Seahawks Insider

Morning links: Where’s the run defense?

Post by Eric Williams on Dec. 20, 2012 at 8:14 am with 39 Comments »
December 20, 2012 8:14 am
San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore (21) runs for 37 yards and a first down in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Calif. Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012. The 49ers won 13-6. (The Sacramento Bee, Paul Kitagaki Jr.)

In my story today, the first time Seattle played San Francisco this season in Week 7, the Seahawks had the No. 2-ranked run defense in the league, giving up just 70 yards a game on the ground.

However, the 49ers gashed Seattle’s defense for 175 rushing yards, effectively using the trap play to exploit the middle of the Seahawks defensive line.

Seattle’s nemesis, running back Frank Gore, ran for 131 of those yards.

Including the San Francisco game, the Seahawks have given up at least 132 rushing yards in six of their last eight contests.

Heading into Sunday’s contest, the Seahawks are No. 10 in the league in run defense, giving up 106.3 yards a contest.

Facing San Francisco a second time this season, the Seahawks will have the added element of dealing with an explosive, nimble quarterback in Colin Kaepernick.

The 49ers have incorporated some of the offensive concepts of the “pistol” offense Kaepernick ran with much success at Nevada. The result has been Kaepernick running for 379 yards this season, adding the threat of the option to an already potent San Francisco run scheme.

However, Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright said he’s more concerned about the traps and toss plays the 49ers can run, rather than Kaepernick’s ability to hurt them with his feet.

“I think with the option we can handle that fine,” Wright said. “We’ve got a defense for it, so the option, I’m not really concerned about it. It’s just the run game with Frank Gore and all of those guys pulling.”

Dave Boling of The News Tribune gives credit for San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh for pulling the trigger on Colin Kaepernick, which so far has proved a good decision.

Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com talks with practice squad receiver Corbin Louks, who played with Colin Kaepernick at Nevada, to compare San Francisco’s starter with Russell Wilson. “Both of them can throw the football well and they both can run the football well,” Louks said. “It adds another dimension, and you can see it in Russell’s success and in Kaepernick’s success. They both have done big things with their feet and with their arms.”

Larry Stone of The Seattle Times writes that have both Seattle and San Francisco have improved offensively since the first contest between the two teams in Week 7.

Brock Huard of 710 ESPN Seattle breaks down Seattle’s toss back trick play against Buffalo, where Russell Wilson hit Golden Tate for a big gain in the first half in this video link.

ESPN’s Mike Sando compares Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson’s statistics against the same four defenses.

Doug Farrar of Yahoo Sports writes that the Seahawks and 49ers are mirror images of each other.

Brian Burke writing for the New York Times Fifth Down blog gives Seattle a 53 percent win chance against San Francisco.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee notes that Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh are focused on Christmas cards heading into Sunday’s game. Asked if he remembered any “hallmarks” from Carroll-coached teams, Harbaugh dead-panned: “I don’t remember getting any cards from him at the holidays.”

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Morning links
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  1. Dukeshire says:

    The traps SF runs ought to concern Seattle. They run them better than any team in the league and Seattle’s under tackle position is a real issue in trying to defend against them. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Carroll / Bradley running more over fronts with McDonald and Branch at 3-tech, in their base sets, than Jones. The real chess game comes on 3rd and passing: does Seattle go to their under front with Jones at 3-tech and risk SF running for the first, or continue to play bigger in the middle and blitz, forcing Kap to put it in the air?

    Moreover, I’d like to see Wright and / or Wagner on run blitzes in early down and distance situations. Regardless, Bradley will have his work cut out for him, and my only advice is to be more aggressive than less (as if he needs my help). I am a total believer in the “Belichick” philosophy: identify your opponents singular strength and take that away before your focus shifts elsewhere. In this case, it’s Gore.

