Seahawks Insider

Things to look for in Sunday’s game against Arizona

Post by News Tribune Staff on Dec. 8, 2007 at 3:50 pm with 37 Comments »
December 8, 2007 3:50 pm

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.

Leave a comment Comments → 37
  1. diznoid says:

    Good read. 12th man needs to BRING IT!!

  2. OtbBaby says:

    I will do my part…. Hawk and Roll!

  3. Bernie42 says:

    I didn’t realize we were close to Green Bay and had kind of resigned to the fact that we’d be a lower seed in the NFC. Knowing we’ve got a shot at getting past Green Bay has me pretty excited.

    Then again, there’s this annoying little reminder over at’s “If the season ended today…” feature:

    The No. 1 seed in the NFC over the last three years has gone to the Super Bowl.

  4. 20 carries for 65 yards is nothing to celebrate! Can we stop talking about last week’s game as a model of how we want to run?

  5. Not trying to be negative here, but I certainly hope we’re not changing what has been a successful pass-first game plan based on game where we averaged 3.2 YPC if you omit Mo’s 45 yard run. That’s not exactly a a consistent running game to hang your hat on.

  6. QB_Sneak says:

    why would anyone accuse you of being negative? Har.

    Teams who can’t run can’t win in the post-season. It might be painful, but we have to keep trying to run the ball. Period.

  7. jeffjkol says:

    I know this is off subject, but have you had a chance recently to ask Ruskell about pending free agents. The apparent policy of waiting til seasons end scares me, especially as it pertains to Marcus. I hate the thought of him going to the next 7 pro bowls and winning defensive MVP honors for the Patriots after they let Samuel walk. And while we are at it, could we lock up Lofa forever-he makes an extra 5 mil every week we don’t sign him. I know he is here for another year, but it’s never too early to pay the heart and soul of your team.

  8. Then we can’t win in the post-season. I certainly am not suggesting we drop the run altogether. I think holding up last week’s game as an example of a healthy (or healthier) running game is stretching it. I think changing what has been a successful game plan based on that one game is nuts.

    And as I wrote about (, we actually had a more productive running game when we were emphasizing the passing game.

    This team has not proven it can run to setup the pass. It has to be the other way around.

  9. seattlelaw says:

    ” Permalink Comment by Bernie42 @ 17:02 – Saturday, December 8th, 2007
    I didn’t realize we were close to Green Bay and had kind of resigned to the fact that we’d be a lower seed in the NFC. Knowing we’ve got a shot at getting past Green Bay has me pretty excited.

    Then again, there’s this annoying little reminder over at’s “If the season ended today…” feature:

    The No. 1 seed in the NFC over the last three years has gone to the Super Bowl.”

    Gets the odds up it won’t happen again.

  10. Tompage says:

    I think seeking offensive balance is good, but starting the game by running off tackle is not going to work. The fans recognize that we don’t have a road grader offensive line; our success in the running game is a result of keeping the defense off balance. We don’t have the ability to knock the defense off the ball when they expect the run. We have had some success in the running game during the four game winning streak but it has been done the Seahawks way, by running when they least expect it. If we try to play smash mouth football we are going to be frustrated. I hope the coaches understand the short comings of the running game as well as the fans do.

    Last week’s defensive game plan was for the Eagles not for the Cardinals. Kurt Warner is a statue back there; you know where he is going to be when the Cardinals are throwing. But Kurt Warner is a crafty veteran who can really hurt you if you give him time to throw. I can’t believe the talking heads are not talking about the defenses in this match-up; they all seem fixated on the offensive side of the ball. Mark my words, the difference in this game is going to be the Seahawks defense. You are going see pressure early and often and I expect a lot of blitzes. I don’t know who is going to come to the fore front because it somewhat depends on who the Cardinals take out of the game but Kearney, or Tatupu, or Tapp, or Peterson, or Hill, or Bernard, or an unsung player. The defense is going to lead us to victory tomorrow, I just want to see how they do it.

    I am a big Josh Brown fan, he has really been a clutch player for us over the last few years. But kickers are funny, once doubt gets into their head, their production is significantly affected. I think the recent failures have affected Josh. He needs to get that fixed and find some success or we are looking for a new kicker next season.

