Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Early Returns

by: Michael Steffes

What's Worked So Far.....

The Revamped Running Game: The Seahawks put considerable efforts this offseason into completely revamping their abysmal running game from 2007. So far it has worked. With the exception of Buffalo, in which the running game was severely hindered by numerous problems, most notably receivers unable to make catches and Rob Sims' torn pec muscle, the running game has been stellar. Mostly though, the change that has fans excited is the addition of Julius Jones. While he may never be a superstar back, he fights hard, stays on his feet, and doesn't suffer a ton of negative yardage plays. Also, the team is 100% so far on short yardage opportunities, which bodes well for close games to be played in the future. Duckett has been as advertised when signed, despite the negative reviews he received most of the offseason. Grade A

John Carlson, TE: The second biggest goal of the offseason was to solve the tight end situation that had developed since Jerramy Stevens reached complete d-bag status. The team traded up to get John Carlson in a somewhat debated move at the time. Can we stop questioning Mr. Ruskell when he makes a move to get the guy he wants now? Carlson has made a Lofa Tatupu-like rookie impact on a banged-up offense. This is supposed to be a tough position to make an impact at, but Carlson is doing it. His blocking is better than advertised and he has essentially made Jeb Putzier disappear like a first down on a dropped pass (JEB!). Grade A

The Defensive Line: The d-line was a bit of a worry at times. For a while, it looked as if the team would need a contribution from oft-injured Marcus Tubbs. However, Tubby is gone. Even the reinforcements, Larry Tripplett and Chris Cooper, weren't needed. In fact, Red Bryant, who looked good in his time on the field, hasn't been needed yet. The Seahawks have shut down some fine running backs so far, a trend continuing from the second half of the season last year (until GB). This seems to have been improved by the switch from Darryl Tapp to Lawrence Jackson. The only thing that really seems to be lacking so far is pressure when they only rush four. The Hawks have needed to blitz to create their pressure, but hopefully, like last year, Pat Kerney will get it going in the 2nd half. Grade B

Keith Gilbertson: Just a brief note here, because Gilby's contributions have mostly gone unrecognized by the mainstream guys. I am sure when Gilby agreed to coach WRs, he never imagined the sheer number of players he would have to put through crash courses. However, he has done pretty well in my opinion. Billy McMullen has come from nowhere to look damned effective in this system. Logan Payne was making strides before being hurt. Keary Colbert by all accounts is fitting in nicely (side note: did anyone else notice he was the first player off the sideline to high five teammates when the Hawks scored? We noted this at the game). Now if only Gilby could find a way harness the talents CT supposedly has. Grade B. ~END~