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Cowboys meet Legion of Boom in Seahawks Home Opener (Sam’s Visceral Reaction Week 2)

 

Otto Greule Jr / Getty Images

Last week Doug Baldwin tweeted he’d need some new teeth after a costly-dropped past in the Seahawks Week 1 loss at the Arizona Cardinals.

Baldwin better let Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee borrow those falsies after getting absolutely here-I-am, rock-you-like-a-hurricaned (Scorpions reference, whaaaaat?) by Hawks receiver Golden Tate in a play that basically summed up how the day went for the ‘boys in a 27-7 loss at Century Link Field.

Frankly, this should have been an even bigger blowout for the Seahawks, but, per the tradition of the last few seasons they got out of the gate rather slow to begin the game. We saw the offensive line continue to struggle, frequently collapsing in to Russell Wilson, hampering his ability to make plays down field. Beast Mode Marshawn Lynch could do very little in the run game, with 10 carries for just 22 yards. I still attribute that to the offensive line. Let’s be fair that in the second half Lynch was able to open it up for 122 yards and a TD overall.

And, yet, through it all, Russell Wilson maintained poise few rookie QBs likely could, ending the half 9-12 with 85 yards and a 94.1 passer rating.

As always, the bright spot of the first half was the Seahawks defense and special teams, with backup linebacker Malcolm Smith blowing up a Cowboys punt that backup strong safety Jeron Johnson would take back for the first Hawks TD of the game.

The Seahawks came out in the second half with necessary adjustments and would end up obliterating a team that took to task the defending World Champion New York Giants in Week 1.

I could post an extremely positive write up here, but I think that wouldn’t be very genuine. The Seahawks have more work to be true contenders and we should have an honest discussion about it. This, you see, is a 12thman Intervention. We love you, Seahawks, but if you keep doing this, you’re going to lose … err … the playoffs?

First, let’s settle on the positive one last second: Kam Chancellor just gave every Cowboys receiver PTSD for the rest of their life; K.J. Wright had a solid game with solid tackling, smart football moves to nearly snag an INT and leading a great linebacker crew; Golden Tate is the meanest little man you’ve ever seen, nearly decapitating Cowboys LB Lee. He avoided two penalties on it – the blind side helmet-led hit as well as the unsportsmanlike for pointing to his name afterward. But the panther crawl he did after the hit was rather sexy. Like a sex panther. It’s illegal in nine countries.

Let’s talk about what needs fixin’, though, shall we:

The offensive line had a solid finish, fixing much of the first-half collapsing and lack of run blocking, but that’s the point: That first half slop needs to stop. The Seahawks need a strong start to go with their extremely strong finishes.

Playcalling: Other than the crafty three tight-end set for a touchdown from Wilson to TE Anthony McCoy, Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell has done very little to show he’s at all innovative or willing to be gutsy on calls. He’s got what head coach Pete Carroll has called a special quarterback and I like to think that’s the star-kind of special and not the paste-eating kind of special. So let the kid make some big plays.

Speaking of Big Play Danger Russ: Wilson has got to work on bringing his throws down. When you over throw 6’6″ tight end Evan Moore, you just might be throwing too high. I’ll chalk that one up to first-half jitters for the rookie, though Wilson likes to say he doesn’t get nerves. Also, I don’t know how you don’t see 6’2″, 240-pound linebacker Bruce Carter, but Wilson threw right at him like he was as invisible as whoever the hell Clint Eastwood was talking to in that chair. That first-half play ended in a field goal instead of seven points for the Seahawks.

And, really, that’s about what I’ve got for today. This was a solid performance, and it’s these little things the Seahawks need to work on. We can all say this was a successful day, but we need those details in order to be successful, annual contenders in both this clearly stronger division (the Cardinals beat the Patriots today, folks, feel better about last week yet?).

I’m excited for Week 3 where we face Green Bay on Monday Night Football. Let’s show the world that we have an even better defense than those 49ers, alright? As Wilson says every press conference:

GO HAWKS!