  2. I went back and watched the hawks/9ers game from earlier in the year on DVR last night. One thing i was surprised to see on defense was the poor tackling, even on special teams. This is one area where they will have to step it up against the 9ers. The hawks have been good at wrapping up and tackling this year, but i was shocked to see how poor that aspect of the game was when watching it again.

    I also found this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGoRfxl5Iy0)on youtube in case people want to see parts of that game again. Unfortunately it was made by a 9ers fan, so it is a bit biased in how it was edited, but oh well. Huge game coming up on sunday, can’t wait!

  3. Ewalters7354 says:

    jboard, That was definitely a big issue that game. I kinda forgot all about that.Seeing the growth of this team caught my attention lol.But hopefully Gus has a good plan and those guys can wrap up.That’s big.

  4. Ya i agree, this team has grown a lot since that game. In the same, so have the 9ers. With Kap, it is a different offense. The defense will have to do different things to stop them. Agree with Duke, Bradley will have his work cut out for him

  5. nmseafan says:

    They might want to blitz a safety up the middle on first down to try and force Gore to have to go outside.

  6. Southendzone says:

    The Pats did a lot of their damage in spread formation with a back in next to Brady. In a way, just like the Hawks do when they’re gonna read/option. I’d like to see a lot of this as I think it will keep SF defense a bit on their heels and just as important that shotgun will buy RW a bit of time.

    That SF pass rush is gonna be fierce. Huge game, I can’t wait.

  7. rramstad says:

    An interesting read on the financial situation of the Jaguars and the Raiders.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-20/oakland-pays-17-million-for-nfl-raiders-as-cops-get-cut.html

    From this, and other comments, it seems to me likely that the Raiders will end up sharing the stadium in Santa Clara with the 49ers eventually. The NFL will block any attempt to relocate to Los Angeles unless Mark Davis sells his ownership stake in the Raiders, and I don’t think he’s willing to do that. There’s absolutely no way that the Raiders come up with the money to build a new stadium in Oakland.

  8. chuck_easton says:

    I don’t think anybody on here wants to try and predict the outcome of this game.

    Good that it is at home with the 12th man to be of assistance.

    Going to be an exciting and potentially heart stoppong game.

    I am hoping our guys come out on top but I won’t be making any bold statments.

  9. Dukeshire says:

    nmseafan – That was my thinking regarding the run blitzes. But with the inexperience that will be in their secondary, at least at one position in base and two in nickel, I’m leery about pulling a safety out of the secondary. But my thoughts are along you lines, regardless: push Gore outside the numbers, he far more effective as an interior runner.

  10. First time that RW hasn’t come out ahead in at least a few areas in comparison!!

    Of course having that rams game in there – one of the worst games of the year for them team IMO – doesn’t help much. Maybe after next weeks smashing we can relook at those numbers

  11. nmseafan says:

    We need our D line to get some penetration this game. What about using Scruggs paired with Mebane inside and use Jones and Clemons on the outside? Let Red rest his bad foot. Scruggs seems to get some penetration. Maybe a little more often than Jones inside.

  12. Palerydr says:

    On offense the Hawks should get the TE involved this week. SF plays a ton of man coverage and I feel Miller and McCoy can beat their LB’s. Also in man to man Russel will have opportunities to run for 1st downs. Keeping the ball on offense will be a key wear em down as SF plays only 12 guys on defense for most of the game. An early score/big play will get the crowd amped up and into the game. Crowd noise will also be a factor in forcing them into mistakes.

    I agree with others that stopping Gore is priority #1. Keeping Kaepernick in the pocket to make his throws will give us opportunities for turnovers so I hope the DE play more contain. I would also love to see a big hit on Kaepernick when he does run preferably from Bam Bam. I expect a win this week by a point or 20 I don’t care just get a W. Keep the pressure on them to win next week against Arizona.

  13. montanamike2 says:

    I’m with Chuck on this, i’m hoping for a win but nervous too. If we did beat the 9’rs then the Rams game won’t seem as bad, i doubt we fall for a fake FG or have another MCcoy slip at the end, Danny Amendola is a Percy Harvins type, hopefully Golden Tate becomes one of those.

