Percy Harvin, if healthy, can be the answer

January 13th, 2014 | Written by Rob Staton

A couple of third down conversions.

Two connections on easy slants.

That’s the difference between a ‘world is falling’ diagnosis of Russell Wilson’s performance and the continued fawning of a blossoming talent.

He didn’t get close to turning the ball over during a rancid afternoon in Seattle. Wind, rain, cold. That wasn’t quarterback weather.

Seattle ran the ball well enough to win. The defense dominated while leaving just enough room to be even better next week.

Marshawn Lynch looked like a man on a mission.

You look at certain members of this team — Lynch, Richard Sherman, Red Bryant, Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor — and you get the impression they’d rather not wake up tomorrow if it meant losing this next game.

“Over my dead body”

And yet all people are doing is panicking about the quarterback.

Crisis, crisis, crisis.

It’s not just Wilson of course. We’re getting the usual, “Darrell Bevell sucks” garbage that always follows a less than inspiring offensive display. Bevell, like Wilson, is just one contributing factor in a large offensive power base.

You better believe Pete Carroll has a huge say in the game plan and in-game decision making. Tom Cable has input. The other ten players on the field have to execute too.

But no, better to complain about the quarterback who’s broken records in his first year as a starter — and the offensive coordinator who never gets any credit for his impossible growth (pardon the pun) in two brilliant seasons.

The Seahawks did what they needed to do on Saturday. They built up a strong lead (16-0), carried it into the fourth quarter and took the air out of the football.

Can Wilson play better? Absolutely.

Does he need to put up 350 yards, three touchdowns and be the entire offense next week?

Absolutely not.

The Seahawks, 49ers and Broncos scored 23, 23 and 24 points respectively over the weekend and won. Indianapolis scored 22 points and were blown away by New England because their quarterback had four interceptions.

Sometimes being conservative and not turning the ball over is enough.

The immediate reaction last night was to worry about Colin Kaepernick’s current form compared to Wilson’s.

In reality, it might be the quarterback who makes the least mistakes that gets the job done next week.

That’s not guaranteed. Either player might have the game of their lives for all we know. I doubt Wilson will get the chance, because the Seahawks are likely to lean on Lynch (and quite right too).

San Francisco might put the responsibility on a quarterback who is growing in confidence and looks sharp. Yet they tried to do that in their last two visits to Century Link and it backfired big time.

Wilson just needs to execute better, with a few different wrinkles incorporated into the game plan.

I don’t see a crisis.

It’s easy for us to sit here on the couch and say what those wrinkles should be. I want to see the tight ends used more, to chip and break and make up for the way teams are defending the bootleg right.

I’d like to see some of the old favourites from the last post-season dusted off. Use Michael Robinson in the red zone. He scored one touchdown against the Redskins, and was a nice decoy for a Wilson rushing score against the Falcons. Use Lynch as a checkdown option. Make Zach Miller the third down read.

Just because that’s what I think is best, doesn’t: a) make it correct or b) put me in a position where I’m qualified to suggest anything with any authority.

But there is one other aspect I do feel very confident about. Something that could lift the offense and make the passing game dangerous again.

Feed Percy Harvin.

Force the football to Percy.

First things first, we have to wait and see if he’s even eligible to play.

Doesn’t it just feel like groundhog day?

If he passes all the concussion tests this week and avoids having to sit out (the eight day break between these games should help) then it’s time to make him the focal point.

And it’s not even that difficult to achieve.

There isn’t another player like Harvin in the NFL, and it’s why Seattle paid so much money to bring him here. Unlike many other elite receivers, you’re not relying on height, physical domination or route running to force the production.

All you have to do is give him the football. Percy does the rest.

Whether it’s an end around, jet sweep, wide receiver screen, bubble screen or even a good old hand off or pitch — Harvin can make big plays.

He’s elusive, he’s dynamic and he has a little ‘beast mode’ after contact.

One play sticks in my mind from Saturday. Seattle set up to throw a screen to Harvin — and he had great blocking by two other receivers in front.

