Random Thoughts™ on the 2012 season

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Random Thoughts™ on the 2012 season
Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:48 pm
  • Golden Tate is growing into a fringe #1 WR

    Going back and watching highlight reels from last season, Tate stands out much more than his 688 total receiving yards. He's outgrown his knucklehead tendencies as a runner. I had to peek through my fingers to watch him with the ball in 2010 and 2011. This year, those poor running decisions have almost completely vanished, and in their place have come some fantastic efforts after the catch. Like this catch, this catch, or this catch. Amazing.

    Tate still needs to work on his jump ball timing, and he needs to learn how to improvise for his QB when Wilson is scrambling, but I don't see those as negatives- but room for further improvement. Last year, Tate was an incredibly valuable WR even with those flaws, garnering an excellent 15.3 yards per catch, a very high catch rate, and 7 TD's in just 45 receptions. Like his QB, his rep count is low, but his efficiency numbers are outstanding. If Tate can improve at his improvisation, he could see an increase in his targets next year.

    Which would be a really nice development, since Tate finished #2 in the NFL in yards per target last season (10.3).

    Improving zone coverage (and the base pass rush) needs to be a very high priority

    Mea Culpa, Gus Bradley. I get it now.

    I was rewatching the Gruden/Wilson camp chat again last night, for probably the 10th time now. Something Wilson said, as a college QB, caught my attention. He talked about reacting to coverage, in a very common sense, "matter of fact" manner. He said that if it's man coverage, he checks two reads then he can run. Against zone coverage, he just has to find the soft spot in the zone (implying that running isn't a great option).

    I already knew that, but for some reason hearing it in his "matter of fact" tone made something click for me. In the Atlanta game, Seattle's 2nd touchdown was a play where Wilson rolls to his left after a play fake, and his two primary targets are covered in man coverage. Those targets- Michael Robinson and Anthony McCoy- each ran for the left sideline area of the endzone, and in effect pulled their defenders to the sideline as well. Wilson sells the pass for a few seconds as he runs left, then casually walks into the endzone untouched. Everyone knows that man coverage is the better pass coverage, but against smart mobile QBs, it can get you killed.

    The NFL is turning into a mobile QBs league, even moreso after the 2012 season in which guys like RG3, Wilson, and Kaepernick were major storylines. Every team must be able to run both zone and man coverages. This is tough news for Seattle since their coverage is built for a stifling press style of man coverage. But as the league changes, Seattle will have to run zone more and more to account for mobile QBs.

    Of course, even the best zone coverages break down in seconds, and even if Seattle upgrades their WILL LB spot with an excellent coverage linebacker, and upgrades their secondary against zone, it's only going to buy another second or two at most. The end of the Atlanta game showed exactly why you don't want to be forced to blitz with zone coverage against an elite QB. So pass rush is going to be critical as well, because even the best zone coverages are worthless if the QB has 4 or 5 seconds to throw.

    Carroll and Bradley knew this, and I think they hoped that they could pull it off, but the personnel just isn't there yet. All those times I was screaming at Pete/Bradley for their zone coverages, I was misplacing my frustration (although I think they should have played a lot more man coverage vs. Atlanta since Ryan is not a threat to run). The advent of the zone-read mobile QB means that zone coverages will dominate future defenses. Pete is a visionary, and I think the reason we saw so much zone late in the season was because Pete wanted to know where we stood there. And unfortunately, the results were not very good.

    Russell Wilson is a legend in the making

    I guess it's safe to admit this now, but I was a much bigger fan of Wilson than I let on in public this time last year. Most of my out in the open Wilson comments and blog posts were positive yet guarded. I remember Montana and I having a private discussion in PMs around this time last year, and I sent him a manefesto about how much I loved Russell Wilson and how incredible of a prospect I thought he was and how badly I wanted him to be a Seahawk. A few weeks later, Montana copy-pasted that message on fieldgulls, which got a lot of know-it-all snobby negative attention, as most people were heavy skeptics of Wilson at that time. I defended my honor wading through the criticisms, but in retrospect I really wish I had just trusted my instincts and doubled down by pulling a John Gruden at the NFL draft. Finger pointing and all.

    I loved Russell Wilson back then. I have a really high tolerance for repetition when it comes to music or music videos. Not lying, I watched Wilson's highlight videos probably 200 times before that draft (and this continued after the draft as well). I would say at least 5-10 times every day. He was so fun to watch, and I was completely convinced height would not be a major factor. After he was drafted by Seattle, I was in a state of "that didn't really happen" shock for many months. And here I am in February of 2013, and I am still watching those Wisconsin highlight videos, as well as some 2012 Seahawks versions as well. Last night I got off work and started watching videos around 1 am and next thing I know it's 4am and I am still watching them. And this is not a rare occurrence for me. If you think this is stalker level obsession, you wouldn't be off by much.

    Had Wilson been drafted by another team, they would have instantly been my 2nd favorite NFL team. But now that he's a Seahawk, the Seahawks are not only my favorite team, but my 2nd favorite team as well. I am almost starting to wonder if I'm a bigger fan of Wilson at this point than the Seahawks. A scary thought.

    So consider this almost dangerously obsessed mind following Wilson's historic rookie season, capped off by a pro-bowl where he looked like the best player on the field. I am beyond biased, but I believe that Wilson will be the best QB in the NFL next season (he basically already is if you start from midseason last year), and I also truly believe that if Seattle holds on in that Atlanta game we would be NFL champions right now.

    But maybe the best thing is, I feel like this "fantasy world" is actually becoming reality, with more and more people buying in, including millions of non-Seahawks fans. I'm always the first guy to say that football is just a game, that the NFL is entertainment and there is more to the experience than simply winning. But with this guy, things are different. It kind of feels like the world is shifting to surround him- as a natural reaction to rare greatness- whether the world fully realizes it yet or not. What separates Wilson from other great QBs is the emotional connection he creates in people. My first reaction when Seattle lost in Atlanta was to feel bad for Wilson. I never once felt that way for Matt Hasselbeck or anyone else. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are great QBs, but they do not generate pathos among even casual viewers the way that Wilson does.

