Instant reaction: Seahawks beat Rams, finish 11-5

Offensive rookie of the year?

St. Louis came agonisingly close to ending Seattle’s unbeaten home record today. It was a gritty, hard fought rivalry game – the type you’re going to have to get used to in the new NFC West. A 20-13 win is only worth as much as a 42-13 win, but there were some familiar issues that cropped up this afternoon.

First and foremost the pass rush simply wasn’t good enough today and it’s becoming a worrying trend. Seattle had zero sacks against a team that had given up 34 going into the final week of the season. Even putting Bruce Irvin on the field for early downs had little impact. When the Seahawks attack with four rushers, they struggle to create pressure. Considering rushing with four is at the heart of the teams defensive philosophy, it’s a problem. Maybe things change in the playoffs? We can but hope. As things stand the pass rush has to be the teams greatest concern going into 2013.

Time and time again Sam Bradford had an age to throw the ball. The Rams do not possess a great offensive line. Jeff Fisher has two first round picks in the 2013 draft and it wouldn’t be a total shocker if both were spent on shoring up Bradford’s pass protection. Miami, Chicago, Arizona, Buffalo, St. Louis. Five opponents since the bye week, five opponents with mediocre or average offensive lines. Seattle has not taken advantage on any occasion.

Chris Clemons had a couple of pressures as usual today but apart from that only an Earl Thomas-blitz gave Bradford anything to think about. If the Seahawks are going to go deep into the post-season, they need more than that. Perhaps they dialled things back a little, not wanting to give anything away for next week? It’s a possibility. But one thing is sure – this team cannot rush four in base. Whether it’s Robert Griffin III or Tony Romo next week, they’re going to need to get creative. And that probably means coming up with some blitz packages.

The greatest need on the team is – still – finding interior pass rush. How did you know we were going to discuss this today? It’s non-existent at the moment. This has to be addressed. Spend big on Henry Melton if you get a chance. Consider adding Randy Starks at a slightly cheaper cost. Trade up for Sheldon Richardson. Work that late round magic again. Whatever. A solution must be found because it’s holding this team back. I suspect the teams front office doesn’t need anyone to highlight this issue. We see it every week.

Seattle relies too much on Chris Clemons. It’s been that way since he joined the team in 2010. Even Bruce Irvin – drafted to help out – has one sack in six games since the bye week. It’s no coincidence that Ray Edwards had a work-out recently. Both players need interior help. And right now the Seahawks are using a 330lbs nose tackle at the three technique. Alan Branch deserves to stay with this team when he hits free agency. But he offers no pass rush. And for that reason, he’d be better served as a rotational cog and backup for Red Bryant rather than a starter at a position designed to collapse the pocket and aid the LEO.

These are topics for another day. But that day will come unless the Seahawks suddenly turn it on in the playoffs. You don’t expect great pressure every week. But so far the only bad offensive line Seattle has abused was Green Bay’s for one half. And there’s too much talent in the secondary to allow this to be an issue again in 2013.

A lot of people are going to want to talk about the offensive line. St. Louis played a great game today. Jeff Fisher and his staff constructed a scheme that consistently confused Seattle’s line. Russell Okung had his worst game for a while. Breno Giacomini took a step back after several weeks of good play. Most of all J.R. Sweezy showed the kind of growing pains we saw against the Cardinals in week one.

It’s also worth remembering the likes of Julius Peppers, Mario Williams, Aldon Smith, Cameron Wake and others who’ve been shut out in recent weeks. This was a bad day at the office. The second half adjustments slowed some of the schemes St. Louis were using. I’m tempted to chalk this one down to experience and good scheming by the Rams. Although John Moffitt really needs to be active next week just in case we see similar struggles from Sweezy again.

Some other issues? Penalties returned with vengeance. One chalked off an early touchdown for Zach Miller, another put paid to a big play for Doug Baldwin. On both occasions, Anthony McCoy was the culprit. There were some sloppy penalties against the offensive lineman, Bruce Irvin had a silly ‘roughing the passer’ call.

Russell Wilson on the whole was exemplary and equalled Peyton Manning’s rookie passing record for touchdowns. In a way, equalling the record and having your name placed alongside Manning seems just as good as breaking the tally. Having said that, in the first half he was guilty on a couple of occasions of trying to do too much. It’s hard to be too critical given the pressure he was under, but there were at least a couple of sacks before half time that were avoidable. Barring a dramatic performance from Robert Griffin III tonight, I think it’s hard to keep the offensive rookie of the year award away from Wilson. How many third round rookie quarterbacks do what he’s done this year?

