Seahawks vs. Cardinals: Week 14 player snap counts, quick analysis

Otto Greule Jr

The Seahawks' player snap counts are out for Sunday's win at CenturyLink Field against the Cardinals, so let's take a look at a few notables. This game was kind of a weird one in that there was heavy rotation at all positions because of the blowout, so I won't spend too much time analyzing the snap counts - what they might mean and what kind of pattern they might suggest, but if you're interested, here they are.

Offense:

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On the line, J.R. Sweezy, John Moffitt, and Paul McQuistan did some rotating, and each got a significant amount of playing time at both guard positions (Sweezy just stuck at RG). The 7th round rookie, Sweezy, saw 37 snaps, over 50% of the offense's total, and when I went in and watched him closely last night, I came out encouraged with his play. He's certainly a Tom Cable type and should fit in just nicely with the cohort to his right, Breno Giacomini, if he manages to secure a starting spot - Sweezy got a 'headbutting' personal foul penalty and was really getting after it with Arizona defenders even late in the game when it was mostly just a 'get this thing over with' mentality. At one point, finishing off a block, he dove over the pile and somersaulted head over feet, rolled, and landed on his feet lightly. I know that particular skill is useless as a lineman, but this display of body control and athleticism honestly shocked me. He's not a small dude, either.

Listening to Tom Cable's interview from last week, the Seahawks' assistant head coach talked about how he liked that Sweez had been in 'a few scrapes' during his time at NC State, that he looked him in the eye, and that he jumped at the idea of playing OL when Cable asked him about it - an idea that three other players had balked at. (Aside, -- makes you realize that the Seahawks must really like something about the attacking mentality and saltiness you might get from playing on the DL, and methodically went out looking for late-round marginal DL types to try and convert). Sweezy just wanted to play football, and it didn't matter which side of the ball he was on. This is a big reason why the Seahawks used one of their two seventh rounders on Sweezy and why he's leapfrogged up the depth chart and is challenging for a starting job, even.

Also along the line, Lemuel Jeanpierre and Frank Omiyale got 20 snaps apiece at C and LT, respectively. Breno didn't miss any snaps at RT, as the Seahawks' backup RT is either Omiyale, McQuistan or down the line, Mike Person, who was inactive on Sunday. G Rishaw Johnson was also inactive, unfortunately, as it would have been fun to see him get some snaps.

At wide receiver, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate, and Sidney Rice all saw significant snaps throughout. Jermaine Kearse got 21 snaps later in the game, but with Charly Martin inactive, Seattle was all but forced to use their starters. Weirdly enough, Seattle only completed 12 passes in this game. When I saw that stat, I thought I was looking at, possibly, the first-half summary or something, but alas, no. Anthony McCoy had 3 catches for 105 yards, Sidney Rice, 2 for 35, Doug Baldwin 2 for 29, Zach Miller 2 for 29, Golden Tate 2 for 6, and Michael Robinson 1 for 12. 58-0. 12 passes. Weird.

Robert Turbin looked good in relief of Marshawn Lynch -- and Lynch looked great in limited action. Also weirdly enough, to go along with the 12 total complete passes, Marshawn only carried the ball 11 times en route to his 128 yards and 3 TDs. Turbin and Leon Washington got the bulk of the 42 Seattle totes - Turbin rushing 20 times for 108 yards and Washington adding 7 carries for 38 yards - both 5.4 ypc.

Evan Moore failed to do much in his 16 snaps in the way of the very limited passing game, drawing an offensive pass interference call on his only target (which, actually negates the 'target' because of the penalty.) I had a lot of hopes for Moore when he signed, and it's my understanding that the coaching staff was ecstatic to get him (which makes sense, considering they dropped Kellen Winslow the same day), but he hasn't yet gotten up to speed with the offense. To me, he looks like he's pressing much too hard to make plays still, and it's not translating to success, at least catching the ball.

Finally, of course, Matt Flynn played 30 snaps, and went 5 of 9 for 68 yards. He had a nice play where he escaped pressure to his right, and Brett Favre'd it across his body to a play-adjusting Anthony McCoy for 17 yards. He also hit Sidney Rice on a nice deep slant route in which Rice got blown up by the safety.

Innocuous game for Flynn mostly, but he could have had two touchdown passes (could you imagine, seriously?) - the first was batted slightly by a linebacker and surely would have been an easy TD for Sidney Rice, and another was very late in the game on a go-route to Jermaine Kearse - Kearse got his feet inbounds and two hands on a perfectly placed ball, but couldn't come down with it. I'm not going to call it a drop because that's a tough play, but it certainly could have been another TD.

Defense:

Screen_shot_2012-12-11_at_9

The most interesting part of the defense in terms of snaps, was the cornerback rotation with Brandon Browner now serving his suspension. Walter Thurmond got extensive action in this one, seeing 58 snaps, both on the outside and in the slot. Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell both played a good deal as well (23 and 24 snaps, respectively), opposite Richard Sherman, who still played 45 snaps (76%) despite the blowout.

Though Pete Carroll noted prior to the game that Lane would be the '3rd CB' and made it sound like he'd be the 'nickel corner', Lane mostly played on the outside and not in the slot (only 1 slot snap). When Seattle used 3 corners, it was typically Sherman at LCB and Lane or Maxwell at RCB, with Walter Thurmond in the slot.

It's also worth noting that Sherman did in fact follow Larry Fitzgerald in coverage on some nickel looks, matching up with the Cardinals' future hall of famer right out of the huddle, which is a pretty big departure from standard procedure, which would assign corners to specific sides.

On the defensive line, Brandon Mebane, Red Bryant, and Alan Branch all saw their snaps early in the game but were phased out mostly as the blowout was on. That meant that Bruce Irvin (39), Jason Jones (39), Clinton McDonald (26), and Greg Scruggs (31) got a lot of nice reps in the rotation, and a rotation it was. Jones saw snaps at end and on the interior, and the personnel groupings were pretty varied. It's really too bad that Jaye Howard was inactive in this one because it would have been nice to see him get some snaps.

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