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Scout's Notebook: Grading Seattle's Safeties, DEs & WRs


IRVING, Texas – Three tidbits I picked up off my study of Seattle's tape so far this season.

Specifically, I wanted to address the Seahawks' All-World duo of safeties, the workhorses of their pass rush and their lesser-known receivers. There are more players that makes this team so good than the ones you hear about.

Are these Seahawks safeties as good as everyone says?

It's an effective combination they have with Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. Chancellor is more of a down-in-the-box banger type, while Thomas handles more of the coverage aspects of the scheme.

Of the two, I feel like Chancellor does a better job when it comes to tackling. I have seen snaps this season where Thomas has come forward to fill and has missed in space, which has resulted in some bigger gains by the ball carrier. Chancellor, on the other hand, has the size to physically knock the ball carrier off his feet or make a good, solid form tackle.

The Seahawks, scheme-wise, like to play what is called a single-high look which can turn into "Man Free," where Thomas sits in the middle of the field and the other defensive backs pick up receivers across the board, allowing Thomas to react where he needs to go. Something to keep an eye on is how they choose to match Jason Witten in this game, whether it is with Chancellor or Thomas. Either way it should be a heck of a battle.

Who can give this Cowboys offensive line the most problems – Michael Bennett or Cliff Avril?

First off, give the Seahawks front office a great deal of credit for adding those two pieces to their roster last season.  Bennett is going to move around more than Avril in the way they play him, but both are equally as dangerous.

With all that being said, and I have to just select one – I am going with Bennett. I wrote about his ability to move around and that is what I believe makes him tough to deal with. He has an explosive first step and burst off the ball. He plays with body control and balance along with that ability to turn the corner as an edge rusher. He plays this way both inside and outside on the edge. He might physically appear light as a rusher but he plays with some power and pop.

Where you have to be careful is when they use him in stunts and games where he is the penetrator. He can gain ground than quickly redirect to the quarterback because he has the ability to finish plays. [embedded_ad]

Other than Percy Harvin, who do the Seahawks really have at receiver? Unless you are a Seahawks fan, you probably are not familiar with the work of Doug Baldwin, Ricardo Lockette and Jermaine Kearse -- but you need to learn who they are.

What is interesting about these receivers is that none of them were drafted by the Seahawks. Baldwin and Kearse were college free agents and Lockette was signed off the street in 2013. On tape they do a really nice job as route runners, but where these players shine is in their ability to go get that ball when Russell Wilson puts it in the air for them.

There are snaps where Wilson is not as accurate as he needs to be, and this is where these receivers bail him out by making adjusting catches. There is a nice degree of toughness within the group and you can tell by their play they take pride in their work. It's an interchangeable group that is not restricted where they have to line up and that is what makes them work so well in this scheme for the Seahawks.

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