 

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Wilson solid in Seahawks heart-breaking opener (Sam’s Visceral Reaction Week 1)

Associated Press/Rick Scuteri

In the Twittersphere, the usual bandwagon, fair-weather Seahawks fans who cried out for Charlie Whitehurst last year blew their lungs out clamoring for Matt Flynn after a heart-breaking 20-16 loss against the Arizona Cardinals today.

Those people are stupid. And get them some oxygen, quick.

Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson had some hiccups in his first-ever NFL regular season game but there was much to like, and Danger Russ looked solid for most of the game, as did the Seahawks defense and special teams.

Let’s look at it this way: Only one rookie quarterback starting in 2012 had a better QB rating than Wilson today. Andrew Luck wasn’t that person. Wilson’s rating wasn’t stellar by any measure at 62.5. Hell, it was even below average. But he did no worse than most of the other rookie starting quarterbacks and avoided mishaps that most of them made, most specifically in the turnover category where he had one just one interception (Luck with three interceptions; Brandon Weeden with four; Ryan Tannehill with three). Wilson didn’t force anything, and if he threw a long pass, he threw it where, generally, a defender wouldn’t have access.

Unfortunately, our O-line members apparently were having conversations like this tonight: “Derp-a, derp derp derp,” and couldn’t seem to understand the value in providing a more solid throwing window for Wilson. The pocket frequently collapsed, forcing Wilson into tenuous situations, QB hits or sacks.

But we should also, as hard as it may be, give credit to the Arizona defense, known for exotic looks and stunts. While the media focus on the Cards’ QB kerfuffle between John Skelton and Kevin Kolb may have taken focus from the rest of that franchise, the defense is acknowledged as a solid unit. In many ways, the Cardinals and Seahawks were very similar in 2011 for that very reason. Solid D play, mediocre quarterback.

Only, the Seahawks were supposed to be the much more all-around improved team in 2012.

The offense still has some work to do. Receivers appeared to give up on routes. Offensive lineman ran around like chickens without heads. They looked meek compared to the aggressive style of the Card’s D. Odd, considering how nasty players like Breno Giacomini frequently looked for the Hawks throughout the preseason.

It’s like all of a sudden the lineman found a stash of Mom’s sedatives and decided to down the entire bottle on opening night. Russell Okung shocked the world by, again, turning into fragile tea cups, leaving the game with what has been announced as a knee injury. Think of him like a fine China set worth a guaranteed $29 million. Those are some expensive cups.

But there were some wonderful flashes tonight:

Wilson showed poise and smarts during plenty of pressure situations, taking the ball himself to gain a few first downs. It’s that talent that we don’t have with Matt Flynn, who is still accurate and would be a wonderful replacement if necessary (but he’s not necessary now).

During a terrible four-down series to end the game — including a botched decision by the replacement referees that gave the Seahawks a third timeout they shouldn’t have had — he tossed four completely catchable passes to receivers. Turns out their hands had been chopped off prior to each snap, unfortunately.

Sidney Rice, the previously-matching set of crystal stemware for the Seahawks offense to Okung’s China, caught multiple acrobatic catches and took some tough falls. At one point, he landed on at least one shoulder and it looked like he was about to break dance back up onto his feet.

Richard Sherman had an ankle-breaking sideline interception of Cardinals QB Skelton during the second half. Speaking of ankle-breaking, we’ve learned he came out of the locker room in a boot, though he claimed on Twitter he’d “be fine,” whatever that means. Fine for next week? Fine for another sweet “My Brother Dance”?

Braylon Edwards should have a breakout year. We saw it in the preseason and it translated in Game 1.

Doug Baldwin played a fairly solid game after sitting out preseason due to a hamstring injury that required blood to be removed to help the healing process (hello year 1642, bloodletting is BACK BABY! Where my leaches at?), despite the end-zone drop that could have clinched the day.

