No announcement yet.

Seahawks/NFL: Hawks must stick to plan

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Seahawks/NFL: Hawks must stick to plan

    Seahawks/NFL: Hawks must stick to plan


    KIRKLAND -- The obvious concern when playing the St. Louis Rams is defending their explosive and multi-tentacled offense.

    But the real problem concerns an implosion by your own offense. The destructive tendency when going against Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Marc Bulger, Orlando Pace and Mike Martz is to think you have to score every time you touch the ball.

    This just-trying-to-stay-in-the-game approach too often takes a team out of its plan.

    It has paralyzed better teams than the Seahawks, who play host to Martz, his pack of productive players and all the mayhem they can create tomorrow at Qwest Field.

    That's why Matt Hasselbeck's reaction this week to the panic-button question was revealing and reassuring.

    The job of the Seahawks' offense, according to their quarterback, is finding advantageous matchups and going at the Rams within the framework of the game plan coaches have had extra time to formulate because of last week's bye.

    "As we get older and more mature, you worry about yourself more than you do about the other team," offensive coordinator Gil Haskell said through a smile when told of his quarterback's assessment. "The most important thing is that we understand what we're doing and do it better."

    The Rams have been in a nirvanic offensive zone for several seasons. That will happen when you win one Super Bowl and play in another, as the Rams did between 1999-2001.

    There is no better indicator of the Rams' confidence -- which some consider arrogance -- than Martz's play calling.

    Asked if he was looking forward to matching wits with Martz, Seahawks coach and play-caller Mike Holmgren offered, "Nah. Mike's a lot wittier than I am."

    Just another indication that the Seahawks are coming at this important game with the proper perspective. When teams and coaches try to outwit Martz, getting away from their modus operandi, they get their brains beat in.

    The Seahawks have been guilty of this in the past. Not this time. Not in a game in which they have a chance to start 4-0 for the first time in franchise history and open a 2 1/2-game lead over the defending NFC West champions five weeks into the season.

    Smart? Or smug? Who are these guys to flaunt a take-what-they-give-us attitude with a team that already has been where they're hoping to get?

    The Seahawks' 3-0 start has been constructed on a series of big plays by their No. 1-ranked defense. The offense has been more opportunistic than efficient, and ranks only 16th in the league.

    All the more reason to jab away rather than come out and try to exchange haymakers with the Rams.

    The Rams' revamped defense ranks 27th in the league and 28th against the run, allowing averages of 367.5 and 137.3 yards. It's a unit that has been vulnerable to runs up the gut.

    Also, the Rams are playing without injured cornerback Travis Fisher, and middle linebacker Robert Thomas is playing with a sprained ankle.

    The Seahawks' offense, meanwhile, enters this statement game after a needed dose of humility from the Buccaneers defense in Week 2, and refreshed from its bye week, which allowed knee injuries to running back Shaun Alexander and fullback Mack Strong to heal.

    Look at the Seahawks' offense when it has been most effective this season -- the final 10 minutes of the season-opening win in New Orleans and the first two drives in the second half of the blowout win over the San Francisco ***** two weeks ago.

    Against the Saints, they did a serious burn job on the clock by mixing runs from Alexander, Strong and Maurice Morris with one Hasselbeck pass.

    Against the *****, they ran the clock -- and ran up the score -- with two drives that consumed almost 12 minutes. Again, it was runs from Alexander (seven carries for 38 yards) and Heath Evans (three for 8 yards), but also Hasselbeck spreading his passes to six different receivers while completing 10 of 11 for 86 yards.

    "It's not an offense where you can key on one thing," said Aeneas Williams, the Rams Pro Bowl safety. "You have to play everything honest."

    It's Holmgren's offense. It's what Hasselbeck does best. It's the best way to match wits with the Rams.

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

Related Topics


  • RamDez
    Seahawks-Rams matchup huge on a number of fronts
    by RamDez
    Seahawks-Rams matchup huge on a number of fronts


    KIRKLAND -- Watching the St. Louis Rams kick the gold dust out of the ***** in San Francisco on Sunday was like watching what the Seahawks did to the once-proud ***** the week before at Qwest Field.

