0-2 is a deep, dark place good teams rarely dwell.
Seattle is a good team with flaws. Right now, those flaws are winning out and those losses aren't coming off the standings.
The special teams is far from fixed. In fact, it's in a state of crisis. Change starts at the top. There's no excuse for consistently bad punt blocking. No excuse for Josh Wilson running the ball out of the end zone with 2:42 left to play. It's time Bruce DeHaven, a known incompetent that's lived on a good run in the late eighties, is fired. The team can blame its personnel, panic every week, shuffle its long snaper, punter, return man and retain two kickers, but bad coaching is as plain as bad play.
Brian Russell's bad play is proof of bad coaching on the defense. If the team thinks it needs Russell, for his leadership, lack of pigment or veteranossity, that's moronic, self-defeating and outright befuddling, but it can be done. If the team thinks it can employ Brian Russell in a Cover 1, that's suicidal. Against an offensive coordinator famous for his deep passing routes, I never saw Russell provide deep cover once. I often saw him ineffectually running towards the play. I once saw him throw down an uncalled roughing the passer tackle on a J.T. O'Sullivan slide. I never saw him look even vaguely like an NFL caliber safety. He's done. His continued presence on this roster is as moronic, self-defeating and outright befuddling as Shaun Alexander's was last season. He's not going anywhere.
That said, there's a lot to be happy about. After Buffalo, it was possible that Seattle had simply gambled wrong on offense. That, much like the Red Sox failed closer by committee experiment, it had rightly de-emphasized a non-premium position, but failed to acquire any viable talent. I think this passing offense will be okay. Billy McMullen is little but a possession receiver, but that's a position Seattle's been without. Michael Bumpus is a polished if modest threat out of the slot. John Carlson has been everything Seattle could want, and without a second threat to take pressure off him.
Let's talk a second about Courtney Taylor. He was bad today. Real bad. And it's very possible he will be cut. The team's panicked at the moment and Taylor played both poorly and at times lazily. But he's a prospect. Taylor is talent. And dropping a young player without much experience because he struggles early is the hallmark of a losing franchise. The team needs Taylor to progress, and he's shown glimpses of good route running and run after the catch. He was overmatched against Nate Clements, but few receivers of his experience wouldn't be. It's painful having a player learn on the field, but that's the decision Mike Holmgren and Tim Ruskell made and it's irrational to blame him for starting slow. Lose that talent and it doesn't come back, and though you might find a possession receiver in free agency, you won't find a starting flanker.
Seattle's defense sacked O'Sullivan eight times. San Francisco's rushing game disappeared. The only viable part of the 49ers offense was its deep passing attack. And though it's easy to see Isaac Bruce's 154 yards and assume Marcus Trufant was smoked, that came on four receptions. This is a good defense, but the deep passing attack won't improve until Russell is cut, benched or minimum, not played in a Cover 1. There's no cure for bad reads, bad angles and no-speed.
This Seahawks team is strong and deep and right now so far down that it's tough to see the light. But bad teams don't just lose, they get beat. And Seattle, for all its screw-ups, won nearly every play of this game. Great hardship is what great stories are made of.
Game Ball: Julius Jones. He's not a great rusher, but he is a complete running back. Matt Hasselbeck had great time all game, and Jones' ability to pick up free blitzers had much to do with that. Around doing all the little things right, he proved that he's still a good, steady and productive running back.