Seahawks Insider

Answers to your questions, Vol. III

Post by Eric Williams on Aug. 14, 2009 at 8:49 am with 27 Comments »
August 14, 2009 8:49 am

I’m getting ready to fly down to San Diego, but wanted to answer some questions before the plane takes off.

RayMaines asks:
“You guys have time for a dopey question? Good. Eric says: ‘Aaron Curry continued to work with the starters at strong side, outside backer.’ So does Curry (and presumably the rest of the defense) look to see where the tight end lines up and flip flop to the “Strong Side,” regardless if it’s left or right? If that’s not true, then what determines which is the strong side?”

Williams: That’s actually a pretty good question. You are correct. The front seven will flip sides, with Curry, the strong-side outside backer and Colin Cole, the nose guard, lining up on the strong side of the defense, which is usually where the tight end resides. If a team employs a double set, with four wide receivers and two on each side, the defense usually will declare a strong side of the defense and adjust accordingly.

Norseman: Eric, can you provide some insight as to how the zone blocking scheme works, and what the challenges are for players and coaches in implementing that system? Thanks!

Williams: I provided a detailed look at the zone blocking scheme earlier this year, which you can check out here, but I’ll give you the cliff notes version. The zone blocking scheme relies on the offensive line moving and blocking an area of a field instead of a particular man on the line, and requires more cohesiveness by offensive lineman in working together. You’ll see more combination blocks, with guards and tackles blocking one man initially, with one blocker moving on to the linebacker once he declares where he’s going to go.

Because the zone blocking scheme focuses on blocking an area, the Seahawks should have less running plays tackled behind the line of scrimmage because theoretically the guys up front aren’t will always be right in making the correct steps to the point of attack, ad do not have to worry about stunts up front or where guys are blitzing because they already are moving and blocking to a particular area.

The one-cut downhill running philosophy also requires backs to make a decisive cut and not dance around looking for a hole, which seems to fit the running style of Seattle’s group of backs, including Julius Jones, T.J. Duckett and Justin Forsett.

The main challenge is getting everybody up front seeing and reading the same things from the defense. If one guy gets a wrong read of the defense, then you could see some break downs in blocking on run-through blitzes.

MauMau asks: Cory Redding has been “Fatigued ” a little bit much. Did he show up to camp out of shape? Or does he have an injury?

Williams: As someone earlier stated in the comments section, Redding had offseason knee surgery and the team is just giving him a rest periodically to make sure he doesn’t run down the regular season. Redding looks to be in great shape, and has really played well during camp so far, so I think the team is expecting big things from him.

Dukeshire asks:
“Eric – After a week and a half of practice, do you chalk that up to the D disguising and / or executing their blitzes better? Or is it a problem of the O not picking up the new blocking scheme and being assignment correct? Thanks again for all your work.

Williams: I think Coach Mora just wants the offense to see a lot of different blitz packages so they are prepared to pick those kinds of things up when they get into a game. That’s why the offense has looked ragged at times. Coach Holmgren approached things differently in camp, and you also have to remember that Seattle had a more veteran unit that had been around each other for a long period of time, so training camp was more about polish than new learning.

The defense has seemed to get the best of the defense at times, but again the offense is learning a new system, and generally the defense is ahead of the offense at the beginning of training camp.

Bobby K asks: “How has Unger been looking? How about Wrotto? Have you heard when Spencer is coming back to practice? How has Willis been doing? Where has he spent most of his time (RT/RG?). Has Lock been at RG much? I know there were some reports he had been there a little, but want to know if he’s been there any more or has he had to fill in for Walt (which seems to screw things up even more)? What about Vallos?

Williams: Pretty impressive. You managed to ask eight questions in one paragraph. Unger has looked solid, and we’ll get a chance to see how he does with the first unit as he will start against San Diego on Saturday. Wrotto has been OK as well, but suffered a leg bruise a couple days ago and will not play on Saturday.

Willis has been playing mostly right tackle and will start there on Saturday. Ultimately, once Walter Jones returns, Willis and Sean Locklear will compete for the right tackle position, and the person who doesn’t get that position will likely get kicked over to right guard. We haven’t seen Locklear at guard, so I’d be interested to see how Locklear does. Although in talking with my fellow TNT guy Dave Boling, who played offensive line and would know better than me, he seems to think that Locklear has the body type to be successful inside.

Spencer returned to practice and is expected to play on Saturday. Steve Vallos has looked solid in camp so far, and offensive line coach Mike Solari expects Vallos to be an important part of the line because of his ability to play guard and center.

