NFL

This category contains 56 posts

Seahawks Look Unchampionship-Like in Week 1

Photo courtesy of Panthers.com

Photo courtesy of Panthers.com

The 2013 football season is potentially the one in which the Seattle Seahawks earn their first Super Bowl championship.

On Sunday, though, the ’Hawks were anything but championship-caliber for at least the first three quarters of the game.

And, yet, we all sit here delighting in Quarterback Russell Wilson’s 320-yard, one-touchdown game in which Seattle defeated the Carolina Panthers a meager 12-7.

Yes, it was a battle of defenses. Yes, the offensive lines of both teams generally looked pretty horrendous (Seattle’s far more than Carolina’s). Yes the Panthers have a great front seven on the offensive line and the Seahawks won’t see that every week. Yes, it was only Week 1 and folks were rusty. Yes, it was really hot and humid (how could we forget, having heard Fox Sports’ Tim Ryan and Chris Myers repeat this ad nauseum throughout the game?!).

Except, the team is likely to see great football teams in the playoffs, and they’re going to see the best of the best if they reach the Super Bowl. They may even see some horrendously-adverse weather conditions in an outdoor championship game that will be in New Jersey this season.

And so, I guess, I hoped that the Seahawks would start a bit stronger on offense than they did last year. It was anything but a good start, and while one game a pattern does not make, having seen the offensive line collapse in on itself like a black hole throughout the pre-season as well shows there may be some cause for concern.

The Seahawks must find solutions to the offensive guard position, where Paul McQuistan was frequently out-manned Sunday, including getting flat-backed at least once. The argument for McQuistan is that he is a utility player who can step into any line position. The problem is that playing shitty at every position doesn’t really make his service worth it for me. It’s almost pointless to single McQuistan out, too, because overall they sucked for most of the game.

This team again racked up too many penalties, with nine for 109 yards.

Wilson looked lost against the Panthers defense frequently, seemingly having no idea where pressure would come from or where he might get hit from. He continued to show a maturity most young players are devoid of, however, by generally not panicking and continuing until the last whistle. That right there earned the Seahawks the victory, and if there is any person who can bring this team to a Super Bowl victory, it’s Robot Russell.

Wilson the Android simply looked like he needed a disk defrag and a virus scan for the first three quarters.

Yes, I’ve focused on the negative. I tend to do that, because I want to recognize a deficiency and see it corrected. When I write about offensive line play or penalties or Wilson’s shoddy early play, it’s because I hope to see those things corrected in successive games. And I believe that this team must remain strong throughout the season to have the best chance for championship success. That’s what we want, is it not?

2013 can still be the Seahawks’ Super Bowl season. They just need to show us they can earn it.

Seahawks Cut Day 2013: Saying goodbye to Michael Robinson

Photo courtesy of Seahawks.com

Photo courtesy of Seahawks.com

Last night I found myself on the corner of FANatic and logical human. In that moment, and despite my internal GPS yelling “re-calculating”, my fandom got the best of me and I made a decision…head down emotion street.

Michael Robinson was my favorite.. A 12thMan favorite and probably the favorite of most of his teammates on this Seattle Seahawks team.

For those on social media last night that think I don’t understand the business of football you couldn’t be further from the truth. I understand the business of football very well. What I couldn’t get my arms around was Pete Carroll‘s apparent departure from the “best guy wins the position battle no matter what” deal. I find it hard to believe that Michael Robinson was not the best Fullback on this roster.

However, looking long-term I can’t escape the fact that the money saved by Michael Robinson leaving could help pay other players that are going to need big paychecks down the road. Guys like Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner and Earl Thomas come to mind.

Still, because I believe that Pete Carroll means what he says,  there has to be more to this decision than just money for other players later…Mike Rob must be hurt.

What made Michael Robinson unique was not just his pro bowl quality play on the field but his ability to bring us into the locker room like we’ve never been before.

I’ll admit I’m being selfish here and I’m okay with that.

That’s what got me. That’s what got me a tad emotional last night on Twitter and it’s what makes me sad today. That access is gone. Probably forever unless it’s produced professionally by the Seahawks media relations staff.  Even so, I would imagine it will never be quite as organic as when Michael Robinson walked around with his Real Rob report microphone.

Michael Robinson was more than the Seahawks fullback. He was more than just a replaceable leader on a football team. He was the perfect match for Pete Carroll’s new way of doing things and his walks around the locker room allowed us to see what Pete was building behind the scenes and be “All In”. It was amazing.

