Thursday cyber surfing: Defense readies for Patriots no-huddle attack

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 11.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times previews the Seahawks’ Week 6 matchup with the New England Patriots’ up-tempo, no-huddle offense, “What makes the Patriots’ offense go is their quarterback, who will be playing in Seattle for the first time as a professional. This is Brady’s 13th NFL season. He has three Super Bowl wins, two Super Bowl MVP awards and one supermodel marriage. But Seattle is one of two NFL cities where he has never played. He was out with a knee injury in 2008, the last time the Patriots came to town. ‘I’m actually excited to get out there and play in a place I’ve never played,’ Brady said Wednesday during his weekly news conference. ‘I think what makes it loud is that they’re very good. So, when they make plays, the crowd is into it and they get a lot of support.’ “

O’Neil also recaps a Wednesday conversation with Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who says the Seahawks need to do a better job at converting in the red zone, particularly against a high-scoring team like the Patriots, “The red zone has been Seattle’s Bermuda Triangle this season, the offense missing the end zone repeatedly once the Seahawks are in scoring position. Of Seattle’s 14 possessions inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, Seattle has scored a touchdown on four of them, the lowest percentage of any team in the league. And with Seattle preparing to face the league’s top-scoring offense on Sunday, it can’t afford to settle for three points when it gets close, which means the emphasis this week is on improving the offense’s short game. ‘We’re doing a pretty decent job of moving the ball down the field and getting to the red zone,’ said Darrell Bevell, Seattle’s offensive coordinator. ‘Now we’re not finishing those with touchdowns, and we’ve got to do that at a better rate.’ “

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times comments on the Seahawks’ innovative defense, “Defense always carries the burden of reaction. You hear more about offensive ingenuity than cutting-edge defense because offense is supposed to be more imaginative. Before a defense can stop a team, it must know what to defend. Offenses create. Defenses stifle. But on occasion, there are special defenses that start to do as much dictating as reacting. You see glimpses of that with the Seahawks, but they’re young, and they’ve only been together since last season. They need more time and polish to achieve such a lofty status. Nevertheless, the potential is there. ‘Two or three years from now, we’ll see,’ Carroll said. ‘I know people in the league don’t think two or three years down the road very well. They think two or three weeks. But you’re going to have guys playing in their third and fourth and fifth years together by then. That’s not old guys. That’s just guys who have really grown up together. And that’s when you really benefit.’ “

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says New England’s hurry up offense will test the Seattle defense, “New England has the top-rated offense through five games this season, averaging 33 points and 439 yards a game. The Patriots have a league-leading 151 first downs, and are averaging 165 yards rushing a contest, No. 3 in the league. But it’s New England’s ability to get off a play every 15 to 17 seconds that has the league’s defenses on their heels. Carroll said the Patriots are the one NFL team that has come closest to mirroring the type of speed Oregon plays with in college football. Of course, Carroll can use his experience at USC in facing the Ducks’ high-powered offense annually when his defense takes on the Patriots this weekend. ‘We know what it is,’ Carroll said. ‘We know what they’re going to do, and how they’re going to do it when they speed it up. And we’ll see if we can match it, and if we can, then we’ll have a chance to play pretty good. The point is that we can’t let their tempo dictate our play.’ “

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune revisits Carroll’s firing from New England and how it re-invented him as a coach, “It not only turned out to be one of those rare occasions that worked well for all principals, but it also is suddenly relevant again, 12 years later, as Carroll and his Seattle Seahawks on Sunday entertain the Patriots and the coach who so successfully replaced him – Bill Belichick. Belichick has led the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles in five appearances. Carroll regrouped, rebuilt the USC program into a national powerhouse, and has been with the Seahawks since 2010. ‘It really is classically one of those deals when you get kicked in the tail and you come out better,’ Carroll said.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes that Carroll is excited to take on the challenge of going up against the League’s No. 1-ranked offense, “With all the weapons Brady has at his disposal, the Patriots would be a challenge for a talented Seahawks defense regardless of tempo, but now they’ve upped the degree of difficulty. ‘Preparing for that is most challenging,’ Carroll said. ‘I think the fact that they studied with Chip and he’s helped — I’m still kind of pissed at that — you have to experience what this is like to adapt well. They’re doing some really cool things on offense, and Tom Brady is as good as you can get. It’s an exciting opportunity for us. … They have really featured the no-huddle offense, and kind of tailored it after the speed of the college game, and it’s been very, very effective.’ The reason Carroll calls this an exciting opportunity as opposed to, say, a terrifying one, is that he and his defense might just be as well-equipped as any team in the league to handle an offense like New England’s. Through five games this season, the Patriots have scored more points and gained more yards than any team in the NFL. Perhaps most impressively, the Patriots have just three three-and-outs this season in 60 possessions, the fewest in the league.”

Boyle passes along some comments from Belichick, Brady, and Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, who offer their impressions of the Seahawks’ defense, and also has an injury update after Carroll’s Wednesday press conference and the team’s practice session, noting that guard John Moffitt has been ruled out for Sunday.

