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2010 Regular Season
CARDINALS @ SEATTLE PREVIEW

  • When: Sun. 10/24 - 4:05 pm ET

  • Satellite Radio 10/24 -  4:05 pm - SIRIUS Ch 123

  • Televised: Sun. 10/24 -  4:05 pm ET (DirecTV Sunday Ticket  Channel 713)

Overview
Last Game
Meet the Seahawks
Cardinals Roster
Cardinals vs. Seattle Matchups

Overview:
The Seahawks hung on to narrowly beat the Bears last Sunday and should be feeling pretty good about themselves. The Cards - coming off an unexpected upset victory over the Saints - enjoyed their Bye Week. If they can beat Seattle, (with SF 1 & 5 the Cardinals can take a significant step toward controlling their own destiny in the NFC West.

Late Breaking - There's a 70% chance of rain (with no dome) raising speculation that we'll run the ball more. Logically this makes sense, given the Cardinals' history of playing poorly in bad northeastern weather (Warner's timing routes tended to be screwed up). But, with Hall steering the ship, the truth is: "we don't know" (Incidently, does anyone know if he has big, average or small hands)?

Day of Game - Inactive for Cards - Breaston, S. Williams, Skelton, Watson, Abdullah, McBride, Claxton, A Hall, plus Hayes, Schofield

As of Saturday -

Seahawk Injuries
Kelly Jennings CB Hamstring Did Not Participate In Practice Questionable
Brandon Mebane DT Calf Did Not Participate In Practice Questionable
Dexter Davis DE Hamstring Limited Participation in Practice Questionable

Cardinal Injuries
Steve Breaston WR Knee Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
Will Davis LB Groin Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
Early Doucet WR Groin Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
Kenny Iwebema DE Knee Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
Reggie Walker LB Hamstring Limited Participation in Practice Questionable
Matt Ware S Ankle Full Participation in Practice Probable
Stephen Williams WR Back Limited Participation in Practice Probable

Last Game:
Seahawks capitalized on poor offensive line-play by the Bears, an aggressive pass-rushing/turnover-hungry defense, smart quarterbacking and the resurrection of former WR (& Pete Carroll protoge) Mike Williams to eke out a 3-point win over the Minatures of the Midway.

First Quarter

  • A 58-yard pass interference on Lewis helped to set up a 4-play 80-yard scoring drive capped by a 6-yard TD run by Forte. Bears 7 - Seahawks 0.

  • Seattle came right back, with four medium-length pass completions from Hassellbeck to Carlson (+4), Mike Williams (+16 and +24) and a 22-yard scoring pass to Butler. Bears 7 - Seahawks 7.

  • Seattle held the Bears to 3 & out on three successive series. On one series, Cutler was sacked once by Lewis. Seattle could barely do better during the first two pf their three offensive possessions, but did manage to move to the Chicago 8-yard line from the Bear 37 (set up by a 31-yard Maynard punt) on a couple of completions to Mike Williams and Deon Butler as the quarter ended.

Second Quarter

  • Two plays later, Forsett ran it in off  right guard for 9 yards and a TD.  Seahawks 14 - Bears 7.

  • Chicago managed to move from their own 19 to the Seattle 11, but Curry's sack of Cutler ended the drive, and Chicago had to settle for a FG.  Seahawks 14 - Bears 10.

  • Seattle went 3 & out. Chicago was unable to move the ball much on their next possession. Seahawks then - hemmed in at their own 6 -  held onto the ball for 11 plays and 5:20 but finally punted from the Chicago 38.  With 3:29 left til halftime, Cutler connected with a 67-yard pass to Knox, but the Bears could get no closer than the Seattle 6 and Gould booted a 24-yarder to make it a one-point game.  Seahawks 14 - Bears 13. Starting from their own 15 with 1:15 left, Seattle ran off 3 straight running plays to end the first 2 quarters. Halftime Score: Seahawks 14 - Bears 13.

Third Quarter

  • Seattle received, and Leon Washington broke off one more of his patented long ones - this one for 42 yards to the Seahawk 45. But Seattle could only move the ball 20 yards and punted, boxing in the Bears at their own 10-yard line. On the second play from scrimmage, Cutler was sacked (by ) Babineaux for a safety. Seahawks 16 - Bears 13.

  • This quarter could be described as a field-possession "war of attrition" battle. Seahawks went 3 & out. Another sack of Cutler (this time by Brock) derailed the next Chicago possession. But a muffed punt (& recovery) by Tate bottled up the Seahawks at their own 7-yard and they went 3 & out again. The next Bear possession was a near-replica of the previous one, with a minus-11 yard sack of Cutler (by Lawyer Milloy) forcing the Bears to prematurely punt. Seattle took over on their own 8, but instead of conservatively running it out of there, Hasselbeck went to the short pass - 6 of 8 plays - before the quarter ended. Third Quarter Score: Seahawks 16 - Bears 13.

Fourth Quarter

  • Three plays later, Forsett blasted in from one-yard out. Seahawks 23 - Bears 13.

  • Chicago (after a penalty on the ensuing KO started from their own 9 and couldn't make it past their own 27 and punted. Seattle then went 3 & out. The 53 yard punt once again boxed in Chicago at their own 8-yard line with 10:53 left in the game. They couldn't get past their own 28 before punting. Once again Seattle went 3 & out. This time a 56-yard Ryan punt boxed the Bears in at their own 1-yard line with 7:02 left on the clock. Cutler survived a (minus-6 yard) sack (shared by Clemons and Babineaux) and was able to move the Bears to within FG range at the Seattle 36 - except that Gould's 54-yard FG attempt was wide-right.
  • Seattle got the ball back with 3:42 left to play. They punted from their own 41 with 2:14 left on the clock. It's hard to fathom but the one thing that could steal the game from Seattle and help give it back to the Bears - the one thing you'd think the Seahawks would be super-careful about would be what? A punt return by Devon Hester. How about an 89-yard punt return to narrow the score to 3 points. Bingo! Seahawks 23 - Bears 20.
  • 1:54 left. But the onside kick was recovered by Carlson with 1:54 left to play and - with no remaining Chicago time outs - the Seahawks hung on to win it. Final Score: Seahawks 23 - Bears 20.

Highlights/Lowlights

  • Seattle sacked Cutler 6 times.  (Babineaux 1, Brock 1, Curry 1, Lewis 1, Milloy 1, Clemons 0.

  • Run/Pass Ratio was 31 Runs/40 Passes

  • Bear pass rushers (& that includes Peppers) never laid a hand on Hasselbeck

  • Seattle was penalized 5 times.

  • Seattle won the time-of-possession battle 34:23 to 25:37.

  • No turnovers or take-aways by either team.

  • Newly acquired RB Marshawn Lynch had 17 carries (vs. 10 for Forsett). Each RB had one TD.

  • Mike Williams was, by far, Seattle's leading receiver with 10 catches for 123 yards. Butler caught 4 passes for 47 yards & a TD. Carlson caught 2. Lynch and Stokely caught 3.

  • Team defense - Thomas, Thurmond and Trufant led the team in tackles with 4 apiece. A bunch of other guys had 3.

Meet the Seahawks
No question - these are no longer your father's (nor for that matter, Mike Holmgren's) Seahawks, but a team that's transitioning quickly into "Pete Carroll's team."

 Quarterbacks
08 Hasselbeck, Matt QB 6-4 225 35 12 Boston College
06 Whitehurst, Charlie QB 6-5 225 28 5 Clemson
You never know what you're going to get from Hasselbeck from game to game, because of his injury history. But when he's healthy, you know you'll have to defend against a very bright, well-grounded, resourceful, quick-drop QB who spreads the ball around to a lot guys and is surprisingly mobile. If the Seahawks hadn't snapped up Whitehurst from SD, it's quite likely he'd be a Cardinal (& Max Hall quite possibly would still be holding a clipboard).


