Instant reaction: Seahawks head into bye at 10-1

November 17th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

Percy Harvin's first catch? A one handed grab on third down

This couldn’t have gone any better.

The Seahawks won with added style points. Nobody got seriously injured. And there were just enough minor quibbles to avoid complacency going into the bye.

There’s only one place to start tonight. Russell Wilson is a revelation.

The style and identity of Seattle’s offense will never give him the opportunity to have a 40-TD season. For that reason he’ll probably never be the NFL’s MVP.

To the Seahawks, he is paramount. He is exactly what they’ve been missing. Since forever.

Wilson is everything any team could ever want in a franchise quarterback. He’s a fantastic image for the team, he’s the perfect character off the field and he appears to command the respect of his team mates. On the field he’s mobile, accurate (deep throws, short throws), ruthless and productive with ample arm strength.

He’s the kind of guy that eternally keeps you in a game, whatever the deficit.

He can orchestrate the long, slow burning drives. He can put quick points on the board. He can hit the home run.

And he has the much less talked about quality of improvisation.

All the greats make plays that leave you speechless. They turn a negative down into a scoring down. They step out of the play call and make something happen.

Too many bog standard quarterbacks fail when things don’t go perfectly. They buckle. Wilson almost thrives in that environment.

The perfect example of this was the second passing touchdown — a little shovel pass to Lynch when everything else had been taken away. The perfect improvisation from the perfect improvisational quarterback.

You could hear all the sighs on the Minnesota sideline. All of them to a man were wishing any of their three quarterbacks were capable of doing that.

Seattle is lucky to have Russell Wilson. Enjoy it.

Elsewhere…

Marshawn Lynch had three touchdowns and made the best of what was available. The Vikings played well against the run. The only complaint? His ninth fumble since 11/11/12. It was recovered by Seattle — fortunately — and I appreciate a player like Lynch will fumble more due to his physical style. But nine in little over a year seems excessive.

Percy Harvin had five big plays right off the bat. On the first touchdown drive, his decoy slant inside took the safety away from Doug Baldwin — leading to a big sideline completion. Baldwin was left 1-on-1 with rookie Xavier Rhodes who’s struggled all year. It was no contest.

His second play drew a downfield pass interference — which negated a Seahawks penalty at the LOS and avoided a loss of yards. His first catch was a difficult one-handed grab on a third down conversion. Then we saw the kick off return to mid-field. And to begin the second half Minnesota gifted Seattle the ball on the 35 after kicking away from Harvin.

Perhaps the most satisfying thing was his ease of movement and speed. Even in limited snaps he had a big impact. It’ll be a long two weeks waiting to see what he can do against the Saints’ defense.

If this is Percy-lite, the full fat version will be loaded.

Doug Baldwin is a terrific player and not just a slot guy. He’s earned more attention in an explosive offense. The first touchdown pass was a prototypical Baldwin catch in the red zone. He’s more dynamic than people think, with all the skills you look for from a non-elite size/speed receiver — a competitive streak, hands and intelligence.

Funnily enough Seattle’s starting trio of receivers are 5-10 (Baldwin), 5-10 (Tate) and 5-11 (Harvin). All three players are 25-years-old and hitting their peaks. Who says you need a 6-3/6-4 guy?

Actually, watching the Broncos shows how a great ‘big’ receiver can really compliment an offense. See: Demaryius Thomas.

J.R. Sweezy and Breno Giacomini were beaten on an early down, which led to a Wilson sack. Twitter exploded with “replace Sweezy” comments. People love to complain when the offensive linemen make a mistake. What they don’t realise is — every down they aren’t complaining these guys are doing their jobs. And those plays far outweigh the errors.

For me, the entire line had a good day today. That was expected — for the first time in a long time every starter was out there in their intended positions. Seattle’s problem isn’t talent, it was depth with the two tackles out injured for such a long time.

Richard Sherman got beat twice early (PI and a TD). That’s obviously uncharacteristic for him. I suspect it could act as a positive though — it’ll weigh on his mind for the next two weeks before facing Drew Brees and the Saints.

