Good morning. A potent storm supposedly hit the Puget Sound region last night. It’s wet and rainy out there already, so I expect the weather to be a factor in today’s Hawks-Cardinals contest. So we’ll see how the boys from the desert adjust to the wet and windy conditions. Arizona’s Darnell Dockett already appears to be in a foul mood.
Also, the Seahawks made a minor move on Saturday, releasing offensive tackle Breno Giacomini and signing running back Chris Henry to the active roster. I do not think any of the running backs are injured, but possibly another team could have put in a claim on Henry and the Seahawks decided he was valuable enough to sign him to the active roster. Giacomini has showed impressive strength in the passing drills that I have watched, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Seahawks add him to the practice squad if he clears waivers.
This should be a fun one. Here are five keys for the Hawks today.
Beast mode: The Arizona Cardinals are giving up 140 yards a contest on the ground for a reason. And the Seahawks should give them a steady diet of Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett early on to see if they can stop the two Cal runners. If not, Seattle should continue to feed those guys.
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Look for the seam: If the Cardinals do manage to stop the run, unlike last week where Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had a lot of side pocket throws against Chicago’s Cover-2 scheme, I expect the middle of the field will be open today. The Cardinals like to use multiple looks and bring pressure, leaving the potential for big plays in the passing game down the seam of the defense, so tight end John Carlson and receivers Brandon Stokley and Deon Butler should be Hasselbeck’s hot reads today inside.
Hold the line: The Seahawks have been great defensively against the run so far this season, so they need to continue that against a Cardinals offense that likely will rely on a solid offensive line and running backs Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower to take some pressure off of rookie quarterback Max Hall to make plays.
Reality check for Hall: Arizona’s Hall is making only the second start of his career in the hostile environment at Qwest Field. And the Seahawks should make him feel at home by putting him on his back several times.
Contain Fitzgerald: Arizona veteran receiver Larry Fitzgerald is going to make plays at some point during the game today. He’s too good to shut out completely. But Seattle needs to make sure he doesn’t take the game over and win it on his own. Fitzgerald has blistered the Seahawks for 48 receptions, 620 yards and four touchdowns, and he’s averaging more than 100 yards a game against Seattle.
Dave Boling of The News Tribune writes that today’s Hawks-Cardinal’s contest is a battle for King of the Hill.
Arizona quarterback Max Hall has gained the confidence of his teammates by being the most consistent quarterback since training camp, according to Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
Greg Johns of Seattlepi.com offers five things to watch for in today’s game.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com writes that the Seahawks are concerned about maintaining the momentum established with the win over Chicago last week.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes the Seahawks can make a statement with a win today.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic previews the game here.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Seahawks and Cardinals are old rivals with a new look, with both teams in the middle of transitions.
Former Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens is in trouble again. Now with Tampa Bay, Stevens was arrested on Saturday for marijuana possession with the intent to sell.
Maybe this labor issue between NFL owners and players is finally turning a corner for the good, with the owners and players beginning to understand how much money they could lose. This Wall Street Journal report revealed that the league could lose $900 million (and players lose $550 million) if a lockout lasts until September.
Don Banks of Sports Illustrated ranks Earl Thomas third in his rookie of the year watch and Seahawks receiver Mike Williams second for comeback player of the year.