Tag Archives: Greg Scruggs

Seahawks/Raiders Preview

27 Aug
raiders preview 2014

Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

Matchup: Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders

Site: O.co Coliseum (Oakland, California)

Kickoff: 7:00pm

The Seahawks are one week away from kicking off the regular season. Two things stand in their way; final roster cuts and Thursday’s preseason finale against the Oakland Raiders. The Seahawks have a 2-1 preseason record and are coming off a 34-6 throttling of the Chicago Bears. The Raiders are 1-2 and are back home after losing in Green Bay last week 31-21. This is the 9th straight season the Seahawks conclude the preseason against the Raiders and this is the first time since 2010 that the preseason finale is played in Oakland. The starters will see little to no playing time in this game. I expect Russell Wilson and the starting offense to play only the first series. These are the players and storylines I will be watching before the Seahawks set their regular season roster on Saturday.

The first defensive series of this game will likely be the only time our starting defense will play in full before the start of the regular season. Head Coach Pete Carroll is optimistic that middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and outside linebacker Bruce Irvin will be available this week. If that is the case, the Seahawks will start their entire projected starting defense against the Raiders. This unit will only see one series as a whole, with selected players possibly seeing expanded playing time. On the offensive side of the ball, I expect Russell Wilson will only lead one drive in the first quarter before turning the job over to Tarvaris Jackson and Terrelle Pryor. With the way the Seahawks have been playing so far in the preseason, is it too farfetched to expect the Seahawks to hold a 7-0 lead after the first two drives of the game? That is my expectation for the first quarter of play on Thursday night.

The fourth and final preseason game is a job interview for many players on both teams. A strong performance in the preseason finale could be the difference between making the 53-man roster to start the season or getting cut. My main interests going into this game include a single player and an entire position group. On defense my eye will be on defensive end Benson Mayowa. Mayowa impressed coaches and fans in the 2013 preseason with 11 tackles and 3.5 sacks but he has been virtually nonexistent thus far this year, recording only 4 tackles and ½ of a sack. Mayowa is fighting to fit into the pass rush rotation but with O’Brien Schofield, Greg Scruggs back from injury, and rookie Cassius Marsh, there may simply be no room for him. I believe Mayowa must have a very strong performance against Oakland to even be a consideration to make our 2014 roster.

After the Seahawks selected wide receiver Paul Richardson in the 2014 NFL Draft, conversations started about the depth and talent the Seahawks have loaded at wide receiver. This catapulted discussions that by the end of the preseason some tough roster decisions will have to be made and the Seahawks will be forced to release some strong talent at the position. The Seahawks will likely only keep 6 wide receivers on the active roster. Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin, and Jermaine Kearse are all presumed locks to make the team, leaving three spots up for grabs to 8 different receivers. In my opinion, the Seahawks will also hold on to Richardson and Ricardo Lockette which will leave one final spot to be won by Phil Bates, Bryan Walters, or fellow rookie Kevin Norwood. What makes this position group difficult to cut is that each player adds their own unique talents and traits. Lockette has shown flashes of good speed and hands on offense, Walters is a solid special teams contributor with kick return capability, and Bates is one of Russell Wilson’s most reliable targets in practice. I will be watching Lockette, Bates, and Walters closely this week on offense.

The Oakland Raiders enter 2014 with an interesting mix of raw young talent and veteran leadership. The Raiders are led on offense by newly-acquired quarterback Matt Schaub however it will be rookie quarterback Derek Carr who sees the majority of playing time this week. The Raiders have also added offensive skill-position talent in running back Maurice Jones-Drew and wide receiver James Jones. On defense, the Raiders have added defensive linemen Antonio Smith and Justin Tuck to help a pass rush that was mostly ineffective in 2013. Oakland upgraded their linebacker corps by drafting Khalil Mack with the 5th overall pick in this year’s draft. The Raiders also upgraded their secondary by adding a pair of veteran cornerbacks; Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers. All of these moves express the effort to improve a unit that gave up the 5th most passing yards per game last season. What makes this game hard to analyze is that even though we play the Raiders later this season, we will see a mere shell of the team that we will host on November 2nd, much like the shell of us that the Raiders will see this week. Seahawks/Raiders preseason matchups in past years have been mostly noncompetitive, with the Seahawks jumping out to a big early lead and holding it. If this game remains close later into the second half I believe that will point to the Raiders being an overall better team in 2014.

Random Thoughts: My Seahawks uniform prediction this week: white jerseys with blue pants. Just a guess… For one last time Curt Menefee and Brock Huard have the call for Q13 FOX this week… This trip marks only the 4th time the Seahawks have played in Oakland since moving to the NFC West in 2002… The baseball infield will be present this week since the Athletics have not concluded their season yet. The Raiders are now the only team in the NFL who has to deal with the dirt infield for the first half of their season. It’s just another reason why the Raiders either need to build a new stadium or move to, say, Los Angeles???… My guess is that the Seahawks will treat this week like a normal regular season game week since they start the season next Thursday. The Seahawks will likely play the Raiders on Thursday, watch film on Friday, trim the roster to 53 players on the off day Saturday, and begin practice and preparation for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Prediction: The Seahawks offense will drive down the field with ease and score a touchdown on their first series of the game. To counter, the starting defense will force Oakland to punt on their first drive of the game. The Seahawks backups led by Tarvaris Jackson will maintain the lead and the Seahawks will win, ending their preseason with a 3-1 record. The Seahawks will not light up the scoreboard like they have the past couple of weeks but they will hold a comfortable lead over the Raiders throughout the second half.

