That’s how the Seahawks are going to win games this season – by keeping new quarterback Tarvaris Jackson’s pass attempts around, say, eight or nine a game.
Maybe that’s low, especially when behind 28-0. The point is, with two veteran, quality tight ends and an offensive line of five athletic nasties clearing space for Marshawn Lynch’s Beastquakes, a heavy emphasis on the rush reduces the chances for Jackson, the weak link, to make game-losing mistakes.
The addition this week of Zach Miller, whom Huskies football fans may remember from his studhoss days at Arizona State, makes the two-tight-end formation that head coach Pete Carroll always has always loved a real possibility.
In signing Miller to a hefty, five-year $34 million free-agent contract, $18 million guaranteed, the Seahawks burned through a lot of their remaining room under the salary cap. But more important, they improved a strength.
That’s the surprise in the Miller signing – rather than filling an obvious hole, they upgraded a position that already had a quality starter, John Carlson.
At least that’s how it appears. Absent an actual pads practice until Thursday, much less even a pretend game, no one is certain of anything. The Seahawks open the exhibition season Aug. 11 in San Diego, and by then a half-dozen blown hammies and twisted knees can change everything.
But as long as we all agree that so far all field matters in the NFL are currently acts of imagination, well, Carroll is entitled to a dream state without end.
“We’ve added another really good football player to our team,” he gushed this week, and for once was not over-selling. “Anyone that thinks (Carlson will be traded) just doesn’t get it. They will play in tandem. They’ll be thrilled with the flexibility.
“I’m really hoping that this is going to be difficult for our opponents because of the matchups we’ll be able to create.”
Besides being mid-20s guys in their primes who can block as well as catch, Miller and Carlson (6-5, 250 pounds each) together mean that, along with Lynch and wide receivers Mike Williams and Sidney Rice, the Seahawks can start five big, proven veterans who can block, receive and run well. That is a rare collection of attributes, and a startling makeover on offense.
Because the offensive line will start two rookies (James Carpenter, John Moffitt), a second-year left tackle (Russell Okung) and a third-year center (Max Unger) the firepower may not be evident for awhile. But whenever those guys get to the point of reacting instead of thinking, the Seahawks offense will amass many yards on fewer possessions.
Jackson? He’s proven to be an excellent hander-offer. The other stuff – you know, passing — is supplemental. Gravy. A fifth ace. A .275 hitter in the eight-hole.
When he does throw, the scouting reports say that the main virtue of Rice (6-4, 202), acquired as a free agent from Minnesota where he was a teammate of Jackson’s, is an extraordinary ability to catch most anything thrown in his zip code — high, low, behind, ahead. Which should help cover Jackson’s weakness.
And if the passing target is either tight end, the chance for coverage by a little guy one-on-one is high.
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