Unlucky Weak Seven

Unlike what transpired during, or in the fortnight following, the Bears debacle, last Sunday's thrashing of the Seahawks at the hands of the Vikings got nothing more that a shrug from this diehard.

Going into the game, the Vikings paralleled the Rams based on my twisted analysis. They’re a solid team, who will win the games they’re supposed to, and a few they aren’t because of their conservative play calling and turnover -free style of play. If you play conservative and mistake-free football in this league, you’re going to at least be .500. And that’s where I had the Vikings pegged.

I figured it would be somewhat of a struggle considering the Vikings defensive strength, Venus and Serena Williams squatting in the middle of the defense, matched up cozily against the Hawks’ offensive weakness, interior offensive line play. At times I find myself wondering if somehow Brian Habib and Andy Heck snuck back on the field.

I knew Matt Hasselbeck would be Ellen Barkin, the “Williams sisters” Robert DeNiro, and Maurice Morris’ whiffed blocks would make him Leonardo DiCaprio. All that was missing was Venus or Serena instructing Matt, “It’s my house, my rules, on your side or doggy, those are your two only choices”.

Aside from that, I liked the Hawks’ chances. I knew it was going to be a tough game, most likely closely contested late into the third quarter or so, until the Hawks finally broke it open. Well, I underestimated the Vikings entirely.

First off, all of us fans need to wake up and smell the non-Starbucks coffee; Brad Childress is the real deal. Not only does he look like Mike Holmgren or Andy Reid if they went on Michel Strahan’s “best friend”, Dr. Ian Smith’s, “Fat Smash” diet for a year, he seems to have their coaching ability as well.

Second, Brad Johnson continues to be an underestimated QB. Much like the Paul Bunyanesque Trent Dilfer, he’s a devastating game manager. Unlike Dilfer, at least at this point in their careers, he can still throw the ball well, especially deep.

And lastly, the Vikings appeared to want it more that the Seahawks – plain and simple. Childress has that team believing that they can do anything. Childress had to know that beating Seattle, in their house, would give his team enough confidence for two years, or until Johnson finally retires at age 62.

The Seahawks on the other hand, seemed lethargic coming into the game. And metaphorically broke into tears and a hissy fit when Hasselbeck went down. That’s tough for me to swallow considering I live and die with this team – and thought the days of mental weakness were a thing of the past given last years run, guys like Lofa, Hamlin, and the newly acquired Deion Branch.

To boil it down even further; one team wanted it and one team assumed it. Let’s all hope the Seahawks begin wanting it again.

Here’s a few, most likely Xeroxed, observations from the game;

  • First and foremost, if I ever have to listen to or see Terry Donahue in a booth again – I’m going slit my wrist via a thousand paper cuts. Even worse than his presence was him adding his insight on personnel and coaching, two things he knows nothing about. He was the most overrated coach I’ve ever witnessed – which somehow he parlayed into a GM job with the then clueless San Francisco 49ers. Donahue critiquing or even speaking to the game of football, especially considering the GM’s and coaches’ involved last Sunday, is the equivalent of me commenting on the decisions or direction the current Pope is taking with the Catholic Church.
  • The defensive backfield is playing together so bad, I honestly think Stephen Hawking and “Timmy!” from South Park could beat them in a three-legged potato sack race. The cornerbacks are passing off their assigned receivers to the safeties, as game planned, but the safeties are forgetting to grab the baton. In my opinion, the recent demotion of Michael Boulware hints at panic and a coaching staff blamescaping its inability to get to the QB or coach up the secondary. At the end of the day, there’s a reason the Seahawks defense is top-heavy from a talent perspective in the front seven. The goal is to minimize their secondary’s exposure. That’s the real issue.
  • I’m not sure what it means or why, but every Seneca Wallace drop is a seven steps, over the standard five step drops we mostly see from Hasselbeck. Maybe it gives Seneca a bit more of a passing lane since, unlike me, he’s vertically challenged. Or dare I say, it opens up the middle of the pocket just enough to set up a run from Seneca. Or it could just be Seneca’s so quick; his seven step drops are the equivalent of Hasselbeck’s five.
  • It’s easy to blame Maurice Morris for the recent running game woes. But, Holmgren needs to be just as accountable. Last week Maurice Morris had 17 carries, which isn’t enough to get most RBs going. And a lot of those carries seemed to be at odd times. The key to the second half comeback against the Rams, in my opinion, was Holmgren’s commitment to running the ball on standard plays, ie. 1 st and 10.
  • Unless something dramatic changes, the Seahawks are not going to beat a team with dynamic defensive tackles. A lot of us, including myself, reached for reasons why the offensive line will be “fine” without Steve Hutchinson. Well, we were wrong. Hopefully time, and the cohesion that goes along with that, will remedy that disappointing unit soon.
  • The more I think about it, the more I’m starting to the Branch trade had little to do with fears of D-Jack’s knee or contract woes. I think the Seahawks have always been a bit wary of having Darrell Jackson as the number one given his unique and quirky characteristics. D-Jack’s has been and will continue to be one of my all-time favorite players. But, occasionally he has mental lapses – as he did last Sunday. Branch is the consistent Gallant to D-Jack’s occasional Goofus.

