Seahawks status check: Xmas day notes

December 25th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

Merry Christmas to everyone. For those needing something to read to enable them to move on from the Arizona game, I hope this helps.

Even playing as poorly as they have been recently, the chance to get the #2 seed offered some cause for optimism for Seahawks fans.

That situation has changed massively in light of the Arizona game.

Just look at the difference between the two scenarios:

By claiming the #2 seed…

— Win one home game against a wildcard opponent
— Play the NFC Championship game possibly in Seattle (depending on Dallas’ result)

By settling for the #3 or #4 seed…

— Win one home against a wildcard opponent
— Go on the road against the #1 or #2 seed
— Go on the road in the NFC Championship game

It wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility that even this disjointed version of the Seahawks with so many injuries and issues could win one home game and pull off a win in the NFC Championship game.

Are they capable of winning two road playoff games, after negotiating the wildcard weekend?

So far they’re 0-4-1 on the road in the NFC and in the last five weeks they’re 2-3, including their worst defeat in five years.

There’s no point in giving up on the season completely. This is a weird year in the NFL. On Christmas Eve, Oakland fans woke up dreaming of the Super Bowl. On Christmas Day, they were grieving for their quarterback’s broken leg.

The Tennessee Titans, one of the hottest teams in the NFL, started Christmas Eve with a great chance to make the post season. By Christmas day, that wasn’t possible and their bright, young franchise quarterback also has a broken leg.

The 9-7 Giants won the Super Bowl in 2011 in a year that included a four-game losing streak between weeks 10-13. In week 15 they were well beaten at home by a 5-11 Washington team 23-10.

They got hot at the right time. If you want a reason to believe Seattle still has a chance, there’s your ammunition.

Yet it still feels unlikely, or perhaps more pertinently, it needs to be seen to be believed. We’re at week 16 and there’s no signs of improvement on the O-line. The glass cannon theory rings truer than ever. The defense is streaky and missing a generational safety.

And it means, sadly, there’s little cause for optimism.

This is one of the key issues:

An offense that was at its best based on ball control, physicality and putting the team in a position to win the game in the fourth quarter is now highly dependant on the passing game.

Seattle’s offense between 2012 and 2014 could be defined as conservative plus. They often played for field position. A punt was not their enemy. Yet this was offset by the most creative point guard quarterback we’ll ever see and a punishing ground game.

The Seahawks were explosive and modest in equal measure. And with a stern defense, it was a classic winning combination.

In the last two seasons, that has completely changed. They’re more like every other team in the league with a franchise quarterback. They throw to try and win. Except unlike a lot of other teams, this is a much more volatile proposition.

I’m going to reference the glass cannon again. When things work, this offense is extremely entertaining and prolific. The collection of talent — Wilson, Graham, Baldwin, Lockett — is ideal for an explosive, attacking passing game. Yet because the O-line and running game is so poor, it’s been boom or bust all year.

The cannon can fire away with reckless abandon but one chip or chink and it cracks.

Teams know the Seahawks will abandon the running game if they get behind. And they get behind because teams also know they can sell out defending the pass, attacking the O-line to rush the passer without worrying about putting eight in the box.

Opponents appear to be saying, ‘we’re prepared to give up yards in the running game because we don’t think you can sustain that side of your offense — plus you’ll give it up if things get rough’.

If the Seahawks are going to get back to being a serious contender, this has to be addressed. They’ve regressed from a consistent top-five running offense to a team currently ranked #21 in the NFL (and they could fall further down the list depending on what happens in the remaining games over Christmas).

This was an interesting Tweet by ESPN’s Josina Anderson today…

Perhaps it’s Josina’s profile picture — a selfie with Ciara — that makes me wonder if she’s talking at least partly about the Seahawks here.

This is a team that was built aggressively. Multiple roster moves. Big trades. Hosting players like Brandon Marshall on a seaplane. Star names, big splashes.

When they lost that Super Bowl, they traded for Jimmy Graham a few weeks later.

Facing an identity crisis on offense and a clear, festering problem that is an absent running game and a poorly performing offensive line — the idea that the Seahawks will cross their fingers and hope for the best seems unrealistic.

In discussing free agency, Josina Anderson references adversity. That’s what the Seahawks are facing right now. “Adversity brings change“.

She might as well have added the teams hashtag: #weare12

The Seahawks have money to spend. Not as much as some others, but there’s some room. Do they go after someone like Ron Leary? Or Chance Warmack? Or Kevin Zeitler? Or Riley Reiff? That’s just four names to start with.

Will they find a way to make a creative trade as we’ve seen them do in the past?

Will Le’Veon Bell test free agency? It seems doubtful but right now he hasn’t got a contract for 2017.

Or will the Seahawks focus on another area of need — interior pass rush — and make a play for Calais Campbell or Kawann Short or Dontari Poe?

They haven’t really made splashes in free agency since 2013. They haven’t paid big money since 2011. This has a feel of 2011 to it — trying to establish something. Trying to get things going.

They might be aggressive in the draft too. Whether it’s getting after someone like Garett Bolles to provide an injection of talent at tackle, one of the better interior D-line disruptors or a stud running back. Being aggressive doesn’t necessarily mean trading up — but it’s an option. Picking later in the first round hasn’t provided the Seahawks with a great draft pick in the Carroll/Scheider era. It feels like this team needs a spark, on top of a few solid acquisitions.

They might even trade their #1 or #2 pick for a veteran. They’ve done it before.

Either way, this is the absolute three crucial priorities:

— Repair the broken running game
— Improve the O-line
— Improve the interior pass rush

The good news is, they won’t need to focus too much on the safety position:

That was a nice little pre-Christmas pick-me-up after the Arizona game. Earl will be back. Probably more amped than ever before. They can focus on trying to acquire someone like Shalom Luani possibly in the middle rounds, instead of needing to go after one of the top safety’s in round one.

Here’s a silver lining to focus on for now. If this team doesn’t find a spark to go on a great playoff run — we might be just a few weeks away from the most interesting Seahawks off-season in a long time.

134 Responses to “Seahawks status check: Xmas day notes”

  1. Hughza says:

    Merry Christmas!

  2. AlaskaHawk says:

    Merry Christmas Rob,
    You are always interesting to read. I can’t imagine how much time this takes, the bonus being you are among friends!

  3. Volume12 says:

    Merry Christmas from Spokane SDB!

    And Merry X-mas to you Rob.

    I find it pretty remarkable that with no run game, big time injuries that affect his mobility and passing, and playing behind this particular O-line that RW has us and had us competing for a 2 seed in the playoffs. Incredible honestly.

  4. cha says:

    One (comparatively) simpler fix is RW re-gaining his touch and accuracy on deep balls. He’s consistently missed 2-3 wide open guys deep per game, and those could be either long gains or 6 points. Yesterday, he overthrew Baldwin, who had beaten his man deep, and then under threw Baldwin on a scramble when Baldwin had gotten behind his man.

    That was one of his strengths in past years. If he can somehow re-gain that connection it could really open things up. Not saying he can, but I’d bet on that before I’d bet on the OL and DL issues suddenly getting worked out.

    • Jon says:

      I think Wilson’s mechanics have definitely regressed this year due to two things: injuries and the usual anemic OL. I think once he’s healthy, he can quickly sharpen his footwork and mechanics up so I wouldn’t be too worried about that. His knee is still clearly affecting him; he’s still struggling to fully put weight on his plant leg and has to compensate by using more pure arm strength.

      I just want to see what he can do fully healthy behind even average pass protection. He can compensate for a mediocre OL when he’s fully healthy, but when he’s hobbled and the pass protection is spotty, I’m not surprised he’s struggling to make the routine throws sometimes that he usually makes.

  5. Mylegacy says:

    Rob, Happy Christmas! (My wife’s from Bournemouth – she knows the English code salutation for Christmas.)

    I suspect that you’re correct – Schneider will be active. They will decide what they can get in the draft, what they can get in Free Agency and what they can get in trade(s). THREE – ways to acquire talent.

    HAVE TO HAVE: Help for the OLine, a serious inside rusher. a statement running back. WANT TO HAVE: Serious competition everywhere.

    One exceptional pick-up from each of the three ways to acquire and we will be measurably improved next year. The foregoing, plus one more significant change and we’ll seriously favoured as front-runners.

    Schneider, make it so!

    Rob, the very Best of the Season to you and your family. Thank you personally for your never failing excellence in covering the team we 12’s all love.

