Sunday, 28 March 2010

Game planning the Seahawks is easy, right?

By Rob Staton
Just for a second imagine you're a NFL defensive coordinator. Your next game is against the Seattle Seahawks and you're sitting down with the rest of the staff to think up a gameplan. You look at the roster and see T.J. Houshmandzadeh as the main threat at receiver, there's a couple of running backs in Julius Jones and Justin Forsett and there's Matt Hasselbeck starting at quarterback.

What do you make of that? Personally, I'd do what most teams did in 2009. Stick a guy to shadow Houshmandzadeh and make a heavy commitment to attack the offensive line. You're not really concerned you'll get beat deep because the quarterback hasn't got the big arm or the receivers to hurt you. You can stack up against the run knowing there isn't much chance Jones or Forsett will find the edge, hit top gear and break off the huge run. You're prepared to gamble a little having extra pass rushers off the edge knowing that this is a team that won't make you pay.

This puts a lot of pressure on the offensive line. The left tackle will sometimes have multiple guys to keep away from the quarterback. The interior will struggle creating the holes for the running game.

The point of this exercise is to determine what the Seahawks can do to stop this happening in future. Without doubt one of Seattle's greatest needs is to improve the offensive line. It's lost key starters since Super Bowl XL, a number of injury problems have hampered the replacements and a switch of philosophy to a zone blocking scheme might have complicated matters. Drafting a left tackle early in 2010 is considered a prime need and locking up the position long term would be beneficial to the Seahawks going forward.

However - you put Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe, Michael Oher or Andre Smith at left tackle on the 2009 Seahawks. Does anything change? They're still blocking two guys off the edge. They're still being attacked with a heavy blitz or having to take on eight in the box. A rookie drafted this year will face the same issues unless the Seahawks can demand greater respect from the opposition. They need to draw attention away from the line and force greater coverage in the passing game. There needs to be more balance and creativity to keep teams guessing. There needs to be more speed, power - execution.

As a case example, if the Seahawks acquired Brandon Marshall and C.J. Spiller - a defense now has to consider double coverage on Marshall, which ultimately creates more space for Houshmandzadeh. This will restrict a team being able to blitz too much - knowing there'll be more room in the secondary. That takes pressure away from the offensive line.

Adding a guy who can hit the edge and break off big runs, hit the home run from the running back position and offer pure speed and pass catching will stop teams being able to stack up through the middle and spread their coverage. Rather than Seattle not being able to move forward until they draft a left tackle, I actually think any offensive lineman will struggle until the Seahawks add playmakers.

Aside from finding a pass rush, all of Seattle's biggest needs are on offense. But it's a double edged sword and drafting an offensive lineman is only part of the solution. Playmakers will also need to be a priority. Relying on later round picks at the skill positions hasn't been good enough for Seattle in recent years. I think that could change, possibly starting on April 22nd.

51 comments:

gonzhawk said...

Completely agree! Good point, now what do you recommend? If you want elite speed, enough to take the pressure of the lineman, then you find it in first round...Will spiller be there at 14? I don't think you take the chance-

Austin said...

I've been arguing for a while now that adding some playmakers might do more for the offensive line than drafting a lineman. To me an ideal draft day has Seattle taking Berry at 6, Spiller/Bryant at 14 and using the 2nd and a 4th to get Marshall with the rest of the draft to address needs probably the line on both sides of the ball. What do you guys think about getting Bryant at 14 if Spiller is gone and still picking up Marshall with lower picks? We've seen what two elite wr's can do in Arizona and it would sure help a young qb or Hasselbeck as well as take some pressure off the line like the article suggests. I have a feeling that Seattle could go that route even though no one is talking about it. It would totally change the offense. Anyways just rambling at this point. Great article!

Donald Duck said...

Rob, I agree with you.

What about 6. Spiller, 14. Bryant and 60. Montario Hardesty

IMHO, that would give defenses something to think about.

I like Marshall when he is good but he is inconsistent and his off the field issues are an accident looking for a place to happen.

Patrick said...

Excellent point, Rob! If we had a combination of Marshall/ Houshmandzadeh our possibilities could be endless. If you look at our division, I firmly believe we have the top QB. With Marshall/Housh would we also have the best WR duo? I also believe that John Carlson must be utilized more often. Carlson is one of the few Seahawks that my non-Seahawk fan friends have heard of and appreciate. I think whether it's Marshall, Bryant, Spiller, or Jahvid Best, we absolutely must leave April 22/23 with a playmaker.

Tim Malone said...

They have so many holes, that's why I wouldn't mind seeing them trade down from both 6 and 14. This is such a deep draft and maybe they could pick up another 2nd and 3rd rounder. Berry or god forbid Mays at 6 seems high for an oft injured position like Safety or Spiller, an undersized RB.

I'm really intrigued by Mike Williams of Syracuse and the rumors that Parcells likes him only makes me more so. 1st round talent with a 6th round brain, if he's their in the 2nd I would take him. And I know Rob doesn't like him, but Ryan Matthew's is getting alot of love.

USAFANARC said...

Great article...I wish I could spell it out so well. I think the Hawks should take Spiller at 6 (can't risk missing him) and trade #14 for Marshall. Marshall is consistent, big, fast and will take the pressure off Housh. Austin, why Barry at #6? Safety is one hole that I don't think we need to be spending a first rounder on. We'll find someone serviceable in the 4th round. We need offense. Since we moved back to from #40 to#60, I don't think we have a chance at Best. He'll be gone around #40. That makes Spiller a necessity at #6 or #14...IMHO.

USAFANARC said...

Tim,
I agree. The best scenario is us moving down and picking up more picks. No question. This draft is deep at everything but OT and QB.

Christon said...

Great Point. Have to admit the Hawks are pretty boring on O.

A-R-N-F said...

How about instead of a RB who can't block or run inside the tackles, you take a LT who can help protect the $8,000,000 mountain of hair behind center for years to come? Why beat around the bush? You can still pick up someone like McKnight, or someone who actually fits the scheme (Blount, Johnson, Hardesty). You could give Aragorn Andre Johnson but if he doesn't have time to make the read/develop it's a moot point. Defenses aren't just going to back off because your RB can run a 4.3, especially when they can get constant penetration with their front 4. They're going to lay it on thick and you'll end up with an offense that can break a 25 yard every once in a while but can't consistently move the chains to save their lives.

Why not take an LT, a guy who can stave off the "David-Carr syndrome" from your "rookie" QB, and shift Lock to RT where he isn't a facepalm waiting to happen. You just freed up Carlson, who can be a factor in the passing game and an endzone threat. Pick up a RB who can block and fight for yards in the middle rounds, and you have the beginnings of a decent, consistent, offense.

Rob Staton said...

Donald Duck - I like Montario Hardesty, but not in round two. He's a five year guy who's had microfracture surgery. He's already 23 and has 1/5 years production. I can't see him going before round four.

ARNF - It doesn't matter who starts at left tackle for the Seahawks - they'll still struggle blocking two guys off the edge. Until the Seahawks find something that warrants a gameplan on offense, they'll struggle. And yes - teams will back off if there are dangerous guys at WR and RB. You can't send the house every down because there's every chance you will be punished. Right now, teams just blitz blitz blitz - and they can afford to, because there's nobody to take advantage.

As I've said - put any of the first round rookies at LT for Seattle in 2009 and nothing changes. They still go 5-11. They have the same problems blocking two guys that Locklear had. Seattle needs to get better on the o-line but it won't happen until they get some playmakers. I think anyone who believe a rookie left tackle will solve problems paired with some mid/late round skill guys will be left disappointed. Look at the last four SB teams. Considerably more high picks at RB and WR than OL. Considerably more.

Also - Spiller is above average in pass protection and is better up the middle than some give him credit for. He's also very dangerous in the passing game and as a return threat. Blount is no more of a scheme fit - in fact he's less.

cysco said...

Drafting a LT will not turn this team around. It will help in the long run, but for next season, LT is not the answer to a better record.

As was pointed out, the main reason the Hawks were so bad last season wasn't because the O-line was bad. The main reason was because the team didn't have a single player who defenses had to be worried about. Of course you can bull rush the QB every down if you know there isn't any player who can hurt you.

We've all heard the phrase "keeping the defense honest" Well last year Seattle didn't keep the defenses honest at all.

I truly believe that the reason this team got worse as the year went on was because teams learned from one another and realized that was a very specific and easy way to take seattle out of the game.

By bringing in some players that introduce to potential for a big play, you cause the defenses to play more conservative.

Should a defense stack the box or jump routes? Last year you could very easily with no fear of being beaten to the outside, or over the top. With players like Marshall and Spiller, teams would finally "have to be honest"

The effect of this is that the O-line improves, because they aren't under as much pressure.

cysco

Kip Earlywine said...

I'm sympathetic to ARNF on this one. Remember the first Arizona game last year? Even good weapons can't get open when Hass gets insta-sacked.

You both make good points, and I think the truth lies in the middle. If we are going to go the developmental QB route (which is exactly what Whitehurst is), he must have weapons that can get open and stretch a defense, but he also must have that extra second to help him with his slow reads and poor pocket presence, like training wheels on a bike. Its not an either/or for me. Its both.