Seahawks 24, Raiders 7

Check back late Thursday night/early Friday morning for my game review. Enjoy the game and Go Hawks!

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Seahawks Training Camp Preview: Defensive Linemen

19 Jul

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*This is part five of my 8-part Seahawks Training Camp preview series*

Current Defensive Linemen on Roster (14): Cliff Avril, Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane, Michael Bennett, Chris Clemons, Tony McDaniel, Greg Scruggs, Jaye Howard, Clinton McDonald, Jesse Williams, Jordan Hill, Kenneth Boatright, Michael Brooks, Benson Mayowa

The Seahawks defensive line was one of the more consistent groups on the team last season. This season the Seahawks hope to improve on one of the best run stopping units and the acquisitions made during the offseason also display Seattle’s commitment to improving the pass rush. Here are some storylines to follow during training camp.

With Bruce Irvin officially moving to outside linebacker, it is easier to predict where new Seahawks Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett will line up on passing downs. Avril will most likely fill in for Red Bryant while Bennett will play along the inside. The starting defensive line will initially consist of Avril and Bryant on the outside with a rotation of Bennett, Brandon Mebane, and Tony McDaniel on the inside. When it comes to the starters, my focus while watching practice will be who will rotate in with each defensive unit.

One unknown factor heading into training camp is the health of defensive end Chris Clemons. Clemons, who tore his ACL during the Wild-Card playoff game against Washington, is ahead of schedule in his recovery and it was reported earlier in the offseason that he may be available to play week one against Carolina. If that is the case, the Seahawks will have to re-arrange the formations for passing downs to fit Clemons, Avril, and Bennett on the field. For the time being, Clemons is still recovering therefore I will not consider him to counted on for the preseason and the first regular season game. If he does get back for any time during training camp, it will definitely be a pleasant surprise to all Seahawks fans. Another injury to note, although he is still listed on the active roster, defensive end Greg Scruggs tore his ACL during the offseason and will most likely miss the 2013 season.

From a depth perspective, the Seahawks seem to be pretty stacked at defensive line. The Seahawks used two mid-round draft picks on Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams and Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill. I believe Williams could challenge for the second starting defensive tackle spot and Hill will be a quality backup used in the defensive tackle rotation. The Seahawks also return Clinton McDonald and Jaye Howard along the d-line although Howard did not see much time last season.

Among the Seahawks undrafted free agents is Kenneth Boatright. Boatright, from Southern Illinois, has the best chance of any undrafted player to make the final roster. If there is a spot for him, Boatright will be added in with Avril, Clemons, Irvin, and Bennett to a very talented pass rush formation. Of all of our defensive linemen, Boatright is the man who I am most excited to see during training camp and the preseason.

My training camp preview series will resume on Monday with a look at the safeties. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

Review: Seahawks 24, Redskins 14

6 Jan

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The Seahawks fell behind early and play-by-play announcer Joe Buck mentioned that it was the largest deficit the Seahawks have faced all season long. So what? The resiliency the Seahawks showed in their come-from-behind 24-14 playoff win over the Washington Redskins should show the entire country that we are a force to be reckoned with and nothing is impossible for this team. The Seahawks advance to the NFC Divisional playoffs next week while the Redskins will watch the rest of the playoffs play out from their couches at home. I am not going to lie I was extremely worried yet calm throughout the first quarter because I knew this team was capable of mounting a comeback, even more so because of the mobility and throws by Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. I know you’re probably dying to read my opinions and thoughts of our first playoff win on the road since 1983, so here we go!

First Quarter: Bad: I was relieved to see the Redskins start the game with the ball. I always am for two reasons. First, it lets us make a statement on defense by shutting their offense down and forcing them to punt. Second, in the event the Seahawks struggle in the first half we get the opportunity to score points right off the bat in the second half. The Redskins made our defense look mediocre on their first two possessions of the game. Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris combined for 61 yards rushing in the first quarter and Griffin III threw two touchdown passes and it looked like things were going to get out of control in a hurry. Redskins 14, Seahawks 0. With 2:26 left in the quarter. With seemingly no way to figure out how to stop the duel running threat of the Redskins. Two plays before Griffin III’s second touchdown pass he scrambled to the right, threw across his body and fell to the ground in pain because of the sprained LCL in his right knee. I knew RG3 would not be as effective as usual but little did I know just how much it was bothering him and what kind of effect his knee injury would have on the Washington offense through the rest of the game.

Second Quarter: Good: The story of the second quarter was the effectiveness of the Seahawks offense. Russell Wilson seemed to turn a corner after Washington’s second touchdown. Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch led the offense to 156 yards in the second quarter alone and scored on three different drives. The result? 13 points and a 1-point deficit heading into halftime with Seattle receiving the second half kickoff. Russell Wilson was the most successful in the zone-read looks which kept the momentum going and allowed us to kill some clock before putting points on the board. One of the underlying stories of the second quarter however was the corner the defense turned in stopping Washington’s offense. The Redskins only ran 6 offensive plays in the second quarter which resulted in a mere 13 yards. In this quarter you could start to tell two things. As the game wore on, Griffin III became less and less mobile as well as the Seahawks defense figuring out how to stop the rushing attack. Alfred Morris had 11 of the Redskins yards on three carries in the second quarter. Only one of his rushes was longer than 3 yards. It was good to see the Seahawks adapt. Head coach Pete Carroll said after the game that “the defense made no significant adjustments in stopping the run and that the defense just played better football.” That was great to see and it proves the common saying, “just give it time and it always works.”

