Season Retrospective: Patrick Kerney

A lot of bad ink to follow. If you have the warm and fuzzies following his retirement, you might want to look away.

Patrick Kerney

2007

2008

Lowlights

Seahawks at 49ers September 20

Colin Cole bears the most blame, but he wasn't embarrassed the way Patrick Kerney was. Poor, poor Patrick Kerney. It's early but, Kerney might have stepped over that cliff this season. Plays in which he's looked flat bad are beginning to outnumber plays he's looked good.

Let's take this step by pitiful step.

1. San Francisco is set two wide receivers left, tight end right and offset "I" right. Seattle is 4-3 under, so that Aaron Curry is shaded just to the right of slot receiver Josh Morgan.

2. Morgan motions in to the right tackle, but then reverses and aligns at left tight end. This is where things start to crumble for Seattle. The Seahawks shift left to the motion and then attempt to reset on the right. They can't get back into position before the snap.

3. At the snap, Curry and Will Herring read run and rush the line to control their gaps. Every 49er but Isaac Bruce stays in to block. Ken Lucas stays with Bruce.

4. Left guard David Baas engages and blocks out Cole. This is essential, because it is Cole's gap that San Francisco will target. Baas is able to single block Cole allowing center Eric Heitmann to pull into the second level. Heitmann briefly reach blocks Cole, but it doesn't slow his pull. Cole is effectively blocked out by one offensive lineman.

5. Cole is moved hard to the offensive right and Gore's cutback lane stretches from Terrill, right of center, to Curry struggling with (and being held by) Morgan outside of left tackle. The hole is as large as three to four football players aligned shoulder pad to shoulder pad.

6. Herring is lost in the pile. For good measure and without a better assignment, Heitmann piles on, tracking him into the scrum and shoving him to the ground. Staley pulls out and blocks David Hawthorne.

7. Kerney is unblocked. He is standing in the hole before Gore can receive the hand off. It's a tough hole to defend and Kerney has no support, but he must slow or redirect Gore if he can't get a hand on him.

8. He doesn't.

3956327263_7e4099b629_m_medium

9. Gore is untouched into the third level. Jordan Babineaux takes a bad angle towards Gore, but, again, what can he do?

10. What he does is attempt to flush Gore towards Lucas, the only other defender with a chance to stop Gore.

11. Gore expertly threads between Babineaux and Lucas. He angles towards the sideline to position Lucas and then cuts in. That puts Bruce between him and Lucas and clears the lane to the end zone.

Kerney is awful on this play, but the huge hole, the literally superfluous lead blockers and the speed and force Gore is able to take into the third level starts with Cole's inability to hold the center. Even Kerney's failure is partially attributed to the gigantic hole he had to fill. And that hole is Colin Cole's responsibility to prevent from forming. He is the nose tackle, the true nose, playing over center -- the zero gap, and it is his responsibility to contain the push, hold the point and prevent the offensive line from being ripped through like tissue paper.

Seahawks at Colts October 4

Kerney only had one very good jump off the line. That was to begin the Colts touchdown scoring two minute drill. He even turned the corner and got close to pressuring Manning, but slipped. For much of the drive, Kerney looked, well, tired. He looked very tired. That was most pronounced on the fourth and fifth plays, after the Colts twice snapped "no huddle". On the fifth play, he ran a very slow stunt across the line. Manning was flushed from the pocket, but Kerney did not flush him and did not pressure him after he was flushed.

Kerney did not factor. That is the best way to put it. In eight of the fifteen plays, I have scribbled "DNF". His performance at the start of the second drive and his visible fatigue on the fourth and fifth plays are instructive. Kerney played worse when he was tired, but was not regularly substituted out. Later Kerney was injured.

Before the season, Seattle spoke of using Kerney in a more limited capacity to extend his life as a pass rusher. Looking at Brian McIntyre's snap counts, that doesn't look to be the case. Kerney played in 66.7% of Seattle's defensive snaps against the Rams, a game Seattle led by 21 midway through the third quarter. He played in 80% and 82.5% of Seattle's snaps against the 49ers and Bears, respectively. He played in 65.1% of the teams' snaps last Sunday and left the game because of injury.

Kerney can still jump around an offensive tackle, it's everything else that is starting to worry me.

1. 1-10-IND 20 (11:47) 18-P.Manning pass short left to 29-J.Addai to IND 37 for 17 yards (51-L.Tatupu, 27-J.Babineaux).

Kerney's pressure is slow developing because of confusion instead of inability. The Colts line swelled and flexed, consuming the Seahawks other three linemen and not presenting Kerney an avenue of attack until the play had developed. That's when Kerney cut in and pressured Manning and that's when Aaron Curry did something stupid. He dropped cover on Joseph Addai and rushed Manning. Manning lobbed it to Addai and Addai ran for 17.

Kerney displayed his quickness on the next snap, getting backside pursuit and contributing to a Kelly Jennings run stuff. Then started a series of plays that alarmed me. The next two plays, Kerney got around end only to be washed out or knocked down turning the corner.

