I Don’t Know How The Seahawks Beat The Falcons

You know when you’re a cartoon tough guy getting ready to sock someone right in the puss, and as you’ve got your fist cocked and loaded they come back at you with an apology, and now you’re just standing there teetering on the line between rage and forgiveness?  You’ve got all this aggression inside you, just begging for release, but the target of your aggression no longer deserves to have that violence heaped upon them!  It’s an awkward feeling.  Almost as awkward as the opening to this Seahawks post.

As the third quarter spilled over into the fourth quarter, and the Seahawks drove to the red zone, trailing for the first time all game, I couldn’t help but think about that third quarter, and how easy it had all of a sudden become for the Falcons to move the ball at will.  This drive was do or die, and there we were with 1st & Goal at the 10 yard line.  Crazy run by Michael stuffed for no gain, drop by Spiller inside the 5, incomplete to Kearse in the back of the endzone.  There we were, settling for a field goal, with part of me secretly wishing we’d just go for the jugular and go for it on 4th down.  And then we botched the field goal, and for a minute there, I had to stop watching the game.  I turned the TV off for the next Falcons drive, because no good could have come from it.

I was sitting there, stewing.  Thinking about all the reasons why we were losing.  Hopping mad about how EMBARRASSING the Seahawks looked in the second half.  Breakdowns in the secondary, lack of a pass rush after we’d gotten after Matt Ryan consistently in the first half, Pete Carroll chickening out of a 4th & Inches situation on the Falcons’ side of the 50 yard line, the Falcons – in general – making the halftime adjustments, and our inability to counter, Christine Michael bungling multiple opportunities to plow ahead for first downs, seemingly allergic to contact.  I mean, I could go on and on.

But, then somehow we forced the Falcons to punt!  A miracle!  We drove straight down there, and thanks to a timely pass interference penalty, we were able to punch it in!  All I could think about was how there was still a lot of time left, and maybe it wouldn’t be so hot to be in a tie game with the Falcons at this point.  Sure enough, the extra point was blocked, and my wish was granted!  Of course, I never expected that wish to be granted, but I swear there was some logic being it:  in a tie game, the Falcons are more likely to be aggressive and move the ball down the field through the air – which, to that point, had been like a hot knife through warm butter.  But, if the Falcons were nursing a lead, they’d be more likely to go conservative, try to milk some clock, and otherwise play it safe to avoid the defensive big play turnover.

As it happened, the Falcons had no intention of going conservative.  They threw on their subsequent three plays.  A couple of short-gainers for a first down, and then a slant to Julio Jones, who had abused us all second half.  It tipped off of his outstretched hand and ultimately bobbled its way into the cradling grasp of Earl Thomas for the defensive big play turnover we’d been looking for!

We ended up driving it right back down into field goal range, and this drive really had all the makings of one of those 4-minute, run-out-the-clock type drives where you win it on the last second field goal.  But, Russell Wilson – who ended up having a fine, if unspectacular game – got a little antsy and overthrew a WIDE open Tyler Lockett with a terrible lob pass on 3rd & 3.  Nevertheless, with two minutes to go in the game, we re-took the lead, 26-24.

Shockingly, Matt Ryan threw three straight incomplete passes to Mohamed Sanu before finally going for Julio on 4th down.  In double coverage, with our two best secondary guys draped all over him.  Richard Sherman ultimately got in the way enough to allow the ball to fall incomplete, but God damn was Julio close to catching it anyway.

And don’t think this is me trying to gloss over the fact that Richard Sherman most certainly interfered with the receiver.  But, there’s a clear difference between how Sherm interfered with Julio, and how Atlanta’s Robert Alford interfered with Jermaine Kearse earlier in the quarter.  For starters, Alford is one of the worst cornerbacks in football.  He’s constantly out of position and giving up huge plays.  And, when he’s not doing that, he’s drawing huge flags to further dismantle his team’s chances of getting a stop.  Desmond Trufant is good, but he can’t cover everyone at once!  But, that’s neither here nor there, because whether or not Sherm had a good game yesterday (I don’t know the defensive play calls or the audibles or whatnot, so I don’t necessarily know what his responsibilities were supposed to be), he’s still a great cornerback.  And the great ones know how to interfere with a receiver’s ability to catch the football, while at the same time make it so subtle that the refs don’t see it.

That was a subtle move Sherman put on Julio.  Without gesticulating a lot, just keep Julio’s arm pulled down at his side so he can’t go up with two hands to catch it.  While, at the same time, turning around to make a play on the football.  I’ll admit, I didn’t even notice the interference on first watch; to me, it looked like two guys going up for a football.  And, I’m sure that’s how it looked to the refs who were in the area.  When you’ve got all that, plus you’re talking about an end-of-game situation, they’re usually going to let the guys play.

All in all, it added up to a miracle finish, one the Seahawks needed pretty desperately.

This was the most un-Seahawky game I think I’ve seen in a long time.  Normally, when the Seahawks (under Pete Carroll) struggle to win a game, it’s because we’ve gotten off to yet another slow start.  The offense can’t convert on third down, and the defense helps dig us an early hole.  Then, after halftime, adjustments are made, the opposing offense is held in check, and Russell Wilson & Co. hurry to make yet another breathtaking comeback!  This game was pretty much the opposite of that.  While the offense wasn’t any great shakes in the first half, we did score on half of our drives, which more than compensated for a defense that held the Falcons to all of 3 points in generating a 17-3 halftime lead.  Then, it was the Falcons who made the adjustments, while our defense fell apart to the tune of 21-unanswered.

If you could win games in the third quarter, the Falcons would’ve gotten the better of us!  But, I think I heard somewhere that you can’t win the game in the third quarter.  Just like you can’t win it in the second or first quarters, but that’s neither here nor there.

At halftime, I was convinced this game would be a walk-over.  After the third quarter, it wasn’t even dread, it was full blown resignation that the Seahawks were going to lose.  Thankfully, you can only win games in the fourth quarter.  And so we got the W, but it was costlier than I like.

Michael Bennett was taken out at the knees and was unable to return.  That one looked pretty scary, but from the sounds of things, it might not even keep him out of next week’s game against the Cardinals.  We may have dodged a bullet, so pray to the god of skinny punks that it turns out to be nothing.

Luke Willson suffered what looks like a crusher.  We won’t know until they do the MRI and all that, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it ends his season, and potentially his Seahawks career.  He’s an unrestricted free agent next year, so you have to wonder.  At the very least, he probably has to sign a 1-year prove-it deal somewhere, before he can cash in for something more substantial.  Either way, knee injuries are never good for “move” tight ends.  I hope it’s less severe, for his sake as much as the Seahawks’.