    Thanks to your ever suffering wife for putting up with a husband staying up at all hours following games 8 time zones away! Mrs. Staton – your husband is a unique, insightful, gifted writer whose passion and talent make many thousands of us far away heathens lives worth living. We realize we’re just the colonies – but support from the Mother Country is always appreciated!

    Oh yes, and Happy New Year too!

  6. Ishmael says:

    Happy Christmas to all the SDB family from Melbourne, Australia. I’m just about to head in to the Boxing Day Test between Australia and Pakistan with my old man, should be great. Best wishes to all of you over the holiday season, keep your friends and family close and enjoy the moment.

  7. Elliott Atkinson says:

    After watching last nights game I think the prospect of trading up for Fournette sounds even more apealing. We need to get a running game, and considering this draft doesn’t seem to have much O-Line talent I think signing a decent veteran FA will help more than a rookie. Then with the rest of the draft we could try and address the need for some interior pass rush.

  8. The Hawk is Howling says:

    Merry Holidays to all!

    When we lose it’s a bummer, though I always keep in mind that we truly have a great team that always play’s hard and they always compete to the end! This we should never take for granted, for as long as we Have Russell there is always a chance and that is awesome and wonderful.

    It’s so easy to be disappointed by our Hawks this season many players need mending while some changes are inevitable. We’re still in it despite our adversities and I’m hoping things will ony be better after this off season!

    We just might be Super Bowl champion’s this year despite all of our issues. That is something to be thankful for on this Christmas day.

    I hope everyone is having a pleasant day with your Families and friends. If not ,Thanks to Rob we have somewhere to go to talk about something we are passionate about so in a way Rob is our Santa delivering presents of articles and discussion.

    Thanks Santa Staton you definitely get cookies and milk this year!

    Go HAWKS

  9. Radman says:

    Looking at Baltimore and steelers running game. west and Dixon taking over the game w the power running game and fine blocking. Mid and late rounders. Bell on the other side living off the fat of good blocking and maximizing his talent. Second rounder.

    • Rob Staton says:

      There are many different ways to achieve success in the running game. Getting a better OL is key, but it doesn’t mean any old back will be able to run behind the line either. Not necessarily.

      • Hawk Eye says:

        I agree that the o line improvement is the key to the better running game.
        Part of the issue on solving all the problems is there is a limited amount of salary cap and draft resources to do it, so almost impossible to do it all. And there are lots of teams looking for o line help and interior pass rush. Limited resources and competition for the same players makes it hard to do.
        No restriction because of compensatory picks because Hawks are not losing anyone good, so adding a couple decent players in FA is possible.
        So hopefully they are able to find a decent right tackle in free agency for $6 mil average salary, resign Britt to an extension for a similar amount. Have to count on some improvement from Ifedi, Fant and Glow. Can they improve to be average next year?
        IF (big IF) Rawls and Prosise can stay healthy, I think they have can a good running game if the o line improves, but another back will have to be added to be safe. Can Collins be better in year 2? Spencer Ware is looking good in KC, some guys need a little time to fit in.

        so what are the targets in round 1 and 2 who can play right away and have an impact? DT and G? RB?
        Hard to draft 3 players with 2 picks, and no guarantee high picks can play right away and be good.

        of course, we are just dreaming and scheming, John and Pete have to do the work, and with 5 straight playoff appearances, I have faith in them.

  10. Adog says:

    I could buy into the Seahawks making a run to super bowl on the back of Alex Collins. Talk about fresh legs…he looked dynamic when he came into the game. Of course bevell rewarded that effort with next to nothing for carries. Could Collins resurrect the offense? I think so…but bevell and cable need to make a effort to take the ball out wilson’s hands.

    • Rob Staton says:

      A quick counter to this — the offense did score 28 points in the second half. So while it was odd to see Collins have one good series then kind of disappear, the offense did not suffer for it.

      • Adog says:

        Yes they did score 28 points, but it seemed to me that the defense was gassed by the 4th quarter. It was obvious that they missed earl Thomas…back there. I’ve lobbied in the past for the Seahawks to open up their offense, but now I see the folly in that scheme…you cannot play that way with a Pete Carroll defense. After so minutes on the field(I don’t have any numbers) or offensive plays…this defense goes from good to average. The four man rush turns into a stand still, the linebackers cannot drop into their zone, and the legion of boom cannot cover receivers for that long.

        • Nolan says:

          If your going to open the offense up you need blocking and it has to be that way from sseries one. The Hawks never open things up until 2nd half when they are normally losing. The defense might not be as tired if they don’t have to play from behind as much. Plus when you get a team down they feel pressure and make mistakes. Right now it’s like we are as rob said a scrambled mix of a team and we need to pick on way and go with it until the season is over and then try and regroup. We know we don’t have a line so we should focus on quick passing game and the spread offense, playing out of shotgun. Shotgun suits Alex Collins and still gives us zone read. Might not win us a super bowls but gives us a shot by changing our style a little playing to our current rosters strength. On defense I think we need to blitz more our secondary is shaky with ET out and nobody back there is having a career year anyways we have been getting beat deep even in our cover three conservite play calls so shouldn’t lose to much by bring and extra man a little more often. Perhaps bringing KJ and BObby up the middle a little more can provide the inside pressure we are lacking.

          For next year I think FA money needs to be spent bringing in one or two vets to the OLine and we probably need at least one draft pick for the line Britt/ifedi should be only locks for next years line, fans should have to earn that LT spot , glowinski has to earn his spot , and RT needs to be a start over spot entirely new players brought in to fill that void. To me this needs to be we’re FA money is spent we have thrown tons of draft capital in past two drafts here and now that needs to be supplememnrted with some dollars.

          DL needs to be addressed as well I would love Calais Campbell but I think it might be to much to ask for our FA dollars to get him and at least one or two impact bodies on the Oline so I won’t count on Campbell I would like to see us go and try and find a good Interior DL on the bargain heap and then would like to address this need in draft as there seems to be options in rounds 1-3 and maybe even later.

          If they could find away to address both of those needs in free agency then I would say go all in and trade for an impact player RB Fournett. Russell and Fournett would be a great foundation for this team going forward. They would be blocks on offense that could allow us to keep finding cheap options at receiver etc … plus we would have options to try and find extra draft choices perhaps trading Jimmy graham, micheal Bennett, cliff Avril or any one of our aging defensive studs ala Bill Bellicheck.

          If you can fill this need for an impact player in the draft and I think that’s more fantasy gming more then realistic option I think you need to continue trying to fix offense we need another back to go with prosise and Rawls whom both have serious injury history’s that lead me to believe we need another alternative good thing is there should be options in round 1-3 that can be added to pile and have impact.

          On the defense end I defiantly want another piece on the Dline and I would like to add another meaningful contributed in the secondary through the draft again should be options in round 1-3. I’d also like to have another vet added to secondary even if it’s just a camp body that gets beat out for the job by the young guys.

          I’d also like to see the kicking game have some competition not saying I want Ryan or harshoka gone but some competition is need, obviously House is an FA so if you bring him back he gonna win job but I do think he needs to be evaluated and see what options are available since he has not been automatic this year.

  11. Zach Anderson says:

    I agree with fixing all those areas but the question i’ve seen posed by multiple seahawk commentators and blog writers is this question of “how much at fault is Tom Cable for this years disaster of the oline/run game”.I totally agree that there is some blame on injuries and at the end of the day it is Pete and John who have signed off on many of the moves Cable has been behind so some of the blame does lie on them but the overwhelming thing that we all see is that Cable does not seem to be able develop talent at all.We can argue he hasn’t been given opportunities at the star top 20 lineman but in some ways he has been given guys like Ifedi/Carpenter in the first round,Britt/Moffett in rounds 2/3.He has been given more than enough to work with but instead we see guys leave in free agency only to perform better with a new team. So my question is this do we do a major change such as letting one of Cable/Bevell go and if so who in the NFL/NCAA is out there that you can see bringing our offense/line back to life?

  12. AlaskaHawk says:

    Maybe Seahawks need to look for linemen who are good at pass protection. Seems like the team is changing and Wilson’s arm will be featured more then in the past. Sure I like the idea of a great running game. It just seems like even with an injured Russell Wilson the Seahawks are running less and less.

