Seahawks Insider

Morning links: 5 areas of concern for Kansas City

Post by Eric Williams on Aug. 28, 2009 at 11:09 am with 41 Comments »
August 28, 2009 12:19 pm

I’m getting ready to head off for Kansas City, but before boarding the plane I thought I would provide a few keys to this Saturday’s contest against the Chiefs.

Run to win: The Seahawks have averaged just over 3 yards a carry in their first two preseason games. That needs to change on Saturday against Kansas City. Expect a heavy dose of Julius Jones and Justin Forsett as Seattle attempts to get the running game going, led by the team’s new zone blocking scheme.

Keep Hasselbeck clean: Seattle gave up three sacks in the first half alone against the Broncos. The sacks did allow the veteran quarterback to know that he is indeed healthy and can take a hit. Now that he has found out, the team probably is better off with keeping Hasselbeck upright, with either better pass protection or the quarterback getting to his check downs quicker.

Pressure the QB: So far the Seahawks front four has struggled to get consistent pressure on the quarterback. The Seahawks need to change that on Saturday, particularly with cornerback Marcus Trufant still out. A consistent pass rush up front will help better protect a vulnerable secondary. And if the team does decide to blitz, they need to get there.

Wrap-up: The Seahawks have not looked good tackling in the open field the first two games and need to do a better job both of wrapping up and taking the right pursuit angles to the ball carrier. Opponents have been racking up yards after the catch against Seattle so far, leading to some extended drives against the first-team defense.

Get the return game going: So far rookie Deon Butler has struggled returning kicks. Part of that has to do with the rule changes that do no allow four-man wedges. Seattle has struggled making the blocks with the two-man wedge so far in the preseason, while Butler also has hit the hole tentatively.

Seattle Seahawks

Ryan Divish reports on quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and the rest of the offense using this week’s game against Kansas City to get a little more comfortable and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp’s system.

Ex-Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander still believes he can help somebody if given a chance. Greg Johns of has the details here.

Jim Moore of profiles one of the surprises in Seahawks camp, defensive end Nick Reed.

Former Seahawk Dave Wyman provides some keys to the game for Seattle heading into Kansas City this weekend.

Brock Huard does the same thing here.

Clare Farnsworth of reports the Seattle’s back-up linebackers can get the job done if called upon.

Clark Judge of CBS Sports previews the Seahawks.

More cool shots from Rod Mar at from the Broncos game.

KJR’s Mitch Levy had his first Seahawks roundtable discussion on Thursday, with Hugh Millen, Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times and Dave Boling of the TNT. The group talked about the differences between Mike Holmgren and Jim Mora, along with thoughts on the team beginning the season. Check out the audio links here and here.

I did a spot with Ryan Jones of the KC Chiefs blog previewing this weekend’s game, which you can check out here.

Kent Baab of the Kansas City Star reports that running back Larry Johnson has changed his attitude after the new regime change which has resulted in a renewed focus on winning.

San Francisco 49ers

Ray Ratto, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, says the 49ers must get beyond head coach Mike Singletary being the face of the franchise. Here’s an except.

When the coach/general manager/owner is the face of the franchise, the players aren’t good enough, and when the players aren’t good enough, the Earth’s crust is the limit.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Shaun Hill, who the team recently named the starter for the season, should be ready to play against Dallas on Saturday after suffering a strained back.

Scott Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that the 49ers are down to two offensive tackles heading into the Dallas game, as Marvel Smith will not make the trip due to personal reasons.

UPDATE: Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat is now reporting via twitter that there’s a strong chance Smith may retire.

Arizona Cardinals.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says this weekend’s game against Green Bay will provide a chance to measure how the team’s defense is doing heading into the regular season.

More Somers: Some keys to the game against the Packers tonight.

Darren Urban of reports the Cardinals are not concerned that the starters have only scored three points so far in two preseason games.

St. Louis Rams

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Rams got their second preseason victory, a 24-21 win over Cincinnati.

Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the win was a positive step for new head coach Steve Spanguolo.

Morning links
Leave a comment Comments → 41
  1. I hope I’m wrong, but I really expect the Hawks to be mediocre at best this year.

  2. Dukeshire says:

    All the things Eric points too are really basic, fundamental football. And I agree that the third preseason game is where one would / should expect to see those things come together. If, at this point, things like tackling and pass pro are poor, it is cause for concern, on some level.

  3. Is it just me…or does this blog have some serious issue with how it’s displaying? The column that contains all of the content and this text box is cut off by about 1/4 “, so it’s hard to read. Also when the blog loads, often, the blog threads appear way down the space with a lot of white space above.