That means Brandon Williams moves up a spot, which is less encouraging.  I don’t want to short-change him, I’m sure he’ll be fine, but Luke’s got a track record of making some big catches for us.  That’s a nice security blanket, in the event Graham goes down.  It also means Nick Vannett is returning from his high ankle sprain at just the right time.  You figure he’ll be thrown into the fire right away, so I hope he has that playbook on lock.

Let’s run through the kudos.

Jimmy Graham with another huge game.  God, it’s just so HUGE to have a player of his calibre on this team!  It took him about a year to get comfortable with the scheme, and for Wilson to get comfortable with him, but now that everyone’s on the same page, this is the type of lethal combination we’ve been waiting for since we drafted Wilson.  Doug Baldwin is a great player, and will always be that security blanket for us, but it’s just so awesome to have a big guy we can throw it up to in traffic and have him come down with it for a big play.

Alex Collins had a nifty little TD run in the second quarter, when Christine Michael was out in the concussion protocol.  Bad for my fantasy team, but good for the kid to do that and do it in a victory.

Player of the Game on defense had to be Cliff Avril, who was on the warpath, particularly in the first half.  He had two sacks and multiple hits, as well as a forced fumble that was picked up by Tony McDaniel.  We’ll certainly need him to be at the top of his game if Bennett ends up missing any extensive time.

Another great game by Bobby Wagner, who’s really showing up with big play after big play.  Same with Earl Thomas, who nabbed the all-important interception in the 4th quarter.

We’ll definitely look back at this one come playoff time, especially if the Falcons continue playing well.  This win gives us a tie-breaker advantage over a likely divisional winner.  Since we won’t get a chance to play the Cowboys or Vikings, getting as many of these types of wins will be huge.  Next week is another one, as we can really put the Cardinals away early and put ourselves in the driver’s seat for one of the top two seeds in the playoffs.  Whatever keeps us from playing that Vikings defense as long as possible is the best scenario in my book.

Seahawks Throttle Jets Before Well-Deserved BYE Week

The lasting image I’ve taken away from this game – the first thing that’ll come to mind as the season goes on and I’m reminded of the week we went to New Jersey to play the Jets – isn’t Russell Wilson’s heroism, or Jimmy Graham’s demolition of everything in his path, or even the fact that we flew across the country and dominated in a 10am west coast start time that would’ve been unheard of 10 years or even 5 years ago.  While those are all great storylines that I’ll gladly talk about below, the really fascinating part of this game was the Brandon Marshall vs. Richard Sherman matchup, and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s fearlessness in trying to exploit it.

Richard Sherman doesn’t follow the other team’s #1 receiver every game.  Part of that is many teams don’t have a TRUE #1 receiver worthy of all the attention, part of that is our scheme is so sound and our other cornerbacks are pretty good in their own rights.  So, when Sherm does the unusual, like he did on Sunday, it’s noteworthy.  Hell, it’s appointment television!  And, this matchup didn’t disappoint.

Brandon Marshall IS a true #1 receiver.  He is, indeed, probably one of the top five most gifted and dominant receivers in all of football.  People don’t usually throw his name into the mix as much as they should because he’s 32 years old, he’s bounced around to now his fourth team in a tumultuous career, and he’s rarely – if ever – had a really elite quarterback throwing him the ball.  But, I’ll tell you this much, he’s had eight 1,000+ yard receiving seasons (including at least one with four different teams, which I believe is an NFL record), and he’s had 6 seasons with 100+ receptions.  This is a bona fide NFL Hall of Fame talent, and maybe a first ballot guy at that.

I mean, just look at the list of quarterbacks he’s made look like Pro Bowlers:

  • Jay Cutler
  • Kyle Orton
  • Chad Henne
  • Matt Moore
  • Jay Cutler again
  • Josh McCown
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick

If that isn’t a who’s who of utter crap, I don’t know what to tell you!

So, when I caught on to what Richard Sherman was trying to do, that game took on another level of intrigue.  Now, it didn’t hurt that Eric Decker was out with injury.  While Decker isn’t in Marshall’s league, he’s still a quality, veteran receiver and a consummate #2 guy who will do his share of the damage if the opposing team focuses too much on Marshall.  I wonder, with a fully healthy Decker, if Sherm still would’ve followed Marshall, or if we would’ve played it straight.

Either way, he did follow Marshall around, and it was absolutely the right thing to do.  There’s no doubt in my mind – with the way Fitzpatrick was already trying to pick on Sherm, because we left him out there on an island (so to speak) – that had we stuck with our regular defense, Marshall would’ve lined up against Shead probably 80% of the game, and he would’ve destroyed us for 200+ yards and maybe a couple more touchdowns.  And, believe me, I like Shead!  I just think there’s another class of cornerback above Shead (a class that Richard Sherman is in), and it takes a guy IN that class to try to shut down a quality receiver like Marshall.

I mean, hell, as it was, with Sherm on him all day, Marshall STILL caught 4 balls for 89 yards and the first receiving touchdown this defense has given up this season!  You’re telling me those numbers wouldn’t EASILY be doubled with Shead guarding him predominantly throughout the game?  Unless we would’ve shaded our safeties to his side on the reg, which isn’t really the way we like to play defense.

Anyway, it looked like it was going to pay off for the Jets.  Marshall got the lion’s share of his catches and yards in the first half – including the touchdown right before halftime that looked very un-Sherm, as he was unable to get his head turned around to look for the ball – but after a VERY bullshit pass interference call on Sherm in the second half, Fitz was caught with his hand in the cookie jar one too many times, and Sherm cut it off at the wrist with the first of two interceptions for him on the day.  EASILY the most satisfying interception I’ve seen him catch, probably since the 2013 game at Houston, as it came immediately after the bullshit flag.

In the end, the Sherman vs. Marshall matchup went about as well as you’d expect.  Marshall got his licks in early – because you’re not going to COMPLETELY eliminate a guy of his calibre – but ultimately Sherman won the day, and not just because the Seahawks came away with a victory.  Yes, Marshall had 4 receptions, but he was targeted 12 times.  Yes, Marshall got the TD, but Sherm got 2 INTs.  Yes, the Jets were able to exploit that matchup a little bit in the first half, but Sherman put Marshall on lock in the second half, and that was all she wrote.

Honestly, more than anything, I was shocked Fitzpatrick kept trying to go that way!  I understand the rationale – in the NFL, you love to go to a 1 on 1 matchup with a hall of fame receiver all day every day – but it just seems like eventually you’re going to get snakebitten.  I kept thinking that throughout the first half:  one of these times, Sherm is going to get his, and it’s going to be glorious.  It also makes sense in the fact that they really didn’t really have anyone else to throw to.  Decker was out.  Quincy Enunwa is a nice story as a second year possession receiver, but he’s not even at Decker’s level, let alone Marshall’s.  Behind him, there’s no one.  The Jets haven’t even completed a pass to a tight end in over a year!  Other than Enunwa, they had the two running backs to throw to.  While Bilal Powell had a nice game, and a couple of catches for first downs, that’s essentially playing right into our hands if they do that all day.  So, really, Fitzpatrick had no choice but to go to Marshall as if he was being guarded by Just Another Guy!  Nevertheless, it doesn’t make him look like any smarter of a person (Harvard education or not), but them’s the breaks in the National Football League.