    • LordSnow says:

      One thing that has entered my mind since yesterday’s heartbreaker is something I would not have thought possible but now am thinking is a very strong possibility: cutting loose Jimmy Graham after the season. When you look thru the roster, who can you release to free up the capital needed to make a huge splash? At his salary, you expect him to be a #1 option on a pass happy offense. I think his usage and production in New Orleans was commensurate with his salary. On the seahawks? Doug Baldwin is the #1 guy. I would not be surprised if they believe they can get enough production out of Vannett and a cheaper resigned Luke Willson than paying Graham.

      Graham’s salary probably lands you the elite olineman you need to sign and allows you to extend Bennett and Kam. You may still have some money left over for an SLB to set the edge. Maybe even another backup safety.

      Do I want to see it? No, because I love what he brings. But while they are using him, he is not a true key offensive target on this team, he is part of a shared distribution. Yet he’s paid like a #1. The numbers don’t add up.

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        Well a lot of that goes back to play design. Baldwin is open and Graham is where? Blocking, in the wrong spot, I don’t know. He did catch one tight throw for a touchdown. But when the Seahawks get down to red zone, he just isn’t a target. I think because of play design.

        That’s one of the reasons I would favor some new blood in the offensive coaching. I think there could be more done to use the people that the Seahawks have. Right now it really feels like Baldwin is going to get the majority of passes no matter what. Now that Lockett is out, Richardson is the natural second but he is a frail fellow himself.

        Getting back to Graham, he should be perfect for dink and dunk down the field, and for red zone plays. But he just isn’t a part of it. And I think it is because of play design.

      • Sea Mode says:

        At least you wrote a calm, well thought out post and gave some logical reasons why it could be beneficial to move on from JG, even if you don’t like the idea of losing what he brings. I commend you for that.

        That said, I have to disagree that this would be the way to go. We are often talking on the blog about getting a difference maker on offense, someone who defensive coordinators have to lose sleep planning for. (thus all the Fournette trade-up scenarios, etc.).

        Graham is a difference maker wherever his is on the field. I agree he should be targeted a bit more, but even when he is not, you can be absolutely sure he is drawing extra coverage towards him and away from others.

        Plus, he’s a big play guy who can turn nothing into something great, as he has done already in a couple crucial moments of games this season. I don’t think $10m is too high a price to pay for what he brings.

        If anything, maybe an extension if they want to play around with the contract structure and gain some cap room next year. He would probably like some guarantees moving forward into his 30’s, and thus might be willing to lower his ask in exchange for some guaranteed money.
        http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/seattle-seahawks/jimmy-graham-6603/

        • AlaskaHawk says:

          I would be concerned that Graham will want to secure his hall of fame legacy by going to a team like the Patriots where they do throw to their tight ends. Gronkowski and Graham would be frightening!

          • Trevor says:

            I agree the way Graham has been utilized since moving to Sea makes me wonder why he would re-sign with Hawks? I have never seen a star mismatch player be more under utilized.

        • Tien says:

          Great post, Sea Mode, and I agree! We want to build on our strengths and not just give up an area of dominance to maybe improve an area of weakness. If Baldwin is the only legit threat in the passing game, it will be easier for teams to stop him.

        • LordSnow says:

          Yeah, I don’t want to lose him. Esp since the front office, and the blogosphere in general felt the need for the red zone mismatch. To me, the one yard almost int to Graham was acceptable as opposed to the super bowl int to Lockette. An NFL king among mismatches vs a fourth string WR. Not a question to me and I had no problem with Bevel calling that play to Graham.

          But seeing Rob’s posted tweet from Josina Anderson, makes me pause. They’ve spent the past two monster trades to improve the passing attack. If they truly sense the urgency of fixing the running game (and they must with the flip flopping tackles, dumping Cmike, etc), and if Josina is truly talking about the hawks, the question is, where is the flexibility? I see enough cap room to do the assumed resigning of Bennett, Kam…but that room quickly disappears when you consider rookies, and the other roster spots that will require money.

          I also think Tyler Lockett is done for his career. I hope I’m wrong. I can’t help but see how Steve Zakuwani’s promising career was destroyed by the same injury. He lost his speed and quickness, which is Lockett’s game. Hard to accept, as he appears to be an incredibly fine young man, but that injury has a history. They’ll need to bring in another body, I think, for that position. They either draft for it, or pay for it, as well as promote from within.

          I do not think Jermaine Kearse has earned a guaranteed spot next year. Sorry, I’m a Dawg, and I love him for that, but he is a liability in the passing game. And if he’s getting called for his picks, his value diminishes further.

          I am in agreement with many on this blog that Rawls is too injury prone, and that’s my favorite Hawk right there. Hate saying it, but at some point it has to be accepted. Prosise as well. So, they either draft one, pull the Fournette/Cook sell the draft scenario, or sign an FA. If they sell the draft, then they take the ability away from using the draft to fill the other spots, so we have to assume more FA.

          So all this boils down to for me is they have to dip into FA heavier than in normal years. Unlike others, I see lots of problems on this roster. I think going forward you can’t look at starting lineups anymore and assume the talent there will ride you to an sb. Depth has to be just as big a component as looking for stars. The past three years has seen our sb hopes die with injuries.

          I think PC and his staff are too smart not to see it.

          So they need money, and where will it come from? The easiest place is to look at Graham. In fact, I think it is a FAR greater likelihood to cut Graham then a sell the draft for Fournette. Selling the draft just requires so many things. The targeted player falling to the right spot, a willing dealer, other teams unwilling to beat your price….the stars have to align.

          But cutting Jimmy is so much easier and costs them nothing other than losing a guy they like, but a guy they probably don’t HAVE to have.

      • Mac says:

        It doesn’t make sense to cut Graham. We’ll have about 40 mil in cap space. We have contracts we can restructure and push money to the future like Richard Sherman. Graham is only making 10 mil and is a legit threat on the field. With a better line he can spend less time blocking and more time receiving. If we cut Graham, resign Luke Willson and pick up a free agent tight end, we’ll spend 8 mil between the two tight ends for lower quality players. It’s like cutting Kam Chancellor, it would save you a couple mil but you’d be majorly down grading.

  13. bankhawk says:

    Merry Christmas (or Boxing day hêre in Bangkok) to Rob and to all the usual suspects!

    And as always, thank you Rob-for all you do the entire live-long year. Another fine piece of work hêre. Very much in tune with the observation I made yêsterday-that SDB há taught me the joys of immersion in the offseason, for their own sake and as buffer from the sting of disappointments that arise in season.

    I tend to think we will have to look to free agency for help at the tackle spot, and think that having one well-seasoned vet thêre might be a really good thing for us. After all, who is the leader thêre? The one who can circle the wagons and get them fired up? Guess youd look to Britt, but he seems a bit guiet for the role. Look at the abundance of fiery leaders on the defensive side by contrast. All thí said, Id grab Boles in a New York second if he is within reach.

    I know its not the full-on ănswer in terms of the flagging run game, but Collins offered up kind of a teaser yêsterday. I have seen only the highlights-anyone care to expand on thảt performance and what it could portend for the playoffs and going forward into next year?

    Best holiday wishes to one and all.

  14. daniel says:

    I keep hearing people talk about zone versus man blocking and how seattle should swich from zone to man but I don’t really understand the two schemes and if someone could answer some of my questions about them or recomend somwhere on the internet where I can learn about them that would be great.

    1. My understanding is that in a zone blocking scheme when it is a run play each blocker runs in a predetermined line and it is their responsibility to block the first defender they encounter in that line. Is this true, if not how does it work? If so how does it work in pass protection?

    2. Are man and power blocking schemes the same, or are they just similar? How do they work and what are there similarities and differences.

    3. What are the implications for the running back, pass protection, and the offense in general depending on which blocking scheme a team employs.

    4. What kind of blocking scheme does most of the league use.

    5. how do the answers to these questions impact the type of players at running back and o-line that teams must use depending on which scheme they run.

    • Volume12 says:

      1. They move laterally and each have post snap assignments. That’s one reason its so hard to evaluate a ZBS. Incredibly complex. Here’s the tip of the proverbial iceberg. In a zone, the lineman are attacking areas of the field. If there’s a double team, one can release and get to the 2nd level. You don’t need a Dallas O-line to run a ZBS scheme because they’re blocking areas. If there’s not a defender in your area, continue on and double team or ‘look for work.’ Pass protection is virtually the same.

      Teamwork is absoultely key. Your trying to reach the LBs and get to the 2nd level. And working as a singular unit.

      ZBS requires tons of coaching and it should allow the line to play against any type of D-line because you can adapt it.

      2. Man and power are the same essentially. Again, verbiage. Man or power are individual blocking assignments. A ‘hat on a hat.’