    It also prompted similar questions. Are the Rams (and Seahawks) that good? Or is it that the ***** are that bad?

    These twin conquerors collide Sunday in an early season biggie in the NFC West. The defending division champion Rams are 2-2 and need a victory to climb above .500, while the 3-0 Seahawks can open a 2 1/2-game gap with a victory.

    "It's obvious San Francisco is having some problems," All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson said yesterday, when the Seahawks resumed practicing after having the previous four days off during their bye week.

    "But St. Louis is a good team. They're the best team, in all aspects of the game, that we'll face so far."

    That's more than locker-room talk the week of a big game. Despite their 1-2 start, that included a squeaker over the Arizona Cardinals and an overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints at home, the Rams are winners of the NFC West three times in the past five seasons and runners-up the other two.

    Three reasons the Seahawks should be concerned:

    <LI>For the offense: The Rams' defense ranks 27th in the league and former coordinator Lovie Smith is now the head coach in Chicago. But the Rams still have safety Aeneas Williams and defensive end Leonard Little -- two players who have given the Seahawks fits.

    Williams had a career-high eight solo tackles against the Seahawks last December in St. Louis. Little had two sacks, six quarterback pressures and a forced fumble against the Seahawks in Seattle last year, and eight tackles, one sack and a forced fumble against them the year before, also in Seattle.

    "Their speed and their scheme," Hutchinson offered when asked what most worries him about the Rams' defense. "They like to bring pressure from a lot from different looks, and they have speed -- even their nose guard is fast."

    <LI>For the defense: The usual suspects. Torry Holt. Marshall Faulk. Isaac Bruce. Mark Bulger. Orlando Pace. Between them, they have been to 17 Pro Bowls and accounted for 279 touchdowns in their careers.

    "They're well-rounded. They have a lot of weapons," defensive end Chike Okeafor said. "We've just got to be disciplined, but still try to create havoc and turnovers."

    <LI>Intangible: The Seahawks are 0-5 after their bye weeks under Holmgren, including a 35-13 drubbing at the hands of the Packers in Green Bay last season that followed a 3-0 start.

    Three reasons for the Seahawks...
    -10-07-2004, 11:17 AM
  • RamDez
    Seattle's mixed-up first play was bad omen
    by RamDez
    Seattle's mixed-up first play was bad omen
    By Lori Shontz
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Nov. 14 2004

    As a metaphor for what happens when the Seattle Seahawks play the Rams, it's
    hard to get better than Sunday's first play from scrimmage.

    The Seahawks' Pro Bowl running back and their Pro Bowl quarterback crashed into
    each other on the handoff, leaving QB Matt Hasselbeck with a charley horse and
    running back Shaun Alexander with a banged-up knee.

    At best, the play was inefficient. At worst, if either player had been
    seriously injured, it could have been disastrous. And that just about sums up
    Seattle's attempts to beat the Rams this season.

    "That's one of those things that's just weird," Alexander said. "I was
    (thinking), 'How many people start a game where the two key players knock
    themselves out with no one else touching them?' It was just kind of like a big
    joke. I was (thinking), hopefully we'll be able to tell this story with humor
    down the road. And you know ... not as funny as I wanted it to be."

    Because yet again, the Seahawks fell to the Rams, the team they need to beat to
    get control of the NFC West and to make their Super Bowl aspirations seem like
    more than a pipe dream. The final score was 23-12, but no one cared about the

    "We wanted this game," linebacker Chad Brown said. "It would have given us a
    nice lead in the division, and for us to blow it ... with all the games we've
    lost this year, we've blown it. The fact that we blew it, and it's against the
    Rams, that makes us look really bad."

    The Hasselbeck-Alexander collision turned out to mean little. But plenty of
    other things went wrong.

    The Seahawks failed to score a touchdown even though they ventured inside the
    Rams' 30-yard line six times. They played such soft defense early, giving up
    touchdowns on the Rams' first two possessions, that Seattle coach Mike Holmgren
    said it looked as if the Rams "were out there by themselves the first part of
    the game."

    Oh, and when Seattle finally appeared to be taking control, with Alexander
    shredding the Rams' defense and appearing headed for the end zone early in the
    fourth quarter, Rams safety Aeneas Williams punched the ball out of Alexander's
    grip. Inside the 10-yard line. That ended the Seahawks' last and best chance to
    score a touchdown.

