Seahawks-Redskins Preview...5 Keys to a Hawks Victory (FULL)

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  • Double Impact …
    5 Keys to Victory for the Seahawks vs. the Redskins …
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    [Hank Williams, Jr playing:] “Are you ready for some football?” Yeah Baby, here we are at long last – back in the playoffs! Seattle finished the 2012 regular season 11-5 – just the 3rd time in franchise history that the Seahawks have topped the 11 win mark. But of course … the Hawks have their sights set on a much higher prize – the Lombardi Trophy. The Seahawks enter the playoffs on a hot streak, having won 7 of their last 8 games and outscoring teams 170-43 over their last 4 games. They are a team that no one truly wants to play. Well on Sunday, the Hawks face another team that enters the playoffs equally hot – the Washington Redskins. I said back at the end of November that this Redskin team was one to keep an eye on, and they certainly proved that, winning their last 7 games in a row. For most of this season, most of the national discussion surrounding who will win Offensive Rookie of the Year has centered on the first 2 picks of the 2012 NFL Draft – the Colts Andrew Luck … and the Redskins Robert Griffin III. After the Bear Beat-down in Chicago though, the rest of the country woke up to the fact that there was a 3rd Candidate – one who hadn’t been handed his job from Day 1 … an unheralded too short 3rd Round Pick who actually had to earn his position as the starting quarterback of an NFL Team … and to prove that he belonged week in and week out – Seattle’s Russell Wilson. This Sunday afternoon it’s Griffin and Wilson – mano a mano – each with a chance to pad their resume … and to get one step closer to football’s ultimate prize. Here are 5 Keys to Victory for the Seahawks as they face Griffin and this high powered Redskin Team …


    Key #1: Put a Governor on the Twin Engine Race Car …
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    “How would you game plan against your offense?” That was the question that 710 ESPN’s Mike Salk posed to Pete Carroll last week – a question that Carroll refused to answer. This week, Carroll is going to have to answer that question, as the Redskins Offense in so many ways mirrors the Seahawks own. Though most of the attention will be placed squarely upon stopping Robert Griffin III … stopping the Redskin passing game shouldn’t be the primary focus for the Seahawks this week. A brief comparison of the Redskins and Seahawks Offenses shows why …

    Redskins Offense
    442 pass attempts (46% of time) … 3666 passing yards
    519 rush attempts (54% of time) … 2709 rushing yards
    961 total offensive attempts … 6,375 total yards


    Seahawks Offense
    405 pass attempts (43% of time) … 3,234 passing yards
    536 rush attempts (57% of time) … 2,579 rushing yards
    941 total offensive attempts … 5,813 total yards

    As you can see, like the Seahawks, the Redskins RUN the ball more than they PASS the ball.

    If you take a look at the Redskin Offense purely by number of attempts …stopping Alfred Morris becomes front and center the #1 Priority for this Seahawks defense. Alfred Morris had 335 attempts rushing attempts this season -- so in essence, handoffs to him accounted for 34.8% of the total plays that either Redskins Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan called (or Robert Griffin III has called for himself via the Read Option) this year.

    As if 1,613 Rushing Yards and 13 Rushing Touchdowns by Morris weren’t bad enough … the Seahawks ALSO have to contend with a quarterback who does the exact same things Russell Wilson does – run the Read Option and makes plays with his legs.

    The Redskins 519 Rushing Attempts were the 3rd Most in the NFL (Seattle was #1) … so slowing down the running attack should certainly be first and foremost on the mind of Gus Bradley this week. Here is a brief look at the Redskin Running Attack and how the Seahawks Rush Defense compares …

    Redskins Rushing Offense vs. Seahawks Rush Defense …
    Redskins Off. CategoryNFL RankSeahawks Def. CategoryNFL Rank
    27.2 Points Scored/Game4th Most15.3 Points Allowed/Game#1 in NFL
    169.3 Rushing Yards/Game Avg.1st103.1 Rushing Yds/Game Allowed Avg.10th
    5.2 Rushing Yards/Att. Avg.2nd4.5 Rushing Yds/Att. Allowed23rd
    16 Runs of 20+ Yards4th Most10 Runs of 20+ Yards Allowed Avg.16th
    22 Rushing TD’s2nd Most8 Rushing TD’s Allowed5th Fewest
    341 First Downs7th Most295 First Downs Allowed8th Fewest
    13 Rushing Fumbles2nd Most20 Forced Fumblestied for 5th Best
    Stuffed Behind LOS 16% of Time3rd Best36 Tackles for Loss32nd


    As you can see from the numbers above, the Redskins have been highly productive on the ground this year. Along with the Seahawks, they have been one of the top rushing offenses in the league. Like Frank Gore, Alfred Morris is a squat, big, physical explosive back (5’9” 218 pounds) who (though he only runs a 40 in 4.67 seconds) has great vision, change of direction, and cutback ability. All the 6th Round Draft Choice out of Florida Atlantic University has done this year has been to set the Redskins All-Time mark for Rushing Yards in a season. Thanks to Morris and the dynamic legs of Robert Griffin III (RGIII runs a 40 in 4.41 seconds), the Redskins have 16 Runs of 20 Yards or More (4th Most) … average a phenomenal 5.2 Yards/Rush (2nd Best) … and have scored the 2nd most rushing TD’s in the league (22). And in the tradition of the Redskin hogs they have always seemed to have had, they have had an excellent group that has consistently blasted open holes for Morris and RGIII. According to Football Outsiders, the Redskins Offensive Line is the 7th Best Run Blocking Team in the league. On average, Morris and RGIII have been stuffed at or behind the Line of Scrimmage only 16% of the time (that’s 3rd Best in the league).

    For a team like the Seahawks who this year allowed …

    Frank Gore to gain 131 Yards and average 5.5 Yards/Carry in Week 7 …

    Adrian Peterson to gash them for 182 Yards, average 9.0 Yards/Carry, and score 2 TD in Week 9 …

    The Miami Dolphins to gain 189 Yards, average 6.8 Yards/Carry, and score 2 TD in Week 12 …

    and C.J. Spiller to get 103 yards, average 6.1 yards/carry, and a score touchdown in Week 15 …

    … such productivity on the ground honestly should make Seattle fans a bit nervous. And I would say that the main reason those runners were able to post such numbers against the Seahawks was due to the lack penetration we have seen from Seattle’s Defensive Front 7 all year long. As you can see from the statistics above, the Seahawks have been exceedingly poor at getting consistent penetration in to opposing teams’ backfields, as their 36 Tackles for Loss ranks DEAD LAST in the league. Look for Defensive Line and/or Linebacker to be a high priority come Draft Time. In the meantime though, Gus Bradley and the Seahawks defense was got to find a way to slow these guys down this Sunday. To say that Brandon Mebane, Red Bryant, and Bobby Wagner need to have big games goes without saying.

    That and the Seahawks propensity for allowing big plays downfield at times is exactly why I suggested last week we might see “the Amoeba” Defense brought out of mothballs for this game … as a 6 or 7 Defensive Back package actually might be just the ticket to cut down on those big plays and to bring greater speed and quickness to bear against Morris and RGIII.

    That said, the Seahawks did contain Frank Gore the 2nd Time around, holding him to just 28 yards in Week 16, rendering him a complete non-factor in that game … and doing the same to backs like Steven Ridley (34 yards) … and Matt Forte (66 yards). They have also had good success against running quarterbacks this year, holding Cam Newton (last year’s RGIII to only 42 yards rushing and a QB Rating of 56.8) and Colin Kaepernick (just 31 yards rushing and a QB Rating of 72.0) in check. So we’ll see if they can duplicate that same success on the road this week.

    But we should also add that Robert Griffin … hasn’t been Robert Griffin for the past few weeks. During the 2nd Half of Redskins 31-28 OT win against the Ravens on 12/9, Griffin took a shot by Haloti Ngata, trying to extend himself to get every single yard instead of sliding. It cost him in the form of a right sprained knee that has hampered his ability to scramble ever since.

    Griffin returned 2 weeks later against the Eagles … and gained only 4 yards on 2 carries. And though RGIII did gain 63 yards on 6 carries against the Cowboys … they limited him in the passing game to just 9 of 18 pass completions for 100 yards. Griffin did look like he had some of his mobility back, but he certainly didn’t look like his old self scrambling around back there.

    If there’s one problem that has been noted about RGIII … it’s that he takes far too many chances trying to get the extra yard (In that arena, Russell Wilson has been much smarter, as he knows when to get down). My advice to RGIII – don’t do that against this defense. There’s a reason this Seahawks Defense has the nickname “The Legion of Boom”. This is an incredibly physical, big time hitting defense that could very well be a factor in RGIII’s ability to scramble around in this game. If Griffin tries going for the extra yard against THIS group … he’s liable to get his head taken off by big time boomers like Brandon Browner or Kam Chancellor.

