Seahawks Insider

Morning links: Hawks headed in right direction

Post by Eric Williams on Dec. 26, 2011 at 8:03 am with 40 Comments »
December 26, 2011 8:03 am
Marshawn Lynch runs into the end zone against San Francisco. (AP Photo).

In my story today, although disappointing in a 19-17 loss to San Francisco over the weekend, the Seattle Seahawks still have something to play for in the last game of the season at Arizona.

Seattle has a chance to finish a game better than last season’s 7-9 regular-season record and finish with a nonlosing record for the first time since 2007.The Seahawks travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals on Sunday in their finale.

“I feel like it’s an important game because it’s the next game,” Bryant said. “You always want to finish strong, and we know those guys are fighting for the same thing. I believe they are 7-8 as well, and they’re playing at home. So it’s going to be another great game.

“It will be two teams going at it, and it will come down to who can make a play, and who can’t.”

There’s little doubt that heading into the final week of his second season in Seattle, coach Pete Carroll has the Seahawks on an upward trend. They are No. 10 in the NFL in total defense this season, up 17 spots from last year.

The Seahawks are averaging 105 rushing yards a game – 21st in the league and up 10 spots from 2010, when they gained an average of 89 yards a game.And Seattle has a plus-7 turnover differential this year, good enough for a tie for fifth in the league. The Seahawks had a minus-9 turnover differential in 2010, tied for 27th overall.

Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com writes that Marshawn Lynch was the player of the game on Saturday.

Art Thiel of Sportspressnw.com writes that the Niners were one play better than the Seahawks.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times offers his thoughts on a Niners assistant screaming “Merry Christmas” moments after his team’s win while exiting the press box on Saturday.

Tony Pauline of Sports Illustrated gives us some prospects to watch during the bowl season.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports gives Seahawks a C-minus for their performance against the Niners .

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com has Seattle selecting North Carolina defensive end Quinton Couples at No. 15 overall in his latest mock draft.

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Morning links
Leave a comment Comments → 40
  1. Lot of great things going on here – hopefully the team actually stays healthy next year to compete for the conference championship.

  2. edstang45 says:

    aaaah the mock drafts….count down to april already!!

  3. Dukeshire says:

    Health and capable and consistent play from the QB position.

  4. gonefishin69690 says:

    Well, we lost. But still a very Physical and fun to watch game. Lets clobber AZ next week, finish at .500, and start getting ready for next season. You guys are heading in the right direction and don’t let anybody tell you different.

  5. bulldog80 says:

    Improvement in those areas is fantastic but if you can’t translate it into wins it doesn’t matter. In the end, the record is all that matters. In that area, we haven’t made any improvement from last season.

    Hoping Bevell cleans his locker out right along with Jackson.

  6. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    couples sounds like a beast, could live with that pick

  7. Ewalters7354 says:

    Bevell isn’t going anywhere.He actually does what Jeremy Bates failed to and that is listen to Pete and how he wanted his offense ran.I just hope we can maintain Cable because the suitors will be coming.

  8. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I like the way the team overall has improved except for qb and the D-line.
    And the running game has improved despite not having Carpenter or Moffitt playing. Makes me wonder if we would have been better off last year focusing on reinforcing our D-line in a D-line heavy draft.

    It’s amazing how much we have improved in so many areas and still have about the same record as last year? Just goes to show how important it is to have a good QB.

    Hopefully The QB position and D-line will be upgraded in the off season, because that will mean about 4-5 more wins next year imo.

  9. Dukeshire says:

    The d line is an interesting situation. By design, the only pass rusher there is Clem. Bryant is one dimensional, but incredibly effective doing what he’s asked to do: seal an edge / stop strong side runs. Mebane had a great year in the middle, I thought. He’s exactly what I’d like at NT, moving forward, but he’s not a sack machine. So, as far as talent, the only starting position that needs an upgrade immediately, is Branch at 3-tech, IMO. The reason I say that, is because the lack of consistent pass rush from the ends, appears to be philosophical / scheme (Carroll puts a higher priority on stopping the run than pressuring the QB, for good or ill), and as teams were able to run more effectively late in the season, they seemed to be primarily interior runs (Hill and Wight played at a very high level on off-tackle runs) . I really feel like they got everything out of Branch they could, but there is a reason he’s had only 3 career starts prior to this season. So, if I’m in charge of improving this line, I start with first drafting a 3-tech, then adding a pass rush end, if only situational. Branch moves back to a situational run stopper where he appears to be better suited. Now, I understand and agree that they need to get more pressure consistently on QBs, but given what we know about how Carroll approaches defense, I’d start that process at 3-tech, not DE, as counter-intuitive as that may sound.