Wilson looked right at Harvin but for some reason didn’t throw it — instead tucking and running for a minimal loss (it went down as one of three ‘sacks’ on the day).

There was no obvious reason why he didn’t throw it. John Lynch on the call suggested it was a bad grip on a wet ball — a complete guess — and then praised Wilson for the decision (????).

We’ll never know why he didn’t throw it. There was a defender who read the play, but he didn’t seem in a position to stop it happening. The worst case scenario of making the pass was a first down. The best case was a massive touchdown run that would’ve seriously padded the passing stats and made everyone forget about any ‘crisis’.

I sense that the real reason Wilson didn’t throw it was he’d been told to play very conservatively and avoid turnovers. Any hint of a mistake and live to fight another down. That won’t be Bevell’s doing — that’ll be Carroll.

The presence of that defender just put a little doubt in his mind, so he bailed.

‘Better safe than sorry’ they might say.

I’d suggest a slightly different approach against the 49ers.

PC: “Russell, more of the same please. I want you to play safe, control the clock and avoid turnovers like your life depends on it. But by the way, feed the ball to Percy. Get it in his hands. If you’re going to take any small risks, do it throwing to our most dynamic player.”

Even if San Francisco does a first rate job defending Harvin when he has the ball, they’ll need to track him whenever he’s on the field. He’s a sensational decoy. The suggestion anyone actually can do a first rate job defending him seems fanciful.

It’s also harder to knock a guy out of a football game when he’s running straight at you with the football.

Throwing downfield leaves him defenseless. Throwing it to him in the backfield makes him dangerous.

Of course all this depends on Harvin making it to game day.

*Fingers crossed*

That’ll be an agonising wait in what already promises to be the longest week of the year.

Is he ready for a big workload? I think so. We saw enough flashes against New Orleans. And to quote Carroll, “If he’s playing, he’s playing.”

It just makes too much sense to feed him the ball if he does make it. If anything, it’s just another example of conservative football. You’re not even giving the defensive backs a chance to get their hands on it. You’re not giving the defensive linemen a chance to sack your quarterback. You’re taking the pressure off Wilson.

Straight from the snap you’re putting the ball in the hands of a guy who had nine catches for 89 yards last time he played the 49ers. He also had a nine yard rush and 74 return yards.

And his team won 24-13.

53 Responses to “Percy Harvin, if healthy, can be the answer”

  1. plyka says:

    A few points

    1) Everyone understands it’s Pete’s system which is the overriding impedement to this offense. He runs an extreme conservative offense, of don’t turn the ball over, punt punt punt, FG FG FG, and depend on your defense and the other team making mistakes. Of course this is the 49ers, they don’t make too many mistakes. In fact, Keap has only 1 game in his career with more than 1 INT, a 3fer against these Hawks. I doubt he will make it happen again.

    2) No one is asking for a 350 yard performance through the air. But when your team is up 16-0, and you REFUSE to put them away. You shell out 3 and out after 3 and out. How many 3 and outs will you have before Drew Breees makes you pay? We found out how many. This team had a shot at putting the Saints away. Because of their take no risks at all ideology, they didn’t do it, and nearly paid with an early lossi n the playoffs.

    3) The above does not mean Bevell is doing a good job. There is a way to have this ideology while still bringing out an efficient offense which keeps the defense guessing. You named a few of them. Bevell is nothing special. That’s the problem. With Pete and his system, you need something special at OC. He had it at USC, he needs it in the NFL. Remember the dominance of USC’s offense. IT was a pro-style offense, and quite frankly, it looked more dynamic than this offense does, and this is an NFL offense (taking into account the difference of skill/talent between the NFL and college).

