Seahawks Insider

Morning links: 5 keys for Hawks vs. Cardinals

Post by Eric Williams on Dec. 9, 2012 at 7:21 am with 29 Comments »
December 9, 2012 7:24 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. Looks like we’ll get a break in the weather today – it’s supposed to be mostly cloudy with a chance of scattered shows with the temperature around 46 degrees – so dress appropriately.

Here’s my five keys for the Seattle Seahawks as they try and push their record to 6-0 at home against NFC West rival Arizona.

Play with intensity: As 10-point favorites, the No. 1 issue for Seattle will be conjuring up and sustaining enough energy and motivation to defeat an inferior opponent. The fact that Arizona defeated the Seahawks earlier this season should help, along with the Cardinals being a division opponent. The Seahawks can’t afford to be lulled to sleep and play down to the level of competition.

Slow down Fitzgerald: Larry Fitzgerald has totaled 106 receptions for 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns in 17 games against Seattle – that’s the most in each category than any other team in the league. So it’s safe to say Seattle’s defense will be aware of Fitzgerald’s location on the field, particularly with Walter Thurmond starting in place of Brandon Browner at cornerback today. Fitzgerald is too good not to get his catches, but the Seahawks have to make sure they are not impactful plays on the outcome of the game.

Get after Skelton: I feel like a broken record mentioning this as a key each week. But the Seahawks have just two sacks in the last two games. Chris Clemons has just one sack in his last six games. Bruce Irvin’s last sack was in the New York Jets game in November, and defensive tackle Jason Jones’ last sack was at San Francisco on Oct. 18. The Seahawks totaled just one sack against John Skelton in the season opener, but they did have seven quarterback pressures, and ultimately Brandon Mebane knocked him out of the game. The Seahawks need more of the same type of pressure against a green Arizona offensive line, with the Cardinals starting two rookie tackles in Nate Potter at left tackle and Bobby Massie at right tackle.

Protect Wilson: Ray Horton, defensive coordinator for the Cardinals, likes to bring pressure. The Cardinals sacked Russell Wilson three times in season opener, forcing Wilson to move outside the pocket. So the Seahawks need to have a plan on how they want to deal with Arizona’s blitz package – either with the quick passing game, screens or perhaps a heavy doze of Marshawn Lynch to slow down the Cardinals pass rush.

Contain Peterson: Special teams always plays an important role in an NFL game, and today will be no different. Arizona has one of the best return man in the game in second-year pro Patrick Peterson. And in what is predicted to be a low-scoring affair, points will be at a premium today. So it’s important that Seattle does a good job of containing the explosive Peterson and don’t let him break loose to give a bad Arizona offense good field position.

Dave Boling of The News Tribune writes that Russell Wilson’s last four games is one of the best performances by a Seattle quarterback in the franchise’s history.

Here’s my game advance. While Seattle appears to have found an answer to the team’s search for a long-term solution at quarterback, the Cardinals are still struggling to replace Kurt Warner.

Danny O’Neil of The Seattle Times writes that stopping Larry Fitzgerald will be important for the Seahawks today.

Clare Farnsworth of previews the game here.

Jerry Brewer of The Seattle Times writes that Sidney Rice has managed to stay healthy this season, and the Seahawks have benefitted from his explosive play-making ability.

Dan Pompei of the National Football Post has a nice breakout on the evolution of the pistol offense in the NFL, and also gives us another reason for Russell Wilson’s improvement – better accuracy on the deep ball for more chunk gains.

Morning links
Leave a comment Comments → 29
  1. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Getting pressure on Skelton will be a big key,imo.

  2. pabuwal says:

    The Seahawks are playing the number 32 ranked offense at home today. The Cardinals Defense is every bit as good as any unit in the NFC West.

    I expect this to be a defensive game, with the Seahawks barely continuing their 20+ points streak. I’m looking for a 20-10 Seahawks win today.

    What’s concerning about the Seahawks Defense is the huge percentage of TD drives that started between the other team’s goal line and 20 yard line (80 to 95 yard drives). That shouldn’t be a problem today, but has been a problem for every game over the past few months.

  3. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I think creating some turnovers will be big too. Thomas is due for a big game in regards to turnovers.

  4. GeorgiaHawk says:

    It’s finally nice to hear that the doubts about Wilson being our Franchise QB are melting faster than the snow melts in Tennessee on a winters day.

  5. Carlsonkid says:

    ‘chunk gains’ … I just like saying that : )

  6. Dukeshire says:

    Pressuring the QB *always* important. However, as anemic as Arizona’s offense is, it becomes less important that if they are playing say, Green Bay. So long as Thurmond can keep Fitz somewhat in check, I so no reason why Ariz ough to score more than twice all game, as pabuwal eluded to.

  7. pabuwal says:

    Russell Wilson interview coming up on NFLN in a few minutes.

  8. Dukeshire says:

    Okay, that was solid. When he wouldn’t repeat the TD play to Tate, Mucci loved it. Great.

