Seahawks Insider Blog

Russell Wilson tactic to counter swarming Cardinals: Throw it before they get there

The Seahawks have been working on an antidote to their sickly pass protection.

Throwing it before the bad guys get there.

For two seasons the offense  of coordinator Darrell Bevell has relied on Marshawn Lynch's power running to set keep defenses "honest" and from teeing off on Russell Wilson trying to pass.

But what happens when a defense stymies Lynch? It's been able to, well, tee off on Wilson trying to pass.

That's what happened the last time Seattle played Arizona. The Cardinals throttled Lynch last month with run blitzes and gang tackling, allowing him just 39 yards on 15 carries. Then they blitzed from everywhere at Wilson, sacking him seven times. If Wilson wasn't so extraordinarily elusive scrambling he would have been sacked at least eight more times.

Sure, Wilson threw down the field more two games ago at Philadelphia with some rare time and success, after the Eagles had been burned for half the game by Lynch's running inside and Wilson on read-option keeps. But what Seattle's been having Wilson do more in the last three games are quick drops and throws in an effort to get the ball out before the inevitable arrival of the pass rush past struggling rookie right tackle Justin Britt and others.

Check out the touchdown pass from Wilson to rookie Paul Richardson that sealed Sunday's 17-7 win over San Francisco. Wilson took 2 1/2, quick jab steps and made one read, to the left slot to Richardson down the seam. Even then Wilson had a Niner in his face but completed the pass for the score.

"Russell took advantage of that and got him a couple of good shots in there this week. And that’s one aspect of it that we’ve kind of put some focus on and think we can improve so we’re going to try and keep pushing it," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Wilson getting rid of the ball more quickly. "That’s just part of it but it’s really exciting to see it when it’s really sharp and crisp and the ball is out."

Expect to see more of this Sunday night. The Cardinals will come flying in on Wilson knowing if they can control what is essentially the NFC West championship game with their swarming, blitzing defense they will likely win the division.