    But Robert Griffin III can do much more than simply run the ball …


    Key #2: Contain the Clone …
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    Before we get to our discussions of Robert Griffin and this passing offense, let’s take a look at some of the Redskins Passing Offense numbers and how they compare with those of the Seahawks Pass Defense …

    Redskins Passing Offense vs. Seahawks Pass Defense …
    Redskins Off. CategoryNFL RankSeahawks Def. CategoryNFL Rank
    27.3 Pts Scored/Game4th Most15.3 Pts Allowed/Game#1 in the NFL
    213.9 Yds/game21st203.0 Pass Yds/Game Allwd6th Best
    53 Passes of 20 Yards+12th Most40 Passes of 20 Yards+ Allowed6th Fewest
    35.8% 3rd Down Conv Rate24thAllw 38.4% of 3rd Down Conv17th
    24 Passing TD’s13th Most15 Passing TD’s Allwd2nd Fewest
    Score TD’s 57.14% in Red Zone (AT HOME)15thTD’s Allwd 55.0% in Red Zone (ON ROAD)16th in NFL
    33 Sacks AllowedTied 12th Fewest w/Seahawks36 Sackstied for 18th
    102.4 Passer Rating for Robert Griffin III3rd Best71.8 QB Passer Rating Against3rd Best


    As you can see, the Redskins Passing Attack has been fairly dynamic. For Seahawk fans who aren’t highly familiar with the Redskins – the offense will look very familiar. Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan incorporated a lot of what made Griffin successful at Baylor in winning the Heisman Trophy last season … and it’s paid off big time at the NFL level. Like the Seahawks, the Redskins run a kind of hybrid West Coast/Spread Option Offense utilizing a lot of the same concepts that Mike Shanahan used when he coached the Broncos. Like the Seahawks, the Redskins will use the Pistol (the truncated shotgun zone read offense developed under Nevada’s Chris Ault and utilized by QB Colin Kaepernick) … and the Zone Read Option (a system honed by pioneers such as Chip Kelly, Urban Meyer, and Bill Snyder). In fact, the reason that Pete Carroll, Darrell Bevel, and the rest of the coaching staff began implementing these packages for Russell Wilson was because of the success of Griffin and other offenses in college football.

    Even though the Redskins have only thrown 46% of the time … they make the most of those throws, as they average an amazing 8.4 Yards/Pass (#1 in the league. The Seahawks are #3 by the way with an average of 8.0 Yards/Pass) … and they connect 66.5% of the time (5th Highest completion percentage in the NFL). Now some of the reason for that high completion percentage has been as the result of screen passes and short dump-offs … but not all.

    As you can see, the Redskins have had 53 Pass Plays that have covered 20 yards or more this year (that’s the 12th Most in the NFL). And Redskin receivers have been getting deep this season, as they average 12.6 Yards/Reception (4th Most Yards/Completion in the league. Seahawks receivers you ask? They average 12.5 Yards/Reception – 5th Most). So like the Seahawks, these guys can get deep. Who are these guys Griffin has been throwing to? Let’s take a look at RGIII’s targets this season …


    (2012) Redskins Top Receiving Targets
    ReceiverSizeCatchesYardsYards/CatchTD’s#Catches of 20 Yds+% of Passing Off
    WR Josh Morgan6’1” 220 Lbs4851010.62416.49%
    WR Pierre Garcon6’0” 212 Lbs4463314.441015.12%
    WR Santana Moss5’10” 189 Lbs4157314.081014.09%
    WR Leonard Hankerson6’2” 211 Lbs3854314.33813.06%
    TE Logan Paulson6'5” 261 Lbs2530812.3138.59%
    *TE Fred Davis*6’4” 247 Lbs2432513.5048.25%
    WR Aldrick Robinson5'10" 181 Lbs1923721.5346.53%
    RB Evan Royster6'1" 216 Lbs151097.3015.15%
    RB Alfred Morris5'9" 218 Lbs11777.0013.78%
    TE Niles Paul6'1" 233 Lbs815219.0152.75%


    * Davis was injured in Week 4 and lost for the season with a torn left Achilles tendon

    As you can see, Griffin has certainly spread the peace pipe around this season … with (proportionately) very few of his passes going to his running backs (only 26 of the Redskins 291 total receptions). Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson, and Aldrick Robinson, are all 4.4 speed receivers (Moss actually runs a 4.31) who can get deep on you, so the Seahawks defensive backs will have to bring their lunch pails.

    Redskins Receiving Corps vs. Seahawks Secondary …

    Back to the question that was posed to Pete Carroll -- How do you game plan against your offense (which is the Redskins offense)? Let’s revisit part of that conversation 710 ESPN’s Brock Huard had with former Oregon Offensive Coordinator, Head Coach, and Athletic Director Mike Bellotti. Here is what Bellotti had to say about scheming against the Zone Read Option …

    Brock: “… Is there something that a team can do well to really nullify and stop that Zone Read – something that we should watch with Jim Harbaugh, who’s very familiar with this and comes from the college games, played against it, studied it, and everything else? What are some things that we should keep a close eye if San Francisco has success versus those Zone Read Concepts?”

    Bellotti: “Well, it’ll be something in the means of getting an 8th Man in the box, playing some form of man with pressure – dropping the Free Safety down as a spy and having him just key the quarterback because athletically, that should be a good matchup or somebody with the athleticism to stay with the quarterback down the field. And then, if you can commit 8 people to the box; if you can play man on the outside – just say that, “we’re just not gonna (I mean we are gonna) cover those receivers – we’re not really worried about them and not gonna double cover them. And that’s the thing at the NFL level. Most of the teams have receivers that you have to double cover. If there’s going to get man coverage and single coverage, they’re eventually going to get beat because the quality -- the accuracy of the quarterbacks and the athleticism of the receivers is just really tough. So, you can’t do it on an every play basis. They’re not gonna run the Zone Read on an every down basis because they don’t want to get the quarterback injured. So, I think occasionally if you see if you know when and you can accurately predict that, you roll the 8th Man down in the box – maybe even the 9th Man – um, and it just depends on, you know, you roll the dice a little bit – you come with pressure. The typical thing has been pressure, penetration, and you know, getting the 8th and 9th Man down in the box especially at the point of attack so that you screw up the Zone Read where the read of the mesh point is.”

    Source:
    Brock and Salk 710 ESPN Interview (12/18/12) w/Mike Bellotti

    That’s some good insights by Bellotti there … and even though Carroll himself has been mum on the subject, we can play a bit of armchair coach here and make some educated guesses.

    As I mentioned earlier, one approach might be to bring back the “the Amoeba” Defense. A 6 or 7 Defensive Back package would certainly bring a much faster product to the field in order to cut down on those big plays and at the same time bring faster, quicker guys that could be utilized against Morris and RGIII.

    The other approach I could also see is the one that Bellotti suggests – stacking the box with 8 guys and making a “spy” out of one of your more athletic defenders. In the case of the Redskins, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bradley and company roll that one out either, with (I’m guessing) Kam Chancellor playing that role. With Brandon Browner back from serving his 4 game suspension, Seattle’s secondary is finally back at full strength for the first time in the month, so that would certainly be an intriguing option. Richard Sherman and Browner would likely be matched up against Garcon and either Morgan or Hankerson (in essence taking away the edges) … which brings the 3rd Nickel Corner issue front and center once again.

    It bears repeating that the numbers showed that when Marcus Trufant was the starting Nickel Corner were downright ugly … as he was getting burned 72.4% of the time (the 2nd worst percentage of any 3rd Nickel Corner in football) and did not have a single Pass Defensed on the season. When he was in there, opposing QB’s were going away from Browner and Sherman … and instead targeting the inside slot receivers, finding far greater success there. Things really appeared to turn around there once Trufant went out with a hamstring pull. But Trufant was back in there last week against the Rams as the 5th DB in the Nickel Package. Carroll was asked this week about whether or not Trufant would be back in there for this game. Here is what he had to say …

    "It does change the dynamic a little bit as Brandon is back," Carroll said. "But Tru had a very good game this week, a nice job in his first game back."

    Source:
    http://seattletimes.com/html/seahawks/2020031521_seahawksnotes01.html

    YIKES! Personally, I’m hoping that Carroll has his “Always Compete Pete” hat on this week … because I don’t believe that Trufant has the quickness necessary to keep up with younger, quicker slot receivers anymore. And this week, the Seahawks go up against one of the best slot receivers in the game – Santana Moss (who runs the 40 yard dash in a blazing 4.31 seconds). Moss has made a lot of big plays down the field this year, so the Seahawks need someone who can adequately cover him.

    Personally, I’d go with Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell in there … but Trufant put a fly in the ointment by outperforming each of them last week. Lane and Maxwell each had key miscues in the Rams game. In the 2nd Quarter, Lane was beat for a 37 yard reception to Chris Givens and later in that same drive, it was he that Austin Pettis beat for the touchdown. Lane was later flagged for a Pass Interference Penalty in the 3rd Quarter … and Maxwell for a 25 yard Pass Interference Penalty in the 4th Quarter that could have meant the game. Though inexperience reared its ugly head up in that game, Lane had a very good game against the 49ers and looks like he has the physical tools (size, speed, quickness, and physical style of play) to be able to keep up with Moss in this game (Carroll said he believes Lane can run a 4.3) … and to lock down that spot for the long haul. RGIII is an extremely accurate passer (he’s thrown only 5 interceptions this season) with an absolute cannon for arm. I’ll go out on a limb and say right now that how the Nickel Backs perform will go a long ways toward determining who wins this football game.

    But as they say, the best pass defense is a good pass rush. Let’s take a look at how the Seahawks Front 7 matches up with the Redskins Offensive Line …

    Though their Offensive Line has done very well opening up holes for the running game, as a unit, Football Outsiders ranks Washington 23rd Overall in terms of their Pass Rush. They have allowed the exact same number of sacks as Seattle (33), so there is certainly opportunity there to get after the quarterback. Let’s take a look at some individual match-ups in this game that bear watching …

    RT Tyler Polumbus vs. LDE Bruce Irvin…

    On Sunday, the Seahawks face an old buddy, former Seahawk and now starting Right Tackle for the Redskins Tyler Polumbus (6’8” 305 Pounds). Polumbus is a guy who has had a decent season, but it’s not been completely smooth, as he has allowed 5.25 Sacks this year according to Pro Football Weekly. As most of you well know, Polumbus isn’t exactly the most fleet of foot, so can potentially be susceptible to speed rushers. In the Ravens game, LDE Arthur Jones had 1.5 Sacks and 3 QB Hits going up against Polumbus. Bruce Irvin (6’3” 248 Pounds) had 8.0 sacks this season, so certainly will be foaming at the mouth over the possibility of getting after RGIII on Sunday. We’ll see if he can bring the heat.