Second Half Domination: The Seahawks defense made the Redskins offense look virtually nonexistent in the second half. There were several opportunities for both teams to put points on the board but failed to do so. For the Seahawks the big play was Marshawn Lynch’s fumble at the Washington 1-yard line. A score would have given us the lead earlier but instead we turned the ball over to the Redskins. Lucky for us we were able to stop the Redskins after they gained only 23 yards on the ensuing possession and we got the ball back. The Redskins offense only had 62 yards of offense in the second half and the dagger was put in Washington’s heart late in the fourth quarter. After Marshawn Lynch scored from 27 yards out and Zach Miller helped convert the two-point conversion to give Seattle a 21-14 lead, the Redskins got the ball back and in their next two plays it became quite clear who was in control and who would win the game. On first down, Bruce Irvin was able to sack Griffin III for a loss of 12 yards and on second down came the play many people have been talking about. A low snap caused Griffin III to try to bend down to pick the ball up but instead his knee gave in, he fell to the ground in agonizing pain, and Clinton McDonald of the Seahawks recovered the ball inside the Redskins 10-yard line. RG3’s night was over after that play and the Seahawks added some insurance points to extend the lead to 24-14. The defensive performance on Sunday was great and they were able to overcome some grave field conditions to play so well. I am excited to see what our defense throws at Atlanta next week. In terms of the offense, the zone-read worked like a charm and Marshawn Lynch always comes up clutch in clutch moments of need.

Unsung Heroes: There is an underlying stat that needs to be pointed out. The Seahawks offensive line did an incredible job blocking for Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, and Robert Turbin on Sunday amid the rotation at right guard. The offensive line helped block for 224 total rushing yards but what is more impressive in my mind is they played a perfectly clean game. No Seahawks offensive lineman was flagged for penalties on Sunday, which is extremely rare especially in the playoffs. I give tremendous props to the o-line for their performance. I don’t think there is any way we will have as clean of a game next weekend but now we know it is a possible accomplishment.

Big Blow To The Defense: The playing conditions at FedExField played a factor in two huge injuries. The one that is getting extensive media coverage is the knee of Robert Griffin III but the Seahawks may have lost one of the biggest pieces of their defense. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, defensive end Chris Clemons is feared to have a torn ACL. An MRI is scheduled for Monday and if there is structural damage, Clemons’s season is over. Clemons leads all Seahawks defenders with 11.5 sacks and is our primary pass rusher off the edge. As if our pass rushing ability hasn’t been poor enough over the past couple of weeks, this is a huge blow to our defense. I expect Bruce Irvin to step into Clemons’s role as the starter next week and if we do not try to pick up a temporary fix in off the waiver wire I think the Seahawks could use rookie Greg Scruggs in more pass rush packages. Surely the line will be switched up in practice this week and it will be interesting to see how the defense moves forward but without Clemons our more pressure is on our linebackers and secondary next week against one of the league’s top passing teams.

Random Thoughts: The Seahawks went with the white/white uniform combination this week. I think it looks better than any other road combo. I predict we’ll wear white jerseys and grey pants indoors next week in Atlanta though… Joe Buck and Troy Aikman called a great game on FOX this week but some of Aikman’s commentary seemed pretty vanilla and obvious… Erin Andrews was assigned to the Seahawks sideline this week and did a great job. That lip gloss really made her look especially attractive this week. Just sayin’… I’m glad we’re playing on turf next week. That field was ridiculously dangerous looking. I heard there was almost no grass around the Redskins logo at mid-field. It was all dirt. It’s one thing if the Redskins think it is an advantage towards them but it’s dangerous nonetheless. The NFL might want to look at their regulations for field preparedness for the playoffs in the future… Russell Wilson is so humble. It’s awesome… My roommates and I had about a dozen people over for the game on Sunday. A great turnout in my opinion and the more the merrier… I like that Richard Sherman got shoved by Trent Williams at mid-field after the game. I want to know what he said to Williams that prompted a shove. I’m sure a lot of fans around the country think Sherman is a complete d**k but to the 12th Man he is one of the nicest guys on the team… Steven Hauschka pulled his left calf on Sunday. If Hauschka is iffy for next week I expect the Seahawks to sign Carson Wiggs to take his spot. Wiggs spent training camp with the Seahawks this season but failed to win a roster spot… With the win the Seahawks will pick no higher than 25th in the 2013 draft. Let’s get that draft pick in the 30’s guys… The Seahawks are now 3-0 against the Redskins all-time in the playoffs… With next week’s trip to Atlanta, the Seahawks will have traveled 9,000+ miles in a two week span. This stat includes both flights on the Washington trip and the flight to Atlanta. We have traveled over half of our regular season mile total in just three flights. That is pretty amazing… The Seahawks won their first road playoff game since 1983. That is amazing to think I wasn’t born for another 7 years after that. Let’s go for another next week in Atlanta!

