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Rams - Seahawks: Odds and Ends with Kenneth Arthur

Andy Lyons

Let's face it, there's a few odd ducks like me rambling around the blog-o-sphere here at SBNation. "Odd" may not be the right word I'm looking for, so do I lose wordsmith points? There are very few who write like Kenny here at SBNation. He spins and weaves his Seahawks web for the thousands of readers at Field Gulls, the Seattle site here at SBN. While it's true Kenny refuses to bathe, and rarely wears pants when he writes, the quality of his writing is fantastic.  This guy can write anything!

While others will be parsing key players, or who to watch, Kenny and I will be hitting the perimeter thoughts that made me ponder long enough to get a headache as I tried to find the answers myself. When my dim bulb brightened long enough, I got the idea to get in touch with the one person who I knew could provide the solutions to my queries: "I'll give the questions to Kenny... Kenny will write ANYTHING!"

Now, for those that don't know: The Bugs Bunny icon is me asking a question, and the icon with the unwashed guy who looks like he's at an "All Fat Ladies" strip show, is Kenneth Arthur, Field Gulls writer extraordinaire!

The game this Sunday wasn't supposed to have much meaning for the Seahawks, but following the loss to Arizona it appears Pete Carroll won't be able to rest his star players when they play the Rams. There's the outside chance, with a loss this Sunday, that not only would Seattle lose the #1 NFC seed, but could lose the NFC West title to San Francisco if they beat Arizona. Based on this, how worried is the fan base for their team headed into the playoffs?

I don't think Pete would've rested his stars for the whole game or anything had we beaten the Cardinals. I think if we had locked up the number one seed, you would've seen a half, or maybe even three quarters, of the first unit. He's out to win every game (and so is Russell) even if it doesn't seem like the right long-term call. Plus there's the extra bye week.

I think the loss could have some positive benefit moving forward, but truthfully, only if we beat the Rams on Sunday and close out every goal that the team set forth for the regular season. That is, the NFC West title and the number one seed.

The fan base is concerned, but I'm more just bummed about a loss like any other. I am confident that the team will go all the way.

Let's look at Russell Wilson's stats for the last two season:

Year Team G Att Comp Pct Att/G Yds Avg Yds/G TD TD% Int Int% Lng 20+ 40+ Sck SckY Rate
2013 Seattle Seahawks 15 384 242 63.0 25.6 3,185 8.3 212.3 25 6.5 9 2.3 80T 48 9 40 258 101.1
2012 Seattle Seahawks 16 393 252 64.1 24.6 3,118 7.9 194.9 26 6.6 10 2.5 67 42 11 33 203 100.0
TOTAL 31 777 494 63.6 25.1 6,303 8.1 203.3 51 6.6 19 2.4 80 90 20 73 461 100.6

Year Team G Att Att/G Yds Avg Yds/G TD Lng 1st 1st% 20+ 40+ FUM
2013 Seattle Seahawks 15 91 6.1 540 5.9 36.0 1 27 30 33.0 4 0 2
2012 Seattle Seahawks 16 94 5.9 489 5.2 30.6 4 25T 30 31.9 2 0 2
TOTAL 31 185 6.0 1,029 5.6 33.2 5 27 60 32.4 6 0 4

Hmm... Both his rookie and second year are remarkably similar statistically. Personally, I think Wilson is one of the top 5 quarterbacks in the NFL, but what's limiting his growth statistically?

I'm not sure that I interpret the data the same way as you, in this case. A statistical comparison of year one to year two, with similar results (in one fewer game, at the moment) is pretty normal. The only thing that would concern me would be if he had gotten worse, and despite a few poor games recently (please note that "poor" for Russell is "good" for many other QBs. He's thrown three interceptions over the last two weeks and you could make a good argument that only one of those was either his fault or "actually happened. There simply aren't many guys capable of throwing the ball 400 times and making that few mistakes, but he's the real deal. And he hasn't completed his second season yet. Russell's first two years are better than any seasons by Tom Brady -- statistically -- over his first six seasons with the Patriots.)

Not many guys have second-year booms like Dan Marino, or threw 28 interceptions as rookies like Peyton Manning (thereby creating a huge amount of room for growth) so how much further up could a player like Wilson go after he had one of the best seasons by a rookie quarterback in NFL history? Most of the other players that compare are guys that didn't start right away -- like Kurt Warner, Aaron Rodgers, Otto Graham, Carson Palmer -- and probably the best comp right now (based solely on stats, team situation, having a great defense, low attempts but off-the-charts efficiency) is Ben Roethlisberger. That pains me to say, but if we win two Super Bowls in the next four years, I'll take it.

