Matthew Heuett: Russell Wilson doesn’t get enough credit as pocket passer
- Updated: September 8, 2013
This is the inaugural installment of “Catcalls,” a weekly column in which I will attempt to arrange a discussion with someone who covers the upcoming foe for the Carolina Panthers.
To kick off the season, the Panthers take on the Seattle Seahawks at Bank of America Stadium with a 12 p.m. CT kickoff. (You can catch the game on FOX Sports.) Matthew Heuett of the Seahawk Addicts blog generously agreed to sit down and discuss the game with Water Cooler Sports.
Water Cooler Sports: Thank you for joining us today, Matthew. Let’s jump right into this. I have posited if you could take Cam Newton’s size, strength and athleticism with Russell [Wilson]’s intelligence and poise, you’d have the greatest quarterback ever.
Seahawk Addicts: That’s not a bad assessment, although I don’t think Wilson is lacking in the arm strength or athleticism.
WCS: Do not take it as a slight.
SA: I didn’t, but somehow I still felt the need to say that anyway. Newton is definitely a rare physical specimen.
WCS: If Seattle wins, what would you assumed happened? Conversely, if they lost?
SA: If they won, I’d say it was because the defense contained the run game, throwing off Newton’s play-action pass game, forcing it to [wide receiver Steve] Smith and [tight end Greg] Olsen, giving Seattle’s secondary ample opportunities to disrupt and pick off passes
On the other side, [running back Marshawn] Lynch is able to establish the run. Seattle is able to fend off [defensive ends Greg] Hardy and [Charles] Johnson enough for Wilson to sling the ball.
In a loss, it’ll be because the defensive was more injured than the team let on, and the Panthers’ talented running backs steamroll them. Also Newton picks on the weakest link — the linebackers.
WCS: Seattle wins because Russell is a supreme student of the game. He takes what the defensive allows. The wide receivers are meh, but a superb quarterback can make filet mignon out of ground beef. On the other side, Cam gets harrassed and the Seahawks win the turnover and field position battle.
If Carolina wins, it is because the front seven creates pressure. [Defensive end Cliff] Avril and [defensive tackle Corey] Irvin being out allows Carolina to run and [wide receivers Ted] Ginn[, Jr.] or [Torrey] Smith use their speed to get beyond the corners.
WCS: What steps can Seattle take to counter adjustments meant to force Russell Wilson to beat them with his arm?
SA: Well, first off, I think Wilson’s ability to run has overshadowed the fact that when he scrambles, he does it to extend the play and keeps his eyes downfield. If they force Wilson to beat them with his arm, he’ll most likely oblige them.
WCS: Agreed. He is very smart and protects his small stature. He is a more accurate, smarter, slower Michael Vick.
SA: I’m also pretty sure he’s killed fewer dogs.
The best thing the Seahawks can do is run Tom Cable’s zone-blocking scheme and keep up the one-cut-and-get-upfield.
WCS: How effective will the revamped Carolina line be in bottling up Marshawn Lynch?
SA: Bottling up Lynch is tough! If they can make life miserable for the guards ([Paul] McQuistan is serviceable but average, and [J.R.] Sweezy is inexperienced) and goad right tackle [Breno] Giacomini into committing stupid penalties, that’ll help keep Beast Mode from getting on track. Also, it’s anybody’s guess how losing [running back Michael] Robinson as his lead blocker is going to affect things going forward. [Derrick] Coleman is kind of a question mark.
What about Newton’s production dropoff last year? What happened? Does he get back to being his badass 2011 self?
WCS: There wasn’t a dropoff. After two 400-yard games, Cam averaged 228 yards a game in 2012. When he started off so hot, it was news. When it settled in no one said anything. What you saw last year is what he is. What people don’t mention he improved on turnovers. Maybe in two or three years he can be a 4,300-yard passer, but for now he needs to improve on reading defenses and his midrange touch.
My take on the teams is they are similar in many ways. Potentially great young quarterbacks. Dominating defense. Questionable wide receivers. Historically strong run game. The huge difference is Carolina is big play. Seattle is slow and steady wins the race. I think this game is a great barometer for Carolina. Thoughts?
SA: Hmm, that might be pretty apt. I know Seattle was able to pick up steady gains on the ground all last year, but it wasn’t until they were finally able to start pulling off explosive plays in the passing game that they started doing obscene things to defenses like those games versus the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers.
Is part of Carolina’s reliance on big plays due to them not having a reliable target to pair with Steve Smith?
WCS: Smitty has said that he needs to move to the slot. I think Ginn is going to be the deep guy. I think Olsen will be the second leading receiver (feel very good about him in fantasy football). Problem is that Cam is poor on short to midrange passes.
What is Seattle’s Achilles heel?
SA: On offense, the offensive guards and wide receivers. When they’re on, they’re great, but there were too many games where Wilson had to run for his life because his wideouts weren’t getting separation.
On defense, the line’s ability to get pressure is boom and bust. The linebackers gave away too many completions in the middle of the field last year.
And your team?
WCS: Much ado has been made of the Panthers’ secondary, but I think that is misplaced. We added a very capable strong safety and moved [Randall] Godfrey back to free safety. The Joshes, Norman and Thomas, are second- and third-year guys and have shown promise. The way to beat Carolina is to shut down the run game, Cam and DeAngelo [Williams]. Make them one dimentional. This will lead to field position and turnovers and that plays into the Seattle wheelhouse.
SA: Why do you think Carolina’s secondary has been maligned as much as it has?
WCS: I think the secondary is very young and small market. They also were very poor in passer rating [allowed], although they finished top 13 in the league in yards [given up]. There are no names to promote, no interest.
So what is your educated prediction for tomorrow?
SA: Seattle wins, 28-14. The Panthers hang tight for the first half before one of the Seahawks’ backup defensive ends breaks Newton in two, unhinges his jaw, and swallows Cam’s entire head.
WCS: I have Carolina winning another defensive slobber-knocker, 19-13. I have Carolina’s front seven taking advantage of a West Coast team’s 10 a.m. start time by forcing at least two turnovers. I think the pressure of both our front seven and the Super Bowl talk overwhelms Seattle.
SA: I have to say, I was a bit down on Carolina before your comments made me get off my lazy ass and take a closer look at the numbers. I think you’re right, they seem to be a much better team than anyone’s giving them credit for being.
WCS: And let me say this. I want my team to win tomorrow. But I would not be surprised if you did. I greatly respect Wilson. I greatly respect the way your organization is changing the paradigm for dealing with players. The ESPN article made me a fan of the recent changes in your organization. I hope you have success and it leads other teams to make similar moves.
Thank you to Matthew Heuett for taking time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts with us. We’d love to talk to you again.
This is a good way to start the season for the Saints,but I am not getting crazy,the reality is that is Week 1,and were suppose to win our divisional home games. The reason why I am subdued in going crazy,is because just one season ago The Giants and Bears started at 7-1 and 7-2,and neither made the playoffs,so that has subdued me.lol
so the bucs fucked up and lost to the jets. and have to play the saints and pats next. freeman better be on his job. or else people will cry for him to be benched
The good news for Atlanta is last year they lost to everyone in the division and still got the 1st seed. The bad news, the defense in the regular season was great at coming up with big plays and the o-line was good enough.
What happened to that beautiful Packers screen pass? Or do we just have no O-linemen good enough to run it? When the from-7 were teed up like this, it used to be a reliable path!
Rodgers didn't overthrow it! Lacy just stood there. He wasn't going to catch a pass standing still and run 10 yards for a 1st.
This is what they are saying about their team already.. WOW!!!!!!
Well, just as everyone here thought, the offensive line was pitiful...Ryan had no time to pass. It's a wonder he's not in the hospital after being sacked and chased around the way he was. A pathetic game by the Falcons...ended just like the playoff game.
Forget building a new Stadium - the Falcons need an offensive line.....
This team will be luck to go 7-9 if that
That soft training camp that Mike Smith ran did not work.
Lamar Holmes is the worst tackle in the history of the game
I would not be surprised to see this cast of losers go 0-16 this yr -- 2008 Lions you are not alone.
This season is over.
And we are building a new stadium for this. What a joke of a franchise.
Julio deserves to be waived for that fumble.
This is the worst team is NFL history -- they suck to the bottm end of the plumbing system. I am convinced we will not win 2 games this yr.
Mike Smith is the worst coach in the NFL.
It's bad enough to watch the Falcons choke and lose the game....but why do we have to continually see King Arthur Blank trolling the sidelines, in his $3,000 suit, just to get on TV? If he was an tanner, he would have to start speaking with an accent.5 Comment(s)Comment(s) 1-5 of 5
I have a lot of respect for the Panthers,but you can't give up 12 pts at home,and lose.The Seahawks defense is good,but they are not the 2000 Ravens or the 85 Bears defense.
@redzonejones Is he not playing corner?
@FalconsFan0125 Yeah this could have been an utterly dismal weekend.
I understand that, but from where we were last season to the way we came out today on D. I am amped, and we still don't have all of our starters out their, and I can't wait for Foster & Wilson to come back.
@redzonejones damn that's tough...
@Johnny "Dikembe Mutombo" Jolly I am not sure they have a "feel" for each other yet!
@StillThegenius99 What up Genius?
@The Real CJammin Remember I said this,the Pack will get ripped today.
@redzonejones I said I would sit him. I respect the Jets secondary and VJax feels fine with not showing up at times...not a risk worth it in FF
@LSU4LIFE Did you not see their O-line, not Falcons bad but close
@Saintschicka09090909 from this comment i can infer that there will be someone else to lose
@Saintschicka09090909 Link it or it didn't happen
@FalconsFan0125 bradford threw the ball to someone that was open and was running to the endzone. mathieu taps the ball from behind and forces a fumbles just before he crosses the endzone. and they recover it for a touchback
@FalconsFan0125 He means he is sleeping with Tyrann Mathieu
@StillThegenius99 I agree and if we beat a Angry Buc team next week,with the Bills and Dolphins coming to the Dome,then I will get amped up.lol
@StillThegenius99 Cards I meant instead of the Bills.
@StillThegenius99 I am not surprised it's amuch different set of characters this year,do you realize that this is the first time in 4 years,that neither Shanlee,Ellis and Vilma,and Will Smith were on the field for the Saints Defense.