Maybe the beauty of being a team with an ever-changing look and no established identity has its benefits.
It has to make you extremely difficult to scout and scheme against.
The coaches for the Kansas City Chiefs this week could be excused if they wrestled with what to do against the Seahawks this afternoon at Qwest Field.
Try to figure out the Seattle offensive line? They’ve had eight different combinations of players in the first 10 games. They gave up no sacks to the Giants, but eight to the Raiders.
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Their top receiver, Mike Williams, has a mysterious foot injury, so they may end up featuring Ben Obomanu (a total of six catches in the first eight games), Brandon Stokley (picked up off the street in late September), or maybe rookie Golden Tate (10 career catches).
Try to decode tendencies of that bunch.
For a while, they were inarguably among the best run-stopping defenses in the league. But since the game Red Bryant went out for the season and Colin Cole was injured, they’ve been run through for 122 yards a game.
Facing the league’s top pass defense in New Orleans last week, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck improbably led the No. 23-rated passing attack to 366 yards in the air.
They’ve played well in losses and poorly in wins.
And in maybe the biggest anomaly, they’re ranked 29th in the league in offense and 28th in defense, but they lead the NFC West Division with a 5-5 record.
They couldn’t be harder to identify if they wore camouflage jerseys.
But aside from getting mashed by the New York Giants, they’ve been tough at home, and that’s the main reason why they’re only a slight underdog to the AFC West-leading Chiefs (6-4).
“We know what we’ve done at home,” Hasselbeck said. “We’ve been strong at home and we expect to continue that. We did not play like ourselves last time at home against the Giants (41-7 loss), but we’ve got to get that home-field advantage. We got to keep it. We’ve had it for a long time, we’ve got to keep it. That’ll be a huge, huge advantage. Even going into the playoffs – if we do make the playoffs – that first game if we win our division is at home. So that’s going to be essential.”
Did we really hear a player from the Seahawks use the “P” word in the month of November? Hey, why not? This team has been unpredictable and unconventional all the way. And they do have a game cushion in the division.
Coach Pete Carroll was far more circumspect when asked this week if he checked the standings.
“We’re fortunate to be leading the division,” he said. “We all know what’s going on but we sure don’t spend any time on it because it wouldn’t do us any good at all.”
If they hope to stay on top, they must deal with what Carroll listed as his primary concern heading into this one: stopping the Chiefs’ top-rated rushing attack.
“I’m really concerned about what’s going on up front on defense,” he said. “We’re fighting it out right now. With Colin Cole maybe a couple weeks away still we’re going to have to battle it out here and find ways to slow things down.”
The Seahawks’ inability to stop the Saints’ running game last Sunday wasn’t a matter of scheme or assignments, he said, but simply bringing down ballcarriers with fundamental tackling techniques.
“It was really about making the plays when you had your hands on guys and getting guys on the ground,” he said. “We have to come back from that and get ourselves back on course, and we’re doing some things to adjust to that so we can make that happen. To me that’s the biggest issue.”
Carroll has had these guys adjusting and adapting all season. No reason today’s game against the Chiefs should be an exception.
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 firstname.lastname@example.org