  10. Have you noticed the Seahawks having far more difficulty with the shiftier backs like Bell and the SF backup than the power backs like Jackson, Barber and Gore?

  11. So basically you guys want to see a QB that can take care of an elite defense while missing half the starters on offense which includes the two most highly paid players on offense?

    I have news for you guys – the Seahawks have NEVER had this type of QB in their history. I would like to hear the gameplan on finding this type of QB. Everyone here thinks this is an easy thing to do. It’s no different when ACIB keeps telling us what a bust Curry was but never answered the question on who they should have drafted.

    The biggest solution I hear is the draft and the biggest lament I hear is they should have kept Hasselbeck. Unless the Seahawks are willing to give up the house to move up to draft RG3, how do they play the probabilities and find this stud QB? I would actually be in favor of them giving up the 2012 1st and 2nd round picks as well as the 2013 1st round pick for RG3. He won’t slip past Washington. I am a huge fan of him and I would be more than happy to mortgage the future on him. Despite my support for Jackson, I certainly feel a team needs a stud QB to win a Super Bowl.

    And as far as Hasselbeck, he must have the easiest schedule in the NFL, a fairly good offense around him (OL, RB, TE/WR) and that team is somehow barely beating the worst teams in the NFL at home (Jacksonville, TB) and found a way to lose to the worst team in the NFL. His stats reflect his terrible in game performance. Somehow, this impresses a lot of Seahawks fans.

  12. I would agree with that, Duke. Need to upgrade the 3-tech. I still think Branch is too much like Bryant – tall and has trouble keeping low, gets stood up and moved around too much at DT. I like Branch as a backup at both DE and DT. I want a squatty, nasty, quick DT in the middle of this line next to Banger.

    At the same time, we need another 3rd down pass rusher on the outside too. I would think if they find the right pass rushing DE or OLB, they can probably work either one into their 3rd down schemes to get their rush on.

  13. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Good points Dukeshire! And also concerning the D-line moving forward is the depth or lack of it. Remember last year when Red went down? He has already been injured a few times counting college and the NFL so it was great to see him rebound this year, however how much longer will his big body hold up before he gets injured again?

    Then you have Clemons starting to get up there in age, so while it has been amazing to me how well the D-line has performed(for the most part) this year, I think that we will see some more upgrading next year and hopefully we can find that stud lineman that will help take this young defense to yet another level.

    One thing for sure is that it doesn’t get boring in the off season with the Seahawks anymore imo.

  14. I can’t disagree with that, pabuwal. Keeping Hasselbeck for $21 million was not the answer. And all the skepticism about TJack and about marrying the Darrell Bevell passing game to the Tom Cable running game was mostly proven wrong.

    Sure we want a stud QB, but this year’s offense was an improvement over the 2010 offense in every dimension.

    Tarvaris Jackson, as of next week, will have thrown for MORE TDs, FEWER INTs, as many yards in as many attempts, and MORE wins, than Matt Hasselbeck did in 2010.

    And, while Jackson was aided by an improved rushing game during the second half of 2011, the O line and entire offense gave Jackson zero help during the first half of the season, when TJack was constantly under pressure. Jackson learned and improved with this offense, and can still improve further now that his young team mates have learned this offense.

    I’ll always love Matt Hasselbeck, but I can only expect him to decline and get injured at this stage of his career. I still expect TJack to keep improving next year. I just hope we will also have a young stud on the bench getting ready to take over soon.

  15. Georgia, Yes we have no pass rushers behind Clemmons, but I think the team was ready this year in case Big Red went down injured. I think when they signed Branch they were signing the closest thing they could find to a Red Bryant clone. Branch might actually be more effective playing at DE than he was playing at DT. We just never got to see it since Bryant played nearly every 1st and 2nd down all season.

    Huge victory to see Big Red play the first 16 game season of his career without injury! (knock wood)

  16. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Really Stevos? When the game is on the line( like it was with the 49ers this week), You would rather have Jackson over Hasselbeck as your QB?

    Hasselbeck has been average this year, however he hasn’t had a top ten defense (#18) or any kind of a running game(#31).

    I think most would agree that Jackson or Hasselbeck is not the long term answer here, however I would take Hasselbeck over Jackson until we do find the answer.

    Also who has missed more time with injures this year? About the same.

  17. Jackson has also been average this year but with less offensive support and a more difficult schedule.

    Hasselbeck would have played well below average under those same circumstances.