From John Moffitt’s hilarity to Marshawn Lynch‘s attempt to completely ignore the camera in seemingly every video, the team became more than just football players we cheer for on Sunday, they became actual people. It is because of that exposure I love the Seahawks even more today. Which for a fan of the team for over 30 years it’s crazy for me to say. I’m connected now on a different level.

So as a tribute to Michael Robinson I gathered some of my favorite youtube clips from his Real Rob report and as a Seahawks football player. I hope you guys enjoy.

Russell Wilson is The Terminator in Preseason Week 2

Photo courtesy of ESPN

Photo courtesy of ESPN

Why are we not calling Russell Wilson “The Terminator” yet? After the Seahawks’ Week 2 preseason match-up against the Denver Broncos, it should be clear that our sophomore quarterback is a finely-tuned robot, after all.

This week saw some promising progress from the offensive line, which provided far better protection for Wilson during passing attempts than the first week against the Chargers. It helped that All-Pro and Pro Bowl Center Max Unger was back in the lineup and snapping the ball to the QB during the 40-10 preseason victory that felt more like a regular season game with the 12th Man going bananas at Century Link field.

Wilson looked crisp; he was quick with throws and while he had a few overthrows, there were also a few occasions where it was the receiver’s fault. In particular I think there was a catchable ball thrown to rookie Tight End Luke Willson but he appeared to be fearing a hit coming his way and ended up with alligator arms, or, as I like to call them – creepy baby arms.

120919-tate-480It was a game that showed Wide Received Golden Tate doesn’t fall down because he is, in fact, a Segway, and Tight End Sean McGrath can’t drop passes because even if his hands slipped his massively-impressive beard would still snag the ball for him.

Overall, the line’s play was far superior from Week 1, and against what I believe to be a better defense in the Broncos. We also saw the first-team offense play the entire first half against a Denver team that many seem to believe are headed to the Super Bowl this year.

Line play was largely my focus of what I wanted to see in improvement for this game and I wasn’t disappointed. Some have complained that while pass protection was enhanced from the first to second games, run protection was still lacking. I think those people must have attended Hempfest in Seattle this weekend and were too high to really pay attention.

It seems that people saw a weakness there due to the fact that Robert Turbin, taking the majority of the snaps at running back this week, gained just 35 yards on nine carries.

To me, however, that was all on Turbin, coming back from injury and who seemed to lack his get-off step that he normally has. He wasn’t so much “Turbo” this week after he touched the ball. Part of Seattle’s running style, too, is that smash-mouth, wear-you-down football. I absolutely believe that had this been the third or fourth quarter the line would have continued to make great running opportunities and the defense would by that point have been so worn down there would be huge gains. We saw it time and again in 2012 and there is nothing that caused me concern this week to warrant otherwise.

Back to Golden Tate – we got this guy named Percy Harvin this year and many have lauded his ability to make plays in space. Here’s the thing: We’ve already got the Golden One. He made at least four or five defenders miss on a 33-yard punt return, his only one of the night. If I’m a betting man, he’s our returner going into Week 1 and they’re just trying to keep him healthy now by giving return looks to Walter Thurmond and Will Blackmon (unlikely to be on the team in September).

Tate has amazing hands and his chemistry with Cyberback Russell Wilson showed with two catches for 42 yards. Tate can make any play Harvin can. I truly believe that. And I didn’t attend Hempfest.

There was so much to be happy about in this game. In Week 3 we need to see some progress in the pass rush, however. It’s unclear exactly when Chris Clemons and Cliff Avril will be ready to go for the ’Hawks, though it seems the team says they could both be back by Week 1. Still – this team has so much depth it’s silly at Defensive End and we need to see more from those other players.

Meanwhile, Russell Wilson is probably defragging his hard drive as we speak and Golden Tate is out there somewhere challenging guys to try and knock him over like an inflatable punching clown that never quite goes all the way to the ground.

 

The 2013 Season is Here, Suckas!

Go_Hawks.JPG

Hello Seahawks fans (and NSA spy overlords, thank you for reading my article … and please ignore that recent Amazon purchase for the Playmobil Security Checkpoint toy. It’s for a friend)!

It’s effin’ here – the 2013 NFL season. HOT DAMN!

I’m so pumped for this season that if I had a kitten here with me I’d excitement-squeeze it to death. Precious!

Football is a sacred time in my household. That is, my wife hates it – and so I get to leave her with our devil toddler and a 6-month-old infant for places where the game is appreciated. Where I can fuckin’ swear at people on television like they can hear me. Where I can use the word “fart” (I wish this were a joke. Save me).