Nobody appeared to get injured which was a big positive. Golden Tate had another terrific performance. Richard Sherman finished the regular season with eight interceptions, making a mockery of the decision to put Patrick Peterson into the Pro-Bowl ahead of him. Seattle’s 11-5 record is the third best in franchise history. Wilson is the first rookie quarterback to go 8-0 at home. The Seahawks dominated every game they played at Century Link apart from one that we won’t mention here today.

The Rams have come a long way since the New England beat-down I had to endure in London earlier this season. On that night it was like watching the Rams we’ve come to know – lacking in talent and capable of being blown away. This is a completely different beast a few weeks on. And with four first round picks to spend in the next two drafts, the Rams will be a threat in the NFC West with Jeff Fisher running the show. Seahawks fans should be pleased with a hard fought win today. It’s the only type of win you’re going to get against the Rams for the next few years.

2013 draft order

This hasn’t been confirmed, but I understand this is how the top-20 will look now that the regular season is complete:

#1 Kansas City
#2 Jacksonville
#3 Oakland
#4 Philadelphia
#5 Detroit
#6 Cleveland
#7 Arizona
#8 Buffalo
#9 New York Jets
#10 Tennessee
#11 San Diego
#12 Miami
#13 Tampa Bay
#14 Carolina
#15 New Orleans
#16 St. Louis
#17 Pittsburgh
#18 St. Louis (via Washington) or Dallas
#19 New York Giants
#20 Chicago


  1. MJ

    I hate being the guy to bring up “trade Flynn,” but it might be worth it trying to package him with picks to go after Richardson. I don’t think he’d net much, but could make a difference for a QB needy team when it comes to a trade package. He could afford a team to draft a R2 QB and not be pressured to start right away. Who knows? And to clarify, I don’t think Flynn has much value, but just an added “incentive” if you will.

    We still need another WR, but 3T is such a glaring need that a drastic move needs to be made.

    • Rob Staton

      Without wanting to turn this into a Flynn debate, I personally expect he will be released or traded for a modest outlay prior to the draft. I still maintain the best thing the Seahawks can do this off-season is dump some of that cap space by moving Flynn and invest it into a guy like Starks or Melton depending on who hits the market. Solve that problem before the draft even begins.

      • MJ

        Oh i agree and don’t get me wrong, I don’t think much of Flynn. There’s a reason no one wanted him in FA. Just meant as a wild card in a trade involving picks, which would give a new FO some flexibility, similar to what SEA did regarding not panicking at the QB position and over drafting.

        • MJ

          Add into the idea that this draft doesn’t have the high end value at the top of R1…could be a small “gesture” that separates us in the value department.

          • Barry

            Its too bad both KC and AZ have been burned by bad QB trades recently because Flynn for a 5th would be sound plus be a good fill in (if hes any good) for a rookie qb. But I doubt they can get more then a 5th for him considering he’s still a very unknown quantity.

            • Rob Staton

              I agree completely. Teams have been put off by big trades for guys like Cassel and Kolb. Andy Reid won’t be trading for any Matt Flynn’s if he gets the Arizona job. And KC will almost certainly go QB with the #1 pick.

      • A. Simmons

        I still believe you are underestimating Flynn’s value. Part of the reason no one wanted Flynn is the strong QB market last year and the run on QBs the last few years in the draft and free agency. The last few years you saw Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Colin K drafted and Kevin Kolb and Matt Cassel signed to big contracts. The teams were committed to developing these players or giving them a chance to develop. The 2012 draft had a strong QB class with Luck and RG3 at the top, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, and a bunch of mid rounders like Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson, and Brock Osweiller.

        This year we’re seeing a bunch of teams with young QBs start to give up on them. Guys like Sanchez and Cassel are done. Blaine Gabbert might be done. This is an extremely weak QB class with no starting caliber sure bets. That will affect QB value in my opinion.

        Trade value is market driven. Flynn’s stock dropped because of a saturated market last year. I think the QB market will be a big friendlier to a QB like Flynn this year.

        • YankinTa

          I completely agree with you, A. Simmons…. This is what I’ve been saying for a while now. We should be able to get a 3rd round pick for Matt Flynn, if not better.

          However, packaging Flynn with our 1st rounder for a top 15 pick would be a lot harder imo….

          We also need a backup TE. McCoy should be our 3rd TE or on practice squad, especially after watching the game yesterday…. Just too many mistakes and it’s not worth it anymore!!!

          • adog

            McCoy is locked in at number two, i don’t think Seattle can find a better number two tight end via free agency or in the draft for the type of scheme they run.(maybe Ertz from Stanford) Yes he had a couple of penalties…the offensive pass interference was bad, yet asking him to turn into a left tackle and take on Long one on one…might be asking too much on the holding call. I saw him seal the edge quite nicely more than a few times in the game yesterday. He’s not going anywhere.

          • Rob Staton

            There is next to no chance of getting a third round pick for Flynn.