There’s almost no reason to mention the defense and special teams, because as usual they looked great. Of course, that’s why they should be mentioned, because they deserve it.

But back to Wilson and those “fans” screaming for him to be replaced. After one.friggin’.game.

Despite his claim during his post-game press conference that he had no jitters at all, I think that Wilson will only get better, and those jitters he didn’t have will slowly fade and he’ll settle. Note he also mentioned working on quicker reads, which likely is not only something he needs to work on to continue his progression in the pros, but also because his offensive line is going to force him into that situation.

He’ll need to ensure he doesn’t overthrow receivers on his bombs, too, and game clock management is essential after a few false starts thrown directly because of him.

But he has great field awareness, knows when to scramble when necessary and doesn’t make a bunch of stupid mistakes. He’s a playmaker, but he can’t be the only one doing the heavy lifting, and that’s where that line comes in to play.

No, 12th man, it’s not time to bring Matt Flynn out for a test drive. Not after one game. Not after five, in my view. Wilson has been given a shot, and he needs more time. It was one loss. It was a hard-fought game and everything the Seahawks did they earned through tough work.

For Marshawn Lynch, who gained 90 rushing yards through sheer will power and Beast Mode-style runs, it’s a familiar place to be. That same trudging patience Lynch has attained was embraced by the rest of the team. We nearly had it. This was not a loss in the mold of 2010, or even 2011.

Fixing those red zone mistakes, not leaving the game in the hands of replacement refs, and all of those other things I’ve mentioned (i.e. ~ Derp-a, derp derp offensive lineman) will happen. Pete Carroll will make it happen.

There are 15 weeks to go until the Seahawks are in the playoffs, folks. Let’s all watch it happen.

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!

————————————————————————

@StarvingScout:

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

Y-Post

Z-Curl

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

U-Slant

Z-Sluggo

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
flat.

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

Y-Out

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
@StarvingScout.

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..

TOTAL GAME PASSING ZONE % (Russell Wilson)
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

Russell Wilson for President (And other overreactions I’m having)!

Russell Wilson EVERYTHING!!!

If the November elections were held today, Seattle Seahawks fans would elect rookie quarterback Russell Wilson not just to the presidency of this great nation, but as Emperor of the World!

My wife and I are expecting our next kid in February, and we’re likely going to name it Russell. The gender of the baby doesn’t matter.

And I’m also fairly confident Wilson can cure diabetes.

These overreactions brought to you by Top Pot Doughnuts, the official Hand-Forged Overreaction Dessert of the Seattle Seahawks!*

(*Full disclosure: Top Pot Doughnuts in no way endorses or advertises on this blog, but remember that one time Golden Tate totally stole some of those tasty treats? I just thought I’d bring that up for no reason at all.)

They may be exaggerations, but it is extremely likely if you watched the third Seahawks preseason game last night versus the Kansas City Chiefs you have had similar thoughts. Or feelings. Personally? I want to make love to the Seahawks. That’s my feeling, alright, Dad? I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU!

Keep in mind these reactions are coming from an ardent supporter of Matt Flynn, who I still believe is quite talented and would do well as our starter. That’s what makes watching this QB “competition” so fantastic. No matter what happens, we’re far better off than last year.

But last night we got to see why Wilson was so coveted by Pete Carroll and John Schneider, and it appears that they really have wanted him to succeed and win the starting job since the evening they drafted him at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. As Seattle Times reporter Danny O’Neil shared from the Seahawks live chat last night, it is also the case that “Every day I’m Russeling.”

Like many watching this four-part QB miniseries unfold, I was convinced that Wilson’s wonderful play during the initial two preseason outings against Tennessee and at Denver were due to playing against second and third stringers and players that aren’t even going to make the final roster of those teams. He was a shining star on the rise, but who may lose some luster against the big boys who start games. I was wrong, and so were plenty of others.

