Monday cyber surfing: vs. Packers previews

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, September 24.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times previews tonight’s matchup with the Green Bay Packers, “CenturyLink Field will be center stage Monday night, and the Seahawks will have a chance to make a statement against the Packers, who won the Super Bowl two seasons ago and went 15-1 last season. Seattle’s victory over Dallas in Week 2 got the Seahawks noticed nationally, but this one against the Packers is the kind of game where the Seahawks can make a statement. ‘There is no reason not to go for it,’ Carroll said. ‘We’re going to try everything we can to get a win and make the most of this chance.’ “

O’Neil has his keys to victory for the Seahawks and Packers, including the importance of starting fast on offense for Seattle, “The Seahawks offense has yet to score a first-half touchdown this season, and if that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s pretty darn similar to the way Seattle started last year when the Seahawks didn’t reach the end zone in the first half until Week 4. The Seahawks need to dictate the pace of this game, which means not falling into an early hole.”

O’Neil also details the excitement surrounding the Seahawks’ defensive unit as they head into Monday night against the explosive Packers offense, “There is an excitement in the uncertainty. That becomes clear as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley begins talking about the challenge of facing the Green Bay Packers offense with its All Pro quarterback, litany of wide receivers and penchant for explosive plays. ‘It’s almost like I don’t know how we’ll do,’ he said. ‘I don’t know. We’re going to go in there, test our philosophy, see how it works, but they’ll know we’re there. We’re going to hit ‘em. We’re going to hustle. We’re going to be ballhawks. We’re going to go for that ball. Our guys are saying, ‘You know what, we’re ready for the challenge. We’re ready for the challenge. Let’s go see.’ “

Lastly from O’Neil, he points to the success of Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks running game, “Lynch surpassed 1,000 yards rushing in both of his first two seasons in the league. He reached the Pro Bowl, but after Seattle acquired him in 2010, he started 18 regular-season games without surpassing 100 yards rushing. And before Seattle played Dallas last year in Week 9, the running back came to [offensive line coach Tom] Cable and asked for guidance in following the zone-blocking scheme. ‘It’s a big deal to me that he was willing to do that,” Cable said. Lynch didn’t change how he ran so much as where, and Sunday’s game was the seventh time in the past 11 regular-season games Lynch has run for at least 100 yards.”

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times has a look at former Super Bowl-winning coach and current Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden’s belief in quarterback Russell Wilson, whom Gruden gushed over back in April during the draft when so many others doubted the Wisconsin product, “So far, Wilson has done plenty to make Gruden look good. Remember the argument between Gruden and Mel Kiper Jr. about Wilson during the NFL draft? Gruden had mentored Wilson as part of his “Gruden’s QB camp” show. He was adamant that Wilson had the talent to be a starting NFL quarterback despite his 5 feet 11 height. And Gruden turned prophet to make his point stronger. ‘If I were Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Flynn, I’d be leery of this kid because if you give him a chance, if you give him a chance and look past his 5 foot 11 or 5-10 and a half or whatever it is, if you give this kid a legitimate chance to win the job, he’ll win it,’ Gruden said. ‘That’s how much confidence I have in him.’ “

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune writes that tonight is an opportunity for the Seahawks to be noticed and respected on a national level, “Carroll and Schneider are two seasons and two games into their franchise renovation, and they’ve had some big victories, topping the Saints in the playoffs their first season, and defeating the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants on the road last season. But a Monday Night Football victory over Green Bay – validating a runaway win at home over Dallas last week – would immediately label the Seahawks a team rising toward contention. Whenever players and staff have been asked on the record this week about the match-up, they’ve downplayed it as another game for which they prepare in a typical manner. No more, no less. Don’t believe it. Monday night games are a traditional showcase. As Carroll said, it’s historically been the opportunity the nation gets to watch football ‘on a school night.’ “

