NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans face the Seahawks on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.
The Titans are coming off a 37-16 victory over the Jaguars, a win that improved the team's record to 1-1.
The Seahawks are also 1-1, picking up their first win on Sunday over the 49ers, 12-9. The Seahawks lost to the Packers in Week One, by a score of 17-9.
This week, I caught up with Bob Condotta, who covers the Seahawks for the Seattle Times. You can follow Bob on Twitter @bcondotta, and join over 53,000 others.
Here's how our conversation went…
Wyatt: Hey Bob. I appreciate you doing this. Right out of the gate, the Seahawks are 1-1 – so what's gone right so far and what do they need to improve moving forward as they prepare to face the Titans?
Condotta:* *The defense has played really well, other than about probably three plays, and the offense has not, other than maybe three plays. The offense has really struggled to get going – they only have one touchdown. They were fortunate to put together a drive late in the 49ers game to pull that one out, but they just did not play well in that game at all offensively. In that game they were really sloppy, a lot of dropped passes and Russell Wilson missed some throws. They just were not doing too much right in a lot of ways. Against Green Bay they really had issues with pass protection and things like that. Their offensive line is really a huge work in progress, and Pete Carroll hinted pretty strongly on Monday that some potential changes could be coming this week. The defense has played well, and they have everybody back and healthy. They struggled at the end of last season when they had injuries, but they still have the seven guys who started when they won the Super Bowl in 2013, and they have really carried this team ever since along with Russell. So those guys are all back and healthy and playing well, and they added (DT) Sheldon Richardson to it. So they are playing at a pretty high level right now.
Wyatt: Quarterback Russell Wilson I believe is the No.1 concern of opposing defenses. He's completed 37-of-66 passes for 356 yards with a touchdown through two games, and picked up 74 more on the ground. How has he been overall?
Condotta: I think Russell has been OK. He hasn't had time to do much, and he's been running for his life a lot. He didn't play the greatest game of his life on Sunday in terms of throwing the ball, but he bailed them out with his running on the last drive. Because of the injuries he had last year, I think they are trying to pick and choose with his running a little bit, and be more selective with it. On the TD-scoring drive I think they just said all bets are off and he just took off and had some key runs to help that drive. I don't think he is a concern (for Seattle), I think the line is the No.1 concern. The receivers are younger than they've been, and they have some guys coming off injuries. Jimmy Graham has not played well, and we don't know if he is going to play. The offensive problems have been a lot bigger than Russell. His stats don't look as good as his numbers in the past have, for sure, but I don't think it is really him. I think it is the line and some of the issues around him. I do think from an opposing team's standpoint, I think you look and see if you can contain his running. And I think what he did last week running will open some eyes back up to that being a factor again. He didn't run much in the Green Bay game, but the last drive last week he made a determined effort that, 'I have to go win this game however I can' and he started to do that.
Wyatt: I want to ask you about what's going on at running back. I'm very familiar with Eddie Lacy, and Thomas Rawls. C.J. Prosise is another guy I know. But the guy who led the way on Sunday was Chris Carson, who had 93 yards on 20 carries. He leads the team in rushing. I know Carson put up big numbers at Oklahoma State, but how is he the top back right now ahead of the veterans?
Condotta:* *Well, Rawls got hurt, so that is sort of what opened the door there. Rawls has always had injury issues from his first year, and he got hurt again. He was the lead running back coming into the preseason, and he got hurt in the first preseason game and didn't play again until Sunday. He is still working his way back from injury. I think they still like him and all that, but the injuries have been frustrating with him. Carson took that opportunity and has made the most of it. They sort of eased Lacy back into things – he had the ankle injury last year in Green Bay. But Carson got a lot of carries in the first few games and played really well. He opened their eyes in the first preseason game against the Chargers, scored a couple of touchdowns, and looked like the best back they had out there. Lacy didn't play a lot. So Carson's performance really intrigued them and he has played a lot ever since. Week One Lacy did not play real well, and they did not have him active for Sunday's game, which was surprising with Rawls coming back. Rawls started the game Sunday, but didn't play real well early, and they are sort of saying now they didn't plan to overuse him, so who knows if (he'd performed) better they would have found more ways to use him. But he didn't have any carries in the second half and they just went with Carson down the stretch and he got the running game going. I think the assumption now is that Chris Carson is the starting tailback.
Wyatt: So it seemed like the big topic out there this offseason focused on cornerback Richard Sherman. Was he happy? Was he going to be traded? Well, he's still with the Seahawks, and all seems well. How has Sherman been?
Condotta: He is sort of back to normal. Last year was a little bit different for him, and that led to some of the trade rumor stuff. But he has played well so far. He had a hamstring injury last week and didn't practice a couple of days, but then he played every snap in the game and Pete Carroll couldn't have been more complimentary of him. I don't know if he was going overboard, but he was saying it was an injury 99 percent of players wouldn't have played with. Sherman has this consecutive games played and started streak that is the longest on the team suddenly- he's played in 98 straight games, and has 92 straight starts. … Last year he had some issues with the media, too, but those seem to be in the past. He is talking to all of us like he always did in the past, so everything sort of seems to be normal there. His future, I think, is still a little bit up in the air just because he does make a lot of money and he'll be 30 years old next year, and with the way most teams do things, they wouldn't want him to go into the final year of his contract not knowing whether he's staying or going. So they'll probably have to decide to extend him or see what to do there. But for now, everyone seems to have just decided we'll worry about that later.
Wyatt: OK, last thing here. It's early, but what are your expectations for this year's Seahawks squad? Will they be a contender once again?
Condotta: *Well, I still think they are the best team in the NFC West. With the injuries Arizona has had already, and San Francisco, while they look better, their offense is just not much and the Rams sort of look like a six or seven-win team to me. So I still think the Seahawks are going to win 10 or 11 games and win the division. The offense has certainly been concerning the first few weeks, especially in Week 2. Week 1 was easy to write off as "Green Bay is a tough place to play and all that", but what happened on Sunday was really concerning and I think a lot of people are looking at this game against the Titans being a really tough one, on the road against a pretty good team. If they can't move the ball three weeks in a row, then the offensive problems become more than just a blip. But the defense is still really good, and should be able to keep them in every game they play, and with Russell's impact as well. So it is just a matter of if they can win 10 or 11 games in the division, how high is your seed? That's what killed them last year, they lost a home game late in the season to drop from the 2 to the 3 seed and it really changed everything about their playoff outlook. If you can at least get that 2 seed and get the early bye and get the home game, basically all you have to do is win one home game and you are in the conference title game. And that has been their recipe for success here. I still think that is doable for them looking around the rest of the NFC, and especially their division. *
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series against the Seattle Seahawks. (AP Photos)