Thoughts on the Lions Game

bsuhawk

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Great win for the the Hawks. Given what happened against the Rams, I thought the Hawks showed great resilience and perseverance on the road against a talented Lions team. I just rewatched the game and here are a few thoughts.
  • With all due respect to the Hawks' WR, RB, and QB, the real strength of this offense is the tight ends. While I know zero about the tight ends for other teams, it's hard for me to imagine another team having three as good as Seattle's. I love the flexibility this gives the offense and how Waldron is using them. While the Hawks used 11 personnel for most of the game, they had around 20 plays with 12 and 13 personnel including using multiple tight end sets for most of the OT drive that won the game. Their ability to catch passes and block puts the defense in a real bind. It forces the defense to load up the box to protect against the run opening up the passing game. Most of the play action that worked so well against the Lions was out of multiple tight end sets.

  • Speaking about the tight ends, while the second string tackles played surprisingly well, they had a lot of help from the tight ends. To be more accurate, Jake Curhan had a lot of help. This makes sense since he was going against Hutchinson, however, I think it's worth mentioning that Stone Forsythe had very little help and held up especially well in pass protection.

  • While the Hawks had only 82 rushing yards, it may have been the most impressive 82 yards I've ever seen. Walker has great vision and elite short area quickness. However, he still can't (or won't) block. For this reason, I think Charbonnet is the more complete back. I'm not saying that he'll replace Walker as the number one back and I still expect Walker to get most of the carries. However, I do think that Charbonnet will become the primary third down/passing down RB.

  • Although I do think the defense is improving, it's still a work in progress. While all levels of the defense need to improve, there are three issues that need to be addressed soon, the CB opposite Woolen, the Edge opposite Nwosu, and the scheme.

  • The Edge opposite Nwosu is a real problem. While I'm not sure who that someone is (my best guess is Boye Mafe) I am sure it's NOT Darrell Taylor. While Taylor has all the physical tools for the position, he seems to have zero situational awareness and still can't set the edge against the run. In addition, he's in his third year and still hasn't developed a pass rushing plan beyond using his speed to try and beat the OT to the outside.

  • I'm not sold on Tre Brown at CB. While he made some big plays, he also got beat several times and is not a willing tackler. To be honest, I'm a little confused as to why Brown is playing instead of Mike Jackson. PC spent most of the off season hyping Jackson and now that the season has started it's like Jackson has fallen off a cliff. I'm not sure Jackson is an improvement over Brown in coverage, but he will at least tackle. Once Adams and Woolen are back my guess is that Witherspoon will replace Brown, Adams will replace Coby Bryant, and Love covers the slot. This should solve most of the Hawks' secondary issues.

  • The defense as a whole is too vanilla and passive. I saw an earlier post saying that Hurtt needs to take advantage of the Hawks' talented secondary by being more aggressive with the front seven and I completely agree. The defense only blitzed a few times, which resulted in the only two sacks they've recorded this year. In addition, I don't recall seeing a single line stunt the whole game. I think stunting Jones and Nwosu would be especially effective.

  • I thought I read somewhere that the Hawk's hired a pass rushing expert to it's coaching staff. If that's true, I'm not sure what he's teaching the Hawks' DL and Edge players. All of the Hawks' rushers seem to have the same plan, throw their hands into the chest of the OL and try to push them back into the QB. In two games I don't think I've seen a single club, arm over, or rip move by any of our rushers. I also don't recall any Edge players using a counter move back inside to keep the OT from cheating to the outside. I'm not sure the pass rushing coach is worth what they're paying him.
 
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bileever

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Speaking about the tight ends, while the second string tackles played surprisingly well, they had a lot of help from the tight ends. To be more accurate, Jake Curhan had a lot of help. This makes sense since he was going against Hutchinson, however, I think it's worth mentioning that Stone Forsythe had very little help and held up especially well in pass protection.
I agree that the tackles did fine in pass protection. I think that where it showed that they were second stringers is in the run game where they weren't opening any holes and were getting pushed back.

I'm not sold on Tre Brown at CB. While he made some big plays, he also got beat several times and is not a willing tackler. To be honest, I'm a little confused as to why Brown is playing instead of Mike Jackson. PC spent most of the off season hyping Jackson and now that the season has started it's like Jackson has fallen off a cliff. I'm not sure Jackson is an improvement over Brown in coverage, but he will at least tackle. Once Adams and Woolen are back my guess is that Witherspoon will replace Brown, Adams will replace Coby Bryant, and Love covers the slot. This should solve most of the Hawks' secondary issues.
I think that Jackson had his chance and didn't look good in the preseason games. He seems to have fallen off the face of the earth because even with Woolen's injury, Jackson didn't see the field on Sunday except on special teams. I mean even Artie Burns played more than him against the Lions. I thought Tre Brown played well. According to PFF, they gave him a coverage grade of 85.5, which about the highest you'll see for a cornerback.
 

