Doug Farrar, Editor-in-Chief,
Seahawks.NET: There's always a little
extra in these
For the Seahawks, this will be the first of (at least) two matches with a team that has become their primary division rival; a team on the upswing as the Seahawks themselves try to stave off the inevitable mortality of a franchise that is still very talented, but is also aging in dog years at some key positions. The 49ers will have the resources next year to do for their offense what they did for their defense in 2007 – draft wisely and bring in high-ticket free agents – and when that all comes together, there may be too much assembled too well for Seattle to counter.
to add to everything else, there's a hint of desperation on both sides. The
49ers want to become the team everyone thinks they are (but probably won't
be until next season), and the Seahawks are enjoying the warm glow of divisional
supremacy knowing full well that the clouds are coming.
Doug Farrar: That title still goes
for both teams, the Cardinals are only slightly improved under new management,
and the Rams have fallen completely off the map. It's a two-team race.
Craig Massei: In the past, the 49ers have geared parts of their roster with their NFC West opponents – both in general and in particular – in mind. Have the Seahawks done anything like that this year with
Doug Farrar: Not per se. The acquisition of Julian Peterson last year was more about picking up a ridiculously talented defensive player with no equal at his position than it was about some manner of espionage, and Peterson has been worth every bit of his contract. What former 49ers defensive coordinator and current Seahawks secondary coach Jim Mora brings from that perspective is open to debate, but Mora hasn't been a part of the 49ers franchise since 2003, and San Francisco has gone through at least two completely different defensive ideologies since then.
no, I don't think the Seahawks are bringing in players to provide "enemy intel". That's not really the way
they seem to think. It's more about, "We'll take our guys, put ‘em against
your guys, and see what happens."
Craig Massei: So far, the Seahawks seem to look maybe a little better on offense and maybe a little worse on defense than when the season ended last year. Is that an accurate perception? How do you see the Seahawks being this season on each side of the ball, better or worse than last season?
Doug Farrar: I think that the offense will be at least slightly better; possibly considerably better if the team can stay healthy as they couldn't last year. Receivers Deion Branch and Nate Burleson, who were both acquired last year by the Seahawks and took time to integrate with the scheme, both look to be far more comfortable and productive this season. An offensive line in transition from the dominant 2005 unit will be a year better, though league average is the best we can hope for there at this time.
Matt Hasselbeck is looking very efficient and in control off the offense, the odd
blown fake audible notwithstanding. I have some fairly serious concerns about
the running game – and that has to do both with Shaun Alexander and the line
he runs behind – but I'm also not convinced that
the main concern is once again the team's ability to contain the run. Tubbs,
the secondary, young cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Kelly Jennings are being
helped by veteran safeties Deon Grant and Brian Russell, both free agents
Seahawks could be better on both sides of the ball, but I'm holding a bit
more faith in the offensive pieces I've seen than the defensive elements I
still wonder about.
Craig Massei: So, is Darrell Jackson missed at all up there? Or are the Seahawks glad that he's gone? Matt Hasselbeck seemed to slam
Doug Farrar: Hasselbeck's comments
were more about missing
- and the ascent of Branch is a huge part of this on the Seahawks side – I
think everyone involved, including Jackson, is probably happier to have moved
Those messages? "We don't think you're worth what you think you're
worth, and we have enough confidence in your ability to get in your own way
that we'll ship you off to our main division rival and not give it a second
III: Make sure to check back Friday morning on both SFIllustrated.com and
Seahawks.NET as Doug and Craig continue their back-and-forth interaction with
the final five questions.