    Darrell Bevell proved his worth

    I was a cautious fan of Bevell's after a strong second half finish to 2011. After a patchy start in 2012, I thought he really proved himself as a perfect enabler for this offense as the 2012 season rolled along. He somehow found a way to run the ball on 55% of snaps without having to use the dreaded run-run-pass punt combo. Actually, it's pretty easy to figure out how he did it- by running often on first down, scoring bunches of points and putting the team in clock kill mode by the 3rd quarter.

    The offense was a bit of an amoeba last year, a mix of just about every WR/TE formation with a good dose of read option in the second half. Bevell showed his genius with plays that involved running backs- his short yardage handoff to Michael Robinson was only stopped 3 times all year, and the Robinson mini-wheel route in the red zone was frequently wide open for easy touchdowns. When Wilson connected for an easy TD in the red zone, it was almost always to a TE or RB.

    Every team in the NFL is studying Seattle's offense this offseason, not just to stop it, but to copy it. That means those wide open passes to Robinson probably won't be so wide open next year, but I think Bevell knows that and will prepare accordingly. I trust him in a chess match.

    Marshawn Lynch did not look like a fluke

    Lynch averaged 5.0 yards per carry last season (and 4.9 in the postseason). Those are excellent numbers in any context, but even more so when you consider that Lynch does not inflate his averages with frequent big plays. Lynch runs hard, but he also runs smart and his vision and comfort with reads was as good last year as it's been in a long time. Lynch had 315 carries- only four other backs carried 300+ times last season. So wear/injuries have to be something to watch out for, but if he stays healthy I see no reason why he couldn't post another terrific season in 2013.

    Other thoughts

    There are many performances I could highlight, but this is getting pretty long already. Very quickly, I'd like to cover just a few more:

    Brandon Browner played even better this season I thought. I wonder if he would have made the pro-bowl if not for the PED suspension that barred him from going.

    I really like JR Sweezy's future even if he did struggle with pass protection last year. His rookie year was light years ahead of Max Unger's, and as good as Unger is right now I think Sweezy's potential is higher because he has longer arms, is quicker, and has more athleticism. I could easily see him earning a pro-bowl nod in a few years if his development continues to go well.

    Similarly, I am very bullish on Greg Scruggs and I think Dan Quinn really has a chance to earn some money by coaching this guy up. Scruggs looked like a potentially elite pass rusher in the preseason, and while he only had 6 tackles and 2 sacks in limited action in real games, he still flashed dominance from time to time. He has a lot of power for a 284 pound DT/DE tweener, and he is fully capable of winning the arm battle on every snap against 95% of the guards in the league. That he impressed despite being pretty raw speaks volumes. I think Seattle will still address DT very early in this draft- and may add a second DT later- yet despite that Scruggs might still see an increase in reps if Branch and Jones leave in free agency. He is definitely a player to watch next season, especially if the team gives him looks at the 5-tech spot.

    As much as I like Scruggs, I'm rooting for Jaye Howard to supplant him as the 3rd down DT specialist. Howard is atrocious against the run, but at least in the preseason (and at Florida with Quinn) he flashed tremendous pass rushing skills, roughly on par with a guy like Sheldon Richardson. Violent hands, excellent arm technique, quick, nasty streak, slippery- not the kind of guy a guard wants to block 1 on 1. In a way, Howard is kind of the Bruce Irvin of the DTs, let him sell out for the pass rush and he'll reward you, but ask him to consider the run and he turns into crap. One of my biggest disappointments of the 2012 season was that Seattle almost never had a spot open to activate Howard. With just 45 active spots on a roster, it's hard to carry a bunch of 3rd down specialists on your line.

    Doug Baldwin played in 17 of 18 total games last season, yet he only exceeded two receptions in a game four times, and not once did he catch 5 passes in a game after managing that feat five times in 2011. While it's certainly true that Baldwin saw a drop in targets thanks to an offense that spread the ball more due to an underrated collection of weapons, they eyeball test indicated a drop in performance from his strong 2011 season, and there are stats that back this up as well. Baldwin went from 9.3 yards per target in 2011 (14th in the NFL) to just 7.1 yards per target last season (53rd). I think WPA is a crappy stat on par with QBR for it's worthlessness, but WPA has Baldwin as the 13th most valuable WR in 2011, and in 2012 he actually posted a negative WPA score, meaning that every pass that targeted Baldwin, on average, reduced Seattle's chances of winning last year. Compare that 7.1 yards per target average with Sidney Rice (8.8 in 2012, 8.5 in 2011), and Golden Tate (10.3 in 2012) and it's pretty clear who the weak link is in our starting WR corps. As much as we like him as a person, he should be considered as a target for upgrade this offseason.

    McCoy had a really nice 2nd season- a season he needed to have. A bit of a wizard, he could slip undetected behind coverages despite standing a very tall looking 6'5". His hands improved nicely, and while he's easy to corral from behind after the catch, there is something to said about having 6'5" targets for our 5'11" QB to find.

    I think Giacomini is here to stay. He really cut down on the penalties in the second half of the season and has turned into a really under-rated right tackle I think. Right tackles are often maligned since they cannot live up to the standards set by their left tackle counterparts, but I think if you made a list of the ten best right tackles in the game right now you'd need to find a place on that list for Giacomini.

    I think Seattle will continue to churn out DBs in the draft every year. Lane struck me as being Trufant-lite this year (meaning Trufant in his prime)- not great at press and not physical, and mediocre in coverage, but he partially makes up for it with consistent play (avoids huge negative plays) and great tackling. Still, I think we need to aspire for more than that given Pete's track record for finding CB talent, and the urgent need for an improved zone coverage defense.