***

Moving on to other things, Russell Wilson looked phenomenal.  Again, he was hampered by injuries, but I gotta think his ankle – if it’s not back to normal yet – will be fine by our next game in a couple weeks.  And, wearing the brace on his knee, while it slowed him a little bit – and most certainly took away a lot of our zone read plays – still allowed him to move around a little bit when he needed to.  I don’t think we’re going to see Wilson go full Tarkenton for a few more weeks yet (maybe in the second half of the season), but he’s upright, he’s mobile enough, and he’s making enough plays in the pocket to re-introduce the narrative of him taking that next step to Elite status (regardless of what many national pundits think; which, do they even bother watching ANY tape before crafting their hot taeks?).

Wilson completed 23 of 32 passes for 309 yards and 3 TDs.  8 of those 23 completions were of 15 yards or more.  He was, for the most part, on time, and dropping dimes into windows only our receivers could get to.

One of those receivers taking the bulk of the yards in this one was Jimmy Graham, who caught 6 more balls for 113 yards, which puts him on a 2-week run (since we opened him up to the full playbook and the full allotment of offensive plays) of 12 receptions for 213 yards and a touchdown.  He came up particularly huge in yesterday’s game, given the fact that Baldwin was held to just 4 catches for 54 yards.

As usual, Wilson did his thing when it comes to spreading the ball around.  8 different players caught at least one pass, including Tanner McEvoy’s first-ever reception (a WIDE open 42-yard touchdown in the second quarter), and C.J. Spiller’s first-ever Seahawks reception for a touchdown (after having just been signed earlier this week off the streets).

The offensive line did its job against a remarkable defensive line.  It wasn’t able to open up as many rushing lanes as you’d like, but that’s to be expected.  What was awesome was how much time it afforded Russell Wilson to pass the ball.  Sure, there were some pressures, and a couple sacks, but this O-Line isn’t ever going to be perfect.  As long as it can limit the damage as it’s been doing for the most part this season, and (even bigger) avoid excessive penalties that put us behind the chains, we’ll be just fine with this much-maligned group.

Germain Ifedi got his first start in replacing J’Marcus Webb, and had some good times and some bad times, but I have no doubt in my mind that he was better than what we would’ve gotten with Webb against that group.  Furthermore, going forward, we’re in MUCH better hands with Ifedi, as long as we can keep him off the trainer’s table.  We have this week off, which is a godsend to everyone with nagging injuries, but even better:  we face a much more reasonable slate of D-Lines going forward.  In the Nothing Special department, we face:  Atlanta, Arizona, New Orleans, Buffalo, New England, Philly, and Tampa in the next seven games.  The rest of the way, depending on injuries, we only have to be concerned about the D-Lines of Carolina, Los Angeles, and maybe Green Bay, and that’s it!  So, grey skies are gonna clear up, folks.

Great games by Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas (who got his first pick of the season), K.J. Wright, and our D-Line as usual.  We ended up with 4 sacks on the day, a bunch of QB hits, and we held them to 58 yards rushing on the day.  If it weren’t for a crazy play involving the quarterback being strip-sacked, fumbling the ball about 10 yards forward, where a receiver picked it up and ran it into the endzone while everyone else on the field thought it was an incomplete pass, our points-against number would look a lot better than it does.  With that, and those two garbage time TDs by the 49ers last week, that’s a good 22 points we’re going to have to make up if we want to hold onto our championship belt of fewest points allowed in a season!

This one was fun.  Now, let’s all rest up and get ready to put the whuppin’ on the Falcons in two weeks.

The Running Back By Committee

At the Town Hall meeting between Seahawks brass and season ticket holders, our offensive coordinator mentioned that we could be looking at a running back by committee approach in the 2014 season.  Darrell Bevell has started to walk back those comments a bit, but it would still stand to reason that Christine Michael is the future, and therefore should probably start getting some real game experience.

Maybe it’s just me being a Seahawks fan – where we’ve never had to deal with the RBBC – but it certainly comes with a negative connotation.  The RBBC is something teams turn to when they don’t really have one great running back, but rather two mediocre backs.  You feed them both in equal measure until you find the one with the hot hand, and you ride him the rest of the game.  Or, you use one back to get all the yards between the 20’s, and one closer to the goalline (because ostensibly, the guy who got you all those yards up TO the goalline is COMPLETELY incapable of pushing it through for that touchdown).

Rare is the situation that you have with the Bills of today – with two elite backs who are both capable of not only pushing it into the endzone, but also breaking it for long runs in the open field.  Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are a committee of backs who could just as easily be lone starters on any given team (what prevents that from happening, more than anything, is their proneness to injury).

But, like I said before, the Seahawks haven’t really had to deal with this.  We’ve seemingly ALWAYS had an elite back, or at least a very good back (with the only real committee I recall being the failed Julius Jones/T.J. Duckett experiment).  Curt Warner giving way to Chris Warren, giving way to Ricky Watters, giving way to Shaun Alexander, eventually giving way to Marshawn Lynch.  That’s a nice run of backs, with only a couple of small gaps in between.  It seems like, regardless of the problems this franchise has had in the past, they’ve at least had a good plan in dealing with the running game.

This feels like uncharted territory, but it’s really not.  In the 2001 season, Ricky Watters was 32 years old – which is absolutely ancient when it comes to running backs.  But, he was coming off of six straight seasons with at least 1,100 yards rushing.  In 2000, he played in all the games and averaged 4.5 yards per carry (which was a career high average for him, when you factor in him playing in all 16 games).  I wouldn’t say he was in his prime, per se, but he was running at a high level and he probably could have hung on and done well for himself over an additional few years.

Except, the thing was, the Seahawks had just drafted Shaun Alexander in 2000.  He didn’t play a whole lot as a rookie, but the team still had big plans for him, and could ill afford to let him ride the pine for two straight years.

2001 started, and Ricky Watters was still the team’s starting back.  In the first two starts, Alexander had a helluva time cutting into his carries – he was still being treated as the team’s backup.  However, after an injury to Watters’ shoulder in the third game of the season, Alexander was handed the keys to the car and never let go.  In Alexander’s very first start, he ran for 176 yards and 2 touchdowns on 31 carries.  He would not look back.  His 2001 season wasn’t a world-beater or anything, but he tacked on some brilliant performances to really show his promise and potential (highlighted by a 266-yard, 3-TD performance against the Raiders in week 8).  Ricky Watters would return for a couple of games in December, but then we lost him to injury again and he would never play another snap in the NFL.

