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    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Around the NFC West (Part 3): Punchless In Seattle

    The Seahawks’ offense isn’t going to scare anyone in 2007.

    There, I said it.

    The numbers don’t lie. When they won the NFC Championship in 2005, the Seahawks had a highly productive and efficient offense. In the running game, they averaged 4.7 yards per carry. In the passing game, the team completed nearly 65% of its passes, while giving up only 27 sacks all year.

    In 2006, the rushing average (despite playing in a Division with very poor rushing defenses) dropped to 4.0 yards per carry. At the same time, the completion percentage dropped to 57%, while the team gave up 49 sacks.

    “Wait a second”, Hawks fans will surely exclaim, “the team was without Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander for much of the season.” True enough, as they missed 4 and 6 games, respectively. But, the truth is, when they did play, their production was poor in comparison to the 2005 campaign.

    The real difference, of course, was the offensive line. While the loss of OG Steve Hutchinson is most often cited as the cause of the demise, the aging of veterans like Robbie Tobeck (now retired) and Chris Gray had a lot to do with it as well.

    So, what have the Seahawks done to rectify this problem? Not much. They failed to acquire any significant OL in either FA or the draft. Instead, they are hoping a group of veterans and inexperienced players will come together.

    The problems don’t end there, though. The team’s leading WR and TE (Darryl Jackson and Jeremy Stevens) are gone, and the Seahawks will rely on Deion Branch, D.J. Hackett, Nate Burleson and Marcus Pollard to provide Hasselbeck with open targets. Seriously, does that group strike fear in anyone?

    On paper at least, the Hawks have the best defense in the NFC West going into the season. For their sakes, that better be true on the field as well because, right now, their offense leaves a lot to be desired.


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    Re: Around the NFC West (Part 3): Punchless In Seattle

    There offense is sliding and to be honest their defense doesn't impress my either.

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    Brain Daddy's Avatar
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    Re: Around the NFC West (Part 3): Punchless In Seattle

    AV, I don't think I disagreed with a single thing you wrote, yet I disagreed with your overall "tone." My disagreement is predicated upon this one point:

    Despite all their problems, the Seahawks still finished 9-7. The other teams in the division have gotten better, yes, but I think Seattle is good enough to split with each team. As well, there are still 10 games outside of the division and I think they're more than capable of winning 5-7 games outside the division.

    While I do think Seattle's ship is sinking and their reign is coming to an end, I think they've got one more title in them before one of the other teams overtakes them.

    I didn't buy him as a quarterback. He's just so stiff, especially when he drops back to pass. Really stiff. He reminds me of Kurt Warner.
    -- Kevan Barlow on Adam Sandler's performance in The Longest Yard

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    Re: Around the NFC West (Part 3): Punchless In Seattle

    ironically, Theisman named the Seahawks the best offense in the division, and Hoge named them the best defense and team in the division. The Rams were named best offense by Hoge

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2909090

    that's the article if anyone cares

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    RamFanOH is offline Registered User
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    Re: Around the NFC West (Part 3): Punchless In Seattle

    Ram fans witnessed first hand what instability on the OL is like. We have had to shuffle players in and out, and from one position to the next ,for the better part of the last couple of seasons. When you start plugging in players, quick fixes, on the OL, as it appears that the Seahawks are going to do, it has a ripple effect on the entire offense. Hasslebeck will be pestered and chased more than if he was at home with Elizabeth. To the Rams credit they are coming through the rebuliding process of the OL healthy, and with a nice group of young players who played well together last season. Seattle is only beginning this whole process. They will continue to dink and dunk in the West Coast fashion, because that is the only time that they will have. Although, to their credit, they do it well. The run game will suffer with the OL inconsistency, and they will not be able to keep opposing teams honest.

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    Re: Around the NFC West (Part 3): Punchless In Seattle

    Well, that's certainly one side of the coin. The other side of the coin would be looking at how the offensive line began to gel in the later part of the season once they decided that Rob Sims was their man at left guard. And you pointed out yourself that the "aging" Robbie Tobeck has retired. Did you know he was replaced with a first round pick in Chris Spencer? Four out of the five starting line positions are set. They're set with the same guys that ended the season with stong outings against San Diego and Chicago where Shaun Alexander rushed for over 100 yards against two top tier defenses. I missed that part in your article.

    The only aging member of the offensive line at this point is Chris Gray who has to win his job in what has already been declared an open competition.

    And I'm confused about Jerramy Stevens. When he was in Seattle, most Rams fans said he was useless. Now that he's gone, we're gonna miss him? Isn't that kind of convenient? Darrell Jackson's departure allows Deion Branch to move back to his natural position and D.J. Hackett is no joke. The Seattle offense has never been based on high power wide outs. We haven't had an amazing wide receiver in Seattle in AT LEAST five years and that certainly hasn't changed. If Joe Jurevicius can come into our system and be successful after having a full training camp, Deion Branch sure as heck can. Seattle's offense has always been based around quick wide outs with good hands. That being the case, we're probably at least as good there as we have been in a long time.

