Archive for November, 2012

Instant reaction: Seahawks handle Jets, move to 6-4

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

These two guys had a rough day in Seattle

This was a great win. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. During the game I noticed people complaining about play calling, a lack of offense and one or two other issues. Quit complaining. The Seahawks handled this game after the early setback of a Jets turnover-touchdown.

Here’s the facts. Seattle’s defense didn’t concede a single point and completely shut down Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow and co. The offense struggled early on against a good Rex Ryan defense, but that’s to be expected. Check Ryan’s record against rookie quarterbacks because the guy can coach a defense. It took a while for Russell Wilson to get settled today. Eventually, Darrell Bevell found intelligent ways to combat the exotic blitz packages. And in the end Wilson had two touchdowns, Marshawn Lynch had over 100 yards plus a score and the receivers made big plays.

You can linger on a difficult period after the Jets touchdown if you like. Or you can concentrate on some solid in-game adjustments and another great win for the Seahawks.

Wilson continues to show real potential. His two touchdown throws were right on the money. He had a couple of moments where he tried too hard to hold onto the ball and make a play. One led to a touchdown for New York. Yet unlike a lot of young quarterbacks, it didn’t get to him. Anyone who saw Miami’s Ryan Tannehill today saw a rookie throw a pick-six and go on to throw two more interceptions as he tried to force a response. Wilson was unflappable after his turnover. He’s yet to throw a pick at home and now has 15 touchdowns for the year. Get excited.

Sidney Rice and Golden Tate are showing why they can become a very productive tandem for this offense. They aren’t just making plays, they’re scoring touchdowns. A problem area a few weeks ago is becoming a strength. It’s no coincidence that the production has increased as Wilson has settled into the NFL. As the quarterback continues to grow, I suspect we’ll see even more from Rice and Tate.

Marshawn Lynch has over 1000 rushing yards after ten games. Enough said.

On defense, Bruce Irvin is up to seven sacks as a rookie and Richard Sherman continues to play at an elite level. There won’t be a more deserving Pro Bowl debut if Sherman gets to Hawaii this season. The Jets’ offense is one of the worst in the NFL, but it’s good to see the defense as a unit hit back with a shut-out after a couple of difficult games.

The Seahawks can feel very good about their position at 6-4 going into the bye. There are tough games ahead against Miami and Chicago, but these are occasions where you have to prove you belong. There are six games to go and four wins likely gets you into the playoffs as a wildcard. Although the 49ers struggled against St. Louis today, they maintain a 1.5 game lead in the NFC West. San Francisco has Chicago, New Orleans and New England among their remaining opponents, but they also face the Rams again, Miami, Arizona and Seattle on December 23rd. The Niners are getting a lot of breaks again this year (today being a huge example). In terms of the NFC West title, that luck may not run out until 2013.

As for the draft, one thought struck me today. The Seahawks are running more and more trick plays. They’re still throwing downfield and they’re looking for advantages all over the field. In my last mock draft I projected Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee) to Seattle. This is a guy who returns kicks, takes snaps at tailback, will take an end around with a throwing option, run downfield routes. He does it all. Watching this offense today, I think he’s even more of an option than I did previously.

Here are Patterson’s numbers: 638 receiving yards, four touchdowns. 553 kick return yards, one 98-yard touchdown. 270 rushing yards, three touchdowns. One pass attempt, complete, for 28 yards. He’s 6-3, 205lbs and will run a good time at the combine.

In the past I’ve thought if anyone drafts Patterson in round one, it’ll be a team in a position to make a ‘luxury pick’. He’ll be a home run hitter. Suddenly, this Seahawks team looks capable of justifying such a pick. And imagine this offense with another explosive receiver? The front office appears to like multi-faceted playmakers with size and speed. Patterson fits the bill.

It’s merely one option at this very early stage. But it’s an option we might need to give greater consideration as we move forward.

Matt Barkley (QB, USC) vs Oregon

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

CFB Week 11 open thread

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

You know the drill by now. I wanted to highlight the above tweet from Chris Steuber – the Seahawks again have representation at a Rutgers game. I still maintain Brandon Coleman is the receiver all Seahawks fans should be hoping declares. He has elite potential and he plays for Rutgers. Of course, they could be looking at linebacker Khaseem Greene too. Either way it’s interesting to note.