    LT Trent Williams vs. RDE Chris Clemons…

    On the other side of the Redskins Offensive Line, Trent Williams (6’5” 325 Pounds), the 4th overall pick in the 2010 draft, has brought a solid (but not elite) level of play to the Left Tackle position. As a converted Right Tackle, Williams does have a lot of athleticism, but the knock on him coming in to the draft was that he had bad habits (especially in pass blocking) that might cause him issues. This season, Williams allowed 5.5 Sacks and was flagged 4 times for false start penalties and twice for holding. Williams will have to bring his A Game this weekend because he’s going up against one of the best in Chris Clemons (6’3” 254 Pounds), who had 11.5 Sacks on the season.

    The good news for the Seahawks this weekend is that according to Pete Carroll they are healthier than they have been in awhile, as Marshawn Lynch was the only player who was limited in practice on Wednesday (and that I would surmise is totally precautionary as they just want to give him rest). Though Leroy Hill is healthy though, I would still look for Malcolm Smith (6’0” 226 Pounds) in there at times, because he has looked so much quicker to the ball than Hill and seems to have a real nose for where it’s going to be. He and guys like Greg Scruggs (6’3” 284 Pounds) – another real athletic player -- could be players who could be real unsung heroes in this game.

    We’ll turn our attention next to the other side of the football and discuss some keys to the game for the Seahawks Offense.


    Key #3: Double the Guard and Defend the Frontier …
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    This past Sunday, pass protection issues (which had not been an issue all season long for this team) reared up like the Kraken out of the deep to terrorize the Seahawks on their own home turf. The Rams came in to that game having sacked opposing QB's 46 times on the season (3rd Most in the league). They ended it tied for the #1 spot in the NFL after sacking Russell Wilson 5 times on the day.

    The Hawks Offensive Line has got to do a better job of pass protection this coming weekend, as they are facing a defense, who under Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett LOVES to blitz and bring pressure to bear on opposing quarterbacks. Pete Carroll talked this week about his relationship with Haslett and about having known him since Haslett’s playing days when Carroll was the DB Coach for the Bills. The Seahawks are going to have to rely on a bit of that familiarity in preparing for this team, as the onus for protecting Russell Wilson from the onslaught of these Redskin defenders will ultimately fall squarely on the shoulders of Seattle’s Offensive Line.

    While the Seahawk and Redskin offenses are highly similar … those comparisons begin to drop away when you turn to the other side of the ball. The Redskins 3-4 Defense relies heavily on blitz packages from its linebackers to generate pressure on opposing QB’s -- very similar to that of some of the defenses that the Steelers run under Dick LeBeau. The linebackers are the true strength of this Redskins defense … and Haslett has called their number with great regularity this year. Haslett dialed up a steady diet of blitzes against the Cowboys last week, confusing and flustering Tony Romo in to throwing 3 interceptions which ultimately sealed the book on Dallas for the year.

    With that in mind, let’s take a look at the match-ups across the formation this week …


    NT Barry Cofield vs. C Max Unger …

    Center Max Unger (6’5” 305 Pounds) finally got the recognition he deserved this year, as he received a nice Christmas Present from Santa in the form of being named the NFC’s Starter in the Pro Bowl. It was an honor well deserved, as Unger did not allow a sack this season and had only 1 False Start to his name this year. This Sunday, Unger will be going up NT Barry Cofield (6’4” 318 pounds), who had himself a solid season this year (36 Tackles … 2.5 Sacks … 2 Tackles for Loss … and 6 Passes Defensed). Good pass protection starts right up the middle and as you can see from the numbers right there, Cofield has been very good at getting his hands up and swatting down passes. Unger has got to keep Cofield occupied so that Russell Wilson can find those passing lanes this week.


    RDE Stephen Bowen, RILB Perry Riley, and ROLB Rob Jackson vs. LT Russell Okung and LG Paul McQuistan…

    As you well know, Left Tackle Russell Okung (6’5” 310 pounds) will be joining Unger in Hawaii, as he will be the NFC’s starting LT in the Pro Bowl. Though he hasn’t made anyone forget about Walter Jones, Okung has provided good pass protection on the season, as he allowed only 2 Sacks this season. Still, Okung IS vulnerable to speed rushers, as he was beat by DE Robert Quinn last week for a sack. LG Paul McQuistan (6’6” 315 pounds), has been very good in pass protection this year as well. According to Pro Football Weekly, McQuistan allowed only .5 Sacks and had only 3 holding penalties in the regular season. Though they won’t be facing pass rushers nearly as dangerous as the ones last week, Okung and McQuistan still will need to be on their guard as they will have no idea who exactly will be coming at them on any given play.

    RDE Stephen Bowen (6’5” 310 pounds) is a big man who (like Red Bryant) though he hasn’t filled up the stat sheet much … he makes it possible for others to make plays because he occupies blockers. RILB Perry Riley (6’0” 238 pounds), the former LSU Tiger, came in to the league in 2010 with a reputation of being able to stop the run, make tackles, and provide good pass coverage. Perry has done exactly that, as he is the 2nd leading tackler on the Redskins (129 Tackles), has done a decent job of making things happen in the backfield (3.5 Sacks and 2 Tackles for Loss), and provided excellent coverage in zone for a linebacker (7 Passes Defensed on the year). Standing next to him, ROLB Rob Jackson (6’4” 266 pounds) hasn’t been as productive in terms of pure tackles this season (only 37 Tackles on the season) … but like Perry, he has gotten in the backfield this season with a fair amount of regularity (4.5 Sacks and 5 Tackles for Loss). In terms of coverage, Jackson has actually been a bit better in zone coverage this year (7 Passes Defensed and 4 interceptions). It was Jackson who intercepted Romo for the 3rd time in the 4th Quarter and set up the Redskins final touchdown to seal the win. He’s a guy with a great deal of athleticism back there, so the Offensive Line better be ready for him in particular this week.


    LDE Jarvis Jenkins, LILB London Fletcher, and LOLB Ryan Kerrigan vs. RT Breno Giacomini and RG J.R. Sweezy…

    As was the case last week, the Right Side of Seattle’s Offensive Line is the primary concern in terms of this game. RT Breno Giacomini (6’7” 318 pounds) comes in to this match-up with the Redskins having only allowed 4.0 Sacks on the season ... but clearly would have probably allowed more were it not for the nimble feet and quick release of Russell Wilson. The 4 holding penalties he was guilty of this year were clearly the result of having been beaten by his defender and not wanting to get Russell Wilson killed. He was also guilty of 4 False Starts this season, so can get a little jumpy if anticipating a rush coming. Breno had a rough game last week against a very good Rams Front 4, as he gave up 2 of Seattle’s 5 sacks, was beaten by William Hayes in the 2nd Quarter on a play in which Lynch got stuffed in the backfield for a 4 yard loss, and got himself another False Start flag to add to his collection. Breno was somewhat limited last week due to an elbow issue, so even though the injury report doesn’t have him listed -- that’s definitely something to keep an eye on.

    J.R. Sweezy (6’5” 298 pounds) once again gets the nod at RG … but his inexperience showed up last week in a big way against a very talented Defensive Line. Sweezy was manhandled by Williams Hayes for a sack in the 1st Quarter … flat out didn’t see Chris Long coming in the 2nd Quarter and ended up blocking the wrong man for Sack #2 in the 2nd Quarter … and was also beaten by Hayes in the 3rd Quarter for what would have been a sack on the same play that Giacomini got beat by Chris Long for the eventual sack. So, 4 of the 5 Sacks that the Seahawks allowed last week came from the right side of the Seahawks line. For a guy who’s only started 3 games to have given up 2 Sacks is a concerning stat for sure. Why is a converted Defensive Tackle (who has still this team’s starting RG? Pete Carroll addressed that this week, saying that Sweezy was the most athletically talented lineman that the Seahawks have. That certainly showed up in the 49ers game big time, as Lynch averaged 4.5 yards/carry and the offensive line allowed a mere 1 QB hit against arguably the best run defense in the NFL. He and Giacomini are going to need to bring more of that kind of performance to bear on Sunday.

    The first opponent Breno Giacomini and Sweezy will see a lot of on Sunday is 2nd year player out of Clemson LDE Jarvis Jenkins (6’4” 315 Pounds). Like Bowen, he takes up space so that the guys behind him can antagonize and disrupt. And boy have the linebackers behind him been disruptive. Though he’s a robust 37 year old, LILB London Fletcher (5’10” 248 pounds) is still one of the very best in the game. Fletcher led the team with 139 Tackles (8th Best in the league) and finished with 3 Sacks and 3 Tackles for Loss. Fletcher continues to be one of the league’s surest tacklers and has provided remarkable pass coverage as well (11 Passes Defensed and 5 interceptions) – he’s certainly one to keep an eye on this Sunday. But the most productive in terms of knocking quarterbacks on their kiester this season has been LOLB Ryan Kerrigan (6’4” 260 pounds) who led the team with 8.5 Sacks … and had 4 Tackles for Loss. Like Fletcher, he too has been lights out in pass coverage, garnering 8 Passes Defensed and an interception on the year. The right side of Seattle’s line is going to have to be solid especially against Kerrigan on Sunday or he’s going to give Russell Wilson a Gillooly.

