The Seahawks Hired Mike Macdonald To Be The New Head Coach

Did the Seahawks just hire the best head coaching candidate available?

It’s interesting to go through the list of current NFL head coaches – in order of year hired – and see the different head coaching classes. When the Commanders finally get their asses in gear, 19 of the 32 head coaches will have been hired in 2022 or later. WELL over half of all head coaches have been in their current jobs for 2 seasons or less.

There are currently only three from the 2021 class: Dan Campbell (whose stock is as high as can be, in spite of some questionable decisions in the NFC Championship Game), Robert Saleh (who feels like he needs a HUGE 2024 with a healthy Aaron Rodgers and probably a deep playoff run if he still wants to be with the Jets in 2025), and Nick Sirianni (who took the Eagles to the Super Bowl in year two, only to almost get fired in year three).

The 2020 class has just two members: Mike McCarthy (in desperate need of a deep playoff run to save his job) and Kevin Stefanski (who probably earned Coach of the Year with the job he did with the Browns in 2023). There’s two left from 2019: Zac Taylor & Matt LaFleur (not going anywhere). No one from 2018. Pretty big three from 2017: Sean McDermott, Sean McVay, and Kyle Shanahan. Then, you have to go back to the Old Guard: 2013 – Andy Reid, 2008 – John Harbaugh, 2007 – Mike Tomlin.

So, what does that tell us? Unless there’s a VERY big surprise looming, there are currently seven members of the 2024 class of new head coaches: Raheem Morris (Atlanta), Dave Canales (Carolina), Jim Harbaugh (Chargers), Jerod Mayo (New England), Brian Callahan (Tennessee), Mike Macdonald (Seahawks), and whoever the Commanders hire. What the above tells us is that in three years, over half of these guys aren’t going to hit.

How to predict where it’s going to work and where it isn’t is kind of a fool’s errand. Canales seems like a longshot to be good. He’s going to the least stable franchise of the bunch (with a crazy owner, a legitimately bad team, and no first round draft pick this year), he’s coming off of only a year as a coordinator, and he just has the feel of a guy who took a job nobody else wanted (I wonder if the same will be said for whoever Washington hires). I’m always leery of the Head Coach In Waiting, ever since it went so poorly with Jim Mora Jr. in Seattle. Seems like Mayo has a huge job ahead of him to right the ship in New England. And I’ll be honest, I had no idea the Titans hired Callahan – or even who Callahan was – until I looked him up and realized he was the OC for Cincinnati. Oh, you mean the offense with the best quarterback we’ve seen since Patrick Mahomes, with one of the most talented and elite wide receivers in the game? Seems hard to NOT have success in that job.

After Raheem Morris’ initial stint as one of the worst active head coaches in the NFL from 2009-2011, I’ll admit he wasn’t on my short list of favorite candidates. Didn’t Bill Simmons coin the phrase WARM (Wins Above Raheem Morris) as a play on baseball’s WAR stat? I’m sure he’s come a long way in the intervening years, but he joins a Falcons team with no quarterback, and no real great shot at drafting one of the top three. If we’re just going by which team – who hired a new coach this offseason – is set up the best from a personnel perspective, then I would say Jim Harbaugh has the best chance to succeed. If the Chargers can’t find a way to win with Justin Herbert and a competent head coach, then they’re more cursed than I realized.

So, unless one of these guys really surprises me, I think Mike Macdonald has a real chance to be great. He’s joining a really solid franchise in the Seahawks, with a lot of good, young, talented players. He’s got a strong GM who should continue to draft well and sign the right guys, now that he’s the head man in charge. And, just based on what I’ve heard about him, it really seems like he has a special aura about him. Very intelligent, very gifted (at least at running a defense), players love him, and he becomes the youngest head coach in the NFL at the moment (if you’re that young and rising through the ranks this fast, you must be doing something right).

Obviously, there are two ways to go with hiring an NFL head coach: bring in a retread, or find someone new from among the college or coordinator ranks. By my calculations, there are currently eight head coaches with previous head coaching experience. Admittedly, that’s sort of an educated guess; I didn’t go through every single bio. Best-case scenario of those guys? Andy Reid, and he obviously gets to enjoy the talents of Mahomes after a successful run in Philly. While there are occasional hits (Pete Carroll obviously being one of them), the retreads never seem to work out too well. For every Bill Belichick, there’s dozens of Mike McCarthys and Dennis Allens. Oddly enough, Bill Belichick was one of the guys available in this go-around, but clearly John Schneider wasn’t ready to hand over the keys to personnel after he just got them handed to himself.

