Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Friday, July 29, 2005

5 Burning Questions

The Seahawks start training camp today WITH WALTER JONES, another key sign of the approaching apocalypse. Since the staff at Crushed Optimists are sick and tired of waiting for the Mariners to DO SOMETHING as the trade deadline approaches, it feels great to be able to talk about something else. In that vein, here are my (Colin) top 5 questions awaiting the Seahawks as they prepare for the 2005-06 season.

1. What will the special teams look like?

We were flat-out terrible with special teams last year, with kicker Josh Brown being the one solid shining star. However, his kickoffs were atrocious, and the opposition routinely began possessions around the 35 yard line. This started from the very first game of the season, when Michael Boulware saved the game by pushing the New Orleans returned out of bounds, saving a touchdown. The punt coverage was also astoundingly bad, especially when Alex Bannister was injured. Donnie Jones is out, so we have to choose a punter with the three we have invited to camp. Basically, there is a TON of work to be done in this department.

2. Can our receivers hold onto the ball?

The last two seasons have ended with a wrong route and a dropped ball. That hurts, and it needs to be addressed in training camp. Koren Robinson is gone, dragging his 5 tons of baggage with him. DJack, instead of complaining about a contract, needs to resume the sure-and-steady approach of his first two years in the league. Bobby Engram needs to put The Drop behind him and become our clutch performer once again. Pathon and Joe J. need to spend time playing catch with Hasselbeck in order to become used to his delivery. And, finally, Jeremy Stevens needs to take about 7 steps forward or else Itula Mili needs to become the #1 tight-end from Game 1 onward. No one will take our team seriously until this problem is corraled. We have a possession offense built on short, easy passes, and numerous possessions have been cut short due to inconsistency.

3. Will Marcus Tubbs be able to become the plugger at DT?

The middle of our line became a sieve last year, stopping absolutely no one, being pushed back at every turn. Rocky Bernard is a nice player, but he is NOT a starter, and should not receive a huge amount of playing time. Now is the year for Marcus Tubbs to begin coming into his own. He has the physical tools to become a strong force for our defense. If he can realize that potential, a lot of pressure will be taken off our middle linebackers, and the zone schemes loved by Ray Rhodes should work a tad more then they have in the past. Seahawks fans should watch his camp and preseason with great interest.

4. How will the linebacking corp. be structured?

This isn't a doom and gloom question like John Clayton would have you believe, but a real one with the many changes during the offseason. Obviously Sharper is a lock at one of the OLB positions, but after that the picture becomes hazy. I would love to see Tatupu and Koutoviedes battle it out for the MLB position, as hopefully they push each other to improve. Tatupu seems to have the instincts to become a great coverage guy, while Koutoviedes is tough and large enough to enjoy playing in the trenches. Maybe they can rub off a little on each other. The other OLB position will be decided between players like Tracy White and Dee Dee Lewis, who have both flashed some promise, but would need to step up their games to cause me to be confident in them entering the season. The wildcard in this mix is Peter Boulware, who still remains unsigned, and the Hawks still have professed interest in him as a 3rd down back. Him in this mix would add a great deal of excitement as well as some veteran leadership from an individual that knows what it takes to have a fantastic overall defense.

5. Is Ray Rhodes the answer as the defensive coordinator?

It has been two years. In both years the defense has started out strong and faded down the stretch, kowtowing in the playoff game. I am torn as to whether to blame personnel or the coordinator for the travesty that was the Rams game, in which we stopped them a grand total of 0 times in the 2nd half. For this, his third year, the grace period should be over. He has a pass-rusher. He has better, healthier linebackers. He has the makings of a terrific secondary. Can he provide the defensive schemes that make the most out of what he has, like someone like a Clancy Pendergraft at Arizona? So far I have been underwhelmed, as he seems to overly rely on zones that have gaping holes that teams such as the Rams easily exploit.

That's it for me. Whatever the question marks, I am excited that training camp is here, and am already looking forward to the season with great interest. We will blog a LOT more on the NFC West, but suffice it to say that I continue to laugh at the media's love affair with the Cardinals and their dismissal of the Hawks. We will see who has the last laugh.

posted by colin_hesse @ 1:10 PM  1 comments


At 12:17 PM, Blogger nach said...

So who did Walter Jones have to ask for directions to get to Cheeney?


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