RockHawk wrote:Q13 Sports Director Aaron Levine Answers the Q&A
As the Q13 FOX (Seattle) Sports Director, Aaron Levine anchors the nightly sportscasts and hosts Q It Up Sports, Seahawks Saturday Night and Seahawks Gameday pre and postgame shows. He's one of the premier journalists & Seahawks experts and he's graciously allowed us to do a .NET Q&A over the bye week.
Here's more about Aaron: http://q13fox.com/bio/aaron-levine/#ixzz2CPfBWS2u
Aaron graciously agreed to take some 12th man questions from the .NET faithful, and provided his insider knowledge below.
I'm worried about the run defense. After re-watching the Jets game, I saw Mebane get pushed back on a double team, Branch getting spun around so that his back was to the O-Line multiple times and then different players, Branch and Wagner, getting caught around the waist and spun to the ground.
Is this a weakness that the Jets recognized and worked on, and is grabbing a defensive player around the mid-section and pulling them around a regular offensive tactic?
When those plays I mentioned happened, the Jets got good yards on the ground. I'm going to watch 2 other games to see if this was happening before but would like your take on this and the run defense.
From what I’ve seen the run defense is still a strength, especially when Red Bryant is in at DE. Then again, Mebane hasn’t been as dominant as he was in the STL game since that game. But take a look at what Frank Gore did on a couple of runs in the SF game. Dave Wyman was explaining it to me – but essentially an OL takes out Wagner – and Gore runs free. They did it a few times and it kept working.
The softest part of this defense seems to be underneath. We saw that in SF as well.
Russell Wilson... what is his ceiling as a player?
Honestly, it’s as high as any rookie I’ve seen before. I remember watching him in training camp – he had one miserable day that stood out. Other than that, it was progress. So it was interesting to see him have one miserable day earlier this season (at STL), and pretty steady progress since then. You hear about his maturity all of the time. The kid doesn’t stop working and analyzing and watching game film. You can tell how much better he’s getting feeling the pressure coming in the pocket. Imagine if the defense would’ve held a lead for him at DET and MIA – we’re looking at a 8-3 record right now with a rookie QB. Keep this core together, and learn how to finish, and he can be the guy for many years.
Are our WR concerns still big enough for a first round draft pick?
I think so. Not to underscore what Golden Tate and Sidney Rice can do – but what if we had that “one more guy” – that Julio Jones, that A.J. Green, that Calvin Johnson – that PLAYMAKER, go-to threat that puts fear into opposing DBs? We haven’t had that since….well…. and while Sidney and Golden are decent deep threats, compare them to the elite guys in the league, and imagine how good the Seahawks could be with one of them. I’d say yes.
Do we need an upgrade/more depth at interior pass rush positions (a la Jason Jones / 3 Tech) or is another offensive playmaker a bigger priority?
I think we’ve seen a big difference for the most part when Jason Jones is in the game, compared to games in which he’s been injured. Having more depth at that position would be nice. If you look back at the games the Hawks have lost down the stretch (not holding onto leads), it’s been the lack of a pass rush that’s really hurt them. I feel secure with the offense (although I think we DO need another playmaker), but given the option of the two, I’d say we need another Jason Jones. My priority? Get another Jason Jones-type through free agency, and use a first rounder on a bona fide stud WR.
Based on the success to date and emergence of Russell Wilson do we start looking at locking up Pete and John for a longer deal to finish the job before their contracts are up?
Pete is locked in for five years. This is his third year. Unless we make the playoffs this season, no. They’ll have a lot of pressure on them next year too. I think the time to re-sign them to an extension would be after the fourth year, depending on whether the Seahawks attain success.
How has your perception of Pete Carroll and John Schneider changed since their hire? Or has it?
It hasn’t changed too much. It’s my feeling that Pete feels that he’s on the verge of something truly special here, which could entail a lot of satisfaction for his decision to come back and use his philosophy at the NFL level. This team is so damn close, it’s frustrating. Which team would you rather have – the one they took over, or the one we have now? I think that is pretty apparent.
