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Across Enemy Lines - Seattle Seahawks

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You can barely raise your arms above your head for the pain. No batted down passes from him this year, bank on it.

You got that right. I've lived with both of mine jacked up for over 10 years. Easy for your typical civilian to tolerate and function somewhat normally, but not an athlete.

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Good Morning Panthers Fans,


As you can see by my handle, I'm a Seahawks fan, but I'm far from one of those obnoxious trolls (that we've unfortunately seemed to have picked up since circa 2005) who's here to troll or just stir up trouble.  I'm a respectable Hawks fan who's covered the Hawks faithfully since my family and I moved to Washington in 1977 -- so, I'm pretty steeped in it and have actually written some Seahawks pieces for places like Yahoo in the past.


Anyway, the reason that I popped in here was because I've read some of posts over here this week and there seems to be some confusion regarding the Seahawks and exactly what it is that you might see today.  I tried to pop in here yesterday, but was unable to because the system hadn't processed my account yet.  I tried starting my own thread on this, but since the system won't let me, thought that I'd go ahead and post what I've got to say over here.


One thing that I particularly shook my head over was a post by someone over here claiming that Russell Wilson was nothing more than a mere game manager.  I write weekly previews on each of the Seahawks opponents and this week, I decided to dedicate a section of that to Panthers fans who might pop over and happen to read it.  Here is a snippet from that piece (that I've augmented some/added to here) on the Seahawks and their offense ...



If you Seahawks fans will bear with me a bit, let me take a minute to talk about some aspects of the Hawks and their offense for those Panthers fans who might not be in the know and are reading this.  So, I read a preview on a Panther site this week in which the author contended that QB Russell Wilson (5’11” 206 pounds) was merely a “game manager.”  Nothing could be further from the truth (and shame on those NC State fans among you who ought to know better.)


During the first part of last season, Pete Carroll freely admitted that he was keeping things under wraps as far as the offense was concerned, as he didn’t want to overwhelm a rookie QB in Russell Wilson (whose head he figured was already spinning) with the complexities of a full NFL playbook.  So, he dumbed things down a bit, simplifying the offense and not giving him the full reigns. That changed really following the Panther (and especially) the Patriot games.  After Carroll removed the training wheels, the Seahawks offense really became to take off, so much so that by season’s end it was downright scary.


Through the Seahawks first 5 games (so including the Carolina Game), Russell Wilson’s QB Rating was 78.5833. (he completed 63.2% of his passes)


From Week 6 (the Patriots Game) on through the end of the season … Russell Wilson had a QB Rating of 111.5827. (he completed 64.55% of his passes)


So, it’s not at all hyperbole to say that the Seahawks are a vastly different offense now than the squad that faced this Panthers team in Week 5 last year. 


Over their final 8 weeks of last season, the Seahawks offense averaged 34 points per game … and the team went 7-1 down the stretch. 


The Seattle Offense could be called a veritable junk drawer.  The basis of the offense is the West Coast Offense … but as last season progressed, fans saw the Zone Read Option some (they really only utilized it about 10% of the time last year) … the Pistol Formation (developed at Nevada and used by Colin Kaepernick there) … halfback passes, flea-flickers, and all manner of interesting formations.  Unlike Mike Holmgren who ran the purest form of the West Coast Offense and focused more on out-executing people, it’s become abundantly clear that Pete Carroll and his staff will use/incorporate anything that they believe will give them a tactical advantage.  He gets almost giddy when talking about these surprise plays and has said that he loves making opposing coordinators think.  Additionally, Carroll and his staff are among the very best I’ve ever seen in:


  1. Identifying a team’s weaknesses and coming up with an effective plan to exploit them.


  1. Identifying what an opposing team is doing and in making in game adjustments to compensate.


By Carroll’s design, the Seahawk Offense is a RUN FIRST offense.  The two bedrock foundations of a Carroll system are the running game and playing hard-nosed tough in-your-face defense.  Seattle ran the ball more than any team in the NFL last season (536 times) simply put because Pete Carroll believes that’s what championship teams do. 


Here is how the play calling broke down for the Seahawks last year...


