How badly do the Seahawks need a leading receiver?

November 30th, 2012 | Written by Rob Staton

Brandon Coleman is 6-6 and runs away from defensive backs

The Seahawks passing game has come a long way in recent weeks. Russell Wilson looks increasingly comfortable, Sidney Rice and Golden Tate are making plays and the tight ends are getting more involved too. However, the team is still ranked 31st in the NFL for yards per game. Is that an issue?

In many ways, absolutely not. Pete Carroll’s vision for the offense is based around a strong running game and by nature the Seahawks are not going to be throwing as much as other teams. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson – however good he’s looked recently – is still a rookie. The team is unlikely to burden him with too much of a workload. He’s averaging 25 throws a game and that seems about right for this offense. They have a good thing going at the moment with Wilson – and more throws won’t necessarily mean even more success. It could just as easily have a detrimental effect.

The Chicago Bears, surprisingly, are the one team in the NFL averaging less receiving yards per game than the Seahawks. That’s a team with Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall. They also sport an 8-3 record. The teams averaging the most yardage are the Detroit Lions (4-7) the Dallas Cowboys (5-6) and the New Orleans Saints (5-7). The Oakland Raiders are ranked eighth in the league for passing yards. Do we need to continue? Clearly receiving yards per game is a pretty irrelevant statistic when it comes to winning games.

In order to become a contender, the Seahawks need to find consistency. They have a good defense, a good offense and they can make plays on special teams. When all three units come together (vs New England, Dallas, New York), the results have been very promising. Too often, however, an entire unit has struggled and undermined the efforts of the others. Against Arizona and St. Louis, the offense never really got going and Seattle lost two very winnable games. The defense had their turn against Detroit and Miami, playing poorly in two last second defeats.

We’re unlikely to see that consistency emerge this season. You can’t rule it out – the New York Giants found it late last year and made a 9-7 record into a Super Bowl-winning season. The chances are this is a team that will continue to grow, be a bit frustrating for another year or two and like Atlanta or Houston, eventually emerge into a formidable outfit. Let’s not forget Seattle sports one of the youngest rosters in the NFL, with first or second year pro’s at many key positions.

Within that year or two, they’re going to have the opportunity to keep adding talent. And this is where we come back to the receiver situation. We’ve established the Seahawks don’t necessarily need to significantly improve their passing yards per game average, but are they still lacking that game changing receiver?

Matt Schaub (#13) and Andy Dalton (#15) are safely in the middle of the pack for passing attempts among starting quarterbacks. Yet the players they’re throwing to most – Andre Johnson (#3) and A.J. Green (#5) – are ranked much higher for production. Remember Jay Cutler and that league worst passing offense in terms of production? Cutler ranks #26 in the league for attempts (one place above Russell Wilson at #27) and yet Brandon Marshall is #6 in the NFL for receiving yards. Josh Freeman is #19 for attempts, Vincent Jackson is #9 for yardage.¬†Seattle’s most productive receiver – Sidney Rice – is currently ranked #54 in the league for yardage. Golden Tate is at #80. Both players are behind Brandon LaFell, Donny Avery, Jeremy Kerley and Nate Washington.

It’d be unfair to be overly critical of Rice or Tate as both are doing fine jobs for Seattle in recent weeks. They’ve both been responsible for key victories. But is this an offense that lacks that one dynamic target? Someone who can feature alongside Rice and Tate and at least register enough yardage to overtake Greg Olsen for production? Someone who can work their way into becoming one of the most threatening pass-catchers in the league? The Seahawks might not need a hugely productive passing game overall to win, but they may need a better #1 target for Wilson. Of the top 15 receivers in the NFL for production, 12 feature on teams with at least a 7-4 record.

There’s likely to be a good crop of receivers available in next years draft. Markus Wheaton, Robert Woods and DeAndre Hopkins are all underrated due to a lack of elite size. Cordarrelle Patterson is a home-run hitter with game changing abilities. There are other players, such as Justin Hunter, who failed to live up to expectations in college but maintain an attractive skill set. There are tight ends like Tyler Eifert and Gavin Escobar who will probably be available after the first round.

