Three Keys to Send ’em Packing

So here we are. It’s Monday afternoon, and we’re about 5 hours or so from kickoff. I took the day off, slept in, ate bacon, got coffee. The usual stuff on what feels like a weekend morning. I’ve been thinking about tonight’s game for a while now, and I’ve finally condensed my thoughts to three keys for tonight.

1. Have a short memory. There will be a lot of things on the minds of our Seahawks over the course of the day and over the course of the game. They’ll be thinking about last week’s blowout victory over the Cowboys. They’ll be thinking about that long 3rd down conversion Aaron Rodgers inexplicably made when under duress. They’ll be thinking about the bright lights of Monday Night Football and 20-30 million eyes on them.

To win, the Seahawks must have an incredibly short memory. They must play in the moment, focus, and forget everything that will undoubtedly distract them. Everyone wants this team to “win now”. It’s my opinion that it’s folly to think, at this stage of the team’s development, that they will. The offensive line is ‘set’, so to speak, but still incredibly young. The Seahawks field a rookie QB. They field a secondary that has what …8-9 full seasons of NFL experience among them all? The young and inexperienced get let the ‘ups’ go to their head, and are often crushed by the ‘downs’. It’s highly likely this team will play from behind for much of the game. It’s the Packers, after all. If they can simply focus, and play in the moment, they will play at their best. And it’s my opinion that their best is indeed enough to win against anyone.

2. Run, run, run and keep running. If Marshawn Lynch gets a lot of carries, it probably means the Seahawks win. A lot has been made of the Packers’ seemingly weak run defense. I’m not terribly convinced; it’s not as weak as its 26th in the NFL designation may seem. But the Seahawks must commit to the run, and most of all, run effectively from start to finish. How they do this, I don’t know, to be frank. In the Dallas game, the run game didn’t get its legs until the second half. By that time tonight, the Seahawks are likely in a hole against the Packers, and committing to the run when in a hole is dangerous.

Russell Wilson extends plays. By running. He often escapes sure sack situations, and extends plays. He didn’t get much help game one, as many of the receivers quit on routes when they thought the play was over. But as Golden Tate and a few other guys showed in the Dallas game, not quitting on the route and running until the whistle helped Wilson and gives him more options.

And lastly – cover those Packer receivers. Until the whistle blows. This game will test the secondary more than any other game likely has. The Seahawks pass rush has yet to reach full stride, and Aaron Rodgers, much like Wilson or last week’s Romo, can extend plays longer than seemingly humanly possible. Play until the whistle, guys, and you will do great.

3. Don’t get in a hole. I pride myself on the non-bullshit aspect of my analysis. I try to provide insightful, actionable analysis that is backed up by fact and doesn’t rely on “gut feel”. So this key to the game is a bit different than my usual schtick.

But you must understand that the Packers’ offense and defense is built to play and thrive when they have the lead. What is the Packers’ strength on defense? Pass rush and to a slightly lesser extent – their secondary. Their weakness? Their run defense. And what do teams do when they’re behind? Usually pass the ball. This situation is exacerbated by the Seahawks fielding a rookie quarterback (albeit a seemingly unflappable one) starting his third game of his career under the bright lights of a nationally televised game.

The Seahawks must come out hot, score early, and field an effective pass rush early. This Packers team, despite its two somewhat unimpressive showings this season, are no slouches. They field arguably the most talented roster, on both sides of the ball, the Seahawks will face all season. Aaron Rodgers is as good as ever, and he will make the Seahawks pay for every mistake they make, that I can guarantee.

To be a good team, you must beat good teams. This is the Seahawks’ chance to prove for the second time this season they are a good team by beating a good team. And not talking about proving it to the media and fans across the country. Frankly, I don’t give a shit about them or who does or doesn’t give the Seahawks respect. I don’t give a shit if we’re 32nd in ESPN’s power rankings. I don’t give a crap what analysts say about us (though I do admit I like hearing the positive stuff). I care about this team, the product they field every game day, and the way they perform when the game is on the line.

Over the past season or two they’ve had huge moments and beat great teams, most notably the back and forth victory against the Giants, the pound-it-out victory of the Ravens, and last week’s complete undressing of the Cowboys. They’ve shown they can do it. They can be the best and beat the best.

Tonight is yet another chance to prove they truly are among the best of the best.

Go get em, guys.

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At will (Observations on Seahawks pre-season game 3)

Russell Wilson

Photo credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE – Presswire

“At will” is the phrase I’ll use to describe this game.

The Seahawks scored at will, both on the ground and through the air; they stopped the Chief’s offense at will, and dominated on both sides of special teams at will. I haven’t seen the Seahawks utterly dominate another like that for a very, very long time. I know, it’s pre-season.

So! Here are some of my observations: Continue reading

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Can’t catch a break (observations from Sehawks pre-season game week 2)

I really am sorry for Matt Flynn. He looks the part of starting NFL QB, he does what is asked from him, he delivers, yet everyone instead goes ga-ga over Russell Wilson. Not only are two of his very well-thrown touch downpasses either dropped (Owens) or caught out of bounds (Tate), he’s got “the most popular NFL player in town”, aka the backup QB, as Russell Wilson – the athletic, NFL-smart phenom from Wisconsin breathing down his neck. I don’t envy his situation. OK, that was a blatant lie; I do envy the $20+ million he’ll make in the next three seasons.

Like last week, you’re going to get my thoughts in bullet form. Sorry. I think.

  • Despite being an almost complete non-factor in the game, Terrell Owens looks like the WR on the Seahawks team that can most easily separate from his defender and get open. The result of most of the plays he was targeted appeared to be miscues with Matt Flynn – like what most have said already (sorry, I was at a birthday part on Saturday and was unable to watch the entire game live, but couldn’t stay away from the post-game analysis before I watched it first-hand), he simply looked unfamiliar with the offense. When I saw his drop (the game was live, while a bit drunk), I said he’s getting cut. After watching it sober, for a second time, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. A few weeks of practice with Flynn and T.O. could easily become the Seahawks’ most effective receiver. Sorry, Sidney.
  • That said, boy was his drop ugly. I’ll chalk it up to nerves and the situation. That said: he does that again, and he WILL be cut. That kind of drop is inexcusable, especially when you’re Terrell Owens.
  • Three bullets on dropped TDs. Depressing, eh? Well, not so much: Jacob Tamme dropped an almost sure TD pass at the end of the second quarter. Consider it karma – T.O. dropped a sure TD, so it was time for a Denver receiver of some kind to follow suit. You know: make the universe even. The throw was a tad behind him, and the motion of his body wasn’t moving into the end zone but out of it. Regardless, he probably would have been able to get the ball over the plane. BTW – if you have a DVR, watch that play: It was a ~10 yard pass, and it Peyton made it look like he was trying to throw the ball to the moon. The analysts can say what they will – his ‘laser’ medium-game delivery appears long gone. I saw way, way too many ducks to believe the guy is close to 100%. The guy is 36 after all.
  • Breno Giacomini is playing his way into my top 5 favorite Seahawks players. He’s nasty. And I really like it. I’m tired of high-character halos being drafted. This is the NFL, not band camp.
  • Russell Wilson yet again looked like Russell Wilson. Odd how that happens all the time. This game he made a number of plays from the pocket, but he also ran the ball a lot. The latter part of the sentence I hate. When Tarvaris Jackson made a play with his feet in the 2011 season, the result was a torn pec. Russell may thrive playing against poor NFL talent, but those kind of plays (the running plays that end in a violent tackle) need to end before I’m convinced he’s ready to start. He’s not a slight QB by any means, like Michael Vick, but I’d also wager he won’t make it 16 games with that kind of style. NFL starting defenses are too big and too fast for a guy his size.
  • That said, I’m INSANELY excited for the day Russell Wilson wins the starting job and takes his first snaps in pre-season. If anything, he’ll be exciting as hell to watch.
  • The starting defense yet again showed its propensity for turnovers. I’d actually give them FAR more credit for the turnover that Red forced than the duck that led to an interception by Jeron Johnson. I don’t want to take anything away from Johnson; it was a good play. But those kind of passes are VERY few and far in between in the regular season. The turnover forced by Red Bryant looked like a regular season turnover.
  • Winston Guy may not even make the practice squad, and that bums me out. He looked to me like Richard Sherman version 2.0. But then he started two fights in practice. Then he defensed a pass in pre-season game one that was called P.I. (which it was), and then let his guy get past him not once, but TWICE to block a punt in pre-season game 2. If you’re a late round pick that will 100% won’t start, you’ve got to be freaking BRILLIANT on special teams; Winston was the polar opposite of brilliant.
  • Curt Menafee might be one of the worst color commentators I’ve ever had to listen to. At 10+ mistakes in this game alone, I stopped counting. Her are a few of my favorites: he called Tyrell Sutton “Tyler Sutton”. In a sideline interview, Curt Menafee tells Kellen Winslow that until playing for the Seattle Seahawks, Kellen never had the chance to play with a blocking tight end, like Zach Miller, that opened it up for Kellen. His reply? “No, that’s not true; I’ve played with great blocking tight ends my entire career”. And last but CERTAINLY not least, Curt referred to Knowshon Moreno as “Marshawn Moreno”. I realize that Curt’s job isn’t an easy one, but boy does he screw up on some of the dumbest shit.
  • Marcus Trufant won’t make the starting roster. When he’s playing with the third string defense about 3 minutes from the end of the game (and not looking brilliant), his time is up. And that makes me sad.
  • The best play Wilson has made all season was his 25+ yard completion to Anthony McCoy down the seam on 3rd and 17. Wilson made a beauty of a throw (from the pocket, by the way) and placed it perfectly for McCoy to receive and take to the ground. The second best play was probably the 30+ yard completion to Kearse near the end of the 4th quarter: another beautiful throw from the pocket. Wilson isn’t the ideal size, but I’ve seen the guy make a number of great plays from the pocket. It’s hard to deny him any credit.
  • Despite his flashiness and effectiveness, I stick to Flynn as the starter. He’s poised, calm, incredibly accurate, and makes the right decisions and yet somehow keeps the chains moving. All the while playing against 1st string defenses. Today, he showed me two deep balls (that both should have been caught for TDs) that were perfectly thrown. I’ve seen enough: make him the starter and let Wilson learn for one season at the very least. Taking first string reps for the next three weeks prior to the first regular season game will be more reps than he’s taken so far in pre-season. He will markedly improve.
  • There’s a lot of things we dont’ know about the Seahawks. But one undeniable truth: Pete Carroll loves the shit out of Russell Wilson. And Russell is likely his ticket to continued employment. If for whatever reason Russell does not succeed as a starting NFL QB over the next 2-3 seasons, expect that to be the main reason the Pete Carroll era ends in Seattle.