    The most underrated Seahawk going into 2013 is Walter Thurmond. He has quickness and instincts on par with Richard Sherman- he is a pass break up machine. That quickness is critical in zone coverages which require DBs to react and break on the football. People are giving up on him way too quickly, especially since the injury that cost him in 2013 was just a hamstring pull which isn't surprising given a long layoff. Maybe Thurmond is cursed like DJ Hackett was, but I think its just as likely he'll have a healthy season and emerge as one of the best players in our secondary.

    Seahawks 2013 Outlook

    This has gone pretty long, so I'll condense my outlook in .gif form:

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    kearly
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  • Nice, good write-up. I wish I could say I had the same confidence as you did in Wilson. I was actually confused when we drafted him as I really wanted Robert Turbin and thought Flynn was solid, and T-Jax was a good back-up. I knew he had skills but like many scouts I was extremely skeptical of his size. The Gruden interview was very impressive and really got me on board that Wilson could do this.

    I am surprised by your positive review of Tate and the discovery of how unproductive Baldwin was. I don't not believe you, but I'd still rather have Baldwin than Tate, I still think Tate is the weakest of the 3 and Baldwin will not be dealing with the early season injury and knocked out teeth that cost him time this season. I expect the opposite next year.

    One way to improve our WR play will be to improve the TE play. There is no way we do not add a legitimate receiving threat at TE this off-season. Either through the draft or in FA by bringing in a more versatile TE who can give teams matchup problem. right now we only have 2 dynamic players on offense, Wilson and Lynch. Adding a #2 TE who has game breaking skills will not be that expensive. 2nd round pick or 5 mil a year should get that done. With as many 2 TE sets as we run we need to have 3 solid TE's

    I'm high on Scruggs and don't know enough about Howard to make any eval, but I would not be surprised if a rookie DT took his roster spot. We have many option to improve our DT situation this season and something tells me a 1st rd DT is not the direction we are going.

    Giacomini is my most underrated seahawk. I believe he is our future RT.

    Good work
    Last edited by Wenhawk on Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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  • the gif is priceless dude. Laughed heartily on that one.

    Also I've been trying to put my finger on something in regards to wilson. There's just been this aspect that I couldn't quite put into words but you said it, absolutely perfectly.

    " But with this guy, things are different. It kind of feels like the world is shifting to surround him-"
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  • I think Baldwin will come back to form in 2013, but I definitely agree we need another weapon at WR.
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  • Heartbreak Kid .gif = win.
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  • Yep. The .gif pretty much sums up my thoughts on the 2012 season as well. Good read, though. I concur.
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  • Fan analyses like this absolutely rock. Never has there been a more exciting time to be a Seahawk fan than now. I heart the Seahawks. Happy Valentine's Day.
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  • I'm not sure I'd say Jaye Howard is on par with Sheldon Richardson at any point on tape. After all, there's a reason one guy will probably be a top-ten pick and another went in the fourth round. Howard showed a lot of athletic upside and as you say occasionally looked good as a pass rusher at Florida. For what it's worth I went back to look at some old 2011 tape while studying Sharrif Floyd and man what a difference between the two players. Floyd is on a completely different level to Howard. When you know which two guys to look out for, Howard just looks lethargic and mediocre in comparison. I think if you put him next to Sheldon Richardson you'd see the same thing.

    The fact he was inactive all year and they clearly rated Scruggs higher was telling for me. Given they have 12 picks this year I wouldn't be at all surprised if Howard isn't part of the roster come the start of the 2013 season.
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  • gif aint workin for me...

    edit: ok, working now. good read!
    Last edited by muxpux on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • theENGLISHseahawk wrote:I'm not sure I'd say Jaye Howard is on par with Sheldon Richardson at any point on tape. After all, there's a reason one guy will probably be a top-ten pick and another went in the fourth round. Howard showed a lot of athletic upside and as you say occasionally looked good as a pass rusher at Florida. For what it's worth I went back to look at some old 2011 tape while studying Sharrif Floyd and man what a difference between the two players. Floyd is on a completely different level to Howard. When you know which two guys to look out for, Howard just looks lethargic and mediocre in comparison. I think if you put him next to Sheldon Richardson you'd see the same thing.

    The fact he was inactive all year and they clearly rated Scruggs higher was telling for me. Given they have 12 picks this year I wouldn't be at all surprised if Howard isn't part of the roster come the start of the 2013 season.


    Richardson is way better overall because he's an every down player. But on just 3rd downs, I think they'd be pretty close. I thought Howard looked more explosive as a pass rusher last preseason than he did at Florida, where he was a bit lethargic. By contrast, Richardson plays with an attitude. Reminds me of a very poor man's Warren Sapp.

    Wenhawk wrote:One way to improve our WR play will be to improve the TE play. There is no way we do not add a legitimate receiving threat at TE this off-season. Either through the draft or in FA by bringing in a more versatile TE who can give teams matchup problem. right now we only have 2 dynamic players on offense, Wilson and Lynch. Adding a #2 TE who has game breaking skills will not be that expensive. 2nd round pick or 5 mil a year should get that done. With as many 2 TE sets as we run we need to have 3 solid TE's


    They'll definitely be adding some pass catchers, but I see more weapons than you do on the 2012 squad. I would put Zach Miller, Sidney Rice, and Golden Tate on that list too. And Miller seemed to really come into his own at the end of last season. I hope his foot is okay. You can't just judge a players impact by his overall production. This offense will rarely if ever see a 1000 yard receiver because Wilson spreads the ball very thin. Tate has always been a dynamic athlete but he's starting to come into his own as a receiver too. Watch Tate then watch Harvin. They are very similar players, and Harvin was a production machine before getting hurt because his QB wasn't a spread the ball type.