Ruminator

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  • The defense as a whole is too vanilla and passive. I saw an earlier post saying that Hurtt needs to take advantage of the Hawks' talented secondary by being more aggressive with the front seven and I completely agree. The defense only blitzed a few times, which resulted in the only two sacks they've recorded this year. In addition, I don't recall seeing a single line stunt the whole game. I think stunting Jones and Nwosu would be especially effective.
Is it just me, or does Pete seem to do this a lot -- fielding a restrained D earlier in the season... and letting them lay down the wood only after a few weeks in?
 
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bsuhawk

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I agree that the tackles did fine in pass protection. I think that where it showed that they were second stringers is in the run game where they weren't opening any holes and were getting pushed back.


I think that Jackson had his chance and didn't look good in the preseason games. He seems to have fallen off the face of the earth because even with Woolen's injury, Jackson didn't see the field on Sunday except on special teams. I mean even Artie Burns played more than him against the Lions. I thought Tre Brown played well. According to PFF, they gave him a coverage grade of 85.5, which about the highest you'll see for a cornerback.
I thought Brown was erratic (good: pick-six, forced fumble on the last play of the first half, pass breakups; bad: getting beat on the last play of the first half, getting beat for TD) but the real problem for me is his tackling (or lack thereof). Some players like the contact and some don't. It's clear Brown doesn't.
 

sc85sis

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Once Riq is healthy I expect to see him and Spoon manning the outside corner spots and various personnel playing NCB based on situation.
 
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bsuhawk

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Once Riq is healthy I expect to see him and Spoon manning the outside corner spots and various personnel playing NCB based on situation.
I agree, but the NCB will be interesting to keep an eye on. The team seems to be committed to Love, so my guess is he gets the first shot at NCB once Adams is back. How well that works is an open question. So far his coverage has been a bit hit-and-miss.
 

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Good observations all around. However, I'm am surprised you (and other fans) don't see what Tre Brown brings to the team. He sets a tone when he's out there. He's got attitude in his play that Mike Jackson does not have.

i get Pete talked MJ up but i think that was just coach talk. A challenge to Spoon and Tre to step it up which Tre did. I still like spoon over tre but I could see Tre making a name for himself if he ever takes over a starting role.
 

707HAWKfan

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Good observations all around. However, I'm am surprised you (and other fans) don't see what Tre Brown brings to the team. He sets a tone when he's out there. He's got attitude in his play that Mike Jackson does not have.

i get Pete talked MJ up but i think that was just coach talk. A challenge to Spoon and Tre to step it up which Tre did. I still like spoon over tre but I could see Tre making a name for himself if he ever takes over a starting role.
Agree with that 💯 think there was an attitude with Sherman and the rest of the secondary that's building back up. It's exciting watching that secondary being built up into the bully again. The not in my house attitude.
 

707HAWKfan

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It's the f around and find out attitude. DK's got that on offense. It's the Marshawn effect. It's the bam bam effect.
 

knownone

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Brown was a solid 2nd/3rd corner. He's an upgrade over Jackson.

I know people loathe the passivity on defense, but this style is exactly what Pete and John want.
 

707HAWKfan

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No matter what happens, Pete's teams hit that ring doorbell and say "Hey we're here" lol.
 

707HAWKfan

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No matter what happens, Pete's teams hit that ring doorbell and say "Hey we're here" lol.
That's why witherspoon went 5th overall. Aggression. Hitting people. Passion. Not about best overall. Look at how earl Thomas. Hella small but threw everything he had into every hit. Think that's how Pete wants his defense to be looked at. You're gonna off this field scared to see us again. Marshawn was the same way. You don't wanna see me in that hole. Just punishment lol. Anyways that's the way I see these guys playing.
 

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I would say that Brown is not a natural tackler rather than not a willing tackler. The dude's not Deion Sanders for heavens sake. And FWIW Riq is not a natural tackler either. You lose nothing in that respect with Brown in.

Brown is a solid corner but as the last line of defense, his mistakes will be magnified over say those of a DL. We need to stop holding DB's to such high standards in a modern NFL that has removed most of their ability to defend. Can't touch receivers after 5 yards, can't drill them when the ball arrives.

Only a handful of corners can survive in this NFL and play a shutdown role. Brown won't be one of them or he'd have been drafted high in the first round. But that doesn't mean he's not damn good.

And Jackson is just not twitchy enough, sorry. He's a career backup who's just good enough to get beat but make the tackle.


But to the OP's defense I agree that Taylor is a problem and I expect him to be gone after this year. Hasn't really learned the technique needed to play in this league. I'm hoping Mafe and Hall are the answers.
 
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