A point on kick offs. Unless you have a great return man it appears the play has been eliminated from the game. So I don’t understand why Jermaine Kearse and Robert Turbin were again taking it out of the end zone and risking not getting back to the 20.

I know Kearse scored in pre-season. He also had a costly fumble against Tampa Bay.

Now Harvin — I get why he brings it out. He’s an explosive returner who makes things happen. For the other guys, I’d rather they just take a knee. Just my take.

There were too many penalties on third down today. On both sides of the ball. They can’t do that in the next two games (or any games, for that matter) and it’ll probably be a point of focus pre-Saints.

Christian Ponder is a terrible quarterback. It’s a shame it took until the fourth quarter to get an interception today. He made up for lost time by throwing a pick-six to Walter Thurmond shortly after Bobby Wagner’s interception. Wagner should’ve had a house-call before either.

Matt Cassell is also terrible. Poor Vikings.

Christine Michael — I have no idea how good or bad his pass protection is. But the guy is a better runner than Robert Turbin. So it must be pretty terrible. What other reason is there for keeping him on the sidelines? Let’s get him the ball a few more times.

For what it’s worth, Turbin is averaging 3.56 yards a carry this season from 48 carries.

Zach Miller led the team in receiving yards. Mr. Consistency quietly had another really good game.

The run defense pitched a shut out until Toby Gerhart — not Adrian Peterson — broke off a 32-yard run. Kudos for the way they’ve turned things around after a bad couple of outings against St. Louis and Tampa Bay.

Cliff Avril is quickly becoming Seattle’s best edge rusher. He now has 6.5 sacks for the year and was flying around the field today. While it might be difficult to keep Michael Bennett (who had his worst game of the season for me), Seahawks fans should count their blessings that Avril is signed up for another year based on the last few weeks.

Byron Maxwell did a very good job covering for Brandon Browner. He’s incredibly talented and will really benefit from time on the field.

Red Bryant also had a tremendous game today — frequently blowing up the offensive line and collapsing the pocket.

Seattle is on a bye next week before a testing and interesting final stretch of the regular season. New Orleans (8-2) and San Francisco (6-4) are up next, followed by a trip to the resurgent New York Giants (dangerous) and two home games within the division (also dangerous).

The Saints will be a huge test even at Century Link. Last year they came out flat in Miami after the bye. I doubt the players will get the full week off again.

But for the next couple of weeks Seahawks fans can sit back and enjoy the fact their team is #1 in the NFC.

The funny thing is, I think we almost take 10-1 for granted. Could you ever previously imagine a 10-1 Seahawks team? That’s the reality tonight.

Finally — PLEASE don’t forget this…

71 Responses to “Instant reaction: Seahawks head into bye at 10-1”

  1. MJ says:

    Great stuff Rob. My only complaint for the day is that Robert Turbin should never be given a handoff. I used to think he was an average runner, but I truly think he might be one of the worst in the NFL. It’s excruciating to watch him constantly trip at the LOS. Hopefully Michael can overtake him quickly because I literally cannot stomach watching him get the ball.

    Other than that, just an unbelievable team. Really my favorite aspect of these guys is that it’s plain as day that they care about winning and each other. Pete Carroll deserves so much credit for what he has done from a culture perspective.

    • Rob Staton says:

      It’s a remarkable turn around.

      You don’t go from where the Seahawks were in 2008/2009 to 10-1 with a completely new roster. The Chiefs have gone from 2-14 to 9-0 but they shouldn’t have been 2-14 in the first place. They had talent. And all it’s taken is a decent coach and a game manager quarterback to shift their fortunes. Seattle needed so much more — a complete overhaul of the roster.

      And no doubt Andy Reid will get coach of the year, just like Ryan Grigson got GM of the year last season. Everyone in Seattle knows the truth.

      • MJ says:

        Yes sir…and it’s weird because I simply no longer care about that stuff because I truly we have Rings (yes plural) in the near future. The coolest part, I really believe those guys could care less about awards/accolades. They just want Ws and the big one.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I think if they can get one title… this thing could really take off. Get one. Get the monkey off the back of this franchise.

          The first hurdle is usually the toughest.

