Seahawks Insider

Morning links: 5 keys for Hawks vs. Cardinals

Post by Eric Williams on Sep. 9, 2012 at 7:12 am with 45 Comments »
September 9, 2012 7:12 am
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, center, against Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor, left, and free safety Earl Thomas, right, during an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

Good morning. I’m headed over to University of Phoenix Stadium in a few hours. It’s expected to reach 100 degrees today here in the desert, with some isolated thunderstorms. But that won’t matter because the Seattle Seahawks will take on Arizona inside the dome, and they seldom open the retractable roof down here.

Here’s five keys for the Seahawks as they ready for their season opener against the Cardinals.

Create some explosive plays: One of the reasons rookie quarterback Russell Wilson won the starting job was his ability to create explosive plays with his arm and his feet. And that needs to be on display today. As a rookie, I think it will be hard for him to string together 11 and 12-play scoring drives. So it will be important to create some chunk plays to make it easier to get into the red zone.

Win the turnover battle: Wilson has to strike a balance between taking risks when he has an opportunity to make a big play, but also managing the game and limiting mistakes so he does not give Arizona’s limited offense easy chances to put points on the board. Defensively, the Seahawks need to ramp up the intensity and be the ball-hawking defense they were in the second half of last season.

Run to win: I expect Marshawn Lynch to play today. But whether it’s Lynch, Robert Turbin, Leon Washington or Kregg Lumpkin, the Seahawks need to establish a consistent running game in order to control the tempo of the contest, and take some pressure off of Wilson.

Limit penalties: One of the things that can make it difficult for team to win on the road is a lot of penalties that stall drives or help the other team get into scoring position. Limiting penalties was a point of emphasis for Seattle head coach Pete Carroll during the preseason, after the Seahawks finished with 138 last year, second-most in the NFL. So controlling those mistakes is important.

Have a plan for Fitzgerald and Skelton: Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald has 102 catches for 1,371 yards and 10 TDs in 16 games against the Hawks. Fitzgerald has five, 100-yard receiving performances against Seattle. So the Seahawks need to have a successful plan on how they will limit Fitzgerald’s touches, whether it’s bracket coverage or just being physical with him at the line of scrimmage. At 6-foot-6 and 244 pounds, Arizona quarterback John Skelton is surprisingly mobile and able to create plays with his feet. So it will be important for Chris Clemons, Jason Jones and Bruce Irvin to put consistent pressure on the passer, and when they have a chance to sack Skelton, get him on the ground.

Dave Boling of The New Tribune offers some indicators the Seahawks can provide against the Cardinals that shows they are ready to be a playoff contender.

Here’s my profile on Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who has been visualizing his success as a NFL quarterback since he was a teenager.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes that Pete Carroll is operating without a net in his team preview for the upcoming season.

Clare Farnsworth of focuses on how Seattle will contain Fitzgerald.

ESPN’s Mike Sando asks if Russell Wilson can be the exception to the conventional wisdom of rookie quarterback struggling on the road in his Final Word heading into this weekend’s games for the NFC West.

Gregg Rosenthal of picks Seattle to win the NFC West at 10-6.

Doug Kretz of Scouts Inc. predicts a 21-20 win for Seattle. You must be an ESPN Insider to view this.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports writes that Fitzgerald against Seattle’s big corners is one of his 10 matchups to watch in Week 1 of the NFL season.

Mike Florio of quotes a source with knowledge of the situation who says Marshawn Lynch will play today despite back spasms.

Sam Rosen and Heath Evans of Fox Sports, who are doing the game this afternoon, preview the Seahawks-Cardinals contest in the video below.

Morning links
Leave a comment Comments → 45
  1. montanamike2 says:

    Even if Marshawn is on the field as a decoy it will help. If he actually plays even better. Off to town to get that boddingtons because i know where to get it, so i’ll be back later. Hope we crush them!