    In terms of purely penetration in to the backfield though, the Redskins Front 7 has been decidedly mediocre. The Redskins finished with only 42 Tackles for Loss this year (25th Best -- just 6 more than the Seahawks who were the worst in TFL’s this season) ... and had only 32 Sacks on the year (23rd most in the league).

    Football Outsiders concurs with that assessment, as they rank Washington’s Defensive Line (their Front 7) #25 overall in terms of their Pass Rush. The Seahawks Offensive Line hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with their pass protection either (Football Outsiders has them ranked #20 in Pass Protection.), but it hasn’t exactly burned them this season either. Seattle allowed just 64 Quarterback Hits on the year (tied for 5th Fewest), as Russell Wilson showed an amazing ability to scramble out of pressure and to avoid the big hit. So we’ll see how that all shakes out in the end.

    One thing’s for certain, if the Redskins DO blitz as much as it sounds like they might … it means that someone’s going to be open. And that leads us in to the next part of our discussion …

    [CONTINUED ON NEXT POST ...]
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  • Key #4: Put the Ball in the Hands of Mr. Double Trouble …
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    Before we begin our discussion surrounding Russell Wilson and the Seahawks Passing Offense, let’s take a look at how the numbers match up against the Redskins Pass Defense …

    Seahawks Passing Offense vs. Redskins Pass Defense …
    Seahawks Off. CategoryNFL RankRedskins Def. CategoryNFL Rank
    25.8 Points Scored/Game9th Most24.3 Points Allowed/Game22nd
    189.4 Pass Yds/Game27th281.9 Pass Yds/Game Allwd3rd Most
    45 Passes of 20 Yards+21st58 Passes of 20 Yards+ Allowed6th Most
    40.25% 3rd Down Conv Rate12thAllw 44.2% of 3rd Down Conv32nd
    33 Sacks Allowed12th Fewest32 Sacks23rd
    27 Passing TD’s7th Most31 Passing TD’s Allwd2nd Most
    8.0 Yards/ Pass Attempt3rd Highest7.4 Yards/Pass Attempt Allwdtied for 20th
    100.0 Passer Rating for Russell Wilson4th Best87.0 QB Passer Rating Against18th Best


    For Redskin fans who haven’t seen Russell Wilson and the Seahawks Passing Attack – just superimpose Robert Griffin III in a Seahawks uniform and make him about 3 inches shorter. That’s the kind of impact that he has had on Hawks this season. Let me put it another way …

    2012 Top 10 Performances by Rookie Quarterbacks (sorted by QB Rating)
    QuarterbackDate/OppCompAttComp%YardsTD’sINT’sQB Rating
    1. Robert Griffin III11/18 vs. Eagles141593.3%20040158.3
    2. Robert Griffin III9/9 vs. Saints192673.1%32020139.9
    3. Russell Wilson10/14 vs. Patriots162759.3%32020139.9
    4. Russell Wilson12/30 vs. Rams151978.9%25010136.3
    5. Robert Griffin III11/22 vs. Cowboys192770.4%30441131.8
    6. Russell Wilson11/11 vs. Jets121963.2%18820131.0
    7. Russell Wilson11/4 vs. Vikings162466.7%17330127.3
    8. Russell Wilson11/25 vs. Dolphins212777.8%22420125.9
    9. Ryan Tannehill12/16 vs. Jaguars222878.6%22020123.2
    10. Russell Wilson12/23 vs. 49ers152171.4%17141115.3


    So, taking a look at the Top 10 Performances by all of the rookie quarterbacks this season … Robert Griffin III had 3 … and Russell Wilson had 6 of the 10 best performances in terms of QB Rating this year. That is remarkable consistency considering some of the opponents on that list.

    As Mike Sando pointed out this week …

    Wilson leads the NFL in QBR since Week 10 (84.1) and ranks second to Manning since Week 5 (81.7). He tied Manning's rookie record for touchdown passes with 26 even though Seattle kept its offense under wraps for the first few weeks of the season. His plus-16 margin of touchdowns to interceptions was the best by a rookie in NFL history. Wilson posted an 8-0 starting record at home. He also leads the NFL in QBR on the road since Week 8 and it's not close (92.7 for Wilson, 88.7 for Ryan and 84.7 for Manning). He has 10 total touchdowns and just one turnover on the road over that span. Wilson has five touchdown passes and no picks in his last three road games.

    Source:
    ESPN.com Mike Sando’s MVP Watch

    For those Redskins fans who haven’t actually seen him in action, here are some highlights of him from the Seahawks Week 6 win over the Patriots …
    Russell Wilson Highlights vs. Patriots 10/14/12

    In a word, he’s been amazing. In terms of the Seahawks Offense, as I mentioned before, they utilize many of the exact same schemes as those of the Redskins, so expect to see the Pistol, the Zone Read Option, various elements of the West Coast Offense, and the kitchen sink, as Pete Carroll is anything BUT predictable.

    Pete Carroll was on with 710 ESPN’s Brock and Salk after the 49er game on Christmas Eve and gave some fascinating insights not only on the Seahawk Offense … but on his mentality as a coach …

    Huard: “… and you watch those plays last night. Those are some of the same plays -- tell me if I’m wrong here. Was the touchdown to Baldwin not the same similar concept as the throw to Charlie Martin Week 1 on the corner route in Arizona? Are they some of the same concepts and plays you’re running?”

    Carroll: “Yeah, you’d be surprised how similar those are. I mean, there’s subtleties on how we move stuff around. There’s splits and things like that. But, yeah – had we, we’re so much better now – we would have won the Arizona game. They wouldn’t have been able to keep us out on 3 shots to get in – I mean, there’s just no way. We’re so much more efficient. That’s a great throw by Russell. You know, they’ve got a little combination coverage there on the guys right there. They jumped the heck out of Golden because he’s caught the Chicago touchdown and he caught one – you know, Carolina – caught a couple of those and made some big plays on that route. Which, it’s just a matter of reading it out for the quarterback. And on the combo they wind out inside of the corner route and they couldn’t catch up – he throws a great throw to the back flag – and a great catch, you know. So, that’s just getting better – them improving and understanding – they’ve thrown hundreds of those now. When we used to throw about 10 or 20 of them – now we’ve thrown hundreds, so it makes a difference in our ability to execute.”

    Huard: “So in some ways that is the essence of efficiency right?”

    Carroll: “We can’t make up new plays week in and week out across the board. There’s just no way. There’s little things that we do – little wrinkles that you put in and stuff, but basically you continue to function with your basic stuff. We’ve run inside-outside zone forever. Those are the same blocking schemes forever and ever and ever and we try to – when the defense breaks down, we make a big play because we’re so consistent. And that’s what makes Tom [Cable] such a big difference on our team because of his commitment to the running game in that fashion. And so, you’re seeing the same plays. You’re seeing the same calls for the most part – with wrinkles and formations and shifts and motions and things to make sure that the opponent doesn’t know that they’re coming.”

    Salk: “The fact that you’re running a lot of the same plays and different formations – does that give you some of the time to work on the Pistol and develop that? Does it give you a little extra time?”

    Carroll: “Yeah a little bit. A little bit. But we still don’t have that much time. One of the things that you really want to do in football is you want to have things that your opponent knows that you like. You want them to have to stop things because when they have to make their efforts to stop things – they become vulnerable. Until YOU know what you know -- and THEY know what you know – you can’t get to that level. Now that may have been confusing, but that’s really what you WANT people to understand what you’re trying to do – and they try to stop it – and you go ahead and do your things to take advantage of that. So, sometimes you’re not even good enough to get to that point. We are now, so it’s helping us and we’ll continue to grow with good fortune.”


    Source:
    Pete Carroll on with 710 ESPN’s Brock and Salk – 12/24/12

    Carroll has shown that he is crazy like a fox, as we’ve seen passes from Sidney Rice to Golden Tate … Tate to Rice … reverses that turn in to pass attempts … onside kicks at unexpected times – pretty much be ready from the old coot.

    Let’s narrow the microscope further and take a look at how the Seahawks wide receivers match up with the Redskins secondary and zone coverage …

    Seahawks Receiving Corps vs. Redskins Secondary and Zone Coverage …

    As the season has gone along, the Seahawks receiving corps has become much more dangerous and more diversified, as more receivers have been getting in the mix. Sidney Rice (6’4” 202 pounds) of course has been and will be the go to guy that the Redskins defense will key on. But as we also know, that hasn’t been the case the last couple of weeks. Rice had been hampered with a knee issue a couple of weeks ago and caught only 1 pass against the 49ers … and actually had none last week against the Rams. Is that knee still bothering Rice? The official injury report says no, but the lack of production there from Rice the lack of production there from Rice lately at least raises some questions in my mind. The Seahawks are going to need him on Sunday. As I mentioned, other receivers for the Seahawks have been stepping to the forefront and making an impact on this team. Golden Tate (5’10 202 pounds) has had some big catches of late and shown that he is a real playmaker that can make things happen when he has the football. Inside slot receiver Doug Baldwin (5’10” 189 pounds), last year’s unsung undrafted hero has rediscovered his penchant for making big catches in the clutch. If there’s a pressure situation on 3rd or 4th Down – Russell Wilson will look for him. Other guys have been stepping up in to the mix in recent weeks and making an impact as well though. TE Zach Miller (6’5” 255 pounds) has looked much more like the Pro Bowler that the Seahawks signed away from the Raiders. FB Michael Robinson (6’1” 240 pounds) has become a nice check down receiver on wheel routes and has made some plays of late. Even backup TE Anthony McCoy (6’5” 259 pounds) has shown a penchant for getting deep and making big plays, as he did this last week on a 49 yard completion against the Rams. Outside of what looks to be a precautionary move by the Seahawks coaching staff in limiting Marshawn Lynch in practice, the injury report looks clean, so these guys should be good to go against this Redskins defense.

