Thiel: 0-2 Seahawks 'Not Awful, Just Disjointed'
The Seahawks play their first home game of the season this Sunday afternoon against the Dallas Cowboys. And the team is looking for its first win.
KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about what's been going wrong and right.
Offense: Mistrust Or Miscommunication?
First - what's wrong. The offense. What's going on there?
"They're having a hard time sorting this out," Thiel said. "Even coach Pete Carroll has been a little mystified and he's been kind of contradictory."
"He's been saying things and doing things that just aren't the way he's done things in the past."
"There was an episode in the Monday night game where he lost track of running back Chris Carson. He said, at first, that he thought Carson was tired from playing special teams and he didn't carry the ball in the second half."
"Well, actually, he only played two snaps on special teams and Pete owned up to the fact that he misread Carson's body language on the sideline."
"Another thing Carroll admitted to this week: he said, 'I'm impatient with the offense.'"
"He wanted more action, more scoring. I also think he's covering for his new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer because I don't think these guys are on the same page yet."
"Pete's taking the burden of the responsibility - as he should as a head coach - and I commend him for his candor. But it's really been an inefficient start."
"I'm calling this thing disjointed. They lost the first game by three and the second one by seven. They're not getting blown out. They're not awful. They are just disjointed."
Russell Wilson: Too Much Hesitation
And then there's quarterback Russell Wilson.
"His problem right now is just a half-second of hesitation, typically between sticking with the play and running," Thiel said.
"I think he's been lectured by Carroll and Schottenheimer to try to stay in the pocket to see the pass play through. And I think Russell isn't clear on the decision between fight and flight."
Why So Many Penalties And Sacks?
"His instinct is to run. But one of the problems with Russell running is that the offensive linemen can't see where he is. And the less-experienced among them will wind up holding."
"We've all seen the Seahawks' penalties, especially with right tackle Germain Ifedi," Thiel continued. "When young guys panic, they sort of grab on. And that's not legal in football."
"That's one aspect of why they wanted Russell to stay in the pocket. But the problem with Russell is he's 5'11". If he stays in the pocket for all of his passes, he's not going to be able to see downfield as well as a taller quarterback."
"In pro football, a half-second of indecision can be bad and, as a result, the Seahawks lead the NFL in sacks given up - 12. Six in each game. That is terrible. Those negative plays are really killing the offense."
"The offensive line really needs to get its act together in conjunction with Russell being a little more decisive about whether to run or throw."
Doug Baldwin: Injury Leaves 'Huge Vacancy'
Thiel said one problem is that Wilson doesn't have anyone he really trusts to pass to, with wide receiver Doug Baldwin out with a partial MCL tear.
"Baldwin is the security blanket for the offense," he said. "He will be out this Sunday and probably another couple of weeks, at least. Until he gets back, I don't think the offense will get on track."
Defense: Big Surprise
With a lot of big names gone (Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, Kam Chancellor, Cliff Avril), Thiel said the defense wasn't expected to be very good - at least not this early. But they are.
"First of all, (free safety) Earl Thomas returned from his holdout and he's playing very, very well right now and his holding the back end together a little more than we expected."
"And they got good performances out of first-time starters in there for the injured Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. They did reasonably well. Whether they do that well this Sunday, we'll see."
"But we think both Wagner and Wright could be back. If so, the defense is the one bright spot so far this season."