However, the two players I’d focus on when looking for a dynamic passing threat are two players we’ve discussed already on this blog – Brandon Coleman (WR, Rutgers) and Zach Ertz (TE, Stanford).

Coleman would be a work in progress and wouldn’t guarantee an early return if you draft him in round one. He plays like a redshirt freshman featuring in an offense that likes to run the ball as a priority. It’s easy to overvalue players based on college production – not every player is fortunate enough to feature in an extreme spread, air-raid offense. A.J. Green started three years at Georgia and never had a 1000 yard season. Justin Blackmon had 1782 yards in 2010 alone. In two years at Rutgers, Coleman has just 56 receptions for 1215 yards. More importantly though, he has 16 touchdowns – including ten this year.

He remains relatively inexperienced and he may hit a steep learning curve in the NFL. He’s going to have to learn to run a lot of different routes, he won’t be able to rely as much on pure size and reach (he’s 6-6 and 225lbs). However, Coleman is the most physically impressive receiver you’ll see not named Calvin Johnson.

You want to know what he’s capable of? If you missed Rutgers’ game against Louisville last night, check out this 85 yard touchdown on the Scarlet Knights’ first offense snap of the night. He makes a difficult grab between two defensive backs, turns up field and out-runs the defense. He’s sprinting away from cornerbacks at 6-6 and 225lbs. At that size he’s naturally going to be a threat in the red zone and you’re going to be able to ‘pull a Matt Stafford’ by throwing passes only Coleman has any chance of completing. Yet he has that extra dimension of being a tremendous open field runner and YAC specialist despite the height. He’s a rare specimen.

It’s not clear whether he intends to declare for the draft or not at this stage, but he is eligible and would clearly be the best receiver among the 2013 class. He’s a player whose best football will come in the NFL. He has the opportunity to be a superstar. For more information and game tape, see this piece I wrote on Coleman back in October.

Ertz is a very different player entirely. He has similar height (6-6, 252lbs) but would play tight end at the next level with a lot of blocking responsibility. While it might not seem like an obvious direction for a team looking for a difference making receiver, it’s worth noting how crucial the tight end position is becoming in the league. Of the top-40 receivers for yardage right now, six are tight ends. Everyone has seen the impact of Rob Gronkowski (6-6, 265lbs) and Jimmy Graham (6-7, 265lbs). The great thing about Ertz is he’s over 10lbs lighter and yet still run blocks better than both players did entering the league.

It’s rare to see such a strong blocking tight end playing with Ertz’s frame. Stanford are able to keep him at the line for any play call – run or pass – and it completely opens up their playbook. Ertz leads the Cardinal for receiving yards with 818 from 63 receptions – and yet he plays an equally crucial role blocking for the vastly underrated Stepfan Taylor (Seattle should be all over that guy, even if running back isn’t a need). Crucially in terms of his NFL stock, Ertz is capable of lining up as a pure receiver or in the slot. The entire NFL is looking for a tight end with Ertz’s skill set. He could be the next great, productive tight end in the league.

With Seattle running the ball as much as they do and trying to exploit the play action passing game, Ertz could become Russell Wilson’s best friend. And while it might not lead to the kind of partnership that dominates the highlight reels, there’s no reason why Ertz couldn’t come in and instantly become a productive pass catcher and blocker. He looks NFL ready, more so than another former Cardinal tight end Coby Fleener. The Seahawks essentially could use Ertz and Zach Miller in the same way Stanford uses Ertz and Levine Toilolo – providing a big boost to the running game and developing the play action game they like to utilise so much.

And as always – the most important thing is touchdowns rather than yardage. Like Coleman, Ertz excels in this area with 15 career scores.

Both players will have to declare for the draft to gain consideration for 2013. Both players may leave the board within the top-15 picks if they do turn pro. But if the Seahawks are looking for another dynamic receiving option, these two players will probably be near the top of the list. Along with the top defensive tackles (Sheldon Richardson, Star Lotulelei, Sylvester Williams) and the top linebackers (Alec Ogletree, C.J. Mosley) – the likes of Coleman and Ertz could be near the top of Seattle’s draft board next April.