    So just who is it that the Hawks receivers will be facing? Well, one familiar face they’ll be seeing is former Seahawks CB Josh Wilson (5’9” 188 pounds). As Seahawk fans are well aware of, Wilson is a mighty-mite who is very quick, aggressive, feisty, and has a penchant for making plays … but Carroll and Schneider deemed him too short for their tastes, so out he went. Might there be some motivation on his part to get some payback? Let’s hope not. Wilson comes in to this game with 74 Tackles … 1 Sack … 13 Passes Defensed … and 2 interceptions on his resume this year. On paper, it looks like he’s scheduled to be lined up against Sidney Rice – look for Russell Wilson to exploit that height mismatch if that happens. Josh Wilson could also draw Tate as well, which would also set up an interesting match-up in and of itself. On the other side, CB DeAngelo Hall (5’10” 193 pounds) (95 Tackles … 1 Sack … 5 TFL … 14 Passes Defensed … 4 INT) is a guy who has excellent speed (4.37 in the 40) and instincts. In fact, he won the fastest man competition while at the Pro Bowl in 2005. Other scouts though have been critical of Hall in the past, saying that he gets beat by receivers whom he should be able to dominate. This Sunday, Hall will find himself matched up either against Golden Tate or Sidney Rice (due to his speed and ability) – so that match-up will definitely be interesting to see how that plays out. CB Cedric Griffin (6’0” 195 pounds)(33 Tackles … 1 FF … 4 Passes Defensed) is a big question mark surrounding the Redskins this week. He has been suspended for the past 4 weeks because of performance enhancing drugs (Hmm. We Seahawk fans know a bit about that subject). The question surrounding him is whether or not he’s going to be activated or not for this game. If he does, he’ll be the starting Nickel CB. If not, Jerome Murphy (6’1” 200 pounds) or the rookie out of SMU Richard Crawford (5’11” 188 pounds) probably gets the nod. We’ll see how that shakes out. In terms of the safeties, FS Madieu Williams (6’1” 209 pounds) (99 Tackles … 1 Sack … 2 TFL … 6 Passes Defensed … 1 INT) and SS Reed Doughty (6’1” 206 pounds) (69 Tackles … 1 Pass Defensed … 1 INT) have provided solid play from the position.

    And as mentioned before, the Redskins Linebacking Corps is the real strength of this defense. As a 3-4 Defense, they are used heavily in coverage and have put up excellent numbers back there …

    LILB London Fletcher (5’10” 248 pounds) … 139 Tackles …11 Passes Defensed … 5 INT

    RILB Perry Riley (6’0” 238 pounds) … 129 Tackles … 7 Passes Defensed … 0 INT

    LOLB Ryan Kerrigan (6’4” 260 pounds) … 54 Tackles … 8 Passes Defensed … 1 INT

    ROLB Rob Jackson (6’4” 266 pounds) … 37 Tackles … 7 Passes Defensed … 4 INT

    All of that said, this is a group that I firmly believe that Russell Wilson and the Seahawks Passing Attack can take advantage of …

    Yes, it’s true that the Redskins did finish with 21 interceptions (3rd Most in the NFL and 3 more than the Seahawks) … but some other things are also true.

    The Redskins gave up an average of 281.9 Passing Yards/Game (3rd Most in the NFL)

    The Redskins allowed an average of 7.4 Passing Yards/Attempt (20th in the NFL) …

    They allowed 58 Passing Plays of 20 Yards or more (6th Most in the NFL) …

    They allowed 44.2% of 3rd Downs to be converted (Worst in the league) …

    At Home, the Redskins allowed their opponents to score TD’s 62.5% of the time in the Red Zone (4th Worst in the league).

    They surrendered 31 Passing TD’s this year (2nd Most in the NFL) …

    Opposing teams have passed the ball 636 Times on the Redskins (more attempts against this defense than against any other team in football). The fact that teams have passed against them so much says to me that opposing Offensive Coordinators have seen some real weaknesses in the Redskins Zone Defense that they can exploit (and they obviously did).

    And speaking of those 21 Interceptions, ESPN had some interesting comments regarding them and the wisdom of blitzing Russell Wilson …

    To blitz or not to blitz? ESPN Stats & Info tells us that 12 of the Redskins' 21 interceptions this year have come on plays on which they rushed five or more defenders.

    Wilson has not thrown an interception against that kind of pressure since Week 7 against the 49ers. Wilson saw an extra pass-rusher on 69.1 percent of his drop backs this year, but he showed drastic improvement against blitz pressure as the season went along.

    In his first eight games, in which the Seahawks were 4-4, Wilson had a 50.0 completion percentage, 5.2 yards per attempt, no touchdowns and two interceptions against five or more pass-rushers.

    In his past eight games, in which the Seahawks were 7-1, Wilson had a 67.9 completion percentage, 9.2 yards per attempt, eight touchdowns and no interceptions against such pressure.

    So the Redskins will have to be judicious and creative with their blitzes, because they can't assume blitzing in and of itself will rattle Wilson.

    Source:
    http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/tag/_/name/marshawn-lynch

    If the Redskins DO end up blitzing Russell Wilson and the Seahawks as much as I believe they will, then I very much like the Hawks chances, as receivers will be open somewhere. Wilson won’t have to do it totally on his own though, as this Seahawks team has one other big gun that can really break down a defense …


    Key #5: Forward March -- Double Time …
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    There is absolutely no doubt in the world that Seattle WANTS to establish the run in this game – first and foremost. As stated earlier, the Seahawks during the season had 536 Rushing Attempts (Most of any team in the NFL). Not only do the Seahawks believe in establishing the run in order to control the clock … but Pete Carroll has talked about the fact many times that Marshawn Lynch sets the tone for this football team. His toughness and aggressive “Beast Mode” style of running inspires the other players on this team (both offensive and defensive), firing them up and giving them energy out on the field. Can the Seahawks be successful in getting Marshawn Lynch and the running game going in this game? Let’s take a look at the numbers before we continue on with that discussion …


    Seahawks Rushing Offense vs. Redskins Rush Defense …
    Seahawks Off. CategoryNFL RankRedskins Def. CategoryNFL Rank
    25.8 Points Scored/Game9th Most24.3 Points Allowed/Game22nd
    161.2 Rushing Yards/Game Avg.3rd95.8 Rushing Yds/Game Allowed Avg.5th Fewest
    4.8 Rushing Yards/Att. Avg.tied for 5th4.2 Rushing Yds/Att. Allowedtied for 13th
    14 Runs of 20+ Yards7th Most9 Runs of 20+ Yards Allowed Avg.19th
    16 Rushing TD’stied for 9th Most11 Rushing TD’s Allowed12th Fewest
    311 First Downs16th340 First Downs Allowed7th MOST
    7 Rushing Fumbles13th12 Forced Fumbles30th
    Stuffed Behind LOS 15% of TimeBest in NFL42 Tackles for Loss25th


    While the Seahawks have run the ball MORE THAN any team in football … no team in football has been run on LESS THAN the Washington Redskins. This season, the Redskins defense had a grand total of 363 Rushing Attempts against them (the least rushing attempts against them of any team in football).

    Now, given what we just discussed above (that teams have PASSED on the Redskins more than any other team in football) -- we can interpret that fact several ways:

    1) Since Alfred Morris, Robert Griffin, and the Redskins want to run the football just like the Seahawks do, and score an average of 27.2 points per game in the process (4th Most in the NFL) other teams have been forced to throw a ton in order to play catch-up. After all, their 519 Rushing Attempts were the 3rd Most of any team in football, so time of possession could certainly be a factor.

    2) The NFL is increasingly becoming more and more a passing league. Teams are simply throwing more.

    3) The Redskins Defensive Front 7 is a very dynamic and tough unit to run on. Therefore, other teams simply have chosen to take the path of least resistance and throw against them because they have had greater success passing than running.

    4) Opposing Defensive Coordinators have seen real weaknesses in the Redskins secondary that they have chosen to exploit.

    Now there may actually be an element of truth in all of those. Regardless, history says that if the Seahawks play the same brand of football on Sunday that they have all season long, they should have success moving the ball on the ground.

    According to Football Outsiders, the Seattle Seahawks Offensive Line has been stuffed either at or behind the line of scrimmage 15% of the time this year (Best percentage in the league). They rank #2 in the league in terms of Second Level Yards (number of yards earned 5-10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage) … and they are the 8th Best team on number of yards earned beyond 10 yards. The Seahawks are also successful 70% of the time in short yardage situations (3rd or 4th Down and 2 or less) – 2nd Best of any team in football.

    On the other side of the football, Football Outsiders has the Washington Redskins Front 7 ranked …

    #26 in stuffing opposing runners at or behind the line of scrimmage (they do so only 17% of the time)

    #16 in Second Level Yards (number of yards earned 5-10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage)

    #31 in terms of stopping opposing runners from converting on 3rd or 4th Down and 2 or less situations (they allow opposing runners to make 1st Downs 79% of the time in those situations).

