BY Art Thiel 06:59PM 11/05/2018

Thiel: Rookieness has to be over for Seahawks

Youngsters David Moore and Tre Flowers were among those contributing mistakes in the Seahawks’ agonizing home loss to the Chargers. Can’t win with kids, can’t win without ’em.

WR Doug Baldwin had the Seahawks’ longest play Sunday, a 42-yard reception. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

The Seahawks have lost games by three, seven, two and eight points, the latter two to likely playoff teams in the 6-2 Chargers and 8-1 Rams.

The outcomes have the Seahawks 4-4 at the regular season’s mid-point, suggesting a team not far from consideration as playoff-worthy. But as with a PGA tournament field, there are many premier golfers who have missed the cut for want of a longer putt or shorter iron shot.

In the midseason NFL, seven teams are a game either side of, or at, .500. All are as relatively optimistic as the Seahawks. The season’s second half is largely about fixing the small fixables among the talents on hand.

Oh, the Seahawks might take a run at Bruce Irvin, their old pal and former first-round draft pick who was cut by Oakland Monday and is likely to clear waivers Tuesday, making him a free agent. The Seahawks could use the pass rush help, but Irvin is 31 and wasn’t showing a lot with the decrepit Raiders.

More likely, the Seahawks will bank on kids growing into starting jobs that have been a little big for them. Coach Pete Carroll has been a big proponent of playing youngsters right away, which tends to pay in November and December after the strikeouts of September and October.

Much lamentation has attended the Seahawks’ 25-17 loss Sunday to the Chargers, which fit a pattern.

“We found ourselves, in most of the games we haven’t been able to win, right there at the end and so close to getting it done,” he said. “I’m hoping that the second half of the season will allow us to finish those games.

“It’s close.”

Two series in the second quarter, one on offense and one on defense, illustrate the peril of the Seahawks’ use of kidlets in place of veterans.

Trailing 12-7, the Seahawks began their third possession of the second quarter with a bang: A 42-yard deep-shot completion to WR Doug Baldwin, the first time they didn’t begin a series with a run, creating what would prove to be their longest play of the day.

They followed with a seven-yard run over the right side by RB Chris Carson for a first down at the LA 28-yard line.

Then it went haywire.

Carson was stuffed for no gain, followed by a pass in the flat to Baldwin, also for no gain —  except it turned into a 10-yard loss. Fellow WR David Moore was cited for offensive pass interference. He fouled because he was in motion when he picked a defender near Baldwin. The rule requires Moore to be stationary.

“I see why they called it,” Carroll said.

At third and 13 at the LA 38, the Seahawks went with a short pass to RB Mike Davis that gained five yards. Then Sebastian Janikowski came on for a field goal attempt from 51 yards, which struck the right upright and fell away.

So their most explosive play came to naught partly because Moore, who barely played as a rookie, in his second year didn’t know how to disguise his intent to screen off a defender. That’s the kind of detail-fail that often stymied the Seahawks Sunday.

Three series later in the period, youthful vulnerability appeared on defense.

Still 12-7, Chargers QB Philip Rivers, at his own 35-yard line, decided to attack hard the Seahawks secondary populated by youngsters Shaquill Griffin, Tedric Thompson, Delano Hill and rookie Tre Flowers.

Rivers threw five consecutive passes, completing three — for 12 and 23 yards to WR Keenan Allen, and the final 30 to WR Tyrell Williams for a touchdown. Williams was one-on-one along the sideline with Flowers, who gave Williams too much space for the reception, then failed to wrap up after making contact.

The 55-second drive would provide the Chargers’ last offensive points of the game. Against such a prodigious offense, a second-half shutout should have been a thrilling outcome for Seattle. Turned out it was not enough.

“We missed a chance on a tackle that got away,” Carroll said. “He had some learning plays.”

Moore, a seventh-round pick, and Flowers, a fifth-rounder, are in the Seahawks tradition of reliance upon the unheralded. Also part of the tradition is enduring their early screw-ups. The subsequent glory produced by Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Baldwin overshadows the early career mishaps and misplays.

With the season-ending injury to TE Will Dissly, Moore is the least experienced player on offense, and Flowers has the highest number of first-year snaps on defense. That’s not a lot of infancy relative to many teams, but with margins so thin in the NFL, every mistake looms.

That’s why the Chargers’ loss was, as with the Rams’ defeat, so agonizing: Wins over quality teams are as elusive as they are exhilarating.

“The four or five games here prior to this one, we’ve made it very difficult on our opponent,” Carroll said. “We haven’t given them the football to speak of, and we’ve taken care of the ball. We’ve run it well and we’ve kicked it well and done a lot of things that make (us) hard to be beat.

“Yesterday, that wasn’t the case. But that’s what we need to capture as we go forward.”

Against the Rams Sunday in the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Seahawks have no choice but to revoke the training wheels.

 


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YourThoughts

  • StephenBody

    Oh, that’s just crazy. Not gonna happen.

    • Husky73

      Bruce Irvin……please, no.

      • StephenBody

        Where did I mention Bruce Irvin?

    • art thiel

      Referring to what?