It’s hard for me to say what the team’s plan was for that 2001 season, had Ricky Watters not been injured for a huge chunk of games.  But, my guess is, we would have incorporated Alexander into the offense more and more as the weeks went on.  As things went, we got a little lucky, as we didn’t have to worry about any discontent or controversy.  A major injury will do that.  Either way, you have to think that 2001 would have been Ricky Watters’ final season in a Seahawks uniform, regardless of his health situation.

A lot of people feel the same way about Marshawn Lynch and this 2014 season.  There’s REALLY a lot of parallels, when you think about it.  Lynch and Watters are two of the toughest runners we’ve ever seen in a Seahawks uniform.  Both played for other teams before coming here.  Both have had rock-solid careers in Seattle and are beloved by Seahawks fans for their toughness and professionalism.  And, of course, both are/were being phased out by younger, highly-drafted backs with elite potential who mostly sat during their rookie seasons.  Nobody really wants to see Marshawn Lynch go, just like nobody really wanted to see Ricky Watters go.  But, what trumps that is the excitement over what’s possible.  Ricky Watters was great, but Shaun Alexander was even better – the best running back in franchise history.  Marshawn Lynch has played at an All Pro level in his time in Seattle, but Christine Michael JUST might be even better.

That’s a scary thought for the rest of the NFL, especially when you consider the talent that’s already on this team.

Maybe it won’t be a true running back by committee approach in 2014.  But, at the very least, I bet we see a reshuffling of the order.  Marshawn Lynch will probably start off the season as The Man, but Christine Michael is sure to get those secondary reps that would’ve gone to Turbin.  And, you have to figure, as the season goes on (assuming Michael doesn’t get bit by the fumble bug), Christine Michael will start getting more and more carries.

And, who knows?  Maybe a well-timed injury Wally Pipps Lynch’s tenure here in Seattle.  It’s not something I would ever wish on someone like him, but if it happens, it’s good to know we have someone right behind him who’s ready to handle the challenge and keep our offense humming at a championship level.

Is This The End (As We Know It) Of Marshawn Lynch In Seattle?

As the Seahawks get ready to play the New Orleans Saints this week, one can’t help but reflect upon what happened this week, three years ago, when the Seahawks won a game 41-36.  Of course, we played the Saints on that day, and everyone remembers it for the Marshawn Lynch game-clinching 67 yard touchdown run where he broke countless tackles and set off the 12th Man into an ecstasy we’ve never seen ’round these parts before or since.

That play will live on as one of the most amazing individual feats in NFL playoff history.  We’ll be talking about that play in 50 years just like we talk about the Immaculate Reception and the Dwight Clark catch.

Locally, it’ll be remembered as the moment where it all started to go right for the Seahawks.  Personally, I’ll always remember it as the point where Marshawn Lynch was at his absolute peak.  It’s all been downhill (albeit, a very negligible grade) since then.

The Seahawks traded for Marshawn Lynch 4 games into that 2010 season.  The Bills had just drafted C.J. Spiller, plus they already had Fred Jackson on roster, so there was no point in holding onto three starting-calibre running backs.  The Seahawks were just working their way out of the dark days of Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett and were looking for a dynamic talent to bring this team into the light.  Supposedly, Lynch had fallen out of favor in Buffalo for reasons that aren’t important.  Either way, we got him for a steal.  His numbers in Buffalo weren’t particularly outstanding, and there was a real chance that he would come to Seattle and fizzle out.  People tend to forget that.

Lynch came into a situation in Seattle where everything was a mess.  The offensive line was a massive ball of injuries and ineptitude.  To his credit, Lynch was a consummate professional, and one of the baddest motherfuckers on the planet as he continuously took on defenders behind the line of scrimmage and turned those runs into positive gains.  His first game in Seattle was a road contest in Chicago, and he ran for the most impressive 44 yards on 17 carries that anyone has ever seen.

The rest of his first season wasn’t much better, as Lynch never had a 100-yard rushing game in 2010.  But, his hard running set the tone.  And he was rewarded in that playoff game against the Saints.  Aside from that 67-yard run, Lynch had 64 yards on 18 carries, which sounds about right.  Nevertheless, with that putrid offensive line, you’ll never find a more-impressive season out of a running back.  That 67-yard run was indeed the peak of Lynch’s powers.

Of course, with Tom Cable coming in starting in 2011, things started to improve.  We infused the line with more talent, and halfway through 2011, Lynch ripped off six 100-yard efforts in his last nine games.  His numbers from 2010 to 2011 were drastically improved.  And, in 2012, his numbers were even better!  With 1,590 yards and 5.0 yards per carry, Lynch was the second-best running back in the NFL.  So, how could I sit here and say that he peaked in the 2010 season?

Well, with all aspects of the offense, improved line play makes everyone’s job easier.  And, like I said before, it’s not like Lynch’s effectiveness has diminished THAT much.  But, still, if you put the 2010 Lynch behind last year’s offensive line, you would’ve seen him damn near approach 2,000 yards.

Anyway, while still carrying the load in 2013, Lynch’s numbers came back down to Earth.  At a 4.2 yards-per-carry average, Lynch put up 1,257.  Still good, but not great.  He has averaged almost exactly 300 carries per season the last three years, and that’s not including playoff runs.  My hope is that he’s got enough left in the tank to push us through to a championship this year, because I don’t know how many more years he has left.

If we want to maximize Lynch’s effectiveness going forward, we’re going to have to start cutting back on his carries.  We did just draft Christine Michael and he looks like the kind of twitchy, breathtaking talent that you eventually can’t help but play.  I expect a couple things going into next season.  First, I expect to read a bunch of stories about how amazing Michael looks in OTAs and Training Camp later this year.  And second, I expect more of a time-share in the backfield starting next season.

When you read that a running back had 301 carries in 2013 (which Lynch did), it sounds like a lot.  It sounds like you’re running a guy into the ground prematurely.  But, honestly, that averages out to a fraction of a carry less than 19 per game.  Lynch had a high of 28 carries against the 49ers in Week 2 and only 7 games with over 20 carries.  Robert Turbin had approximately 5 carries per game and Russell Wilson had about 6 carries per game.  That’s the bulk of this team’s carries in 2013:  30 carries per game.  So, if I’m expecting a Lynch/Michael time-share, what would that look like?

Well, I don’t expect Wilson’s carries to go down all that much.  Maybe he drops down to 4 carries per game (you have to expect he’s going to become less and less of a “running quarterback” the deeper he gets into his career).  Turbin really muddies things a bit.  It’s impossible to have a three running back rotation, because this isn’t college football and we’re not running the single-wing offense.  Either the team shops Turbin for a low-end draft pick, or converts him into a Michael Robinson-esque fullback.  After that, I think you look at something of a 13/13 split of carries for Lynch and Michael.  Maybe that means running them in and out, alternating by series.  Maybe that means Michael carries the load between the 30s and Lynch comes in when they’re closer to the goalline (sort of like how Buffalo uses Spiller more between the 30s and Jackson on goalline).  I don’t think it’s as simple as giving the ball to Lynch on first and second down, then running Michael in on third downs and passing situations, because the real wildcard here is how improved Michael is at pass protection.  But, either way, expect Michael to carry more of the load in 2014, with him to eventually become the featured back in 2015.