  11. Hey Tompage – great comments. My interpretation of the inteview Frank did with Gil Haskell is that the Seahawks have no intention of trying a smash-mouth run game, but will be doing more of the opportunistic running we have seen in the last few games – draws and audibled runs when the safeties are back in coverage.

    I am really looking forward to this game since it has a lot riding on it – Shaun’s potential 100th TD, winning the West, and maybe better playoff seeding. It will be rockin’ at Quest.

  12. I agree the defenses deserve more attention then they are getting (although the Cards defense is hard to recognize with all the injuries).

    I would not, however, hold my breath on pass pressure. We have a grand total of zero sacks in the last *two* games against the Cards.

  13. bobbyk03 says:

    Josh seems as if he’s kicking the Super Bowl lately; since most of his kicks aren’t any good.

    Numbskull might be transitioning Tatupu when his rookie contract is complete; afterall, that will definitely prevent one of the best players in the NFL at their position from leaving the ‘Hawks.

    We CAN’T run when we need to. Spencer/Sims/Gray make sure of that. If that’s the case, why in the hell would we focus on doing something we know can’t be done?

    Crazy things happen (like the Steelers winning the SB as a road wild card team in the first round)… As a coach, you need to play to the strength of your team and go as far as that will take you (sometimes, crazy things happen)…

  14. montanahawk says:

    4 wins and no losses since the ‘Hawks went to a pass first offencse. Not the time to change.

  15. brianinptown says:

    Hey Benemhaus…we have over 120 yards on the ground last week – an offensive coordinator doesn’t care about one player, he cares about total output…so last week was a success in the run game since both Shaun and Maurice combined for over 100 yards.

    Listen, I like the amped up passing attack as much as anyone…but to beat the big boys we’re going to need to have our running game clicking to keep everyone honest.

    Here’s to hoping for 100+ on the ground again this week. Cheers!

  16. eldridgefamily says:

    Hey, Frank, I never heard or read the Holmgren told Plack to not kick to Westbrook. In fact, in post game interviews, Holmgren specifically admitted to not thinking about not kicking to him. Not sure where you got that. Yes, Plack had an awful game, something like 30 yard average and that cannot happen again in a game where field position is crucial.

  17. Supposedly Bruce Dehaven told Plack not to kick to him, but I do recall reading that Holmgren didn’t make it a point for Plack to avoid Westbrook.

  18. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    bnem,you can’t say “if you take away that run” it doesnt work that way, bottom line as a team we averaged 4.8ypc last week. that includes hass and weaver aswell. it’s not like your great backs get 5 ypc every play that’s why they call it an average.

  19. JazBadAzz says:

    Does anyone know if the player from the Rams got fined for ripping the helmet off of Sims and throwing it 30 yards down feild?

  20. Check this Seahawks video out!

    The Hawks were featured on “Anatomy of a play” this week, where Matt Hasselbeck’s Touchdown pass to Engram vs. the Eagles is dissected by Brian Baldinger. It’s a really fascinating look at Matt changing the protection to help the hawks and also some neat commentary on Burleson hearing the wrong play and running the wrong route. Baldinger does a nice job, definitely a must see.

    Here’s the link

  21. questisbest says:

    hey, bobbyk, let me remind you, the stealers did’nt “win” the super bowl as a wild card team on the road, they were lucky at indianapolis, should’ve lost on the goal line fumble return, and were given a gift for the bus’s home town swan song party in cheater bowl 40.

  22. SnakeDoctor says:

    Thanks for the link Kerney. That was awesome to watch and hear. Hey get a couple sacks today ok.

  23. navy_at_3 says:

    nothing’s more predictable then saying to everyone that your team is going to be a pass first pass alot team… but hey that worked and turned into a 4 game winning streak.

    It’s like this, EVERYONE knew MJ would get the ball in the last mins of just about every CHI game… but he did it so well that they could hardly stop him.

    Our pass O is not quite on that level, but pretty darn close. I know mike likes a 60/40 pass/run mix but hey.. if 80/20 is working and got you 4 game win streak, why stop that?

  24. montanahawk says:

    Very cool vid. Matt’s composure is cool & calm. It’s present on the field & off the field when talking to his teammates.
    Thanks for passing it on.

