The regular season is off and running and we finally have some real football to digest. The Seattle Seahawks squeaked out a Week 1 win against the Cincinnati Bengals, and there's plenty to unpack following the narrow victory.
This week's mailbag focuses on what Seattle showed us and how you should feel going into Sunday's matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Thanks to all of you who asked questions.
Did the Bengals game feel like a win to you
— Chan (@karatemanchan37) September 10, 2019
I love this question because it's easy to get caught up in style points. We all do it, no matter the sport. But all that matters, in Week 1 especially, is that Seattle pulled out the win. Give me an ugly win over a pretty loss all day long. I'm sure the Houston Texans would agree.
The ability to win ugly is important. The Seahawks have shown us for years now that they're able to make just enough plays to win even when everything seems to go awry. How many times have you seen it? Seattle plays sloppy throughout and then somehow, someway, Russell Wilson has the ball in his hands in a one-score game.
The Seahawks are notoriously slow starters so the fact they are 1-0 after going 0-2 to begin last season is crucial. Tip your cap to the Bengals. Understand that Seattle's offensive line and secondary need to improve moving forward. But don't spend too much thought worrying about how last Sunday didn't "feel" like a win.
What do you think about the O-Line in that game. I think Britt went down but I might be wrong, if he did, how much of a impact do u think it will have to the number of times Wilson is pressure and/or sacked
— Tyler B (@TylerB85753444) September 9, 2019
Speaking of the o-line, that's the team's biggest concern at this point. That group is supposed to be one of the Seahawks biggest strengths. Seattle had six drives that went for negative yardage largely because of the offensive line's inability to create holes in the run game and succeed in pass protection. Wilson was sacked four times, and Seattle averaged just 2.9 yards per carry. That led to the Seahawks constantly playing behind the chains.
That's not going to work given Seattle's run-first identity. Pete Carroll expressed his disappointment in this regard during his press conference on Monday.
"We'll do quite a bit better," he told reporters assuredly.
Keep an eye on Britt's health this week because he wasn't his normal self against the Bengals. He only missed one play after getting dinged up in the first quarter but appeared to be laboring through something.
The Seahawks used nickel defense at a much lower rate than last season, was that game plan related? Do you expect them to use nickel defense more often going forward?
— Tom Page (@tompage) September 10, 2019
I expect the Seahawks to continue to go with their base defense far more frequently than other teams. The rationale is pretty straightforward: Carroll would rather keep all three starting linebackers on the field than take K.J. Wright or Mychal Kendricks out in favor of a nickel corner.
That should help Seattle maintain its stout play against the run but could open things up more for opponents in the pass game. The "rope-a-dope" mentality (bending but not breaking) could stick around until the Seahawks find a rotation that works.
I'm concerned about the play at safety. When will Blair or Hill take over? Tedric should've been cut a long time ago. I wish Seahawks re-signed ETIII.
— Michael Han (@mhanz0) September 9, 2019
Carroll said on Monday that Lano Hill deserves a chance to play. Should the Seahawks make a change at free safety and remove Tedric Thompson from the starting lineup, my guess is that Hill will get the first nod. Hill played well before getting hurt in 2018, and Carroll trusts him more than Blair within the defensive scheme.
Who knows if Seattle will in fact swap out Thompson. My gut tells me that Thompson will get another chance to rebound from his Week 1 blunder that allowed John Ross to score a preventable 55-yard touchdown.
Do you think they will consider signing Eric Berry
— Freddy (@freddy_m13) September 10, 2019
The Seahawks aren't going to bring in a veteran like Berry unless both Hill and Blair show they're incapable. It would be a last resort that I don't envision ever taking place.
are the Steelers that bad? or are the Pats that good? and can we exploit it on Sunday? :)
— Col[o]n Lund[e]rst[o]rm (@ColinLundstrom) September 9, 2019
Pittsburgh, like Seattle, didn't play very well at all in Week 1, but instead of playing the Bengals, they got pummeled by the New England Patriots. My thoughts here are similar to how I responded to the first question: It would be unwise to overreact, positively or negatively, to how the Steelers fared last Sunday. Week 2 will be Pittsburgh's home opener. They'll look to get JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Connor going early after the offense's complete power outage against the Patriots.
New Jersey selection - DK Or Carson?
— Jake B (@JakeAnonymous) September 10, 2019
I'd go with DK Metcalf. He's the trendy rookie, and receivers have a longer shelf life than running backs. You won't be alone, but that shouldn't dissuade your purchase.
Fann Mail: How should you feel about the Seahawks Week 1 win? originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest