Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Observations after Week Two

Observations after Week Two

Not the start I believe any of us were hoping for or expecting, from the Seahawks this year. After a week one win over the Dolphins, in which the offense looked entirely like a week one team, we had the debacle in Los Angeles. Just going to touch lightly on both here today, as both wounds are still pretty fresh.

Against Miami in week one our defense played pretty stellar football. There was the one scoring drive in the fourth quarter that wasn’t fun to watch, but other than that, we kept the Dolphins right where we wanted them. Our offense had a couple positive looks, but nothing that really stood out. The biggest story to come out of this game was the injury to Russell Wilson’s ankle. Looked terrible when it happened, but they got enough tape on it for Wilson to orchestrate the game winning drive. Facing the Dolphins defensive line, though, is not going to be easy for any team this year. To get out of there with the win was good enough. As they say, even an ugly win still goes in the win column.

Then we got to Los Angeles, to face the newly relocated Rams. What happened in this game is a lot harder to put my finger on. On defense we just seemed a step slow all day. Specifically in the back end (LB’s and DB’s). We gave up way to many yards to a career back up quarterback on short passes over the middle and in the flat. Crossing routes were open all day, and the Rams took full advantage. Being a Jeff Fischer coached team, I’m sure they had their special “playing the Seahawks” offensive scheme ready. Quarterback Keenum never had the ball in his hands very long, taking short three and five step drops and getting rid of the football.

Our defense did keep the highly touted second year running back, Todd Gurley, in check for most of the day. He had a few decent runs in the fourth quarter, finishing with 51 yards on 19 carries. The Rams are still after week two, looking for their first touchdown as the Los Angeles Rams. Kenny Britt finished with 94 receiving yards, many in the short passing game as mentioned above. We got to Keenum for three sacks; two by Frank Clark and one for Michael Bennett. On a side note, I think we’re going to have to find more snaps for Clark; he was only on the field for 56% of the defensive snaps. In my opinion, he is much too important to barely play half the defensive snaps. I realize it’s hard to find time behind Bennett and Cliff Avril, but with the talent Clark has, I believe we need him on the field, not the sidelines.

On offense, we left quite a bit to be desired. I personally believe the ankle injury to Wilson was the biggest hindrance on offense. He just didn’t have the spring in his step that we have come to expect over the last four years. With the way the game was going I would have been happier to let him set out the game, and play the rookie, Trevone Boykin. With our defensive talent, I don’t believe the offense would have, or could have looked worse. Boykin would have at least had mobility in the pocket, which was what I believe hindered the Seahawk offense the most. I don’t believe Russell did any spin moves, as we’ve came to expect, and running the read option was ugly to watch.

In the running game, the return of Thomas Rawls to the starting line up didn’t turn out the way the Seahawks hoped. Rawls finished with seven carries for a negative seven yards. Christine Michael finished with 60 yards on 10 carries. It seemed to me that Rawls kept trying to side step tacklers behind the line of scrimmage, whereas Michael hits the hole quicker. With a defensive front with the talent of Los Angeles’, you need to get by the line as quick as possible. I think if Rawls had just hit the hole, he would have done better. Thomas did suffer another injury, not believed to be terribly serious; it sounded like a bruise to the shin, as I heard it.

Tyler Lockett also left the field for a short time with an injury, but returned in the fourth quarter. He had a 53 yard reception on the final drive, and finished with 99 yards on four receptions. Jimmy Graham, in his first extended playing time of the year, had three receptions for 42 yards. If we can get Graham back into the offensive game plan, it can only help. Doug Baldwin also left the field with an injury. The last I’ve heard is that he “seems to be feeling OK” per Pete Carroll. I just believe that with Russell Wilson’s injury it handcuffed our offense too much. He did have a few scrambles for positive yards, but he didn’t have the normal quickness, which really changes out offense. Additionally, I do strongly believe that if Michael hadn’t fumbled on the last drive, we would have scored a touchdown, and won 10-9. Just my opinion, though. But who really knows?

There is rumor that we may get Germain Ifedi back this week against the San Francisco 49ers. I’m hoping that will help our offense, along with another week for Wilson to get the ankle back to where it should be. After going through nearly all of training camp and preseason with Ifedi in the right guard position, then losing him to injury just before the season opener, has left our line as another patch work piece, as it had the last two years.

I’m still staying positive behind the Seahawks. I believe we’ve went up against two of the best defensive line’s in the NFL in the first two weeks of the season. Additionally I don’t believe the 49ers have nearly as much talent on the defensive line as the Rams and Dolphins. If we can get Ifedi back, and get the offense, which is notoriously slow starting, over the hump, I believe we’ll make quick work of the Niners. Also, I haven’t yet jumped on the ‘Fire Bevell’ bandwagon. We’ve heard it for the last couple of years at 3-3 in 2014 and at 2-4 in 2015 in addition to immediately after Super Bowl 49. I believe our offense will come around. I also believe we have to change things a bit. This is many of the offensive coaches first season without having Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. That I believe is huge. You won’t ever replace Beast Mode with late round, or undrafted free agent, running back. So consequently, the offensive play calling does need to change. Look how the offense played last season after both Marshawn and Thomas Rawls went down with injuries. But theses coaches aren’t dumb. I have faith that with a healthy Russell Wilson, and the offensive line set we had all preseason and camp, our offense will be fine. I would like to see a little more aggressive play calling. It may have been hard considering Wilson’s injury, but it was pretty obvious that the LA Rams couldn’t cover Tyler Lockett on a deep ‘go‘route. So why not send Lockett and the other speedster, Paul Richardson down field? Russell has shown an ability to put a good touch on the long ball. With the speed these two have, and the talent, or lack thereof, in the Rams secondary, I can’t believe we wouldn’t have gotten a few deep receptions, as Tyler had for 53 yards on the last drive.

Regardless, in my opinion, it isn’t time to panic just yet. On a positive, besides the division loss, we are in a four team tie in the NFC West at 1-1. There’s a lot of football left to play. I think we’ll be fine. The Rams were playing with a ton of emotion with the return to Los Angeles coupled with their lackluster showing in week one against the 49ers. As always, both these teams always play their best football against the division heavyweights, Seattle and Arizona. I still believe we will win the division outright, with a #1 or #2 seed going into the playoffs, Call me a cross-eyed optimist, but I know our defense will keep us in games, so long as the offense can get untracked. I mean really, who would have thought the Seahawks would have only scored one touchdown and a total of 15 points after two games? Certainly not this guy.

Another quick note on the Ram game, the officiating was questionable on both sides. Not complaining about getting “homered”, because there were some head scratchers for both teams. I mean really, three offensive pass interference calls against the Seahawks, and I know at least one against the Rams? The second call against Jermaine Kearse was laughable. He no more than touched the defender in the chest, and drew the flag. The Seahawks did have a lot of penalties; 10 for 114 yards, with the Rams having 9 for 78 yards. Too many pre-snap/dead ball penalties on the Seahawks/too. Let’s hope we get a handle on this right away.

So stay positive Seahawk fans. We’ll right the ship this week, barring further injury, and be on the way to another NFC West title! So, until next time (which I promise will be sooner, I’m making terrible use of my time)…………GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!

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