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5Qs, 5As: Previewing Cardinals-Seahawks with Field Gulls

We talk Seattle Seahawks with Field Gulls.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday one and all, we have made it.

That is especially true when you consider the fact that it is the first week post holidays and we know how hard that can be.

We talked with John Gilbert of Field Gulls to discuss everything Seattle Seahawks to help us get ready for Sunday.

Enjoy.

1. Geno Smith has had a good December since coming back from injury, being unaware of his contract situation, is he the guy in 2024 or if this does not end with a Seahawks playoff game could they go in a different direction?

I think this question comes down to a little bit more than just whether or not the Seahawks make the playoffs this season. Specifically, my guess is that as long as Pete Carroll is the head coach in 2024, then Geno Smith is likely the starting quarterback. It’s certainly possible that the team could make a change and move on from Carroll in the offseason, but I don’t foresee them doing that just two years into what is almost a complete overhaul of the roster following the disaster of the 2021 season. Carroll has shown no sign of slowing down, but he is 72 and likely isn’t looking to go through the process of starting a rookie quarterback as he looks to hoist one more Lombardi before riding off into the sunset.

2. Last time we talked the Seahawks were one of the best rushing defenses in the NFL.. Now, not so much. What has happened?

There are a whole lot of possible answers, including injuries and opponents having film on the reworked defense, but at the end of the day they hit the rough patch in the schedule. The Seahawks were lucky enough to open the season with some less difficult matchups against the likes of the Carolina Panthers and the New York Giants before taking on the Cardinals the first time around. Then midseason arrived and the Seahawks hit the part of the schedule that included the Ravens, Cowboys, Eagles and a pair of matchups against the 49ers, and with that the beautiful statistical performance of the early season run defense evaporated into thin air.

3. D.K. Metcalf has had a nice season, Kenneth Walker has been pretty good, but the overall offense seems down. Can you talk about that a little bit? Also, don’t worry you’ll get right this week against a terrible Cardinals defense.

Coming into the season the Hawks knew they’d likely be playing one of the youngest, least experienced offensive lines in the NFL, with only one of five projected starters entering the year with two seasons worth of starting experience in a position group that tends to take three or four years to gain competence. Then injuries hit both starting tackles, both starting guards and the starting center at different points in time, and as one can imagine that’s been a disaster. Add in facing the likes of the Niners and Ravens while dealing with a rash of injuries up front, and it’s not hard to understand why the offense has been so inconsistent.

With that in mind, Geno has worked to get the ball out quicker in recent weeks, and that has helped. However, the defense hasn’t exactly been great in recent weeks, as evidence by the fact that the team has dropped five of its last seven and six of its last nine games.

4. Who has been the biggest surprise of the season? Biggest disappointment?

The biggest surprise of the season has likely been Boye Mafe on defense and Anthony Bradford on offense. There was a lot of talk during training camp that Mafe looked primed for a second year jump, but there’s a lot of hype that comes out of training camp every year, and so skepticism remains until the player proves it on the field of play. Mafe has done that and more, and needs just a single sack against the Cardinals in order to be the first Seahawks defender to record double digit sacks since 2018. On the other side of the ball, Bradford was a Day 3 pick who was buried behind Damien Lewis and Phil Haynes on the depth chart, but due to the aforementioned injuries up front, Bradford has played over 600 snaps while starting nine games. He’s struggled in pass protection, as one would expect of a rookie, but has been an absolute bulldozer in the run game and he and Lewis could be a formidable guard duo for the Seahawks for years to come.

As for the biggest disappointment, there have been plenty of disappointments due to injury, including Jamal Adams, Abe Lucas and Dee Eskridge. However, if we’re ignoring injuries, the answer is unquestionably Riq Woolen. A Pro Bowler as a rookie, he had flaws in his game that were mostly overlooked due to a highlight reel of interceptions. However, this season the flaws have remained while he’s pulled down just a pair of interceptions.

5. DraftKings Sportsbook has the Seahawks only as 2.5-point favorites as of Wednesday, is that an overreaction to the Cardinals win over the Eagles, the Seahawks loss to the Steelers, or is the uneven play of the Seahawks making this the right line?

Between the Cardinals performance in big games against the Eagles and Cowboys, along with the Seahawks defensive struggles of late, it seems fair. Add in that there never seems to be a shortage of strange things that transpire when these two teams play, and it seems right. I think the Hawks will cover, pulling away late against an inferior team, but if they don’t come ready to play from the first whistle, I don’t have to use a lot of imagination to visualize Seattle coming up short against a division rival looking to play spoiler.