Seahawks Insider

As Paul Harvey would say, “The rest of the story”

Post by News Tribune Staff on Nov. 3, 2008 at 3:32 pm with 31 Comments »
November 3, 2008 3:32 pm

Nobody, it turned out, was in the locker room, so I am back sooner than expected.

Of the Kerney thing, I asked Holmgren if they have an interest in signing Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila if Kerney is done for the year. Holmgren said they have not yet had that discussion, but he is sure they have a “hot list” of people they want to sign if Kerney is out. Holmgren said he thought Jackson and Tapp did OK on Sunday, but that they wore down as the game went on because of the size of Philly’s offensive line.

Matt Hasselbeck is getting stronger but is not likely to come back this week. Holmgren said he did have his doubts that Hass would play again this year, but he said he thinks Hass will be back sooner rather than later. Lofa and Weaver are likely to practice on Wednesday.

Red Bryant has a high ankle sprain and is out for a few weeks. Holmgren did not have a time frame on David Hawthorne’s calf injury. Will Heller could play this week.

Deion Branch’s status is the same. They will test him this week and if the heel doesn’t react negatively they will bring him along slowly.

Of Mike Wahle’s false start penalty on fourth and 10, Holmgren said the play was designed to go on a quick count. Then Seneca tried to audible into a coverage. He needed to give the line a warning that he was going to audible because they were going on the first sound. When he started to audible, Wahle jumped.

I asked Holmgren if having Hasselbeck in the game would have prevented the third-down spike at the end of the half. My theory is that Hass is so good at managing a game that he is a crutch for Holmgren, who can trust Hasselbeck to make the correct decisions when there is chaos. He wouldn’t say that. He took the blame again, saying it was a bad play call (the draw), it was executed poorly, and it was the wrong thing for him to tell Seneca to spike the ball.

Holmgren talked a lot about his first job as a construction laborer, and he wanted to quit about 25 times because it was so hard. But he said he kept at it and found a sense of satisfaction at the end of the summer. He told his players the same thing. Keep doing the things that allowed you to make it into this locker room in the first place. It may not seem like you are being rewarded for all the hard work you have put in, but that doesn’t mean you stop working hard.

He was asked rather pointedly if there is a chance to turn around the season. Candidly, he said, he didn’t know. He needs to get back some of his injured players, he knows that. But he did not really want to touch that question.

Of the running game, he said teams are stacking defenses against them and daring them to throw. They are not afraid of the passing game so they are keying on the backs.

They are not seeing anything different schematically on the blitz packages. For whatever reason, they are just not getting home. And when they are not, it leaves too much room for error for corners trying to cover “receivers who have been there since training camp.”

Leave a comment Comments → 31
  1. pabuwal says:

    Anyone remember that article in the Washington Post last year before the playoff game that adjusted the Seahawks defensive stats by removing all the bad QBs and focusing on how the defense was shredded by the few decent QBs they faced? Everyone thought it was a ridiculous article.

    Well, this year they’ve faced nothing but good QBs and have been shredded. Maybe they were onto something. Chris Redman exposed this defense and they haven’t been the same since.

  2. Dukeshire says:

    This D is being abused by being on the field for 35+ minutes a game. I’m willing to bet the Seahawks rank last or damn near the bottom in time of possession. No defense can hold up with that kind of disparity. Look at the first game against Buffalo, they forced 8 3 and outs but were always right back on the field, getting pounded into submission. Yesterday against the Eagles, they forced 4 3 and outs but when the O can’t muster taking ANY time off the clock, guess what’s going to happen. In ’05 the Seahawks led the league in drives of 80 yards or more. That’s a rested D coming back on the field, pinning ears back and creating chaos. Just one of many problems.

  3. Hawkfan1951 says:

    I think the O line needs to hold itself accountable for most of this poor offensive play as well. Even Walter Jones was beat, several times yesterday. The rest of the line… the Hawks need bigger, better players with ATTITUDE playing O line.

    The LAST thing I want to hear any more is, “He’s got good character.” Yeah, he can’t pay worth a darn, but (Madeline Cahn in Blazing Saddles here) “he’s a nice guy…”

    I want someone to say, “He’s a mean SOB when he plays, but he’s got good character off the field.”


