via img.bleacherreport.net, Credit to Getty Images
So, its the last week of the season, and the Seahawks HAVE to win to get the 1st round bye and home field advantage. Here's a VERY short rundown of the team from my perspective
Defense: Possibly the best this team has ever seen.
Special teams: Great punter, great kicker, great punt returner, missing a kick returner.
Offense: Great quarterback, great running back. Receivers are decent, O-line is bad. Offensive strategy has been figured out by other teams recently.
So, going by that, lets address a couple of what our recent issues seem to be. The O-line can't really be helped right now, we just have to wait till offseason. Personally I think Carpenter should play more, but I'm from the state of Alabama, so I'm sure I'm biased there. That leaves us with two major seeming issues: the offense is a bit stale and predictable, and our kick returns have flat out SUCKED.
For the offense, we seem to have two plays: Marshawn up the middle, and Play-action deep. I am a huge proponent of that style of offense, but I also realize when other teams seem to be catching on. The last three weeks have been rough. Even the giants held our offense pretty well in check (they just couldn't score). They clog up the middle and stuff Lynch, then have the DB's play deep and send blitzes, knowing we're gonna do a long developing pass play. So, what do we do to stop this?
Well, as said earlier, I've spent most of my life watching Alabama football. Since Nick Saban has been the coach, we've actually had a pretty good team that's based around a good defense, power running the ball, and play action passes. Problem is, everyone knows that. Every team we play comes out all hyped up to stop our run, and you know what? It works. If the first drive shows that the other team is determined to stop our run game, Saban will come out on the second drive in 5-wide sets throwing receiver screens, slants, and drag routes. Often times, we don't get a first down doing that. But something crazy happens. That defense starts to soften up, the safeties cheat up closer, while the linebackers hesitate, worrying about slants. All of a sudden, by the second or third quarter, the offense is back to looking normal again.
So, Pete Carrol and Darrell Bevell, why do we not try this? It's not like we don't have the players to do it. Doug Baldwin is an elite route runner, and should be able to make a living doing Wes Welker-y things over the middle. Jermaine Kearse has proven he's pretty good on the slants, and good things tend to happen when Golden Tate has the ball on a receiver screen. Even some QB keepers on read options around the outside of the line seem like they would be very effective in keeping teams from crowding the middle of the line, but we seem to have abandoned the read option.
The key to making short plays successful is to have players that excel with the ball in their hands in space. Marshawn Lynch is one of those, but we can't give him the ball every play of the game, unfortunately. Golden Tate is another, but he's also very good down the redline, so Pete Carroll seems to like him their better. Our front office knew this, and went out to solve this problem this offseason, and drafted two guys in the 1st and 2nd rounds of the draft: Percy Harvin and Christine Michael.
Harvin has proven in the NFL that no one is better in open space than he is. While he's an above average downfield receiver, he's best at turning short passes into large gains, and making safeties not play so deep. Now, there have been a lot of questions as to why he hasn't played and rumors on his toughness and all that jazz. In fact, Keasley posted a nice fan post about that situation earlier today.
Michael on the other hand, is still a rookie, and is unproven... Though we have definitely seen some pretty promising flashes from him. I feel like he's be a wonderful change of pace back, like Ellington of the Cardinals, and could change the way a defense plays our offense. Yet, he can't find the field. When Lynch is tired, we put in Turbin. I liked Turbin last year, but he seems to have regressed, and is pretty much useless. Even in blowout games, Michael hasn't been entering the game. Why? Don't give me this crap about he can't pass block. Sure, that would keep him from being an every down or a 3rd down back. But what does pass blocking have to do with the eggs in China if he's catching screens or we're throwing any kinds of short passes?
So what is the REAL reason Michael hasn't played? I want to know. Let me know your opinions too.
(As a disclaimer, I also think we're gonna come out next week and demolish the Rams, so I hope I didn't come off as too much of a debbie downer)