    Wenhawk wrote:I'm high on Scruggs and don't know enough about Howard to make any eval, but I would not be surprised if a rookie DT took his roster spot. We have many option to improve our DT situation this season and something tells me a 1st rd DT is not the direction we are going.


    This is what I believed as well until I heard Pete's end of season presser where he sounded exasperated over our pass rush situation. At this point, I am about 70% sure we go DT with the first pick. Not just because there is upgrade potential at the 3-tech but because replacing Red Bryant would probably mean drafting a DT and moving him to the 5, and I doubt Seattle would ditch Bryant until they are sure they have his replacement, meaning they'd probably draft a guy this year and hope to unload Bryant next year if his problems continue. Also, the DT options will be a lot better at #25 than they'll be at #58 most likely, compared to a much better 2nd round situation at LB, DE, WR, and TE.
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  • Although the first post in this thread was quite the Wilson love letter Kip, would it be possible for you to post your Montana/Field Gulls email in this thread so we can read it? Since it sounds like it turned out to be quite prophetic (checked Field Gulls and the fanposts don't go back very far).
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  • Good write up Kearly. I really was hesitant for the first half of the year about Wilson being the guy but his second half play and postseason performance really changed my mind. So Kudo's for believing in him when many had doubts.

    I also remember when you thought it might make sense to trade Baldwin after 2011 because he would have value to many teams and get us a decent draft pick for him. You were concerned about his ability to stay healthy, and sure enough that is what happened this year. While I hope he comes back to form this year, I can see how he may not end up in our top 3 or 4 WR options in 2013, so being cut or traded may still happen.

    Last, I really want to see how Scruggs and Howard improve with Dan Quinn back running our defense. I really see a possibility that Scruggs could easily back up and possibly replace Red at the 5tech if not this year, then next if he continues to improve. You also have to think that Quinn knows what he has in Howard and may be the best guy to get him going, even if it's only as a 3rd down pass rushing specialist. Basically performing the Jones role for a lot less money.

    I still just really hope we get a 3tech DT in FA and not base this position on just the draft. That is just too risky if you ask me unless a major move up the board is planned.
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  • kearly wrote:
    Wenhawk wrote:I'm high on Scruggs and don't know enough about Howard to make any eval, but I would not be surprised if a rookie DT took his roster spot. We have many option to improve our DT situation this season and something tells me a 1st rd DT is not the direction we are going.


    This is what I believed as well until I heard Pete's end of season presser where he sounded exasperated over our pass rush situation. At this point, I am about 70% sure we go DT with the first pick. Not just because there is upgrade potential at the 3-tech but because replacing Red Bryant would probably mean drafting a DT and moving him to the 5, and I doubt Seattle would ditch Bryant until they are sure they have his replacement, meaning they'd probably draft a guy this year and hope to unload Bryant next year if his problems continue. Also, the DT options will be a lot better at #25 than they'll be at #58 most likely, compared to a much better 2nd round situation at LB, DE, WR, and TE.


    I really wanted Fletcher Cox last year and when we didn't get him I wasn't too happy, I figured Irvin would get his sacks but thought Pressure from the inside would help the rest of the DL get pressure. Our draft worked out great so I'm not complaining but I just don't think we can geta DT that will make that immediate impact at #25 or #58. Why not get an impact player at #25 even if it isn't the most important position? If we kept Jones and Branch would a DT like Short get enough opportunities to have 3+ sacks? At #25 I think we are going to either find a guy who we didn't think would be there and couldn't pass up (DT Richardson, WR Patterson), make a crazy draft surprise like (WR Austin, LB Green, TE Reed), or trade back and get the safer solid DL player with a late 1t round grade. This is a year I'd trade our #25 for a mid 2nd and a 1st next year in a heartbeat.
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  • What stood out to me from watching the 2012 highlights was the improved play (catches/td's) and blocking from Anthony McCoy, including those which came from a (3TE set) <--- Look forward to seeing more of that next season with whichever TE we pick up in the draft
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Re: Random Thoughts™ on the 2012 season
Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:17 pm
  • Well done again Kearly. Really like what you said there. The pass rush and maybe another couple weapons for Russell should be the priorities this offseason for the Hawks and hopefully that includes your and my favorite WR in the draft DeAndre Hopkins!
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Re: Random Thoughts™ on the 2012 season
Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:30 pm
  • Nice post, as always.

    I'd amend your concern about zone defense, slightly.

    Pete didn't just play a lot of zone D to see what the Seahawks had with the rush. It's what they play as a regular base defense. I know you know this, but it bears repeating given the common misperception on this site that the D plays a lot of man-man. Field Gulls had a great article on Cover-3 that came out in the last couple of months, that reiterates the scheme. Pete likes his 4-3 under, with a Leo and a big 5-tech, not a lot of blitzing, not a lot of man. The corners are tall, and force everything to the outside. Because they're tall they don't play straight up man all the time, because they cannot be as good at change of direction and staying on receivers as a little guy. Check out the corners when they get full camera coverage--as tight and physical as Sherman and Browner are, they're always releasing players to Thomas or Trufant or even Wagner depending on the call, when the receiver leaves their zone.

    The Seahawks will try to improve their base rush, without blitzing. They'll continue to tinker with coverages. But Pete is consistent, even stubborn, with his defensive principles. We probably won't see many changes with scheme, no matter how frustrating stretches of games, or of seasons, may prove to us as fans. It's what makes Pete special in the first place--he just doesn't care what others think.
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Re: Random Thoughts™ on the 2012 season
Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:58 pm
  • Kearly, one thing I've been thinking about since it was mentioned (possibly by you... got a bad memory) was that Sweezy seems like he might be even better suited to play RT than G. He was the fastest and most agile OL at the combine, as decent size (6'5''), and good arm length. Currently looking at our roster, even if you look at Giacamini as a long term solution at RT, our depth there (and possible eventual replacement) is our weakest part of our OL. At guard we have Carpenter, Moffitt, McQuistan and thats not even going into JeanPierre, or something I'd like to see develop with Rishaw Johnson. thats 5 guys to cover 2 spots, with some being backups at C. For OT we have Breno, Okung, and Omiyale, with McQ being an emergency backup.