      3. Same

      4. A third of the league uses somed form of the ZBS scheme. Seattle, Washington, Carolina, Denver base their offense around it. Probably some other teams now I’m sure.

      5. ZBS O-lineman should have quick feet, very athletic, and quick thinkers reaction. That should trump size in a zone scheme. The RBs have to be agile, run with aggression/power, and be instinctual. Nothing too fancy. No dancing. You take what you can get in a zone. He should find that hole, make quick cuts, get upfield or north/south ASAP.

      Here’s the catch. A lot of the ZB is successful because of the cut-block. That’s not really legal anymore. Should be as long as you don’t roll up on their knees and hit them below it, but the NFL has blurred those lines. That takes away pursuit angles and should open cutback lanes. Defenders used to hate the zone scheme because of the cut block. It slows their momentum and a lot of the times they end up on the ground. If they have to worry about getting hit around the knees, it causes hesitation and second guessing. Loss of play speed and agression.

      Now, you also have to have a RB that can read zone patterns and his keys. You want that info? Some teach it different, but this is how I was taught.

      • Volume12 says:

        *It seems like Seattle also uses a lot of combo blocking elements too.

        • Volume12 says:

          And that is a huge reason why this O-line is struggling. I just noticed it.

          They aren’t getting to the LBs at the 2nd level. Its allowing teams to send them as free rushers.

          • daniel says:

            Thank you so much.

            • daniel says:

              A few more questions.

              1. Why does the zone blocking scheme rely on cut blocking so much while man/power doesn’t?

              2. Do man/power schemes not use combo blocking where once the d-lineman is blocked one blocker can go to the second level?

              3. Are the advantages of a man/power scheme that blockers can focus on mauling people and not deal with complexities while the advantages of a zone scheme are that the scheme is so easily adaptable? If so wouldn’t it seem that Carroll’s philosophy of beating the other team into the ground lend itself towards a man/power scheme?

              • Volume12 says:

                1. Your trying to open up cut back lanes. Should make it easier for the RB to find holes. And it takes away pursuit angles from the backside.

                2. Some do.

                3. Yes. They do use some elements of power/man.

                The odds are lower that you’ll get stuffed or blown up in a ZBS because its a one-cut, RB picks the hole instead of having a pre-snap or selected gap.

                A really cool thing about the zone scheme? Deception. For example, you can let free rushers or blitzers rush into a certain area behind the LOS that has no part of the play called. Then the O-lineman can release into the 2nd level.

                • lil'stink says:

                  This topic was brought up on another site recently and someone brought up the point that there has been a lack of cutback lanes this year due to poor backside contain. Not sure if this is due to rule changes or lack of talent on the line.

                  One thing I’ve noticed is way too many missed blocks or complete whiffs on the first level. Guys not communicating well – missing first level blocks as their eyes move to the linebackers. When you aren’t getting enough push on the first level and you aren’t cutting off the pursuit angles there’s nowhere for the RB to go (duh).

      • Ed says:

        I think the OL is one place you can’t look for the one good thing they and make them good OL. When they evaluate a LB, they say he has tremendous speed so let’s use that to our advantage. You can’t really do that with OL. Either they can play or not. They move players from DL or basketball or hasn’t played OL much and turn it into their offensive line. Here is a novel idea, draft OL that have played OL in college. I would rather have an OL with experience but tops out as a solid starter that hardly misses his assignments than hope a DL moving to a different position can turn into an Pro Bowl player.

      • 75franks says:

        great break down v. so my question is would switching to a man/power scheme open up the pool of players we could choose from? and wouldn’t a man/power scheme make it easier for young olineman to play at a higher level because they don’t have to think as much? go hawks

        • Volume12 says:

          I do think it would be easier, but Seattle also employs some power/man elements.

          It would probably open up the pool of talent, but one of the main positives of a ZBS is the ability to adapt it on the fly or at halftime for example. Its designed to battle and overcome adversity.

      • The Hawk is Howling says:

        Damn Vol, you must be a master at Techmo Bowl! Thanks for the info I feel like I’m back in Kindergarten, Oh the memories!

        Go Hawks!

        • Volume12 says:

          Oh I loved me some Tecmo Bowl. Bo Jackson and Barry Sanders (my all time favorite player) were unstoppable.

      • Trevor says:

        Great write up Vol.

        I don’t think it is any coincience that the worst pass blocking OLs in the league (Sea, Den, Car) all run ZBS scheme.

        The rule changes around cut blocks the last 3-4 years have definitely impacted the schemes effectiveness.

  15. DC says:

    Happy Holidays to everyone and thanks Rob for pouring yourself into the top stop for all things Seahawks! Don’t know how you do it. I have a 1 year old and… I just passed out from fatigue and forgot what I was going to write.

    This season is not a surprise aside from the things you can’t predict like specific player injuries. It’s the second straight year where the OL loses consistently at the line of scrimmage. For any other QB in the league this would be a fatal flaw and It’s very close to that. Even the 2013 OL wasn’t “good” but they more or less tied at the LOS when our 1st stringers were healthy. We need to get back to that level imo.

    Every year other than 2013 I’ve felt we were 1 or 2 pass rushers short of ideal and part of that has to do with depth and guys getting hurt at critical points in the playoffs. 2012 we lost Jones & Clemons and that sunk us vs Atlanta. That team could have won it all. In 2014 Avril got knocked out of the Super Bowl vs New England. We couldn’t stop Brady after that. Obviously that game was winnable. I think we are two moves away from a dominant D Line again and that we will have it next year. We need it. We’ve got to hit QBs often.

    Watching Calais Campbell this weekend just re-enforced how great that guy would be on our line. He just disrupts everything right in front of the QB’s face.

    If we can knock this offseason out of the park, and I believe we will, we will be raising the Lombardi in Minneapolis.

    It’s a “tell the truth” offseason. Every player and coach needs an honest evaluation. Where are we really at? Where do we want to be? Do all of our players fit the way we thought? Is it time to quit chasing the candy and get back to eating meat and potatoes?

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      2014 Super Bowl we lost Avril and Lane, and no cornerbacks left to play against pass happy New England. Youch.

  16. EranUngar says:

    To me, both the glass canon and the lack of an intimidating run game stem from the same weak link. The running game can’t be consistent behind poor OL blocking and an explosive passing game can not be consistent against extra backfield cover without enough time for plays to develop before the QB is crashed.

    In other words – A ZBS OL needs at least a year to learn and work properly (Gibbs). This line does not have that experience and it shows. Last year the OL gelled in the 2nd half because it had Okung, Sweezy, Lewis and Britt with more than a year on this OL, next year we’ll find out if this group can get it done or not (with one or two quality additions…).

    The other issue is the depth on defense, mainly the DL. What enabled the Seahawks to play their type of football in 2013 was a complete trust in the Defense getting their job done. No player on the DL played more than 65% of the snaps. Offenses could not hammer them and take advantage late in games and they were fresh by the end of the season. That line had Red, McDaniel, Mebane and Clem as starters. They had Irvin, Bennett, Avril, Hill, McDonald sharing the load. They did not allow 20 points in the 4th quarter or allow a winning drive starting 60 seconds before the end of the game.

    If we want to play our type of football next year, we need to enhance the LOS on both sides of the ball. While we may get some help from the young players on the OL, we can’t expect similar help on the DL.

    Rob’s double dip concept of adding OL&DL help in FA and doubling with high draft picks sounds very appealing right now. A quality DT in FA and a quality EDGE high in the draft will help the rotation and provide immediate impact. A quality FA starter (RT?) will compliment the young OL and a quality rookie learning the ZBS and then joining the line would be great for long term stability.

    • C-Dog says:

      There’s some really nice points there with the ZBS OL needing a year to gell, and the issue of depth on the DL. I can totally see this team add a vet to the OL and another vet to the DL. If we stand by the words of Tom Cable last week, it seems like the team feels it mostly needs to resolve the issue of RT. I think if they do sign a veteran, they may not look to draft OL until the middle rounds, though, maybe focus on RB earlier.

  17. DavidM2 says:

    Merry Christmas Rob/SDB,

    On a not so merry note the Lockett injury was eerily similar to this injury that was a career ender for Tyrone Prothro.

    https://youtu.be/8Xj46ypk67k

    Here’s an article talking about him 10 years later.

    http://www.al.com/alabamafootball/index.ssf/2015/10/10_years_later_and_11_surgerie.html

    Sports Medicine has come a long way since then, but my heart dropped when I saw it. I just hope it’s not this bad.

