Ok, we’ve had 24 hours of hot takes to digest so let’s see if any of them are good enough to stick. Each week I’ll take a look at a few of the most prevalent “hot takes” from the game and determine how concerned we really should be.
Pay the Kam!
Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor (31) during Super Bowl XLIX against the New England Patriots at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Seahawks 28-24. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The Narrative: The Legion of Boom is nothing without Kam Chancellor. Dion Bailey stinks and Cary Williams isn’t much better. Did you see the Rams shred Seattle’s secondary?!?!
Not yet. First off, there is going to be a drop off from Kam Chancellor to anybody else. He’s just too unique and too perfect for the strong safety role in Seattle’s defensive scheme. The question is: is the drop off so much that it is worth leveraging the future of the roster in order to get him on the field now? I don’t think it is.
Overall, the issues with the defense were more numerous than can be corrected with a simple strong safety swap. The linebackers were frequently a step slow, team tackling was weaker than usual, and their were some communication issues among the secondary. Other than the defensive line, everyone was a little sloppy.
The loudest argument for paying Kam stems from the game winning touchdown pass yesterday. You know the one where Dion Bailey tripped and fell? You could argue that tripping and falling is just unlucky. The counterpoint is that balance is absolutely a component of an athlete’s skill and this highlights a deficiency when comparing Dion to Kam. Realistically, leaving Dion on an island on one side of the field may not have been the best call by the coaching staff.
A less heralded aspect of missing Kam may be the on-field communication. Multiple times yesterday it appeared the secondary had difficulty lining up and with their marking responsibilities. It’s tricky to assign blame in these instances without knowing the play call, but this is definitely something to watch for in Green Bay. Ultimately, I think a lot of the defensive issues we saw yesterday can be cleaned up with coaching improvements rather than breaking the bank for Kam.
Pete Carroll is an idiot, Darrell Bevell needs to be fired, and Kris Richard is in over his head.
Sep 13, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll in the game against the St. Louis Rams during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
The Narrative: Pete Carroll still can’t figure out how to convert a 1 yard play. Darrell Bevell has as much play calling creativity as my left sock. Kris Richard’s defense couldn’t even stop the Rams!
No. Let’s get the final play of the game out of the way first. Any argument against the play call is outcome bias, plain and simple:
“What an idiot, why would you run that play that didn’t work?!”
As for the lazy argument that Seattle shouldn’t have handed off to Lynch from the shotgun (I’m looking at you Stephen A. Smith), a little understanding of Seattle’s offensive scheme would clear that up. Seattle runs an inside zone read option as its base offense (Pete Carroll said as much Monday morning). That means, from the shotgun, Russell Wilson will read the edge and either handoff or keep the football. By my count, Seattle ran this play 7 times yesterday with 2 yards or less to go and converted it 6 times. This is bread and butter stuff for Seattle. In this case the Rams’ defensive line simply outplayed Seattle and stuffed the play.
As for Darrell Bevell, keep in mind that he is always going to be hamstrung by Pete Carroll’s run-first, conservative offensive mindset. That being said, I find it concerning how stubbornly Seattle refuses to speed up the pace of play outside of the last two-minutes of a half. Hopefully the public comments from Wilson advocating for more “hurry up” will spur action this time around.
Kris Richard did not have a good game yesterday. His defense had multiple communication issues, including having to waste a timeout just prior to the 2-minute warning in the second half to get lined up correctly. Furthermore, the linebackers looked a step slow all game which resulted in far too many long plays by the Rams’ tight ends and running back. It’s fair to wonder if Kris Richard’s inexperience as an in-game play caller contributed to this.
Richard’s defensive game plan and in-game play calling is the thing I am most interested to watch for against Green Bay. Another sloppy game on defense and it may be time to start looking deeper.
The offensive line is a dumpster fire.
Sep 13, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is sacked by St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers (90) during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams defeated the Seahawks 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
The Narrative: Years of missed draft picks and defensive line conversion projects have erupted into a full blown dumpster fire along the offensive line.
Yes. The Rams’ defensive line, particularly Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers, lived in Seattle’s backfield. As a unit, the Rams racked up 13 QB pressures and 6 sacks. Even when the offense could avoid the pressure it was reduced to short, quick passes which limited the explosive aspect of Seattle’s normal passing game.
Unfortunately, the blocking issues along the offensive line cannot be attributed to a single weak link that can easily be corrected. According to ProFootballFocus.com, LT Russell Okung, LG Justin Britt, RG J.R. Sweezy, and RT Garry Gilliam all graded (very) negatively in both pass and run blocking. In fact, they finished with four of the six worst PFF grades among offensive linemen in the NFL on Sunday. That’s bad.
The lone “bright” spot was new center Drew Nowak who not only received a positive grade, but actually finished with the 9th best grade among all centers on Sunday (Max Unger was 8th).
Reasons for optimism:
Seattle doesn’t play St. Louis every week. There may not be a nastier defensive line in the NFL than the one St. Louis trots out so it has to get easier from here on out, right? These grades are based on an incredibly small sample size so hopefully this week becomes the outlier.
Keep in mind this was also the first regular season game for this group of five linemen. Here’s to hoping they’ll improve with more experience.
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