"Mack Strong has retired!"
"Deion Branch is out!"
"We were shut out and looked terrible!"
"Our running game is horrible!"
"Our defense can't got off the field on 3rd downs!"
Count me in the apparently quiet minority. WE ARE FINE. Say it with me everyone. We....are....fine. Before we even start looking at the Hawks, let's look at the rest of our division.
The Rams are winless and hopeless for so many reasons, I don't want to waste time getting into it.
The pre-season favorites to win the division, the 49ers, have the worst offense in the NFL. The worst! The Saints come to town with a QB who has a ~57 QB rating, a starting RB injured for the season and the 49ers offense has been worse. They are teetering on the edge of irrelevance, and do you remember which team put them there?
The Cardinals have played well, but lost half their QB tandem (Matt Leinart) for the season with an injury. Their entire season rests on the shoulder of 36-year-old backup Kurt Warner. This is a guy who has started well for a couple of seasons, but always gets injured after a few starts.
A record of 9-7 may run away with this division. I still see the Hawks going 11-5 or 12-4. Nobody is going to touch them.
That means we are really looking at the playoffs and our ability to compete there. We have plenty of time to find the running game, and that still remains my only concern about the Hawks. Our defense played well last week. The Steelers QB has a fantastic second half. Give him credit. Move on. I will take a 17 play TD drive over a 1 play TD drive any day. Despite our troubles getting off the field, at least we did not give up the big play like we did on the 45-yard run in the 1st half.
I'm so confident that this team is on pace for a good year that I won't even be worried if we lose to the winless Saints today. My friends would tell you that I tend to be a glass half-empty guy when it comes to my favorite teams. I've been a Seattle sports fan long enough to know heartache and tattered dreams. But I also am not influenced by the swaying tides of public opinion.
I am looking forward to a watching a few things at the game today:
1) Leonard Weaver
I admit to being infatuated with the guy. I should be wary of the fumbles in the preseason, but I'd be happy to see this guy as our featured back, at least for a while. I really think he is a weapon catching the ball out the backfield and has a chance to influence our gameplan as the season wears on.
2) Ben Obamanu
The guy looked like a worldbeater in the preseason, but dropped a key 3rd down pass last week. Dropping passes can't happen. If he gets past that, he could be in for a huge game soon.
3) Seneca Wallace
Matt missed him on a pass last week. Let's see if he can finally impact a game this week.
4) Pass rush
It disappeared in the second half last week. It is the key difference between our defense being good and it being great.
5) Running gameplan
Don't be surprised if the Hawks start out grinding the ball on the ground. The coaches and players don't want to have to keep answering questions about the running game, and I bet they will try to use this game as a way to stem the tide. If they are unsuccessful, it could give the Saints a chance to get toehold in this game.
I fully expect to the Hawks win, but won't be shocked if they lose. Seattle teams don't historically play that well when everyone expects them to win.
Let me know what you think. I'll check back after I get home from the game.