Note – Sheldon Richardson turning pro

No surprises that Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson announced today he will enter the 2013 draft. He’s had a terrific year and only some lingering character concerns will keep him out of the top-15 picks. He’d be an ideal fit for the three-technique in Seattle and he’s one to focus on during the draft process. Expect a number of non-Bowl eligible prospects to announce their intentions now that we’re getting into December. And also keep an eye on the top underclassmen who are competing in the bowls. They’re always liable to reveal their intentions in post-game press conferences.

Below I’ve included Richardson’s tape vs Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia:

29 Responses to “How badly do the Seahawks need a leading receiver?”

  1. MJ says:

    Great read and completely agree. Either guy would be amazing on this team. Ertz is unreal. Still can’t believe he hasn’t generated more hype. He is an amazing athlete for that size and is so natural in the passing game for a guy who can block.

  2. Nigel says:

    Sheldon Richardson is the most impressive of the tackles you have recently highlighted. He explodes off the ball and penetrates well. He has great athleticism and tracked Lacy down from behind a couple times. I didn’t see anything impressive about Sylvester Williams. Problem with Richardson is he looks like a top ten pick to me.

    Regarding the playmakers, I like the case you made for Ertz. Great blocker with Gronkowski potential as a pass catcher. Of course in our offense he won’t get that many targets, so it is imperative that he can block. I see him as a guy that would almost never leave the field. That is why we take a tight end before a receiver, plus one of the many solid receivers should drop to our 2nd pick.

    • Snoop Dogg says:

      I agree with you! Sheldon is by far the most impressive player among defensive tackles. He has instincts, agressiveness, and the body type for Seattle’s 3 technique.

      Could Sheldon be a similar case to Myckal Kendricks last year? Kendricks was among the best inside linebackers (along with Bobby Wagner – Who I like to call Bobby Swagner) production-wise, and the best physically, but he fell to the middle second round because of team suspensions and other question marks. I think Sheldon will make it to us. We would be stupid not to take him.

  3. ben-jammin says:

    Nice write up Rob. Love seeing there’s a new post of yours to read.

    Both of these guys would be incredible weapons and make our offense/team much more dangerous. Can’t help but think by your description that Ertz would have less of an opportunity cost. Considering that he’d be in with Miller and probably taking snaps from Mccoy (even imagining three te sets becoming much more dangerous in Goal line situations) as opposed to Coleman who may be a perfect fit for us, he would push some of the other talent at wr to the bench. Which would be fine, but it seems like the upside for such a useful blocker and talented 2nd te would have a bigger overall impact in multiple phases. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Tate or Baldwin would sit and I’d be fine to have a legit huge target and #1 wr, thank you very much. Just seems like Ertz would open up the playbook more, make our number one priority on offense of running more effective and our play-action much more dangerous. Either one sounds awesome but think Ertz could have an enormous impact and probably help us get more out of zach miller and Marshawn (not to mention Russell).

    Also a wr who needs to learn how to run proper routes but is a natural physical stud. Took Tate three years to seem to get it down. While Coleman would contribute quicker than Tate with much more physical ability, he sounds raw still. Wouldn’t Ertz have a bigger immediate impact?

  4. ben-jammin says:

    Then again, rewatched Coleman’s tape. Holy shit. His stride and acceleration are unbelievable. Big dude can move.

  5. Jeff says:

    The Hawks have one fo the worst offensive lines in the league. Until that is improved,not much else is going to work.

    • Hawkspur says:

      I have to disagree. They’re not the best in the league but they’re still pretty good. After all, Lynch runs for 100+ almost every week and Wilson’s not getting killed. Sure his ability to escape pressure helps, but generally speaking I think the line does a good job. We could upgrade at right tackle and possibly at right guard, but I’d hope the front office will only invest a high pick here if someone impressive drops and the value is too good to pass up.

  6. Attyla the Hawk says:

    Coleman does look like a superstar.

    I’m curious at what point Schneider opts for the superstar quality over the quantity of prospects we’ve been accustomed to. Even though he has Green Bay roots, they also aren’t averse to moving up to get a guy they set their sights on (e.g. Clay Matthews).