  2. FleaFlicker says:

    Feel like a kid on Christmas morning! Can’t wait! Now it just remains to be seen if we’re getting Christmas Cookies or a lump of coal this year.

    Let the Russel Wilson era begin!!! And hopefully with a big fat “W”!

  3. Dukeshire says:

    I would actually put stopping Fitzgerald #1 on this list. He *owns* the ‘Hawks. And I don’t place the importance on “explosive plays” in this game as I would matchups. Arizona gave up very few TDs the second half last season, so to me, Wilson et al, need to sustain drives that result in touchdowns. I know Eric thinks this will be difficult, but that’s how Seattle’s offense is designed, at this stage. Methodical. Own the clock. Boring football. Next week against the Packers? They’ll likely need more big plays than they will today.

  4. bayareahawkfan says:

    On NFL Network’s morning kickoff, Michael Irvin just predicted Russ throws for 300 yards today, and separately, Kurt Warner picked him to throw 2 TDs.

    I would be shocked if Russell is called upon to throw that much today, so I put little stock in those specifics. However, it is nice to finally be getting some prediction love from national guys.

    Let’s get to game time already!

  5. Dukeshire says:

    I just saw that too, and agree with you. I’d be surprised if Seattle found themselves in a position where they *had* to throw it that often (yardage-wise. The TDs from the Red zone I can see). But it was fun to hear, regardless.

  6. Palerydr says:

    I saw the Pigskin Pickem but is there an Insiders Gridiron?

  7. Skavage says:

    Little over 5 hours…This might just be the most anticipated opening day I’ve had in YEARS! Very excited. Very apprehensive. Very nervous. Very very. :)

  8. JMSeaTown says:

    Penalties iare the least of my worries… The Hawks get their flags from being too intense & aggressive. If we aren’t getting penalties, that’s a red flag to me on the level of intensity.

  9. Dukeshire says:

    Well, I don;t know if I can go that far. Things like false starts, holding, blocks in the back, etc… have nothing to do with being aggressive. Those are a result of not being disciplined. But in a larger context, Seattle really does need to cut the penalties down. Last year they really hurt themselves with them. A Carroll team will never be a Holmgren team regarding this, but they need to be better here.

  10. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I totally agree with you Duke about slowing down Fitzgerald. He scares the Hell outta me! Especially when the game is close or on the line.

  11. Dukeshire says:

    I just reread my post, wow. lol Little ahead of myself. Next week against *Dallas*. There were other mistakes, but too giddy to correct them now.

  12. Sarcasticus says:

    Fitzgerald will get his. Don’t let the nobodies (the receivers not named Fitzgerald) do the damage.

  13. Sarcasticus says:

    I am sure someone has posted this already, but this is for those of you who haven’t.

    Scroll down to #1. It is a fun read if nothing else.

  14. raymaines says:

    My three favorite teams today are Seattle, Minnesota, and Green Bay. The Vikings can keep me in a Survivor Pool, and the 49er’s will be hard to overtake if they beat the Packers. Go ‘Hawks!

  15. Carlsonkid says:

    It’s finally game day !!

    .. washed my Earl Thomas jersey last night to start the new season , got the beer and brauts ready for the grill and all the guys are coming over – Christmas is finally here !!

    DirecTV is offering Sunday Ticket for $50 off , today only . Plus it’s free for DirecTV subscribers this weekend only , so it’s football all damn day long ; I can slide over during commercials and check on the 49’er / Packer game while watching the Hawks .

    Now if you’ll excuse me , I have to gop play with my new toy I got for Christmas

  16. princeaden says:

    What channel is it on for the Directtv subscriber ?

  17. psoundpowerhouse says:

    If Russell Wilson doesn’t throw 3 picks and barf on his shoes, we gotta chance today.
    That’s the 6th key!

  18. DreadHawks says:

    Brisket in the oven

    Beer is on ice…..todays choice and it was a tough one. Widmere Bros Falconer IPA. A must have for any IPA fan it’s part of their rotater series. A Seahawks cooley to keep it cold!

