For Pete’s sake: 3 stars for Seahawks versus Chargers Week 7

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

Seahawks safety Ryan Neal

If the Seahawks defensive coaching staff can be blamed (and should be blamed) for any decisions on personnel beginning in Week 2, the decision to play Josh Jones in place of injured Jamal Adams instead of Ryan Neal was near criminal. Neal was good the previous two years when he took Adams’ spot when Adams was previously injured. Why not simply insert Neal back into Adams’ position this year? That Seattle didn’t was confusing.

But a big reason that the Seahawks defense has been better the last two weeks is that Neal is getting a lot more reps. Between weeks 1 and 4, Neal had a total of 42 defensive snaps. But in the last three weeks, he has played 100 percent of the defensive snaps. The defense has played its best two games of 2022 in the last two weeks. Neal playing more and the defense being better isn’t a coincidence.

Against the Chargers, Neal absolutely balled out. He was second on the team with 7 tackles (6 solo) but what really stood out was just how excellent he was in coverage. Neal had an early interception which changed the narrative of the game at that point. He also had 4 passes defended including a breakup of a well-thrown pass in the end zone.

Neal must be the starting strong safety moving forward in Seattle. Adams will return in 2023 while neal is a free agent. I am not saying Neal should replace Adams full-time next year but Seattle must find the money to re-sign Neal and keep him on the roster.