Sunday, November 01, 2015

DMN - Scouting the Seahawks


Today marks the fourth time Pete Carroll and Jason Garrett meet head-to-head as they coach in their sixth season at their respective posts.
In 2011, the Cowboys beat Tarvaris Jackson and the Seahawks in Arlington 23-13. In 2012, the Seahawks trounced the Cowboys in Seattle 27-7 in a Week 2 game that marked Russell Wilson's first NFL win.
Last October, the teams met again in Seattle in what might have been the signature win of the 2014 Cowboys, with Tony Romo converting an unlikely third-and-20 in which he spun out of trouble to find Terrance Williams at the sideline on the game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter.
The teams seemed destined to meet again in the NFC Championship Game until the Cowboys were derailed in controversial fashion in the Divisional Round in Green Bay.
Each teams has four losses, and the loser Sunday will be in the spotlight of panic. Here are three players who are expected to be pivotal for the Seahawks:

TE Jimmy Graham

Graham is one of the most dangerous pass-catching tight ends in the sport, but the Seahawks still have not quite figured out the most effective way to use him. He was acquired in March from the cap-challenged Saints for longtime starting center Max Unger and a first-round pick. Graham stretches the field vertically and is virtually impossible to cover in the red zone.
His 46 touchdowns in his last four seasons in New Orleans proves that he is the ultimate mismatch -- too strong for most defensive backs, too fast for most linebackers. But, since he arrived in Seattle, his production is down quite a bit, as are the number of passes thrown his way. Against Carolina he re-emerged, and he'll probably be matched up against Cowboys rookie Bryon Jones for most of the day. Expect Jones to be plenty busy.

DE Michael Bennett

Bennett, who was undrafted out of Texas A&M in 2009, is a great example of how draft position is sometimes a misleading indicator of a player's quality.
The brother of Martellus, Michael has been arguably the Seahawks' finest defensive lineman since he joined the team in 2013 on a discounted one-year deal.
Over that time, he has shown the ability to destroy pass plays with a fantastic pass rush from inside. He ruins an equal number of run plays by anticipating the snap count and using his quickness to work around any interior opponent. Seattle can use him at any spot on the line, and his nonstop work rate makes him a formidable assignment every Sunday. He's coming off a 31/2-sack day against the 49ers.

SS Kam Chancellor

What makes the Seahawks' story so remarkable is the value they continually find in the draft to build their young nucleus. Chancellor, a fifth-rounder who had a much-publicized holdout this year, might be the best in the industry at what he does, which is create big plays.
He sets the tone for a Seattle defense that is more than willing to engage in a street fight. The overall disposition of the Legion of Boom indicates they will trade body blows until the opponent gives in, and Chancellor is front-and-center with his physical impact.
A high school quarterback who moved to cornerback at Virginia Tech, he never had top speed, but he always is turning games with moments where he gets to the ball one way or another.

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