There were very few areas where Seattle didn’t show considerable improvement from their previous games and there’s no reason to think the Seahawks can’t duplicate that performance against a mediocre Cleveland Browns team this Sunday.
With that being said, the Seahawks aren’t a good enough team to simply show up and beat any team without firing on all cylinders. Even though last week was their bye week, they’re still nursing a few injuries and certain players will have to step up in order for the Seahawks to defeat the Browns in Cleveland.
Due to various circumstances, there are five players who really need to step it up on Sunday and prove their value to coach Pete Carroll and the rest of the Seahawks organization. Let’s take a look at those players and discuss why they need to step up:
Forget about the quarterback of the Browns—this backup tight end has the opportunity to step up and become “The Real McCoy” on Sunday.
With Zach Miller injured and unable to play this weekend, Anthony McCoy will need to step up and fill in admirably. The tight end position has been somewhat of a disappointment this season for the Seahawks, but Miller is still a former Pro Bowler so McCoy may have his hands full.
Although it’s possible that McCoy won’t be used very often in the passing attack on Sunday, if he is able to make himself a viable receiving threat in addition to blocking, it should make for a much more potent Seahawks offense.
Another guy who may have to step up because of an injury is Charlie Whitehurst. Seahawks starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson will likely be watching from the sidelines due to a strained pectoral muscle as he hasn’t participated in any full practices yet this week. Therefore, Whitehurst should get the nod behind center, which is nothing new to him.
Whitehurst stepped up in a big way against the Giants after Jackson left the game and he’ll have to do it again this week against the Browns. It goes without saying how important the quarterback position is on any football team, so I shouldn’t need to go into any more detail as to why it’s imperative that Whitehurst is sharp again this Sunday.
If Jackson is able to start, then obviously he’ll need to come up big as well for the same reasons.
Anytime you’re selected in the first round of the NFL draft, expectations are going to be high and James Carpenter is no exception.
The 25th overall pick from Alabama had a rough preseason and a shaky first few games of the regular season, which fuelled plenty of criticism from the fans and media. However, he’s picked up his play during the last couple of games since being switched from left guard back to his natural right tackle position and he’ll need to continue that strong play against a Cleveland defence ranked third against the pass.
With the backup quarterback potentially at the helm for the Seahawks this weekend, Carpenter will need to protect him as much as possible in order for his team to be successful against the Browns tough pass defence.
Let’s switch to the defence where you might not look at strong-side linebacker K.J. Wright as a player who needs to play any better than he already has, but in the Seahawks' first game without Aaron Curry he’ll need to prove that trading Curry away was the right move.
Wright took over the starting strong-side linebacker job after he outplayed Curry in the first five games of the season. This caused the Seahawks to trade Curry to the Oakland Raiders, which means that Wright is the permanent starter with no viable options to replace him if he struggles.
The Seahawks management couldn’t have been happy with having to trade away a No. 4 overall pick in Curry and they’ll be even more upset if Wright doesn’t prove to them that the trade as the "Wright" decision. As a result, he’ll have to step up like he’s never stepped up before on Sunday.
It’s no secret that Marcus Trufant has been one of the leaders of the Seahawks defence for a long time, but he’s out for the season with a back injury. Therefore, Walter Thurmond has big shoes to fill as his replacement.
The Browns passing game might not be the best in the league, but Colt McCoy is a formidable quarterback and is smart enough to exploit an area that he feels is a weakness in Seattle’s defence.
Thurmond has had his own injury problems over the last year and is a very unproven as an NFL cornerback. Pete Carroll believes that Thurmond has the talent and the potential to be a very good player, but turning that potential into results isn’t easy and it’s something he’ll have to do on Sunday in Cleveland.
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