Seattle has held Cam Newton to one touchdown in three games since 2012. What has been the key to that?
Seahawks beat writer Terry Blount: Newton shouldn't feel too bad. The Seahawks have made a lot of very good QBs look bad the past couple of years -- Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl and Aaron Rodgers this year in the season opener, to name two. But the biggest thing is they've done what I'm sure the Panthers want to do to Russell Wilson -- cut off his running lanes and force Newton to beat them throwing. Newton had 12 carries for only 24 yards in the game at Charlotte earlier this season. Forcing any QB to beat them just by passing is a chore against the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL, which has three Pro Bowlers in Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.
Newton has averaged 146 passing yards and 35 rushing yards in his last three games against Seattle. He has thrown one touchdown pass and one interception (total) in those three games. Daily fantasy players should look elsewhere for a strong quarterback play.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer made that clear, as part of his season-ending press conference Tuesday at the team's practice facility. Zimmer said the team was fortunate to learn as much as it did about Bridgewater, and his improvement throughout the year should be a sign of encouragement. Zimmer was asked if he'd talked to veteran Matt Cassel, who has one year remaining on his contract, about the possibility of taking a backup role.
He said that he hadn't, and then he gave the rookie his endorsement.
"Teddy is the quarterback, there's no doubt in my mind," Zimmer said.
Bridgewater finished with the third-highest completion percentage for a rookie quarterback, surpassing Russell Wilson's strong 2012 rookie season. Bridgewater also finished 10th in the NFL in deep-pass accuracy. And more than 75 percent of his passes found their target when he was under pressure this season, the best rate in the league. Bridgewater will be on the QB2 radar when 2015 drafts come around.
Against Cam Newton, it was Eagles outside linebacker Connor Barwin who was tasked with tracking the quarterback's every move. He said Wednesday it's likely he could be tasked to do it again Sunday against Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.
When asked about dealing with a mobile quarterback, Barwin said, "I'm sure that the spying will be part of the game plan."
Giants beat writer Dan Graziano on the team's inability to stop Russell Wilson in Week 10: What the Giants showed Sunday in Seattle was a complete inability to handle Seattle's basic zone-read run game. They bought the play fake every time, and the only time they stuck with the quarterback was when he did hand it off to Marshawn Lynch. If they'd gone into the game intentionally trying to make the wrong play on every zone-read play, they couldn't have done as good a job of it as they actually did. It was a fiasco.
49ers beat writer Paul Guitierrez on the team's use of the read-option this season: While there is no doubt that the read-option was a huge part of Colin Kaepernick's arrival on the national consciousness, it has been virtually nonexistent as a play call this season. Sure, Kaepernick is averaging 5.1 yards per carry and is on pace to rush for a career-high 530 yards, but his running game has been more threat than design, if that makes sense. It's all part of the Niners' desire to keep him healthy, obviously, and to make him more of a pocket passer. Still, given the way the Seahawks shredded the Giants' run defense, I would be shocked -- shocked! -- if the Niners shied away from pounding the rock with Frank Gore to set up the read-option for Kaepernick.
Russell Wilson rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown against the Giants, who showed a complete inability to play the read-option, so it would be a surprise if the 49ers didn't bring it back to get a win in New York. Kaepernick is rushing for a career high 33 yards per game (which is slighly above his career average), but against the Giants he could double that number if the team is willing to use the read-option.
Russell Wilson has to have someone who can create a mismatch in the red zone. He needs to know he’s got a linebacker matched up against a big target. He needs that second or third read over the middle.
This came out of nowhere. NFL trades are a rare occurrence, especially ones that involve a major name like Harvin. His departure opens up some snaps and targets for the other receivers on the roster, namely Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Ricardo Lockette. It's also a blow to Russell Wilson's stock, as he has one fewer explosive weapon in a passing game that is already struggling with the big play. Baldwin was a preseason 4for4 favorite, and he should be able to get his season on track as the team's most dependable receiver. Kearse will also have weekly sleeper appeal. As for Harvin, his usage may go up, but it's unclear if OC Marty Mornhinweg is creative enough to utilize him effectively.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 8:38pm
Since the 2011 postseason, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has played in 13 games that have been either playoff contests or games where he faced a defense that finished the year ranked in the top 10. The 2014 Seahawks are included on that list because they're the defending Super Bowl champion and were ranked No. 1 in all major defensive categories last season.
In those 13 contests, Rodgers and the Packers are 5-8. Rodgers hasn't been bad in these games. He just hasn't been special like he was in 2010.
In those 13 games, Rodgers has a passer rating of 96.4. He's completed 64.8% of his passes, averaged 259.4 passing yards per game, and has 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Rodgers is 0-6 against NFC powers San Francisco and Seattle since the start of the 2012 season. He's 1-3 in the postseason the last three years. And up-and-comers Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson have gotten the better of him.
As the story points out, no one will argue that Rodgers remains one of the NFL's elite players and brightest stars. But he hasn't been as dynamic in big games, the kind that cement a player's legacy. And what that means for fantasy owners is he hasn't put up stud numbers against some top defenses recently. Most QBs probably don't. While it's hard to sit Rodgers if he's healthy against anyone, this is why a lot of owners use the QB by committee approach. And something else to think about for Rodgers owners: Weeks 6-10 (bye Week 9) he's scheduled to play four-straight, top-10 defenses in terms of allowing fantasy points to QB, according to our Strength of Schedule. The good news is after that it's pretty clear sailing including fantasy playoff weeks...
