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Preseason Questions: Game 3: Is Alabama Cooked?

Every significant indicator is trending, no, spiraling down for Shaun Alexander. He's thirty, his receiving numbers are in the toilet, he's two years removed from a punishing 370 carry season, he sucked last season and suffered a practically unhealable injury to his foot. So far this preseason he's "amassed" 7 yards on 5 carries.

Unfortunately for Alabama, his slumpbreaker is the wrong kind of ugly. Last season the Vikings recorded one of the five best rush-defense performances in the last ten years. In other words, Shaun's getting jobbed. The Williams twins could occupy five blockers without assistance, and "holes" will be the exception for the Hawk rushing attack on Saturday. So how do we accurately rate Alexander?

Here's my idea: Watch him and not his numbers. Last season Alexander's decline was obvious, which is to say, you could see it. His cuts were lethargic, he was slow through holes or chased down when attempting cutback lanes. In the divisional round against Chicago, though, he looked more or less like his old self. So, however slight, some possibility for a return to form exists for the former Madden Curse bearer.

Alexander can't control the number of holes he sees on Saturday, and therefore can't control much of what his rushing stats look like on Sunday, but he can make something out of the opportunities he's given. A healthy Shaun, a competent but sub-prime Shaun, should be able to get some runs of 5+ yards. A cooked Alabama will feature the same cement shoes he featured for most of the season in 2006, and will be lucky to record positive yards.

Ok, that's all for today. Don't know about a podcast for tomorrow, depends on much out of my control. Podcasts will be a fixture for the regular season, though, so any suggestions are welcome. I'm going to take gameday more or less off, because, you know, I like to watch the Seahawks, too.