1. If you had to point to one thing responsible for the Seahawks' slow start, what would it be?
The defense. Over the first two games, the Seahawks were giving up 30.5 points per game and were among the league’s worst in opponent points per drive. That’s just not Seahawk football, and their identity has been as a super-stingy, tough, physical defense over the last two years, both of which Seattle led the NFL in opponent points per game. Encouragingly, Seattle got the shutout last week against a Jimmy Clausen led Bears team, and Chicago punted on every one of their ten possessions in that game. The hope is that with Kam Chancellor back in the fold, the Seahawks’ defense is "back" and more their normal self - hard-hitting, solid, fundamental tackling, creating turnovers, etc. Because if they can’t get things cleaned up on defense, it could end up being a long season.
2. If Marshawn Lynch can't go on Monday night, how much faith do you have in Thomas Rawls?
A moderate amount — he looked really good last week against the Bears but that’s a small sample size and a good chunk of his yardage was garbage time stuff. So, with things looking 50-50 for Lynch this week, at best, I am guessing that we’ll see Rawls a lot regardless of whether or not Lynch plays. Rawls is a very physical runner — he’ll look to run defenders over, and has more speed than any backs on the Seahawks roster. The blocking up front has been pretty suspect all year for Seattle, though, so that’s really more the concern than Rawls’ ability.
3. Seattle's defense doesn't look quite as menacing as it did last year. Was that due to Kam Chancellor's absence, or is something else going on?
Yeah — I think a good portion of it had to do with Kam being gone. It’s hard to replace an All Pro player and team captain and have things go along normally. Kam is the physical intimidator and helps give Seattle a fearsome reputation on that side of the ball, and much like the offense feeds off of Lynch, the defense feeds off of Chancellor (emotionally). The small sample size of last week was encouraging, as I said above, but now that the Seahawks are set to face a real offense, it should be more telling. Apart from missing Kam, the Seahawks just looked sloppy in Weeks 1 and 2 — missed tackles, missed run fits, poor angles, confusion — so I have no real explanation for that other than they just performed poorly. Over the last few years, Seattle’s had a few stinker games like that here and there, so the hope here is that they clean it up and get back to their brand of ball.
4. Can you explain what happened in the Rams game? I still don't understand it.
The Rams always play the Seahawks tough, it seems. They were able to get tons of pressure on Russell Wilson and mostly took Lynch out of the game, and for some reason, the Seahawks’ defense couldn’t get stops when they needed them. Seattle actually went up on the Rams late in the fourth quarter but then the Rams charged back and scored a touchdown when Chancellor’s replacement, Dion Bailey, fell down in coverage on the outside. Tough.
5. Is there any possible way the Lions could take Seattle's fans out of the game on Monday Night Football?
If Golden Tate scores a touchdown on Detroit’s first drive that would certainly help, I’m guessing. The best way to take Seattle’s crowd out of the game is to get up to an early lead, effectively run the ball, and get after Russell Wilson on defense.