SeaWolf wrote:Glad to see Matt playing once again, shows you how important he is to our team.
I was surprised how well we spanked the Jags. Can we do that next week against the Cards?
3-3 didn't look like it would happen, but now I have hope again.
Normally I don't read into these types of numbers, but being that I was a huge proponent of it in 2008 I think it's worth mentioning. Matt Hasselbeck is the key to our defense. When we can sustain long (or at least longer) drives we allow the defense to attack more and force an opposing offense into being one-dimensional, which in turn allows us greater ability to attack.
Now I'm trying my best to not get overworked about pure numbers, but the Seahawks with Hasselbeck are at a whopping +59 points over the 10 quarters he's played. We blanked the Rams and Jags (28 + 41), and the 49ers put up 13 points to his 3 (and he was basically the reason why Seneca was able to put that 7 up after he was injured so we can probably count that to make it +66).
I don't expect the Cards to get blanked. But I do expect to see a few things that I like:
1. The Cardinals are already a one dimensional team. They use short passes to Hightower over the middle as "effective" run plays, but this plays very well to our strengths as Tatupu, Curry, Darryl Tapp, Nick Reed and even Cory Redding are extremely strong at dropping into coverage and/or reading plays. Expect the Cards to try to use a heavy dose of screens to the right to try to slow down the Seahawks point of attack and force Curry to think instead of react. Our savior here is Brandon Mebane who actually garnered a double team from the Jags that turns into a triple team (and he fought through it!) on the Nick Reed fumble recovery. Feel free to watch it again. Go ahead, I'll wait.
If he continues to be that disruptive force into next week it's going to be obvious when the Cards set a screen because he'll be single matched.
2. The speed at which we're reaching the QB is too fast for long routes. This again comes back to having to double team Mebane. Suddenly you have 10 guys defending 8 (2 blockers and the QB) which leaves at least one person free to cover gaps or in the case of Aaron Curry you allow him to "run around and beat the crap out of the QB". The Cards and particularly Kurt Warner will diffuse this by using the shotgun as a base for a 5 step drop and then kinda hop back two extra steps. This allows their line to force the DEs back to circle around and he has time to step up into the pocket to deliver. This is where our speed in the front seven shines. Of course, the trick will still be getting to Warner before 4 seconds elapse. If we can keep him from stepping up into the pocket his only outlet will be the dump off passes we've seen from Arizona so far this season. And the Cards have been prone to the false starts as well. So far they have 8 *and* that is with 3 games played at home so far. I can't help but think they may live up and exceed that 2 per game average.
To combat Hightower's eventual over-the-middle passes they'll drop Redding into coverage over the middle. We did it very effectively against the Jags. As a matter of fact, on Nick Reed's fumble recovery the play was designed to go to MJD. Watch it again and as Garrard tracks him and pumps, he finds Redding back there and is forced to check down. Yep, we only rushed 3 on that play. That's where Garrard gets into trouble because the speed of our front 7 ends up getting him in 4 seconds. (As a side note, I love how the commentator just plainly says "Get rid of it!" at 14:16).
3. The Arizona defense was picked apart by Houston once they basically abandoned the run and went pass. Listen, the Texans have one guy--Andre Johnson--that defenses are forced to pay attention to. Housh's breakout game couldn't have come at a better time to force the Cards to prepare differently based on how we call our game. Unfortunately, I doubt we will be able to get our third weapon going: John Carlson. He'll be relegated to helping our blind side block, especially since it's either going to be Kyle Williams or Damion McIntosh back there. (Another side note: McIntosh worked with Mike Solari in 2007 at KC so he should be familiar with his zone blocking scheme. He's a power linesman however and a better run blocker than pass, which is why either Carlson or John Owens will be used heavily to block.) Hopefully we'll put either Deion Branch or Deon Butler to use or make Chike Okeafor earn his paycheck by sending Forsett out in the flat.
Furthermore for anyone concerned about the Cards pass defense and Matt Hasselbeck's health, the Cards rank 25th in the league with 8 sacks. They didn't get a single sack in on Schaub.
Yeah, I suppose I'm getting excited and it could backfire, but I like our chances with Hasselbeck in the game.