Breaking News: Boulware on the Bubble?

ESPN's John Clayton reported on Tuesday that Seahawk Michael Boulware could soon be replaced as the team's starting strong safety by reserve Jordan Babineaux. Clayton's report indicates that Boulware has given up four touchdowns this season, a team high.

His bite on a fake post against the Minnesota VikingsMarcus Robinson allowed one of those scores in embarrassing fashion when the Seahawks lost to the Vikings, 31-13, last Sunday.

Boulware has been a valuable part of the Seahawks’ defense since his rookie year of 2004, but when Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren addressed the secondary situation during his Monday press conference, it was obvious that further “leakage” will not be tolerated.

“Clearly that was the story of the game, one of the stories,” he said, when asked about Seattle’s proclivity for giving up big plays this season. “As the coaching staff, we feel like none of the plays should’ve happened. They did. On two passes, we misplayed the coverage. They’re mistakes. Those are certainly mistakes that I think are correctable, I’d hope are correctable, that happen in games. Things happen, but it has happened a little too much now.”

When asked about the team’s ability to lock down when necessary last season, Holmgren was succinct when addressing the root cause – it’s not the coaches. “We’re not doing anything differently, to be honest with you,” he continued. “We’re coaching the same way. We’re emphasizing the same points. Sometimes I ask the same questions you do. I’m a little puzzled as to why certain things happen at times during the game. I have to find out why that’s happened. Either (the players are) not understanding what I’m saying, (they’re) being stubborn, or something. It’s my job to find out why that’s happening. That is happening a little bit right now in our secondary. We’re going to find out, and then I’ll do what I have to do if I don’t like my answers that I’m getting.”

Whether the news of Boulware’s demotion is a real possibility or simply Holmgren’s way of sending a message through the media, it’s clear that this defense, ranked 19 th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, which is explained here) in pass defense, poses a problem for the team. The Seahawks are 25th in passing yards allowed (225.5 per game), and they’ve allowed 11 touchdowns through the air – only Detroit, Miami, Washington and San Francisco have allowed more. In the entire 2005 season, Seattle allowed only 18 passing touchdowns, though the defense allowed a strikingly similar 222.4 yards per game.

The bottom line? Seattle is getting burned deep in ways that championship teams don’t. Something has to be done, and soon. Obviously, the coaching staff is well aware of these facts. We can but wait and see how the new urgency manifests itself…


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