          It’s astonishing we can even dream of that. Imagine telling this story to yourself in early 2010. Incredible.

          • Nolan Thomas says:

            Lets not get ahead of ourselves, still lots of work to be done before we get a ring let alone plural, still this can easily be the best team in franchise histroy before all is said and done.

            • Jake says:

              Why not get ahead of ourselves? We are supposed to be excited, the team has done their part to put us in the mindset of looking ahead with optomism.

              We have a franchise QB, a cornerstone RB, an all-pro LT, and gamechangers abound at the WR position. That is an elite offense in any generation. Which will still be elite (possibly even better) for the next 3 years at least. Personally, I feel that as long as Wilson is the QB – they will probably remain elite with movable parts at WR. Note: I didn’t even mention the defense. All I have to say about the defense is this: With a lead (forcing opposition to pass at a high percentage) – the best in the NFL. Without a lead (opposition still has run/pass option) – top-5 in the NFL.

  2. steve says:

    This group seems to have been on a mission from the 1st day of training camp. In hind-sight, the loss in Atl may turn out to be the best thing that’s happened to this team.

    To go 10-1, and just NOW starting to play their best ball…..stunning.

    Rob, at this stage, who in your opinion would be the 2nd best team in the NFC? Or maybe a better question is, who do you see being the Hawks toughest match-up being in trying to get to the SB?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Without a shadow of a doubt — IMO — San Francisco will be the toughest match-up.

      If there’s one team you can guarantee are going to turn up and play the Seahawks hard, it’ll be the Niners. Even considering the last two games at Century Link.

      • SunPathPaul says:

        With SF losing today, do you think they even have a chance of making the playoffs?

        • Rob Staton says:

          Of course. Right now they’re right in the mix. They end the season playing Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Arizona. Before that they get a struggling Washington (A), the Rams (H) and Seattle (H).

          Don’t count this team out, they have a great chance to make the post season. Personally I hope they get eliminated before the playoffs — this is the one team I’d rather be done with before the post season.

        • Colin says:

          I would fully expect them to make the playoffs. Their struggles are overblown a bit by the media. They are still a very good team.

          • williambryan says:

            I think the scariest team is detroit. They’re just wild and unpredictable.

            • Michael M. says:

              For me the Saints are the scariest team, followed closely by the Panthers. Personally, I love the way our team matches up with the ‘Niners. Anquan Boldin is worthless against our scheme/corners and Kam has played really well against TE’s this year, so Vernon Davis is manageable (or you can just put him out of commission like last season). If we can stop their running game, I think we beat them rather comfortably. Even in their own stadium.

              When is Crabtree expected back?

  3. Matt says:

    Complete domination in all three phases of the game. Another really strong win.

    Also Rob, as you’ve previously said there are definitely going to be some tough roster decisions this upcoming offseason. If the Seahawks are forced to part ways with either Chris Clemons or Cliff Avril (in order to keep Bennett, re-sign Sherman/Thomas) who do you think we would keep?

    Avril: 6.5 sacks, 4 pass deflections, 2 forced fumbles
    Clemons: 3.5 sacks, 0 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble

    Both set to create a cap hit of + $9 mill, and I don’t think there is any dead money on Clemons deal

  4. Austin says:

    I definitely don’t see the penalty situation going away anytime soon. The Kellen Davis hold, and Jeremy Lane PI are two terrible decisions that come to mind immediately. The announcer said Lane didn’t turn and look for the ball, but after receiving a stiff arm to the throat he didn’t have a fair chance to do anything.

    • SunPathPaul says:

      I have to say the refs make me sick sometimes! Come on! We have play review, time to create Ref review!!!

      • Austin says:

        They always make me sick being a Seahawks fan. Our games are reffed consistently inconsistent. I definitely know it’s a tough gig to be a professional ref and every team is on the receiving end of some poorly called game’s, but at this point it’s just completely obvious that there is an ongoing bias against the Seahawks for whatever reason and it’s time to stop denying it and make a point of it so it starts getting better.

        • Michael M. says:

          The Lane PI was a terribly easy call to make. I didn’t disagree with that one in the slightest. The Sherman one was very different in my opinion. The ball was completely uncatchable, even if he’d been running alone out there. Yes Sherman got a little handsy (as he is wont to do), but I really hate seeing a team get rewarded for throwing up a prayer on 3rd and long just hoping to get a call. The hell with draws and screens; with the way the NFL is being officiated these days, I would be calling deep shots on every single third and long because it’s basically a 50-50 chance of getting a flag. Terrible…

          • Miles says:

            I want the NFL to apologize for that Sherman PI. Inexcusable officiating.

          • Austin says:

            NFL game rewind is now available if you didn’t DVR the game to get another look at Lanes PI. The receiver initiated contact by a left handed stiff arm to the throat, and then continued to try to run through it, since he really had no other option being in the panic of trying to defend the best he could while being under the duress of having a hand pushing off on his throat. Clear cut offensive PI.

    • Madmark says:

      Good, I’m glad to hear other people saying what I was thinking. I think the officials are trying to set a tone in the 1st quarter for a more pass friendly game by making lots of calls. I truly believe that, for any other team in the league, that the PI on Sherman would have been and uncatchable ball being 10 yards pass the receiver. I don’t think this will change so the DB’s need to be more careful at the start of the games because these officials are looking for something to call early.

      • Austin says:

        Yes they certainly are looking to call something early and far too often. Seahawks have the most penalties in the league and most penalty yards against for a reason, and it’s not because they are the most aggressive team in the league. It obviously gets old focusing on the poor officiating after every game, but I’m not the kind of person who ignores the elephant in the room either. At this point I’m pretty dang sure I’m not the only one who tempers my excitement every single time the Hawks make even a decent play while awaiting that all too familiar yellow flag symbol at the top of my screen. The only reason I’m still watching is because we are so damn good we continue to overcome it, but damn it’s getting old. I don’t have a viable solution, but I’m not going to ignore it either. Nobody should pretend it doesn’t exist either. Just look at the stats. Apparently the best team in the league is also the most undisciplined? I find that really hard to believe.

  5. Stuart says:

    Astonishing! Incredible! Best time ever to be a Seahawk fan! Just heard on the radio that if the season ended today, SF would not be in the playoffs:).

    Quick questions based on the Robert Turbin comment; If we did trade him in the off season, would you rather it be for a draft pick, and how high would that pick be? Or, would you trade him for a player? No matter whatever happens, I trust PC/JS to do whats best.

    Go Hawks!

    • Rob Staton says:

      I suspect Turbin has almost zero trade value right now. Teams are finding running backs all across the board. There’s really no need for a team to spend anything to get Turbin.

      And I wouldn’t want them to cut or trade him anyway. It just feels like Michael is so substantially the better player. I guess they want him to win the job through effort, and Turbin must be winning that battle.

      • dave crockett says:

        Hey, you spent two paragraphs telling us how special Russell Wilson is.

        Any one play could bring that to an end. PC/JS would have to be complete fools not to place a HEAVY premium on pass protection in their RBs, especially with a run-oriented line. They *should* take a mediocre backup over the guy w/ star potential as a runner who routinely blows blocks.

        Remember, at Texas A&M, Sherman and Philbin benched Michael for less talented guys too. That’s the gamble we took on him. His physical gifts have always been obvious, yet he was practically a 3rd round pick. With Michael, it’s about the ability/willingness to do the non-running stuff. Fortunately, that stuff is all improvable.

        If I have a question about how they’re not using him, it’s that he’s not been on KO returns. He was right there in that battle with Lane and Kearse. I’m pretty sure he did it some at A&M.

        • Rob Staton says:

          If Michael’s pass pro is truly horrendous, then it’s about time they got it up to speed. And pass pro still doesn’t answer why Michael essentially gets zero snaps per game even on running downs.

          There’s clearly a way to get Michael some touches without risking Russell Wilson. And let’s be right here, if Wilson can survive McQuistan and a rookie at tackle, I’m not sure the threat of Michael taking some snaps from Turbin is as feared here.

          • Robert says:

            CM is lightning in a bottle. I would not be surprised to see him make some significant contributions soon. I think PC is keeping him under wraps as a secret weapon!