  18. Sea Mode says:

    RB Jamaal Williams, BYU highlights from 2nd half of 2016 season just put up on Youtube:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbp55TgJChM

    Love the jump cut, vision, energy and violence with which he runs. He’s at 6-2, 215 now. At that height, it looks to me like he has the frame to add more. Will be interesting to see at the combine.

  19. Dingbatman says:

    If a Jimmy Graham trade netted you a pro bowl O/L and a 1st round pick who would go for that?
    I love JG and hate the thought of letting him go. But he had 2 catches last game and 4 in the last 3. For whatever reason the Hawks are wasting his talent.

    It would seem that improving the O/L will require the team to change structurally. Even if (big if) someone like Bolles is available in the draft it is not unreasonable to believe he would go through the same learning curve that Ifedi is going through. Implementing a blocking system that by all accounts takes a year or more to learn (these are 4 year contracts) only to let them go via free agency so you can put your money elsewhere seems like a surefire way to keep the line in constant turmoil.

    If you were to change that structurally and funnel more funds into your O/L that money has to come from somewhere. The question is where? I don’t see them moving on from Russell, Sherman, Thomas, Wagner, Wright, or Baldwin. You could argue they move on from Bennett, Avril or Chancellor but that would just create new holes to fill that would either likely cost more via FA or hope you get lucky in the draft and get someone who is at least as good as the guys they replace.

    That leaves Graham. What kind of return could he generate? Another 1st round pick or more? $9million to allocate to upgrading the O/L?

    Would ya????

    • C-Dog says:

      It would be tempting, for sure, but then that exposes the issue of having to replace Graham. IMO, if this team didn’t have Graham on the roster this season, it would be very difficult to image that they’d be sitting at 9-5-1, it kinda feels like those numbers would more likely be flipped. I think you’d have to burn one of those high picks on a TE, kinda nullifying the first round pick.

      • Dingbatman says:

        if this team didn’t have Graham on the roster this season, it would be very difficult to image that they’d be sitting at 9-5-1, it kinda feels like those numbers would more likely be flipped

        Perhaps. But the premise is they would have used him to add value in other areas. Say a starting Right tackle and a running back. They were without him the last half of last season and were it not for a horrible start vs Carolina would have been playing the NFC championship game. I agree he has huge value but only if it gets actualized. They threw to him twice in arguably the biggest game of their season on Saturday.

        • C-Dog says:

          Those are certainly fair points. I would say that last Saturday, they got themselves stuck having to keep him in as an extra blocker because of the inability of the OL to pass pro, and that’s why he didn’t receiver more targets. IMO, if they could have protected better, JG would have probably seem many more targets. Imagine how RW would look with protection and JG involved in the passing game.

          It’s an interesting notion to entertain, but I kind of feel like at this point in his career, Seattle wouldn’t get a first round pick for him, especially when you consider that this draft appears loaded at TE. If I were a GM of another team that possesses at pro bowl level OT and I need a TE, why would I trade that player for JG and my R1 pick, when I can keep him and use my R1 pick on a good TE available in the draft?

          • LordSnow says:

            I think the objective to releasing graham would only be about freeing up resources, and not about acquiring picks.

            If they did such a thing, I would fully expect them to heavily dip into free agency.

            • Rob Staton says:

              He isn’t being moved. They have nearly $40m in free cap room.

              • Hawk Eye says:

                agreed. JG is going nowhere. They would have cut him this year if they wanted to save money and spend it somewhere else, especially after he is coming back from injury. They want him and will keep him at least until his contract is up. They paid big to get him and they like his skill set.
                $40 million in cap space, but if they extend MB and Kam, that will take some of that. Hawks don’t do back loaded deals, so it will use up some 2017 $$.
                Who else is getting an extension? Marsh? Britt?
                Do they save some $$ to extend players in 2018 like Avril and KJ, Clark, Lockett?
                either way, they should have room to add a good piece on the o line, maybe one on the d line, but doubtful they will be all star players.

                • Rob Staton says:

                  If they extend Kam and Bennett — looking at previous extensions they’ve done — their 2017 hit probably won’t change that much. Maybe by a few million overall but they’ll still have money to spend.

    • Sea Mode says:

      That’s kinda funny, given we traded a Pro Bowl OL and a Rd. 1 pick to get him…

      Anyway, there were already some other comments on this just a bit above, so I won’t re-post:
      http://seahawksdraftblog.com/seahawks-status-check-xmas-day-notes#comment-299611

      • Dingbatman says:

        Bingo! We have a winner!

        • Hawk Eye says:

          no one is giving a pro bowl lineman and a first round pick for Graham with one year left on his contract.
          Chandler Jones trade is a better comp.
          and NFL teams do not like to trade, how many big trades happen every year that involve pro bowl type players?
          also, can you find a great WR for $9 million?
          Think of Graham as an oversized WR match up nightmare who can block like a below average TE (and better than most WR’s)
          The problem is not Graham, the problem is how he is used.
          Look at how KC used Kelce last night against Denver and ask yourself where the problem lies.

          • Hawk Eye says:

            to try and figure out how JS and PC think, I think you need to try and see value per position.
            They think they can get a comparable O line for well below league average (not working out), get value of a TE vs WR, since they are paid less.
            And for some strange reason tried to save maybe $500K on a long snapper (not working out).
            And with the money saved, tried to spend on D and now pay for Wilson.

            let’s see if the strategy changes this off season

          • Ed says:

            Bingo. Been saying either DB needs to go or JG. Has he become a better blocker, yes. But so many times even Saturday he wasn’t even on the field inside the 20 or blocking. What a waste. With how bad Kearse has been, use JG and DB as your receivers and NV or LW as your TE. Not rocket science.

            • Rob Staton says:

              Not this again. Why is it every time there’s adversity in Seattle the same topics come up? Bevell and Cable or trade Jimmy Graham. It misses the point so much.

              • Hawk Eye says:

                i am against trading JG. I think he has value when you compare what he can do vs a more expensive WR. But he is not being used to his potential.
                Especially when Hawks are near the bottom in red zone efficiency and in scoring.
                Keep DB and JG, but scheme better to utilize their talent

                • Rob Staton says:

                  He isn’t being used the way he was at NO, but he was never going to be. Hasn’t he already set a Seahawks record this year for yards by a TE? He missed virtually the first two games too.

                  • Nolan says:

                    It fine he is setting seahawk records for tight ends, but he is the type of player that should be setting NFL records for tight ends not team records. He is under utilized in this offense. If we had the offense we want where we have a heavy running game and a big play passing game then yes you don’t need to force feed him the ball. However that’s not the offense we have we have the proverbial glass cannon as you have described and since that’s what we have an very little alternative to it for now we need to be force feeding our best players the ball meaning Baldwin and graham need to be getting shots each and every series almost. If your a glass cannon make your shots count by going after the best targets … if you start hitting them early and often then you can try the longer shots like p rich and kearse, if you suck still atleast you sucked with your best then sucking with your 4th and 5th options.

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    This is highly unrealistic though. The Seahawks don’t run New Orleans’ offense.

                    They’ve incorporated Graham into their offense, their way of doing things.

                    He’s the most prolific TE in team history.

                    And people want the New Orleans version instead.

                    Well, you better hope they trade for Sean Payton and Drew Brees.

                  • Hawk Eye says:

                    like Nolan I agree that the numbers he has are great if the run game is dominant.
                    But the run game is in the bottom quarter of the league, so that makes his numbers a little disappointing. And it looks like some games they just ignore him while forcing the ball to Kearse, who is not having a good year. In this case, the Qb and the OC have to be looked at as to why. We can only guess, they know more than we do. But I think Jimmy can be doing more for the Hawks, and I don’t think it is because of him. He wants the ball and he makes plays when he gets it.

                    I think the issue becomes moot if the o line improves and the run game/pass protection improve as a result. I also think an improved run game improves the defence. More rest, fewer chances for the opposition. Which is a PC tenant.

                    so if I have a vote (and I don’t), I say fix the o line first, get d line help second and find another rb third. If the cost/benefit says rb first, I won’t argue. I just think to get that “special” back is harder than fixing the o line (past results notwithstanding)

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    With respect Hawkeye, you’ve just listed two of the biggest issues with the Jimmy Graham debate.