        • Bobby Cink

          There is also the fact that Wilson has performed so well. Flynn’s value dropped significantly at the beginning of the season when Wilson was named the starter and was performing poorly. With Wilson leading the Hawks to 11-5, it doesn’t look so terrible that Flynn didn’t get chosen as the starter.

        • Rob Staton

          RE: A.Simmons – There are too many assumptions here. We can come up with theories as to why Flynn’s market was cold, but the fact doesn’t change that it was cold. He’ll be 28 next year, he’s a career backup with no great physical qualities. Nobody is going to convince me that a team is going to say, “Yes – this is the guy I need to have.” Teams that have gambled badly on QBs like New York are suddenly going to see Flynn as a solution? I’m not buying that at all. And we can talk all day about an ‘extremely weak’ quarterback class… GMs want to draft their own guys. There are still at least three viable round one quarterbacks.

          We can get our hopes up about a trade if we want, and then be disappointed down the line. Someone will give him a shot as a free agent on a much more modest contract. But the Seahawks are not going to trade a near-30-year-old quarterback without great physical tools who’s only ever been a backup for a nice pick and a $7-8m salary.

    • Elijah

      Cleveland, Buffalo, Jets, and Tennessee all have Top-11 picks, and could possibly be looking around on the QB market. Maybe they’d take Flynn, a swap of 1st rounders, and a 3rd or something. I thinking Sheldon Richardson should be the #1 player on the Hawks’ draft board at this point

      • Rob Staton

        Cleveland won’t go down that route, might as well just start Weeden. Buffalo aren’t going to swap Fitzpatrick for Flynn (they’re the same) and the Jets won’t be able to sell Flynn to that fan-base. There really aren’t that many suitors for Flynn in my view. And I expect he’ll be released.

        • Elijah

          My only counter-argument to that is that outside of the Jets, the other 3 teams could all have new coaches and front office personnel. You never really know how these things play out. And could the Jets really not sell Flynn? At this point I think they could probably sell just about any quarterback that has shown a flash of ability

          • Rob Staton

            Sure, the changes will occur. But the point with the Bills still stands – why would you swap Fitzpatrick for a very similar QB in Flynn? And Cleveland just spent a R1 pick on Weeden. Even as a new front office, you’re surely not going to trade for Flynn and then bench Weeden even if it’s another guys pick? You surely think bigger than that to move on from Weeden, even as he approaches 30. I maintain that Flynn has been one of the most overrated players in the NFL over the last few years. Essentially, his a physically mediocre career backup with a nice start against a crappy Detroit defense in the most high power passing offense in the NFL. It’s majorly wishful thinking that we’ll get anything out of this deal other than to remove the cap hit. Flynn was worth the roll of the dice 12 months ago. But now his contract is way beyond a realistic amount for a backup.

            • Hawksince77


              I know we disagree on this, but as things are turning out this off-season, I think Flynn will be the best available QB (via trade or FA) for QB-needy teams.

              This after Vick’s performance today. Considering his age, and his injury history, I don’t think he can be ranked above Flynn.

              Alex Smith? Smith was a good QB when surrounded by an excellent team, but looking over the body of his work, he simply isn’t consistent enough. Somebody will take him, but I predict he struggles.

              I think Flynn is a competent-to-good starting NFL QB. Somebody out there is liable to agree and attempt to make the trade. If for no other reason, to bring him into camp and compete for the starting job.

              What is a potentially starting-caliber QB worth? In this coming market, some amount of draft capital, I expect. How much, I don’t know, but ideally more than one team bids for his services and drives up his value.

              So put me down in the ‘optimistic fan’ bucket, cause that’s where I fit in this debate.

              • Rob Staton

                I’d love to be optimistic about this and dream of another pick to throw into the mix. I have to disagree with the assessment of some of the other guys. Someone will give Vick his chance. Not sure who – it could even be Arizona. Someone will give him a year. For me Smith has proven a lot more than Flynn and was playing well for San Fran as a starter this year. So if a team wanted to trade for a solid veteran, I think Smith comes before Flynn. I’m not sure any team will try to trade for either personally. And I do think there are enough QBs in the draft to think teams won’t be that interested in the veteran market unless we’re talking free agents. Now – put Flynn, Smith and Vick on the FA market and maybe I change my thinking. But if it costs to get Smith or Flynn, I don’t think anyone will bite. And I will argue a lot – Flynn has never ever proven he is a starting caliber QB. He has one really good game against a bad Detroit defense. That’s it. And that’s not enough for me to say this guy is a starting caliber QB. Those guys are usually starting by the time they turn 28.

                • Hawksince77

                  Fair enough, you’re probably right. You’d just hope that a team that dropped 20 spots in the second (from the 40th pick to the 60th) and gave up a 3rd round pick for a 3rd stringer could get someone to reciprocate.