Hawkfan1951 asks: What is Tim Ruskell status with the Seahawks at this point? He hasn’t helped the Team much during his tenure as GM, his drafts have not been very good at addressing the problem areas, especially the “O” line.

With the W/L record of 4 and 12 last year… has he done “enough” to keep his job, or is he on the proverbial “hot seat” during his last contract year?

Williams: As you stated, Ruskell is in the last year of his contract. Although he said in an earlier interview with reporters during the offseason that he doesn’t feel any pressure, when you look at all of the moves he made leading up to this season in order to help this team win now, I think it’s understood that Ruskell needs Seattle to win now, or else there could be ramifications that could lead to him being employed elsewhere.

But that’s no different than any general manger around the league. This is the NFL, and with all the money involved, the pressure to win is immense.

Ross Richendrfer asks: Anyone know if this weekend’s game will be on local TV. I heard the NFL network picked it up, which is usually bad news for anyone that doesn’t have the NFL network.

Williams: I believe the game will be televised locally on KING-5, with pregame beginning at 6:30 and the game starting at 7 p.m.

General Seahawks
Leave a comment Comments → 27
  1. Great stuff. Eric, you’ve earned some San Diego sun.

  2. bigwavedave says:

    thanks and enjoy gastown——I hear the palm has two for $75 if you have a date……

  3. hawks4life says:

    hey eric i just read where the hawks are going to be using curry in kerney’s spot at defensive end,kerney has a undisclosed injury,do you see a senario where if curry is a stud at DE and kerney gets hurt that they play him there and have nick reed or the heater play curry’s spot?

  4. Chris Dielman like the San Diego sun too:)

    One thing that scares me about Locklear at RG is the fact that he’s not practicing there. It will be nice to see our unit be able to work together. Along with the coaches (who know more than me), I think Lock has the skill set to do very well at RG. I wouldn’t want to run behind him at RG on 3rd and 1, but his athletic ability will help Matt in not having to deal with as much pressure up the middle on passing situations. That’s a lot of money to spend on a guard though:) considering he’s not the best G in the league.

  5. Dukeshire says:

    I really don’t see Lock ending up at guard, catastrophe aside. I’m very excited to see the line that will start tonight, work together: Lock, Sims, Sencer, Unger, Willis.

    Curry has worked a bit at DE, but if Kerney goes down you’ll see Tapp not Curry as the starter. I can see Curry getting spotty time there in that 3-3 formation they have been working on in camp. (At least IMO, for what it’s worth.)

    Is it 7:00 yet?

  6. It will be interesting to see if Locklear can really play LT. He is being touted as the eventual replacement for Walter Jones, and I remain skeptical. If memory serves, he did not impress in his previous attempts at the position.

  7. If you compare the ability to play guard between Willis and Locklear, Locklear is a better fit. The only position Willis ever played in college was tackle. In college, Locklear played all the positions across the line except center. When Locklear was a rookie, he was our starting right guard until Pork Chop got hurt. Locklear has a more versatile skills set that would make it easier to transition to guard. I never understood why Holmgren would not consider moving Locklear to guard, when asked about last year he said Locklear is a tackle only. I guess he couldn’t find Locklear’s college highlight tape.

  8. freehawk says:

    It was interesting to watch camp yesterday. The first thing I noticed was 7 Seahawks flying overhead, as in Ospreys! Is that amazing or what, I told Tony Ventrella but he didn’t seem to care….

    About the hawks on the field though:

    Housh was incredible, it even sounded different when he caught a pass, like he had magnet hands. The other receivers all looked great too, Payne is big and burly, didn’t know that. To my surprise 2 players who looked much better in person were Duckett and Newton. I couldn’t believe my eyes when Duckett got in the clear and sped down the field, he can really move and there is no wasted motion in his stride. Carlson is clearly another level of human being, like a movie superhero, amazing. Unger looked big out there compared to the others on the line, it was weird seeing him snap the ball. One more thing is that Redding and Cole absolutely dwarf Mebane and Tapp in person, it is obvious, I don’t always believe the listed height and weight stats.

  9. I’d like to see the final OL being Walt, Lock, Unger, Spencer, and Willis.

  10. hawks4life says:

    hey dukeshire the game is on tommorow night lol

  11. This has been an interminable off season. It seemed like a time warp, no matter how much time passed, it was still 5 months away.

    It is time for football!

  12. Norseman says:

    Thanks Eric – good stuff, enjoy the reporting. have fun in san diego, GO 12, GO HAWKS!

  13. chuck_easton says:


    By all accounts (Sando, Eric, Danny) Sims is having the best camp of all the OL. Don’t let his past automatically write him off.

