Tag Archives: Pete Carroll

Seattle Seahawks Pre-Season Game 1 – Thoughts and Observations

Richard Sherman (Seattle Seahawks – Rod Mar)

Here are my thoughts and observations from the first pre season game of the 2012 Seahawks season.

The uniforms are sharp, I love them. The blue is vastly better than the multiple blue tones they’ve had for more than a decade. The gray and green ascents really popped well on TV. I love the fact the Hawks really took a chance with the uniforms, it gives them a unique identity that fits well with the whole 12th Man motif.

The starting defense looked tremendous. The eleven that started will (Lord willing) be the eleven who start in Arizona on September 9th. Outside of the obvious pick six by Browner, I was immediately impressed with Red Bryant who just seemed to be everywhere, and that’s impressive for a guy who’s 6’4′ 330 lbs. He swatted a pass down and got in a few good licks, all the while giving the Titans o-linemen and earful. Jason Jones made his presence felt, getting decent pressure on the QB. Bruce Irvin was boom or bust, but when he boomed, it was fun to watch. The stunts the Hawks ran were successful and caused Hasselbeck to be flustered when he threw. No sacks were recorded but there was pressure. Baby steps. I liked what I saw from rookie Bobby Wagner, he looked comfortable and ok with being a leader in the linebacking corps. Only time will tell how he grows into the role. On a very good note, I was glad to see Marcus Trufant running with the second team and embracing the role, looking fresh and excited to play. I think it’s vital Tru hangs around, he’s a great leader and could be a very nice nickel back.

You can probably tell I love what the Hawks are doing on defense. This crew has all the makings to be a top five defense. Teams will simply not be able to run the ball, forcing them into the pass, which will play into the hands of an extremely aggressive and confident secondary. Will those guys make mistakes at times? You bet, but they don’t string them together, and recover quickly with big play ability. Pre season games are traditionally marked by defenses who are way ahead of offenses, and that was on display Saturday night. But even in light of that reality, the Hawks looked ready to rock. I only see upside with this crew. They are the foundation Pete and Co. are building upon.

On the offensive side of the ball, I literary had no idea what to expect. Unlike most folks, all I cared about seeing Saturday was the defense because, well, I love defense, so when the offense finally took the field, I just tried to keep an open mind. Matt Flynn had a very thin wide receiving corps running routes, and no Beast Mode behind him, so what conclusions can we draw? He had one terrible pass (the INT to the LB), and a bad sack, but over all he looked solid. He got the ball out and on time to the receivers. He seemed comfortable running the offense. His best play was the roll out completion to Zach Miller, (who then promptly got blown up and received a concussion, not good). I was pleased with what I saw. Regarding Russell Wilson, I was equally impressed. Being a rookie, you simply take the good with the bad and roll with it. His athletic ability was apparent from the start. Bevell rolled Wilson out A LOT, which I think was designed to ease Wilson into his first pro game. He ran a lot of roll outs at Wisconsin, so it was only natural to keep him in that comfort zone. His arm strength was solid. His speed was great. His worst play was the red zone INT, which to my eye looked like jitters and nerves. His best play could have been the TD pass to Edwards or the TD run, but for me I can’t really grade at this point. Just seeing him out there looking comfortable was enough.

I was impressed with the starting offensive line’s run blocking. Washington and Turbin (The Turbinator was putting on a gun show, I’m pretty certain he lifts weights…) had gaping holes to run through, and Flynn had time to pass. Good to see considering the plethora of injuries that unit has seen the past two years. Michael Robinson was dominant run blocking, no surprise there. I wish I could say the same for the second unit offensive line. The Hawks don’t have any depth up front, so if further injuries rear their ugly head, they could be in a world of hurt.

Overall, it was a great night of football. There is a lot to be excited about with this team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. If they can identify a clear starting QB and develop some semblance of an aggressive passing game before week 1, I like their chances to get off to a good start in the division and then make a playoff push. But if a passing game is not developed, the upside this team could achieve will be stunted. The next three weeks are vital.