  4. Analysis is pointless given what injuries have done to the roster on both sides of the ball. There’s no statistic for morale.

    Or maybe there is. 2-6.

  5. IDHawkman says:

    If the D wants more rest, they need to get themselves off the field on third down. I’m tired of “blaming everyone but me” syndrome that has gripped this team. It is not the STs, the injuries, the offense, the refs, etc. Make your own luck.

    I also read the stat today that Celek had his first 100 yard day in his career, college or pro. I know, “they showed us something we didn’t see on film…..”

    Heard it all before. Quit with the excuses and go out and beat someone up on the field.

  6. fountaindale says:

    Frank… there seems to be some sentiment that Brian Russell is not playing well (some saying he should be cut). Can you give us a more objective view of the play of the safeties? Thanks.

  7. pabuwal says:

    Bill Belichick lost one of the greatest QBs of all time. They are still 5-3.

    The Seahawks would be winless if they played in another division. They are routinely blown out. It’s not like we can say they are losing close games at the end. This is one of the worst teams in franchise history – including the expansion team and 1992 team. They are suffering franchise worse blowouts. They are punting franchise record amounts in a game.

    And everyone is using injuries as an excuse for this??

  8. I have never seen a team as snake-bitten as this team. If anything could go wrong it has. That said as they have said for weeks they still have a job to do. They are professionals and they don’t like what’s happening. The measure of a team is how they react when things are a mess. I’ll be interested to see how this team reacts to be called out by everyone with a computer…As for the defense..I don’t care who you are if you are on the field 30+ minutes per game bad things are going to happen…

  9. Dukeshire says:

    IDHawkman, agreed but it works both ways. As for Celek (ever heard of him before this game? me either) there is no excuse. But look, this offense is one of the worst in team history. Regardless of circumstance.

  10. Dukeshire says:

    Thank you, time of possession wins games.

  11. Offense has been so beat up by injuries this year – it’s tough to even gauge them — and while it’s a reasonable point re NE losing Brady, but they do still have Moss and Welker — and maybe Cassel is a better back-up than we’ve got. Remember too that Seneca was down for a couple games as well.

    The defense bears some blame for the sad state of the season, as they are at least a decent unit talent-wise, but I’ll echo a lot of the complaints on this board, in that they seem to have the most predictable, least effective blitz packages that I see on Sundays. Lots of teams w/out a roster of pro bowlers figure out ways to get pressure on the QB’s. And I blame coaching there. That said, apart from the Giants game, our defense has been solid against the run all year, which tells me they have not quit, and are not a lost cause.

    I would spend much of the ’09 draft on the offense this time (let’s get at least one playmaking receiver in rds 1 or 2) – and hope that we can pick up a free agent or two for the defense, and franchise Hill to keep him in the fold.

    One last note – watching Dawkins play for Philly reminded me of how key a good safety can be for a defense – perfect hit timing on a couple long plays. And he’s in his 13th year.

  12. Mr_Fish says:

    Yes, time of possession often wins games, but I agree with IDHawkman. If the defense would stop giving up so many third down conversions, they wouldn’t have to be on the field so long and the time of possession would shift to the Seahawks favor.

    Time of possession is a measure of defensive effectiveness too.

    I think they need to get away from celebrating their individual accomplishments like sacks, tackles and passes defensed, and start saving their celebrations for the team accomplishments like holding the other team to three and out. That’s a celebration they can and should hold on the sideline. Otherwise they need to knuckle down and attend to business. A sack on second down doesn’t mean squat if it’s followed by yet another long pass for a first down!

  13. SharkHawk says:

    The 1984 Seahawks lost their best player (Curt Warner) and used a couple of journeymen to play RB and still went 12-4. Hmmmmmm….some teams can overcome injuries, and even succeed. I realize that the Hawks have lost more than 1 player this year (in fact they have lost many), but the fluke idea doesn’t cut it with me.

    There is a problem… is it the fact that Holmgren’s practices aren’t preparing guys? Is the strength and conditioning program that big of a mess? Are they getting guys that are too small and they are getting beat up by bigger teams and getting injured? Are they valuing character over all else to the detriment of team size and strength?

