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Below sits every Tariq Woolen target from Weeks 3 and 4, even the ones that could be assigned to teammates or when he was flagged for some questionable penalty. Because the more times we can see him operate, the better.
Again, I’m not the resident Field Gulls X’s and O’s expert. Ask someone else about Woolen’s pass-off responsibilities or zone assignment on any specific snap. Ask someone else the difference between Tampa 2 and Robber. Though I’m not an expert, I do know bad cornerback play when I see it. And there’s precious little of that from TW so far anytime the ball comes his way. Which isn’t that often.
Week 3: vs. Atlanta Falcons
QTR 1, 2:50 left. Pass is complete for 23 yards
Target 1 vs. Atlanta pic.twitter.com/0sCEuhwXRr— John Skellingt n Fraley (@johndavidfraley) October 20, 2022
Good route run by Olamide Zaccheaus, with plenty of time for Marcus Mariota to find him out of max protect (seven players blocking). You see Woolen recover and close in, but it’s a smidge late and the ball just sneaks past his outstretched hand. Well-executed offensive play; the best Woolen could have hoped for was a deflection or an underthrow. This time he extends to try defense the pass; later you’ll see him opt for the post-catch tackle. A lot of decisions to make in a short amount of time.
QTR 1, 0:31 left. Pass is incomplete. Offensive holding negates the play.
Target 2 vs. Atlanta pic.twitter.com/iVSheY2m0r— John Skellingt n Fraley (@johndavidfraley) October 20, 2022
Woolen follows Drake London for what feels like six seconds while Mariota improvises. London flashes open at the back of the end zone but it would take a perfect throw to convert, because TW is closing fast. Holding on the offense anyway.
An end zone view of the same play gives one a heightened appreciation for Woolen’s velocity. His Woolenocity. By the time Mariota finally locks on London, it’s already too late.
Target 2 vs. Atlanta, new angle pic.twitter.com/FKs0nbajnE— John Skellingt n Fraley (@johndavidfraley) October 20, 2022
QTR 2, 0:19 left. Pass is incomplete, Penalty on ATL is declined.
Target 3 vs. Atlanta pic.twitter.com/QXCpwh2Yaa— John Skellingt n Fraley (@johndavidfraley) October 20, 2022
Don’t try and step out and back in on Tariq Woolen. He will not be fooled, and neither will the officials (this time).
QTR 2, 0:05 left. Pass is INTERCEPTED, obviously
Target 4 vs. Atlanta, INTERCEPTION pic.twitter.com/i9DDKrhRUp— John Skellingt n Fraley (@johndavidfraley) October 20, 2022
First of many picks to come, hopefully. Woolen is 100 percent baiting Mariota to try him. It works! What doesn’t work is Woolen’s return, where he is tripped up by the Falcons’ third tight end, a human somehow named Parker Hesse. Hoping Woolen was sufficiently razzed for not breaking the tackle of a man who assuredly did not run a 4.27 at the combine.
Mariota only targets Woolen once more all game.
QTR 3, 11:01 left. Pass is incomplete. Very incomplete
Target 5 vs. Atlanta pic.twitter.com/jDeVueXjAQ— John Skellingt n Fraley (@johndavidfraley) October 20, 2022
Mariota throws this one away under pressure. Woolen was responsible for the receiver. Smartly, the Falcons henceforth redirect their offense to passes on the other side of the field, and non-passes to Cordarelle Patterson. They win. The Detroit Lions do not learn anything from this footage.
Week 4: at Detroit Lions
QTR 1, 6:54 left
No clip here but Woolen is caught for defensive holding on the first T.J. Hockenson touchdown, away from the throw. Penalty is obviously declined but included for thoroughness. And because Woolen’s rookie grabbitude does end up costing the Seahawks on the next play.
QTR 1, 1:46 left, penalty, offsetting
Play 1 vs. Detroit, don't hold pic.twitter.com/JXsfwhTFDW— John Skellingt n Fraley (@johndavidfraley) October 20, 2022
Again this penalty on Woolen results in no official play, but only because the Lions were also flagged for holding. One thing Woolen can work on is awareness to commit fewer unnecessary fouls when the play is headed elsewhere. Nothing more maddening than losing out on an improvement in field position because of a defensive penalty far away from the ball.
QTR 2, 1:00 left. Pass is complete for 26 yards
Target 1 vs. Detroit pic.twitter.com/kuFjuKdXER— John Skellingt n Fraley (@johndavidfraley) October 20, 2022
Woolen might have a shot at intercepting a better placed pass, but Jared Goff underthrows this one and his receiver adjusts better mid-air than the corner.