Seahawks Playoff Outlook: Once again, the Seahawks are now headed to Atlanta to take on the Falcons next week in an NFC Divisional playoff game. In the other divisional matchup the Green Bay Packers head west to take on the San Francisco 49ers. The winner of our game and the winner of the Green Bay/San Francisco game will face off in the NFC Championship game. I start my next quarter of school this week but I still plan to have my preview of the Falcons game published by Saturday morning. Happy playoffs, folks. Go Hawks!

49ers/Seahawks Preview

22 Dec

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Matchup: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

Site: CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Washington)

Kickoff: 5:20pm

When the 2012 schedule was released back in April a lot of people circled September 24th’s game against Green Bay and October 14th’s game against New England on their calendars as “must-see” games. I definitely saw those games as big games but this week’s game against the San Francisco 49ers was the game I looked at and got the most excited about. I had thoughts of two incredibly talented teams playing in week 16 with playoff implications and possibly the NFC West division title on the line. Although the division lead is not on the line at this time, the Seahawks have a chance to clinch a playoff berth with a win. The matchup is so intriguing, the National Football League flexed this game into Sunday Night Football two weeks ago making it the game of the week. The 49ers are 10-3-1 and beat the AFC East champion New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football last week by a score of 41-34. The Seahawks are 9-5 and are coming off an impressive 50-17 win over the Buffalo Bills in Toronto last week. San Francisco leads the all-time series with the Seahawks 14-13. In their last meeting back in week 7, the 49ers beat the Seahawks 13-6 in a defensive duel on Thursday Night Football. 9 weeks have passed since that October night at Candlestick Park and the Seahawks are a completely different team, especially on offense. Here is what I will be looking for on Sunday night.

Since installing a heavy zone-read look, this will be the toughest defense Russell Wilson and the zone-read will have faced all season. The biggest reason why is because San Francisco runs a similar offense. San Francisco’s defense will be practicing against as close to an accurate simulation of the Seahawks as humanly possible. Russell Wilson needs to make sure that the momentum carries over from the past two weeks. If he gets rattled in the pocket, he needs to take a deep breath and improvise. My concern is that if Wilson is flushed out of the pocket, the speed of the 49ers defense will catch Wilson behind the line of scrimmage, resulting in decent sized chunks of yardage lost. Russell Wilson will be the single reason that determines how effective our offense is this week. Marshawn Lynch could have a big impact but the run defense is the bread and butter of the San Francisco defense. I think using a plethora of receivers this week will benefit the offense. If Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Jermaine Kearse, Doug Baldwin, Anthony McCoy, and Zach Miller can each catch a couple of passes, the offense will be highly effective. Spread the wealth this week Russell, and don’t be afraid to take shots down the field.

On defense this week, the Seahawks will be playing the cornerback shuffle once again. Walter Thurmond and Marcus Trufant have been held out of practice all week with injuries but Richard Sherman will be available after having his Adderall suspension ruling delayed until at least next week after his appeal on Friday. If Thurmond and Trufant are both inactive, our starting cornerbacks Sunday night will be Sherman and Jeremy Lane. Lane started last week and was tested early. He passed the tests Buffalo threw at him and he solidified the confidence Coach Carroll and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has in him. The defensive line is also banged up this week. Defensive tackle Jason Jones was placed on injured reserve this week, taking away a significant interior pass-rush threat. Greg Scruggs will see an expanded role at defensive tackle this week. The 49ers have a good offensive line but at home, the pressure put on a quarterback is significantly amplified. Add-in the primetime factor and I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least 5 or 6 sacks of Colin Kaepernick this week. Look for Chris Clemons to have an impact as usual but also have an eye on K.J. Wright this week. Wright is most effective in coverage but I predict he will have a sack early in Sunday night’s game.

The San Francisco 49ers have also seen significant changes in their offense since our matchup in October. For starters, Colin Kaepernick is the new starting quarterback after replacing a concussed Alex Smith in week 10. Kaepernick is 4-1-1 since week 10 and the 49ers have used a similar offensive scheme as the Seahawks. What is most impressive about Kaepernick in my mind is his arm strength. He is not afraid to sling the ball down the field. This was evident last week as he threw three touchdown passes of 24 yards or more; a 24-yard pass to Randy Moss, a 27-yard pass to Delanie Walker, and a 34-yard pass to Michael Crabtree. Add in the fact that he can take off and run provides an extra threat to the Seattle defense. The Seahawks must focus on play-action looks this week. The 49ers do a good job at disguising runs and throws and anything is fair game at any time. Like the Seahawks, San Francisco also has a wide variety of weapons at the running back and receiver positions. Expect Frank Gore, LaMichael James, Randy Moss, Michael Crabtree, and Vernon Davis to all get involved in this game evenly. We held San Francisco to 13 points on the road in week 7. Although the 49ers average close to 27 points per game on the road, coming into CenturyLink Field, it is very possible to think they may struggle.

