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Jerry Brewer explains the thinking behind his columns and invites readers to express their views on the sports world.

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September 22, 2008 3:51 PM

North/South, East/West: Will the Huskies ever get a sack?

Posted by Jerry Brewer

Besides the 0-3 record, the Huskies' most ridiculous stat so far this season is that the defense has yet to record a sack.

It's unreal. You'd think the Huskies could stumble into a sack during garbage time or something. But no.

And it's not one of those weird stretches in which the Huskies are getting good pressure on quarterbacks but somehow failing to tackle him. The defense has barely sniffed opposing quarterbacks. The way things are going, if any QB has a formal party immediately after playing the Huskies, he might as well just wear his tux on the field. There's no cleaner place for a QB to be right now.

The young Husky defensive line gets too overpowered to do anything, especially apply pressure. None of the linebackers are that caliber of playmaker. And whenever the Huskies blitz, they are a half-step late at best.

Like most aspects of the first three games, we're left to wonder whether superior competition skewed the Huskies' pass-rush efforts or whether this team is terminally bad at it. We should get more clarity on this issue Saturday against Stanford, but it's safe to bet the Huskies will struggle in this area all season.

"I want some sacks," linebacker Mason Foster said. "We've got to get sacks. It helps you win games. We've got to get pressure, or else every game will be a long game."

Gaze at Stanford's stats, and you realize this is not just a talent issue. The Cardinal still aren't blessed with great athletes on defense, but they still have 12 sacks already this season. That's because Stanford plays an attacking, blitzing system.

Meanwhile, the Huskies can't figure out if they want a 3-4 or 4-3 defensive scheme.

Considering the Huskies' defensive tradition, it's really annoying to spend all this time talking about the basics of playing defense, isn't it?

Keep an eye on this issue Saturday. If the Huskies can pressure Stanford QB Tavita Pritchard, who possesses good mobility, they'll put together their finest defensive performance of the season. If not, the Huskies better be prepared to win a high-scoring game.

Can the Seahawks beat the New York Giants after the bye week?

Here's how quickly things change in the NFL: Last week, we were wondering if the Seahawks could lose to the St. Louis Rams, the worst team in the NFL in my opinion.

This week, in the afterglow of the Hawks' first victory, we're wondering if they can go to Giants Stadium after this bye week and beat the defending Super Bowl champions.

Well, the Seahawks figure to get receivers Bobby Engram and Deion Branch back for that game. And despite all the injuries on offense, the Seahawks have scored 67 points over their past two games.

But here's the problem with expecting the Seahawks to win in New York: Have we forgotten how different this team is away from Qwest Field? Have we forgotten how familiar the Giants are with Julius Jones, a former Dallas Cowboy?

Can the Seahawks beat the Giants? Of course they can. Should they? Probably not. But if this team wants to redeem itself for losing its first two games, this is the kind of game it needs to win.

Both teams will be coming off byes, so they'll be equally fresh.

The deciding factor in that game figures to be the Seahawks' newfound rushing attack vs. the Giants' steady run defense. The Giants rank eighth in the NFL in stopping the run (84.7 yards). The Seahawks average nearly twice that number.

This game will be a better gauge of the Seahawks' improved ground game.

Quotable

"Against Oregon, we hardly ever had to deal with the O-line. They just ran over us." -- Husky defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, explaining why the Huskies didn't record a sack against Oregon.

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