And considering the weak talent poor at Tackle and WR, and the teams current dearth of total talent, I'm not in a huge rush. If we end up having a defense heavy draft but the picks make sense and have great value, I'd be fine with that.

Kip Earlywine said...

*talent pool. Wow, I've never typed Engrish before.

Anonymous said...

Rob,
I also agree with everything you have said. I don't know why some are down on Spiller, he should be able to handle 20 touches a game, and we now that we need a threat on kick-off's and punt returns (with NB gone) as well as a breakaway running back threat, he should be able to earn his keep.
I'll bet PC sees it your way also. I wouldn't bee a bit suprized to see Spiller and Marshall on this team next year. Someone on this staff is game planning the Hawks and it's a no brainer their coming to the same conclusions you have. They just need to watch last years games.

Rich said...

This is one of the best articles I've seen this off season. You are completely right as to what happened last year and it was obvious around the league. That's why it got worse at the end once opposing teams knew how to handle us.

The only position I didn't see you mention was Safety. I thought we needed some serious help there before they dumped Grant. Now there's a huge hole at that position.

I'm worried lately because we have more needs than decent draft picks. Hopefully, we'll deal for Marshall and fill those other needs, probably how was mentioned with skill players first, then lineman that fit our new system.

Kip Earlywine said...

Also, I think ARNF made a good point about Locklear freeing up Carlson. Carlson was joined at the hip with Ray Willis last season, and it really held him back a lot. So in an indirect way, adding a left tackle would almost be like adding half a weapon because it would free up Carlson a lot more.

Rich said...

Was going to mention that I was worried because I'd hoped some of those needs would be filled in FA and trades, but haven't seen any that would make a difference this season. We seem to only be losing players instead of gaining any. Again, hopefully our FO is about to wake up and execute.

Kip Earlywine said...

20 touches a game is close to double Spiller's career average in college. Spiller is really good, but he'd probably be a 50% carries guy.

On defense, we have quite a few needs IMO. On DL, we need an immediate starter at RDE, and depth unless you buy into our current 245 lbs backups as potential starters. We need an immediate starter at Strong safety, and immediate starter at 3 tech DT, and we should add at least 1 (possibly 2) 6 foot+ CB with zone skills.

Honestly, our needs on defense are only a little bit less than our needs on offense. IIRC, last year our defense ranked the same as our offense did (25th).

I want to fix the offense too, but the defense has huge issues as well. I'm not normally a huge "BPA" guy, but if there is ever a draft to go BPA for Seattle, its this one.

Austin said...

Kip,

I think your basic premise is off when you say even with weapons Hass didn't have time to throw. I agree with Rob and I think the reason he didn't have time to throw was because the line could sell out and attack Hass because they didn't have any weapons and weren't afraid of being beaten by anyone on the offense. Adding a Spiller and/or an elite wr as well would limit the pass rush because of the home run ability of a Spiller,Bryant,Marshall etc. I agree with the previous poster about safety being a huge need and thats why an ideal draft involves getting Spiller and Berry in the first round and also trading a second plus a 4th which has beep rumored for Marshall. Thats two elite talents on offense and a pro-bowl type talent in the secondary. I think that goes along way in rebuilding this franchise....

Even though I disagree I love your work. All of you guys do an awesome job!

Austin said...

I think even at 50% carries he can still be extremely valuable ala Felix Jones, Reggie Bush, MJD before he took over, Jonathan Stewart etc. It would also give us a return thread and I think Forsett is probably ideal in a 50/50 split as well. I have also argued that Best might be just as good as Spiller and may have the ability to touch the ball even more at the next level but with our current picks its almost impossible to get him unless we trade down.

Rob Staton said...

I will say this about Spiller - there were quite a few games last year were they basically just shut him down after a few carries. I think I even remember a game last year where he returned the opening kick off for a TD and was benched in an easy win. He shared a lot of carries with Davis before 2009. When he was asked to carry a large work load in the big games (GT for example) he not only managed it, but he was very succesful.

So whilst I respect Spiller's career average for touches, I think it doesn't necessarily tell the whole story. No doubt whoever drafts Spiller will use him as part of a committee because most of the league is doing the same. Even Adrian Peterson shared carries. But you can find ways to get Spiller his twenty touches as a receiver, runner or returner.

Also - my point really is with the article to suggest that the offensive line does need an upgrade. However, that as a single entity it won't do much. Yes - invest in the o-line. But you have to accompany that with better playmakers. The Seahawks will not win more games until they have those threats at RB, WR and QB that will force a team to gameplan - whoever is starting at left tackle. As I said - put Eugene Monroe at left tackle in 2009. The Seahawks don't win anymore games.

