Seattle Sports Has Four New Head Coaches This Year

How will they all do? Who will succeed and who will fail?

Well, on a long-enough timeline, they all fail, don’t they? Except for the very extreme minority who get to go out on their own terms. But, success can be defined any number of ways, so let’s get into it.

The Seahawks, the Kraken, Husky football, and Husky basketball have all had to replace their head coaches for one reason or another. The Seahawks needed to move on from one of those success stories, probably a year or two beyond when was appropriate. The Kraken took a step backwards in their third season of existence, and have never really looked like they were well-coached. Husky football has tried to recover from the potentially-devastating loss of Kalen DeBoer after making a run at the national championship. And Husky basketball will be trying to recover from an extended run of incompetence (thanks to a contract they could ill-afford to get out from under until now). There are all sorts of different reasons teams move on from a coaching staff, but for the most part, the reason is: we want improvement.

The Seahawks had grown stagnant over the last decade, after making back-to-back Super Bowls; they needed a fresh voice and a total reset.

The Kraken never really seemed to get the most out of their players, particularly on offense. Which is funny to say, because in the 2022-2023 season, the offense was more-or-less fine, and we made the playoffs as a result. But, the step-back in 2023-2024 only solidified the fact that this team wasn’t making any progress. The young players weren’t developing, the scheme on offense never really took shape, they never improved in the areas they’ve always struggled (even in their playoff season, they sucked on power plays and in face-offs). This is a team that was built to succeed from within. Yet, the guys we’ve drafted a the top of the first three drafts haven’t done much of anything. That needs to change in the next couple years, or there will be a much bigger housecleaning coming. Getting the most out of the players we have is paramount; it’s less of a total reset, but still very much a fresh voice needed.

Husky basketball has been in need of a total makeover for a while now, but as I mentioned above, they were financially unwilling to take the hit needed to get rid of Mike Hopkins, until now. This is the biggest rebuilding job of the four, and yet it doesn’t feel as dire. Just because things are SO low for this program; there’s nowhere to go but up. We need a coach who knows how to recruit in this new era of college athletics. We need a coach who can take that successful mid-major mentality and carry it over into the power conference we’re joining. We need someone who’s adept at connecting to this relative hotbed of a basketball community, while at the same time able to bring in players from around the country, both developing them and getting them to gel as a unit. If it leads to a return to the Tourney, great. But, I would settle for baby steps. Just be fun to watch again!

Husky football arguably has the toughest rebuilding job of the bunch, because of all the players we lost – both to the NFL and the transfer portal – and because of the way we were left in the lurch by DeBoer. This is a team that can only go DOWN, at least in the short term. But, our new coach is tasked with trying to rebuild on the fly, to at least bring this team up to a competent level, and hopefully get us back to contending for conference titles and national championships sooner rather than later.

Oddly enough, I have the MOST confidence in Jedd Fisch with the Husky football team. It’s not that I necessarily think he’s the best coach or smartest guy or anything. I just think he’s a guy on the rise, we’re getting him at the absolute perfect time in his career, and he’s STARVING to both do well here and move on as quickly as possible to a better program. He’s the best Used Car Salesman we’ve ever had in Seattle; he’ll be able to extract the money we need to buy the players we need to bounce back in a hurry. I give him two glorious, better-than-expected years. If we don’t win it all in that time, I still think he will have done enough to earn a promotion elsewhere. That second year will really be the good one, I think. At the very least, look for the Husky football team to be in the 2025 Big Ten Championship Game, if not winning it and making it back to the playoffs.

I think I have the least amount of confidence in Danny Sprinkle, but that says nothing about him, and everything about the Husky basketball program. By all accounts, Sprinkle is great, and like Fisch, a guy on the rise who we’re getting at the exact right time. If I were to believe in Fisch as much as I do, I have no reason to doubt Sprinkle, who might not be quite the shyster, but is just as motivated to parlay this into bigger and better things. I just don’t think Husky basketball is ever going to be more than an occasional Tournament participant, and a Sweet 16 team once in a blue moon. It’s cool and all that we were able to sign Great Osobor to the highest free agent contract in college basketball history (or whatever the fuck we’re calling it, under the guise of NIL), but I’ve seen tons of elite-looking basketball recruits sign here. Only to accomplish nothing until they left after one season and turned pro.

Dan Bylsma, the new Kraken head coach – after his promotion from our Coachella Valley affiliate – is the biggest wild card to me, mostly because I know very little about hockey, and what makes a good NHL coach. He has prior NHL coaching experience; seems like a good thing. He also has experience coaching a lot of our younger players at Coachella Valley, which I feel like is a great thing. With the success that team has had, and their ability to score the way they have, it seems like he should be a perfect fit here. Someone to actually get the most out of these players. Someone who will hopefully turn Matty Beniers and Shane Wright into monsters. Someone who can jumpstart this offense while still getting the most out of our defense. I’m a fan of the hire, but obviously we’ll know a lot more once the games start this fall.

Potentially the most interesting hire of the bunch is Mike Macdonald. He seems like the one with the most potential for greatness, and obviously the one most likely to stick around the longest. If he’s as smart as advertised – if he’s the defensive version of Sean McVay – then we’re talking about a guy who can take us all the way.

It feels pretty rare to have so much coaching turnover happen in the same offseason. That makes this a really pivotal time in Seattle sports. Our lives could be changing drastically for the better … or it’ll just be a lot of the same mediocre bullshit.

What Do We Do With Another Seahawks Schedule?

Every year, I get a little less excited about the NFL and their Schedule Release Day. I will say that I think a significant part of that has to do with the Seahawks themselves. We’re staring down the barrel of another 9-ish win season. I don’t care how you shuffle the deck, a middling finish is what we’re in for. So, let’s look at it, so we can talk about it.

  • Week 1 – Denver
  • Week 2 – @ New England
  • Week 3 – Miami
  • Week 4 – @ Detroit (MNF)
  • Week 5 – N.Y. Giants
  • Week 6 – San Francisco (TNF)
  • Week 7 – @ Atlanta
  • Week 8 – Buffalo
  • Week 9 – L.A. Rams
  • Week 10 – BYE
  • Week 11 – @ San Francisco
  • Week 12 – Arizona
  • Week 13 – @ N.Y. Jets
  • Week 14 – @ Arizona
  • Week 15 – Green Bay (SNF)
  • Week 16 – Minnesota
  • Week 17 – @ Chicago (TNF)
  • Week 18 – @ L.A. Rams

As a fan of football, I think this has the potential to be a fun slate of games. The AFC East is predominantly in the zeitgeist, the NFC North is one of the up-and-coming divisions, the NFC West is obviously a killer, and the Falcons are like the story of the offseason! The only real duds in this mix are the Broncos and Giants (easily the two boringest teams of their respective divisions).

And, if you play the game-by-game … game, we have the potential for a lot of interesting opponents. Again, there are minimal duds as opponents. Not a lot of easy wins. Denver, New England, and the Giants all in the first five games is kinda cool; that should get us out to a pretty hot start (especially if we can steal one from Miami or Detroit).

