Seahawks vs. Rams: 4 things to watch
The Seahawks will play in the sunshine and 80 degree weather of Los Angeles Sunday against a Los Angeles Rams team that is 3-1 under new 31-year old head coach Sean McVay.
Under Pete Carroll the Seahawks have always been the team the rest of the division has to go through to win the NFC West. How the Rams do today could be a strong indicator of whether or not this is a really different Rams team than the one that went 4-12 last season.
Here are 4 things to watch for in today's NFC West Divisional game between the Seahawks and Rams:
1) Russell Wilson
Last time Russell Wilson paid a visit to the Coliseum he was hindered a badly sprained ankle. Running simply wasn't an option. "I moved like a bag of bricks," Wilson said at the VMAC this week. "I really couldn't move last time when we played them at the Coliseum. I think I just had my ankle or my knee, I'm not sure which one it was, the ankle was pretty bad that day. I taped it up like crazy and I was just hobbling around."
Wilson's mobility will be important this weekend against a Rams defensive front that traditionally gives the Seahawks fits. Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn lead a group of pass rushers that seem to have no problem penetrating through the Seahawks line and getting after Wilson. This time though, he can run and when Wilson can pull off a Houdini act and extend plays, good things can happen for the Seahawks offense.
Throwing on the run is something Wilson does on a regular basis and he does it well.
"It's just something that I've always kind of really focused on, something that I coach at my camps all the time, I think that a lot of times, there's a lot of big plays when you're moving and you're escaping and stepping up in the pocket or whatever it may be," Wilson said.
Last week Wilson was 21 of 26 for 295 yards to go along with two TD's and two interceptions. He'll need another big day , minus the interceptions, to head back to Seattle with a win and a 3-2 record headed into the bye week.
2) JD McKissic:
He's fast, he can catch and most importantly JD McKissic can score touchdowns. He had two last week against the Colts. One rushing, where he looked like he was blasted out of a cannon and the other receiving, a difficult catch with double coverage.
While McKissic showed what he can do, his teammates have been telling Pete Carroll for a while now that McKissic is good. His performance last week likely opened the mind a bit of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell in regard to options utilizing McKissic. Knowing he can be dangerous both as a runner and a pass catcher gives Bevell and Russell Wilson all sorts of options as they get ready to face the Rams.
Bevell was complimentary of McKissic this week and you get the sense there will be a section of the playbook set aside for the young, multi-talented back out of Arkansas State.
"He's been able to understand all of the things that we've asked him to do, he can go to many different spots, that hasn't been a burden on him at all, so we'll just continue to keep using him and pick our spots. Hopefully we get that same type of production out of him," Bevell said.
3) Legion of Boom
Jared Goff is in his second year as the Rams quarterback and his improvement from year one to year two has been incredible. Goff has the Rams at 3-1 and has a 66.7 completion percentage with seven touchdowns and only one interception, he's ranked 9th in passing yards with 1,072.
Goff's real test will be this weekend as he goes up against a Seattle secondary and pass defense that is ranked 4th in the league. "He’s a lot more comfortable this year," said Richard Sherman about Goff this week. "Obviously, there’s going to be growth from the first year to the second year, and he’s seen that. Head Coach Sean McVay’s done a great job of just putting him in places that he’s comfortable, and giving him plays that he knows that he’s comfortable with every read that are in his skill-set and in his realm. He’s just executing.”
So the goal of the Seahawks defense and especially the Legion of Boom is to make Goff uncomfortable Sunday. That could lead to mistakes and turnovers and result in opportunities for the Seahawks.
4) Justin Coleman
Justin Coleman had a pick six last week against the Colts, up until that moment not many Seahawks fans were even sure who Justin Coleman was.
Coleman came over from the Patriots in a trade the first week of September in exchange for a 7th round pick in 2018. It's proving to be a great move by Seahawks GM John Schneider because while playing for an injured Jeremy Lane, Coleman has shown he is capable of being an impact player on a defense loaded with talent.
Lane will likely miss this week's game with a groin injury, that means Coleman will see significant playing time again against a Rams offense that throws the football. Coleman will be joined in the secondary by rookie corner back Shaquill Griffin, both players have earned the trust of Richard Sherman. "They’ve done a great job when they’ve been in there and both of them have had to play a substantial amount, said Sherman this week. "We trusted them against Aaron Rodgers and those guys, and they’re as good as it gets, so I think we’d be comfortable putting those guys in against anybody. Justin Coleman's confidence is sky-high, Shaq's confidence sky-high, and they have great technique. They’d be fine.”
Last week was Coleman's first career interception, he'll be looking for a second one Sunday against the Rams.