Monday, November 16, 2009
The Seahawks' single biggest problem
By Mike Sando
Teams with dominant pass rushers give Kurt Warner and the Cardinals big problems.
The Seattle Seahawks are no longer one of those teams.
Carolina, Indianapolis and San Francisco beat the Cardinals this season because they won one-on-one matchups up front. The Steelers beat the Cardinals in the Super Bowl because James Harrison won those one-on-one battles. The Vikings beat the Cardinals late last season because they won those matchups.
The Seahawks' inability to win those matchups stood out to me as the single biggest reason they could not beat the Cardinals in Week 10 even after building a 14-0 lead.
This should trouble the Seahawks deeply because the team has invested significant resources to win those battles:
- The organization paid and continues to pay huge money to Patrick Kerney, but the Cardinals' Levi Brown matched up with him pretty evenly Sunday.
- The organization used the fourth overall choice in the 2009 draft for Aaron Curry, then lauded his pass-rush skills. I didn't notice those skills Sunday.
- The team invested a 2008 first-round choice in defensive end Lawrence Jackson. I doubt Warner could pick him out of a photo lineup featuring Seattle pass rushers.
- The team used a 2006 second-round choice for defensive end Darryl Tapp. How much time does Warner spend preparing to face him?
- The team adjusted 2007 third-round choice Brandon Mebane's role in hopes he would become a poor man's Warren Sapp. Mebane, though occasionally disruptive, has one sack all season.
The Seahawks have lost six of their last seven games against the Cardinals. Kerney dominated as a pass rusher in the last Seattle victory between the teams. Seattle lacks that element and it was the biggest problem facing the team Sunday.