  25. navy_at_3 says:

    btw Frank i think your article is semi wack.

    What on earth do you mean Mikey went even further to establish the run vs philly? Are you kidding me?

    First poss. i’ll give you that.. it was an even 2 pass and 2 runs leading up to a TD… however keep in mind the first play was a pass play… which momo was out on the field for the first snap.

    Seattle Seahawks at 14:39
    1-10-PHI 18 (14:39) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass incomplete to 83-D.Branch (96-O.Gaither).
    2-10-PHI 18 (14:38) 37-S.Alexander right end to PHI 2 for 16 yards (96-O.Gaither).
    1-2-PHI 2 (13:57) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass incomplete short right to 68-T.Ashworth.
    2-2-PHI 2 (13:53) (Shotgun) 37-S.Alexander left end for 2 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
    3-J.Brown extra point is GOOD, Center-89-B.Stutz, Holder-1-R.Plackemeier.

    Second poss. it was all pass and 1 run again leading up to the second TD.
    Seattle Seahawks at 14:39
    1-10-PHI 18 (14:39) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass incomplete to 83-D.Branch (96-O.Gaither).
    2-10-PHI 18 (14:38) 37-S.Alexander right end to PHI 2 for 16 yards (96-O.Gaither).
    1-2-PHI 2 (13:57) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass incomplete short right to 68-T.Ashworth.
    2-2-PHI 2 (13:53) (Shotgun) 37-S.Alexander left end for 2 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
    3-J.Brown extra point is GOOD, Center-89-B.Stutz, Holder-1-R.Plackemeier.

    and the third poss? 2 pass plays and 1 run play.

    1-8-PHI 8 (8:44) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass short right to 43-L.Weaver to PHI 10 for -2 yards (30-J.Reed).
    2-10-PHI 10 (8:09) 37-S.Alexander up the middle to PHI 12 for -2 yards (58-T.Cole).
    3-12-PHI 12 (7:25) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass short middle to 84-B.Engram for 12 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
    3-J.Brown extra point is GOOD, Center-89-B.Stutz, Holder-1-R.Plackemeier.

    it wasnt until the 4th poss. in 1st Q that hawks started to run more…

    Seattle Seahawks at 05:14
    2-D.Akers kicks 56 yards from PHI 30 to SEA 14. 81-N.Burleson to SEA 23 for 9 yards (25-R.Mahe).
    1-10-SEA 23 (5:09) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass short right to 81-N.Burleson to SEA 29 for 6 yards (26-L.Sheppard).
    2-4-SEA 29 (4:34) 37-S.Alexander up the middle to SEA 30 for 1 yard (75-J.Thomas).
    3-3-SEA 30 (3:56) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass short right to 83-D.Branch to SEA 36 for 6 yards (26-L.Sheppard).
    1-10-SEA 36 (3:22) 20-M.Morris up the middle to SEA 38 for 2 yards (96-O.Gaither).
    2-8-SEA 38 (2:38) 20-M.Morris right end to PHI 47 for 15 yards (20-B.Dawkins). Penalty on PHI-90-D.Howard, Defensive Offside, declined.
    1-10-PHI 47 (2:05) 43-L.Weaver up the middle to PHI 46 for 1 yard (75-J.Thomas).
    2-9-PHI 46 (1:22) 37-S.Alexander left tackle to PHI 44 for 2 yards (51-T.Spikes).
    3-7-PHI 44 (:44) (Shotgun) 8-M.Hasselbeck pass short right to 81-N.Burleson to PHI 36 for 8 yards (26-L.Sheppard).
    END QUARTER 1 at 1:42 PM

    Now call me crazy if you will (i already called you wacked lol) but i really dont think Mikey was TRYING all that hard to establish the run again as your article says. I’m going out on a limb… a short one.. and say Mikey was FORCED to go to the run due to Matt throwing alot of incompletes AND the weather was not suited for a passing game at all. Even the crappy fox announcers pointed this out. Yet both teams were trying to be pass happy in the first Q.