    I feel like having a young line grow together and be stable over years will end up being the best thing for us long term, especially if we have guys who are mobile and can move around to help out russell when he improvises.

    I know I'd feel better with a backup OT who could maybe eventually surplant one of the starters rather than another guard in a position of pretty decent depth.

    How do you think he would work out? and could that be a possible plan? OG is a decent starting spot on OL right? less responsibility than C or OT. I'd love to see a line of

    Okung - Carp - Unger - Johnson/Moffitt - Breno/Sweezy with McQ being our utility man.

    On a side note (damn now my post is getting longer than planned), I agree we need to improve our defense especially our pass rush. Out of base, and on passing downs. Would you target some of the talented guys with issues if they fall and fill one of our major needs? (Ogletree, Jones, Any of the top DT's). Or think we have to pursue one primary, or hell even just BPA. I feel like if we could get a top flight coverage WILL that could blitz when we are in base D so its not just clemons or irvin, it would drastically improve our pass rush. Especially since we rarely ever sent LBs when we sent 5, was almost always a safety. When I saw Wagner get sent, it seemed like it was more successful. As for why I mentioned Jarvis Jones. His medical issues might drop him, and clemons wont be around forever. It would be nice to get another good passrusher to bring with Irvin. I also think he would work as the other blitzer on 3rd downs like irvin was used for this season. DE is a position that is usually taken in the earlier rounds that seem to be more successful when compared to 3-tech DTs. Especially when you take out the first 5 picks or so where the blue chip stars are taken. Like the other successful 4-3 teams know, you can never have too many good DE's, just look at the giants.

    Anyway, thank you for a season of great thoughts. They were thoroughly entertaining.
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  • CFraychineaud wrote:wrote a bunch of stuff


    I think the team is happy with Giacomini so long as he stays out of penalty trouble. As far as Sweezy, I think they view him as the RG of the future but that said, I would almost be surprised if they didn't get Sweezy some reps at tackle down the road to help increase his versatility. They may not do it in 2013, since he's still got a lot to learn at guard and they don't want to overwhelm him. In the meantime, hopefully they bring back Omiyale, he was a pleasant surprise this season as a backup tackle.
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  • Kearly,

    Blow hards who take a wait-and-see approach to predictions aren't very impressive. Anyone can recognize what's already true. I'm not surprised that you saw what Wilson would become ahead of everyone else; one can see your perceptiveness in all your analysis.

    I don't follow college football all that much or spend that much time watching other NFL teams or following draft news, to be frank, but after Wilson's first preseason game, I went back and researched, saw his college records, read what NC State and Wisconsin fans had to say about him, and I was flabbergasted. He was clearly going to be a major star, and I told all my friends and family and posted all over the Internet that he was going to be better than Luck and Griffin. I prayed he'd be named the starter. My wife remembers my jubilation when he was. My 49er boss thought Wilson was underrated, but he was sure Luck and Griffin were much better. In a couple years, I think everyone will agree with us.
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Re: Random Thoughts™ on the 2012 season
Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:17 am
  • With the schedule we have, this team could be absolutely monstrous next season. The potential is there to go 12-4 or better with a legit shot at a Super Bowl. I can't say I felt this way prior to the '04, '05, '06, or '07 seasons. Unless there is some major regression, I just don't see us faltering. The schedule is much easier than last year, and we no longer have any question marks whatsoever left at the QB spot. Our only major needs are on defensive line -- address them and we will be incredibly hard to stop.
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Re: Random Thoughts™ on the 2012 season
Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:37 am
  • Agree with everything you see here Kearly !!!

    I don't know if Baldwin is strong at getting into space (thus being open) during those extended plays where RW is on the move. One would think it's easy to do but is it? Does it take a special ability to do that?

    Maybe he's just not in a good position as seen by RW in those moments?
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Re: Random Thoughts™ on the 2012 season
Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:05 pm
  • Kearly, nice write up, I will say one thing, Baldwin was pressed into use differently his first season as a more polished receiver. I think he was used more as a checkdown guy this year many times and so his routes did not give him many runs after catch situations. To be sure it's something to look at going forward.
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Re: Random Thoughts™ on the 2012 season
Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:33 pm
  • The FB wheel route was a staple of USC's offense, particularly when Stanley Havili (now with the Eagles) was there. Teams knew that, yet they still struggled to stop it.

    Obviously NFL teams are better at adjusting, but I don't see the Hawks completely abandoning this play.
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  • sc85sis wrote:The FB wheel route was a staple of USC's offense, particularly when Stanley Havili (now with the Eagles) was there. Teams knew that, yet they still struggled to stop it.

    Obviously NFL teams are better at adjusting, but I don't see the Hawks completely abandoning this play.

    And chances are they won't until somebody actually stops it.

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  • Kip, I have been watching the Seahawk games over and over again, and while I don't share your stalker label, Wilson has me excited.

    Golden is on the verge of special. He has a contract year now, so I hope he has a good year. As much as Lynch progressed, I hope they scale back his use and make up the difference with a 5% shift to more passing and using Turbin more as well. I want Lynch healthful when the playoffs begin next year.

    I know you like Bevell more than me, I want to know what you think of how he did his job in the first halfs of our two playoff games. The slow starts are a concern for me.
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  • Scottemojo wrote:I want to know what you think of how he did his job in the first halfs of our two playoff games. The slow starts are a concern for me.


    I'm not Kip but wanted to question this. Washington came flying out of the traps and our defense did squat. Am I right in saying we went three and out first up but after that, pretty much dominated throughout? And failed to convert more due to bad execution and individual mistakes eg Lynch fumbling on the goal line?

