Seahawks Insider

Answers to your questions Vol. III

Post by Eric Williams on Sep. 18, 2009 at 6:39 am with 14 Comments »
September 18, 2009 8:50 am
Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan has his punt blocked against San Francisco (Drew Perine/The News Tribune)
Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan has his punt blocked against San Francisco (Drew Perine/The News Tribune)

We’ll do this every Thursday during the regular season, so if you have questions that you’ve asked on other blog posts that I haven’t answered post them below and I’ll try to get to them next week. Or you can email them to

XCMAN asks: SP question for anyone or maybe for Eric to ask someone on the Hawks staff. Why oh why don’t they angle punts out of bounds anymore? They try and bounce it and down it on the 6 inch line but more often than not it ends up in the end zone. Why not just kick it out of bounds on the 3 yard line?? I remember Ray Guy doing it for years!?!?!? I just don’t get it!

Williams: First of all, great question. I asked special teams coach Bruce DeHaven about it and he provided an interesting answer.

DeHaven said about 10 or 12 years ago, a bright special teams coach in the league came up with the concept that, since you can’t return a punt when a team is kicking from midfield, to put eight guys in the box and rush off the edge into the punter’s kicking leg. So if the punter tried to step to the side to angle kick it, the punt would get blocked.

DeHaven said punters usually need to step to the side at a sharp angle to push it to the corner, and the ball generally comes out lower when punters try to put it in the corner. So the death of the coffin corner kicks has nothing to do with the ability of punter, and everything to do with the evolution of the strategy of the game. Makes sense.

“There’s not team in the league that will let you step out,” DeHaven said. “They’ve got some big guy coming hard off the corner that’s right there in your face if you step out to try and kick it to the corner.”

DeHaven says because teams no longer allow punters to execute coffin corner kicks, punters now kick the back end of the ball to get it going end over end like a kickoff to control the kick better. DeHaven said San Diego’s punter Darren Bennett from Australia started that. So there’s you answer.

You can listen to DeHaven talk about it here.

[wpaudio url="" text=MP3: DeHaven on punting"]

Excile asks: Langston Walker is an accomplished run blocker. One of those hard-to-find RT’s desired by teams like the Steelers. It is my understanding that the ZBS was designed for linemen lacking in talent. It would seem that it would be much easier to adjust to a Langston Walker than say lose a Walter Jones. Interior linemen could still do their thing.

Eric – would Langston Walker fit as RT with the new Hawk o-line? I only suggest RT because if he failed at LT with Buffalo he likely wouldn’t do any better in Seattle.

Williams: After reading this quick assessment of Walker, I don’t think he would be a good fit in the zone blocking system because he’s a big guy who isn’t very athletic and doesn’t move very well. In the zone blocking system the tackles don’t have to be as mobile as the guards, but they do need to be able to move laterally to set the edge on the outside zone plays. And to do that against an athletic defensive end requires some agility.

Hawks 31 asks:
This might be a stupid question, but does anybody know of any practice squad players that have gone onto have successful NFL careers?

Williams: Actually, that’s a good question. And there are a lot of candidates out there, because teams generally keep players on the practice squad who they believe have the potential to be contributors in the near future with a little seasoning.

Starting with Seattle’s roster, a few who began their career on the practice squad include Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, defensive end Colin Cole and free safety Jordan Babineaux.

The Patriots’ Tom Brady began his career in 2000 as New England’s fourth quarterback. Arizona’s Kurt Warner was allocated to NFL Europe’s Amsterdam Admirals by the St. Louis Rams before his rise in the NFL, and Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison was an undrafted rookie out of Kent State who spent two seasons on and off the team’s practice squad before his Super Bowl heroics. Those are a few of the talented players that began their NFL careers humbly.

Leave a comment Comments → 14
  1. Eric – has there been any attempts this season to have Branch restructure his contract?

  2. nmseafan says:

    Is the coaching staff doing anything different this year as far as their travel planning, lodging, walk throughs etc for away games? Or is everything pretty much the same as the Holmy days?

  3. Bernie42 says:

    Great questions, and great answers. Thanks, all.

  4. Much appreciated Eric… with BIG Walt and possibly Spencer coming back Walker/Tackle isn’t needed ! And I know I’m in the minority but getting Branch back has me excited. He adds a little more punch than Burleson to an already bad azz combo of Housh and Carlson. Speaking of Johnny Boy, my authentic #89 came via yesterday. $135 + $7 ship. NICE! Hung it under the helmet in my display case.

  5. nmseafan:

    I remember hearing somewhere that the team is traveling on Saturdays now, whereas last year they traveled on Fridays in an attempt to acclimate to the different time zones.

    I think the coaching staff of Mora, Knapp, and Bradley will do a better job of getting the team fired up and ready to go on gamedays (vs the trio of Holmgren, Haskell, and Marshall), and this will allow the team to spend one more day/night at home versus in a hotel. Smart move, IMO.

  6. and Mora also has the team practicing earlier every day, so this should help with the early starts in central time and eastern time.

  7. Sweet thanks!!!

    That actually makes sense now that you think about it!! -

  8. nmseafan says:

    Thanks guys! I totally agree with you Lefty24 about this coaching staff doing a better job of getting the team fired up (plus some credit due I’m sure to new guys like Curry who’ve just got the natural ‘tude) on any game day which will translate to faster starts on the road I think. maybe it’s the youthfulness of the new coaching staff but the team has a different attitude as a whole unit this year then I’ve seen from them in forever it seems. More energy all around. It even transfers over to me ,the fan, I think in some very indirect, or vicarious way !

    Hey,on another topic, I saw on Playbook on the NFL channel a series of clips of 49er #68 Adam Schneider, their young RT, getting absolutely left flat footed 3 times by the Tardinal pass rush (Cheeky and the buoys) and QB Hill getting smashed as a result ! I think Tapp/Kerney and whoever else rushes from that side will have a bigtime sackfest !! Anyone think, like me that Hill may not make it thru the whole game?

  9. Eric/anyone – how many HC have won their first game on a new team with a shutout? Just curious.

  10. Eric, Fascinating interview with deHaven about modern punting tactics (and why). You’re extending and deepening our knowledge by involving experienced assistant coaches like this. Seems like we could also learn a lot more usefully now from O-line coach Solari about the tactics and subtleties of zone-blocking as well. Whenever I google it I still get confused a bit about how it works (other than more guys blocking at the point of attack…and backside). And the touchy subject of cutback blocking itself, which I can still remember from my own high school ball experience as a rather fun thing for an O-lineman…but the scary, maddening opposite if you’re on the receiving end.

  11. Another comment, before I forget it: I’ve been encouraged by the evident energy & fresh ideas of Mora et al, but have watched the Seahawks for so many years that I’m cautioned to still remember that no Seahawks team, in the final analysis, will ever amount to all that much if it can’t win at least half their games on the road…and the Superbowl. Much as the Steeler’s did during the regular season, as I recall, before beating us in the 2005 Superbowl in Detroit, although for that game they were more nearly in their own own backyard than on the road in my view.

    So we must overcome the Siberia hex of living way out here, before Holmgren, Ruskell or Mora’s new culture of football excellence in Seattle can be said to have truly arrived for the Seahawks.

  12. nmseafan says:

    Agreed bruzyb ! That’s always been the bottom line and was true in 2005 to get to the SB.

  13. derekyoung says:

    I had been wondering what happened to the coffin corner.

  14. badcat63 says:

    RIP – The coffin corner.

    Long live Ray Guy – the Master.


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