But let’s recap a little bit of how we got to this point in the year:

  • January 1, 2013: Happy New Year!
  • March 12: Percy Harvin – Or, you might call this special time: “Harvana.”
  • March 15: DE Cliff Avril comes over from the Detroit Lions as a free agent.
  • March 16: DE Michael Bennett comes over from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent.
  • March 16  – 5:30 p.m.: Seahawks fans collectively have their heads explode based on the past week’s worth of transaction news.
  • April 1: You’re still a Seahawk, Matt Flynn. APRIL FOOLS – The No. 2 QB is traded to the Oakland Raiders.
  • April 9: QB Brady Quinn is signed. Seahawks fans are like “Double-U Tee Eff?!” and “Huh?!” and “Bleep Blop Blorp.”
  • April 17: Veteran CB Antoine Winfield hops on over from the Minnesota Vikings. The 36-year-old comes because he wants to win a Super Bowl, and he probably is pretty confident that the Seahawks are the team to beat in 2013.
  • April 22:  Safety Kam “Bam Bam” Chancellor signs a deal through 2017 to stay a member of the “Legion of Boom.”
  • April 25-27: The 2013 NFL Draft occurs. The Seahawks pick up some intriguing players, but frankly I’m most excited by Christine Michael (as everyone points out, it’s pronounced like “Christian,” but I can’t help say “Christine,” because that’s how it’s spelled, you jerk). The running back is fast and has great hands, and he reminds me of Adrian Peterson without the bad mustache. Also picked up was giant Australian monster DT Jesse Williams and nine other dudes who I’m not really writing about because I haven’t paid enough attention to them. Did I mention the devil toddler and 6-month-old?
  • May 28: TE Anthony McCoy, injured in Organized Team Activities, is waived.
  • June 14: Seahawks former starting QB, and former backup QB, Tarvaris Jackson is signed from the Buffalo Bills. Seahawks fans are like “Double-U Tee Eff?!” and “Huh?!” and “Bleep Blop Blorp.”
  • July 29: I, your faithful scribe, celebrate a birthday. This is the most important part of this entire article. Where are my gifts, peasants?
  • July 30: KONZ! I’ll be honest, I just wanted to write that. I, frankly, don’t necessarily get as excited about this freak-athlete-but-not-so-stellar-football-player in TE Jameson Konz, who was then converted to linebacker, who is now apparently taking snaps as a tight end again because all of our tight ends are apparently made of fine china.
  • July 30: Percy Harvin breaks his own news that he will have hip surgery for a torn labrum. It’s something in your hip. You know: the hip bone’s connected to the … thigh bone. The thigh bone’s connected to the delicious dark meat on the turkey. And so on. It’s science. This day in Harvin Hip Watch is collectively known amongst fans as “Harvinacolypse.” Many shops were looted and many dogs were eaten. It was a dark day.
  • August 1: And so here we are, the day I’m writing this helpful recap for you. Head Coach Pete Carroll has reported this day –- a day after the Seahawks refused to have him meet with local media and instead went on the NFL Network for an interview of literally 29 seconds on Harvin – that the $65 million wide receiver (costing us $2.5 million in 2013 folks, calm down) had a good surgery and is now on a road to recovery in which the team is “hoping” he is able to come back this season.

With or without Harvin, I fervently believe the Seahawks are a team that can easily go 13-3, take the division and bring Seattle its first Super Bowl. Thinking anything less for a team that went to the divisional round of the playoffs with a 5’10” rookie quarterback in 2012 makes you look like an asshat.

The Seahawks are absolutely better in so many ways than they were last year. Our quarterback has a year under his belt. Our defense – which was insanely good last year –  got even better adding ALL THE PASS RUSHERS. Golden Tate, by all accounts, is poised for a star season at wide receiver. And Doug Baldwin so far still has all his teeth. I haven’t even mentioned All-Pro Stanford Graduate Richard Sherman (he mentions himself enough, I think, in this hilarious MMQB piece).

Hang on, 12th Man. We’ve only got a week.

Richard Sherman is……

Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman (25) talks with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 24-23. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman (25) talks with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 24-23. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

For me, the thirst for Seahawks victories consumed most of my late teens and have continued into my late 30’s.

I’ll be completely honest here, I’m a football purist. I loved Coach Holmgren’s approach because I always felt the best way to win was to have a team that was assembled with a few things in mind.

