The clichés about running the ball and stopping the run in order to win a championship have gone by the wayside in recent years as the NFL has become more of a passing league.
But when the opponents know that they can grind down a foe on a drive-by-drive basis, winning becomes far more complicated. For the Seahawks, who are trying to end their 2010 season in the playoffs, the recent injury to end Junior Siavii is a setback to a defense that was just finding ways to counter the Week 8 season-ending injury that took defensive end Red Bryant off the roster.
With Bryant at the five-technique defensive end, the Seahawks run-stopping efforts were among the finest in the NFL. It has been a struggle since at least until coach Pete Carroll plugged in Siavii at that spot in place of the relatively ineffective Kentwan Balmer last Sunday, and watched his defense limit the Atlanta Falcons to 98 yards rushing and 2.6 yards per rushing play.
Its a bad time to lose another key cog. Carroll addressed the situation, and how the five-tech rotation would change, after practice Friday.
Well, it does change it some,” he said. “He was kind of picking up for Red, you know, weve got the big body out there. So were disappointed to not have him, but Balmer is going to play and Jay Richardson will play.. Well still rotate regularly, but those guys will be the guys called on at that spot.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattles Sunday opponent, are averaging 4.9 yards per carry at home, as opposed to 4.1 on the road. They have a two-pronged attack, with veteran Cadillac Williams providing the thunder, and rookie LeGarrette Blount giving the team a new inside power. Carroll understands all too well the challenge Seattles defense will face Blount, an Oregon alum, went up against Carrolls USC teams more than once.
Hes a really good football player, Carroll said of Blount on Wednesday. Hes always shown a special ability to make people miss, even with his big running style he can make you miss. When you add in the fact that hes so physical, its a really good package. Im sure theres us included a lot of teams that didnt get a chance to get him that are looking at it now and saying, We must be crazy. Because hes really come on fast and made a big impression on their team. And thats with a really good football player in Cadillac (Williams) theyre sharing time with. We have tremendous respect for him and he still has a big role in their offense and all, but hes taken over as the lead back.”
Of specific concern regarding Siavii is the severity of the injury, originally termed a stinger, and what he faces in rehab.
He has an issue with his spinal cord, Carroll said. He took a real good shot and it was just for precautions to make sure that hes going to be well and make a good recovery. Hes not in any danger at all in that regard, he just needs time. So its the right thing to do for us and its going to be about a month, at least. So not knowing what were going to do, we need to make a move right now theres some issue with concern about the bruising of the spinal cord. So it doesnt really show up on MRIs, but he has all of the symptoms.
With two games left in the regular season, the eternally kinetic Carroll doesnt want to know about playoff scenarios, taking it easy or playing harder depending on the 49ers-Rams outcome earlier Sunday, or how any injuries affect the future There really isnt much time left to do anything but compress a seasons worth of effort into a very short time.
Well leave on Christmas Day and get there and make this a big opportunity for us to come through, Carroll concluded. Thats what we want to do. So our guys are tuned into it and (we) got a really good response this morning with the guys and theyre ready to go at it and have a heck of a week.
Im looking forward to it.
— After not practicing Wednesday or Thursday, Trufant (back) and linebacker Will Herring (hamstring) were back on the practice field with full participation. Carroll said after practice that he expects Trufant to be ready to play against the Buccaneers. Herring is listed as questionable, while Trufant, defensive end Chris Clemons (ankle), linebacker Lofa Tatupu (knee), and center Chris Spencer (shoulder) were listed as probable.
— Carroll on the practice and preparation week for Matt Hasselbeck, who retained his starting job despite a rough recent stretch: He had a very good week, yeah. He came out with his attitude just right, just like a pro. He put stuff behind him and was very focused, upbeat, and very much looking forward to having a good game and doing the things that we want him to do. So he was great all week long.
— Fullback Michael Robinson was fined $5,000 by the NFL for an unnecessary roughness penalty on a Leon Washington return against the Falcons. In that same game, Atlanta defensive end Kroy Biermann was fined $15,000 for a roughing the passer call on Seahawks quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.