 Running Backs
20 Forsett, Justin RB 5-8 198 24 3 California

24 Lynch, Marshawn RB 5-11 215 24 4 California
33 Washington, Leon RB 5-8 203 28 5 Florida State

26 Robinson, Michael RB 6-1 223 27 5 Penn State
It looks as though the newly acquiredLynch will receive the lion's share of carries from here on out. Compare this group of RB's to what Seattle was going with prior to the Carroll regime, and you'll get a pretty good idea of what had to have been at the tippy-top of Pete's "To-Do" list. All three of their top 3 guys must be considered more edge/cutback/home-run and less smashmouth in their running styles. Their biggest RB is former QB Robinson (who filled more of a slash role in the SF attack)


 Wide Receivers
11 Butler, Deon WR 5-10 182 24 2 Penn State
15 Stokley, Brandon WR 6-0 192 34 12 Southwestern La.
17 Williams, Mike WR 6-5 235 26 4 USC

87 Obomanu, Benjamin WR 6-1 204 26 5 Auburn
81 Tate, Golden WR 5-10 202 22 R Notre Dame
Interesting group (Deep enough, evidentally, to enable Carroll to trade away Deon Branch). Carroll has given former Trojan Williams a new lease on life and Mike has delivered. Both Williams and Tate were at or near the top of the BRS receiver rankings prior to their drafts. Stokely was Peyton Manning's go-to possession receiver "back in the day" (It's hard to believe he's going into his 12th year). Wasn't Butler originally a highly-regarded CB when he came out out of Penn State?

 Tight Ends
89 Carlson, John TE 6-5 251 26 3 Notre Dame
86 Baker, Chris TE 6-3 261 30 9 Michigan State
88 Morrah, Cameron TE 6-3 251 23 2 California

85 McCoy, Anthony TE 6-5 259 22 R USC
Carlson is emerging as one of the best receiving TE's in the league - he's second to Williams on the team in catches. We were impressed by Morrah prior to the draft a couple of years ago. McCoy is said to be one of those USC guys Carroll knows more than a little about.

 Offensive Line
76 Okung, Russell T 6-5 310 23 R Oklahoma State
78 Polumbus, Tyler T 6-8 300 25 3 Colorado
50 Hamilton, Ben LG 6-5 290 33 10 Minnesota
69 Pitts, Chester T 6-4 308 31 9 San Diego State
64 Gibson, Mike G 6-3 298 24 3 California
67 Barbre, Allen T/G 6-4 300 26 4 Missouri Southern
65 Spencer, Chris C 6-3 309 28 6 Mississippi
77 Andrews, Stacy RG 6-7 340 29 7 Mississippi

75 Locklear, Sean RT 6-4 310 29 7 North Carolina State
68 Giacomini, Breno T 6-7 318 25 3 Louisville

Okung was a top draft pick and, for a rookie, gets to start (at a position carrying a huge responsibility). Former guard Locklear holds down the right bookend spot. Andrews and Spencer were hightly regarded when they were drafted. Pitts returns from injury. These are the guys who determine how well guys like Forsett, Lynch and Washington can run and whether or not Hasselbeck remains upright. (So far they're doing pretty well - surrendering 9 sacks in 5 games).
1



 Defensive Line


91 Clemons, Chris LDE 6-3 254 28 7 Georgia
98 Brock, Raheem DE 6-4 274 32 9 Temple
58 Davis, Dexter DE 6-1 244 23 R Arizona State
92 Mebane, Brandon LDT 6-1 311 25 4 California
94 Siavii, Junior DT 6-5 315 31 5 Oregon
90 Cole, Colin RDT 6-2 328 30 8 Iowa
95 Balmer, Kentwan DE 6-5 315 23 3 North Carolina
93 Terrill, Craig DT 6-2 296 30 7 Purdue
79 Bryant, Red RDE 6-4 323 26 3 Texas A&M
97 Wilson, E.J. DE 6-2 289 22 R North Carolina
Seahawks employ a 4-man front, but ,man the right side with Bryant - at 323 lbs more in line with those big 3-4 type DE's. As pass rushers, Clemons and Brock can bring it. Mebane, Siavi, Balmer and Bryant (if he rotates inside) bring toughness. Clemons and Brock lead the team in sacks with 4 and 3 respectively.