                • GH

                  they got, what, a 7th rounder for T Jack? Maybe they can get something like that for Flynn. But I wouldn’t expect a whole lot more, especially when other teams know the Hawks would really prefer to off load that salary. The only other team that showed real interest in Flynn last year now has Tannehill. I think most GMs who are QB shopping would rather take shot at a handful of QBs in the mid rounds rather than go with what is largely seen as a rent-a-cop in his late 20’s. I probably would, too.

                  • Michael (CLT)

                    What is the cap spaced saved by cutting Flynn. If it is nill, just keep the guy. He is a decent backup, it seems. Those are important.

                    • Rob Staton

                      It will be approximately $5-6m.

                • Nate Dogg

                  How are Fitzpatick and Flynn the same but Smith is a better option?

                  • Rob Staton

                    They are almost idential in terms of physical quality. Smith is a more accomplished player in that regard. And he was statistically among the league’s best QBs prior to getting injured and losing his job.

                  • Nate Dogg

                    Flynn seems more mobile and more accurate with the arm strength he has than Fitzpatrick. Smith improved again this year, but he’s still a product of that system. Say what you want about the system Flynn had in GB, at least the onus was on the QB to perform there.

                    • Rob Staton

                      And we’re basing this off Flynn’s two starts compared to Fitzpatrick’s multiple seasons as a starter? Cannot agree that he’s more mobile than Fitzpatrick and we’ll see how accurate he is when Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Greg Jennings turn into the Bills crop of WRs.

                  • Nate Dogg

                    You’re basing your opinion of him off as many snaps as I am 🙂

                    • Rob Staton

                      Sure, but I’d hesitate to say a player is superior when he’s played two games approaching his 28th birthday when another guy has earned the right to start games for two different franchises. Give him Buffalo’s receiving group against Detroit and we’ll see if he scores six touchdowns. He’s certainly not more mobile – Fitzpatrick has a sneaky athleticism to his game.

                  • Nate Dogg

                    Fitzpatrick earned both his starting jobs via injury, while Flynn has been passed up for Rodgers and Wilson. That’s hardly damning of Flynn.

                    Would he score six touchdowns against Detroit with Buffalo’s offense? Probably not, but that’s not really relevant. Would he be better than Fitzpatrick with Buffalo’s offense? I think so.

                    • Rob Staton

                      We’ll have to agree to disagree then. There’s no evidence to suggest that would be the case. Fitzpatrick was very much a good fit for Chan Gailey’s offense in part because of his surprising athleticism and ability to move around which Flynn can’t do. He wasn’t running a timing offense running a lot of short route’s. For me it just seems like a major assumption that Flynn is superior based on no evidence.

                      And Flynn hasn’t started in the NFL. He’s never earned a starting job. Not damning but by the age of 28 if you’re good enough you’re starting. He still lost a job he had $10m reasons to win this off-season. And he let a third round rookie out-work and out-perform him.

                • A. Simmons

                  Both of Flynn’s starts were very solid. His New England game wasn’t bad.

                  • Erik

                    I live in Jersey and have listened to a lot of Jets fans angst over the QB situation with Sanchez on the local sport radio stations. The hosts and callers seem to have a positive view of Flynn as potention replacement along with Smith. Rex wants a QB that does not turn the ball over and the only viable options this year are Flynn and Smith. That being said, Smith would be their best option for the Jets but I think he will go somewhere with more offensive weapons like the Cardinals.

                    I have heard multiple callers/hosts wanting to trade Sanchez and a draft pick to Seattle for Flynn as long as the Hawks pick up a portion of his guaranteed contract. The fan base is so disgusted with the Sanchise that Flynn would be warmly welcomed. He has a huge contract that’s fully guaranteed and the Jets are looking for cap relief. The hawks are going to have to pay some veteran to backup RW, so say $2 mil per for 2012/14 would probably be reasonable. Would it be beneficial for the Hawks to use cap space for a reclaimation project/backup to gain a 3rd/4th roundish pick?

                  • Rob Staton

                    It wasn’t a great performance in New England either.

    • Belgaron

      Flynn would never be released or traded until after a replacement is on the team, period. He is the most valuable true backup they have on the team.

      • Rob Staton

        I don’t necessarily agree here. For example, if they wanted to sign a backup on a $2m contract they wouldn’t sign him and risk carrying a near $10m backup QB salary for the year if a Flynn deal fell through and they didn’t want to cut him and put him on the open market. There’s also the prospect of using the draft to replace Flynn, which would require the team to trade or cut Flynn just under two months prior to the draft if they really wanted to put his salary into other positions.

        At the end of the day this is a front office that found a starting franchise quarterback in round three of the draft. Whatever they plan to do, I suspect they’ll be able to find a more cost-effective backup for this team.