Is tight end a need for the Seahawks?

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Stanford's Zach Ertz could be the first tight end off the board next April

Seattle needs to add at least one new receiver at some point in the off-season. The lack of production at tight end, however, has led some to wonder whether that’s an upgradeable position too.

Zach Miller’s numbers this season are not too different to most tight ends in the league. There aren’t a cluster of Gronkowski’s and Graham’s around and we may see a number of  ‘copycat’ draft picks as GM’s try to emulate the Patriots and Saints. The thing is, both of those teams have great, Super Bowl winning quarterbacks and elite passing games. The Seahawks – sporting a rookie quarterback and leaning on the ground attack – are not running an offense that is going to be overly generous towards a tight end.

Part of the problem is Miller’s lack of production in Seattle compared to his time in Oakland. Fans feel underwhelmed by a guy who signed a big contract to join the Seahawks. Yet this is actually the greatest example as to why this isn’t a talent issue. Miller averaged 61 receptions per-year between 2008-10 for the Raiders. He has just 43 catches in 24 games for the Seahawks. According to Advanced NFL Stats, Miller has only been targeted 26 times this year with 18 completions. There are 31 tight ends in the NFL with more targets than Zach Miller. According to the websites ‘success rate’ (defined as ‘the proportion of plays in which a player was directly involved that would typically be considered successful’) Miller is ranked 6th in the league ahead of even Gronkowski and Graham. When the Seahawks use Miller, he generally has a positive impact. They just aren’t using him all that much.

In his final year with the Raiders (2010) he was targeted 92 times. That’s quite a substantial drop off compared to this years 26 targets in nine games. Miller is used largely to block and protect and his role within this offense shouldn’t be defined by the number of catches he’s making. And while ideally you’d like his touchdown numbers to be up, in Oakland he had a one score season in 2008 and only had three touchdowns in 2007 and 2009.

Drafting a tight end early will not automatically provide this team with a jolt of production unless they adapt the position to be more productive. And if you’re going to adapt, why not just put the responsibility on Miller? Although the Seahawks use a lot of 2TE sets, we haven’t seen a great deal from Anthony McCoy or Evan Moore. Spending a high pick on the position might be a wasted move whether it’s to compliment or replace Zach Miller.

The one thing that could provoke a change is the cap hit for Miller in 2013. He’s scheduled to eat up $11m in cap room in a year where the Seahawks may feel that money is better spent elsewhere. He could renegotiate his deal, but it’s unlikely he’ll ever see $11m next season whatever happens between now and the new year. Even in the most dramatic scenario where he’s released, is this really a position you spend a first round pick on?

The Seahawks clearly see the importance of the tight end position, which is why they spent $34m on signing Miller in the first place. That could hint towards a more productive role in the future for whoever plays tight end in this system and further investment. Whether it’s worth a first or second round investment remains to be seen. A lot will depend on how the Seahawks rate a relatively mediocre looking 2013 class at the position.

The two Stanford players are probably the most talented – Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo. Ertz is a solid all-round tight end who blocks well for his size and is capable of making plays in he passing game. Toilolo is a 6-8 beast who has shown he can get downfield – he’s averaging 19 yards per catch this year. At the next level he might struggle to have the same success rate, but he could be a force in the red zone. Tyler Eifert is the latest tight end off the Notre Dame production line and warrants a mid-round grade. One to keep an eye on is Gavin Escobar at San Diego State. Statistically he’s one of the leading tight ends in the nation and he’s more of a pass catcher than blocker. He’s 6-6 and 255lbs and has the best shot to be that modern day athletic, receiving tight end. Dion Sims at Michigan State warrants some attention as a possible second or third rounder.

It’s around about now that the Washington fans bring up Austin Seferian-Jenkins – the NCAA’s leading tight end statistically and future NFL star. He’s not eligible for the 2013 draft and when he enters the league in 2014, it’ll be as a top-ten pick. It’ll be very difficult to keep ASJ in-state unless the Seahawks take major steps backwards next season. Or they make a big move up the board, which almost never happens for a tight end – however talented.

I’ve included three games of tape for Stanford’s Ertz below, vs USC, Notre Dame and Washington.

Are Seattle’s biggest needs on defense?