That’s probably enough for now. I’ll be backpacking staring Friday morning, so I won’t be able to watch and break the game down until Sunday. Until then! Go Seahawks

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Keeping the Powder Dry (observations from Seahawks pre-season game one)

Matt Flynn throws against the Tennessee Titans.

Robert Turbin biceps they ain’t. Photo Credit: Joe Nicholson – US PRESSWIRE – Presswire

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I miss it terribly and I’m going to start writing again. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and writing something worth reading takes time. As I get older, free time becomes more and more scarce. But the wife is supportive, thus I will be making time for this.

So I guess what I’m saying is … I’m back!

It’s Sunday night, I’ve got to work tomorrow, and let’s be honest: it was a pre-season game. Bullets it is!

  • Earl Thomas, Sherman, Kam our secondary is awesome blah blah. I know, I know: tell you something you don’t know, fine fine. I’ll try. But seriously, they’re so good, it’s to the point I get bored reading (and writing) about them.
  • Both the offense and defense did nothing interesting in terms of play calling. Pete’s keeping his powder dry and won’t unleash the creative blitz and nickel packages we’ve seen in past seasons until the games really count. People are making Irvin’s quiet game mean something. It doesn’t. I mean hell, Clemons and Irvin never took a snap on the same play. With decisions like that, you’re surprised we didn’t get much pressure? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
  • (If we’re not getting pressure five games into the regular season, then we’re in trouble.)
  • Two words: Jason Jones. When the Brandon Browner courteously returned the ball to the Titans after rudely running it into their end zone, Chris Johnson had no chance on the ensuing 1st and 10 – Jones had already knifed into the backfield in the time Johnson blinked, let alone took the handoff. If we get this Jason Jones all season, how in the world will we be able to retain him after his 1-year contract expires?
  • Wow, was the second string offensive line was terrible. Once the first team offensive line had transitioned off the field, the offensive ineptitude reached early 2011 heights. Pockets collapsed (and drives ended) quickly, running lanes were few and far in between, and snaps were inconsistent (the fumbled snap to Flynn was very much the Center’s fault). Not only was Flynn throwing to guys not likely to make the squad, he was throwing behind a line of guys that are unlikely to ever take a starting snap outside of injury replacement. I figured Flynn would struggle and he did.
  • Robert Turbin has a deceptive quickness. In a few plays he made a decisive cut followed by a nice burst of speed for good chunks of positive yards.  A few runs he was stopped for no or little gain (none negative), but he also had runs of 9, 5, 10, and 5 yards. I expected a bit more hesitation in his cuts, but instead he’s taking Tom Cable’s advice to heart quickly. I’m impressed with him.
  • Brandon Browner once again proved he has a knack for being in the right place at the right time, like many of his other interceptions last season (intercepting tipped balls, etc). I don’t love Browner, but he’s growing on me.
  • Russell Wilson was exactly as I had expected: a dynamic, exciting, athletic, quick thinker. Some pointed out his willingness to roll out of the pocket; my question to those people: did you see how that offensive line performed? It was terrible. He made a few nice throws from the pocket – that’s what I was looking for. He was fun, but there’s no denying it: he needs time.
  • Every time I hear “Wilson needs a few more inches” I laugh. Everyone knows women like girth, not length. (Too far? Sorry, couldn’t help myself).
  • The starting offensive line looked downright dominant – it pass protected very well and run blocked ever better. Both Washington and Turbin ran very effectively and had clear lanes and good blocking to follow. If this is the year the offensive line stays healthy, this is the season we make it back to the playoffs. Mark it down.
  • The most disappointing play of the game was McCoy’s dropped pass on 3rd and 4. Flynn placed the ball perfectly, and just before the two defenders were able to make a play. Instead, McCoy’s relatively poor hands killed the drive. That was when Flynn needed to catch a break something fierce.
  • The best play of the game was NOT Wilson’s touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards. The ball was slightly under-thrown and Braylon bailed Russell out, being one of the better jump-ball receivers in the league. If that’s a starting cornerback worth his weight in salt, the ball is very likely defensed if not intercepted.
  • The best play of the game was definitely Wilson’s cross-body pass on 3rd and 6 two plays before the touchdown pass. He was flushed out of the pocket, rolled right, and found Charly Martin crossing from right to left (think about how you’d have to make that throw across the middle of the field). Not only that, he zipped it between two defenders. Easily the play of the game for me. If that play represents his future, Lombardi trophies will be a’hoisted.
  • Matt Flynn’s interception play started off almost as poorly as it ended. If it was a run play and he was supposed to hand off, that would have been impossible considering he held the ball to his right side and Turbin cut to the left … behind Flynn. If it was play action, it was very poorly executed, as it fooled not a soul.
  • Speaking of play fakes … how about that Russell Wilson guy on the naked bootleg ran in for a touchdown? My goodness. I haven’t laughed that hard in ages.
  • I liked Flynn’s game. With a few more weeks of reps and game situations, and with receivers and Lynch in the fold, he’ll move the sticks consistently. He needs to get those interceptions out of his system. If he can’t demonstrate the ability to protect the ball in pre-season, when teams play vanilla defense and don’t ‘game plan’, I’m not sure Carroll will make him the starter.
  • I feel like no Seahawks post is complete without the “TJack looked like TJack” line that’s been ever-so-popular. He didn’t play. He probably didn’t care. If never seen a lot of fire or passion from him. I hope I never see him take another snap for the Seahawks again. I like and respect the man, but he’s not the quarterback I want to ever see again.
  • It was a fun game to watch, but man am I not into the pre-season games. When Browner ran the pick in for a touchdown, I pumped my fist and said “yes!”. If it had been a regular season game, I’d likely have crapped my pants from screaming and celebrating so hard. I can’t wait for the regular season to start.
  • I liked Jeremy Lane’s pass interference play. He played the receiver well, stayed glued, and made a great play defensing the ball. He got a tad too much jersey, thus the flag. That can be corrected. I like this kid.
  • Toomer, Guy, Sweezy, Scruggs, Wiggs, Turbin, Hauschka … is this an NFL roster or a list of names from a Star Trek book? If the ESPY’s had a category for “professional sports team with the biggest collection of odd last names”, our Seahawks are taking home the award.

That’s about it for me. G’night folks!

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Trent Richardson and the Seattle Seahawks’ Pickle

Is Trent Richardson the Seahawks RBOTF?