But I wasn’t adamantly against Wilson taking first-string snaps during the Chiefs game, and so I can haughtily say: “Na-na, na-na boo boo, stick your head in doo-doo.” And not really caring all that much who took the snaps, because I was pretty comfortable with either guy (though I still felt it was likely Flynn would be the starter no matter what), it made watching Wilson shine that much more lustrous (I’m using a lot of clichéd adjectives to seem impressive, here, you see).

Wilson had poise in the pocket, made intelligent throws and had enough balls to toss a few up in to traffic with confidence that his receivers would win the jump. And they usually did. We saw his mobility, and how he used his run game only when necessary or when he could take advantage of it, not because he was scrambling in a panic. There were a few minor hiccups: Some overthrows on finesse balls and throwing behind receivers a few times. Before you knew it though, he came back with a touchdown throw. Those misses didn’t look like rookie mistakes, they seemed like minor veteran errors that would inevitably corrected with points on the board a few plays later.

Now I’m taking a more aggressive tact on this whole QB battle. Wilson must start and anything else will end with Pete Carroll being the most loathed coach in the history of the Seahawks franchise (right behind Jim Mora, nobody will ever beat him for that spot). Carroll is the one who told fans he didn’t care about conventional wisdom and wanted to see what Wilson had. Now he’s seen it, as have countless thousands of others and it’s a pretty simple choice.

Tap the electric play of a rookie and know that we have a win-win situation with Flynn sitting right behind him. That is, of course, unless they trade Flynn away already.

We may still have Tarvaris Jackson, who we all know can maintain some semblance of game management, despite the fact he holds on to the ball so long it’s like he’s doing a monthly cancer screening on it.

More Reasons to Love the Hawks

Wilson wasn’t the only one with impressive play last night, and other rookie standouts are showing just how well John Schneider works an NFL draft. I’ll point to the most obvious, because I’m a basic fan, not a nerd, you  nerds.

Robert Turbin, with his Hulk-sized biceps, showed lightening speed through gaps while he out-ran Chiefs linebackers for a TD. For all the talk we heard about him still having to work on the basic one-step then through the hole stuff early in camp, he seems to have it down.

J.R. Sweezy man-handled opponents at the right guard spot, making another impressive show as he transitions from the defensive line to the offensive side of the ball. He mad huge gaps for the running backs and played so well that my wife and I will probably name our third child Sweezy.

And lest we not forget that the entire Seahawks defense is amazing, and appears to be making party plans to move from a top 10 defense to a top five.

There are plenty of things to be excited about with this 2012 iteration of the Seattle Seahawks. They may or may not be overreactions. It’s just exciting to see success after some lull years.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get Russell Wilson’s face tattooed on my left ass cheek.

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.

GO SEAHAWKS!!

Pre Season game 1: What matters, and what doesn’t.. Yet.

Tom Cable (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Seahawk’s football is back!   I’m not sure what was worse.. The months without any football or the month of football previews and teases. Either way, it’s over and the dress rehearsals for the regular season march to the Lombardi trophy begin tonight.

With all the focus on the QB position it’s hard to think of anything else but I’m going to give it a shot..

Here I go!

I’d submit that in a game such as this, the easiest thing to accurately grade is the offensive and defensive lines. The trenches speak more truth to progress than any other position in game 1 of the pre season. The physicality, fundamentals and unit cohesion will be very clear, and will give a good indicator of things to come.
Last year, due to the lockout, new young players, and many other issues, the preseason play of the line was one of the worst I’ve ever seen as a long time Seahawks fan. Rookie RT James Carpenter and rookie RG John Moffitt mastered the ” Look Out! ” block, and the running game was non existent. These problems hurt Seattle going into the season and cost them at least 3-4 games in my opinion.
Toward the end of the year however, things seem to get much better as Tom Cable was able to achieve some really nice performances with career back ups. However, serious pressure is on this group to keep the momentum going into 2013.

Who I’m watching tonight not named Flynn or Wilson:

DE Bruce Irvin: The Seahawks surprising first round pick has flashed in camp, and this is a great opportunity to show the home crowd the reason he was selected so high. I’ll be looking specifically for a multitude of moves that not only utilize his speed and explosiveness, but also his raw power.