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Seattle's offense continues to grow with Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch

When you think about it, there aren’t that many holes in Seattle’s offense. Sure, it was a difficult start to the year. That had to be expected breaking in a rookie quarterback. But now? Things look a lot more positive. And while improvements clearly can be made, I just wonder if this is a better group than we thought a few weeks ago?

Quarterback
The Seahawks finally have a possible quarterback of the future. Russell Wilson is growing into the NFL and looked superb against the Vikings last week. He’s nine games into his career and there’s no reason why he won’t continue to develop. Finding a starting quarterback in round three has become virtually impossible in the NFL. Seattle’s front office maybe found that ‘once in a generation’ diamond that everyone is looking for. Wilson is poised, he’s making good decisions, he’s accurate, he has the arm strength and the mobility. The one thing people said would be an issue – his height – isn’t proving to be an issue at all. These are exciting times.

Wide receiver
Perhaps the most talked about position in terms of pure need, but the Seahawks have pumped investment into this unit. One of the first moves the current regime made in 2010 was to draft Golden Tate in round two. They courted Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson before finally signing Sidney Rice to a $41m contract. They re-signed (then released) Mike Williams, and also re-signed Ben Obomanu. They pulled out all the stops to add Doug Baldwin in a competitive UDFA market. The signing of Rice and drafting of Tate both received favourable reviews by fans and media. Recently the pair have developed into key playmakers.

Tight end
While it’s very easy to concentrate on the superstar quality of Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, the truth is there aren’t many guys like that around. In a passing offense utilising a rookie quarterback and concentrating on the run, it shouldn’t be a big surprise that Zach Miller’s numbers aren’t up there with the leagues elite. Only four tight ends rank among the forty most productive receivers this year – Gronkowski (19), Jason Witten (23), Tony Gonzalez (32) and Owen Daniels (37). The quarterbacks throwing to that quartet? Brady, Romo, Ryan and Schaub. Miller’s reputation coming to Seattle is the catalyst for an underwhelming impression of his time here. It could be argued the front office did what they could to deliver a top-end player for the position with a $34m contract. It’s his misfortune that the signing coincided with integrating a rookie quarterback and a focus on the ground game. There’s no guarantee a first round pick or alternative free agent will upgrade this position. Miller’s lack of production is a system problem, not an individual problem. And maybe it’s blind faith, but I still believe Anthony McCoy has a bright future in the NFL.

Running back
Trading for Marshawn Lynch was a master-stroke by the front office. For minimal draft outlay, the Seahawks acquired one of the best running backs in the NFL. Lynch is vital to this team and Buffalo Bills fans will be wondering how such a useful asset was allowed to leave the team for such a bargain price. Consider that the Bills not only traded Lynch away, but spent a top-ten pick on another running back (C.J. Spiller) as part of the replacement plan. Drafting Robert Turbin was a necessary move this year to make sure the team isn’t caught out if Lynch misses time (see: Cleveland game last year). After re-signing Lynch to a big deal, this is an area of real long term strength for the Seahawks.

Offensive line
Not many teams can match the kind of investment Seattle is making in its offensive line. Since 2010 they’ve employed two big name coaches (Alex Gibbs and Tom Cable), spent two first round picks (Russell Okung, James Carpenter), added John Moffitt in round three and re-signed center Max Unger to a long extension. The rest of the line is made up of players familiar with the system or coaches. People continue to discuss the possibility of further investment here, but the best answer for further improvement is merely time on the field and consistency. The Seahawks have a better line than most people credit. The ground game continues to prosper and Wilson has barely been touched this year.

Overall,there’s no glaring weaknesses. Compare this to other teams in the NFC West – the Cardinals have major question marks at quarterback and have virtually no investment in their offensive line. Sure, they have a superstar at receiver and recently spent another first round pick on Michael Floyd. But the Cardinals lack a lot of key features needed for a consistent offense. St. Louis likewise needs to rebuild its offensive line and while they have a former #1 pick at quarterback, they’re scrambling around trying to find weapons for Sam Bradford. Seattle and San Francisco boast much healthier overall situations.