    Pete seems to believe that this system will win a superbowl. I just don’t think so. Once the system starts failing –as it did last year in Atlanta and earlier in Washington, they then let the offense loose and we saw what the offense can do when it’s loose. But after getting down 21 points, it’s kind of late to let the offense loose. There is a risk versus reward ratio. It’s not always best to take minimal risk –you can raise the marginal benefit of the reward higher than the marginal cost of the risk, depending on where you are on this risk versus reward ratio. My contention is that they are way too low on the risk, and thus not benefiting as much as they can.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Regarding the not putting the Saints away bit… Seattle were one, maybe two conversions away from doing just that. When you’re winning 16-0 in rotten conditions, throwing incomplete hurts your team. Even a 3-5 play drive of running takes time away from the clock. And Lynch was playing very well, it made sense to stay with the run — bad weather or not. I just can’t buy into this ‘refuse’ to put them away suggestion. Like I said, the conditions were not conducive to passing football. And just because one of the best QB’s to play the game in the last 10-20 years found a rhythm late on in desperate times does not mean Russell Wilson would’ve been lobbing it around the field for 300 yards. They ran the ball to try and win the game and in the end, they won the game.

      I also find it a bit frustrating when people dissect whether an offensive coordinator is ‘special’. If you run through a list of offensive coordinators in the NFL, who is ‘special’? Because it seems to me pretty much every fan in the league is complaining about their OC and play calling apart from the Broncos and Pats. Why? Manning and Brady.

      I’m a huge fan of Greg Roman at San Fran. The Niners fans bitch and moan about him as much as we do about Bevell. I guarantee whoever replaces Bevell, people will moan about that guy too.

      The fact is Seattle’s team — and San Francisco’s — is set up to run the ball and play great defense. If you want a fantastic passing game, we have the wrong Head Coach. It’ll never be that way in Seattle under Carroll. And yet this formula has a 26-9 record the last two seasons and Seattle hosts the NFC Championship game next week. I’ll take that.

      And if we’re going to talk about not taking enough risks — let’s look at the Colts. Did Andrew Luck take some risks? Absolutely. Four picks and it’s goodbye playoffs. Seattle’s risk free football has them within a game of the Super Bowl. Let’s breathe here people.

      • dave crockett says:

        One thing I’d add to this sentiment is that Bevell (Carroll or whomever) really DID open things up in the 4th quarter when Seattle had the wind. He was trying to put the game away by going down the field. He just wasn’t going to take any silly risks up two scores.

        • glor says:

          And lets also remember, it wasn’t bevel missing throws and/or choosing not to throw to a wide open guy, that was on Russell. If those completions had hit, who knows how the rest of the drive would have gone.

    • kevin mullen says:

      I would only counter with this: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teameff

      Say what you will about the offense, but we’re the most efficient team overall in the NFL this year and it’s not even close. SF’s and Seattle’s offense per DVOA, were basically the same, only difference is that our defense was better, by the tune of 20% better. Think about that for a moment.

      This will be a defensive-minded game, where every turnover will be amplified, every “3 and out” will be magnified. There’s a reason that the NFL put this game last, and I for one, am very excited for it. Whoever wins this game, IMO, wins the Superbowl. I’m not scared of Denver’s nor NE’s defenses.

      • nolan Thomas says:

        The reason it is last is cbs and Fox rotate time slots each year

        • kevin mullen says:

          I assumed it was based on tv ratings potential this whole time.

          • nolan thomas says:

            nope and if that was the case I thinbk they would go with NE vs Den, Peyton Manning is biggest start in the league, Brady is probably not far behind, thos two have lots of history plus new england/boston are is big media market.

            • kevin mullen says:

              Been there, done that. The League needs a new rivalry, especially as nasty as SF vs SEA can bring. I get the media market thing, but in all honesty, EVERYONE was waiting for this NFC Championship.

