Football fanatic, former coach, and obsessive blogger. Proud member of the Seahawks 12thManNation. Follow him on twitter @12thManScribe
Will has written 73 posts for The Matchups Zone

Blue Friday Match up Focus: The Jacksonville Jaguars

Photo courtesy of the blog.thenewstribune.com

The Legion Of Boom should be souring on Sunday
Photo courtesy of the blog.thenewstribune.com

Sunday, September 22, 2013 – 4:25 pm ET
CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.

When the Seahawks host the Jaguars this weekend there are only three things that could possibly stop them from victory.

1. A complete and total mental collapse in front of the 12th Man.
2. A potential point shaving scandal. (19.5 Vegas…really?)
3. One of the most miraculous underdog stories you’ll see in the NFL this year.

So now that I’ve established that I think this game is more like a high school homecoming game than an actual NFL match up and totally blown the suspense…let’s move on..

When the Seattle Seahawks have the ball:

1. Pass protection. JR Sweezy is one of my favorite run blockers on this Seahawks team. Those who follow me on Twitter or Vine can attest to my love affair with JR. What he brings to the running game is so so valuable to the Seahawks offense, however he’s consistently over matched one on one in pass protection. Any man over plus perceived A gap pressure causes confusion/hesitation and he is on the receiving end of most of the contact. Inconsistent punch, and uncertainty leads to bad things in protection folks. Russell Okung‘s absence on Sunday will put added pressure on Sweezy to improve or that weaknesses may be just the equalizer the Jacksonville Jaguars need to make this game slightly more intriguing.

2. Russell Wilson‘s accuracy. It started in preseason as a noticeable issue and it seems to have continued into the regular season. Russell’s accuracy is just not where it was at the end of the year. Which is surprising to me considering how fundamentally sound he can be. In the preseason it was high throw after high throw. In the regular season it’s been a mixed bag of high throws late throws and missed opportunities. I’m still not sure you can place blame on any one person here and more likely, a combination platter of blame should be shared by Wilson, the receivers, the poor protection, and Darrell Bevell. I’m in no way pushing the panic button but it is something that I think is fair to note. Russell Wilson is human folks. Let’s hope the Jags can be the sun to our Superman.

3. Running back pass protection problems. Again, not a huge issue but one I think needs to be highlighted. With Pro bowler Russell Okung out at left tackle it is imperative that the running backs and pass protection scheme take this into account. I just didn’t like the way The Seahawks protected the left side of the line during critical parts of the game against the San Francisco 49ers. Whether it was poorly executed chips or misreads by the running back, Russell Wilson had way too much pressure on him in critical moments.

4. Lack of production from the tight end position. Going into the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Zach Miller has only 64 yards receiving total. Now no one expects Zach Miller to become a fantasy stat monster, but I would’ve hoped at this point the Seahawks would’ve utilized him a little more. With the offense sputtering and protection problems on the horizon, it just seems to me that a tight end should be the quarterback’s best friend. Please play matchmaker Darrell Bevell..please?

Now to the Jacksonville Jaguars:

First let’s start off with weaknesses.. They have a ton. But I admire the job Gus Bradley has done by keeping his team motivated despite the huge talent gap.

When the Jaguars have the ball:

1. The battle in the trenches. When I watched tape of the Jaguars against Raiders the one thing stuck out to me was how the Raiders defense lived in the Jaguars back field. It was almost as though the Raiders knew the snap count. I don’t think we’ll see a drop off in pressure considering the venue and the attacking style of the Seahawks. (Paging Chris Clemons, Michael Bennett, and Chris Avril. Please report to the white courtesy phone shaped like Chad Henne)

More specifically, the Jaguars seem to have a lot of trouble in the A gap of their protection schemes. Actually their guard and center play has been awful. Look for the Seahawks to sugar/pressure the A gap as much as possible and force the Jaguars to account for possible/imminent pressure. From what I saw from the Raiders game tape they don’t handle that well and play crushing pressure was the result.

2. Who will be”the guy” for the Jags offense? As far as the skill positions go there isn’t a single player wearing the bizarre Jaguars color scheme that scares me. Honestly when I watch tape, look at this roster and subsequent stats, no one jumps out as an individual defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will have to slant the game plan towards.

