Note: I haven’t been commenting much on the Seattle Seahawks so far this season. With the year ending injuries to key defensive stars Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, plus the problems with the offensive line and the running game, I have been, more or less, in “wait and see” mode as regards this […]Read the Rest →
For us dyed-in-the-wool Seattle Seahawks fans this last week has been a bit rough. We have had to listen to national pundits like Trent Dilfer on ESPN tell us that our team, though good, has too many holes to be a serious Super Bowl contender. Dilfer and the others of his ilk were basing their comments on the game Seattle played against the St. Louis Rams this Monday last; a game in which Hawks quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked 7 times and his offensive line was a no show; and in which Seattle could only muster about 140 yards of offense and Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch carried only eight times for 23 yards. It was bad enough that we had to watch that stinker of a game on Monday night; we also had to listen to Dilfer et al talk as if that game defined the Seahawks season. Worry not Hawks fans—it doesn’t!
It is true that, for whatever reason, the Seahawks did not put their best foot forward in this game. It is also true that they still won 14-9 and are now 7-1 on the season with the best record in the NFC and sit all alone atop the NFC West. Dilfer and company would do well to refresh themselves on some recent history. The New Orleans Saints, the team with the second best record in the NFC at 6-1, played the currently winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-8) during week 2 and barely escaped with a 16-14 victory. Does that game define the Saints season? The Seahawks stomped the San Francisco 49ers 29-3 during that same week 2. Does that game define the 49ers season? Last year the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens played the Kansas City Chiefs during week 5 and won by the skin of their teeth 9-6. The Chiefs in 2012 won 2 games the entire year and were probably the worst team in the league. Did that game define the Ravens in 2012? Hell, the Ravens lost four of their last five games of the 2012 season and still went to the Super Bowl and won it. What does that tell you?
Dilfer and the rest of his ESPN cronies are smart guys and for sure know more about football than I do. But after losses during weeks 2 and 3 to the Seahawks and Colts they talked as if the 49ers were dead, and they clearly weren’t and aren’t. Neither are the Seahawks. So what do these guys really know? They know how a team played in its last game and that is pretty much it. They have no crystal ball for the future.
And that brings us to the Seahawks’ next game this Sunday against those same 0-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers that the Saints eked out a victory over in week 2. Seattle is returning home to CenturyLink Field for this game after winning their last two games on the road against their NFC West rivals, the Arizona Cardinals and the aforementioned Rams. Having not lost at “The Clink” during the Russell Wilson era, a record of 11-0 during that time, the Seahawks are looking to get well on some real home cookin’.
As for the Bucs, they appear to be on the verge of becoming a broken team spirit wise. Rarely in the annals of football has a team experienced this much adversity in such a short period of time; the causes of which range from disease to injury to quarterback and head coach controversy. Starting guard Carl Nicks, one of the best in the league, was getting treatment in the off season for a toe injury and contracted a MRSA  infection which resulted in him missing the first couple of games of the season. He returned for a couple of games and now is likely out for the season with a recurrence of the infection. The Bucs talented running back Doug Martin, who rushed for 1400 yards and went to the Pro Bowl during his rookie, 2012 season, injured his shoulder two weeks ago, is definitely out for the Seahawks game and likely is lost for the season. The Bucs number two wide receiver Mike Williams has been placed on injured reserve with a torn hamstring (ouch!) and is also out for the season.
As bad as the injury scene with Tampa Bay is, it runs a poor second in terms of press ink to the flap that developed between erstwhile, starting Buc quarterback Josh Freeman and head coach Greg Schiano. Amidst claims made by Schiano that he had overslept and missed team meetings and photo sessions, Freeman, who last season threw for 4,000 yards and 27 TDs, earlier this season had his team captaincy status removed and was ultimately benched (and then traded to the Vikings) in favor of rookie signal caller Mike Glennon. Ironically the 6’6” Glennon was Russell Wilson’s understudy when they both played at North Carolina State and they have stayed in touch since those days. Truly, it is a small world. Glennon’s ascendency to the Buc quarterback position has not changed the team’s fortunes as they have continued to lose and at this rate we are likely witnessing coach Schiano’s last season in Tampa Bay.
For all the difficulties on offense, the Buc defense is a good one and is manned with some great players. Darrelle Revis is a perennial All Pro cornerback and linebacker Lavonte David is fast, a great tackler and has 5 sacks. Former Washington Husky and San Francisco 49er Dashon Goldson is solid at the safety position winning All Pro honors last season. As a defense it is ranked 9th overall and 6th against the run, plenty good enough to win, which points up the difficulties on offense. I would be remiss not to point out one Buc player who is not responsible for the offensive woes and that is wide receiver Vincent Jackson. At 6’5” and 230 lbs Jackson is your prototypical, big NFL wide receiver in the Calvin Johnson mold. Last season he caught 72 balls for nearly 1400 yards and 8 scores and already has over 40 catches this year. He is a great player and the Seahawks “Legion of Boom” will have their hands full stopping him.
It is a good thing for the Seahawks they are returning home for this game. They need that home field advantage about now. We have to expect that the offensive line will not be so “offensive” this week, if you take my meaning, and that Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will come up with a game plan that utilizes Marshawn Lynch to the hilt and buys time for Russell Wilson.
If they do expect the Hawks to win by 10 to 14 points.
And if they don’t…well…let’s not go there just now.
We certainly don’t need any more fodder for Trent Dilfer.
Copyright © 2013
By Mark Arnold
All Rights Reserved
 MRSA means methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Methicillin is an anti-biotic used in treating bacterial infections
 Calvin Johnson is widely considered the greatest wide receiver in the NFL and one of the two or three greatest ever. Nicknamed “Megatron” , he plays for the Detroit Lions and is 6’5” tall and weighs 235lbs