The big key now for Russell is having a near-perfect playoffs. If he can do that, we'll be playing in MetLife in February.

Speaking of eerily similar stats, let's take a look at Marshawn Lynch over the last two seasons:

Season Team Rushing Receiving Fumbles
G GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
2013 Seattle Seahawks 15 15 278 1,160 4.2 43 11 35 312 8.9 55 2 4 1
2012 Seattle Seahawks 16 15 315 1,590 5.0 77T 11 23 196 8.5 27 1 5 2

In both stat comparisons, it appears to me Lynch and Wilson are doing all they can be asked to do. The Seahawks are ranked 8th in points scored, 13th in total yardage, 3rd in rushing, and 26th in passing yards according to Given the Rams rather disturbing lack of a rush defense at times, especially against top running backs, is the game Sunday Marshawn Lynch's to win or lose? Is the lack of a passing attack a source of concern going forward into the post season for Seattle?

We really don't lack a passing attack. The Seahawks were ranked 4th in the NFL in passing DVOA by Football Outsiders, going into Week 16. That may be down a bit right now, but the truth is that few teams gain as much per attempt as Seattle does. We're talking about Peyton Manning and then everybody else, and I think Wilson is right at the top of that "everybody else" or at least has a solid argument. If the passing attack has lacked yards in recent weeks, it's because of the defenses they've faced.

You guys know how tough that is in the NFC West.

The Cards and Niners present top 10, maybe even top 5 pass defenses. The Rams gave Wilson a difficult time when they first met, being the only team so far to pick him off three times, but he's performed well in the last two. I really hope he can do that again, but I expect it to come down to the wire again.

Marshawn Lynch didn't do anything against the Rams in Week 8 of this year, so I'm hoping he's looking for revenge. Teams have seemed to do a good job of keying in on him lately, and maybe that really is weighing on him. The Seahawks activated Christine Michael in last week's game, they might be looking to give Lynch rest -- especially if they pull out to an early lead.

When Pete Carroll was the head coach at USC, it had loads of top quality wide receivers. In 2013, Percy Harvin was supposed to team with Sidney Rice to give Seattle a great wide receiver combo, but injuries nixed it. Going forward, how important is it for the Seahawks to find a #1 wide receiver that can play a whole 16 game season?

It's very important and so far it's evident that Pete Carroll has not found "his guy" for Seattle yet. They tried with Rice, they're still waiting on Percy, they spent a second round pick on Golden Tate. Anyone who thinks this offense doesn't need -- or at least want -- a number one receiver, is a fool.

I still think Harvin is a big piece of the future, but if they spent one of their earlier picks on a WR, it wouldn't surprise me at all. Rice will be cut, maybe re-signed, they'll work to re-sign Tate, and maybe explore the FA market.

When you consider the Rams roster, which player would you want as a Christmas gift for the Seahawks?

There's no doubt in my mind that I want Robert Quinn to be on the Seahawks. I almost thought to look at your roster before I answered this, but with Michael Bennett a soon-to-be FA and Chris Clemons probably on his way out, they still need pass-rushers for the future.

Quinn is obviously getting to that point where you start to wonder if we'll be talking about him in 30, 40 years.

OK, I have to ask this. It's like a law or something, and I can get kicked out of the greater New Mexico Sports Writers and Habanero Tasting Society if I don't at least ask: What's the deal with corner back drug tests in Seattle? Is Brandon Browner going to be a Seahawk in 2014?

Brandon Browner won't be with the Seahawks. I don't think they would kick him out for failing the tests, but they've got good players behind him like Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond, they're CB gurus, and Browner even at a discounted price is too expensive compared to players making the league minimum.

I can't comment on the failed drug tests, except to say that I think if every player was forced to give a mandatory drug test today, I'm not sure how many teams could field 53-man rosters on Sunday.

I understand you've recently been accorded a great honor. YOU and Danny Kelly are about to be immortalized in a story with the world famous Derinda Platt. You'll be joining the ranks of Jeff Fisher, Chris Long, Andy Reid, Les Snead, Rodger Goodell and a host of other luminaries I can't mention because they're either suing me, or have restraining orders preventing my ever even typing their names again. What an honor, right? Your thoughts on this high point in your life?

There's nowhere to go from here but down.