Before we go any further I just have to comment on the Jaguars quarterback situation…ADD Moment:

Blaine Gabbert is one lucky man and I really feel bad for Chad Henne. This game could potentially be one of the worst in his career and that’s saying something. From crowd noise to defensive pressure to a porous offensive line, he’s in for a very very very very long day (I probably didn’t use “very” enough there). Couple that with a hobbled Maurice Jones-Drew and receivers that will not be able to get free against the likes of Richard Sherman, Brandan Browner and Walter Thurmond, this is going to be bad..I honestly see no way that Chad gets the ball in the hands of his play makers on a consistent basis. The Legion of boom might just have a wonderful day. Fantasy alert folks.

Potential Seahawks stars of the game:

1. DE/DL Michael Bennett. Bennett has been on a tear this entire season and I don’t anticipate that slowing down for Sunday. His ability to pressure from every position on the defensive line makes him almost unstoppable. I can’t say for sure if he will receive a lot of tangible stats but I do know that his presence opens things up for other players. He is quietly become one of the most important players on the Seahawks’ defensive front.

2. RB Marshawn Lynch. The Jaguars allow 173.5 yards a game on the ground. That’s good enough for 31st in the NFL only slightly edging out the Washington Redskins who are a complete dumpster fire on defense. This may be Lynch’s breakout game early in 2013.

3. The Legion of boom. The Jaguars average 5 yards an attempt in the passing game. Five. That’s good enough for dead last in the NFL. The Jaguars will no doubt try to get the ball out fast to avoid pressure and that’s when this amazing secondary will feast on the short crossers, slants, and flat concepts. Could get ugly fast.

Top 10 things I hope I see on Sunday.

10. Golden Tate heavily involved in the passing game.
9. A Walter Thurmond pick six.
8. A Christine Michael sighting.
7. A vastly improved JR Sweezy.
6. The real Russell Wilson.
5. A multiple sack game from the Seahawk’s front seven.
4. Chris Clemons
3. No more injuries.
2. More and more KJ Wright defensive goodness.


1. A big fat “W” and a 3-0 record.

Go Hawks! Talk to you all on Sunday!


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.

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.

Seahawks Decide Against Bringing Thier Talents to Miami

Courtesy (AP)

Oh boy,

This game was a huge disappointment for Seattle. From defensive containment issues, to poor play calling on both the defensive and offensive side of the ball the result was hard to swallow.

This puts the playoffs into the dream category for Seattle, and puts tremendous pressure on the Pete Carroll regime to finish the season strong.

There’s a difference between flash and substance and the Seahawks have plenty of flash. It’s the substance that is keeping them from winning games they must win. The Seahawks need to find some middle ground in this area.

Russell Wilson: 21-27 yards, 2 TDs 125.9 Passer rating.

Wilson was everything for the Seahawks offense today. From his 21-27 224 yards, and 2 TDs, to his 38 clutch yards on the ground. The blame for this debacle can not be placed on Wilson at all. He was main reason game was close.

Seahawks offense: Points: 14 (Passing: 216 Rushing: 96) Lynch with only 46 yards.

The Seahawks game plan was abysmal.  The offensive line was man handled in the run game and the result was a total destruction of what the Seahawks were trying to do. The Dolphins were ready for the inside zone, play action, and crossing routes. Russell Wilson was  pretty much the lone bright spot today.

Note: I’m not ignoring the amazing Golden Tate catch.

Seahawks Defense: Allowed: 24 points, 435 Yards (Rushing: 189 Passing: 246)

The Seahawks did a good enough job for the majority of the game in every aspect. Time and time again the defensive line collapsed the pocket and forced quick throws by Ryan Tannehill. Reggie Bush (87 yards, 1 TD) was a minimal factor, but when they lost contain he burnt them badly including the crucial TD run. Something I talked about in my game preview.

However, later on in the game, the Seahawks looked worn down and continually went to a soft underneath zone. When pressure stopped getting close it allowed Tannehill to pick them apart. Very confusing game plan late to say the least. This was just another example of late game fizzles.

Special Teams:

Leon Washington‘s NFL record 8th kick return for a touchdown came at a great time. Credit to the kick return team for giving him a huge one-cut hole and nothing but green grass to the end zone. Jon Ryan was great again today and the punt and kick off teams came to play.