That’s not to say improvements cannot be made. You can always get better and the Seahawks should seriously consider ways to find another good receiver. Even so, there’s a lot to be positive about there. If Wilson continues to develop, you’ll see the numbers in the passing game increase – meaning better stats for Rice, Tate and Miller. By the end of the year, people may have a very different opinion of that trio. Miller is unlikely to see a projected salary of $11m in 2013 but there’s every possibility a compromise can be made. Don’t assume the Seahawks can suddenly find a better option at tight end.

And when you actually consider it, are the teams greatest remaining needs actually on the much talked-about defense? They lack a truly excellent three technique with the potential to play most downs. There’s room to upgrade the WILL linebacker position. You can never have too many good pass rushers or corner backs.

This is a team that’s going to be built on a tough defense that takes the ball away, a productive ground game and efficient play at quarterback. So what should the priority be if the offense continues its upward trend? Sidney Rice and co arrived in Seattle with the potential to be great. Russell Wilson oozes the potential to be great. Marshawn Lynch already is great. Maybe, just maybe, the biggest needs are on defense?

Cornellius Carradine (DE, Florida State) vs Duke

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Guest Post: Is RGIII 18 times better than Russell Wilson?

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Why so sad? Oh yes, you just lost to the 1-6 Carolina Panthers

Written by Michael Matherne…

The Washington Redskins gave up an unprecedented amount of draft capital to grab Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. At the time, most national pundits were on board with the move and many Seahawks fans looked on longingly as the Redskins secured their “franchise QB”. Who could blame them? The quarterback position is the most important in any major american sport. RGIII has a unique blend of athletic ability, deadly accuracy, and even media appeal.

After four consecutive seasons of sub-par QB play, many Seahawks fans and media were critical of Pete Carroll and John Schneider’s unwillingness to give up the proverbial “farm” as Washington just had. 193 days, one controversial quarterback competition and five thrilling victories later, it’s time to re-evaluate the ‘Hawks biggest off-season decision in recent memory.

When you look at the draft capital spent to acquire each player the comparison between Griffin and Wilson is pretty astounding. Using the standard draft pick valuation chart (loosely used in draft pick trades) we can assign a very inexact numerical value to each draft pick and get a basic idea of what each team gave up for their new passer.

The Redskins packaged three first round picks as well as a second rounder to move into position for RGIII. If we use the reverse order of ESPN’s week nine power rankings we can take an educated guess that Washingtons 2013 pick will end up as approximately the 14th overall choice.

Let’s say they improve enough in 2014 to clinch a wildcard and even win a playoff game, putting their 2014 pick at around #25 or #26 overall. That is a pretty generous assumption and if we operate under this projection you get the following draft value numbers:

6th overall pick in the 2012 draft – 1600 chart value

39th overall pick in the 2012 draft – 510 chart value

14th overall pick in the 2013 draft – 1100 chart value

26th overall pick in the 2014 draft – 700 chart value

Total – 3910 chart value

Here is what it cost the Seahawks to put Russell Wilson under center in Seattle:

75th overall pick in 2012 draft – 215 chart value

Some simple arithmetic reveals that the Washington Redskins coughed up roughly 18 times more to get Griffin than the Seattle Seahawks did to get Wilson.

3910/215 = 18.19

Was it worth it? Through nine weeks the two signal callers have put up the following lines:

Griffin – 65.6 CMP% 8 TD’s 3 INT’s for a 93.9 QB rating

Wilson – 62.0 CMP% 13 TD’s 8 INT’s for a 87.2 QB rating

Throw in RGIII’s 476 rushing yards and 6 additional TD’s (along with one concussion) and you can make a decent argument that Griffin has been more valuable so far than Wilson, but has he been 18 times more valuable? I hardly think so. In fact I think RGIII vs. RW is a lot like a house in San Francisco versus an identical house in Bozeman, Montana. That’s right Bozeites, I think living in Montana is the real world equivalent of being a 5-11 quarterback. I would begrudgingly apologize, but I’m not totally convinced you guys have the internet yet, so you will likely never read this anyway.

Getting back on track, the more important question is how will they perform over the course of their careers? Would anyone in their right mind bet that Griffin wins 18x more playoff games than Wilson, or for that matter 18x the number of Super Bowls? A quick peek at the law of diminishing returns makes you think twice before taking that wager up with your bar buddies.