                    1. You say his numbers are a little disappointing because there’s no run game. I’d argue his numbers are very impressive considering teams don’t have to worry what so ever about the run and can focus all of their attention on stopping players like Jimmy Graham.

                    2. Forcing the ball to Kearse. I don’t understand why people struggle with this one. Most defenses go into a gameplan trying to take away an opponents best weapon. For Seattle, that’s either Graham or Baldwin because they don’t have to worry at all about the run. The thing is, if teams blanket Graham and give him heavy looks and chip him — combined with the bad pass pro — it takes him out of it. So it’s easier for Wilson to look for Baldwin who is better at release/quick separation. That’s why vs Arizona Baldwin has a monster game and JG is quiet. When it goes to Kearse it’s pretty obvious too. Teams drag their coverage to blanket either JG, DB or both — and it leaves Kearse in a favourable 1v1. People have a go at Bevell for this — but it’s Russell Wilson who sees the obvious matchup and chooses to trust Kearse instead of forcing it to Graham or Baldwin. Now people can criticise Wilson for that — but he’s actually doing the right thing according to the QB handbook. Kearse 1v1 against a teams second or third best corner — or Graham/Baldwin working in double coverage or with extra safety/LB help? We might not like it — but RW trusts Kearse in those situations.

                  • LordSnow says:

                    In today’s NFL, if you have a 20 million dollar qb, then you can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you want to fix a huge part of your game, you have to give up something, and it all boils down to money.

                    Yes, a qb on a rookie deal is one thing, but now he’s absorbing a huge chunk of the cap, and the team has decided to spend its money on the defense. Lots of guys making prime dollars for their positions.

                    Something has to give IF you plan to upgrade the roster based on assuming Josina is talking about the seahawks.

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    Not when the cap is rising rapidly each year and you have loads of free room in 2017 (around $40m).

                    Very soon Wilson’s deal will look like a bargain.

              • Volume12 says:

                JS didn’t skimp when it came to the O-line to be cheap. They chose to pay others. The defense and RW.

                In 2013 they had one of the highest paid O-lines in the league. But, again went with the younger, more upside defenders. Giacomini, Okung, McQuistan, Unger were all getting older and they probably felt like their age and injury concerns didn’t warrant getting big money over the others.

              • Dingbatman says:

                Rob. My point was not that we should get rid of Jimmy Graham. He is one of my favorite players. My question was “if the Seahawks were to re-allocate resources into the o-line where are those resources going to come from?”. I considered players with premium contracts and JG was the only one I could see them maybe willing to part ways with if the return was right.

          • LordSnow says:

            “The problem is not Graham, the problem is how he is used.”

            I agree with this statement, and it’s why I think he is in danger of playing elsewhere next season.

            • Rob Staton says:

              He isn’t going anywhere.

              We had months of this after his injury too. If they didn’t move on after that horrific knee injury, they aren’t moving on after the most statistically successful season ever by a Seahawks TE.

              • LordSnow says:

                You have to consider all possibilities, just as there is a possibility of selling the draft for Fournette. If Josina is talking about seattle, then you have to entertain how do they allocate money to fix something that appears to take a lot of parts to fix. ie, the vaunted run game.

                And you say above there will be plenty of money with the cap moving up. But that means there are more and more buyers, and the price continues to climb with the demand. So, if FA is your method of fixing things, you have to look at ways to free up resources. Lots of teams don’t have 20 million dollar qb’s, so have more capital than us to sign guys.

                • Rob Staton says:

                  There is no possibility of them cutting or trading Graham. 0%.

                  We had all these conversations when he hurt his knee. And Carroll insisted he was here for the long haul and wasn’t going anywhere.

                  And people still argued, ad nauseum, about Jimmy Graham being traded or cut.

                  Then he came back from said injury and put up the best TE season ever in Seahawks history. He’s Russell Wilson’s best friend.

                  There is nothing, zero, zilch to suggest he is going anywhere. For some reason, Seahawks fans are fascinated by the idea of moving him.

                  The Seahawks are slated to have $39m in free cap space in 2017. That is more than enough to do what they need to do.

                  • Seahawcrates says:

                    They get rid of Graham, They likely have to re-sign Luke W. If you use Vance Macdonald as a barometer Luke won’t come cheap, easily 1/2 of Graham’s salary, probably more. So what are you really saving in this scenario? I dont see the Seahawks radically degrading the position to “save” 3-4 million when they are slated to have $39 million. Extending Kam and Bennett can happen with little to no cap impact in 2017.

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    It’s a great point Seahawkcrates. You might be saying — we don’t want to pay JG $10m for 2017 (might extend his deal and even lower that number anyway) — so let’s go overpay to keep Luke Willson or get somebody else instead.

                    Because they’re not going to move forward with Nick Vannett as the only viable TE option on the roster. So what then? Another high pick? Another load of cash to a journeyman veteran?

                    There is no case for Graham being moved.

      • LordSnow says:

        Really, it was Graham for a first rounder. Unger for a fourth. It was two separate deals that were included together.

    • lil'stink says:

      I think Graham has been amazing this year, and I wasn’t sold on the trade when it first happened. Yes, we’d all like to see him put up numbers like he did in New Orleans, but that just isn’t going to happen in this offense. With one year left on his deal it’s very unlikely to get anything worthwhile back for him. Maybe an upstart team looking to get over the top like the Raiders would make a decent offer, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

      Trading Graham puts that much more pressure on the team to get a “hit” when it comes to drafting a skill position player on the offense. Risky.

      • Trevor says:

        Agree is anything Graham should be extended is possible. Not sure he would want to the way he has been used but I think he is a huge part of this offense going forward.

        Think about a guy his size coming back from that injury the way he has and he will only get better next year. My concern is not Graham but the play design and getting him the ball more. He and Baldwin should be the primary options on most offensive plays given the injury to Locket.

  20. Sea Mode says:

    If you need one more reason to keep hopes up for a post-season run, just look deep into his eyes: http://prntscr.com/do2on1

    They don’t call him ADB for nothing! He was so mad when Lockett went down. You could see him saying to everyone as he walked back after consoling Lockett: “we’ve gotta finish this.”

    I know this is more a gut check comment than a stats/strategy one, but our team is made up of a bunch of resilient guys like him who play best with their backs against the wall. If they can come together and want it this much, they can find a way to make it happen. Anyway, I hope he spreads the ADB brand of holiday spirit to the rest of the team.

    • Trevor says:

      Love ADB and he has only gotten better with the bid contract. His extension was the best ove we made last off season.

  21. Hoberk Unce says:

    Merry Christmas Rob, and every who posts here. Always a good read from the most informed Seahawks community.

  22. peter says:

    I’ve been wondering if the offense should skip the running game to start and open with a four minute offense. As it is the defense isn’t getting a break anyways so perhaps a way to buy the d more opportunities would be attempt to score quickly and hopefully get up by 10-14 forcing the other team to abandon their plan and move them into more of aerial attack so the defense can tee off sooner in the game?

    Rob I know you’ve been a bevell/cable case maker and for good reason but after that last game it was clear to something is wrong in hawkville. AZ played backups of backups on their oline and yet Palmer, a statue, was able to stay safe where as Seattle has had multiple chances to scheme against AZ with one of the more consistent lines in a while (not good just the same guys) and yet they take a whole game and one half of a game to change course on the plan. I just wonder if Glow is a JAG and Ifedi is in the wrong spot and Fant was a wasted year of experimenting?

    • Rob Staton says:

      The issues go far beyond just Cable and Bevell. I hope the things we’ve discussed recently will allow people to debate the issues in Seattle beyond mere calls for these two to go.

      • peter says:

        I’m not calling for them to go. But there is an underlining problem when AZ and LA bring the noise every game and a respective sample of those games its extremely slow adjustments. The problem (good) is Seattle picks so late. The problem (bad) is talent evaluation keeps Brady and previously manning upright with late picks and Wilson is getting destroyed by consistent foes and inconsistent ones like the bucs. If you can’t run and you can light up teams in the air in second halves it shouldn’t take multiple sacks, TFLs, and zero yds on the ground to change things. Especially when you face an opponent two times a year. I think Cables done son great things (Britt to center) and so have bevell (tops in DVOA…prior to this season)

      • RealRhino2 says:

        I don’t really know if they go so far beyond Cable, honestly. Other than Rawls’s health. You can say that, but as you say, they’ve poured capital into the OL. Pats 3rd-round OL rookie, Thuney, is playing well. Ours, Odhiambo, is relegated to sitting on the bench. 4th-rounder in Poole, wasted. Britt’s taken 3 years to turn into above average, Glow and Ifedi are below average. Cable seems like the kind of guy who preaches scrap, grit and aggressiveness at the expense of technique, and it seems to turn out a bunch of guys like Sweezy: plowing their guys into the ground on one play, getting on their toes and completely whiffing on the next. As has been noted, he’s always had pretty good run-blocking and very poor pass-blocking OL.