    Given the stated intent that John wasn’t leaving the draft without Russell Wilson, I’m wondering if that sentiment could apply to guys that we need to move up to get, and not just wait until we are afraid someone else won’t take them.

    Sheldon would be an interesting prospect. He certainly would collect some stats at the 3 tech. He has the quality to get past and around blockers. He does seem to get handled on the run and I’d find his playing every down like a Fletcher Cox of last year to be somewhat suspect.

    I actually like Williams better on that basis. Richardson will probably get the most sacks of any DT with a first round grade. But he’s also going to get absolutely stoned at the LOS more than just about any other DT in the first round too. I look on tape and I see a guy who is situational. Not in the same vein of a Bruce Irvin. But a guy who is similarly feast or famine.

    A player like Williams to me is less situational. He’s a guy that has moves, size and attacks the interior with violence and is more likely to work through opponents, instead of trying to just get by them. This is a quality that can be paired with a quick team mate rushing on the end. Williams to me is a much better complement to Irvin or another DE.

    There are other DTs I’d hope we’d take other than Richardson at that spot — but I wouldn’t be disappointed if we picked him either. There are attributes to like with him.

    • dave crockett says:

      Fair points. Richardson is a pure 3-tech but he’s more John Randle than Tommy Harris, if that makes any sense. He’s playing the penetrating one gap role quite a bit but he’s not limited to that.

      His first year at Mizzou (2011, in the Big 12), he played a little bigger and was more stout against the run but Mizzou couldn’t generate much interior rush. He pushed the pocket and played with his hands a fair bit in 2011. In many ways he flashed a more complete skill set. It was hardly noticeable because virtually every team plays like Oklahoma State and Baylor with RGIII.

      Richardson noticeably slimmed down for 2012 to become more of a penetrating 3-tech, plus the coaches moved him around more. If you can dig up some 2011 film (especially Texas) you’ll see a more complete but less dynamic player. So, if the question is about how stout he is at the point of attack don’t go JUST by the 2012 film.

  7. Phil says:

    Watched the UCLA-Stanford PAC-12 Championship Game last night (Stanford won 27-24 in a good game). Ertz was pretty much a non-factor (3 catches for 19 yds.) and Stephon Taylor wasn’t very effective (24 carries for 78 yds.). Jonathan Franklin was the player-of-the-game IMHO with 19 carries for 194 yds. Still surprising to me that he’s not getting more buzz — he’s now the career rushing leader at UCLA (think Maurice Jones-Drew) — and he’s not running behind an offensive line of the quality of Stanford (Taylor) or Wisconsin (Montee Ball).

    Back to point, “How Badly do the Seahawks Need a Leading Receiver?” It depends on whether they are willing to use him. It seems to me that we spent pretty good money bringing a pro-bowl, pass-catching TE to Seattle (Miller) and he’s been used primarily as a run blocker. We also went out and got Sidney Rice and he’s having a nice season, but there are reports that he’s had discussions with PC and Bevell about getting him more touches. So, rhetorical question, why would we want to spend an early draft pick on a leading receiver if, at the same time, we are not going to utilize him to his fullest? Unless we are willing to shift away from a run-first offense to one that features more passing, I say use the pick on defense.

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      Excellent points Phil.
      If we really are going to be run first than I would argue that we need to upgrade our offensive line for better blocking. The yardage we have gotten has more to do with Marshawn Lynch’s strong running style then our line play. Just look at that last series of downs with Miami, if the other team knows we are going to run they will stuff our offensive line and our running back won’t even get across the line of scrimmage. They wore us out, which is not what we want.

      This team has become a passing team. 8 out of 10 touchdowns are by passing. PC just hasn’t figured it out yet. He still clings to the run first mantra, or perhaps he still wants a balanced attack. The runs haven’t been there lately (see poor offensive line above). Passing has been more sucessful of late, but not always with the separation between receiver and defender that I would want. Also our offensive pocket protection has broken down when someone blitzes.

      We have four receivers we can trust, Rice, Tate, Baldwin as wide receivers; and Miller as pass catching tight end. McCoy is a maybe. Of that list, Rice is injury prone and Baldwin has been playing injured. Reports this morning place Rice on the maybe list with a tight calf muscle.

