Rock's Chalk - 10/21/05

Seahawks .NET writer Mark "Rockhawk" Olsen takes a look at what's hot and what's not in the land of Seahawks football. Then, guest columnist Nick Shelly gives his take on the upcoming Seattle-Dallas contest.

On Fire

5. Peter Warrick – Now that he’s finally getting adjusted to the complicated offense, Warrick made some nice catches and let the team with 3 for 53 yards against Houston, but his ankle-breaking juke of a Texan defender for a 27 yard run shows what he’s capable of. .

4. Tom Rouen – The vet returns to the Hawks and stabilizes a position that was sorely lacking production from Leo Araguz.

3. Coaching – Coach Holmgren and his staff called an almost perfect game against a team that they certainly should have defeated. The offense was superb and the defense was acceptable.

2. Offensive Line – 320 net yards rushing. Are you freaking kidding me? .

1. Shaun Alexander – I just can’t keep him out of the top spot anymore. 141 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns on Sunday night is just sick. Rumor has it that he’s close to a long term deal with the Hawks, and I’ve finally come around to admitting that we should sign him.

* Honorable mention to Rocky Bernard who got another sack, giving him 4.5 for the year and Sean Locklear for making it tough to sit him down at Right Tackle now that Floyd Womack is back.

Ice Cold

* Note that I only have 3 gripes after a 42-10 drubbing.

3. Penalties – 3 consecutive offside penalties and a subsequent time out by Coach Holmgren to cuss out the players is simply embarrassing. The flurry of yellow on the field made me wonder if the refs just wanted to spice up the game for the national audience. .

2. Pass Rush – (Same as last week) I feel like a broken record. Seattle’s defensive line, especially DE Grant Wistrom, need to provide more consistent pressure in the backfield, especially with Wistrom going against a first time left tackle, Torrin Tucker. Pressure on Cowboys QB Drew Bledsoe is key.

1. Ken Hamlin – The news of his hospitalization hit the Seahawk nation, the Coaches, and players like a body blow from a boxer. Though he continues to improve in the hospital from serious injuries sustained in an incident outside of a Seattle night club, his presence on the field will be sorely missed.

Next on the List
Professional sports handicapper Nick Shelly ( breaks down the Seahawk’s next game and gives his pick for the winner.

NSport Analysis - Dallas @ Seattle

Recap: Last week I predicted a 23-13 final score and lots of Alexander with a conservative approach. We were close, 6 scores for touchdowns as opposed to the 5 scores I predicted, but the difference was touchdowns as opposed to some field goals. The Hawks have finally reached a level of maturity that great teams achieve. Enter Ken Hamlin, and there's a new wrinkle for the team psyche to contend with, and gives me an even tougher job for the Seahawks week 7 matchup with the Cowboys.

With Brian Griese falling in Tampa and a banged-up Eagles team, all of the sudden the Seahawks and the Cowboys are two of the top teams in the NFC. Technically, you have to give the edge to the Cowboys because they are healthier right now. The Seahawks are dealing with two starting receivers, a starting right tackle and both starting defensive backs all banged up, and they could all be out again this week. At least they might get Andre Dyson back (game-time decision), so they should be able to cover their receivers one-on-one with safety help over the top. Factor in the Cowboys beating the Seahawks on Monday Night Football last year and in this year's preseason, and clearly Dallas has the edge and very likely a Cowboys victory.

Unfortunately there may be too much adversity for the Seahawks to overcome. They have a 2 game lead over the Rams, so they don't have any pressure to overcome the adversity. I mentioned that this team has maturity, and it is the mature team who can take this loss and come back next week when they are in a better position to do something about it. Undoubtedly the Cowboys will bring it on Sunday, and will be everything the Seahawks can handle.

Consider the Cowboys offense - this is a multi-headed monster that continues to improve as the season progresses. The ultimate excuse for the ultimate head-game playing coach (Parcells) was a bad offensive performance against the Giants last week. The Cowboys tried to give the game away, and Parcells will make sure that they play mistake-free football this week. The question then becomes; do we let Julius Jones carve up the defense or allow Drew Bledsoe (who will be excited to play in front of WSU fans this week) to operate in a very efficient offense that will take their shots downfield? One of the most important issues when covering the Cowboy offense is just when you think you've contained the wideouts and the backs, you have a big impressive tight-end (Jason Whitten) to deal with. This is a difficult team to stop, and the Hawks may not have the horses to keep up.

On Defense, I see us having some run success against their aggressive new 3-4 defense. Not to the tune of 320 yards, but Alexander should see a solid 115 and at least 1 touchdown. Engram may be back, and Jurevicius has been nothing short of spectacular. I really like Warrick as an X-Factor player and he could be the key to success this week.

No matter how you slice it, this is a throw-away game for Seattle. Prior to the Hamlin incident, I was going to call this Seattle's game of the year. That tag is now being moved to a few weeks from now against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Vegas Line: Seattle (-3, 45.5)

Dallas .10 7 0 10 - 27
Seattle .7 3 6 .7 .- 23

Get your tickets now, this should be a fun game. It will certainly be emotional and very likely dedicated to Ken Hamlin. Should they win, I doubt they will cover the points, but realistically, I see there just won't be enough time to finish off the go-ahead drive in the 4th quarter, and the Seahawks lose again to the Cowboys. Not to fret, this is the team that the Hawks may face in the playoffs, and they’ll most likely get the win then.

Rock’s Final Thought

Coach Mike Holmgren showed his leadership by sending a controversial message to his team on Wednesday, asking them to avoid Seattle’s Pioneer Square, the site of Seahawk Ken Hamlin’s incident only 2 days earlier. It was a bold move by a Coach that normally seems to bend to the whims of his players. This is a true test to the “Team First” mentality that President Tim Ruskell has brought to the team, and one that may help to further bring the team together or divide it down the middle.

- Mark Olsen writes frequently for Seahawks.NET. Feel free to send him feedback at

- Nick Shelly has been a professional sports analyst and handicapper for over 10 years. You can contact Nick at Top Stories