Ultimately nine games do not define a quarterback’s career and history has shown that both players could end up being superstars or busts. But after those nine game it could be argued that the Seahawks got far better “value” in selecting Russell Wilson than the Redskins did by picking Robert Griffin III.

Russell Wilson interview on PFT

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Georgia linebacker Alec Ogeltree has elite potential

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Alec Ogletree is the real star of Georgia's defense

Alec Ogletree is a top ten talent. Simple as that. No doubt what so ever. By the time April comes around I suspect that’ll be consensus opinion. It should be.

There are reasons why that may not prove to be the case (more on that later) but none involve a lack of talent. What’s more the guy looks like he was made to play for the Seahawks defense. If he falls out of the top ten due to a couple of off-field incidents, Seattle’s front office needs to be ready to pounce. We’ve spent a ton of time talking up Jarvis Jones as the defining playmaker on Georgia’s defense. The more I watch Ogletree, the more I think he’s the true star.

Against Ole Miss on Saturday, he was flawless. This is the fourth time I’ve seen him this season and he’s shown improvement each time after returning from a four game suspension. He had a series of big impact plays, helping the Bulldogs to a comfortable 37-10 victory.

– With 13:56 left in the first quarter, Ole Miss attempt a pass down the right sideline. The safety under-cuts the route and comes close to intercepting the ball, but the gamble takes him out of coverage. The receiver has a ten yard head start and a free run to the end zone, but the Ogletree chases him down and makes the tackle at the 16 yard line saving a touchdown.

– On 3rd and 8 at the Ole Miss 45, he lined up next to the right end appearing like he was going to cover the slot receiver. Instead he rushed the edge with the defensive end dropping instead. Ogletree blew past the left tackle on a speed rush and sacked the quarterback for a big loss.

– In the closing stages of the first quarter, Ole Miss went for it on 4th and 4 at the Georgia 30. Ogletree lined up inside, standing on the right hash mark. He rushed the interior but the quarterback threw quickly on a WR screen to the opposite side of the field. Ogletree diagnosed the play immediately, changed direction in a flash and sprinted to the receiver who was odds on to get the first down. With an elite burst of acceleration, Ogletree wins the foot race and makes a crunching tackle to force a turnover on downs, inches short of the marker. Anything other than a forceful hit and momentum carries the ball carrier to a first down. It’s the best defensive play you’ll see this year that isn’t a sack or interception.

– On a screen play with 9:18 left in the second quarter he showed great instinct again to recognise the play, avoid blockers and make the play for a loss.

– With 6:08 left in the second quarter the Ole Miss quarterback drops back and makes an ill-advised down field thrown from just inside his own end zone. Ogletree has dropped into coverage downfield and is perfectly placed to make a leaping interception. By my reckoning he makes up 25 yards between the quarterback setting to throw and delivering the pass. Again, it’s a show of elite athleticism, field IQ and execution.

– With 0:58 left in the third quarter, Ole Miss are pinned back on their own two yard line. Ogletree is once more lined up inside. He reads the play (hand off to the tailback in the shotgun) and explodes to the ball carrier, not allowing him any time to react. Ogletree throws the running back to the ground inside the end zone for a safety.

If you’ve not really considered the possibility of the Seahawks drafting this guy, it’s time to get excited. Just don’t get your hopes up too much because he may be long gone by the time the Seattle picks. I’ve not seen a linebacker with comparable closing speed. He can show a coverage look before blitzing, take away the hot read and play the edge as a pass rusher. In fact he has untapped potential as a pass rusher playing ILB in Georgia’s 3-4 defense. As a WILL linebacker in a 4-3 scheme, he’ll probably end up being a better fit.

So why might he fall to the Seahawks, assuming they aren’t picking in the top ten this year? He was suspended for four games this year, along with team mate Bacarri Rambo, after failing a drugs test during spring camp. There’s nothing to suggest this is a lingering issue or that Ogeltree has a problem. Even so, it’s something teams will look into – particularly given it’s not his first flirtation with trouble. He was also suspended in 2010 for one game after a bizarre arrest following an incident involving a stolen scooter helmet. Teams will do their homework but I suspect these incidents aren’t going to be enough alone to force a dramatic fall in round one.

