Tag Archives: Charly Martin

OTA Wrap-Up 5/31

1 Jun

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The Seahawks concluded the second week of organized team activities with an outdoor practice on Friday afternoon. The team was pretty loose in this practice session as they welcomed a very special guest to work out with them.

Saturday night is the Kenny Chesney concert at CenturyLink Field. Since e is in town for his concert, Chesney was invited to the VMAC by Coach Carroll to participate in practice on Friday. Chesney sported a sleeveless action green shirt along with Seahawks shorts and helmet. He worked out with the wide receivers which is my focus of today’s practice. The only noteworthy receiver that was not in a helmet and shorts on Friday was Charly Martin. Martin, I would imagine, is still recovering from an injury that put him on injured reserve early in 2012. The receiver who caught my eye on Friday was Sidney Rice. Rice showed good quickness and of the highlights I saw, did not drop a pass. It is great to see Rice healthy and fully participating in OTA’s.

Chesney however stole the show. I was impressed with his route running and ball catching ability. Russell Wilson threw Chesney a beautiful rainbow pass on a streak route. The ball landed perfectly into Chesney’s arms. It was clear Kenny Chesney has some background in the game of football.

One off the field note today. Richard Sherman was revealed at the 50th best player of 2013 on NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players of 2013” countdown last night. Sherman joins Russell Wilson (51st), Earl Thomas (66th), Percy Harvin (90th), and Max Unger (95th) on the list so far. The countdown will pick up where it left off next Thursday. I am expecting Marshawn Lynch to be the only Seahawk yet to be revealed on the list. Perhaps someone else will surprise and make the list during the next episode. If a different player makes the list, my guess is that it will be Russell Okung.

The Seahawks will take the weekend off and will be back to start week three of OTA’s on Monday. Check back Monday night for another OTA wrap-up report!

Seahawks/Bills Preview

15 Dec

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Matchup: Seattle Seahawks vs. Buffalo Bills

Site: Rogers Centre (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Kickoff: 1:05pm

The Seahawks conclude their regular season road schedule north of the border in Toronto this week as they take on the Buffalo Bills. For the Bills, this is their annual “Bills Toronto Series” game which will take place at Rogers Centre; home of Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays. The Seahawks are riding in on a two-game winning streak and an 8-5 overall record. The Bills have not been as fortunate. Although they are still mathematically alive in the AFC playoff picture, they have a record of 5-8 and need a lot of help to make their microscopic playoff dreams a reality. The Seahawks lead the all-time series with the Bills 6-5. Their last meeting was kickoff weekend of the 2008 season when Buffalo trounced the Seahawks 34-10. This game is a must-win if the Seahawks want to keep their hopes of the NFC West title alive. Here are my focuses of this weekend’s game.

I think a lot of people look at last week’s 58-0 win over Arizona and expect our offense to keep its strong offensive momentum going against the Bills. I hate to break it to you 12th Man but there is no chance we will be nearly as dominant as last week you should still be satisfied if we are still able to move the ball and put up points at a normal rate. I look at the Chicago game two weeks ago to compare how to go about playing the Bills this week. There are two big things to look at this week on offense. First, the wide receivers. According to Coach Carroll, Sidney Rice is dealing with a bruised foot and has been held out of practice all week. Rice says he expects to play but his status is uncertain. He started the week with his foot in a boot. The boot has since come off but he is still questionable. If Rice can go, things will be normal on the outside and I could see Rice having a big game this week. If he cannot go, the wide receiver field will be somewhat switched up. Coach Carroll said in his Friday press conference that Charly Martin has been placed on injured reserve, ending his 2012 season. No receiver roster move was made after putting Martin on IR. Jermaine Kearse could see expanded playing time if Rice cannot play. I do not think Doug Baldwin will start because we will want to have some height starting on the outside. Let’s pray Rice will be able to play, since Kearse has not started a game in his NFL career.

Over the past three weeks, the Buffalo Bills have given up an average of 72 rushing yards per game. Before that stretch however, Buffalo had the worst run defense in the NFL. It is time for their run defense to get back to its original ways. Running back Marshawn Lynch is set to play in his first game against the Bills since he was traded from Buffalo to Seattle at the 2010 trade deadline. After a three touchdown performance last week I expect to see a lot of Lynch early this week. If Lynch gets off to a fast start, it is likely we will put up points, get out to an early lead, and be able to stick to the game plan and not make too many changes later on in the game. If the Bills are successful in stopping Lynch, the plan will change and I would not be surprised to see a lot of zone-read option plays where Russell Wilson tries to run.