-Joe-

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Glaring Similarities–2011 Huskies & Seahawks

The commonalities began last season, when Pete Carroll was brought in to lead the Seahawks. He brought a few USC guys, and we couldn’t help but notice that the Huskies had done the same thing one year prior with Sark and Holt. The 2010 seasons played out quite similarly, with both teams accomplishing much more than their record would have indicated; the Huskies went 7-6 and won the holiday bowl, while the Seahawks finished 8-10, won their division, and even came within 1 game of hosting the NFC championship. Nice accomplishments despite unimpressive records were not the only parallels.

Husky avg. margin of victory-9; won by less than a TD in 4 wins
Hawks avg. margin of victory-12; won by less than a TD in 3 wins

Husky avg. margin of loss-26.5; loss by more than 3 TD in 4 losses
Hawks avg. margin of loss-21; loss by more than 3 TD in 3 losses

Heading into 2011, the glaring similarities continue with our 2 local football teams. Here is a list I’ve compiled, without stretching it too far (i.e. yes, they both play in Seattle, and yes, both play on field turf)

1. Inexperienced QB following the exodus of a legend- Price following Locker, TJack following Hasselbeck

2. Emphasis on running the ball- A talented but young offensive line to create lanes for Polk and Lynch, both known for hard, all out style

3. QB waiting in the wings- 2012 draft or free agency as well as Montana/Lindquist/Miles

4. Strong receiving core- Kearse, Aguilar, Kasen, KSmith for UW, Rice, MWill, Tate, Obo for Hawks

5. Newcomers- WRs Kasen and Rice, TEs Sefarian-Jenkins and Zach Miller are the headliners

6. Focus on acquiring and developing bigger, faster, stronger athletes- The USC way!

7. Leadership void on defense, specifically MLB- Mason and Lofa are gone, both were vocal leaders, and heart of the defense

8. Counting on the class of 2010- Both 2-deep depth charts are littered with guys entering their 2nd year. This comes as no surprise, given that 2010 was Sark and Carroll’s first class of “their guys.” A few similar positions that come to mind are safeties Sean Parker, Taz Stevenson (UW) Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor (Sea). O-lineman Erik Kohler, Colin Porter, Ben Riva, Colin Tanigawa (UW), and Russell Okung (Sea). WRs Kevin Smith, DiAndre Campbell (UW) and Golden Tate (Sea).

9. Expectations- Had UW landed Jake Heaps, we might be talking about 8-9 wins, and if the Hawks re-signed Matt, the same would be true. As it stands today, 6-7 wins is the number I hear most for both.

10. 1-2 years away from championship contention- Ty Willingham and Tim Ruskell each left their program/team in shambles, meaning Sark and Pete inherited a major re-building situation. It looks as though each are building towards championship contention around 2012-13 (same with the Mariners!)

Other less notable similarities–Question marks at fullback and linebacker, possible strengths at tight end and D-line. Last but not least, the punting game looks promising!

-Dan

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Seahawks smack 49ers 31-6

Coming into the Seahawks game today, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I have been supportive of the new direction Pete Carroll and John Schneider are taking the Hawks in. I really feel I have no choice. When a team wins 9 games in two years, and look really bad doing it, blowing up and starting over is a good course of action. Because of this, expectations are hard to gauge.

The 49ers have been the chic pick to win the division all off season. They have a stout defense, some nice skill position players, a solid offensive line, Frank Gore and, uh, oh yeah, Alex Smith. Somehow the fact that Alex Smith has done absolutely nothing in his pro career was lost all the experts. Maybe because the rest of the division is so bad, people figured he was the lesser of all QB evils. I have never been a believer in Smith, and have been vocal that the 49ers will go as far as Smith takes them, no matter how good their defense is. Today was a perfect example of this fact, even though the Niner defense wasn’t great either.

The shocking 31-6 waxing the Hawks put on SF was a joyful surprise. I thought all along the Hawks had a shot to win, simply by virtue of the home field advantage and first game adrenaline, but I never thought they would completely dominate in all areas of the game.

