Tuesday, October 22, 2013
A few key points for Seattle this week
By Terry Blount
A few things to look for this week at practice for the Seahawks and game night against the St. Louis Rams:
Everyone will be looking to see what receiver Percy Harvin does in his first actual practice time since hip surgery on Aug. 1.He will be on the practice field Tuesday afternoon, but what exactly that means remains to be seen. It’s unknown whether Harvin will only participate in individual drills or actually give it a go in team drills, like 7-on-7 pass plays or 11-on-11 team drills.
One would expect the Seahawks to ease him back and build up his practice time through the week, especially since he may be unfamiliar with some of the offensive schemes.
Harvin wants to play Monday night, but that’s probably unlikely. The Seattle coaching staff will want to stay cautious and be 100 percent sure he’s ready before suiting Harvin out for a game.
It’s more difficult these days to determine a player’s readiness to return to game action than it was in year’s past because there’s no tackling and very little hitting in practice.
The Seahawks now have three weeks to make a decision on Harvin’s return about placing him on the 53-man roster. So for now, it’s still a wait-and-see approach on Harvin.
Look for the Seahawks to stick with their strength Monday night at St. Louis and give the ball to Marshawn Lynchas often as possible.Lynch is second in the NFL is rushing with 578 yards, averaging 82.6 yards per game. The Rams are 30th in the league in run defense, giving up 126.4 yards per game.
Lynch rushed for 100 yards or more in his last three games against St. Louis -- 100 yards in the regular-season finale last year at Seattle, 118 yards last September in St. Louis and 115 yards against the Rams at Century Link Field on Dec. 12, 2011.
Having 11 days between games should help Lynch recover from soreness after his bruising effort against the Cardinals when he gained 91 yards Thursday night, including 80 yards after initial contract. The layoff also will help him get over a nagging hip issue.
Quarterback Russell Wilson probably will get his share of carries, also, off the read option, but this is one area when the Seahawks should cut back. Wilson has 41 carries in the last four games. Some of those were out of necessity to avoid the pass rush, but averaging over 10 carries per game is too risky for the team MIP -- most important player.
With Sam Bradford out for the season with a torn ACL, St. Louis backup quarterback Kellen Clemenswill make his fifth start in his past seven NFL seasons, and his first start since 2011.Look for the Seattle defense to test Clemens, who played college football at Oregon, and pressure him by disguising coverage and blitz packages. The Seahawks had a season-high seven sacks at Arizona, but maybe the most impressive part of that stat is the total came from eight players.
It’s hard for a quarterback to tell who is coming and who isn’t on the defensive front for Seattle. The Seahawks also are second in the NFL with 11 interceptions, thanks, in part, to the pressure up front. Free safety Earl Thomas is tied for the league lead with four picks. So this is a tough test for Clemens, to say the least.