No position on the Seahawks' roster has undergone more change than at cornerback. After losing both of their Week 1 starters from a year ago to free agency, the team entered training camp with just a handful of carryovers and a bundle of new faces. But by the time camp wrapped up and the roster was whittled down from 80 players to 53, every single cornerback added in the offseason—minus fourth-round draft pick Tre Brown—found themselves out of town.
The two remaining carryovers from 2020, Tre Flowers and D.J. Reed, were named the team's two starters at left and right cornerback. Behind them, Seattle parted ways with Ahkello Witherspoon, Damarious Randall and Pierre Desir and supplemented the trio with Sidney Jones, Blessuan Austin and John Reid, as well as Nigel Warrior before he was placed on injured reserve.
With familiarity at the top, the Seahawks feel confident in their ability to rebuild their cornerback group in-season. And in their 28-16 win over the Colts on Sunday, both Reed and Flowers left a good impression on head coach Pete Carroll.
“The guys played really tough and tackled well," Carroll told reporters on Monday. "They kept the ball underneath us all day, so they had to make some plays. I think D.J. might have had like five tackles in the game. Tre had a couple really good hits. Challenging their coverage. We really minimized our errors, really solid. We had one play get away from us in the big crossing route that we made a mistake on, but other than that they played really solid football. They seem to fit well with how we did things, and I liked how aggressive they were able to be.”
That said; when looking Reed and Flowers' way, Colts quarterback Carson Wentz completed eight of nine passes. However, the corner duo mostly kept the damage to a minimum, holding Indianapolis' pass catchers to just 78 yards. As Carroll noted, both were active in the tackling game all afternoon, recording four tackles apiece with just 26 yards allowed after the catch.
But solid day aside, the level of talent the Colts put forth has to be accounted for. Wentz made his Colts debut after missing the entire preseason with a foot injury, and was without his No. 1 wideout in T.Y. Hilton (neck). That left him to throw to an underwhelming arsenal of receivers made up of Zach Pascal, Michael Pittman Jr., Parris Campbell and Michael Strachan.
Pascal logged both of Indianapolis' touchdowns on the day. On the second score, he blew by Flowers on the inside—something the fourth-year corner has long struggled with—for an easy trip to the end zone in garbage time. So while the numbers are favorable for Seattle on paper, the product on the field looked unchanged and that should be a cause for concern in the Pacific Northwest.
Over the next few weeks, the Seahawks will face a gauntlet of some of the NFL's top receiving threats. In just a matter of days, Flowers and Reed will go from the average likes of Pascal and Pittman to the elite talents of A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. After that, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Deebo Samuel, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods await.
Seattle's secondary is stepping into an entirely different stratosphere now, and it's hard not to feel as if disaster could strike at any given moment. While there were promising signs in both Reed and Flowers' play on Sunday, it would be wise to step out of Week 1 feeling nothing more than cautiously optimistic.
Simply put: the matchup didn't offer a ton to learn from. And the duo inarguably benefitted from a stellar pass rush that generated 10 quarterback hits on Wentz. But there will be days when the Seahawks won't get consistent pressure like that and their corners will have to make up for it, likely against better talent than they faced in Indianapolis.
As of now, the jury is still very much out on the group. But answers should come soon and the truth may hurt.