      So we are going into the Chicago game with Tate, Baldwin and Miller healthy, and Rice as a maybe. Can we realistically expect to sustain a passing attack with so few receivers? I don’t think so. Sure if everyone is healthy and on top of their game we can do well – but how often can we expect that?

      Whichever way you look at things – we should be selecting more receivers and offensive linemen next draft. That is in addition to needs on the defensive line and linebacker.

    • Rob Staton says:

      UCLA committed to stopping the run and Stanford kept with it. In fairness to Ertz, the quarterback Hogan was moving around too much on his drop backs and constantly scrambling around – pressure or not. He took off a lot of the time and bailed on the pass very quickly – while he was checkdown city in the third. That’s what you expect sometimes from a redshirt freshman, but it didn’t help the teams leading receiver. Franklin’s had a good year but it’d be very easy to react to this one game and paint a picture of the season. Franklin’s had very quiet games too, while Taylor has been pretty consistent all year. And he had a big reception and run to go with 78 yards rushing.

      As for whether the team would be willing to use him – this is the point I’m trying to make. Perhaps the Seahawks just need a more dynamic player? Jay Cutler is running the worst passing offense for production in the league but has the #6 receiver in the NFL in Brandon Marshall. I don’t think Seattle has to throw 40 times to justify a high pick on a WR or TE, but a better WR or TE might make better use from 25-30 throws in a game. A player you can feed the ball to and rely on to make plays.

      And the point about Ertz is – because he’s such a good blocker, you can play even more 2TE sets, keep Miller blocking and still feed the production to the other TE without missing a beat with run blocking. They could essentially run the same offense that San Fran runs with their big bodies on the line, and use the 2TE look on the majority of calls.

      • Phil says:

        Rob – I’d pretty much agree with your assessment of the Stanford-UCLA game. But, to say that “Frankin’s had a good year but it’d be easy to react to this one game …” is kind of a back-handed compliment and pretty much downplays that he’s a Senior with a career-rushing record at UCLA. And, this year, I’d say that 26 carries for 217 yds. against Nebraska and 29 carries for 171 vs. USC, coupled with his 19 carries for 194 is this weekend’s game, shows that his “good year” is not just based on this one game. It’s true that he’s had some games where he did not post big numbers, but what running back hasn’t? Against tough opponents in big games, he’s produced. And, he’s done this behind an offensive line that doesn’t rank up there with the best. (I’ll get off my soap box — I just think the guy is flying below the radar …)

        Not sure what you are trying to say about Cutler and Marshall. As you say, the Bears have the worst passing offense for production in the league but have the #6 receiver in the NFL in Brandon Marshall. Following this logic, why would the Seahawks want to go for a leading receiver? Doesn’t your example seem to say that having a leading receiver is no guarantee that your passing offense is going to be more productive?

        • Rob Staton says:

          I wasn’t intending it to be a back handed compliment. I think he’s had a terrific year and at times, he’s looked like a first rounder. There have also been a couple of tough ones too. He’s an intriguing guy. He’d be up there with Ball and Taylor. I just have a feeling for those guys. A hunch they’ll do well at the next level. Franklin could too.

          RE: Cutler/Marshall… my point is to debate whether Seattle would benefit from a top, dynamic receiver. It’s not about guaranteeing great yards, it’s about accepting Seattle will probably never have a top-end productive passing game. But that doesn’t mean they can’t have a guy who is a difference maker who has a ton of yards and causes serious issues for the defense. And that’s why Cutler/Marshall are an example. They run the ball, they play the percentages. Yet they still have a guy making plays every week. He even made our secondary look sloppy today. That was the point.

          • Phil says:

            I’ll take Tate with 6 receptions and Rice with 5 to Marshall with 10 and then little or no production from Chicago’s other receivers. I think we can be effective spreading the ball around and having a leading receiver can detract from this.

  8. CFR says:

    The buzz on Ertz seems to be limited to a second rounder and somehow it seems like he’s valued less than Fleener was last year. I would absolutely love to have Ertz on this team, but I don’t think he warrants a first round pick (unless we are choosing in the mid 20s-32 range). Would much rather grab a stud DT/LB in the first round and then get Ertz in the second (or, if he’s unavailable, grab one of the many WRs or DT/LB [whichever we missed out on in round one]).