Seahawks RBOTF? (Photo credit: Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE)

Pickle is a quite the versatile noun, isn’t it? It can be a synonym for a person’s head, a challenging problem or situation, the male sex organ, and of course a cucumber preserved in a pickling liquid. No, I’m not planning to write about the Seahawks’ sex organ (if such a thing even exists). I’m actually participating in a contest that challenges you to use the phrase “sex organ” as many times as possible within one paragraph. Three is pretty good, is it not?

The draft isn’t that close, but now that football is officially over, all everyone will talk about is Peyton Manning. Wait … fuck. Screw Peyton Manning. I’ve got nothing against him, and in fact I’d be pretty jazzed if, for some inconceivable reason (sorry Johnny), he chooses to play for the Seattle Seahawks. But that ain’t happening, so let’s move on and talk about the draft and a scenario that I feel is highly likely to unfold.

I tweeted earlier that my gut feels strongly about the Seahawks front office targeting, and drafting, Trent Richardson if given the chance. (Aside from the FO’s intentions, it’s highly likely he’s available at #11/12 overall; there aren’t any really RB-needy teams in the top 12). When I first saw a mock draft some time ago with Trent going to the Seahawks in the first round, I gagged on the shitty, lazy analysis that led to that prediction. Because at first blush, it’s a pretty stupid prediction. I mean – the Seahawks are in desperate need of a QB, multiple pass rushers, and arguably another offensive lineman and interior defensive lineman. They’ve got Marshawn! (sort of). Bees’ Mo’! The guy that defined the word ‘determination’!

Let’s look deeper, shall we? Take my clammy, small hand and I’ll lead you to my creepy-ass cabin in the woods and change your life forever. Yeah – my Seahawks analysis is that good. The Seahawks do need better play at the QB and pass rushing positions, most notably. I don’t think that requires much explanation. But think instead of the most important pieces of the current Seahawks team. If you had to pick the top five most impactful players on the team, who would you chose?

Here’s my list: Earl Thomas, Marshawn Lynch, Russell Okung, Chris Clemons and a toss-up between Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor. Now let’s think of the depth players that back up each of those magnificent men. Which position would have the biggest fall off in production? The Seahawks defense on the whole is pretty young and talented; losing any of the defensive players I listed would hurt, but it wouldn’t be a death blow. Okung went down for the season and was replaced by Paul McQuistan who actually did a pretty decent job filling in.

Now that brings us to Marshawn. What happens if he goes down? I’ll give you a hint: it starts with “w” and ends with “e’re fucked”. Take all the time that you need. The Cleveland game is the closest example we’ve got to a Seahawks offense without Marshawn. Granted, a lot of other pieces were missing as well: Tarvaris was still sidelined due to his pec injury; Zach Miller and Max Unger were both injured and inactive as well. But how did Leon Washington and Justin Forsett perform in Lynch’s stead? Dreadfully. They made it quite evident then, and again throughout the season taking snaps here and there, that they aren’t even close to every down backs. They are situational at best, and should not be counted on as injury replacements.

Oh yeah, and Marshawn Lynch is a free agent who will be 26 for the 2012 season. His return, my friends, isn’t guaranteed.

We’re back to now. It’s the day after the Super Bowl. The Seahawks need to pull the trigger on a QB this year. Hasselbeck would have never survived behind the current, young offensive line; Charlie Whitehurst was a failed experiment; Tarvaris Jackson can’t finish games and struggles to make decisions when the game rides on his arm. The offense is young and growing; it should have a young QB growing with it.

It’s unlikely a QB worthy of the #11/12 overall pick will be on the board at that time. The only two guys worthy of consideration at that draft position are Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. So let’s operate under the semi-safe assumption that the Seahawks will not pick a QB with their first pick. They’ll likely then pick a QB in the second round; they’ve been linked to guys like Kirk Cousins (Michigan State) who very well may be available in the early second round. So let’s say the Seahawks draft a developmental, “tier II” QB, like Cousins, in the 2nd round. Now we assume that Tarvaris Jackson acts as a bridge, and said young QB will start in 2013 when Tarvaris’ contract has expired. I think this is all highly possible. Let me know if you think I’m way off base, here.