  4. Apparently, Edge isn’t gonna play v KC, so we won’t get much chance to see how the Hawks run with him in there vs JJ or Forsett. Is JJ gonna play this game?

  5. It seems strange, AZ playing preseason vs GB, when they’ll play them again in regular season.

  6. seahawklovertoo says:

    Audible, I have 2 laptops: the old Vaio with windows XP is fine. The Toshiba with Vista does the same to me too. Try to exit the blog and come back again and it should be fine. That is how I do it. Good Luck.

  7. Remember the Dennis Green tirade? AZ played the Bears in ’06 in the third pre-season game and it was a very competitive for the starters. That’s when he did the “who the hell takes the 3rd pre-season game like it’s bullsh!t bullsh!t?” or something close to that quote after AZ blew that big Mondaynight lead against the Bears in the middle of the season (and exposed the Bears as human up to that point). That was funny as heck! My friends and I still mock that one sometimes (and of course, “Play-offs” from our coaches Dad). Basically, we all know teams take the 3rd pre-season game seriously, at least for the first 2 1/2 quarters. The others, really not so much. I’m excited for the game. I’m not going to be able to watch it live, since it’s not on NFLN and I don’t live in the NW. It’ll be on replay on NFLN though, so I’ll definitely watch that.

  8. Mr Williams: Any word on when we might see Tru back on the field?

  9. Soggybuc says:

    Kim 008,
    I read that possibly next week sometime for Tru. If i’m remembering right as long as he’s moved from the PUP list and placed on the active roster when finalized he’ll eligible for week 1. Players placed on the PUP list when the 53 man roster is finalized are not counted towards the 53 but are ineligible thru week 6

  10. bigwavedave says:

    I’m jealous——Gates, Arthur Bryants, and if you’ve never been—-go to Strouds for fried chicken—–worth the drive…………………( and if you bring back some sauce……………..

  11. BobbyK,

    I’m in San Diego and used to have the same problem with seeing the games. I found this website that streams all of the NFL games live. Check it out:

  12. It’s free…you don’t even sign up for anything…they’re showing the Redskins play tonight.

  13. Audible – I’ll check it out. A HUGE thanks!

  14. If you have enough disk space, you can easily record the game on your PC as well…there are several free programs out there that can accomplish that…It’s a lot easier to analyze plays when you can advance the video frame by frame.

  15. The link by Dave Wyman is very good… don’t miss it folks…

  16. Dukeshire says:

    klm008 – It’s not uncommon to play the same team in preseason you’ll see in the regular.

  17. Audible…. Thx for the view link.. works great…

  18. I wonder if Ruskell would consider trading Lawrence Jackson for a pick next year so we could keep Bennett AND Reed? As much as I think Jackson isn’t very good, I do think he could be a valuable DE in a 3-4 defense where the DE is more of a run stuffer than a pass rusher. That would play to the strengths of Jackson and make some sense for us AND any team who needs a solid DE in a 3-4 scheme. I’d take a 3rd rounder in ’10 if we could get it (or even ’11). I just read a post on Addicts that posed this topic, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about too.

  19. That would be a major coup if he could pull something like that off-like Jack Z.

  20. Dukeshire says:

    That would be impressive considering Jackson has failed to look “solid” on either passing or rushing downs, at least in my view. He hasn’t played awfully, necessarily. It’s just that he’s the least active, most invisible d lineman I can recall.

  21. If anyone is interested, I’m going to try and host a live chat during the game tomorrow night as a test. Come on by if you want to talk Hawks while you watch the game:

  22. From PFT>>>

    “Of the Cardinals’ seven losses last year, they gave up on average more than 44 points in five of them.”

    I have bashed the Cards for being an average team last year who got hot at the right time… and this only adds fuel to that fire. I knew they got dominated by the Pats, but I never really thought of the other games. I remember they got lucky by getting the Eagles at home (since the #1 seed lost) in the championship game and all that… (the Eagles were another team the got killed by in Philly)…

  23. seahawklovertoo says:

    I didn’t watch the GB-AZ game;just saw the stats. AZ running game was impressive.Three RBs with better than 5.6 y.p.c. against GB defence !? AZ
    OL must be good ,or has gelled early.
    Guys, we need more help on our OL . At least one more player. As is right now, we are one more injury away from a disaster. We need insurance.
    As for Ruskell…I am with Hawkblogger. Facts and history don’t lie. This man has less than a year to prove he belongs in NFL. I am willing to stand and just watch, but I am not interested in witnessing one ego-maniac destroy the team that I love. All of you Ruskell brown-noses can drink the “turn-the-other-cheek” Jeezus Kool-aide all you want. That is your right.
    Do I say that Ruskell is the worst GM or FO ever…Hell no ! We had worse. I remember when we gave the house for that clown Bosworth;or,Ditka burying the N.O. for Ricky Williams,Minni and Hershel Walker,etc. For C sake, the Falcons West experiment didn’t last long ,thank God.
    Lets face it, all aspects of our executive and support personnel suck : Ruskell is not even average, Mora hasn’t proven anything , Knapp had 1-2 winning seasons ( loser), our trainers couldn’t find work in Cuba’s social medicine system. Bradley may be OK but, does he have the players respect?
    Next draft is truly make it or brake it for us (and many other teams) because of the player quality and depth. Can we trust Ruskell to do right with our top three picks? Will he draft more of LoJacks?
    I’d care less about Ruskell and ( his side-kick ) Mora, all I care for are the Seahawks and their succsess.

  24. seahawklovertoo says:


  25. Bobby, I’ve begun praying of a trade of LoJack too. I would not have said this before we watched Nick Reed and Michael Bennett come on this preseason. If Mora can highlight LoJack this week, which Mora said he will do, then who knows? A first round DE can definitely have some value heading into his second year. Its not at all clear yet that Jackson won’t develop, and plenty of teams need more depth at DE.

    Third round draft pick sounds about right, or perhaps an OT, S, or RB out there who may be on the bubble with some other team.

  26. Offensive cooridnator Greg Knapp: “It’s the same transition I went through in Atlanta and the same transition I went through in Oakland. It’s not going to happen as fast and as much as it was talked about. It will take — I don’t know — five, six, seven games into the season before the guys finally get comfortable with it.”

    I am so NOT on the Greg Knapp bandwagon. Possibly the worst coaching hire in Hawks history. I can’t believe Ruskell hired someone from the worst team in the NFL, the Raiders.

    We’re instituting a blocking scheme that Knapp believes will suck for half the season???? & we’re needlessly making matt learn a new offense.

    Here’s hoping for Holmgren’s return in Summer 2010.

  27. Dukeshire says:

    Just to put a little perspective on your take, if I may: Leinart threw for 360 in the second half alone. Wells had a run of 20 yards and Hightower 23. My point is that those gaudy numbers (which resulted in a loss, none the less) reflect a porous Green Bay D, rather than a dominant Arizona o-line, late in the second half. Aside from Wells’ long TD run, nearly all those numbers came in the 4th quarter. Now, that doesn’t mean that the Seahawks don’t need an upgrade in talent and improved play along the o-line. They do.

    As for Ruskell; his tenure here is checkered, no doubt. And I am in no way a “brown noser” nor a “kool-aid drinker”, but statements like “…all aspects of our executive and support personnel suck” are as mypoic as they come. Again, a little perspective, if I may. The Seahawks have a 36-24 record under Ruskell with 2 first round picks on deck for next season. I would rate him above average by any measure, despite the Hutch and Branch debacles, 1st round busts (etc…). But to balance some of that, his eye for talent rounds 2 and beyond has produced corner stone players. His contract expires at the end of this season and I would agree with those that say this is a make or break year for him. 3 years in Atlanta, Mora’s record was 26-22. Those numbers are skewed as they went 11-5 in his first season and failed to break .500 again. He is in no way the only head coach to have only moderate success his first opportunity only to find great success the second time around. I’m anxious to see how the team responds to him, as well. But he has shown that he is at least capable to field a competitive team. Here’s hoping for more. Knapp has fielded solid if not unspectacular offenses in each of his 3 stops, despite critical personnel deficiencies at each. This is, by far, the most talent he has had to work with. I’m not ready to rule him a failure just yet. I’m not sure how one measures a training staff. But I’m not prepared to pin torn ACLs (for one) on them, so I’ll leave it alone.

    Look, I’m not saying this staff is the ’56 NY Giants (Howell HC, Lombardi OC, Laundry DC) but as a matter of perspective, there is reason for optimism, IMO.

  28. Dukeshire says:

    “…Possibly the worst coaching hire in Hawks history” Worse than Tom Flores? Wow, and they haven’t even lost a game yet.