Defensively, the Hawks shined. Early in the game while the offense was still feeling out the Niners defense, the Seattle defense spent a lot of time on the field. Bending, bending, but not ultimately breaking. Three times SF was in the red zone, only coming away with 6 points. They held Frank Gore to only 38 yards on 17 carries, and forced Alex Smith into an interception. Because the defense was able to hold the 49ers down, they gained confidence and became extremely aggressive as the game wore on. Right off the bat in the 3rd quarter, Marcus Trufant picked off Smith for a TD, which in many ways was the finals straw for SF, they had no fight after that. The Seahawks sent blitzes from every conceivable angle. Chris Clemons and Red Bryant were in Smith’s face all day long, and the secondary did a great job covering and hiding looks. Mid way through the 3rd quarter, I had the distinct feeling the game was on ice, Smith had zero confidence in his line, Gore was constantly getting stuffed, the WRs were unable to get YAC and the 12th Man was bringing serious noise. The defense was my MVP for the game. They played with their hair on fire, all the while playing with discipline and control. That is a scary combo for opposing offenses.

Offensively, the Hawks warmed up as the minutes ticked by. The first play of the game, Matt Hasselbeck threw as bad an INT as you could throw. But, like the good veteran he is, Matt bounced back and made play after play, hitting Mike Williams, Butler, Carlson, Branch for various gains. The running game was efficient, not great by any means, but able to get small gains. Overall the offense was efficient, not making mistakes, gaining first downs, and exposing mismatches in the secondary. I would like to see the running game get better, but seeing Matt Hasselbeck look like his old self was so great to see. A healthy and aggressive Hasselbeck will spell success for the Hawks.

Having Lofa Tatupu, Matt Hasselbeck and Marcus Trufant healthy and fast makes this team a team that can indeed win the NFC West. That is not the kool aid talking either. Considering how bad the 49ers looked today, and how pathetic the Rams and Cards looked as well, the Hawks are sitting pretty after one week. Injuries are the key, they must stay healthy. Denver will be a very difficult game, Mile High is a brutal place to play for road teams. Can Seattle go in and win? If they play defense like they did today, they can be in any game in any venue.

Game 1 of the Pete Carroll era is a smashing success. I hope Seahawks fans (myself included) will enjoy this. Just take it all in and enjoy the week. Please don’t be the boo hoo naysayers you have been all off season. Put on your Hawks colors and get ready for Denver. Talk some smack, have fun, dream big. This is Seattle, bad things are always around the corner, so let’s get on the bandwagon now and have a blast!

-Joe

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Alex Gibbs resigns

Reports all over the place that offensive line coach of the Seahawks, Alex Gibbs, has resigned. This is shocking news. Speculation is the Hawks will release OG Ben Hamilton, who Gibbs brought in to help mentor Russell Okung. So much for that plan. This development is mystifying on so many levels. I understand how a guy can resign over health issues, which if that is the case, I hope he is fine, but it also could be the fact that it is becoming more and more apparent by the days and weeks that this franchise is rebuilding, and Gibbs may not have the patience for that. Wish he would have figured this out when he decided to come back to coaching. Ridiculous!

-Joe

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Hawks cleaning house

The news yesterday and today is that T.J. Houshmanzadeh has been released by the Seahawks, additionally, today, Jason LaCanfora is reporting they have released J.P. Losman, leaving Seattle with two quarterbacks on the depth chart. Obviously this will not be the case going into week 1. I fully expect the Hawks to sign a 3rd stringer soon, because as we know, Patrick Willis, whom they play in the opener, has a knack for putting QB’s in the hospital.

On the Housh front, I am fully in support of cutting him. I know his defenders will say he is a competitor and wants to win, hence his brash behavior, something Seattle sports needs because we are a soft sports town, and the Hawks are a soft team. News flash: He was on the team last season that was the softest I have ever seen. Huffing and puffing, undercutting your offensive coordinator, and going on local sports radio stations ripping media members who are paid to critique and give their opinions was chump and frankly embarrassing to the franchise (I include Deion Branch in my criticism as well…). Teams in the NFL with distracting, big ego diva players will not go far. (Unless you are the 1990’s Dallas Cowboys who had HOFs all over the field, they are the exception…). The Seahawks are light years from that. The Hawks need team players who keep their mouths shut and go out and let their play do the talking. I could give a rip what Housh did in Cincy. What he did in Seattle was meaningless. I’d rather have Mike Williams, Deon Butler, Golden Tate. They have something to prove and will play hard and won’t belly-ache about getting the ball, then disguise that opinion by saying “oh, I just want to win, I’m not bitter”. Sure, never heard that before, c’mon.