    As shown above, the Redskins had 42 Tackles for Loss this season (which ranks 25th in the league). But when you stop to consider that 10 of the Redskins 42 Tackles for Loss came via Safety and Cornerback blitzes … it:

    1) puts things in to perspective of just how much difficulty this Redskins team has had of generating pressure without blitzing.

    2) might open up other possibilities for the offense if the Hawks know that the Redskins will be coming after them. Seahawk fans remember well how Frank Gore gashed them on quick trap plays right up the middle in that 1st San Francisco Game, as the 49ers took advantage of Seattle blitzing them. Russell Wilson is very good at using play action pass and has been very effective using Lynch as a decoy.

    Marshawn Lynch has been a beast on many occasions this season … and he has done so against some of the very best rush defenses in the game …

    2012 Marshawn Lynch Rushing Performances (Against Top Defenses)
    Week (Date)Opp.ResultCarYardsYds/AttLongTD’sOpp. Rush Yds/G AllwdOpp. Avg. Pts. Allwd/Game
    6 (10/14)vs. Patriots24-23 (WIN)15412.770101.9 (9th)20.7 (9th)
    7 (10/18)at 49ers6-13 (LOSS)191035.415094.2 (4th)17.1 (2nd)
    9 (11/4)vs. Vikings30-20 (WIN)261244.8231105.8 (11th)21.8 (14th)
    13 (12/2)at Bears23-17 OT (WIN)19874.6201101.7 (8th)17.3 (3rd)
    16 (12/23)vs. 49ers42-13 (WIN)261114.324194.2 (4th)17.1 (2nd)


    The only hiccup on that list was his Week 6 performance against the Patriots, as New England stacked the box and made a real point of keying in on Lynch and stopping him. That game however, had dramatic consequences for the offense as a whole though, as it marked the real beginning of the rise of Russell Wilson. With Lynch under wraps for most of that game, Wilson put the offense on his back, completing 16 of 27 passes for 293 yards and 3 TD’s (including the dramatic game winner to Sidney Rice). Wilson has since shown that he can take advantage of teams that load up to stop Marshawn Lynch. With Seattle’s Offense a real hydra of an attack right now, opposing defenses have had a real hard time figuring out which head to assault. History says that Lynch tends to get his yards, but whether he really goes off or not, he’s probably going to have an impact on this game …


    Bold Prediction …
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    Above: Powhatan Burial Ground …

    Before I get to my prediction, let me show you why there’s a large piece of me that’s not completely sold on this Redskins team. I’ll answer that by looking at the Redskins Strength of Schedule, taking a look at how the Redskins fared … and examining the competition they faced. The table below shows the schedule along with each opponent’s:
    1) Average Points Allowed by their Defense (the only statistic that former Seahawks LB Dave Wyman says really matters)
    2) Defensive Ranking according to Football Outsiders
    3) ESPN Power Ranking (as of Week 17)

    2012 Redskins Strength of Schedule
    WeekOpponentResultOpp. Def. Pts Allwd/GameOpp Def. Football OutsidersESPN Opponent Power Ranking
    1at Saints40-32 (WIN)28.4 (31st)32nd#17 Team
    2at Rams28-31 (LOSS)21.8 (14th)7th#16 Team
    3vs. Bengals31-38 (LOSS)20.0 (8th)10th#11 Team
    4at Buccaneers24-22 (WIN)24.6 (23rd)20th#22 Team
    5vs. Falcons17-24 (LOSS)18.7 (5th)12th#2 Team
    6vs. Vikings38-26 (WIN)21.8 (14th)21st#12 Team
    7at Giants23-27 (LOSS)21.5 (12th)16th#15 Team
    8at Steelers12-27 (LOSS)19.6 (6th)13th#18 Team
    9vs. Panthers13-21 (LOSS)22.7 (18th)11th#20 Team
    10BYENANANANA
    11vs. Eagles31-6 (WIN)27.8 (29th)26th#29 Team
    12at Cowboys38-31 (WIN)25.0 (24th)23rd#14 Team
    13vs. Giants17-16 (WIN)21.5 (12th)16th#15 Team
    14vs. Ravens31-28 OT (WIN)21.5 (12th)19th#10 Team
    15at Browns38-21 (WIN)23.0 (19th)22nd#24 Team
    16at Eagles27-20 (WIN)27.8 (29th)26th#29 Team
    17vs. Cowboys28-18 (WIN)25.0 (24th)23rd#14 Team


    Looks like a lot of straw in the house there. Still, this is a playoff game that is being played in Landover, MD. If this were being played at Century Link Field, I’d be predicting that the Seahawks would win fairly handily. As it is, I believe that this will be a hard fought game by a team who is on a roll themselves. Robert Griffin III is an extremely dangerous quarterback and Alfred Morris one of the real up and coming backs in this league. So, the Seahawks will have their work cut out for them in a hostile environment. Still, with Brandon Browner back and the Seahawks defense back at full strength … I see the Redskins having some difficulty on Sunday. In the end, I just don’t see the Redskins having the horses (especially on defense) to hang with the Seahawks in this one. Let’s call it:

    Seahawks 27
    Redskins 17
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  • I really appreciate all of the work you put into this and enjoy reading it immensely.

    I like the way our passing attack matches up with their defense, and if they blitz so much, with Wilsons ability to move around, we could hit a lot of big plays.
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  • My key to the game is whichever team scores the most points will win the game. :th2thumbs:

    GO HAWKS!!!
    your Superbowl XLVIII Champion Seattle Seahawks.. how sweet is that!!
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  • Nice work on all these, they have been fun to read! (Now get to work on Atlanta!)
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  • Largent80 wrote:I really appreciate all of the work you put into this and enjoy reading it immensely.

    I like the way our passing attack matches up with their defense, and if they blitz so much, with Wilsons ability to move around, we could hit a lot of big plays.


    Yep. That's exactly the way I see it because as I said ... if you blitz that means somebody's open. I haven't seen any statistics on the number of times the Redskins blitz, but I do know it's been quite a lot.
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  • I also appreciate the time and effort you obviously put into this write-up. Normally I won't read such long posts, but from the beginning I could tell you know your football. Since I've been biting my nails all week in anticipation for this game. More now than ever because I think this year's Seahawks is as good (if not better) than the 2005/06 NFC Championship roster. Therefore, I truly believe they have a good shot at going all the way. Or at least winning an NFC Title. The chart you put together that shows the caliber of the Redskins opponents' defense was great. After reading that, I let out a little sigh of relief. They really haven't played any elite defensive lineups like the Seahawks have. We played the 49ers twice, who are the #2 defense in the NFL (I believe, or they're at least in the Top 5). The Packers also had a pretty solid defense when we played them earlier this season. Also, beating the Bears defense on the road was a good test for our offense. This should mean that the Skins will have their work cut out for them against the Seahawks defense. What is Seattle's defense rated at as of week 17? Anyone?

    Anyway, you're really good at comparing & contrasting statistics, as well as analyzing them and explaining what they mean in a crucial game like this one. So, I think you should do this more often. You don't have to post such extensive analysis for every game, although I would definitely read everything you write in a post/thread.. So yeah, thank you! I'm going to share this with a few friends, some who are very worried about the Hawks pulling this one off and others who are convinced they already lost considering Seattle's record in playoff road games. I'm thinking about linking this to a few old teammates and college buddies who are devout Redskins fans. But that might set me up for a serious dish of crow for Sunday evening.

    Thanks again man.. I hope everyone else here appreciates all the time and thought you put into this, as much as I do.
    Last edited by Zowert on Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:27 am, edited 4 times in total.
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  • Great work! One thing about Garcon though, didn't he miss half the season? Wouldn't that project out to him accounting for closer to 30% of the passing offense as opposed to the 15% you're showing? I think that is key because his production is about to be Shermanated.
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  • SoCalSeahawk wrote:Great work! One thing about Garcon though, didn't he miss half the season? Wouldn't that project out to him accounting for closer to 30% of the passing offense as opposed to the 15% you're showing? I think that is key because his production is about to be Shermanated.


    Correct. Those numbers are on the season (I should have noted that). Garcon only played in 10 games this season, so that definitely shows who RGIII's #1 target truly is. I would agree with you that he'll probably draw Sherman ... but for my money, the biggest match-up of the day (in that secondary) is -- who will be covering Santana Moss? That Nickel CB will be crucial, as Moss does most of his work/damage in the slot. Moss runs about a 4.3 (40) ... so in my mind, the most natural matchup there is Jeremy Lane (since he also runs close to that speed). The Lane-Moss Match-up will be THE pivotal one (from what I can see) that I'll be watching. If Carroll ends up rolling out Trufant there to cover him ... it's going to be a long day IMO. Hopefully that's not going to happen.
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  • Very good struff as always scanner. From a purely writing style/word usage standpoint, this here's some good stuff: ".....With Seattle’s Offense a real hydra of an attack right now.....
    From the white sands
    To the canyon lands
    To the redwood stands
    To the barren lands

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  • Hawkscanner wrote:
    Largent80 wrote:I really appreciate all of the work you put into this and enjoy reading it immensely.

    I like the way our passing attack matches up with their defense, and if they blitz so much, with Wilsons ability to move around, we could hit a lot of big plays.


    Yep. That's exactly the way I see it because as I said ... if you blitz that means somebody's open. I haven't seen any statistics on the number of times the Redskins blitz, but I do know it's been quite a lot.