If I had to go with a retread, I would’ve been happy with Mike Vrabel, but I’ll admit I’m pretty thrilled we’re going with someone new and young. I know there’s lots of new, young guys hired every year, but if you find that dynamic someone, it can really be a boost for your franchise for years to come. I find it incredibly heartening that Mike Macdonald is being described as the defensive version of Sean McVay. And not just as a play caller or a schemer, but as someone who can transition into the head coaching job, find the right coaches to put around him, and has the vision to make it all work. On top of which, you know he’s hungry and you know he’s going to give it everything he’s got. Can you say the same thing about Sean Payton or Doug Pederson?

In 2022, in his first year as the Ravens’ DC, they were 3rd in fewest points scored and rushing yards allowed (10th in total yards allowed), as well as tied for fifth in sacks. In 2023, the defense improved to 1st in points allowed, 1st in sacks, and 1st in lowest passer rating allowed, all the while improving to 6th in total yards allowed. And that’s with blitzing less than all but seven teams, according to this article. The more I read about him and hear about him, the more impressed I am!

But, you know, as with any head coach, there are so many variables at play. So many other decisions left to make. Who will be his assistant coaches? What are we doing with Geno Smith? What are we doing in the draft? How long until the team is sold? How solid is John Schneider’s job in the organization?

I’ll tell you what, though, this hire gives me a lot of hope! It’ll ultimately be decided on the football field, likely over the next 2-3 seasons. But, I think we’ve set ourselves up very well to succeed the greatest head coach in franchise history and a legitimate hall of fame candidate. I can’t wait to see what these new Seahawks look like. If nothing else, I’m expecting a rapid turnaround of the defense. And, as we all know, that’s when the Seahawks are always at their best.

Seahawks Death Week: What Would Make Me Happy As A Fan?

There’s so much going on right now, I really can’t be bothered to keep up. How many interview requests have the Seahawks put in for, like a dozen? Any one of these guys could be amazing, and any one of these guys could be a total disaster. I’ll admit, between the Mariners, Huskies, and Seahawks, my confidence level is pretty much bottomed out at this point. So, I’m going to be inclined – pretty much throughout this entire offseason – to come at this from a pessimistic standpoint. The Mariners were already incredibly bad offensively for too much of 2023 to be successful, and the notion that a second hitting coach is going to be the thing to turn everyone around is asinine to say the least. The Huskies are in a very toxic place right now – that place being the college football landscape at large – and the notion that we’re going to turn around our fortunes by going heavy into recruiting sounds like a fairy tale.

I would say, for the Seahawks, it’s funny that the number one objective in John Schneider’s head coaching search is to maintain our positive culture, because right now that’s the ONLY thing we have going for us. We’re not in a great spot with our roster the way it is – bereft of elite-level talent on both sides of the line of scrimmage – we’re not in a great spot with our salary cap – with lots of aging/useless veterans commanding high salaries and just-as-high dead cap hits – and we’re not even all that well off with our draft capital – having given away our second rounder for half a year of Leonard Williams, and only acquiring an extra third rounder from Denver (with no compensatory picks for the fourth year in a row). They don’t give away Lombardi Trophies for “best culture”. And, if you don’t win, it’s amazing how quickly that culture can dissolve.

The one thing that does make me happy is having John Schneider at the helm, making all the important decisions. It’s impossible to ever know how much influence Pete Carroll had over personnel. My guess is, not a lot when it came to the draft, and probably too much when it came to veteran trades and free agency. Even then, I wonder about what we were told at Schneider’s original hiring – or at least what we assumed, coming from his Green Bay background – and what we’ve actually seen come to fruition here in Seattle: namely, that we would be drafting a quarterback nearly every year, even if we didn’t necessarily need one. Why have the Packers been so successful in carrying over from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers to now Jordan Love? Because they don’t miss an opportunity to take a chance at finding their Quarterback of the Future. It’s something the Seahawks let go straight to hell throughout the Russell Wilson era, and I believe it’s still setting us back to this very day.

So, that would also make me happy: having John Schneider in charge, and getting back to John Schneider-esque decisions. I believe we’ve had a couple of high-quality drafts the last two years. I also believe that the 2023 Seahawks underachieved based on the talent they have. If we can manage to keep the good drafts flowing, and marry that with a coaching staff that can get the most out of our younger guys, then I think there’s potential for a quick turnaround. Let’s eliminate some of these panic trades for aging vets, let’s dole out smart contracts to the right guys, let’s get rid of aging players a year too early vs. a year too late, and let’s trust in our ability to coach up young players immediately, to better take advantage of their inexpensive cost to our salary cap while they’re on rookie deals.

