Seahawks @ Cardinals - Recap and Observations
Updated: Oct 29, 2018
How do I explain my emotions about this game? ............ You know that meme with Lil' Mama where she's smiling but crying at the same time?
Yes, that one.
It sums up my emotions perfectly watching what possibly may be one of the best defensive performances from this Seahawks defense, all while witnessing one of the most infuriating offensive performances of the Pete Carroll era. Listening to several of the local Seattle sports talk shows, one of the questions asked was, "Was (Is) this offensive line really that bad?" After watching the film, my answer is, "Yes. For this game, they were that bad."
We all seen the debacle at both tackles - Sowell and Gilliam were horrendous in pass protection. Glowinski possibly had his worst performance to date, struggling heavily at times against Calais Campbell, and Ifedi at times just looked plain lost.
"How about George Fant?" He was not great, but he was not terrible either. The blocking was improved on the left side minus some pass rushes that Fant was flat out beat by Chandler Jones. However, this being his first contest against premiere pass rushers, he held his own. "Wasn't he flagged for holding?" Yes, but Fant had no choice. In the play that he was flagged on, Calais Campbell purposely pushed Fant with the intent of clearing Chandler Jones on the stunt, kind of a "defensive rub." (I don't know if that's a real term but that's just how it looked like) If Fant did not hold Jones, Jones would have had a clear shot at Wilson. Play shown below.
So what's wrong? Every time the offense can't move, a lot of us begin to call for Bevell's head. But how about Cable? What about the offensive line coaching? Instead of the #FireBevell tweets, how about #FireCable or #SwitchToDishFromCable? In my eyes, these guys look lost. They're lost on their assignments and their technique. How about Cable's assessment of the talent at these positions? Really, Gilliam and Sowell is what he felt comfortable with as our starters? Some will say, "well we have a 4-1-1 record, leading the NFC West, we're 7th in the league in sacks allowed, yada yada yada.." As Chris Rock said, "you can drive a car with your feet if you want to, it don't make it a good f*ckin' idea."
While it's true we are 7th in the league in sacks allowed, we're also 18th in the league in QB hits, 31st in the league in rushing average, 29th in total rushing yardage. Not too mention a QB that has ZERO confidence staying in the pocket because he knows he's not getting protect. Just because we have guys that could do the job, it doesn't mean those guys should do the job. Having this group in charge of blocking your franchise future in Russell Wilson, is like riding a motorcycle with a pair of pillows duck taped around your head. You think it will do the job until it's too late and then you're f*cked. Tom Cable needs to take some heat for some of this shit because it's getting out of hand. If something doesn't change, Russell is going to get hurt. So do we bring in Joe Thomas? Joe Staley? At this point I say, yes. It has to be given heavy consideration. Reports have stated that Thomas is off the market, some have stated Browns want a 2nd round pick, while other reports have stated the 49ers are shopping Staley for a 1st Rounder. If I had to choose between Thomas and Staley, I would choose Staley. The zone scheme would be a drastic change for Thomas and not to mention a cap hit of $4M+ for this year alone. While Staley is a conference opponent, makes it all the better if he becomes a teammate. He has familiarity with the divisional teams including the personnel and would cost $2M+ for this year compared to Thomas' $4M. I don't care if we'd give up a 1st rounder in trade to a division opponent. We can't control what that team will do with the pick. I'm sure John Schneider would make something workout. However, I still think PC and JS will probably stick with the guys we currently have. It's not that I think they can't do the job, far from it. I want these guys to succeed and I want to be confident in the coaches assessments of these players. But the sad fact is, this offensive line group is not doing the job and something needs to change.
What's our identity? Not the 'power, run it down your throat' team that we've come to love. 29th overall rushing yardage, 31st overall in yards per rush, you know what that makes us, one-dimensional. In the days of Bill Walsh, or those running West Coast offenses, the offense would have a script of 15 plays that would be executed come hell or high water. No matter the defense would be running, those 15 plays would be executed. The plays would consist of different personnel groups and used as a gauge by the coaches to see what the other team was doing as far as personnel. For arguments sake, let's say the Seahawks do the same thing. (Pete Carroll served under Bill Walsh and adapted some of his coaching philosophy from Bill Walsh). I'm not saying that is definitely what they do, but let's just say they do. Remember the stats at the top of this segment? 29th rushing yardage, 31st yards per rush? Well, it showed.
In the first 15 plays, the Seahawks were in 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) for 11 plays (73%). Out of those 11 plays, we passed on 9 (82%). At the same, the Cardinals blitzed 3 out of 15 (20%) and going into zone coverage 3 of 15 times (20%). The Cardinals were rushing 4 and we're still getting pressure. That's maddening.
The Cards were playing back. They weren't looking to defend the run. If they saw 11 personnel, they're already thinking, 'pass.' The linebackers and safeties could play back and they knew they could get pressure with just 4 linemen. The Cards would have 7 guys in coverage versus our possible 4-5 receivers, do the math. If I was the quality control man in the Seahawks booth, I'm thinking I'd switch up my personnel groupings. Throw in more 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE), maybe even some 13 personnel (1 RB, 3 TE - 3rd TE as a FB). By re-signing Will Tukuafu, it just seems that we are still trying to find our identity. Hopefully by having Big Will back, it should give us more options.
As I've said earlier our offensive problems are much larger than Bevell. There are more guys involved in the play-making decisions that we need to be made aware of that needs to be accountable as well. The Quality Control guy in the booth is observing how effective plays and packages are under what situation. Keep in mind, Bevell is not in the booth. He's on the field, basing his decisions by the information he gets from the booth.
Don't get me wrong, there were play calls and concepts that I thought Bevell should have gone to earlier. While I had no issue with going in 11 personnel, I did have an issue not targeting Jimmy against the shorter safeties assigned to cover him. The Cardinals were using Marcus Cooper (6'2") and Tony Jefferson (5'11"), mostly having Jefferson on Jimmy. Instead of having Jimmy on the line, I saw opportunities to split him out thus forcing the deep safety to honor Jimmy's sideline, possibly clearing things in the middle for the other receivers. They saw the mismatch against Jefferson late when Russell attempted a fade to Jimmy that went incomplete. Other route concepts such as the clear outs was effective and I wish they had gone to it sooner.
In the end, the game result was that of a glorified scrimmage. While there may have been no victor, make no mistake, a whole wealth of information was gained. Plain and simple, our offense needs to step up for their defensive brothers because it's been a one-way street so far. GO HAWKS