 Linebacker


57 Hawthorne, David OLB1 6-0 246 25 3 Texas Christian
54 Herring, Will LB 6-3 241 27 4 Auburn
51 Tatupu, Lofa MLB 6-0 250 27 6 USC
59 Curry, Aaron OLB2 6-2 255 24 2 Wake Forest
52 McCoy, Matt OLB 6-0 232 27 6 San Diego State

Their front-line LB's (Hawthorne, Taputo and Curry) are world class but - with just 5 guys on this unit, they're just one or two injuries away from disaster. Tatupo is 3rd on the team in tackles. Curry is an emerging superstar.

 Secondary
23 Trufant, Marcus LCB 5-11 197 29 8 Washington State
28 Thurmond, Walter DB 5-11 190 23 R Oregon
21 Jennings, Kelly CB 5-11 180 27 5 Miami
34 Lewis, Roy CB 5-10 190 25 3 Washington

30 Ness, Nate DB 6-1 190 24 1 Arizona
39 Cox, Kennard DB 6-0 191 25 1 Pittsburgh
36 Milloy, Lawyer SS 6-0 211 36 15 Washington
31 Chancellor, Kam DB 6-3 232 22 R Virginia Tech
29 Thomas, Earl FS 5-10 202 21 R Texas
27 Babineaux, Jordan FS 6-0 210 28 7 Southern Arkansas

Seattle is solid at the corners (with Trufant and Jennings), have a 15-year veteran (Milloy) paired with a playmaking rookie (Thomas) at the safeties. Rookie phenom Thomas leads the team in picks with 3.  Lewis and Babineaux (who picked up 1 and 1 sacks respectively vs. Bears) provide solid depth. Rookie, Chancellor has LB size.

 Special Teams
10 Mare, Olindo K 5-11 192 37 15 Syracuse
49 Gresham, Clint LS 6-3 240 24 R Texas Christian
09 Ryan, Jon P 6-0 217 28 5 Regina
81 Tate, Golden PR/WR 5-10 202 22 R Notre Dame
33 Washington, Leon RB 5-8 203 28 5 Florida State

Mare is a dependible veteran. We're not sure how Ryan stacks up against other punters in the league, but it could be argued that his position-punting (vs. Maynard's) in the Chicago game may have been a key factor in determining its outcome. Washington is the most dangerous kick returner in pro football. We had Tate rated near the top of the BRS WR draft rankings. Seahawk coverage teams are as iffy as their return teams are good.

 Coaching Staff
 
Pete Carroll  Head Coach
Jeremy Bates  Offensive Coordinator
Casey Bradley  Defensive Coordinator
Brian Schneider Special Teams Coordinator
Carroll is the darling of the media, as he runs up and down the sideline, patting players on the tush and shouting words of encouragement. He certainly has USC creds to go with an earlier stretch of coaching in the pros. The MO Carroll  exhibited in the Chicago game seems to highly respect (a) field position, (b) special teams and (c) take-aways. We're impressed with the production he's been able to get out of Mike Williams (i.e. great at USC under Carroll; awful in his early years as a pro; lighting things up once reunited with his old college coach).

Seattle Stats
Green means good stats/Red means bad stats/Black means average stats.

  Seahawks Opponents
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS 79 98
FIRST DOWNS (Rushing-passing-by penalty) 23 - 52 - 4 20 - 73 - 5
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS 29/68 28/77
FOURTH DOWN CONVERSIONS 1/4 3/7
TOTAL OFFENSIVE YARDS 1462 1806
OFFENSE (Plays-Average Yards) 295 - 5.0 350 - 5.2
TOTAL RUSHING YARDS 429 352
RUSHING (Plays-Average Yards) 119 - 3.6 120 - 2.9
TOTAL PASSING YARDS 1033 1454
PASSING (Comp-Att-Int-Avg) 103 - 167 - 6 - 6.5 120 - 213 - 5 - 7.4
SACKS 17 9
FIELD GOALS (Att/Made 4/4 8/9
TOUCHDOWNS 12 10
(Rushing-Passing-Returns-Defensive) 4 - 5 - 2 - 1 3 - 6 - 1 - 0
TIME OF POSSESSION 27:03 32:56
TURNOVER RATIO
-1

  • Hasselbeck (5 TD's/6 Interceptions) has a 61.4% completion average and a 74.8 QB Rating. He's been sacked 9 times.