1. Talent
2. Character (Not Characters)
3. Competitive fire to be great

Matt Hasselbeck, Bobby Engram, and Walter Jones-to name a few-embodied that image and came painfully close to what would have been the most satisfying Superbowl victory I could have ever dreamed.

But they failed, and with that failure the Holmgren era slowly eroded into oblivion and the Seahawks fell back to earth..hard.

I know, this is old news, but I need to you to understand the lens I see “the perfect team” through.

Enter Pete Carroll and his strong sense of “why” that permeates the Seahawks organization at every level. Compete, Compete, Compete is paramount, and this approach has done amazing things for this franchise.

Players on this current Seahawks roster meet or exceed two of my personal prerequisites for team success, but there’s a sticking point.

Character vs characters..

I will never judge anyone without walking in their shoes first. But unwillingness to pass personal judgement does not mean that I’m blind to the distractions that this recent Seahawks team is experiencing and the player that brings the most of that to the forefront is Richard Sherman.

From his alleged and overturned PED issue, to the embarrassing ratings grabbing interview Skip Bayless suckered him into on national TV, to the consistent over the top trash talk, like it or not, Sherman has become the face of the Seattle Seahawks.

The big market media wouldn’t have it any other way.

Funny thing is, I’m a HUGE fan of Sherman. His abilities on the football field are – in my opinion – unmatched in the NFL. His play alters the sleeping patterns of opposing coaching staffs and his physicality demoralizes the majority of receivers.

However, the Seahawks need a lot less Richard Sherman bloviating on NFL network and ESPN, and waaaay more Russell Wilson being well…Russell Wilsonish.

We have one of the best leaders in the NFL who could be one of the best QBs in time that -next to Sherman- is completely overshadowed outside of Seattle. I have a big problem with that and also know how lucky we are to have a talent like Sherman on the roster.. Conflict much?

So I’m curious to hear what you think…Vote, and then I’d love to read your thoughts in the comment section below.

Quick thoughts after Seattle’s 28-7 Blowout of the Jets

(Courtesy AP)

Well that was fun wasn’t it?

This game further proved the point that the Jets are a mess as an organization, and the Seahawks are really good at home. Something everyone already knew.

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has shown so much maturity in the last several weeks it is really astounding. From his savvy pocket manipulation-to his ability to maintain proper eye level as he escapes pressure-the growth is a great sign for this young Seattle Seahawks squad.

Golden Tate… This man is fun to watch when his head is on straight. It’s games like this you almost forget why people have complained about him. Playmaker is his role, and Sunday he filled it in stellar fashion despite the ugly throwing motion, and reckless ball carrying skills.

The Seahawks defense has also been a joy to watch but need this bye week to regroup. I think fatigue and K.J Wright’s injury has led to some run fit break downs and this break gives the team time to get refreshed for the playoff push. Yes, I said playoffs.

Bruce Irvin is proving to be really good at one thing, and that one thing is getting to the QB. Bruce Irvin’s 7 sacks places him atop the rookie pass rushing mountain top and is a testament to Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley‘s ability to utilize Irvin in the right situations. Just imagine how good he’ll be when he learns how to play at the NFL level. Scary.

For the Jets, the writing is on the wall. They are not doing anything well on the offensive side of the ball and the blame is on a select few. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano has installed a gimmick filled scheme and refuses to allow Mark Sanchez to play with a rhythm.

Tim Tebow should either start, play running back, or hold a clipboard. This QB swap approach is killing the Jets season by taking valuable practice time away from the Jets base offense.

Mark Sanchez is a rattled mess. Nothing he does looks purposeful of confident. This has permeated the entire offense. Time after time the Jets either failed at the QB position or the receivers failed the QB. Vicious cycle.

Going to be a long season for the Jets.

Stats that tell the tale:

Total Yards:
Seahawks: 355
Jets: 185
First downs:
Seahawks: 20
Jets: 11
3rd Down Conversions:
Seahawks: 5-14
Jets: 2-11
QB Comparison:
Russell Wilson: 11-17 177 yards, 2 TDs
Mark Sanchez: 9-22 124 yards, 1 INT
Turnovers:
Seahawks: 2
Jets: 3
Defensive Sacks:
Seahawks: 3
Jets: 4

Game balls:

Russell Wilson, Golden Tate, Richard Sherman, Alan Branch, Marshawn Lynch, Max Unger and of course Bruce Irvin.

Enjoy the bye week everyone!