  14. NYHawkFan says:

    With the 49ers OL, I can only hope for containment, not domination. They have some real beasts up front who can take you out. I’d be thrilled if we kept Gore under 100 yards. SF will need more than an average running game (for them) to win, however. I see the Hawks limiting Gore this time and forcing Kap*** to make plays. That’s why we’ll win. Hawks by 10 points. Can’t wait.

  15. thursday says:

    “49ers have deduced that the crowd is loudest as the ball is being snapped, but that it usually catches its collective breath when the play is over. He said the offensive players will try to race back to the huddle to take advantage of that lull.”

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/20/5066629/for-49ers-dealing-with-noisy-crowd.html#storylink=omni_popular#storylink=cpy

    Welp, we know when we have to keep yelling now lol

  16. mojjonation says:

    Kap short hopped a few balls late against the Pats. Tired arm or panic attack? He completed enough to get them the win after Brady brought them back with 28 unanswered points.

    With the exception of a few games, Gore has always been the Seahawks kryptonite. He doesn’t have that elusive ability, but what does he need it for when he just wants to run over everyone? While trying to force him outside is a good idea, how many times have we seen Seattle defenders take bad angles on people only to get burned? Paging KamChan.

    Kap and James offer up new dimensions to what we saw in the first game. Toss in what the 9ers have done and used since then and we can’t possibly be prepared for every play they throw at us. Remember the two TE, 3 back set they had against Chicago? Briggs and Urlacher were running around trying to get guys in position for the unknown. It was both funny and pathetic at the same time. I don’t remember how successful it was but even the announcers said they had never seen it before. It takes people back to the 80’s when Nebraska would run “student body” plays and there was nothing anyone could do to stop them. GB and PC will not only have their hands full, they may be losing a few more hairs before its over.

  17. mojjonation says:

    thursday…I’d love to see the 9ers run something like the no huddle. With the OL they have, those guys will be dying after a play or three. Next thing you know, Kap is on his back with his eyes crossed and is seeing through the earhole. Just try and run plays “between the noise”. The CLINK will figure out how to only have certain sections of fans yelling at any given moment and will manage to be noisiest when needed the most.

  18. NYHawkFan says:

    Thanks for letting us know when the snap count is coming(a tap on the center’s arm). Kaepernick had a couple of bad exchanges with the center while playing New England. Hopefully we’ll get at least one of our turnovers from that. Add an interception or two from a frustrated SF quarterback and we’ll be on our way. Not saying it will be easy, but I see a motivated Hawk team remaining undefeated at home.

  19. In case anyone cares, the Eagles signed Evan Moore.

  20. Jason jones on injured reserve….ahh damnit!

  21. Dukeshire says:

    That all but ends his stint in Seattle. I feel for him, but actually was hoping he wouldn’t see a lot of snaps against SF.

  22. Duke, wasn’t Jones out when hawks D was getting burned by Detroit? I felt like they missed his presence, thoughts? I’m trying to stay positive here, but i’m worried about no Jones, no Sherm, no Thurmond on D…someone please pick me back up

  23. Sherman will be there. Take the Over on this one!

  24. nmseafan says:

    Time for Scruggs to step up

  25. been out of town a few days – can not wait until Sunday . . .game of the year.

    I’ve yet to see Kaep deal with consistent pass pressure, hope we can be the ones to bring it.

  26. Dukeshire says:

    jboard1 – Detroit’s offense is much different than SFs and as a result they use different personnel. vs. Detroit I would think Carroll would like to run more pass pressure up front which is what they were lacking with Jones out. SF’s power inside running requires a “stronger” presence in the middle, not necessarily Jones’ best role.

    And yes, Sherman will play Sunday night.

