Friday, July 3, 2009

Houshmandzadeh can block

by: Aaron Weinberg

By the time you read this, I'll be soaking up some 100 degree weather in Southern California. Well, I'm hoping for something closer to 80s or 90s but we'll see.

Here's part three in my Houshmandzadeh series. This one also shows how OC Greg Knapp is looking to bolster the run game, something that I haven't seen covered too much anywhere.

Basically what this piece shows is how all of our offensive acquisitions were made to improve J.J.'s and Duckett's numbers.

Original story

One constant between offensive coordinator Greg Knapp's offenses throughout the years is a top notch run game. One constant between Seahawks offenses since 2006? A frustratingly ineffective run game.

But, with the recent acquisitions of standout blocking tight end John Owens and WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and the visitation by proven blocking fullback Justin Griffith, the Seahawks appear to be making moves to breathe life into a stagnant run game.

Much has been said about Houshmandzadeh's toughness and sure handedness, but not enough has been said about his blocking ability. (Click to enlarge)

In this play against Dallas in 2008, Houshmandzadeh blocks the cornerback to help open a lane for RB Chris Perry for a touchdown. However, The play was called back on a very questionable holding call, as noted by the announcers and proven by the subsequent replays.

In order for big plays to develop, solid down field blocking is a must. There is a good chance that Houshmandzadeh will help pave the way for the more explosive WR Nate Burleson and WR Deion Branch to improve their yards after catch. He'll also be an obvious upgrade in running situations.

Owens and Griffith

Owens is prototypical blocking tight end, one that cannot catch the ball and doesn't know how to competently run routes. But, he's as good of a blocker as they come at the position, and will be an improvement over free agent Will Heller.

Griffith, who recently visited Seattle, appears to be a safety net in case Leonard Weaver leaves Seattle. Or, he could be Weaver's replacement.

Griffith is more of a traditional fullback, one who's a monster blocker who can carry the ball when called upon on rare occasions. Weaver has proven to be more of a running back than fullback, one who still could improve his blocking.
We all now know that Leonard Weaver left and Griffith signed. I probably should have mentioned Owen Schmitt in the article because he is looking like the starter and a helleva blocker.

Here's a short scouting report on Owens:
At 270 lbs, Heller was closer in size to a tackle. He was strong at sealing the edge, but with his lack of speed might not fit in well with the zone blocking scheme Knapp hopes to further implement this season.

Owens is a bruising blocker and is fast enough to contribute competently on special teams, however, at 255, he isn't lightning quick either. But, he is an upgrade over Heller. Owens should complement Carlson's strong receiving skills well.