Tag Archives: Hugh Millen

Review: Seahawks 36, Packers 16

4 Sep
Photo Credit: seattletimes.com

Photo Credit: seattletimes.com

What a way to start our title defense! In front of a nationally televised audience the Seahawks defeated the Green Bay Packers in decisive fashion on Thursday night by a final score of 36-16. The Seahawks start their 2014 season 1-0 while the Packers start their third straight season 0-1. Although the Seahawks won in dominating fashion I believe there is still a lot of room for improvement. Nevertheless, I believe we confirmed to any and every doubter that we are still a force capable of repeating as Super Bowl champions. Here are the positives and negatives I took from Thursday’s game.

Every Weapon Will Be Used: One of the reasons why the Seahawks have the potential to be so dangerous this season is that quarterback Russell Wilson will use every weapon in his arsenal. That was evident on Thursday night when he hit wide receiver Ricardo Lockette for a 33-yard touchdown in the second quarter and fullback Derrick Coleman for a 15-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. There are probably few people who thought either Lockette or Coleman would have a touchdown in this game let alone both of them. Meanwhile Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, two receivers who see more playing time than Lockette, combined for 4 catches and only 22 yards. The Seahawks are not afraid to use every single offensive skill position player at any time during the game. This makes the Seahawks a very scary team to game plan around and try to prepare for moving forward.

Lynch Has Not Missed a Step: On the drive home from the game, Dave “Softy” Mahler, Dick Fain, and Hugh Millen of Sports Radio 950 KJR agreed that they thought Marshawn Lynch looked “like a guy playing for a contract” and that he has not slowed down at all. I agree completely. Lynch was the most effective player on offense this week rushing for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Lynch, like always, ran like a man on a mission and if there was any rumblings of a potential running back by committee if Lynch were to struggle, he quickly squashed them. Barring injury, Lynch will continue to be the feature back in this offense and from my perspective our running game has picked up right where it left off at the end of the 2013 season.

Pass Rush Can Improve: Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, and O’Brien Schofield all recorded sacks on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers this week. Although the Seahawks pass rush looked effective, there is much room for improvement. The reason I say this is because of the Green Bay offensive line. With two players making their CenturyLink Field debut and right tackle Bryan Bulaga leaving the game with a sprained knee in the first half, I thought the Seahawks would be able to take advantage with a revved up 12th Man behind them to sack Rodgers in a similar fashion to the 8 sacks we recorded against the Packers two seasons ago. One of my main focuses going into this game was the interior pass rush and in this game the grand majority of the Seahawks defensive pressure came on the outside. I would like to see an improvement next week along the inside of the defensive line, using a 3rd down package with Bennett as well as young defensive tackle talent like Jordan Hill.

Did Thomas Lose His Job?: Before I go any further, no I am not talking about his free safety job. I am talking solely about his spot as the Seahawks punt returner. Forget that Richard Sherman may have been blocked into him, Earl Thomas muffed a first quarter punt which was recovered by Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and eventually led to a touchdown to give Green Bay a 7-3 lead. The punt that Thomas muffed should definitely have been signaled for a fair catch but Thomas tried to make something out of what clearly looked to be nothing. Thomas returned one more punt for a 3-yard return later in the game. I no doubt believe that Thomas can make special plays happen on special teams but he simply needs to be smarter about the way he goes about handling his punt return duties. One more mistake by Thomas on special teams and I believe will see the next man up at punt returner, who happens to be Richard Sherman.

Where Are You Sherm?: It is going to be very difficult for Richard Sherman to hold the title of “best shutdown corner in the game” from a statistical perspective if teams continue to avoid him, much like what the Green Bay Packers did on Thursday night. Sherman was not targeted once against the Packers, which created opportunities for Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane to take advantage of. Maxwell had 5 tackles, 2 passes defensed and an interception on Thursday night while Lane recorded 4 tackles of his own in the nickel slot. This could be a common occurrence especially early in the season. Maxwell will be tested often and if he plays shutdown football, opposing defenses may have no choice but to throw in Sherman’s direction as well. Sherman’s chances will depend on the play of the rest of the receivers. Although he played well against the Packers, if Maxwell struggles he will be picked on constantly and it will be extremely difficult for Richard Sherman to see passes thrown his way.