  27. Thanks Duke, that kind of insight helps. And i sure hope you are right. I guess if the defense is little limited, hopefully the offense can continue to click. I’ll take a shootout if that is what is needed to win this game. I’m slowly being picked back up :)

  28. Seems like greatest pressure is on our D line and linebackers. Contain, contain, contain. Would like game plan to utilize Irvin effectively. Hands in the air. Get tips. Shed blocks. Plug the gap. Wrap up. We need 4 quarters of monster intensity. Sacks and no 3rd done runs by Kapper.

    Our offense needs to score early and often. Special teams need to score.

    I am big time worried about this game. BUT I think the coaches and players are up for it. GO HAWKS!

  29. The decline of Seattle’s run defense, IMO, can be traced to the start of Jones injury problems. When he first began missing time and having multiple injuries, Seattle’s D fell apart, and it hasnt quite regained its mojo since. IMO, thats got a lot to do with Jones–he’s been a shadow of his early season self since, even though he’s been playing, and his pass-rush has slowed as well.

    Howard cant stay healthy and neither can Scruggs. And we dont have another big body with experience to put in the middle.

    This isnt looking good, to have the interior of our line hashed facing the Niners and gore. Mebane hasnt been himself since the first half of the first Niners game either…that calf injury must still be bothering him a good deal.

    This game is gonna tell us a lot about Bradley. Can he come up with a scheme to counter the injuries in the middle? Can he make this defense greater than the sum of its parts?

  30. Re: Replacing Jones with more big bodies to stop the trap…

    Jones is shelved on IR for the year. We’ll get your wish Duke.

  31. NYHawkFan says:

    Even if we contain the middle and limit Gore, I’m concerned about the run/pass option with Kaepernick. He’s like Wilson in that even if you have great coverage and bottle them up, he can still break loose with a 15-20 yarder against you.

  32. “The decline of Seattle’s run defense, IMO, can be traced to the start of Jones injury problems. When he first began missing time and having multiple injuries, Seattle’s D fell apart, and it hasnt quite regained its mojo since. IMO, thats got a lot to do with Jones–he’s been a shadow of his early season self since, even though he’s been playing, and his pass-rush has slowed as well.”

    I wouldn’t go so far as saying that our D has fallen apart – but otherwise I agree with the above. Jones really stood out early in the year, getting a push from the middle in passing situations is huge, and his injuries have absolutely been felt.

  33. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    correct me if i am wrong but don’t you shadow a running QB with either a LB or safety? seems to me you have smith shadow him after a few good hits it mite discourage that sort of thing.

  34. I was wondering why we don’t run a similar trap and smash with Sweezy… That’s what pretty Muh devastated us the first go around…

    I’m not worried about Niners attempting to neutralize the crowd by rushing the line… That plays outside their element as they are the slowest paced offense in the NFL.

  35. Dukeshire says:

    HawksKD – I would go nearly as far as saying I got my wish. Jones has been a very effective inside presance this year, in the right situations. And had he been fully healthy, perhaps even more versatile. But for this particular matchup, at least in running down and distances, I believe there are better options.

    hawkfaninoklahoma – A QB like Vick, or Elway in the past, yeah, that’s a common strategy. But players like Wilson or Kap or RGIII, it becomes very difficult to simply shadow because of how effective the read-option can be. The ‘read puts LBs in a position to defend two potential ball carriers. Dedicating one defender to the QB only would essentially allow the RB to run free between the numbers (as generally it’s an interior LB that would “shadow”).

  36. Dukeshire says:

    *wouldn’t* go nearly as far…

  37. NYHawkFan says:

    Obviously you put a shadow on someone in motion in the backfield, such as a RB or TE. But it’s uncommon to do it for a QB unless, of course, their running an option-style offense, which is usually defended by trying to get to the QB as often as possible to discourage them from running it.

  38. Dukeshire says:

    If it’s man coverage, you do. That’s part of the reason offenses motion is to see if it’s man or zone.

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