  18. “And as far as Hasselbeck, he must have the easiest schedule in the NFL, a fairly good offense around him (OL, RB, TE/WR) and that team is somehow barely beating the worst teams in the NFL at home (Jacksonville, TB) and found a way to lose to the worst team in the NFL. His stats reflect his terrible in game performance.”

    Matt Hasselbeck threw for 350 yards and a touchdown..
    Yeah thats a pretty bad performance vs the 7th rated pass defense.
    Didnt Houston just lose to Indy also??

    You need to work on your Hass hate case pabs. Just a hater. Nothing more.

  19. Sure, Georgia, one can make an argument on either side of the Hass / no Hass argument. Yes, I would rather have had Hasselbeck than Jackson for that 2-minute drive last Saturday.

    Trouble is, Jackson endured a lot a hits to get the team to 7-7. Hass in Seattle may well have been on IR, maybe with another back injury to end his career. And the Seahawks would still be on the hook to pay him millions over the next two years.

    I can only judge a decision based on what was knows at the time it was made. Schneider and Carroll had to consider a worst-case scenario and a best-case scenario with keeping Hass or signing Jackson. I think Jackson performed pretty close to their best case scenario for this year. The goal was rebuilding the team’s foundation and transitioning to a new offense, while keeping their QB-of-the-future money in reserve. I think the plan is going well.

  20. Dukeshire says:

    pabuwal – The “shiftier” backs getting to the second level on Seattle make a lot so sense. Their line is huge and designed to stop a power running game. They are not a nimble group, so there is a clear vulnerability there. That said, I’d far rather have a line designed to stop a given team’s feature back rather than their so-called change-of-pace, which they were able to do well, when the season is taken as a whole.

    Jackson played his best football in December. That said, I simply don’t see anything in his game that leads me to believe he can guide this team to a championship. He takes an eternity to make a decision. He makes mind-boggling decisions when he does deliver it, too often. Cannot extend plays. Does not effectively work the middle of the field. Little touch on any throw that isn’t a “fastball”. A knack for inopportune turnovers (no ints. in December, good. 5 fumbles in December, bad.) Injuries or no, from where I sit, he is the the offense’s most glaring weakness. We all might like and respect him personally (and I do) but for this team to get where we all want them to, I don’t see how QB isn’t upgraded.

  21. Duke – what’s the most you would give up to trade up for RG3?

    And only the biggest Hasselbeck fans think barely beating the worst teams in the league is the same as playing the 49ers.

  22. Dukeshire says:

    pab – I’d have to think about that. I would trade up a spot or two, but at what cost? Let me consider it. Certainly would not leverage future drafts for any player.

  23. Not even a stud QB? What’s the game plan for finding a stud QB other than the draft?

  24. GeorgiaHawk says:

    One game plan for finding a stud qb is not resign Lynch, and not to uprade the D-line, and continue to start Carpenter at right tackle, and most importantly to continue starting Jackson.

    That would almost gaurantee us a shot at Barkley for 2013.

  25. Georgia, that’s sort of what some of us thought before the 2011 season, I thought this team would be drafting high for sure in 2012… and it turned out that aint true. Pete Carroll can win a lot more games with a lot less talent than we knew. His teams won’t ever draft in the top 5 picks of the draft.

  26. Dukeshire says:

    Pab- Mark my words: there will be a franchise type QB taken in this draft outside the first half of the first round. There is every single year. It’s Carroll and Schneider’s job to identify that player and get him (presuming they want a QB.)

  27. “Pab- Mark my words: there will be a franchise type QB taken in this draft outside the first half of the first round. There is every single year.”

    It’s true – and you don’t have to go back very far to find Rodgers and Roethlisberger picked toward the end of the 1st round, or Brees picked in the 2nd. Dalton looks good for the Bengals right now, and he wasn’t a top-5 guy either.

  28. Agree that the D-line is the only area of the defense that needs an influx of talent.

    But I do think this is the year we need to spend the first rounder on a QB.

  29. raymaines says:

    pabuwal asks: Duke – what’s the most you would give up to trade up for RG3?

    I’m not Dukeshire and I don’t have any idea how good or bad RG3 might be but if the SeaHawk brain trust really believes he or Luck is going to be the next super star QB I be happy to give up any price necessary to make that trade. Three first rounders? Sure. Four? OK. Whatever it takes.

    I think there are two questions: 1) Would the Colts haven been better off with P.M. for the last 12 years or have had three or four extra first round picks? And 2) Would any other team have been better off for the last 12 years with their own picks or P.M.?

    Presumably whoever was smart enough to trade up and pick Peyton Manning would have been smart enough to make great picks in the next three or four drafts, so the question becomes weather P.M. is worth more than: 1999 – Javon Kearse, 2000 – Brian Urlacher, – 2001 Steve Hutchinson, and 2002 – Ed Reed? All mid to low first round picks. I think he is.