I have to be a realist. As much as it hurts me to admit, the San Francisco 49ers have the best defense in the league. The San Francisco defensive line is my main focus this week. It may seem obvious, but the man the Seahawks MUST contain this week is Aldon Smith. Smith is tied for first in the league with 19.5 sacks on the season; 3 shy of Michael Strahan’s single-season sacks record. Smith will mostly line up against Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung. Okung has done a decent job shutting down edge pass-rushers this season but Smith will be Okung’s toughest challenge to date. Aldon Smith had one sack against the Seahawks in their first meeting. One thing to note is the health of nose tackle Justin Smith. With San Francisco leading New England 31-3 last week, Justin Smith left the game with an arm injury. Without Smith on defense in the second half, the Patriots scored 28 unanswered points and nearly came back to win. Early indications from Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area point to Justin Smith being unavailable this week for San Francisco. This is where the Seahawks must take advantage. If Marshawn Lynch can do some damage up the middle, the 49ers will have a difficult time on defense.

We have played the San Francisco 49ers once already this season in primetime. This week it is our turn to remind the country that we have the best home-field advantage in the National Football League. As a fan, late season games are also more fun in primetime because the sun sets well before the game even starts. Ever since this game was flexed into Sunday Night Football a couple of weeks ago, I have been picturing what the scene will look like during pre-game and I can see it now: the Sea Gals performing to their annual Christmas routine, the San Francisco 49ers being introduced to a chorus of extremely loud boos, the bone-chilling bass that gets blasted over the public address system, the long pause between team introductions while SNF is on a television commercial break, the warning that the 12th Man is now live to the nation on NBC, the blasting of “Bittersweet Symphony” over the PA as we are welcomed to CenturyLink Field by PA announcer Randy Rowland, the epic pre-game video played right before the Seahawks are about to run on to the field, and the majestic green and blue fireworks that shoot off as the starters are introduced onto the field. The 12th Man will be going absolutely nuts during this sequence and I absolutely cannot wait.

Random Thoughts: The Seahawks will wear blue jerseys this week. Pant color is TBD (most likely blue)… Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth have the call for NBC this week. I’ll be sure to set my DVR… The referee this week is Bill Vinovich. Vinovich has been absent from the sidelines since 2006 due to personal health reasons. He will be working with Bill Leavy’s crew… No pre-game giveaway this week. I’m disappointed that rally towels will not be given out. I thought this would be a big enough game to do towels… The starting defense will most likely be introduced this week since the offense was introduced against Arizona two weeks ago. I could see the offense being introduced though, since NBC would want to get a good shot of Russell Wilson running out of the tunnel… The people around me better be ready for a heavy Skittles shower, I plan to break my personal record for most Skittles brought (and thrown) when MoneyLynch scores. Please don’t let me down beast!… Sunday night’s halftime show: Mattress racing. #KillMe… There are rumors floating around Twitter about who will be raising the 12th Man flag before the game. I have heard it may be Macklemore & Ryan Lewis or Shaun Alexander. I would be content with either of those choices but I think Alexander would be more epic… Sunday will be a 5-hour energy kind of day. My wake-up call will be set for 6am, a mere 11 hours before kickoff… For the second consecutive year I will be playing for my fantasy football consolation bracket championship. AKA, the “I don’t give a crap bowl”… This will be the 3rd primetime game between the 49ers and Seahawks in Seattle since I’ve been a season ticket holder. The first was in 2006 on Thursday Night Football when San Francisco dominated the Seahawks 24-14 in the midst of a monsoon (later known as the Hanukkah Eve Storm). The second was a 24-0 shutout win by the Seahawks on Monday Night Football in 2007… When the 49ers beat the Patriots last week, I was upset because that meant this week’s game would not be for the NFC West lead. However local sports radio has lifted my spirits because of the Seahawks playoff scenario generator. If we had been in position to win the division and did in fact win it, we would most likely host a wild-card game and then play the Packers in Green Bay in the divisional playoffs. That may be the hardest scenario for the Seahawks. If the Seahawks get the 5th seed which they are positioned to do, they would play on the road against the NFC East champion in the wild-card round, and then most likely play Atlanta at the Georgia Dome in the divisional playoffs. Although the former gets us a home playoff game, the latter is the easier path to the NFC Championship game in my opinion. With the momentum the Seahawks currently have, it may be for the best that we have to travel throughout the playoffs which actually gets me pretty excited.

Prediction: This will be a drama-filled game. No team will completely dominate the other and the scoring and stats will be pretty even. It will all come down to the last play of the game. With the Seahawks holding a 21-20 lead with 5 seconds left, San Francisco’s David Akers will line up for a 45-yard field goal. The kick will have the distance but will sail wide left, sending the Seahawks to the playoffs and the CenturyLink Field crowd erupting into complete pandemonium.

Seahawks 21, 49ers 20

I apologize if I do not publish my 49ers review on Monday since it is Christmas Eve. If I do not have the time Sunday night or Monday, expect my review to be posted on Wednesday afternoon after Christmas. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everybody. Thanks so much for reading. Go Seahawks!

Seahawks/Bears Preview

1 Dec

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Matchup: Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears

Site: Soldier Field (Chicago, Illinois)

Kickoff: 10:00am

The Seahawks are currently clinging to the 6th and final playoff spot in the NFC. After last week’s disappointing loss to the Miami Dolphins, the Seahawks look to bounce back this week on the road once again against the NFC North leading Chicago Bears. The Seahawks are 6-5 and the Bears are 8-3. If the season ended right now, these two teams would play in a rematch in the NFC wild-card playoffs. The Seahawks are heading to Chicago for their fourth game against the Bears in a three year span. The Seahawks lead the all-time series with the Bears 9-6. In their most recent matchup, the Seahawks defeated a banged up Chicago squad 38-14 in week 15 last season. Here is what I will be focusing on this week.

