1. After years of staying on his left CB side, why is Richard Sherman suddenly always shadowing top WRs all over the field?
Because the Seahawks no longer have Brandon Browner or Byron Maxwell as the opposite cornerback. Pete Carroll has said Sherman’s experience made this season the time to put his All-Pro man to man on Green Bay’s Randall Cobb, Cincinnati’s A.J. Green (after the first quarter), San Francisco’s Torrey Smith and Dallas’ Dez Bryant. Yet it’s also keeping opponents from isolating their top receivers against Cary Williams, Seattle’s other cornerback who has struggled big time in coverage and with penalties. Sherman has allowed Smith and Bryant just two catches for 12 yards on seven targets in the last two games combined, so expect his shadowing to continue over the season’s second half.
2. Will Ricardo Lockette ever play again?
That remains unknown. But the 29-year-old’s online proclamation "the road to recovery has started!!!" – with three exclamation points – upon his release Thursday from a Dallas hospital is encouraging. Surgery to fix disc and ligament damage in his neck from that scary hit by Dallas’ Jeff Heath last weekend has Lockette out for the rest of this season. But leaving the hospital two days after surgery provides hope Seattle’s wide receiver and special-teams ace could indeed return at some point in the next year or so.
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3. How is the Seahawks’ bye week different than most teams’ week off?
It’s yet another way Pete Carroll has the unyielding devotion of his players – and how he differentiates himself as a true, modern "players’ coach." The league’s collective bargaining agreement mandates players have at least four consecutive days off during a team’s one bye week each season. Most coaches package those days around the team’s weekend without a game. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians talked this past week how he wanted to rest his NFC West leaders, who are also on a bye this weekend, before their game at Seattle Nov. 15. So Arians had Arizona practice Tuesday and Wednesday then gave his players the rest of the week off. Not Carroll. He gave his Seahawks the entire week off, from a meeting ending last Monday afternoon until practice in Renton on Monday. Go home. Go to back to see your college team play. Go to Hawaii. Heck, go to Tahiti, for all Carroll cares. Just be back in time ready to work for that huge Arizona game next week. No wonder his players love him.
4. Why not let Johnny Manziel try to prove himself now?
His Browns are 2-7 in this latest lost season for Cleveland. By the end of the first half of a 14-10 game in Cincinnati on Thursday, it appeared "Johnny Football" was succeeding. Then came his 4-for-15 second half passing. He finished 15 for 33 for 168 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions in a 31-10 loss to the still-undefeated Bengals. Cincinnati sacked him three times, but Manziel gained 31 yards on four rushes. Sure, the Browns could go back to Josh McCown at quarterback next weekend against Pittsburgh. But why not find out now if the reasons they drafted him – because he can make plays -- are accurate. The Browns are playing for the future and not the present, anyway. And it would give at least a hint of intrigue to Cleveland’s final seven games.
5. Why is Greg Hardy still getting paid to play football this season? Better yet, why is he being paid by anyone, to do anything? Those horrifying pictures leaked to Deadspin Friday from the aftermath of the pass rusher’s domestic-violence call in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2014 say far more than any words can – from the enabling Cowboys, the courts or anybody else. Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said this Sunday morning on NFL Network: "I'm the father of three daughters so any man that beats a woman I think that's hard for me to swallow. But the Cowboys, they make their choice. They've had a bunch of players before that have done a couple of things and they're still behind them. As a teammate, I'm not sure I would want him in the locker room -- especially as a distraction when you're already losing. It's one of those things it would just have to be up to the organization.”
Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle