Not Gonna Be Pretty: A MNF Seahawks vs Washington Football Team Preview

Playing with a hot hand

I’m going to start this preview off by saying that I think the Seattle Seahawks are going to lose this game on Monday Night Football. It’s not just a logic based conclusion in my mind.

I’m picking them to lose because I am being emotionally protective as a fan maybe even more than being objective when I look at these two clubs. For my own sanity as a Twelve, I can’t get my hopes up for a win, even though I still believe Russell Wilson is a premiere quarterback in this league, and against a mediocre club like Washington, that should be enough on any field.

But the facts are the facts. WFT has a premiere defensive line that probably features the best defensive tackle rotation in the league, and Seattle’s guards haven’t had a great year against quality interior pass rushers. When you put that together with the fact that Russell doesn’t seem fully comfortable in this Shane Waldron offensive scheme yet, and Seattle’s depth at running back is in trouble, this puts a knot in my stomach as if I swallowed a shot glass.

Also, while I ultimately don’t think the Washington is a serious contender this season, I can’t deny that the club has a magic air about them, and Seattle clearly does not. Just look at the quarterbacks, as they compare.

Tyler Heinicke hasn’t produced an overly impressive stat line as a starting NFL quarterback this season. He has thrown for almost 2400 yards with 15 TDs and 9 picks for a very pedestrian QB rating of 87.6. Yet there is a scrappiness to his play. It’s like he’s playing with house money in Vegas, and he’s just going for it.

On the other hand, Russell Wilson, through seven starts, has thrown for over 1500 yards with 10 TDs and only 3 picks with a healthy 101.2 rating that, on paper, implies an elite NFL franchise QB. Yet anyone watching Russ play through his last three starts will struggle to say that he is playing anywhere close to elite.

Through this stretch against quality NFL defenses, Russ has looked tentative, indecisive, and skittish inside the pocket. In fact, the only stretches in these games where he has played the part of a premiere passer is when Waldron and Pete Carroll have allowed him to go into a hurry up mode with the offense.

Here in line lays the real issue that I see with this new offense with Russell Wilson quarterbacking it this year. Don’t kid yourselves, it’s a massive problem that Shane Waldron needs to sort out soon, if he wants to remain an offensive coordinator in this league.

In a nut shell, I think Russell Wilson would love to score a hundred points a game, scoring as early and as often as possible. He wants to go up tempo not just because it’s a flashy trend to do these days. He likely knows that the best way to take away what NFL defenses have been doing against him is to get the defenders and defensive coordinators on their heels.

Getting the calls in quickly, getting up to the line of scrimmage quickly, getting his play-makers in motion, and making adjustments, puts Russ in more of an aggressive attack mode. He led Seattle to victory in Santa Clara against the 49ers by switching to this style, and he had Arizona’s defense more on its heels during the second half of that pitiful game last week.

Conversely, Pete Carroll would be perfectly fine winning a close game against a club with a good defense 9 to 6, if he had to. He would applaud his defense for giving great effort, he would look at the time of position between the two clubs and note how it favored his team, he would compliment his quarterback for playing smart protective football against a great defense. For him, this would be a great win.

Shane Waldron feels caught in a weird nowhere land as a play-caller between what Russ and Pete both want. This is the big underlining problem.

He was supposed to install in innovative Rams style offense that would feature all these pre snap motion looks, and be an aggressive up tempo offense like Sean McVay runs, and for the most part, it has the look of the same offense we have seen in Seattle for the last few years with only sprinklings of Rams style window dressing.

Defenses are doing the same thing against Russ as they did last year by showing one look pre-snap and then shifting into something else after the ball is snapped. This is the league memo on how to beat Seattle’s short quarterback these days.

Until Waldron starts to be more aggressive with Russ with tempo and window dressing, I think Russ is poised to continue struggling in this offense. In a conventional NFL offense, Russ’s big strength is deep play action passing off of an functional run game.

It’s easy to say that Seattle should revert back to that, but look what they currently have at running back. They got squat all. Running up the gut on first and second downs with Alex Collins and Travis Homer against this WFT defensive line rotation is an insane thought, yet I fear that will be the likely plan.

Looking at the advanced data of that defense, Washington plays the run exceptionally well. However, the one area where they struggle is giving up red zone passing touchdowns. They are near bottom of the league there.

Guess what Russell Wilson is? He’s a red zone touchdown throwing machine.

Seattle can win this game by going aggressive and up tempo with Russ. I’m fully convinced of that.

The problem is that Pete Carroll won’t want to do that on the road on national television in front of a jacked up WFT crowd. He’s likely going to try for some type of 9-6 win.

This is why I have Seattle losing this one, 24-21.

Heinicke will play with house money against a Seattle defense that could be struggling again, and Russ will get some pretty stats while Seattle shifts to a more hurry up mode when they have to chase after points in the fourth quarter. We’ve seen this scenario play out way too much over recent years.

Hope I am wrong. I really do.

I would love nothing more that seeing Seattle pull off this win, any way they can. I just feel like I’ve purchased a ticket to see a movie that I’ve seen a hundred times over in various forms and plot, but with the same predictable outcome. Zoiks.

Go Hawks.


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