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Everything Else

This is a running thread of anything else that I think is worth mentioning in the next 23 hours. Feel free to post questions if you want, I'll try and answer all of them. Just not between 3 and 6, that's Morgan time!

Mr. Popularity

Shaun Alexander is a huge wildcard heading into this weekend. He only had 8 rushes in week 17, so could be fresh, but only had 8 rushes after taking a hard hit that clearly fazed him. The Hawks are more dependent on him than maybe any other time of his career, because in the past Shaun was always either good or great, Shaun V. 2007 is sometimes good, and often deadly bad. Third and longs are only going to embolden Gregg Williams. I do not fear blitzes, but I do fear our blitz pickup. If Seattle can play like the efficient, Walsh style offense they were designed to be, they'll have plenty of exploitable weaknesses, but if Alexander's rushing makes the Skins' run D transform into the Hawks run D, Seattle's offense will sputter. It's not that I don't respect the Skins' rush D, it's just that I don't think how they play will mean half as much as which Shaun Alexander shows up on Sunday.

The Weather

The weather shouldn't be a relevant. Don't worry about the weather.

Special Teams

It's very hard to get a grasp on the Hawks special teams. My head and my gut say that, yes, Boone Klutz was that bad. Brown, Plack and the whole gang have looked again like that dominant unit that soared to first place mid-season. Plack better be back, because Randle El shall give no quarter.

The Media

The Skins had one of their very best players die suddenly, and without reason. The Hawks are a perennial contender with little flash and a buncha smack shootin' lumberjacks for fans. The Hawks are going to get picked against, picked on and generally reviled, win, lose or draw. Hopefully, should Seattle make it into the next round, the Hawks can be put down for their football merits, rather than for just being unpopular.

An Off Week for Old Men

Chris Gray, who has been 7 layers of suck, may, may, like Alexander, benefit quite a bit from the week off. Gray was a substantially better player at the beginning of the season, and has clearly worn down as the season has progressed. I don't think that particular batch of Geritol is likely to last more than one week, but for one week, Seattle might have a league average right guard again. Jones has been playing well, I don't think he will be too positively, or too negatively affected by a week off.

From the Wayback Machine: A Complete Offense

The Hawks may finally show off that vaunted four deep, stupendously terrific wide receiver corps they've teased us with all season. As I wrote, what?, 3 infinity times:

The 2007 Hawks don't need Hackett to be a true #2 for him to be immensely valuable, though. Ever since Mike Holmgren drafted Jerramy Stevens in 2002, Holmgren has looked desperately for a seam stretcher to allow his modified Walsh offense to work. The key isn't consistent production deep, but only a consistent deep threat. When the Hawks can align an explosive player at tight end or in the slot to force the safety or safeties deep, Holmgren's preferred real estate opens underneath. In a Walsh offense, a deep skinny post is a stock play, while a wide receiver drag is a potential homerun. The true failure of Ben Obomanu is not simply that he's been awful at receiving the football, it's that his struggles have allowed teams to essentially ignore him. Hackett, already an elite slot receiver, will make everyone else around him better. Branch can become the deadly possession and run after catch threat he was brought in to be. Burleson can work underneath against zones and in slants and wide receiver screen patterns, plays that minimize his hands and maximize his open field prowess. Engram can once again become the first down machine that shreds linebackers and picks apart short zones. So Hackett doesn't need to be as good as we think he can be, with Hackett being only as good as he already is, the 2007 Seattle Seahawks should have one of the five best passing attacks in the NFL. If he arrives, becomes a force at split end, the Hawks will have the deadliest four receiver set in football.

A healthy Hackett, could be enough to take Seattle to the Super Bowl.

Hasselbeck's Wrist

Better be okay.

One Last Needle for an Outgoing Legend

If I were Gregg Williams, and I saw Shaun Alexander in the backfield, I'd blitz like crazy, knowing he's neither suited for draw plays, nor anything as a receiver. Even if Shaun has an excellent rushing performance, his deficit as a receiver is so great that it's almost impossible for him to match Morris' contributions.