DT Brandon Mebane: I was very impressed with Mebane’s performance early in the season but he wore down a bit as the season progressed. With Bobby Wagner vying for a starting job at middle Linebacker, Mebane will need to dominate his 1 tech position to keep Wagner as clean as possible to find the ball carrier. This will be crucial to his success.

The entire Offensive Line:
As I mentioned before, this unit is arguably the personnel grouping that determines the Seahawks fate this year over all others. Very interested to see the rotation tonight, and hope to see guys like J.R Sweezy, Rishaw Johnson, Frank Omiyale, and Deuce Lutui a bunch. There are a ton of unknowns in this group so this is a great opportunity to show the fans and more importantly the coaching staff what they have to work with.

Some Final Thoughts:

Of course the QB and receiving position situations will be a focus tonight..I’m not crazy. But struggles in that area won’t mean as much to me now (talk to me after game 3 of pre season) as struggles in the trenches. I fully anticipate a great defensive line presence tonight, and hope the offensive line follows suit.

Bottom Line:

Seahawks football is back, and I couldn’t be happier.

GO SEAHAWKS

 

Welcome home Matthew Hasselbeck…

There are few things in sports that are quite like reunions with former players with massive amounts of supporters. That’s Matthew Hasselbeck, former and arguably the best quarterback that has suited up for the Seattle Seahawks franchise.
Hasselbeck stats in case you forgot:
GAMES: 138
COMPLETIONS: 2,559
COMPLETION %: 60.2
PASSING YARDS: 29,434
TDS: 174
GAME WINNING DRIVES: 19

Last year the Seahawks ranked 22nd in passing offense. This wouldn’t be so bad if that came with 10 wins, or if the QB that was selected to replace Hasselbeck didn’t play like, well..Tarvaris Jackson. I’ve been a supporter of Jackson from a leadership and heart standpoint (battled through awful offensive line play and  torn pectoral muscle most of year) but he doesn’t pass the eye test. He’s not as polished as Matt was under center for the Seahawks (patting the ball for 5 seconds, then throwing majority of his passes off back foot like a fade away jumper doesn’t help his case).

On Saturday, Seahawks fans will once again see Matt Hasselbeck running on to the Century Link Field , only this time in a Tennessee Titan’s jersey. While most fans will admit it was time for Hasselbeck to move on, the fact that we haven’t had the new “Matt” since he left has turned the QB situation into a full-fledged 12th Man soap opera.

The desperation is clear. Pete Carroll, and John Schneider have been busy building an outstanding defense..The additions of players like Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman, Alan Branch, Jason Jones, Bruce Irvin, and more have catapulted this defense into championship caliber levels.
To be fair, Pete Carroll has decided to construct the Seahawk’s new offense the right way: by building from the offensive line out. Additionally, offensive additions like Marshawn Lynch and Doug Baldwin have brought serious excitement at times but we are still an unbalanced team to date, and that has led to fears that this great defense may be wasted much like the 49er’s before Jim Harbaugh arrived (I just vomited a little writing that).

Matt Flynn vs Russell Wilson vs Tarvaris Jackson

During camp you hear-read the daily “how do they look?” questions from fans with numerous “experts” in local and national media weighing in on who they thought looked like “the guy”. These assumptions and opinions have driven me slightly crazy. I say that only because the rep counts, 1st team, 2nd team, and play call sheets are only part of the story. What happens in the film room off the field is also HUGE and is not getting discussed. Also I’ll add that successes in practice at this point in camp either offensive or defensive, may have to do with familiarity with personnel and their weaknesses as well as the limited contact allowed. While I’m on this mini rant, I’ll say one last thing: We don’t know what metric Pete Carroll and staff are using to grade the QB’s. I’d imagine it was deeper than completion percentage during practice, hitch steps, TD counts, and release points. I’d submit that it’s possible to go 8-8 in 7 on 7 drills but grade out below average. Without having intimate knowledge of the playbook, and philosophies against various coverages, it is all wild speculation.

