Red Alert: Week 5
It’s never nice writing this after a loss. This week feels somewhat different, however. I feel the team showed some major promise on Sunday night, with steps having been taken since week 1 of the season. As such, I’m going to do a quick recap of all the points raised this season and to see how we’re improving on them, or not as the case may be.
From Week 1:
Offensive Line struggles: Against the Rams, you’d swear we’d put five new free agents on our offensive line since week 1. The run blocking is excellent, and aside from some late indiscretions, whether you see them as fair calls or otherwise, the guys played pretty well on the whole. I think we can all agree that this position group was in need of improvement, and it’s nice to see that they’ve been able to trend upwards to this point. Let’s keep this going gentlemen.
PANIC RATING DOWNGRADED TO YELLOW
Doug Baldwin’s Knee: Doug’s back, earlier than planned. He’s not quite 100% yet, but he’s making vital contributions. Also the likes of David Moore, Nick Vannett, Will Dissly (before his untimely injury) and especially Tyler Lockett, have stepped up while he continues his comeback. I don’t think we have anything to worry about.
From Week 2:
No Offensive Identity: How this has changed in three weeks. For all of Brian Schottenheimer’s flaws, he’s at least reverted our offense back to the power run/play action beast it was back in 2013. Russell’s numbers aren’t what they have been previously, with him being held under 200 yards passing this past week. But they don’t have to be when Chris Carson and Mike Davis are running as hard as they are. We’ve finally started utilizing some good play action and Russ is uncorking some downfield bombs. I don’t want to speak too soon, but it looks like it’s all starting to click.
PANIC RATING DOWNGRADED TO GREEN
Defensive Personnel Changes: We’re creating turnovers and competing all over the field. Frank Clark is an absolute trooper playing the way he did on Sunday after a bout of illness. Our secondary, although torched at times by the Rams receivers and Jared Goff (who isn’t?); showed up pretty well and what’s nice to see is that they are happy to lend a hand in run support too, often being near the top of the tackling charts in the box score. No point panicking about this one. We deal with the roster we have, it’s got to be next man up. Here’s looking at you Tedric.
From Week 3:
The Earl Thomas Saga: Looks like this one is over people. If you’re unaware that our all-pro free safety was put out to pasture for the season with a broken leg, why are you here?? Anyway, it doesn’t look like the team brass are working on an extension for Earl, so we move on. It’s a shame, but that’s football.
From Week 4:
Our position in the Division: We are exactly where we should be. There’s no doubt we’re not as talented as the Rams on paper. But boy did we compete and play hard on Sunday. The 49ers and Cardinals played out an absolute stinker and proved that neither of them will be knocking on the door of the playoffs this season. I think we’re a shoo in for 4-2 in the division as it stands. With key games against struggling Green Bay and Minnesota and away at inconsistent Carolina on the horizon after our trip to London (see you there), we’ve got a fine chance at nabbing a wildcard spot. Which, I think you will all agree, would be a great outcome for the season after missing out last year.
PANIC RATING REMAINS GREEN
Kicking Woes: I’d like to think Sebastian Janikowski sits down with a glass of wine on a Saturday night, opens up his laptop, and has a read of his favourite Seahawks fan column, written by yours truly. Seabass would no doubt have been disappointed to find his name drawing my ire last week and responded with a perfect kicking display, including his second 50+ yard field goal in as many weeks. Nice work sir, don’t know why I ever doubted you.
As you can see, almost all have been improved, and most are now non-issues. We’re a team on the up ladies and gents, and you’ll be silly to write us off this year.
A Look Ahead to London:
As you may or may not know; I’m based just outside of Cardiff, UK. So it’s been an absolute dream come true to secure tickets for the game this coming Sunday. I’m hoping to see many of you there, if you’d like to come up and talk Seahawks, or just to tell me I’m a negative, no good know it all who has no business writing about this wonderful team, feel free. I’ll be in The Green Man, Wembley, before the game from about 1PM.
As for the game, it would be silly to underestimate the Raiders, and similarly, their head coach. I do feel we match up well against the Raiders though. Their lack of pass rush talent following the trade of Khalil Mack should be a breath of fresh air to the O-line, even though they didn’t avoid facing him this year.
With a smidge more time in the pocket, we all know Russell Wilson can do magical things. Doug Baldwin is another week closer to 100% health. Our newer receivers have another week to improve their chemistry with Wilson and their overall familiarity with the scheme, and our running backs have a full week to rest up and be at their behind-the-pads best.
Defensively, Oakland has talent at receiver, and Derek Carr is an above average starter in the league. That’s not to say they don’t have frailties on their offense. There are cracks in their offensive line, and they are currently 1-4 on the season. A record that could easily be 0-5 if not for the Cleveland Browns defense laying an egg and shipping 45 points to the Silver and Black. I think this should be a stark warning to our defense. DO NOT under any circumstances, take this team lightly, otherwise you will get punished.
So yes, to summarise, I’m picking us for a win in London, but the Raiders do have weapons on offense to worry about. Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson are both pro bowlers, and Jared Cook is a more than solid veteran presence at tight end. Oh yeah, they also have that guy at running back, I forget his name. You know the one. He has dreads, wears number 24.
See you in London guys!!!