Can the Seahawks succeed without Marshawn Lynch?
“If he can’t play, we’ll find out,” coach Pete Carroll said this past week while trying to determine whether the NFL’s leading rusher since 2011 can play through a hamstring injury against Detroit on Monday night. “How do you replace him? He’s a ridiculously good football player, he’s been for us and a great factor for us forever it seems. We’ll just do the best we can. Guys have to step up if that’s the case and we need that to happen.” The Seahawks have based their offense and their identity upon the 29-year-old Lynch for six seasons. Undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls looked great last weekend, and former Bills lead rusher Fred Jackson has proven experience. But this team isn’t ready to proceed nor succeed consistently without Lynch. Not yet.
Why haven’t we heard from Golden Tate all week?
The Seattle-Tacoma-area media asked for Tate to be the Lions’ player on the weekly opponent midweek conference call, but we got banged-up quarterback Matthew Stafford instead. Tate was a Seahawk from 2010-13 and is heading into his first game back at CenturyLink Field, but the wide receiver went silent after going on the radio in Detroit early in the week. Tate told the station that he has been hearing opponents calling out the Lions’ plays before snaps this season, and that his offense must be too easy to read. “We’ve got to figure it out because we’re clearly giving it away,” he said. “All three weeks, a player’s come up to me and said, ‘We knew what you were going to do.’ That’s bad.” Detroit is 0-3, so it’s already been bad. But Tate makes it sound even worse for offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.
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How lucky is Seattle to have Steven Hauschka?
The Seahawks are luckier than a leprechaun in Las Vegas to have their veteran kicker. They could be the Steelers, who lost kicker Shaun Suisham for the season to a torn knee ligament on Aug. 9 then signed Jacksonville castoff Josh Scobee off the street following a tryout. Scobee was so bad Thursday, missing two field goals in the last three minutes of regulation during a home loss to division rival Baltimore, that Snoop Dogg fired off a profane, viral rant against him. The Steelers must have been listening because they cut Scobee on Saturday. Meanwhile Hauschka is 8 for 8 on field goals, second most in the league without a miss. He is 72 for his past 80 field goals since the start of the 2013 season. So, no, Snoop isn’t ripping him online.
How good are the Cardinals?
Arizona is as good as Carson Palmer is playing right now — which is great. The discarded Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders QB has won 16 of his past 18 starts and is 9-0 since the beginning of the 2014 season. Palmer’s last loss is Dec. 29, 2013. He’s playing at an MVP level this season, and now has a running game with former Titans 2,000-yard back Chris Johnson resurging at age 30. It’s still early, but the Seahawks enter October thinking they will have to beat Arizona twice again this season to win another NFC West title. And they won’t be able to count on Ryan Lindley starting again for an injured Palmer.
How bad are the 49ers?
The Cardinals threw down San Francisco by 40 points last week. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin could be seen railing at new coach Jim Tomsula as they exited the field in the desert. All the talk of Colin Kaepernick remaking his throwing motion and his career with former MVP passer Kurt Warner in the offseason vanished with Kaepernick’s four interceptions at Arizona. Yeah, it’s a full-on dumpster fire in Niners Land. They might find out how bad can get worse Sunday when NFC title contender Green Bay comes to Blue Jeans Field. But as the Bay Area clung to all this past week, Kaepernick is 3-0 against the Packers.