        • Belgaron

          Not having a backup quarterback is one of the riskiest maneuvers front offices make and they can cost front office personnel their jobs. They are very valuable. Just look at how one more win would have been essential this year. if Flynn had won a game if RW had been sick or out for a week like RGIII was, it would have been money well spent. Sure, getting Flynn’s contract off the books and picking up a ~5th rounder would be great but not at the cost of losing home field advantage in the playoffs or even a shot at the playoffs, it’s not a risk worth taking. You get the replacement first, then move the overpaid/unhappy guy. I think there’s no way they don’t draft a QB this year and maybe sign or trade for another veteran as well to come in and compete. They’ll watch for high upside guys to slide to them, the way they do all positions.

          • Rob Staton

            I think we’re overstating the role of a backup quarterback a little bit. I don’t even know who’s backing up Aaron Rodgers this year after Flynn’s departure in Green Bay. Washington essentially found a backup for RGIII in round four of the draft. Others just pick veterans up on minimal contracts. Seattle essentially just has to find a player with a similar skill set to Wilson so they don’t have to change the game plan too much in case of injury.

            What costs people jobs is the inability to find a starting quarterback, or investing in the wrong guy. The Seahawks have found their guy.

            • Belgaron

              While backup QBs and kickers can and do overprice themselves out of their old bosses willingness to pay, i.e. Flynn and the Packers, Olinde Mare and the Seahawks, etc., they also do frustrate organizations when a game (or even a season) hangs in the balance. I’m sure the Hawks will try to renegotiate Flynn’s deal and may have already started speaking with his agent about it as they often do in these situations, but I’d still be shocked to see him moved before they sign or draft a guy they would feel just as comfortable with as a backup. His contract is high for a backup but they manage the rest of their cap so well, they can afford a few overpays. But that may also drive them to make finding his replacement a priority. They do aggressively get rid of dead cap hits.

  2. Elijah

    Pass rush was really the only thing that worried me today. I have no doubt in my mind Seattle will find a 3-tech this off-season, whatever it may take. The offensive line did take a step back but I don’t think it anything that should cause panic amongst fans. The Rams have a really good line, and Okung and Giacomini did a good job of redirecting the Rams’ defensive ends. Russell Wilson was able to step up and avoid initial pressure, he just often time ended up stepping into one of the defensive tackles.

    On a positive note, the last time the Seahawks went 8-0 at home, they went to the Super Bowl. Hopefully history repeats itself.

  3. bjammin

    Great times to be a Hawk fan. On an outside note, Rob do you think they might try to improve their kicker position? At least get some competition for Hasuchka. Would’ve been nice to have the leg for a couple of those 50 yarders. And sure don’t see him kicking too many touchbacks.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m sure there will be some competition in that department – probably every year in fairness.

    • Chris

      I don’t know if Pete choosing to punt on those possible 50 yarders means much.

      I like Pete, but he doesn’t seem to understand what to do in long distance FG situations. Sometimes he goes for FGs that have a 0% chance of success (If anyone remembers the 65’ish+ yarder he tried last year that guaranteed a loss for the team) and other times he plays super conservative (passing up makeable FGs) just to try uber high-risky things like the on-side kick just a few minutes later.

      I honestly think he has a screw loose when it comes to knowing % plays sometimes. He tends to veer between WAY too conservative to WAY too risky, without much in between.

  4. AlaskaHawk

    It’s games like this that make me appreciate Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Okung , Unger, our receivers, our defensive secondary and linebackers, and Clemons. Anyone I didn’t name is eligible for competition for their position next year! Both lines need to step up there performance. We gave up 6 sacks and had zero of our own. Thankfully we won’t face that tough a defense until San Francisco .

    • Michael

      I would add Michael Robinson, and Brandon Mebane to that list. The WR corps as a group is probably the place most in need of more “competition” and would love to see them add one or two.

      • AlaskaHawk

        I don’t want to be unduly negative, however I think it will take more than one upgrade on the defensive line to get a pass rush going. They live or die together so just adding a 3 tech won’t be enough. We need four guys who can rush the passer. That would be two in the middle and two on the ends. So far we got one – Clemons. What I see is a defense line that is good when fresh but gets worn down and ineffective by the second half.

        As for the offensive line, I waiver back and forth on their abilities. I think they are a work in progress. The best thing is just to keep recruiting backups and let the chips fall where they will in the preseason. I noticed that Giacomini got pulled at the end of the game. Does anyone know what happened with him?

        So having got the negativity out = good job putting St Louis away Seahawks!!! They are a tough opponent.

  5. sdcoug

    slightly off-topic, but you mentioned that the Rams are here to stay. While they will still get very nice players, I’m glad they won’t be drafting until 16 and 18 (or lower if Wash makes the playoffs). I think many suspected in the off-season that both those picks would be in the top 10 or even top 5.