Thoughts on Green Bay: Take away the fact that the Green Bay Packers had to come into the NFL’s most hostile environment on opening night to play the defending world champions in front of a 12th Man that may have been louder than I have ever heard. This Packers team has an offense that will be able to effectively move the ball and they gained solid defensive momentum early in the game when they held a short lead. The running game must improve however. Running back Eddie Lacy only ran for 34 yards on Thursday night and not being able to run the ball effectively could extremely limit the Packers offense, relying on Aaron Rodgers more than they would like. With a banged up offensive line this may be difficult but as long as Rodgers can stay healthy, I believe this team is still better than the Bears, Lions, and Vikings. This team is still my favorite to win the NFC North.

Random Thoughts: John Parry was the referee this week. I apologize I could not figure out the referee before the game for the second consecutive week. Parry and his crew went into Thursday’s game known for throwing the most defensive holding penalties during the preseason, which some believed could have hurt the Seahawks. The Seahawks were flagged 4 times throughout the game and none of them were for defensive holding… The Westlake Center Buffalo Wild Wings has by far the best service of any “B-Dubs” I’ve been to. Maybe it was because we were one of the first parties seated for the day and the restaurant was mostly empty. Nevertheless, great service and great food too… The atmosphere at the Hawks Nest Bar and Grill never disappoints, especially before a primetime game. It was awesome in that building before the game… The pregame ceremony and celebration did not disappoint. There was one thing about pregame that I really liked and one thing that I really did not like. I liked how the Seahawks told everybody with tickets to be in their seats by 5pm for the pregame celebration but the pregame ceremonies did not start until NBC went live at 5:30. Smart thinking Seahawks. The thing I found slightly disappointing what that they unveiled the banner simultaneous to the team running out of the tunnel. I wish they would have waited until right before the game started to drop the banner… That may have been the most fun I’ve had at a Seahawks game ever. The crowd was so merry and confident. It was a truly special night all around.

The Seahawks take an extended break before getting to work on the San Diego Chargers next week. Enjoy this weekend’s games everyone. Go Hawks!

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Camp Notes 8/8: The T.O. Show and Flynn’s Emergence

8 Aug

I am still pinching myself in disbelief over the fact that Terrell Owens is a Seahawk. It was kind of surreal to see T.O. in a navy blue Seahawks practice jersey and see him address the media in front of the Seahawks logo-filled press conference background. It was estimated that there were over four times as many media members and cameras on hand for today’s practice than an average training camp practice. The Seahawks have not had this kind of national media coverage since the weeks leading up to Super Bowl XL. In my opinion it was a nice change to see us be the lead on Sportscenter as well.

The focus of today’s practice was of course the wide receivers. Owens spent the majority of practice running with the second-string unit opposite Braylon Edwards. Owens lined up at flanker for the most part, which is Sidney Rice’s primary position with the first-string unit. From what I could tell he looked very sharp. He did not drop any balls and made every route he ran and catch he made look incredibly easy. Having said that, Owens has been out of the league for over a full season so there is some catch up physically and mentally to be expected. “I’m a little rusty… now I’m just trying to get myself physically back in shape to play football and today was a step in the right direction” Owens said in his post-practice press conference. Coach Carroll indicated yesterday that Owens will not play against Tennessee on Saturday night which as a fan is disappointing but surely understandable. You cannot expect to throw a raw and rusty veteran on the field four days after being signed. The good thing though is Owens is familiar with the offense and based on what he talked about today all that really needs to happen is for him to get his football legs back and get back into great football shape. I expect Owens to play next weekend against Denver and by then be challenging to line up opposite Rice with the first-team offense.

Yesterday Coach Carroll announced that Tarvaris Jackson’s reps would be cut significantly and that Matt Flynn will start against Tennessee on Saturday. The goal is to have Flynn play the entire first half and then have Russell Wilson step in to play the second half. Today in practice, Flynn looked very sharp. His best play was a 30-yard streak to Terrell Owens among others. Flynn’s great practice today was praised by former NFL quarterback Hugh Millen, who told Dave “Softy” Mahler of KJR “It’s likely that in all of 2011, Tarvaris Jackson never had as good a practice as Matt Flynn had today.”

I think it is becoming clearer what the plan is for the quarterback competition. Coach Carroll said yesterday that they have enough data and knowledge on Jackson that they don’t want to see him in this preseason game and can afford to cut his first-team reps down in practice. My prediction is that Jackson will be cut by the time the regular season starts. Carroll suggested he is 100 percent comfortable handing the keys of the car over to Flynn and if that is the case, there is no good reason why he would not be starter come week one. My guess is that Flynn will be the starter, Wilson the backup, and Josh Portis will be the third-string quarterback.

Tomorrow I will be live from the VMAC for practice. If T.O. signs autographs there is no doubt I will try to get a word with him. Three days until the Tennessee game everybody!