Marshawn Lynch will be 27 years old when young QB starts his first year as a Seahawk in 2013. How do young QBs fare when starting after one year on the bench? Not usually well. This guy will need a few years to really get going, get a solid grip on the game, and get into his prime. When he starts entering his prime, the Seahawks have the best shot at contention. It’s not often teams with poor QB play win Super Bowls. So let’s pretend that’s three seasons later: 2016. In 2016, Marshawn Lynch will effectively be dead. Who cares what his age will be (fine: he’ll be 30 years old for the 2016 season).

Now rewind a bit: it’s 2012 and the Seahawks are on the clock at the #11/12 pick. Wait … how old will Marshawn be when the QB of the future is in his prime? Oh, right: thirty years old. That’s the pickle. The big, big pickle. And here’s what it all means: Marshawn Lynch is a bridge running back. The likelihood that the Seahawks will be in position to contend with Marshawn Lynch as the young, feature back is very slim, unless some sort of godly quarterback somehow drops into the Seahawks’ lap. Which won’t likely happen.

So, we’re back to draft day. Seahawks are on the clock at #11/12. How old would Trent Richardson be when our QB of the future is in his prime (which we’ve agreed is 2016)? He’d be 26 years old. On a team with a coach that preaches a tough running attack to balance the passing attack. Starting to make sense?

Having a guy like Trent Richardson would give the Seahawks one helluva two-headed monster of a running attack during the ‘bridge’ years. Trent Richardson is a very special running back that is likely to be far and away better than any running back drafted after him this season. Marshawn Lynch’s effective NFL career would be extended, as he’d be occasionally spelled by a talented, tough back like Richardson, and it would ease the pressure on our current QB (Tarvaris Jackson), and help soften the landing for the young QB that starts in 2013.

So where does that leave the pass rush? Chris Clemons can’t do it all himself, after all. Well let’s look at the past two years and the Seahawks sack leaders. How were they attained? Trades and free agency. Chris Clemons was part of a draft day trade; Raheem Brock was signed as a free agent, etc. They have not drafted a defensive end and I don’t expect them to do so this year. The defensive end position has a notoriously high learning curve, and a DE drafted in 2012 likely wouldn’t have much impact in the near future.

I’m not trying to convince you that Trent Richardson is the right choice. I’m sure plenty of you will be firmly against drafting him, seeing as the Seahawks have two huge other gaps that beg to be filled. I’m trying to show you the thought process behind such a decision 1. is logical, 2. is realistic, and 3. matches the types of decisions (and actions) the Seahawks front office have made.

Do I want this scenario to happen? Maybe. Can I see it happening? Absolutely.

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Singlehandedly Wrote a Blog Post (and Week 3 Musings)

Larry Fitzgerald

Nowadays, Seahawks defensive backs aren't recruited from the the planet of Endor.

Typing with one hand sucks. I’m after a little sympathy; so what? Just a personal, making-eye-contact message to you: NEVER look away when cutting an onion (or anything for that matter) with a very sharp knife. Seriously. Don’t make me send you pictures. Because I will.

The big story in Seattle this week is the offense. Shocker. Before the season started, the story was Tarvaris Jackson, the inexperienced o-line, a new offensive coordinator and no offseason to practice. Here we are two weeks into the season and 17 offensive points later, and what are the stories? Tarvaris Jackson, the inexperienced o-line, a new offensive coordinator and no offseason to practice. So why the vitriol? This shouldn’t surprise anyone.

I’m not trying to make excuses; I’m just as disappointed as the next guy. But I understand and embrace the Seahawks’ current situation: the roster is radically changed, the offensive coaching staff is new, there was no preseason to practice and perfect schemes, and frankly: Tarvaris Jackson has never been a very good quarterback. Even on a very good Minnesota offense.

So what does it all mean for Sunday?

1. The Cardinals defense is pretty awful. After week 1, the Cardinals ranked 26th in overall (defensive) DVOA and in week 2 they leapfrogged to 25th. Heh. They rank 25th against the pass and 23rd against the run. Pretty consistently awful. And this is after playing the Panthers and the Redskins, respectively. Neither field particularly experienced or talented offenses. Add to that an injury that kept starting inside linebacker Daryl Washington out of practice for almost the entire week. He could play, but it’s a long shot; and if he does, it’s unlikely that he’s 100%. The Seahawks offense has looked pretty bad, yes. But both San Francisco and Steelers field above average defenses. If Tarvaris could throw two touchdowns against the 49ers, he should be able to do that or better against a terrible Cardinals defense.