    And one more thing… if they don’t sign Jason Babin back and instead sign somebody like KGB then they are stupid. That move would say a lot about Ruskell’s decision making. His in season trades and signings are a joke (Jon Ryan, Keary Colbert, Deion Branch, Charlie Frye anyone?!). Hopefully he gets one right and brings Babin back to fill in for Kerney. He was about the only defensive player that looked like he gave a crap in the preseason.

  14. pabuwal says:

    As Seahawks fans we forget their are teams that rely on their defense to win games (TB, Bal, Pitt to name a few). These teams have strong defenses year in and year out, regardless of their offense.

    Ruskell built this defense. Only 2 starters were not of his choosing. Supposedly his specialty is defense.

    And this is what he has come up with? Its either the players or John Marshall’s weak schemes. All of us want to believe its the latter because thats easily fixed next year with a defensive coach. If its the former, it will be a long difficult road back. The past 2 seasons tells us they struggle against decent QBs and feast on weak QBs. Their success has not been determined by themselves, but by the caliber of QB they have faced.

  15. Mr_Fish says:

    You nailed it, pabuwal. By this time next year, with a new DC in place, we’ll know the answer to your question.

    SharkHawk, you could be on to something wrt Holmgren’s training camps and practices. On a related note, how often have we seen his Seahawks come out flat in the season opener or after a bye? Is there something about the way they’re being trained to play that leaves them unprepared mentally and physically?

    The injuries had already begun back in training camp. The offensive line never had a chance to gel, remember? And there always seemed to be one or two receivers watching practice from the sidelines, while they nursed one injury or another.

  16. Frank Hughes says:


    First off, nobody has played very well in the secondary, save perhaps Marcus Trufant and he has had his share of issues as well. But I actually see Deon Grant getting burned more often than Russell. Grant seems to be getting caught coming up to help on the run and often has somebody blowing past him in the secondary. I saw that a few times against Philly. Or, there is a miscommunication and he gets caught in-between. Russell’s biggest shortcoming to me is his tackling. I often see him bouncing off runners or diving at their ankles and missing.

  17. mocarob says:

    Yes. I saw how bad the Hawks were yesterday.
    But as the players have talked about, A few big plays could go along way in changing the outcome. That and Hasselbeck back…
    With that said, There’s still a chance.
    Never give up.

    Zona has a harder schedule moving forward. They have NYG, Philly, pats in NE.

    We have dallas, Wash & pats home. but the rest are mediocre teams. jets, Rams.. win-able with Matt.
    Plus we still play them head to head twice. We need Branch and Matt back tho.

  18. SharkHawk says:

    Frank, there are many who say that Grant’s problem is that he is playing out of position in order to get Russell on the field, and that Russell’s poor play causes Grant to try to do TOO much.

    So there are many who advocate addition by subtraction by removing Russell, putting Grant back at his natural position and bringing in somebody else to play where Grant is not that comfortable.

    I think it is at least worth a try. Mix things up and put Grant back at his better position. He has more ability than Russell. We haven’t even attempted it. Put in C.J. Wallace for a half in place of Grant, and slide Grant over in place of Russell and see what happens. What do you have to lose at this point? Honestly.

  19. Dukeshire says:

    I would really like to see Jamar Adams come off the PS to get some time. In either case keep, Grant at his SS and see what you have so you know if Russell has to be replaced through the draft , free agency or in house.

  20. maddog12 says:

    Boy this sad. I think people need to be held accountable for the lack of results. Holmgren should go now. Make it clear that Mora gets results or he goes. I’d really rather see “the chin” Bill Cowher. Our team needs that fire and it is not there.

  21. Anniee882000 says:

    Oh god. Why does everyone want Cowher here? He won (aided by the refs) one superbowl. He spits in everyone’s face and he has no ties, no loyalty to Seattle or the Northwest. Why would he even want to come here?

    Give Mora a chance. He loves the area and is excited about coaching here.