Marshawn Lynch’s cap numbers going forward aren’t too prohibitive.  He’s set to earn $5 million in base salary and $1.5 million in signing bonus in 2014 (with a $500,000 roster bonus, bringing his cap number to an even $7 million), and $5.5 million in base and $1.5 million in bonus in 2015 (with a $2 million roster bonus, bringing his cap number to $9 million).  This contract was designed to keep Lynch around for three years at the most.  With guys like Wilson, Sherman, Thomas, and Harvin all set for big raises, you’re going to have to find money somewhere.  I don’t think that means cutting Lynch prior to 2014 (even though we would only owe $3 million in dead money, saving us $13 million in base salary and roster bonuses over the next two years), but I’m certain that means cutting Lynch prior to 2015.  Either way, I’d like to see us win it all now, just to give Lynch his due while we still can.

In this day and age, it’s almost foolish for teams to over-pay for running backs.  While Lynch has been the one guy above all others who has come to define what Seahawks Football has become under Pete Carroll, at some point you have to make decisions that are best for the team long-term.  In this case, it means cutting ties with a guy on the down-side of his career.  It’ll be a sad day when it comes (especially if it comes sooner rather than later), but the last thing you want to see is a once-great player turn into a burden.

While Marshawn Lynch was never better than he was at the tail-end of 2010, he’s still in what can be considered his prime.  What we have to be prepared for is that this is the tail-end of his prime.  It’s been a great 4-year run, but all great things eventually come to an end.

#3 – Marshawn Lynch

To see the full list of the 30 most important Seahawks in 2012, click here.

Ha! What the fuck you boys talkin’ ’bout?
I know it’s us ’cause we the only thing to talk about

Does anyone else who’s a Seahawks fan get irrationally angry whenever anyone refers to any other athlete (especially another football player) as “Beastmode” or as “going beastmode”?  Marshawn Lynch may have been the first (but probably wasn’t) to coin the phrase “beastmode” when referring to himself and his running style, but I honestly don’t think that title fits any other player, living or dead, better than it does Lynch.

Essentially, unless you have a play on your resume as badass as this, then you have no claim to the rights of “Beastmode” or any variation thereof.

So, shit, what HAPPENED last year?  Well, our offensive line stunk in the first half, which means that Beastmode stunk in the first half.  “Stunk” is a relative term, though.  He wasn’t nearly as good as he was in the second half, but he was much better than just about every other running back we’ve ever seen, because even when he was getting hardly any yards, he was still turning losses into gains, dragging defenders across the line of scrimmage after they hit him in the backfield.

Then, our offensive line improved, and Lynch’s numbers improved.  Then, our offensive line got injured, but Lynch’s numbers continued to improve.  Then, he had a 100-yard rushing day against the 49ers and scored the only rushing TD against them.  Then, the season ended and lo and behold Beastmode had over 1,200 yards on the ground.  He had a streak of 11 straight games with at least 1 TD scored.  Pretty much, from November onward, he was the best running back in the league, he endeared himself to Seahawks fans even moreso than in that Saints playoff game, and he got a nice contract extension in the offseason.

Was all of that related?  Was this a situation where a guy was in his contract year and decided to step up his game?

Normally, I’m Mr. Cynical in cases like this, but with Beastmode I don’t think so.  First and foremost, he’s been running the way he’s been running since at least the day the Seahawks traded for him.  My guess is, this is Lynch.  This is who he is and this is how he runs.  Hard.  Bruising.  Punishing.  Also, you have to take into account the fact that his first team pretty much gave up on him.  First, they replaced him with Fred Jackson, then they went out and signed C.J. Spiller.  They made a guy who was obviously a star and relegated him to third string status.  Beastmode isn’t a goalline back, he’s an every-down back!  One of the last of his kind, if I may be so bold.  And, with Buffalo giving up on him, that means he has a chip on his shoulder to prove to that team – and every other team who didn’t jump at the opportunity to play him – that he’s one of the best backs in this league.  With every aggressive tackle broken, Lynch is one step closer to shoving it down the league’s throat.  How DARE you doubt Beastmode???

With Seattle, he has a home.  He has a coaching staff whose confidence in him is sky-high.  He has the love of millions of fans in the Pacific Northwest.  He has an offensive line that’s young and hungry and still getting better.  And they’re being coached by the best in the game.  This is the perfect scenario.  This year is the perfect time.  He’s the man.  He’s got a rookie quarterback, so you know Beastmode is going to have to shoulder a lot more of the load.  This offense is going to be as good as its ground game carries it.  Beastmode, therefore, is going to have to take this team on his back and lead it to victory.

I foresee nothing but good things out of Beastmode.  I think 1,500 yards isn’t insane.  I think being in the conversation for NFC MVP isn’t out of the question.  I think whoever had the foresight to keep this guy on his fantasy team going into this season will be pleasantly surprised by just how elite he really is.  All predictions right or your money back!

A Companion Post: Who Might Want Beastmode Besides Seattle?

One thing I failed to explore in the previous post is:  what’s the market look like for a guy like Marshawn Lynch?

Yes, the Franchise Tag is a good cost-cutting tool when trying to re-sign a player.  But, a complete and utter lack of teams desiring to sign an over-priced running back is probably the best thing the Seahawks could ask for.

Of course, on Lynch’s side, you’ve got the age-old adage:  it only takes one.

So, let’s just go around the league.  For starters, you can count out the NFC East.  Dallas has any number of quality young backs already locked in (including super-stud DeMarco Murray who is sure to be a fantasy god for years to come).  The Giants appear to be set with Bradshaw and whoever else behind him.  The Redskins have a nice little stable of young backs.  And the Eagles have Shady McCoy (and, I imagine, not a whole lot of cap room to boot).

In the NFC North, I’m banking my life-savings (and one of my fantasy keepers) on the fact that they will retain Matt Forte.  Minnesota obviously has one of the very best backs in the league.  The Detroit Lions, however, could be interesting.  All they’ve got on their roster right now is Jahvid Best, and he’s a fucking injury waiting to happen!  It’s certainly NOT a good sign that he ended his season with concussions last year.  And, you’d have to think that for a young team trying to cultivate this bad-ass attitude, a guy like Beastmode would slide right in nicely.  Even MORE interesting are the Green Bay Packers.  You’ve got a team with an all-world quarterback, with a shitload of receivers, and with absolutely no running game to speak of whatsoever.  Ryan Grant is a free agent who has played his last game with the green and gold; James Starks is good, but he’s no Beastmode.  I gotta think Lynch might be just the piece to put the right balance into that explosive offense.

