Category Archives: X’s & O’s

Hawks need a complete game from offense

Logo -- Los AngelesAs good as the Seahawks’ defense has been over the first month, it is about to face its biggest test of the season — and that means Seattle’s offense is going to have to be a lot better than it has been if it is going to win a shootout.

Seattle ranks seventh in overall defense, fifth against the pass and sixth in takeaways — rankings built against some of the league’s poorer offenses. Now, without Earl Thomas, they go up against a Rams unit that ranks first overall and second in passing and scoring.

It’s the ideal time for Russell Wilson and company to find themselves.

Under Brian Schottenheimer, the offense still is having trouble figuring out what it wants to be when it grows up.

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It starts on first downs

Logo -- At DenverWith a defense in training, the Seahawks absolutely need Russell Wilson to play his best this season. And it starts on first downs.

That’s what made it so disappointing when Seattle came up short in the opener in Denver — Wilson holding the ball too long and taking unnecessary sacks and Brian Schottenheimer doing very little to help him as the Hawks basically ran their old playbook.

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Is Carroll’s project ready if needed?

Seahawks bandagesWith Dontae Johnson now questionable or worse with a hip injury, it looks very possible that the Seahawks will end up starting two rookies in Denver — Tre Flowers joining Shaquem Griffin.

Flowers, a 6-3, fifth-round pick who converted from safety to corner for Seattle, played a ton in the preseason as he learned Pete Carroll’s very specific technique (kick-step, etc.). And he got a lot of up-close tutoring from the coach himself.

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Offense developing consistency, creativity

Logo -- PreseasonWe’re two preseason games into Seattle’s new offensive era, and the reviews on Brian Schottenheimer and Mike Solari have been pretty glowing so far.

Last week, Pete Carroll reiterated that one of his concerns about the old offense was that coaches were starting to “jam our players into the system” rather than play to their strengths.

The obvious example there is Jimmy Graham, who was forced to become a blocker and was not used downfield as well as he should have been. But Carroll also meant the offensive linemen. As he said in May, “We needed to shift gears a bit to match up with the guys we have here.”

Well, after two preseason games, they seem to be making progress.

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Special changes could net big returns

NFL draftIn the last two weeks, the Seahawks’ special teams have undergone a major upgrade — and they might get better yet.

Sure, the field goal game is again a question — the team apparently relying on a 40-year-old who missed last season with a back injury and can’t kick from 50 anymore. But the rest could be really strong, thanks to a new punter, another dynamic returner and potentially big rule changes.

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Familiar enforcers will drive Carroll’s club

Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson plan to be clapping about their offense a lot this season (Getty Images)After a steady three-year slide that ended with Seattle out of the playoffs this season, Pete Carroll apparently is ready to re-forge control of his team and re-establish his principles.

Carroll recently said he plans to make his team more disciplined while rejuvenating a once-strong running game that is the identity of the offense.

To do that, he needed some new voices in his coaching staff. So he reportedly is bringing in some familiar enforcers who will command players’ attention and be loyal to Carroll’s approach to winning.

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O-line expert: Cable & Bevell were passive, predictable

Cable and CarrollTom Cable’s offensive line failed because it was passive and predictable and did not use the players’ skills as well as it should have, and the lack of creativity by Cable and Darrell Bevell made it easy for defenses to beat Seattle — according to some great analysis by former Seattle first-round tackle Ray Roberts on 710 ESPN.

Roberts confirmed what we have said for a long time: Cable’s zone scheme has not worked partly because the Seahawks have not incorporated enough pre-snap motion. There has been almost no misdirection to make defenses wonder what is coming.

“There’s no other thing for linebackers or defenders to read,” Roberts said of the running game. “They know exactly where it’s going and they can come right downhill and defend it.”

Continue reading O-line expert: Cable & Bevell were passive, predictable