The Elephant in the Locker Room: Caught with Our Pants Down Again


By Greg Wright

I’m hoping that what follows will become a regular feature in this column for the rest of the season. We’ll just call it “A Chat with the Huard Whisperer.”

Every so often I’ll exchange messages with a good old friend who happens to have a ton of experience working with professional athletes, and happened to be a pretty good player in his own right.

The HW started off the following exchange with some in-game comments:

Thank God for that last observation, eh?

But how, exactly, did Rodgers pants the Seahawks yet again with a free-play TD? Let’s take a closer look at that.

First, we can’t blame it on the O line, or on Michael Bennett. Yes, Rodgers did get #72 to jump offside twice last Sunday, and even preferred to penalize Mr. B on one of those rather than take a defensive holding penalty on the same play… figuring 1st and 5 from the same spot was an easier go than 1st and 10. Bright boy, that. (Rodgers, not Bennett.)

Second, it would be nice to blame Garvin. He was the unlucky 12th man on the field at the start of the TD-scoring fiasco of a play, somewhat laggardly jogging toward the sideline as the ever-vigilant Rodgers noticed that the coaches had sent someone in to sub for Mr. G. So let’s keep him in the running for scapegoat. Temporarily.

Third, it would be not so nice to blame star MLB BWags since Mr. W was the unfortunate ‘backer who attempted to cover Jordy Nelson dozens of yards downfield. (Didn’t anyone on the Hawks read last week’s column about their sad-sack former mate Cassius Marsh? Okay, that’s a dumb question.) And it’s true. Bobby got beat on the play. Probably because the defense wasn’t at all set when the ball was snapped… because “The Sub” was still being told what he was supposed to do on the play after coming in from the sideline.

So… who was The Sub? Name come to mind? No? Have any idea?

I didn’t think so.

I will digress just a moment to discuss snap counts for the game. There were just two defensive players who were on the field for only one snap out of 82. Here they are:

  • veteran LB D.J. Alexander, in his first season with the Seahawks
  • veteran S Bradley McDougald, also in his first year in a Seattle uniform

The Sub in question was one of the above. Which do you suppose it was that the sideline genii sent in to sub for LB Garvin?

You’d be wrong if you said Alexander.

Yes, Genius 1 and Genius 2 (those being Carroll and DC Kris Richard, and the plural of “genius” being genii) sent in a third safety on that magical play.

That’s right: when S Brad McDougald (#30) came late to the party (and it definitely looked to me like he was not expecting his number to be called), it was not to sub for either Chancellor or Thomas (who might be suspect #4, actually, since Earl was wildly out of position on the play) but to relieve LB Garvin.

Now, when was the last time you saw Seattle playing man coverage with three safeties on the field?

I’ll just say this: Rodgers not only caught the Seahawks in a sloppy substitution, they caught Seattle’s coaches (Richard and Carroll) moving inexperienced chess pieces (McDougald and Garvin) around a most decidedly hostile board (Lambeau Field) against a master field general (Rodgers). Calling for a mighty strange defensive coverage to boot. And when the ball was snapped, McDougald was covering… apparently, no one. Without coaches’ film, it’s impossible to tell. There’s only the one glimpse of him in broadcast footage, chasing down the play from waaaayyyy behind.

You wanna blame Garvin or Wagner or Thomas or McDougald for that very fine mess of a play? Sure. Okay. But me? I’m pinning it on the coaches. Dumb-ass stunt against the best in the business.

There’s always some key issue that’s getting glossed over. It’s the elephant in the locker room, if you will, and gosh darn if I’ll let that ride. Join us weekly for a little closer look at our NFC West Champions.

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