SEATTLE — For me, if it wasn't football season, this might be Cabernet and Cigars. But for the Hawks this Sunday we're talking Chemistry and Communication -- especially important on Defense. Bobby Wagner talked this week about having Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril in front of him, KJ Wright beside him with Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas behind him.
They knew each other, they know their tendencies, but that was then. Now, No more shorthand in communicating with his new defensive mates. Getting that chemistry for the young guys around him -- like Shaquem Griffin, Tedric Thompson, Rasheem Green and Jacob Martin, doesn't happen overnight. Defense is read & react, run and hit. It also depends on everybody being on the same page, and Bobby Wagner will see to that.
As for the Broncos offense -- they were near the bottom last season in fumbles, interceptions, points per game, and sacks allowed. So they have a bunch of new players too, including at quarterback.
I like our 2 C's better.
In their five seasons together in Seattle, Bennett and Avril combined for 73.5 sacks. They made Sundays miserable for opposing QB's, and made life 'sweet' for the Legion of Boom who feasted off the off-target or hastily thrown passes.
Now it's up to a new crop of Hawks pass rushers to do what they do best -- get to the quarterback. Frank Clark returns as the reigning team leader in sacks with Nine in 2017 and 10 the season before. Clark is relentless off the edge and solid vs the run. And in his fourth season, he's only now coming into his prime. Clark will get help from former Dolphin top draft pick Dion Jordan a find a year ago and just starting to get healthy.
Watch the Scouting report on Saturday at 7 p.m. for a complete preview of Sunday's game against the Broncos. Hear my one-on-one interview with wide receiver Doug Baldwin, my '710 with 710' conversation with KIRO radio's Mike Salk and Danny O'Neill and more.
But what the Hawks really need is for the young pups to step up. Rookie Rasheem Green had three sacks in preseason and fellow rook Jacob Martin had 1.5.
Barkevious Mingo, another former first-round pick, is like a greyhound coming chasing down QB's, and it's a good bet rookie sensation Shaquem Griffin's 4.38 speed will unnerve the best passers in the game.
The point is: Sacks are great, hurries will help, but the Hawks have to bring the heat. If not, it can become a long day for the defense.
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Last season may have been the most frustrating ever for Pete Carroll. A coach who's built his championships on great defense and running the football was operating with one arm tied behind his back last season.
Running back injuries and an ineffective O-Line made for a long season on the ground for Seattle. The Hawks averaged just over a 100 yards a game.
Russell Wilson was the leading rusher -- not smart or healthy thing for your starting QB.
So Pete 'reset the run game'.. new offensive coordinator, new O-line coach, new ideas, and a new renewed emphasis on 'in-you-face' football. While you're at it, go get an explosive, durable, game-changing running back in the first round of the draft. That would be Rashaad Penny.
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