Thursday, November 13, 2008

One Way to Look at Things

by: Michael Steffes

When you look at the match-up this weekend on paper, the one thing that immediately jumps out is that the Hawks have one of the worst pass defenses, allowing 252.2 yards per game. This 31st ranked unit will be facing Arizona's 2nd ranked passing attack. It seems like an obvious mismatch, right? Maybe not so much.

One of the changes that has occurred this year in the defense, which has been noted here and by others, is that the Hawks have made a concerted effort to stifle the run by bringing a safety into the box. This in turn has left a single safety to cover the field, allowing the corners to get caught on an island too often. So what's the catch?

Having a passing attack like Arizona's coming to town should literally force the Seahawks into a more coverage-oriented defense. Because of Arizona's lack of a dominant threat in the backfield,it would make no sense to defend them with 8 in the box. The Hawks should easily limit Hightower with their front seven, maybe even just with their front four plus Lofa. While individuals have looked bad at times in the Seahawks' secondary, having more people playing the back end allows the corners to play underneath the receivers more and take more chances. Remember the game at Qwest last year? Interceptions a-plenty.

So this puts the onus of the Seattle defense on the young defensive ends. Even with great coverage, old man Warner will find open receivers if he is upright all day. But if the Hawks can limit his ability to sit in the pocket and throw or they send him to the turf a time or two, it should allow the Hawks secondary to put on one of their better performances of the year.

It sounds as if they are getting ready, too--I read Kelly Jennings intercepted a ball in practice today. Maybe things are looking up? ~END~