QTR 3, 15:00 left. Pass is INTERCEPTED IN FULL STRIDE
Target 2 vs. Detroit, INTERCEPTED AND HOUSED pic.twitter.com/IPvI9tAwPK— John Skellingt n Fraley (@johndavidfraley) October 20, 2022
Goff sees Hockenson flash open, sets his feet and delivers a pass in stride to his intended receiver, assuming the receiver is Tariq Woolen. Seriously though, Goff reads everything well but the ball comes out of his hand two tenths of a second later than it should, which in Woolen temporal units is four steps — exactly enough time to make up the ground and cruise to the end zone.
Woolen has exceptionally soft hands. One of the perks of being a converted WR, I suppose.
QTR 3, 0:11 left. No target, just a nice little chase
BONUS MATERIAL vs. Detroit, chasing down T.J. pic.twitter.com/46MKH6PM2w— John Skellingt n Fraley (@johndavidfraley) October 20, 2022
Sure, Cody Barton whiffs initially on the sideline and Hockenson takes advantage, to the tune of 81 yards, but watch Woolen in pursuit, since that’s what we’re here for today. He engages his second (or third) gear around the 45 and makes up ten yards of ground in two blinks of your eye. He’s in on the final tackle even.
He is. So. Fast.
QTR 4, 9:28 left. Pass is complete for 15 yards
Target 3 vs, Detroit pic.twitter.com/G6krDtmToo— John Skellingt n Fraley (@johndavidfraley) October 20, 2022
WR cuts to the middle of the field again, like in San Francisco two weeks earlier. It’ll be interesting to see at what point Woolen is capable of anticipating this move and gets there in time to defense the pass. Because all he has to do eventually is get a hand on it and knock it upwards for Quandre Diggs or Ryan Neal or someone to have a chance and complete the interception. Someday.
QTR 4, 7:16 left. Pass is incomplete
Target 4 vs. Detroit pic.twitter.com/6an6VP5kDM— John Skellingt n Fraley (@johndavidfraley) October 20, 2022
Man, Woolen is pissed at himself — or his teammate, or both — for the missed chance at another pick. With a little better communication, one of the Seahawks could’ve come down with this illest-of-advised throws into triple coverage off a jump pass. Jared Goff, ladies and gentlemen.
QTR 4, 6:07 left. Penalized
Target 5 vs. Detroit pic.twitter.com/GUu9E044B3— John Skellingt n Fraley (@johndavidfraley) October 20, 2022
Okay this call is the very definition of ticky-tacky and brings to mind the officiating in a different sport. Mariners superstar Julio Rodriguez was called out on strikes outside of the zone eight times in April and May. He recovered and built himself a nice little ROY season, as Woolen has begun to do. But why the hazing, stripes? If this is illegal contact, just outlaw cornerbacks altogether and be done with it.
QTR 4, 5:59 left. Pass is complete for 6 yards and our day is done
Target 6 vs. Detroit pic.twitter.com/4Aqik5wzc1— John Skellingt n Fraley (@johndavidfraley) October 20, 2022
Good timing play by the offense, little to nothing a defender can do when the QB and receiver are on exactly the same page such as this. I’m amazed but unsurprised that the Lions never stopped throwing at Woolen. As far as I’m concerned, they can do it again next time too.
Something I wanted to bring up Wednesday but didn’t have the space: the quality of quarterbacking Woolen has faced. It’s uneven, but interesting. In reverse order of appearance:
The Cardinal signal caller didn’t look right, but it was a double XP weekend after all. (I joke! Haha!) There are many QBs in the league worse than Kyler, and his unique scrambling ability and style creates a different challenge for DBs.
He may not make anyone’s top 20 list but he won 70 games in Cincinnati and is now known for caution and steadiness. A game manager par excellence, you might say, capable of not losing you the game but seldom of winning it outright.
There’s a reason they call him Jared Goof, and he has indeed been prone to brain farts. Not much wrong with his throw to Hockenson that Woolen steps in front of. It’s a fraction of a second late and another corner would get there in time to merely deflect it. Woolen gets there in time to catch it in freakin’ stride.
The definition of average, with his passer rating at 90, his ANY/A at 6.12 and a TD/INT ratio under 2. So exactly the kind of guy you should pounce on if you’re going to be great. Because you’re better at your job than he is at his.
The Jared Goff of Northern California. Just good enough to get you to the doorstep of glory in the right environment, and just bad enough that you’re always hunting for an upgrade.
It’s almost impossible to evaluate RW’s play because of multiple injuries, a new system, egregious coaching missteps, red zone variance, and the nature of Week 1 when these two teams met. But he’s notoriously careful with the football, as you may have noticed over the years.
Wilson rounds out a group that’s very evenly distributed — two above average QBs, two average ones and two below averages. It’s representative of the league at large. There’s no reason to see Woolen’s play drop off dramatically moving forward just because of toughening competition. And now, Justin Herbert, Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes await as the calendar does its inexorable march. Pick a couple of them off and then the conversation changes again.
Part 3 next week. Same bat time, same bat channel.