The NFC South will be no competition.  Atlanta still has a lot of money tied up in Michael Turner.  New Orleans drafted the top running back last season (and they have other money tied up in three or four other guys); plus, theirs is not an offense that would make any sense for a guy like Lynch.  Carolina still has three running backs (including the guy who takes snaps from the center).  And Tampa is a young team that will never in a million years put in the money it would take to get Lynch.

As for the other teams in the NFC West:  San Francisco has Gore, St. Louis has Jackson, and Arizona has Wells.  They all seem pretty committed to their guys.

You know who scares me more than any other team in the NFL?  The New England Patriots.  Think about it, they were THIS close to winning it all this past season!  What were they missing?  What are they ALWAYS missing?  A balanced offensive attack!  Let’s face it, Tom Brady isn’t getting any younger.  Yes, I know the Patriots like to skimp on their running backs (just as they like to bank draft picks for future drafts), but at one point or another, they’re going to have to cash in before it’s too late.  That crack about Tom Brady not getting any younger:  the same can be said for him not getting any BETTER.  Tom Brady is as good as he’s ever going to be; it’s all downhill from here.  One of these seasons, his skills are going to erode.  He’s not going to see the open receiver soon enough, he’s going to force more and more balls into coverage, he’s going to take more and more hits from ferocious defenses looking to take out the guy while he’s on top.  The Pats could sure as shit use a guy like Lynch to take off some of the load.

And, don’t look now, but Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis are both free agents.  They’re not going to hand the ball off to Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen 30 times a game!  Why WOULDN’T they make a huge push to get Lynch and start dominating the Time of Possession in every game?  What’s the downside here?

Elsewhere in the AFC East, the Dolphins are tied up with Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas, the Jets seem pretty happy with Shonn Greene and whatever young buck they’re going to slide behind him.  And, of course, the Bills have Jackson and Spiller (plus, duh, they’re the team that traded Lynch in the first place).

In the AFC North, you know damn well Baltimore is re-signing Ray Rice, so forget about it.  The Steelers would be an AWESOME fit for a guy like Beastmode, but they’re still stuck with Mendenhall (plus, they NEVER fork over money on free agents).  Cincy won’t fork over the money it’ll take either.  And the Browns – in spite of his sub-par season – will most likely re-sign Hillis (plus, they’ve got a stable of young backs they could easily throw into the mix should Hillis go elsewhere).

The AFC South has three teams that are simply non-starters.  Houston has not one but TWO massively effective running backs (Foster, who’s a fantasy god; and Tate who – as a backup – nearly ran for 1,000 yards).  The Titans have Chris Johnson and his massively insane contract.  And the Jags have one of the better all-around guys in MJD.

The Indianapolis Colts, however, are a God damned wild card and I just don’t like it!  Now, for starters, if they opt to keep Peyton Manning, then you can just skip to the next paragraph right now, because they won’t have two cents to rub together.  But, let’s say they let him and his $28 million walk:  suddenly, they’re in play!  They will have a rookie quarterback starting from Game 1.  They don’t have a single running back worth a good God damn on their team.  And, the organization will have to do something for its fans to make up for the fact that they just let go of a Hall of Famer (especially if he goes to another team and starts kicking ass again).  I wouldn’t put it past the Colts to do something drastic; mark my words.

In the AFC West, we’re talking about teams who are all pretty much set.  The Chiefs will be looking for Jamaal Charles to bounce back from an early-season season-ending injury in 2011.  The Broncos still have Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno.  And the Raiders will still have McFadden; if they re-sign Michael Bush, then all the more reason for them to NOT sign Lynch.

So, aside from the Seahawks, we’re talking about four potential teams:  Detroit, Green Bay, New England, and Indianapolis.  All have ample reasons to sign a back like Lynch; all have ample reasons to not do a damn thing.  There will be other, cheaper options out there (Hillis, Bush, Mike Tolbert, Cedric Benson, Tashard Choice, Justin Forsett, Ryan Grant) for teams like New England and Detroit to snap up, if they so choose to go the tightwad route.  Really, it’s tough to know exactly WHICH of these four teams would be the most likely, considering I don’t know what their cap situations are like.  If I were Green Bay or New England, though, I’d think long and hard.  Both teams were DAMN close this past season.  Both teams had very similar, pass-first types of offenses.  And both teams lost to the same team (the Giants) which could have been avoided had they had a running game.

Something to think about as these Beastmode negotiations continue.

The Seahawks Are The Most Disappointing Fantasy Team In Football

Obviously, I’m not going to say they’re the WORST team.  Cincinnati, Washington, and Buffalo might prove to be worse (unless they develop some semblance of a running game while the Seahawks continue to spin their wheels).  But, certainly the Seahawks are a huge disappointment.

Of course, it all stems from the same fucking thing we’ve been talking about for the last month (GOD when are the games going to start already??), the quarterback and the offensive line.

Because, let’s face it, we’ve GOT skill players.  In any right-thinking fantasy football league, Sidney Rice would likely go anywhere in the early to mid rounds.  In my league, Sidney Rice fell to the first pick of the 14th round (in a 10-team league).  139 players went before Sidney Rice!  That’s insane!  There were only 15 rounds in our draft; he almost went straight to the Free Agency Dump Heap!

But, honestly though, can you blame us for letting him fall?  Who out there sees Sidney Rice – as talented as he is – being a starting-caliber wide receiver for your fantasy football team (unless you’re in some ridiculous league where you start 40 players and have 15 teams duking it out in an exercise in masturbation)?  Again, if you’re in a 10-team league that starts 2 wide outs & a flex, who’s going to start Rice unless it’s an absolute BYE-week emergency?  He used to be a stud; now he’s a Seahawk.

Marshawn Lynch is a starting running back for a professional football team.  He’s going to get the bulk of the carries for a team that has publicly dedicated itself to running the football.  In my league, Beastmode went #2 in the 13th round.  A whopping 121 players went before the guy who made the single-greatest play in Seahawks history last winter against New Orleans!  He’s going to get ALL the goalline carries (provided he’s healthy), so you’d think touchdowns would be a-comin’.

But, who among you has any confidence that Lynch will ever catch wind of a goalline?  Can this offense even get the ball NEAR the red zone enough to make Lynch a quality play?  This is a running back in the prime of his career!  And yet, guys like Thomas Jones, Michael Bush, Pierre Thomas, C.J. Spiller, Roy Helu, Rashad Jennings (before he went on IR), and Mike Tolbert all went before Marshawn Lynch.  Maybe some of those picks were far-fetched and short-sighted, but let me tell you this:  all but one of the people involved in this draft have grown up in the Pacific Northwest (with the other having lived here for the last decade) and all are intimately aware of the Seahawks.  Not even the homerest of homers found it in himself to pick up the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks.

