So the Seattle Seahawks are getting set to defend their Super Bowl championship and their attempt to repeat will be epic, whether or not they actually accomplish the feat.
As we all know, though it was 38 years of hardship before the Hawks earned their first title, this season will be even more of a challenge than it was last year. As good as the team appears to be right now, there is certain to be a period of struggling for the team this season. How the team responds will ultimately define their season and in order to deal with this issue, whenever it arises, I see the team needing to be better in three key areas. Let’s take a look at the first of these.
Penalties against the Secondary
The Legion of Boom is known for their physical play, largely touted as the most physical group of DB’s in the NFL. Opposing coaches complain vehemently (especially in the NFC West) about the lack of penalties called on L.O.B even while drawing the most flags for P.I. in the league. They probably have a gripe, I was actually shocked to see that the Seahawks averaged less than one of these penalties per game. There will be even more controversy this season as receivers attempt to run their routes against the Legion.
Point blank, the fact that the Hawks are the most penalized in the league here is a bad sign. They have to be better about this. A huge difference may come in the loss of Brandon Browner, who only played the first half of the season but was the culprit on more PI penalties than the rest of the group.
Byron Maxwell isn’t as physical as Browner was, therefore drawing less attention to himself from an official. Richard Sherman draws attention but he’s so good at footwork that he doesn’t generally get called, even when he uses his hands a little more than he should.
At any rate, the Hawks will really need to avoid the PI flag even more in 2014/2015. There are five teams that drew five or less PI’s on the season in 2013, with the Packers only drawing three and the Redskins only drawing a single hankie. It’s not even necessarily about the number, it’s about being better at coverage this upcoming season simply because the refs will be watching even harder.