I couldn’t tell you who would make me happy to bring in as a head coach. I think Dan Quinn is probably the likeliest guy, and I also think he’s the least exciting candidate. I think Jim Harbaugh is the most intriguing, but I also don’t believe he will go anywhere if he doesn’t have full control over every part of the team, so that kinda rules him out. Of all the coordinators getting interviews, I think Ben Johnson is probably the most thrilling, but he’s also among the least-experienced names being bandied about, having just two years of OC experience with Detroit. Is his scheme something that’s revolutionizing the sport of football? Or did he just come up with the right team at the right time, who just so happened to have an elite collection of players? Is he the next Shanahan or McVay? I’m guessing probably not. But, is the next Shanahan or McVay even out there? Again, I’m guessing probably not.

The Seahawks have only had three successful head coaches in the franchise’s history: Chuck Knox, Mike Holmgren, and Pete Carroll. All three of them had previous NFL head coaching experience. Now, obviously, that’s not a guarantee, because Jim Mora Jr. also was previously a head coach in the NFL, and Dennis Erickson was a longtime head coach in college. But, it strikes me that the three best guys were all pretty huge names in the sport at the times of them being hired, and maybe there’s something to be said for that.

I’ve always liked Mike Vrabel. I think he’s smart and knows how to lead a team as much as he can lead a culture. He probably best fits in that mold of a prior NFL head coach who’s a big name and has a lot left to give to the game. But, he doesn’t seem to be a viable option for whatever reason. I know I’d be concerned about his desire to play older guys over young kids, but maybe that’s a perception I’ve falsely acquired over the years. Like with any coach, his success level is going to come down to the quality of the players around him, regardless of their age or experience.

I guess the biggest thing that would make me happy as a Seahawks fan is for them to cut the dead weight. I know these decisions are tough, I know these older guys have given us everything they had, and I know it might mean enduring a tough salary cap situation for a year. But, if we can make it through, there’s a real opportunity in 2025 and beyond. But, we have to understand what this team is right now: it’s not a Super Bowl contender. And it’s not one offseason (with one hand tied behind our backs thanks to lack of money and draft picks) away from being that contender. This is a two-year window. Year one is the tear down, and year two is the immediate rebuild.

K.Y.P. Know Your Personnel. One of the local basketball color guys used to say that all the time (I can’t remember if it was Marques Johnson or someone else), but it’s universal across all sports. Seahawks, K.Y.P! Figure it out, get rid of anyone who’s not part of the future, and let’s get this thing turned around. Hovering around 9-8 and a potential wild card spot isn’t going to make me happy. Competing – TRULY competing – for a Super Bowl title, THAT will make me happy.

The Seahawks Fired/Promoted Pete Carroll

This is always kind of a tricky time of year for a local sports blogger. Football’s over, baseball spring training might start in February, but the regular season doesn’t get going in earnest until the end of March. Husky basketball is usually a joke, I don’t know enough about (or watch enough of) the Kraken to be anything close to relevant writing about it. So, other than the occasional hot stove flurry, I’m usually struggling to find anything to write about on a daily basis.

But, lately, I’ve got TOO MUCH to write about! I’ve got blog posts banked for days! To the point where they’re in danger of needing significant re-writes if I actually get around to posting them!

Seahawks Death Week is an annual tradition on Seattle Sports Hell, where I devote a week’s worth of posts – almost always immediately following the end of our season, whenever the last game concludes – to the season that was and what to look forward to in the year ahead. It’s a good way to knock out a week’s worth of posts without really trying, saving some back-burner items for later. But, with the Huskies playing in the national championship, and with the Mariners really taking their sweet-ass time in adding to this roster, I’ve suddenly found myself with a back-log of posts, meaning Seahawks Death Week will start a week late.

But, I can’t let this news go too stale before saying something. Pete Carroll being relieved of his duties / being retained to be a consultant or whatever, is too big to ignore.

It is so bizarre – and pretty disingenuous – to see all these eulogies all over Twitter, all over the blog-o-sphere, and all over the talking heads on ESPN and the like. I get it, as Seahawks fans, we love Pete Carroll for what he did for this organization. He led us to our first Super Bowl championship. He was the greatest head coach we’ve ever had. We had an unparalleled run of success under Pete that, honestly, might not ever be matched or surpassed. We don’t know! Maybe that’s it; maybe 2012-2015 was as good as it will ever be, and we’ll never win another championship ever again. There are teams who have played countless decades without winning it all. It’s like winning the lottery, only harder, because so much more has to go right. No one ever said your teams have to win a certain number of championships in your lifetime.