  • Forsett's averaging 4.6 ypc. and until now was the main Seattle ball carrier with 61 attempts. Lynch averaged 2.6 in his first outing but carried the ball more than Forsett vs. Chicago.

  • Mike Williams (21) , Carlson (16) and Butler (12) lead the team in receptions with all three averaging between 10.8 and 12.4 ypc. Butler is credited with 2 TD's. Carlson with one.

  • Mare is a perfect 4 for 4 in FG attempts (all inside the 40). Opponents have attempted twice as many FG's.

  • Tate is the primary punt returner with 12 returns for 11.8 per return and a longest gain of 63 yards.

  • Opponents are averaging 13.7 yards per punt return.

  • Led by Leon Washington (13 returns, 37.0 yards per return and 2 TD's, the Seahawks are very dangerous returning kickoffs.

  • Top 4 tacklers are Milloy (31), Thomas (27), Tatupo (26) and Trufant (25)

  • Top sackers are Clemons (4), Brock (3), Babineaux (1) and a bunch of other guys with one apiece. (Seahawks are outsacking their opponents 17 to 9)

  • Thomas leads the Seahawks with 3 picks. (Trufant and Babineaux each had one).

Cardinal Roster

QB - 06 Hall,  03 Anderson, 19 Skelton,
Hall didn't play lights out nor did he play badly in the Cardinals' upset win over New Orleans, but he did just enough to enable teammates to win a big one. He only figures to get better with added experience. (To put things in perspective - the amount of game-tape of Hall as a pro more than doubled since the Saturday the 9th)

RB - 34 Hightower, 31 Wright, 36 Stephens-Howling  (KR/PR), 26, Wells
Cardinal runners didn't accomplish much vs. New Orleans. You can chalk this up to defensive scheming, except that our running game hasn't exactly been that terrific in the 4 games that preceded it. I think we may have to accept the fact that the Cardinals will be kind of hit or miss in their run game. This isn't to say that THT, Beanie and LSH don't have talent - it just means that, in terms of production, we haven't seen very much on a consistent basis, and there's not much to indicate that we will. That said - the threat of the run remains crucial to our passing offense, and we never abandon the run too early.

FB - 45 Mau'ia
Seems to be settling in as a lead blocker, but we'd like to see more consistency.

WR - 12 Roberts,  80 Doucet,  15 Breaston
WR -11 Fitzgerald, 18 Komar, 14 S Williams,
Fitz and Max seemed to click pretty well vs. the Saints. Breaston and Doucet figure to be back and healthy after the Bye. Komar and Williams (who got dinged) didn't flash much, but Roberts had a few nice grabs.

TE - 89 Patrick, 83 Spach,  81 Dray
Patrick had 5 catches vs. NO (Perhaps the TE will become more important in a Hall-led passing offense). Both Spach and Dray tend to be more hit-or-miss as receivers (the few times they get thrown at).

LT- 75 L Brown,
73 Bridges
LG-
66 Faneca,  70 Hadnot
OC-
63Sendlein,  (70 Hadnot), 62 Claxton,
RG- 76 Lutui
RT 
72 Keith
This unit has continued to perform below expectations. What we see now is probably what we should expect for the remainder of the season - a deep veteran group that's pretty hit or miss both in pass pro and in sustaining blocks and opening up holes for Cardinal runners. What we see is probably what we'll get, and anything more than that will be gravy.

