ROTB War Room: Seahawks Passing Offense

Warroom_mediumLast week in the ROTB War Room, we broke down the Houston Texans secondary and marked them down as one of the primary keys to the game. The Cardinals passing success in the first half was largely due to the Texans inability to stop the Cardinals receivers. That essentially was one of the deciding factors in the game. This week, when you look over the Seattle Seahawks team, the part that sticks out the most is their passing offense. It came up huge for them against the Jaguars last week, as Matt Hasselbeck stuck a fork in 'em early, throwing four touchdown passes. We might see another shootout this week, as the Cardinals have the affect of making opposing teams play to their style.

This brings us to the primary war room discussion - the Seahawks passing offense. It's a unit that has been above-average thus far into the season, and has had it's offensive explosions(vs Rams and Jaguars). They have the experienced veteran quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck, two tall receivers that are great route runners, and an up-and-coming tight end in John Carlson. The Seahawks can get up-field with the deep ball, or resort to the short pass should someone be open. Other then a shaky offensive line, this unit has the making of a dangerous passing offense, and the Cardinals will need to stop it on Sunday.

The Passing Offense

 

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At this point in the season, the Seahawks probably haven't met expectations quite yet. The big off season move was signing pro bowl wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, hoping to restore a dreadful receiving corps from a year ago. They also got back a healthy Nate Burleson, an underrated wide receiver that was placed on injured reserve last year. Throw in a former Super Bowl MVP in Deion Branch, who had hoped to show why he received the award in the first place. Finally, the return of Matt Hasselbeck was key in making this offense what it once was a few years ago. However, so far this year Hasselbeck has already been injured, fracturing his ribs and forcing him out of 2 1/2 games. T.J. didn't produce quite like Seahawks fans had hoped. He had yet to reach the end zone until getting two scores last week. So what has this unit done so far into the season?

2009 Stats 

Pos Player Att/Comp Yards TD INT
QB Hasselbeck 53/84(63.1) 617 7 2
Pos Player Catches Yards Avg TD
WR Houshmandzadeh 27 325 11.9 2
WR Burleson 30 358 12.0 3
WR Branch 10 85 8.5 0
TE Carlson 22 239 10.9 2

In addition to the stats, let's look at the defenses that this unit has faced this season:

Opponent Yards Allowed Avg  Rec TD
Rams 248.4 (23rd) 8(T23rd)
49ers 250.0 (24th) 6(T13th)
Bears 254.0 (26th) 4(T6th)
Colts 213.0 (8th) 2(T1st)
Jaguars 278.2 (30th) 11(29th)

Going by the numbers, that means that the Seahawks have faced opposing passing defenses at an average of 22.2 in the league. On the other shoe, the Seahawks are averaging 252.4 receiving yards a game, which is 13th in the league. They are also averaging 9.9 yards a reception(28th) and have scored 10 receiving touchdowns(T2nd) this year. What this tells me is that the Seahawks haven't faced great opposing defenses, and they've taken advantage of that. It also shows that while they are near the bottom in the league in yards per reception, they have been able to score better then 30 other teams. Looking at the Cardinals defense, their main problem so far has been their inability to stop short passes. If you put two and two together, you'll see that the Cardinals may be in big trouble on Sunday. So what will they need to do?

The Cardinals can try many tactics to patch up this leak in their defense, but the most important is consistency. They can't pressure Hasselbeck on one play, and take it easy on the next. They also can't get too comfortable with a lead, and allow teams to march up the field without a problem. The most important solution to this, is getting pressure on the quarterback. Getting pressure leads to ill-advised throws, which then lead to turnovers. Last week, the Cardinals failed to sack Matt Schaub, which is the second game in a row that has happened. It's extremely important to pressure the quarterback because you'll either get a sack, tip a pass, or cause an off-set throw, which either leads to an incomplete pass, or an interception. The list goes on for a successful pass rush, which is why it's a must for the Cardinals. Another unnoticed factor to stopping the short and quick passes are the linebackers. Playing the run and pressuring the quarterback aren't their only responsibility, as pass coverage is another primary job. Other then Karlos Dansby and Gerald Hayes, the age at linebacker was a concern heading into this season, and it has shown  to be a problem against quicker receivers and tight ends this year. Something will need to change with this unit, otherwise John Carlson will have a field day on Sunday. That's it for the War Room this week. Is there anything that you'd like to add or focus more on?

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