When your team is in a downward spiral, as many feel these Seahawks are, you look to your stars and leaders to pull you out of the rut. For the Seahawks, it's hard to really pin your finger on just who those stars and leaders are, outside of the two young safeties who have been quietly lighting the league up. But rest assured, folks, we've got them, and here's what they need to do to beat the Cardinals.
-- Sidney Rice - Well, playing is a pretty good start. Sidney Rice has all the talent in the world: he has great hands, can contort his body like a Russian gymnast, and may well be an all-pro in injury acquisitions. We need to see what this kid can do. It's his first game with the team, so I'm not expecting a ton statistically, but we need to see how Rice's presence can alter a defense's approach to the Hawks. No more double coverage for Williams? Ever-so-slightly more open run game? Liberal soy sauce application? Only time will tell.
-- Marshawn Lynch - It's very easy to pin a running back's lack of success on an offensive line. In doing so, you both dis the line (perhaps deservedly) and you reiterate the lack of importance of the running back position. I'm fine with that. But last year, Beast Quake should have taught us that we have a potential star. He needs help from the line, yes, but he also needs to be much quicker to the hole (regardless of its size), and go. Lynch has looked more pensive than bruising thus far, and if he can't be the guy to hit the hole, maybe it's time we give the most talented back on the team (Leon Washington) a few more carries.
-- Chris Clemons - Remember that time when we had that really disruptive defensive end, who was getting pressure, like, all the time? That guy was awesome. Well, I've got news for you: he is still a member of your Seattle Seahawks, and, in fact, is a starter. I know what you're thinking: "That ish crayyy!" but, alas, it is true. The Seahawks need both Clemons and Raheem Brock to have very good games today. If you want to beat Fitzgerald and the Cardinals, that's going to start with laying some wood to Kevin Kolb early and often. If Clemons doesn't start making something happen off the edge, this could be a very long year. In 2010, however, it wasn't until Clemons got a game or two at home under his belt that he became the pass rusher we came to know and love, so there's still hope.
-- Brandon Browner - Browner is, essentially, our #1 cornerback right now. Carroll said earlier in the week that Browner would be shadowing Larry Fitzgerald on the field, so if that's not a "man up" moment, I guess I don't fully understand the concept. If Browner can effectively shut down or limit Fitzgerald today, than he is the guy that we desperately need him to be. If he can't? I have to believe Walter Thurmond starts pushing Browner hard in a hurry.
-- Zach Miller - My hetero-football-lifemate, himself. Miller has been great so far, but unfortunately, not in the role anyone really wants to see him in. Look! A tight end that can block and has imaginary powers of receipt. Cool! Yes, it is cool. I'd rather see him out there working the middle and helping to move the chains. This isn't on Miller, but in the past, we've seen TEs (coughJohnCarlsoncough) with all the talent in the world lose their focus in other parts of the game when forced to linger back and block too much.
-- Pete Carroll / Darrell Bevell / Tom Cable - If there's ever a defense the Seahawks should be able to put up some yards and points against, it's these Cardinals. If our offense is again stifled, especially early, it becomes more and more clear that it's a coaching issue. I, personally, am a huge Pete Carroll fan, but what ever happened to Big Balls Pete? I want the first play of the game to be empty backfield, four WR set, with no mothertrucking check-down options for Jackson. They need to get through to him the following: A) protect the ball, like, rilly-rilly good, B) put your team in a position to win, C) pretend like B is really A and A is really B, because 0 turnovers means nothing when asterisked with 0 wins, ya ding-dong.