Seahawks vs. Cardinals: 5 Reasons Seattle Will Get Its First Win
There is no denying the Seahawks looked poor during their 0-2 road trip to start the season, getting outscored by a combined score of 57 to 17 and getting shut out in Week 2.
However, Week 3 presents an opportunity; the Seahawks open at home against a beatable opponent.
The Seahawks are 1-0 in home openers and 2-0 versus Arizona under Pete Carroll; Seattle is 6-3 at home versus Arizona since 2002. But historical records are irrelevant for this team.
Seattle needs a win and they can get the first of the season this weekend.
The Coaches Know They Need to Step Up
After the Seahawks got shutout in Pittsburgh, Pete Carroll had the following to say in the locker room: “This should make you feel sick. This isn’t what we came here to do. We’re better than this...I’m mad at myself more than anything. I’ve got to find a way to help you better."
Heading into the season, it was paramount the coaching staff put the players in a position to compete. Since this is one of the youngest teams in the NFL—Carroll believes that leadership comes from the coaching staff and not the players—strong coaching is vital for the growth process.
A team battered and bruised, this is Carroll's biggest test of the season. A win here will provide a glimmer of hope that Seattle can right the ship before two tough games and the bye week; a loss puts Seattle at 0-2 in the division and behind the 8-ball for "owning" it in 2011.
It's tough to call Week 3 a do-or-die scenario, but this is a must-win early-season game; the preparation and effort of the coaching staff must reflect that. This team is 2-0 in "do-or-die" home games under Carroll.
The Seahawks Are Familiar with Kolb and Should Know His Arsenal
The Kolb-to-Seattle trade rumors were rampant for nearly 18 months before Kolb was traded to Arizona; it was reported earlier this offseason that Seattle at one point offered Philadelphia a first- and third-round pick for Kolb, the exact parameters unknown.
If all of the rumors are true, Seattle should have an excellent knowledge of his game. Presumably, they did countless hours of research in determining Kolb wasn't their guy before the 2010 season, and even more importantly he wasn't worth "mortgaging the future" over signing Tarvaris Jackson.
The point here is that Seattle should know his strengths, weaknesses, how to beat him and how he can beat you. Throughout the due diligence process, they became familiar with what is now a franchise-quarterback foe within the division.
If the coaching staff is on their game this week, the defensive game plan will reflect what Seattle's front office learned throughout their research. More so than other teams, the Seahawks have an advantage game-planning for Kolb.
Kevin Kolb Won't Get His First Road Win as a Cardinal in Seattle
As a starter, Kolb has a 1-2 record on the road and 0-1 in 2011.
In those road games, he's averaged 1.5 turnovers and one fumble more per game. He has three fumbles in 2011 and has been sacked nearly three times a game.
Kolb hasn't been to CenturyLink as a professional. Regardless of whether or not he is a franchise quarterback, his first start in Seattle will be a tough environment—an environment that makes opposing offenses prone to mistakes.
Furthermore, this is a division game; protecting one's turf against a division rival is crucial to being competitive.
Seattle will give Kolb an unwelcoming introduction to CenturyLink and the NFC West.
This Week Presents an Opportunity to Create Turnovers and Control the Clock
This is their best opportunity to get going on both sides of the ball and play a balanced game.
As noted earlier in the week, the Seattle defense is yet to come alive; it has forced zero turnovers and one fumble in two games.
Getting rolling on defense is a main priority for Carroll, as winning the turnover margin game is part of his formula. Carroll said of the defense/offense dynamic: “We need to get moving. I’d love to see us really catch fire. I don’t think we’re very far from doing that."
If Seattle can create turnovers, it can win the time of possession battle; both teams are in the bottom five in the league at controlling the clock. And for a Seattle offense that is suffering to find a rhythm, the Cardinals' struggles present the best opportunity yet.
Ken Whisenhunt on his defense: “When we’re on the same page, when guys are understanding what we’re doing, we’re a pretty good defense. But when we make our bad plays, they’re really bad. Drops in coverage, not hitting the right gaps, we’re not stepping the right way when we’re blitzing. We are not where we want to be.”
Arizona is installing a new defense and yet to hit their stride. A matchup like this could be what Seattle's offense needs.
Seattle forced five last year versus Arizona against the combination of rookie Max Hall and Derek Anderson. Different quarterbacks this year, but Seattle's familiarity with Arizona's offense will help.
The 12th Man and the Home Opener
There is no need to belabor talking about the 12th man; they'll be fired up for the 2011 home opener.
The question becomes whether or not the organization can, in the words of Brock Huard, keep "65,000 of you (the fans) going in the right direction, not the wrong direction."
This is the team's first opportunity to connect with fans, and there is no doubt that the players are not buying into the "Suck for Luck" campaign.
It's "Back to 12" week for the Seahawks. The Seahawks need the 12th man and they know it.
Carroll said this after the Pittsburgh game: “Next week we get to play at home, but that doesn’t mean anything if we don’t get right. Let’s get this thing going. Let’s come back, stay together and get rolling.”
The magnitude of this matchup is clear; the importance of defending the home-field against division rivals is well-known. In the grand scheme of things, this could be a season-defining game. But this week, the focus is geared toward Sunday.
The Seahawks have spent the majority of the season sleepwalking; it's time to respond to the 12th man's wake-up call and get the season on track.