Another frustrating loss for the Seahawks in Detroit (Sam’s Visceral Reaction Week 8)

Presswire

It feels like a first world problem that the Seattle Seahawks are 4-4 to end the first half of the season with wins against the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys.

But here we are Twelves, forlorn and seeking the light after another road game loss — and the second loss in a row — this time against a Detroit Lions team that gave up 44 points to the Tennessee Titans in an overtime loss. This season is about as uncomfortable as a masseuse who just found out he’ll be working knots out of the back of John Travolta.

So much went right this game, and any other day it may have been a win. When your team, however, is going up against  Matthew Stafford — second only to Tom Brady for passing attempts this season, third in passing yards per game and fourth in overall yardage at 2,108 — it takes more than just a great offensive road game.

The Seahawks’ losses this year are more frustrating than many in the last few to me. We’re winning games that few believed we could and giving up sad road losses to teams that basically everyone believed we shouldn’t. There doesn’t appear to be much consistency with this team, particularly with out losses. If the defense has a stellar day, the offense lays an egg. If the offense starts to shine, the defense falters. Perhaps the only thing that seems consistent is that our coaching appears to be poor in 2012. And it appears aligned with the inconsistency on either side of the ball.

I’m a complete laymen when it comes to understanding coverages, but here are my very rudimentary observations: During games against the Packers and Cowboys our defense played a ton of man coverage it seemed, frustrating quarterbacks who had few options, getting sacks and laying huge hits on receivers. On a few of our losses, at least, we see the secondary playing zone coverage, off players and providing tons of space between themselves and the opposing receiver. This is a call from the defensive coaching staff.

With large cornerbacks in Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, the modus operandi should be man coverage at the line of scrimmage and a quick smack in the mouth or shoulder pads to stop the wide receivers within the allowable five yards. Letting someone like Wes Welker or Titus Young have space only allows those quick receivers the ability to get open enough for quick slants and downfield bombs after a double move. The more aggressive coverage, lacking in Detroit, worked well against Steve Smith for the Carolina Panthers, for instance.

I’ll admit to being just as entertained as everyone else about Richard Sherman transforming into Optimus Prime for the game against Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, but there was more than one weapon on the field for Stafford Sunday. It showed. The ‘Hawks seemed so focused on that one player.

Conservative defensive playcalling on the road simply feels wrong for this hard-hitting Seahawks team. The type of coverages called today also seemed to impact the ‘Hawks stellar run defense. While the Lions only ran for 84 rush yards, it seemed clear they could have ran for more if they didn’t need Stafford to command passes downfield to catch up. It’s the second week in a row that an opposing offense has found solutions to what was supposed to be one of our greatest strengths.

I’m just so utterly frustrated today because this is not a game the Seahawks should have lost. It’s hard to really even focus and figure out what to say. How do you assess a team with different struggles basically every single week?

The only thing that seems consistent is the baffling calls of our coaching staff. If it’s not conservative offensive play calls in early games because (allegedly) we have a rookie quarterback, it’s conservative defensive calls against a very good Lions quarterback.

And where the hell is that pass rush pressure we brought against Tom Brady, Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers? How can we have a response to those guys but not the Lions?

This is not the type of game the Seahawks should lose. Many are seeing a ton of positive in the fact that the Seahawks have five home games in the final eight. That’s all well and good but we’ll need more than winning those five home games to make it to the playoffs, likely. Our playoff chances got very slim after today.

I should end here with a few silver linings (and then I’m off to kick a puppy or steal candy from a baby. Or both):

– Marshawn’s 77-yard touchdown run was the longest run of his career.

– Russell Wilson had a great game with 236 yards, two TDs and one INT. He had a passer rating of 96.8 and an ESPN QBR of 93.7.  That ESPN rating is supposed to help better state the “clutch” plays of a quarterback to help lead toward a win. Wilson did everything in his power today to get that win.

– Wilson spread the ball out and had nine receivers with catches.

– Golden Tate generally had a redeeming game catching all seven of his targets for 64 yards. One minor complaint within this silver lining: On several catches he ended up running backwards or spinning to negate some of the yardage he’d gained, including losing a first down he would have had due to forward progress if he’d simply have stopped his feet. For the record, Tate also lost a fumble, too.

– The Seahawks had only two penalties for 10 yards.

Match Up Focus: Patriots vs Seahawks

The New England Patriots bring their number one offense to the Pacific Northwest to face off against the Seattle Seahawks and young and physical number one defense.

Something has to give right?

