Wednesday cyber surfing: Third down improvement needed; Lynch is Seahawks quarter-season MVP

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 3.

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says that Head Coach Pete Carroll’s decision to start rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has put the team in a difficult spot at the quarter-point of the season, “Teams are collecting tape on Wilson. They are game-planning for him. They see that he has become too predictable. Of course he has. He’s a rookie. He almost always rolls to his right. He hasn’t done a good job of buying time in the pocket, especially when the Hawks are threatening. These aren’t meant to be criticisms. They are correctable flaws. But the corrections take time, time the Seahawks don’t have in a tight playoff race.”

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes that the Seahawks offense needs to improve on third-down, “Yes, the play-calling is conservative, but that isn’t the only reason Seattle has scored 27 points the past eight quarters. Seattle has not converted a third down by pass in either of those games. That’s right, not one. Their four third-down conversions the past two weeks all came on runs, and in that time, Wilson is 1 for 10 passing on third down for 3 yards, has been sacked twice and intercepted once. He has rushed for two first downs in that situation. Those are the kind of statistics you’d expect from a team consistently condemned to third-and-forever, but that’s not the case. Seattle has the league’s leading rusher, Marshawn Lynch, and it has consistently made headway on first and second down.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has a look at the success of NFL-leading rusher Marshawn Lynch, “When Seattle signed the 26-year-old Lynch to a four-year, $31 million deal, including $17 million guaranteed, there were concerns about his durability long-term because of his bruising running style. So far, Lynch has continued to eat up chunks of yards with the physical, relentless way he runs. ‘The effort he plays with is infectious,’ tight end Zach Miller said. ‘It makes all of the linemen want to block harder for him, and a lot of times he is carrying a lot of guys, breaking I don’t know how many tackles he breaks – but I know it’s at least one a play.’ Added coach Pete Carroll: “Marshawn continues to be just rock solid for us. He’s doing everything we want.’ ”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald also has a look at the Seahawks’ third-down struggles that have been taking place on both sides of the football, “It is hardly a surprise that the Seahawks have struggled to convert on third down given their offensive limitations, particularly in the passing game. Seattle has converted just 28 percent of its third downs, which ranks 27th out of 32 NFL teams. What is a lot harder to explain, however, is how a Seahawks defense, which is one of the best in the NFL by so many statistical measures, is struggling to get off the field on third down. Seahawks opponents are converting on third down at a 43-percent rate, which ranks 24th in the league, and in the case of Sunday’s loss to the Rams, they were converting on third-and-long. ‘The issues for us on both sides of the ball are on third down,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ‘We had big issues on third and long on defense, and third down in general on offense. That’s where we have to focus and get our stuff right.’ ”

Brady Henderson of recaps a Tuesday segment of “Brock and Salk” in which Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon joined the program and was adamant in his support for Wilson as the Seahawks’ quarterback, “The normally reserved Moon joined “Brock and Salk” on Tuesday and was vehement in his defense of Wilson, who has come under fire as the Seahawks’ ineffective passing offense has been a major factor in both of their losses – the latest a 19-13 defeat that featured three interceptions and only 160 yards through the air. ‘This kid is in his fourth football game in the National Football League, his team is 2-2, right in the thick of their division, he had one bad outing which wasn’t even a bad outing – some of those things were out of his control – and people are ready to pull the plug,’ said Moon, a color analyst on the the Seahawks’ radio broadcasts. ‘Just be patient with the guy, let him fight through this and hopefully we continue to keep winning football games as we do it.’ ” You can listen to Moon’s audio here.

Henderson also highlights Seahawks return man Leon Washington, “Along with hitting three field goals of 48 yards or longer, Rams rookie Greg Zuerlein booted four of his five kickoffs for touchbacks in Sunday’s win over the Seahawks.The one kickoff he didn’t get all of was returned 69 yards by Leon Washington. That’s been the story so far for Washington, who has returned just seven kickoffs this season but has the Seahawks leading the NFL – by far – with a 37.7-yard average. Only three other teams have an average of at least 30: Atlanta (31.0), San Francisco (30.4) and Minnesota (30.1).”

Here at Clare Farnsworth hands out his quarter-season Seahawks awards, naming Marshawn Lynch the team’s MVP, “The Seahawks’ Beast Mode back leads the NFL in rushing (423 yards) and the NFC in total yards from scrimmage (473). But even more impressive than his yardage totals is the effort that goes into compiling them. Not surprisingly, Lynch also leads the league in yards after contact (199), according to ESPN stats and information. He definitely is the leader the offense needs to follow as it continues to find its way under rookie QB Russell Wilson.”

Farnsworth also has his early preview of Sunday’s matchup with the Carolina Panthers, and takes a close look at Wilson’s progress through the team’s first four games, noting that Wilson’s statistics through those four games are comparable or better than the statistics of Jim Zorn, Dave Krieg, and Matt Hasselbeck through their first four games with the franchise.

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