Behind Enemy Lines: There's nobody better to go to for the straight, solid information about the Seattle Seahawks than to Doug Farrar, the publisher of Scout.com's Seahawks.net. We posed him five questions, here are his answers.
WarpathInsiders: After the Seahawks
lost in Washington, you wrote
that the game exposed Seattle's
"soft underbelly". Does that underbelly still exist and if not, can
you give some moments from their 12 games since that convinces you that it's
hardened up considerably?
Seahawks.net: After the loss
to the Redskins, the Seahawks were stuck at 2-2, and it looked to most
observers that another up-and-down campaign was in the cards. Who could have
known that the team would not lose another meaningful game, rolling off 11
straight wins, decimating their conference and ending the season with the NFC's
underbelly is long gone – what we were seeing early in the season was a
Seahawks team still getting used to total integration after so many
dysfunctional seasons. There are many examples of this new internal toughness
and resolve – Seattle led the NFL in drives of 80 yards or more with 24, they
picked up 23 more sacks then they allowed (50-27), they were #1 in the NFL in
red zone offense (71.7 TD %), and second in the NFL in red zone defense (40.4
TD % allowed).
importantly, the late-game collapses that marked previous Seahawks campaigns
are but a memory. Jordan Babineaux' late interception and Josh Brown's
subsequent game-winning field goal against the Dallas Cowboys in Seattle's
13-10 victory on October 23 seemed to be the karmic back-breaker.
Seahawks used to be a team filled with talented but undisciplined individuals
pointed in umpteen different directions. Now, winning is the common goal.
WarpathInsiders: One of the more
surprising stats I've seen this week is that the Seahawks led the NFL in sacks
with 50. Does the front four generate most of the pressure or does Ray Rhodes
like to blitz a lot?
be noted that Rhodes has spent this season recovering
from the stroke he suffered on September 4, and linebackers coach John Marshall
has ably manned the controls with Rhodes as a
50 sacks, the defensive line was credited with 32.5. 11.5 came from rookie
linebackers Leroy Hill and Lofa Tatupu, three from DBs, and three were team sacks.
I wrote an article on December 4th
in which I charted all of Eli Manning's 53 pass attempts when New
York came to Seattle
on November 27. Seattle brought
pressure from linebackers and/or DBs on 15 of those 53 attempts. The Seahawks
are not generally known as a blitz-happy team, and I'd say this game was pretty
typical in that regard.
WarpathInsiders: Darrell Jackson had
a solid game against the Redskins and then he got hurt and missed most of the
rest of the season. Is he fully healthy and back into the flow of the offense?
Healthy? Yes, according to Mike Holmgren during his Tuesday press conference.
Holmgren said that Jackson should
not be limited at all during practice this week. However, Jackson
has played in only two games since the Washington
loss – he missed ten weeks with a knee injury, played against the Titans and
Colts and then sat out the season finale against Green Bay
when the Seahawks weren't playing for anything but Shaun Alexander's records. Holmgren
also said that Jackson will have to
blow off some rust (last catching a pass against Indy on 12/24), and that he
expects to rotate receivers. You could see Joe Jurevicius, for example, in the
slot or split wide.
guesstimate is that Jackson will
play most of the game and get a good number of footballs thrown his way. Seattle's
offense relies less on a #1 receiver than most, though – Hasselbeck is used to
sharing the wealth.
WarpathInsiders: Complete this
sentence: "The Redskins defense had better not sleep on. . ."
name Jurevicius or SLB Leroy Hill here (and I almost did)…but after seeing and
reading a number of pundits put forth the opinion that all one must do to stop
the Seahawks' offense is to stop Shaun Alexander, I'd say that America had best
wake up to Matt Hasselbeck in a big hurry. Seattle's
QB is coming into the playoffs hot with a 135.5 QB rating over four games in
the month of December. During that month, Hasselbeck completed 76.1 of his
passes (67 of 88) for 777 yards, 10 touchdowns and only one interception. That
76.1 percentage is the highest in NFL history for any quarterback in December
when starting at least four games.
was the NFC's leader in passer rating, and will be the conference's starting QB
in the Pro Bowl…it's a bit strange that people don't seem to be giving him more
credit as a potential offensive force, especially given the fact that he'll
have Jackson out there. If the
Redskins don't see this, and decide to stack the box, don't say we didn't warn
you. Although he was decent in Week Four against Washington
(26 of 38 for 242 yards and a touchdown), this is a different Hasselbeck. Does
the defense's general focus on Alexander help him? No doubt. But Matt's
effectiveness, especially over the last half of the season, has turned Seattle's
offense into a "pick your poison" proposition.
WarpathInsiders: Finally, the most
important question: Will the Seahawks be wearing dark jerseys at home? It's a
critical question because the Skins' current six- game winning streak has been all in white jerseys and white
pants. Do the 'Hawks have any interesting good luck charms or superstitions?
I have read
that Washington will be wearing
their whites, and I'd assume that the Seahawks will go with the blue unicolor
look. Not aware of any specific superstitions (although I have heard about
Shaun Alexander's proclivity for pregame peanut M & Ms), but let's be
frank. Seattle is 4-9 against the
Redskins in their history, Washington
is the only current NFL franchise Mike Holmgren hasn't defeated, and the
Seahawks haven't won a playoff game in 21 years.
If they HAD
superstitions before, I'd say now would be a good time to set them aside.