2012. Seahawks roll in with a 3-way battle for the starting quarterback job. In the first pre-season game against the Titans, Matt Flynn got the start. He played okay, but was outshined in the second half by rookie third rounder Russell Wilson. The following week, Flynn started again, and once again he played okay. If you’ll recall, though, that was the infamous Terrell Owens game where he dropped everything in sight, costing Flynn at least one touchdown and a whole lotta points on his QBR. As such, he was once again outshined by the second half prowess of one Russell Wilson.
Third week of pre-season, 2012. Road game, in Kansas City. This time, Matt Flynn was nursing some sort of minor arm injury. Russell Wilson would get the start and play into the third quarter. Many speculated as to whether Flynn had an injury at all. Either way, with Wilson getting the biggest showcase of his all-too-young professional career, against a rather pedestrian Kansas City defense, the starting job was his to lose.
Russell Wilson went out and dominated anyway, and the rest is history.
In hindsight, giving Wilson the biggest showcase against the weakest of our four opponents could’ve proven short-sighted and fatal. What if Wilson was a bust? What if his inflated numbers against a crappy Chiefs defense led this team into a false sense of security?
Thank Christ that wasn’t the case. Yet, here we are. Pre-season 2015. Road game in Kansas City. And our future very well might hang in the balance once again.
That was a franchise-defining moment back in 2012. It set this team on the course of a world championship. We may be looking at a similar moment tomorrow night.
The Seahawks have, on offense, the most talented collection of players in this entire Pete Carroll run. With that being the case, you could make the argument that it’s the most talented collection of offensive players in franchise history, but I’m still going to keep that distinction with the 2005 team until proven otherwise. Offensive line is a big part of that. The 2005 O-Line had two future Hall of Famers and two very good and underrated veterans.
The 2015 O-Line has an injury-prone Pro Bowler at left tackle and that’s it.
That’s a problem. Because you can have Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Jimmy Graham, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Tyler Lockett, Luke Willson, Chris Matthews, and Ricardo Lockette – all these GREAT FUCKING PLAYERS – but if the O-Line is letting defenders run free through our ranks, rendering our starting quarterback ineffective at best & on the IR at worst, then it won’t matter how many stars this team has. It will fall on its face, and another year will have gone to waste in this Championship Window we’re all basking in.
This is all preamble to say that there are Twitter reports saying veteran All Pro guard Evan Mathis could be coming out for a visit on Saturday. He’ll be going into his 11th season, so he’s no spring chicken. But, just last year he was in the Pro Bowl, and just two years ago he was an All Pro, so he’s still got the chops. Reports indicate he’s been looking for $5 million on a 1-year deal; teams have thus far balked. However, with the Seahawks in apparent tremendous need, maybe he gets that (or something approaching that) here. OR, maybe he uses the Seahawks to gain leverage elsewhere. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say it’s here.
This makes tomorrow’s game against the Chiefs VERY important, for some admittedly non-obvious reasons.
It looks like Justin Britt – erstwhile right tackle turned left guard – has one game (and but a handful of practices this week) to prove he’s got what it takes to stick at the position. If he does his best impression of a wet paper bag, I’m not going to tell you his pro career is over, but I will say it’s all but certain this team in fact signs Mathis the next day. That takes away one spot, leaving him just the right tackle spot, to try to take it back from Garry Gilliam.
What’s wrong with that? Sounds perfect! We shore up a very important position, knock a shaky player back into the second string where he belongs, and resume ass kicking through the NFL.
Well, as I mentioned above, Mathis won’t come cheaply. And, capwise, the Seahawks are RIGHT up against it. Signing Mathis means cutting another guy. Which guy? Well, if I had to throw out a wild guess, I’d say Brandon Mebane. He’s set to make around $5 million, and he’s already said once this pre-season that the team came to him and asked him to take a pay cut (which he refused). I SUPPOSE, the team could theoretically sign Mebane to an extension to reduce his cap hit this year, but I’m not sure that was such a priority for this team given the nature of his injury last year and his advanced age.
Losing Mebane to sign Mathis is the ol’ robbing Peter to pay Paul thing. I don’t know how jacked I am about that, but I also don’t know where else this team can chop a large amount of salary.
This also obviously hurts us going forward, because if none of these guys we have now end up sticking at guard, then that’s one more position we’ve got to focus on next year. But, without serious improvement along the offensive line, I doubt we’re in a position to win it all.
The best case scenario is: Britt looks good at guard tomorrow and the team lets Mathis walk without a deal. I’m not so sure I believe all that highly in Britt, but I’m also not ready to throw a second round draft pick away when this spot – left guard – could actually be his calling in the league.
Things are going to look a lot more dicey after tomorrow if Britt looks like trash.
Four Tet – She Just Likes To Fight