Apologies for the super-late Closing the Book this week. It's been one of those weeks at the office. What're ya gonna do? I promise to keep it around 400 words.
First, if you haven't read Rob Staton's piece over at Seahawks Draft Blog then shame on ya baby. Go read it now and come back. I'll wait... Perspective without being Pollyanna. Love it.
Onto a few of my own thoughts...
When people ask me why I watch sports (and people have asked me that), I say it's because occasionally you get to see something special. Certain players are works of living art. Growing up in the St. Louis area in the mid-to-late 1980s I got to see one: Ozzie Smith in his prime. Russell Wilson is a work of art. His fundamentals are so advanced that he can defy convention without totally disregarding it. As a fan this is the best of times. Don't worry about "elite" or not. Just enjoy art for art's sake.
To Close the Book on Washington, I highlight a fourth quarter play on their last scoring drive. With 4:18 remaining, Kirk Cousins hit Roy Helu on a screen for 22 yards. For me, that play was more disturbing than DeSean Jackson's explosive receptions.
I don't want to get hung up on an innocuous play at the end of a game that was never in any real doubt. Yet it appears that Seattle blitzed in the second half in order to pressure Cousins, and he beat said blitz on that play. We are all so used to seeing Seattle's defense eat screens for lunch, so it is surprising when those plays have any success at all. At the snap, as was true for much of the night, the pass rush from the front four was not particularly impressive.
The front four from right (top) to left (bottom) are Cassius Marsh (LDE), Michael Bennett and Kevin Williams (DTs), and O'Brien Schofield (RDE). The front four repeatedly pushed the pocket into Manning's and Rivers' respective laps. So, maybe the pass rush just wasn't completely locked in on Monday night. Part of what I'll be looking for moving forward, is how much Kevin Williams in base takes us back to 2011 where we are effectively rushing three at the line of scrimmage with Red Bryant. If that is the case, without a pass rusher of Chris Clemons' quality Seattle may need to blitz more to generate pressure.