Countdown to kickoff

ST. LOUIS – Greetings from the Edward Jones Dome, where the Seahawks will be looking to start 3-1 for the first time since 2007 when they meet the Rams today.

This also is a chance for the Seahawks to pick up their first road win, after they fell to the Cardinals in Arizona in their season opener. But this also is a place where wins have been tough to come by for the Seahawks, even though they’re 6-1 here since 2005. Those six victories have come by six, two, five, three, 10 and 17 points.

There are key elements to consider if the Seahawks are to emerge with another victory today, but first let’s give some overdue credit to Paul McQuistan. With John Moffitt not expected to play today, McQuistan will slide to right guard – with James Carpenter making his 2012 debut at left guard, where McQuistan started the first three games.

But Carpenter cannot be expected to play the entire game, so rookie J.R. Sweezy should get some time, as well. He started the season opener at right guard. If he plays on the right side today, McQuistan will move back to the left here.

Here, there, wherever. McQuistan was become a valuable commodity for the Seahawks since being signed to a future contract in January of 2011. Last season, he started at left guard (three), right guard (three) and left tackle (four).

“Paul is ready to go on both sides,” coach Pete Carroll said after practice on Friday. “We’ve given Carp all of the work (at left guard) to get him ready, but Paul has worked all of the drills to go back and jump in that spot if John Moffitt is not ready.”

Talk about the more things you can do.

“Paul really can play both tackle spots and both guard spots,” Carroll said. “It’s a great bonus for us knowing that. He’s just been a real flexible guy. A lot of guys get tied up going from one side to another. It hasn’t happened for him.”

It helps that McQuistan played for line coach Tom Cable when both were with the Raiders. That was in 2007, the last time McQuistan started a game in the NFL before joining the Seahawks – and rejoining Cable.

“His experience and time with Tom Cable before has helped,” Carroll said. “So he’s a valuable guy for us in that regard.”

In regards to today’s game, the Seahawks need to:

Move forward – The fallout from events of Monday night lingered deep into the week, because of the way the Seahawks’ 14-12 victory over the Packers ended. The players have to leave that in the past, because a loss today will offset that win. The Seahawks are 5-12 on the road under Carroll, and they need get win No. 6 today to start this stretch where they’ll play four of their next five games on the road.

Pop the “lid” on the passing game – Carroll admits that the Seahawks’ 32nd-ranked passing game is rooted in him having “a lid” on things because the offense is still developing under rookie QB Russell Wilson. The Rams play aggressively on defense, so Wilson needs to hit some quick passes early to back them off a bit, and open things up for Marshawn Lynch.

No team in the league has thrown fewer passes than the Seahawks (75), while only one back has more carries that Lynch (72). The Seahawks also are the only team in the league that averages more yards rushing (141.3) than passing (127.7).

“You can play Lynch and stuff him for 10 straight plays, and he’s running just as hard on play 11,” James Laurinaitis, the Rams’ middle linebacker and leading tackler, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He trusts his ability that much. He’s that kind of player.”

Play defense as well on third downs as they do on first and second downs – The Seahawks are ranked No. 4 in the league in average yards allowed and No. 1 in average points allowed. But on third downs, they’re allowing opponents to convert 44.7 percent of those pivotal situations. Only nine teams in the league are allowing a higher percentage of conversions on third downs.

Enjoy the game, with kickoff set for 10 a.m. PDT. Televised coverage is available on Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area) and radio coverage on 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM.


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