            • Miles says:

              Having Christine Michael fresh for the playoffs is going to pay huge dividends for the running game when that times comes. Wait and see.

  6. Colin says:

    I think the game against NO in two weeks will be much harder than the game in SF. Brees and that offense are so much more capable than Kaepernick and SF. It’s becoming apparent, at least for now, that SF are a one trick pony.

    It’s saddening how the NFL has traded quality for parody. You hear all the announcers talk about how so many games are so close and how anybody can beat anybody. Why? Are all the teams in the league that close to each other, talent wise? Absolutely not. The PI on Sherman was horrendous, and the PI on Lane was…. convienient. The Vikings had three 3rd down failures converted for them. Ponder was terrible aside of a few early bootlegs and wide open receivers.

    I’m still incredibly pissed Ryan Grigson won Executive of the year last year, and that Elway came in 2nd. It makes writers, like Rob, look shallow and naive (I get he doesn’t have a vote, but the point remains). It’s pathetic and simple minded thinking.

    Congrats to Pete Carroll, first coach in Seahawks history to win 10+ games in back to back season.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think the NO and SF games are equally tough for very different reasons.

      - NO — legit (only?) challengers for the #1 seed. Revenge mission for their last visit to Seattle (Beast Quake). Prolific passing offense that will challenge Seattle’s pass rush and secondary.

      - SF — division rival, smarting after two embarrassing defeats in the last two outings. Seattle hasn’t won in San Fran in the Harbaugh era. They will play tough, we have to expect that. And however Kaepernick might be struggling now, he is good enough to have a big day on any given weekend. This will be a close game whatever the outcome IMO.

      • Colin says:

        In fairness though, the Niners were up on the Tarvaris Jackson led Seahawks by 2 points with under 4 minutes to go in 2011, and in Russell Wilson’s 7th career start, the Niners won by 7. They’ve been just good enough in those games, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence we handled them in the last two meetings.

        I fear NO much more simply for match up reasons.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Until we beat San Fran, in San Fran, I won’t be satisfied. And they dominated the second half against us last year and really should’ve won more comfortably.

          • Stiz says:

            And let’s be honest, they lost by 1 to a quality Carolina team and suffered a last minute loss on the road against NO. They are playing some strong defensive football and will be a huge challenge for us. NO scares me a little more due to its prolific offense, but the SF game, coming off a short week will be huge.

            • williambryan says:

              NO offense is scary, but if SF defense can hold them to 20 (before last second field goal) on the road, then you have to feel good about seattle’s D against them.

    • glor says:

      the PI on Lane was evident to everyone in the stadium, hence no boos..

      • Colin says:

        That’s why I called it ‘convenient’. It was PI and it got Minnesota out of another incompletion on 3rd down.

      • Austin says:

        The stadium boos correctly made calls on the regular so I’m definitely not going to take a stadium’s amount of boos into correct call credibility consideration. It was a bad call.

        • glor says:

          The call on Lane? I have to disagree.

          • Austin says:

            Well that’s understandable. We can’t agree on every call, but I still do believe if the contact is initiated by the receiver, especially by a hand to the DB’s throat, then the DB has every right to hold. The WR has an unfair advantage with that push off to the throat that gives the DB 2 choices, either over embellish the severity of the push off and go down, which would risk a no call resulting in even more yard’s, or to reciprocate the foul in hopes of the initiator being called. Lane lost this bet. Well played though. Lane is a stud.

    • Michael M. says:

      I think you were going for “parity” instead of “parody”. Then again… Is there such thing as a Freudian slip on a keyboard?

    • Phil says:

      Colin – I concur that some instances of parody have been seen on the field this year. But, I think the PARITY in the league is a good thing.

      • Alex says:

        agreed. Parity is one of the reasons the NFL is the most popular. Any team at any time can contend. You might just need the right coach (John Harbaugh or Any Reid), the right player (Peyton Manning), or right draft (Seahawks, 80s 49ers, 90s Cowboys). The key word is HOPE.

        By comparison, baseball is one sport where if you suck, you’re probably doomed for the next 3-4 years. There is no overnight makeovers since farm systems bust at a higher rate than other sports and even when they do pan out, they take at least 3-5 years to mature.