    Lynch jersey at the ready

    12th Man Flag proudly swaying in the breeze.

    Anticipation at an all time high, I think I’m ready

    Did I forget anything?

  19. Dukeshire says:

    DreadHawks – I’m on they way. Sounds like fun over there.

    Another important key I believe, is special teams. Got to keep Peterson under control. He can take it to the house every time he touches the ball and Seattle’s punt coverage has been very suspect under (Brian) Schneider.

  20. DreadHawks says:

    @ Duke, we are right off the 5, a straight shot for ya….come on down!

    Agree with special teams but my eye is going to be on Bruuuuuce. If their O-line is as bad as I hear he MUST have an impact today!

  21. blueshq says:

    Terry Bradshaw just rated the 5 rookie qbs. Wilson is #2!

  22. PHXHawk says: is 713.

  23. finally here – – been a long wait – glad i have this blog to keep the light on during the off-season. can’t wait to see how our guys do today.

  24. Wow. Just wow. Best opening day anticipation in years. The only way it could be better is if it were here at home.

    Both defenses will be Hell-on-Wheels today. And we can’t take their special teams nor Fitzgerald lightly.

    But today, Mr Cable’s Offensive Line will lead the way. And our D line is going to give the Cards a smack-down they won’t soon forget. Let’s roll.

  25. Dukeshire says:

    Locker having a rough go, today. RGIII looking very good, however.

  26. Sidney Rice shirsey = ready!
    Direct TV = ready!
    Win at AZ = I’m ready!

    I need to see my team win today after Moron led UCLA over Nebraska last night!


    Does anyone know a free web site to stream the Hawks game from? I’m still stuck in Missoula at work. There are 2 Fox channels here and they’re both showing the m’f’n GB vs SF game.

  28. google first row or something like that… that’s where I watched the pre-season games.

  29. Dukeshire says:

    Galena – If that doesn’t work, check into the live chat. Seems like someone always posts a link to a streaming site.

  30. SandpointHawk says:

    Well even though I never liked Jim Mora I have to admit as a long suffering UCLA Alumni I sure liked those Bruins yesterday…

  31. The pregame radio show is on right now at the 97.3 KIRO FM website.

  32. Dukeshire says:

    The Lions have done everything they can in the first half to help the Rams. 4 Stafford picks… yikes.

  33. jacobhawkr says:

    I have to find where I stored that #3 autographed jersey. I’ll need to tape Wilson over mirer though. Lol. Should be a fun year. Fun game today.

  34. Happy opening day Seahawk fans- Here’s to a big victory!

  35. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Just got back from church, Well not really church but the closest thing to it down here.
    Now that Georgia has allowed liquor stores to be open on sunday I make it a habit to purchase my beer on sunday. Of course they can’t open up until noon so it sure feels like church with all those non drinking religious folks in there. LOL.

    What a throw by Locker!!! Wow!

  36. BobbyK & Dukeshire, thanks!

    First row seems to work well enough. Opening day! Hell yeah.

  37. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Hutch! How could you!

  38. GeorgiaHawk says:

    ?. Lol.

  39. Dukeshire says:

    Locker hangs Washington out, he’s hurt. They himself get injured tackling the defender who recovered the fumble. Brutal.

  40. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Just how unlucky can the Titans get?

  41. princeaden says:

    Thank you PHXHawk..

  42. Dukeshire says:

    Not sure how unlucky that was. Perhaps the Locker injury, although he looks to be okay. But the throw to Washington was terrible. No one within 5 yards of him and he just hung him out. Those are the throws that get WRs killed.

  43. GeorgiaHawk says:

    True Dukeshire. Locker should mean ying and yang.

  44. raymaines says:

    Yea-Haw! The Vikings win in OT and thus, keep me in a Survivor contest.

    … and not that you guys really care but last week my collage survivor pick went to OT and I won. This week I got flushed in OT. Can’t somebody just beat the crap out of somebody?

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