Louis said...

If McCoy is gone by 6, which i expect him to be gone, then I would be extremely happy if we traded down to the 9-13 pick range of the 1st round. There's really nobody worth the 6th pick if McCoy and Clausen are gone...i dont think any OT deserves to be drafted that high, and Spiller/Byrant at 6 would be a little early, so picking up a Spiller at picks 9-13 range would be ideal, and adding in someone else such as Derrick Morgan or an OT at 14 to fill our needs.

The key is to get the Marshall deal done tho. Without Marshall, a WR being drafted would be a priority in my opinion. Our WR corps was below average last year, and you take away our BEST WR last year and expect us to do good? Housh and Butler just WONT cut it...we need Marshall.

Austin said...

Rob I'm sure you've addressed this before but assuming Best can get over his previous injuries does he have the same type of potential at the next level as Spiller does? Does he have the ability to be a lead back?

Rob Staton said...

Austin - Best has very similar qualities to Spiller. Both have great speed and have that abilit to find the edge and break off. I always felt Best was too ineffective up the middle but others who I trust feel the same way about Spiller (I personally always felt that Spiller could take the honest yards a little better). I think Spiller has the production to show he's a great return guy and pass catcher. Best hasn't had the same opportunities to record those stats because of the offense he's in and the way he was used, but I think he's more than capable of emulating Spiller there. Having said that - Spiller has unique production so I don't want to underplay that.

Both are home run hitters. However, this concusion business bothers me a lot. Best took a reasonable hit in 2008 and was physically sick on the field. He's had the big concusion this year. These are incidents that worry me and I think it'll really hurt his stock. Teams won't view Best as a lead guy who can take a lot of carries, because there will be genuine concern about his durability and his own personal health. I look at a team like the Giants and think that'd be a good match in round two - because he'll be part of a three pronged attack limiting his carries but still playing his part. I think teams will be a lot more willing to use Spiller in a more integral role and get him involved as often as possible.

However, you can't take away the fact that both have that ability to score whenever the ball is in their hands. That's something Seattle doesn't have.

Tim Malone said...

I like Spiller alot at 14, just not 6. I've seen Cribbs, Hester and Bush all win games alone on special teams and I think Spiller can do that and be good for 10-15 carries a game at a 4.5 yards per clip. He's the only RB I'd take in the 1st round.

Oher wouldn't have won them any games last year, but I'll take a franchise LT entering his 2nd season over Curry, it would also give the Hawks more flexibility in the draft this year.

Rob Staton said...

I completely agree Tim. But it kind of answers my point too. Having the LT would free up holes to draft the other guys you need - but you do need those other guys. Getting a better offensive line is big in Seattle - but it won't get much better until the Seahawks find those difference makers to keep a defense honest and draw pressure away from the o-line.

Jon said...

I agree, the smart money is on play makers for this team AND I think we have the coach most likely to see things that way.
Spiller at #6 and a trade out of #14 would ruffle some feathers but the fans will forget about it by the time they're drooling over Spiller come the Preseason. The flexibility of trading out of #14 should allow for depth on the lines and secondary.

Rob Staton said...

I expect the Seahawks to explore every avenue to trade down from #14, potentially to aid a possible trade for Brandon Marshall. If they were to move down significantly in round one, they could accumulate another second round pick as part of the deal. That would allow them the chance to select again late in round one and then over night (before round two) possibly make a deal with Denver for Marshall that includes two second rounders. Whether that would appease Denver remains to be seen, but it's a suggestion. The Seahawks would obviously also have to find a team willing to cough up an extra second to move up, which might not be easy. It could be more so if an offensive tackle, Derrick Morgan or Joe Haden are still there at #14. Still, it's fun to discuss these scenarios with the draft still a few weeks away.

Anonymous said...

So we are back to the $60 question. What do we need?
Defense-
1) a pass rushing end - maybe the Elephant we keep hearing about, so maybe scheme with current players
2) a tackle to apply press up the middle like a McCoy or Price - not on team as of now
3) a safety - not on team as of now
4) upgrades at any other position

Offense-
1) real running back threat - not on team as of now
2) wide out - big,strong fast, YAK kinda guy - not on team as of now
3) O Line - what ever Gibbs thinks we need - 1 or 2 players probably not on team as of now
4)QB - future guy - probably not on team as of now

Special Teams-
1) someone special - not on team as of now

What I miss? Heck, we are only 6 or 7 players away from being great again!
Sounds like Spiller could address a couple needs

Kip Earlywine said...

