Behind Enemy Lines: Hawks at Dolphins Part I

To get the lowdown on the Seahawks' next opponent, the Miami Dolphins, Seahawks.NET's Todd Breda and staff have a Q & A session with Dolphin Digest's Alain Poupart. In Part 1, Alain asks Todd, among other things..."What the heck is going on in Seattle?"

Dolphin Digest: How is it that the Seahawks offense could be so bad without Matt Hasselbeck?

Todd Breda: First of all, you have to look at the injury factor, which has absolutely derailed this team, specifically to the wide receiver group. At one time or another since the season started, the Seahawks have lost all seven of their starting receivers. There has been absolutely no continuity, so it would be difficult for any offense in the NFL - with any QB - to have much success under those circumstances.

Secondly, this offense is predicated heavily on precision and timing. Matt Hasselbeck may not have the biggest arm or be the flashiest quarterback in the NFL but Mike Holmgren's West Coast-style of offense doesn't require those attributes. Short routes and slants are favored with yards-after-the-catch being relied on for moving the chains. When the offense is fully healthy and ticking, it's not highlight reel stuff usually but it does move the chains.

Hasselbeck and his starting receivers - when healthy - have developed immense timing together and without that continuity and timing, you have a boat without a rudder.

DD: How ridiculous has the revolving door at wide receiver been?

TB: I believe it's not just ridiculous but unprecedented. Never in NFL history to my knowledge has any team at any time ever lost their entire wide receiver corps to injury, certainly not so early in the season. It's not the sole answer to the Seahawks' tailspin this year but it certainly was the accelerant that kick-started the engine of futility.

DD: Does the running game have a shot at big success considering the passing attack is not a threat to any defense?

TB: Just a few weeks ago the Seahawks running game was rated fourth in the NFL. Julius Jones was having fantastic success in September for the most part, which came at a time when Maurice Morris was sidelined with injury. Since Morris has returned, Holmgren has stubbornly gone back to a running back-by-committee approach, which most Seahawks fans will tell you is not working.

With Hasselbeck now sidelined and backup QB Seneca Wallace hampered by not only a sore calf muscle but a limited field of vision (he's 5-10 on a good day), opposing defenses know the passing game is virtually nonexistent, so it's a no-brainer to focus on stopping the run.

The Seahawks are so bad right now they're not just a one-trick pony, they are a no-trick pony.

DD: Is there anybody on the Seattle offense the Dolphins have to worry about?

TB: Under normal circumstances, slot receiver Bobby Engram is one of the best clutch receivers in the league. However, without Hasselbeck, WR's Nate Burleson and Deion Branch, defenses are double-teaming Engram, which cancels out that threat.

Rookie TE John Carlson and WR Koren Robinson have been a pleasant surprise in this 'Season To Forget'. Carlson, although he will make rookie mistakes and drop some passes, can be a solid go-to guy for Wallace. If the Seahawks establish a game plan with Carlson, he's proven the ability to be effective.

Robinson, who was originally drafted by the Seahawks but famously blew his chances with the team after his struggles with alcohol, is now back again like the proverbial Phoenix rising from the ashes (or is that champagne bubbles?) and to most fans' surprise, has come in with new purpose, focus and commitment, which is beginning to manifest on the field.

Robinson showcased that talent he was originally taken so high in the draft for last week against the Eagles when he took a pass by Wallace and ran it to the house for 90 yards (a franchise record) on the first offensive play of the game.

Sure, this team is on life support but they are a high-character team who will not give up on each other. If you underestimate them, they will take advantage of that mind-set.

DD: Can LT Walter Jones handle Joey Porter one-on-one?

TB: Walter Jones is still the best OT in the game. He's nearing the end of his career and his body is barking loudly after each game, but Walter Jones even at 75 percent is still better than most tackles at 100 percent.

Occasionally, Jones will appear mortal after all and give up a sack, but let me just say that if I were Porter, I wouldn't expect a highlight reel-type of day on Sunday.

The Dolphins should rightfully be licking their chops at just about every personnel matchup, but Jones isn't one of them. Top Stories