Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Seahawks Special Teams Not Yet Special

Ask a fan their favorite thing about the Seahawks and you are likely to hear them mention Marshawn Lynch breaking tackles, Percy Harvin zipping by defenders, or Kam Chancellor blowing up would-be receivers. Seattle sported one of the best defenses in history last year, and have an up-and-coming offense. Both sides are chock-full of star talent. Hidden in their shadows is a crucial pillar of the Seahawks championship formula. Seattle had one of the most efficient special teams units in the NFL last year.

They nearly set records in punt coverage, were almost perfect in the kicking game, and were sometimes electric in punt or kick returns. It has not been a stellar start for Seahawks special teams in 2014, and that needs to change this Sunday.

Seahawks vs. Broncos: Breaking Down the Seahawks Game Plan

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will enter CenturyLink Field with a perfect 2-0 record and with revenge on their minds.

They have spent significant dollars in free agency to upgrade a defense that surrendered 27 of the Seattle Seahawks' 43 points in the Super Bowl. Injured players such as Ryan Clady and Von Miller have returned to the fold.

The superficial assumption would be that Denver is a much better team than the one Seattle walloped in February. Dig a little deeper, and there are legitimate questions about whether the improvements the Broncos targeted in the offseason have actually translated onto the field.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Early Impressions: Denver vs. Seattle

Nothing can change what happened in February. Seattle fans and players will always have 43-8, they will always have those gleaming rings, and they will always have the banner that hangs in CenturyLink Field. But the Denver Broncos are coming to our neck of the woods with the goal of proving the past is completely divorced from the present. They have been telling themselves that game was a fluke and due to Denver injuries. They have been telling themselves they could buy toughness with free agent dollars. They even have been telling themselves the Seahawks cheated their way to the Lombardi Trophy because the referees were not calling enough holding calls on the Seattle secondary. People with delusions have a way of finding any scrap of evidence to support their version of reality. This game on Sunday is sitting in the Broncos sights like a candy apple. The Seahawks job is knock the Broncos back to reality, and to force them to face their worst fear of simply being an inferior team.

Hawk Blogger 2014 Power Rankings: Week 2

THIS WEEK
The rise of the AFC? Cincinnati, Denver and Houston (yes, Houston), occupy the top three spots in this weeks rankings. Nobody can accuse me of being biased. Seattle took a big fall, but Detroit, Tennessee, San Francisco, Minnesota, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and the Jets fell further. The Bears at #5 does not seem like it will last, and Washington at #7 should grab every Seahawks fans attention as many were hoping for an easier game in a couple of weeks.

For those wondering how San Diego could be so far down in the rankings after beating a strong Seattle team, it comes down to their deplorable defense that is allowing a 112.7 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks and 5.6 yards per carry. Had the Seattle offense seen the field a typical amount of time, they might have hung 40 points on that team.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Morning After: Chargers Perfect Game Combine With Seattle Mistakes, Lead To 30-21 Loss


Logo by Kevin Gamache, Hammerhead 

The Seahawks lost. Panic. Blame. Doubt. They all come rushing out of the cracks in your confidence. Odds are, the more sure you were of the win, the more angry or depressed you are after the loss. Likewise, games that you are most concerned about tend to lead to more ecstatic postgame celebrations. It is the bipolar nature of being a fan. Competitors should never get numb to losing, but nothing is gained by overemphasizing or overgeneralizing the negative. That is why Pete Carroll has Tell The Truth Monday. What was the real story of the game? Are any patterns developing that need to be addressed? Seattle has played two of the top five quarterbacks in football after two games, and stand at 1-1. They play the best quarterback in the NFL next week, and will be 1-2 if they make the same mistakes that day that were made on this one. This game was won by nearly perfect play by the Chargers offense, and a series of crippling errors by Seattle. It was not hard to see how much this game meant to San Diego. This was the first true example of getting a team's best shot because you are the champ. The Seahawks nearly won anyway.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

PODCAST: What We Learned Week One & A Look Ahead To Week Two

There was a bunch to dissect from week one, and lot to see in week two. I dive into position-by-position assessments of where the Seahawks were against the Packers and how they enjoy a series of advantages against a very dangerous Chargers team. Also, what can we take away from that 49ers game versus the Cowboys?
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Early Seahawks Snap Count Indicators

Early Snap Count Signs

It is pretty silly to make any declarations about snap counts after a single week. Matchups can have a significant impact on how much a player plays. Green Bay, for example, is a pass heavy team that resulted in the Seahawks playing nickel far more often than they would against a team like the 49ers. Even with that qualifier, there were some interesting allotments of playing time to point out.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

First Look: The San Diego Super Chargers


San Diego enters their home opener against the Seahawks without a win, and with some troublesome injury issues. They are also among the most talented offenses in the NFL, and feature some dangerous pass rushers. Seattle has to play a great game to win any time it travels. Let's examine the key matchups that will determine the outcome.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Darren Woodson Sees Dynasty In Seattle

You may remember my conversation with Marshall Faulk leading up to the Super Bowl. Today, thanks to FanPrint.com, I was offered a similar opportunity to interview future Hall of Fame safety, Darren Woodson. Woodson was a five-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro, and three-time Super Bowl Champion as a safety for the Dallas Cowboys. He is the Cowboys all-time leader in tackles, and currently is an NFL analyst for ESPN.

The way these things usually work is the sponsor talks about their product and the player then answers questions. Of course, the main attraction is talking to someone who played the game at a high level, but this was a case where the product was worth spreading the word about. Have you ever thought it would be cool to have a t-shirt featuring different generations of Seahawks safeties like Kenny Easley, Eugene Robinson, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor? What about unique custom designs that fans create featuring their favorite players? Maybe you want to celebrate a player that is more obscure and does not have gear in the team shop. Woodson is teaming up with the people at FanPrint.com to make all those things possible. It could take pro merchandise to another level. And one of the best parts is that it will benefit retired players who did not get to play when there were billions of dollars flowing through the sport.



I asked Woodson for more information on that, and spent some time finding out what made their dynasty team tick in Dallas and how the Seahawks compare.

Hawk Blogger 2014 NFL Power Rankings: Week 1

THIS WEEK
Week one power rankings are in the books. As always, these rankings become far more predictive of team strength after 3-4 weeks. That said, seven of the top ten teams in week one rankings last year made the playoffs. The table below shows each teams strength rating and how it compares to where they ended in Week 17 last year.

One of the more striking results is the Seahawks finishing within 0.1 of where they were last year. Detroit in the top spot looks very odd. Then again, they were 5th in the rankings this time last year, and were one of the three top ten teams that did not make the playoffs. Denver was the top team after one week last year.