Preps Talk

Bears-Seahawks preview: Seahawks ball

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Bears-Seahawks preview: Seahawks ball

Stop Lynch, stop Seattlenot necessarily; rookie QB Wilson the real worry
The Seattle Seahawks really do just one thing very well on offense: give the ball to running back Marshawn Lynch.
Lynch is behind only Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster in NFL rushing ranks, going over 1,000 yards in 10 games and sitting at 1,051 through 11.
But the Bears have throttled Lynch the last three times they faced him, giving up just 44 rushing yards in their 2010 game and 42 in a loss last season. Not that it did them much good; the Seahawks won both regular-season games.
Indeed, Lynch powering for 100 yards actually does little good for the Seahawks, who traded fourth- and fifth-round picks to acquire him from the Buffalo Bills. Seattle is 6-6 in regular-season games when Lynch has rushed for 100 yards.
By contrast, the Bears in Lovie Smiths coaching tenure are 25-9 when they have a 100-yard rusher.
Lynch has topped 100 yards and averaged more than 4.5 yards per carry in four of his last five games. And the Bears have fallen from No. 1 against the run (77.1 yards per game) to No. 8 in just five games, albeit against a roll call of the NFLs elite backs: Foster, Peterson, Chris Johnson and Frank Gore.
Every week theres someone for us, linebacker Brian Urlacher said, laughing. But Lynch is a hard running back to tackle. He likes to get downhill, makes guys miss, (has) got great speed.
Wilson worries
But the considerably greater problem lies in Russell Wilson, a Wisconsin teammate of Bears tackle, now guard, Gabe Carimi.
Wilson was a borderline afterthought (for a quarterback) pick in this years draft, going to Seattle in the third round, 75th overall.
Wilson already has 17 touchdown passes (vs. eight interceptions), a completion percentage of 63.6 and passer rating of 93.9 better than Jay Cutlers career-bests for completions and rating and only slightly below Cutlers best per-game rate for TD passes (27 in 2009, when he also threw 26 interceptions).
Wilson has thrown seven TD passes and zero interceptions in the last three games, and no interceptions in his last 80 passes. He set an NFL rookie record with 16 consecutive completions in last Sundays Seahawks loss at Miami.
He is listed at 5-11 so clearly too short to be an NFL quarterback, right?
What you have to do is keep him in the pocket and make him throw from a well, said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Thats what youd like to be able to do. But thats where the problems come because hes tough to keep in there...
He forces you to defend the width of the field as a pass rusher. He runs a little bit of option, read-option, so you've got to defend that.
The problem is that Wilson is accustomed to throwing out of wells, or at least getting out of them in order to throw.
I know that Im a shorter quarterback, Wilson said. I know that I have to stay tall. I know that I have to have a high, quick release, throw the ball on time. I know I have to understand the game and understand the defenses. I think thats what helps me. I know where people are going, I know where theyre going to be, and obviously my feet help me a little bit too to extend the play and get away from some pressure at times.
Rookie QB? So what?
The Bears have beaten Andrew Luck (Indianapolis) this season in their only game against a rookie quarterback, a notion that is fast becoming irrelevant with the performances of rookies like Luck, Wilson and Robert Griffin III in Washington this season, and Cam Newton and Andy Dalton last year.
Indeed, rookie quarterback is a meaningless standard for assessing Wilson. He has out-performed Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo and Newton already this season.
The Seahawks won all four of those games.
All things considered, however, the Bears are just fine with facing a rookie.
He's got a laser for an arm, said linebacker Lance Briggs. He's short -- everybody knows that, that hurt him in the draft and all that good stuff. He's a smart guy, he's producing, they're getting some wins.
But at the end of the day he's still a rookie. He's still a rookie, and you get pressure on him, keep him in the pocket and force him to beat us.

NBC Sports Chicago's 100 Days to Kickoff

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USA Today

NBC Sports Chicago's 100 Days to Kickoff

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

In case you missed any of our previews, here is our rundown:

100. De La Salle

99. Crystal Lake South

98. Eisenhower

97. Back of the Yards

96. Jacobs

95. Waubonsie Valley

94. Kaneland

93. West Aurora

93 Days to Kickoff: West Aurora

93 Days to Kickoff: West Aurora

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: West Aurora

Head coach: Nate Eimer

Assistant coaches: Tony Melchiori, DC Bob Fowler, DL Patrick Stremel, LB Charlie Graves, DB Mike Runge, OL Joe Howell, RB Ron Murphy and QB Alex Shaw

How they fared in 2017: 7-3 (4-1 Upstate Eight Valley Conference). West Aurora made the IHSA Class 8A playoff field last season. The Blackhawks lost to Naperville Central 35-14 in opening round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Larkin

Aug. 31 @ West Chicago

Sept. 7 vs Streamwood

Sept. 14 @ Glenbard East

Sept. 21 vs Bartlett

Sept. 28 vs Glenbard South

Oct. 5 @ Elgin

Oct. 12 vs East Aurora

Oct. 19 vs South Elgin

[MORE: 94 Days to Kickoff - Kaneland]

Biggest storyline: Game 11. Can the Blackhawks get back to the IHSA state playoffs for the fourth straight season and then advance past the opening round?

Names to watch this season: QB Will Tammaru, RB/DB JaQuan Buchanan and DT Denver Warren

Biggest holes to fill: The Blackhawks welcome back an impressive 17 starters (nine offense, eight defense) to the mix. However, the group will be a bit inexperienced in some spots on both the offensive and defensive line.  

EDGY's Early Take: The Blackhawks' turnaround under head coach Nate Eimer and staff has been a terrific story to follow. That said, the bar for West Aurora football has also been raised. No longer are they satisfied by just "getting" to state. The Blackhawks welcome back a deep group on both sides of the football led by a potentially high powered, balanced offense. On paper, this team has the makings of being one of the better Blackhawks teams in their history. They will challenge for the Upstate Eight conference title and get another shot at the Class 8A playoff field.