With all the talk about the size mismatch enjoyed by Terrell Owens and Roy Williams over Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings, it was Jason Witten who led Dallas in yards, DYAR, receptions and effective yards. Seattle doesn't defend tight ends and that's a bit Leroy Hill and equally, if not more, Deon Grant. Grant is mismatched in man coverage. And the why is almost too obvious.
Grant is a heady pass defender at his best reading the quarterback and breaking on the ball. He has the same habits playing man. In zone, that leads to coverage, pass defenses and interceptions. In man, that leads to blown coverage, big cushions and long receptions. Grant should be playing free safety. He's not a run stopper and he doesn't match well in man. He excels at the deep zone and is strong tackling downhill from the second and third level. The essence of good management is identifying, developing and enabling strengths. The last two seasons, Seattle has played Grant against his strengths for the sake of starting Brian Russell.
Hobbs looks like a keeper on special teams. He recorded the first tackle of the game, a one armed hook on Orlando Scandrick.
How dependent is Seattle on Olindo Mare? Seattle has allowed an average of 27.23 yards in the 31 kicks Mare didn't achieve a touchback. That puts "Seattle Opponent" a full yard ahead of Josh Cribbs (26.21). Mare won't be back next season.
Lawrence Jackson is beginning to show a little life. He's getting off the ball well and actually showing some fight against opposing tackles. Jackson is still with training wheels as a pass rusher, but then so is pretty much every rookie defensive end. Jackson trails only Chris Long in tackles and sacks among defensive ends selected in the first day of the 2008 NFL draft. On one play, Seattle attempted to stunt Jackson to the inside. He was S.L.O.W off the snap, flat and deliberate to the inside and ineffective on the inside rush. The skills aren't there, but it's been a while since I've seen Jackson really not try. There's reason to think the skills will develop.
On the second snap of the game, Owens pushed off Marcus Trufant and caught a pass for nine. Trufant stood stony, pantomiming "WTF?" I don't get why Owens gets the superstar treatment or how it helps the NFL, but fans across the league are surely sick of watching their corners play pushed-off coverage against Dallas.