Danny O’Neil hosted a live Seahawks chat Tuesday as “Hawk Talk” continues into the offseason. Here’s the transcript. Highlights are below.
HaitianHawk asked about the battle for roster spots among cornerbacks Tharold Simon, Tye Smith, Mohammed Seisay, George Farmer and Stanley Jean-Baptiste.
O’Neil: So I think that the first two combatants in roster battle are Jeremy Lane and Simon with Jean-Baptiste, Farmer and Seisay battling for a roster spot. Seattle’s best lineup would have Simon played a prominent role, whether that’s starting or coming in to play the outside in the nickel package with Lane sliding inside. Trouble is that at this point it’s impossible to expect or rely upon Simon staying healthy.
509seahawks asked about the Seahawks bringing back defensive end Chris Clemons.
O’Neil: I think it’s a no-risk acquisition of a guy who has proven to be an effective pass rusher in this system. I think the fact that he is seen as a really viable contributor for this upcoming season speaks to the fact that some of the younger pass-rush prospects the Seahawks have drafted in the first four rounds over the past three years (Jordan Hill, Cassius Marsh, Frank Clark) haven’t racked up huge sack totals.
Raj proposed that the Seahawks could have strong safety Kam Chancellor bulk up and switch positions.
O’Neil: I think people miss the point on Chancellor. Earl Thomas’ extraordinary range makes it possible for Chancellor to play a more linebacker-like role than most safeties. He provides a huge advantage in run defense. Why would you want to dilute that advantage by moving him to a linebacker position, where he will probably be slightly undersized, and then start a strong safety who doesn’t have that size advantage? Of all the recurring questions, the idea that Chancellor should play linebacker is the single most inexplicable to me.
Belfasthawk contended that left guard Justin Britt and center Patrick Lewis are the “weakest links” along Seattle’s offensive line.
O’Neil: Not sure on Britt, yet. I think the team is more positive about him than the outside appraisals. And if they’re keeping him at guard rather than pushing him back makes me believe that they saw progress in him.
Jeff asked if the Seahawks overvalue measurables just as the broad jump in evaluating offensive linemen.
O’Neil: Hmmm. I know that the Seahawks take measurables very seriously. I don’t know enough to state for certain they value a specific measurable like broad jump. But honestly, if you look at the way the Seahawks have developed offensive linemen, can we really say that they don’t know what they’re doing? James Carpenter and J.R. Sweezy both signed bigger contracts elsewhere. I think it’s fair to criticize the Seahawks for not sufficiently valuing continuity and experience along the offensive line. But the idea that they can’t identify offensive linemen isn’t appropriate.
Malene from Denmark asked if running back Thomas Rawls can pick up where he left off before an ankle injury ended his rookie season.
O’Neil: That’s the hope. But at this point, it’s not much more than that. Two really big variables: 1) Is he back physically to where he was? He tore ligaments and broke his ankle after all; 2) Can he handle the pounding? He hasn’t had a ton of experience as the main back and physically, he’s just not as big.
Tom Page asked if an extension is in the works with wide receiver Doug Baldwin or anyone else?
O’Neil: Baldwin is definitely an extension possibility. I’ll also wonder if Luke Willson is worth a conversation. Not a big-budget deal, certainly, and I would expect that Willson would choose to play it out. But if you could sign an extension with Willson that averaged a couple million dollars a year, that could be very, very enticing.
Spooker asked about where things stand between the Seahawks and backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, a free agent.
O’Neil: I think Seattle would love Jackson back. I think he remains open to the possibility but wants to see if any other team with more money and a better chance at playing pops up. I would be surprised if Seattle didn’t draft a quarterback this year.