    Already stated, but lack of any interior pressure was so frustrating. Ability to collapse the pocket could make this D simply dangerous. Without it, we allow pedestrian QBs to pick us apart all too often.

  6. GH

    well, that’s more than 1 bad day at the office- in fact two REALLY bad days at the office against the Rams- Chris Long flat out abused Breno and that right side in wk 4, and did it again, seemingly worse, today. Starting Sweezy (for now) and Breno next to each other against a good pass rushing team is going to result in real problems more often than not.

    But moving on from what I fear is my now dead horse…

    I get why Carroll and this defense doesn’t like to blitz. But…when you’re not getting what you need from rushing 4, don’t you have to modify at some point? It has seemed like they’ve been very stubborn on the blitz and also very predictable when they do actually call it. I wish they’d accept that the 4 man rush isn’t getting it done at times and then adapt to the reality rather than cling to an ideal.

    Anyway, a nice win against a rising and well coached team.

    • GH

      -and I completely agree that this game illustrated the glaring need of an interior pass rush for this team. Heck, at this point I don’t care where the extra oomph comes from, however. We only disagree on the secondary or maybe tertiary issues of this team.

  7. stuart

    The Rams played us tough today. There is so much to be happy about after going 11-5 and making the playoffs. Congratulations Seattle Seahawks for such an entertaining regular season…please keep it going next week in Washington!!!

    Do you think it would be better to move up and draft DT Sheldon Richardson or sign a FA DT like Melton or Starks? The move up would probably cost us our 1st, 2nd and maybe even Matt Flynn…

    • GH

      that’s a good question. If they go the FA route, I’d rather them sign a free agent wide receiver if they feel they need to, and then draft for defense. I like the youth on defense and some experience on offense approach -especially WR, which seems to have a longer learning curve than some other positions.

      • BK

        I think a DT in FA is much more likely. I imagine it will be easier to convince a high caliber DT to come and play in front of our crowd as opposed to convincing a high caliber receiver to come here for 3 or 4 catches per game. This offense spreads the ball around too much (and doesn’t throw enough) to be attractive to a game changing wide receiver.

      • AlaskaHawk

        I’m hoping they do on defense what they did last year with QBs. Get a free agent DT and then use a high draft pick on a good pass rusher. Doubling up would be a wise move. As long as they are both young and have high energy.

    • Rob Staton

      Definitely go defensive tackle in FA if those guys are available. Both superior to the much more expensive WR options. Then you don’t have to move up in the draft, surrender picks – and the WR talent in the late first is excellent.

  8. Norm M

    I would hope that we would go after Melton or Starks in FA. They should have the cap space even without trading Flynn. I can’t see Carroll giving up draft picks to move up far enough to get Richardson. I can see spending some of the cap room on a proven interior lineman and using the draft to get get a receiving threat or a linebacker to replace Hill. Todays game showed a few chinks but nothing to stress about. The O-Line will play better next week and the d will have a plan to defend RG III. Todays game was just a wake up but nothing to stress on. The Rams are a much better team then their record shows, I think tougher then Washington.

    • GH

      The good news is next week the opponent’s D line won’t be as good.

      • Michael

        I think we will look back on this game as the wake-up call the Seahawks needed before going on their playoff run. I am glad we won but I am also glad that it was not another blowout.

      • AlaskaHawk

        But their offense will be better. I’m really looking forward to the two rookies facing off. Wilson vs RG III.

      • RJ

        If you watched that game last night you know how the Redskins compensated, they sent the house against Romo. Not sure they will be able to blitz as much against a mobile QB like Wilson but i’m sure they will try. Those zone blitz schemes will cause us problems. Hopefully our line can handle it.

  9. Nate Dogg

    Quite a bit of the pass rush issues are due to opposing offenses putting a heavy emphasis on getting rid of the ball quickly. They’re avoiding the outside corners out wide and the safeties deep, instead working slot receivers and challenging the linebackers. That’s especially a big part of the St Louis offense.Even without looking at that, Seattle’s pass rush numbers are ok. They’re 12th in sacks and 16th in FOs adj. sack rate.

    With Baldwin healthy and looking good, and several receivers in the mix for the 4th wide out spot, 3 tech might be Seattle’s biggest need. I don’t think it’s as dire a picture as you’re painting though.

    • Rob Staton

      Those numbers are slightly inflated by the eight sack half against Green Bay. I’d also argue Sam Bradford had an age to pass on most attempts yesterday, it wasn’t quite so much a quick hitting offense. We’ve faced a lot of bad offensive lines recently and generated zero pressure with a four man rush. We’ve had to turn to blitzing, which goes against the philosophy we’re trying to install here that creates turnovers. To keep improving, the pass rush with four DL’s is a vital area of concern.

