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New Faces, Old Opponents: Seattle Seahawks

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BRB takes a look at how the Seahawks came to be in their current incarnation.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros deserve some praise for their grit before we kick off this Seattle Seahawks article. As I began to write this post, Jose Altuve hit a dinger to start the 10th inning . Those extra innings were some of the most stressful and exhausting baseball I have ever witnessed. It took 55 years for the Astros to win a game in the World Series - and now they have. In a seven game series, you just have to steal one away game to flip the script and take control of the series - and now they have. I think the Dodgers’ mid-season acquisition Yu Darvish is markedly better than Lance McCullers, Jr., but after this game who knows what will happen? Clutch City, baby!

Alright, back to the sport where you can hit more than balls and walls. On Sunday, the Houston Texans will take on the 4-2 Seattle Seahawks; Seattle is riding a three-game winning streak. After their back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, the Seahawks have won 10 games each of the last two seasons. Although they have been competitive in the NFL Playoffs, they brought in some fresh blood in order to return back to the Super Bowl. Those new faces mostly came in the form of defensive depth. Injuries, trades, draft picks, and free agency have all assisted in accumulating new talent on this team.

For the Seahawks, their draft prospects immediately took a hit when second round pick Malik McDowell (remember him?) got in an ATV accident before the season started. He may be able to return this season. McDowell was a monster at Michigan State and fell in the 2017 NFL Draft due to a poor combine performance. Starting left guard Luke Joeckel was signed to a one-year contract this offseason but injured his knee and will likely miss Sunday’s game. The Texans would have been very familiar with Joeckel, as he used to suit up for the Jaguars. While neither of these players will be a factor against the Texans this week, there are many new faces on the Seahawks’ roster that will contribute on Sunday.

Through Free Agency:

Dwight Freeney:

We all have fears, and some are worse than others. Dwight Freeney lining up against the Texans is one of those fears that give you night terrors. The idea of Freeney lining up against Breno Giacomini or an out-of-shape Duane Brown and sacking Deshaun Watson terrifies me to my core. Even if Freeney is “over the hill,” his success at Indianapolis will forever be stuck in my brain. The Seahawks signed Freeney this past week to neutralize the loss of Cliff Avril. He will provide depth and immediately be inserted into the DE rotation.

Oday Aboushi:

Aboushi was a Houston Texan last year and started in three games for us at guard. I never found him too impressive, particularly in run blocking, where I would watch as defensive linemen quickly turned his shoulders and beat him in zone blocking. He played 100% of the snaps against the Giants last week, so it looks like Aboushi will get a chance to show the Texans what they lost.

Eddie Lacy:

Lacy has dealt with frequent criticism about his weight and has seemingly fallen off in the last two years. He rushed for over 1,100 yards In his first two seasons in the NFL out of Alabama. His 2015 campaign was mitigated by the emergence of James Starks, while his 2016 was mired with injuries. The Green Bay Packers let him go this offseason and the Seahawks signed Lacy to a one-year, $4.25 million contract. He has been splitting carries with rookie RB Chris Carson (now lost for the year) and RB Thomas Rawls for carries. Lacy has 108 yards on 36 carries and no TDs through six games. His impact should come in the red zone, but his overall production is not what it used to be.

Bradley McDougald:

McDougald was signed from Tampa Bay to a one-year contract as well. He comes in as the third safety in nickel and dime sets. He had a season-high 17 snaps last game against the Giants. His calling card has been coverage against tight ends and slot receivers. He can also play as a replacement for Earl Thomas, but he’s currently utilized when the Seahawks change up their defensive packages.

Michael Wilhoite:

There may not be many cooler stories than Wilhoite’s journey to the NFL. He waited tables at Red Lobster while playing football at D-II Washburn University. His career has been defined by his work ethic, which is something Pete Carroll loves in his players. His best work was with the 49ers, playing with Patrick Willis. He is now the starting strong side linebacker but will come out during nickel and dime formations. His rush-stopping presence is his best attribute; when he is in the game, the Seahawks lean on him to stop the run.

Blair Walsh:

One of the league’s best kickers landed on the Seahawks this offseason after not being re-signed by the Vikings. He is 10-11 this season and has helped the Seahawks win close games early in the season.

Through Trade:

Sheldon Richardson:

Early in September, the Seahawks made a bold move to add depth and versatility to their defensive line with a trade for Sheldon Richardson. They gave the Jets Jermaine Kearse and second- and seventh-round draft picks in exchange for Richardson and a seventh-round draft pick. He is the perfect compliment to Michael Bennett, as they may be the best DE-DT combination in the league. Sheldon Richardson so far this season has 14 tackles with no sacks, but his disruption on rushing plays is what made the Seahawks pull the trigger on bringing him onto the team.

Through the Draft:

Ethan Pocic:

The second-round draft pick from LSU has stepped into the starting role in place of the injured Luke Joeckel. Pocic was a center in college but his versatility has allowed him to take over in Seattle. He split time in his first start and it’s unknown if he will be kept on a rotation or given a full slate of snaps.

Shaquill Griffin:

Central Florida loves a CBs who are tough as nails, and Griffin is no exception. He fits right in with the Legion of Boom in Seattle, and he played every snap against the Giants last week as the nickel corner. Griffin has been by far the most productive rookie on the Seahawks’ roster. Drafted in the third round, Griffin has been a valuable asset to the team’s secondary depth. Look for him to be covering the slot receiver and making big tackles in the box on running plays.

Nazair Jones:

In relief of Sheldon Richardson is Nazair Jones from UNC. The 6’5”, 304 lb. defensive tackle is a mammoth of an athlete and proves difficult to move off the line. He recorded a half-sack against the Colts in Week Four of the season. His role will most likely increase if Sheldon Richardson leaves Seattle after this year. Jones adds strength to the D-line and has been effective in his short playing time.

Chris Carson:

It is not often the 249th pick in the draft assumes a starting role by the second game of the season. But Chris Carson became the lead running back in the Seahawks’ running back committee. What he did best was catch passes out of the backfield. Prior to his injury, Carson had zero rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns. He was just placed on IR though with both a injured ankle and a fracture below the knee. This means that Eddie Lacy will again have an opportunity to claim the starting role.

Pete Carroll loves young talent. His teams are always very difficult to beat, especially when playing with the “12th Man” at their back. Seattle offers a difficult matchup for the Texans coming off the bye. Look out for these new faces to make an impact against the Texans on Sunday.