Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Hunt For Lombardi

Does anybody actually think that the Hawks stand a snowballs chance against the Chargers? Do any of you really think with the way this team has been performing that we will get past the wild card round in the playoffs with the sad state in which our highly talented team has bungled this season?

We were talking about the high probability of this team having home field advantage this season. Now we are murmuring a possible wild card birth. If Frisco wins out and the Hawks drop Tampa and San Diego, Seattle my friends, is a wild card. Hmmm, seems to me that NOBODY saw San-Fran possibly winning the division, with an 8-8 record at that. We, as fans, foolishly assumed that we would be 10-6 at worst this season. Nobody figured that we could wind up 8-8.

No Siree, Bob. We did not. I assumed, as stated earlier this season, that Seattle would split with Arizona, which we did, then sweep the 9ers. We did not. Had the Hawks simply taken care of the boys in the bay we would be 10-4 right now, still in the hunt for home field advantage. If not, at least through the first two rounds. The cold hard facts of reality are stating that the hunt for Lombardi is fading at a blinding rate. History tells us that at 8-6, we will not make it to the show. Not this season.

Oh we have the talent. But we keep losing damned good talent and replacing it with damned good talent. Had Seattle managed to keep a few key players as well as acquired the bad ass talent that they have amassed, things could be much different. Seattle might be a Juggernaut by now.

Case in point. Ken Lucas. Even I saw that mistake a mile away. Notice, since that bungled move the Hawks have been getting burned a lot more by the long ball.

Chike’ O-Keifer. I’m not sure that many have noticed that since his departure, long runs against our defense have well, swelled to say the least.

Steve Hutchinson…………….. How important is it to protect the QB? Not much else I can state here but the obvious. Other than the biggest screw up by our new GM, Tim Ruskell, of his tenure.

Jurvy, What can I say? We lost attitude and swagger in the wideout slot when we lost that guy.

Can I rest the demise of this season entirely on these player losses? No. But it’s entirely plausible that we would not have lost Matt had it not been for the Hutch fiasco. That alone would account for two losses against the season and you know that losing Shaun accounted for at least a game putting Seattle at 11 up and 3 down when we see it in that light.

Now don't even get me started on injuries across the board. Matt, Bobby, D-Jack Pork Chop, Tobeck, Sir Alexander and has anybody even seen Jamie Sharper? How much money did that cost again?

If this team decides that it can beat anybody in the NFL, we may just pull off the same unlikely scenario Pittsburgh pulled off last season.

Otherwise……..


(to comment, click the green number to the right of the title above)

17 comments:

  1. Two things....

    On Lucas- while I agree that the Secondary misses his play at times, he's still the same injury prone player he was when here, hense the failure of the FO to re-sign him.

    Okeafor- What exactly is he doing this year in AZ? Wasn't the Hawks Run D one of the best last season? Without Okeafor?

    I think the key to a good finish is the Health of Matt and his ability to get his best recievers into the games....needing Engram and Jackson to give us another showing like they had last season. And Hackett to continue his great play...it's going to be on Matt and the passing game from here on in, or their done....the defense just needs more time to rest.

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  2. "What exactly is he doing this year in AZ?" Uhhhh, how about sacking Hasselbeck on 3rd and 12 to basically seal the win for his Cards.

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  3. Okeafor, 40 tackles last season, 30 this season. 6.5 sacks this season, 7.5 last season. matching his 7.5 sack total with the Hawks 2 years ago. Tell me we don't miss that. Oh Yeah, 7 pass deflections this season. He's getting penetration and coverage. he only had 2 deflections in three seasons with the Hawks.

    Jurvy has only started 7 games with the Browns. 36 catches, 437 yards, 3 td's for a 12.1 yard average and a long of 52 and 27, count'm, 27 first downs.

    Lucas has only 2 picks this season. He had 6 last season matching his career high of 6 with the Hawks. Trufant has none for his 4 year career. He has started 11 games this season with 27 tackles and 4 deflections.

    Tell me that all of that doesn't account for at least 1 game lost?

