Some will hate it. Some won't like it. But some of you might actually agree. Its do or die time in the NFL and I'm going to share my thoughts on the Seahawks especially based on the post-divisional victory over the Saints 23-15.
1. The Seahawks Offense seriously sucks right now. There is no if and but about it. You can take DVOA (the Gull's Bible) and shove it where the sun don't shine. The past five games have shown this. Its the trend. I place some blame on Bevell's lack of creativity and adjustments. I think at times he gets so focused on Carroll's philosophy of not giving up the ball that he just won't do certain things that might create some issues for opposing defenses. Bevell tends to get praise from people regarding his play calling but I believe Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson's ability to make things happen mask over the predictability of Bevell's play calling.
A good portion of the blame is on Russell Wilson. He has not recently executed the offense efficiently or passed well. So many off target throws and this weird mindset of scrambling outside the pocket the moment he sees another team's jersey instead of stepping into the pocket. I have been lynched by the hostile Brian McCann's of this Field Gull community for even mentioning that I don't think Wilson is a strong pocket passer. I'm not looking for validation here. I said this earlier in the season even when he was doing well. I would still take Andrew Luck in a heart beat over Russell Wilson as a pocket passer which is exactly what I'd rather see than this houdini stuff that some people seem to just love. Here is a theory for you - perhaps the line breaks down so much due to Wilson enabling them to get this mindset that they don't have to sustain blocks because Wilson is just going to end up scrambling. He tends to sit in the pocket and not make any kind of throw and then start running. People call that scrambling. I call it unnecessary. I've watched a lot of football over the years and Wilson is nowhere near Drew Brees in pocket presence. You get about 3 seconds to get your read which, believe it or not, actually does happen for Wilson. However, Wilson acts like he needs 5 seconds or more to get his pass off. Wilson needs to locate his passing lanes sooner. Blame the receivers all you want (I will too in a second) but Wilson's inability to get them ball sooner in their breaks isn't helping either. Teams are now just having their Linebackers and D-ends edge out for his predictable roll-outs. Also Wilson is no longer playing loose. I think Carroll and Bevell asked him to take care of the ball and its caused him to become tentative and no longer willing to take risks.
Yes, blame does go to the Wide Receivers. They don't get much separation. They get plenty of one-on-one match-ups but don't seem to separate very consistently in their crossing routes. However, Russell doesn't seem to find them when they do separate. I laughed when people thought Sidney Rice's loss wasn't a big deal. He was a big deal when it came to red zone offense. If you don't believe me, then look at the tape, especially last season's. He may not have been a great receiver but he was very effective in the red zone and had good chemistry with Wilson in that area. While, I think the Seahawks receivers are capable play-makers, I don't see them as great. The Seahawks need to go get a big time tide-end or receiver in this upcoming draft which is stocked with receiving talent.
2. That Seahawk Defense is superbowl worthy. I love the Seahawk defense. I watch other teams and often think, "Ha! Seahawks wouldn't have allowed that to happen!" Don't let the final 23-15 score or Brees' stat line fool you. The Seahawks defense dominated. Sean Payton, unlike Darrell Bevell, is a wonderful offensive play caller and can make adjustments on the fly which attributed to the 4th quarter outburst. That being said, Brees and Payton still can't solve the Seahawk defense which is just unbelievably talented, confident, and disciplined. I would have no problem with finger pointing by the defense at the offense. They have bailed the Seahawk offense countless times and I think there should be some stern talk between the groups if this continues against the 49ers in the conference championships.
3. Marshawn Lynch. Not a classy guy. Moody and stubborn. Won't talk to the media or even his teammates at times. But he is one of hell of a ferocious football player. Beast. I freakin love him. If he gets over 100 yards, the Seahawks usually win it.
4. The Clink. Love this home field advantage. Its hard to even understand its importance. It and its fans can carry a team to victories that might not be deserved. You can watch all the film and read up on all the DVOA stats you want while you talk and write about the Seahawks from another city and state. This place is something that makes the Seahawks unique. You don't understand from going to your one holiday game. If you live and breathe Seattle air every day and you attend those home games, you know exactly what I mean. This place will elevate the mediocre to acceptability and the exceptional to transcendent.
5. Conference Championship Prediction - 49ers over the Seahawks 23-16. Hot teams usually win and the 49ers are scorching while the Seahawk offense is sputtering. For the record, I predicted the Seahawks going 13-3 and losing two of its final six games. I predicted them losing to the Saints and to the Rams. Just about every game I predict, on the record, end up being wrong. So take from that what you will :-).