by: Aaron Weinberg
It's third and eight at the Cardinals game last year deep in our own territory. The guy sitting next to me turns and says, "Holmgren's gonna' run the draw," in a disappointed sort of tone.
As expected, Hasselbeck hands it off and whoever got the ball after that runs into a brick wall.
The fan sitting next to me can only bury his face in his hands and slump in his seat like every other fan in the stadium.
That's hard to watch.
Greg Knapp can be notoriously conservative. He also loves to run the ball and has said he'll aim for a 50/50 pass/rush ratio.
Statistics show Knapp teams succeed running the ball. (Numbers indicated league rank)
Passing. Ehhhhh, not so much. OK, so there wasn't much he could do in Oakland the last two seasons or when he was with Vick and the Falcons. But, he had Jeff Garcia throwing to T.O. with the Niners and still only managed middle of the pack numbers.
Here's where the frustrating part might come into play. We all know Hasselbeck can lead an offense almost on his own (see 2007 season). The fact is, our current offense is built for the pass.
Nothing, NOTHING about our running game is proven. Quite the opposite, it's been a weakness since 2006. Now we're implementing a new running game with the zone blocking scheme.
My worry is we won't see Knapp fully utilizing Seattle's deadly WR corps, and that could be a bit frustrating to watch, especially with such an average (if not below average), trio of RB's.
Dave the Falconer of the Falcoholic wrote a guest column about Greg Knapp on my Web site a few months ago. Here's an excerpt: (edited, because for some reason the excerpt didn't publish)
"While he might have been remembered more fondly had he simply been in charge of play calling for our running game--which was quite good the entire time he was in Atlanta--his refusal to adjust for the personnel he already had got him in a lot of trouble"
And it appears that's what's already happening, with this "50/50" nonsense. Sure the mantra looks good in writing, but we already know we can pass the ball and go to the playoffs. Why not tip the balance to cater to the players on the field?
Reasons for optimism
Hope springs eternal in Seahawk Nation. There's plenty reason for optimism this year.
Julius Jones showed why we picked him up last year early on in the season, shining against the Niners and Rams. It was a glimpse at what could have been had fortune's coin flipped the other way. T.J. Duckett showed he was the downhill runner he was paid to be and even proved he could break one open. Both Duckett and Jones also gladly and more than adequately pay their dues blocking, which is huge for Matt.
Justin Forsett? Well, much has been said about the preseason wonder and there's not much else to say. He's fun to watch when he's up against third stringers and running behind our deep offensive line. Still, he's got good instincts.
As for the passing game, I don't think we have to worry too much about those guys because the top three players are tried and true. But, as with any team, the key WRs (Branch and Burleson) will have to avoid catastrophic injury.