Good morning. Better break out the winter clothes today if you’re going to the game. The forecast is for a high of 34, with a bit of a breeze. It’s football weather, and it should be an interesting game today as we enter the first week of the post-Ruskell era.
Here’s my thoughts on what Seattle needs to do for a victory over San Francisco today. Put pressure on Smith – San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith has a history of struggling if defenses can get some hits on him, so I expect the Seahawks to continue on what they did last week against Kyle Boller, with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley dialing up several blitz packages today.
Let Hasselbeck take over – The Seahawks relied on the run game against the Rams, but they won’t have that luxury against a stout San Francisco defensive front today. Expect the short passing game to take over as the team’s primary way of moving the ball, along with the Seahawks dialing up some long passes to stretch the field and loosen up the defense.
Breakout day for Trufant – I know he’s had his struggles with the defensive penalties so far this season, but I expect cornerback Marcus Trufant to play well today. He’s looked better in practice, particularly with his footwork, and has been staying after to work the kinks out. Hopefully his hard work pays off on Sunday. Take care of the ball – This might be one of those games where a late turnover gives Seattle the short field they need for a final score to put them over the top. With a cold, blustery weather predicted for today, ball security will be key.
My story today focuses on the Niners changes offensively with Smith and Michael Crabtree to more of a spread look on offense, and how they might even be a better team than Seattle faced earlier in the season when they lose 23-10.
TNT’s Dave Boling says a look at both rosters shows the Hawks with fewer assets than the Niners.
Greg Johns of Seattlepi.com predicts a 24-21 Seattle win. I predicted the same score today.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald says the distracted Seahawks need to focus on the Niners.
Former Kansas City president and general manager Carl Peterson tells ESPN’s Brock and Salk that Seattle should split the president and general manager positions, and says the job is a top-10 gig in the NFL.
ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard offers these keys to the game today, saying John Carlson must get more involved in the offense. And he also calls for a better performance for Marcus Trufant.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com says Seattle has to deal with Frank Gore defensively.
ESPN’s John Clayton and Mike Sando talk about Ruskell’s departure and this week’s game in this audio link.