Extra Points - "Bringing the Heat"

Welcome back, old friend! In his debut column for the new Seahawks.NET, veteran reporter Micky James gives his take on the Seahawks-Buccaneers matchup.

All summer long I tried to avoid the buzz that was being generated by our Seahawks. In my mind I tried to downplay the high expectations that the so called experts were laying on my team. Afterall, we've been let down and severely disappointed so many times in the past, right? We've had pretty good Seahawks teams in the past only to come out flat to start a season and limp to the finish line, breaking our hearts again and again.

So, like any rational person would, I tried to refrain from getting too excited. Deep down I thought we'd be good but opening up with two tough games on the road after last years road woes loomed as a daunting task to say the least. Could we put the ghosts of last year behind us? Could we quite all the critics that said we'd be good but had to cure our road troubles?

Mission accomplished.

In the blistering Florida heat, our Seahawks displayed a defensive intensity and pressure that we haven't seen in a long time. We were flying around the field like wild men knocking down everything that wore a different color uniform. We gave the Buccaneers nothing. Even with the officials help down the stretch, we still gave them nothing. With our high powered offense sputtering, our defense stood tall and punched Tampa Bay right in the mouth. It's been a long time since our Seahawks have won a game like that and it bodes well for our future that we can win games even without our terrific offense leading the way.

Let's take a look at some 'extra points' from yesterday's victory.

The interior of our defense is much better than most of us thought it would be. Antonio Cochran and Rashad Moore are playing terrific football and Rocky Bernard isn't missing a beat when he plays either. We're getting some much needed pressure up the middle and we're stopping the run with regularity which good teams need to do to win these types of games. We're playing this well with minimal contributions from our number one draft pick Marcus Tubbs. When he gets healthy, we should only get better.

The acquisition of Grant Wistrom is already paying dividends. The guy has a non-stop motor and his presence has opened things up for Chike Okeafor on the other side. Chike has been terrific so far this year as well. I can't say enough good things about our defensive line play. A weakness from a year ago has turned into a strength this season.

Our linebacker play hasn't had the drop off that we all feared it would when Chad Brown was injured. Orlando Huff and Isaiah Kacyvenski have held their own the first two weeks and although Kaz has missed a few tackles, their play has been a pleasant surprise. Anthony Simmons continues to play at a Pro Bowl level making plays all over the field.

We have one of the best young secondary's in the NFL. Marcus Trufant is a superstar in the making and Ken Lucas isn't far behind. Both of these guys are shut down corners who allow Bierria and Hamlin to make plays in the open field by not having to worry too much about receivers getting open. It also allows Bobby Taylor to play in the nickel defense which is a luxury for us to have a corner of his quality on the field on third down.

All of those 'experts' that said Michael Boulware couldn't make the transition from college linebacker to NFL safety have to be eating crow right about now. The kid looks good back there and will only get better as he learns the position and gets more comfortable. Two interceptions in two weeks is pretty good for any safety, much less a rookie playing the position for the first time.

I thought Shaun Alexander showed a lot of guts playing this game with a sore knee. You could tell he wasn't a hundred percent but he gave a valiant effort and is hopefully getting rid of the 'soft' label that has hounded him since his arrival in Seattle.

It was nice to see Koren Robinson bounce back and have a good game this week after last week's disaster in New Orleans. He has deservedly been taking a lot of heat for the dropped passes so maybe this solid performance will get him over the hump in that department. We simply can't live with the dropped passes anymore and I think he knows that. He's been a disappointment since being a number one draft pick and it's time for him to change that. If he can string together a few games like Sunday's then he will be taking a major step in the right direction. We desperately need him to do that because if he doesn't then opposing teams will start to double team Darrell Jackson even more and that will disrupt our offense.

I can only hope that Tampa Bay didn't provide other teams with a blueprint on how to shut down our high-octane offense like they did back in 1999. Remember that game? We were 9 and 2 or something like that and the Buccaneers came into Seattle and spanked us, setting off a month long period of offensive futility caused by other teams picking up on what Tampa Bay did to slow us down. Of course, that was Jon Kitna at quarterback, we now have Matt Hasselbeck back there who I have the utmost confidence in, plus our receivers, offensive line and running game is much better than it was back then as well so we should be just fine but still, I couldn't help but flash back to that game 5 years ago and what it did to us then.

Is it just me or did it seem like we had never seen a blitz before? It wasn't like we didn't know it was coming but time after time Hasselbeck was pressured, knocked down or sacked. We definitely need to correct the blitz pick up this week because teams are going to start coming after us now. A few touchdown passes while being blitzed should do the trick and hopefully coach Holmgren will correct this immediately. We also have to get Chris Terry to play better. He was awful against the Bucs. Penalties and missed blocks killed us and he has to play better this week. He's a much better player than he showed on Sunday so I'm confident he'll bounce back this upcoming week against the 49ers.

We are off to a terrific start! Winning our first two games of the season on the road sets us up to have a very special season. If we can play as well at home this year as we did last year then home field throughout the playoffs is a real possibility. But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. There's still a lot of football left to be played but if we continue to play the kind of defense we've displayed the first two weeks and our offense gets it in gear which we all know it should, then this indeed could be the year that all of us long suffering Seahawks fans have been waiting for.

It's a great time to be a Seahawks fan, always has been, always will be.

Micky James writes weekly for Seahawks.NET. You can reach him at teamjames4@yahoo.com.

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