There is no doubt that the Bears are the best team the Seahawks have faced this season on the road. Chicago’s defense is one of the best in the entire league. It is this reason why Russell Wilson needs to put together another solid game. Within this point though is the fact that Wilson and the rest of the Seattle offense needs to get off to a fast start this week. Last week in Miami, the Seahawks only posted 135 yards in the first half and 13 of those came in the first quarter. This cannot happen this week because if it does, a hole will be dug that is too deep to get out of. Marshawn Lynch will be hungry to get back to form this week. Lynch was held to only 46 yards on 19 carries last week. Against a defense that is giving up an average of 97 rushing yards a game it is possible to get a rhythm going but do not be surprised if the Bears are able to stuff Lynch just like the Dolphins were able to do. My player to watch on offense this week is wide receiver Sidney Rice. I expect Rice to line up against Charles Tillman this week. I am not looking at if Rice can catch a lot of balls for a lot of yards. I am interested to see if he can break away from Tillman, who has forced seven fumbles and intercepted two passes. If Rice can be successful on the outside, Wilson will throw in his direction a lot.

The Seahawks defense seems to be slowly falling apart, especially in the running game. This week the Seahawks will most likely be facing a lot of Michael Bush, but starting running back Matt Forte is determined to play after injuring his ankle last week against Minnesota. Coach Carroll said that Red Bryant may not be able to play this week. Bryant has been the anchor of our run defense and losing his would be a significant blow. If Bryant cannot play, Alan Branch will start at defensive end and Greg Scruggs will start in Branch’s spot at defensive tackle. Unlike last year, the Seahawks will face the Bears starting quarterback. Jay Cutler is having a phenomenal year so far. Last week Cutler came back from a concussion and dominated the Vikings. This year Cutler has a huge weapon on the outside in wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Marshall has caught 81 passes for 1,017 yards and 8 touchdowns. Brandon Browner will line up against Marshall this week. Browner is the tallest corner Marshall has faced this year. If quarterback pressure is not applied by our pass rush, Marshall will most likely put up some big gains. It will only be a matter of time before he gets involved in the Bears game plan.

Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman will play this week for the Seahawks after it was announced that they were suspended four games each for testing positive for Adderall. They are appealing their suspensions, making them available for this week’s game. I think appealing is a smart move especially for this game. I would not be surprised at all if they retract their appeals after the game regardless of whether we win or lose, which would force them to sit out the final four games of the regular season. I believe Marcus Trufant, Jeremy Lane, Jeron Johnson, and Walter Thurmond can hold down the fort if Browner and Sherman are unavailable for those games.

The Bears have four incredible players on their starting defense. Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers, and Charles Tillman have all been staples of dominance for the past few years and they can all be disruptive to a sputtering offense. One matchup to keep your eye on is Peppers versus Russell Okung. Okung was extremely successful in shutting Peppers down in their first matchup in 2010. In their next two matchups, Okung did an adequate job but nothing nearly as good as the first matchup. It will be important to keep Peppers from busting loose but even if Peppers can beat Okung, Russell Wilson has the capability to get away rather easily. I could see a lot of on-the-run passes by Wilson this week. It will be interesting to see Wilson’s athleticism against an extremely talented, but aging Chicago defense.

I have one special teams note this week. Bears kick returner Devin Hester has been ruled out of this game because of a concussion. Hester is arguably the most dangerous return man in the NFL. Without him, the Seahawks have a good chance of keeping Chicago’s special teams at bay this week.

Random Thoughts: The weather in Chicago at game time is supposed to be in the low 60’s. Hindsight is 20/20, but if my dad had known this 6 months ago, this would have been our road trip this season… Although I will not physically be in attendance on Sunday, one of my roommates will. His is in Chicago this week for academic reasons and it was just a matter of coincidence that the Seahawks were coming to Chicago this weekend. He will be in attendance this week. Hopefully he can savor the joys of seeing the Seahawks win on the road… Mike Carey is the referee this week. He is my favorite ref and one of the fairest in the league, however I recall that the Seahawks game he called last year cost us the game; the Seahawks 7-6 loss to the Browns in Cleveland… Chris Myers and Tim Ryan have the call once again for FOX this weekend. I have nothing left to vent about this broadcast crew. You should already know my feelings about this horrible duo… The Seahawks will wear white jerseys this week… I have a 5-page single-spaced paper to write due Sunday night. For my and the Seahawks sake, I must finish the paper on Saturday in order to be homework free for football on Sunday.

Prediction: The Seahawks have lost 5 road games this year by an average of 4.8 points. I think this is going to be an ugly game for the Seahawks. This will be the first double-digit loss for the Seahawks this season. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall will connect at least ten times this week and although the game will be close at halftime, the Bears will pull away from a tired and worn down Seattle defense in the second half.

Bears 28, Seahawks 17

Check back for my review of the Bears game on Monday afternoon. Thanks for reading. Go Seahawks!