Griffin's transition from gimmick offense to pocket passer was fully expected to feature a few bumps in the road. What has had us concerned since the preseason opener, though, is that the bad habits in his footwork and throwing motion seem to have carried over from last season's return from ACL surgery.
Appearing on The Herd with Colin Cowherd this week, ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski confirmed, after watching hours of preseason film, that Griffin's mechanics have regressed.
"They have regressed in the fundamental way of throwing the football," Jaworski said, via The Washington Post. "His throwing slot, his footwork, his inability to remain consistent in that."
We've been on the low side on Griffin for the entire offseason due to minor concerns about the knee and moderate concerns about the installation of a new offense. He has a very good receiving corps, and may very well work out his preseason issues during the regular season, but it's tough to draft him over (seemingly) more reliable options like Russell Wilson, Jay Cutler and Colin Kaepernick.
Monday, August 25, 2014, 8:05pm
Seahawks WR Percy Harvin has been unhindered in training camp by the hip injury that limited him to just one regular-season game last year. Harvin said he hasn't felt this good since before his college days at the University of Florida and he's found gears he didn't realize he had.
"I definitely feel a lot better," Harvin said. "I've got a lot more motion than I'm used to having. I can do a lot more cuts and just a lot of different motions that I wasn't able to do before."
Considering he was a league MVP candidate before getting hurt with the Minnesota Vikings two seasons ago, that's a scary thought for the rest of the league. Harvin's presence is already being felt this preseason. He's caught seven passes for 92 yards in Seattle's last two preseason games and returned the opening kickoff 46 yards Friday night against the Chicago Bears.
With Harvin in the lineup, the Seahawks' first-team offense scored on nine consecutive possessions over the last two games with seven possessions ending with touchdowns, the story said. Harvin is ranked 20th on our list of WRs and just needs to stay healthy. He along with QB Russell Wilson could prove to be great additions to your fantasy lineups.
Sunday, August 3, 2014, 7:20pm
The offense didn’t have any touchdowns in Saturday’s mock game scrimmage, but Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson isn’t concerned. It’s not unusual for the defense to be ahead of the offense at this point of training camp, especially a defense as good as this one.
But Wilson believes the offense is better now than it was a year ago.
“I think we’re way further ahead,’’ Wilson said after the scrimmage. “I truly believe that our receivers look extremely good. There are so many different guys catching the football. We have Percy Harvin who’s catching the football well, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, he’s doing a good job. And Phil Bates made another nice catch today."
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 8:59pm
Seahawks WR Percy Harvin might have been the player of the day, making an 18-yard catch on an early third-and-15 and later catching a 38-yard pass on a third-and-five. He also had a nice gain on a fly sweep. Had it been a real game, you figure he would have been featured more. But he did enough to reiterate how much he figures to mean to the team this season. Both receptions came from QB Russell Wilson.
Monday, July 28, 2014, 3:43pm
That’s not bad news. You don’t have to be an orthopedic surgeon to know it just makes sense.
Newton looks comfortable dropping back, bouncing around in the pocket, setting his feet and making all the throws. He’s getting to know all-new wide receivers.
“I think it’s just a smart thing to do right now. What’s the use of running on it and go in the training room and it’s going to be swelled up,” Newton said after practice Monday, while wearing a sleeve on his repaired left ankle.
In March, Newton had surgery to tighten loose ligaments in the ankle. He sat out most of a June mini-camp except for some throws in a seven-on-seven drill the final day. He's expected to be fine by the start of the season. We rank Newton 10th among QBs this season with the big question being what will be the quality of WRs he'll have to throw to. He's going a little earlier in drafts than Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson who are both ranked ahead of him.
Bengals beat writer Geoff Hobson on the team's offensive philosophy under new OC Hue Jackson:
"Jackson is committed to changing it and I think he’s also committed to taking the load off Andy Dalton. A big adjustment that has to make is cutting his pass attempts from 586 to closer to Russell Wilson’s number of 407.
"To heck with the short stuff. The running game should open up the deep ball and with Jackson’s experience under Al Davis you can believe they’ll be running many more vertical routes."
Hobson writes this with an editorial slant, so it should be taken with a grain of salt. Dalton's pass attempts are very likely to drop, but it's not likely that they fall to Seattle's levels. For one, the Bengals don't have the running game that the Seahawks have, and their defense isn't as good, either. Giovani Bernard is better in the receiving game (than Marshawn Lynch) and the Bengals have an elite receiver in A.J. Green. The Bengals were pretty balanced in 2013 and may tilt a bit more towards the run in 2014.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 11:48pm
In case some people thought Seahawks WR Paul Richardson's long touchdown receptions earlier were just a rookie-camp phenomenon, the wide receiver from Colorado put those thoughts to rest at Day 2 of the Seahawks' minicamp Wednesday.
Richardson showed off his blazing speed again, running right by two defenders to make a leaping catch on a 55-yard touchdown throw from Russell Wilson.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 9:05am
Seahawks WR Paul Richardson can really run: That’s not a surprise, but the rookie receiver from Colorado has not disappointed anyone. This guy can fly.
Just in the days the media have been on the sidelines watching, Richardson has burned defenders on four deep throws for touchdowns. He did it again Monday, a 50-yard TD from Russell Wilson to Richardson when he had 5 yards on rookie defender Dion Bailey.
When the Seahawks have Percy Harvin and Richardson on the field at the same time this season, opposing teams will worry about getting beat over the top. They have to account for their speed and won’t be able to cheat up near the line of scrimmage.
Harvin and Baldwin are likely to start, with Kearse and Sidney Rice rotating in, but Richardson could get snaps as a rookie due to his ability to stretch the field.
- Page 1