Ricardo Lockette and Bryan Walters ceded snaps this week to rookie Paul Richardson, who played 42 plays, or 59% of the offense's snaps. That's a huge deal for the Seahawks, who will be looking for a new playmaker now that Percy Harvin is gone, and even better, PRich looked legit. He plays with a calmness about him that I like, and while I realize this is a cliche to say, it doesn't look like the game is too big for him.
As we saw in the preseason, that sideline is Richardson's breadbasket -- because of his speed and shifty style, he's getting big cushions on the outside, and that means those comebacks and hook routes will be open to him until/unless corners start cheating on them. Richardson finished with 5 targets, 4 receptions, and 33 yards, including a nice 11-yard pickup on a key third down.
Fellow rookie Kevin Norwood got 8 snaps as well, and got his first career reception on a little 4-yard screen pass outside. The notable thing here is that Norwood got more snaps than Lockette and Walters, which may signal a move to the Seahawks' two rookies going forward.
Cooper Helfet was the beneficiary of snaps with Zach Miller and Luke Willson out, and he was targeted six times, including several beautiful seam passes by Russell Wilson, and a gorgeous toe-tap touchdown pass at the pylon. Helfet had a coming out party in this one, and his smooth route running and receiver-style catching ability could be a weapon the Seahawks look to further develop. Helfet may be the perfect example of the type of player the coaches all like because they see him in practice everyday, but most fans don't know about because he's buried on the depth chart. The injuries have hit Seattle, and we're going to get a chance to see what Helfet can bring.
Rashaun Allen got 14 snaps in his first career game after being called up from the practice squad, and his use, combined with Alvin Bailey's (below), and Robert Turbin, who played 30 snaps, primarily as the fullback, shows that the Seahawks did indeed go back to their roots as a heavy-personnel, run-set type of offense, at least in this game.
Alvin Bailey got 11 snaps as a 6th offensive lineman and unfortunately got called for a hold on a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run. In my opinion, the call was pretty weak, and Bailey looked good at the point of attack, driving the defender back about ten of so yards off the ball. Bailey's arm appeared to be hooked a little bit around the defender, so I suppose that's what was called, but it did not look egregious to me. I'd like to hear how Tom Cable graded that play.
One last notable on the offensive side of the ball -- Christine Michael got 7 snaps, and took two carries for 5 yards. Hopefully this is just the start.
Defensively, the two most notable snap counts belong to Malcolm Smith and Michael Bennett. Smith played every snap in this game, two weeks after not even appearing in the game vs. Washington. With Bobby Wagner out indefinitely, Smith will be an important player to keep track of, and he's going to be playing tons of snaps at the weakside as K.J. goes to the middle.
Meanwhile, Bennett got a lot of action again, logging 44 snaps, or 90% of the defensive plays. That makes 278 snaps on the year for Bennett, or 80% of Seattle's defensive plays, up significantly from last season, when he played 57% of Seattle's plays, which was the highest total of the defensive line rotation. This is the loss of depth we're seeing in action with the departures of Chris Clemons, Clint McDonald, and Red Bryant. Here's to hoping he doesn't get worn down.
At corner, with Tharold Simon gettin injured, Marcus Burley was again asked to play a ton, logging 37 snaps, or 76% of the defense's total. DeShawn Shead got some reps out side as well, coming in for 7 snaps at corner. Jeron Johnson came in for two snaps.
O'Brien Schofield didn't get a ton of action in this one, appearing for only 8 snaps, and Greg Scruggs, who replaces the injured Cassius Marsh, logged 10 snaps in relief. That number may need to go up as the season goes along.
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