With another appeal delay on tap, cornerback Richard Sherman is expected to play once again this week on defense. As with every road game, the biggest key this week is stopping the Bills offense especially on third down. This week the Seahawks appear to be healthy but two starters in the secondary have been hurt in practice this week. Cornerback Walter Thurmond is dealing with an ankle injury and safety Kam Chancellor is dealing with a groin injury. I am hoping both these guys can play but I believe Chancellor is the one guy who must play due to his ability to get to the play and stop the offense from gaining positive yards because he is such a hard hitter. Getting back to the defensive play on third down, I am hoping Bruce Irvin can have a big impact. Irvin leads all rookies in sacks with 8 and he himself predicted a double-digit sack season. If Irvin can record two sacks and get a couple more from a mix including Chris Clemons, Bobby Wagner, and Brandon Mebane, the defense will be in great shape.

The Buffalo Bills primary strength on offense is the running game. Buffalo holds the 6th best run offense in the league and this week due to the injury of Fred Jackson last week, the load will be entirely on C.J. Spiller. Spiller is a very talented running back who can be explosive especially if he gets loose. Spiller ranks first in the league in yards per carry with a 6.6 average. It will be very important for the Seahawks front four to penetrate Buffalo’s offensive line to make initial contact in the backfield to stop Spiller. Buffalo’s quarterback is Ryan Fitzpatrick who is averaging only 200 yards passing per game. Before last week against St. Louis, Fitzpatrick struggled as he did not throw for more than 168 yards in their prior 3 games and he has thrown only 4 touchdown passes in his last 4 games.

The Buffalo defense sports some great talent but their unit has been banged up as of late. The Bills biggest offseason acquisition was defensive end Mario Williams who signed a 6-year $100 million contract during the offseason. Williams is having a decent year but has arguably not lived up to the expectations of his contract. He has 37 total tackles and 10.5 sacks so far this season. Other than Williams, the Bills have other notable names staring on defense including Marcell Dareus, Nick Barnett, Jairus Byrd, Leodis McKelvin, and 2012 first-round pick Stephon Gilmore. Barnett and McKelvin are the two biggest names to keep an eye on because they have either not practiced or practiced on a limited basis this week. The Buffalo defense has the talent to make special plays happen. It will be up to Russell Wilson to exploit the flaws within this deep Buffalo defensive unit.

The biggest story in the Buffalo media this week is not the return of Marshawn Lynch surprisingly. Instead, it is the rumor that backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is not smart enough to handle the Bills offense. Jackson, who was acquired from the Seahawks at the end of training camp this year, has been Ryan Fitzpatrick’s backup all season and this week will be a unique tool for Chan Gailey and the Buffalo coaching staff to use to try to exploit the Seattle offense that he had learned prior to being traded. Gailey downplayed the notion that a player with ties to another team can help a whole lot in trying to predict what that team will throw at you. I think it will be really funny if Fitzpatrick has to leave the game and Jackson comes in to replace him.

Random Thoughts: The Seahawks have not won three road games in a given regular season since 2007… The Seahawks will debut the alternate grey uniforms this week. The jerseys will be paired with grey pants. According to seahawks.com this will be the only game the grey uniforms will be worn this season, which dashes my hopes of us doing a “grey out” for the San Francisco game… It will be nice to have this game be a 1:05 pacific kickoff for an east coast game. The last east coast game to start at 1:05 was the Carolina game in week 5. We won that game… The Bills have only won one game in their Toronto Series since it started. Their only win came last year against Washington. Let’s make sure that stat does not become a winning streak… How did Richard Sherman not win NFC player of the week last week? Two interceptions is not good enough for the NFL anymore?… Dick Stockton and John Lynch have the call for FOX this week. It’s nice to have a break from the inseparable duo of Chris Myers and Tim Ryan… The referee this week is Scott Green… This week’s game will be played in a dome and will most likely feature the smallest crowd at an NFL game this season. Rogers Centre only seats about 50,000 people anyway… Please New England, beat the 49ers on Sunday Night Football.

Prediction: The Seahawks should know what is potentially at stake this week. I do not see us losing focus, especially since we are coming off an impressive road win in Chicago and a complete annihilation of Arizona at home last week. This week, the offense will not be nearly as impressive but will put up a decent amount of points. The defense will struggle on third down like they usually do but they will be able to stop the Buffalo offense when it matters most.

Seahawks 31, Bills 17

Check back for my review of the Buffalo game and an updated playoff outlook on Monday afternoon. Enjoy the game everyone. Go Seahawks!

Vikings/Seahawks Preview

3 Nov

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Matchup: Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks

Site: CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Washington)

Kickoff: 1:05pm

The Seahawks return home on Sunday to start the second half of the season against the Minnesota Vikings. The Seahawks enter this game at 4-4 and are looking to gain a half a game on the division leading San Francisco 49ers in the division standings. The Vikings are a surprising 5-3 and are looking to get back on track after losing last Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Seahawks lead the all-time series against the Vikings 6-5 but have lost two in a row to Minnesota. Their last matchup was a 35-9 Vikings blowout over the Seahawks at the Metrodome in November of 2009. Here now are my thoughts on this week’s game and the keys to a Seahawks victory.

