Even though the NFL has gradually become an offensive-driven league over the last several seasons, there’s no question special teams are still a critical aspect of football and the Seahawks certainly haven’t had to worry about that part of their game through the first 11 games of the season.
While it’s an area that doesn’t garner much attention, especially since Seattle features one of the most explosive offenses in the league, the special teams unit has quietly exceeded expectations up to this point and undoubtedly played a factor in the club’s 8-3 record. There’s no question they deserve to receive a lot more recognition and appreciation for their strong showing thus far.
Despite the lack of praise they’ve received outside the organization, the impressive performance on special teams definitely hasn’t gone unnoticed among the coaching staff, as they couldn’t be happier with their success and are hoping it’ll continue moving forward. Citing the unit’s productivity as a whole, coach Pete Carroll said he’s been blown away by how well they’ve played and discussed how impressed he’s with the consistency they’ve shown throughout the season.
“This is as consistent as we’ve been, the kicking has just been phenomenal,” Carroll explained. “I love the consistency of our coverage groups, they’ve just been making plays week in and week out, it’s a really good group.”
Considering the number of obstacles the COVID-19 pandemic has inserted into the 2020 campaign, this group deserves a ton of credit for being able to generate so much consistency on all aspects of special teams, particularly with interim coach Larry Izzo at the helm. That being said, there’s still plenty of work to do and it’ll be vital for them to maintain this performance through the rest of the season.
In particular, kicker Jason Myers has essentially been automatic for the Seahawks in the kicking the game – he's currently tied for the highest field goal success rate (100 percent), according to Sports-Info-Solutions.com. As a result of his stellar showing, the 29-year old has rightfully caught a ton of attention from the coaching staff, which is major progress from last season as he missed five field goals and four point-after attempts.
Though he’s missed a pair of PAT attempts over the last five games, the Seahawks don’t appear to be concerned with those recent errors, as those are his only two miscues of the season. Referencing the consistency he’s displayed during his second campaign with the team, Carroll explained how pleased he’s been with the Pro Bowl kicker’s performance.
“He’s having an incredible year, he’s been rock solid,” Carroll discussed. “He’s such a tremendous athlete for this position, so well tuned in and fitted to be really consistent. He’s just got that make up and he’s a great worker, good competitor, his mindset is strong and competitive – the kind of competitor that you like as your kicker. So he’s having a great year and we’re counting on him.”
Along with Myers, punter Michael Dickson has also enjoyed an incredible campaign so far, as he’s currently tied for the third-most punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line (20) and is also averaging the third-most yards per punt (49.8) among all punters who’ve booted at least 20 punts.
As for the group’s performance in coverage during kickoffs, they’ve allowed the 10th-fewest yards per return (21.1) among all 32 teams in the league. In addition, they haven’t needed to cover as much ground during punts, as they’re tied for forcing the fourth-most fair catches in the league, according to NFL.com.
With just five games remaining in the regular season, the Seahawks are counting on their special teams unit to maintain this consistency, as they can help position both the offense and defense in favorable situations down the stretch. Hoping that consistent production can transfer over to both sides of the football, Carroll believes his squad will be in a fantastic spot heading into the final stretch.
“It’s a championship part of a club that we need to come together and match their consistency and then we’ll be doing pretty good on offense and defense,” Carroll mentioned. “So that’s a really positive part of our game.”