Zach Miller went undrafted.  This is a league where you HAVE to play a tight end and you even have the option to play a second.  A guy who made the Pro Bowl with the Raiders couldn’t get picked up.  12 tight ends were drafted, but there wasn’t any room for Zach.

I don’t even have to really get into this, but I will.  In a 10-team league (where we feature the 2-QB system), 28 starting quarterbacks are currently on rosters.  Those not on a team:  Rex Grossman, Andy Dalton, Alex Smith, and … Tarvaris Jackson.  That’s … that’s some elite company he’s holding.  YOUR Seahawks starting quarterback, everybody!  Even worse than Cam Newton!

I could go on.  Mike Williams wasn’t picked up, even though it’s a points per reception league.  Leon Washington never had a prayer even though it looks like he’ll get some 3rd down touches out of the backfield and in the passing game (plus the return yards we count).  The defense was left behind, even though it features some quality players who had big years last year.  That just boils down to nobody having faith in the offense, so why would you want to start an overworked defense that’s likely to get scored on at will?

Look, there’s talent on this team!  Under normal circumstances (with a more-experienced line, and a better QB), these players would be picked higher (or, in the case of some, picked period)!  We have more individual talent than a handful of other teams in the league (maybe even more than a handful); but as a team, nobody’s going to buy into these Seahawks until they prove on the field that they’re not as Gawd-awful as we all assume they’ll be.

In the meantime, there’s a lot of squandered fantasy talent out there.  Making this blog post Arian Foster’s favorite thing ever.

Welcome To Seattle, Marshawn

I pretty much only know the world through the filter of Fantasy Football.  In that sense, all I know about Marshawn Lynch – whom the Seattle Seahawks acquired in a trade with the Bills for a 4th round pick next year and another pick (likely a 6th rounder) in 2012 – is that he’s been kind of a disappointment lately, after coming on like gangbusters in his rookie season.

In that rookie season, according to his ESPN page, he had 1,115 yards in 13 games, averaging an even 4.0 ypc.  The next year, he had 30 less carries and only 1,036 yards, but for a 4.1 ypc average.  After that, for whatever reason, Buffalo decided it needed another running back to spell Lynch (L-Y-N-C-H … but I digress) and he fell to 120 carries for only 450 yards last year (with a 3.8 ypc average).  Then they drafted C.J. Spiller (yes, THAT C.J. Spiller, the guy the Seahawks could have drafted if they were so inclined), and that spelled the end of the Marshawn Lynch era (t-h-e e-n-d …).

Fantasy Bust?  You betcha!  But, that doesn’t make him a bad running back.  That doesn’t mean he can’t come in here and immediately help this ballclub, with his 215 pound frame and his 24 years of age.  By all rights, if he’s kept himself in shape, refrained from smoking too much reefer, and hasn’t half-killed his liver in long, booze-filled nights, Marshawn Lynch should have a good 6 years left to his career.

In other words, this COULD be the running back we see heading our attack for a while.  What do you think about that?

I think the price is right, first of all.  A 4th round pick is pretty much Mansfield Wrotto, so if you look at it that way, we just raped Buffalo in their junk!  A 6th round pick is pretty much Steve Vallos, so there you go.

Secondly, I don’t know if I necessarily buy the whole Thunder & Lightning theory when it comes to a running game (which goes:  you need a big bruising back to tenderize the defense while getting those tough yards, then you pop them across the jaw with a small, shifty guy with a lot of quicks who can get to that second level and take some longer runs to the house).  I think if your offensive line is bad, anything short of Adrian Peterson will look a whole lot like Julius Jones.  However, if your offensive line is good, you can have Thunder & Thunder or Lightning & Lightning and do just fine.

Overall, I don’t hate the move.  I’m not enamored just yet, but if he comes in here and gives us some offensive stability, I could be.  I think this is just a piece.  In the offseason, it was clear we needed another running back (and less of a Julius Jones who’s FINALLY been officially cut thank Christ).  We tried with trades, but found that Leon Washington is quite similar to what we have in Forsett (only better on kickoffs) and we found that Lunch Pail is who we thought he was.  We opted to NOT go via the draft which I think is fine because Earl Thomas will be YOUR Defensive ROY.  So, once again we tried the trade route.  We didn’t give up too much, and we got someone considerably younger and considerably better than Lunch Pail.

Lynch might not help us too much this season.  But, next year?  The year after?  We could have something there.

Sign O-KUNG! Already!

UPDATE:  Demand and I shall receive.  Behold the power of Seattle Sports Hell!  29 mil guaranteed; not too shabby …

Look man, those defensive linemen and linebackers aren’t going to pancake themselves!

I’m more than a little irritated that the Seahawks have one of the two last remaining unsigned draft picks.  I’m even MORE irritated that it’s looking like C.J. Spiller’s deal will get completed today, whereas Okung’s deal is nowhere in sight.

It’s just, so fucking, AGGRAVATING!  We don’t have TIME for this shit!  Let’s face it, in the slim slim SLIM chance the Seahawks are going to do ANYTHING this season regarding contention for a division title and/or a playoff birth, we are going to need absolutely everything to go right.  I’m talking injuries, I’m talking old players not falling off the table, I’m talking everyone playing up to career norms and some to play above their heads … and I’m talking rookie players signed and in fucking training camp!

He’s already at a disadvantage because he’s a fucking rookie.  Now we’re going to tack on a bunch of missed training camp days – days that would do nothing but be to his benefit.

By the way, what’s the deal with there being a contentious holdout with every new regime?  Granted, Aaron Curry wasn’t out much more than a week last year – and he seemed genuinely miserable to be gone even that long; but when Holmgren first came here it was the same deal, only with Established Player: Joey Galloway.  Is this all about testing the limits of the new leaders of the team?  See if they’ll cave into your demands (which means, of course, that they’d cave into EVERYONE’S demands going forward until they’re replaced by more iron-fisted individuals) …

I think Okung knows the score.  He knows this team sucked total balls last year at the Left Tackle position and that we want no part of any of these clowns already on the team manning Hasselbeck’s blind side.

He also knows that there was one Left Tackle picked ahead of him in this year’s draft, and it’s a 50-50 proposition that national sports pundits think Okung is actually the better of the two.

AND, Okung knows that, while teams traditionally hold to a sliding salary scale with rookies – with the 1st pick making the most, going downward from there – there was a Safety and a Cornerback picked at the spots around himself.  Let’s face it, Left Tackle is MUCH more important than either Safety or Cornerback.

Ergo, Okung feels he deserves at least Trent Williams money (who was picked only 2 spots ahead of him).  I’m beginning to think the Redskins drafted Williams because they knew he’d be the easier sign.