Review: Seahawks 30, Vikings 20

5 Nov

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The Seahawks defeated the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday by a score of 30-20. With the Seahawks win and the Arizona Cardinals loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Seahawks are now in sole possession of second place in the NFC West with a 5-4 record. They are now 1 ½ games back of San Francisco for the division lead. This game got off to a very shaky start but after settling down, the defense was able to play well down the stretch and the play of Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson fueled this win for Seattle. Here is what I took out of this weekend’s game.

Wilson’s Best Game: I wrote in my preview that this could be Russell Wilson’s best overall performance of the season. I think he proved me right. Wilson only threw for 173 yards but he also had 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. He has now thrown 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in 4 home games this season. What impressed me the most about Wilson on Sunday was his ability to stay patient in the pocket to make a throw. One specific play that shows this is his touchdown pass to Sidney Rice in the first quarter. Wilson was flushed out to the right and instead of tucking the ball and running for the first down; he fired a pass into the endzone for the score. Wilson’s decision making is my favorite facet of his game. After his first touchdown pass of the game to Golden Tate, I looked at Mark, the guy who sits in front of me, and we both agreed that we have officially found our quarterback of the future. At this rate with Wilson under center, the Seahawks will make a legitimate push towards a playoff berth.

The Beast Is Alive And Well: I got to put my Skittles to good use on Sunday. Marshawn Lynch had another impressive performance, rushing for 124 yards and a touchdown. Lynch also had two receptions for 26 yards. The Seahawks ran the ball 45 times against Minnesota on Sunday, which a great amount to evenly spread with the passing game. Lynch now has 881 rushing yards on the season. He is projected to break the 1,000 yard mark most likely in Miami in 3 weeks. Barring a devastating setback, Lynch will be the fastest Seahawks running back to 1,000 yards in a season since Shaun Alexander in 2005. This is also the third straight game Lynch has run for over 100 yards. The Seahawks have figured out how to make Lynch the most effective and I do not expect this pattern to change. In fact, I believe Lynch will break 1,000 yards next week against New York.

Pass Defense Good, Rush Defense Bad: Christian Ponder was the worst rated passer in the NFL this week. The Seahawks defense held Ponder to only 63 yards passing and one interception. Seattle also sacked Ponder 4 times, two and a half of them coming from rookies. Defensive lineman Greg Scruggs and linebacker Bobby Wagner had a sack each and Bruce Irvin also added half a sack. The pass defense looked great throughout the game, but the rush defense was an entirely different story. After giving up large amounts of yardage to Frank Gore and Mikel Leshoure the past two weeks, I thought the Seahawks run defense would be able to hold Vikings running back Adrian Peterson to limited yardage. Boy was I wrong. Peterson was able to run for 80 yards on 4 plays in the first 1:45 of the game. Peterson finished the day with 182 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Although these numbers are atrocious, the Seahawks were able to hold Minnesota to only 3 points in the second half and Peterson only ran for 38 yards in the second half. The defense needs to get better. Fortunately for the Seahawks, our next opponent the New York Jets are 27th in the league in total offense per game, averaging 317 yards per game.

Random Thoughts: Our tailgate started a little bit later than usual. It was still fun though… The Seahawks wore blue jerseys and blue pants again this week… I have never sat around more attractive females than at this game… I witnessed a guy accidentally spill a beer all over a guy in the aisle next to me. Kind of embarrassing and the guy who spilled the beer slipped on the aftermath of our Skittles shower. Should I feel partly to blame?… The Newport High School marching band surprisingly sounded really good. They wore blue jackets with the Seahawks logo on the back and the NHS logo on the front left breast. Of course they would upgrade the freebies AFTER I graduated… The starting offense was introduced this week. Everything with pregame seemed a little bit rushed… The Seahawks are now 4-0 at home for the first time since 2005. We went 8-0 at home in the regular season in 2005. Is this a sign of times to come?… Great effort by Golden Tate on his second touchdown but it is always scary when he tries to leap and flip to get the ball across the goal line… The Seahawks only had 4 penalties for 49 yards this week. That is a great stat. Hopefully we can keep it up. Do you know what one of the best parts of having season tickets is? Having back-to-back home games. The Jets come to town next weekend and I can’t wait to do this all over again.

The Seahawks will look at film tomorrow, have a day off on Tuesday, and start preparations for New York on Wednesday. Look for my preview of next week’s game against the Jets on Saturday afternoon. Thanks for reading guys. Let’s keep this thing rolling! Go Seahawks!

Review: Seahawks 44, Chiefs 14

25 Aug

What a dominating performance. The Seahawks annihilated the Chiefs tonight in Kansas City by a final score of 44-14. The Seahawks improve to 3-0 in the preseason for the first time since 2009 and for only the third time since 1990. It is hard to critique this game in any way because of how well all three units played. Here are a few of the many thoughts I noted during Friday’s game.

Russell Wilson will start soon: Russell Wilson is my player of the game without a doubt. Wilson played an amazing three quarters of football on Friday night. Wilson ended 13/19 for 185 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 58 yards on the ground. After the game, Coach Carroll said that he expects the quarterback competition to stretch into next week with a starter named most likely a day or two after we play Oakland and for good reason. In my eyes this quarterback competition is as close to a photo finish as possible. Wilson proved that he was prepared and ready to handle a game situation with the starters on the field. “If you are prepared, there is no reason to be nervous” Wilson said after the game. Wilson’s preparation and execution this entire preseason has been an impressive strength that I believe could earn him the starting job. It will be interesting to see what kind of playing time the quarterbacks will get next week. If Wilson has another strong outing next week whether he is the starter or the backup, I am predicting he will be the starting quarterback against the Arizona Cardinals on September 9th.