It has been three weeks since the Seahawks have played at home. The defense was able to shut down the New England Patriots and escape with a victory. This week the Seahawks defense gets the Vikings offense including a quarterback who has never played in Seattle. I have labeled Christian Ponder as fresh meat this week because not only has he never played in Seattle, this is only his second season in the league and I do not believe he has faced a defense as talented in an environment like ours all season. The Seahawks pass rush is a big key on defense this week. Pressuring Ponder into mistakes will be huge this week. Although interceptions would be fantastic, I will be keeping my eyes on the decisions Ponder makes if the pressure is on. Most notably, I will be looking for how long he takes to throw, and if he will try to force throws or if he will throw the ball away. At home, I have full confidence in our defense to stop the Vikings on third downs. By putting Ponder in second and third down and long will be to our advantage. I have full confidence the defense has looked over film and made proper adjustments to be more effective on third down. This week, my player to watch on defense is linebacker Bobby Wagner. Wagner has been mentioned as an early candidate for defensive rookie of the year. Wagner is doing a great job calling the plays on defense. I predict that Wagner will record his second sack of the season on Sunday.

Last week in Detroit, Marshawn Lynch broke off a 77-yard touchdown run which was his longest run of the season thus far. The Minnesota Vikings do not have a very good run defense. I would not be surprised if Lynch has another 100+ yard rush game which includes at least one touchdown. Lynch has not scored a touchdown at home since week 2 and my offensive prediction this week is that Lynch will score this week. Getting the running game going will take time off the clock and put pressure on the Vikings to make a stop. Lynch is the biggest factor on offense this week and a strong performance from him will probably translate into a positive outcome for the Seahawks this week.

Russell Wilson is back home this week, where he is way more comfortable. After a strong performance on the road last week, I would expect to see momentum rolling over into this game. Just as a reminder, Russell has thrown 6 touchdowns and no interceptions in games at home this season. Russell has the potential to throw for the most single game yardage so far this season. If the running game is working effectively this may not be the case, but if Wilson has to throw often, I think he could put up some big numbers and move the chains in huge chunks. I do however think the Seahawks offensive line will have trouble at times blocking and protecting Wilson. The Seahawks have been able to stay healthy along the offensive line and the continuity is building in the middle between James Carpenter, Max Unger, and Paul McQuistan. This group is still a bit raw and is subject to giving up some sacks and quarterback pressures this week.

The Minnesota Vikings are 5-3 and a large part has to do with their under-the-radar defense. One player who is definitely not flying under-the-radar however is all-pro defensive end Jared Allen who has recorded 7 of Minnesota’s 23 sacks this season. That total is tied for 3rd in the league. Allen is the biggest name on Minnesota’s defense but I have two other players to look for. Cornerback Antoine Winfield has 60 tackles so far this season and has picked off two passes. With the uncertainty at wide receiver this week for the Seahawks, I expect Winfield to line up against Sidney Rice for the majority of the game. Also, rookie safety Harrison Smith is another player to keep an eye on for Minnesota. Smith has been compared to Earl Thomas because of his incredible range and ball hawking ability. If Russell Wilson floats some passes deep, Smith will most likely be in the neighborhood to try to make a play.

On offense you always have to be worried about leading rusher Adrian Peterson, but if the Seahawks defense plays the way I expect them to, Christian Ponder will have to throw the ball a lot. Percy Harvin has 667 receiving yards, three receiving touchdowns, and one touchdown on a kickoff return. Harvin is one of the best duel-threats in the league and his quickness may really be a problem in this game. Harvin will go up against Brandon Browner this week and if we give up big chunks of yards to Harvin the Seahawks will definitely be at a disadvantage. Harvin will be the reason if special teams play a significant role in this game. If Harvin has a big game whether it be receiving or returning kicks, the Seahawks may be in trouble.

One final note about the Seahawks wide receiver depth, it looks like Doug Baldwin will be ready to play this week after a miraculous recovery to his ankle. If Baldwin can go, the Seahawks will have 5 healthy wide receivers. Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Charly Martin, and Jermaine Kearse are the other 4. I do not expect Kearse to see much playing time and if Baldwin can go, expect Martin’s plays to decrease as well.

Random Thoughts: What a treat. The halftime show this week is a joint performance by the Newport and Mercer Island high school marching bands. I was a part of the Newport HS band from 2004-2008 and I have heard the entire band and staff have turned over since I graduated. Nevertheless it will be kind of funny and cool to watch where I was only 5 years ago… The pregame giveaway is a blue Seahawks poncho. Kind of useless since I’ll be in the upper deck where the elements are a non-factor… The weather is supposed to be in the low 60’s on Sunday. Looks like I’ll be sporting the visor for one more home game… Chris Myers and Tim Ryan have the call for FOX for the second straight week. After last week’s play-by-play/commentary performance, I am very thankful I’ll actually be at the game this week… Looks like I’ll be tailgating in a parking lot in Pioneer Square again before this game. I’m excited… The Seahawks will most likely wear blue jerseys and blue pants again this week. I love surprises and I’m waiting to be surprised. I kind of want the Seahawks to switch up their uniform combinations at home… I have an assignment due at 5pm Sunday night. I’ll put good money on me getting it done before Sunday rolls around.