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  4. I too used to think that Trufant had no int's in his whole career but I was wrong, his high for a season has been 4, I think he's got at least one this year. I still hate the dude though, don't get me wrong. I also hate when people bring up the fact that he lead the team in tackles 2 yrs ago, what are they trying to make my argument for me without knowing? A corner should never be the leading tackler on a team, if he is something's terribly wrong, that's not their job. He would probably be moved to SS if he wasn't so soft. His new nickname is Charmin, it was never 'Truf' to me because he has always been a lie. I miss Ken Lucas probably more than anyone, dude was a stud.

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  5. I think the hard cold reality is that 2005 is the annomoly. 2006 looks like 2004 all over again--an offense that flashs greatness, but is incredibly inconsistent, and a defense that's in the bottom half trying to get better. 2005 saw a lot of players have career years and the team catch a lot of breaks...Cowboys, Giants, in STL, Philly. Nobody on the team is having a career year this year, and so the Hawks are playing like they have in the past.

    The problem isn't who left. Jurvy simply left--the Hawks offered him more money. Okeafor has done in AZ what he did in Seattle...not that much. Every dog has his day and gets a sack. I would have loved to keep Lucas. We've been playing musical chairs at corner ever since, and are loosing ground each year, but he's not the source of the D woes. Not franchising Hutch hurt, but I also don't want to go through the cap purging fiasco like we had to after Ericson. Look at Baltimore since the Ogden deal.

    I think the offense goes as Matt's confidence in the pocket goes. In most games Matt looks scared and eager to dump the ball off to the flat. It started in Detroit and has only continued since his injury. Perception is reality, and if he feels missing Hutch puts him at risk...it does. When their backs are against the wall, and he know he needs to take a hit, the offense clicks and scores.

    The excuses we hear this year are just like 2004. "We know what to do, we just need to get it done." The 2006 Niner's are the 2004 Rams.

    I've heard talk that Tubbs' injury is the reason the D's struggling, but I don't buy it. Wasn't he hurt most of last season? What I do notice is that Hamlin for all his big hits, seems to miss a lot of tackles. He's a gambler. He's the exact opposite of Manuel. Could it be that without Hamlin's injury last year we would have seen the same big plays last year like we did in 2004 and this year? People talk about all the addition to the D, and Hamlin is an addition that subtracts Manuel. They did bring in Mike Green afterall.

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  6. Good shit. I think Hamlin is decent, he's a gambler, I would however like them to put an end to the Babineaux experiment, that fool gets run over 2, 3 times a game. Boulware can at least (usually) make a tackle. I think the Tubbs injury hurts the D because he's a big body and can help keep people off blitzing LB's, they are getting no pressure right now. Ray Rhodes D's weren't the greatest but I don't remember them gettin run on like they have this year. I don't like John Marshall's wait and see approach to blitzing. They could still get it together and make a run, but they gotta find some heart.

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  7. "Look at Baltimore since the Ogden deal"

    Baltimore looks pretty good this season, don't they? I'm not discounting your theory, but maybe it has less effect on them than you might believe.


    ". . . Hamlin for all his big hits, seems to miss a lot of tackles. He's a gambler."

    I've noticed that he is improving--even from earlier in the season--on that aspect of his game. He doesn't seem to go for the big blast quite as much now. He's still quite phyisical, and does still miss tackles on occasion, but Herndon and Babineaux miss many more than does Hamlin. I agree that Boulware needs to return; Babineaux is undersized at safety, and that's abetted many of those deadly long runs. (Not that Boulware has done a whole lot better this year, but at least he's bigger than Babineaux.)

    "I think the Tubbs injury hurts the D because he's a big body and can help keep people off blitzing LB's"

    I've been in the camp of those agreeing that Tubbs's absence has really hurt the Hawks' run defense. However, after looking at his numbers for this season, I really have to agree with you, BigO, that it's the fact that he can occupy blockers, opening up lanes for teammates, rather than it being his playmaking abilities that are missed. In 2006 he played 5 games, making 7 tackles. That's not great, by any stretch of the imagination. However, the defense has struggled noticeably vs. the run since Tubbs went down. I'm not ready to pin that all on his absence, however. Several other D-Liners have been gimpy, most notably Rocky Bernard. In addition, the Hawks have often had to play from behind, and that means they face more rushes than passes by their opponents. All of this contributes to a less efficient run defense, and forces the offense to become less diverse.