Coaching: 10 for 59 crucial yards.

Penalties, Penalties, and more penalties. These were killers for sure, but the biggest issue from a coaching standpoint was the refusal to utilize speed in the running game. The Dolphins are one of the better teams in the league at stopping inside runs yet the play calling stubbornly forced that very thing all day. Where was the creativity and adjustments after halftime? Why not try some outside zone with Leon Washington at least once? Why not give the Spread zone option more of a chance? We may never know.

From a defensive stand point, the decision to play soft underneath zones even when the pressure wasn’t getting home was baffling and I believe it cost Seattle the game in the end. Very disappointing loss in what is probably the nail in the Seahawks playoff coffin.

With remaining road games at Chicago and Toronto, the Seahawks will be kicking themselves for today’s debacle. Going two for two will be tough.

What are your thoughts on todays loss? Comment below and let’s discuss!

Sunday Matchup Focus: Seahawks vs Dolphins

Halip/Getty Images

Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami
Time: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Team Records: Seahawks (6-4); Dolphins (4-6)

The Seahawks, fresh of their much-needed bye week, head to Miami to face a struggling Dolphins team in what I consider a must-win game for Seattle’s playoff aspirations.

At 6-4, the Seahawks need to find a way to get 10 or more victories in what is turning out to be a tight NFC West race to the top with the San Francisco 49ers. If the Seahawks can’t take the division the 10-plus win goal should put them in the playoffs as a wild card team. But to do so Seattle must shake off their horrendous road record and win one or two on the road to finish the year.

For the Dolphins, a rested and hungry Seahawks team is the exact opposite of what they need right now. During their current three-game losing streak, the team has begun to show signs of imploding under positive expectations brought on by some unexpected early season success.

Keys to the game: Russell Wilson

1. Manage the game. The Seahawks may be facing a team with issues but one thing they do well is rush the passer and stuff the run. Miami pass rusher Cameron Wake is going to be an issue for Seattle all day long if Russell Wilson doesn’t get the Seahawks into manageable down and distances with savvy checks at the line of scrimmage. Wilson must diagnose and get the Seahawks into the right play or he’ll be in trouble.

2. Expose Dolphins coverage. Miami Cornerback Nolan Carroll has struggled mightily this season and should be ripe for another beating. Russell Wilson would be smart to find Carroll and target him until he proves it’s not a good idea.

Bottom Line: Wilson doesn’t have to be a beast for the Seahawks to win, he just needs to be careful with the ball and smart with his reads. Football doesn’t have to be hard, just find the matchup to exploit and go after it.

Keys to the game: Seahawks offense

1. Find daylight. The Seahawks are well-rested and that’s a good thing. The Dolphins boast a run defense that prides itself with shutting down the run. That just happens to be what the Seahawks like to do most. Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks offensive line must fire out, and get movement on the Miami defensive front early on or it will have to be the Russell Wilson show.

 2. Screen game. The Seahawks have shown that they can utilize the screen game and have success and this game may require it. What they must avoid is relying on the receiver “alley” screen and try to add running back screens in the mix. The last thing the Dolphins want is Marshawn Lynch on the outside with a head of steam.

3. Avoid turnovers. Road game failures usually come down to mental errors and the Seahawks seem to struggle with those away from Seattle. If the Seahawks can play error-free football this Dolphins team may crack under the pressure. Not doing so gives the Dolphins hope.

Keys to the game: Defense

1. Pressure. I’ve been saying for a while that the Seahawks late bye week was going to be rough for the defense. They have been asked to carry this team for the better part of the season and over the past few games the wear and tear had begun to show. This had a direct effect on the amount of pressure they could muster. With the Seahawks injury free and well rested, look for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to dial-up pressure and force Miami’s rookie QB Ryan Tannehill to fold under it.

Easy Pressure Target: Miami RT Jonathan Martin

2. Contain, Contain, Contain. Reggie Bush causes problems for teams because of his ability to bounce inside runs to the outside and beat contain to the corner. Seattle must play to the whistle and wrap and drive this man to the ground. When he bounces, the linebackers must be there to funnel Bush back into the teeth of the defense. If Reggie Bush gets free, he will put up yardage in bunches.

