As things descend into utter lawless chaos in the streets of my hometown, New York City, the same can be said for our beloved football team from the great city of Seattle. Okay, maybe it's not quite THAT dramatic YET, but after a 4-2 start with notable victories over some of the league's supposed elite teams in Green Bay and New England things are less "lovey dovey" in Seahawks land after 2 tough road losses in San Francisco and Detroit.
Between the horridly inept 3rd down defense, baffling continued use of the Empty Shotgun formation on 3rd down on offense (despite the fact that everyone knows it's coming), soft middle of the field at the worst possible times on defense, and poor clock management at the end of 1st halfs, there's been enough this season to make you want to chain smoke a pack of P-Funks after you just finished chain smoking a pack of P-Funks.
Not all is doom and gloom however. No, in fact this season has been exactly what we should've expected and seen coming heading into year 3 of an admitted four year quest to take over the NFL. All the games are competitive at this point and now all this team needs to do is "learn how to win." Now, I don't know if you can necessarily sprinkle some magic pixie dust over the team in a pre-game ceremony and expect them to win the Super Bowl afterwards, but there are signs that this team will take that next step, and soon, towards being in the "Super Bowl Contenders" conversation for a long time to come.
Now I know you're all probably thinking one thing right now. What the hell is up with that picture? I LOVE this picture. A friend of mine found it and now has it up as his cover photo on Facebook. Yes, he's a crazy bastard. And yes, that young man is wearing a dress while carrying a pistol and leading a crazed gang of Africans. In a sick way, they remind me of the Seahawks pre Niners game second half. A motley crew of random players thrown together to create a proud group of warriors with an intense sense of determination. I know I'm probably stretching here, but I really wanted to include this picture in one of my posts so here it is! It seems the Seahawks have lost their way, and their identity, a little bit over the past few weeks. The turning point certainly has to be the 49ers abusing our defense in the 2nd half of that game and basically taking whatever they wanted from us. The Lions were able to do the same thing, especially in the most crucial of moments. It's time to fight back!
Fighting back means no more soft zones on 3rd and intermediate/long. For the life of me, I don't understand why Gus Bradley is obsessed with soft zones on 3rd down. That's right, it's an obsession, because it happens on almost EVERY third down beyond 5 yards to go. Gus has clearly never heard the phrase "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" because the Seahawks appear to do great work in coverage with their base defense playing press coverage on 1st and 2nd downs. It isn't until third down when teams are able to get their offense going, often utilizing screens and quick passes with tons of broken tackles to move the sticks. It's actually become pretty predictable.
What's also become entirely too predictable is the use of the Empty Shotgun on offensive third downs. I never thought I'd be yearning for the days of the "3rd down draw to Mack Strong!" during the Holmgren era, but I actually have resorted to that on Sunday's. Everybody in the building knows a 3rd down pass is coming and yet Darrell Bevell still routinely trots out the Empty Shotgun with unsurprising results. I was literally begging the TV this past Sunday for something other than an Empty Shotgun to give Russell even half a fighting chance to convert something. Then, it happened! Robert Turbin lines up to the right of Russell Wilson on 3rd down and BEHOLD! A first down on a pass to Turbin. However, that was the last time we'd see that during the game and probably for a while.
As you can probably tell from the tone of this post, I'm pretty exhausted with the coaching staff, namely the offensive and defensive coordinators. I like Gus Bradley and think he's a fine person and motivator and the defense definitely seems to like playing for him, however, I don't think he's been creative enough in creating an identity for this defense to absolutely smother teams. The inability to create turnovers and big plays this season is also pretty alarming. Part of this is due to the fact that we're not creating big enough leads to force teams into throwing repeatedly but it's also due to a lack of concentration leading to dropped interceptions, bad luck on forced fumbles, and an inability to constantly get to the quarterback and create poor throws. This is magnified when the Seahawks are on the road. I want to believe but I'm not quite sure Bradley and Bevell are good enough at making adjustments in order for things to turn around and run smoothly.
Fighting back is also going to have to mean overcoming mistakes at a higher rate, since it's apparent that this young team is going to be held back by growing pains. The question is, how much will they be held back? I firmly believe and have believed since April that this team was a 10 win team with playoff potential. We'll see if they can live up to the billing or if they'll flounder and fall into one of the most painful "Same Old Seahawks" seasons of all-time. My money would be on the former. If this team does end up in the playoffs, I'd actually like their chances. Every game so far has had an intense playoff-like atmopshere to it, more so than most NFL games, and will have prepared this team most certainly. The problem is getting there.
If you'd have told me before the season started that the Seahawks would be 4-4 at this point in time, I would've taken it. However, I can't help but feel that the Seahawks have left a few wins on the table so far, so there is obviously room for improvement. Next up is Minnesota on Sunday in what is definitely a winnable game. Funny thing is that every time I've thought that to myself this season the Seahawks have emerged losers. Nothing makes sense anymore.