Seahawks Insider Blog

Seahawks snap counts: Michael Bennett’s remain far higher, are they sustainable?

Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett, here firing up his Seahawks teammates before Sunday’s loss to Washington, played 92 percent of the snaps against the Redskins. That’s far higher than the Seahawks want for the veteran, but lack of quality depth up front requires Bennett play so much.
Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett, here firing up his Seahawks teammates before Sunday’s loss to Washington, played 92 percent of the snaps against the Redskins. That’s far higher than the Seahawks want for the veteran, but lack of quality depth up front requires Bennett play so much. joshua.bessex@gateline.com

Paul Richardson is firmly the No. 2 wide receiver behind Doug Baldwin.

The Seahawks tried to beat Kirk Cousins and Washington with almost all nickel defense, five defensive backs--and still lost.

Michael Bennett is still playing more than the Seahawks want, because quality depth on the defensive line remains an issue.

And Dwight Freeney looks ready and oh, so able to carry a heavier load.

Those are what the snap counts from Sunday’s galling home loss/giveaway to Washington show.

Richardson’s three touchdowns in the previous two games and obvious trust with quarterback Russell Wilson earned him 68 of the offense’s 83 plays on Sunday. The only receiver to play more was Baldwin (70). Richardson had three catches in as many targets for 41 yards, including a 26-yard catch and run during Seattle’s scramble drive in the final seconds. Richardson got the offense to the Washington 39, but Wilson got sacked on the next play before his final, desperate throw into the end zone fell incomplete to end the loss.

Nickel back Justin Coleman played 53 of 63 snaps on defense, as Seattle went to its fifth defensive back 84 percent of the time.

Washington’s Kirk Cousins completed 21 of 31 passes against the Seahawks’ approach, for 247 yards. His two, brilliant plays at the end won the game: his 31-yard throw he perfectly placed to Brian Quick while Bennett was crunching him face mask to chest got the Redskins in position for Cousins’ aubile and 38-yard pass that Josh Doctson caught diving past rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin to the Seahawks 1-yard line. Washington scored on the next play with 59 seconds remaining.

Bennett played 92 percent of Sunday’s snaps, as fellow Pro Bowl end Cliff Avril remains out and Marcus Smith got a concussion during the game. The 37-year-old Freeney, who played 25 snaps and had two sacks, may get--and may need--more snaps to take some of that load off Bennett.

Bennett was still pressuring Cousins throughout Sunday’s game--Seattle hit him 11 times and had a season-high six sacks. But he and the defensive front has been at their best in past seasons, including the Super Bowl-winning one of 2013, when he has played in the 60-percent range of snaps.

Above 90 percent is not sustainable into December and for where the Seahawks want to get in January. But so far, it’s been necessary.

Bradley McDougald played every snap filling in for injured Earl Thomas. Coach Pete Carroll said again Monday on his weekly show on Seattle’s KIRO-AM radio he doesn’t know if Thomas will recover enough from his pulled hamstring to play Thursday night at Arizona.

Carroll also said he still didn’t know how badly running back Eddie Lacy strained his groin after six carries, 20 yards and 11 plays Sunday as the lead back. Thomas Rawls seems likely to be in that role at Arizona, trying to get the Seahawks’ stalled running game going.

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