        It’s true that we don’t get the epic titan matchups in the past when the 49ers fought the Cowboys (92-94 NFC Championship), Packers vs Cowboys (95 NFC Championship), or any historically dominant team (84 49ers, 85 Bears, 89 49ers, 91 Redskins), but in exchange the other 25 or so NFL teams all have a realistic chance to compete.

  7. SunPathPaul says:

    Rob, you said it well… Get that first one and then see what spouts up after that!!

    I am super excited to see what Percy does through this season end and playoff run! He opens up the field for others as you showed, and has a TON of bottled up MoJo to set free!!!

    I’m glad SF lost, and that is was a to the end game… It will break the ‘Whiners’ and set us up to play a New Orleans team that will be riding high after playing Atlanta on thursday night and coming into our place for doom to be put upon them!!! I think we could possibly win out… maybe 1 loss…

    Looks positive though…thanks Rob!!!

  8. glor says:

    You guys realize we have the highest CAP hit in the league this year at over 134mil.. some tough decisions this off season. Thanks for the write-up rob, fantastic as always!

  9. Colin says:

    Watching the Chiefs game made me appreciate Russell even more. That TD to Doug Baldwin was unbelievable. A ballsy throw that HAD to be on the money, and it was. Watching Alex Smith play it safe play after play has to be incredibly frustrating if you are a Chiefs fan.

  10. OakHarborHawk says:

    I’m starting to think that Clemons might wind up being a cap casualty next year. Of course I’m starting think that about everybody the closer we get to the Super Bowl. We truly got an embarrassment of riches here.

    Looking towards the draft only needs is more offensive line depth (seems like every team needs) and a big body receiver as a lesser need. We really should just go BPA and start to build the dynasty.

    Bye weeks suck hard can’t wait until MNF.

  11. Jim Kelly says:

    Did J. R. Sweezy give up a sack? Prior to last week, he was one of 13 linemen to play at least 500 snaps without giving up a sack (581, good for 5th overall). I’ll have to find the link on Fieldgulls.

    He’s not great, but he has been consistently good. And all of this from a seventh round, converted defensive lineman.

  12. Phil says:

    Rob – I haven’t had a chance to re-watch the game yet, but my initial reaction after the RW basketball-like chest pass to Marshawn was that it was a called play and not another example of RW’s innovative abilities. I say this because it looked like Marshawn mocked a finger-roll layup immediately after catching the pass. I guess we will never know if it was designed to imitate a basketball play or if it just developed that way. Maybe RW or Marshawn addressed it after the game ….

    I concur completely with your comments about our kickoff returns. Unless Harvin is the returner, I’d prefer that we just take a knee.

  13. Cysco says:

    NO Scares me for no other reason than Jimmy Graham.

    I’m confident we can keep their running game in check. I’m confident we can put enough pressure on Brees to not allow him to go through all his progressions. I’m confident our secondary can prevent the big plays.

    What I’m not confident in is our ability to stop the best TE in the league from getting 15-20 yard gains across the middle.

    NO is going to try and blitz like crazy. With the O-line back and Harvin in there, I’m confident we can move the ball on them. Contain Graham and we win. Easier said than done.

    SFO scares me because they’re like a wounded dog. If we go to SFO and lose, but come out of that game injury free, I’ll consider it a win.

    • John_s says:

      The Saints scare me.

      Their defense has improved under Ryan and their Dline has been really good and is the type of line that could give the Hawks trouble.

      Couple their D with Brees and the Saints have a legit shot to win at the Clink

    • Miles says:

      Gonna have to disagree on your Niners comment. Even if that game has no mathematical significance for our playoff seeding, I want the Hawks to beat the Niners. It would be painful to lose to them at all this year because they are our biggest rivals, and I hate them. When the Niners lost last year, they made a similar excuse. “Oh, you guys needed this game more than we did. No big deal.” When we beat them this year: “Oh, we were supposed to lose this game, because it was on the road.” Seahawks fans are way better fans than Niners fans, and we don’t say things like this.