        Well, we are now a team, as you correctly noted, more reliant on the pass than ever before. And we sorta suck at it. Cable seems to think you can just “grit” your way to OL success. And maybe in the running game that’s been enough. But it’s not working for our more pass-heavy offense.

        For that matter, I disagree with the idea that the Graham trade has “worked.” People say, “Gosh, can you imagine where we’d be without him this year?” Well, I don’t have to imagine it, because I’ve seen it. It looks like two straight Superbowls. What it looks like *with* Graham is more passing, more injuries to Russ, a worse OL, a worse running game, and two straight years of limping into the playoffs. It’s not a matter of whether Graham has played well or been “worth” his contract, it’s a matter of resource allocation. Is having a great TE (and that’s honestly a question, given his limitations as a blocker (though he’s trying harder this year, it seems)) worth more than having a better OL and better running game? Doesn’t seem to be.

        • Sea Mode says:

          I think the difference you point out is more on Lynch’s absence and Rawl’s injuries than on Graham’s presence. I assure you JG is NOT the reason our running game is struggling or our QB was hurt.

  23. C-Dog says:

    As much as I would love to see a mega splash in FA actually landing Kawann Short or Dantori Poe, and then a mega splash in the draft moving up for Fournette, I think I might be equally if not more satisfied if they could sing a quality veteran OT (i.e. Riley Reiff, etc.) and maybe where either able to coax Campbell in on the short term deal, or look to add another quality mid level player on the DL like Bennie Logan, who plays a lot like Brandon Mebane. This way, they are not necessarily so beholden to needs come the draft. Personally, I think a quality veteran RT might be the most pressing need if you consider how his experience might help the continued maturation of Germain Ifedi, instead of having him potentially play with a rookie.

    Even with Earl coming back, there are other areas of the team that feel a bit leaky.

    1. RB is still gotta be a big time area of need.

    2. We don’t know how severe Lockett’s leg is but it didn’t look good. Kearse and Richardson both had a bit of redemptive games against, McEvoy has flashed here and there, but if Lockett can’t get back to health until mid season 2017, do we feel good about the weapons for RW? Do we feel good P Rich can stay healthy if thrust into a larger role in this offense?

    3. As mush as the lack of interior rush as been discussed, I still sense this defense misses the athleticism and playmaking of Bruce Irving. How would have his presence on the field impacted that big backbreaking cutback run Johnson had in the 4th quarter? IMO, this defense could use one more playmaker.

    4. I wouldn’t categorize CB as the biggest need, but at some point, I feel like they need to start adding back to the well there, and even with Thomas saying he’s coming back next year, how confident do we feel is will staying playing much beyond that when the thoughts of retirement filter into his mind now at age 26, 27? So, safety might be something they definitely still want to look at this year.

    5. In terms of their own FAs, does it look like anyone is a must re-sign? Maybe the closest are Haushka, Willson, and Morgan. Maybe Reece? One could easily say Haushka is kicking himself out of a job in Seattle, but IMO, I don’t think he has been helped at all by the current LS. I see know reason why they wouldn’t look to bring back Terrell, Coyle and the likes.

    27: R1P27
    RB D’ONTA FOREMAN
    TEXAS

    59: R2P27
    WR CURTIS SAMUEL
    OHIO STATE

    91: R3P27
    DL MONTRAVIUS ADAMS
    AUBURN

    134: R4P31
    EDGE JOSH CARRAWAY
    TCU

    206: R6P27
    OT JONAH PIRSIG
    MINNESOTA

    214: R6P35
    CB JEREMY CUTRER
    MIDDLE TENNESSEE

    229: R7P11
    S WESTON STEELHAMMER
    AIR FORCE

    For reasons discussed about that PC prefers at RB (size, athleticism, grit, etc), if Foreman has a good combine, the Seahawks may not bat an eye taking him with their first pick.

    Curtis Samuel could be an interesting consideration if you factor in that the team seems to gravitate towards the playmaking Percy Harvin types that can add to the passing game and the run game, and their desire to be creative. Also, if Lockett’s health is in more serious question of 2017, the team doesn’t lose much in the return game, end arounds, bubble screens, etc. They just get an offensive weapon here. How does the addition of Foreman and Samuel strengthen this team’s run game?

    Montravius Adams gives them a bigger DT with athleticism that they seem to target with somewhat regularity (Reed, Jaye Howard, Jimmy Williams, Jimmy Staten), and John Carraway is an athletic edge rusher who they could mold into a rush SAM.

    Beyond these additions, they can look for depth on the OL, and in the secondary. I’ve watched Air Force a couple times, and kinda like Steelhammer beyond the cool name, and thought he looked a bit Seahawky.

    Roster looks like

    QB; Wilson, Boykin

    RB: Foreman, Rawls, Prosise, Collins

    FB: Reece? Malcom Johnson, Brandon Cottom

    WR: Baldwin, Kearse, Lockett, Samuel, P Rich, McEvoy

    TE; Graham, Vannett

    LT Fant, Odhiambo, Gilliam

    LG Glow, Odhiambo

    C, Britt, Hunt

    RG, Ifedi, Pirsig

    RT, Reiff, Gilliam, Pirsig

    RE; Avril, Clark, Marsh

    DT; Campbell/Logan, Reed, Rubin, Adams, Garrison Smith

    LE: Bennett, Q Jefferson

    WILL: Wright, KPL, McDonald

    MLB: Wagner, Coyle?, Palacio

    SAM: Morgan, Carraway

    CB: Sherm, Shead, Lane, Elliot, Cutrer

    FS: Thomas, Terrell, Powell, Steelhammer

    SS: Chancellor, Powell, Steelhammer

    • lil'stink says:

      I can’t imagine a 30 year old Calais Campbell would go for a short term deal unless the market is unexpectedly soft. I think too many teams will just have too much money to spend. That said, he might be worth it for our defense at whatever price he commands ($8-9 million?). He could have such a nice synergistic effect.

  24. Trevor says:

    Great points Rob about that devastating loss to Ariz. The difference between the 2 and 3 seed is enormous.

    As it stands now the idea of winning the following 3 games seems about as likely as winning the powerball.

    Rd #1 vs Wash Home
    Rd#2 vs Atl Rd
    Rd#3 vs Dal Rd

    Where would we pick if we finnish the 3 seed and loose in Rd #2 to the Falcons?

  25. Trevor says:

    Is has been argued here on the blog the last 3 years that teams could win consistently without a dominant OL or elite OTs. The examples of Sea and Car were the examples always given.

    This year it is clear that that line of thinking was bought into by Sea, Den and Car. The results have been disastrous with all teams offenses being inconsistent and basically awful behind the worst OLs in the league. The young QBs (Wilson, Kam) have been beat up, hurt and regressed. These same teams have also had awful run games. This has resulted in their teams defenses playing way to many snaps and getting hurt, beat up. As a result 3 great defenses (Sea, Car, Den) have looked very average this year.

    The teams that have dominated the NFC (Dal and Atl) have the two best OLs, the bet run games and the most efficient 3rd down conversion rates. They also dominate time of possession and help their defenses stay off the field as a result.

    To me it is very clear one thing that has rarely changed over the years in football. If you want a great or even just consistent offense you need an above average OL and run game. It keeps pressure off your QB, gives your defense a rest and lets coaches call the plays they want and keeps 3rd and long to a minimum.

    If JS does one thing this off season it needs to be fix the OL. Whatever it takes just fix the OL once and for all. The run game, QB and defense will all improve dramatically as a result.

    • Volume12 says:

      I don’t think he’s regressed. I think Seattle is asking him to do too much and it almost seems like they want him to perform these miracles every week. That’s a lot to ask.

      What he’s done this year with those injuries, O-line play and lack of a consistent running game is exceptional. Its getting over looked.

      • Trevor says:

        I agree Vol. Russ and Kam are being asked to do more than any QBs in the league. My point is that it is taking a huge toll on them early in their careers.

    • DC says:

      Seattle, Carolina & Denver have represented 5 of the last 6 Super Bowl teams and 2 of the last 3 winners. Average-ish offensive lines have gotten the job done for the last 3 years. Of course looking back 4 years to the SF vs Balt SB, both of those teams had excellent OL.