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune details the importance of stopping Green Bay pass rusher Clay Matthews tonight, “…Matthews’ tenacious effort has helped lead Green Bay to a league-high 11 sacks this year. The three-time Pro Bowl selection has 351/2 career sacks. Carroll said Seattle will use several different ways to slow Matthews, including keeping a tight end on his side to block, sliding the protection to his side and using the running backs to chip him before going out on a route. [Offensive tackle Breno] Giacomini also had another suggestion. ‘How do you deal with him? Run the ball,’ Giacomini said. ‘And just use your technique. I’ll be doing some extra studying on him.’ “

Williams also previews tonight’s matchup on the big Monday night stage, “Seattle’s defense will have its hands full going up against one of the best quarterbacks in the game in Aaron Rodgers, who was the league MVP last season. While Green Bay’s offense has sputtered so far this season, averaging 22.5 points a contest, the Seahawks know the type of explosive plays Rodgers and the rest of his teammates can generate if given some room to maneuver. ‘What I’ve noticed so far is that there’s a lot of game planning because they do so much,’ Seattle safety Earl Thomas said. ‘They’re a vertical team with a lot of personnel, and they have a lot fire power. And what about facing one of the best quarterbacks in the game in Rodgers? ‘We always want to see the top talent,’ Thomas said. ‘I think that makes us better as a secondary, and also better as a defense. If you want to be considered the best, you have to beat the best, so we’re just taking that outlook. It’s a championship game every week, and we’re going to go out there and try to win.’ “

John Boyle of the Everett Herald refers to today’s game as a measuring stick for the Seahawks, “More important than the attention and respect it might bring, a win tonight also would show significant progress for the Seahawks. The Packers, despite a season-opening loss to the 49ers, are one of the top teams in the NFL. They won the Super Bowl two seasons ago and went 15-1 in the regular season last year. The win over Dallas was nothing to sneeze at, but beating the Packers would represent one of the team’s signature wins under coach Pete Carroll. ‘It’s going to be a big test,’ fullback Michael Robinson said.’It’s a barometer, a gauge to see where we’re at right now.’ “

Steve Sandmeyer of mynorthwest.com says that the Seahawks have the blueprint to top the Packers at home, “In Week 1, the 49ers went to Green Bay and notched a 30-22 win at Lambeau Field. The Niners’ formula was simple: Utilize their fast, physical defense to create turnovers and keep everything in front of them; Use a conservative approach with their passing game while gathering chunks of yardage on the ground. If that isn’t a perfect description of who the Seahawks are right now, I don’t know what is.”

Tim Booth of the Associated Press previews tonight’s matchup at CenturyLink Field, with a focus on the quarterbacks, “The Packers come to Seattle trying to solve an offense that has yet to show any of the firepower from a season ago. Green Bay had 46 yards rushing in its opening loss to San Francisco, and Rodgers passed for 215 yards in a 23-10 win over Chicago. Rodgers started the season with consecutive passer ratings under 100. Dating back to the end of last season, he’s failed to top 100 in four of his last five regular-season games. But coach Mike McCarthy believes it’s far too early to start worrying about a stumbling offense, which could get receiver Greg Jennings back after not playing against Chicago with a groin injury. He’s questionable for the game. ‘We’re not playing the exact way we want to play yet but we’re getting close,’ Rodgers said. ‘It’s two games. Nobody’s panicking; nobody’s too worried about it. We obviously want to play better but we’re close. We’re just a few mistakes away from playing the kind of games we want to play.’ “

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has a look at Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, who has come a long way since walking on for Head Coach Pete Carroll at USC, and also breaks down several matchups to watch tonight.

From the video side, Tony Ventrella and Farnsworth preview tonight’s matchup with the Green and Gold, and Ventrella recaps a visit to Virginia Mason Athletic Center by teenager Kyle Anderson, who lived part of his Make a Wish dream on Sunday by watching the Seahawks walkthrough practice, touring the facility, and meeting running back Marshawn Lynch.


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