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Tuesday cyber surfing: Third down defense needs to improve

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 30.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks defense needs to improve on third down – where they rank 27th in the League, “No team in the league has forced opponents into more third-and-long situations than Seattle. That fact is evidence of the Seahawks’ fortitude against the run and an ability to hold their ground on first and second downs. No team in the league has allowed opponents to convert more third-and-long plays than the Seahawks. That fact points to an underlying weakness of the defense, a persistent inability to get off the field that could endanger Seattle’s playoff hopes. ‘It’s disturbing,’ coach Pete Carroll said, ‘that we’re not able to be like we are in the rest of our game. We’ll try to take the turn here. We’ve had some deep discussions about it, and see if we can get it fixed right away.’ “

O’Neil notes that with Seahawks wide receivers Doug Baldwin, Braylon Edwards, and Ben Obomanu dealing with injuries, the team is looking at options at the position, “The league trading deadline has been extended until Thursday, and it’s no secret receiver Dwayne Bowe wants out of Kansas City, but he has only half a season remaining on his contract. Terrell Owens’ name will inevitably be mentioned, too. He played flanker for the Seahawks during his three weeks with the team in August, and the spot Seattle would be looking to fill is split end and perhaps slot. Kearse has played well on the practice squad and could be a consideration.”

O’Neil also breaks down what history tells us about the Seahawks finishing the first half of the season with a record of 4-4.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune discusses the team’s defensive struggles on third down, “According to STATS Inc., Seattle’s defense allows 43.2 percent (16 of 37) third-down plays from 10 yards and longer to be converted into first downs, worst in the league. No other team in the NFL has allowed more than nine such conversions. Carroll addressed his defense’s third-down struggles during his Monday press conference, saying the reason for the high success rate by opponents is a mixture of inexperience on defense and a need for a more consistent pass rush by the front four. ‘It’s just being comfortable with the situation,’ Carroll said. ‘And doing the same thing right again and again, and not changing a little bit. Maybe we try a little too much, or we try a little too hard to make a play or something. Those things you can wash out with experience sometimes. And sometimes guys are just trying to make things happen, and they make mistakes. But I think we’ve tried a little bit too hard to be perfect, or to catch a tendency or something like that, and then we miss our drops. … I know we can get a lot better, I just hope we can do it right away. We need to get this done soon.’ “

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune reflects upon the Seahawks’ first half of the season following Carroll’s press conference yesterday, “As expected, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll sees the season as half-full, and reeled off a rapid-fire list of the team’s strengths heading into the final eight games: ‘We know we can run the football. We can play good defense. We’re becoming more efficient in the passing game. We’re protecting the quarterback well. Our special teams are really rock solid.’ All those are valid assessments. And if last season’s progression was an indicator, the Seahawks finish well. Last year’s second-half improvement (5-3 down the stretch) was the result of establishing an identity as a running team with an aggressive defense. No such makeover is necessary this season. ‘We’re going to continue to ride the defense and continue to ride the running game and continue to count on special teams and as we grow, hopefully, the way things are set up, we can make some noise here in the second half,’ Carroll said.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald comments on the club’s defensive struggles on third down, “Carroll is confident his defense will improve on third down in the second half of the season. ‘I know we can get a lot better, I just hope we can do it right away. We need to get this done soon,’ he said. But he also concedes that there is not a single easy-to-fix, reoccurring problem to address. ‘Unfortunately not,’ Carroll said. ‘It would be easy if it was, we got beat in man coverage the whole time, or it was all the zone stuff or the pressures. We made some mistakes that they took advantage of. Just little technical things like a guy dropping a bit out of his area, a guy not picking up the leverage side of his man-to-man the way we like it and things like that. We’ve miss-hit a couple of pressures that we had a great chance to get something done on, and timing wasn’t great for us. They just took advantage of every one of them and they were so efficient down the stretch. It just shows you that this was a really good quarterback that we played and he was able to carry it out through the game and get them a win.’ “

The NFL has moved the trade deadline back two days to Thursday Nov. 1 because of potential complications from Hurricane Sandy.

Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com recaps a segment of “Brock and Salk” in which Carroll joined the show following Sunday’s loss to the Lions. Henderson details the improvements in the passing offense as one of the silver linings from the Week 8 road loss, “The Seahawks offense had come up short in the final minutes of close road losses earlier this season, but on Sunday Wilson led a 12-play drive that ended with a go-ahead touchdown with 5:27 remaining only to see the Lions respond with a touchdown of their own. Wilson was 6 of 8 on that drive, capping it with a 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Miller. ‘I thought he was really solid. I thought he was really good,’ coach Pete Carroll told ‘Brock and Salk’ on Monday. ‘I think we helped him again. We were able to get the ball on the perimeter a little more. We got the ball in guys’ hands where they were running with the football. Golden [Tate] looked good. We really wanted to get Sidney [Rice] and Golden the football and really emphasize that, to start to feel the continuity of where the ball is going. I think you saw that.’ “

Tim Booth of the Associated Press says the Seahawks’ defensive issues are concerning for a unit that ranked No. 1 in the League just a couple weeks ago.

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Monday, and speculates as to what moves the team could make to shore up the receiver position, “There are a handful of receivers that were with Seattle in training camp that could be an option. WR Terrell Owens, WR Deon Butler, WR Lavasier Tuinei, and WR Phil Bates are all free agents without jobs. WR Ricardo Lockette (San Francisco) and WR Kris Durham(Detroit) are both on practice squads and could be signed to Seattle’s active roster. The most likely move would seem to be bringing Kearse up from the practice squad and bringing back a practice squad eligible receiver if the Seahawks need to find replacements for Obomanu and/or Edwards.”

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “NFC West Stock Watch“, pointing to the rise of quarterback Russell Wilson, “Wilson completed 25 of 35 passes (71.4 percent) for 236 yards and two touchdowns even though receiver Sidney Rice dropped what should have been a long scoring reception. Wilson graded out perfectly on his pre-snap checks and protection calls, Carroll said. The one pick Wilson threw resulted in a miscommunication with Rice, the sort of thing that happens when a quarterback and receiver haven’t played together long. Wilson led a 12-play, 87-yard drive to the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Tight end Zach Miller deserves special mention, too. He went above and beyond with a one-handed scoring catch.”

The staff at ESPN.com has their Week 9 NFL Power Rankings, where the Seahawks sit at No. 13.

NFL.com also has their Week 9 Power Poll, and the Seahawks come in at No. 11.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has a look at what worked and what needs work after the team’s 28-24 defeat in Detroit in his “Monday Metatarsal Musings,” and recaps the activities surrounding “Monday in Hawkville.”

Tony Ventrella and Farnsworth rehash the Week 8 loss to the Lions in their video review.

Ventrella brings thoughts on the first half of the season in his “Seahawks Daily.”

And finally, we bring you coach Carroll’s full video press conference from Monday.


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