3. Avoid Penalties. Avoiding turnovers is paramount for road teams, but right up there on the list is penalties. When you play a team that struggles on offense like the Dolphins have been, you can’t extend their drives with mental errors. If the Seahawks play tough and clean this game should be decided by the third quarter.

Keys to the game: Special teams

1. Field position. This might be the biggest key for Seattle. If Seahawks stud punter Jon Ryan gets the opportunity to punt, his leg could be the difference in the game. The Dolphins are not designed to march up and down the field and pinning them deep gives the Seahawks offense even more opportunities to put points on the board.

Keys to the game: Coaching staff

1. Preparation. When you have two weeks to study yourself as well as your upcoming opponent the fact is there is no excuse for a poor game plan. Head coach Pete Carroll and staff must develop a plan of attack that exposes the Dolphins many offensive weaknesses.

2. Tempo.  For many reasons, the Seahawks rank near the bottom of the league on offense but Darrell Bevell plays a part on game day. Quick play calling means quicker huddles and more time for Russell Wilson to diagnose looks at the line of scrimmage.

3. Be multiple. At this point the NFL knows what the Seahawks are. They are a powerful inside zone running team led by a savvy rookie QB and an elite level defense who specializes in coverage, run stuffing and pressure.

On offense, the coaching staff must not allow players such as DE Cameron Wake and DT Randy Starks to disrupt with their penetration and must do so by varying their play calling. Balance equals unpredictable.

On defense, Gus Bradley must ensure the one big Miami weapon never sees a clear lane to run and pays for attempts to bounce outside with several Seahawks defenders waiting to lay the hit.

Bottom Line: This is a game the Seahawks should win despite their past issues on the road and considering the playoff implications, they’d better.

Prediction: Seahawks 21-13

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
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!

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.

2011 Seattle Seahawks Red Zone Offense..Inside the numbers

EDITORS NOTE: Comprehensive 2011 Red Zone Offensive tendencies from MatchUps Zone contributor @StarvingScout. Enjoy Seahawks fans, I know I did. Great work!



I watched and charted every 2011 Seattle Seahawks Offensive snap in the Red Zone. Below is a

quick breakdown of what I saw by personnel grouping. Disclaimer: I’m an amateur, it was a lot of data,
and I had a small screen so definitely factor in a slight margin of error.

Favorite Play

The Outside Zone Run (or tackle zone) is the Seahawks favorite play by far. It should be
assumed going forward that the Outside Zone is the primary running play in each of the subsequent
personnel groupings. They will run it with a lead blocking Fullback (out of 21, 22, or 23 personnel) or out
of Single-Back sets (in 11 and 12 personnel). Lynch is good at turning this play into a big gain.

11 (Kings) Personnel : 43 Plays (Run-16, Pass-27)

Personnel philosophy Outside/Inside Zone Runs, Vertical Concepts, Primary Target:X Vertical
Formation tendencies 50% of the time they will be in a Trips Set of some type.

50% of the time it will be a Shotgun formation.

5 times they lined up in a Trips Speed formation

All sprint outs look like they are coming out of Kings Gun Trips Near.

11 (Kings) Alternate Y Line-up Locations

Y Off-4 Times

Y Crack-4 Times

Y Wide-4 Times

11 (Kings) Types of Motion with Play in parenthesis

F3 (Bubble)

W-Yoyo (Inside Zone)

W-Deep (F Wheel)

Y (Zone Run, Slant)

Y-Yoyo (Inside Zone)

11 (Kings) Personnel Red Zone Pass Targets

F-Wheel, Screen

W-Slant (lined up wide in Trips sets the other two WRs lined up inside of him run clear out
vertical routes), comeback, bubbles.

X-Fade, vertical

Y-Out, slant, seam

Z- Hitch, curl, bubble

12 (Ace) Personnel 21 Plays (Run-11, Pass-10)
Personnel Philosophy-Horizontal and Three-Level (Flood) Concepts, Zone Runs with U as a
lead/trap blocker, Primary Target(s): Crossing Routes (To both X and U)

12 (Ace) Formation tendencies

The QB is always under center in Ace sets.

50% of the time it is a Trips set

38 % of the time both Tight Ends are lined up next to each other (Wing and Trump).

