Scott Eklund, Seahawks.NET: I would say that’s a pretty good assumption. It’s hard for me to say because I’ve never been to another pro stadium, but I’ve heard that Kansas City has a pretty tough stadium to play in as well.
Qwest was built like Husky Stadium, just a 10 minute drive up Interstate 5, because of owner Paul Allen’s affinity for the noise that place produced when the Huskies were winning.
I believe it’s called a “Cantilever design”, where the roof extends out over the crowd far enough to funnel the crowd noise right down on the field. It gets so loud in both stadiums that some teams use jet engines in practices to try to replicate it so their players get a feel for what they’ll end up dealing with.
As long as the team plays tough defense, that noise will continue to be a “weapon” for them because nothing gets crowds more energized than good defense.
Also, the Seattle fanbase is pretty intelligent. They’ve started yelling when the QB is in the huddle trying to call the play. It’s absolutely brutal.
Ken Palmer: On that same note, are the players and fans aware of how many times the Giants jumped offsides last year, including five from starting LT Luke Petitgout?
Scott Eklund: Oh yes. We take immense pride in that. It reminded us of the days when the Kingdome was so loud that they created the rule that teams can be penalized for their fans being too loud. That was such a lame rule. “We want you to pay $80 bucks for a seat and then you need to sit on your hands so that the opposing offense can dissect your defense all day…thanks.”
Ken Palmer: The NFL took a bath on that one. Have they eliminated that rule or are they just not enforcing it anymore?
Scott Eklund: Believe me, the fans of Seattle have been talking about it all week on sports radio and on the message boards. The Giants are going to get more of the same this year and probably even more just because of what happened last year.
Ken Palmer: Is Willie Ponder going to be the regular kickoff return man? How has he fared so far?
Scott Eklund: He’s been back there as the kick-returner for the first two games, but teams have driven the ball deep into the endzone so he hasn’t had many chances. I just like the threat of him back there. He’s got a big reputation and I think teams are keenly aware of him. That can only help.
Ken Palmer: What did Seattle do to get better in an attempt to return to the Super Bowl?
Scott Eklund: Oh, well, let's see, we decided to give our Pro Bowl guard the transition tag instead of franchising him. Ugh – can you tell I’m still a little bitter about that one? That will haunt the Seahawks all year unless Chris Spencer can help improve the run-blocking. Floyd “Pork Chop” Womack, very much a fan-favorite, has been brutal and now he’s hurt – surprise, surprise – so Spencer is now the guy they will turn to. He’s going to be a good one and it’s nice to see him get his shot, but his natural spot is at center, so he’s really only a fill-in at this point. Definitely a position the Seahawks have to address next offseason.
SEATTLE - AUGUST 31: Cornerback Jordan Babineaux #27 of the Seattle Seahawks returns an interception against the Oakland Raiders on August 31, 2006 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Burleson was supposed to improve our downfield passing game, but so far he’s been a bit of a dud. I’ll give him a pass because learning this offense is tough and, with Jackson missing all of training camp, Burleson had to practice at a different wideout spot up until the first game of the season. He had better stop dropping passes though and I think he will settle in to be a nice player for the Seahawks this year as his comfort level improves. Seattle essentially traded Joe Jurevicius for Burleson and, while I don’t think they could have kept Jurevicius around because he wanted to go home to Cleveland, right now I would say that’s a minus to this point.
As mentioned above, getting Peterson in free-agency was a huge coup for the front office. Along with Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill, Peterson helps comprise the best linebacking corps in the league. Individually there are better linebackers (Brian Urlacher, Ray Lewis, Keith Bulluck) but combined they are very fast and instinctual and they all complement each other well. All three are great blitzers – something that defensive coordinator John Marshall has really unleashed this year – and their backups (D.D. Lewis, Niko Koutouvides and Isaiah Kacyvenski) have starting experience as well.
Ken Palmer: Who’s someone on the Seahawks roster that we haven’t heard of yet but will be talking about by the end of the season?
Scott Eklund: Great question – I would say either Hill, Jordan Babineaux or Kelly Herndon.
Herndon is the starter at cornerback opposite Marcus Trufant and he got a well-deserved reputation in 2005 of not being that strong of a man-to-man guy. He split time as a starter with the since departed Andre Dyson and the team like him as their nickel corner last year, but has really seemed to come into his own this year.
Seattle is playing a lot of the Tampa-two zone and he’s very well-suited to play in that scheme.
Babineaux is a coverage safety for the Seahawks. He’s got a nose for the ball – he single-handedly caused two turnovers that led to victories over St. Louis and Dallas last year – and the coaches love him. They can’t say enough good things about him. He’s a role-player for sure, I seriously doubt he would be an effective full-time starter, but in the role he has with the Seahawks he excels.
Seattle likes to use Hill on delayed blitzes. He’s so quick and he’s got a knack for getting to the quarterback too. He’ll be a Pro Bowler within the next year or two. Tatupu and Peterson get the national kudos, as well they should, but Seattle fans know that Hill is a real undiscovered treasure that the rest of the country doesn’t know about yet, but they will.