Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 10/6/12
Five things to watch

Before the season started, I would have been more than happy with a 2-2 record. Of course, I would have assumed the Seattle Seahawks beat the Cardinals and the Rams. Instead, Seattle lost those both of those games, but they did defeat the Cowboys and the Packers, at home.

No matter how you slice it, the Seahawks have a record of .500, and last place in the NFC West.  

Who would have thought the division, who had a 7-9 Seahawks team win it two years before, would become the best division in football.

Quarterback

So much has been made of the performance of Russell Wilsonthis week.  Yes, he is the starting quarterback, there is a certain amount of pressure that comes with the position.

Personally, I think the 12th man has been a little hard on the young man.  I am not going to waste everyone’s time by stating the reasons why I believe that in this piece, but if you haven’t seen my opinion, or would like a refresher, click the link to the “Player Spotlight” piece I wrote on Wilson this week.

With all that said, or not said, I do want to see some improvement from him during the next four games.

Pete Carroll is a very tough man to get a good read on.

Far too often, Russell Wilson is missing wide open receivers.  As most of you probably know, I was a proponent of letting him sit on the bench, behind Matt Flynn, for a year so that he could learn the pro game.

If he doesn’t start making more correct reads, I think that is exactly where he will end up.

Pete Carroll is a very tough man to get a good read on.  On a personal level, I like the guy, but I would never play poker with him.

Honestly, I think Pete is putting himself in position to switch quarterbacks at any time.

It will be interesting to see if Wilson will be able to move the offense well enough to remain the teams starter, or if Pete will decide that it is time to try to “Win with Flynn”.

Offensive Line

One thing that would help Russell Wilson keep his job, better pass blocking.  Another, limiting stupid penalties along the offensive line.  If left tackle Russell Okung isn’t starting before the snap, right tackle Breno Giacomini is hitting people after the whistle.

Last week, James Carpenter played for the first time since suffering an ACL injury that ended his 2011 season.  At the time, Carpenter was the teams starting right tackle.

This year, offensive line coach Tom Cable has James starting at left guard.

Carpenter has said that he “feels more comfortable” on the left side of the line.  What I saw in his first game back was a nasty young man who was very rusty.

It will be very interesting to see how the switch plays out.

3rd Down

Would someone please tell Darrell Bevell, when you have a team built to be a smash mouth running team, and, you are in a third and short situation,  calling a shotgun formation with an empty backfield is not stupid, it is moronic.

Seriously, if you want to put the big down play on your rookie quarterback’s arm, when you have the NFL’s leading rusher, that is just pathetic play-calling.

Putting the ball in your rookie quarterbacks hands without at-least threatening to run the ball, is moronic.

The defensive side of the ball is even more frustrating.  The Seattle Seahawks defense is the second ranked defense in the NFL, yet they cannot get off the field when they need too.

The Seattle Seahawks defense is the second ranked defense in the NFL

When it is third and long, the defense goes into a soft zone to prevent a big play.  The concept makes sense, keep everything in front of you.  That way the quarterback can dump the ball on a check down and the team will need to punt.

The execution has been horrific.

On 3rd down with 15-yards to go, keep everything in front of you from 0-14 yards so they don’t get the first down, that is the correct execution.  The way the Seahawks are playing it, in the same situation, they are keeping everything from 0-25 yards in front of them.

Ten yards of free first down real-estate, are you kidding me?

These are just a couple examples of things the Seahawks need to improve in 3rd down situations over the next 4 games.

Defensive Pressure

It needs to be more consistent.  Being at home gives the defensive line an advantage while rushing the quarterback, there is no doubt.  Away from home, facing terrible offensive lines, the Seahawks have managed just 3 sacks in 2 games.

In the 2 games at home, with the aid of the 12th man, 9 sacks.

Sacks, only tell part of the story.  The Seahawks are getting a lot of quarterback hits and QB pressures.  What I would like to see is more of those turning into sacks and interceptions.

If you take away the 8 sacks the Seahawks had against Green Bay, they are averaging just 1.3 sacks per game during the other 3 games. That does not cut it.

I want to see the Seahawks average 2.5 sacks per game over the next 4 weeks, even if you throw out the high game.

Also, I want to see at least 4 interceptions resulting from quarterback pressure.

Sidney Rice and Golden Tate are the only receivers who are playing like they deserve to be on this team.

Receivers

As I stated earlier, receivers are getting open.  The problem is, they aren’t getting open consistently, and they aren’t making plays when they get an opportunity.

I want to see if Braylon Edwards can get going over the next four games, or if he has disappeared for good. I need to see 2011 Doug Baldwin.  So far, in 2012, all I have seen is a player giving less than full effort.

He has dropped every big opportunity he has been given.  4 receptions for 23-yards and 1 first down? This isn’t a sophomore slump, it is a player who has believed his own hype and it has smacked him right in the mouth, pun intended.

We’re possibly seeing a guy show us why he went undrafted.

Sidney Rice and Golden Tate are the only receivers who are playing like they deserve to be on this team.  Since the Seahawks cannot change personnel until the offseason, unless they somehow work out a trade with the Steelers for Mike Wallace, I want to see the current Seahawks receiving corps playing harder, with more consistency.

The season is still young, and in a tough division it will be an uphill battle.  The Seattle Seahawks need to correct some things if they hope to be a serious contender at the half way point of the season.

The next 4 games are going to be tough and in my opinion, splitting them is a reasonable expectation.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that will be good enough.

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© Brett Bivens for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |

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Post tags: 12th man, Braylon Edwards, Breno Giacomini, Darrell Bevell, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate, Matt Flynn, Mike Wallace, Pete Carroll, Russell Okung, Russell Wilson, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, Sidney Rice, Tom Cable

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