The point is I’m getting restless. I’m getting restless to once again have that feeling of confidence in the QB position. To know the guy taking snaps is “the guy” and won’t be shipped out next year for another guy, who is then shipped out for another (see Seattle from 92-2000). I don’t want to go through that again. Matt Hasselbeck spoiled us as a fan base. He was perfect for Seattle, and seeing him back on the field on Saturday picks at a scab that has yet to heal.

Matt Flynn will get the start on Saturday, and an entire fan base will be sitting on the edge of their seats to see if this Matt can show us just a glimpse of what the new and improved defense Pete Carroll has built deserves : A competent QB who won’t force them to make the play that wins the game. Kind of a tough spot for Matt Flynn, even if it is just the 1st pre-season game. But, “the guy” should rise to the challenge.

Let’s hope he can.

Go Seahawks!!

T.O. is a Seattle Seahawk.. I need a minute.

 

Get your Popcorn ready folks! (Courtesy AP)

I need a minute. Usually news such as this is given with a warning like: “You may want to sit down for this” or “are you holding anything sharp?”.  There are very few things I don’t like about the team currently residing in Seattle. I love the Coach. I love the fact he has built a great defense, and running game. And I love the tough as nails physicality he’s trying to install. That was up until a short while ago when Pete Carroll was abducted by aliens and returned with a small screw loose. (That’s the only thing that explains it)

In the past few months, he has signed Kellen Winslow (current pass catching TE Diva), Antonio Bryant (ex Diva now, cut Diva), Braylon Edwards (still wants to be Diva,Diva), and now…

Almost 39 yr old Terrell Owens (The Diva of them all) who hasn’t played in the NFL since his short stint with the Bengals in 2010. A bizarre ESPN filmed workout with 0 NFL teams in attendance, and a nasty situation with the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League later, and he lands in Seattle on a one year deal (Contract details have yet to be released).

To say Terrell Owens has baggage is an understatement. He’s been wildly spectacular on the field (1st ballot HOFer) his entire career but his act in the huddle, on the sideline, in meeting rooms, and during the off-season have been crazy and over the top negative more often than not. To his credit though, he did manage to avoid setting the Bills and Bengals organization on fire..At least publicly.

Enter Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson, and Russell Wilson. For Pete Carroll to subject his 3 headed race to the starting Seahawks QB position to a testy herd of needy pass catchers is bizarre, and almost cruel. Teams that add players like this need a towering and established vet leader at QB to control the huddle..Matt Flynn? Tarvaris Jackson? Russell Wilson?

I just don’t see it.

I said earlier today on twitter (check the timeline) that one of my concerns was the amount of reps available in practice that are going away from developmental players.. Ricardo Lockette, Golden Tate, Kris Durham and so on..Adding players who have not been through OTAs and will need to cram to consume the playbook means continuity with whatever QB Pete Carroll picks will be non existant..Don’t give me the “we can cut them anytime” line..Meanwhile the limited number of reps are gone, and you can’t legally get them back. This is a calculated risk here by Pete Carroll.

My question is basically this: When will the Seahawks offense begin to find its identity?

In the past when Pete Carroll went all Madden front office mode with the Seahawks roster I applauded because those moves were needed badly..Now I’m beginning to feel the urge to snatch the controller from his sun tanned hands..

Time will tell if my concern is warranted. I guess it’s time for me to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fireworks with my extra-large tub of popcorn, and try not to choke..

At the end of the day I love my team, and will support them to the end. But just like my parents said to me as a young boy..”Just because I love you, it doesn’t mean I like you at the moment”.

So welcome to Seattle Mr. Owens. Here’s to Seahawk success, and my fears laid to rest.

Go Seahawks!

 

 

 

Mike Williams is gone and all I got was Twitter blocked

Mike Williams.. Former Seattle Seahawks receiver.