Other than arguably Shaun Alexander, Mike Holmgren built an elite offense here for years off an elite OL with pedestrian playmakers like Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram who were solid but never struck fear into defenses.

We could have the best weapons in the game and it wouldn't matter if we have a Kyle Williams/Steve Vallos left side of the line. Football is all about exploiting weaknesses. You can have great weapons, but if you have a terrible line and a jittery QB, it won't matter. There are exceptions to this rule- but those exceptions are founded on true elite QBs like Manning, Brees, and Rodgers.

Unfortunately we don't have a QB like that. Instead we have a beaten up, ill-suited for Bates Hasselbeck and a highly developmental QB with slow reads and poor pocket presence (Whitehurst). Neither of those guys is going to be able to do what Rodgers or Manning did last year, at least not this year.

The truth to fixing an offense is being well rounded and patching holes. A passable QB with passable skill position threats with at least a passable line would be an enormous improvement. Adding Marshall can go a long way, and we don't need Spiller to ramp up the running game. Its possible to draft defense at #6, but still get a 1st round left tackle at #14, then trade for Marshall, and draft an impact RB in the 4th round. Instead of looking for a miracle cure, I think the team should simply focus on fixing the holes and removing liabilities.

c-hawker said...

Spiller and Marshal would solve a lot of problems. Teo-Neshiem and a safety or OT we can picked up later.
At WR Thomas is moving up the board, closing in on Bryant. He doesn't have much of a rout tree to his resume, can be coached up though.
They can do a lot with that #14th pick. Home-run hitter with the #6th...
I am heading for the Berring Sea tomorrow, chat when I get back...
AYE MATE!!!

Rob Staton said...

Kip - I think it's important to remember though that Holmgren's offense relied on timing, intelligence and route running. The scheme itself was like having a stud playmaker, before it became a little outdated and predictable. Even still, Holmgren spent a high first round pick on a wide out. Seattle did have an elite offensive line, but they had the playmakers to take advantage. Alexander was there - and he was a first rounder. Robinson was a first rounder. There were other guys at wide out that fit the system perfectly. Teams couldn't attack that offensive line through fear of being punished, because Seattle did have weapons.

Going forward, it's no different now. Whatever improvements are made on the offensive line, they'll still have to invest high picks at the skill positions too. Holmgren did. So have the last four SB teams. None had an elite offensive line, but they did have numerous high picks at the skill positions on their roster. Seattle has to find a balance going forward, but my point has always been in this article - drafting a left tackle won't be enough. The Seahawks must invest in playmakers and I expect they will under this new regime.

Rob Staton said...

C-Hawker - have a safe trip!

Anonymous said...

Walter and Hutch were not ZBS guys. Bobbie E was hardly pedestrian! Mack Strong was as big a reason Shawn gained all those yards and touchdowns as Shawn was.
Not sure how you can count out Whitehurst just yet as IF his arm is as strong as advertised, that should keep the Safteys and CB's from crowding the line to often. We will need to be able to execute quick hitters (1 and 3 step drops) if they don't respect us and we will need the players to make them pay after the ball is in the air. I mean they need to go get it and get some yards after they do. When the opponents are worried that our guy can beat their guy one on one they will have no choice but to play it safer, just like the Hawks have had to the last few years.
Our lack on Offense had our D guys on the feild so much they were tripping over their own tongues in the 4th quarter. No pass rush equaled too much time for our CB's to have to cover very good to elite receivers last year.
Best way to help our D, IMO is to keep them off the feild, and I mean that even if we had Pro-Bowlers at every position on the D.

Austin said...

I hoonestly think a great offensive line is slighty overrated in todays game. Look at Indy,Minn,and the Saints...3 teams with avg at best offensive lines and yet the elite skill players still won football games. It just seems to me that people still don't grasp the idea that elite skill guys can take a lot of pressure off of the line and vice versa. I guess I'm banking on Gibbs to make the line better with great coaching and a couple of late round picks that fit the scheme which would allow us to address the skill positions earlier in the draft.

Rob thanks for your thoughts on Spiller and Best. I'm starting to get the impression that this running back class is severely overrated and that Spiller might be the only great back in this class. I think we tend to look at the class of two years ago and assume that there will be a bunch of great backs every year. Denver post is reporting that Seattle might bet Marshall for a 2nd and a 4th is anyone else hearing this? After reading everyones thoughts Im even more cemented in my ideal draft being Berry/Spiller although not sure Spiller will be there at 14 so thats probably a gamble to wait on him and if the big 5 are gone Seattle might be forced to take Spiller as the offensive lineman left dont warrant a pick that high.