    I think N.E. is the only team that shouldn’t have traded up to get P.M. and that’s only because they found a different superstar QB. I say make the trade!

  30. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I was just being a little Sarcastic Stevos.Lol.
    I really don’t think this team will be picking in the top 10 for quite some time now, And I am just fine with that!

    I don’t care where are qb comes from! I just hope he does better than what we had this year! If that means Jackson makes some kind of miracle and takes a giant step forward then I would be happy. I do hope that next year there will be an actual competition for the spot though.

  31. Dukeshire says:

    raymaines – That’s an interesting question and we’ll never have an answer, but fun conversation. I would say, let’s consider the Colts immediate 1sts after Manning: E James, R Morris, R Wayne, D Freeney and Dallas Clark. Howamy wins have those players contributed to? How much success would Manning have without that level of talent despite his incredible play? It’s a matter of philosophy I suppose, but I’m not one for leveraging future drafts for any player today. More than one way to skin a cat however.

  32. I believe that our quarterback has the skill set however i am not convinced that he has the sense to be a sucessful nfl quarterback. I haven’t ever seen a lepord loose it’s spots yet. He just hasn’t shown me that he is capable of making smart game situation decissions. If this was his first year in the league I’d understand his thought process however this is not so I do expect more from him. New offence or not.

  33. Dukeshire says:

    Hard for me to disagree with you there, BigBlew.

  34. GeorgiaHawk says:

    How about if we just draft the best qb prospect in every round next year and let them battle it out in training camp? Then keep the top four on the final roster and put all the other ones on the practice squad.

    We could then hire Mike Holmgren as qb coach after he gets fired in Cleveland to coach them up. Mabey we can get Zorn back too and put them through some unique passing drills. Lol.

    Why are there so many qbs, and so few elite? The most frustrating thing when it comes to the NFL imo.

  35. Ha, Georgia, that might be tempting! The way I see it, this roster would be fine to add just three starters: QB, DT, and either a DE or OLB pass rusher. Draft two or three of each and let them fight it out. I won’t be too surprised to see Schneider draft more than one QB and see who develops.

  36. Dukeshire says:

    Georgia – same could be said for every position.

  37. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Is it just me or does it just seem like there are so many crappy qbs around the NFL.
    Back in the 70s and 80s it seemed like most teams had a decent qb and some had very good back ups too. And that was before all the rule changes to protect them.

    Just in our own division(the AFC west) back in the early 80s we had Elway, Fouts, Plunkett, Krieg, and for some reason I can’t rememder the Chiefs qb, but that is four good qbs just from one division!

    Hell, it’s hard to find four good ones in one Conference these days!

    Then there was Marino, Kelly, Bradshaw, Pastorini, Sipe, Jaworski, Boomer, and some bum named Montana. Lol. I am sure there were a few more good ones that I forgot to name.

    Do we have anywhere near that many good ones today? What happened?

  38. Dukeshire says:

    I think there are as many “good ones” today as in years past. In fact, I’d say we’re watching something of a golden age at QB. Brady, Brees, Manning, Rivers, Rodgers, Roethlisberger,etc… For me however, the disparity between the so-called franchise QB and the “journeyman” is much bigger. And the gulf seems to be widening. Why? I’m not sure, but I’ve been thinking about it recently and would like to come up with an explanation.

    And if I may: what the hell are Brian Sipe and Dan Pastorini doing on that list? That’s the first time I’ve ever seen them mentioned in the same sentence as Marino, Kelly, or Montana.

  39. GeorgiaHawk says:

    How golden would the qbs of today be if the NFL hadn’t put dresses on them to protect there fragile bodies? Could Manning or Brady take the pounding that Bradshaw and Montana did?

  40. raymaines says:

    None of that matters. The rules have changed. For better or worse, the good ol’ days are gone. Right now 8-10 teams are set at QB and all the rest of us are looking to improve at the position.

    Even though most “franchise” QB’s were gotten through the draft, most teams with a franchise QB currently have a winning record. That tells me me the QB position is totally different than any other position and it’s the one position a team can over spend, over trade, or over draft for and come out okay.

    All of this depends on getting it right of course. A team can get the third best left tackle, third best pass rusher, or third best receiver in any given draft and still be OK, but the QB position is different. Not having a “franchise” QB is a bad thing, but having the wrong QB is even worse.

    My hope for the ‘Hawks is that they would identify the QB they want and do whatever it takes to get the guy. I don’t care who he is or how much they have to give. Just get the guy and get the right guy.

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