The Seahawks ...

ran the ball 536 times (57%)

passed the ball 405 times (43%)


And those passes that they choose to throw are often completions on mid-range to deep patterns.  The Seahawks offense is a bit of a big strike passing attack, as they averaged 12.5 yards/reception (Carolina, I know was #1 at 13.8 yards/reception.) 



Anyway, I'd love a little quid pro quo if you guys don't mind here.  Feel free to ask whatever questions you like regarding the Hawks and their offense or defense.  I'll try to answer them as best as I can given the time I have.


Here are a couple of general overall questions that I have at the moment for you Panthers fans ...


1) It's my understanding that Ron Rivera was looking at going away from the Zone Read Option and installing a more traditional running attack.  From what you can tell, has that happened?


2) What are your overall thoughts on Amini Silatolu and Mike Mitchell most likely being out for this game and on their replacements?


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all carolina has to do to beat seattle, is keep it simple stupid.  play to your strengths, dont do a bunch of fancy poo. dont abandon the run game and blitz wilson, hes still a young qb, he can get rattled into making mistakes.

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all carolina has to do to beat seattle, is keep it simple stupid.  play to your strengths, dont do a bunch of fancy poo. dont abandon the run game and blitz wilson, hes still a young qb, he can get rattled into making mistakes.


You know, I expect the Panthers to try to load the box and to bring pressure early and often in an attempt to bottle up Beast Mode and to try to apply heat to Russell Wilson.  Greg Hardy admitted as much on Twitter this week …


Jim Moore ‏@cougsgo

Carolina DE Greg Hardy on Russell Wilson: "We're going to tire him out. He can run all he wants. Eventually we're going to catch him."


I'm just not sure that's the wisest move.


Teams tried that strategy last year.  In Week 6, New England stacked the box and made a real point of keying in on Lynch and stopping him.  As we also know though, that game had a very positive effective for the offense as a whole, as it marked the real beginning of the rise of Russell Wilson.  With Lynch under wraps for most of that game, Wilson put the offense on his back, completing 16 of 27 passes for 293 yards and 3 TD’s (including the dramatic game winner to Sidney Rice). 


In the playoffs, the Redskins also loaded up the box, crowding the line of scrimmage in order to bring heat on Russell Wilson and to take away the running threat of Marshawn Lynch.  That worked to some degree, as Wilson was sacked 5 times … but the offense as a whole got clicking midway through the 1st Quarter and never looked back.  Lynch rumbled through the Redskins defense, finishing the day with 132 Yards Rushing on 20 Carries (a 6.6 Yards/Rush Avg) and a touchdown.  


Statistically speaking, Russell Wilson had one of his worst days last year against the Panthers.  Though he completed 19 of 25 passes (76% Comp Rate) for 221 yards … he was also picked off twice in that game.  I remember CB Captain Munnerlyn (5’8” 195 pounds) last year stepping in front of a route intended for TE Anthony McCoy and took it back 33 yards the other way to the house.  You guys are certainly thinking you'll see a repeat performance if they are able to apply pressure.


as I noted above, this is a vastly different Seahawks Offense from the one that the Panthers faced back in Week 5 last season.  Wilson is actually at his most dangerous when he is on the move, as he is an extremely accurate passer and innovator on the fly.  Anyone who at all paid attention to the Bears game and to the playoffs knows that to be true.  Danny Kelly over at Field Gulls noted some very interesting stats regarding Russell Wilson in a piece he wrote back in May …


In 2012, Russell Wilson worked his way outside the pocket to throw on 119 plays - he completed 65 passes on 105 attempts, a 61.9% clip. On those plays, he threw for 814 yards with 7.8 YPA, with 5 TD to 2 INT. His NFL rating on those 'outside the pocket' plays was 93.9 and his Total QBR was 73.4.




For a team that has a strong secondary, a better plan against Wilson might actually be to keep him in the pocket, telling the defensive lineman to stay home and shut down those running lanes, keep their hands up, and close off those passing windows.  The problem for the Panthers; however, is that I just don’t think they have the kind of secondary to truly dominate the Hawks receivers.  Just my .02 

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