Category Archives: X’s & O’s

More thoughts on the offensive conundrum

There’s still a lot of analysis going on about what went wrong with Seattle’s offense, which bottomed out against the Rams’ stellar defense in the playoffs.

The bottom line is Russell Wilson’s effectiveness faded in the second half of the season, and Brian Schottenheimer was not creative enough as they faced a number of good defenses. Some don’t think Schotty should have been fired, but he could not right the ship in the second half and his unit ended up costing Seattle a playoff win in the first round for the second time in three years.

One of the big keys to an OC is feeling his QB’s performance and adjusting to help him when things are off kilter. Schotty was not very good at making adjustments during games, had too many predictable play-calling patterns (e.g., running on every second-and-10) and simply did not use his personnel to best effect. So, yeah, Pete Carroll was justified in firing him.

Continue reading More thoughts on the offensive conundrum

1-4 and out? It’s possible if the Hawks don’t fix the offense

One way the Seahawks could miss the playoffs at 9-7

If the Seahawks don’t fix their offense this week, they are in deep trouble the rest of the way. As in, they could go 1-4 in December and January, finish 9-7 and miss the playoffs.

Washington’s upset win over erstwhile undefeated Pittsburgh on Monday showed the team formerly known as Redskins will be maybe the toughest of the NFC Least clubs the Hawks face. WFT has perhaps the best defensive line in the league, and comeback QB Alex Smith has gone 3-1 as the starter.

The Hawks will go to DC after hosting the winless Jets this week. Then come the tough division games against the Rams in Seattle and the 49ers in a place to be determined (the 49ers are playing this month in Arizona). Those last three games will be challenges for a Seattle team that has been struggling on defense all season and has lost its offensive power over the past month.

Continue reading 1-4 and out? It’s possible if the Hawks don’t fix the offense

Offense needs to snap out of its funk

Don’t let a two-game winning streak fool you. The Seahawks’ offense still has not recovered its rhythm.

While the defense had its way with the dysfunctional Eagles offense in Seattle’s 23-17 win Monday night, Philly’s stout defensive front gave the Seahawks trouble and showed Russell Wilson and Co. are still trying to rediscover their early-season mojo.

It will be important to find that again if they are going to avoid a stumble in this run against the NFL Least (Eagles, Giants, Jets, WFT) and actually beat good teams when it matters – i.e., the Rams and any playoff foe.

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These Hawks can’t afford Wilson’s turnovers

The Seahawks are making Russell Wilson do too much cooking, and it is starting to burn them.

We know the defense is in shambles, which is why this team is not a Super Bowl contender at this point. And that’s also why it is imperative for the quarterback not to turn the ball over. When he does it three times, like he did at Arizona, or four times, like he did in Buffalo, these Hawks have almost no chance.

Continue reading These Hawks can’t afford Wilson’s turnovers

Carroll on blitzing: ‘It’s going to happen some more’

The Seahawks are going to continue to put the heat on quarterbacks via the blitz, Pete Carroll says.

Led by Bobby Wagner’s two sacks and four QB hits, the Seahawks blitzed on 23 of the 49ers’ 45 dropbacks (51%) — their highest rate since 2010, per ESPN Stats & Info. The Hawks had been blitzing about 24% of the time before that this season.

“I thought that the pressure we threw at them helped everybody,” Carroll said. “We just decided to take a little turn. Obviously, we’re trying to figure some things out to get better, and we just put it on the fellas. … With Jamal (Adams) coming back next, it’s going to happen some more.”

That’s good news.

Continue reading Carroll on blitzing: ‘It’s going to happen some more’

Wilson is not throwing more — just more proactively

Russell Wilson – everyone’s three-game NFL MVP — has not thrown the ball more this year, contrary to what some might think. He has just thrown it more efficiently and effectively and, most important, more proactively.

He has thrown 103 passes through three games, which is right around his average (104) for the first three games of the 2015-19 seasons.

But Wilson has set an NFL record with 14 TD passes to start the season, and his 76.7 percent completions and 7.76 yards per attempt are all the best of his career through three games.

It hasn’t been the volume; it has been the timing: He is throwing on early downs and in the first half more than ever.

Continue reading Wilson is not throwing more — just more proactively

Previewing the season

As this oddest of NFL seasons begins, the Seahawks look strong enough to contend for the Super Bowl again – assuming (1) they aren’t hit by a bunch of COVID afflictions, (2) their lines hold up and (3) they learn how to play offense in the playoffs.

After adding Jamal Adams, Quinton Dunbar, Greg Olsen, Carlos Hyde, Phillip Dorsett and Jordyn Brooks, the Hawks look very solid at DB, TE, RB, WR and LB – and of course QB. But their pass rush is still a major question mark, they look really thin at defensive tackle and center is a big unknown.

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Carroll goes back to roots on defense

Like it or not, Seattle seems to be standing pat with the pass rushers it has.

You can hold out all you want for the Seahawks to re-sign Jadeveon Clowney or trade for Yannick Ngakoue. But, if they were not interested in signing Everson Griffen for $6 million (what Dallas paid him), they are obviously content to go with what they have: Bruce Irvin, Benson Mayowa, Rasheem Green, L.J. Collier, Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson.

Instead, Pete Carroll is going back to his roots and building his defense from the back. And he would rather pay All-Pro safety Jamal Adams than Ngakoue or Clowney or even the cheap Griffen — perhaps partly because he expects Adams to sack the quarterback.

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Hawks gonna let Russ cook two-minute meals?

Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson plan to be clapping about their offense a lot this season (Getty Images)“Let Russ cook” has become an annoying mantra repeated by some fans the last couple of years.

It’s a nebulous decree. For some, it is a call for Seattle to just throw the ball 40 times a game. For the smarter ones, it is a more nuanced request for the Seahawks to let Russell Wilson stir the pot in his own special way, especially earlier in games.

At the Pro Bowl in February, Wilson said he was all in favor of the latter. He talked about going up-tempo more — something we have constantly called for in the first half, especially. He also apparently has discussed this with Pete Carroll.

Don’t get too excited, cooking fans, but it sounds like the coach might have listened, based on staff moves he made and a report that Seattle is indeed talking about letting Wilson work up some two-minute meals.

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Post-Super Bowl notes

Frank ClarkYou have to be happy for Frank Clark, who has gone from tragedy to triumph over the past couple of years. Almost exactly two years ago, he sadly lost his father and other relatives in a Cleveland fire. Last year at this time, he said, “Let’s get this paperwork (i.e., contract) done so we (can) go on this hunt. I’m tired of the same results.” Well, the paperwork turned out to be trade papers and a new contract with the Chiefs, who gave him the $104 million Seattle would not. And then he got the different results he wanted by helping the Chiefs win Super Bowl LIV.

The lesson the Seahawks hopefully learned: It’s OK to pay a pass rusher top dollar. It might actually help you win a Super Bowl. They need to pay their top pass rusher, Jadeveon Clowney, this time.

Continue reading Post-Super Bowl notes