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Seahawks vs. Packers Q&A: Eddie Lacy still in Seattle's plans despite poor preseason

Kenneth Arthur of SB Nation's Seattle Seahawks blog Field Gulls answers our questions about Eddie Lacy, Seattle's new-look offensive line, and what he expects from Seahawks vs. Packers.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Seattle Seahawks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers kick off their season against a familiar foe, the Seattle Seahawks. Kenneth Arthur of Field Gulls was kind enough to answer some of our questions about the Seahawks and provide insight into their strengths and weaknesses.

APC: The Seahawks' offensive line experienced more turnover this offseason and they have already lost starting left tackle George Fant for the year. How does the unit compare to a year ago?

The Seahawks offensive line has been the main source of conversation over the last two years, which is honestly bananas to me. Seattle's roster is blessed right now with the most talent this franchise has ever had, including the best QB in team history, All-Pros at middle linebacker, free safety, cornerback, strong safety, and this season potentially at tight end if Jimmy Graham has a big year. I mean, they just acquired Sheldon Richardson beyond all reason of plausibility, and yet so many Seahawks fans can only think, breathe, and talk about Tom Cable on the offensive line. I understand that some of them just want to make sure Russell Wilson remains healthy and can move the offense in a way that he's capable of when given time in the pocket, but for a lot of others I think it just comes down to your weakness being the only thing you can focus on because it's what shines the brightest. I understand that sounds more like a random rant than an answer to your question, so let me talk about the five guys we're expecting to see on Sunday.

Justin Britt was pretty good last season during his first year at center, and I'd say he's on the cusp of being a top-10 center. The most important thing is that he's the same center that the Seahawks had last year, which means continuity that they haven't had since they traded Max Unger. So it's nice to have your best o-lineman come back and lead a group that is either new to Seattle or young. Luke Joeckel was their "big signing" and he's looked very good at left guard so far. I think his biggest problem will be consistency, and so it's hard to predict when he may have a bad game, but his veteran presence has already been very valuable. Then we start hitting some problem areas.

Germain Ifedi was a bad right guard for the most part last season and now he's at right tackle, where I'm not sure he's shown much improvement yet. He's probably still better than Mark Glowinski, who may even be in a timeshare at the position with free agent signee Oday Aboushi. There is no guarantee that the right side of the line will look the same in a month. When Fant went down, second-year player Rees Odhiambo stepped in as maybe only a temporary replacement. He seemed to make no progress as a rookie in 2016 after being a third round pick, then suddenly he's the left tackle? After a shaky first appearance in place of Fant, Odhiambo has actually seemed fine. I do think he'll be an upgrade to what Fant did at left tackle last season.

Overall, Seattle's offensive line was maybe the 32nd-best unit in the NFL, which is a fancy way to say "Worst." With Britt returning (he also signed a three-year extension), Joeckel coming over from Jacksonville, and Odhiambo being an upgrade over the 2016 left tackle situation, I think they can improve to maybe being as good as...the 25th best line in the NFL? Oh well, we'll take it! And then maybe we can talk about another weakness, like defensive tackle.

APC: Eddie Lacy joined Seattle's backfield during the spring. How big of a role do you expect him to play Sunday against the Packers, and what kind of season do you envision for him?

It's hard to say how much Lacy will play on Sunday. Thomas Rawls has been listed as the starter, and though he's been on the injury report with another ankle issue, he's participating in full so I'd think he'll be out there. Meanwhile, Chris Carson is the guy that every Seahawks fan wants to see because he's had a phenomenal camp and preseason, and may honestly be the most complete running back on the roster. Pete Carroll said Carson would get a few touches for sure. Lacy is healthy though, so it's possible he'll get the first crack at number one carries, but I think it'll be an active committee with Rawls, Lacy, Carson, and C.J. Prosise. Lacy probably gets a very specific set of carries on Sunday, but I think Rawls and Carson could end up carrying a heavier load-- no that is not a fat joke.

I think the outlook on Lacy's season is as predictable as what he'll come back with on his tray from the buffet line-- yes that is a fat joke. (I hate the Eddie Lacy fat jokes, but I set myself up too good.) I just listed four running backs who I think all have really intriguing qualities, none of whom I want to see much less than the other. Rawls was amazing in 2015. He led the NFL in yards per carry and DYAR. He ran behind the same line as Marshawn Lynch that year and had two games in which he rushed for more yards in a single game than Lynch had in his whole career. Prosise was dynamic on offense last season in a way that I've seen almost no player be dynamic under Carroll. The problem was he could only stay healthy for six games. Lacy was my favorite free agent signing of the offseason for Seattle. I think he was a target of theirs in the 2013 draft (he went one pick ahead of Christine Michael) and I think that the version we saw of him 3-4 years ago is a perfect complement to someone like Prosise in the Seahawks backfield. And Carson is so fascinating as a seventh round pick -- he can run, he can catch, he can block. Overall, I expect Lacy's production will come down to health, his and everyone else's. In a perfect world, I think Lacy helps them in short-yardage and red zone situations in which they've struggled in the past, but maybe isn't the 1,200-yard back he once was or looked like he could be consistently for a long time.

