Jerry Brewer explains the thinking behind his columns and invites readers to express their views on the sports world.
September 22, 2008 12:09 AM
Posted by Jerry Brewer
Seahawks 37, St. Louis 13
Five observations from the Seahawks' first victory of the season:
1. Run-first approach spurring the offense. Last season, when the Seahawks couldn't run the ball, coach Mike Holmgren shifted his focus to a pass-happy philosophy and guided his team to the playoffs. Now, he's doing the exact opposite. The Seahawks have too many issues in the passing game because of injuries, so the coach is playing off his running backs and a recharged offensive line.
After Sunday's 245-yard rushing effort, the Seahawks jumped to fourth in the NFL in rushing offense (166.3 yards per game). Since that terrible performance in Buffalo, the Hawks are averaging 207 rushing yards their past two games. Julius Jones has been a treasure, with performances of 127 and 140 yards during that span.
But it hasn't just been great running from Jones. This offensive line is looking good, too. This group is more physical. Obviously, Mike Wahle has been a nice impact, but I also like the contributions of right tackle Ray Willis. Since he's replaced the injured Rob Sims, he's brought some nastiness to the O-line.
Will the Seahawks be able to pound away with the run against elite competition? It remains to be seen. But these are positive signs.
2. Deon Grant is back. After the game, Grant admitted that he hadn't played with his usual passion in the first two games. He can't explain why, but he made an announcement: He's back.
After watching him fly all over the field in this game, there's no doubt he's right. Grant was fantastic. He intercepted a pass and should've had a second pick late in the game. He had some big hits. He was great in coverage. And throughout the game, he was jawing at opponents, dancing, having lots of fun.
Grant is an emotional leader for this team. It's no surprise that the defense played with more swagger Sunday.
"I wasn't playing with my normal energy," Grant said. "Not anymore. That's the end of all that."
3. Scott Linehan should be fired. The Rams aren't responding to their coach. They can't run the ball. They can't pass. Their defense is even worse. The Rams don't even seem to like Linehan. You'd think a team with Marc Bulger, Torry Holt and Stephen Jackson would be more competitive, but they're not. And Linehan has a hands-in-the-air approach to all the misery. He doesn't seem confident in anything he's doing.
The season is only three games old, but it's time for a change.
4. Billy McMullen has staying power. In two games with the Seahawks, McMullen has caught seven passes for 124 yards. He's been solid, which is a specatacular feat for a Seahawks team down on receivers.
McMullen couldn't make the cut in Washington, but his knowledge of the West Coast offense is paying dividends. Imagine McMullen as the No. 3 receiver on a team with Deion Branch and Bobby Engram. He's not particularly fast, but he gives the Seahawks a physical presence at wide receiver. And he's improving quickly.
5. Bye week comes at a great time. Now the Seahawks can get healthy before facing the New York Giants in two weeks. It was good to see a glimpse of the real Seahawks, and now we'll see if they can get even better with the likes of Deion Branch and Bobby Engram likely to return.
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