It was a rather unlucky Friday the 13th for now-former Seahawks wide receiver Mike Williams as the team announced today they have released him.

Word around the Twitterverse is that Big Mike Williams (also known as “BMW,” which I’m sure really helped his ego) had expected it “for some time now“. I expected it from the day he blocked me on Twitter, but we’ll get to that (so that I may show you just exactly how too seriously I take both 140-character social media and professional athlete maturity. And myself).

In a way, I feel bad for Williams, who had one of those redemptions stories in 2010 fans eat up like stadium nachos. You know, all gooey, messy but you really want more. The only difference is that Williams came cheap to the Seahawks in comparison to those nachos to your wallet.

I, too, was enthralled by the story. Williams, who had basically been blacklisted by NFL teams after becoming overweight and pretentious, had been given a second chance by the Big Man in the Hawks Nest – Pete Carroll. The Seahawks head coach has quickly made a name for himself these few years back in the pros by providing said redemption to lost athletic souls.

And it paid off. Williams was the Seahawks’ top receiver in 2010, with a respectable 65 catches and 751 yards for the team. Big Mike’s size allowed him to win match-ups in the air for catches and he appeared to have hands of steel. Not even a broken finger stopped him from catching nearly everything thrown his way that season.

The 12th Man had found its very own Magic Mike, you know, without all of the body oil, gyration and 40-year-old women screaming for more. Okay, there was probably some of the lady screaming.

But 2011 was a different story. Along with a change in quarterback, which didn’t appear to help, Williams’ production plummeted and he instead became Tragic MIke. Us casual, armchair quarterbacks out in Hawk Land can’t be sure if it was a failure of Williams or mash potatoes QB Tarvaris Jackson not getting him the ball.

Toward the end of the year, Williams left the season with a broken leg.

And now he’s gone. We knew it couldn’t last, the question was whether one more year with the team would bring back that fairy tale BMW we had all grown to love.

Well, at least, most of us had grown to love. You see, Mike Williams blocked me on Twitter last year. It was literally July 2011 when he and I got into a bit of an electronic spat over his attitude on the social media platform.

You see, I take Twitter way too seriously, and I’m a very odd sports fan. Here’s the thing: I believe professional athletes owe some respect to fans, the people who make what they do even possible.

That’s not a sentiment held by a lot of people. Most fans would tell me to shut my face and just watch the game. I can’t do it. In a world where athletes work to brand themselves and demand attention on social networks, I swoop in as some type of hell bent hall monitor calling them out when I think they’re being, well, asshats.

And Mike Williams was an asshat with this tweet:

Image

The rest is lost in the Twitterscape because archiving doesn’t go back that far and I can’t find keywords. But it went something like this:

My response was something very cordial and similar to “I do say, my good man, I take a smidgen of umbrage at your fairly racial tone. Please do appreciate that we’re all created equal and even the fair-skinned folk who have derived from the European continent enjoy watching you on the professional football sport pitch. Huzzah!”

Williams didn’t like my extremely-polite response and tweeted something else along the lines of “Sit on a bowling pin, biiiiiiitch!”

And then I said something along the lines of “blah, blah, blah, you’re an asshole who only cares about money blah, blah, blah.”

The next thing you know, my BFF Big Mike Williams has blocked me. It was an invigorating exchange of mature words, I assure you.

So, for nearly a year, I’ve not had the pleasure of following the “raw” thoughts of this consummate professional. Needless to say, he liked to brag about simply speaking his mind, whereas I thought he could have use a tad bit more humility, considering this was a shot at redemption, and he was not yet a star.

In the grand scheme of things, the argument was trivial, and his blocking of me was simply another day in the life of this armchair quarterback.

But there’s a big difference between Mike Williams and this writer: I still have a stake in the Seattle Seahawks this Friday the 13th.

Now excuse me while I go police Twitter for some athlete using curse words like “darn it” and “shucks.”

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