    Versus Atlanta... in the first half you've got a Lynch fumble, a clear PC decision to go for it on fourth down that wasn't converted and then the issue with the clock running out because Wilson took a sack to end the half. All we seemed to do in the second half was execute better... and that's down to the players.
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  • Scottemojo wrote:As much as Lynch progressed, I hope they scale back his use and make up the difference with a 5% shift to more passing and using Turbin more as well.


    I think the 5% shift to passing will happen naturally. Wilson won't have to be held back, plus the team is bound to find another receiver to give Wilson more options. I'd estimate that at least 40 of Wilson's scrambles last year began life as passing attempts, and he just couldn't find anyone.
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  • Its really hard to say. Seattle was a 2nd half team in 2011 too. I think it could be partially because of a rope-a-dope mentality. I noticed that Pete tends to play the defense conservatively in the first half and saving his blitzes for the 2nd half, perhaps as a half-time adjustment advantage. Maybe when Pete spouts off about winning in the 4th quarter, it's more than just a corny Disney movie cliche. Maybe he really believes in saving stuff for the end of games, or maybe he feels better about entering the 4th quarter down by a few points for the psychological advantage it brings. It really does feel like this team is more comfortable coming back than holding leads at times.

    As far as why I like Bevell, I am not an X's and O's guy. When I hear technical jargon I check out in 3 or 4 seconds. I'm up front about that. But I know a smart, creative, polished offense when I see it. And sure, Wilson is the real reason why the offense looks great, but there were signs in the 2nd half of the 2011 season when the offense turned a corner with a sub-par QB at the helm. I'm not saying we can't improve on Bevell, but I generally sense a "fit" between Bevell and Wilson's styles, and I do think he's helping us, not hurting us.

    As far as the slow starts on offense, I think that is a bit of a myth. Seattle had 9 games where they scored more in the first half than the second half, compared to 7 games where they scored more in the 2nd half (and one of those was by just 1 point- the Dallas game). There were two games where the scoring was even in both halves.

    The NFL median for points per game last year was 23.3. So if Seattle scores 12 first half points, they are on pace to match or slightly exceed a reasonable standard for scoring. They exceeded that threshold 8 times, although they also had a few close misses. That figure is below average, but not by a lot.

    In many cases, Seattle played well on offense early but just found ways not to score (among other things there was a pretty high number of punts in enemy territory for us last season). The Atlanta game was an extreme example- Seattle had about 200 yards of offense (on pace for about 400) and zero points. After a 3 and out to start the game, Seattle averaged nearly 50 yards per drive the rest of that half. You do that 100 times, you might have 2 instances where you are held without points. Atlanta players literally said as they walked into the tunnel at halftime that they could not believe it was 20-0.

    Also, Washington wasn't really a slow start for the offense, Seattle had more points in the 1st half than they had in the 2nd half that game. They scored on their 2nd drive of the game and pretty much took control from then on.
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  • kearly wrote:Its really hard to say. Seattle was a 2nd half team in 2011 too. I think it could be partially because of a rope-a-dope mentality. I noticed that Pete tends to play the defense conservatively in the first half and saving his blitzes for the 2nd half, perhaps as a half-time adjustment advantage. Maybe when Pete spouts off about winning in the 4th quarter, it's more than just a corny Disney movie cliche. Maybe he really believes in saving stuff for the end of games, or maybe he feels better about entering the 4th quarter down by a few points for the psychological advantage it brings. It really does feel like this team is more comfortable coming back than holding leads at times.

    As far as why I like Bevell, I am not an X's and O's guy. When I hear technical jargon I check out in 3 or 4 seconds. I'm up front about that. But I know a smart, creative, polished offense when I see it. And sure, Wilson is the real reason why the offense looks great, but there were signs in the 2nd half of the 2011 season when the offense turned a corner with a sub-par QB at the helm. I'm not saying we can't improve on Bevell, but I generally sense a "fit" between Bevell and Wilson's styles, and I do think he's helping us, not hurting us.

    I don't think he is hurting us either. I just don't feel like he is suddenly a genius. When he had Jackson, meh. When he had a healthy Favre (who did whatever he wanted anyway) and with Wilson, Bevell is looking good. Common denominator? Bevell was at his stone cold best when he let the QB take over (see the final two drives of the Bears game). I don't sense a perfect fit, no more than I sense that the OC at Wisconsin had a fit with Wilson. Wilson fits the football field, and whatever OC gets to coach him is going to smell like roses unless he is a total dipshit.

    Bevell did a decent job this year, but lets not pretend he is dissecting defenses like a surgeon. Kip looks at Golden's 15.3 per catch and exults, I look at his 688 yards and think we wasted a fantastic weapon that could have produced 50% more.



    @ English. How do you give Bevell credit for the success, but blame player execution for the failures? You mention the 4th down play against the Falcons, but what about the terrible play call the previous 3rd down? I guess in the spirit of positivity, what do you think Bevell needs to do better in 2013 than he did in 2012?
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  • I should mention this before I forget:

    In fairness to Baldwin, slot WRs have lower yards per target across the board than outside WRs do. IIRC, Baldwin saw a lot of action outside in 2011 and that likely explains a portion of the dropoff. I also think Baldwin played much better later in the year, even though his stats didn't really reflect it. As someone else said, injuries were a factor but we should have expected that given his frame and history.

    Overall, Baldwin is hardly a bum, and I think his negative WPA score is more of a reason to hate on WPA than to hate on Baldwin. That said, the indicators are not especially flattering, and neither was the eyeball test for much of the season. I just see it as the biggest area for upgrade in the WR corps. I'd love to bring in a clutch WR with underrated athleticism like Ryan Swope and have him compete with Baldwin at the slot this summer.
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  • kearly wrote:I should mention this before I forget:

    In fairness to Baldwin, slot WRs have lower yards per target across the board than outside WRs do. IIRC, Baldwin saw a lot of action outside in 2011 and that likely explains a portion of the dropoff. I also think Baldwin played much better later in the year, even though his stats didn't really reflect it. As someone else said, injuries were a factor but we should have expected that given his frame and history.

