1) Back in the spring and summer all the talk was about Matt Flynn. It’s not every day a high-priced free agent gets beaten out by a rookie. Now that Russell Wilson has taken over, how has Flynn handled the situation?
The “Flynn is a high priced free agent” angle is overblown. He’s making backup QB money for the most part, though a good deal of it is guaranteed. One of the least reported aspects of this is that Matt Flynn has been hurt. He has tendentious in his elbow and hasn’t been able handle the workload in practice until this week. Plus, Russell Wilson just came in and shocked everyone with his play in the pre-season and really put pressure on the coaches to pick him in the QB competition.
Since the regular season began though, Wilson has come back down to Earth. Now that Flynn is healthy again, the Seahawks have the makings of a major QB controversy. Wilson will need to have a good game this week, or the calls for Flynn will continue to get louder.
2) Who really makes that strong D “go?”
More than anyone, FS Earl Thomas is the engine of this defense. He’s so good and covers so much ground that it really opens up the rest of the players to make plays. The CBs can play press and not worry about being beat over the top, and SS Kam Chancellor can play up near the line of scrimmage when needed more than he’d be able to otherwise.
Up in the front 7, the best cog in this machine is Brandon Mebane. He’s one of the most under appreciated linemen in the NFL. Ultimately though, the front 7 is just a collection of good pieces, but doesn’t really have any stars.
3) What are the coaches saying about the offense in general? We know about Lynch in the backfield, but are they taking any steps to help the passing game that you know of?
This coaching staff doesn’t say anything about anything. Pete Carroll talks, but I’ve never seen anyone with the ability to speak for 5 minutes and not actually say anything like he does. When asked about Wilson and the passing offense, he mostly seems to deflect the question and not answer it.
All that said, Carroll knows that the passing offense is holding the team back. WR Doug Baldwin admitted that to reporters this week, and said that they are working on getting it fixed. What exactly that means is anyones guess.
4) What are the challenges do you see as the team’s biggest hurdles being on the road facing Carolina this week?
The first is the travel and the early start. west coast teams are notoriously bad on the east coast. The game starts at 10:00 am local time here, which is just really early for players to be physically and emotionally ready for a game.
On the field, Cam Newton is the biggest hurdle that the team will have faced. He’s just such a dynamic playmaker. His threat to run along will slow down down the Seahawks pass rush as they try to “contain” him. And when he has time, he’s also a damn good passer. The Seahawks just haven’t seen a QB like him this year.
5) What’s the story on Sidney Rice? He had a great season in Minnesota and has seen lingering injuries ever since, it seems like.
When healthy, Rice is one of the best receivers in the league. Maybe not Larry Fitzgerald good, but still very good. The problem is that he’s rarely fully healthy. He had surgeries on both shoulders during the offseason, and that kept him out of most of training camp and the preseason. He says he’s now and healthy as he’s been since college, and I’m not going to argue with him on the matter.
The problem this season has been the QB play. If the Seahawks had a competent QB, Rice would have put up some really nice stats to this point.