For average NFL football fans this is a must watch game for the offense vs defense match up alone. For Seattle fans, this is the biggest test for Pete Carroll‘s young and physical defensive unit in 2012.

Hype vs reality, there’s just no way of getting around it.

Important statistics (courtesy of NFL.com):

Patriots Rank Seahawks Rank
Offense   1 Offense   27
Passing  10 Passing   31
Rushing   3 Rushing    7
Defense  20 Defense    1
Passing  29 Passing    4
Rushing   8 Rushing    3

Key to the game: Progress in the Pocket

Russell Wilson took a step in the right direction last week vs the Panthers. My biggest concern thus far has been his inability to find the confidence to climb the pocket to avoid pressure. Too often his first impulse is to feel pressure (real or imagined) and bail to the right to clear his vision.

Last week he showed me signs that this tendency can be coached out of him. Most of his throws came from sound fundamentals in the pocket and as he stepped up, so did his accuracy. He has a long way to go, but its a nice step forward.

Wilson will need more of that against the confusing Patriots defense. While not a power house defensive unit, the Patriots will no doubt try to force Wilson to fall back on bad habits in the pocket with blitzes and pressure schemes that plug the A-gap throwing lanes and perhaps even the backside B-gap.

This cuts his route progression read down to half the field and it makes playing defense very easy. If he can fight the urge to bail under pressure, there may be big opportunities down the field on Sunday.

I’m predicting a boom or bust type of game here.

Key to the game: Keep the chains moving

Key Matchup: Russell Wilson’s pocket fundamentals vs Patriots front 7

For all the talk about about the Patriots offense vs the Seahawks defense, the biggest thing that will affect the outcome of the game is Seattle’s ability to convert on 3rd down and keep the ball out of the hands of Tom Brady.

[The Patriots have allowed a 44 percent completion rate on 3rd down, and that is the one area the Seahawks offense must exploit on Sunday.]

The Patriots do not have a stellar defense (29th against the pass, 8th against rush) but it is good enough to bother the Seahawks anemic 27th ranked offense.

If Seattle get’s bogged down with predictable play-calling and Russell Wilson regresses inside the pocket, it may be a very frustrating day.

Bottom line: More Seahawks offense means a fresh and aggressive Seahawks defense. It also means more pressure on the Patriots to perform in an extremely loud environment with far fewer offensive snaps.

12th Man, get ready.

Key to the game: Force the Patriots to show their hand

As you’ve already read and heard repeatedly, New England boasts the number one ranked offense. What you may not know is that the Patriots are doing it with incredible balance.

Per NFL.com the breakout looks like this:

Rushing attempts: 191

Passing attempts: 185

This is not the Tom Brady to Randy Moss Patriots from years ago. This team has become completely unpredictable and that makes them very dangerous.

For Seattle, the front four must control the line of scrimmage, stop the new found running success, and force the Patriots into predictable down and distances e.g., 2nd long, 3rd long. This will be critical against the Patriots high tempo offense.

Key Matchup: Patriots’ Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski vs the Seahawks underneath coverage.

Bottom Line: Predictable Patriots mean exposed Patriots, and Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin sack dances.

Key to the game: Special Teams Field position

The Seahawks kick off and punt team have been very good this year in return coverage and will need to force the Patriots offense into long field situations.

Failure to do so in this area could be disastrous to the Seahawks game plan.

Key to the game: Winning the chess game with Bill Belichick

Obviously, football is a game of adjustments. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick may just be one of the toughest coaches in the NFL to deal with from a game plan perspective.

There is nothing that will hurt the Seahawks more than allowing Belichick’s schemes to confuse Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. In my opinion, this is paramount.

The Seahawks may not have time for Carroll’s famous second half adjustments.

Carroll, and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell need to keep the Seahawks unpredictable and the Patriots defense as vanilla as possible to get the win.

How you ask?

The Seahawks must keep the tempo high with quick play calls, and even quicker substitutions. Delays here will hurt. Allowing Wilson and the Seahawks offense to get in and out of the huddle quickly will establish a rhythm and keep the Patriots substitutions limited.

The 12th Man and Seahawks defense will do its part against the Tom Brady led Patriots offense, but has to get help from the other side of the ball.

Hopefully for Seattle, Pete Carroll is up to the task.