They don’t line up either Tight End wide in Ace.

12 (Ace) Types of Motion with play in parenthesis:

F2 (U Out)

F3 (U Cross)

U (Zone run)

X (Inside zone)

X behind Z (Flood)

Y-Deep (F Swing)

Y-Yoyo (X Cross)

Z (Z cross, inside run)

12 (Ace) Personnel Red Zone Pass Targets

F-Swing, flare

U-Cross, out

X-Cross, post



21 (Regular) Personnel 20 Plays (Run-15, Pass-5)
Personnel Philosophy-Run First, Inside/Outside Zone Runs, Quick Concept and Play Action
Passes, Primary Target(s): Short passes to Z and H

21 (Regular) Formation tendencies

The QB is under Center 100% of the time

100% of the time it is an I Formation (3 times Off-set I Far)

They don’t split any Running Backs or the Tight End wide.

They will line Lynch up at both H and F.

When Lynch is lined up at F

They will either hand it to Lynch or fake it to him and pitch to H Washington

33% of the time WR in Flip Alignment

21 (Regular) Types of Motion with Play in parenthesis

Y (Zone run)

Z (Delay screen to Z)

21 (Regular) Personnel Red Zone Pass Targets

H-Wheel (to field)

Z-Screens, flag

22 (Tens) Personnel

13 Plays (Run-9, Pass-4)

22 (Tens) Personnel Philosophy-Run First, Outside/Inside Zone Runs, both H and F touch the ball equally

22 (Tens) Formation tendencies

100% of the time it is an I Formation

Both TE aligned to same side (Heavy) 5 times

Y lined up wide one play

Won’t hesitate to run the same Short Yardage play 2 or even 3 times in a row

22 (Tens) Types of Motion with Play in parenthesis

F Off (PA Pass)

U (Z Sluggo, Zone Run)

U Out (U Slant)

22 (Tens) Personnel Red Zone Pass Targets



23 (Jacks) Personnel 2 Plays (Run-1, Pass-1)

This is a short-yardage grouping both plays were run with 1 and 3 yards to gain respectively.
One play was Jacks I Right lead dive with a Tackle eligible. The other play was Jacks I Left pass to FB in

0? (Spread) Personnel 11 Plays (Run-0, Pass-11)
Personnel groupings that fell under this category had no RB in the backfield but on some plays I
could not make out exactly if there were Tight Ends in the formation or not. So in theory they could be
00, 01, 02, 03, personnel but they’ve all been grouped together under this (0?) Category.

0? (Spread) Personnel Philosophy-Vertical/Horizontal Concepts, Intermediate and Deeper Routes,
Primary Target:W

0? (Spread) Types of Motion with Play in Parenthesis-

Z Deep (Z Wheel)

0? (Spread) Personnel Red Zone Pass Targets

U-Out (away from Trips set)

W-Post, trips slant, screen

X-Post, Vertical


Z-Flag, Wheel

Concluding Thoughts and Notes

Kings Personnel is the Seahawks preferred personnel grouping by a wide margin. (It is also their
preferred personnel grouping on all 3rd down plays regardless of field position but I’ll get to 3rd down
plays on another report). They will try and take some vertical shots to the Y just outside of the Red
Zone. They like to throw Bubbles to the 3-WR Side of formations. Sometimes they will manufacture
that 3-WR side by using F3 motion (1 target) or by lining the F out wide (1 target). Late in the season
there was a noticeable trend to target the motion man.

I know that Russell Wilson is starting at QB now so the play calling could change to suit his
strengths. However, NFL Offenses don’t change much from season to season when the same Offensive
Coordinator is in place. Therefore, it would be safe to assume that Darell Bevell’s Red Zone Offense in
2012 will look quite similar to the one detailed in this report. The difference in the 2012 version will
have more to do with whatever Russell Wilson does within plays (favorite targets, throws, or launch
points, etc). I believe that Russell Wilson’s skill-set and leadership will make the Seahawks Red Zone
Offense more effective than it has been before under Darell Bevell. Last but not least, none of this
matters if you don’t tackle Marshawn Lynch. Good luck with that.