  14. EranUngar says:

    I question -

    The Luke Wilson ritual – At the beginning of each game (usually on the first drive) they run a pass play targeting him. It’s always caught within 5 yards of the LOS and more often than not he adds a nice amount of YAC and gets a first down. The next time he is targeted is at the beginning of the next game.

    Is that all we can do with him? He was supposed to be a fast TE capable of stretching the field down the middle.

  15. James Donaldson says:

    Anyone know why Michael only got one carry? Got a nice run for 9 yards and then came off for another stream of 2 yards runs by Turbin.

    He’s had so few touches this year – was a perfect opportunity to get him some time and they gave him one carry. I think that’s my only beef with today’s game. Get Christine the ball!

    • Miles says:

      Michael seems to only play in garbage time for now. But the reason he only got one carry was because he got banged up on that run. I don’t think it’s a serious injury or even an “injury.” He just had to come out. Notice Marshawn took the next handoff (Carroll said Marshawn just ran out there when he saw Michael coming out, without waiting for word from the coaches. Dude wants to play every snap. :P )

  16. Andrew says:

    Rob-

    Nice write up as always. Is New Orleans’ turnaround due to health, Sean Payton, Rob Ryan, or some combination?

    I initially had the NO as the lone home loss but if we are playing our best ball and getting pass rush regularly I can definitely seeing us taking them down. It would be nice if Carolina could beat them for us too.

    • Rob Staton says:

      A combination of Sean Peyton and Ryan improving a laughably poor defense with his schemes giving them at least some semblance of an identity and plan. It’s still a defense that couldn’t beat Geno Smith though. And we destroyed Ryan’s Cowboys last year.

  17. Jarhead says:

    For everyone, Rob included, pining for Christeen Michael: with this coaching staff and franchise, and how we know that they put their best players on the field- I reiterate. Perhaps he is just not that good. Myabe he has had a few okay runs in late relief when the game is well in hand. WHY isn’t he returning kickoffs? Why isn’t he spelling Lynch more in less-likely pass situations? There is a reason he is not on the field and Turbin is. Turbin does well in a back up role- how many other teams back up RB’s average more than 4 yards per carry? I think he is doing a fine job backing up Lynch and I think everyone has fallen in love with a paper tiger whom I didn’t feel we should’ve drafted in the first place. Anyone else sense that we are weak at Safety depth when Maragos is our backup?

    • Rob Staton says:

      But they did draft him — in round two. The same front office that has done so well in the draft to date.

      And what’s more — every time he has taken the field he’s looked electric.

      It’s hardly a paper tiger situation to want to see more. Whether he’s working hard enough behind the scenes to earn time on the field is one question. It’s certainly not a case of the best player playing though.

      • Miles says:

        Yeah man Christine Michael is legit. It’s obvious when you watch him play. When asked about CM, Pete said he just needs to work on his blocking skills. And for some RBs it takes longer than others. We are deep at runningback and we have Lynch so we have the luxury to allow him to progress in that area before he takes the field. Plus, Carroll seems to be giving Christine that goal to improve his blocking as a brass ring, and from what I’ve seen whenever Carroll offers up a brass ring to a player, that player always gets on the field if he can attain it. Michael will be out there; it’s just a matter of time.

        • Austin says:

          Yeah Michael just seems to be getting the Golden Tate treatment. The plan seems to be that they need to nurture this blossoming talent the right way in order to ensure a consistent unwavering work ethic and manageable ego. Also, Turbin looks to have all the tools to be an excellent 3rd down back for a long time and a rookie isn’t going to get too many carriers from a healthy Marshawn no matter what. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of him.

          • AlaskaHawk says:

            I like it when they throw the ball to Turbin. Not so much when he runs out of the backfield, he goes down pretty easily compared to Marshawn (who doesn’t). Turbin seems more dangerous in space.

            I also pine for Michael to get more touches. He can’t build up a rhythmn when he doesn’t get the chance.

            • Miles says:

              I think Turbin has been working on breaking tackles. He has improved a little bit on this recently, but will still have spells where he just falls down sometimes without even being touched. He may just have bad feet coordination and that cannot be undone.