#HawksMailbag - November 27: What effect do suspensions have on a club?

Posted Nov 27, 2013

Former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman takes over this week's #HawksMailbag, answering your questions about recent issues surrounding the club and Monday night's game against the New Orleans Saints.

Former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman takes over this week's #HawksMailbag, answering your questions about the club.

Wyman, a native of San Diego, Calif. who played his college ball at Stanford University - where he earned a degree in communications, was drafted by the Seahawks in the second round (45th overall) of the 1987 NFL draft. He spent six seasons in Seattle (1987-92), racking up 364 tackles in 61 games.

Wyman now co-hosts 710 ESPN Seattle's "Wyman, Mike and Moore" and Seahawks pre- and postgame shows. Look for more of Wyman's contributions to throughout the season.

In the NFL, you almost expect adversity. Players get hurt, traded or cut all the time. There’s no room to mourn the loss of a player for whatever reason. I learned that my rookie year when the Seahawks traded Dave Brown (Ring of Honor member) to the Packers. This was a guy who was with the Seahawks from the very beginning, had 50 interceptions as a Seahawk, and one day was gone. I remember the effect it had on the locker room, but I also remember that by the next day, everyone had moved on. Careers are short in the NFL and you just get used to it and learn to forge on with the guys that you do have. As head coach Pete Carroll always emphasizes, it’s about the guys that are playing. Sounds cold, but it’s a fact in a game where the average career lasts just over three years. When the news hits you, it’s shocking. But once you get back to work, its business as usual.

As far as I know, the bad news that has hurt the Hawks during the past couple of years has come down on or around the bye week, but the problems didn’t occur during the bye week.

The bye week is there when you don’t need it, and isn’t there when you do need it. It did not come at the best time this year because the Hawks got key players like Russell Okung, Breno Giacomini and Percy Harvin healthy before the break and the team was on a roll at that point.

As for the bad news, you have to realize a couple of things: These are highly paid professional men who are responsible for their own actions. General manager John Schneider gives them the opportunity and Pete Carroll coaches them to be their best. Neither of them are babysitters.

In light of this bad news I’ve chosen to focus on two things:

1) The tremendous opportunity in front of cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane. They both played well last year under similar circumstances and if they play the way I think they can, we’ll look back on these last five games as the turning point for two very successful careers. Good luck, Jeremy and Byron.

2) A few of the extraordinary men that are leaders on this team. Quarterback Russell Wilson is one of the finest people I’ve ever watched play this great game. The example he sets on and off the field is something we can all be proud of. Free safety Earl Thomas loves the game of football and plays with the kind of passion that is recognized league-wide. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin is the standard for overcoming adversity and grabbing onto an opportunity with the same death-grip that he catches a football with. That is what I’ll be focusing on as the Seahawks close out this historic season.

The NFL is a game of matchups and New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham is a matchup problem. He’s more athletic than most linebackers and safeties and bigger than most cornerbacks. I’d say that you probably won’t be able to shut him down but rather limit the damage he can do. The other thing is that you’d be surprised how little teams focus on just one player. I remember preparing for the 49ers and Jerry Rice. We knew where the best receiver in NFL history was on every play, but it wasn’t like we were committing two or three guys to stop him every play. That leaves other professional football players open! Remember, the Saints have Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and Marques Colston that can burn you if you focus too much on Graham. I don’t have an answer for that one, but I’ll bet defensive coordinator Dan Quinn does. We’ll see if it works.

See Jimmy Graham answer, but I will say this: Drew Brees is not the same quarterback on the road that he is at home. Check out Brees’ stats home vs. away:

Drew Brees: Home vs. Away
  Games Wins Losses Comp. % Yds/Gm. TDs INTs QB Rating
Home 6 6 0 73.5% 357 19 3 122.2
Away 5 3 2 62.2% 301 9 5 89.7

Maybe that’s not fair because almost every QB in the NFL is better at home, but check out Russell Wilson’s numbers in those same categories:

Russell Wilson: Home vs. Away
  Games Wins Losses Comp. % Yds/Gm. TDs INTs QB Rating
Home 5 5 0 67% 210 9 4 107.4
Away 6 5 1 62% 219 10 2 103.5

As you can see, Wilson’s numbers aren’t as gaudy as Brees’ numbers, but that’s primarily because the Saints throw the ball 40 times per game while the Seahawks only throw it 25 times per game. Regardless, Wilson’s numbers are more consistent on the road vs. home.

The Seahawks improved pass rush and the 12th Man should perpetuate Brees’ road woes.

I would think the advantage would be with the Seahawks. With the 12th Man, there’s always an added advantage for the Hawks D-Line to get off on the snap before the opposing O-line does. Furthermore, the Hawks have Breno Giacomini and Russell Okung back, so that should mean less sacks for the Saints. I must say Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has done a masterful job with the N.O. defense this year. He has taken them from dead last in 2012, to No. 4 in less than a year. But the Hawks are on pace for close to 50 sacks this season. Advantage Seahawks.

I’d say be humble and modest and let the standings do the talking. Here in Issaquah, Wash. there’s a bar where Kansas City Chiefs fans gather every Sunday. If there’s a Chiefs bar in the Seattle area, there HAS to be a Seahawks bar somewhere close by, right? That way you can watch the game with NORMAL people…you know, stable, well-adjusted, intelligent fans who know their football. Ha, but that’s just my opinion.

Go Hawks!

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