2. The Seahawks defense has been impressive. After facing elite backs like Frank Gore and Rashard Mendenhall, the Seahawks are 9th in league in rushing defensive DVOA. They’ve allowed 209 yards in 70 total rushing plays over two games – a 2.98 yard average. The Cardinals rush offense, especially after a Thursday tweaking of Beanie Wells’ hamstring, should be completely toothless.

The Seattle pass defense hasn’t been great. But I attribute that to allowing nearly 300 yards to Pittsburgh; the Brandon Browner on Mike Wallace matchup was a complete nightmare. All 10 passes to Wallace were complete for 124 yards and a touchdown. But to be fair, Browner is tall and powerful; he’s not built to match up against elite speed receivers like Mike Wallace. Pete Carroll played the unbalanced matchup to scout Browner, not because he believed it was the best matchup. My hunch.

This upcoming game, Carroll himself said in a mid-week press conference that Browner would be matched up against Larry Fitzgerald: a tall, powerful receiver that excels in winning physical matchups. This is sink or swim time for Browner; he’s proven he can’t compete with elite speed receivers. Not a surprise. But if he can’t competently match up with a receiver that matches his strengths, I’ll say it right now: the Brandon Browner experiment (a good, worthwhile experiment) will be over; and so will his NFL career.

3. The injury situation favors the Seahawks. The Seahawks are likely to be minus special team studs Byron Maxwell and Michael Robinson, as well as veteran guard Robert Gallery. Gallery was a highly touted signed I was never excited for. He was never good in pass protection and he hasn’t stayed healthy in the past few seasons, being over 30 years of age. Both have held true now as a Seahawk. He’ll be out for at least four weeks. Paul McQuistan won’t likely be as much of a downgrade.

On the flip side, linebacker Matt McCoy will be back (good on special teams and has played very well on 3rd downs) and all signs point to Sidney Rice returning after two full practices without setbacks. Rice’s impact will be felt; it’ll be tough for the Cardinals to gameplan for a set of wide receivers that have yet to take the field this season, especially one that includes one as talented and explosive as Rice.

As I mentioned before, Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington and running back Beanie Wells may not play due to injury; both were limited on Thursday and are likely to be game-time decision on Sunday. If they do play, it’s unlikely they are full strength or effective. Both are impactful, talented starters for that team.

In sum, the Seahawks should smash the Cardinals. I didn’t even mention the home field advantage. To be honest, It won’t matter: the Cardinals’ rush offense will do nothing and the Hawks’ defense will smash Kevin Kolb. It’ll end up be closer than it should, because mistakes will be made on a team as young as the Seahawks, but make no mistake: the Seahawks’ win number one will come week three.

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Why the Packers Must Prevail

Aaron Rodgers

We need this guy to absolutely obliterate the Eagles today. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

I will get to yesterday’s unbelievably mind-blowingly awesome game soon. But first, I must attend to more important matters. It’s imperative for the Seahawks that the Packers beat the Eagles today. Here are three reasons why:

1. Next week’s matchup. If you had the choice, which team would you rather have the Seahawks face in the next round of the playoffs? The Chicago Bears or the Atlanta Falcons? If you fell off your couch holding your gut and laughing, you’re not alone. It’s a no brainer, right? In the playoffs, the lowest seeded winner will play the highest seeded team. In this case, the Seahawks are a division winner, the Packers a wild card. If the Packers win, they will travel to Atlanta and the Seahawks will travel to Chicago. Chicago has been playing good football since the Seahawks beat them early in the season (they’re 7-3, in fact). Even so, I’d much rather play the Bears than the Falcons. No question.

2. Sunday versus Saturday. A Packers victory will match the Seahawks up with the Chicago Bears on Sunday. After the game, Pete Carroll said that Lofa Tatupu suffered a “pretty severe concussion”. My thoughts are with him and I wish him a speedy recovery. Maybe an extra day will aid that recovery and help get him back on the field to face the Bears.

3. One more home game. This last one is a bit of a stretch, but hey – a guy can dream, can’t he? If the Packers and Seahawks meet in the NFC championship game, it will be at Qwest Field. Again – this is due to seeding: the Packers are a wild card and the Seahawks a division champion. If this happens, you bet your ass I’ll be there screaming my lungs hoarse.

Get your cheesehead hats on, boys and girls. It’s time to pray.

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