Seahawks D Continues to Impress Despite Lackluster Offense (Sam’s Visceral Reaction Week 5)

 

(Photo: Bob Leverone, AP)

Seahawks rookie QB Russell Wilson picked a good time to have a basically solid performance during a week when many fans were (and probably some still are) calling for his head in a 16-12 win over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

But despite the dubya and an as-expected intergalactically-stellar performance from the Seahawks defense, there clearly is still much-needed improvement for the ‘Hawks offense that must happen.

Wilson had his best performance of the regular season so far with 221 passing yards and a touchdown, though a bit marred by an interception for a Panthers touchdown. By a dude named Captain Munnerlyn. I mean, seriously, if a guy picks you off and runs back a pick 6, and it sounds like he should be starring in his own Saturday morning kids special, there is a problem.

Sidebar: How high exactly do you think that man’s parents were when he came into this world?

On the Twittersphere many a folk were playing the “Nitpick Our Short Quarterback Game” by pointing out every single missed pass and what they felt should have been done differently. It’s baffling to me that people think they have the same vantage point as any players on the turf when all we see generally are sky box side views of the game. Of course you’re going to see someone open more often than the quarterback, no matter his height.

Despite Wilson’s solid showing, however, the Seahawks continue to have several major deficiencies, and this win only further highlighted those issues. The negative attributes should be concerning for any fan, most especially considering how middling of a defense the Carolina Panthers have. They’re basically ranked in the bottom 10 of every defensive category there is. Not only could we hardly touch them in the early part of the game in the red zone, we didn’t even use Lynch or rookie RB Robert Turbin very efficiently considering the Panthers have been giving up more than 134 yards rushing on average per game.

The Seahawks were held to under 100 yards total today. Yes, Beast Mode’s 85 yards on 20 carries is still damn good, and he remained second in the league in total yardage, but this should have been an even better game for him.

I attribute this to a rather lackluster performance by the offensive line, which hasn’t been that bad this season in run plays. As a matter of fact, that’s where they’ve stood out generally.

Both the defense and offense had absolutely stupid penalties today, and I’m about to be a rich man by selling “Bench Breno” T-shirts because No. 68 Giacomini can’t seem to stop himself from getting penalized. Some will say at least one penalty was due to reputation and it shouldn’t have been called. I would say that if he hadn’t gotten that reputation in the first place it wouldn’t have been called. You have to know that the locked out refs would be taking notes every single weekend, watching who was playing dirty and preparing to throw extra flags on those guys to whip everyone back into shape after the debacle that was the replacement referees. Whether Breno did it or not, he earned that reputation, and now he must live with it. He needs to cool down. Benching him was a good call, but he might need to not start next game, period.

Giacomini wasn’t the only one with some stupid penalties today. Not even sixth-ranked sack master Chris Clemons could avoid a roughing the passer call by pushing Panthers QB Newton too late after a throw was made.

Back to the red zone: The Seahawks continue to simply have very few answers to red zone scoring. Two first-half opportunities were squandered and again the team settled for field goals, going into halftime up on Carolina 6-3. Horrifying.

Thankfully the Panthers coaching staff is in no way as elite as that of the Green Bay Packers, who made some amazing halftime adjustments two weeks ago. I was truly concerned going into the final half of the game Carolina would have Cam Newton running all over the place, but it just didn’t happen.

Deserved Kudos

As usual, Seattle’s defense deserves the game ball for an amazing performance. Newton was sacked four times, the final hit coming from rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin who tallied a sack and a stripped ball that defensive tackle Alan Branch fell on to finalize the game. Rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner also had an awesome performance with 1.5 sacks.

But probably the turning point of the game came on a strip by cornerback Brandon Browner on Carolina RB DeAngelo Williams (who has just a very, very gentle smile, based on the commercials I saw during the game). Browner also had a goal line tackle that shut the Panthers out of a potentially game-winning score.

So, a win is a win is a win, right? Not with the New England Patriots coming to Century Link Field next week. Having the second best defense in the NFL right now means nothing if the offense can’t put up some points. The Patriots are a top 10 rushing defense right now, but ranked 29th in receiving allowing nearly 300 yards per game. Let’s hope today’s QB performance by Wilson was a warm-up for next week.

He’ll need it.

Now I’m off to fire up my press for those “Bench Breno” T-shirts. Who wants in on this?

 

Seahawks Decide Tied for Last in Division is Cool (Sam’s Visceral Reaction Week 4)

Photo: Tom Gannam / AP

It’d be easy enough for this entire reaction blog post here to simply be me typing in all-caps just one big, long curse word and hitting submit. I should do that, because the amount of effort that would take is about as much as the Seahawks put in against a team like the St. Louis Rams. I’ll hold off on that, but I’m sure there will still be some blue language here.

