.NET: Most fans are looking at this game with some trepidation – Seattle traditionally does not do well when traveling to the East Coast, nor are they particularly effective recently in early (10:00 AM PST) starts. So, there’s a double whammy there. If there’s one thing that concerns me, it’s that a lot of people in Seattle seem to be underrating Washington’s defense – I just hope that Mike Holmgren isn’t one of those people.
Warpath: I read the following in a preview of the upcoming game:
“While Washington's defense is capable of slowing Alexander down, it doesn't have the depth at corner to match up with the Seahawks' multiple-receiver sets.”
Of course, Jackson is a mainstay and a threat, but, at the risk of sounding contentious here, beyond that it seems to me that the rest of the Seattle WR corps consists of has-beens in the 30+ Joe Jurevicius and Bobby Engram and the never-was Peter Warrick. It doesn’t seem that this lineup requires much depth at corner to handle. What am I missing in these receivers beyond Jackson that should keep Gregg Williams up at night?
.NET: In a word, possession. The days of Seattle’s “Dropsy Twins” are gone. They left with exiled wideout Koren Robinson, and they aren’t coming back. What people who undervalue players such as Engram and Jurevicius fail to realize is that you’re now dealing with an integrated receiver corps in which it could be argued that the whole is greater than the sum, as opposed to the unlimited potential and equally endless frustration which marked the Seahawks’ receivers over the last few years.
Jackson runs routes just about as well as any receiver in the NFL, is far better this season at grabbing the tough catch, and is a YAC maven. Perfect West Coast Offense receiver. Engram alternates between the “X” and the slot now – previously, he was a slot receiver pretty much exclusively. He is a fabulous clutch receiver, and Matt Hasselbeck’s go-to guy on third down. Jurevicius is a huge target who caught touchdown passes in his first two games as a Seahawk. This is not a unit that will light you up – they like to implement slow death on defenses. And they’re very effective at doing so.
Warpath:Name one Seahawk on offense and one on defense that Redskins fans likely have not heard of who has the potential to make a game-turning play on Sunday.
.NET: On offense, I would say that WR D.J. Hackett might be a big surprise factor if he plays. He suffered a sprained MCL against the Chiefs in the preseason, but he’s ready to take the field again. Hackett, a second-year player out of Colorado, has good hands and probably the best top-end speed of any Seattle receiver. If Washington’s DBs are able to “cheat up” and take away the repeated possession script, a blow-away catch from Hackett might be the cure.
On defense, watch out for two guys – DT Chuck Darby and OLB Leroy Hill. Darby, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer acquired as a free agent this off-season, teams with Marcus Tubbs to form an extremely effective starting interior defensive line. Your “Hogs” will have their hands full with this guy. Darby is a bowling ball who can get under a guy’s pads and take on double teams. Hill is a rookie OLB out of Clemson with great speed and pursuit ability. If Ray Rhodes sends as many blitzes as I hope he will, Hill and Mark Brunell may become very familiar with each other.
Warpath:Seattle spent a very high pick to draft Shawn Springs and then let him go in free agency without—correct me if I’m wrong here—putting up much of a fight. If this game was being played a Qwest Field, would Springs be getting booed and heckled unmercifully or is there just a feeling there that it just didn’t work out and there are no real hard feelings?
.NET: There are hard feelings…and quite honestly, there should be. When Springs left Seattle he made some persnickety comments likening our city to “Egypt” in terms of media exposure. That in and of itself would have been forgivable, but it came on the heels of a season in which Springs got burned more often than Starbucks coffee. Example: when the Seahawks and Redskins last tangled in November of 2003, Springs just got abused by (then-Redskins WR) Laveranues Coles. After the performances he gave towards the end of his time in Seattle, it’s safe to say that a bit more humility would have served Mr. Springs very well.
In an article by Mike Sando of the Tacoma News Tribune published on the morning of September 29th, Springs took pains to be a bit more "PC" about his time here, but I think it’s too late for most Seahawk fans. In the opinion of this correspondent, Seattle has a great secondary right now, and I couldn’t care less what Shawn Springs does anymore – unless and until it’s against the Seahawks.
Warpath: What player is the Seahawks’ best overachiever and which one is its worst underachiever, in terms of physical talent vs. production.
.NET: Fortunately, most of the underachievers are gone, cast out in the purge led by new Team President Tim Ruskell. If there’s one current player that was giving Seahawk fans fits for a while this season, it was cornerback Marcus Trufant. Trufant has all the talent in the world, but he was getting lit up a bit in the preseason and in the first two regular season games. His performance against the Arizona Cardinals last week was encouraging, and we hope that will continue this week – it’s quite possible that Trufant will draw Santana Moss as his assignment.
Probably the biggest overachiever right now is rookie MLB Lofa Tatupu. This guy was drafted in the second round, and was considered a reach by just about every draft expert in the country (with the very notable exception of NFLDraftScout’s Rob Rang, a longtime friend of Seahawks.NET). Obviously, Tatupu is used to hearing the “too small/too slow” criticisms. And like Zach Thomas, Jonathan Vilma and the late Sam Mills, he just doesn’t care. He’s now the starting middle linebacker, and his veteran teammates are extremely impressed with his adeptness in calling defenses and anticipating plays.
Behind Enemy Lines: Seahawks/Redskins, Part One
Behind Enemy Lines: Seahawks/Redskins, Part Two
Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET. Feel free to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rich Tandler is the Managing Editor of Warpath Insiders, Scout.com's comprehensive Redskins website. You can e-mail Rich at email@example.com.