DE - 93 Campbell, 79 Iwebema
NT - 97 B Robinson,  92 D Williams, 98 Watson,
DT - 90 Dockett, 78 Branch
They performed OK and gritty but not dominant against NO. Campbell has hit a plateau this season. Dockett is playing OK, but not to Pro Bowl caliber standards. B-Rob has taken a lot of heat for being outmuscled by bigger more physical linemen. Watson and D Williams have been OK in NT rotation. Branch shared DE duties with Campbell and occasionally impressed. Play over the first 5 weeks was inconsistent - with some highs and some lows. One thing you have to like about this group (aside from its depth in talent) is its versatility. If you want  a more mobile NT, you can throw in Robinson. If you desire more stoutness up the middle, you can always slot in Watson or Williams. Or if you need a little more bulk outside, you can bring in Branch. And (when healthy) Iwebema can adds pass rush Tobasco. The one nagging concern about this unit is the way it got steamrolled during the losses to Atlanta and San Diego. We don't yet know whether or not the problem - with stopping big physical runners - has, indeed, been fixed.

OLB1 - 55 Porter
ILB  51 Lenon, A. Hall
ILB- 58 D Washington,
56 Walker,
OLB2 - 53 Haggans,  59 W Davis
These guys had a huge day vs. NO. Question is: Can they sustain that level of performance from game to game? Or will they backslide to the undisciplined, lackadaisical and sloppy play disiplayed in NO and SD? When they're on their game, it's an interesting group, with the two inside guys displaying more mobility and range than prototypical "large" ILB's. Especially impressive has been Washington's ability to pursue sweep plays from "inside out" to eat up RB's before they get to the corner. The expected return of Gerald Hayes could add a bit more size and toughness on the inside while enabling Washington (who is still experiencing the ups and downs of the so-called "learning curve) the chance to be spotted where his talents can be utilized more selectively. There also is the outside possibility that highly regarded but injured rookie O Brien Schofield may be ready to go soon; however, his lack of pro experience could keep on-ice for the balance of the year.

RCB - 28 Toler, MacDonald,  37 McBride,
LCB-
29 Rodgers-Cromartie, 27 Adams   
SS-
  24 Wilson,
 22 Ware, 41 Abdullah,
40 Tillman
FS- 25 Rhodes,  
49 Rash Johnson
Our front four looked terrific vs. New Orlean. Toler is fast developing to DRC-caliber level (giving us a pair of talented cover corners for arguably the first time since Jimmy Hill and Pat Fischer back in the early 1960's. Kerry Rhodes has been everything we hoped he'd be at FS. Ironically, the one DB whose performance hasn't quite met expectations is All Pro Adrian Wilson - not that he doesn't make one or two "woo" plays per game, but (at least since the opener vs. StL) lately hasn't been dominating games the way you'd hope he would. Unsung hero of the NO game was nickel-corner Michael Adams (in coverage, run support and special teams). We're not saying he'd be OK left out there on an island, but - playing within his more limited role, he was outstanding. Rashad Johnson was a bit more active and visible in the NO game (with Ware nicked up) and we may have seen him turn the corner.

K-04 Feely
P- 05 B Graham,

H - 05  B Graham
LS-
82 Leach
KR -
37Stephens-Howling

PR
- 12 Roberts, 18 Komar, 15 Breaston, 37Stephens-Howling
Feely is reliable.  Graham has become legendary for dropping punts inside the 10 - 15. It's pretty much accepted fact now that LSH (is the real deal when it comes to long KR returns.This hasn't been a one & done phenominon but a consistent part of his game. Roberts got expanded responsibility for returning punts and has started to look pretty settled back there.

    Cardinals vs. Seattle Matchups

Injuries:
Cardinals:  DNP:
TBA  LP: TBA  Probable: TBA  

Seattle: DNP: TBA  . LP: TBA  . Probable: TBA .

Seattle  Passing Attack vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
Hasselbeck, when healthy is efficient in the short game. While no speedster, he's nimble-footed enough to cause trouble on naked boots/waggles or if forced outside the pocket. He likes to spread the ball around, and Seattle has a multiplicity of targets - including Mike Williams, Golden Tate and Stokely at WR, Carlson (second most catches) at TE and both Lynch and Forsett coming out of the backfield. Prior to the NO game, I'd have to say that this sort of multi-pronged passing attack had given the Cardinal defense the most trouble. However, the Cards were able to contain Brees and his merry pranksters; if they can hang onto the magic, perhaps they can do it again vs. the Seahawks. Although the Cardinal defense - when it brings its A Game - can put pressure on the passer, it must be pointed out that Peppers, Urlacher & Co. were unable to sack Hasselbeck last Sunday. (In the past, Cards have discovered that, if Hasselbeck has to face constant pressure back there, he can be contained. Question is: "Is this the past or is it a new present?"