A quick aside. I never bought into Tony Ugoh. He always looked bad to me. I don't mention this because a bloggers' work is his credibility, though that factors, I mention this to gauge the quality of Kerney's matchup. Indianapolis replaced Ugoh with Charles Johnson. Johnson is a different profile of Ray Willis. The Colts selected him late and have practiced him into an NFL regular. But I see no proof he is good. Manning makes everyone look good, so Johnson isn't dissimilar to Pierre Garcon in my mind. If Marcus Trufant was active, Seattle would need Trufant to shut down Garcon whenever the two were matched. Seattle wasn't going to stop Manning from making his teammates look good, but on certain matchups, Seattle's best had to win-win-win for Seattle to survive.

So Kerney shouldn't have battled Johnson to a draw. He shouldn't have created occasional edge rush that was quickly nullified by a step into the pocket and a well-timed shove by Johnson. But that's exactly what happened here

2-7-IND 40 (10:32) (Shotgun) 18-P.Manning pass short left to 29-J.Addai to IND 45 for 5 yards (51-L.Tatupu)

and here

3-2-IND 45 (9:52) (Shotgun) 18-P.Manning pass short left to 44-D.Clark to SEA 45 for 10 yards (31-K.Lucas, 92-B.Mebane)

--the very next play. A play later, Gijon Robinson sealed him off and Addai ran for five. Then he was washed out again, and sealed twice more on the final three plays of the quarter. Three runs, all successful, the final to score the touchdown.

Kerney was right. He got his speed back. But Kerney is wrong. An end needs more than quickness to be good. He needs strength to separate and strong arms to anchor on an inside move. He needs a bull rush, even Freeney has one, and needs and edge rush that doesn't redirect five yards behind the quarterback. If he's going to get sealed out by tight ends, half backs and full backs, he better be a terror rushing the passer, and Kerney isn't anymore. For one quarter he wasn't, anyway.

Seahawks at Cowboys November 1

Third and 9: Miles Austin for 16. This was a failure of pass rush. The blitz design was..not so good. One could see it working, but there was one major flaw inherent in its design. Perhaps this graphic can illuminate what I mean. For sake of clarity, I'll only show the key players.

4081655946_d2fba8d1ed_medium_medium

You'll have to excuse me if that's too subtle, for I am a humble caveman confused and frightened by your modern world. It's a perfectly cromulent blitz design and swinging Patrick Kerney across the line should give him a strong matchup against the left guard, but Kerney is far too slow to get into the action before Romo finds an open receiver. This will rile some feathers, but do not be surprised if Seattle drafts a defensive end in the first round of next year's draft.

...

Well, mostly. Patrick Kerney was taken down and that tripped Bryant and eliminated much of Seattle's rush. Cory Redding got a parting shot, but the pass was accurate and Witten received for 18.

Highlights

Rams at Seahawks September 13

Bulger fumbles the snap and Patrick Kerney edge rushes him into a desperate toss at a downed Steven Jackson.

Seahawks at 49ers September 20

Patrick Kerney reads the shovel pass and tackles Frank Gore before the play can start.

. . .

Seattle put in its pass rush line: Darryl Tapp, Craig Terrill, Redding and Kerney. Kerney edge rushed Snyder, swam to his outside shoulder, paused briefly as Snyder shaded to catch up, and then swam to his inside shoulder to clear and sack Hill. That sack was pure skill and savvy.

Cardinals at Seahawks October 10

The first thing I like is the personnel on the defensive line. Lawrence Jackson is playing strongside defensive end. Me!Bane! is playing nose. Patrick Kerney is playing weakside defensive end. This is a vision. John Marshall would stack his line strong to weak: Rocky Bernard - Craig Terrill - Patrick Kerney. Terrill. At nose. Terrill.

Gus Bradley proves a blitz of five can cause disruption, pressure, incompletes, sacks, interceptions and, oh yes, fumbles returned 70 yards to the end zone. Seattle forces pressure by isolating every lineman and awaiting for one to fail. Both ends edge rush. Mebane charges. Hawthorne stunts underneath attempting to draw the left guard.

In practice, this is where Tapp swoops into the left guard gap and destroys Mike Teel playing Kurt Warner.

Reggie Wells doesn't bite.

Now it looks like a failed blitz. By that I mean: the scheme itself is not working. It's up to the talent.

Seattle has a win at right tackle. Kerney is more than enough edge rusher to rush Levi Brown. Jackson does his job, but this is not a sure win, and he doesn't win. That puts an end on a guard and three on a guard. Mebane is good, but so is Deuce Lutui. Lutui wins this round. Wells wasn't surprised and is simply outsizing Tapp on the inside.

Then David Hawthorne separates from Lyle Sendlein and flying tackles Kurt Warner. Kerney has turned and traumatized Brown. Again. The two combine for a strip sack Tapp recovers.

It's good to see Kerney doing work.

Seahawks at Cowboys November 1

The pass rush was swarming all around, but dead in the middle. Tapp, Kerney and Mebane smashed the pocket, but their pressure came from outside. Cole alone was trusted to collapse the middle, and if he could have, Romo would have had no pocket to step into. Instead Cole just stood there. Cole just stood there, watching the play develop.

Outlook: Enjoy retirement, Patrick.

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