There’s no real Murderer’s Row stretch, unless you look at those three opponents around our BYE week, but the Bills and Rams are at home, back to back, and the Niners will be after a week off, which is something. That being said, our 8-game stretch after the BYE week has us on the road 5 times, including 4 in the last 6 weeks.

But, we got some favors with this schedule too. We have that 3-week stretch at home (including the BYE), and we also have a home game immediately preceeding our first Thursday Night game (also at home, against the 49ers). That’s a pretty sick advantage, against an important opponent.

Is anyone else weirded out that we have TWO Thursday games? I also don’t love that our only Sunday Night game is so late in the season; that’s prime Flexing territory!

Anyway, let’s go through it real quick and make a prediction.

I’ve got the Seahawks starting 4-1, with the aforementioned wins against Denver, New England, and the Giants. I’ll also take us against the Lions, while dropping that home game to Miami.

From there, I see a 1-3 stretch, with losses to the 49ers, Bills, and Rams (all at home), while barely eking one out down in Atlanta. That puts us at 5-4 heading into the BYE week.

I’ve got us going 2-2 in the next four games, with losses to the 49ers (on the road) and Cardinals (at home), followed by wins at the Jets and Cardinals to bring us back to 7-6.

Then, it’s another 2-2 stretch, with wins at home over the Packers and Vikings, and losses on the road to the Bears and Rams. 9-8, as it was meant to be.

2024 Seattle Mariners Preview Extravaganza Part II: Run Scoring

In case you missed it, read Part I here about the 2024 Mariners run prevention.

As was discussed yesterday, the Mariners aren’t even close to contenders without a dominant pitching staff. That’s what this team is built on. We need the starters to keep things close and low scoring, we need the bullpen to go above and beyond, and we need the defense to just be passable. This gets us to the front porch of the playoffs. How we’re going to walk in the door? How far we’re going into the house? Well, that’s up to the hitters, now isn’t it?

It’s really a Chicken Or Egg situation then, isn’t it? What’s more important, the pitching or the hitting? We need great pitching, because the hitting is subpar. But, with no hitting whatsoever, it doesn’t matter how great our pitching is, because if you can’t score runs, you’re not winning games!

And, as we discussed yesterday, we can’t really rely on the Spring Training numbers, because they don’t matter. They don’t translate to the regular season. It’s not like they’re A.P. classes we can use for college credit; everyone reverts back to .000 starting today.

You know who were the four best OPS regulars this spring? Julio (naturally), Haniger (sounds right), Polanco (solid veteran), and Canzone (The Mirage). It’ll be interesting to see where these guys end up at season’s end – and who ends up as the top four OPS guys – because other than Julio, I don’t know if I believe in ANY of them.

The stars on this squad are Julio, J.P., and Cal. Center field, short stop, catcher. Those are our studs. We don’t have to worry about them producing; they’re going to be fine. We love them, and honestly, we don’t talk enough about how great they are!

Then, there’s a creamy middle of veterans: Haniger, Polanco, France, Garver. Right field, second base, first base, DH. This is the pile we’re relying on to stay healthy, as all have massive injury concerns, and it would be a miracle if they avoided the IL. They’re good, productive middle-of-the-order hitters when they’re healthy, except France comes with the additional caveat of having worked on a new swing all offseason. He seems to have made some headway in that department this spring; I’ll reject a lot of exhibition numbers, but 6 walks over 5 strikeouts definitely seems like a step in the right direction. On the downside, he tied for the lead in spring at bats with 44 and managed all of zero homers. The high batting average is nice – and if he reverts to a high average/high on-base guy with limited power, I’ll take it – but it is a little concerning to see so few extra-base hits.

If those seven hitters all pan out, I think we’ll be fine. But, when have things EVER panned out the way we want them to?

Which brings us to the fringe guys: Canzone, Raley, Urias, Rojas, Moore. Left field, third base, utility. These are the guys who we always try to talk ourselves into. Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if Canzone turned into a legitimate baseball player? Oh, wouldn’t it be great if Urias came in here and proved everybody wrong? Oh, wouldn’t it be so sweet if Raley was the Rays player they gave up on who actually turned out to be someone useful?

As you can tell, I don’t have a ton of any confidence in any of those guys, or anyone else residing in this area of the active roster. These are barely .200 hitters who strike out too much and might sack up for a homer once every 20 games or so. Canzone, I’ve talked about. He’s the guy getting the most pub, and probably the guy I want MOST to succeed, so he’s clearly going to crap out. Raley has had about as bad of a Spring Training as you can get (.159/.245/.227), joining France as the other player with 44 at bats and 0 homers. It’s funny how spring numbers never matter … except when you hit as poorly as Raley. Then, you have to wonder: if he can’t hit in the cozy confines of a slick Arizona atmosphere, how is he ever going to hit in the murky slog that is Seattle?

Third base just seems like a cesspool at this point. The black hole to end all black holes. Rojas is Moore without the unjustified confidence, and Urias seems like a total bust. I think, at best, we get nothing from that spot in the order, but are at least middle-of-the-road defensively. At worst, we also lead the league in errors; think Russ Davis without the 30 homer potential.

I really want to believe in this team. I really want to believe in the pundits and nerds who think this offense will be better than expected. But, I have almost 30 years of Mariners fandom in my back pocket. I know what this team does. I know what it’s capable of when you start to believe in them. Every season where I’ve come in confident, they’ve let me down. It’s only when my belief is at its lowest when they at least flirt with contention. But, you know the story. One playoff appearance in the last 20-something years, which was a sweep in the ALCS to the Houston Astros of all teams. We can’t have nice things, so why should 2024 be any different?

It’s the first day of the season. The time of unbridled optimism and rejuvenated hope. This is supposed to be when you Believe Big or whatnot! But, I just can’t get there. Not with all the holes this organization left for itself. Not with all the question marks we have to rely on if we want to be good.

The best I can give you is my attention. I’ll be honest, when I heard about all the nonsense with payroll, I was ready to quit on this team. I was ready to be a fairweather fan at best, and maybe just stop watching them altogether. While they didn’t do enough to suck me into believing this is a playoff team, they did do enough to at least keep me around for a while.

The projections say this is an 85-win team, which is good enough to hang around contention and maybe sneak into a wild card if things break right. I think 85-77 feels about right. I also think that won’t be NEARLY enough to make a wild card. We’ll probably end up a few games out, but ultimately another wasted year is upon us.

2024 Seattle Mariners Preview Extravaganza Part I: Run Prevention

It’s interesting how opinions can shift. Just two months ago, I was ranting and raving about the F-grade the Mariners deserved for this offseason (not necessarily the grade Jerry Dipoto & Co. earned, but the organization as a whole, starting first & foremost with ownership). Since then, it should be pointed out, three very important personnel moves were made. We traded for Jorge Polanco to shore up second base. We traded for Gregory Santos to shore up the back-end of our bullpen. Then, we signed Ryne Stanek after it became clear Santos (and Brash) wouldn’t be healthy enough to break camp with the Mariners out of Spring Training. You’re talking about some much-needed depth, and you’re also talking about – when healthy – a team that should at least hang around.

On top of those moves, the other thing that’s happened in the subsequent two months since I wrote that post is that the Mariners have had their entire Spring Training session. We have some more information than we did before. Even though we’re all loathe to talk positively about numbers, you can’t help but feel at least a little warm and fuzzy about hitters mashing the ball, and the stuff from your pitchers starting to come around.