    "We can compete with their team," cornerback Ken Lucas said. "Their team is no
    better than ours. We're probably more talented than that team, it's just ... I
    don't know, they just don't make as many mistakes as we have been making."

    Over and over, the Seattle players sounded the...
    -11-14-2004, 11:17 PM
  • RamDez
    The ‘Hawks? In 2004, It’s a Lock!
    by RamDez
    The ‘Hawks? In 2004, It’s a Lock!
    By Doug Farrar

    However, before the Seahawks can take their “rightful place” at the top of the NFC West, there’s a bit of knocking off to do…the 2003 Division Champion St. Louis Rams are still a serious threat, they’re the established winners, and they’ll be a headache all year. So, in the spirit of competition (and to hopefully establish a friendly rivalry between Seahawks.NET and GridironGateway), I thought it was high time that a fan of each team state their case. You’ll read the take of my esteemed adversary David Spalter (also known as "AvengerRam" on the ClanRam forums) not to mention my rebuttal…and here’s why I believe that the NFC West crown in 2004 can only go to our Seahawks.

    Let’s get the obvious out of the way first…the Seahawks and the Rams are the only two teams with a real shot at the division, a fact to which even the most ardent ***** and Cardinals fans would have to bend. The Cardinals might be a team to look out for down the road (hiring Denny Green and drafting Larry Fitzgerald and Darnell Dockett will do that…they might even play spoiler this year), but the Niners are smack-dab in the middle of what they want their fanbase to believe is an intelligent, reasoned “rebuilding program”. Uhhh…sure. According to .NET salary cap guru “The Hawkstorian”, SF has around $20 million in total 2004 cap hit reserved for players that aren’t even on their ROSTER…what else are they going to say? All I know is that the next time I’m playing poker, I want at least one ***** executive at the table. It’s clean-up time!

    The Draft/Free Agency: The Rams’ first-round pick of RB Steven Jackson may have been a good choice in theory, but in practice, this is a case where going “Best Player Available” may hurt them in the end. By taking Jackson and passing over several notable (and desperately needed) defensive players, St. Louis, in the words of Little Richard, “got what they wanted and lost what they had”. With Grant Wistrom off to Seattle and Leonard Little’s future in serious doubt (a situation which had availed itself at the time of the draft), the Rams come into 2004 with major potential deficiencies on the line. The Rams pulled off what could be their best reach pick in the sixth round with QB Jeff Smoker, who could be great and only dropped so far due to personal issues that Smoker himself sorted out. Don’t know why, but there’s a little part of me that’s rooting for him to make it work.

    The Seahawks, in passing up Jackson and selecting Texas DT Marcus Tubbs, addressed need first. Seattle also drafted for potential (FSU linebacker Michael Boulware, who will be converted to safety), and depth in the offensive line (T/G Sean Locklear). They may have a steal of their own with fifth-round pick WR D.J. Hackett, a tough, smart potential possession receiver.

    While it’s difficult to grade drafts at the time they happen...
    -05-27-2004, 11:47 PM
  • Nick
    Holmgren, Martz share personalities with offenses
    by Nick
    Holmgren, Martz share personalities with offenses

    KIRKLAND -- Mike Holmgren and Mike Martz have been to the passing game what Rowan and Martin were to comedy.

    The offensive-minded head coaches of the Seahawks and St. Louis Rams have borrowed from others, thrown in some innovations and come up with schemes that, well, others have borrowed and tweaked.

    That's where the similarities exit stage right, however, as will be apparent tomorrow at Qwest Field when the Seahawks play the Rams for a third time this season, in a wild-card playoff game.

    Each team relies on rhythm and timing, not to mention the accuracy of quarterbacks Matt Hasselbeck and Marc Bulger. But the Rams use more seven-step drops by Bulger, and also keep extra bodies in on pass protection, to allow receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt to develop their routes farther down field. The Seahawks feature shorter drops by Hasselbeck, more receivers to spread the field and quicker throws.

    Which works best?

    That's like asking if you prefer mad or methodical; blondes or the brunettes; Rossi or Gregoire.

