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Seahawks, referees need to get back to basics

Marshawn Lynch gained just 24 yards on 16 carries on Sunday. The Seahawks rushed for 61 yards as a team. (AP)

By Dave Wyman

A lot has been made about Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll leaving points on the board at the end of the half during Sunday’s tilt against the Cincinnati Bengals.

decision to go for it on fourth down in an effort to get seven points instead of three is the least of his problems. With a team that struggles offensively like the Hawks do, I don’t mind that decision and I’d bet a lot of fans would’ve booed him for settling for three when trailing by two scores (it was 17-3 at the time).

The Hawks’ inability to run the ball is a much bigger concern than clock mismanagement. When your average yard per carry is NOT a whole number at halftime, it’s time to go back to basics. Seattle’s 10 first-half carries yielded only nine yards.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the focus this week as the Seahawks take their 2-5 record on the road to Dallas against the No. 4 team in the NFL against the run. Maybe it’s time to run the “Oklahoma Drill” in practice where you line up two offensive linemen and a running back against two defensive linemen and a linebacker and slug it out. After all, that’s why you brought running game guru Tom Cable to Seattle. This is why you signed guard Robert Gallery and spent your first two draft choices on offensive linemen, James Carpenter and John Moffitt.

It’s time to bloody some noses and that attitude has to start in practice. Chuck Knox used to say, “Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” The Players Association and their ridiculous contribution to “player safety” was to limit the number of full padded practices to 13 during this year’s 17-week season (how they came up with the number 13 is a mystery to me).

I’d say it’s time to burn two of those opportunities this week and try to do something about the 31st-ranked running game.

Back to Basics, part II

The Seahawks also rank 31st in another category that makes you more infamous than anything. Just ask the Oakland Raiders, who have led the league in futility by having more penalties than any other team in football for four of the last nine years.

With the exception of Ed Hochuli and his huge biceps, officials shouldn’t be well known. (AP)

The Hawks currently rack up 8.6 penalties per game, and that’s something that has to change whether you have the youngest offensive line in the NFL or not. Penalties are killers and I believe that in today’s flag-happy environment, you don’t want to give the officials any more reason to reach for their pocket because once you get that reputation, it’s a vicious cycle.

Talk about flag-happy, NFL official Tony Corrente and his crew threw 18 penalty flags during Sunday’s game at the “CLink”. That’s nothing compared to the Cardinals-Ravens game and Monday Night’s game between San Diego and Kansas City in which penalties were called 23 and 21 times, respectively. That’s one flag every six plays and every three minutes. The yardage assessed for the penalties in these three games stretches across five football fields (510 yards).

Don’t get me started on this. The referees are beginning to become too big of a part of the game. What scares me is that I actually recognize names like Tony Corrente, Jeff Triplette and of course the ill-famed Bill Leavy (Super Bowl XL). The only reason fans should be familiar with a referee’s name is because he has big yoked up “guns” like Ed Hochuli.

It’s reasonable to assume that at this pace, the officiating crew may become a major part of assessing each game. As in, “The Cowboys have the No. 4 run defense and the No. 8 offense, but they’ll be facing a scrappy Seattle Seahawks team and a Jerome Boger-led officiating crew that averages 19 penalty flags per game.”

I’d say don’t blame the officials themselves. It’s more about the directive coming down from Roger Goodell and the NFL rules committee. As mentioned, the over-regulation seems to coincide with the push for player safety. It will be interesting to see if cutting down padded practices and penalties for sneezing on a quarterback or attempting to tackle a receiver actually make the game safer. At this point it’s certainly too early to tell, but there seems to be as many injuries as ever.

Besides, do we all enjoy NFL football because it’s safe?