Tag Archives: Shawn Springs

Seahawks/Packers Preview

19 Sep
Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

Matchup: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers

Site: Lambeau Field (Green Bay, Wisconsin)

Kickoff: 5:30pm

It has been six years since the Seahawks last played a meaningful game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

Amazing to think about what has happened since.

The Seahawks head back to the frozen tundra for Sunday Night Football this week as they take on the defending NFC North champion Packers. The Seahawks are 0-1 following their 34-31 overtime loss to the St. Louis Rams last week. Green Bay started their 2015 campaign on the right foot, defeating the Chicago Bears 31-23 last Sunday. The Packers lead the all-time series with the Seahawks 10-8. By now you know what happened the last time these two teams played but here’s a quick reminder. The Seahawks trailed 19-7 late in the fourth quarter. After a Russell Wilson touchdown run, a successful onside kick recovery, a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run, and  a successful Luke Willson two-point conversion, the Seahawks suddenly took a 22-19 lead. The Packers drove down to tie the game at the end of regulation and in overtime Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse for the game winning 35-yard touchdown. Seattle advanced to Super Bowl XLIX. Green Bay’s season ended. This is going to be an extremely difficult game for the Seahawks to win. Here is what I will be looking for.

After giving up 34 points last week it is crucial that we see improvement out of the Seahawks defense. There has been ongoing talk during the week about cornerback Richard Sherman lining up at nickel this week in order to cover Green Bay’s best wide receiver Randall Cobb. I think we may see Sherman on Cobb a little bit but Sherman will predominantly play on the outside like normal. The number one thing I am focused on this week will be how we go about eliminating explosive plays. Last week the Seahawks gave up 13 plays of 10 yards or more. The correlation? Although we sacked Rams quarterback Nick Foles twice, for the most part he had plenty of time in the pocket to go throw his progressions and make his throws. In order to eliminate the big plays this week, something that the Packers are well equipped to do, we must put excessive amounts of pressure on Aaron Rodgers. The Packers offensive line did not allow a sack last week so it will be difficult to rattle Rodgers. My hope is to see Bruce Irvin used as a pass rushing specialist. Frank Clark could be a pivotal player this week. The more pass rushers we can get on the field at the same time, the better off the Seahawks will be.

For the Seahawks offense my main focus will be on the play of the offensive line, and how their play will have a domino effect on the rest of the offense. The offensive line’s performance last week was second-rate. The Packers sport big time players in Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and B.J. Raji who do an exceptional job getting to the quarterback. This week I believe Russell Wilson must take it upon himself to avoid the kind of pressure that he faced in St. Louis. Screens and slants may be the most effective strategy in the passing game. I would also like to see Wilson be more assertive in the running game. The read-option was nonexistent last week which I believe was necessary for our offense to keep drives moving. There were multiple plays last week where Wilson could have easily run for a first down. Instead he elected to stay behind the line of scrimmage to try to make a throw. If it is necessary this week or if plays are broken, I want to see Wilson run for yards.

It is no secret that the Green Bay Packers have one the most explosive offenses in football. Aaron Rodgers is a master at playing to the weaknesses of the opposing defense. I believe Rodgers will take a Tom Brady-esque approach in regards to how to face the Seattle defense. This could mean a lot of three step drops and short passes. Instead of going deep he will rely on his receivers Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, and James Jones to pick up yards after the catch. As tough as the Packers passing game is to defend, running back Eddie Lacy may be poised to make a significant impact on the ground. In 18 career games at Lambeau Field, Lacy has averaged 81 yards per game and a solid 4.6 yards per carry. If these numbers can hold up in this game it will greatly contribute to an outstanding performance by the Green Bay offense.

On defense for the Packers one position in particular has my full attention. Last week starting middle linebacker Sam Barrington injured his foot and was placed on season-ending injured reserve shortly thereafter. My X-Factor Player to Watch for Green Bay this week is Barrington’s counterpart in the middle of the defense, Nate Palmer. Palmer enters his third season with the Packers but a cloud of uncertainty hangs over him. Before last week, Palmer had not played since 2013 after injuring his foot.  He spent the entire 2014 season on injured reserve. In 2013 Palmer played in 9 games, accruing only 17 tackles. To make things even murkier, Palmer made the transition from 3-4 outside linebacker to 3-4 inside linebacker during this past offseason. His inexperience could give the Seahawks offense an advantage in the middle of the field. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy noted that Palmer will wear the “green dot” helmet, meaning the coaches will communicate the defensive play calls through the radio in his helmet. Given that these are new responsibilities for Palmer, there is a possibility that the Green Bay defense will have communication issues.

Random Thoughts: The Seahawks tweeted out their uniform combination Friday night. We will be wearing white jerseys and white pants… The Packers will wear their traditional home look of green jerseys and yellow pants… Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth have the call for NBC this week… Gene Steratore is this week’s referee… The Seahawks have only beaten the Packers once at Lambeau Field. I remember the game well. It was Monday Night Football during the 1999 season. Mike Holmgren made his first trip back to Green Bay after leaving for Seattle following the previous season. It was Brett Favre’s worst career game, as he went 14/35 for 180 yards, one touchdown, and 4 interceptions. Shawn Springs was the player of the game as he blocked a field goal and returned it for a touchdown and intercepted Favre twice. The Seahawks won the game in dominating fashion, 27-7. Let’s hope for the same kind of result this week… Random travel story of the week: I am not looking forward to flying Southwest Airlines to Milwaukee. My only ever experience flying Southwest was in 1999 coming home from Omaha, Nebraska. On Southwest your boarding priority is determined by the time you check in. The earlier you check in, the earlier you get to board. My family was filling up our rental car with gas near the Omaha airport when the street was shut down so Vice President Al Gore and him motorcade could come through. We were late getting to the airport and were placed in the “C” boarding group (the last group to board). I was separated from my family on the plane (something somewhat traumatic for a 9-year old) and I wound up sitting in between an older couple. I had a book of word searches with me and I just did word searches for the entire flight. Surprisingly, the older woman next to me had no idea what a word search was so she looked over my shoulder and watched me do word searches for the majority of the flight. Talk about awkward… I will be tailgating on someone’s property right off of Lombardi Avenue, directly across the street from Lambeau Field on Sunday. The Green Bay tailgating scene is somewhat restrictive to non-Packers season ticket holders so it will be fascinating to see how Packers fans do tailgating… I am beyond excited to step inside Lambeau Field. I consider it to be the cathedral of professional football. So much history has occurred inside that bowl that I’m sure to get chills just walking around. Just like going to Notre Dame Stadium in 2009, this is sure to be a trip I will never forget. The only thing that will make it better will be a Seahawks win!

Prediction: After the Fail Mary and the NFC Championship miracle comeback, the Packers finally get back at us. Aaron Rodgers will come out firing and will throw touchdowns to Randall Cobb and Davante Adams in the first half. The Seahawks will only be able to counter with one Steven Hauschka field goal as the Packers will go into halftime with a 17-3 lead. The Seahawks will make the proper adjustments and will score two second half touchdowns; one by Marshawn Lynch and another to Jimmy Graham. The Packers will lead 23-20 and will deliver the dagger with just under 5 minutes left to play. Rodgers will find Cobb for his second touchdown of the game and the Seahawks will head home for their home opener with a disappointing 0-2 record.

Packers 30, Seahawks 20

Programming Note: My game review will be published on Monday when I get back from Green Bay, NOT late Sunday immediately following the game.

Review: Seahawks 27, Cowboys 7

17 Sep

After struggling on the road in week one, the Seahawks returned home and completely dominated the Dallas Cowboys 27-7. It started with a fumbled kickoff and that was enough to fuel the 12th Man and the Seahawks took advantage of the opportunity and never looked back. I took a lot of positives out of this game. Here are some of my thoughts after this great win.

“They Just Can’t Play Here:” That was a statement from my friend Alan regarding Dallas’s special teams after the Cowboys fumbled the opening kickoff. The biggest headline leading into this game was the Tony Romo botched snap six years ago and the Cowboys continued their special teams struggles into this game. The Cowboys kickoff fumble turned into three points, then later in the quarter Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith blocked a punt and Jeron Johnson returned it 5 yards for a touchdown. Seahawks special teams 10, Dallas 0 after the first quarter. I have to believe that the crowd plays a part in the terrible play by Dallas’s special teams, not to take anything away from our special teams. It is amazing looking back into hindsight that those scores alone would have been enough to beat Dallas yesterday.

My Russell Wilson Evaluation: After getting off to a slow start, Russell Wilson shined in the second half. He ended the game 15/20 for 151 yards and a touchdown. His 75% completion percentage in a single game is the highest for a Seahawks rookie quarterback in franchise history. His stat line may not be the most impressive, but his decision making is what really caught my eye. Each of his throws were right on the money and he did not force any throws into double or triple coverage. Through eight quarters, Wilson has only turned the ball over once and that one turnover came on a hail mary before halftime of the Arizona game. In his last 73 games dating back to USC, when Pete Carroll teams win the turnover battle their record is 70-3. When we take care of the ball like we do we have a great chance to win or at least be competitive. This is turning into my favorite attribute of Russell Wilson’s play. His numbers may not be the best but the way he plays the game mentally gives us our best chance to win.