  10. A. Simmons

    My feeling about the Rams is they spent the majority of their time preparing for division matchups. Just like Pete started working with the defensive line to deal with San Francisco a few weeks before the game, Fisher focused on divisional matchups this year to build his team’s confidence against divisional opponents. That’s why I feel the Rams divisional record was so good. It’s not a bad plan, but I feel all the divisional teams will be better prepared for the Rams next year. If they don’t seriously upgrade their talent, they are going to lose more than they did this year.

    They beat Seattle in St. Louis on a fake field goal. They scored a single offensive TE on a lucky deflection. They are selling out on the pass rush. I think that will eventually bite them in the behind.

    I see the Rams as a team that blew their load to get division wins. I think it will cost them in the years to come. Sam Bradford is not as good as Wilson. He will never be as good as Wilson. Once we get our pass rush built up, the Rams will go back to being a speed bump.

    Until Fisher does it next year, I consider this nothing more than a coach focusing on division wins and using a bunch of gimmicks to get them. Those gimmicks won’t hold up in the long run.

  11. Morgan

    What are you going to expect in these derby games?

    As for next year’s pass rush, whither Jason Jones? He signed a one-year deal hoping for a payday and I doubt this is how he wanted his year to go. I think he added a lot of value when he was in and going on IR hurts, but his impact is hard to quantify when looking at stats alone as they aren’t especially impressive, even for limited duty. Do you anticipate that the FO will try to keep him?

    • Brandon

      He’s undervalued, but oft injured and not entirely consistent. He can be improved upon IMO.

  12. rugby lock

    I would like to see them resign Jones if the price is right and push hard for Starks if he’s available. Even with that I’d wouldn’t mind them to go after a 3T in the draft. Can never have too much pass rush IMO. This would make our D off the hook!

    • Turp

      I could see us doubling up on a 3 tech even after signing a Starks or Melton.

      • AlaskaHawk

        I agree, either double up on DTs or get another DE. Either way we need to keep trying to find players with high energy and good tackling ability. I think Wagners rookie record in tackles is a mixed blessing. Yes he is a good LB and tackler. Bad that running backs consistently get to our second level.

        I really like Jones energy level, what I’m not sure about is whether he will rehab his knee. He will probably never play a full season for us, so his price should be kept low.

  13. Colin

    We need an elite talent at reciever. Badly. Too many times Russell had good protection and guys simply aren’t getting open. As usual, our defensive tackles provided no pressure. Irvin was a no show and Clem got shut down.

    And despite all that, we gave up only 13 points. A real tribute to how well coached this defense is, despite the limitations of the Ram offense.

    • GH

      Maybe I’m in the minority here but I think Tate is emerging as that elite talent. Yes, he’s not ideally sized, but he’s extremely dangerous after the catch and I think he’s growing into that role. I believe he was hindered by an immature attitude and QB woes in the beginning of his career but when I watch him play, I see a difference maker. Consistency and production continue to be a problem but some of that is learning curve at the position, some of that is game planning and offensive scheme, and some of that is the sporadic nature of WR production. But in terms of ‘elite talent’, I think Tate has it in spades. He’s very fast, elusive, competes for the ball, and I’d be willing to bet that whatever WR they draft next year lives in his shadow for at least two more seasons.

      • MJ

        I really like Tate, but I’d vehemently disagree that he is an emerging elite talent. He has elite YAC ability, but struggles to get open, as do most of our WRs. This team is really lacking speed/separation on the perimeter which would make this offense deadly. I don’t think we need an elite WR, just an elite speed/deep threat guy.

        Too many times, RW buys time for nobody to get open. I’d like to see an absolute speed demon as well as a joker TE (Jordan Reed type) who is able to get cheap yards and be a good 3rd down option.

      • Elijah

        What we really need is a receiver in the mold of DeSean Jackson or Mike Wallace. Guys that average 18 to 22 yards per catch. With a spread the ball offense, yeah they might only get 4 catches a game, but those 4 catches would be for about 80 yards. We need a field stretching WR desperately

        • AlaskaHawk

          Regarding the time to get open element. I would really like a breakdown on what Sydney Rice was up to and who was covering him. He must have been well covered the entire game. The other part is that RW seemed a bit off this game. A lot of passes were high early on. The last few games our receivers have been making some difficult catches and bailing him out. Of course that is what they are supposed to do, but too often other receivers we have tried have dropped the ball.

          Okay so what I really wanted to say about RW being off is on the long ball. He was throwing high and short, our receivers had to break off their routes and jump for the ball. The closest he came to throwing a long pass that hit receivers in stride was the Miller catch that was called back. So perhaps the issue with no one being open is also partially that RW was having a bad day (relatively speaking). He still ended up with a terrific QB rating.