    Is our offense going to "scare" anyone? Nope. I don't think it really ever has. Alexander is the only person on our offense than anyone could have ever put in the "scary" category and even then people said they weren't scared. This offense has never been built around being scary. It's built around being efficient.

    The Seahawks offense isn't scary. It wasn't scary last year either. So if I'm a Ram fan, the only thing I find scary is the defense that couldn't stop them last year and that hasn't upgraded enough to make anyone believe it will be any different this year.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    Seattle Seahawks - 2004 & 2005 NFC West Champions

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    Re: Around the NFC West (Part 3): Punchless In Seattle

    Fair enough. I think people outside of the northwest have grown tired of Seattle winning the division because there is absolutely nothing sexy about this team. Let me give you a few reasons why writing off Seattle is a bit premature.

    - The offensive line will be better than in 2006. It's easy to say if only because it can't get much worse, but here's why. Seattle relied on Womack (LG), Tobeck (C) and Gray (RG) last season to complement the solid bookend tackles of Jones and Locklear. Injuries devastated the unit and Seattle was forced to shuffle around young players like Sims (G) and Spencer (G-C). In the last 3-4 games Holmgren was very pleased with the production he was getting with Sims at LG and Spencer at C. With the massive and talent laden Ray Willis moving from backup tackle to RG the Seahawks stand to have a very talented, but very young unit (four starters with less than four years NFL experience).

    - Hasselbeck had a lingering shoulder (non throwing) injury from 2005 and a sieve for an offensive line last season. The shoulder was fixed and the offensive line (see above) is full of young, talented players who were forced into games and got a wealth of experience.

    - Alexander is a wild card. He runs as tough as a cream puff and might be the third or fourth best back in the division...but he's healthy and he worked out with the team for the first time in his career this offseason. He's dropped weight and according to local beat writers is more nimble than ever.

    - Stevens and Jackson are gone, true enough. The funny thing is I have gone from message board to message board for years and fans did nothing but bash these two for dropping balls and not playing tough, yet when Seattle loses them it will crush the offense? I'll miss Jackson because despite being near the league leaders in dropped balls every year, he was always the team leader in TDs and yards. But the fact is he had turned himself into an outsider with the team the past two seasons and both parties needed to move on. Stevens will be missed about as much as Wistrom...which is to say not at all.

    - Branch, Hackett, Burleson, Engram and Pollard are virtual unknowns heading into the season. Pollard scares me because the TE is relied on for 35-40 catches and he hasn't done it in a couple years. His blocking will be an upgrade from Stevens and his purse swinging. Seattle's offense picked up steam when Hackett became more involved and with Branch getting a full offseason of steady work with Hass he can only improve as the starting flanker. St. Louis and Arizona's wideouts are definitely better, but that has been the case the past two seasons anyway.

    - Secondary. Hamlin is gone. Why Dallas fans think he'll be a savior down there is beyond me. Seattle's defense suffered more when Marquand Manuel signed with Green Bay last season than with the loss of Hamlin. Seattle signed Grant and Russell to shore up the middle of the secondary and even if they are the 20th best combo in the league statistically this season, that'll be a noticeable upgrade from Hamlin/Boulware. The corners are loaded with high round draft choices from recent seasons, but they'll need to step up and play like vets. Jennings improved dramatically from week to week last year and Wilson has been a highlight reel in practices. They're small, but they're the fastest group Seattle has ever had. Mora Jr. should help out this year as the new secondary coach.

    -Reasons for concern-

    1. TE - Who knows what we'll get?

    2. Marcus Tubbs - After 15% of the roster started camp on PUP last year, Tubbs was the only one this season. Holmgren insists he'll be on the field by week three of the preseason, but if he isn't healthy then Seattle's run defense will be suspect.

    3. WR - It's a deep group, but Branch needs to prove he's our answer at flanker and Hackett has to show Holmgren he's the breakout WR Holmgren believes he will be.

    4. Kerney - Tough to say he's a concern when Ruskell wrote him a monstrous contract, but he's coming off a major pec injury. Wistrom was virtually non-existent on the Dline last year...absolutely worthless. Kerney has the potential to be a huge upgrade, but he has to be healthy.

    5. Ray Willis - Seattle looks set at four offensive line spots, but RG has been the weak link for many years now. Chris Gray was a passable blocker for many years, but the team really likes Willis. Holmgren has promised fans the last couple seasons he'd get on the field because he's a fan favorite and a coaches dream. He's 6-7, 330 with an attitude on the field that prompted Holmgren to say, "He's the meanest football player I've ever coached," in his final press conference after the 2005 season. The problem is that he's so tall the team envisions him as a tackle. Alexander compared him to former Hawks LG Hutchinson, only much larger and younger.

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