      • StephenBody

        Rookieness. Pete believes in playing younger players, regardless of skill level. It’s practically his mantra. He’s not going to give it up, nor should he. This notion of plug ‘n’ play athletes has become fashionable but it only works in isolated cases. MOST players have to have a baptism of fire, make their rookie mistakes, learn on the job. It’s just experience and that is not something that can be shortcut. Different players mature at different rates. You can either jettison their entire future benefit to you or allow them to eventually reach their potential the hard way. This goes back, again, to my belief that, regardless of what Pete or anyone else has to say about it, this IS a rebuilding season and won’t deliver on its potential for another season, at best, or maybe even two.

        There are only two parts of the dynamic that is a professional sports team that we, as fans, can actually **control**: The stadium experience, including the financial investment in tix and peripherals and the amount of noise we make on gameday…and our expectations. We have the absolute ability and CHOICE to see a football season as a success or failure; to be satisfied or not. I looked at the roster churn, the skill levels of the players who were released, the skills of those coming to replace them, and made MY choice about what I would accept as a season ticket holder. I settled on 4-12 and am still quite prepared to see anything better than that as a good effort. I do NOT expect the coaches or players to feel that way, nor do I expect you or anybody else to. That decision is totally individual. I saw NO way that this was not a rebuilding year, refused to play semantic games like “reloading” versus “rebuilding”, and came to what I considered a reasonable conclusion. It is NOT reasonable to expect playoffs from a team that turned over so much personnel. Therefore: 4 -12. We’re at 4 now. I think trying to say that Pete Carroll, a man who has been coaching football for better than 45 years, should or even can change his ways is futile. I don’t even think it’s a real argument. Therefore: “that’s just crazy”.

        • Kevin Lynch

          Interesting view. The article was interesting too.

        • tor5

          That’s all very rational and well-considered and everything. I’m just a 12. I assume that the Hawks will go 16-0 and win with Super Bowl every season… until they lose their first game… then I assume they’ll go 15-1… etc. And I pour my heart and soul into giving the team my maximum mojo on every play, whether it is via the tv or I’m in the stadium. And it makes a difference! I know it does, and no one can prove otherwise.

          • StephenBody

            Is someone trying to? Not me. But you have your way and I have mine. And neither one is wrong.

          • tor5

            Yep. Just having fun, in the spirit of fan comradery.

  • Matt712

    And yet, this game was largely lost by a seven year vet wearing number 3, who at times looked to be playing like a rookie.

    • Theyfinallyfiredcable

      True that ..

    • art thiel

      All QBs after every game can be held more or less accountable for everything. I was trying to point out something less obvious.

      • John M

        You did, Art, interesting tech. observations. However “kidlets” is kinda a reach. These “kids” (most of them) have been playing football most of their pubescent lives. Most don’t want to grow up yet. They have to be booted out of the nest. I don’t believe Moore was at fault on that pass into the end zone. The ball was deflected a foot in front of his hands . . .

  • ll9956

    A lot’s been said about the Rams having a big chip on their shoulders after losing to the Saints. The Seahawks should have at least as big a chip on their shoulders due to the loss to the Chargers plus the earlier excruciating loss to the Rams in Seattle.

    • art thiel

      Let the chips fall where they may.

      I tend to think talent is more important.

      • antirepug3

        Talent + chip is certainly desirable.

  • wabubba67

    I disagree about Moore. He ran a route, asked for the ball, and was still. The defender initiated contact. To me, that was a textbook example by Moore about how to run a LEGAL pick play in the NFL.

    • art thiel

      I saw him moving toward the defender, not stationary. Carroll concurred.

  • Theyfinallyfiredcable

    “In the midseason NFL, seven teams are a game either side of, or at, .500.”

    Here’s the beauty of the Pete Rozelle model of the NFL . The reverse order draft ( as well as free agency and the salary cap ) dictates that any team that doesn’t totally screw up in the front office should be able to turn a bad team into a contender in one or two seasons . The league is designed so that every team is 7-9 , 8-8 or 9-7 at season’s end . There’s not supposed to be any Patriots or Browns – perpetual winners or losers year after year .

    The league wants EVERY team’s fans to look at the schedule in August and say “.. this year , maybe us” . And for the most part , it’s worked . The NFL is not like the MLB , where championships are largely bought by the owners with deep enough pockets and strong enough desire to pay the best players whatever it takes to get them signed ( $250 million , to play baseball ?! ) .

    Myself personally , I enjoy the parity in the league . I’d enjoy it more if they’d hire better refs . That wasn’t a touchdown ; Williams clearly stepped out before reaching the end zone . How do you miss that on replay when it’s right in front of your face ?

    • art thiel

      You have described the business model well: A meritocracy via salary cap where ownership wealth is not the primary difference maker. Every year, 20-25 teams think they they have a legit shot. Not so for NBA/MLB.

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  • tor5

    All good analysis, Art. But given all the preseason prognostics, I’m pretty impressed. Pete and John turned the team upside down and yet they stand at .500 having only lost close games. And I expect them only to get better. Heck, the upcoming Rams game is just the kind of game the Hawks win: a midseason upset of the best.

  • Mark Thurston

    The replay showed a heel out of bounds on that so called touchdown. . .every single year I can point to at least 1 play where the SeaHawks got completely burnt by bad calls by Referees. . I’m so tired of this. . .feels like someone decided the playoffs would be better without the SeaHawks on that one though. . . Where is the Outrage???