          I’m going to say Tate is elite if he keeps fighting for the ball and catching it. He has elite leaping ability and hands. The problem for him is that we don’t pass as often as other teams so he will never build up the stats that a true passing team like New England will have.

          • GH

            Sidney was playing with a bum wheel this game.

            I think Tate has legitimate speed, and his route running is improving. His leaping ability and fight for the ball tremendous. He reminds me of Steve Smith in many ways. I think if you give RW and Tate another year of seasoning they’ll click in a way that may pleasantly surprise you. having a speed burner never hurts, but plain speed is really over rated for the position. What matters is hands, routes, and fight for the ball. There is a scrap heap pile of speed burners in the NFL but they rarely put the other, more important components together. Maybe some of the Justin Hunter/Patterson/ Wheaton types will be that kind of player, but they’re all pretty raw

            I’m leaning more and more towards a preference of signing a TE and WR off the FA pile and drafting defense, if it works cap wise. There are some good talents that may be available in FA.

            • GH

              if you’re just looking for plain old speed, the Hawks didn’t put much value on Deon Butler and Ricardo Locket- not many guys in the league faster than them. Those guys are in abundance in the league. I remain relatively convinced that good WR options will avail themselves in the second, third, and later rounds.Maybe I’m completely ignorant, but many of the guys mentioned on this blog as potential wr targets appear to be mocked elsewhere as 3nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th rounders. I would be completely on board going after many of those guys in the second 3rd or even later rounds. There are some good talents projected to be available later on. Of course, that can all change. But right now I’m thinking the Hawks have higher needs in a draft with scarcer talent at those need positions, so it makes sense, in my mind to go after them.

              The beauty of our situation as fans is, it’s hard to feel worried about whatever decision this front office team will make. If they pick some WR I’ve never heard of in the first round, I’m honestly not going to panic. I’ll just think “well…Go Hawks!”.

              So, most of this, for me, is just idle speculation and “what would I do” talk. Come draft day I’ll be completely chill with whatever moves they make.

  14. dave crockett

    I kind of agree with you Rob, but think that the “Seattle needs to upgrade 3-tech” narrative is moving towards overreaction. Seattle is one of the NFL’s top 5 teams in QB ypa defense. If all that time isn’t resulting in points or real estate perhaps we’re blowing its importance out of proportion?

    I just put up a fan post at Field Gulls:

    • Colin

      You can’t rush the passer as poorly as we did yesterday against Atlanta or GB or we’ll get killed here in a few weeks.

      • Nate Dogg

        Against GB they can sell out against the pass. St Louis forces Seattle to stay in their base package a lot, so you’re going to see the issues we saw yesterday. Atlanta can do that too, although their rushing attack is not very scary.

        For better or worse, an unbalanced front four that leans on specialized subpackages is how Carroll has chosen to build this defense. Every defense has their strengths and weaknesses, and this one just finished first in scoring defense. I don’t know that they’ll be changing their philosophy any time soon.

    • Turp

      Solid post Dave. All points worth visiting. I still agree with Rob that 3tech upgrade is needed specifically to improve pressure in base defense though.

    • Rob Staton

      I firmly believe the defense could be even better – scary good – with improved interior pressure. That’s why I continue to labour the point somewhat.

  15. Brandon O.

    I don’t really like the idea of trading up in the draft this year. I think we’re young, and I love PCJS ability to scout in the later rounds. Give them a chance to find someone late this year, and work FA for the 3-tech.

    However, next year, I think maybe we do sell out to get a top 5 pick. Pull an Atlanta and draft Marquis Lee. After the year we’ve had, I could see us being legit title contenders for a long time, and it might be worth it go out and get the best playmaker in college to give us another edge.

    • GH

      since we’re talking about the year after next….there’s a TE at the UW worthy of targeting when the time comes…. 🙂

      • Brandon O.

        Oh yes. Next years draft will be an exciting one!

  16. Jon

    as far as a WR goes lets think about this. Rice has been targeted nearly half as much as Calvin Jonson and has caught about half as many passes. Same with Tate. This is not because they are not open and it is not because they are not good. It is because we throw the ball half as much as the Lions. Our problem in the WR department is that of good to great depth. I think we do need one more quality threat in the passing game.

    However when we look at the 3 tech we possibly have a depth piece but do not have a good to great starter. This is why it is the number one need.

    • GH

      I agree with this, Jon.

  17. Madmark

    What do you think ROB? Mat Flynn to Buffalo draft pick? Maybe. He is a green bay boy use to snow. One of the reasons i like Russel wilson , Wisconsin.

    • Rob Staton

      I can’t see it. Not sure why they’d go from a bad Fitzpatrick experiment to a player who is very similar in many ways.

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