    Overall, Baldwin is hardly a bum, and I think his negative WPA score is more of a reason to hate on WPA than to hate on Baldwin. That said, the indicators are not especially flattering, and neither was the eyeball test for much of the season. I just see it as the biggest area for upgrade in the WR corps. I'd love to bring in a clutch WR with underrated athleticism like Ryan Swope and have him compete with Baldwin at the slot this summer.


    After Baldwin got his teeth knocked out in Arizona, and then had a couple of more injuries, he took a while to get right. The tipped ball for an interception by Baldwin in St Louis stood out as a game changer. When he did get healthy, he looked good. The SF game stood out.
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  • Scottemojo wrote:I don't think he is hurting us either. I just don't feel like he is suddenly a genius. When he had Jackson, meh. When he had a healthy Favre (who did whatever he wanted anyway) and with Wilson, Bevell is looking good. Common denominator? Bevell was at his stone cold best when he let the QB take over (see the final two drives of the Bears game). I don't sense a perfect fit, no more than I sense that the OC at Wisconsin had a fit with Wilson. Wilson fits the football field, and whatever OC gets to coach him is going to smell like roses unless he is a total dipshit.

    Bevell did a decent job this year, but lets not pretend he is dissecting defenses like a surgeon. Kip looks at Golden's 15.3 per catch and exults, I look at his 688 yards and think we wasted a fantastic weapon that could have produced 50% more.


    Well, Wilson's production did explode when he went to Wisconsin. Part of that is supporting cast, but to come in during year one and performing like that is I think a massive testament to Wisconsin's coaching staff. Seattle's too.

    I do not think Bevell is a genius, but he does have his moments where I think he's brilliant.

    Also, I'm not really sure if Tate's targets being low is something I'd consider an awful thing, or for that matter, something that's even within Bevell's control. Bevell may draw up the play, but it's Wilson who chooses which reads to check, and which target to throw at. Like any great point guard at QB, Wilson is adept at keeping his options open and the last thing he'd ever do is lock onto a guy. When he was at Wisconsin he had the hyped Nick Toon, but actually passed to unheralded guys like Jared Abbrederis just as often because Abbrederis just knew how to get open. Tate's lack of targets is really more a function of how many quality options Wilson had at his disposal last season.

    I'd love to see Tate's targets go up, but not if it means Wilson starts locking onto him. I'd prefer to see those targets increase on ad-libbed plays where Wilson needs help unloading the football, and that's on Tate's shoulders to develop the ability to improvise and figure out where the QB wants him to be on extended plays.
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  • BTW, Kip, with all my whiny ass comments about Bevell, I forgot to say: Nice writeup. You scary bastard. If you do Halloween dressed as Ashton Meem, your next stop after that will be the Nut Hut. Then you might miss the Super Bowl.
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  • Scottemojo wrote:@ English. How do you give Bevell credit for the success, but blame player execution for the failures? You mention the 4th down play against the Falcons, but what about the terrible play call the previous 3rd down? I guess in the spirit of positivity, what do you think Bevell needs to do better in 2013 than he did in 2012?



    Wasn't the previous play call a run up the middle on 3rd and 1? We executed those pretty well all season. I don't recall being annoyed with that call. I was disappointed they went for it on fourth though.

    And yes you can blame players and not the coach when a running back throws the ball up in midfield like Lynch did vs Atlanta, or fumbles on the one yard line as he did against Washington, or when Sweezy gets hopelessly destroyed in a 1v1 block that gets your QB sacked so time expires vs the Falcons. As Kip says, the slow starts thing is a myth. In that first half against Atlanta, too many players made too many mistakes that as a coach it's difficult to account for. They were extremely uncharacteristic too. And the one big coaching error was by PC in my view, going for it on 4th when we could've been at 13-3 with a bit of momentum instead of 20-0.

    Personally I don't see any reason to be negative about Bevell. I think he's doing a fantastic job. I think we saw an elite offensive unit by the end of the year despite hosting several young players. He used a scheme that mixed together a conservative approach with trick plays, a dominating a run game and a blossoming passing attack. I have to think Bevell has had at least some positive impact on Russell Wilson's superb start in the pro's and perhaps had quite a lot of influence.

    Are there things he can do better? Well we can continue to help Wilson deal with the blitz a little better but that's just an experience thing. But I'm struggling to think of much else. I couldn't be happier with our offensive coordinator and sometimes I wonder what people expect. The perfect play caller doesn't exist.
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  • Nice writeup ….. appreciate your thoughts. Here are a few random reflections.

    Marshawn Lynch continues to show the way in style and attitude.

    Golden Tate cut way down on his negative plays in 2012. He looked more consistent and focused as he progressed thru the season .... as one would expect from an emerging starter.

    Fearless Doug Baldwin made great progress toward recovering from the trauma of 2012 …. while Anthony McCoy made real progress in eliminating negative plays.

    Darrell Bevel won me over in 2012. Last year, I couldn't think of any other passing coordinator / play caller that was more accommodating to all of those around him. I find Darrell Bevell to be remarkable at keeping his ego in check while building consensus and execution. Although I have no way of knowing for sure, I think his predecessor may have struggled in this area.

    Russell Wilson is my all time favorite 2an baseman. Some may have been puzzled by his stated post season determination to work on his footwork. Not me .... it's a preoccupation.

    By the way, Wilson and Bevell share a common characteristic in their desire to accommodate and be inclusive of everyone.

