So its here, its really here! (Excited screams all round)
The 2017 NFL season has arrived and I am so excited. Goodbye Summer with your long, hot, mild, warm (ish) Sunday evenings and hello Winter with your lovely dark nights and, more importantly, nights in with the NFL. It’s such a good feeling and the hours leading up to the Seattle Seahawks opener at Lambeau Field were akin to how my 4-year-old Daughter must feel going to bed on Christmas eve.
Well that feeling didn’t last much into the second quarter to be honest. If the lead up to the game had me feeling like it was Christmas Eve, the showing of the Seahawks’ Offensive line left me feeling like one of Tom Brady’s balls – deflated (obviously this is not referring to his testicles as it reads, but hey I’m keeping it that way). I am by no means going to write off a season after an opening game in what is easily going to be one of two hardest games I have picked out for us with the other being against Dallas on Christmas Eve (honestly, that Christmas tie in wasn’t even planned). Russell Wilson for all his flaws in that game only looked a poor product due to the efforts (or lack thereof) of the O Line sat in front of him and I genuinely think Pete Carroll will possibly address this with a few changes before Sundays home game against the 49ers.
Seahawks Centre Justin Britt nailed the feeling of the game for me with a comment that ‘Green Bay didn’t do anything unexpected or exotic up front; Seattle’s offensive line just didn’t execute. “We have a really good line up front. Next week we’ll come out better, we’ll come out more prepared,” he said. Added that “today was not our best.”. Offensive linemen generally play in obscurity, rarely reaching a level in which casual fans learn their names, me included. However, I can’t see the upper echelons of the Seahawks, the media or the 12’s putting up with another performance of that calibre. Names will be learnt, dropped and forgotten without immediate improvement
So, in a night of pressure on Wilson, a naff O Line, Jeremy Lanes Ghost punch and the apparent new acquisition of Tight End Jimmy Graham’s butterfingers is this time to panic? Nope is the easy answer. Basically the Seahawks just need to stop forcing the the rushing issue with Eddie Lacy or Thomas Rawls when he can get back. Simply raise the game to a more up tempo attack that made Seattle’s favourite number three thrive previously, especially now that Doug Baldwin and Paul Richardson are such a dangerous receiving duo. It also would help if Jimmy Graham catches the ball when it’s thrown to him (which I’m almost certain will be the case)
So that’s my take on week one of the NFL done, dusted and as far as I am concerned all forgotten about, its very much time to look forward and see what might happen between now and February.
As far as the season goes I’m going to put my cards on the table for you all, I am going to go for a 13-3 season with a strong play off showing, I’m not convinced we are Superbowl ready this year but I think any problems will be ironed out early and a strong showing from Seattle’s finest will make myself and the army of 12’s look back on the 2017 season as ‘canny’* (well it is a northern website so translation is below).
So my takeaways from the first week and preseason looking forward are:
1. We’re paying Wilson top dollar. We need to stop trying to rely on a running game. Up tempo clearly works so let Mr Wilson earn his money with his arm (providing we can provide a secure pocket for him to operate in.
2. Eddie Lacy would make a fair better Blocker for Rawls or Carson when playing the running game.
3. We have amazing options when it comes to receiving, I bet john Schneider had some headaches whittling them down to six for the final 53 man roster.
I haven’t mentioned the Michael Bennett situation and as I am from County Durham not the USA, I don’t think it would be fair or right to comment on the political situation ongoing with Bennett, Kaepernick etc.
So week 2 with the 49ers coming up. As Samuel L Jackson said in Jurassic Park ‘Hold onto your butts’
*North Eastern English slang for something good or nice. There is no bigger compliment than being called canny.