This may be the game where the Cards sick the more physical Toler on the Bears' #1 receiver (Williams) to give us a better size matchup. This would free DRC to contain Tate or Stokely while perhaps being freed up to do a little freelancing. It will be up to Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes and Cardinal LB's to keep Carlson and Lynch (or Forsett) in check. Someone on either edge must be responsible for making certain they're in Hasselbeck's face when he runs boots or escapes the pocket.

Seattle Running Attack vs. Cardinal Run Defense
Seattle's runners appear to be mostly slashers and not pounders (which means gap-discipline and outside-contain rules this week). When the Cards aren't "guessing and lunging", they can stop enemy home-run hitters, but if they get frustrated and ignore their assignment, they can be gashed badly by opposing running attacks. Facing Hasselbeck, there will be a natural tension created between containing the run and covering Hasselbeck and Seahawk receivers.

Cardinal Passing Attack vs. Seattle Pass Defense
We still don't know what we'll be getting in Hall. We do know that he and Fitz are beginning to get more comfortable with one another, but in his first pro start. Hall's ability to hit his receivers was still around 50-50. The unknown factor remains the degree of improvement (if any) we can expect to see after the extra week off. What we're hoping to see from Hall and the Cardinal receivers is something closer to a Drew Brees passing attack - with, say, a 2 in 3 certainty that Max knows what he wants to do and that we all can be pretty confident that he and Cardinal receivers will be successful. (Note - What we don't know yet will be the shape of our starting receiving corps. Expectations are that Hall will finally have the opportunity throw to a healthy Fitz., Breaston and Doucet. This, alone, should make us excited.

Also open to debate must be whether or not Seattle's 6 sacks vs. Chicago was due to (a) the "Hawks or (b) the Bears? DE's Chris Clemons and Raheem Brock have been causing the most trouble, but Carroll isn't bashful about sending in a safety or two when he smells blood. Operating behind a less-than-rock-solid Cardinal O-line, Hall has taken his share of lumps. It will be up to both our pass rushers and Max's feet and quick release to keep Hall upright. Expect the Seahawks to do a lot of false-carding and blitzing in order to confuse Hall.

It could be argued that Seattles' biggest strength is in their secondary - with a pair of excellent safeties playing behind a strong CB tandem and with enough depth to cover multiple receivers in nickel or dime packages. Hall's work may be cut out for himself this Sunday.

Cardinal Running Attack vs. Seattle Run Defense
Seattle held Chicago to 61 yards rushing (31 of which came from Chester Taylor). Season-long, they're only giving up 2.9 yards per carry.

We are 99% sure Coach Wiz and his people would like to see the Cardinal running game - on the backs of Beanie and Hightower finally get off the ground. We expect the Cards to at least try to establish the run and to run the ball enough to keep Seattle pass rushers honest, but as is Wiz's nature, our guess is that he will dial up whichever plays represent the best chances of working and, if Seattle decides to load up the box with extra defenders, we'll see Hall slinging the ball around more often.

Special Teams
Both teams excel in the return game ( L Washington vs. LSH). Both have excellent position punters in Graham and Ryan. Both have reliable kickers in Feely and Mare. We might have a slight edge in punt coverage (a Seattle weakness we should try to exploit).

Final Word
We're not ready to call this a "must" game. How about a "pivotal game." Winning it could put us in the drivers seat within our division. Playing well could help define "who our team actually is." The downside is that, should we lose, we'll be giving our opponents "new hope" and  will be in the midst of a dog-fight within our division. And all the nagging questions about whether we're good enough will once again surface. It certainly is a big (make that "huge") game."

 
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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 10/24/2010