    The starting OL WILL be: Walter, Sims, Spencer, Locklear, WIllis

    I’d put money on it.

  14. I’m hoping Sims does well. He definitely has a TERRIBLE past, but I sure as hell hope he does well in ’09! We NEED him to have a solid year.

  15. twocolorcrayon says:

    The more I think about Mora & Knapp’s past and then think of a more confident, healthy Seneca, just makes me wonder… I wonder if they’ll be as cautious with Seneca as Holmy was. I don’t think I’d be too scared if *knocks on wood* Hasselbeck got injured. Seneca is a more effective passer than Vick was/is, in my opinion. If he was allowed to use his athleticism to create plays instead of being guarded… Just makes me think.
    But I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again again, the off season move that excites me the most is no more John Marshal calling defensive plays. Add in everything else, upgraded Dline, LBcorps, 2ndary, Wr corps (Best Hasselbeck has ever had to throw to), an even better John Carlson… This team could absolutely wreck freaking shop. The season is upon us, 12th men…

  16. You’re right about Marshall not calling the (vanilla) plays anymore. Yes, the defensive players have improved from a year ago, but there’s no way this coaching staff would have had last years defense looking so pathetic either (remember, the D was pathetic when Kerney was healthy too, and relatively healthy aside from injuries on that side of the ball). It’s gonna be fun. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but the season is up to Solari’s OL. If they perform fairly well, we’re going to have a Super season.

  17. Broncos/9ers: Chris Simms (sans spleen) seems to be playing much better than Orton. Orton had 3 picks within the 1st half, no TDs. Simms has a TD and no picks. IMO Hawks get a good pick if Orton’s DEN’s QB.

  18. Re OL: Lock was G in college and was moved to RT when Hawks lost their previous starting RT. Lock stepped in and his footwork was good enough at RT that nobody has beat him out for the position. Now, Willis is stronger but his feet still aren’t as quick as Lock’s and he has had some trouble blocking speed rushers, while Lock has more trouble with power DEs. This year , or next (3?) may be Walt’s last season. If Lock is slated to play LT upon Walt’s retirement, why not play him next to Walt as much as possible. Let Lock learn as much of Walt’s play/techniques as possible while he’s still here, by playing him at LG now. When Tobeck was at C and Spencer was playing RG (and was healthy) Spencer played better than Sims did when Rob was at RG (and healthy), in ’07. Tobeck wasn’t beat at C by Spencer, even though Spencer was a bulldozer compared to Tobeck being a pickup, because Tobeck knew line protection calls better than Spencer and knew how to hold without getting called. Spencer seemed stronger and a better pass blocker at RG than Sims, but maybe ZB favors Sims run-blocking footwork(?) Unger has played ZB for four years in college, both at LT and C. Max, seems a lot like Tobeck and probably has a better command of ZB line calls than Spencer, since it’s fairly new to Chris. If Sims beats out Spencer at RG I’d be surprised, unless Chris can’t stay healthy, which wouldn’t surprise. Maybe Hawks go with exactly the OL you’ve indicated chuck, but maybe after Spencer’s ankle gets twisted Unger moves to C and is there to stay for 14 more years.

  19. dover5005 says:

    i have a question and i think it is an very import question!

    what is up with marcus trufant and what kind of timeline are the hawks looking at ?

  20. nightwulf says:

    An O lineman, in the middle of a football game, doesn’t have the time to sit and observe another player’s technique…he’s kinda busy…putting someone next to Walt won’t teach them much. Looks as if Sims is penciled in at LG this season, with RG going to the looser of the Willis. Lock battle…Spencer is the default C, unless injuries, or a surprise charge by Unger sidline him..

  21. Dukeshire says:

    That’s what will be fun about seeing Unger tonight. To see where he is right now, if he looks like he’ll be able to push someone in the middle of the line.

  22. dover5005 says:

    how will the rb carries be given out?

    jones 6
    duckett 8
    forsett 15
    moore 12

    just guessing?

  23. nightwulf – OLers don’t ‘sit and watch’, but with close proxemity and given enough reps Lock can still learn/know exactly what Walt does, how he plays, the difference in his performance with each opponent. A good OL becomes like a hand, with each finger doing it’s specific job and knowing how the other fingers do theirs. When a finger gets cut off and you don’t intend to grow a replacement but use one of the existing fingers to do the job of the missing one, the adjacent finger is best suited to replace the functions of the missing one. Move Lock to LG.

  24. SF QBs: Damon Huard is their best QB. Too bad for them he’s only to be their backup.

  25. Dukeshire says:

    klm008 – That finger thing was weird. I think I understand your point. But… that was weird.

  26. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

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