    • Robert says:

      Agree…I was hoping the 1st play of the 2nd half would be a play action fake to Beast. Then RW (without rolling to his right!), hits a chip and release TE over the middle and behind the LB’s, who have no reason (for the last 5 games) to defend the middle of the field behind them. Easy 10 yard throw and 20+ yards. If we do not EVER attack the middle of the field, LB’s will over-aggressively focus on clogging our running lanes…make them pay! And step on their throat when they are laying on the ground and struggling to get back up!. That is less risky then letting teams hang around! Instead, in the end and as a result of our “low risk” approach to the too windy 3rd quarter, we ironically put the game away after a low %, high difficulty throw and catch to Doug Baldwin followed by Beast’s mighty run! Attack the middle of the field with TE’s just a few times per game to keep the LB’s honest and help RW and Beast game out by causing LB’s to hesitate and confirm the hand off BEFORE attacking our running lanes…C’MON! That is way less risky than running into stacked boxes and relying on low % “safe” throws that doom us to 50 plays per game, less than 300 yards and huge TOP disparity. Move the chains! Then we will put up 30-40 with the help of our mighty D. I believe our offense will literally transform and start putting up 30+ if they just throw 4-6 balls to chip and release TE’s who race behind LB’s and torch them. LB and SS play softens at the LOS. CB’s on the 1 0n 1 edge routes will stutter on a pump fake leaving WR’s with separation. Beast game opens up as LB’s must wait and confirm the hand off. Everything in the defensive scheme is blown apart if we MAKE THEM defend the middle of the field! IMO

    • Phil says:

      Plyka – 14 wins, 3 losses. Need I say more?

  2. Ukhawk says:

    Well put on Russell but to be more to the point. DangeRus is the perfect playoff QB: He plays to win and doesn’t put us in a position to lose. He makes his teammates better, makes great decisions and makes the defence indecisive.

  3. Dude says:

    I am one of the few people in Hawk Land who don’t think there is a problem with Wilson.

    To me Russell is at his best when the stakes are high. He is cool and collected. He makes the plays he has to, he always comes through in the clutch.

    You look at the first half, where the Saints had less than 50 yards and zero points. There was no urgency coming out of the second half from Seattle. Wilson looked flat, but that is maybe to be expected.

    However, once the Saints started to crawl back, Wilson made all the plays he needed to. Including the Baldwin play on 3rd and 2. He elevated his game when he needed to.

    The next two games will be tough and full of emotion. Wilson will step up to the challenge.

    • CC says:

      I agree – RW will be fine. Again, they didn’t want him to throw the ball when the score was 16-0. I expect RW to play well this week – he said 60 minutes – do you have 60 minutes of great playing in you? I think he does!

  4. CC says:

    Percy on the field makes a difference even when you don’t throw to him. I’m hoping he can play – this is a game where every first down and every possesion will be precious. Hoping we have him Sunday
    1

  5. kevin mullen says:

    This game will be fun to watch, hope you guys don’t mind, but I secretly hoped for this matchup!

    • Bryan C says:

      This is the best matchup we could ask for. Percy Harvin being back will be invaluable, but to me an even more important return to the field will be K.J. Wright. We need stellar run defenders and that is what K.J. is. We know what the 49ers bring to the table and they know us, without Percy. The return of Percy and the home field advantage should be enough.

      I don’t care how many head phones playing “I’m the man” that Kaepernick wears, Century Link gets in Kaepernick’s head. He is mentally weaker than Russell Wilson and that will be the deciding factor in this game.

    • Dude says:

      Yeah i was hoping for it too. If you really think this team is the best, you cant fear any team. The look on Harbaugh’s face when he loses may feel better than SB victory.

      • kevin mullen says:

        I honestly believe he’d think that this is worst (losing to ‘Hawks in playoffs) than losing in last year’s SuperBowl, at least it was to his brother, not his nemesis…

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      I was hoping for the Panthers. It will be even more satisfying to whip the 49ers.

  6. Bdeviled11 says:

    I look at it this way, when M. Lynch gets over 100 yards rushing the Seahawks win. When R. Wilson doesn’t turn the ball over, the Seahawks win. It also seems like the Hawks run the read option in the beginning of the game against their toughest competition to force them to think instead of act. I’m wondering if the new “wrinkle” is to run that with Harvin instead of Lynch.

    And finally the Seahawks have the best home field in the playoffs. That alone allows the offense to be a bit vanilla. If Seattle can jump out to an early lead (turnover battle) they allow the crowd to get in their opponents’ heads.