  9. pabuwal says:

    The Seahawks home crowd needs to get some type of rhythmic Russell Wilson chant going.

    Something like Rus-SELL Wil-SON CLAP CLAP CLAP.

  10. Dukeshire says:

    Clever… lol

  11. pabuwal says:

    It’s very original.

  12. Dukeshire says:

    Haha. I wish the interview was longer, but it’s cool to see a Seahawk featured, regardless.

  13. Dukeshire says:

    Boy, let’s go Dolphins, today.

  14. pabuwal says:

    If the Dolphins win that game, the 49ers will be in the middle of an epic nosedive.

  15. Dukeshire says:

    Sound good to me. Of course, unless Seattle takes care of business none of it matters.

  16. raymaines says:

    and Vikings, and Lions …

  17. Somehow Seattle makes Skelton look like Rothlisberger. I really hope Irvin and Clemons wake up today. D has got to be aggressive but assignment-correct, and they MUST pressure the qb hard. Especially with Thurmond seeing his first game action in a year, he’s gonna need the help. Not to mention Lane in the slot.

    I think Tate gets a lot thrown his way, and they have to find a way to get the ball to Baldwin; Rice may be a little off from last week, and we cant afford to hurt him two weeks in a row.

    Time to use Turbin in the passing game, as well as Mike Rob, and use Lynch as a decoy. We do that, and eventually the Cards will have to stop loading the box–THEN we run Lynch down their throats.

    Thats what SHOULD happen, but honestly, I cant help but expect them to run Lynch twice up the middle to open, then try a bubble screen to Tate…punt, etc. They will run all day, hoping to get the ball last and throw it against prevent defense…SSDD….I sure hope it works…

  18. pabuwal says:

    Russell Wilson coming up on Fox NFL Sunday pregame show.

  19. Hammajamma says:

    Agree with the first point from STTBM. The D needs to redeem itself against a <avg QB.

  20. Palerydr says:

    Not big on the nicknames for Wilson so far but after watching his interview on Fox Captain Cliche comes to mind. Yea I know that’s lame too but accurate.

    I echo Eric’s key about handling the Blitz. I’m looking forward to Wilson reading and making the correct adjustments to the pressure. I also want to add as a weekly key win the turnover battle.

  21. sluggo42 says:

    I missed the mariuchi interview, was RW his normal say everything in cliche? Anything else cool?
    Minn is putting it to the bears early
    Yay, Balt came back to pin 7 on wash.

    I think bevel actually comes up with a decent plan today , RW has the blinders off, so he is good to go. I just hope he didn’t fall too deeply in love wi the option play and get stuck in it, especially if wizer has a plan for it…

    Az haz a deep defense and we will need to be flexible and adaptive early on, and not get into the same predictable rut.

    I’m not too worried about the defense, I think they bring it today…

    12th man WILL be a factor today. Skelton will not be ready for this at all…,, they always say they are, but it’s just too much..

  22. Southendzone says:

    Please find a way to get Lindley into this game.

  23. FairbanksDoug says:

    Watching Andrew Luck & RGIII, can’t see how either one can be considered better than Russell Wilson. Really has nothing to do with the surrounding talent,Wilson is just flat out better!

  24. VNHLNFAN says:

    Go Dolphins!

  25. Dukeshire says:

    I’m not at all sure one can say Wilson is “flat out better” than Luck or Griffin. All three are having great rookie seasons. The fact he’s in the conversation is awesome.

  26. Dukeshire says:

    Skelton was 14 of 28 for 149 with a pick when they played in September. I’ll take that again today.

  27. FairbanksDoug says:

    Damn I just feel honored that Duke responded. To my emotional rant.
    I might of let the emotion get away with my evaluation of RGIi, but in my estimation Luck has been making bad decisions in today’s game, decisions I don’t see Russel making.
    I felt both of the other two may have been at a higher level based on pure skill at beginning of season, but Wilson’s skill is not just what we see on the field,, but its also his ability to put away all the other distractions and do the bookworm to learn his foe. I have achieved a certain amount of notoriety in my work . I have a lot of my peers calling me the smartest person in the plant I work. Truth be known I am not, but I have done my homework on systems. When others gather around the water cooler to discuss hunting stories I was tracing out systems in the plant. When I see anyone like Wilson so damn persistent to learn, I have no doubt in my my he will excell well past anyone standing by the water cooler as I feel that is where you would fin Luck and RGIII.

  28. Dukeshire says:

    Lol. You must read different things than I, because the one thing I continue to read about all three is their extraordinary work ethic, and how each continue to impress by going above and beyond working to get better.

  29. sluggo42 says:

    It’s hard to call “better” between the three, each possess their own set of skills and talents that make them very good. Everyone knows RW would have been in the top of the draft if he was just a few inches taller. And most teams couldn’t get past the height issue, thank goodness we did.

    Skelton is what 6′-5″
    What has that done for him? You still need the brains to be a successful qb… RW is very tall in brains…

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