I’m not going to sit here and say I’ve done a complete 180 on this team. But, between the additional moves, the exhibition performance, all the pundits and analytics being more bullish than bearish on this team, and the general optimism of spring and the new season directly before us, it’s hard not to have that … whatever the opposite is of cloud your thinking. Clear? Sunny up? They’ve gone and sunnied up my disposition – without my consent, I might add – and I’m not sure how to reconcile those feelings from two months ago.

You know what I hate? Being everyone’s “dark horse”. You know what else I hate? Being suckered into this fucking team, only for them to fall flat on their asses.

So, I’m trying to shut all that noise out and just focus on what my brain tells me. For starters, I have to give the usual caveat: all of this prognostication assumes we have an average amount of health (or better). Every team deals with injuries. Even the very best teams have to endure stretches where it feels like the baseball gods are whooping them with the ugly stick. The Rangers last year – World Series champions – had a spell in the second half where it looked like they might fall apart. But, they picked themselves up, steamrolled through the playoffs, and the rest was history. But, obviously, everyone remembers the 1996 Mariners, where Randy Johnson was lost for most of the year, and we also lost a good month from Ken Griffey Jr. Teams can’t endure the loss of their two best players for extended stretches and still hope to compete. If the 2024 Mariners lose Luis Castillo and Julio Rodriguez, no one is going to sit there and say, “Well, that’s just an average amount of baseball injuries.” It’s debilitating!

With that out of the way, let’s get going here. Since all I want to talk about is the hitting, we’re going to save that for Part II tomorrow. Right now, let’s get into the pitching and (a little bit on the) defense (at the end).

Baseball is tricky. You can’t sit there and say, “So and so is the most important guy on this team, and without him playing great, we have no chance.” It’s not football with the quarterback position. It’s not basketball with whoever your superstar is. Baseball is too much of a team sport. Yes, you need your stars to play well, but one guy can’t do it all. If that were the case, Mike Trout would be a champion countless times over.

You can’t even pin it all on a single pitcher, though I’ll contend until my dying breath that there’s nothing quite like an ace to dominate (particularly down the stretch of a pennant race). But, with the 2024 Mariners, we’re not even close to talking about them being contenders without this pitching staff, and especially this starting rotation. They’re the straw that stirs the drink. The most important aspect of this team, by far.

I don’t think you’re going to find a more talented one through five in Major League Baseball – nor one with a higher upside – than the one the Mariners are going to throw out there this seaason. Luis Castillo and George Kirby, right now, are among the best starters in all of baseball, and Logan Gilbert isn’t too far behind. And the pure, raw stuff of Bryce Miller, Bryan Woo, and Emerson Hancock (who is slotting into Woo’s spot while he starts the season on the IL with a little bit of arm inflammation) makes them more than the ideal 4 & 5 starters. There’s the kind of potential that we just saw in the first couple of seasons with Kirby and Gilbert! Now, obviously, that’s no guarantee they’re going to turn into bona fide All Stars, but if the worst thing you can say is that the guys projected to be in the back of your rotation – with mid-to-high 90’s fastballs with tons of movement and some promising off-speed pitches – are going to get hit around every now and then, that’s a pretty great problem to have.

Do you know how many teams have absolute bums in the back-end of their rotation? Do you know how many teams are relying on soft-tossing journeymen a la Marco Gonzales to simply eat up innings? Meanwhile, the Mariners have nothing but power arms fisting their way through opposing lineups; it’s outstanding!

Obviously, the knock against the rotation is the lack of depth. But, what team doesn’t have that problem? With Hancock, I’ve already listed six guys who we like. The top three guys are better than most other teams have in their ace spots; and the bottom three guys are better than most every other team’s back-end. If those other teams suffer rotation injuries, I can only imagine the drop-off in quality!

The fact of the matter is, the Mariners are uniquely positioned to withstand the injury bug every now and then. Obviously, it would be ideal if we can get through the next couple months without losing any more starters – to give our bullpen an opportunity to heal up. But, with our home stadium, with our marine layer, and eventually when we get our bullpen figured out, I don’t have a big problem ceding a few outings to a Quad-A starter every now and then. Let him five & dive and hope your offense is up to the task to win a squeaker.

Now, that bullpen does come with some questions. I think we’re all in agreement that when our studs get healthy, a top four (in whatever order you choose) of Santos, Brash, Stanek, and Munoz, is as good as it gets. Again, in all of Major League Baseball. At that point, it almost doesn’t matter who else you put out there. Saucedo and Speier are reliable-enough. Trent Thornton could conceivably be due for a bounce-back, after having a full offseason in our throwing program. And, I’m sure there are plenty of under-the-rader arms in our organization who are poised to be the next Justin Topa or Paul Sewald. Until this unit lets me down, I have to believe we have what it takes to get the job done in the bullpen.

If this team is going to get back to the playoffs, it’s going to be on the arms to get the job done. For as good as they are, it would be helpful if the defense could pick things up behind them, but we’ll see.

By all accounts, we’re going to take a serious step back defensively. Which is kind of shocking, if I’m honest. I always remember Mitch Haniger being better than average. Has he really taken such a dive with age and injury? If he has, that’s a problem, because we’re clearly not as good in left field with the loss of Kelenic. I don’t even know if Luke Raley is competent out there! We might be on the hook for Super Utility Dylan Moore more than we’d like (that is, if he’s not covering for third base).

Speaking of which, is Luis Urias the worst defensive third baseman in baseball? We’ll find out! He sure as shit seems to be worse than Suarez. And I don’t know if Rojas or Moore are much better. Also, what are we going to get out of Polanco at second?

Seems like the potential for a lot of holes. That being said, I don’t care how old Haniger is, there’s no WAY he’s worse than Teoscar Hernandez. We still have Julio and J.P. And our catching figures to be among the best in baseball as well (or, at the very least, the most underrated).

I don’t know if we can count on this defense to carry us. But, as long as it isn’t a total hindrance, then the run prevention half of this team should be among the best in the American League. Certainly good enough to get us to the post-season.

Now, will the hitting do its part? Check back tomorrow (and the rest of this regular season) to find out!

2023 Seahawks Preview Extravaganza!

I see one of two things happening with this Seahawks season. Either the Seahawks rule, or the Seahawks are just okay.

There are, of course, a myriad of other options. The Seahawks could be bad, for instance! But, I feel like for that to happen, this team would have to be decimated by injuries, to the offensive line, to key skill position players, and to the quarterback. You can’t rule it out! Luck is always a factor in the NFL. The thing is, you can make that case every single year, but you’re just speculating out of thin air at that point. As with every team, depending on injuries, the floor is a number one overall pick, and the ceiling is whatever that team is capable of if it manages to stay fully healthy. For the Seahawks, I would say that range is a Top 5 pick all the way up to competing for a spot in the Super Bowl.

Last year, I had the Seahawks projected for a top 5 pick; I just assumed it would be their own and not the Broncos’. Now that we have the knowledge of what happened in 2022, combined with the moves they’ve made in 2023, I obviously believe this team is poised for greater things.

Let’s start with Geno Smith. I don’t think it’s out of line to bring his durability into question, for the simple reason that he didn’t miss a game last year. But, maybe he has the secret sauce to avoiding back-breaking hits or twisted ankles or bent-backward thumbs. Given what we discovered about his ability to play at this level, an improvement in the weapons around him, and hopefully some more-consistent O-Line play, I believe we can get his 2022 numbers as a baseline. I also think, if the O-Line is considerably better, HE can be considerably better. A little more effective on third down. Turning some of those close losses into close victories. He alone – with everyone else being the same – can add or subtract two wins from last year’s total.

Now, let’s flip over to the defense. The good news is: we can’t be any worse. If we run it back, we’re 30th against the run and considerably better against the pass, with a good chunk of sacks to keep teams honest. BUT, if we can push that run defense up to just 20th, then I think we’re in business. We should be poised for better linebacker play. We should have more interior pressure with Dre’Mont Jones. And the sky is the limit for our secondary.

Bump the run defense up to 15th? Then, we’re talking about a team that not only contends for the division, but the whole damn conference.

There are so many variables with this team, which is what makes it both fun and nerve-wracking. The defensive front seven, the offensive line, the quarterback, the rookies and second-year players. We could be entering the next great period of Seahawks dominance, or it could be yet another year of post-L.O.B. tire-spinning.

What I’m excited about is the potential. If everything goes right, our offensive tackles are masters at their craft, and the rest of the line is full of bullies shoving dudes around. If everything goes right, the pass rush pressure is coming from a variety of sources (Jones, Nwosu, Taylor, Mafe, Hall, Reed, Adams, Love, Witherspoon). If everything goes right, Jones is a monster in the backfield against the run, Jarran Reed picks up where he left off with us in 2020, Morris and Young are legitimate contributors as rookies, and Bobby Wagner is the glue that holds everything together. If everything goes right, as soon as Jamal Adams returns, he doesn’t miss another game and gets back to what he does best: wreaking havoc all around the line of scrimmage. If everything goes right, Woolen and Witherspoon are lockdown corners funnelling passes to spots where Diggs, Love, and even Brooks are able to make plays. If everything goes right, JSN catches 80 balls and converts countless third downs, while opening up Metcalf and Lockett for monster years. If everything goes right, Kenneth Walker resumes his dominance, and Charbonnet is another Rashaad Penny (minus the injuries). If everything goes right, Geno Smith throws for 4,500+ yards, 35+ touchdowns, and never misses a down.

If everything goes right, the Seahawks overtake the 49ers and earn a top two seed as the NFC East bashes itself into smithereens.

Now, you read that and you can’t help but think that’s A LOT you need to go right. But, here’s the fun part: do you need ALL of that to happen to overtake the 49ers? Or can we get some percentage of that and still get the job done? I think it’s definitely possible. It won’t be easy, but it’s never been easy with this Seahawks team, even when they were going to Super Bowls.

Taking out injuries, the worst case scenario is that the O-line is as wishy-washy as it was last year, with none of our young guys stepping up and dominating. Mafe and Hall aren’t legitimate NFL pass rushers. Adams gets hurt on his first play back (because you can’t “take out injuries” when you talk about Adams; it’s his primary flaw). Wagner and Reed are washed up. Jones suffers under the weight of constant double-teams. Diggs loses a step, Love isn’t as great as he’s cracked up to be, and Witherspoon – having lost so much of his training camp and pre-season to injuries – takes a full year to get up to NFL speed. JSN is under-utilized (or worse, poorly-utilized by way of bubble screens and whatnot), our running backs are stuffed behind a line that can’t block, and Geno Smith regresses back to his old ways of taking too many sacks and turning the ball over too much. In that scenario, we’re probably a 7-8 win team and not making the playoffs.

The baseline for this team is 7-8 wins, because there’s simply too much talent for it ALL to go tits up.

The zenith for this team is 12-13 wins, because that talent reaches its full potential.

When I think of the great Seahawks teams – as well as the great teams we’ve seen in the NFC recently – I think of savage lines. The L.O.B. had it, the 49ers, Eagles, and Cowboys have them, and usually it’s those teams you see succeeding in January. But, there’s other ways to succeed. The Seahawks need to tap into that. Tap into its secondary. Tap into an elite passing attack. Tap into a pass rush that might be criminally underrated. Kill teams with speed, rather than simply bash them with brute force. It’s that speed, I think, if administered properly, that could start a new wave of dominance in the NFL. Pete Carroll is always changing, always adapting, and always forging new ways to win. I have every reason to believe this team could be on the cutting edge. Fly to the ball on defense, and utilize a mix of run and pass on offense that most teams can only dream of. We’re not pass-wacky like the Chiefs and Bills; we’re not overly run-dependant like the Ravens and Eagles. We’re equal parts awesome, and that could very well take us a long way.

This takes us back to our schedule. If injury luck is of utmost importance in the NFL, schedule luck is a close second. The Eagles last year were fortunate to have one of the easiest schedules in the league; they cruised to a number one seed and a spot in the Super Bowl. How is our schedule shaking out?

Well, the Rams and Cardinals look to be awful, so that’s a nice 4-game start. The Lions just got done looking great against the Chiefs last night – and their fans will surely be fired up for their home opener in week 2 – but that’s not a team that’s unbeatable. The Panthers look legitimately terrible (and we’re catching them early, before they have a chance to gel behind their number one overall draft pick), and I think the Giants are ripe for regression after a similar-to-the-Seahawks unexpected run of competence in 2022. The Browns, Ravens, and Guardians are all very suspect, and I like the Titans, but they could very well be toast. That’s 11 games where the Seahawks should at the very least be in it. Add the Steelers to that list, because we don’t know if they’re going to be competent on offense.

The tough-looking games are against the 49ers, Bengals, Cowboys, and Eagles. I mean, as I see it now. Anything could happen with any of these teams. If we can go 10-2 against the beatable teams, and 2-3 against the very good teams, that’s 12-5, and that’s probably good enough for a top 2 seed in the NFC. Even if we go 8-4 against the beatable teams, but find a way to go 3-2 against the good ones, that’s an impressive 11-6. That’s a team you can take into the playoffs and probably play in a home game.

So, that’s where I’m leaning. 11-12 wins and either the 2-seed, or a very dangerous 5-seed.

What’s fun is that the Seahawks have always been interesting, dating back to Russell Wilson’s first year. But, they were less fun in his last years here. Every time, we had to talk ourselves into a wild card team that hopefully could go on a deep playoff run on the back of our superstar QB. This time, I don’t think anyone’s putting that kind of pressure on Geno, so this could be one of those rare Seahawks teams that doesn’t NEED to have home field advantage throughout to go all the way. They’re totally balanced. They can get input from a myriad of sources. And that makes us the most dangerous team of all, because you can’t focus (and stop) any one thing and expect to beat us. Cut off one head, and others will pop up in its place.

We’re the fucking Hydra of the NFL, and we’re here to infiltrate your puny democracy!

Predicting The 2023 NFL Season

Guess who’s back! Back again! The NFL prediction post is the one that’s back again. Here are the prior years I’ve done it:

Last year, I was just BRUTALLY awful. Bills over Packers in the Super Bowl, let’s just start there, because believe me, it gets worse. I had Denver and the Colts as division champions. I had the Giants and Seahawks as among the four worst teams in football; I also had the Jags coming in last in their division.

Turn the page! On to the next! Let’s flush 2022 and get back on the winning train. Here are my predictions for the entire NFL:

NFC East

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • New York Giants
  • Washington Commanders

I made this mistake – picking the Cowboys over the Eagles – last year, but I’m running it back because I think Dallas is really good on both sides of the ball. I think Dak has a bounce-back season in him (I’m banking one of my fantasy team’s fortunes on this), and I think they win one more than Philly in a Super Bowl Hangover season. I don’t know if I like the Giants to repeat as wild card teams, and I actually lowkey believe in Washington keeping things close with New York

NFC North

  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Detroit Lions
  • Chicago Bears

I think most people are penciling in the Lions as division champs – based on how they finished 2022 – but I’m not buying it. They MIGHT be able to squeak into the playoffs, but we’ll see. I like the Vikings; I think they’re underrated. I don’t think they’ll be as fortunate in close games as they were last year, but even if they regress down to 10 wins or so, I think that’s enough to win the division. My big reach is the Packers overtaking the Lions behind Jordan Love and a solid defense. I think the Bears are – at best – a year away.

NFC South

  • New Orleans Saints
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I like the Saints to win this at 9-8; very mediocre. I think the Falcons might get to 7-8 wins at best. I think the Panthers will be better than people expect (many are expecting them to be among the worst teams in football), but they’ll come on too late to make an impact. I think the Bucs will legitimately be among the four worst teams in football.

NFC West

  • Seattle Seahawks
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Arizona Cardinals

Fuck it, let’s go! Give me the Seahawks as division champs! Give me the Seahawks as a Top 2 seed! Give me the 49ers settling for the wild card. Give me the Rams being slightly better than expected (6-8 wins). And give me the Cards contending for a top overall draft pick.

AFC East

  • New York Jets
  • Miami Dolphins
  • Buffalo Bills
  • New England Patriots

I had the toughest time with this one, but here’s my rationale. I love the Jets’ defense. I know the popular pick is for the offense to underperform behind Aaron Rodgers, but I think he has enough in the tank to give them one good season; they also shouldn’t need to score a ton to get there. With the talent they have at the skill positions, I think that’ll be more than enough to compensate for a potentially-shaky O-Line. I’m putting my eggs in the basket that Tua will stay healthy and that Miami offense will do some work. I think Buffalo’s defense is shaky as hell, and we’ll see some regression out of an offense that relies too much on Josh Allen. For what it’s worth, I think the Pats’ defense is among the best in football, and they’ll be involved in a lot of low-scoring games where they still manage to win 8-9 games.

AFC North

  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Baltimore Ravens

I just think the Bengals are the whole package. I love the Steelers’ defense and think Pickett takes a big step in his development. The Browns have a lot of talent, but I’m not so sure they’ve got enough at the quarterback spot to overtake the top two teams. And, sort of by default, I think the Ravens struggle.

AFC South

  • Tennessee Titans
  • Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Houston Texans
  • Indianapolis Colts

I want one last ride with the Titans: great coaching, good-enough defense, so-so quarterback play, and one final monster year from Derrick Henry. I think the Jags are also right there and will nab one of the wild card spots. Houston and Indy will be among the bottom-feeders in football

AFC West

  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Denver Broncos
  • Las Vegas Raiders

I’m not super high on the Chiefs to repeat as champions, but I think they’re the best of an otherwise Just Okay division. The Chargers will probably be among the first ones out of the playoffs. I think Denver will be slightly improved, but I also think Russell Wilson is finished as a premiere quarterback. And I think the Raiders are a mess.

NFC Playoffs

  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. Seattle Seahawks
  3. Minnesota Vikings
  4. New Orleans Saints
  5. Philadelphia Eagles
  6. San Francisco 49ers
  7. Green Bay Packers

AFC Playoffs

  1. Cincinnati Bengals
  2. New York Jets
  3. Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Tennessee Titans
  5. Miami Dolphins
  6. Jacksonville Jaguars
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers

Wild Card Round

  • Seahawks over Packers
  • 49ers over Vikings
  • Eagles over Saints
  • Jets over Steelers
  • Chiefs over Jaguars
  • Dolphins over Titans

Divisional Round

  • Cowboys over 49ers
  • Seahawks over Eagles
  • Bengals over Dolphins
  • Chiefs over Jets

Championship Round

  • Cowboys over Seahawks
  • Bengals over Chiefs

Super Bowl

  • Bengals over Cowboys

Probably a little too high on the Seahawks. Probably a little too low on the 49ers. Almost certainly too high on the Cowboys. Might be a mistake dismissing the Bills the way I did. We’ll see! I don’t feel great about any of it, other than the Bengals. For whatever reason, I really like Cincy this year (almost certainly the kiss of death!).

The 2023 Husky Football Team Looks Great So Far!

It feels kind of amazing how quickly your fortunes can change in college football. I’ve always been of the opinion – especially with a school like Washington, that isn’t in the upper echelon of the sport – that you kind of have to build it up over a long period of time. But, with how quickly Kalen DeBoer has turned things around, I’m starting to have second thoughts.

I became a Husky fan when I started going there in the fall of 1999. That just so happened to coincide with the start of the Rick Neuheisel era. I wouldn’t say I was the most knowledgable fan over the course of the next decade; I just sort of took things as they came. It wasn’t until the nadir that was Tyrone Willingham, and our winless 2008 season, that I finally woke up and understood this was unacceptable.

There was a lot of hullabaloo during the Sark era; he truly was rebuilding this program from the ground up. It felt like he left some unfinished business when he abandoned us for USC, but at the same time it felt like we were ready to take it to the next level with Chris Petersen. And, to his credit, he got us into the playoffs, playing in Alabama’s neck of the woods. Even that took three years to get to, but it felt like a natural progression for a program on the rise. That was in 2016, and we’ve spend the subsequent six years spinning our wheels, trying to get back to that level.

Jimmy Lake proved he was NOT the right guy to succeed Coach Pete. To be fair, the COVID year didn’t help any. But, things were trending in a VERY negative direction in 2021, and we couldn’t help but think maybe that was it. Maybe this was a program heading back into the college football wilderness, never to be heard from again.

Kalen DeBoer wasn’t the flashy hire of a Sark, nor did he seem like a championship-level hire of a Coach Pete. It almost felt like settling, at least it did to me. But, I couldn’t have been more wrong!

He undid all the damage Jimmy Lake wrought in his first year. We were one stumble away from playing in the Pac-12 championship game, but we still finished the year 11-2, and more importantly, were able to retain our most important core players who were eligible to return.

Now, we’re heading into 2023 as legitimate playoff contenders. We just have to find a way to make it through the conference first.

The tricky part of this whole deal is our schedule. It’s considerably more challenging than it was last year, when we didn’t get a chance to play either Utah nor USC (the two teams who played in the conference title game). You can take that one of two ways: maybe it was a blessing, because if we lost them, we might not have gotten to double-digit wins; on the flipside, we weren’t able to take them down a peg and insert ourselves into that Pac-12 title game.

The 2022 Huskies were a little iffy in the first half of the season, especially on defense. Key injuries may have cost us against UCLA and ASU. We definitely gelled in the second half, securing huge wins over Oregon State and on the road against the Ducks. We’ll never know how we might’ve fared against the Utes or Trojans, but if those games would’ve taken place late, I know we would’ve given them a run for their money.

This year, we miss out on a possibly-rebuilding UCLA and an exciting (but still questionable) Colorado team with a brand new roster under Deion Sanders. In their place, we get Utah at home, and USC on the road. We get Oregon at home, but play the Beavers on the road. And it’s hard to imagine Michigan State will be any more mediocre than they were last year; we get them on the road as well, which should be a tough test.

Even our opener on Saturday came against a Boise State team that won 10 games last year. It would’ve been foolish to overlook them, and to their credit, the Huskies took care of business (even if it took an entire quarter to get going).

The Broncos owned the first quarter, holding a 6-0 lead (missing an extra point). After an awesome opening return to midfield, the Huskies tried to get their running game going, to no avail. The pass protection was also a little sketchy, leading me to wonder if the O-Line might be in worse shape than previously thought.

But, then we just abandoned the rushing attack altogether, to magnificent results. The Huskies won the second quarter 28-6 and the rout was on. 56-19 was the final score. Michael Penix threw for 29/40 for 450 yards and 5 TDs. Rome Odunze caught 7 balls for 132 yards and a TD. Ja’Lynn Polk caught 3 for 101 and a TD. Jalen McMillan caught 8 for 95 and 2 TDs (he also ran for a 19-yard TD).

It’s a little concerning that the run game never got going, not even late when the game was sealed up. But, this isn’t an offense that’s meant to depend on a Ground & Pound philosophy. It’s gonna go where Penix and these receivers take it. And, based on what we’ve seen across 14 games, I think that can be pretty damn far.

The defense wasn’t elite, but it also wasn’t overwhelmed. I’d like to see more than one sack in a game we win by 37 points, but we did manage a couple of picks. There’ll be games where this side of the ball picks us up and holds games close, but I would say this is a unit that is also going to go where Penix and the receivers take it. This D is meant to play with a lead. Force teams into obvious passing situations, use our talent up front to make things difficult on opposing quarterbacks, and hopefully generate enough turnovers to turn these games into laughers.

If we can manage to win on the road against the Spartans, it should be smooth sailing until mid-October, when we play Oregon. There should be another couple of soft landings before we get to the juggernaut portion of the schedule: weeks 9-11 at USC, vs. Utah, and at Oregon State. That will likely decide who takes control of this conference. We close at home against the Cougs, who might also be ranked by the time we get there.

Anything worse than 10-2 would be a disappointment. But, it’ll almost certainly require a one-loss season if we want to guarantee a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game. I think we CAN get there, but that’s going to take a good amount of luck, and a good amount of winning in close games.

Gun to my head, the safe money is on the Huskies not making it to the playoffs. That being said, none of the contenders have it too terribly easy this year. Especially if Colorado ends up being amazing (and not just a week 1 flash in the pan). That’s probably the best thing the Huskies have going for them is the fact that the Pac-12 is fucking loaded in its final go-around. You’d have to be willfully ignorant or outright biased to not give these teams their due (which, this IS college football, so of course that’s what’s going to happen). Any team, from Washington to Oregon to USC to Utah to even Oregon State has a chance to win this league. And if Colorado is at least entertaining? Maybe knocks off a contender or two? All the better. Hell, if they’re legitimately good, and we’re talking about half the conference being elite, that’s going to bring nothing but rays upon rays of sunshine on the rest of these schools. I expect we’ll be well represented in the major bowl games this season.

Even though the safe bet is to short the Huskies, I dunno. This feels different. It feels special. A lot of the Coach Pete seasons felt special too, until we lost a game and all hope felt lost. This time? Who knows? Maybe 10-2 gets us there, if we manage to win the right tiebreakers. This is certainly a situation where the conference beats up on itself, which isn’t great for our playoff hopes. But, if we can get a team through with only 2 losses, I would hope we’re recognized for what we are: among the best teams in the nation.

What’s great about this Husky team is not only that it’s loaded at the skill positions, but it’s also an offensive system that should be foolproof. We should never be out of any game, even if we give up an early lead here and there. As long as the defense is just good enough to not give up a score on every single drive, we should have an opportunity to win every game. It’s just a matter of executing, and catching the breaks as they come.

I’m predicting 10-2 and a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game. The homer in me is predicting 11-1, a conference title, and a spot in the College Football Playoffs. From there, we’ll put a scare in the hearts of every uppity Big 10 school that thinks they’re better than us.

Bow Down To Washington, motherfuckers. Because we’re coming for you!

Time To Complain: The 2023 Seahawks Have A Schedule

I don’t want to say we got a raw deal, but we did end up drawing what looks like a particularly difficult schedule. The AFC North is top-heavy with Cincinnati and Baltimore (both on the road, of course), but Pittsburgh looks up-and-coming, and the Browns are poised for a bounce-back now that Deshaun Watson doesn’t have his legal issues hanging over him.

Then, to add insult to injury, we get saddled with the NFC East? The Giants and Cowboys are elite, and of course the Eagles are reigning Super Bowl losers. And, to wrap it up, we get the Lions and Panthers (both teams on the rise), and go on the road to face a Titans team looking to rebound from an injury-riddled 2022 (they’re still well-coached and veteran in all the right places; far from an easy victory).

I would try to be thankful that the NFC West isn’t its usual gauntlet, but the 49ers are still – top-to-bottom – one of the best and deepest rosters in the NFL, the Rams still have elite players at important positions (and have been known to take us out with far less talent), and the Cards always seem to find a way to beat us when they absolutely shouldn’t.

  • Week 1 – L.A. Rams
  • Week 2 – @ Detroit (10am)
  • Week 3 – Carolina
  • Week 4 – @ N.Y. Giants (MNF)
  • Week 5 – BYE
  • Week 6 – @ Cincinnati (10am)
  • Week 7 – Arizona
  • Week 8 – Cleveland
  • Week 9 – @ Baltimore (10am)
  • Week 10 – Washington
  • Week 11 – @ L.A. Rams
  • Week 12 – San Francisco (Thanksgiving)
  • Week 13 – @ Dallas (TNF)
  • Week 14 – @ San Francisco
  • Week 15 – Philadelphia
  • Week 16 – @ Tennessee (10am)
  • Week 17 – Pittsburgh
  • Week 18 – @ Arizona

Right off that bat, an annual gripe: every single team should be lumped into one of two BYE weeks, in the middle of the season. Either that, or start giving teams two BYEs apiece. It’s ridiculous that we get our BYE in early October! Fuck the NFL, figure it the fuck out!

We’re looking at four 10am games, which I don’t even put on my radar as things to complain about anymore, ever since Pete Carroll came here and gave us the secret sauce for winning on the road in the early morning. At this point, it’s just a good excuse to wake up early, go to my dad’s, and have some breakfast while watching some football.

Only three primetime games, two of which land on Thursdays. And, a big bummer in that I think this is the second year in a row where we’re left off of the Sunday Night Football lineup. That’s the best game! Honestly, I don’t even like Monday Night Football. It’s better now that Troy and Buck are calling them, but I think their talents are wasted on that timeslot. This isn’t the 70’s, no one cares about MNF anymore.

I do think it’s incredibly cool that we get to play on Thanksgiving. I freaking LOVE playing that day! Even if it’s only the night game, I don’t care. It’s always special to be one of the teams going on the biggest football day of the year (outside of the Super Bowl).

I also kinda get a kick out of being on back-to-back Thursdays.

I don’t hate how balanced it is from a road/home standpoint. The only back-to-back road situations are split up by a BYE week, or a Thursday-related quasi-BYE week. It’s still INCREDIBLY stupid that seasons are an odd number of games, and so this year we’re saddled with one less home contest. Just make it 18 games already and cut the fucking bullshit!

The only thing left to do is predict the outcome of all the games, right? Okay, let’s get it over with.

I think we start the season 2-2, with wins over the Panthers and Giants. I think we lose in an annoying fashion to the Rams in week 1, followed by a high-scoring defeat to the Lions in week 2.

Then, I think we go 2-2 in the next four games, losing to both the Bengals and Ravens, while beating the Cards and Browns. Then, I think we rip off a 3-game winning streak over the Commanders, Rams, and 49ers on Thanksgiving, before losing to Dallas and San Fran the following two weeks. That brings us to 7-6.

Then, I think we finish the season 3-1, with an upset over the Eagles, a win over the Titans, an upset loss to the Steelers, and a bounce-back victory over the Cardinals to close it out. 10-7. A slight improvement over last year, but not the towering achievement we were all hoping for.

The 2023 Mariners Look Awesome As Fuck!

There’s a way this all goes FUBAR. Any number of injuries to key players – Julio, Cal, Castillo, Gilbert, Kirby, Munoz, Sewald, Teoscar, Ty – and let’s face it, the Mariners are in a world of hurt. Of course, you can say that about any contending team and be right; the season from hell can strike at anytime, when you least suspect it. I’m not sitting here saying the Mariners are so good they can withstand a tsunami of IL stints; no team’s that good.

But, assuming the Mariners have just the average amount of injuries, just the average amount of underperforming players, just the average amount of good and/or bad luck, we’re talking about a team that’s good enough to go all the way. I’m not saying they will. But, they’re one of a handful of teams who can. And that’s not something we’ve been able to say for over two decades.

So, what makes a legitimate championship contender?

I think you need a true #1 ace starting pitcher. Which isn’t something the Mariners had in the Pat Gillick years (which is why I think those teams ultimately failed). Luis Castillo – regardless of how well he kicks off this season – is a true #1 ace starting pitcher.

Behind him, you’ve got a former Cy Young Award winner, and two other starters who are entirely capable of joining him. There’s an argument to be made that Castillo isn’t even the best starter on the team. The aforementioned Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray has some awesome stuff, and is a bulldog strikeout guy, but I’m not even talking about him. Logan Gilbert is absolutely gnarly out there on the mound, often dominating his opponents; and I’m not talking about him either! George Kirby could be the very best of all of them one day, and he’s just getting going in his Major League career. That’s four legitimate ace-type pitchers in this rotation, with a guy in Marco Gonzales who will eat innings and keep you in ballgames more often than not. What more can you want from a rotation?

What else do you need? Well, an elite bullpen, of course. That’s something those Randy Johnson teams in the mid-90s always lacked (which is definitely why all those teams ultimately failed). Ace starting pitchers are very important, but they don’t do you much good if you don’t have the ‘pen there preventing comebacks. And even though there’s every chance this bullpen could fall apart by sheer randomness, I don’t believe for one second that it’ll actually happen. If there’s any part of this team where the Mariners are truly deep, it’s in the bullpen. Not to mention, their scouting department and coaching staff have seemingly found the secret sauce to keep this train chugging along forever.

What else? It sure helps when you have a superstar in your lineup. A true, bona fide MVP candidate. That’s Julio. He not only leads with his bat, and his glove, and his baserunning, but he leads with his demeanor and personality and the confidence he instills in those around him. When you know you’ve got Julio in your lineup, the makeup of the entire team changes. More importantly, when the opposing pitcher knows there’s a Julio coming up, it can make all the difference in how they take on those other guys. A healthy, dominant Julio lifts all boats.

You also need additional pop in your lineup. Winning baseball teams have to score runs, and extra-base hits are still the best way to do so, regardless of the rules changes. Teoscar and Eugenio and Ty and Cal all give you that in spades.

The Mariners don’t have the most fearsome lineup in baseball, but they have just enough. Combined with the pitching – which should be Top 5 in all of baseball – that’s a combo that can take us into the playoffs no problem. It’s also a combo that can do some real damage once we get there.

What’s the final piece to the puzzle? Management. Coaching. Scott Servais and company. He absolutely doesn’t get the credit he deserves, at least from a national perspective. For some reason, even a segment of the Mariners fanbase likes to shit all over him, but I don’t get it. He’s amazing! He’s the best manager we’ve had since Sweet Lou, and his winning percentage backs that up. What’s more, if he does what Lou never could – gets us to a World Series – then I don’t think there’s any doubt about it: Scott Servais – if all goes according to plan – will go down as the best manager in Seattle Mariners history.

Sure, Servais is still 300-some-odd wins behind, but Lou had the advantage of walking into a situation that already had three Hall of Famers on the roster! Griffey, Edgar, and Randy were already locked and loaded; who couldn’t win 800+ games with three future Hall of Famers?!

Regardless, the key to a great manager is the culture he builds. Both have/had winning cultures, though Servais is much more a man of this particular time. He – much more often than not – pulls the right levers when it comes to bullpen and lineup decisions. In a lot of ways, that has to do with trusting those around him. He has the right group of assistant coaches, and he listens to the analytics team who provides him the information necessary to make him look smart day-in and day-out. He isn’t some old timer coaching with his gut. And that shows up just about every year he’s been in charge. The Mariners, in his tenure, have often outperformed projections and the talent they had on the roster. That’s quality management to a T. He’s a major asset to this team’s ability to win baseball games, and one day he’s going to lead us to a championship.

I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a new Mariners season. Usually, I’m just hoping they can entertain us until football season, while dreading the inevitable (that we’ll be out of it by June). Not this year. Fuck the other sports; it’s time to go all in on the Mariners.

What’s funny is that I don’t think the 2023 Mariners will be the best team we see over the next decade. I think we’ll manage to get even better, very soon. But, I also have this weird feeling that instead of everything breaking bad, it’s all going to break in our favor. Houston will be the team that struggles with injuries. Houston will be the team that loses an inordinate amount of games to the eventual division winner (Seattle). The Mariners, meanwhile, will enjoy a second consecutive season of unprecedented health in the starting rotation. The Mariners will continue to be among the league leaders in 1-run games, and we’ll continue to win at an insanely improbable rate.

I’ve got the Mariners at 98-64, four games ahead of Houston for the division.

I’ve got the Mariners cruising to the ALCS.

I’ve got the Mariners winning in 7 games.

And, yeah, I’ve got the Mariners against the Padres in the World Series, where we’ll do to them what we weren’t able to do in the regular season: we’ll sweep them in four games.

Even if I’m wrong and this isn’t our year, don’t worry, because that time is coming. The Mariners will win a championship before the calendar flips to 2030. What’s crazy to think about is the very legitimate possibility that we might, in fact, win multiple titles by then.

And if we don’t? Well, print this out and tape it to your fridge, because apparently my words have the power to jinx teams to an unfathomable degree.

The Seahawks Should Lose A Lot Of Games In 2022

I don’t have a lot of faith in the Seahawks this year. As I’ve noted in the past – especially in the post-LOB era – if you take Russell Wilson off of this team, it’s probably a 3-win team, give or take. That’s what we’re looking at right now.

It’s not just the loss of Russell Wilson, but it’s also who we’ve replaced him with. Geno Smith has always been a terrible-to-mediocre quarterback. Now he’s an old terrible-to-mediocre quarterback. He might have a few good throws per game, but he’s also going to hold onto the ball too long, take some untimely sacks, and fail to move this offense one iota whenever we’re behind the sticks. Any failed play – whether it’s the aforementioned sack, a penalty, a run stuff, or even an incomplete pass on 1st & 10 – and we’re looking at almost an automatic punt. Anytime we get down by two scores, you can pretty much write the game off; there’s no way Geno Smith is pulling our asses out of any fires like Russell Wilson did on the regular. Remember ALL of those games where we started slowly WITH an elite guy like Wilson at the helm! Now, imagine those same slow starts, only we’ve got Geno being harassed like crazy in obvious passing situations. It’s a living hell.

At least in the LOB era, you could’ve made the argument that a simple game manager might’ve kept us in a lot of games. We might’ve even succeeded on the strength of literally every other position on the team. But, this ain’t that. It might have the potential to one day approach that, but there’s a lot that would have to go right.

We all know the preseason is fake football. Putting too much stock in what happens in August is really grounds for losing your football fan card. But, I can’t help feeling especially disheartened, because we actually played a good number of our starters. Geno Smith had a lot of snaps out there! Behind a starting offensive line that also saw a lot of snaps – since we’re breaking in a couple rookies at the tackle spots – that actually looked pretty decent! So, the fact that we struggled so mightily to score points is pretty damning. Even if our top two running backs missed most of the games, our next two running backs played quite extensively and ALSO looked better than I’ve ever seen them. Really, the guys you’re talking about – on offense – who largely sat out were D.K. and Tyler Lockett. Are those two guys alone going to automatically pump things up to a league-average level? I’m dubious.

Which puts a lot of pressure on a defense that’s as big a question mark as anything. The defense didn’t look great either, but you can convince me a lot of our best guys DID sit out. Nevertheless, that’s putting a lot on guys like Jordyn Brooks, Quandre Diggs (coming off of injury), and Jamal Adams (also coming off of injury, as well as playing through more injuries). We’re going to have to count on cornerbacks who are largely untested (and possibly bad). We’re going to have to count on a pass rush that’s in Prove It Mode. We’re going to have to rely on a run stuffing unit that didn’t seem to stuff much of the run in spite of playing a lot in the preseason.

We’re really banking on the coaching staff holding everything together with duct tape and zipties. Is that smart? An offensive coordinator in his second year of calling plays? A defensive coordinator in his first year of running a defense? The second-oldest head coach in the NFL?

Let’s look at the schedule. We start out on Monday night against a fired up Russell Wilson, surrounded by a lot of talent on that Broncos roster. That feels like a sure loss. Then we go on the road to play the 49ers, who might be among the best teams in the NFC from top to bottom. We host Atlanta, who feels on par with our talent level; that’s a coin flip at best. Then, it’s back to back road games against a young and hungry Lions team, followed by a Saints team with a great defense and a lot of talent on offense.

Then, we host the Cardinals (a playoff team last year with most of their guys returning) and play the Chargers on the road (a definite playoff-calibre team this year). The Giants at home feel like pushovers, but like the Falcons, I think their talent level is on par with ours. That’s another coin flip. Then, we go on the road against Arizona again, before playing Tampa in Germany.

Would it shock anyone if we’re 2-8 or 1-9 heading into the BYE week? Not me!

We host the Raiders (another playoff team from last year), then go on the road to play the Rams (Super Bowl champs). We host Carolina, which is a sleeper playoff team this year with Baker Mayfield out there. Then we host the 49ers, before going on the road to play the Chiefs (another viable Super Bowl contender). Then we close by hosting the Jets and Rams.

In that last stretch, I see one win. Maybe two. But, it’s not a stretch at all for this team to be anywhere from 2-15 to 4-13, and maybe that’s for the best.

I haven’t been this down on the Seahawks in a while. Probably since the Suck For Luck campaign. We all know how that turned out. But, rather than winning 7 games, I think we have the legitimate potential to lose a lot more.

It sucks being in this position, but again, I think it’s necessary. I’d still rather be here than having Russell Wilson and praying everything goes right for us to MAYBE get beyond the Divisional Round of the playoffs (something we haven’t done since the 2014 season). We’ve been spinning our tires in the mud for too long now. It was time to make this change. It’s time to start over and see if we can rebound quickly. First thing’s first: we need to lose a lot so we can guarantee ourselves a chance to draft our next potential franchise quarterback.

I know, in a vacuum, it’s better to have the sure thing on your roster. But, the way we’ve failed to build around Wilson – combined with the fact that he was only going to get more expensive and take up more of a percentage of our salary cap – I don’t see how things were ever going to change. I guess you can argue we should’ve kept him over Pete Carroll and John Schneider, but then you’ve got the unknown of a brand new head coach and GM pairing.

Maybe that’s preferable. What has John Schneider done since 2014 when it comes to building this roster? Maybe he’s cashed as a talent evaluator. After all, if the rumors are true – that he was high on bringing Drew Lock here – then I think that speaks volumes. But, if that’s just poppycock, and he has another card up his sleeve with the next draft, then I’d like to see what’s in store for the future.

This is it, though. It’s the 2023 draft. It’s whoever we draft at that position next year. Pete and John get whoever that is, and if they flame out, it’s over. We’ll know soon enough whether this was all a huge mistake, or a massive stroke of genius. It might not make the 2022 Seahawks worth watching, but it’ll make the 2022 and 2023 NFL seasons pretty interesting. I’ll be keeping an eye on what Denver’s doing, for sure.

For the record, I think Denver will look pretty fucking great this season. I’m on record as believing they’ll win their division and maybe even go far in the playoffs. I think Russell Wilson will look terrific and in shape and run more with the ball than he has in the last few years. But, long term? I do have my doubts. I think the honeymoon won’t be long. And when it gets bad, it’ll get REALLY bad.

But, if it gets them a title in 2022, clearly it’ll all be worth it. And Pete and John will look like assholes for squandering so much of Russell’s prime.

I’m putting us at 3-14, with a top 4 draft pick. Maybe even top 3 or top 2. We won’t be the worst of the worst – I think that’ll be Chicago – but it’s going to be ugly. Just get there now. Get in that mindset. We’ll get through this together.