Tweet me your criticism, feedback, or suggestions for other Advance Scouting Reports to

Seahawks Preseason Game 3: Offensive Data Stats for Nerds

Okay Seahawks fans,

Here’s a quick look at some of the offensive trends for the Seahawks game 3 performance in Kansas City. If you guys like the data make sure to comment! I’ll do one of these for all regular season games as well as show seasonal trends if the community has a desire for the info.




NOTE: There will be a ton of more useful passing route data once ALL22 is released for regular season. This will allow for passing concept trends..

Deep Right: 22.2%
Deep Middle: 7.4%
Deep Left: 11.1%
Mid Right: 7.4%
Mid Middle: 11.1%
Mid Left: 0.0%
Flat Right: 11.1%
Check Down: 0.0%
Flat Left: 14.8%

Offense QB Pass Drop Ranking Report for Entire Game
Rank  Drop    #Plays     %Plays      
1.        3 Step     16           59.3
2.        PA             6           22.2
3.        5 Step       3           11.1
4.        0 Step       1            3.7
5.        Roll           1            3.7

Personnel Ranking Report for 1st Down & (10 – 10) Yards

Rank     Personnel     #Plays     %Plays
1.               11                   9               39.1
2.               21                   6               26.1
3.               12                   5               21.7
4.               22                   2                 8.7
5.               10                   1                 4.3

Personnel Ranking Report for 2nd Down & (7 – 10+) Yards

Rank     Personnel     #Plays     %Plays
1.             11                       5              62.5
2.             12                       2              25.0
3.              21                      1              12.5

Personnel Ranking Report for 2nd Down & (3 – 6) Yards

Rank     Personnel     #Plays     %Plays
1.             21                       2              50.0
2.             11                       1              25.0
3.             12                       1              25.0

Personnel Ranking Report for 2nd Down & (1 – 2) Yards

Rank     Personnel     #Plays     %Plays
1.                  12                   1              33.3
2.                  21                   1              33.3
3.                  22                   1              33.3

Personnel Ranking Report for 3rd Down & (7 – 10+) Yards

Rank     Personnel     #Plays     %Plays
1.                  11                    5             83.3
2.                  21                    1             16.7

Personnel Ranking Report for 3rd Down & (3 – 6) Yards

Rank     Personnel     #Plays     %Plays
1.                   02                    1            50.0
2.                   10                    1            50.0

Personnel Ranking Report for 3rd Down & (1 – 2) Yards

Rank     Personnel     #Plays     %Plays
1.                   21                   1            100

Game: Offense Formations Ranking Report for Entire Game

Rank     Formation Name     % of Plays    Run %    Avg. Run(yds)    Pass %        Avg. Pass(yds)    
1.                Spread                      23.5            25.0            5.0                     75.0                  10.0
2.            Gun Spread                  17.6            11.1            2.0                     88.9                  12.4
3.          Ace 2TE Bunch               9.8             60.0            3.7                     40.0                  18.5
4.                  Pro I                           7.8             50.0            1.5                     50.0                  24.0
5.             Pro I Twins                    7.8             50.0             5.0                    50.0                   -3.0
6.                  Ace                            7.8             75.0             8.3                    25.0                     1.0
7.            Field Goal                       7.8
8.           Pro I Weak                       5.9          100.0            12.7                    0.0                       0.0
9.           Pro Heavy 2TE B            5.9          100.0              3.7                    0.0                       0.0
10.        Gun Spread Trips            2.0               0.0              0.0                100.0                    11.0
11.           Pro I Strong                    2.0              0.0               0.0                100.0                    25.0
12.          Empty 2TE                      2.0              0.0                0.0                100.0                    -2.0

Runs Ranking Report for Russell Wilson led drives:

Rank      Run Name      #Runs      % Runs      % to Str      Avg(yds)      % Away       Avg(yds)
1.            Inside Zone        13              65.0             61.5            5.6               38.5               7.0
2.            Outside Zone       3              15.0              66.7           5.0                33.3               8.0
3.                 Power               2              10.0            100.0         15.5                  0.0               0.0
4.                  Dive                 1                 5.0            100.0           3.0                  0.0               0.0
5.                 Draw                 1                 5.0                0.0            0.0             100.0               0.0

A quick look at the Seattle Seahawks schedule

Can Russell Be “the guy” for the Seahawks in 2012?
Courtesy U.S Presswire

Going into this pivotal third preseason game against the Chiefs in Kansas City, the Seattle Seahawks first-team offense has yet to gain much offensive traction.