Prediction: I think it is crucial for the Seahawks to win these next two home games before the bye. The fact that we are at home and Christian Ponder has never played at CenturyLink Field before gives us a huge advantage. I think we will able to contain Adrian Peterson for the most part and Russell Wilson will have his best performance of the season.

Seahawks 24, Vikings 13

Look for my review of the Vikings game sometime Monday afternoon or evening. Enjoy the game everybody. Go Hawks!

Seahawks/Lions Preview

27 Oct

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Matchup: Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions

Site: Ford Field (Detroit, Michigan)

Kickoff: 10:00am

After a long break the Seahawks head back to the scene of the crime to take on the Detroit Lions. This is the second time the Seahawks have been to Detroit since that dreary February evening in 2006. The last time these two teams played was in 2009 in Seattle where the Seahawks came back from a 17-0 deficit to beat the Lions 32-20. The Seahawks lead the all-time series against Detroit 7-4. The 4-3 Seahawks are looking to end the first half of the season with a victory while the 2-4 Lions are looking to gain momentum and regain some ground in the surprisingly deep NFC North. Here is what I will be looking for from both teams this Sunday.

It is no surprise by now that Russell Wilson struggles mightily on the road. In 4 road contests so far this season, Wilson has 7 interceptions. Limiting turnovers will be crucial this week but the biggest key on offense this week will be to control time of possession. The Seahawks do a good job of scoring points and taking time off of the clock in the first half but in the second half we struggle to do these two things. If we can establish long possessions in the second half, it will be likely that we will be able to put up points later on in the game. Just like what the 49ers were able to do last week, long possessions will tire out the Lions defense which will also be to our benefit.

In order for us to maintain long possessions we have to be able to effectively run the football. I feel Marshawn Lynch is overdue for a big game. He has not scored multiple touchdowns in any game so far this season and I think he could break off for a few decent size runs and he can get into the endzone more than once. If Lynch can do this Russell Wilson will not be forced to throw the ball late in the game and the pressure on Wilson’s shoulders will be limited.

This week the Seahawks will be without wide receiver Doug Baldwin who is nursing an ankle injury. Charly Martin will take Baldwin’s place in the lineup. My prediction for our leading receiver this week is Sidney Rice. Russell Wilson looked Rice’s direction a lot in San Francisco last Thursday and he will be targeted a lot again this week. Rice will go up against Lions cornerback Chris Houston. Houston is coming off his most productive game so far this season, making 6 tackles on Monday night against Chicago. Although I am predicting Rice will be the most productive receiver this week, do not be surprised if the catches, targets, and yardage numbers are close together this week among all of the wide receivers since both Russell Wilson and Coach Carroll have talked about spreading the ball around more in practice this week.

The one-on-one matchup I am looking forward to the most this weekend is Lions receiver Calvin Johnson vs. Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner. Browner is definitely the tallest defender Johnson has had to face this season and Browner may turn out to be the most physical defender also. After last week’s game 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh claimed that the Seahawks defensive backs were playing unnecessarily physical against his receivers. After fueling their fire with those comments, I would expect both Browner and Richard Sherman to try to jam their receivers frequently. As a matter of fact, I am worried that this may lead to stupid penalties this week. If illegal contact and pass interference is called against the Seahawks defense this week, the game plan may change and the Lions may try to take advantage of our looser play on defense.

Although the Detroit Lions are only 2-4, they possess some talented players on both sides of the football. On offense the Lions field general is 4th year quarterback Matthew Stafford. After a 5,000+ passing yard season last year, Stafford has struggled this year. Stafford is averaging 293 yards per game and has thrown more interceptions (6) than touchdowns (5). Stafford’s biggest target is the previously mentioned Calvin Johnson, who also has not been producing as well as previous seasons. Johnson has only one touchdown so far this season. If the Seahawks are successful in shutting Johnson down the Lions may be in trouble. They lost receiver Nate Burleson to a season-ending leg injury last week and their other receivers include Titus Young and rookie Ryan Broyles. Young is a fast, talented receiver who can make plays happen but the Lions depth at receiver is not good overall.

The Lions running game is my focus this week when they have the ball. Much like San Francisco, Detroit runs with a trap-blocking scheme. This style of blocking makes it difficult for the defense to detect where the ball carrier is between the holes and tackles. Frank Gore was able to run for over 130 yards last week against the Seahawks and if nothing has been done to improve the run defense, I am afraid Mikel Leshoure will have his way with the Seahawks run defense this week. Leshoure is a physical back who will not go down easily. We must make sure our tackling is on point this week. If Leshoure can consistently get going, the Seahawks defense will give up points and will put added pressure on our own offense.

