Last week’s defeat to Arizona was tough, but with hindsight doesn’t look quite as bad seven days later. The Cardinals defeated New England on the road today, playing the same brand of football that beat Seattle. The Seahawks were a play or two from winning last week, and today’s beat-down of Dallas proves the team is on the right path.
The offensive line was much improved, with Frank Omiyale doing a good job stepping in for the injured Russell Okung. The unit handled DeMarcus Ware and with Okung and James Carpenter set to return, it could turn from a negative in week one back into a positive. The Seahawks dominated in the second half, soaking up the clock and running all over the Cowboys.
Russell Wilson was efficient, which is all he needs to be as a rookie. In the future he will need to have a 300-yard passing game, but that’s for another time. Today he needed to avoid mistakes. Apart from a high throw and a near interception in the first half, he looked comfortable. I like the fact Seattle was prepared to shorten the field in the second half, throw underneath and use the tight ends. When he was afforded time in the pocket, Wilson took full advantage.
Defensively it was the same old solid run defense, but there were some frustrations on third down. Dallas repeatedly extended drives on third and long, with the Seahawks using a pretty vanilla three-man rush and blanket coverage. In the second half they were more exotic, throwing in an extra lineman and letting a linebacker blitz. Romo was a different quarterback under pressure and once again second half adjustments paid dividends.
If the Seahawks play this brand of football at home they’ll be a tough team to beat. Can they slow down the Packers on MNF in week three, as they did with Romo and the Cowboys? It’s harder to stamp your authority on a road game and it’ll be interesting to see how they handle the next two road trips against St. Louis and Carolina. The NFC West is rock solid this year and might be the most physical division in the conference. The Packers, Cowboys, Patriots and Redskins have all lost to NFC West opponents already, while the Detroit Lions were pushed very close. It’ll make life difficult for all the teams in the NFC West – it looks like all four will be scrapping around for wins. But as we’ve seen in the past, playing in an ultra competitive division can help come playoff time. And the way this division is shaping up, nobody will fancy visiting a NFC West opponent in the off-season. You’ve just got to make sure you’re in there.
If you thought that was looking too far ahead (I know it’s only week two), well this is a draft blog and we try to dissect what Seattle’s needs might be on a week-to-week basis. Wilson threw to six different receivers – with Anthony McCoy coming out on top with five catches for 41 yards. It’s hard to single out receivers after a game where Seattle dominated with the run and the quarterback only threw 20 passes. However, there’s still room for a playmaker in this offense. Sidney Rice is earning the kind of money that should make him a fantasy starter every week, but he only had three catches for 33 yards and ended the game hurt. For Wilson to fulfil his potential it’s easy to assume he’s going to need greater threats outside, guys he can rely on. We considered Cordarrelle Patterson in the week – a receiver from Tennessee with big play potential, downfield speed and YAC ability. He might be the best receiver eligible for the 2013 draft. But he has some maturing to do, on and off the field.
After yesterday’s piece it was easy to imagine Chance Warmack lining up on that Seahawks offense, creating big holes for Marshawn Lynch. I can imagine the Seahawks showing a lot of interest there. And there’s still room for a quality interior lineman – this draft could be rich in that department with Jonathan Jenkins, Sylvester Williams, Jonathan Hankins and Kawann Short. But tonight’s all about enjoying the teams first victory. A great victory against Dallas. We can talk draft later in the week.