    In 2005 the Hawks would generally score a couple times in their first three possessions, putting the pressure on the opposition. They could then feed Alexander, building his numbers, while the defense could key on the pass. This year, rather than score early (which they had done until suffering a seemingly terminal case of Turnoveritis,) they've sputtered, which turns the tables, forcing them to become the pass-happy-offensed, ill-at-ease-defensed club they played all of last year. Results: not great, as we can see.

    However, that being said, I expect them to sack up this weekend and take care of business. This is absolutely a must-win game. San Diego has the AFC West locked up, and is in the drivers' seat for the conference, so for them, this could be the fabled "trap game" at which the Hawks have been victimized three of the past five weeks.

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  8. If there's one thing to point at as THE most significant difference between this year and last, the one thing that has had the biggest impact on the team, in my opinion it's the O-line. Hutch is gone, Jones has been gimpy most of the year, Pork Chop, Tobeck, Locklear have all been out at various points. Gray, a card carrying AARP member, is the only constant on the O-line. That means Matt isn't comfortable, and gets sacked more, and it puts his passes and/or timing off by just a smidge, and the receivers end up dropping a few more, and the he gets injured, which puts him off that much more. It also means that SA can't rely on the seams he needs to be productive. Combined, that makes the offense sputter and punt rather than lead the league in 80+ yard drives. That means the defense, which is predicated on speedy smaller guys, ends up playing more. They get injured more. They get more tired, and get sloppy. They miss tackles, they miss assignments. They lose the intensity and will that were their hallmark last year. They play form behind rather than with a lead, which lets opposing teams play more balanced, and makes the D-line and LB's play more to the run, so they can't get as much QB pressure, which makes it harder on the corners and safeties, who get burned because there's no pressure on the QB. In turn, the secondary is too worried about getting burned to privide the run support that allowed them to stop many of the big runs that could have been last year.

    "For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for the want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for the want of a horse the rider was lost, being overtaken and slain by the enemy, all for the want of care about a horseshoe nail." Ben Franklin


    The positive side of this, if I'm right, is that if you can get the O-line to play better, get them healthy, then most of the other problems on both sides of the ball go away. The downside is, how do you make them healthy and productive in the next couple weeks?

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  9. "how do you make them healthy and productive in the next couple weeks?"

    Some cream will clear them right up.

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  10. LOL, Barry. You ready to do some AL DH this year?

    If they need the cream, Pro Bowl cheater Shawnee Merriman is coming to town, I'm sure he's got the hookup. Stunning you can cheat and go to the pro bowl in the same season.

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  11. Max - that piece fired me up so much I didn't even read the other comments, so pardon me if this has already been stated.

    Ken Lucas? He's been a shadow of his former self with the Panthers, who we destroyed in the playoffs last season, in case you forgot.

    Cheeky Okeafor? PUH-LEASE! He was one of the "cancer kids" that needed to be cleared out of the locker room.

    Hutch? Okay, I have to agree with you there. But with all the injuries to our wide outs, remember we have no Nate and no Branch if we still had Hutch, and no J-Pete as well.

    Jurvy? I miss big Joe, but Branch and Nate are adequate replacements.

    Sharper? You're kidding right? You do realize we jettisoned him in the off season.

    There's a lot to be concerned about this season, but with the possible exception of Jurvy and Hutch, getting those other guys back in Seahawk blue wouldn't have helped a damned bit.

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  12. Everyone is forgetting me! I predicted it right from the beginning; I said the Pigeons had a gift sked last year and at best was a 9 or 10 win team. Noone listens...

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  13. Give Us A Break!12/21/2006 11:06:00 PM

    La la la. Did you hear something?

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  14. Give us a break....12/22/2006 07:54:00 AM

    BREAK US OFF A PIECE OF THAT KIT KAT BAR!!!

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  15. Break me off a piece of Tomlinson's leg.

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  16. Where do I start. Great stuff guy's very lucid, However, I will first reply to this lil shin-dig..

    "Several other D-Liners have been gimpy, most notably Rocky Bernard."

    C-K, I have not noticed any gimmpy in Rocky. I see him and Lofa teaming up creating a lot of havok. Rocky has been a QB eating sack machine. If he hasn't gotten the sack, he laid out the QB on several occasions or he put the wood to whom ever had the pig.

    Alba, I know Sharper took a hike, If I'm not mistaken, We had to shell out some cash to him this season as well. My point was mainly that that deal cost us a lot for literaly no production. We pay'd him and didn't see him.

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