The Lions defense is led by tackle Ndamukong Suh and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch. The Lions average just fewer than 3 sacks per game on defense which is good news for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offensive line. The talent on defense for Detroit leaves me questioning how effective Marshawn Lynch will be this week. Overall, I do not think the Lions defense will have as big of an impact as a lot of people think.

One final note on the Lions, they had trouble with punt returns against Chicago. Stefan Logan may be pulled from his punt return duties this week. If he is not however, look for Jon Ryan to sky some punts to see if we can get Logan to cough up the ball again.

Random Thoughts: I love the fact that Richard Sherman changed his Twitter name to “Optimus Prime” this week. Megatron does not know what is coming his way… The last time we played in Detroit we barely escaped with a win. I understand it is hard to win on the road in a different time zone but I wouldn’t be surprised if we struggle… Uniform prediction of the week: once again, white jerseys and grey pants… It is looking like I’ll be watching the game back in Bellevue at my dad’s house. I haven’t watched a game with him since we went to the Arizona game on the road last month. I’m looking forward to spending the day watching football over there… I lost my dinner bet last week. I’m leaning towards my pasta specialty: Angel hair with homemade meat sauce. Maybe I’ll experiment with a pesto sauce as well. Date and time TBD… Chris Myers and Tim Ryan have the call this week for FOX. This duo calls a pretty good game so I’m not too disappointed about the play-by-play assignment this week… I need a win in fantasy football this week. I can’t afford to fall to 3-5… I consider this game to be the last of our “tough” games on our schedule. At the beginning of the season I predicted that we would be 3-5 at the halfway point. We have a chance to be 5-3. That is incredible to me. Even if we lose and go to 4-4, I’ll be satisfied overall but I’ll be disappointed about this one game after the fact.

Prediction: The Seahawks are now averaging just under 13 points per game on the road. Unfortunately, I think that the trap-blocking scheme the Lions have in place will be tough for the Seahawks defense to handle. Mikel Leshoure will run for more yards than Marshawn Lynch and the Lions success running the ball puts pressure on Russell Wilson and the rest of the Seahawks offense. I expect this game to once again be close nearing the end of the game, but I don’t think we have enough fire power on offense to pull this one out.

Lions 23, Seahawks 17

Look for my review of this game on the blog sometime Monday. Enjoy the game everybody and as always, thank you so much for reading. Go Hawks!

“NOT Detroit. How many times do I have to go to that city?!”- One of the guys I go on my annual Seahawks road trip with when asked about which game he wanted to go to this season.

Cowboys/Seahawks Preview

15 Sep

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Matchup: Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks

Site: CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Washington)

Kickoff: 1:05pm

After a disappointing first week, the Seahawks return home to face the Dallas Cowboys in our 2012 home opener. The main storyline surrounding this game is this is the first time the Cowboys have played in Seattle since the 2006 playoffs. In that wild-card playoff game with a 21-20 lead, the Cowboys were in position to take the lead on a late-game field goal. Instead Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo fumbled the hold and was tackled short of the goal line. The Seahawks held on to win and advanced to the divisional playoffs against Chicago.

Even though the Seahawks last played the Cowboys at home in that playoff game, we have played the Cowboys three times since then; all on the road. The Seahawks went 0-3 in those three matchups since, including a 23-13 loss in Dallas last season. The Cowboys lead the all-time series against the Seahawks 9-5. Here is what I will be looking for in this week’s home opener.

This week John Moffitt starts in place of J.R. Sweezy at right guard. I think this gives us our best possible offensive line. Last week our offensive line was unable to consistently give Russell Wilson enough time to make solid throws and other decisions. We need to solidify an offensive line that will not shuffle week in and week out. If we can do this and rebuild continuity along the line, I believe we will see significant improvement. One question mark this week is left tackle Russell Okung who suffered a bone bruise in his knee last week. Coach Carroll expects Okung to play this week. If Okung cannot go, Coach Carroll said Frank Omiyale is ready to step in to replace him. I am very worried about the offensive line if Okung does not play. I originally thought Omiyale was going to be cut after training camp. I do not think he is the best option at the position. I would suggest sliding Paul McQuistan to left tackle and starting Lemuel Jeanpierre at left guard. I am not concerned about the running game no matter who starts along the line, but if the starters are not healthy, expect Russell Wilson to be flushed out of the pocket on a consistent basis, much like he was last week in Arizona.

The biggest thing to look for this week on defense is the interior pass rush. Cowboys starting center Phil Costa is presumed out this week with a strained back. Backup Ryan Cook will most likely start this week at center for Dallas. Jason Jones is definitely the man to keep your eye on on defense this week but also look for Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright to have a big impact. Much like the Cardinals defense did last week, I think it would be effective to stack the box on first and second down to put extra pressure on Tony Romo and to clog interior running lanes for running back DeMarco Murray. My hope is for our defense as a whole to record at least one sack per quarter.