Here’s the dilemma I’m having.  No, I don’t want the front office to be a bunch of cave men, caving into all the demands of all the asshole players on this team (not to mention future asshole players who think they can come to Seattle and take advantage of a bunch of rubes).  But, I also don’t want my team to suck!  And we WILL suck if we don’t have Okung!  Ultimately, I have to side with the organization on this one, but let’s just say they’re not without fault.

This is what happens.  This is what happens when you try to be tight-fisted, when you wait the market out, when you lay a hard line.  If the Seahawks would’ve just swooped in early, set the market themselves, and fucked over everyone else, then Okung would be happy, the organization wouldn’t look like a bunch of disorganized fucksticks who can’t get their players in camp (instead, we’d look like a bunch of free-wheeling maniacs throwing money around, which would only be all the more appealing to potential free agents down the line), and I’D be happy because I could sit here and laugh at Buffalo for screwing the C.J. Spiller pooch.

Will it ever end?  Will my suffering go eternally unrewarded?

Right now, we’re at the stage where Coach + General Manager are taking their cases to the media.  “We’re the victims here!  He should be in camp!  We’ve got a fair deal on the table!  He’s only hurting himself and his development!”  Of course, it’s all bullshit, and appealing to the fans through the media will only go so far.  If this thing drags out, the team is going to lose all leverage it thinks it has now.  Ultimately, the fans want the best players in uniform, they don’t give a shit how it’s done.  All these football players are overpaid whiny bitches; just get the job done and get him in camp.

I’ll only be satisfied at this point if Okung really IS the second coming of Walter Jones:  a guy who can stay at home, train on his own, miss all of camp, and still come in and dominate.  Something tells me I’m going to be anything but satisfied with this situation.

Twenty Ten Round One: O-KUNG!!!

Hope you enjoyed round 1, Seahawks fans, because rounds 2 and 3 have a combined ONE pick for the home team. Of course, unless we Trade Down, but considering we merely have the 60th pick to work with, I SERIOUSLY doubt we’ll be able to work our way into the 3rd Round while also making a pick in the 2nd round.

As for the weekend, we’ve got two 4th Rounders, two 5th Rounders, a 6th and a 7th. In the next 2 days, we’ll need to get D-Line help, maybe another cornerback, a wide receiver, a running back, maybe a 3rd string quarterback, maybe another O-lineman, and certainly some Special Teamers (I’d like to see a low-round linebacker to replace Lance Laury, but that’s neither here nor there).

Obviously, we’re not here to talk about that party & bullshit. We’re here to talk about Okung! O-KUNG! Get a load of the pancakes on THAT guy!

I find that watching the NFL Draft is a lot more entertaining if the only thing you compare players by is how many pancakes they show on the highlight reels. Oh really? You took Eric Berry from us? Well, did he PANCAKE anybody? I don’t think so; HE SUCKS!

For the record, my boy O-KUNG pancaked a HELLUVA lot more guys than both of the San Francisco-drafted linemen combined.

So, what’s the skinny on O-KUNG? 6-5, 307, long arms, mobile, and starting immediately at Left Tackle for YOUR Seattle Seahawks. Walter Jones retired? Problem solved: O-KUNG!!! I feel like we need a giant gong to be hit every time his name is announced.

We’re also here to talk about Earl Thomas – who, I’ll admit, doesn’t have nearly as cool of a name. Nevertheless, doesn’t “Earl Thomas” just sound like a guy who’d be good at playing football? Like a combo of Earl Campbell and Derrick Thomas.

The only thing I remember about Earl Thomas in doing my “research” over the last weeks and months is that he wasn’t as good as this guy from Tennessee, but everyone had him rated higher than Taylor Mays (who was presented as a bruiser of the Ken Hamlin variety). The ESPN douchebags (seriously, does Steve Young ever shut the hell up?) likened Eric Berry to Ed Reed … but they likened Earl Thomas to Bob Sanders. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ll TAKE a Bob Sanders! I’ll take a Bob Sanders with a side of gravy!

With Kansas City virtually making our pick for us – as I have a feeling if they would’ve taken O-KUNG, we would’ve waited on our Left Tackle need and either gone with Berry or traded down – this first round was a slam dunk. I got a little nervous when Philly traded to jump ahead of us in the draft, as all the ESPN guys were convinced they were going with Thomas. Instead they took some linebacker/end. I have a feeling we never had any intention of drafting that Defensive End from Georgia Tech, so that probably would’ve been a prime time to trade down.

BUT, whatever. We got our guys, we filled two needs, and we got two NFL-ready starters who will hopefully be going to Pro Bowls and leading us to championships in no time.

After what I deemed to be a shakey-at-best beginning for Pete Carroll and John Schneider, they proved in the first round of their first NFL draft together that they know what the fuck they’re doing.

They went the sensible route in picking O-KUNG, and they went even more sensible in picking E.T. I can’t wait to see what they do for an encore.

In other Draft News:

I was surprised to see C.J. Spiller go in the top 10. I was even more surprised to see him go to the Bills. Not for nothin’, but I heard rumors that the Bills are shopping Marshawn Lynch, and even MORE rumors that the Seahawks might have interest. I gotta say, that’s not the worst thing I’ve ever heard, but I certainly wouldn’t overpay (especially now that they’ve got a logjam and are probably desperate to unload), because I think we can get a runner in the draft just as easily.

In “What The FUCK Are The Raiders THINKING?” news … what the FUCK are the Raiders THINKING? I don’t want to sound like I’m siding with the consensus just to fit in or sound like I know what I’m talking about, but Christ! You should’ve taken Clausen! Give up on Jamarcus Russell, he’s a bust already! Even the rookiest of rookie quarterbacks manage to post better quarterback ratings than he’s done in his, what, third? fourth year? You certainly DON’T take an inside linebacker at 9! The more I think about it, the more I think you should probably NEVER pick a linebacker in the first round. Taking Tatupu into account, not to mention David Hawthorne who wasn’t even drafted and filled in admirably when Tatupu went down, not to mention all the other teams with all those other lowly-picked linebackers … I think the track record has been proven. For every Lawrence Taylor picked high, there are tons of Good-Enough linebackers taken with much lower picks.

With all his heart, Tim Tebow is going to suck a lot of dick and do whatever his coaches ask of him with all his heart.

Clausen & McCoy. No soup for you! Did I really just see that? Are teams finally starting to wisen up to these Not Ready For Primetime Players in lieu of guys who will actually produce? I know they won’t fall forever, but I hope they sweat just a little bit longer as the chickenfuckers that they are. Tired of loser quarterbacks commanding a premium price for either riding the pine or throwing interceptions in football games. Says a lot about their level of skill, when you have all these teams with all these quarterback issues. Of course, if either one of them turns into an All Star, then that team will have gotten the steal of the draft, bar none.