    • OakHarborHawk says:

      I think the new wrinkle is a triple option with Harvin lined up for a WR screen. You saw it set up a couple of times this way before he got concussed.

      • Phil says:

        Yeah – I think the triple option is in the playbook. I can even see Percy taking a direct snap…

  7. Turp says:

    Sustaining drives will be the key for the Hawks. Percy would be a huge matchup advantage for that. I think the NFCCG will go pretty smoothly if we can keep drives going. It’s the games where the offenses 3&outs a lot and forces the defense to hold up repeatedly that we are in danger of losing – and when people get mad about Bevell/RW’s performance. We’ve faced a run of great defenses and our 3rd down conversion rate has suffered – which is ok if you don’t turn the ball over.

  8. OakHarborHawk says:

    I’m just glad if he’s healthy enough to play you won’t see the Niners head hunting Harvin the way the Saint’s were. They know they wouldn’t get away with doing something like that when they have to play us twice a year. Would’ve been a bit worried if Goldson was still with the Niners.

    The next two games we’ll see the offense get back in form with the weather permitting. I can’t wait for Wilson too throw it too Harvin on a designed roll out that the opposing defenses have been scheming against. Going to make them pay for keeping an extra defender on Wilson especially if it’s a safety coming down.

    Kaepernick might have a better day this Sunday than his last two games in Seattle, but it’s not going to be by much. He might have one or two good rushes but that it’ll be it for him. I expect him to have his second game with 3+ INT.

  9. chris says:

    i think that using luke wilson and harvin in the same package could really test the safeties of the 49er’s. if you want to go 8 in the box to stop lynch the free safety has to choose between harvin running a go route outside and luke wilson running down the seam.

  10. Stuart says:

    Good stuff Rob, that sounds like a great way to use Percy. I knew that returning kicks could get him hurt because of the speed of the collisions but that’s so true about going out on longer routes too. It’s not so bad having Baldwin down the kick off return and we get the ball at the 20 especially if that means prolonging the length of Harvin’s health for the game.

    As has been stated here already, I too feel that this will be a tougher game than the Super Bowl against the AFC. When asked who would I rather I play, my answer is I could care less, we have to beat SF first and that’s the only thing that matters.

    We could not have not this scenario up any better, it’s exactly what we hoped for after losing to Atlanta. Get the #1 seed and home field advantage, check and check.

    This is no time to get down on what’s not going right, my friends look at where we are. Have faith that Russell Wilson will emerge when we need him most. RW is the ultimate winner. PC has forgotten more about football than all of us put together will ever know about the game. Have faith my brothers!

    • David M says:

      honestly in all the Kickoff returns I’ve seen Harvin do, I’ve yet to see hit take a big hit, rather a hit at all. most are getting tripped up or pushed out of bounds, if not those two, its taken to the house for a TD

  11. Ben2 says:

    I think everybody seems more upset about our offense because of those 4 games at the end of last year when we were lighting teams up! And there’s been lots of times this year where I repeatedly thought that we should be blowing the other team out instead of the smaller margins….like our offense was CLOSE to being consistently good which, with our defense getting so many turnovers, would lead to some lopsided Hawk wins. In contrast, our offense seems….not as close to being consistent. I think it was the raised hopes that make the current feel of the offense seem more dire.

  12. Don says:

    My question is whether the Hawks would be better if they had kept their #1, #7. #3 draft picks and $$$$ instead of getting Harvin. So far the investment hasn’t paind off. With that #1 pick they could have had Cordelle Patterson full time. Granted, he is not the dynamic force that Harvin is, but the would have produced. Patterson is dynamic at running kick returns back for TD’s.

    • Justin M says:

      Don you have a valid point. And you may be right.

      But I also would like to point out that the trade happened. Yes Percy has been injured. But lets rise above, cheer him on, and hope he plays next week. Because in the end he is a hawk and we take care of our own.

