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.