Anyway, getting away from being too morbid, Pete Carroll was wonderful. I never thought he’d work out here, and he absolutely did. I was 100% wrong in my initial assessment of his original hiring.

But, it was also time for him to step aside. The franchise got SUPER stagnant. As I will outline in a future blog post, the defense has been among the worst in the last five years. He became too loyal to his guys, whether it’s the veteran players who’ve lost a step, or the incompetent coordinators who never deserved to be calling plays or devising schemes in the first place.

I’ll be the first to admit, I never thought he’d be let go at this time. I always figured nothing would happen until the team was eventually sold (likely in the next year or two). I just assumed Jody Allen would keep the status quo until the new owners took over, and let them make whatever decisions they wanted to make on the future of the Seahawks. I had HOPES that maybe we’d clean house a little bit and find new coordinators, but I’m guessing – given the way this all shook out – that Pete was reluctant to do even that.

For me, it was never so much about getting Pete out of there, it was 1) replacing Clint Hurtt with someone who knows what the fuck he’s doing, and 2) maybe seeing if we can find someone to replace Shane Waldron, who knows how to scheme a decent running game. Then, from there, I wanted to see us go after a quarterback in the draft, cut the old, dead weight from the roster, and really start rebuilding this thing from the ground up, with the young players we’ve accumulated over the last two drafts. Pete just as easily could’ve been there for all of that. But, if all of that wasn’t going to happen with Pete still here, then yes, he needed to go too.

I get it. I’m sure it’s devastating to fire people. Even though this is the line of work they all chose, I’m sure it never gets easy to mess with their livelihoods. But, if it gets so hard that you can’t do what needs to be done, then it’s probably time to step aside and find someone who can.

I’m not here to simply dance on his grave, but I’m also not here to give you the same reverential claptrap. I’m just telling it like it is. Pete was great, and also it’s time to move on.

It’s kind of funny that Alabama announced Nick Saban’s retirement shortly after Carroll’s goodbye press conference. It’s funnier still that this morning, Bill Belichick and the Patriots have parted ways. What’s next? Brett Favre’s going to come out of retirement again? Aaron Rodgers is going to purchase the Jets? Travis Kelce is going to have a three-way with Taylor Swift and Jake From State Farm on the 50 yard line during their game this weekend?

It’s also funny to see how many people are saying that it’s all but assured that Pete Carroll is going to make the NFL Hall of Fame. Are we sure? He’s currently 14th in wins in the NFL with 170. There are currently seven ahead of him who are NOT in the HOF (as coaches). Granted, Belichick and Andy Reid are two of those guys; but of the remaining five, four of them have been eligible for quite some time, and repeatedly overlooked. Granted, none of those four ever won a Super Bowl, but is that all it takes? One Super Bowl title gets you in, if you’ve coached long enough? Because Tom Coughlin and Mike Shanahan both have multiple titles (and the same number of wins), but they’ve yet to get in. Mike Holmgren has a title and another appearance, and only 9 fewer wins, and he doesn’t seem to be close to making it. It’s HARD getting in the HOF as a head coach! It’s hard getting there period, but I don’t know if Pete is the slam dunk people are saying he is.

I’m sure a lot of that sentiment is just that. It’s emotional people, in the moment, trying to pay tribute. And it’s surely an interesting debate to have. Personally, I’m of the opinion that he should be in. But, I also think all the guys ahead of him in wins total should be in, even the ones who never won it all. I like a big Hall of Fame. The more the merrier! Let our favorite people be honored for the greatness they showed.

I can’t sit here and tell you this is a sad day. I feel bad for him, I guess. But, I also feel like he had plenty of opportunities to get this thing turned around, and for whatever reason, the Seahawks just never recovered after the L.O.B. era ended. That falls on him. And it didn’t look like it was going to get fixed anytime soon.

There’s now a couple ways this can go. Thankfully, we have John Schneider at the helm, so there’s some continuity there. That effectively eliminates the first way this can go: a total tear-down and rebuild. I don’t THINK that’s going to be what happens, because I have to believe a lot of these guys on the roster are still Schneider’s guys. And that’s a good thing; I don’t feel like we NEED a total tear-down and rebuild.

