Three Seahawks on offense desperately looking for redemption in 2024

Maybe desperation is an exaggeration - but they want it even more than the 12s
Abraham Lucas and Geno Smith of the Seahawks
Abraham Lucas and Geno Smith of the Seahawks / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The Seattle Seahawks have no shortage of players looking for redemption after missing the playoffs last year. The offensive side of the ball is no different than the defense in that regard.

No one could possibly look at the Seahawks of the past few seasons and think that their biggest issue was the offense. Well, okay, no one but some delusional fans think Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman are still patrolling the defensive backfield. I'm not about to call those folks 12s, because they clearly haven't been watching the games.

The defense has been bad the past two seasons, and atrocious against the run. There's no way to deny that. The offense hasn't exactly been scintillating, either. But last I checked, they didn't allow over 400 points in back-to-back seasons. Nor did they rank in the bottom five in third-down conversions, like the supposed defense. Still, there's a lot of room for improvement when Seattle has the ball. You can expect these players have taken that to heart.

These Seattle Seahawks need to move the ball with authority in 2024

Wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba

JSN looked better in the second half of his inaugural season than he did in the first. On that basis alone, it's easy to set the expectations much higher for the rookie in his sophomore season. Still, it's pretty hard to argue that his rookie season wasn't disappointing. Among all rookie receivers, he was seventh in receptions, eighth in yards, and tied for eighth in touchdowns.

It wouldn't be quite so bad if his teammate, undrafted free agent Jake Bobo, hadn't played better than the 20th pick in the draft. Bobo ranked ahead of JSN reception percent, drop rate, contested catch rate, and passer rating when targeted. More Bobo, indeed. I'm not even gonna talk about that Nacua guy.

In defense of JSN, the Seahawks had zero clue how to use him, even late in the season. As has been mentioned several times before, they threw so many screens to him that he might as well have been wearing number 1 on his back. You know, Dee Eskridge? The average depth of targets Smith-Njigba saw was 6.1 yards. Compare that to Tyler Lockett's 10.8, or DK Metcalf's 12.8 yards. Even Bobo, not exactly a speedster - had an average target depth of 6.0 yards.

Can someone make that make sense, please? Happily, we don't have to, as Shane Waldron has moved on to "work his magic" in Chicago. I'm pretty sure Ryan Grubb already has about 37 more plays dialed up for JSN than the Hawks did all of last season.

The entire offensive line

Yes, this is definitely a copout - except that it's just about impossible to single out one member of the O-line who didn't underperform last season. Two of their best blockers - at least according to Pro Football Focus grades (subscription required) - were tight ends, and both Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson are gone.

Both Stone Forsythe and Jake Curhan graded decently at run-blocking but were atrocious in the passing game. Neither was an able substitute for Abe Lucas, who missed 11 games last year. Even he struggled in pass-blocking, no doubt due to those injuries. He was rock-solid as a rookie. There's a glimmer of hope on the horizon, as faint as it may be.

Charles Cross gets a pass, but only because he isn't in desperation mode. He's the only Seahawks O-lineman whose starting job could be considered remotely safe coming into camp. Sophomore center Olu Oluwatimi excelled in the passing game, as he only allowed one pressure in 128 snaps. But that's pretty limited exposure.

He struggled to open holes in the running game, and couldn't unseat last year's starter Evan Brown, despite the latter's struggles in all phases of the game. We can only hope that as with so many positions, the coaching staff simply didn't know what they were doing last year.

Quarterback Geno Smith

Ah yes, the quarterback who some love to hate. I mean, how dare he plummet from the very best QB in the league for the first half of 2022 to a mere mortal in 2023? Smith was 15th in QBR and 17th in passer rating last season. Pro Football Focus (subscription yadda yadda) rated him at 82.9 last year, 16th in the league.

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Oddly enough, that's better than his 79.3 grade in 2022, which ranked him 9th in the NFL. Sure, the ranking changed as the competition changed. I'm just not sure how he graded better last season than in 2022.

Regardless, Smith was far from the disaster some fans so insistently claim. There's been a lot of talk - foolish talk - that the Seahawks should trade Smith, cut Smith, and start Sam Howell, or just, I don't know, start their Uncle Rico. Coach Mike Macdonald has made it clear that Smith is the Hawks starter for 2024. Now, it's a stretch to say that Smith is desperately seeking redemption, or seeking redemption at all. But it is a fact that no one wants to improve on his 2023 season more than Smith himself.

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