    After saying all that, and the production that SA gave in the second half… which was less then 3 yards per carry… 2nd q he gave us -1.7 ypc I really hope Mikey sticks to the passing game… it’s working.. why stop doing that?

  26. Hey navy – Holmgren does not like the 60/40 pass/run mix at all. He has stated many times he prefers a much more balanced offense. Take a look at what we did in 2005: 46% of plays were passing plays! Based on what Holmgren said this week, I assume that the net four games he will try to keep the offense at around 55% passing but increase that if there isn’t enough production. 80% is nuts and will end up getting Matt killed.

  27. Snake-
    Haha Kurt Warner is about as agile as a boulder so I’m feeling pretty good!

  28. navy_at_3 says:

    pilot least you forget, it was the passing game that opened up the running game for SA. Matt set all sorts of records for his passing efforts in 2005… but no one seems to remember that part.

    80% was me poking fun. WE all know 80% doesnt work out. Here 75%-70%

    And yes…. you can’t have a 55% pass/run if the run doesnt produce anything behind SA. The philly game wouldnt even be close to 55% if it wasnt for the last 3 suppose to be game ending time killing plays that never happen because SA average 1 yard per carry in the last 7 mins of the 4th Q. You can say yeah 55% pass plays to run plays but what is more accurate?

    anyhow lets hope for a good game and a Hawks win! after all that’s what all drives us to these blogs… because we have something in common.


    another btw, it’s snowing up here in Oak Harbor. Coming down pretty good too. Temp dropped from 32.7 degrees to 32.5 degrees in about 30 mins since it started snowing. There’s now a good inch on the sidewalks/roads/cars and starting to overtake all the green from the grass.

  29. mibuttiznum says:

    hope we get some pregame notes sometime today.

  30. you’re missing my point. I’m not suggesting you ignore the 45 yard run. I am saying that for the vast majority of the game, we were not able to run with any consistency.

    I would be much more encouraged if we had that 4.8 YPC with no runs longer than 20.

    I’ve said my piece here. I think the folks arguing that last week was a good running one are missing the boat. Don’t forget, we *averaged* 153 yards rushing/game in 2005. We haven’t come close to even that average yet this year.

  31. snydro22 says:

    yeah frank, you suck..

  32. halfemptyfilms says:

    Thanks for the video, Kerney :)

  33. halfemptyfilms says:

    Anyone see the Fox boys just shoot down the Hawks? When asked if we stood a chance against Green Bay or Dallas, they all immediately started chanting “No no no,” then some gave Tampa a chance over them, despite the fact that we BEAT them. ugh!

  34. lemonverbena says:

    speaking of NFC playoff odds… i thought these were interesting. check them next week if Hawks win today!

    Odds of each team:

    * Reaching the Conference Championship Game
    * Winning the Conference Championship Game
    * Winning the Super Bowl

    T-Conf App-Conf Win-SB Win
    NE 73.7% 52.0% 33.8%
    DAL 75.1% 51.0% 25.4%
    GB 67.0% 24.9% 11.0%
    IND 61.2% 20.9% 9.9%
    TB 24.1% 10.1% 4.2%
    PIT 26.4% 8.6% 3.8%
    SD 19.0% 8.6% 3.3%
    JAC 11.2% 5.7% 2.4%
    SEA 19.8% 7.4% 2.4%
    CLE 5.9% 3.1% 1.2%
    MIN 6.4% 3.3% 1.2%
    NYG 5.0% 2.1% 0.5%
    TEN 1.1% 0.5% 0.1%
    BUF 0.7% 0.2% 0.1%
    ARI 1.0% 0.3% 0.0%
    PHI 0.2% 0.1% 0.0%
    NO 0.6% 0.2% 0.0%
    WAS 0.3% 0.1% 0.0%
    DEN 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%

  35. snydro22 says:

    I cant believe these numbers suggest that Tampa Bay is twice as likely to win the Super Bowl as us.. if we can get things rolling on offense these next few weeks, then no one can stop us..

  36. navy_at_3 says:

    btw Pilot if you read this…. it’s the RB coach that calls which back will be playing… not mikey.

  37. navy_at_3 says:

    like i said, go away from the pass and we have big problems… stick with what works… and we win.

    btw if your following, mo officially started today.

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