I’ve liked John Schneider from Day One. He’s a film junkie and has a crack scouting staff. I can’t think of many guys who have gotten more value out of later-round picks, outside of Ted Thompson in Green Bay. His pedigree helps. He’s down to earth and knows what he’s talking about. My opinion? The Carroll-Schneider relationship really works – I just want everyone to be able to see the fruits of their labor sooner rather than later.
I have not so much a question than a statement. That is, a feeling of knowing, confidense if you will, that this team and the quality of core players the organization has assembled in such a short time is destined for great things. Reminds me of the 78' 79' 80' Sonics.
What are the challenges of miking up players or coaches? I know the whole process is a lot of work for a few seconds of audio and video, so maybe you have some anecdotes about the process.
Our photographer, Steve Schrammeck, could probably answer the question better. I know that he has to arrange a meeting with the equipment manager before and after every game. They tape the mic onto the pad – and it doesn’t always work great. The mic went out during the rain storm against the Patriots when we had a mic on Chris Clemons. But it’s well worth it. We have a lot of film for a 2-3 min segment every week. I think the interesting part in looking at the tape is how much certain guys talk on the field. Earl Thomas was talkative, so was Michael Robinson. Mebane and Clemons were pretty quiet.
Would you trade Russell Wilson for any other quarterback in the league if the deal was to be made, say, at the end of this season. I would probably say Luck, RG III and maybe Rogers. I would say no to Brady and P. Manning based on their advanced years.
Being a Stanford fan and alum, I’d obviously say Luck. RGIII would probably fit our offense better though because the pocket tends to break down. But all things considered, I’d rather have Russell, simply out of curiosity toward his growth rate. I want to see this kid develop into something special.
Question 2- I'm in favor of splitting carries evenly between Lynch and Turbin for the balance of the regular season to preserve Marshawn's health for the post season. I would then lean on him as heavily as wanted for those games. Do you like this idea?
Yes, as long as we plan on making the postseason
Question 3- How do you like our chances for the postseason? Who do you think we would face in a wildcard game?
Here’s my take, and it really doesn’t have anything to do with home vs. road record, although some might argue it does. With this young team, we seem to be able to play UP to our strong competition and play DOWN to our mediocre competition. So if we’re actually able to reach the postseason, I like our chances very much. Look at how we competed in SF. We beat NE and Green Bay. There isn’t a team in this league we can’t beat on any given day. And it’s not a “hope” like there was with our 7-9 divisional championship team in 2010. This is a belief. I just hope we get a chance.
I’d love to see another SEA-SF battle in San Francisco. I was there for that one. I want to take out the NFC West Champs in a wild card game on their home turf.
Carroll has historically struggled against Harbaugh (even in college), but I’d love to get them when it counts the most.
Is the front office worried about potentially losing key players because they've outplayed their contracts? Something along those lines.
I don’t think they are. They’ve proven that they’ll reward players with long-term contracts if they fit their system and have proven themselves worthy – Lynch, Mebane, Red Bryant. The key here is depth. They’re slowly adding a lot of solid depth to this team – so if it doesn’t work out with certain players, there’s not a huge hole behind them. I remember Schneider telling us a story about cuts at training camp. Two years ago, they had trouble filling their 53-man roster with talent they wanted. This year, cuts 54-75 were excruciating. Schneider: “That’s when you know you have a good team. When you KNOW the guys you waive will be picked up by other teams.”
Thanks to Aaron for taking the time to share his knowledge with us. Be sure to watch Q13 fox every Saturday night for Seahawks Saturday Night, where Aaron features interviews with Coach Carroll, mic'ed up players (this week is Red Bryant), and Michael Robinson's "Real Rob Report". And don't miss Aaron and his team of NFL experts breaking down the Seahawks games before and after every game on Q13, the official home and broadcaster of the Seattle Seahawks.
You can follow Aaron on twitter at @AaronQ13fox