    Not necessarily the case. Since the advent of Dick LeBeau's zone blitz scheme, there doesn't necessarily have to be many open seams to attack, especially in conjunction with the pattern read zone coverage that Nick Saban helped to popularize.

    A basic fire zone is a 3 under 3 deep coverage. That puts six players in coverage and five players coming on the rush. The tricky part about the zone blitz, as I'm sure you're familiar with, is that the pressure and the coverage can come from anyone and everyone. The 'Skins are quite good at sugaring (disguising) their pre snap look, so you may think we're in 1 high man, but really we're bringing a zone pressure.

    That gives an additional challenge to Wilson (one that I think he'll be okay with, but none the less its a challenge). He has to read the defense post snap and decide where the pressure is coming from and then decide what coverage we're in. You're right in that in a typical man blitz scheme from years past, which is still employed, it was a lot easier to defeat the blitz because wherever that guy came from is now a vacated area. But the game is evolving and the zone blitz takes away that "easy read". If a quarterback sees a blitz coming and immediately throws to the evacuated area now, there may be a defensive end waiting there to pick off a pass, or a linebacker, or a safety.
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  • Hawkscanner wrote:
    SoCalSeahawk wrote:Great work! One thing about Garcon though, didn't he miss half the season? Wouldn't that project out to him accounting for closer to 30% of the passing offense as opposed to the 15% you're showing? I think that is key because his production is about to be Shermanated.


    Correct. Those numbers are on the season (I should have noted that). Garcon only played in 10 games this season, so that definitely shows who RGIII's #1 target truly is. I would agree with you that he'll probably draw Sherman ... but for my money, the biggest match-up of the day (in that secondary) is -- who will be covering Santana Moss? That Nickel CB will be crucial, as Moss does most of his work/damage in the slot. Moss runs about a 4.3 (40) ... so in my mind, the most natural matchup there is Jeremy Lane (since he also runs close to that speed). The Lane-Moss Match-up will be THE pivotal one (from what I can see) that I'll be watching. If Carroll ends up rolling out Trufant there to cover him ... it's going to be a long day IMO. Hopefully that's not going to happen.


    With Garcon starting healthy (8 games) they are undefeated (Irrespective of Morris). In my opinion he is the most important matchup. I have full confidence with Browner on Moss. The key is going to be how the slots are handled, which is are problem with every game.
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  • Shock2k wrote:
    With Garcon starting healthy (8 games) they are undefeated (Irrespective of Morris). In my opinion he is the most important matchup. I have full confidence with Browner on Moss. The key is going to be how the slots are handled, which is are problem with every game.


    Moss is not the Redskins #2 receiver. He is our slot guy. Leonard Hankerson or Joshua Morgan are our number two, and both have made plays for us this year. It'll be interesting to see if they put Sherman or Browner in the slot against Moss (likely Browner). But then who do they put on Morgan/Hank? So many intriguing match ups in this game.
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  • KDawg_ES wrote:
    Hawkscanner wrote:
    Largent80 wrote:I really appreciate all of the work you put into this and enjoy reading it immensely.

    I like the way our passing attack matches up with their defense, and if they blitz so much, with Wilsons ability to move around, we could hit a lot of big plays.


    Yep. That's exactly the way I see it because as I said ... if you blitz that means somebody's open. I haven't seen any statistics on the number of times the Redskins blitz, but I do know it's been quite a lot.


    Not necessarily the case. Since the advent of Dick LeBeau's zone blitz scheme, there doesn't necessarily have to be many open seams to attack, especially in conjunction with the pattern read zone coverage that Nick Saban helped to popularize.

    A basic fire zone is a 3 under 3 deep coverage. That puts six players in coverage and five players coming on the rush. The tricky part about the zone blitz, as I'm sure you're familiar with, is that the pressure and the coverage can come from anyone and everyone. The 'Skins are quite good at sugaring (disguising) their pre snap look, so you may think we're in 1 high man, but really we're bringing a zone pressure.

    That gives an additional challenge to Wilson (one that I think he'll be okay with, but none the less its a challenge). He has to read the defense post snap and decide where the pressure is coming from and then decide what coverage we're in. You're right in that in a typical man blitz scheme from years past, which is still employed, it was a lot easier to defeat the blitz because wherever that guy came from is now a vacated area. But the game is evolving and the zone blitz takes away that "easy read". If a quarterback sees a blitz coming and immediately throws to the evacuated area now, there may be a defensive end waiting there to pick off a pass, or a linebacker, or a safety.


    I realize what you're saying... but here's where I'm coming from. As you said, in a blitz situation in a 3-4 Defense, you're talking about committing 2 defenders (either 2 of the linebackers, a LB and a CB, or a LB and a S) to the blitz in addition to the 3 who are normally up front. When you do that, it's incumbant upon the rest of the 6 defenders to cover all the holes in the zone. Two linebackers and the Strong Safety have to effectively cover all that short zone area -- which may be somewhat feasible I guess, if say you have Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher in their prime. I don't see those kind of LB's in this group at all (and don't say Kerrigan because in this scenario, he's probably committed to the blitz). If we're talking about committing a Safety or a CB like Hall (who has been utilized this year) ... again, there's a mismatch out there in the zone that Wilson (Hopefully) quickly finds.

    I believe Wilson will be able to handle the extra pressure, as that's what he's been facing a lot recently and he's done a good job against it. I think we can all agree that the Seahawks won't see a better 3-4 Defense than the one they see w/the 49ers -- and look how they did in that last game.
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  • If I am not mistaken, we have faced the 3-4 more often than not this year. The zone blitz certainly is not new since it has been around since the 80's, and Wilson has pretty much seen it all through 16 games.

    I like his chances Sunday. People are going to be open deep and he throws a great long ball.
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  • Hawkscanner wrote:
    I realize what you're saying... but here's where I'm coming from. As you said, in a blitz situation in a 3-4 Defense, you're talking about committing 2 defenders (either 2 of the linebackers, a LB and a CB, or a LB and a S) to the blitz in addition to the 3 who are normally up front.


    Could be more than two. Defensive linemen can, and will, zone drop at times. But yes, that's the gist :)

    if say you have Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher in their prime. I don't see those kind of LB's in this group at all (and don't say Kerrigan because in this scenario, he's probably committed to the blitz).


    Kerrigan isn't an inside linebacker, so your example is moot anyways. He's not great in coverage. Our 3-4 is essentially the Bud Wilkinson 5-2. The caveat being we use backers in place of defensive ends, so they are generally more athletic. That's what makes the zone blitz scheme more effective. Our outside backers play up on the LOS. Also look for us to run a Packers style "PSYCHO" 4-2 Nickel at times as well, with two defensive linemen in the game and two outside linebackers on the LOS.

    Furthermore, I won't pretend that London Fletcher is Ray Lewis, but take a look at this:

    Career stats:

    Ray Lewis: 17 seasons, 41.5 sacks, 31 INT, 3 TD, 19 FF, 1573 TACKLES
    London Fletcher: 15 seasons, 37 sacks, 23 INT, 2 TD, 18 FF, 1320 TACKLES

    Per season stats:
    Lewis: 2.4 sacks/season, 1.82 int/season, 0.16 TD/season, 1.1 FF/season, 92 tackles/season
    Fletcher: 2.4 sacks/season, 1.5 int/season, 0.13 TD/season, 1.2 FF/season, 88 tackles/season

    London Fletcher is a phenomenal linebacker, even if stats never tell the whole story. To be even CLOSE to the numbers of the greatest inside backer of all time? You have to be pretty damn good.

    Furthermore, keep in mind that there will be holes in our defense because of a few reasons: 1) Our CBs don't always trust safety help and they drift. 2) Our safeties stink. 3) Our linebackers are smart, but they are aggressive and sometimes get sucked up a bit. But the pattern read zone defense is essentially a man defense once the receivers commit to routes. Saban uses this style of defense. For instance, if in cover 3, the corner will look up number two and carry number one until one of them cancels. If number two breaks off his route and goes in or out, the corner is in man coverage against number one running a streak. If number one breaks off and two goes runs a seam, the inside backer should carry him.

    I believe Wilson will be able to handle the extra pressure, as that's what he's been facing a lot recently and he's done a good job against it. I think we can all agree that the Seahawks won't see a better 3-4 Defense than the one they see w/the 49ers -- and look how they did in that last game.


    Agreed. San Francisco's 3-4 is beyond solid. But they don't run it quite the same we do. Just because we line up similarly doesn't mean it's the same defense. Russell Wilson is tremendous, and he'll have done his homework and know how to combat the defense. But it's certainly not as easy as many make it seem.
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  • Largent80 wrote:If I am not mistaken, we have faced the 3-4 more often than not this year. The zone blitz certainly is not new since it has been around since the 80's, and Wilson has pretty much seen it all through 16 games.

    I like his chances Sunday. People are going to be open deep and he throws a great long ball.


    We've faced several 3-4 Defenses this year for sure, but we have faced more 4-3's actually. Those 3-4 Defenses the Hawks have faced would be:

    The 49ers (twice obviously)
    The Cowboys
    The Jets

    From a pure schematic standpoint, Rex Ryan's Defense DID confuse Russell Wilson for a bit ... but look how that one turned out. He ended up completing 12 of 19 passes for 188 yards and 2 TD's (a QB Rating of 131.0). I don't see what Washington's doing (scheme-wise) as any more complicated.
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  • Fantastic job Hawkscanner. Thank you!

