Seahawks Insider Blog

Hawk bites: Can Larry Fitzgerald be stopped?

Well, the answer to that last season was a resounding no, as Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald pretty much did what he wanted last season, including a playoff run that was the most productive in terms of sheer numbers by an NFL receiver.

The Seahawks faced Fitzgerald twice in 2008, and the numbers weren't pretty. Fitzgerald finished with 15 receptions, 281 yards and two touchdowns in two games against Seattle.

Several other talented receivers had big days against Seattle, including Buffalo's Lee Evans (4 receptions, 102 yards) Green Bay's Greg Jennings (5 receptions, 84 yards, touchdown), San Francisco's Isaac Bruce (4 receptions,153 yards), the New England Patriots' Wes Welker (12 receptions, 134 yards), Arizona's Anquan Boldin (13 receptions, 186 yards) Dallas tight end Jason Witten (9 receptions 115 yards, TD) and Tampa Bay's Antonio Bryant (6 receptions, 115 yards TD).

Seattle's coaching staff understands that in order to retake the NFC West they'll have to go through the Cardinals. And in order to beat the Cardinals, Seattle's going to have to slow down Arizona's vaunted passing game.

And if Seattle's wants to contain the Cardinals passing game, they have to do two things defensively – put pressure on deadly accurate quarterback Kurt Warner, and slow down Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Steve Breaston and the rest of Arizona's receiving crew.

That's why the Seahawks went out and picked up cornerback Ken Lucas. At 30 years old, Lucas is a bigger body at 6-0, 205 pounds, and should provide more resistance than the team's smaller corners.

Further, the addition of Lucas allows Seattle to use Josh Wilson on inside on other team's slot receivers, making Seattle's defense better in passing situations.

The Seahawks understand that better depth in the secondary and a change in scheme was needed to better protect the back end of the defense, give them more of an opportunity to make place and contain other team's passing game. Hence the switch to the Tampa Cover 2, which focuses on keeping receivers in front of the defense and allows defensive backs a better opportunity to make a play on the ball by seeing the play evolve in front of them.

The Seahawks likely will still blitz to put pressure on the quarterback, but keeping receivers like Larry Fitzgerald in front of them, instead of streaking past defensive backs in man coverage, should help Seattle improve on the team's woeful pass defense numbers from last season.