    I think that after the first four rounds of this draft, the Seahawks should be drafting the following way (not round specific): One DT, one LB, one receiving threat, one value pick (BPA).
    I think that they’re fortunate to have such minor needs (I don’t think that any of these needs has been a glaring weakness this year that has consistently held Seattle back) and that they’re therefore able to flexible with where they target these positions (BPA > need).

    Last thing: I would love for them to draft a late-ish round RB. Don’t love our depth behind Lynch.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I would disagree with that grade on Ertz. Apart from being an exceptional run blocker, I’ve seen him impact enough games as a receiver now to think he warrants a top-15 grade. I would argue he could be the next big time TE/receiver type in the league. He’s up there with Sefarian-Jenkins this year in terms of impact. They look like the two college players most likely to have a big impact at the next level.

  9. Caleb says:

    Rob,

    I have been reading your website for three years, and in my opinion this is the best article you have ever written. I absolutely love it. Well reasoned, analytical and concise. Thanks for your contribution to Seahawks football theory.

  10. Jim Q says:

    If Coleman declares and is available with a Seahawks draft pick, I think he could be a very good one. Although, he doesn’t seem to have a ton of experience and will probably have to go through some learning and growth experiences, which based on his obvious talent he would still be worthy of a top pick.
    However, as drafts go, you can’t always count on a guy being there when you want him. I think the Seahawks need to draft a WR somewhere in the first few rounds of the draft in order to isure getting a player that is capable of contributing as soon as possible. IMO, the best draft options for a WR are:

    Rounds 1 – 2: *Coleman if available, otherwise – – – –

    –Terrance Williams, WR, 6-2-3/8, 205, Baylor 2012 = in 11 games – 89 catches for 1689 yards
    (Williams averages 19.02 yds per catch, 8.09 catches per game for an avg. of 153.5-yds. per game.)
    –*DeAndre Hopkins, WR, 6-1, 205, Clemson
    –Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, 6-3, 205, Tennessee
    –*Justin Hunter, WR, 6-4, 200, Tennessee

    Round 3 and beyond:

    Quinton Patton, WR, 6-2, 196, Louisiana Tech
    Cobi Hamilton, WR, 6-2, 209, Arkansas
    *Jordan Matthews, WR, 6-3, 205, Vanderbilt
    Marcus Wheaton, WR, 6-0, 182, Oregon State
    Marcus Davis, WR, 6-4, 232, Virginia Tech

    IMO: The Seahawks really need to draft (at least one) of the 10 above WR’s in the upcoming draft. If I were PC/JS, I’d have targets on the backs of Coleman, Williams and Hopkins, any of which would be a great addition to the WR position going into next (possible super bowl?) season.

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      Also Tavon Austin as a small quick wide receiver. He could be used to stretch the field, or as a slant route guy, or throw out to the sidelines with him. He has a bit of Wes Welker in him but is a better runner after the catch. A steal in the second round.

  11. AlaskaHawk says:

    Seahawks vs Chicago,
    Lots more passing today. I keep thinking our receivers aren’t getting enough separation from the defenders. And I still think that generally speaking we aren’t able to break away from the defenders. But there have also been some open players here and there. Miller was open twice on the left side in the end zone. WIlson missed him once, and was scrambling away the second time.

    Golden Tate had a long catch in the first half that he had to fight for and could have been called offensive interference – with the way the calls went against us that day – it is surprising it didn’t.

    Now as I write, we have completed a 97 yard drive, and Tate just caught and ran 7 yards through three defenders to give us a 17-14 lead! Good job Tate! Now it is back on our defense with 24 seconds left.

    The defense has been in bend but don’t break mode. Chicago’s running game has looked a lot better than ours, but the Hawks passing game has been better than there’s. Perhaps because if we shut down Brandon Marshall they don’t have many other receivers (an arguement for drafting more wide receivers). Good

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      Final thoughts on a great win in overtime. Both Rice and Tate had just under 100 yards receiving, they really stepped up. Baldwin and Miller also made key catches in the game winning drive.

