Seahawks @ Saints - Recap and Observations
Updated: Oct 29, 2018
Following the 25 - 20 loss at New Orleans, social media streams exploded with many frustrated Seahawks fans upset on several topics. From calling to #FireBevell, to complaining about the bad officiating by the referees, and to the ridiculously terrible display of offense. Regrettably, I was one of those fans this Sunday afternoon. At the end of the 3rd quarter, I walked away from my television, went outside to shoot some hoops, already losing faith in the team that came to play Sunday.After I had calmed down and watched the remainder of the game, I realized that this team, especially this offense, has the heart. This offense could have been like me, given up, walk away and lose faith but that's what separates them from fans like me. They don't give up.
Look at Kearse's catch above. We were a few inches from winning this game. But, unfortunately, it just did not work out in our favor. In reading some of the post-game reaction on Twitter and Facebook, I saw a lot of passion for our team and our players. However, when things don't work out, we as fans tend to have a knee-jerk reaction that may be construed as anger or hate. However, there were also some rants that made want to watch the game over again. I think it's irresponsible when other folks chastise a player's performance with no evidence to support their statement. Sometimes we need to pull ourselves away and really see whether our observations hold water.
I usually like to wait until the All-22 film is available (usually Tuesday morning) to fully go over the tape to 1) validate what I saw in the broadcast 2) whether any of our opinions and judgments are with merit. However, with all that's been said, I wanted to immediately get a gauge on whether what was being said was valid or not. After I watched the broadcast again, it was not as bad as I initially thought. Surely, there were plays and opportunities that were missed but not necessarily by the party or parties that were mentioned.
Russell Wilson's miscues hurt the team In the play where Russell was sacked by Paul Kruger, initially I saw Ifedi there and immediately started screaming obscenities at my TV. "F*cking block somebody Germain!" After watching the replay, it turned out to be Russell's fault. The line had a pocket but Russell chose to evade rather stepping up into the pocket.
Then there was this play where Jimmy is wide open dragging across the field, but Russell for some reason does not throw the ball. Initially, I thought there may have been a defender lurking around that was just out of frame. But as I watched it again, it was clear that there was not one around Jimmy and the pay could have gone for a first down. Two plays later, Hauschka kicks in for a field goal.
The interception that Russell threw really made me scratch my head. It's possibly the cause of not wanting to throw to Jimmy in the play shown above. If you watch the broadcast, Wilson tries to look off the safety then coming back to Kearse up the right seam. But, Wilson clearly sees the linebacker but pulls the trigger anyway.
Call it an off day, the snowball effect of poor line protection or just a plain bad decision, whatever it was, Wilson's miscues definitely hurt the team today.
The George Fant project
George Fant made his first career start in the NFL and his inexperience showed. Of all the penalties called on the O-line, it belonged to Fant. The one phantom penalty against Britt was purely a mistake by Ed Hochuli, who mentioned Britt's name on the illegal block to the back but the penalty was actually thrown against Fant.
One of the other penalties that Fant was flagged for was the clipping foul during their first drive that resulted in a 2nd and 24 and later led to a punt. While he did commit the foul, I think Glowinski peeled off his block too early. The play side was away from Fant with the closest defender in the A gap (gap between Glowinski and Britt). Davison should have been Glowinski's man with Fant going to the 2nd level. However, Glowinski peels off his block and leaves Davison free. Due to his inexperience, Fant gives chase and attempts to block Davison but draws the clipping penalty.
Minus the mental errors, Fant got the job done for the most part on Sunday. When plays were ran toward his direction, it resulted in positive gains and he was not responsible for any sacks. If Fant can clear up his mental mistakes and become more keen on his assignments, he could be a decent left tackle.
Gilliam has potential, Ifedi can be nasty
At this point, I'm still not a believer in Gilliam's ability as a pure pass-protector yet. I just don't think he has the punch and feet to be a truly effective pass-blocker. But his potential as a run blocker is there and maybe the trait that Tom Cable sees in Garry. While Gilliam didn't fully have Fairley fully on his back, Gilliam did get in position on the 300+ lbs. defensive tackle, turn him and get him to the ground. One needs to understand and respect the ability it takes to do that. It's not easy. Garry just needs to be able to translate this power into his pass protection with some consistency. If Garry can do that, he can have a very positive impact to this team.
Then, there's Germain Ifedi. I've been very critical of Germain the last few weeks. Not cause I think he's garbage, far from it. My harsh critique of his performances are only cause I really believe this kid can be very special. The problem with Germain is his inexperience at this level. Once he hones in on his assignments and raises his awareness against NFL defensive fronts, the kid will be very good. If he can continually do to the rest of the NFL like he did to David Onyemata (6'4" 300lbs), he'll be very special to this group.
On a side note, Christine Michael needs to stop running with so much forward lean and get his feet underneath him. Let's observe his center of gravity in the following clip. I think if Michael adjusts his balance a little more upright, he may have been gone for six. I need to watch the All-22 to confirm.
#FireBevell? Not so fast
Every time I hear #FireBevell, my first thought and reply to that is, "but who's available?" Name me one available offensive coordinator that is available in the NFL right now? If you say "Greg Olsen!" (formerly the OC of the Jags) please run full speed into a wall. There's a reason that dude was fired.
In last weeks blog, I brought up how Bill Walsh's teams used to have a 15-play script to gauge what opposing defenses were doing against various personnel packages throughout a game. Pat Kirwan describes this in detail in his book, Take Your Eye Off The Ball 2.0 (One of my personal favorites)
Last week against the Cardinals, the offense came out in 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) 11 out of 15 possessions. This week, 8 out of 15 (53%), passing 7 out of those 8 against a defense coming into this game ranked 21st in Pass Defense, 17th in Run Defense.
So, Bevell is trying to mix things up and trying to attack the opposing teams weakness. It's not like Bevell is planning all 'willy-nilly.' My problem with the play calling is consistency.
Like that last drive, when Doug busted the big play. Or even when we had that opening barrage of run plays to start the 2nd half. We came out blowing them out of the water with 43 yards on the ground via 6 consecutive runs, then all of sudden we go pass, pass, run, pass on the next 4 plays with one that included the miss by Russell to Jimmy that was shown previously.
I just want more consistency out of Bevell's play calling and more creativity in our route concepts to free up our playmakers. For example, lining up Jimmy and Doug to one side, with Jimmy running a corner while Doug runs a post. More route concepts that forces the safeties to react rather than attack.
As I have discussed previously, the line does have the potential to do great things, HOWEVER, due to the inexperience with some of the personnel on our line, may be simplifying the blocking assignments may help.
Rather than zone, switching to a more power, base blocking scheme. Blast and wedge type of runs where the line's main objective is to maul and push the man occupying the playside gap - whoever is in your face, your line of sight, that's your man. Tom Cable should look to simplify the assignments until the line gets comfortable. I'm not going to speak any more about this as I did last week, but any deficiency on the line is at the fault of the position coach and not the OC as a whole.
It's understandable fans are frustrated. We're passionate. We love our team, we love to watch them succeed and it's hard for us to watch and accept the results that are produced when it's not in our favor. But what we all should know by now is that we are a second-half team, in-game and during the season. After week 8, that's when we separate the contenders from the pretenders. It's not how we start, it's about how we finish. There should be some changes made, no doubt. But this team is still in control of their destiny. Sometimes calls don't roll our way. This team can't control that. What they do from here on out is what they can control. We're still atop our division. We have some very tough opponents ahead but this is the half of the season when our team shows up. I know our boys can get it done. Sometimes it takes a loss to be reminded of that. GO HAWKS.