26 September 1976

Seahawks looking for improved 'D'
The Spokesman-Review

Seattle Coach Jack Patera still is looking for a way to bolster his Seahawks' nonstop defense against the run. "I'm sure every team on our schedule is looking forward to playing us. At least the running backs probably are," a disillusioned Patera said.

Going into Sunday's National Football League game in the Kingdome against San Francisco, opponents have rushed for an average of 277 yards against the expansion Seahawks, including 273 in last week's 31-7 loss to Washington. Patera said that was Seattle's worst game in six preseason and two regular-season outings.

The San Francisco 49ers, behind the running of Delvin Williams and Wilbur Jackson, averaged 195 yards per game on the ground in the pre-season. San Francisco ran for 210 yards in a regular season opening victory over Green Bay, but was held to 78 yards in last week's 19-12 loss to Chicago.

"Both Williams and Jackson are impressive running backs," Patera said. "This is a very strong running football team. But I don't think we have to stop them cold to beat them."

Patera says it's the little things that are hurting the Seahawks on defense, and he doesn't plan any wholesale changes in his lineup to correct them.

"It' a matter of discipline playing defense rather than free-lancing," he said. "Too many of our defensive people are playing pursuit rather than playing their area. Technically, we're not very good yet. There's a lot of difference hitting a man head-on and hitting him four inches to the outside. It's so small in detail, but it makes such a big difference in a game."

Meanwhile, Seattle, 0-2, has yet to rush for more than 100 yards in a game. In fact, quarterback Jim Zorn is the team's top ground gainer, with 80 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown. Part of the problem has been the revolving door effect with Seattle running backs. The four latest acquisitions - Oliver Ross, Ralph Nelson, Hugh McKinnis and Don Testerman - are still acquainting themselves with Seattle's offense.

"Our running backs aren't picking up the yardage on their own. It's that little bit of hesitation because of their lack of familiarity that isn't helping," Patera said. "And we're certainly not dominating the line of scrimmage."

Sunday's game, before an expected crowd of 60,000, begins at 1 p.m. PDT. It will be the second meeting of the two teams. San Francisco held on for a 27-20 victory in Seattle's first game ever Aug. 1. Trailing 17-0 at halftime, Seattle caught fire in the second half behind Zorn, who passed for two touchdowns and ran for a third. He was dropped at the 49ers' two-yard line on a scrambling play as the gun sounded.

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