APC: Earl Thomas returns to a defense that badly missed him down the stretch. How has he looked during the preseason, and what other changes has the secondary undergone since the end of the 2016 season?

Earl Thomas looks as good as ever. Getting hurt was maybe the best thing that could have ever happened to the second half of his career, because he trained as hard as you'd expect Thomas to train, and he seems very anxious to get back out there on the field for a regular season game, because he was hitting men like a train in the preseason. I think he's the best player on the defense, second-best on the whole team, and a top-10 player league-wide for defensive players. Maybe top five.

Seattle made a lot of changes to their secondary over the offseason. After DeShawn Shead tore his ACL in the playoffs, they went hard on cornerbacks in the draft: Shaquill Griffin in the third (highest Carroll has ever drafted a corner while in Seattle), safety Delano Hill in the third, and safety Tedric Thompson in the fourth. They also took cornerback Mike Tyson in the sixth but he is now on the practice squad. Before all that, the Seahawks signed safety Bradley McDougald to a one-year deal and he's expected to be a jack of all trades on the defense and play all over the field. He seems like he could have a major impact both up-front and deep and give Seattle insurance like they haven't had over the last couple of years at corner and safety. Jeremy Lane likely starts opposite of Sherman but they're gonna do so many nickel and dime packages on Sunday that Griffin is basically also a starter. He's looked okay, but maybe not fantastic, though Sherman talks about him more highly than he's ever talked about a young corner on the team. You may also see some Neiko Thorpe out there some, and he's also maybe okay. Overall, I think the secondary is still top-three because of Thomas, Sherman, and Kam Chancellor, while the reinforcements are much better than they were in 2016.

APC: If you were game planning against the Seahawks, how would you attack them on offense? On defense?

If I was attacking the Seahawks defense, I wouldn't worry too much about having a successful running game. Seattle had the best run defense in the NFL last year and just added Sheldon Richardson, a premier run defender. He may not be 100% up to speed but he's enough up to speed and should be ready for some key snaps on Sunday. Besides, if I had Aaron Rodgers, I wouldn't worry too much about running in any case. It's great if Ty Montgomery or Jamaal Williams or whoever can make the Seahawks respect the run, but I'd definitely try and take advantage of the matchups between Jordy Nelson and Shaquill Griffin or Jeremy Lane. If I have Nelson, Davante Adams, and Randall Cobb, I'm looking wherever Sherman isn't and trying to go there. But most importantly, if I have Martellus Bennett and Richard Rodgers and Lance Kendricks, I'm going tight end all day. Historically, the Seahawks have struggled against tight ends, and we even saw that in the preseason again with Antonio Gates easily scoring on the starting defense. I wouldn't always ascribe to this theory, but if Rodgers throws it 45 times, maybe that's not such a bad thing. Attack hard, go tight ends, find Nelson matched up one-on-one with Lane and go for it.

Defensively, I'd put pressure on Russell Wilson, especially up the middle where he's been given the most trouble over his career. If Kenny Clark or Mike Daniels can keep beating Britt, Joeckel, Glowinski over and over, it'll be a long day for Wilson and those don't often end well for Seattle. The Packers have perhaps been the most successful team in the NFL in defending Wilson though, so maybe they already have the keys to forcing him into those rare mistakes, and he throws 3-5 picks. Green Bay has managed to do that a lot recently to Wilson, so if you can keep forcing him into mistakes, that's maybe all Rodgers needs: One mistake by Wilson.

APC: Finally, it's prediction time. Which team wins on Sunday and why?

Yeah, I'm not gonna not pick the Seahawks just like I wouldn't expect you or a Packers fan to not pick Rodgers at home. I totally understand that point of view and it makes a ton of sense. Wilson has struggled against Green Bay, he's not quite as good on the road, Rodgers is the best player in the NFL, he's even better at Lambeau. I just believe that Seattle does have the best defense in the NFL and they have also played Rodgers quite well. I think the addition of Richardson is bonkers and puts them over the edge as being the top defense. It'll be hard for teams to move the ball on the ground at all, and pushing most QBs into throwing 30-40 times against at least two potential Hall of Fame secondary players is a very good thing. Of course, Rodgers isn't most QBs though. That being said, I think Green Bay's defense isn't great and the Packers special teams effectiveness overall this season is questionable. I believe the Seahawks are just a more complete team right now, but I also see the scenario where I look like a fool; there would be no shame in losing to the Packers by 14 points in Lambeau. I am, however, going to pick Seattle.

Seahawks 20, Packers 16

We'd like to thank Kenneth and Field Gulls for answering our questions. Be sure to check out our Q&A session over there, as well as their fantastic coverage of all things Seahawks. As always, keep your internet machines tuned to Acme Packing Company this Sunday for our comprehensive game-day coverage of Seahawks vs. Packers.