Rob other than Spiller do you see any elite type talents at the rb position in this class? Guys that have all pro type talent?

Kip Earlywine said...

I'm not totally sure that adding weapons will stop aggressive blitzing. Hasselbeck's arm isn't going to scare anyone, and Whitehurst is going to be so green in the pocket that DC's will give him the Matt Stafford treatment and blitz him to take advantage and force turnovers. Stafford had a top 5 WR to throw to, but that didn't prevent DC's from abusing his inadequate protection up front.

I agree that just fixing the OL is not enough, you have to do it all. I just don't think it really matters in terms of priority. To me, playmakers and OL are about roughly the same level of priority right now.

A-R-N-F said...

"Teams couldn't attack that offensive line through fear of being punished, because Seattle did have weapons. "

I think that's absolutely backwards. We saw how important the foundations of that 2005 o-line were when they started breaking down. Hutch leaves, and SA goes from MVP to scrub, in one season. ANYONE could have flourished behind that line - that's the beauty of investing in an offensive line. That's why teams like Philly and the NYJ can plug in a second and third round pick and make him look awesome.

It's also the single most appealing of aspect of ZBS, in my opinion. You don't need 4.3 speed, you don't need a dancer. You need a guy who can hit a hole quickly and muscle out a couple yards as he goes down. Spiller is not built for that. He made his yards by sitting back behind a Clemson line and then dancing through 5 yard gap, or breaking to the outside. That won't fly with a ZBS scheme.

And you can't really compare SB team's draft picks with teams picking in the top 10. If you're a playoff caliber team you can afford to take a chance on a skill position player. It's a late round pick and most likely your team doesn't have any gaping holes. At #6, on a team with no talent on either line (save Mebane, Unger) it's a completely different situation. Just ask the Raiders, or the Rams, or the 49ers, or the Lions, or Texans, or the Jaguars, or the Chiefs , etc etc etc if talented skill position player will open up an offense.

Jon said...

Kip, you make good points about having a balanced attack but I think the playmaker talk is born out of the fact that we're probably the least explosive offense in the league and the fact that there are really only about 3 guys you can bank on as big play guys in this draft(Spiller, Best and Bryant) that would have to be taken in the first round by the Hawks if they want one. Best wont be there at #60.
I'd love to get a Left Tackle in the first(if it's a guy I like) but I wouldn't knock a choice of any of those 3 guys.

Kip Earlywine said...

If we want to draft a play maker, then we'll draft Spiller, because in my opinion, he's the only true "gameplan" level offensive player in the draft. But I can't get around the fact that in several ways, Spiller is incompatible with our existing blocking talent and scheme. His smaller workload capacity and the opportunity cost of Gibbs turning mid round RBs into studs factors as well. Above all else, I just can't help shake the feeling that if we draft him, its going to be Reggie Bush 2.0. Bush is certainly talented and helps his team- but the last couple years he was a 3rd string RB behind two guys that were undrafted (Thomas, Bell).

I like Spiller a lot, and if our situation was a little different, I'd be fine with bringing him in. But the situation is not ideal. On my big board, he probably be about 10 names down at #6 and 5 names down at #14. At #14 he's ok, but I'd rather take a left tackle or a top 10 defensive talent that falls to #14.

Anonymous said...

I really hope that some things like this happen:

1)Finding a trade partner for #6 unless Mccoy or Suh is there. Trade back 3-6 picks, and get a 3rd rounder. With pick between 9-12 we will still be able to pick up Spiller. With the early third rounder we take Best OL

2)Find a trade partner at 14 unless Haden, Morgan or somehow Berry is there. Trade into the 20s and pick up a 2nd rounder. In the 20s we would have Charles Brown and Brian Price waiting for us depending on who we want.
With the extra late second round pick we take a S, WR or RB.

3) Somehow trade Spencer and Sims without loosing a pick for Marshal


I know it is a lot, but if just one of these were to happen I would be extremely excited. If all of them happened we could be contenders next year.

If they did happen our draft could look like this.

#6 is traded for 9 and 73 with Bills I believe.
#9 CJ Spiller RB (Playmaker)
#14 is traded for 23 and 56
#23 Charles Brown LT (Starts and improves the rest of the line through competition)
#56 Morgan Burnett/Chad Jones SS (starts)
#60 Lamarr Houston DT (starts next to Mebane)
#73 Veldheer or BPA at OL (Part of the competition)
#104 Major Write (likely an upgrade at FS over Babs)
#127 and 5th, 6th, 7th, 7th.
BPA at WR, CB, DE, OL, QB.