      The “emphasis” on calling specific penalties has altered the landscape of the game. I’ve seen a ton of offensive holding ignored and we know that our LOB has brought unwantedd attention to DBs across the league. It’s disturbing as a fan imo. The deck is increasingly being stacked for offenses.

      I will say that if it’s not us this year then I’ll be pulling for Dan Quinn’s Falcons. They have been loitering around a while waiting for that breakthrough year in the playoffs. In a league where you need a “great” unit on one side of the ball, they have a great offense. Signing Alex Mack at C sure didn’t hurt. We should take note.

  26. Trevor says:

    Also Cable is famous for saying he can take 5 guys off the street and turn them into a good ZBS OL.

    If that is the case why have we drafted the biggest most explosive more powerful OL prospects we can. Why focus on getting huge explosive, powerful guys is the scheme you run requires smart, athletic quick guys?

    Just another thing that has made zero sense when it comes to how they have built this OL. A pro bowl Guard tries out on a Vet min deal in Jhari Evans and we cut him because he is not a good fit for our scheme. So he goes back to NO and has been great all year.

    • C-Dog says:

      That was his old mentor, Alex Gibbs who said that, and I think the actual quote was something to the effect of finding any guy off the street, living under a bridge, etc, that he could get to play guard, that the team he coached for needed to get him someone to play tackle.

      • Trevor says:

        Silly comment whomever said it.

        • STTBM says:

          You’ll notice Gibbs has been retired for years. His blocking scheme was much different than Cables, and Gibbs liked much smaller and more athletic linemen than Cable does. Gibbs used cut blocking on most plays too.

          Gibbs version of the ZBS doesnt work anymore. Neither does Cable’s, IMO. Both have been undone by adapting defensive minds and NFL rules changes. No philosophy works forever, and Cable’s philosophies and talent evaluation are failing miserably.

          Time to change blocking schemes and get a new OL coach, and promote Bevell to Asst. HC. Bevell is maddening at times, but he’s done an amazing job saddled with this crap line and total lack of running game.

  27. Trevor says:

    Love Calais Campbell the player and leader but unless he is going to come to the Hawks on a reasonable deal then I hope we spend the resources in a way that lets us get younger, faster, hungrier on defense and improves the OL.

    Would much sooner spend the $ on a quality legit NFL OT and draft a young DT in Rd #1 than to sign Campbell and pray Bolles is there the end of Rd #1 because I doubt he will be.

    • DC says:

      We’ve got the cap space to sign Campbell(or another DL) & a starting quality OT. That wouldn’t stop us from drafting an additional lineman for each side of the ball relatively early in the draft.

      I get the youth element though. The draw of Campbell is that he will provide immediate help where we need it the most on defense. But we absolutely cannot go into the draft without a starting OT from FA. Wishful thinking hasn’t provided an adequate line.

      • Hawk Eye says:

        we have the cap space to sign Campbell, but if the price is high, then a lot of other players will be asking for more also. Have to be careful with paying a lot for someone new and then having other consequences.
        And I just don’t see Az letting him go. They will pay top dollar and will mortgage the future to keep him, look at what they are paying Fitz in dead dollars for next 2 years.

        one of the things most people miss is that the hawks don’t like to back load their contracts and mortgage the future. That means they are not going to be in cap hell, like the Cowboys will be again, maybe Az and a few other teams. That also means we may not get the players everyone wants, and also will be competitive in the future.

        • Rob Staton says:

          If/when they spend, it needs to be for players at their peak. Kevin Zeitler is 27 in March. That’s a guy at his peak, one of the best players at his position and you can justify spending Iupati/De Castro money on ($8-10m). That’s the high end for guards.

  28. John_s says:

    Some guys I have been reading up on:

    Forrest Lamp – T/G W Kentucky – he probably moves inside due to being 6’4 and shorter arms but he has really good feet and hands. Watch the Alabama tape and its impressive.

    Mack Hollins – WR UNC – broke his collarbone during his senior year. Was a forme walk on WR and became the Tar Heels big play guy. Stands 6’4 looks like a bigger, better Jermaine Kearse

    Ryan Switzer – WR/Slot UNC – return guy looks like a Pats WR quick, tough, smart and has tons of swag.

    Anthony Walker – LB Northwestern – he’s a tackling machine. Added 20 lbs his senior year and lost some quickness. His JR tape is really good

  29. Hawk Eye says:

    looks like Lockett had successful surgery and will be running on the treadmill in 4 to 6 weeks, will be ready for next year.
    But another kick returner in the draft would not hurt, since their return game is now a weakness without Lockett.
    Missed and blocked kicks, and no explosive returns means Hawks have a problem heading into the playoffs

  30. Reggie Williams says:

    Hey guys how does the value of the draft picks change as we approach the draft? In other words does the asking price for a veteran increase or decrease in terms of the draft pick they would want in exchange?

  31. Saxon says:

    A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and family, Rob. Thanks for your great work!

  32. Trevor says:

    Watching that Detroit OL with 3 rookies we discussed a lot on this blog (Dahl, Decker and Glasgow) dominate the Cowboys just further adds to my frustration and dismay that we have not been able to build a competent OL in 3 straight years now.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Point taken and Detroit’s offense is playing well this season — but this is about as bad as Dallas’ defense has looked in a long time. Awful.

      • Trevor says:

        Rob I know you really liked Dahl and Glasgow a lot and both guys are starting and playing well as rookies.

        That Dallas run defense that is rated best in the league looked awful I agree.

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      Speaking of the Dallas/Detroit game. The refs have made some terrible calls against Detroit. At least two passes for touchdowns where they called defensive interference that wasn’t there . One time the receiver clearly grabbed the face mask of the defender. Anyway, both teams look great , both are good both offensively and defensively.

      I think cornerback is a bigger need then people think. There is not a chance in heck that Seahawks won’t wither in the face of a big passing attack. Just watching Dallas chip away makes me realize how overmatched it will be. Add in their defense against Seahawks offensive line and it will be bad.

      Seahawks need to get busy this off season.

  33. Trevor says:

    Harlod Landry looks like a legit NFL edge rusher to me whom does not seem to get much attention. Have you taken a look at him Rob? If so what are your thoughts and what range to you think he will go.

  34. C-Dog says:

    A few things that Pete Carroll said in his press conference today.

    1. The offensive line was able to get it done in the first half, but came back and played well in the second half. He essentially said nobody played well in the first half, but all played better in the second.

    2. The team continued to do well on 3rd downs like it did last week, which for him, is a positive trend.

    3. No ligament damage to Lockett’s leg, thinks there’s a good chance he comes back at the start of next season.

    4. He wasn’t so down on the pass rush in this game, he said that he felt they got good pressure, that the problems were more coverage, reading things correctly, and tackling.

    4.b. On that front, he said Terrell misread the same things Earl had misread when he was starting as a rookie that gave up the big plays. He seemed confident he will get better.

    5. He expects Thomas Rawls to play against the 49ers.

    6. When speaking of McKissic, he referred to him as a runner and reciever, and someone who could return kicks.

    7. He praised Paul Richardson. When asked if there would be a roster move coming to take the place of Lockett, he said “Yes, Soon. You’ll see.”

    My hunch is that it will be McKissic.

  35. JC says:

    Lots of teams that tweet could refer to, starting with the 2 Super Bowl teams of last year staying home this year.. or the Cards, or the Hawks, or all of the above and then some. The Patriot method of trading for scratch and dent, change of scenery needed high round picks with 1-2 years left could be an option.

  36. Lenny J says:

    Can we add a better corner opposite RS. Shead is not a corner. His technique is terrible. Why is it so hard for him to get his head around? He is a solid backup but that’s it IMO.

    1. O Line
    2. Inside pass rush
    3. Running back
    4. Corner

    • Rob Staton says:

      They may well add another cornerback, but unless they address other serious needs (run game, pass rush) in FA — it’ll likely be another case of addressing this in their usual later round range.

      We might see DeAndre Elliott pushing too.

      I think overall Shead has played quite well this year.

      • Hawk Eye says:

        i think Shead has played ok, sometimes really well. Every corner gets beat.
        But I think Lane has been a big disappointment, he seems to get beat all the time.
        Given how they rank in passing yardage, they are now good, but not great, and sometimes not good at all.
        Pass rush up the middle would go a long way to making DB less of a concern