For both teams it is very necessary to analyze the wide receivers. The Seahawks have a healthy Golden Tate this week and he will most likely start at split end this week. Doug Baldwin is expected to play at full strength this week after he had two of his teeth chipped in the fourth quarter last week. The only Seahawks receiver who will not play this week is Charly Martin who suffered a bruised lung in Arizona last week. Martin spent time in an Arizona hospital after last week’s game as a precaution and he is expected to miss at least a couple games. Although Martin is hurt I don’t think the Seahawks will activate a receiver from the practice squad. The Seahawks will most likely dress only five receivers against the Cowboys.

For the Cowboys, I am afraid the Seahawks will spend too much time worrying about Kevin Ogletree. Ogletree came out of nowhere last week against the New York Giants, catching 8 balls for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns. Although Ogletree is an emerging threat, that does not mean we can be lenient with defending Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. Austin will most likely be defended by Brandon Browner, who made it clear last week he still has a problem with penalties. To my memory, I believe Browner got caught for pass interference, holding, and illegal contact all last week. If Browner does in fact cover Austin this week, look for Romo to throw in Austin’s direction a lot. There is a good chance that by throwing towards Browner, the Cowboys will pick up some yards via penalties. Jason Witten will also be back stronger this week. I think Witten will get targets but because he is still not 100 percent, his numbers will not be overly impressive. I think four catches for Witten would be considered decent.

Random Thoughts: This Sunday is the home opener. Barring a home playoff game, this will be the loudest game of the season by far… The Cowboys are the best opponent for our home opener since I have been a season ticket holder. Not a fan of playing the Rams and Cardinals in home opener’s year after year… My tailgate starts down at the stadium at 8:45am. I am stoked… I think the Seahawks will be wearing navy blue jerseys this week but I would love to see them wear gray and force Dallas to wear their ugly navy blue uniforms… Last year in the final regular season game against San Francisco, everybody seemed to bring and throw around Skittles whenever Marshawn Lynch broke off a big run or scored a touchdown. I need to remember to buy my Skittles before Sunday. I hope the 12th Man remembers to do the same… The referee this week is a guy by the name of Donovan Briggans. My friends and I have nicknamed him “replacement Mike Carey.” For those of you who don’t get the comparison look up both of those names. Hopefully you will then understand… Kenny Albert and Daryl “Moose” Johnston is the play-by-play/commentary pair this week. If the Seahawks would have won last week we might have gotten the number one FOX crew of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to call this week’s game. Slightly disappointing… This Sunday is also Alumni Day. I hope Cortez Kennedy makes an appearance even though the Seahawks postponed his jersey retirement until halftime of the New England game on October 14th… I can’t wait to talk fantasy with the people around me on Sunday. I just hope from a fantasy perspective the Seahawks shut down Dez Bryant… On Alumni Day the Seahawks always have a popular former player raise the 12th Man flag. I think that the flag raiser this week will be either Michael Sinclair or Shaun Alexander.

Prediction: I could see this game being very sloppy, at least to start out. The Seahawks have not lost a home opener since 2008 when they lost to San Francisco in overtime. The Seahawks are 8-2 all-time in home openers at CenturyLink Field. Not many people expect the Seahawks to win this week. I hate to say the Seahawks will win because of luck but I do think there is a chance a couple of bad calls or lucky breaks in favor of the Seahawks will be the difference in this week’s game. All in all, Russell Wilson will have a much better game than last week and the defense will be able to shut down the Cowboys running game. I think Romo will throw for three touchdowns but it will not be enough as Marshawn Lynch and a poised Wilson will lead the Seahawks to a nail-biting close victory.

Seahawks 30, Cowboys 27

I hope to have my review up before the start of Monday Night Football. Thanks for reading. For those of you going to the game this week, have lots of fun and BE LOUD. Go Seahawks!

Review: Cardinals 20, Seahawks 16

11 Sep

Words cannot describe how upset I was after the Seahawks blew a great opportunity to get off to a 1-0 start. Instead, thanks to terrible play calling by offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and the butter fingers of both Doug Baldwin and Braylon Edwards, the Seahawks fell to the Arizona Cardinals in the season opener 20-16. What makes this painful for me is the fact that I made the efforts to be there in person and to lose the game in heartbreaking fashion made me feel sick leaving the stadium and walking back to the hotel. I’ll jump right into what I saw from the Seahawks on Sunday; some good, some really bad.

Offensive Line Woes: From my seats, our offensive line looked absolutely terrible on Sunday. I can recall two specific plays where a Cardinals outside linebacker blitzed and went untouched in sacking and pressuring Russell Wilson. Marshawn Lynch still managed 80 yards rushing but the pressure on Wilson thanks to the offensive line is what ultimately cost us opportunities to win. This week, John Moffitt will be back at right guard and I am hoping Russell Okung will be ready to play after bruising a bone in his left knee against Arizona. With a stout pass rush coming to town in Dallas this week, the offensive line has to be a point of emphasis in practice this week.