Trade Sims and Spencer for Marshal.


This gives us 2 playmakers, one maybe 2 OL starters year 1, 2 improvements at the Safety position (both SS, FS), 1 DL.

micah said...

Having someone like Spiller is so tempting. He is definitely a true playmaker. and if one thing is for sure, Seattle needs playmakers. One thing I thought about when reading other people's posts was what type of offense are we running. Some people point to the Walt/Hutch days, but I don't think that's a good comparison because the offense won't look like that at all. WR/DB or Line? I think the real question is who's offense is it really? If it's Gibbs' then we don't need Spiller that early. If it's Carroll, then Spiller definitely fits his profile and it seems like a high possibility. If it's Bates, then we definitely need a playmaking WR. It's really hard to compare ourselves to other teams when we aren't even sure what our own identity looks like.

Steve said...

A couple of people in this comment thread have suggested trading down from #6 if the QBs/DTs are gone. If Clauford and SuhCoy are gone, who's trading up to #6? Is that at all realistic?

Berry gets mocked to the Seahawks and Browns a lot. Are there contender-type teams who have needs in the secondary and would make the play for him, someone like Miami, Baltimore or New York (Giants)?

My other question is, who's the return guy for us next year? I can't see Rankin sticking around, never mind developing into a decent returner. Adding a playmaker could help us in two phases of the game, an OT isn't taking kicks to the house or putting us in good field position.

Kip Earlywine said...

I agree, trading down from #6 will be very tough. Bradford shouldn't last that long, and if a DT falls there, we won't trade out- we'd take the DT I'm sure. If Clausen is there, which is semi-possible, I could see Buffalo showing some possible interest. If neither QB is there, trading down will be almost impossible. You'd have to hope a team really buys into Eric Berry and be willing to trade down at a bargain rate.

Rob Staton said...

Austin - I'm not sure there's any elite running backs. Even Spiller for me - he's not going to have the Chris Johnson type year. However, I think he'll consistently get you around 1000 rushing yards, another 4-500 receiving and score plenty of TD's. A lot of money for the pick at #6, but he will score points and offer a real playmaker.

Best is capable of the same, but the concussion worries me and I expect he'll have a limited work load. There are servicable backs to be had later on. Someone will over draft Ryan Mathews but I'm not a big fan.

Rob Staton said...

"Stafford had a top 5 WR to throw to, but that didn't prevent DC's from abusing his inadequate protection up front."

In faireness though Kip, I don't think the Detroit line was abused as much as you suggest. Plus - when the defense is giving teams a 14-0 head start, it's less of a risk to throw the house at an offense. Detroit's defense last year was mind blowingly bad.

Rob Staton said...

ARNF - just off the top of my head the last four SB teams had a running back taken fourth overall and a wide receiver taken third overall. Since when have New Orleans and Arizona been consistently picking at the back end of the draft? None of those teams 'built through the lines'. Compare that to St.Louis who have spent years investing in their lines with nothing at QB or WR.

Also - I've never claimed here that the Seahawks shouldn't invest in the line. I'm saying it has to be accompanied with investment at the skill positions too. Seattle had a great line in 2006, but they also had a great running back, a QB at the top of his game and some solid receivers (not to mention a well oiled scheme). I think it's naive to say anyone could have flourished behind the line. Sure it helped Alexander and Hasselbeck - but they were incredibly talented in their own right.

Spiller doesn't dance. I watched hours of him and anticipated seeing some dancing and it never happened. He's got some cut back ability. Yes, he likes to bounce outside a lot and most of the time it worked in college. I never saw any reason to think he wouldn't work in a ZBS.

Anonymous said...

Read every comment on this thread, well thought out. Kip and A-R-N-F said every thing that needs said.

Spiller is a nice player but only really fills the KR role full time. It all seams a little common sense to me as a former HB,it is the line that does it all.

Any qb can complete passes with time, any HB can get yards with a hole. Convert short yardage runs and you take away the d-fences man card, they stuff the box and any QB completes passes.
One guy that can win his match up when the scheme breaks almost every play, gives you a little space to try to things instead of insta-sacked or blown up in the back field.
Fans always clammer for star power every year, I just don't get why if you've been a fan more than just a couple of season how you have not learned better?
Running backs have short careers, thats why their the final peice of a rebuild.
Qb and O-line Have double the career span so are the logical first step of a rebuild.
D-line is a good start as well how ever it is easier to get free agent talent on d.

Rob Staton said...