    Offensive line …. I think the right side complements the left side. The contrast between Carpenter (power) and Sweezy (movement) jumps off the screen. It seems to me that right guard is tasked with covering more lateral range than the left guard. I like what I've seen of Wilson's read option to that side. I thought the right guards along with the right tackle Giacomini became more skilled at avoiding penalties and blocking for an often out of the pocket moving quarterback.

    Defensive line …... Scruggs and Irvin were encouraging rookie additions. But, I'm concerned about the loss of veteran speed starter Chris Clemons being compounded with the potential loss of veteran power player Allen Branch. Are defensive power linemen under valued and under appreciate in Seattle? Is this an area of legitimate vulnerability?

    Stating the obvious …..... Outside the box players like Red Bryant and Brandon Browner will continue to draw criticism for being too far outside of typical norms .... as many struggle at understanding their roles and style.
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Re: Random Thoughts™ on the 2012 season
Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:25 am
  • Great stuff as usual. Insightful, informative and thought-provoking. Thank you.

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  • Wilson's success at Wisconsin was attributed to the coaching staff in that gave him a scholarship and a chance to compete for the starting job. Nobody would consider any of the group to be elite coaches.

    Shortly into the competition his main rival suffered an elbow injury ending his season. I had a moment of reflection on that last summer.
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  • kearly wrote:I'm not saying we can't improve on Bevell, but I generally sense a "fit" between Bevell and Wilson's styles, and I do think he's helping us, not hurting us.


    Kip, do you think that Bevell also having gone to Wisconsin has given him insider info on how to get the most out of Wilson? I know you've seen those Wisconsin highlights over and over again and you just got the feel that the Badgers used him to maximum effectiveness, kinda like the Hawks did towards the end of the season. I wonder if Bevell was getting the scoop on Wilson from Barry Alvarez, Bielema, etc. in 2011. Just an idea.

    This was a great read. Thanks.

    Scottemojo wrote:Kip, I have been watching the Seahawk games over and over again, and while I don't share your stalker label, Wilson has me excited.

    Golden is on the verge of special. He has a contract year now, so I hope he has a good year. As much as Lynch progressed, I hope they scale back his use and make up the difference with a 5% shift to more passing and using Turbin more as well. I want Lynch healthful when the playoffs begin next year.

    I know you like Bevell more than me, I want to know what you think of how he did his job in the first halfs of our two playoff games. The slow starts are a concern for me.


    Agreed about Golden, I think he has that Year 4 Jordy Nelson type breakout season in 2013. Forgot that it was a contract season, so that just adds to the probability that he'll go off. I agree with you on Lynch/Turbin as well. I was kinda hoping that Turbin would be more involved in the offense this season as a matter of fact. I think he'll get more opportunities next season. Pete and Co. know how important Beast Mode is to this offense/team and to the team's identity in general.

    I agree with Kip that the slow starts are more Pete's doing. It does seem he loves coming out ahead in the "halftime adjustments" department.
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Re: Random Thoughts™ on the 2012 season
Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:28 am
  • First of all, I start off with an apology. Kearly, you said that if we started Wilson, we would go to the Superbowl, and this was around TC time or preseason. My response was something along the lines of "ludicrous". Well, you were very right, and I apologize for being recalcitrant on the matter.

    I thought Wilson had the potential to be good, but I bought into the conventional physical metrics. I thought Wilson would be better than Flynn, but needed to sit behind him for a year to figure out how to mesh his 5'11" frame with the pro game. I loved his appearance on Gruden's QB camp, and I thought "wow, he'd make a really good backup and push for a starting job". I'm glad I was wrong. Wilson is amazing in every aspect. I believe intangibles are more important than physical measurables for a QB (although that's changing with the mobility factor), but I didn't trust myself on this one.

    Browner was what I expected this year. He doesnt' change direction well, but he erases a WR's change of speed/direction ability when he gets his hands on them at the LOS. I don't see him as a really good zone CB, as evidenced in that Chicago game (like you said, man would've been better...Cutler is mobile but won't murder you). Do we see him going away as we go more zone centric ?

    I liked Scruggs this year too. Guys I see an improvement on this next year: Scruggs, Irvin, Wagner, Lane, and Maxwell. I think Tate hasn't reached his ceiling yet. Miller won't improve; he's probably at the top of his game, but as we release him into routes more, you'll see his production improve (like the end of last year). McCoy probably hasn't hit his ceiling yet either, as well as Turbin.

    It's scary, but I think Wilson will get better. He was a top 5 QB last year, and I think he can actually improve, which should scare the hell out of the rest of the division. With Kaepernick's developement, we're going to have some epic battles with the Niners, and with the rivalry our coaches already had, it's going to be one bitter and epic rilvalry; probably the most contentious in the NFL.

    It's amazing to see all this young talent and realize they can improve. It's scary to think what our FO can do with the draft after looking at the last two. I have the highest expectations for this team of any Seahawks team I've ever watched.
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Re: Random Thoughts™ on the 2012 season
Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:48 am
  • Great read, Kearly! I share the enthusiasm for Golden. I remember thinking when he was drafted that he could develop into our Steve Smith; maybe not so much in the #1 wideout sense, but as far as pound-for-pound scrappiness, nimbleness, and being a dangerously competitive receiver. Like you, I think he hit his stride in 2012 and can take it to another level with more Russell time.

    bellingerga wrote:Also I've been trying to put my finger on something in regards to wilson. There's just been this aspect that I couldn't quite put into words but you said it, absolutely perfectly.

    " But with this guy, things are different. It kind of feels like the world is shifting to surround him-"


    That struck me too. It reminded me of Andy Warhol's contention that the key to success is in defining the center of the universe as wherever you are and allowing people to gravitate to what you are doing. Russell is the center of the universe. We're all just in orbit.

    (I can't remember when or where I read that Warhol bit, so if I just came up with it in a dream or mis-attributed the idea... oh well. So what.)
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Re: Random Thoughts™ on the 2012 season
Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:49 am
  • Good stuff as always Kip. Thank you!
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