    "It's totally different," said Trent Dilfer, the Seahawks' backup QB. "They are much more vertically focused in the passing game. They're not trying to move the chains by throwing the ball. They're trying to get chunks of yardage. We tend to move the chains with our passing game."

    "It comes down to what you like."

    The play-callers behind these diverse approaches could be forced into incompletions while trying to adhere to their pass-first philosophies tomorrow, for two very different reasons.

    First, the forecast is calling for snow -- at a stadium where it has not rained for a game in three seasons.

    Also, neither of these defenses has had much success stopping the run.

    The Rams have been trampled for 150- and 176-yard rushing efforts by Shaun Alexander this season, and gave up 153 yards to the Jets' Curtis Martin last week -- the eighth time a back has gone for at least 100 yards against the Rams. Not surprisingly, they rank 29th in rushing defense, allowing an average of 136.2 yards per game. Even worse, they are allowing 4.5 yards per carry, which ties for second highest in the league.

    The Seahawks have been only marginally better, allowing an average of 126.9 rushing yards to rank 23rd, and they also are allowing 4.5 yards per carry. They have yielded 17 rushing touchdowns, second most among the 12 teams in the playoffs. The Falcons' Warrick Dunn ran for 132 yards last week, the seventh 100-yard rushing performance against the Seahawks this season.

    The combination of weather and weathered run defenses could alter the game plans, but if Holmgren and Martz have their druthers, the air space...
    -01-07-2005, 12:28 PM
  • Nick
    What's wrong with the Seahawks?
    by Nick
    What's wrong with the Seahawks?
    By TIM KORTE, AP Sports Writer
    November 15, 2004

    KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -- Last summer, the Seattle Seahawks were a trendy pick to reach the Super Bowl.

    As they keep reminding themselves, that goal remains attainable. Yet one day after their second loss to NFC West rival St. Louis, everyone from coach Mike Holmgren down was asking the same question.

    What's wrong with the Seahawks?

    ``Some of the things that happened yesterday, I'm struggling for answers,'' Holmgren said Monday. ``And I don't like that feeling.''

    This was one of Seattle's most celebrated games so far, a rematch with the Rams who struck for 23 unanswered points in the final eight minutes on Oct. 10, when St. Louis won 33-27 in overtime.

    This time, the Seahawks (5-4) allowed 17 quick points. Seattle's offense couldn't keep up, nor could it reach the end zone. Matt Hasselbeck was 15-of-36 for 172 yards with an interception, and was plagued by poor decisions and drops.

    ``I expect us to be better than that,'' Holmgren said. ``We missed. We just didn't execute. We didn't catch it very well. We didn't throw it very well, as well as I think we can.''

    Shaun Alexander gained 176 yards rushing to put him over the 1,000-yard mark in the ninth game, but he had a key fumble after a nice 35-yard run in the fourth quarter when Seattle was trying to close a 20-12 margin.

    Nobody knows what's wrong.

    ``If I knew, I would tell you,'' Alexander said. ``Obviously, we haven't figured it out. We all have different ideas of what would help. As a team, we're not doing it. We'll eventually figure it out and go from there.''

    Holmgren said repeatedly back at training camp that a deep postseason run was possible, provided Seattle's best players all performed well throughout the season.

    So far, that hasn't happened.

    A Seattle defense that stormed its first three opponents has been up-and-down since. Marc Bulger made six straight completions on the Rams' opening drive Sunday, and he was 11-of-13 with a 14-0 lead after seven minutes.

    ``We made it too easy,'' Holmgren said.

    Hasselbeck -- a Pro Bowler last season -- has had some solid games, mixed with struggles that leave Holmgren scratching his head.

    ``We're not far from it really exploding and being good,'' Hasselbeck insisted. ``Just like the week before when there were a lot of good plays, it's just 6 inches and it's a good play. That's kind of where we're at.''

    Great, but they've been saying that for weeks now. Hasselbeck believes the Seahawks ``are on the other side of that fine line,'' and he maintains there's optimism flowing through the locker room.

    Seattle, though, is teetering -- poised to go one way or the other.

    -11-16-2004, 07:37 AM