Seahawks Insider

Morning links: Branch proving his worth

Post by Eric Williams on Sep. 16, 2011 at 5:41 am with 11 Comments »
September 16, 2011 5:41 am
San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) runs against Seattle Seahawks nose tackle Alan Branch (99) and Anthony Hargrove (94) in an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

My story today takes a closer look at Seattle Seahawks defensive end Alan Branch, who has been everything the team had hoped for as a disruptive force inside at 3-tech defensive tackle.

Branch, who signed a two-year, $8 million deal to join Seattle in free agency this season after four years in Arizona, said the Seahawks’ defensive system is a perfect fit for his skill set.

“Really, this system just allows me to be aggressive, which is the way I like to play, so I’m loving it right now, honestly,” Branch said. “It’s probably the best fit I’ve played under for a while; being able to go out there and cause havoc in the backfield.”

Art Thiel of writes about Seattle as the overwhelming underdog heading to Pittsburgh, noting that fullback Michael Robinson’s sprained ankle shows how thin the team’s depth is at certain positions.

Clare Farnsworth of provides this report from Thursday’s practice.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes about Pete Carroll trying to ready his players for playing in the Eastern time zone, where they have struggled.

ESPN’s Madden simulation predicts a 35-3 win for Pittsburgh.

Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated predicts that Seattle will not score a touchdown against Pittsburgh.

Pat McManamon of Fox Sports Ohio wonders if the window has closed on the aging Steelers.

Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review gets comments from Steelers players after former NFL player Warren Sapp declared the team “old, slow and it’s over.”

Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes the humbled Steelers are seeking redemption against Seattle.

Michael Wilbon of takes a closer look at how new league rules have handcuffed pass defense to the point where last week quarterbacks threw for more yards in Week 1(7,842) than in any other week in NFL history.

Morning links
Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. Dukeshire says:

    Branch has played well throughout preseason and into last week. It’s interesting to me to see them still play so many over fronts. Last season’s under tackle scheme seems to really be a situational set now as opposed to their base 4-3. And as big as they are up front it makes sense.

    Eric, after this week if we are still seeing that trend, maybe you could ask Bradley about that. What would seem to be an apparent shift in philosophy, is that Wash’s influence? Was it intentional and they had that in mind when they signed Branch? etc… Thanks

  2. “The Seahawks’ defensive system is a perfect fit for his skill set.”

    So is the offensive system, judging by his performance last year!

    It would be great if the Seahawks defense continues to play well. They’re certainly light years ahead of the offense.

  3. Dukeshire: Already asked. 4-3 over is their base this year. I haven’t asked why, but my assumption is that Bradley and Carroll concocted the scheme, with all four defensive linemen in mind with how they will play up front. You also have to take into account their speed set (Anthony Hargrove in at DT, Raheem Brock in at DE, Bryant and Branch out) when they go nickel.

    I’ll delve more into it as the season progresses.

  4. Dukeshire says:

    Thanks E, been out of the loop a bit the past couple weeks.

  5. Chris Clemons hit A.Smith once when he was in the act of throwing, and pressured him twice more when he was throwing. That’s more pressure than any other SEA D-guy got in that game. No sacks, no other hits, and not much pressure at all (Hargrove, Branch, Bryant, Brock, Mebane, et al included). That seems OK against Big Ben who improves with pressure, but bad against SF’s A.Smith. SEA’s usually found ways to rattle Smith in the past. Why no pressure to speak of now? Scheme? SEA was great vs SF’s run, but can we rely on such a young secondary to cover indefinately? Where’s the pass rush?

  6. @klm – Smith was 15-20 for just 124 yards; that’s just 8 yds per completed pass – so maybe the lack of hits/sacks was partly due to all the quick/short throws.

  7. pdway……………20 completions for 124 yards is barely over 6 yards a completion.

  8. Dukeshire says:

    Dumping the ball off is part of it, but one QB hit in a game is unacceptable regardless. Klm actually has a point here. If Seattle can’t manage more than that against Pitts, it will be bombs away. I don’t expect to see that however. Roth. holds the ball as long or longer in the pocket than any QB in the league, so they’ll have chances to hit him but that’s not enough, they will actually have to wrap him up. And I would argue that he does not improve with pressure but he does certainly play very well in its face.

    Pitts loves those intermediate and deep routes and as Bradley said, Kam and Earl will have to play disciplined on the back end.

  9. AaronCurryIsBUST says:

    Branch isn’t much of a pass rusher but he is outstanding against the run. I really wish we had signed Amobi Okoye, dude is a good pass rushing DT for cheap…

  10. Ewalters7354 says:

    I believe Pete Carroll said it best.The niners had a conservative gameplan.I agree there should have been more hits bit when you have quick passes it makes it difficult.I believe the D will have a better chance of getting after Big Ben being they won’t be conservative by any means.

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