses squeeze Seattle’s receivers with zone. … Dissly, the No. 2 guy by snaps (42%) finally scored his first TD against Minnesota. … If Hollister is not going to be used, he should be traded (if the Hawks can get a fifth for him). He was MIA vs. the Vikings (three offensive snaps) and has played in just 15% on offense (52.5% on special teams). That’s a waste of $3.3 million. … Parkinson is not eligible to return until Week 10 at the earliest, but he could bump Willson, who is just a special-teams guy.

Offensive line

Players: Duane Brown, Mike Iupati, Ethan Pocic, Damien Lewis, Brandon Shell, Jordan Simmons, Jamarco Jones, Cedric Ogbuehi, B.J. Finney, Kyle Fuller

Major injuries: Phil Haynes (hip-IR)

Position strength: 7

Position report: This unit has been much stronger than anticipated, thanks to the unexpectedly good play of Pocic, Lewis and Shell on the right side. … Pocic has played every offensive snap, and Brown has played through a nagging knee problem to log 98% of the snaps. … Simmons has played well in relief (just like he did two years ago); he started for Iupati vs. Minnesota. … Finney, surprisingly beaten out by Pocic for the center job, has played all of 23 special-teams snaps.

Defensive line

Players: Jarran Reed, Poona Ford, Benson Mayowa, L.J. Collier, Rasheem Green, Alton Robinson, Bryan Mone, Damontre Moore, Damon Harrison, Jonathan Bullard, Anthony Rush

Major injuries: Green (neck-IR), Darrell Taylor (leg-NFI), Branden Jackson (spine-IR)

Position strength: 6

Position report: The pass rush has been every bit as weak as expected. Losing Bruce Irvin for the season did not help. How bad is it? Adams shares the sack lead with Mayowa, at two. … Reed and Moore had their best games against Minnesota, after Reed reportedly gave a rah-rah speech the night before. Moore came up with several huge plays. … Harrison and Bullard were just added last week. Once in shape, the accomplished Harrison could help the inside guys (who had been solid vs. the run until Minnesota gashed them for 201 yards). … Bullard, who played for DL coach Clint Hurtt in Chicago, had a solid first game and seems a good interior rush option. Will he stick around when Green is activated? … Robinson has flashed in his three games so far, but the Hawks are still woefully undermanned in the pass rush. … Second-round pick Taylor will be eligible to come off NFI starting in Week 10, but there is no reason to expect him to be the savior of the pass rush.  

Linebacker

Players: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Jordyn Brooks, Cody Barton, Shaquem Griffin, Ben Burr-Kirven

Major injuries: Brooks (knee), Irvin (ACL-IR)

Position strength: 8

Position report: Wagner and Wright are both playing at peak level. Wagner is fourth in the NFL with 52 tackles, and Wright has been spectacular since moving to SAM; he made a one-handed Spider-Man pick against Minnesota and has five passes defensed, a forced fumble, a recovery and two tackles for loss (the screen scrubber). … Barton has been inconsistent filling in for Brooks. He had a nice tip for an interception in Miami and a career-high 14 tackles vs. the Vikings, but he has not played consistently well, often getting blocked out of plays. As we have said, he just was not worth trading up for in the third round in 2019. … Shaquem played his way back onto the team after exhausting his two free call-ups from the practice squad; he has been getting 15-20 snaps on defense. … Brooks could return for Week 7. If he remains out, though, it is possible that Mychal Kendricks gets the call to come back.

Secondary

Players: Adams, Quandre Diggs, Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers, Quinton Dunbar, Ugo Amadi, Ryan Neal, Lano Hill, Randall, Linden Stephens

Injuries: Adams (groin), Hill (back), D.J. Reed (chest-NFI), Marquise Blair (ACL-IR), Neiko Thorpe (hernia-IR)

Position strength: 5

Position report: This unit is easily the worst on the team, but that is mainly because it has dealt with a lot of churn – losing five guys to injury, relying on young guys at nickel and safety. Amadi and Neal have been nice revelations, but this unit has not played well overall. … Before the Minnesota game, Carroll chewed into them about giving up big pass plays: “If you’re giving up big plays, you’re not playing well. You notice the emphasis just from two weeks ago to last week how important it is for us to just get that out of our football. I’m not accustomed to that.” … Dunbar is clearly better than Flowers on the right side; the former just needs to stay healthy. … Griffin has made some good plays the past couple of games, but he still apparently has given up a league-high 27 catches on a league-topping 41 targets. Granted, he has almost no pass rush help, but he is simply too inconsistent. … Diggs has one interception but otherwise surprisingly has not made any impact plays. … Adams needs to stay healthy once he returns and steady his shaky coverage while jelling with Diggs and the gang.

2 thoughts on “Roster report: Defensive Help coming, but probably not via trade”

  1. FWIW, Paul Moyer laid the offensive struggles against MN at Russell Wilson’s feet. Moyer said that RW repeatedly passed up checkdowns to force the deep ball that MN had committed to taking away.

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  2. Yep, that is exactly what I saw. Holding the ball for downfield throws. Again, Schotty should have gotten the tight ends involved earlier. Once he did, they scored immediately. Then he never used them again …

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