No wide receivers went over the top this week: I think this is a good thing though. 5 wide receivers made catches this week. None were more impressive than Terrell Owens’s over-the-shoulder catch for a 40 yard gain. I am interested to see which (if any) wide receivers are cut during the first wave of roster cuts on Monday. If the coaching staff decides to part ways with a couple of receivers on Monday, I think it will be easier to predict which wideouts will make the 53-man roster. Last season in the last preseason game against Oakland, many believed that Golden Tate was fighting for a roster spot and needed to have a good game. He had a good game and kept his spot. Next week I believe all eyes will be on Terrell Owens. If he gets a good amount of playing time, and makes a few good catches I think Owens has a good chance to make the regular season roster. It was nice to see Sidney Rice back and his one catch for 8 yards was superb. Wilson looked Rice’s way immediately and if Rice can stay healthy and Wilson is the starter, expect that connection to pay dividends during the regular season. I noted that Ricardo Lockette did not see any playing time in the first half with the starting unit. To my memory he only had one target in the entire game; a streak down the near sideline in the fourth quarter on a pass thrown by Tarvaris Jackson. I am starting to wonder whether Lockette’s roster spot is in jeopardy. After Lockette has been praised by the coaching staff, you have to wonder why he would not get any looks with the starters.

Dominating Defense: In the first four Kansas City offensive possessions the Seahawks forced 3 three-and-outs. In addition, Earl Thomas returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown and Cordarro Law forced a fumble deep in Chiefs territory. Back during our NFC West dynasty years when the opponent was facing third and long it was almost a sure thing that the Seahawks would stop them and force a change in possession. Watching this game I feel the same way I did a few years back. I have full confidence in our defense to make sure we do not allow significant yardage on third down.

A fulfilled desire: In my preview yesterday, it was my hope to see the Seahawks amp up their pass rush. I called for a minimum of two sacks in the first half. Thanks to Greg Scruggs and Mike Morgan, the Seahawks were able to sack Matt Cassel twice in the first 13:42. Unfortunately we could not get to the quarterback after the first quarter but the defense as a whole made enough big plays to make sure the Chiefs did not come relatively close to touching our lead. My hope was satisfied but I want to see more pressure but the pass rush specialists next week.

Special special teams: The Seahawks special teams looked great Friday night. Three big points coming from special teams. First, I only counted two kickoffs that were returned past the 20-yard-line. We did a great job tackling and closing running lanes on kickoff coverage. Secondly, Golden Tate may have earned the punt return job this season. Tate returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown. Third, Jon Ryan did not have his first punt until the 13:20 mark in the fourth quarter. Ryan only had two punts total Friday night which speaks volumes to the efficiency of both the offense and the defense.

Kansas City outlook: If Friday night is any indication, the Chiefs may struggle mightily this season. Although the weapons are there, it didn’t seem like Matt Cassel clicked with any of them consistently. I realize the AFC West has been deemed wide open by a lot of people but with terrible play like on Friday night, the Chiefs may be heading towards the cellar and a high draft pick in 2013. The best player for Kansas City Friday night was Dexter McCluster. McCluster, who apparently has been converted into a slot receiver, led the Chiefs with 7 catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. If Cassel’s reads are all unavailable, expect a lot of checkdowns to McCluster this season. Even for a secondary option, Cassel seemed most comfortable when throwing McCluster’s way.

Random Thoughts: I spent a lot of time talking about the “faithful” Chiefs fans and the atmosphere of Arrowhead Stadium this week. I understand it is the preseason but it was pathetic to see well over half the seats empty. The Chiefs are the hottest ticket in Kansas City and even for a preseason game they should be able to draw more fans than what showed up Friday… Golden Tate wins the award for most entertaining player this week. Tate was shown stumbling around like a sloppy drunk after his punt return due to shortness of breath. He was struggling to find an oxygen mask. Later in the broadcast Tate was shown picking his nose. I wonder if he found some buried treasure… It is safe to assume the white jersey/gray pants combination will stick around. The combo actually looked pretty good on the field… The Seahawks escaped in great health once again. The only injury of note was cramps in the calf of cornerback Brandon Browner. He will be fine… Penalties really hurt Kansas City. Tamba Hali was called for consecutive roughing the passer penalties and multiple pass interference penalties. The Seahawks surrendered only 37 yards worth of penalties tonight. A great improvement compared to the Denver game… The Twitter hashtag #RussellMania was trending in Seattle during the first half. It is good to see the 12th Man getting excited for this kid whether he is our starting quarterback or not. Had two pints of Mac & Jack’s tonight. Delicious. Need I say more?

Upcoming: Look for a brief Seahawks fantasy outlook this weekend and I will also post my predictions for the first round of roster cuts. I will choose and explain my choices for which 15 players will be cut on Monday. Expect the fantasy outlook post on Saturday and the roster cuts prediction post on Sunday. Thanks for reading everybody. Go Seahawks!