2011 Seahawks Week 7: Five observations

Five things I noticed while watching the Seattle Seahawks during their 6-3 defeat to the Cleveland Browns in Week 7:

  • All's quiet against Joe Thomas. The Browns' Pro Bowl left tackle operated with quiet efficiency against a long list of Seattle defenders. Red Bryant, Raheem Brock, Chris Clemons, K.J. Wright and others went against Thomas without making much headway. Brock came closest to beating Thomas around the corner. Finding another pass-rusher to pair with Clemons will presumably be a priority for Seattle in the offseason.

  • Whitehurst had man open. The Seahawks settled for a field goal after having first-and-goal from the 9 and another first-and-goal from the 2 during a critical stretch late in the third quarter. Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst threw away the ball on one play despite having tight end Cameron Morrah open in his field of vision. Pressure on the play forced the decision to throw away the ball, but in looking at the play, this appeared to be a missed opportunity. It seemed like a touch pass would have worked here.

  • Zach Miller badly, badly missed. With Miller sidelined by a concussion, John Carlson on injured reserve and Morrah just returning from injury, the Seahawks relied heavily on Anthony McCoy at tight end. They paid a high price. McCoy dropped multiple passes. He missed a blitzing Chris Gocong, leading to a sack. The Seahawks hope to get Miller back this week. They need him. The team's relative strength at wide receiver and depth issues at tight end show up in personnel charting. Seattle has run only 84 plays with two tight ends this season, the third-lowest total in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The rest of the league averages 143 such snaps.

  • Rough game for wideouts. Seattle's wide receivers had not dropped a single pass heading into this game, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Ben Obomanu and Doug Baldwin dropped passes Sunday. Throw in McCoy's two drops and Seattle suffered four in this game, one more than in the previous five games combined. Whitehurst targeted wide receivers 15 times, completing only four through a combination of errant throws and drops. Seattle had been much better in the passing game recently and I suspect they will be much better in the future. This was an unusually horrible game on that front.

  • Offensive line depth tested. The Seahawks have sought to upgrade their depth along the offensive line. They seem to be succeeding. Seattle went into this game with 24-year-old former undrafted free agent Lemuel Jeanpierre at center. Jeanpierre was making his first career start. His presence in the lineup wasn't a big deal going into the game or coming out of the game. That is a good sign. The Seahawks have been willing to continually churn their roster on the line. Tyler Polumbus was at least serviceable as a spot starter at tackle last season, but the team released him because Jarriel King, claimed off waivers from the New York Giants, has more upside. The team is also getting healthier up front, making it easier to carry fewer linemen on the roster.

It's looking like I'll be following the San Francisco 49ers quite a bit in the second half of the season. First, though, I'll be at CenturyLink Field for the Seahawks' game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8. Here's hoping the teams combine for more than nine points.