Charlie Todaro

Seahawks Seahawks: No Huddle


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The Seahawks have scored 57 of their 98 points in the last six quarters of football, the change to the no huddle offense the primary catalyst for this offensive explosion. This small sample of football has created some optimism that Seattle has found a working formula on offense.

 

I was listening to the FieldGulls/KJR 12th man podcast last week and Scott Enyeart brought up a less talked about, but pertinent observation about the win in New York; he was impressed by the conditioning of the Seahawks and their ability to maintain the no huddle.

 

He commented that a lot of attention has been placed on the lack of offseason and the varied conditioning for a lot of teams. Thus, watching Seattle succeed in the up tempo, no huddle—as Scott put it, “they didn’t dabble in it, they made a living it in”— was promising. He noted that strength coach Chris Carlisle deserves credit for having these guys ready; then added that Carlisle tipped his hat to Carroll during their conversation earlier in the week.

 

When the Seahawks practice nobody walks, even the coaches move quickly. The players are always moving and as a result are in better shape; Scott praised Seattle for looking like the more physical and athletic team against the Giants.

 

His comments got me thinking about the preparation that goes into installing a no huddle package, beyond just the changes in the game plan. The training staff, coaching staff and players all must be on board. It’s not a change that works over night, if it works at all.

 

Given the Seahawks newfound commitment to the no huddle, I think this change is aimed at achieving more than just a schematic alteration.

 

JUMP

Seahawks vs. Falcons: Keys to Victory


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The Seahawks and Falcons both enter Week 4 with a 1-2 record, looking to get to .500. Atlanta is playing their second road game in a row, while Seattle is looking to capitalize on last week's home win and seize momentum heading into their own two-game road trip, sandwiching the bye.

Last year in Week 15, Atlanta won 34-18 in a game that was close for 28 minutes before the Falcons took a seven-point lead into halftime. They created a large enough margin that Seattle inserted backup Charlie Whitehurst into the game—after a horrific performance by Matt Hasselbeck. Seattle is hoping for a different storyline this week.

Two main themes covered earlier this week: While many fans are hoping to see Charlie Whitehurst, Pete Carroll is intent on getting the offense rolling with Tarvaris Jackson; can Jackson buy himself more timeas starter? On defense, Seattle needs to hold Atlanta to fewer than 34 points and defensive lineman Red Bryant must dominate against the Falcons' rushing attack.

Atlanta has experienced playing at CLink, but Seattle still has the major edge of playing at home. Like last week, Seattle is motivated by playing in front of their home crowd. They need a strong effort to beat the Falcons.

Get Leon Washington, Mike Williams and the Tight Ends Involved

One major criticism of Seattle's offense after the Week 3 victory was that they didn't spread the ball around. Tarvaris Jackson targeted Sidney Rice 10 times, and the rest of the team 20 times.

Though Jackson's rapport with Rice is undeniable, Seattle needs to use all of their weapons. Once defenses take away Rice, Jackson will be forced to look other directions.

Last week Jackson missed Mike Williams on multiple occasions, failing to look his direction. Jackson knows he must get Williams involved. However, Williams is not the only primary threat lacking opportunities. Zach Miller has five catches on nine targets through three games—Williams has identical numbers—and has played a larger role run-blocking than as a receiving threat.

Seahawks vs. Falcons: A Big Test for Red Bryant


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Red Bryant was the centerpiece of a second--ranked run defense through six games in 2010, helpingSeattle to a 4-2 start. When Atlanta visited and won soundly in Week 15, Bryant had been out nearly two months and the defense was struggling. This weekend, Atlanta won’t be as lucky; Bryant is back.

The Atlanta Falcons’ formula includes: controlling time of possession, playing clean football and winning the turnover battle. Their running game sets up an aggressive play-action passing game that mixes formations and strives for balance.

Pete Carroll preaches a similar formula in Seattle; stop the run and force turnovers on defense; control the clock with a power running game and an opportunistic passing game.