People who visit the blog regularly know how much I rate pass rusher Jarvis Jones. Who doesn’t rate the guy? He’s the big name on a Georgia defense loaded with NFL talent, including nose tackle Jonathan Jenkins, defensive end Garrison Smith, safety’s Shawn Williams and Bacarri Rambo and cornerbacks Damian Swann and Branden Smith. Ogletree is right up there with Jones and might be the better pro-prospect. The Bulldogs are probably going to face Alabama in the SEC title game again and it’ll be interesting to see if they can do a better job than last year against a dominating Crimson Tide offense. They have enough talent on defense to compete.

Linebacker isn’t Seattle’s greatest need but eventually Leroy Hill is going to move on or revert to a more limited role. Ogletree would be the perfect replacement at the WILL position. Not only would he offer another dimension to the pass rush at outside linebacker, he’d also solve some of the issues on third down. He’s a former safety so has defensive back speed and can cover slot receivers underneath or tight ends on deeper routes over the middle. Third down defense is an area for improvement and Ogletree would provide that from day one. There’s no reason why he couldn’t develop into a player of Julian Peterson’s quality, providing 7-10 sacks per year while being vastly superior in coverage.

Make no mistake, Alec Ogletree is an elite talent and warrants the highest praise as a pro-prospect. If you want someone to root for as a defensive pick, this is your guy.

Instant reaction: Seahawks beat Vikings, struggle with Peterson

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Seattle's passing game continued to grow against the Vikings

Who would’ve guessed Seattle’s biggest problem would suddenly be the defense? Touted as elite just a few weeks ago, the Seahawks are now struggling a bit. The secondary continues to cover big guys pretty well, but the run defense is becoming a problem. Yes, Adrian Peterson is an incredible player. But it isn’t just Adrian Peterson. For the last three games this unit has not played well against the run.

We spent weeks deliberating over which receivers the Seahawks could target in next April’s draft, among other offensive positions. If the draft took place tomorrow, who’d bet against a defensive player being the pick? Is it the biggest need? Probably.

Russell Wilson improves with each performance and looks every bit the teams quarterback of the future. In fact he’s starting to look special. He is far better than a guy like Christian Ponder who had no business in the first round of the 2011 draft. What’s more, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Zach Miller are getting involved. The run attack continues to prosper. Seattle’s offense has carried the team against Detroit and Minnesota. Nobody would’ve believed that a few weeks ago.

On the other side of the ball, the defense struggles to get off the field on third down, struggles to stop the run, has difficulty against slot receivers/check downs and isn’t even tackling very well. They get pressure, but it’s inconsistent (especially on the road) and the four man rush isn’t quite as effective as this scheme requires. Losing Jason Jones has been a bigger blow than a lot of people expected.

The draft is deep at defensive tackle which works in two ways. Either you dip into the talent pool early because that’s where the quality is, or you judge whether the depth is sufficient to wait a little. Jones and Alan Branch are both pending free agents so it’s an area we’ll have to keep an eye on. Getting a penetrative three technique appears crucial if Jones walks. Sheldon Richardson is by far the best pure three technique eligible for 2013 and should be an early pick. Sylvester Williams (see tape below) is also first round worthy and Star Lotulelei will be a high pick if teams buy into his upside. It’s worth noting that Alan Branch is a bigger-than-usual starter at the three. If they want to keep the size they could look at Johnathan Hankins or Jonathan Jenkins – both are very athletic for +325lbs.

There’s also the possibility a player like Alec Ogletree – who looks ideal for the Seahawks’ scheme – is available and he’d add to the pass rush and offer genuine safety speed at linebacker. He can cover underneath to a high level and is adept at reading a quarterbacks eyes and breaking on the ball. He could be a top-15 pick but off field concerns might push him deeper into the first.

In the short term they have to deal with what they’ve got and first and foremost get Jones healthy to help the interior rush. This is a team that has proven they can shut down a run game and they’ll no doubt be studying the tape to work out what teams are doing to suddenly be effective against the defense. New York will run the ball a lot next week but don’t have a back like Peterson or Frank Gore. It’s crucial to the teams potential success this year that they sort this problem out quickly. Before people wondered whether a lousy passing game would hold back an elite defense. Now you have to wonder whether the defense is going to hold back a dynamic offense?

Sylvester Williams (DT, North Carolina) tape vs NC State: