Here is the link to my story in today’s News Tribune, which goes over with offensive coordinator Gil Haskell the plan for the offense in coming weeks. After speaking with Gil, I fully expect the Seahawks to try to throw a balanced attack at teams in an attempt to keep them off balance. If the run fails, Holmgren can easily resort to the passing game. But I think he does not want to become too predictable, and if Shaun Alexander and Mo Morris run like they did last week vs. Philadelphia, it should enable Holmgren to mix the run with the pass, or the pass with the run, or however you want to view it.
One of the biggest things tomorrow is the health of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Seattle’s corners had a difficult time dealing with their size in the last meeting, so having them out of there will be a big deal for the Seahawks. If they are missing, it would allow John Marshall to stack more guys to stop Edgerrin James, who had a productive day the last time they played.
Will Seattle’s defensive line come up with more pressure. Because Marshall dropped more linebackers into coverage, the front four were unable to get much pressure on Philly’s A.J. Feeley. The ploy worked, but it would be nice to be able to flush the far-less agile Kurt Warner from the pocket and make him throw on the run. All things considered, Marshall seems to have done a pretty good job game-planning this season, particularly during this four-game win streak.
Will Shaun Alexander run with the same alacrity that he ran with last week? This goes back to the first point a little bit, but the only way for the balanced attack to be effective is if Alexander runs with the same passion he seemed to run with last week. He is spry in practice — though, to be fair, he is not getting hit. But he seems more confident in the wrist. We’ll see if that transfers to the game. You would think he would have a particular feeling of redemption in this game, given the way the last meeting ended. Also, keep in mind, his next TD is his 100th, something only seven backs before him have achieved.
Can Josh Brown get back to making his field goals. Brown said earlier this week that the timing is off with Boone Stutz, Ryan Plackemeier and himself. He has missed three of the last four. He needs to get back on track for the Seahawks to have sustained success. At the same time, Plackemeier needs to rebound from an awful week last week, when he did not hit one punt and made a mental gaffe at the end that nearly cost the team the game, punting to Brian Westbrook when his coach told him not to.
Can Lofa Tatupu ignore all the hype that has surrounded him this week and stay focused on the game? Nobody expects him to get another three interceptions, but the distractions resulting from the success of that game could have an effect. If there is one guy in the locker room who does not seem to buy into the hype, it is Tatupu, who is as low-key and down to earth as anybody you might meet. Still, he has been approached all week about his life story because of the game against the Eagles.
Will the 12th Man have an effect? This is the game that could clinch the division title for the fourth straight year. And with Brett Favre hurting, a victory here and a loss in Green Bay could put the Seahawks within striking distance of the Packers for one of the top spots in the NFC. Holmgren and some of the players have said all week they hope the fans are amped up because they’d like to get support they have not felt in a while, with back-to-back long road trips on their schedule.