  29. OK, rehire Holmgren for 2010 and let him be the offensive head coach plus GM with responsibility for all things on the offense. Then keep Mora as the defensive/ST head coach with Ruskell the GM with responsibility for all things other than the offense. Then let Holmgren and his pro personnel guys draft the first and sixth rounders and TR and his pro personnel guys draft all the other rounds. Team cap would be divided equitably 50% offense, 45% defense and 5% STs. Let Holmgren be responsible for his offensive free agents and TR his defensive/STs ones. Team marketing, scheduling, etc., all things that effect the offense and defense equally, remain the responsibility of TR.

  30. seahawklovertoo says:

    Duke, hammy , back and similar injuries are the measure. Someone mentioned Phoenix Suns med staff fixing Shaq, Nash and even bringing Hill back from the dead. Now, those are the people you want on your payroll.

  31. Worse than Tom Flores?

    Sorry, I had thankfully erased Mr Flores from my mind like a bad dream……. Note that at least one thing TF & Knapp have in common is The Raiders.

  32. I don’t think it was Flores fault as much as the FO in those days. Why on earth did the FO fire Ground Chuck? The coach with the best winning percentage in Hawks history was the interim HC (mackinsey?) who finished out Knox’s season with something like a 75% winning percentage. Flores coached in a period of bad ownership.

  33. Please don’t talk about the Tom Flores years. We need to forget about them and pretend the Behring years never happened. Ruskell is a genius and one of the greatest GMs in the history of the world compared to that pitiful regime (and the Flores SBs in Oakland don’t count for his Seahawk years, as they do none of us any good — except for Dukeshire because I know he’s a big Raiders fan too… LOL).

  34. 1 in Oak, 1 in LA – my bad

  35. Dukeshire says:

    Mike McCormack (4-3) took over for Patera and before Knox (80-63). And Flores may have coached under inept ownership but do not be fooled, he was a truly god awful head coach.

    Muscle pulls and strains are the price of playing football, for every team. I would argue that those type of injuries were not the cause of last year’s train wreck. But you’re right, minimizing time lost as a result of those it what’s key.

  36. Dukeshire says:

    BobbyK – I think I just blacked out, did you say something? lol

  37. I thought you were a proud card carrying member of Raider Nation?

  38. Raiders gettin hosed by Saints.

  39. Dukeshire says:

    Speaking of Tom Flores… Drew Brees went through them like a hot knife.

  40. Greg Knapp is the worst hire in Seahawks history? The guy hasn’t even coached in a game that matters yet. I can’t understand all the hostility towards the new coaching staff when they have not played a regular season game.

    I wonder what role the coaching staff played in the TJ Duckett move? I believe that Mora was key in getting Duckett cut, and James signed. I wish I could ask him about it, Eric can you? I believe that Mora showed his leadership. He identified a weakness in the team, and worked with the front office to address it. People seemed to focus on Ruskell in the Duckett-James situation, but I am not sure he was the driver. Would Ruskell decide that his four million dollar investment was a liability and should be cut? I would think not, that assessment needs to come from the coaching staff.

    I think it changes the perception of the coaching staff in the locker room, it puts everyone on notice that players that don’t perform will be gone, no matter what their contract is. I am not aware of Holmgren ever making such a move.

    Strong teams always have strong leadership. I am seeing strong leadership from this coaching staff.

  41. nightwulf says:

    From what I can tell, many of these folks seem to think there are two possible outcomes for a Hawks season:: SB, or total suckage…They seem to think that 2005 was an example of what the Hawks can really do if they put their minds to it…They don’t seem to realize that the Hawks 2005 season had one hell of a lot in common with the Mariners 2001 season…everything came together, everyone played out of their heads, the breaks went our way, and so we rolled…(until Detroit) They don’t seem to be able to grasp the fact that what the Hawks are, in reality, is a pretty good team, not much more…That being said, “pretty good” teams make it to the SB frequently, if they have Lady Luck with them…”pretty good” teams also often get blown out in the first round of the playoffs…We’ve got a “pretty good” QB, but he’s NOT Payton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Phil Rivers or Brett Farvre…(although he tries to channel him from time to time) He’s much more of a Donavan McNabb, Eli Manning, Kurt Warner, Tony Romo, Ben Rothlessburger type…(but you watch, and see how many fly into a tizzy when I “insult” Hass that way…)(btw, Hass is my favorite QB in the league…not because he’s the best, but because he’s Hass…and it don’t get much cooler )
    They already miss Holmy, and have forgotten all about third and long draw palys, no screen plays, almost no shotgun, keeping a certifiable idiot fro a DC, and otherwise being predictable…
    They’re afraid of the new, so they have to run it down…at least that’s the best idea I can come up with:)

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