      Do we have enough receivers now? The last camera shot was Rice laying on his back in the end zone after a brutal hit from Major Wright. It could have been a season ending hit. Thankfully after a doctors examination he was able to get up and was helped to the sideline. I love Rice – but who really knows how long he will last? Yes we need another receiver, even two more. What the heck – I can dream right? It isnt’ a case of one receiver being played over another, we can rotate them and keep them fresh. Besides with injuries we need more backup players.

      Also of note is that Carpenter quickly left the game with a knee injury and was replaced by Moffit. Lets hope for a speedy recovery with him. By the end of the game we had pretty much given up on the run and moved the ball either through passing or QB scrambles.

      • Colin says:

        AH, am I the only one FURIOUS with Bevell that he abondoned Marshawn for much of the 2nd and 3rd quarter?

        • Rob Staton says:

          I thought Bevell coached a good game today. Wilson was lighting it up.

          • AlaskaHawk says:

            The run game wasn’t there today – it hasn’t been there for us for quite awhile. I know the stats will appear to show that Marshawn was gaining good yardage, but he was also getting stopped a lot. We won on Wilson’s arm and scrambling ability today.

        • Attyla the Hawk says:

          Do you really think that Chicago didn’t make some adjustments to take Lynch away after getting gashed like that?

          Those other guys get paid too. They don’t just stick with what doesn’t work. You might consider that angle at least a bit.

  12. dave crockett says:

    Some backstory on Richardson that may matter at the margins. I am uncertain if Pete knows Richardson directly, but there is a tangential USC connection.

    Richardson grew up in St. Louis (my hometown), and had an older brother recruited by Mizzou. The older brother never qualified academically, but the staff got to know Sheldon when he was very, very young. Not surprisingly, Sheldon committed to Missouri kinda early.

    Fast forward… Richardson does not academically qualify coming out of Gateway Tech HS in St. Louis (not even a college prep high school). The Mizzou staff sends him out to College of the Sequoias, a JUCO in California. After redshirting there his first year, Richardson decommits from Mizzou and commits to USC citing his desire to get to the league. (This is Carroll’s first year in Seattle, iirc.) I’m sure that at some point someone mentioned that Missouri’s done pretty well in the front seven in recent years.

    The point here is that Richardson is also a guy that Carroll can probably get some insights about.

  13. Jeff M. says:

    Just want to point out that Rice and Tate *are* already playing really, really well, just at low volume.

    Take a look at Football Outsiders’ advanced, opponent-adjusted stats (through week 12, and I bet both move up after big games against the league’s best defense): in DVOA (which measures per-play value), Rice is #3 in the NFL and Tate is #11. Even in the counting stat DYAR (which measures total value, so guys with more targets will be higher), Rice is #11 and Tate is #26.

    For some comparison, Rice has produced more total value in 59 targets than Marshall in 124! Rice is legitimately an elite #1 wideout, and Tate is either a #1a or one of the top #2s in the league. The only teams with better top-two WR combos are ATL, DEN, and GB.

    It’s not necessarily true that they’d continue to do as well on a per-play basis if you doubled their targets, but it is clear that this is the way the coaching staff wants the offense to run. And short of getting an AJ Green or Julio Jones, a #1 draft pick WR is only going to be the 3rd-best wideout on the team, not an upgrade on either of Rice or Tate.

    Now, admittedly, we don’t have much behind them–Baldwin and Edwards are below-replacement level on the year, and Miller is middle of the pack as a pass-catching TE. We could certainly stand to get a better 3rd option for Wilson, but we should know they’re only going to be a 3rd option. Wilson is going to keep throwing only 25-30 times per game, and half of those will go to Rice and Tate with a few each to Miller and the RBs.

    So a guy you grab in the draft (whether #3 WR or receiving TE) is only looking at something like 5 targets a game max (about what Baldwin gets now). That’s not worth a first-rounder in my book (when instead we could get a starter at Will or 3-tech or RT or …).

  14. […] I’ve posted tape of Richardson versus Florida at the top of this piece. For three other games, click on this article and scroll to the bottom. […]