BY Art Thiel 05:54PM 09/12/2016

Thiel: Seahawks defense seems to be in full crank

The Seahawks defense was so dominant against the Dolphins that coach Pete Carroll said the aggression reminded him of the best days of previous seasons.

Richard Sherman had one of his best games Sunday in the opener. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

A bit lost in Sunday’s hubbub about the opening game, anthem demonstrations, QB Russell Wilson’s ankle injury — “He plans to play,” said coach Pete Carroll Monday afternoon — and the new offensive line’s debut, was the fact that the Seahawks defense slapped the bejeezus out of the Dolphins and QB Ryan Tannehill.

Miami’s offense was stopped on 11 of 14 combined third and fourth downs, had 64 yards rushing, 4.8 yards per passing attempt, took four sacks and totaled 222 yards of offense, 86 of which came on its one late touchdown drive.

Carroll, a defensive groupie, was giddy with the results after the film review of the 12-10 victory.

“The effort, intensity, the pursuit in the pass rush, aggressive coverage, was much in the style we’re counting on,” he said. “The pass rush was really good. This reminded me of a few years back when we came off the ball and pressured with really great intensity.

“It was hard on (Miami). I thought it was a really good job. I thought (the assistant coaches) did a really good job with the calls and moving guys around  on the match-ups that we wanted. It was a pretty experienced-looking effort out there.”

The Seahawks secondary was in denial of the Dolphins passing game almost throughout, particularly Deshawn Shead, Jeremy Lane and Richard Sherman.

“The corners played really well,” he said. “Their coverage, their technique, the consistency of the play was really, really good. It’s looked like it was coming that way all through the offseason and through camp, that these guys might be at the best that they’ve been.

“It was a really good start for them. Jeremy was particularly effective.”

There were two notably sour notes on defense.

DE Cassius Marsh, who otherwise had a splendid game, went after Tannehill on a rush when he should have defended RB Arian Foster, who took a short pass out of the backfield and turned it into a 50-yard gain.

And FS Earl Thomas had an all-around poor game, a rarity for him, with missed tackles and blown coverages. He was saved from utter ignominy when Dolphins WR Kenny Stills was wide open behind Thomas but dropped what looked to be a certain touchdown pass.

“He made a mistake on that one,” Carroll said. “He wasn’t as sharp as sometimes he is. He had a great camp; there is no reason why. He just felt a little bit off.

“I saw it as a rare game. I’m not worried about it one bit. I’m disappointed for him because he had such high expectations and all that.’’

Carroll suggested on his ESPN 710 radio show in the morning that the intense Thomas may have been distracted by the week’s team-wide discussion on the pre-game anthem demonstration. But by afternoon, Carroll backed off a bit.

“Anybody could have been (distracted),” he said. “There was a lot going on. I was particularly pleased with the way our guys played so hard (through) whatever could have been an obstacle. I don’t think it was. But I’m just giving him a shot at a reason why.’’

Meanwhile, on offense, the Seahawks made no move on signing a veteran QB backup even though Carroll said, “We’re considering all of that.” Wilson’s improved health outlook may allow them to continue to risk keeping undrafted free agent rookie Trevone Boykin as the lone alternate.


Carroll reported that Wilson was walking without a protective boot and would practice Wednesday. “We’re counting on him making it back,” he said. “I was looking over my shoulder to see if he would come out for the next series, seeing if he’d get up off the bench. We were concerned, and will still be concerned. We’ll do a really good job of taking care of him through the week.”  . . . He was also pleased with the return of TE Jimmy Graham, who played 13 snaps and caught a pass in the game-winning drive. “He did very well, blocked well when he had his chances,” he said. “We got him out there, got him started, and now we’ll be able to get a lot more play time from him.” . . . J’Marcus Webb, who was supposed to be a backup tackle but was moved to starting right guard late last week after an ankle injury to Germain Ifedi, looked overwhelmed at times against the Dolphins’ stout pass rush. “It was a challenge for him because of the guy he was playing against,” Carroll said. “He held up, but he’ll improve quite a bit technique-wise. He’ll just feel better a week later. That’s what we’re counting on.”


  • 1coolguy

    Hopefully Graham can show us something so he can be traded. So far, I don’t see the marginal value in him over Willson.

    • art thiel

      Graham at his peak is bigger, stronger, faster and a better pass catcher. But no team will take him as damaged goods on a $10M contract.

      • 1coolguy

        Willson: 4.51, 6’5″, 255, 26 YO, $584k
        Graham: 4.56, 6’7″, 265, 29 YO, $10M
        Hands to Graham, Blocking to Willson, the above stats are a wash OTHER than that little piece of the $9.5M salary difference.
        The better hands part is marginal, certainly not worth the $9.5M.
        Unfortunately you are probably right as to the damaged goods part.
        I just look at what the $9.5 could do spread out to others.
        As the Hawk players said while he was on NO, he’s soft.
        Time will tell but I say, given the above, it’s money better used elsewhere.
        I put this trade in with the Harvin transaction – neither has been/is worth it.

        • John M

          Pete and John have shown good judgment and foresight in assembling a team, but it seems all NFL coaches have to go Jimmy Jones now and then. He’s still a dangerous guy the D has to account for . . .

          • art thiel

            Who is Jimmy Jones?

          • John M

            OK, Jerry, you’re getting as picky as us . . .

  • Pixdawg13

    If J’Marcus Webb was having problems vs Miami’s D-line, his comfort level won’t improve any against the Rams.

    • art thiel

      The Seahawks knew these first two defenses would be brutal for the new line. Fortunately for them, the Rams offense appears helpless.

      • 1coolguy

        Surprised the Rams were that bad – the Niners aren’t exactly world beaters. 28-0 – YIKES. How much longer for Fisher, Art? I know he is Kroenke’s golden boy, yet how much longer?

  • Warchild_70

    Pray the O line gets it together before we hit LA. Russell can’t be pleased with the latest example of eenie meanie miney moe after to crushing he received. The laundry was a flying too much as we’ll need to get Dr. Joyce Brothers to talk to them about what is on their minds when a 300 lb DT is about to throw them like a rag-doll 5 yds back! Our Legion is on fire all cylinders working with one or two misfires time for some high octane gatorade maybe?

    • art thiel

      Neither the O-line nor Wilson will heal in time for Sunday. So two defensive scores and three field goals should work for a 23-3 win.