Something has to give this week; both teams are sitting at 1-2 after an inconsistent start to the season, and both are working towards improvement on the offensive line. Winning the offensive line of scrimmage is a major key to success for both teams.

For Seattle to win, their defensive line must win in the trenches. Red Bryant’s unique size, mobility and length motivated Pete Carroll to move him from defensive tackle to 5-technique defensive end. Seattle brought Red Bryant-type Alan Branch to Seattle this season as another piece to the defensive line puzzle, but Bryant was Carroll’s first defensive project.

Matt Ryan is among the league’s best young quarterbacks. However, Atlanta’s primary offensive goal is to get Michael Turner and the offensive line in sync. The Falcons have experienced the noise in Seattle and understand the impact of the fans. They know consistency on offense is the most effective way to take the crowd out of the game.

Seahawks vs. Cardinals Preview: Seahawks Keys to Victory


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The 0-2 Seahawks begin their home schedule versus division rival Arizona, looking to get their season back on track and keep pace in the division. A win potentially puts Seattle in a tie for first, a loss puts them at 0-2 in the division and deeper into the early-season hole.

Urgency is the theme for the Seahawks this week—fully aware of their situation and hoping that playing at home can temporarily help remedy the problems.

Coming off of a disappointing one-point road loss, the 1-1 Cardinals are playing their first division game and looking to steal a win in a stadium where they are 3-6 since 2002; they lost 22-10 in 2010, after turning the ball over five times.

Arizona comes to Seattle with a new quarterback, new defensive coordinator and new faces on both sides of the ball. Their goal is to gain an early lead in the division.

Pete Carroll and the Seahawks understand this is a must-win game and are motivated by playing at home.

Handle Arizona's Pressure Package

First-year defensive coordinator Ray Horton brings an aggressive mentality as the former secondary coach in Pittsburgh. Arizona's new 3-4 defense is closely related to Dick LeBeau's scheme.

The Seahawks had unique preparation this week because they played Pittsburgh last week, and the protection schemes for this week will be similar; the game plan was tweaked rather than rebuilt. The Seahawks hope the similarities between the two defenses will be an advantage.

One change for Seattle this week: Veteran left guard Robert Gallery will be out for at least a month, but his replacement is former Raiders lineman Paul McQuistan. He brings a level of familiarity not on par with Gallery, but he should be a stabilizing presence on the line.

Tarvaris Jackson Must Steady Pulse or Face 12th Man


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Starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has led the team to 17 points and an 0-2 start.

The much-maligned acquisition has been under public scrutiny since he came to Seattle. On Sunday, Jackson gets a chance to make one final "first" impression; unlike the preseason, the result of this home opener counts.

I'll get this out of the way now: Jackson should absolutely start Week 3, and barring a complete catastrophe he should start Week 4. Jackson started the season with two tough road games and he should play the remaining half of the football season’s first quarter, the back-to-back home games versus Arizona and Atlanta.

Now is not the time for Charlie Whitehurst.

Head coach Pete Carroll admitted during his Wednesday presser that he expected the offense to be further along at this point. The lack of continuity is partly tied to the injuries of left guard Robert Gallery and wide receiver Sidney Rice, two players Seattle considers crucial to the success of the program, but is also a result of youth across the offensive line.

Carroll also acknowledged his impatience, saying he would like the offense to improve as quickly as possible; no surprise—the author of Win Forever may have unrealistically high expectations.

One thing Carroll did not do was blame Jackson; rather, he continued to praise his play. Carroll is an "upside-guy" and he's not going to throw the quarterback under the bus. It takes 11 guys to move the ball.

Jackson was sacked five times in Week 1 and five times in the second half in Week 2. The running game is ranked dead last. Seattle has one offensive play over 20 yards, good for worst in the league. Carroll’s comments have validity, but “Captain Jackson” shouldn’t get a free pass.

An underwhelming performance, thus far