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!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Week 1: Seahawks in Review

Take a dash of special teams disaster, add a pinch of missed assignments by the offensive line, throw in a helping of quarterback incompetence, and it all adds up to a Week 1 loss that, in and of itself, wasn't that unexpected (Gavin predicted it), but the way in which we lost it baffled optimists like myself. Let's work through an analysis position by position:

Quarterback:
Matt Hasselbeck: 21/37, 246 yds, 2TD, 3INT - Matt started off on fire, throwing strike after strike, finding D-Jack for quick 1st-downs, and having 2 TDs by halftime. However, that 2nd half was eerily reminiscent of the game at Arizona last year, when Hasselbeck looked jittery, held the ball too long, and made some REALLY bad decisions, especially the interception late in the game where he threw a lame-duck pass across the field that pretty much iced the game. Art Thiel is right. We need a consistent Hasselbeck if we have a chance at winning. He was the biggest reason we lost this game.
Grade: D

Running Back:
Shaun Alexander: 14 carries, 73 yds, 0 TDs - I have to give Alexander a mulligan on this game, going up against a GREAT D-Line that just doesn't allow 100 yd rushers. It also seemed like Holmgren was a little too fond of the passing game, especially late in the game, when the Jags D keyed off of that and blitzed at will. However, he is supposed to be a superstar, and he did not perform as such.
Grade: C

Wide Receivers:
Engram: 8 rec, 79 yds; D-Jack: 6 rec, 65 yds, 1 TD; Jurevicius: 3 rec, 64 yds, 1 TD - This was definitely an improved staff over last year. I only saw 1 drop by Alex Bannister (get healthy, Hackett!). They were running mostly sharp routes and holding onto the ball. Jurevicius is a nice large target for Hasselbeck. My one complaint was that they really couldn't seem to break open late in the game.
Grade: B

Offensive Line:
2 sacks allowed, multiple missed blocking assignments, only 73 yds rushing by Shaun - Not a spectacular job here, especially by Tobeck and Chris Gray, who was penalized a few times for holding. Jonathan Stroud OWNED the line of scrimmage, and the blitzers owned the Hawks in the 2nd half. Hasselbeck got pretty ancy by the end of the game there. These guys are supposed to be a huge advantage for us. Not this game.
Grade: C-

Defensive Line:
3 sacks (1 by Trufant), so-so pressure on Leftwich, 76 yds by Fred Taylor - A big plus here was the running defense until they tired late in the game. I saw at least 3 crucial 3rd and 1 stops, and it resulted in multiple field-goals instead of TDs on Jag drives. On the flip sides, Leftwich looked altogether too comfortable in the pocket at times. That offensive line wasn't that good, but we made them look remarkably steady too often.
Grade: B

Linebackers:
Sharper: 5 tckls; Tatupu: 4 tckls; Lewis: 4 tckls, 1 huge blown assignment resulting in TD - Not an outstanding job here, though I saw Sharper come up huge on those 3rd and 1 stops. Tatupu got bowled over at least twice by Fred Taylor that I saw, and Lewis didn't seem to understand the zone schemes, getting caught out of position on the first touchdown catch by Jimmy Smith. They didn't lose the game for us, but you want more than 13 tackles from your starting linebacker corps. Yowch.
Grade: C-

Secondary:
Trufant: 7 tckls, 1 sack, 1 FF; Dyson: 2 tckls; Herndon: 6 tckls, 1 huge play being beat by Smith; Hamlin - 4 tckls, 1 nice exchange with Reggie Williams - There will be some blame at these guys for allowing Jimmy Smith to have 130 yds and 2 TDs, and there is some blame to go around there. Know that the first TD was Lewis' fault, and, on the 2nd TD, the cornerback (I think it was Dyson) appeared to have pretty good coverage, the pass was just perfectly thrown. They will be fine. They do need a better pass rush to survive good passing attacks, and I'm sure Holmgren will be pleasantly mentioning that this week in practice.
Grade: B-

Special Teams:
That fumble by Scobee to start out the game was huge, but it was the cause of the excellent hit by the defender, as the helmet directly struck the ball, knocking it out. Brown looked fine, Araguz is a heck of a lot better punter then who we had last year, and at least Jacksonville didn't continually start at the 40 after kickoffs.
Grade: B

Turnovers:
5 of them, leading to 9 points. Check out the final score. We lost by 12. It should have been more, as the defense actually stiffened. On those turnovers, Jacksonville started on our 41, our 33, our 15, our 31, and their 46 (end of game). Absolutely terrible. Terrible. The fact that we actually had a chance to win this game with 9 minutes left speaks volumes about the way our defense played.
Grade: F-

Coaching:
Can Holmgren control the turnovers? No. However, he can control only giving Alexander the ball 14 times. He's a workhorse, and needs the ball 20 touches a game minimum. Otherwise, why have a top-5 running back? It also appeared like the Jags D-Coordinator had our playbook in the 2nd half. He was consistently one step ahead of Holmgren with his blitzing scheme. On the other side of the football, the D played a little above what I would have expected for Week 1, so I was pleasantly surprised.
Grade: C

Overall:
Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes. C'mon guys! If you want to be considered a playoff team, you have to do better then that.
Grade: C-

For Next Week:
-- Protect the football: This is self-explanatory. You simply can't win with 5 turnovers in the NFL. The league is too balanced to give any team that type of advantage.

-- Protect Hasselbeck: This might be able to happen with my next point....

-- Give Alexander the rock: The defense will not be able to consistently blitz if you give Alexander the ball more, and get crisper screens going. I hadn't seen the screen work that poorly for Seattle since Holmgren arrived.

-- Work on different blitz schemes: Our linebackers are still not generating enough added pressure on blitzes, making completions easier instead of harder.

-- Stack the box against the run: This is Atlanta. They run. A lot. Dare Vick to beat you through the air. If he does it, tip your cap.

posted by colin_hesse @ 4:15 PM  0 comments

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