Our Defense Continues To Prove It Can Be A Top 5 Unit: Through two games the Seahawks have allowed an average of 13.5 points per game. At this pace the Seahawks could be a very tough team to pick against as the season extends and teams potentially get thinner and tired. I was very impressed by the way we tackled. One play in particular; a second quarter swing pass from Tony Romo to DeMarco Murray where K.J. Wright went for the tackle, and was able to wrap him up long enough for Bobby Wagner and Kam Chancellor to come over and help make the tackle without letting Murray get away. I think our tackling has improved as a whole but there is still some work to do. Our run defense continues to be dominant, only giving up 49 rushing yards to the Cowboys. The pass rush did not meet my expectations this week because Romo was only sacked once. This needs to change soon especially since Green Bay comes to town next week.

Cleaning Up Our Laundry: After getting flagged 13 times in Arizona, the Seahawks only got penalized 5 times against Dallas for a total of 35 yards. There were only 10 penalties combined in the game which makes me wonder was there that significant of change in one week’s time or were the replacement referees just letting them play? I am very satisfied with this stat but I was concerned multiple times in this game about Breno Giacomini. Giacomini is a very fiery competitor and at times he can let the opponent get under his skin. He was flagged twice in the preseason for personal fouls on one drive and it looked like that could have happened again a couple times yesterday. These are the penalties that kill drives and kill games. All in all I am hoping this game is a sign that we have cleaned up our mistakes, however that big of a positive difference in only one week’s time is going to keep me cautiously optimistic heading into future games.

Our Best Receiver: I was asked by Alan in the middle of the game who I thought is our best wide receiver. After a little bit of thought I answered Golden Tate. He looked at me surprised but I explained my opinion that whenever Tate gets the ball in his hands there is a chance he can make something explosive happen. He can make plays when given the opportunity and I think he may have the best hands on the team. Tate can even make a huge block when the time warrants him, just like he did when he leveled Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee:

Image

Tate is an emerging talent that I will predict right now will be our leading receiver by the end of the season.

Same Old Romo, Same Old Cowboys: According to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in Texas, the Cowboys have a .500 winning percentage dating back to the 1990’s. Going off of this stat I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that after the Cowboys surprisingly beat the defending world champion New York Giants they would slump off and lose to the Seahawks. The Cowboys may be the most inconsistent and overrated team in all of football, and it drives me crazy when I hear talk that Tony Romo is an elite quarterback in the NFL. 23/40 for 251 yards and one touchdown and one interception is not elite in my book. Dallas is an average team at best. They can challenge for the NFC East title but in no way are they legitimate super bowl contenders, at least not at this point in the season.

Random Thoughts: I woke up at the earliest time for a week of football in two years (5:45am). By the time I got home for Sunday Night Football I was beat… One of my roomates made bloody Mary’s before leaving for the tailgate. Tomato juice and vodka at 7:30 in the morning is not my idea of a good time… Alan, Jake, and I tailgated about two blocks north of the stadium with Jake’s brother Chris and his friends. Usually I am used to going to the bars before Seahawks games because parking lot tailgating is either too expensive or too bare but Sunday was one of the best tailgates I have been at in a long time. It felt like a college atmosphere, almost as if we were prefunking for a Husky football game… Alan bought a Marshawn Lynch jersey before the game. Great investment in my opinion… The alumni day ceremony was one of the worst I have seen. Everything seemed rushed and because of limited time, the Cowboys were introduced halfway through the ceremony… The Seahawks defense was introduced to the crowd to a roaring ovation… Former Seahawk Paul Johns sung the National Anthem. Johns sings the anthem on alumni day almost every year… Shawn Springs raised the 12th Man flag, continuing the tradition that a talented and popular former Seahawk raises the flag at the home opener… Two rows down there was a lady who got super drunk and obnoxious, calling out Seahawks fans for not starting trash talk with Cowboys fans in the fourth quarter. I’m all for having a good time at a game but when you get mad at other Seahawks fans for not being a$$holes towards the opposing fans, I have a problem with that… I brought six bags of Skittles into the game for whenever Marshawn Lynch did something great. We threw four bags worth of Skittles when he scored his fourth quarter touchdown… One fan across the aisle looked back in anger because I think one of our Skittles hit him or went down his back. If you are going to make a big deal about a single Skittle, then I’m sorry. I’ll buy you some tissues for the Green Bay game sir… The Seahawks wore blue jerseys and blue pants on Sunday. I don’t think we will wear gray at home this season… The giveaway was a mini 12th Man flag. Mine ripped before the game even started… The halftime show was the Red Bull skydiving team. I’m always entertained to watch people jump out of airplanes for our entertainment… After the game we went back to the tailgate, drank a couple more beers, then bussed back home to Wallingford… I am very disappointed that the other NFC West teams all won on Sunday. It makes the division look better and we get more national media coverage but it does not help the Seahawks gain any ground on taking the division lead.

I believe the Seahawks are off the next two days and preparation for next week’s Monday night matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Check back this week for my notes heading into week 3. Go Seahawks!