Tag Archives: Michael Bennett

Seahawks vs. Vikings – No Lynch? No Problem, Hawks Win 24-13

Hawks Vikings

I woke up this morning and grabbed the Seattle Times off the front porch, made coffee and amid the headlines about the Seattle Mariners retiring Ken Griffey Jr.’s number, my eyes drifted toward a small blurb about Marshawn Lynch not playing in tomorrow’s playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings.

To be honest, I don’t think this will be a determent to the Seahawks.  Yes, it would have been nice to have Beast Mode behind Russell Wilson, with all of his playoff experience and his ability to rise to the occasion when needed.

But consider just how well the Seahawks have played (except for the Rams game) over the second half of the season without him and Jimmy Graham.  All they did was set franchise records for most yards in a season (6,058) and for the fourth time in team history, finished among the top four in total offense in the NFL.

The Seahawks have ridden Lynch to two Super Bowl appearances, winning one of them.   And while I appreciate the talent and drive that Lynch has on the field, I think the true identity of this team has come out in Russell Wilson.

Wilson went nuts in the second half of 2015.  Much of that came after the bye when the team made adjustments to the passing game in getting the ball out quicker from Wilson.  The result of that, Wilson was sacked only 15 times in the second half after getting dropped 33 times in the first.

Benefitting from Wilson’s excellent second half has been Doug Baldwin who has really come into his own, setting team record for most receiving TD’s in a season (14) and achieving 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career.

Let’s not forget about Tyler Lockett who was drafted to upgrade the return game.  Not only has he done that but he also finished with 51 catches for 664 yards and six TD’s.  The Seahawks may have found the deep threat they have been seeking in this kid.  He has the talent to become one of the best receivers in the game.

Jermaine Kearse also has had a solid season with 49 catches for 685 yards and 5 TD’s.  But he also does the little things that allows other players to shine.  On crossing routes, he often frees up the other receiver in ways that he doesn’t get flagged for picking the defender.  He blocks well and has made some of the most clutch catches to keep drives alive.

The combined stats for the trio of Baldwin, Locket and Kearse is 178 catches for 2,418 yards and 25 TD’s.  I’m pretty sure that any team in the NFL would love that production from their wide receiving corps.

And it’s not like the rushing game was tossed out the window after Lynch went down and later when Thomas Rawls got injured.  In stepped cast-off Christine Michael and Bryce Brown along with Fred Jackson who has been good as a third down back.  And let’s not forget fullbacks Derrick Coleman and Will Tukuafu who get the calls to either block on short yardage situations or leak out pass the defensive line to gain critical yardage in screen pass situations.

No Jimmy Graham or Luke Willson?  In steps Cooper Helfet and Chase Hoffman, both of whom had some clutch catches in the Arizona game.

So we don’t have Lynch…that’s OK, we have everyone else that will keep it going until Lynch is ready to play.

Let’s not forget that defense which for the fourth year in a row finished in the top five in the NFL.  They were second in total defense, giving up 291.8 yards a game, second in passing defense, allowing 210.2 yards per game and first in the NFL against the run, allowing a mere 81.5 yards per game.

The key to this game will be the same as it was when the Hawks beat the Vikings 38-7 in week 13.  Mitigate yards gained by Adrian Peterson and dare QB Teddy Bridgewater to beat them with his arm.

And all Bridgewater has to do is throw into the teeth of the Legion of Boom of Richard Sherman, Deshawn Shead, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas.  That is if he has enough time avoiding the rush of Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Brandon Mebane and Bruce Irvin.

The weather isn’t going to factor into this game.  It will affect both teams the same.  What it will boil down to is overall talent between the two teams.  And while the Vikings defense is ranked 13th overall, the way the Seahawks offense has been clicking, they will wear them down with the run game and the short passing game.

I’m not afraid of the Vikings offense which finished 29th overall in 2015.  While they are ranked 4th in rushing (I mean come on, it is Adrian Peterson) they are ranked 31st in passing and 31st in receiving.

So what’s the focus going to be?  On Peterson, put at least two spies on him and try to create turnovers.  Peterson has fumbled 7 times this year, losing 3 of them.

I’d put Bobby Wagner on him first and second down and have Bruce Irvin cover him on third down if he comes out of the backfield.  Wagner is a sure tackler and Irvin has the speed to stay with Peterson and isn’t bad in coverage.