Quarterback carousels, injuries to key starting receivers Doug Baldwin and Sidney Rice, as well the additions of new receivers like Terrell Owens and Braylon Edwards have been a mixed bag of occasional flashes of brilliance yet inconsistent offensive football to date.

One can only hope the decision to start rookie quarterback Russell Wilson in the regular season dress rehearsal will be the calming and galvanizing force needed as the Seahawks prepare for the Arizona Cardinals in 2 weeks.

Just for fun I decided to take a look at 2011 scoring outputs for each opponent we face in 2012 as well as defensive points allowed statistics.

Here is a snap shot of what the Seahawks might face. (Stats in Seahawks favor are highlighted in green).

Seahawks 2011 Offensive Scoring: 20.1 PPG
Seahawks 2011 Defense allowed: 19.7 PPG

Game 1: Arizona Cardinals (John Skelton, Kevin Kolb)
2011 Offensive Scoring:19.5 PPG
2011 Defense allowed: 21.8 PPG

Game 2: Dallas Cowboys (Tony Romo)
2011 Offensive Scoring: 23.1 PPG
2011 Defense allowed: 21.7 PPG

Game 3: Green Bay Packers (Aaron Rodgers)
2011 Offensive Scoring: 35 PPG
2011 Defense allowed: 22.4 PPG

Game 4: St Louis Rams (Sam Bradford)
2011 Offensive Scoring: 12.1 PPG
2011 Defense allowed: 25.4 PPG

Game 5. Carolina Panthers (Cam Newton)
2011 Offensive Scoring: 25.4 PPG
2011 Defense allowed: 26.8 PPG

Game 6. New England Patriots (Tom Brady)
2011 Offensive Scoring: 32.1 PPG
2011 Defense allowed: 21.4 PPG

Game 7. San Francisco 49ers (Alex Smith)
2011 Offensive Scoring: 23.8 PPG
2011 Defense allowed: 14.3 PPG

Game 8. Detroit Lions (Matthew Stafford)
2011 Offensive Scoring: 29.6 PPG
2011 Defense allowed: 24.2 PPG

Game 9. Minnesota Vikings (Christian Ponder)
2011 Offensive Scoring: 21.2 PPG
2011 Defense allowed: 28.1 PPG

Game 10.  New York Jets (Mark Sanchez)
2011 Offensive Scoring: 23.6 PPG
2011 Defense allowed: 22.7 PPG

Game 11. Miami Dolphins (Ryan Tannehill)
2011 Offensive Scoring: 20.6 PPG
2011 Defense allowed: 19.6 PPG

Game 12. Chicago Bears (Jay Cutler)
2011 Offensive Scoring: 22.1 PPG
2011 Defense allowed: 21.3 PPG

Game 13.  Arizona Cardinals (John Skelton, Kevin Kolb)
2011 Offensive Scoring:19.5 PPG
2011 Defense allowed: 21.8 PPG

Game 14. Buffalo Bills (Ryan Fitzpatrick)
2011 Offensive Scoring: 23.2 PPG
2011 Defense allowed: 27.1 PPG

Game 15. San Francisco 49ers (Alex Smith)
2011 Offensive Scoring: 23.8 PPG
2011 Defense allowed: 14.3 PPG

Game 16: St Louis Rams (Sam Bradford)
2011 Offensive Scoring: 12.1 PPG
2011 Defense allowed: 25.4 PPG

Understanding that previous years do not always project future outcomes, It is still interesting to note that the Seahawks face twelve games in which the opposing team had a better scoring offense yet face thirteen games in which their defense has lower defensive points-per-game allowed.

This schedule may be brutal. Facing Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler, Cam Newton, Tony Romo and the 49ers (twice) with lingering questions at QB and receiver will be something to behold.

One thing is for sure….The Seahawks can not afford to waste their great defense by taking a step back offensively in 2012.

BOLD PREDICTION: The Seahawks get through 2012 with a winning record for the first time under Pete Carroll: 9-7

If not the seat under Pete Carroll will get hot quickly.

Pressure is on Coach.


%d bloggers like this: