Seahawks Death Week: What Needs To Change

In a mixed-bag type of season such as this one, you’ve got just as many things you like as things you don’t like.  In this mini two-part series, today I will look at what I would like to see improved on this team (tomorrow, I’ll look at what I’d like to retain from this team; here’s a hint:  the man likes Skittles!).

Just to get it the FUCK out of the way, I’ll state the obvious:  The Seahawks NEED To Draft A Quarterback.  While I don’t necessarily mind opening the season with Tarvar under center, I HAVE to know that this team is looking for a long-term solution at the most important position on the team.  The only real downside to this scenario is:  do I REALLY want my quarterback of the future to be learning from someone like Tarvar?  Let’s face it, this is about as far from Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre as it gets!  Maybe we can look at it this way:  whoever is the quarterbacks coach can just sit next to our hotshot rookie and say, “See what he did there?  Holding the ball for 9 seconds before getting crushed by three defensive linemen?  DON’T DO THAT!”

The bad thing about these last two drafts (2011’s and the upcoming 2012 draft) is that there APPEARS to be a glut of quality quarterbacks coming out, while at the same time there are a buttload of teams looking for quarterbacks.  You HATE those odds!  First of all, because more than half of the quarterbacks who enter the pros never amount to a hill of beans.  Secondly, because odds are the Seahawks will be drafting too low (25th last year, the mid-teens this year) to get one of the likelier sure things.  Luck is already out of the question.  The other two top throwers will likely be gone too.  That leaves us, if we choose to select one in the first round, with probably the 4th or 5th best guy coming out of college.  That’s no good!  Look at the 2011 draft.  Cam Newton turned out to be a stud, Locker looks to be better than we could’ve imagined; but Gabbert looks like ass and Ponder is a HUGE question mark (who, honestly, has been outplayed the last couple of games by Joe Webb, but that’s a topic for another blog).  Granted, Andy Dalton has looked pretty solid as the 5th QB taken, but honestly I don’t know if I see him ever being an elite kind of Aaron Rodgers guy.

Anyway, moving on.  I didn’t really want this to be a whole quarterback post (considering, as we near the draft, I’ll be spilling words hand over fist about this position).

The second-biggest deficiency, as far as I can tell, is the pass rush.  Now, I know, the Seahawks aren’t like most other teams.  Our D-Line is padded out with three jumbo tackles, one of whom is playing on the end in Red Bryant.  I’ll admit it, I’m a fan.  I LOVE the thought of making teams one-dimensional (even IF the league is consistently turning itself into a pass-only type of Arena football creature).  But, there are times where a pass rush would be NICE.  You know what I’m saying?

Lookit, I’m in love with our secondary.  I don’t necessarily think we’ve got the best of the best, but I think we’ve got some serious talent, to the point where the Seahawks – in the next year or two – will have to be considered in the discussion of the league’s best secondaries.  We have a couple of corners who, in their first year of NFL ball, have MORE than held their own.  Browner and Sherman have the size, the toughness, the ego, and the cojones to do to receivers what our oversized D-Line does to running backs.

That having been said, if we’re playing situational football – as every team does – then on those obvious passing downs, we need to have a couple of ends who can just rear back and tear the head off of the opposing QB.  Chris Clemons is great.  But, Chris Clemons can’t do it alone!  And, let’s face it, he’s getting up there in years.  It would be nice to find a diamond in the rough to play opposite Clemons on 3rd downs, who could also be his successor in upcoming seasons as Clemons’ body breaks down and he nears retirement.

So, I’d like to see that.  He doesn’t even have to be an end!  He could be another outside linebacker!  I don’t think a year should go by where the Seahawks DON’T pick up a speedy linebacker in the 4th or 5th round.  You can keep them on special teams, you can use them to replace more veteran linebackers who are looking for a big payday, and let’s face it, injuries are a way of life in the NFL, so it’s good to have depth at such an important position as linebacker.  Much like the old Pittsburgh Steelers philosophy before they went and let everyone get old these past couple of years.

Another place I’d like the Seahawks to look into is running back.  To be honest with you, I thought Justin Forsett brought absolutely NOTHING to the table this season.  There are two types of offenses in this league:  power rushing teams and pass-first teams.  Power rushing teams – like the Seahawks – need big, bruising backs like Beastmode to punish defenses early in the game (so, in the fourth quarter, those same teams can reap the rewards of tired opponents giving up chunks of yards on the ground by the bushel).  Pass-first teams – like, for instance, New Orleans – can get away with having a bunch of scat-backs, running occasional draws and catching a ton of screen/swing passes.

But, you know what happens when power rushing teams throw in those scat-backs on third down?  It’s like giving the defense a reprieve!  “Hey, you mean we don’t have to try to drag down this musclebound behemoth?  Instead I get to smash to high hell this little tsetse fly?  Bring it on!”

Besides all that, we’ve already got Leon Washington.  Leon Washington is better in every facet of the game, so why hold onto Forsett?  It makes no sense!  He was nice when we had guys like Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett carrying the mail.  But, now we’ve got BEASTMODE!  It would be better to have a backup running back with a little more bulk, in case – God forbid – for whatever reason we have to replace Beastmode (either because he leaves for another team, or because he gets injured).

Finally, I hate to say it – because I think we’ve focused on this position too much lately as it is – but I think the Seahawks need to look at wide receiver again.  Primarily, I think the Seahawks need to clean house and start over.  Keep Rice and Baldwin, for sure, but then look to drop every other guy on this roster if they don’t prove they have what it takes to play with the big boys in the NFL.  I would lean towards giving Tate one more year, but that’s mostly because I like his flash and his speed.  But Obomanu, Mike Williams, Deon Butler, and our 6’5 draft pick last year who spent just about all season on the DL:  those guys ALL have to be on notice and/or looking for new jobs.  I’m kinda tired of these guys who can’t get separation on defenses – most of whom are NOT the best of the best at covering guys.

I’m sure I’ll have more on this subject as the Draft Day nears, but for now, these are the changes I’d like to see (while the season is still fresh).

Seahawks Finish Preseason, Make Cuts, Ready Themselves For Losses That Count

I probably didn’t see much more than a minute or two of the action last Friday as 7:30pm was the exact time my fantasy footall draft started.  It’s a good thing Golden Tate had a whale of a game, because I was pretty nervous that drafting him in the first round was a bad idea.

But, it’s not like it matters that I didn’t see the game, because what can you learn from a game like this anyway?  Pete Carroll went the standard route of having the starting quarterback play only a couple of series.  Then, Charlie Whitehurst came in and showed everyone why he wants to be known as The World’s Best August Quarterback.  There were field goals made by a kicker we would subsequently waive over the weekend; there were touchdowns scored by running backs we would subsequently waive over the weekend.  Justin Forsett averaged 3.0 yards per carry; Leon Washington averaged significantly less; and Tarvar – in spite of his only playing those two possessions – still managed to throw an interception.

The only thing we actually learned is:  we need to stop playing the Oakland Raiders.  Every time we play them, we come out of the game riddled with injuries!

This time, it’s Robert Gallery and defensive lineman Jimmy Wilkerson.  So that’s … that’s just great.

Over the weekend, we picked up Denver’s backup kicker (the guy who made the game-winner against us a couple weeks ago) and three other guys.  In exchange, I dunno.  Colin Cole is gone; a casualty of injury and money concerns.  Deon Butler starts on the PUP list, so that’s a shred of good news for a guy trying to come back from a brutal leg injury.  We kept Josh Portis as our third quarterback; that’s pretty exciting I guess.

The great national nightmare is officially over.  No more preseason for another year.  Now it’s on to the regular season.  Now it’s on to the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes.

Is There Room For Golden Tate?

I’m starting to wonder.

While expectations for guys like Aaron Curry and James Carpenter may be higher because they’re first round draft picks expected to start and produce right away, it’s pretty obvious that the Seahawks have had high hopes for Golden Tate since they picked him in the 2nd round of the draft last year (a presumptive steal at the 60th overall pick).  He was a minor star at Notre Dame with all the tools to be a flashy Number 2 (or slot) receiver in the NFL.

What he has become in reality is nothing short of a huge disappointment.

Aside from that Denver game last year where he caught 1 pass for 52 yards (and returned a couple punts for 82 total yards), Golden Tate has been nonexistent.  Surely we could attribute that to his being a rookie (and rookie receivers traditionally being slow to impact the NFL game), but even with rookies you hope to see progress being made as the season wears on.  Golden Tate seemed to regress as the season wore on last year, with his role less defined than an amorphous Blob (and no less frightening).

This year, expectations are understandably higher for our steal of a prospect.  That may or may not be fair, considering he didn’t have any semblance of NFL coaching this offseason thanks to the stupid fucking lockout.  Nevertheless, he’s coming into this with a full year’s experience under his belt.  And yet he’s competing with guys like Doug Baldwin and Kris Durham for the final roster spot.

It’s unnerving!  Look at who we have so far who are locks to make the team:

  1. Sidney Rice
  2. Mike Williams
  3. Ben Obomanu

With the way Doug Baldwin is playing this season – making a serious run at that slot receiver position Golden Tate had his eyes on – and with the fact that Durham is a draft pick (and the type of tall receiver Pete Carroll loves), those could be your fourth and fifth receivers right there.  That’s not even taking into account Deon Butler is still coming back from injury, and Isaiah Stanback is a freakish athlete on special teams.

So, my question remains:  is there any room for Golden Tate on this football team?

It’s been proven time and time again that this team loves preaching that competition motto (starting quarterback aside) and isn’t afraid of roster turnover in the slightest.  Pete Carroll has also proven that he plays no favorites with “his guys”.  Granted, Tate didn’t play for Pete in college, but Tate was still one of Pete’s very first draft picks as head coach of this team.  It’s safe to say any draft pick of Pete’s is one of “his guys”.

It’s also safe to say that I never know what Pete Carroll is thinking.  He is as unpredictable as he is constantly upbeat.  But, I would have to think that in spite of a mostly-down rookie season, and a turbulent preseason this month, Golden Tate likely will be given another chance to prove his worth.  If I had to guess, I’d say this team won’t have a problem keeping Durham on the Practice Squad, thereby saving the fourth or fifth receiving job for Tate.

Nevertheless, Golden Tate absolutely MUST make strides this year towards being a pro receiver.  If a guy like Doug Baldwin has taught us anything, it’s that you can get quality wide receivers from the ranks of the undrafted free agent pool.  Next year is sure to give us another crop of hungry young pass catchers.  And, at that point, all the promise in the world might not save a roster spot for Golden Tate.

Quarterback Aside, How Good Are The Seahawks Going To Be?

Great blog entry on Tuesday from Eric Williams of The News Tribune here.  He goes into great detail about what the Seahawks – and specifically Pete Carroll – are looking for in their quarterback going into next season.  Lots of good video of the upside and downside of Charlie Whitehurst last season; definitely worth the time if you’ve got it.

The money quote – what really got me to wondering – is right here:

So really, it makes no sense to pay a quality quarterback like Hasselbeck at least $7 million in guaranteed money to come back and play for a team that could be even worse than last season.

That got me to thinking because … ARE we a worse team than we were last season?  I mean, yeah, we’re rebuilding – so we’re playing a lot of younger guys – but we played a lot of younger guys last year too.  What’s worse, an offensive line with 2 rookies and 2 others with less than 2 years experience; or the fill-in scrubs we played last year due to rampant injuries and ineffectiveness?  I think, right now, we’re better along the offensive line than we were last year; hands down!  Okung will be healthy, with half a season’s worth of experience.  Carpenter out of college I KNOW will be better than Locklear.  If we pull a quality veteran in free agency, I don’t see how we’re NOT better in this regard.

In the running game, we’re the same.  In the receiving game we’re essentially the same.  We’ll still have to see if Deon Butler can come back; but then again, we have Golden Tate who’s hopefully ready to step up to a larger role.  I think a major coup would be re-signing Brandon Stokley; he’s going to help ANY quarterback play with confidence on 3rd and 10.

So, really, right there I’m saying the offense is at least AS good as last year, if not better outright!  Contingent, of course, upon the core guys staying healthy (fingers crossed fingers crossed fingers crossed).

The defense is another story entirely … but I wonder.  Brandon Mebane might be a goner.  I’m pretty high on Mebane because he’s been remarkably healthy for a guy who plays a position that has such a short shelf life.  Seems like we can NEVER keep our defensive tackles healthy.  In a position of such flux, Mebane has been the one constant the last few years.  He’s not overpowering with his production, but he’s stout, he’s strong, he takes up space, and he’s quick.  If he were 30 pounds lighter, you could stick him on the end and let him go hog wild on the quarterback.

But, you have to ask:  is defensive tackle really worth breaking the bank?  I don’t know how much Mebane is going to command on the open market, but it figures to be a lot considering he’s one of the most highly coveted tackles in free agency.  Maybe I’m a worrier.  I see guys like Marcus Tubbs – so key and effective in the middle, a guy you build your entire line around – with his multiple injuries and his short stint in the NFL; I see guys like Albert Haynesworth, who stays health & productive, who commands max bucks only to lose his drive, get out of shape, and ultimately dog it out there because he’s got his; I see these guys and I wonder:  what is Mebane’s fate?  Will he sign the big deal and immediately break his foot?  Will he sign the big deal, stop working out, and get run over by opposing teams every week?

What I’m trying to say is:  it PROBABLY wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to NOT re-sign him.  But, we WILL have to sign someone to take his place.  Preferably someone who’s NOT Craig Terrill.

As for our linebackers, it looks like we’ll be the same in that arena as well.  Probably good to have that continuity SOMEWHERE on the defensive side of the ball, because our secondary could be a mess.

We have Earl Thomas, Marcus Trufant, and … who knows?  Hopefully NOT Kelly Jennings.  But, if not him, then it’s one of the two rookies we drafted this year.  That will probably be a short-lived step down as they get acclimated to the NFL, but over time should hopefully prove to be a huge step up as they appear to have more baseline talent than Jennings.

So, overall, as a team, it’s probably a wash.  Our offense might be a tad better, our defense might be a tad worse; but who cares, because it’s all going to come down to who’s under center.  What we SHOULD be asking is:

Would we be a worse team in spite of Hasselbeck’s presence?  Or, would we be a worse team because he’s not around anymore?  I think most of us would agree, if he’s being replaced by Whitehurst, we WILL be a worse team.  But, quite frankly, what I want to know is:

Would we be a worse team BECAUSE of Hasselbeck’s presence?  With Matt on our team as our starting quarterback, I think most of us would agree we’re not all that much different from last year.  Nevertheless, we WEREN’T very good last year, and you could argue that our schedule this season is tougher.  We go to Pittsburgh and to New York to play the Giants in the first five weeks of the season.  We also have to go to Dallas and Chicago later in the season.  And, of course, we have Atlanta, Baltimore, and Philly at home.

I’d say the odds are pretty good we’re going to lose a few of these games!

Well, that’s nothing new, we lost a bunch of games last year too.  And what was a major problem during those losses?  Matt Hasselbeck trying to do too much, making idiotic, bone-headed throws, and turning the ball over left and right.  How big of a bed is Hasselbeck going to crap when we fall behind teams like Philly, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Dallas?

No, our team around the quarterback isn’t much different, but it’s also not much good!  It’s still going to be a struggle to stay in ballgames and to stay in contention for the NFC West.  The Rams are sure to be better, the 49ers are sure to be the Rams of last season, and the Cards are sure to do everything in their power to attract a proven quarterback to lead them back to the playoffs.  In that sense, yeah, the Seahawks will probably be worse; record-wise.

But, in overall talent, quarterback aside, we’re pretty much the same.

A List Of Current Seahawks Facing Free Agency

We’ve got a lot of decisions to make this year, much like we did last year.  The disadvantage is, of course, the impending lockout (which I’m not going to get into, because what’s the point?  Yeah, I hate the idea of a lockout as I assume every other fan does too; bitching about it will accomplish nothing.  Football WILL be played again eventually, and when it is, you will watch).  The ADvantage, however, is that this coaching staff (or what’s left) and this management has had a year to analyze the players who will potentially be on their way out.  Here’s what I perceive to be the official list, with my thoughts on whether or not we should keep them.

By the by, I’m getting my info from this website.  Took me a while to track down something so simple, so credit where credit is due.  It’s worth a glance as it is a list of EVERY ALMOST EVERY Seahawks player and when they’re up for free agency.

1.  Matt Hasselbeck – I don’t know if I’m on record or not, but I’ll say it again:  I want Matt Hasselbeck back next year.  I WANT him to retire as a Seahawk, but at the very least I want him for a couple more years.  Of course, I also want us to draft someone in this upcoming draft, so he can work behind Hasselbeck, but for now Matt gives us the best chance to repeat as NFC West champs in 2011.  Final Answer:  2-year extension.

2.  Leon Washington – The dude is in his prime, 28 years of age, and he’s one of the best return men in the game.  Of COURSE I want him back.  I’d give him a 2-3 year extension if I had it my way.  Unless he hits the market and gets blown away with an offer.  I love what the guy brings, but let’s get serious, blowing a bunch of money on a running back you never use AS a running back is a bit much.  Final Answer:  2-3 year extension, if the price is right.

3.  Sean Locklear – Let him go.  He’s a bum and will be due for raises he’s not worth.  Final Answer:  No way; there are other fish in the sea.

4.  Ray Willis – If he can come back healthy, I’d like to get him on the cheap.  A bulldog with size, and at the very least can bring some depth.  Final Answer:  Yes, if healthy.

5.  Tyler Polumbus – Another solid depth guy; he’s young and cheap.  Final Answer:  Yes.

6.  Ben Hamilton & Mansfield Wrotto – I was under the impression that we’d already traded Wrotto away.  And Hamilton, I’m pretty sure, is retiring.  Final Answer:  N/A.

7.  Chris Spencer – I liken centers to defensive ends and quarterbacks:  they generally get better with age and experience.  You rarely see any of those three positions come out of college lighting the world on fire (unlike running backs, linebackers, some offensive tackles and safeties, who tend to rely on their explosive raw talent immediately).  I don’t think Spencer will ever be a Pro Bowler, but I think he can still be a solid center in this league for another 5-8 years if his body holds up.  I think he kinda gets lumped in with the shitstorm that was the 2009 Seahawks offensive line, and I think that’s unfair.  Put some talent around him, and I think Spencer is a guy worth keeping around.  He’s coming into his own now, I’d like to see where that’ll take him going forward.  Final Answer:  Yes, sign to a long-term extension.

8.  Brandon Mebane – This is EASILY the number 1 guy we have to re-sign in whatever free agency period we have this year.  If defensive tackle wasn’t so injury-prone as a position (regardless of the player), I would say we’re stupid for not inking him to a long-term deal BEFORE the offseason.  As it stands, it will weaken our already weak defensive line CONSIDERABLY if we don’t wrap this up.  He’s a run-stuffing machine who can cause a little havoc from time to time; exactly what you want with a D-line that plays 3 tackles with a Leo end as the primary pass rusher.  Final Answer:  Hell Yes!  Long-Term Deal!

9.  LeRoy Hill – We made it through this year without Hill, we specifically voided the remaining years on his deal to GET him to free agency this year, so no, I don’t think we’ll be re-signing LeRoy Hill.  Should we?  That’s up for debate.  His hitting ability is there.  If we got him cheap enough, I’d say that wouldn’t be the worst thing.  But, look, we’ve got Hawthorne entrenched at our other outside linebacker position.  We’ve got cheap, young linebacker depth kicking ass on our special teams.  We don’t NEED LeRoy Hill.  If he came back, he’d have to earn his way onto this team and likely wouldn’t be starting unless someone got injured or we started playing 4 linebacker sets.  With Tatupu’s injury history, it might not be the worst thing in the world.  We can slide Hawthorne into the middle and Hill could reclaim his old position.  Final Answer:  If he’s cheap enough, yes; but I doubt this will even be an issue.

10.  Kelly Jennings – HELL NO!  I’ve been counting the fucking days until this waste of space is out of my life.  He’s too small, he’s too slow, he’s never in a position to make a play, and it forces the safeties to help out on his side too many times, making Marcus Trufant’s life a living hell.  We need to dump the zero and sign a true lockdown corner (ahem, Nnamdi Asomugha), so the safeties can return to helping out Trufant and we can start kicking some tail on the defensive end.  Final Answer:  Are you shitting me?

11.  Lawyer Milloy – This one is about as 50/50 as it gets for me.  He won’t be expensive, he’s a natural leader and a great mentor for Earl Thomas, he knows the system inside and out, he’s a Dawg, and if we don’t re-sign him it’s unlikely he’ll go somewhere else and burn us.  On the downside, he’s pushing 40 (which means he might as well be pushing 70 in football years).  He has a tendency to over-play the run and get beat deep.  We should probably be looking towards the future at this position too.  Final Answer:  1-year extension, draft a safety that he can tutor, and that will be that.

12.  Olindo Mare – Do we dare franchise our kicker two years in a row?  Final Answer:  Hell yes we do!  Franchise the hell out of him until he stops making field goals and then cut him to the dogs!

Interesting fact of note:  Our top receivers and tight ends are signed through at least next season (can’t find word on Stokley though; I’d like to get him back if he wants back).  However, with Deon Butler’s massacre at the end of the season, we’ll likely be looking for more talent in the pass-catching department.

I know for a fact that there are others Seahawks free agents (reserves, special teamers), but I think that’s as good a rundown as we’re going to get.  The only guy who will kill me if he isn’t retained is Mebane.  The only guy who will kill me if he IS retained is Jennings.  Obviously, keeping the team the same is no way to improve (after all, we DID only win 7 games last year; and no way we blame that all on injuries), so I don’t expect all the guys I want back to BE back.  But I think my argument speaks for itself.

I Like Mike

Thought I’d rip this one off right quick, as I’ve got a lot of other things to do today.

In an otherwise down-ish season – winning the division at 7-9 notwithstanding – there were plenty of bright spots for the Seattle Seahawks that I’ll be lauding in the coming weeks as we look back at a season in transition.  One of those bright spots just re-signed with the ballclub for 3 years.

Mike Williams had an average Seahawks wide receiver type of season:  65 catches, 751 yards and 2 touchdowns.  You might as well just change his name to Prototypical Matt Hasselbeck Target.  However, if you look a little deeper, you’ll see Mike missed 2 full games with injury, and was very hampered in about 3 others.  He very well could have been within reaching distance of 100 grabs!

Even if he’s not a bona-fide Number 1 receiver, Mike Williams is a great compliment to guys like Obomanu, Butler, Stokley, and hopefully whatever Golden Tate turns into.  I’m of the opinion that you don’t really NEED a Larry Fitzgerald, an Andre Johnson, or a Brandon Marshall to have a successful passing game.  They sure as shit can help, but really only if you’ve drafted the guy; I’ve yet to see a super-bigtime receiver who’s signed elsewhere as a free agent (or especially who was traded) and been the missing piece to the puzzle (talk to me all you want about Randy Moss’s initial stint with the Patriots, but he didn’t bring them a championship, did he?).

And anyway, it’s kinda like we drafted Williams.  Or re-drafted him.  He’s been nothing but professional since he got here.  Hard working, playing through pain, productive when healthy, and always with a smile on his face.  Did T.J. Houshmandzadeh EVER smile when he was here?

Next order of business:  re-sign Chris Clemons.  He’s entering his prime and certainly has a handful of good years left.

The Seahawks Are 2-5 On The Road

Unfortunately, that means the Seahawks are still only 4-2 at home.

What did I see yesterday?  I’m not gonna lie to you, after about 5 minutes of the 3rd Quarter, I didn’t see ANYTHING, because I stopped watching the game and started watching “Sleepaway Camp” from Netflix.  I don’t know what was more horrific:  seeing the little girl with a penis, or seeing Matt Hasselbeck chuck 4 interceptions as he pressed as hard as he could with what little receiver help he had at his disposal.  This couldn’t be more of a toss-up.

But, you know, that’s how the Seahawks play on the road.  S-h-i, t-t-y.  9 of Hasselbeck’s 15 interceptions have come on the road (and don’t look now, but he’s thrown 8 in the last 3 games).  While the yardage has gone up considerably over the last 5 games (averaging 299 vs. 202 over his first 7), I can’t help but wonder if a lot of that has to do with garbage time in three blowout losses (to the 49ers, Chiefs, and Saints).  Regardless, he’s not getting it done.

And for once, we have no reason to blame the offensive line!

At least not entirely.  I’m sure they’re doing things I’m not seeing that’s making life difficult.  But, this time around I think you gotta look at the wide outs.  Or lack thereof.

Once again, we see the Mike Williams Effect loud and clear.  The offense is a thing of beauty with Mike Williams in the lineup giving other teams fits.  Whereas, when he’s out, the offense is a little girl with a penis standing over a disembowled little boy at summer camp.  So frightening and insane, you just can’t get the image out of your head no matter how many times you try to wash your eyeballs out with soap.

And, as an added bonus, we got to witness the Ben Obomanu Effect.  It’s less damaging than the Mike Williams Effect, but still serves to showcase what this offense looks like without even a whiff of a deep threat (and make no mistake, Obomanu has become the default deep threat thanks to the fact that he can actually jump up and make a play on a ball unlike the rest of these jokers).

At the end of the game, Deon Butler broke his leg.  I don’t think we’ll be talking about the Deon Butler Effect, though, as I can’t imagine a replacement-level player being any worse.

Three games to go.  At least New Orleans did their job and stopped the Rams.  Will Kansas City be able to do the same?  Gotta hope and pray Matt Cassel returns from his appendix.

The Kansas City Breakdown

Entrenched in my mind, I have this one as a Pick ‘Em game.  Meaning that on a neutral field, I think the Chefs are a little better than the Seahawks; but at Qwest anything goes.  Hence:  pick ’em.

So, it might make things a little more clear if I go down through the strengths and weaknesses of these teams, if for nothing else than it’s something to do on Black Friday.

Starting with Quarterbacks, neither team really has a world beater on their hands.  Matt Cassel has actually played one more game than Matt Hasselbeck and has about 35 fewer yards passing.  In fact, aside from that Denver game where he racked up a whopping 469 yards in a 49-29 defeat, he’s averaging about 178 yards per game.  Nevertheless, that doesn’t matter because A. this is primarily a rushing team, and B. he doesn’t make mistakes.  He’s thrown 4 interceptions and has been sacked only 15 times in 10 games.  Conversely, Hasselbeck has thrown 7 picks and has been sacked 23 times in 9 games.

What I will say here is that Hasselbeck has been ON the last two games.  699 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.  There’s something to be said for a hot hand, so I’m giving the advantage to Hasselbeck.

Next up, running game.  This is no contest.  Kansas City is the Number 1 rushing team in football at 165 yards per game.  They have a 2-headed attack with Jamaal Charles (the speed) and Thomas Jones (the power) that absolutely is blowing teams away.  Now, were this week 3 instead of week 12, I’d be somewhat optimistic.  However, we’ve since fallen from the Number 2 to the Number 13 rushing defense.  We’ve been particularly manhandled in our last three losses against the Saints, Giants, and Raiders.

Now, I know a major key to our success this year has been 3rd down defense.  We’ve been able to get other teams off the field with amazing regularity, and this Sunday it’ll still be a priority.  However, more importantly will be our 1st and 2nd down defense.  Because if they’re able to run the ball and get into a bunch of 3rd and shorts, watch out.  That’ll spell a long day for our defense in both time of possession and ultimately points given up.  Advantage:  Chefs (notice I didn’t say anything about our own running “attack”.  While they’re only 12th in the nation in rushing defense, that doesn’t matter; this game is sure to improve that status).

It’s tempting to pit the entire receiving corps as a contest of 6’2 Dwayne Bowe vs. 6’5 Mike Williams.  I know that’s what I’d like to do.  In that regard, give the nod to KC, but only because Bowe is a monster when it comes to catching footballs in the endzone.  He’s got 11 TD’s to Mike’s 1.  That’s pretty pathetic.  Somebody teach Matt Hasselbeck how to throw a fade to the back of the endzone!

Fortunately for us, it’s not just those two guys.  I like our supporting cast.  Handjobs all around for Stokley, Obomanu, and Butler!  They work hard and they play hard!  I honestly couldn’t name another Kansas City receiver and I have their roster pulled up right in front of me.

I also think that we’ll be able to somewhat neutralize Bowe a little bit.  We’ve done it twice to Larry Fitzgerald and I don’t care who’s throwing the football, that guy is one of the best in the game.  Period.  The teams who’ve torched us this year have done so with All Pro quarterbacks (except for Oakland, which was the God damned apocalypse).  Brees, Eli, Rivers … Matt Cassel is not in their class.  My hope is we keep 7 or 8 in the box and make due with their wideouts.  I think we can be okay on this end, even if their O-Line is untouchable.  Advantage:  ‘Hawks.

Sprinkle in a little special teams magic alongside Hasselbeck’s hot hand, and I’m calling this a close victory for the Seahawks.  31-28, with a touchdown late, and a huge defensive stop inside two minutes.  This one should be exciting, I for one can’t wait.

WE DIDN’T LET ‘EM OFF THE HOOK!!!

I.  Told.  You.  So.

Mother. Fucker.

You know what you have to do when you’re on the road and you haven’t won on the road against a non-division opponent in quite some time and the team you’re playing against right now just went down on their first drive – aided by a bogus pass interference penalty (I’ve got a big problem with how this is being called/not called at the whim of idiots) – and got a score to go up 7-0?

You go right back down the field and tie that shit up on a 22-yard pass to Deon Butler!  That’s what the fuck you do!

If I just ran the Seahawks highlights of the game for you, without telling you the score, my guess is you’d think it was a pretty bad blowout for the road team.  We held the Bears to 0 for 12 on 3rd down.  We sacked Cutler 6 times (once for a safety) and hit him 9 times while getting 7 other tackles for loss.  We held Matt Forte to 11 yards rushing on 8 carries and held the Bears as a team to 61 yards on 14 carries.  And their quarterback didn’t throw a touchdown.

How, with that kind of a defensive performance, did the game end up 23-20?  A 58-yard penalty (the aforementioned bullshit), an 89-yard punt return for a touchdown (why kick to Devin Hester?  Why???), and let’s face it, our offense probably wasn’t as sharp as it could’ve been.  No, we didn’t turn the ball over, but we had to punt TEN times!

Marshawn Lynch made his Seahawks debut and looked MUCH better than his 44-yard stat line.  He ran hard, he broke tackles, he turned would-be losses into gains.  In other words:  he was the anti-Julius Jones (who falls upon initial contact like he’s ducking under a table for an Earthquake drill).  Justin Forsett seemed weirdly energized, averaging 6.7 yards per carry on 10 plays.  Mike Williams broke out for a monster 10-catch, 123-yard performance, and Big Play Babs lived up to his name with 1.5 sacks (including that safety), 2 other tackles for loss, and a quarterback hit.

Our defense REALLY stole the show in Soldier Field.  The blitz package – especially from our secondary – really had Cutler behind the 8-ball.  Probably didn’t help much that all of their plays take forever go get going.  Hey Martz, how about some 3-step drops so your most prized commodity doesn’t get killed?  Hey Martz, how about throwing your QB a bone and giving him a running back or two to help out with blocking on blitzes?

Hey, Brian Billick!  Yeah, you, who did color for the game on Fox!  Why don’t you go easy on Martz for not running the ball so much.  If you knew anything about the NFL, you’d know that the Seahawks have a Top-5 defensive unit against the run!  If you knew anything about the NFL, you’d stop calling our D-line “small” and “under-sized” when we’re starting three defensive tackles in a 4-3 Defense.  Who hired you Brian Billick?  Shut up!

The Seahawks Can’t Win On The Road Exhibit A: Denver Broncos

It’s officially getting old.

This game might’ve been completely different if we got that touchdown on that first drive.  If Heather Locklear didn’t hold and Forsett’s touchdown was true.  It might’ve even been different if we didn’t throw that interception; if we just settled for a field goal for the 3-point lead.

Or it might’ve been exactly the same, only with a few more points on our end.

This game PROBABLY would’ve been different if we didn’t muff that punt.  If we didn’t send out a rookie when we have a perfectly capable returner in the aforementioned Forsett.  I mean, Forsett can’t be so important that you can’t put him back there to return kicks!  Or, shit, I dunno, just don’t give a rookie a punt return when he’s in a position to crap his pants (save that for, I DUNNO, when we’re kicking ass all over a 49er team one week ago!).

That was pretty much a back-breaker, as that was one of the few times we actually managed to stop Denver on 3rd down.  Yes, they dinked and dunked and intermediate routed us to death just as I imagined.  AND, just as I imagined, their running backs were nothing special and their wide receivers were no all stars.  But even mediocre talent will look like world beaters when you can’t get to the quarterback.

Of course, when we did get to the quarterback, he was able to elude pressure.  Who knew Kyle Orton was so damned mobile?

There were other ill-timed turnovers.  Ill-advised plays on 3rd and 4th down that had little-to-no chance of success.  From what I’m told by those involved, the lob play to the back of the end zone on 4th and 2 (back when we still had a chance to come back if we scored a touchdown on the drive) wasn’t actually intended originally to be a lob play to the back of the end zone.  But, since the screen to Jones was snuffed out early, that was the only other option on the play.  THAT.  First of all, WHY are you throwing a screen to Jones on 4th and 2?  Why not, shit, why not a fucking slant to Butler who caught everything going his way!?  Why not a crossing route to Branch?  Why not spread ’em wide and dump it to Jones 2 yards IN FRONT of the line of scrimmage?

Or FUCK.  How about, if you’re going to design a screen to Jones, have the backup option NOT be a fucking lob to the back of the end zone!!!

I’m not arguing with the decision to go for it on 4th and short.  I think that’s great and I will applaud it almost every time.  I’m arguing with the fucking play called.  That’s a bullshit play; I would’ve rather you plowed Forsett for 2 yards up the gut than whatever rinky-dink crap that was.

Anyway, the final was 31-14.  I predicted 31-10.  The Seahawks are who we motherfucking thought they were:  a team who can’t win on the road against like-talented teams.  I mean, let’s face it, yeah they’ve got a decent secondary, but their D-Line is shit (they got 1 sack and gave up over 100 yards rushing to the likes of us).  We were able to move the ball, but we kept stepping all over our dicks out there with mistakes (interceptions, fumbles, penalties).  That was a winnable game, but for that to happen, we needed to be perfect.  Because they weren’t about to start putting the ball on the turf to let us back in.

Stat of the Day:  14 for 20.  The Denver Broncos converted 14 of 20 3rd downs into 1st downs.  You’ll lose every time when you give that up.