      • CD says:

        The other issue, if we didn’t have/traded for Percy there was a good chance the 49′ers would. He could have been healthy for them all season and this game might have been in SF. (if on a different work out schedule for the 9ers and didn’t hurt his hip in the spring).

        We all agree that this could be our year, that future years will be tougher to make it due to the Sherman/Wilson/etc contracts.

        Do you really want to lose a great chance at the SB because Percy is playing for the 9′ers?

        Not saying that this all would have happened, but it could have been a by-product of not signing/trading for him.

        • Don says:

          Good points all.

          I have thought about whether getting Harvin was the result of making the Hawks offense better or preventing him from going to SF. I am glad he is on our team, and hope he plays in the NFC Champ and SB games. I am looking forward to him playing full time next year.

          • AlaskaHawk says:

            I would rather Seattle had gone after Boldin and let San Francisco have Harvin. Boldin has directly won over half of San Francisco’s games this year. Just look at the way he was fighting for the ball in the last game. He is exactly what we talk about for a big possession wide receiver.

            Having said all that, I’m glad Harvin is finally showing up, even if for limited use. Because it is money down the drain at this point, and the only hope of redemption on his trade is to win a superbowl with his participation.

            • DT says:

              It seems easy (and convenient) for some of us to say Harvin was not worth the trade *after* the season has unfolded. The hip issue did not arise until *after* the trade (to our knowledge PC/JS did not know of the hip injury at the time of the trade). You cannot compare Harvin to the draft picks (or Harvin to Boldin) *after* the injury happened. You have to compare the worth of Harvin vs alternative *at the time of the trade*. IMO Healthy Harvin > draft picks, and healthy Harvin > Boldin.

              That said, Boldin was a really good trade for SF.

              • AlaskaHawk says:

                My comparison before the trade: Boldin helped the Ravens win a superbowl playing the way he is playing now. Harvin showed great potential when he wasn’t injured.

                • JW says:

                  There was a fair amount of discussion before the trade, especially in comparison to Cord Patterson, as he was seen as a potentially similar player. I think Patterson is an emerging star in the league. His main shortcoming, not a great/polished route runner or pass catcher, is largely mitigated by the fact that he doesn’t have to be and is not used that way. Much like Harvin, he’s a short pass/screen/move player where you don’t need those skills.

                  Of course, Patterson has to produce. He’ll likely face the same challenges Percy faced in Minn, no QB, so he’ll be hamstrung in terms of production until that’s solved. But in my mind’s eye, when I look at Patterson, I think of what might have been. All moot of course, and quite pointless (but isn’t everything we discuss here? ha!).

                  In the end, I’m pretty happy Percy is on the team, as he’s a dang special player. And right now, he commands a response from the opponent that Patterson hasn’t achieved yet. So….the future is now.

  13. matt says:

    Rob. Love your blog.Thanks.
    I don’t know why everyone’s sweating.This is Carrol football.Whatever it takes to win,style points be damned.High priority goes to not turning the ball over! Controlling the game by the run and judicious use of the pass. Just as important is when you have a great defense,you trust it. So why take chances you don’t have to? Obviously Sunday will require the Seahawks to play their best game,but I trust RW a lot more than CK.tho it’s close..

    • rugby lock says:

      In the last two games CK has made at least two boneheaded throws that those secondaries couldn’t take advantage of. The Legion will make him pay for at least one…

      • Rob Staton says:

        And hopefully they won’t all run into each other in the end zone or tip into the hands of a grateful receiver for a huge gain.

        • JW says:

          yes, absolutely. Hawks have to capitalize on turnover opportunities. Kap gifted that GB game to their secondary at least twice, maybe 3 times. He does that on Sunday and it’s curtains.

  14. Phil says:

    Rob – I agree with most of what you say, but the exception I have is with the idea of telling RW to “force the ball” to Harvin. One of the benefits of having Percy on the field is that it forces SF to treat him as a real threat which means that our other receivers should have better shots at getting open. I trust RW with the ball — he will use his football intelligence and maturity to decide who to dish the ball to.

