Fann Mail: Setting expectations for Carlos Dunlap with the Seahawks

Joe Fann
·5 min read

Fann Mail: Setting expectations for Carlos Dunlap with the Seahawks originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

It’s time for our weekly Seahawks mailbag. There are a number of fantastic questions to get to so let’s dive right in. Thanks, as always, to those who participated and sent in questions.

I think the Seahawks secondary will look as it did to open the season with Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, Quinton Dunbar and Shaquill Griffin starting. D.J. Reed’s versatility to rush the passer gives him the edge at nickel in my opinion. The trio of linebackers will remain as well: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Jordyn Brooks.

The defensive line is where things get interesting. The rotation should consist of: Carlos Dunlap, Benson Mayowa, Alton Robinson, Jarran Reed, L.J. Collier, Brian Mone, Rasheem Green, Poona Ford and Damon Harrison. Jonathan Bullard, Shaquem Griffin and Stephen Sullivan are much less likely to get reps once everyone is healthy.

I don’t see Colby Parkinson having much of an impact beyond maybe a red zone rep here and there given his 6-foot-7 frame. I also think the lack of production from any singular tight end speaks to two things: one, the overall depth the Seahawks have at the position, and two, the superstardom of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. There are only so many targets to go around, even in Seattle’s pass-happy offense, and there’s no denying Metcalf and Lockett are lightyears more potent than any other pass catcher on the roster.

It appears that Shaquem Griffin is being used as a linebacker more than a defensive lineman at this point. He’s gotten most of his reps when spying an athletic quarterback. That’s why he played so much against the Cardinals and Kyler Murray and why he didn’t play a single snap against the 49ers. It’s going to be hard for both players to find snaps once everyone is healthy.

I think it’s fair to expect Carlos Dunlap to immediately become Seattle’s best edge rusher. A fresh start and the opportunity to play for a contender should revitalize the pass rusher. Despite having just 1.0 sack through seven games, it’s within reason for him to collect around 4.5 sacks over Seattle’s final nine games. I’m curious how he rotates with Benson Mayowa. Will he start and be a three-down player? Will he be someone who replaces Mayowa on passing downs? That will be interesting to watch for this weekend when the Seahawks play the Bills.

It’s not fair to call Seattle’s best defensive performance a fluke, but it’s fair to be skeptically optimistic. Nick Mullens carved up the Seahawks in the fourth quarter, and Jimmy Garoppolo was mostly dreadful. The Seahawks also did well to get home on blitzes while varying the looks they threw at Garoppolo. Both things can be true.

The performance through the first three quarters against San Francisco, coupled with the reinforcements on the way, is worthy of optimism that the best is yet to come for the Seahawks defense.

I’ve been of the thought all year that this would be a pseudo redshirt season for Penny. Pete Carroll has hinted that Penny is close to returning to practice, but he’ll still be a few weeks away from being activated. Even when he does come off PUP, I don’t expect him to see more than a few touches a game barring an injury to Chris Carson or others. It’s worth it for the Seahawks to play it safe with Penny given he’s their projected starter in 2021 at this point.

Given Seattle’s limited cap space and draft capital, making another trade was always going to be a challenge. For me, the regret comes in regard to how the Seahawks handled the offseason. You could argue that there should have been a bigger investment at the edge rush spots. Seattle’s argument would be that Bruce Irvin tearing his ACL was crippling and Darrell Taylor was expected to be back on the field at this point.

I still think the critics are justified in their frustrations over how the Seahawks spent their free agent dollars. Giving Greg Olsen $7 million, only to be out-snapped by Will Dissly in Week 8 is an easy one to point to of where money could have potentially been better spent.

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