That is if Peterson can get past the road block of Brandon Mebane or Aythyba Rubin up the middle or if he can get around the corner and avoid Bennett and Avril.

Looking forward to this game as the Seahawks will beat the Vikings 23-13.

GO HAWKS!

12th man flag

 

Welcome to Seattle Mr. Graham!

 

Here's to points in the Red Zone!
Here’s to points in the Red Zone!

You have to admire the Seahawks.

Like a quarterback that just threw a pick-six interception, in football deals, you have to have a short memory.

One of the main things Jimmy Graham will bring to the table is the ability to score in the dreaded red zone.  The last nine times Graham was targeted on plays starting from the opponents 1-yard line, eight of those completions were for touchdowns.

I don’t point that out because of the failure to make that catch in the Super Bowl.  I point that out because the Seahawks needed a proven player they can count on to make that catch.

As for the issues with Bruce Irvin and Michael Bennett, water under the bridge.  In fact, I kind of liked that Irvin and Bennett did what they did…needle an opposing player.

But that was years ago and I’m pretty sure that Irvin and Bennett knows what Graham brings to the table.

The team, as a whole, continues to evolve and it must in order to maintain a high level of excellence.  Sure, Seattle has lost some very good players to other teams.  But the core players on defense, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Michael Bennett are pretty much locked up for the foreseeable future.

But outside of Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson, what is the core of the Seattle offense?  The Hawks have needed receiver help for a long time and Jimmy Graham will go a long way to help out with that.  But the Hawks can’t make the same mistake they did with Percy Harvin and try to make the offense run through Graham.

Opposing teams figured that out pretty quickly with Harvin and the true nature of the team was out of balance.  Hawks need to stay with the philosophy that got them to the Super Bowl the last two years.  Run the ball with one of the best running backs in the NFL, Beast Mode.

But like I said before, the Seahawks need to keep evolving to stay successful…and that means opening the playbook for Russell to have better targets downfield.  I like Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse as receivers but I don’t see them in the same class of receiver that Jimmy Graham is in.

Hawks are only going to have seven picks in this years draft, none in the first round.  The top team needs are wide receiver, defensive tackle, offensive guard and cornerback.

Here is my wish list:

Round 2, 64th Pick:  Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida.  Last name sound familiar?  It should.  Breshad is the son of former WR Brett Perriman who played in the league for 10 years and was a very productive pass-catcher.  His son is listed at 6-2, 212 lbs. and posts a 4.55 40.  He has nice size and speed and has the ability to take a short slant play and turn it into big yardage.  With him, Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham on the field, opposing defense have to respect the receivers which gives Lynch even more of an opportunity to run wild.

Round 3, 95th Pick:  Unless the Seahawks do something to get back up to the first round, I don’t see them getting University of Washington’s Danny Shelton this late.  Defensive tackles are the rage and there are a lot of teams that want to find the next Ndamukong Suh.  I think that Shelton can be that type of player but there is no hope the Hawks will get him this late.

But they do need a defensive tackle as Kevin Williams is on the downside of his career.  Hawks could take a shot at Carl Davis out of Iowa.  He’s 6-4, 321 lbs. mountain of a man that can stuff runs and bull rush his way to the pocket.  Granted, this would be a “chance” pick as during his team interviews at the senior bowl, he came off as lazy and arrogant.  If the Seahawks can get his head screwed on straight he could be a dominant inside player the Hawks thrive on.

Round 4, 136th Pick:  Seahawks have had a lot of success with cornerbacks picked in the late rounds.  I still can’t get over how good Richard Sherman has become but was picked in the 5th round.

Seahawks could have the same success and not look any further than there own backyard.  Marcus Peters out of the University of Washington is tall and rangy in the mold the Seahawks like.  At 6-0 and 190 lbs. he has the physical aspects to take on physical wide receivers.

But there is a question of his maturity.  He had several run-ins with new Washington head coach Chris Peters that eventually led to Peters being dismissed from the team.

But I would imagine that being around Sherman, Thomas and Chancellor, they could turn this kid around and make him a strong member with the Legion of Boom.

Seahawks don’t need much…after all, just how much is needed to improve for a team that went to the Super Bowl the last two years in a row.  But I will keep pounding that the Hawks do need to continue to evolve and get the talent on offense that will make Russell Wilson even more successful on the field.

The Hawks, at best, will have Lynch for another two years.  That’s the time table they have to get Wilson to the next level of quarterback play.

Go Seahawks!