    * * * *

    IMHO, there is too much “hoping” that Harvin plays. I expect Bevell will have a game plan that will work whether Parcy is in the lineup or not. “Hope” is not an effective strategy for winning football games.

    • Dude says:

      My “Hope” is that Tate steps up in this game. He has had some huge games this year, while also completely disappearing others.

  15. thursday says:

    I honestly think they were working on sort of thing and then Harvin went out. But I do agree that I’d rather see more short and backfield plays than him playing jump ball with the db

  16. Ted says:

    Like everyone else, I’d feel much more comfortable if Percy is able to play in this game. Piecing together info from the PFT article on Harvin (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/01/13/too-early-to-know-if-harvin-will-be-cleared-to-play/) which states that yesterday Percy did the cognitive testing portion of the NFL Protocol (http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000253716/article/nfls-2013-protocol-for-players-with-concussions). According to that protocol, if he passed he would have been eligible to start light workouts yesterday, ramp it up today, participate in non-contact portions of practice tomorrow and fully practice on Thurs barring any setbacks. This would be consistent with Pete saying we’d know more Wed or Thurs. I only bring up the 2 links because playing on Sat allowed Percy to take the cognitive tests a day early. If Keenan Lewis can come back in 7 days, I have hope Percy can make it back in 8. We all know he’s gonna do everything he can to play and he’d be a great help.

    • dave crockett says:

      It’s dicey comparing injuries, even if we’re talking ACLs (which are fairly standard). AP came back in less than a year, where RG3 and Chris Clemons are still trying to get their explosiveness back.

      When talking about brain injuries it’s not even a question of comparing across players. We hope he can come back but Lewis’ come back couldn’t be less relevant.

  17. Attyla the Hawk says:

    I do hope Percy plays. He has been such a big factor in the offense.

    Not necessarily on the stat line. But he loosens up so much of the middle by his mere threat of plays. Even if we’re careful with him and use him sparingly, he forces teams to gravitate to him.

    The key to this game won’t be Russell. It will be on the defensive line. We need the kind of production we saw from them against St. Louis. If they play out of their minds like that game, we will be in a solid position to win. The run defense needs to be exceptionally stout this week.

    I don’t find it credible to have many takeaways from the NO game offensively. The fact is, we went up 16-0 on them and really were about even in terms of missed opportunities (2 dropped picks v. 2 missed FGs). To put it bluntly, the way Lynch was running, and the scoreboard all conspired rightly to keep a very conservative game plan in place. Obviously the weather played an additional part to that.

    It was smart football. And if this game should find us in the same situation — I’d hope we play that way again. A full game of Percy would go a long way towards sustaining drives better. Even if he only makes a catch or two.

    I do think there are elements to this game we can unleash that we’ve not been recently. Involving the TEs and attacking the middle — forcing Bowman or Willis to choose between spying Wilson or defending their zone would be helpful. I’m pretty sure we’ll have to chip on Aldon Smith with a back to help Okung. If Bowie can rise to the occasion and win his matchup with Justin Smith — that would go a long way to keeping Wilson clean.

    Seattle needs to play smart this game. Not give away 3rd and 14 conversions just because you want to jawjack at the opponent (Wagner), or hold a running back on 3rd and 15 when you already have the screen pass covered for a loss (Clemons). We can’t give away prime opportunities to get off the field like that.

    Situational awareness will be key. Avoid bail out calls on third down. Force them to make plays instead of offering mulligans.

    • Cysco says:

      I wonder how much of that is on Russell and how much of that is on the receivers. Not to put words in Rob’s mouth, but I suspect his reaction to this would be two words. Big Receiver.

      Seattle needs one.

  18. hanque says:

    I don’t know if it’s already been said, but I’d like to seem them do something like what the eagles had been doing with McCoy and Jackson. Make the defense guess between a read option with Lynch or Wilson, then hand off to Harvin on the sweep. Or don’t, Wilson keeps and goes in the opposite direction that Harvin is motioning in. Or do neither, get them worried about their edges and slam Lynch up the gut.