Behind Enemy Lines: Seahawks/Chiefs, Vol. 4

In the fourth and final installment of our Seahawks-Chiefs game preview series, WarpaintIllustrated.com's Nick Athan asks Seahawks.NET's Scott Eklund five final questions. Scott gives Nick the inside take on Julian Peterson, Seattle's pass defense, the NFC West, and the Seahawks' chances in 2006.

Nick Athan, Warpaint Illustrated: Do the Seahawks have any lingering effects from their Super Bowl XL loss?

Scott Eklund, Seahawks.NET: That’s a fair question, but I don’t think they are struggling because they lost the Super Bowl. I think they’re not performing at their best for a couple of reasons…

1) Injuries – Alexander, Stevens, Matt Hasselbeck and several other role players have missed or will miss significant time;

2) Teams are “getting up” to play the Seahawks every week whereas, maybe last year or in years past, they might have overlooked them;

3) Seattle is playing a much tougher schedule than they played last year; and

4) the loss of Steve Hutchinson has hurt more than anyone is willing to admit.

Once Seattle gets all of their players healthy, they should be much improved. Seahawks fans are hoping it doesn’t take too long because the season is almost half over.

Nick Athan: On defense, Seattle is giving up over 300 yards per game. The Chiefs, outside of their loss to the Steelers two weeks ago, have hit their stride offensively. With that said, what are the Seahawks primary weaknesses on defense?

Scott Eklund: Seattle’s secondary is average at best. SS Michael Boulware has lost his starting spot because of poor play. They have two very average cornerbacks in Marcus Trufant and Kelly Herndon. They also have a rookie, Kelly Jennings, at the nickel spot. FS Ken Hamlin has played pretty well, but he can only cover up for the poor play of the other players so much.

The front-seven of the Seahawks is good, but their deep third isn’t on the same level.

Nick Athan: In the AFC West it’s clearly a three team race. In the NFC West a year ago, the Seahawks walked away with the division early. This year the Rams are more competitive does that help or hurt their chances to repeat as division champs?

Scott Eklund: While San Francisco is still down and Arizona is still Arizona, the Rams and Seahawks will remain the class of the NFC West. Seattle seems to have the Rams’ number the past three games with tough wins in all three, but you are correct, the Rams have finally gotten a defense and that makes them dangerous.

I think Seattle will still win the division, but it’s going to be a dogfight the rest of the way with their game on November 12th being the biggest game of the year. Luckily for the Seahawks it’s at Qwest. Unluckily, Hasselbeck is likely to miss that game.

Nick Athan: One of the biggest off-season moves in the NFL this year was the addition of free agent linebacker Julian Peterson by the Seahawks. Has he been the difference maker that the team had hoped he'd be when he signed that lucrative contract in the spring?

Scott Eklund: I think Peterson could end up being the best free agent acquisition Seattle has ever signed. His athleticism and desire have really covered a lot of mistakes on Seattle’s defense because he’s used as a third-down pass-rushing specialist. He’s gotten a ton of pressure on passers in all six of Seattle’s games.

He isn’t great in space, but he’s good playing man-to-man against the tight end and he’s got the speed to run with most backs and wideouts.

He’s a physical freak-of-nature, who is also an incredible football player.

Nick Athan: If you were head coach of the Seattle Seahawks for one game, what would you do differently?

Scott Eklund: If I had Hasselbeck available, I would put the game in his hands and tell him to win it. He’s that good.

Because I wouldn’t have him this week, I would tell my defense they must play better, run more blitz packages to see if I could get more pressure on the passing game of the Chiefs and “spy” Johnson with Peterson.

Offensively, I would move Wallace around and maybe even run some sprint-option with Wallace and Morris to stretch the defense laterally. That could open things up between the tackles which would help the passing game as well.

As I said earlier, Seattle has the ability and talent to beat anyone in the league, but this year they just don’t seem to have the “mojo” they had last year.


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