Don’t Call For Flynn Just Yet: Although Russell Wilson made some mistakes and bad decisions, Wilson led the Seahawks down the field and gave us a chance to win the game. He put together a potential game-winning drive, going 76 yards in the final 4:59. If it wasn’t for dropped passes in the endzone by Doug Baldwin and Braylon Edwards, the Seahawks would have won and Wilson may possibly be talked about around this city as a hero this week. We may have lost but Wilson was not to blame. I just have one question for everyone now calling for Matt Flynn to start. How do you know Flynn would have done any better in Arizona on the last drive of the game?

Was That Darrell Bevell or Greg Knapp?: Let me talk about the last three plays of the game. 2nd and goal from the 4. Wilson drops back and throws a fade to the right back corner of the endzone which is incomplete intended for Sidney Rice. 3rd and goal from the 4. Wilson drops back and throws the exact same throw to the exact same spot; this time intended for Charly Martin. On 4th and goal from the 4, Wilson throws a 3-step slant to Braylon Edwards which bounces off his hands incomplete. The Seahawks turn the ball over on downs and Arizona runs out the clock to win the game. If I was calling the plays that would have been a run to Lynch on 2nd down. If he got stopped short I would have called either a quick snap quarterback sneak or spiked the ball on 3rd down. On 4th down depending on the spot, I would have run it up the middle again with Lynch, or would have thrown the exact same ball Wilson did. Throwing fades with the game on the line is one of the worst plays to call in my opinion. What made this especially frustrating was that both fades routes where thrown in a zone that was defended by both Patrick Peterson and Adrian Wilson, two pro bowl caliber players. The play calling in game-on-the-line situations like this needs to smarten up in the future.

I Was Expecting More From The Defense: With the Cardinals boasting one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, I was expecting our defense to make a big impact. Instead Chris Clemons was the only Seahawk to record a sack and only one player, K.J. Wright, had more than 5 tackles. I hate to admit it, but the Cardinals offensive line did a really good job in containing our defense. John Skelton and Kevin Kolb also did a good job picking the defense apart for short gains which resulted in lengthy scoring drives. With our home opener on the horizon, I expect the defense to step it up and bring the heat against Dallas.

A Brief Opinion of Cardinals Fans: I did not have a problem with any Arizona Cardinals fans sitting around me. Going into my trip, I knew that the Cardinals have a fairly “bandwagonish” fan base and I saw signs of that this weekend. There were a lot of empty seats at University of Phoenix Stadium. Most of the fans were fairly knowledgeable and knew when it was appropriate to cheer and boo. I enjoyed my trip; however of course it would have been better is the Seahawks had won.

Most of my “random thoughts” section this week is about the details of my trip to Arizona. Since there is so much to cover about my trip, I will be publishing a separate post tomorrow all about my weekend in Arizona. For anyone who has never seen the Seahawks play on the road or for anyone who has never been to Arizona, I highly recommend reading that post tomorrow. Thanks for reading everybody! See you tomorrow.

Seahawks/Cardinals Preview

7 Sep

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Matchup: Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals

Site: University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, Arizona)

Kickoff: 1:25pm

NFL Kickoff weekend is finally here! In week 1, the Seahawks travel to the Arizona desert to take on their division rivals, the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals lead the all-time series with the Seahawks 14-12. Their most recent matchup was a 23-20 Cardinals overtime win in week 17 last season. I will be in attendance in Arizona this weekend, as I am going on my annual Seahawks road trip. The Seahawks must get off to a hot start this season to avoid falling into a hole early like they did last season. Here is what I will be focusing on this weekend in Arizona.

If you predicted at the start of offseason activities that the starting quarterback matchup for this game would be Russell Wilson vs. John Skelton you need to go to Las Vegas or go buy a lottery ticket immediately. This is the most intriguing storyline of the game. Russell Wilson beat out Matt Flynn to be the Seahawks starting quarterback and John Skelton beat out $63 million man Kevin Kolb after Skelton led the Cardinals to a 5-2 record in their final 7 games last season and had a fairly better preseason performance than Kolb. I am very nervous about how Wilson handles the pressure being his first ever meaningful NFL start. I expect to see a considerable amount of scrambling and quarterback rushes on Sunday. All may not be productive but I can see Wilson breaking away from the Cardinals defense for a couple runs of at least 10-15 yards. John Skelton is the better option at quarterback for Arizona which is disappointing for me because we have a better chance to win if Kolb is the quarterback in my opinion. If Skelton has time to throw he can be dangerous. It will be huge for our defense if we can put immense pressure on Skelton all game long. All in all, I believe the Seahawks have the advantage at quarterback. Although Wilson is a rookie, he has shown unbelievable poise and has a demeanor that rivals very great quarterback in the league.

