The Percy Harvin Trade Could Help Arizona Cardinals Win The West
By Earl Burnett
Receiver Percy Harvin was traded by the Seattle Seahawks to the New York Jets on Friday afternoon, taking many fans by surprise
How does the surprise trade of Percy Harvin to the Jets effect the Arizona Cardinals and the NFC West division race? Well, here is a scenario that may help answer that question. The Seahawks traded away the piece that was supposed to make them dynamic on offense, and give them the edge in the division. With the trade going down means that they were having a team identity issue, and perhaps some locker room issues as well.
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The Seahawks have already proven they can play without Harvin, in fact they were the number one ranked team in the league last year and made it to the super-bowl without him. This season with a healthy Percy Harvin, the Hawks have not looked at all like the dominant team that was predicted. The 2014 Seahawks featured an offense centered and game planed around the speed and shiftiness of Harvin, and with that the team lost the edge that made them super-bowl champs.
Now with an offense geared to get Harvin the ball in different mismatch situations like screens, reverses, and isolation plays, the focus has not been on how many times their running-back gets the ball. This pass oriented offense has taken the Seahawks away from their identity, and the Harvin dynamic just hasn’t fit this team’s personality and the way they win football games.
The hawks won the super-bowl last year one way, and one way only, and that is by ground and pound of Marshawn Lynch, while their defense shuts down every offense. The dynamic part of their offense has come from quarterback Russell Wilson getting outside the pocket and keeping plays alive.
A predominate passing team is not the Seahawks style, and now after the trade we can assume that Coach Pete Carroll will be looking to lean more on the running game and get back to their true brand of football.
So how does that effect the Cardinals in the West division? It is well documented that the Cardinals strength this year is stopping the run, being in the top five in the NFL for the last few years and currently third in 2014. Last year at Seattle the Cardinals won that game because they were able to stop the run and keep Wilson somewhat in the pocket for a sixty minute game.
So with the Hawks going back to their true style of play, helps the Cardinals because that is the style that the Redbirds are used to seeing and matching up with. Now they only have to focus on stopping the usual suspects, the running attack and Wilson getting outside.
The Seahawks lose that feared weapon on offense that teams had to game plan against, and even if it didn’t work, it still caused some fear. Remember, the Cardinals were said to have drafted 2013 third round pick Tyrann Mathieu because of the addition of Harvin in Seattle and Tavon Austin in St. Louis.
Another advantage for the Cardinals is that Mathieu does not have to match up with Harvin this year, Mathieu coming off a bad knee injury and not quit back to himself, the team does not have to isolate him on Harvin putting him at a disadvantage. Last year they didnt get to match up because both were out with injuries, so nothing has changed, the Cards will be playing the same team they beat up in Seattle in front of the 12th man crowed when they match up in a few weeks.
The Cardinals defense is built to play against the 49ers and Seahawks power running styles and has had success in doing so, now if they can get their offense in gear to be as effective as it can be, it is not impossible for the Cardinals to win the division on the strength of their 3rd ranked rush defense.