Veteran wide receiver Darrell Jackson previews the big Monday Night Football game coming up against his former Seattle Seahawks team.
I think they've been banged up a little bit. They lost a lot of key players, Chuck Darby in the middle for the defense. They also lost Deion Branch for a couple of games, and D.J. Hackett had been out. Now Shaun Alexander is banged up, so they are just going thru the football season and getting dinged as most teams do, lucky for them they jumped out to an early win and loss record which allowed them to manage these last three losses. They sit at 4-4 so I know they look at this game as one they can get back on track with having beat us 23-3 before.
I expect that Shaun will play, but they've got a good backup in Maurice Morris. Shaun is more of a cutback runner, he looks for a hole, the big play. He likes to get to the outside although he can run between the hedges. He loves to get a single guy on the backside, make a move on him and go for 80. Morris has excellent feet. He likes to get between the tackles and run. He runs downhill, and he is a powerful runner that always finishes going forward.
I think offensively they have gotten the run game going as they want. That's been impacted by the loss of Mack Strong because he was a catalyst for that offense. He was a real leader on that team and he opened up those holes for Alexander. Leonard Weaver is a pretty good fullback. He can catch the ball, he can run, he can block. I think he's an excellent backup. He just needs more experience, and a chance to get the timing down with the running backs which is something Mack definitely had since he had been around so long. Mack was going to go in there and smack you around and he could also get the ball and run with it, so that has been a loss for them.
Mike Holmgren is not afraid to pass the ball, but whether that's running or throwing the ball, he's going to demand that guys pick up the slack. Some games you have to run to set up the throw and sometimes you have to throw to set up the run and he's pretty schooled in that. He has a Pro Bowl quarterback in Matt so he trusts him to make checks from passes to run or vice versa and so they stay balanced, so we'll see what they come out with on Monday.
Defensively, we definitely have to make some plays in the passing game. They've been blitzing a lot, they've got a great interior and an active linebacker corps so they've been able to get some pressure on the run game. Julian Peterson makes it hard to run wide and Lofa Tatupu stuffs the middle. Stopping the run game is their strength right now so you've got to be able to mix it up and win our one on ones outside.
Our team gave up a lot of pressures early on but I think everyone has settled down and game by game we are starting to make plays. I think this could be a game where we finally hit our stride.
I sense that Alex Smith wants to play every game, but after being knocked out in the earlier contest, I know he's excited about an opportunity to compete against this team. I think he wants to come out and fight and with our team not doing well, he wants to be out there with us. That's what you need out of your leader. He wants to take the lumps with us and push through it and be part of the solution.
As for what we face in the backend, they brought those two safeties, Brian Russell and Deon Grant, in because they were getting beat the last couple of years with deep balls, missed tackles and not being in the right position. They are doing exactly what they were brought in to do, they are not letting the ball get put over their heads and they are playing very well that way. Cornerback Marcus Trufant is in his last year of his contract and he's really stepped up his game, although he's always been a great corner. He has always played hard and he's a great athlete. Kelly Jennings is a young guy who is getting better every game. He's got a lot of speed and once he gets comfortable out there, I think they'll have a complete secondary and really be able to compete with any receivers in the NFL.
One thing that will help us out is our use of Vernon Davis because he is a good matchup on anybody. He's a very gifted athlete. He's got tenacity and wants to beat everybody on the field and the last couple of weeks he's picked up his game. He's getting more and more opportunities since coming back from his injury and he's living up to the expectations they had when they drafted him. Seattle will have to double team him with a linebacker and a safety and that helps the one on one matchups outside and opens up the field more. It gives everybody a chance to make plays out there.
Seattle has a pretty long injury report right now but it's a divisional game and a Monday Night game, so it's a time for everyone to see you on television. Sometimes you are banged up to where you just can't go, but I think if any of those guys can fight thru their injuries, they will. They understand what is at stake, as do we. We need to get a win and get some momentum going into these next few divisional games and it starts with Seattle.
I am just looking forward to getting out there and playing well, moving the ball, having fun and it would be great to get a win in the stadium I used to play in.