Behind Enemy Lines: Seahawks Edition

Seahawks publisher Rob Rang dishes on Russell Wilson, the Legion of Boom, and Marshawn Lynch, among other topics.

Is Russell Wilson's rushing output an indicator that his wide receivers are struggling, or is his quickness just a frequent-by-design dimension of the Seahawks offense?

The Seahawks lack a traditional No. 1 receiver but Wilson's career-high 679 rushing yards are also very much by design. Wilson uses the read-option and scramble drill as well as any quarterback in the NFL. He's decisive, elusive and has great spatial awareness to sense when defenders are around him. As such, when he senses the opportunity to gain easy yards as a runner, he takes them, often sliding or running out of bounds to avoid taking big hits. What makes Wilson different than many of the other highly athletic quarterbacks that have dotted the NFL landscape, however, is that he can also be very accurate in the pocket.

Back to the Seattle's receivers for a moment. While the club lacks a headliner with obvious mismatch size or speed, veterans Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse are savvy route-runners with reliable hands. Pound for pound, Baldwin might just be the toughest and most competitive player on the team. Kearse isn't a true blazer but he has proven a more reliable deep threat to this point than rookie speedster Paul Richardson.

What sort of effect are all the Marshawn Lynch rumors (not on the team for 2015, now possibly retiring) having on the team?

It appears that the rumors have bonded the team, if anything. Leaders Richard Sherman and Baldwin collaborated on a skit that mocked the NFL in part because of the league's financial penalties for Lynch's unwillingness to participate in interviews. Only the Seahawks themselves, of course, know how each player and coach really feel about each other but for a team that has been rumored to have a fractured locker room, they certainly are playing well and with enthusiasm.

Can the Seahawks thrive long-term with an offense where the most prolific receiver is Doug Baldwin, who barely has 500 yards and two scores?

Last year the Seahawks were led in receiving yards (898) and touchdowns (five) by Golden Tate. Baldwin's projected totals of 692 receiving yards and three scores would obviously fall short of this but as long as Seattle continues to lead the NFL in rushing yards per game (168.6) and play the same caliber of defense it has since starters Bobby Wagner and Kam Chancellor returned from injury, the Seahawks can continue to thrive.

That said, more consistent big plays from the passing game would certainly be welcomed.

The defense seemed to struggle with Bobby Wagner injured. How important is his run-stopping prowess to the long-term production of the unit?

Wagner plays a critical role in Seattle's defense at middle linebacker because he's instinctive, accelerates quickly to the ball and is a reliable open-field tackler. When he was out, outside linebacker K.J. Wright slid inside and while he is also a terrific athlete, he isn't as good at disengaging from blocks in tight quarters. Former Minnesota Viking Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kevin Williams has also stepped up nicely in the middle following Brandon Mebane's season-ending injury.

Byron Maxwell is a free agent after the season. As he replaced Brandon Browner in the Legion of Boom, do you feel he's expendable, or has he blossomed into a solidified member of the group?

Maxwell has developed into a solid starting cornerback. His length, physicality make him perfectly suited to Seattle's scheme and he might struggle if signed away and put in a defense that doesn't cater to his strengths. He's been a bit inconsistent this season on 50-50 balls, showing good awareness, athleticism and ball-skills but occasionally mistiming his leap or losing sight of the ball. Maxwell isn't as big or strong as Browner but he's more fluid in coverage and is also pretty stout in run support.

Check out Rob's work on the Seahawks here on Scout

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