Annonymous - I don't agree. I never look at the NFL as having an exact blue print for success. To say that a line 'does it all' is just wrong in my opinion. A good offensive line is a characteristic of a team in the same way having great wide outs, a great QB or a great pass rush is. There's no one way to win it all - which is why we see a team like New Orleans struggling a bit in 2008 and then winning it all in 2009. They didn't win because they had a great offensive line, they won because of the combined efforts of their offense including some very good playmakers and a great QB.

Now, the offensive line played it's part. But I look at the last four SB teams and not one of them - in my opinion - relied on the offensive line.

Going forward the Seahawks won't get back to winning ways just by drafting for the offensive line. Rather than fans 'clamour' for star power, I think there's just as many who imagine drafting a rookie LT will solve all the teams issues and that isn't true.

The point I've tried to raise in the article is - the offensive line needs improvements, yes. But the Seahawks must combine that with greater threat at WR, RB and QB. As a single entity, it won't work. The Seahawks need to get some weapons to draw presure away from the o-line, and the o-line needs to be better to execute in the better environment.

Anonymous said...

Trade 14 for Marshall, trade back with the Bills maybe or someone interested in Clausen/McCoy/Talent available at our pick, and trade it for that first and maybe a 2nd, or early 3rd. Then pick Spiller with that pick, and take a speedy RB with our second and go defense with the newly acquired pick.

Misfit said...

Interesting article, Rob. I enjoyed it quite a bit and you echo much of the sentiment that I've been banging the drum for quite some time: play-makers. Explosive offensive play-makers. We have ZERO of them. Butler may become one in time and that's nice, but he doesn't help in the return game. Spiller would help rush, receive, and return. He's valuable enough to take as early as six. Just think: where would Spiller have been drafted in the Mario Williams/Reggie Bush draft? Surely top-6. Would have have been drafted ahead of McFadden or J.Stewart? Quite possibly (though I love Stewart to no end). There just haven't been many fast and physical backs in recent drafts since Mendenhall and Stewart. This is a deep class but also fairly weak as far as front-line talent. Wells might have been the top-rated back in this class after Spiller and some would probably theoretically taken Wells over Spiller due to his size/speed combo. I hope Spiller is tougher than I'm giving him credit for. Chris Johnson was. Steve Slaton wasn't.

I think Mathews is Donald Brown v.2.0. Not interested in round 1. Best is too much of a luxury pick with risk - more risk than Spiller. Best should be a 2nd-3rd round pick and likely won't be around when we pick at 60 or in the 4th anyway. I don't think we need to worry too much about him.

I think Best is akin to Leon Washington or Jerrious Norwood, while Spiller could parallel CJ4.24's career. He has a chance to, at least. Even if he has a career similar to Reggie Bush (minus the chronic knee problems) he will be a huge asset for our team - specifically our offense.

That said, as much as I'd love to have him, the RB class is fairly deep with starter-capable backs. As long as we actually draft one of those this year, we should improve. I like Forsett, but he should not be counted on for much other than an occasional 3rd-down catch. Hardesty, Tate, Starks all have well-rounded body types to be a primary running back. I wouldn't mind a beast like Anthony Dixon or Dwyer if the round is right. I really like Dixon and think he's going to be a monster. His hands are very underrated. Same with Starks' receiving ability. The bottom line is we need to draft a RB no later than round 4. Hopefully, we find a way to land a quality starter for an acceptable price. It's very hard to take a RB in the top 6. If Stewart or Mendenhall were in this draft...man.

I think building the lines should be paramount along with QB. OL, DL. Build from the trenches out. We need to wait on Safety and probably can find quality starter-caliber offensive linemen with 60 and another later round. Saffold in the 2nd could turn out just as good in Gibbs' system as A.Davis or C.Brown in the first.

We need elite skill players. I definitely believe that.

P_Whit said...

I agree with Rob's post completely.

If we come out of the draft with #6 OT Williams or Okung; #14 RB Spiller; and WR Marshall for a 2nd and 4th rounder... I will jump for joy.

The bonus on Spiller is that he fills three needs: RB, KR, PR.

Assuming we add a LG like Pitts, Hamilton, or Smiley (via trade)... from my view, offense becomes the team's strength at that point. Which is incredible considering how awful it is this very moment.

Quick projected look:

QB Hasselbeck, Whitehurst

LT Williams
LG Pitts or Hamilton or Smiley
C Unger
RG Spencer/Willis
RT Locklear

TE Carlson/Baker

RB Jones/Spiller/Forsett/Rankin
FB Ganther/Schmitt

WR Marshall, Houshmandzadeh, Branch, Butler, Martin

That's a dynamic offense supported by a young, serviceable offensive line with room for growth.