Seahawks 2021 final grades for players and coaching staff are a mixed bag

Nov 29, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; Seattle Seahawks huddle against the Washington Football Team during the second half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 29, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; Seattle Seahawks huddle against the Washington Football Team during the second half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and WR Freddie Swain
Jan 9, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) celebrates after scoring against the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter. Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow-Arizona RepublicNfl Seahawks Vs Cardinals /

Seahawks offense was hit or miss, to put it mildly

Quarterbacks: Russell Wilson started out hot. His worst passer rating of the first four games was 111.2 as he threw nine touchdowns with no interceptions. Yet he missed far more open receivers than we’d seen before. He was absolutely terrible in his first three games back from surgery but gradually improved. He still made some unbelievably awful throws, but by the last two games, his unbelievable throws were of the Mr. Unlimited variety.

Backup Geno Smith actually outplayed Russell in his first action versus the Rams, but the coaches didn’t seem to trust him to run the full offense until his third start. I’m sure it helped that the Hawks took on the Jaguars that week. Geno was more consistent, but Russ naturally reached much greater heights – that is, when he managed to get out of the pit. Grade: C

Running Backs: The Hawks used no fewer than six running backs this year. That’s not really very unusual. What’s unusual is that four of them got starts. Other than Adrian Peterson, who got one start just days after the Hawks signed him, all of the Seahawks starters acquitted themselves well. Chris Carson started the season in his usual crashing style with three touchdowns in four games.

When Carson was lost for the season, Alex Collins slid right into the starting role. Until injuries started taking their toll on him, the Hawks rushing attack barely skipped a beat. Peterson stepped in for one start, and then it was really showtime. Rashaad Penny turned in arguably the best five-game stretch in Seattle history. After racking up three hundred-yard games in four contests, he closed out the season with a stunning 190-yard effort against the Cardinals.

No one thought of Seattle as having a dangerous running game, but that was largely due to coaching style. Yes, that is a recurring theme. When given the chance, they produced. Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas scored three touchdowns with just 54 carries between them. Despite ranking 27th in attempts, the Hawks running back committee ranked 11th in yards, ninth in touchdowns, and third in average yards per carry.  Overall: A

Receivers: The Hawks receiving corps was basically two gods and a few good players. The absolutely indispensable Tyler Lockett set a career record in receiving yards, topping 1,000 yards for the third consecutive year. Somehow, the man who catches everything within five yards of his hands is still underrated within the league. He missed one game due to COVID-19 and clearly wasn’t close to full strength in his first game back.

You may have heard of his teammate, DK Metcalf. He has completely overshadowed Lockett and has since his arrival in Seattle. In some ways, his third season with the Hawks was his weakest. His yards per catch dropped from over 15 in his first two seasons to 12.9. His catch rate dropped as well, from 64 to 58 percent. He did score 12 touchdowns, a career-high, and has yet to miss a game, despite battling a foot injury for nearly half the year. He remains an absolute nightmare for opposing secondaries.

Now if you think Lockett is underrated, let me introduce you to Freddie Swain. His 25 receptions ranked fourth on the Hawks, but they were *loud*. Swain caught four TD passes, exactly the same ratio as Metcalf’s 12 scores on 75 catches. D’Wayne Eskridge showed promise and speed but was only targeted 20 times in his 10 games.

Gerald Everett got the lion’s share of targets at tight end. Other than one game we’d all prefer to forget, he justified the Seahawks faith with four touchdowns and 26 first downs. He set career highs in yardage, scoring, first downs, and catch percentage. Will Dissly proved he was still Mr. Reliable when called on with 21 catches in just 26 chances. That’s the third year in a row he’s caught at least 80 percent of his targets. Colby Parkinson looked like an absolute unit, as the kids say. Just imagine how good the receiver room would have been if DangeRuss had been himself all year. Overall: B

Offensive Line: The Hawks offensive line has been the weak link of the Seahawks ever since the ill-fated trade of Max Unger for Jimmy Graham. As Lee Vowell stated, naming this the worst trade in Hawks history:

"Seattle has been playing musical center ever since Unger left seven seasons ago. I get that Justin Britt played the position for three years but he wasn’t very good for most of that time. Not having a good center has hurt the chemistry of an offensive line that has been bad for several years."

In my view, that’s 100 percent correct. Duane Brown has been great in Seattle but dropped off for the first half of this season. Phil Haynes and Jake Curhan came on strong to close the season, as did center Ethan Pocic. It’s no coincidence that the Seahawks offense finally took off in the last quarter of the season. Still, Pro Football Focus ranked the offensive line 25th in the league. I’ll put them quite a bit higher than that, say, 15th. However, I can’t ignore how they played for the first twelve games. Overall: C-