It’s up to Holmgren, not Seneca Wallace

Most, if not all, great coaches are extremely stubborn in nature.

Lou Pinella’s treatment of young pitchers would be considered “mental abuse” in most courtrooms. Bill Parcells always seem to have a few role or bit players follow him around in whatever city he ends up, regardless of age or ability. George Karl wouldn’t ever play LeBron James if he had him, because he’s too young. It’s not necessarily a bad thing for any of them, considering they’ve all won doing it their way.

Now, all of us are going to see just how stubborn our own great coach Mike Holmgren is.

The key to the Seahawks remaining on course, or even going 3-0, during Seneca Wallace’s reign as QB will depend mostly on how much freedom Holmgren gives him to run with the ball. That’s not a knock on Seneca as a passer; I have all the confidence in the world in his throwing ability. But, he’s so quick and dynamic in the open field it can be crippling and demoralizing for opposing defenses and fans.

In the second half of last weeks game, you could tell Seneca’s been lectured against running so much, it cost the Seahawks a touchdown the play before D-Jack’s dropped TD pass. I’ll go further and speculate that Holmgren may have reenacted Kathy Bates ankle breaking scene from Misery on Mr. Wallace as a rookie.

Let's hope Wallace has some freedom to be himself. If he’s allowed to, we’ll see the special player I’ve always known him to be.

Quick Hits

  • Hats off to Eric Mangini and his noodle-armed QB. At times I think it’s a reach to plunder another team’s coaching staff – it just seems lazy and unimaginative. Sometimes you get Dick LeBeau and sometimes you get Marvin Lewis. But the Jets made the right call.
  • I want Josh Brown to fly to Tampa Bay and “kick the (censored) out of” Matt Bryant, for stealing the coveted “Kick of the Year” award away from him. Kickers are macho, macho men – I’m sure Brown will go be delivering a Chuck Norris roundhouse to Bryant’s melon for the lack of respect.
  • Was it a coincidence that Jerry Jones came down from the press box to the sidelines when Dallas finally put in the sudden superhero, Tony Romo? Something tells me Jerry helped Bill get over his Romophobia.
  • If you were Paul Allen and owned a NBA and a NFL franchise and you had to pick Dennis Rodman or Terrell Owens, who would it be?
  • The NFC is officially up for grabs after Arizona’s near win against the Bears. All teams, including our Seahawks, have enough time to gel and take command of the conference.
  • One of the things that draw me to baseball is the institutionalized cheating within the game. Not steroids or “greenies”, but the sign stealing, pine tar, spitballs and the likes. It’s unlike any other sport in that way and it’s kind of a cool thing. Kenny Rogers recent fascination with George Brett’s favorite substance, pine tar, added a cool twist to the World Series.
  • Make sure you vote no on initiative I-91, which will essentially make it impossible for any new stadiums or even the remote possibility the Supersonics stay in town next to impossible.
  • Speaking of the Supersonics, like all Seattle sports wounds, salt will be added to their final season because they’re going to be a very good team this year. And they’ll only get better next year, in Sooner Country.

Throat Punch (replacing the Mule Sniff this week)

The NBA owners officially approved the sale of the Seattle Supersonics over to Clayton Bennett’s, Switzer-loving (censored).

Thanks again, Howard Schultz, for lying every step of the way, walking Nate McMillan out the door, and selling-out your adopted hometown. Another thanks to Nick Licata and his vision of what culture is, leading to the city of Seattle losing the only professional sports team with actual history and heritage. Both of you get a throat punch.

Ryan Davis frequently writes for Seahawks.NET, whether we like it or not. He has not been invited to join the “Citizens for More Important Things” organization because he doesn't consider hemp to be a fabric. Nick Licata, and anyone else who would like to, can e-mail Ryan here.

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