Earlier in the week news broke that Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has been dealing with back spasms and is a question mark for Sunday’s game. Although Lynch is a big factor in our offensive gameplan, I believe Robert Turbin, Leon Washington, and even Kregg Lumpkin are fully capable of keeping our running attack afloat in Arizona. Lynch is a beast but when you have a solid offensive line leading the way, it doesn’t matter who is running the ball. Having said this, I expect to see Lynch play this weekend. On the subject of the offensive line, 7th round rookie J.R. Sweezy is slated to start at right guard this week. Sweezy, who hasn’t played on the offensive side of the ball since pee-wee football, starts in place of incumbent John Moffitt who has been recovering from elbow surgery. Although Moffitt is healthy, Coach Carroll explained that Sweezy has fully earned the opportunity to start because of how well he has picked up the techniques to play along the offensive line.

At wide receiver, the Seahawks will start Braylon Edwards at split end, and Sidney Rice at flanker. Golden Tate has a sprained knee and will not play this week. Doug Baldwin will be back in the slot after missing most of the preseason because of a hamstring procedure. I am excited to see how we use different receivers in different packages. My bold prediction of the game: expect Charly Martin to have at least three catches for 25+ yards.

On defense, Bruce Irvin has a good chance to record multiple sacks this weekend. The Cardinals offensive line is banged up and battered and may be the worst offensive line in the NFL. The Seahawks MUST take advantage of pass rush opportunities. Expect Irvin, Chris Clemons, and Jason Jones all to contribute. Even if we can force John Skelton into bad throws, we have a good chance to create turnovers.

Over the last 8 seasons, the one constant of Arizona Cardinals football has been all-pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. What is amazing to me about Fitzgerald is he makes catches thrown from anybody. No matter how good or bad the Cardinals quarterback is, if the ball is thrown in Fitzgerald’s direction, he will most likely make the catch. In 2 games against the Seahawks last season, Fitzgerald had 14 catches for 213 yards and one touchdown. The secondary has to make sure we lock him down so he doesn’t break away. Although containing Fitzgerald is important, the Seahawks secondary has to make sure to also pay attention to Michael Floyd, the receiver lining up opposite Fitzgerald. Because the Seahawks have one of the best run defenses in the NFL, expect Skelton to throw early and often. A successful pass rush and the Seahawks defense taking advantage of Skelton’s mistakes will put us in a great position to win this game.

On defense, the Cardinals studs are defensive lineman Calais Campbell and cornerback Patrick Peterson. Along with these stars, I am also looking at the steady play of up-and-coming linebacker Daryl Washington. Washington was awarded a six-year contract extension this week, locking up what Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt described as potentially “one of the best linebackers in the conference.”

Random (Trip) Thoughts: My flight for Phoenix leaves Friday afternoon and I plan to head straight to In-N-Out Burger… Other stops tentatively scheduled during my weekend stay in Arizona are a tour of Chase Field (home of the Arizona Diamondbacks), Peoria Sports Complex (spring training home of the Seattle Mariners), and possibly a quick hike up Camelback Mountain. Apparently when you get to the top of the mountain, you get a breathtaking view of downtown Phoenix… I am staying at the Renaissance Hotel in Glendale. It is right next to the stadium. Check it out!…

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… My plan is to make a Russell Wilson poster for the game on Sunday. Since I am sitting in the lower bowl, there is a good chance I may get on T.V. If you are watching the game, be on the lookout for me!… I come back Monday evening just in time to watch the back half of Monday Night Football with my roommates… This will be my fourth trip to Arizona. I have not been back since 2002. I am excited to see what has changed in and around the city.

Prediction: Here is my history when seeing the Seahawks play on the road:

2007 (San Francisco) – Seahawks 23, 49ers 3

2009 (Indianapolis) – Colts 34, Seahawks 17

2010 (Denver) – Broncos 31, Seahawks 14

2011 (San Francisco) – 49ers 33, Seahawks 17

2011 (Dallas) – Cowboys 23, Seahawks 13

As a sports fan, there is no worse feeling than to sit at the airport or at the hotel after watching your team lose on the road. Months of planning and hundreds of dollars spent, only to see your team fail. I am absolutely SICK of this feeling. There is no reason why the Seahawks cannot win this game. Expect Russell Wilson to play well but make some mistakes. I believe the defense will be the ones to win this game for us. Like Coach Carroll always preaches, it’s all about the ball. If the Seahawks win the turnover battle, and I believe they will, they will be heading home 1-0. It has been 5 years since I have seen the Seahawks win on the road and I am telling you right now, I predict this personal losing streak will come to an end this weekend.

Seahawks 27, Cardinals 23

I will try to blog from my iPhone this weekend but my posts will be brief. It may be as basic as a picture or a random thought. I hope to have my review post done and published by late Monday night once I get home. If not, look for it on Tuesday afternoon. Thanks for reading everyone. It’s time to get back to football. Go Seahawks!