    Can't wait to see the write up on Atlanta. I'm afraid that's a team I know very little about.
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  • You are a legend sir. This may be the greatest analysis to ever have graced this website. <Tips hat>
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  • Zowert wrote:I also appreciate the time and effort you obviously put into this write-up. Normally I won't read such long posts, but from the beginning I could tell you know your football. Since I've been biting my nails all week in anticipation for this game. More now than ever because I think this year's Seahawks is as good (if not better) than the 2005/06 NFC Championship roster. Therefore, I truly believe they have a good shot at going all the way. Or at least winning an NFC Title. The chart you put together that shows the caliber of the Redskins opponents' defense was great. After reading that, I let out a little sigh of relief. They really haven't played any elite defensive lineups like the Seahawks have. We played the 49ers twice, who are the #2 defense in the NFL (I believe, or they're at least in the Top 5). The Packers also had a pretty solid defense when we played them earlier this season. Also, beating the Bears defense on the road was a good test for our offense. This should mean that the Skins will have their work cut out for them against the Seahawks defense. What is Seattle's defense rated at as of week 17? Anyone?

    Anyway, you're really good at comparing & contrasting statistics, as well as analyzing them and explaining what they mean in a crucial game like this one. So, I think you should do this more often. You don't have to post such extensive analysis for every game, although I would definitely read everything you write in a post/thread.. So yeah, thank you! I'm going to share this with a few friends, some who are very worried about the Hawks pulling this one off and others who are convinced they already lost considering Seattle's record in playoff road games. I'm thinking about linking this to a few old teammates and college buddies who are devout Redskins fans. But that might set me up for a serious dish of crow for Sunday evening.

    Thanks again man.. I hope everyone else here appreciates all the time and thought you put into this, as much as I do.


    You're welcome an thanks. I felt the exact same way after I starting looking at the Redskins schedule and realizing who it was that they'd played. I've actually done these analyses each and every week since the Patriots game, so the numbers are pretty fresh in my mind.

    As far as where the Hawks D was ranked going IN to week 17 -- that's an easy one. Just page through the last Keys to Victory for the Rams Game ...

    http://www.seahawks.net/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=60879&start=0

    I'm feeling confident ... but not arrogant by any means heading in to this game. After all, this is the NFL where on any Given Sunday things can and DO happen.
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  • Hawkscanner,

    Great stuff my friend. You've come on .net like a damn Phoenix! Amazing work. It must take hours to get that post up. I pray your prediction is right as confident as I've been all season this game has me nervous. I'd buy you your favorite beer if I were in the same bar as you'll be tomorrow. :th2thumbs:
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  • I understand Haslett brings a lot of pressure; we're familiar with him. A couple of points:

    1. You guys blitz a lot, but evidenced by your number of sacks, you don't get home a lot.

    2. Blitzing doesn't necessarily have to create gaping holes in a zone, as you've stated. What it does do is stress the LBers to cover more field. Miller and McCoy (our Tes) create mismatches against most LBers, in space, it's even worse. Also, Lynch is a very underrated receiver out of the backfield, and Turbin could even be better as he has better in line speed...definately a mismatch in the open field against WA LBers.

    3. Getting an extra man upfield isn't always smart against a good running QB. If you can get home, great. Wilson is elusive as hell and looks to throw first, further stressing out open areas of the zone and covering LBers. Looking to throw first makes Wilson impossible to cover in the open field. Blitzing Wilson might be the best way to slow him down (as evidenced by the Rams game), but it's still going to hurt. I would suggest the same thing for Griffin; stay in your leans and try not to get too far upfield.

    I'm worried about Irvin getting too far upfield, but then again, didn't he also run something in the 4.4's at the combine ? I can see him catching Morris on the backside cuts from behind; he's that fast.
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  • Excellent; all in one place. Great write-up, dude.
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  • Thanks for the props guys. Like a lot of you, I've been pretty anxious for this game. Here's what's rolling around my mind here at 5:30am -- December 31, 1983. The Seahawks went on the road and beat a Miami Dolphins team led by Dan Marino who had posted what were incredibly impressive offensive numbers for a rookie QB at that time ... 3,045 Yards ... 57% pass completion rate ...
    28 touchdowns ... and only 11 interceptions.

    The Seahawks meanwhile, had a good offensive team that year, as like this 2012 club they could run the ball (Curt Warner won Rookie of the Year rushing for 1,449 yards and 13 TD). And like this 2012 club what they were really became known for (like this 2012 team) was their defense. Seattle's Defense finished 2nd in the NFL in the Give Away/Take Away Turnover battle with a +16 margin that year (they led the NFL with a +24 in 1984). Their secondary (like this one) had some phenomenal players back there who really made that team special -- CB Dave Brown (who went to the Pro Bowl in 1984) ... FS John Harris ... and the best SS in Seahawks History bar none -- Kenny Easley.

    If you never saw Easley play, he was a real man among boys. He was one of the most physically talented secondary players I've ever seen honestly. Though he may never get mentioned in the same breath as guys like Ronnie Lott or Jack Tatum, he should honestly -- he was that good. He was very fast, an incredibly hard hitter, and had a big time nose for the football (he had 7 interceptions in 1983). If I could snap my fingers and magically have him at his peak ... and I had a choice between Easley and Kam Chancellor at SS for this game today, there would be no hesitation -- See ya Chancellor. His career was cut short due to kidney issues caused by too much ibuprofen before games. Otherwise, he'd have been a sure Hall of Famer. I found this uploaded video awhile back -- an old NFL films highlight of Kenny Easley. I'd encourage you just as a pure football fan to watch this guy and what he could do. There is no question he could step on a football field today and dominate just the same way he did back then.

    Kenny Easley Youtube Highlight Video

    Anyway, December 31, 1983 ... the Seattle Seahawks went in to Joe Robbie Stadium as heavy underdogs in that game ... and knocked off the high powered Dolphins team 27-20, shocking the nation.

    Courtesy of some unknown 12th Man out there, here are the highlights of that game ...
    1983 Seahawks-Dolphins NFL Films Highlights

    And that is exactly what I believe this Seahawks team is going to do today. That game was the last time that the Hawks won a road playoff game ... 29 years ago. You know what -- it's history. Though I know this is the playoffs and that anything can and does happen on Any Given Sunday ... today I feel confident that the Seahawks will make history as a new era of Seahawks Football dawns -- an era marked by annual trips to the post-season and hopes of multiple Super Bowl Titles.

    Back to the Present here and focusing on this game ... what thoughts/keys/whatever have you guys got on this match-up today?
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  • If you're one of those who needs something to fire yourself up for this game, I highly, highly recommend clicking on and watching the Youtube I've got linked in the previous post above of the Seahawks-Dolphins game from 1983. Seriously good stuff that will get you in a great frame of mind.
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  • Great analysis, I really enjoyed reading this and its obviously you did your homework!

    I'm just gonna add that this should be the best wild-card matchup by far. Both fanbases can argue stats as much as they want (like the Redskins haven't played good D's down the stretch and their offense is overrated and Seattle hasn't faced really any good offenses down the streak), but its all about who plays the best 60 minutes today at Fed Ex. Maybe Seattle does have a slight edge on paper, but we've won 7 in a row, and have our own charismatic leader with a "refuse to lose" attitude in RGIII. If you beat us, you're going to have to take it from us...we aren't gonna fold, especiallly at home.

    People I think who can make a big difference and worry me because they reallly have the potential to swing the game:

    Red Bryant (blocked a FG and extra point against us last year), Leon Washington, Kam Chancellor, Sydney Rice (in red zone particularly...he's not the fastest, but he has height to grab lobs over the top)

    People I think who can make a big difference for the Skins:

    Darrell Young (short dump off passes), Logan Paulsen (blocking, especially because Polumbus will likely need some help with Irvin from time to time), Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson
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  • Hawks46 wrote:
    1. You guys blitz a lot, but evidenced by your number of sacks, you don't get home a lot.


    You seem like you know your stuff, thanks for the response.

    As you most likely know, actually getting a sack isn't necessarily the goal when bringing pressure. Forcing a quick decision and throw is just as valuable as a sack. I believe the sack is an overrated statistic, but it's currently the easiest way to gauge pressure that is readily available for the public.

    2. Blitzing doesn't necessarily have to create gaping holes in a zone, as you've stated. What it does do is stress the LBers to cover more field. Miller and McCoy (our Tes) create mismatches against most LBers, in space, it's even worse. Also, Lynch is a very underrated receiver out of the backfield, and Turbin could even be better as he has better in line speed...definately a mismatch in the open field against WA LBers.


    Agreed on all points.

    3. Getting an extra man upfield isn't always smart against a good running QB.


    All they have to do is force him off his spot and then resist the urge to over commit. If they over commit to Wilson's scrable, RW will start one way, see the player out of position, drop his back shoulder and do a half spin into the open area behind the defender. The goal with our pressures should be to force him off his spot and then stay home if he's not in range to grab him. Don't let him run around freely. Make him think. It's the best chance our D has against him. He's such a good quarterback that you can't over commit to him. He'll break free and run for a ton or find a receiver who worked themselves open down field.

    I'm worried about Irvin getting too far upfield, but then again, didn't he also run something in the 4.4's at the combine ? I can see him catching Morris on the backside cuts from behind; he's that fast.


    Problem there is that if the 'Skins mix it up well enough, he can't over commit to either man, so he'll be slower off the jump while the 'Skins guys are at speed. And the same situation is true with Seattle's offense. As a 'Skins fan I'm nervous yet excited. As a fan of football? This game should be awesome!!
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