  22. Golfhack1396 says:

    SharkHawk, you are talking about one player getting injured and having someone step up and fill in. That is something that is doable. The 2005 team managed to do that when Ken Hamlin was beat up and when Andre Dyson and Darrell Jackson went down with injuries. But we aren’t talking about a couple players here. This list is extensive: Matt Hasselbeck, Nate Burleson, Deion Branch, Ben Obomanu, Logan Payne, Bobby Engram, Chris Gray, Rob Sims, Chris Spencer, Will Heller, Patrick Kerney, Maurice Morris, Leonard Weaver and Lofa Tatupu have all missed extended time or are out for the season. That’s at least 10 players that you expected to factor heavily into the team’s performance and they have missed several games with injuries. That’s too much to ask.

  23. hambone08 says:

    Regarding Dukeshire’s comment about the D being on the field too long:

    Week 1: L 10-34 @ Buffalo (TOP = 28:41)
    Week 2: L 30-33 (OT) San Fran (TOP = 30:12)
    Week 3: W 37-13 St. Louis (TOP = 34:58)
    Week 4: L 6-44 @ NYG (TOP = 23:32)
    Week 5: L 17-27 Green Bay (TOP = 22:34)
    Week 6: L 10-20 @ Tampa Bay (TOP = 18:19)
    Week 7: W 34-13 @ San Fran (TOP = 25:58)
    Week 8: L 7-26 Philadelphia (TOP = 22:45)

    31st in Avg TOP @ 25:52 (Lions are 32nd)
    29th in 1st Downs/gm @ 15
    29th in 3rd Down% @ 30.4%

    7th in Total Scrimmage Plays @ 534
    6th in Yds/gm @ 373.5

    Very sobering stats

  24. hambone08 says:

    Just to clarify, all TOPs were Seattle’s (not opponent’s)

  25. SharkHawk says:

    Golfhack1396, I thought I was pretty clear about that in my post. I said that it was one player in 1984, but they had about their best season ever by other players stepping up. That was merely a follow up to somebody who said that the Pats lost Brady who is their best player, yet are still winning. The Seahawks aren’t so bad in their history either, when they also lost their best player, but proceeded to have far and away their best season up to that point.

    Then I proceeded to say that the injuries were many (and at least implying that was the big difference between the Brady, Warner, and 2008 Seahawks situation), but I don’t buy that you have that many “fluke” injuries on one team for no reason. Bad luck is one thing… but at this point I think you have to start looking at some causes. That is why I questioned Holmgren’s practices, the strength and conditioning coaches, Ruskell’s typical slant towards smaller and faster players, the fact that Mike is leaving this year either way so guys may have come in out of shape, etc. etc. There could be a few reasons…. but in order to avoid any MORE injuries and hopefully get away from having it happen again next year then I think it needs to be researched and some sort of a consensus must be reached about what to do to avoid this path next year.

    I was throwing out possibilities and ideas. I think they all play a part, but I’d be interested in figuring out what has had the most impact. Does the training camp and practice schedule truly prepare these guys to play? I’ve seen more guys sit out entire practices over the years as Holmgren has been here. It used to be very rare. Now it seems you can have 15 guys not even practicing or “running drills on the side.” It sounds a bit funky. Maybe it’s just my perception, but I get the feeling that Holmgren has gone soft, and combined with softer/smaller/lighter players that can equal some bad stuff.

    Now maybe this team is constructed perfectly for what Mora is going to do, and we will all be shut up next year. But either way… we need to get a handle on the injury front. Mix up practices if needed, can the strength and conditioning coach and do the research and find somebody that has proven at a big college or even another NFL team that their S&C program has less fluke injuries than league average. It’s time to mix it up and address the few areas that can impact the injury thing. And if all else fails… hire a voodoo witch doctor or something.

  26. CowboysP says:

    Some Seahawks fans are just amazing.

    The question that you would have to ask is “why would Paul Allen even give a second look at what the “emotionally charged fairweather wishy-washy bandwagon fans” wanted him to do”?

    The Seahawks fans that now want Ruskell gone are the SAME fans that first demanded that Alexander was re-signed, and then booed him in the same year, called him too many names to recount, and demanded that the Seahawks cut him.