The Seahawks have a long way to go to be in serious playoff contention, so a move like this I think is healthy in purging the team of problems and looking to the future. Is it a drop off in talent? Probably, but I think it will be an increase in moral and team chemistry. This is Carroll and Schneider’s team. Any time they cut ties with the Ruskell era, I am all for it. I am fine with the Josh Wilson trade as well. If they don’t think he fits, better deal him, or he’ll be a problem as well. Wilson has some talent, but people are overreacting like the guy was a pro-bowler. Again, the Hawks will be thin in the secondary, but this regime wants to see if Walter Thurmond can play. I like the move. I think Thurmond has all the tools to be a good NFL player.

Overall? Addition by subtraction.

-Joe

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NFL Draft — Seahawks Preview

I’ll admit, I am a sucker for the NFL draft. It’s a top 5 sporting event for me. I know lots of people don’t understand the hype, and so many of these first-rounders turn into busts, but for me, it’s a holiday. A lot of people must agree, because the draft has exploded into must-see TV, which is why it is now a prime time event beginning this Thursday evening. If anyone asks me why I care so much about a bunch of rookies being drafted, getting boat loads of money, and often not living up to the hype, my answer is simple. In 3 days, my favorite NFL team is going to add roughly 10 players, and it is entirely possible that 3 or 4 could be immediate starters. That doesn’t happen in other sports. So, if you are as excited as me, and the Seahawks are your team, perhaps you’re interested in knowing who the future stars of Seattle might be. Let’s take a look at the Hawks draft.

Needs (in order)-

1- Offensive tackle: This is the most obvious, glaring need for Seattle. Walter Jones will likely announce his retirement in the coming weeks, leaving Ray Willis and Sean Locklear as the starting tackles. The Hawks, and especially Tim Ruskell, got burned last year by not addressing the offensive line with the 4th pick. This team is rebuilding and if Hasselbeck is to stay healthy, he needs left tackle protection.
2- Defensive end: Not far behind the need for a left tackle is the need for an impact pass rusher. The Seahawks were horrible at getting to the quarterback last year, tallying just 28 sacks. The Seahawks best ends from last year, Patrick Kerney (retirement) and Darryl Tapp (trade) are gone, leaving a gaping hole at the position. If the season started tomorrow, your starting defensive ends would most likely be Chris Clemons and Lawrence Jackson…ouch.
3- Safety: The Seahawks defense is in better shape than the offense, but safety is definitely a concern. Seattle released Deion Grant recently, leaving Jordan Babineaux and Jamar Adams as the top starting candidates. Seattle hasn’t had a good secondary since 2005, and a big reason could be that they haven’t drafted a safety since Ken Hamlin in 2003, and have instead opted to fill the position through free agency. (i.e. Brian Russell, Deion Grant, Lawyer Milloy)
4- Running Back/Wide Receiver: Anyone who has watched Seattle the last couple years can see this team desperately needs a game breaker, someone who can score on any given down. Burleson was the closest thing to this, but he is in Detroit now. Many thought Seattle would acquire Brandon Marshall to be the playmaker this offense desires, but Miami won his services. Players like Julius Jones, Justin Forsett, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh can all be solid contributors at the skill position, but none provide the true #1 talent that puts fear into opponents. (i.e. Chris Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, DeSean Jackson)

Notable Picks- and more after the jump! Continue reading

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Cheer Up!!!

No use in rehashing last nights meat grinder of a game at HecEd. Let’s focus on the positive, the good juju in Seattle sports. It’s sunny out, WHY NOT!

Jake Locker is coming back this fall. Let’s not forget that Husky fans. I’ve got a purple kool-aid keg in my garage at the ready for Labor Day weekend. BYU is toast.

Come September, this guy will be running WILD!!!

Ken Griffey Jr has arrived at Spring Training is is already holding court in the locker room. I heard he was doing P90 in the offseason, dropped seven pounds and is in great shape for a guy his age. Add to that Ichiro arriving soon, along with Mike Sweeney? Can there BE any more Sodo Mojo love in the desert? Don’t think so…

The Seahawks have two first round picks. They have holes at literally every position. Hence, they will more than likely draft two guys who will play right away. Sounds good to me, let’s just hope they go best available. I like what I am hearing from Schneider and Carroll. Sign me up, I’m buying.

Have an awesome weekend!

Joe

PS – These video highlights make me quite happy and full of joy. I hope you feel the same.


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