Strategy And Personnel

The Sports Xchange

November 01, 2018 at 1:38 am.


–WR Tyler Lockett: After signing a three-year extension in August, Lockett has responded with six touchdowns in Seattle’s first seven games. Battling all the way back from a broken ankle suffered two seasons ago, the speedy receiver is on pace to smash his previous career-highs in receptions, yardage, and touchdowns.

–TE Ed Dickson: Playing in his first game as a Seahawk last weekend, Dickson hauled in two receptions for 54 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown. Despite playing a great game, head coach Pete Carroll did harass his new tight end about failing to make a move on his other reception, as he stated “he dropped the controller” with his inability to make a defender miss.

–T George Fant: A former basketball player at Western Kentucky, Fant actually ran a couple of routes out of the slot in Seattle’s Week 8 win at Detroit. He’s been seeing extended snaps as an extra lineman, but head coach Pete Carroll admitted both he and QB Russell Wilson have thrown routes to the 322-pound lineman at practice, meaning there could be a interesting wrinkle in the playbook for an upcoming game.

–DE Jacob Martin: The sixth-round pick out of Temple only has three tackles all season, but head coach Pete Carroll said the athletic rookie “gives us activity” thanks to his non-stop motor and he’s gradually seen his snap totals creep up in recent weeks. He nearly got to Matthew Stafford a couple of times in Detroit and his first NFL sack could be coming in the near future.

–S Bradley McDougald: Playing with an illness while also suffering a stinger during last week’s game, McDougald continued his All-Pro caliber campaign, finishing with six tackles and a pass defensed. With so many stars now gone, he’s led a young, inexperienced secondary by example and helped the Seahawks maintain a top-five defense.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: DE Dion Jordan. The former Oregon standout and Dolphins first-round pick missed all of Seattle’s offseason workouts, training camp, and the preseason before returning for Week 1. Showing tons of rust and still battling through knee and shin injuries, he only recorded two tackles in three games prior to last Sunday. But coming off a bye week, Jordan looked much healthier and easily had his most productive game of the season, recording four tackles, a tackle for loss, and a quarterback hit. While he still hasn’t registered a sack yet this season, Pro Football Focus indicated he generated four total pressures against the Lions and he appears to be coming into form at the perfect time for the Seahawks, who desperately need pass rushing help.

GAME PLAN: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. That’s how the Seahawks should approach this week offensively, as the Chargers haven’t lit it up in any facet on the defensive side of the football. Though the unit ranks 12th in overall scoring and has been respectable, Gus Bradley’s defense has given up over 100 yards rushing four times this season and the Chargers are 2-2 in those games. Bradley’s defense has amassed nine interceptions over the past six games, but it’s worth noting they played against the 49ers, Browns, Raiders, and Titans before their bye week. As long as quarterback Russell Wilson doesn’t try to take too many chances throwing jump balls up for grabs against cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Desmond King, the Seahawks should be able to move the ball through the air off play-action as they have in recent weeks.

If there’s a game where defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. needs to be cautious about blitzing, it’s against quarterback Philip Rivers. Though not a great athlete at this stage of his career, the 15-year veteran signal-caller maneuvers the pocket as well as anyone in the league and welcomes extra pressure, as his 91.4 passer rating under duress ranks second to only Kirk Cousins this season. If you bring extra defenders, they better get home or he’ll carve you up. Keeping that in mind, Norton has to manufacture a consistent pass rush with his front four to have a chance at slowing down the Chargers on Sunday. Playing in front of the home crowd will be beneficial, but if Frank Clark, Jarran Reed, and Dion Jordan can’t get to him and finish, it could be a long afternoon for Seattle’s secondary.

–Seahawks Ts Duane Brown and Germain Ifedi vs. Chargers DE Melvin Ingram. When Seattle and Los Angeles met in the second game of the preseason, Ingram dominated both Brown and Ifedi during the couple of series starters played for both teams. Though Ingram didn’t finish with any sacks, he harassed Russell Wilson frequently, forcing him to move the pocket and creating opportunities for his teammates. That exhibition matchup feels like eons ago, however, and Seattle’s front line has improved dramatically since August. Wilson has been sacked less than twice per game over the past five contests, but Ingram will remain a challenging matchup for both tackles due to his speed off the edge. If Bosa returns, he will have even more favorable matchups as Seattle focuses on the former Ohio State star.

–Chargers QB Phillips Rivers vs. Seahawks DBs. The 36-year old Rivers has torched Seattle in the past, including a 284-yard, three-touchdown performance the last time these two teams met in a regular-season game in 2014. Already with 17 touchdowns and only three interceptions this season, he has a boatload of quality receivers at his disposal, including sixth-year talent Keenan Allen and 2017 first-round pick Mike Williams. Though he’s only found the end zone once so far, Allen remains the top target for Rivers and he’s still on pace for over 1,100 yards, making him a tough matchup for Seahawks CBs Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers. Based on his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame alone, Williams will also be a matchup nightmare and he’s coming off a game against the Titans where he hauled in a 55-yard touchdown reception. With his ability to beat defenses over the top, all eyes will be on FS Tedric Thompson, who will be making his fourth start since Earl Thomas was lost for the season.