Houshmandzadeh Starting Slow?


Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com recently wrote an article criticizing wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh’s performance week one against St. Louis.

Florio’s biased, uninformed opinions against Seattle are getting old.

Florio says that Houshmandzadeh is off to a slow start and isn’t proving himself as a primary threat at wide receiver. It is obvious that Florio didn’t watch a second of the game against St. Louis, and probably wrote his article based on the box score.

Houshmandzadeh was extremely effective against the Rams, regardless of what the statistics show. He finished the game with six catches for 48 yards, but was a factor on most of Seattle’s big offensive plays.

After Housh was busy criticizing Madden 2010 and predicting a Pro Bowl for himself during the offseason, it is obvious that Florio’s article was going to be written if he produced anything less than a stellar performance against St. Louis.

What Florio fails to realize, however, is that a player’s impact on the field isn’t completely illustrated by receptions or receiving yards. Either way, T.J. Houshmandzadeh is on pace for 96 receptions and 768 yards – probably not Pro Bowl-worthy, but I would be very pleased with nearly 100 catches from the talented receiver.

The St. Louis Rams spent much of the day double-teaming T.J. Houshmandzadeh. It began when Matt Hasselbeck erroneously threw a pass intended for Houshmandzadeh in the end zone of the opening drive; Houshmandzadeh was double-covered, the pass was deflected, and intercepted for a touchback.

After Hasselbeck got into a rhythm, however, he didn’t try to force throws and took what the defense gave him.

Double-coverage on T.J. Houshmandzadeh opened up several opportunities for other guys like Nate Burleson and John Carlson, who both combined for 169 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

On one play in the third quarter, Matt Hasselbeck rolled right on a play-action bootleg. T.J. Houshmandzadeh took a short underneath route and attracted the attention of Rams safety Oshiomogho Atogwe. John Carlson, who was lined up on the opposite side, ran a pattern across the field and got behind the defense. Hasselbeck threw the ball to Carlson, who dragged a couple of defenders (including Atogwe) for a gain of 38 yards.

John Carlson and Nate Burleson showed opposing defenses that they’re capable of hurting them if they choose to focus their attention on T.J. Houshmandzadeh. If teams continue to focus on Housh, other players on the offense should be able to step up.

When opposing defenses stop double-teaming him, however, Houshmandzadeh will get his statistics. Houshmandzadeh will have an impact when he is on the field, whether it shows up in the box score or not.