The game was a frustrating loss and continued to keep questions about rookie quarterback Russell Wilson‘s long-term viability as a starter front and center. Perhaps what’s worse, however, is that it’s at times unclear if the issues the ‘Hawks offense is having is because of QB play, because of the line collapsing in like a dying star, because the receivers don’t have the ability to get open down field or the coaching.

Perhaps it’s all those things.

This week, coach Pete Carroll made claims that he has called for a conservative offense because he is having a rookie QB helm the ship.

It’s mind-boggling that is the tact of a coach who allegedly believes in his starting quarterback considering the play of some of the other rookie starters out there. Robert Griffin III put up another huge game in Week 4 against Tampa Bay (or as I like to call them, the St. Louis Rams of the NFC South) with 323 passing yards, 43 rushing yards on seven carries for a TD. Miami’s Ryan Tannehill dropped 431 passing yards on the stout Arizona Cardinals defense. Cleveland Brown’s rookie QB Brandon Weeden tossed 320 yards over the Baltimore Ravens. Both Miami and Cleveland lost this week, and they’ve got their own issues, but the point here is that there is a huge difference in what appears to be the faith of the coaching staff of those teams versus the Seattle Seahawks. Pete Carroll can say whatever he wants to the media, but what we’re seeing on the field seems different.

What has me the most pissed off this week is that we simply should not have lost this game. It wasn’t the damned fake field goal (though if I hear a Fox announcer say “trickeration” ever again I’m going to kick a puppy) or even the three interceptions Wilson threw (they didn’t, largely, appear to be fully his fault).

I’m angry our coaching staff appears to simply not believe in the person they’ve asked to lead this team.

Today we saw some great flashes from Wilson in the first drive of the game. The quarterback was able to zip some passes to wide receiver Sidney Rice and our ground game was superb. When the Rams brought pressure, he got out of it and it was clear climbing the pocket wasn’t the answer.

After that, everything seemed to falter. Red zone touchdown scoring simply doesn’t exist for the franchise right now. The offensive line doesn’t have any inkling as to what pass protection seems to mean. Russell Wilson does not have the ability to climb the pocket and appears to have some type of fetish for the scrambling boot leg (including loss of yardage while being tackled in the backfield).

Today’s game made it hard not to think that Wilson’s height really has a large impact on his ability to make plays, most especially when his line fails him in protection and closes throwing windows. If he were taller would he be able to get the ball to wide open tight end Zach Miller at the two yard line?

It’s just very hard to know where exactly the offensive failure is right now.

I’ll tell you where it’s not, though: The failure sure as hell isn’t our running game. Beast Mode Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin (aka Turbo) are the shining stars of the offense. If Turbin had been given the 20 snaps Lynch did, he could have had 150 rushing yards today based on his pace. Marshawn, too, was extremely effective in his runs, including an 18-yard Skittles Scramble (that’s trademarked)  for a TD on the first drive.

But the Seahawks simply cannot rely on only the running game to win. What’s baffling is that, with such a successful ground game, the passing game should be all the more successful. And, yet, when Wilson is back to pass it’s like a different team is playing.

Frankly I better end this now. I’m so frustrated this week I’m not even sure where to go with this. Just a few quick snippet thoughts and then I’m going to mic drop and go eat some apple pie:

1) Despite how pissed I am, Wilson should still start. He needs better coaching support, better play from receivers and damned better pass protection. Let’s face it, we’re still 2-2. I don’t know that Matt Flynn would have fared any better and frankly Wilson has a far better chance of escaping when our offensive line plays like shit, which seems to be the norm right now on passing plays. I’ll change my tune quickly if I don’t see some changes at QB, however.

2) The left side of the line with Russell Okung and James Carpenter was great today in run blocking.

3) Bench Breno Giacomini. Two after-whistle unsportsmanlike penalties for 15 yards each are unacceptable. Period. During Carroll’s post-game press conference he attributed it to Giacomini playing the full play or some such shittery. Bullshit. When the whistle blows, stop playing. You’re hurting your team. And I’m going to kick a puppy.

4) Our defensive secondary are clearly stronger when they jam at the line. Zone coverage is a weak spot. Getting burned by the Rams really showed it, and really, really hurt.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. Next week we face a high-flying offense run by second-year star and big-ass cry baby Cam Newton over at the Carolina Panthers.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find a puppy.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,213 other followers

%d bloggers like this: