Self-Scouting The Washington Huskies

I don’t know a lot about Alabama yet.  I haven’t really gotten that far.  I know they’re the best team in college football.  I know their offense is pretty good (run > pass).  I know their defense might be the best of all time (front seven > secondary).  They’re big and strong and fast and do most everything well.  They get after the quarterback, they stop the run, and if there’s any weakness whatsoever, it might be in the deep passing game.

But, before we really dig in, I think it’s just as important to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Washington Huskies.  To get an idea of our strengths and weaknesses and take a look at how Alabama might attack us.

The Huskies have played in 13 games this year, winning 12 outright, winning 10 of those pretty handily.  Unfortunately, the one game I missed was the USC game.  I think that one is going to tell us more about how Alabama might attack us than any of the other 12.  You could argue that by the time we played USC, they were simply the better, more talented team, and call it a day.  If USC on November 12th was just better than us, and there’s no way we ever could’ve won that game, then Alabama on December 31st is sure as shit better than us, so we might as well not show up!

Let’s try to move past that defeatist attitude, though.  I have to believe there’s at least a CHANCE the Huskies can beat Alabama on New Years Eve, otherwise I wouldn’t have blown upwards of $2,000 on this trip!

Here’s the thing – and I know this is going to sound totally obvious – but the Huskies are only going to go as far as Jake Browning can take them.  Duh, right?  But, where I’m going with this is:  Jake Browning is the greatest weakness on this Husky football team.

Blasphemy!  I know!  I sound like a poor man’s Skip Bayless right now, and I’m sorry, but it’s the truth.  Every week, the Brady Quinn’s of the world who call these Husky games make the same points about Browning over and over again.  And we get annoyed by them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t true.  Which ones are the games where the Huskies struggled, where they DIDN’T beat their opponents by 30 points?

  • At Arizona (win by 7 in overtime)
  • At Utah (win by 7)
  • USC (lost by 13)

What’s the common thread?  Jake Browning’s passing numbers in those games:

  • At Arizona:  14/21, 160 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
  • At Utah:  12/20, 186 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
  • USC:  17/36, 259 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs

Browning’s numbers are phenomenal in every other game except the one against Colorado, and we won’t see a secondary that good the rest of the season.  He also started off pretty ragged against ASU – possible hangover from the USC game – before pouring it on after the first quarter.  All year, he had 7 interceptions, but 4 of them happened in his three worst games of the year.

So, yeah, I’d say Browning is the key.

The Huskies were able to enforce their will against the Buffaloes because we had the strong running game.  We could do no wrong.  Our offensive line absolutely had their way with Colorado.  That obviously won’t be the same against Bama.  The thinking is, Bama is going to do what the Trojans did:  hold our running game in check.  In that game, Gaskin and Coleman combined for 57 yards on 17 carries for a 3.3 yards per carry average.  Falling behind in the first half, necessitating our abandoning the run, is ultimately what did us in.  If the running game can’t get going, and our pass protection breaks down, will we have it in us to throw our way out of it?

My ultimate fear is that we’ll try to counter their front seven by leaning on the quick passing game.  Lots of wide receiver/bubble screens and whatnot.  I envision their secondary sitting on these routes, waiting for them, and crushing us when we follow through on them.  We’ve got to loosen them up down field and do it early, or their defense will put the screws to us and it’ll be a LONG day for any Husky fans.

So, it’ll boil down to:  will the Huskies have enough time to throw?  Our O-Line is good, but they’re REALLY going to have to sack up in this game, at least to start.  If that works out, and we can get John Ross in some favorable matchups, then it’s going to come down to how accurate Jake Browning is.

And, we’ve seen it all year:  the under-thrown deep balls.  Every game, multiple times per game.  Browning is late on these throws time and time again.  If he’d properly anticipate and throw his speediest-receiver-in-all-of-college-football open up the seam or down the sidelines, he’d have a LOT more touchdowns than he already does.  It’s a testament to how amazing Ross and Dante Pettis are that they’re able to out-muscle these defenders for these jump balls.  I hope they also bring their big-boy pants in this game, because they’re going to need ’em.

I don’t want to pick on Browning exclusively; he does a lot of things really well.  He’s generally smart with the football, he’s very accurate on the short and intermediate throws.  He’s dynamite in the red zone, he knows when to run when he has to, and move around in the pocket to buy time.  We wouldn’t be where we are right now without Browning, and that’s the cold hard truth.  When Jake is on fire, this team is unbeatable.  He’s just got to take that next step in his development:  he’s got to step up in the big games, against the great teams, when the opponent is taking away all our other options and it’s all on his shoulders.  If he can achieve that against Alabama, then he’ll have mastered the game of college football.  And, once Jake has this game mastered, the sky is the limit for this team.

One thing that’s never really failed us is our defense.  Alabama’s obviously got the best rushing defense in the game at 63.4 yards allowed per game, but we’re 17th at 123.5.  Alabama bests us in passing defense as well, at 15th in the game with 184.5 yards per game, but we’re 22nd with 192.6, and we played an unquestionably tougher schedule from an opposing offense standpoint.  The SEC passing games have nothing on the Pac-12 this year.

We’re going to need our defense to play to the standard it’s set and I think we’ll stay pretty close in this game.  If our offense can put up points and move the ball on a consistent basis, we’ll win this game.  But, if Browning struggles, and the run game is non-existent, and we turn the ball over, then our defense might keep us in it for a half, but Bama will just shove it down our throats in the second half and that’ll be all she wrote.

So, again, this game is all on Jake Browning.  He needs to play the game of his life if we’re to contend for the National Championship.  He’s got the O-Line, he’s got some talented running backs, and he’s got all the weapons he could ever need in the passing game.  Now, he just needs to be on point and let’s go shock the world!

Seahawks Trade For Terrelle Pryor

When I first heard about this, the people on Twitter were flipping out … in a positive way!  My initial reaction was to think, “Well, this is a nothing move that’s going to get analyzed to death.”

We have a quarterback.  His name is Russell Wilson and he just led us to a championship.  We also already have a backup quarterback.  His name is Tarvaris Jackson, and in spite of my feelings for him as a starter, he’s still a better backup option than Terrelle Pryor.

Also, Terrelle Pryor’s contract runs through the end of the 2014 season, meaning we’ve got him under contract for exactly the same amount of time we’ve got Tarvar, so it’s not like we just picked up our “Backup Quarterback of the Future”, if such a thing even exists.

What did we do?  We gave away a seventh round draft pick to … I guess … light a fire under Tarvar for that #2 Quarterback job?  Mind you, the Seahawks have had some relative success in the seventh round and among the undrafted free agents.  You use those seventh round draft picks to grab would-be UFAs who you think won’t sign with you if granted their UFA status.  And we squandered it on, what, a third-string quarterback?

If that is the case, if we are looking to carry a third quarterback on our roster all year, then who does that bump?  The Seahawks have been one of the deepest teams in football the last couple years, and 2014 should be no different.  There are open spots on this team, sure, but I expect those spots will be filled by rookies and practice squad guys from last year.  The point is, it’s tough making those last few cuts, and now we’re going to have to make one more if we want to keep Pryor on the 53-man.

Those were my initial thoughts, in a nutshell.  But, then, as people started talking about his athleticism, and people kept wondering what he’d look like on the field split out wide, I started to get a little excited.  Terrelle Pryor is a running quarterback who isn’t much of a quarterback!  Remember when we had Seneca Wallace and he had those one or two times where we threw it to him and he made amazing plays in the open field?  Remember how we had to reign Seneca Wallace in because he was our only other viable quarterbacking option, so we couldn’t risk him getting injured?  Well, what if we had that … WITHOUT the concern about him getting injured?

Of course, that feels a little unrealistic to me.  I mean, you’re going to take this guy who has been a quarterback all his life, at the highest levels of the game, and you’re going to try to get him to learn a different position?  The Seahawks are saying all the things you’d expect them to say – they plan on Pryor playing the quarterback position when he gets here – so I ask again:  why is he here?

Maybe he’s just this year’s version of Brady Quinn.  Maybe we bring him in to make Training Camp a little more interesting, and then we cut him because we get to see with our own eyes that he’s horrible.

Or, maybe it’s my worst nightmare come to life:  we bring Pryor in and he shows us something, and then our offensive coordinator creates this package of plays based on his “abilities” and he’s our version of Tim Tebow, disrupting the regular offense by being shuttled on and off the field to diminishing returns.

I’m not going to freak out one way or the other on this move, because it’s not important.  People are making it into a bigger deal than it is, because it’s the quarterback position and because he played for a bigtime program in Ohio State.  So, I hope you like hearing about this all day every day, because that’s what your week’s going to be like if you follow sports in Seattle.

3 Down, 20 To Go: Sloppy Seahawks Slip Past Putrid Packers

Fail Mary THIS, assholes!

Look, I’m not gonna lie to you, at 6:30pm, smack dab in the middle of this contest, I had my fantasy football draft.  $50 buy-in, ten players, all old buddies from college … there’s a trophy and a year’s worth of shit-talking on the line.  So, forgive me if I wasn’t exactly glued to this pre-season game featuring the Seahawks in Green Bay.  In the first half, I saw a lot of underwhelming play.  I saw the Packers hide Aaron Rodgers, like they didn’t want to give us a challenge or something.  I saw Russell Wilson get destroyed on a couple sacks.  I saw Russell Wilson look idiotic on a couple of interceptions (granted, one was tipped, but still, he had to see there was no throwing lane there).  I saw Guns Turbin get absolutely fucking ABUSED by Clay Matthews on a blitz.  I saw the Richard Sherman every Seahawks fan hopes we never see when the games start to count (because, seriously, every fucking dick in the yard is rooting for him to fail this year after his off-season shit-storms).

In short, I saw a lot of heinous shit.  But, in the end, the Seahawks came out with the victory.  And here’s the thing:  you can say what you want about how bad this team looked, but that’s to be expected.  The Seahawks aren’t going to steamroll every team they play this year.  Sometimes – especially on the road – they’re going to have to slog through some terrible fucking performances and find a way to win it at the end in an ugly 17-10 fashion.

And, for as bad as this team looked, there were some definite high points.

I’m going to start right with the running game.  This offensive line looked like it was in peak mid-season form in their run blocking.  Pass protection:  not so much.  But, they were blowing defenders off the line and our running backs were the recipients of some massive holes.  That bodes VERY well for this team, considering THIS is what it wants to do the most.  Russell Wilson won’t always have a shit game like that, but when he does, it’s nice to know we can rely on our ground attack to fuck some bitches up.

Next up:  I thought the defense looked great.  There were breakdowns at times, but that’ll happen.  This defense might not shut anyone out all year.  BUT, they will generate turnovers.  Two more forced fumbles on absolutely textbook strips.  Like I said, this team may not lead the league in defense when it comes to points or yards, but it’s going to be among the league leaders in turnovers and return touchdowns scored (it’s why I reached heavily in my fantasy draft to pick up Seattle’s D in the fifth round)

(I should point out that defensive scoring in our league is kind of insane, so a top-flight defense can be a real boon to your chances week-in and week-out)

The pass rush is still a bit of a concern (seriously, if you can’t get to Green Bay’s quarterback, then you’re gonna have a bad time) but I don’t think that’s going away anytime soon, so I’m going to take that broken record off the player for a while.

Third on the hit parade:  Stephen Fucking Williams.  I can’t even get over this!  He is a deep-ball specialist!  If this team doesn’t keep him on the 53-man, I’m going to have some serious fucking issues.  Because SOME team (hint hint, 49ers) will pick him up and he will dominate.  Unreal.  Another 40-plus yard bomb for a touchdown, out-jumping a defender.  I want to have his babies.

Finally, I’ll just say that even though Brady Quinn won’t be around in a week or two, I really love that he launched that deep ball to Williams.  He’s looking for a backup job SOMEWHERE and he had absolutely nothing to lose.  Taking that one-on-one matchup and exposing the defense like that could be the difference between him having a job and him trying to sneak his way onto a CFL team.

Here’s the thing to ultimately take away from this game.

This was the third pre-season game.  The game where your starters play into the third quarter to get their game legs under them, to get their timing down, and to treat it like they would a regular season game (without, of course, giving away your whole bag of tricks).  You want to look good in your third game because that gives you an idea of how good you’ll actually be when the games start to count.  So, on that end, the Seahawks failed miserably.  Because, if they play like that in the regular season, they’ll be lucky to go 9-7 and grab the final Wild Card spot.

There IS another way to look at it, if you choose to say your glass is half full.

The Seahawks knew all of that going into this game.  They knew this was the real test of the pre-season and they TRIED to come out and beat the Packers like they beat the Broncos and Chargers before them.  Only, it didn’t work, and a lot of it was more the fault of the Seahawks being bad than the Packers being good.  You can’t strip the Pack of all the credit, mind you, but the Seahawks self-inflicted a lot of damage.  Penalties, missed blocks, poor throws, bad coverage, worse tackling.  A lot of these things are in the Seahawks’ control.  Knocking that penalty shit off is a biggie, and I have no doubt they’ll find a way.  Also, pass protection should be infinitely better with Lynch and Robinson carrying the load (not to mention a healthy Zach Miller).

In a funny kind of way, the Seahawks needed a game like this.  They needed a reality check.  Our stars did not come out, they did not shine.  They struggled.  Some played like total ass!  There is going to be so much tape of this game to learn from, it’s not even funny.  If the Seahawks aren’t a shit-ton cleaner against the Raiders next week, I’ll eat my hat.  Once they know they can play a clean game of football, that first game against Carolina should be a breeze.

So, I’m not going to totally obliterate this team.  Not now, anyway.  If they come out like this and blow week 1’s game in Carolina, though, it’ll be an entirely different story.

Seahawks’ Backups Better Than Chargers’ Backups

The Seahawks, under Pete Carroll, have moved to 8-5 all-time in Pre-Season games.  And, if you think that’s a dumb statistic, then congratulations, you understand the very importance of Pre-Season games!

Of course, as with any exhibition game, there were a number of stand-out players last night.  Tarvar looked like one of the most elite quarterbacks in the NFL, which just goes to show you:  the Seahawks have the greatest third-string quarterback in all of football!  YEAH!

And, if you think I’m going to relent on this Tarvar-bashing, you’re insane.  The moment I let my guard down, that’s the moment Russell Wilson breaks a femur and we’re stuck with Tarvar for the rest of the year (and, consequently, I’m out $700).  I’m guess I’m not 100% behind my previous statement that I’d rather have Brady Quinn, but what does it matter?  The death knell for Brady Quinn happened when he came off the bench as the second quarterback in this game.  Remember last year when Matt Flynn kept playing before Russell Wilson, then it turned out this team was giving Russell Wilson every opportunity to win the job?  That’s what they’re doing with Tarvar right now.  Let Quinn fluster about against tougher second-string defenses while Tarvar cleans up against future waiver wire guys.  Everyone’s panties get all moist over Tarvar’s perfect passer rating, and BOOM, he’s the second string guy and Quinn is out on his ass.  Meanwhile, Quinn gets lulled into a false sense of security because he thinks he’s got the upper hand by playing in the second-string role.  Little does he know, the unforgiving sword of doom dangles just overhead.

I thought Christine Michael looked good, as a running back.  You’ll notice he bobbled the first San Diego kickoff to us; I don’t know if that was nerves or what, but a rookie return man is pretty much my worst nightmare.  Is it too late to toss the Patriots a 7th round pick for the rights to take back Leon Washington?

Also, speaking of Michael, I said it on Twitter last night and I’m saying it again here:  the Seahawks will release Guns Turbin.  That’s my hunch.  It’s a tough decision, but what are you going to do?  Keep five running backs (Lynch, Robinson, Michael, Ware, & Turbin)?  What’s the point?  Michael is CLEARLY this team’s future.  Turbin might also be its future, but he’ll end up being its Future Maurice Morris.  I’ll ask it again:  why would you go to all the trouble to keep a future backup running back, when you’ve already got one in Ware?  In a year or two from now, when Lynch is gone, this team will be led by Michael and backed up by Ware.  It might even produce a sour spot for fantasy owners as I can envision Ware getting the bulk of the goalline carries.  What I can’t envision is Turbin somehow wrangling that starting running back position.  Michael does everything Turbin does, only he does it faster, with more explosiveness and more grit & determination.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  There are too many important bubble guys at other positions that our rivals will be all too willing to poach.  Let them have Turbin; I guarantee that does not ever come back to bite us in the ass.

Stephen Williams had a sick game, with two 40+ yard receptions and a touchdown.  People are already handing him the keys to his very own 53-man roster spot, to which I say, “Slow down, Skippy!”  It’s one meaningless game.  I know he has looked good in practice, but let’s see him consistently do it throughout the rest of this month before we go overboard.

As for the rest of the offense, I didn’t watch closely enough to have anyone make much of an impression.  That first play by Russell Wilson looked good (play-action roll out pass to Kearse), but other than that it appeared he needed to shake out the cobwebs.  You really don’t want to read too much into his first two possessions of the season, so let’s not go nuts.  I’ll just say that I expect him to look better next week and leave it at that.

The defense didn’t show me much of anything on that first drive, as San Diego sliced and diced their way through us like Ginsu Terminators.  Saying we played “vanilla defense” is one thing, but at some point your talent needs to step up there and shut down their talent mano a mano.  Our starting 11 on defense should be able to stand still pre-snap, rush four, play in a soft zone, and STILL be able to shut down the San Diego Chargers.  But, again, I’m not going to make too big a deal out of the first drive of the season.  Still, you’ve got to figure that’s the most jacked-up those guys have felt about playing football since the 2012 season ended.  I kind of expected frothing at the mouth intensity and instead I saw a lot of sloppy play and penalties.

Mike Morgan got the start at the Leo defensive end and showed me absolutely nothing.  I know the Chargers kept it simple with a lot of short drops and quick throws, but still.  His technique left a lot to be desired (and left me hoping for a speedier recovery for Chris Clemons).

Walter Thurmond sure got tossed around like a ragdoll, didn’t he?  I was having Marcus Trufant circa 2012 flashbacks last night.  Always a step slow and a step behind his man.  That’s no way to throw yourself into the conversation for starting nickel corner.

Byron Maxwell with the pick – and the almost-second pick – sure looks good out there.  He’s one of those bubble guys I’m talking about.  Do we want to keep Guns Turbin and let Maxwell sign with the 49ers?  Or, do we want to toss a backup, mid-round running back out into the world to sign for somebody’s minimum and probably hardly play any snaps (while keeping Maxwell and using him for either insurance, or trade bait for future draft picks)?

After all that, my night was pretty much lost to Coors Light, thoughts of my fantasy football draft, and losing scratch tickets.  There were some bubble linemen who made an impression and that’s great; again, I’ll say, “What can you do for me next week, and the week after that?”

All in all, it was an enjoyable win.  One thing is for certain:  even Brady Quinn is a better quarterback than Charlie Whitehurst.  Kinda makes you wonder about those Seahawks fans who were calling for him to be a starter over Hasselbeck that one year … WHITEHURST IS GOING TO BE BEAT-OUT BY A ROOKIE FROM SOUTHERN UTAH!

The 30 Most Important Seahawks In 2013

You might remember this very same series from last year.  You might remember that it was kind of a mess when all was said and done because it’s impossible to predict what the Seahawks are going to do at any given time.

Anyway, the list is pretty self-explanatory:  these are the 30 Seahawks ranked in order of importance.  We need THESE players to do well if we want the team to do well.  Likewise, we can’t LOSE these players for any extended period of time, or it’s going to cut into our overall chances for success (“success” = Super Bowl Or Bust).

Like last year, I’m going to try to do a post a day throughout the Pre-Season – explaining my reasoning behind where I ranked each player – leading up to the September 8th first game against Carolina.  I may have to adjust on the fly, depending on the circumstances, but for now here is the list as I see it:

  1. Russell Wilson
  2. Golden Tate
  3. Earl Thomas
  4. Richard Sherman
  5. Russell Okung
  6. Zach Miller
  7. Michael Bennett
  8. Marshawn Lynch
  9. Percy Harvin Sidney Rice
  10. Cliff Avril
  11. Max Unger
  12. Brandon Browner
  13. Red Bryant
  14. Breno Giacomini
  15. Bruce Irvin
  16. Sidney Rice Doug Baldwin
  17. Bobby Wagner
  18. Kam Chancellor
  19. Brandon Mebane
  20. K.J. Wright
  21. Antoine Winfield**Released/Retired?**
  22. James Carpenter
  23. Walter Thurmond
  24. Chris Clemons
  25. Doug Baldwin Percy Harvin
  26. Paul McQuistan
  27. Tony McDaniel
  28. J.R. Sweezy
  29. Luke Willson
  30. John Moffitt — **Traded**

Also Considered:

  • “Backup Quarterback”.  I’m usually pretty big on the importance of a backup quarterback, but with the dregs we’ve got this year, I’m just going to close my eyes and pray Russell Wilson takes every snap (that isn’t in a game where we are blowing the other team out).  Tarvaris Jackson looks to be the guy in this role.  I’m willing to grudgingly agree that he’s the man for the job when compared to Brady Quinn, and I suppose the Seahawks COULD be okay if he had to start a game or two.  But, even then, it really depends on the opponent.  Tarvar isn’t going to step into this lineup and beat the 49ers in Week 2.  But, he could probably handle himself against the Jags or Titans (please not the Titans, I’m actually going to be attending that game and want to see a GOOD quarterback).
  • Michael Robinson.  I always like a good fullback, but the fact of the matter is, this team just doesn’t utilize the fullback like many other teams.  Robinson does, however, hold a lot of importance in Special Teams, and he’s an overall likeable dude, so I hope he makes the team.
  • Jermaine Kearse.  By all early accounts, Kearse has taken a huge step up.  Which is important if he hopes to make the team, considering they just drafted Chris Harper in the 4th round.  Kearse is also a quality Special Teamer, so that’s another notch in the belt.  I wouldn’t burn too many brain cells on any of the wide receivers after the top 6, because they won’t be around for too much longer.
  • Jordan Hill & Jesse Williams.  Two rookie interior linemen looking to make a big impression on this team.  Odds are, they will survive, but that doesn’t mean they will remain healthy or stick in the rotation.  I’m casting a wary glance at these two until I hear otherwise.  Still, if we hit on these two, it could be very big for our future.
  • Malcolm Smith.  He’s looking to take over the Leroy Hill spot among our linebackers, but that doesn’t really tell the whole story.  From what I’m reading, Smith might just be a part-timer, especially considering the team is looking to move Bruce Irvin to his linebacking position as well.  Irvin will be more of a pass-rusher in a Nickel package while Smith will be more of a coverage guy in the base defense.  Considering this defense did pretty well with a slowed-by-age Leroy Hill last season, I think we’ll manage if we don’t have Malcolm Smith’s best.
  • Special Teams.  I’m just going to lump Kicker, Punter, and Long-Snapper in this category and call this post a day.  All are important in the sense that if you have a bad kicker, punter, or long-snapper, bad things (like losses) can happen.  But, really, who gives a shit?  You can only expend so many words on these guys before you drive yourself crazy.

**Updated 8/19/13** – Well, we have our first casualty to my increasingly irrelevant list.  John Moffitt, we hardly … no, wait, we knew ye.  We knew more than we ever needed to know about ye …

**Updated 9/2/13** – And down goes Antoine Winfield.  I guess that means you can move Walter Thurmond up a couple spots on my list and throw Byron Maxwell into the #23 slot.  Maxwell looks like the real motherfucking deal and ultimately this move – along with cutting Michael Robinson – saves us plenty of cash that we can carry over to the 2014 cap.

Reunited & It Feels So Bad: Tarvar To Re-Sign With Seahawks

You’re never safe.  No matter how safe you THINK you are, just know that you’re never safe.

I despise Tarvaris Jackson.  It’s why I’ve nicknamed him Tarvar; because a name like T-Jack is for someone reasonably cool.  Tarvar is the God damned apocalypse.

I’m not entirely an unreasonable man.  I can admit a guy is better than Brady Quinn when I see one.  But, for starters, let’s just put this out there:  Tarvar isn’t THAT much better than Brady Quinn.  He’s NOT a starting quarterback.  Just because he WAS a starting quarterback two years ago doesn’t mean we now have two starting quarterbacks on this roster.  We have ONE starting quarterback – Russell Wilson – and we have two suck-ass losers.  Just because Tarvar is a hair better (allegedly) than Quinn is no reason to start praising this signing.

Remember all those sacks Tarvar took because he was too indecisive?  Remember how he held the ball FOREVER trying to find the perfect throw?  Remember how everyone THINKS he’s this mobile quarterback, even though he pretty much NEVER scrambles or even leaves the pocket (except to run straight backwards and get sacked)?  He’s NOT a Russell Wilson clone!  He won’t run the read-option!  You know how I know this?  Because we had the same offensive coordinator two years ago and I don’t remember this team EVER running the read-option with him.  And THAT team had a bad offensive line that was still trying to gel under newly-hired Tom Cable’s zone blocking scheme.  You’d think that a team with those kinds of O-Line problems would’ve tried to shake things up with a little zone-read.  But they didn’t, because that’s not Tarvar’s game.  He’s a drop-back passer and a bad one at that.

Strong arm?  Who gives a shit!  Most of the quarterbacks in the NFL have strong arms!  Tough guy?  Big fucking deal!  So he took a lot of hits and kept playing; so would (again) MOST of the quarterbacks in the NFL!  Know this:  he was on his last strike in this league.  If he didn’t show the kind of toughness he showed, he probably wouldn’t have found another starting job ever again.  Except, oh wait!  He lost his job to a rookie last year, was traded to Buffalo, and never threw a regular season pass on a team that finished with a record of 6-10!

Now, I’m sure he’s a hard worker, but I’m sure I don’t care.  Here’s what I don’t like the most about this move:  what his presence will mean for that locker room.  He was the team’s captain two years ago.  He’s a highly respected guy on this team.  I wouldn’t even be surprised if there are a lot of guys on this team who believe he was screwed out of his job last off-season.  Yes, Russell Wilson proved his value as the season wore on; and yes, this IS Russell Wilson’s team now.  But, do you really want team chemistry to be one of your issues this year?  When the team is as young as it is, as brash as it is, and as egotistical as it is?

This issue is a little further down on my Concerns List, but what if Russell Wilson struggles early on?  Am I going to have to sit through these fucking idiot fans chanting for Tarvaris Jackson to be our starter?  I can’t remember the last time anyone used the phrase “going postal”, but I’m pretty sure that’s what the phrase was invented for.

With Tarvaris Jackson on the team, we’re one snap away from him being the guy that’s supposed to lead this team to the Super Bowl.  One freak injury away from being led by Mr. 8-8.  I’m not necessarily saying that we’d be better off with Brady Quinn starting the rest of our games, but I AM saying that you never know.  I most certainly DO know what we have in Tarvaris Jackson.  And, if you’re going to try to bring up the point that the rest of the Seahawks’ roster is better now than it was in 2011 (and so, with a better team around him, he should be able to win more games); I will point you toward the last time he was a regular starter for the Minnesota Vikings.  THAT was a pretty fucking good team, too.  A team that went to the NFC title game and was ever-so-close to going to a Super Bowl with an over-the-hill Brett Favre.  If Tarvar couldn’t win with those Vikings, what makes you think an older Tarvar can win with these Seahawks?

Brady Quinn might be terrible, or he might not.  You DON’T know.  Shit, Derek Anderson was a Pro Bowl quarterback one year!  Anything can happen.  All I hear about him is that Brady Quinn is a machine in the weight room, and that he rivals Russell Wilson in game-prep and watching film.  I have to think that his crazy type of work ethic is BOUND to pay off in ways we’ve yet to see.

So, yeah, I’m on the Brady Quinn train.  I didn’t want to be; I surely didn’t intend to be!  I was more than happy having Matt Flynn around as my security blanket.  But, the Seahawks are really putting Baby in a corner here with this Tarvar news.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Projecting The 2013 Seattle Seahawks’ 53-Man Roster

Some guys dig on mock-drafts and look to pump them out on a monthly basis whether there’s any new information or not … and some of us like to do mock-rosters because it’s the baseball season and there’s nothing else to write about.

More or less, this is your average NFL 53-man roster:

9 Offensive Linemen
6 Wide Receivers
3 Tight Ends
2 Quarterbacks
4 Running Backs

9 Defensive linemen
7 Linebackers
10 Corners & Safeties

1 Punter
1 Kicker
1 Long Snapper

24 offense, 26 defense, 3 special teams.  You substitute a player here and there depending on special teams coverage needs, but that’s ultimately what you end up with.

So, with this template in mind, why not look at the Seadderall Seahawks and see where things plug in?

Offensive Line

Right now, we’ve got three starters locked in:  our tackles and our center, Okung, Giacomini, and Unger.  For the guards, take your pick of two among the following four:  McQuistan, Carpenter, Sweezy, Moffitt.  All seven of those players are pretty much locks to make the team, which leaves two more offensive line spots.

McQuistan can also play tackle, so that gives you some flexibility.  Jeanpierre, I believe, has some experience as a center, so he might be good to go as one of those final linemen.  I don’t know enough about the linemen to make a very educated guess on the last guy, so let’s just say Mike Person is someone and leave it at that.  Stick the rookies on the practice squad and call it a day.

Quarterbacks

This is Russell Wilson and Brady Quinn.  Almost certainly.  Portis just got shit-canned for being an idiot, which leaves Jerrod Johnson who has never played a down of NFL football.  I’m going to go out on a huge limb and say Brady Quinn’s job is secure, with no chance of this team keeping a third QB.  Johnson would have to blow everyone away in Training Camp to make the leap, and I’m just not buying it.

Tight Ends

Unless injury strikes, this one’s pretty easy too.  You’ve got your starter, Zach Miller.  You’ve got your blocking tight end/backup, Anthony McCoy.  And you’ve got your pass-catching tight end/backup, Luke Willson.  There, there’s your first rookie to make the team.  Coaches seem high on him, even though he did next-to-nothing in college.

Running Backs

Here’s where I’m going to deviate from the norm just a bit.  I think this team keeps five running backs.  Lynch, Turbin and Michael are all locks (there’s rookie #2).  I don’t think this team can afford to give up Michael Robinson, who is not only the starting fullback but also a standout on special teams.  And, I think the team hangs onto Ware (rookie #3) and grooms him to be a fullback replacement for next year.  For the record, I think Ware and possibly Michael regularly ride the pine on gamedays as inactives.

Wide Receivers

To make up some room for our extra running back, I think this team keeps only five receivers (Rice, Tate, Harvin, Baldwin, & Harper).  That decision is made easier depending on how well guys like Baldwin and rookie Chris Harper (rookie #4) take to special teams.  Jermaine Kearse will be a tough guy to leave off, but I just don’t see how this team can afford a sixth receiver with all the talent we’ve got on defense.

Defensive Line

With Scruggs on IR, Irvin suspended for four games, and Clemons on the PUP list, the defensive line became a whole lot easier to figure out.  You’ve got your starting ends:  Bryant and Avril.  You’ve got Mebane and whoever starts opposite of him at the other tackle position.  Bennett is another lock to make this team as a guy you can slide either inside or outside, so that brings us to four.  I think both rookies Hill and Williams make the team and fight for starting minutes (rookies #5 & #6).  I think free agent McDaniel cracks the squad along with veteran McDonald (played a lot last year in backing up Mebane) and young guy Jaye Howard.  That gives us 9.

Of course, you have to anticipate Irvin and Clemons returning, so some tough decisions will be waiting after the first month of the season.  By that point, you gotta figure there will be an injured guy or two who can slide right onto the IR without being missed.  We’ll see.

Linebacker

Wagner & Wright are your locks.  Malcolm Smith is looking strong to be the third starter.  Instead of the traditional seven, I think this team has to scrimp here and only keep six.  Undrafted free agent Lotulelei (rookie #7) looks like a strong bet to make the team.  Special teams standout Heath Farwell should be a keeper for all he does in that realm.  And, if I had to guess, I’d say the last guy on the team will be Mike Morgan.  The Seahawks have already waived Korey Toomer once before; I can see them doing it again.  Allen Bradford doesn’t strike me as a guy you just HAVE to have (and, let’s face it, good teams tend to drop good players when they make their final cuts).

Safety

Earl and Kam are your guys here.  Since this team only has five safeties on its roster, and since I’ve only heard of four of these guys, I think it’s pretty obvious who the backups will be.  Winston Guy got some valuable experience last year and is as much of a lock as can be.  Jeron Johnson is the other, and he’s proven to be a solid contributor as well.

Cornerbacks

Sherman & Browner are your guys here.  Consider Winfield to be a lock as your nickel corner.  I like Jeremy Lane, Walter Thurmond (if he can stay healthy) and rookie Tharold Simon (rookie #8) to be solid backups.  That already brings us to six, but for the life of me, I can’t see this team throwing Byron Maxwell away.  He’s been on the team for too long and you know if he goes somewhere else he’ll be competing for starting minutes.  I think the team finds a roster spot for Maxwell and keeps a total of 7 corners.

The Rest

That brings us to 50, with Hauschka, Ryan, and long snapper Clint Gresham as your final guys.

I’m sure as I continue following the goings on in this pre-season portion of the season, this roster will change quite a bit.  But for now, this is my opening statement on what the roster will be.  Let’s see how much it resembles the ACTUAL 53-man roster come opening day.

I will say, as one caveat, that I haven’t accounted for injuries (except for the ones that already happened).  I’m sure a major reason why my roster now will differ from the real 53-man roster in September will have most-everything to do with injuries, and how that trickles down when considering need vs. want at all the positions.

What The Seahawks Should Do On Draft Days 2013

Remember when it was just Draft Day and we didn’t drag this out in a masturbatory exercise in NFL self-congratulation.  WE GET IT, you’re the biggest sport in the world!  Why not make it Draft Week and have one round per day?  Limey fucks.

The Seahawks have 10 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft.  Obviously, they traded their first round pick to Minnesota, so they’ve got nothing to do with the rest of their day today.  The odds are pretty much nil that the Seahawks trade up into the first round, especially given the low status of their second rounder (#56 overall).

And I don’t want them to!  Fuck the first round.  There’s nothing in the first round that we won’t be able to find in any of the other rounds.

The Seahawks have at least one pick in the remaining six rounds, including 2 in the fifth and 4 in the seventh.  That’s where we stand right this very moment.

If you want to know what I WANT to happen, I’ll tell you.  First and foremost, I’d look to see if there’s a taker for our second round pick.  Ideally, the Seahawks would trade that second rounder for a first rounder in next year’s draft.  That’s how confident I am in this team’s ability to contend with what they have right now.  I think the more draft picks we can trade to jump into next year’s draft, the better.  Because by that time, we will have some major contract decisions to make.  Guys are going to get paid, while other guys are going to get cut to save money to pay the contracts of those first guys.  So, having a glut of higher draft picks going into 2014 would be a great way to mitigate the losses of good players who will be gone after 2013.

Something tells me that won’t happen, but a guy can dream.

In some particular order, the Seahawks need to draft a linebacker, a backup quarterback, a couple defensive tackles, a defensive end, an offensive tackle, a wide receiver, a cornerback, a third running back, and maybe a kicker.  That’s sort of my order of importance, but truth be told, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Seahawks draft ANY of these positions in their higher draft areas (second & third round).  OK, I’d be surprised if I saw a kicker drafted there, but can you just IMAGINE the balls it would take to say to the NFL:  here’s how good we are, take a look at our first pick kicker!

I’ve had this hunch for a while now that the Seahawks would look to draft a quarterback in the second round, if the right one fell to them.  The more I think about it, the more I’m waffling on that sentiment.  I mean, part of the whole thing about trading Matt Flynn was getting rid of a backup quarterback who made a lot more money than the starter.  Why would the Seahawks look to disrespect Russell Wilson by taking a quarterback a year later in a round HIGHER than he was picked?  Part of me thinks:  you gotta get over that shit.  That’s pride, fuckin’ with you.  But, another part of me knows that people take shit like this seriously.

Nevertheless, I don’t think the Seahawks will have any choice if the right guy falls.  Right away, you have a pretty good idea that he’ll be better than Brady Quinn.  On top of that, if he develops at all, you can trade him away in a few years for more draft picks.  Maybe by that point, people will have forgotten how much Kevin Kolb sucks.

A very un-sexy pick would be a defensive tackle, but you can’t rule it out.  Mebane and Bryant are getting up there.  These wide-bodies don’t have the longest shelf lives, and once they get injured, they break down quick-fast-and-in-a-hurry.  And beyond that, we just need depth!  All of these free agent defensive ends they signed tells me that the Seahawks are going to need to improve this position via the draft, unless they want to risk signing guys to 1-year deals every year for the next half decade.  We’re pumping a crazy amount of money into the line, with the deals for Bryant and Mebane specifically.  Once we start looking to re-sign Sherman, Thomas, and Wilson, money is going to have to come from somewhere.  A good bet is it comes from the D-Line.  Which means, the Seahawks have to start looking to draft their replacements NOW.  Cost-effective players who can handle their shit, that’s what we need.

Linebacker is one of the more obvious needs, but I’m no longer convinced the Seahawks have to get this in the 2nd or 3rd rounds.  We need to replace the departed Leroy Hill, and we’re going to do that either with someone on the roster today, or someone who will be on the roster after Saturday.  My guess is we look somewhere in the fourth or fifth rounds for this player.  No sense in over-paying for a position that quite frankly you can fill with lower-tier talent.

Since I hardly know any of the projected first round talent as it is (a byproduct of me not giving two shits), there’s no way in Hell I’d try to do a true mock draft of who I think the Seahawks will pick.  However, I’ll go a little more simple:  my mock draft of what positions the Seahawks will draft in each of their rounds.  Let’s see how many I’m able to correctly guess.

2nd Round:  Defensive Tackle
3rd Round:  Offensive Tackle
4th Round:  Quarterback
5th Round:  Linebacker
5th Round:  Wide Receiver
6th Round:  Defensive End
7th Round:  Cornerback
7th Round:  Defensive Tackle
7th Round:  Running Back
7th Round:  Linebacker

Seahawks Bring In Brady Quinn

It’s not all so simple as:  The Seahawks Traded Matt Flynn For Brady Quinn & A Couple Of Later Round Picks In The Next Couple Of Drafts.  But, I’ll be damned if that isn’t the way people are going to spin this.

I’m on record as officially against the trade of Matt Flynn.  But, that’s the Better Safe Than Sorry side of me taking over.  The safe choice is to keep Flynn and hope you never have to use him, but also more than willing to have him in there for multiple games at a time if need be.  He’s not better than Russell Wilson, he might not even be better than half the quarterbacks in the league.  But, in my eyes, he’s a starting-caliber quarterback who we had as a backup.

The “sorry” side of the “Better Safe Than Sorry” credo turns out to be Brady Quinn.  The 22nd overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft who has bounced around from Cleveland to Denver to Kansas City in his six years in the league.  In that time, Quinn started 20 games.  In those 20 games, Quinn’s team has won four times.  Quinn’s overall career involves a guy who has thrown for a little over 3,000 yards in 24 total games, with 12 touchdowns & 17 interceptions.  He has a career passer rating of 64.4.  He is, in short, terrible.

We went from starting-caliber to terrible.  In doing so, we saved some money and grabbed a couple of extra draft picks.  But, there are secondary factors we can’t necessarily see because we’re not running the show.  Does this turn of events help us secure Kam Chancellor to a long-term deal ahead of his becoming a free agent?  Does this restore a sense of balance in the locker room, where the starting quarterback’s contract is no longer dwarfed by his backup?  My guess is, for the time being, Quinn’s contract will still surpass Wilson’s – since he’s been in the league longer and the minimums go up for veterans – but it won’t be so obscene.  Likewise, Russell Wilson won’t have to sit in a quarterback room with a guy he beat just last season for the starting job.  I don’t know how much this affects a locker room, but it can’t be completely insignificant.

In the end, though, on the outside this is what we’ve got.  Brady Quinn, backup quarterback.  You never root for the starter to fail or get injured, but at this point I’m actively afraid for Russell Wilson’s safety!  If he goes down, even for one game, we might be fucked!  I don’t EVER want to see Brady Quinn starting for us!  Yeah, he was well-hyped coming out of college, yeah, he was a first round draft pick; but so was Tebow.  Quinn has proven to be a botch-job as a quarterback in this league and he’s lucky to still be employed.

Then again, maybe that’s the reason.  You know the old adage about the backup quarterback being the most popular guy on the team with regards to a fickle fanbase.  Well, there is NO CHANCE this is the case going into 2013!

You want my guess on how this shakes out?  Well, for starters, the Seahawks WILL be drafting a quarterback later this month.  I wouldn’t even be surprised if the Seahawks use their 2nd round pick, if the right guy falls to them.

You want something else?  I doubt Quinn even makes the opening-week roster.  If he’s on the sidelines come Week 1, I’ll eat my hat, capisce?  So, don’t get carried away.

But, if you’re still a little nervous, maybe invest in a lucky rabbit’s foot.  Pray to the ACL gods that Russell Wilson stays healthy for a full 19 weeks this autumn.  Because he’s now walking that same tightrope he walked across last season, only now we don’t have a safety net.  That’s all we need:  a long-suffering fanbase with something ELSE to worry about when things finally start turning positively.

Seahawks Sign Tony McDaniel

Because who among us can REALLY get enough of Seahawks news this offseason?

Tony McDaniel is 6’7 and plays defensive tackle.  Essentially, he’s Jason Jones, right on down to being injury prone.

I don’t have a lot to say about this because I don’t know much about the guy.  If the Dolphins are willing to let him go, you gotta wonder how good he really is.  Or maybe it’s just they got tired of dealing with him being injured all the time.  I guess I can see that.  Anyway, he’s depth.  He’s another guy we can throw on the line, with Avril, with Bennett, with Irvin, to create some kind of super-speedy, kill-the-quarterback type of line-up.  In all likelihood, this is a guy who’s going to play well under 50% of the snaps.  But, if we can keep him walking upright, maybe we can squeeze a lot of success out of those snaps.

I dunno.  John Clayton on the radio yesterday said he’s good.  So, I guess he’s good.  Either way, he’s only here for one year.  And maybe not even that.  There’s nothing that says he HAS to make this team coming out of Training Camp.  When you’re a Seahawks fan under the Pete Carroll/John Schneider regime, you tend to not get too attached to fringe guys like Tony McDaniel.

Also, people are saying this spells the end of Alan Branch.  I dunno about that either.  Seems to me we’re still going to need some more wide-bodies to plug in there and stop the run between Mebane & Red Bryant.  Unless THAT’S where we’re opting to go young and cheap.  Because literally every other spot on the line is being eaten up via free agency and/or the extremely wealthy.  And really, you gotta wonder how much more money they’re willing to spend this offseason on free agents.

In unrelated news – unworthy of its own post, if you ask me – Matt Flynn rumors are heating back up.  Is that the plan?  Trade him for a draft pick or two, save some money … and then what?  If our goal is to sign a free agent quarterback as a backup, it’s likely going to cost us at least half of what we’re saving in that Matt Flynn money.  I still don’t see the point in trading away a really good backup quarterback when he’s always in the top 20-25 players on any given team!

How many teams in any given year play every meaningful offensive snap with one quarterback?  Not very many!  You’ve got to have a Plan B that isn’t Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy, or Matt Leinart!  Look, Seahawks, I’ve got quite a bit of money riding on you guys this year.  A casino in Tahoe bumped their Seahawks Win The Super Bowl odds from 5-1 to 7-1 and I jumped in for $100.  That’s a good amount of scratch if we win, but for us to get there, I’m going to need you to be the best team you can be!  Right now!  In 2013!  For you to be the best team you can be, I’m afraid I’m going to need quality depth across all positions.  That means KEEPING Matt Flynn, because in a pinch I believe he can win us some ballgames.

After 2013, go nuts, I don’t care.  But, WE GOTTA DO THIS!  PAPA NEEDS A NEW PAIR OF EVERYTHING!