Better Than Advertised

IRVING, Tex. - Quick — name three Seattle Seahawks. Any three. Can't do it, can you?

If there's a team in the National Football League that barely registers on the radar of most fans across the country, the Seahawks are that team. Longtime quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is a Tennessee Titan. The heart and soul of the defense, middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, is an unemployed free agent. Cornerback Marcus Trufant, a fixture for years in the secondary, is on the injured reserve list.

Which begs the question: who are these guys?

The Seahawks limp into town for Sunday's noon game at Cowboys Stadium with a pretty pedestrian 2-5 record, but to hear the discussion around the Dallas locker room this week, this week's opponent is better than its record.

It's one thing for head coach Jason Garrett to heap praise on the Seahawks. Grab 10 other people from your office and suggest a game of flag football against the Cowboys, and Garrett will tell the media that your group of ragtag misfits should be clearing out space on a shelf someplace for the Lombardi trophy that seems destined to find its way back to your office.

But with players, it's different. When the Cowboys were preparing to face the hapless St. Louis Rams a few weeks ago, several players turned questions about the talent on the St. Louis roster into a chance to sing the standard tune about executing, eliminating mistakes, etc. Translation: "the Rams are awful, but it would be unprofessional for us to say that."

That isn't the feel this week at Valley Ranch. The Seahawks have just two wins this season, including a somewhat stunning 36-25 road win over the New York Giants four weeks ago. Their offense has been particularly benign — only four teams have scored fewer than the 109 points Seattle has scored through the season's first eight weeks, and the 284.0 yards of total offense the Seahawks are averaging are the second-lowest total in the entire NFL.

But Dallas safety Abram Elam said looks can be deceiving, even in professional football. The Seahawks might have some fairly pedestrian offensive numbers, he said, but they present a considerable threat to the Dallas defense that is licking its wounds after a 34-7 thrashing the Cowboys received from the Philadelphia Eagles.

Elam echoed Garrett's assessment that Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch is a "marquee player." Elam and Lynch first crossed paths when Elam was a member of the Cleveland Browns and Lynch toiled in anonymity with the Buffalo Bills.

"He says he's playing in ‘Beast Mode,' and I can see why," Elam said. "He can run the ball tough, but he also can take it the distance. He's very tough and he has great speed."

The other player who Elam said has looked impressive on film is Seattle quarterback Tavaris Jackson, the Minnesota castoff who has been joined in Seattle by a pair of other former Vikings: wide receiver Sidney Rice and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. That familiarity, Elam said, means Jackson's transition as leader of the Seattle offense has been much faster than it is for many first-year quarterbacks.

"They know each other," Elam said. "They (Jackson and Rice) know what (Bevell) is going to call, and why, he calls it, and they know each other so well. They don't look like guys who are new members of that team."

Elam also cited former USC star receiver Mike Williams, and rookie wide receiver Doug Baldwin, the 5-10, 189-pounder from Stanford who is leading the team in receptions, with 25, and in receiving yards, with 403.

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