    They are the same Seahawks fans that praised how good the Deion Branch trade was, and NOW want the Seahawks to just cut Branch mid-season (ps. you can’t cut a injured player).

    They are the same Seahawks fans that praised the Seahawks Pass D as a TOP 5 defense prior to this season, and now want to CUT most of the starters in the secondary, including Jennings, Russell, and Grant.

    Now these same bandwagon fans want to blame Ruskell for this season, after the Seahawks have many injuries. Did everyone just forget that the Seahawks won the NFC West four straight times.

    Why would Allen listen to the Fairweather wishy washy bandwagon fans???

    Simple. Allen wouldn’t. He is way too smart for that.

  27. SharkHawk says:

    CowboyP, you are 100% wrong on Branch. They could cut him right this second. He is on the active roster.

    And what gives you the right to claim that they are “the same fans”? Got any proof? You are taking message posting on an anonymous message board and claiming that it is the “same fans”? That’s lame. You are attributing a lot of statements to “the same” people, with no way to verify who said what.

    But to give a counterpoint to your non-sensical ramblings, I will say this…. just because somebody was a Tim Ruskell fan 3 years ago, that does not mean that they are somehow required to be one in 2008. Professional sports are very much a “what have you done for me lately” business, and bad decisions are not excused now for good decisions 3 years ago.

    Decisions by decision makers obviously can directly impact the success or failure of a team. As we all clearly can see, the Seahawks are a complete failure right now. So there are those who are placing blame and looking for answers. That’s what FANS do, whether you like it or not doesn’t really matter. That is the reality of sports.

  28. CowboysP says:

    SharkHawk, As counter, the Seahawks have 3 very clear problems affecting the organization, and the Seahawks record this season. They are very obvious, and Ruskell is obviously not the big problem.

    1. Injuries. This is sometimes mentioned, but the Seahawks have significant injury problems. Hasselbeck, near all of the receivers, now Kerney and Lofa. And other injuries with players still playing. Ruskell had no control of the injuries.

    2. Players not playing hard, or well. Bad tackling, dropped balls, stupid plays (like the spiking of the ball), and other things. These are classic “Time for a coaching change” symptoms. With the Seahawks, it is more like “two many cooks in the kitchen”. Lame Duck and New Coach in Waiting on the same sideline. Bottom line, Holmgren should have left after last year, and Mora should have taken over then.

    3. Fans had unrealistic expectations. These were caused by Holmgren’s “We are going to finish this right” B.S. Just because it is his “farewell tour” that doesn’t mean that the Seahawks had SuperBowl talent at the beginning of the season. The Seahawks have been a team in transition for the last 2 years, and Holmgren should have NEVER created the unrealistic expectations with the Seahawks fans.

  29. SharkHawk says:

    How are #1 and #2 not tied to Ruskell CowboyP? He is the guy who has assembled 90% of this roster. If he gets players who are injury prone and/or lazy and unmotivated then unfortunately for Tim, that DOES directly reflect on him.

  30. CowboysP says:

    Sharkhawk – I don’t think the Hawks are filled with injury prone players. Injuries are just one of those things, and this year the Hawks have them. As far as playing hard, the Hawks players have played hard in years past, with the same players.

    I understand that you and other Seahawks fans don’t like Ruskell, and likely not Mora also. The Hawks just won’t change Ruskell this off-season. The Seahawks just have too good of a recent record, with 4 NFC West titles, and a SB appearance. Mora and Ruskell will likely get at least a couple seasons before anything changes.

  31. SharkHawk says:

    I like Mora just fine. Don’t put words in my mouth. I like Ruskell just fine when he makes good decisions. Deion Branch is an injury prone player. Patrick Kerney is an injury prone player. Nate Burleson had a history of injuries in Minnesota. I like all three guys just fine, but it is a fact that they have all had injury histories.

    There are a few, I am sure I could go on for a while. Basically though, I think the strength and conditioning program sucks. That is on Ruskell, because the buck stops with him.

    Do I hope for better things? Yes. Do I think Ruskell should be allowed to make any more in-season trades? No way. That is his real weak point, and his drafts have gotten worse over the last couple of years as well. Is he good? Sure… could he do better? Without question.

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