Tim Booth of the Associated Press also revisits Carroll’s past with the Patriots, “While it was an embarrassing moment in Carroll’s coaching career, his firing in New England more than a decade ago was the catalyst for the philosophy and system Carroll brought to USC with so much success and that helped land him another chance in the NFL in Seattle. ‘What I learned from the situation is to be a really successful head coach you have to have control. Otherwise it’s somebody else’s job that you’re dealing with. That’s why everything that came out of that experience changed me and I haven’t been the same ever since,’ Carroll said Wednesday. ‘It took me 10, 11 months before I got going on the next job, but from that time, everything that is the philosophy, the approach, the mentality, everything, the language, everything came out of that experience. It’s classically one of those deals where you get kicked in the tail and you come out better. I hate to learn the hard way.’ “

Bill Swartz of mynorthwest.com catches up with cornerback Richard Sherman on how the Seahawks are preparing for the Patriots’ no-huddle attack, “The lightning-quick tempo is something the Pats borrowed from college football’s most prolific offense, that of the Oregon Ducks. A few Seattle defenders like cornerback Richard Sherman have faced the Ducks and other no-huddle teams in the Pac-12. ‘What New England does is similar with the pace,’ said Sherman, who played collegiately at Stanford. ‘I think it’s different because Oregon had guys running here, and motioning there. They would run two or three reads and you didn’t know where the ball was. The Patriots will line up quick, but then they’ll run power.’ “

Steve Sandmeyer of mynorthwest.com says it’s time for the Seahawks to open up the playbook on offense for quarterback Russell Wilson, “Coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, try as they might, cannot escape the following three realities: • For Wilson to truly succeed, he has to be given the chance in the first place – the full playbook. • This includes giving him the chance to fail as well. • If Wilson is the guy they all think he is, he can handle it – including some failures along the way. That’s what taking a risk is about. This is the NFL. The Hawks need to be ahead of the curve – proactive instead of reactive. Don’t wait for the game that the defense can’t win by itself (perish the thought) and then address the passing game afterward.”

Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com also recaps Carroll’s departure from New England in 1999, “Naturally, Carroll now looks upon the his sour departure from Boston as a chance for re-invention, which he exploited. ‘Getting spanked and getting knocked out of there was a great chance for me to regroup,’ he said. ‘I needed to get my act together or I was never going to get another chance. That gave me real insight to create what is so important to me now as a coach and deal with the position. I was embarrassed to get fired. I was ready for the next (job). Fortunately, I lucked out and got an opportunity at USC.’ Now he’s on to another new opportunity in Seattle. He has no empire yet, but what he has is control — he was hired before his nominal boss, general manager John Schneider, so there’s no doubt about where the final call rests. Just as was the case at USC — for better or worse. ‘What I learned from that (New England) situation is that to be a really successful head coach you need to have control,’ he said.  ‘Otherwise it’s somebody else’s job that you’re dealing with.’ “

Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com writes that the Seahawks believe they are ready for the Patriots’ offense, “Under the radar until recently, the Seahawks have assembled one of the NFL’s best defenses during the three-year tenure of head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider. The ultimate test for that young defense stands to be an equivalent exam for an offense that is blowing opponents off the ball in some interesting ways. By the traditional NFL metric of yards per game, which is how these things are measured in a conventional sense, the Patriots have the league’s #1 offense, and the Seahawks have the league’s top defensive unit. More advanced numbers support the hypothesis that this is a battle between two highly-charged units. Football Outsiders’ opponent-adjusted efficiency metrics has New England first in offense and Seattle third, behind the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans. No matter which stats you care to use, every occurrence of New England’s offense against Seattle’s defense looks to be a proverbial clash of the titans.”

John McMullen of The Sports Network previews the Seahawks’ Week 6 matchup with the Patriots, and offers a final score prediction, “The Seahawks defense, which is allowing a league-low 258.6 yards per game and is second in points allowed (14.0), will keep them in most games and this one should be no different, although Ridley’s emergence and New England’s balance will provide a very stiff test. ‘I think it will be a great challenge for us this week against a defense that’s really, really playing well,’ [Patriots offensive coordinator Josh] McDaniels said. Seattle, of course, is especially tough at notoriously noisy CenturyLink Field. This season the Seahawks have stymied Dallas 27-7 at home on Sept. 16 and topped Green Bay, 14-12, just over a week later, albeit with the help of a controversial touchdown call by the replacement referees on the last play of that one. ‘I think it might be the loudest stadium that we’ve been in and we’re in a lot of loud ones,’ Belichick said. ‘It’s a huge home field advantage for them.’ All that said, it’s hard to imagine Wilson keeping up and this game will put Carroll’s decision to go with the rookie under an even brighter microscope again. ‘I use it as fire,’ Wilson told the Seahawks’ website when asked about his critics. ‘I ignore the noise all the time, but at the same time I know that I have to get better.’  Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Patriots 24, Seahawks 23″

Greg Garber of ESPN.com ranks the NFL’s toughest venues to play at, and the Seahawks’ CenturyLink Field comes in at No. 2 on their list.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a look at NFC West injury situations, “Seattle Seahawks: Center Max Unger will join the injury report for Seattle this week with a hip injury that was expected to keep him from practicing Wednesday. Former starting guard John Moffitt, a contingency at center when healthy, was also among those missing practice. A knee injury will keep him inactive this week. Eight players have started on the offensive line for Seattle this season, tied with Jacksonville for most in the league. Seattle does have options at center. Lemuel Jeanpierre has started there. Defensive linemen Clinton McDonald (groin) and Jaye Howard (foot) did not practice. The team continues to list running back Marshawn Lynch as limited with a back injury. He has 121 touches this season, second-most in the NFL behind Arian Foster (142). Lynch had 313 touches last season.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth notes the challenge that Brady and the Patritos’ offense present, and focuses on Carroll’s past with New England in his “Wednesday in Hawkville.”

Tony Ventrella recaps Wednesday’s activities in his Seahawks Daily, saying the Seahawks look forward to Sunday’s opportunity to face the League’s No.1-ranked offense.

Team photographer Rod Mar has a look at Wednesday’s practice in photos.

Finally, we have Carroll and Bevell’s full video press conferences from Wednesday.


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