There’s a core here we can still build around, but that leads us to our other way this can go: cutting out the vets and really taking this youth movement to its logical conclusion.

When the Seahawks were at their best, they were the youngest team in football. That needs to happen again. I know we’re all jealous of the 49ers and some of these top-notch AFC teams, to varying degrees (Chiefs, Dolphins, Ravens, Bengals, Bills), but you know who I’m jealous of the most? The Packers. They’re the youngest team in football, they’ve just found out that Jordan Love is going to be The Guy for the foreseeable future, and they’re back in the playoffs yet again, poised to go on another run of excellence.

Give me that. Ideally, without the retread head coach of a Dan Quinn or even Mike Vrabel.

Of course, the funniest part of all of this is Russell Wilson’s online reaction. Please. With what we know about what went down as he broke up with the Seahawks, it’s about as phony as it gets. Perfectly on brand, but also extremely obnoxious.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Tanks For The Memories

Week 13 was kind of fucked from an injury perspective. All across the league, very important players went down with a range of maladies. Some are short term, some might not keep them out at all. But, some are season-enders, and some are fantasy season-enders, which is all I really care about.

I had Tank Dell in two leagues. In this one, where I clinched a playoff berth thanks to a 152.95 to 138.85 victory over Toot Cannons, and in my Splinter League, where I was in first place heading into last week, before losing by 24 points and falling into second. There’s a slim chance I drop out of the playoffs entirely in that league over the next two weeks – now that I’m down both Dell and Christian Kirk – the injury bug is decidedly NOT my friend.

Dell’s goose egg in this league very nearly cost me my victory. I somehow also endured a goose egg from Terry McLaurin (who is getting less Scary by the week in that offense), which goes to show how tough of a season Toot Cannons is having. I will say that I got some great games out of Jordan Love, CeeDee Lamb, Tony Pollard, Zach Charbonnet (who was a last-minute addition to my lineup), and Trey McBride. If I had given it the proper thought, given Dell’s injury designation during the week, I would’ve swapped him out for Kyren Williams, but that’s neither here nor there.

After I lost Dell, I picked up Rashee Rice as a free agent (prior to the Chiefs game starting), dropping that Cleveland QB I’m never going to keep in a million years. Rice has seen his targets and points increase the last two weeks, as the Chiefs have to be desperate at this point to promote one of their receivers, if for no other reason than to take some of the pressure off of Travis Kelce. I have Rice in another league and have been waiting around for him to start taking off; hopefully he turns into a League Winner for me down the stretch.

I also – after waiver guys reverted back to free agents – picked Christian Watson back up, dropping Scary Terry. It’s time. He’s currently the 29th ranked WR and that’s bound to go down after this BYE week. I don’t understand why he’s not better, why he’s not more dependable. I don’t understand why Howell isn’t throwing him the ball more – he often gets ignored for most of the game, only to score some garbage time points in the 4th quarter after they’re already losing by a ton – and I don’t understand why he isn’t more of a target in the red zone. 2 TDs is ridiculous for a scoring offense that isn’t THAT bad. More than anything, he’s supposed to have a high floor in PPR leagues, and that’s decidedly not the case. With all the uncertainty around that team – surely to have a new coaching staff next year – McLaurin isn’t someone I’m even remotely thinking about keeping. He’s also got a BYE this week, followed by tough matchups against the Rams, Jets, and 49ers the rest of the way. I was never going to want to start him anyway. Watson, at least, is coming on in a big way (until he suffered that injury late last week). He was my keeper from last year, and if he finishes this season strong, he’ll at least be in the running to be a keeper next year. Still leaning towards Dell at the moment, but you never know. If nothing else, Watson is the highest-upside receiver left on the market for these upcoming playoffs, so I’ll gladly welcome him back into the fold.

This week, I’m going up against Sloane N Steady, who is in 4th place, and looks to be my first round playoff opponent, which means I’ll get the opportunity to face him in back-to-back weeks. 4th place plays 5th place (which I’m in); 3rd place plays 6th place, before the winners move on to play the top two teams on a first round BYE.

As this game is effectively meaningless, I’m not going to sweat the outcome. I’ve got McBride on a BYE. I’ve got Bryce Young (hopefully) forever on my bench the rest of the way. I’ve got both Seahawks running backs on my bench because they’re playing the 49ers. Seems like a bad week to try to bring back Kenneth Walker from an oblique injury; here’s hoping they play it safe.

With that out of the way, I don’t have any real decisions to make. Here’s my Week 14 lineup:

  • Jordan Love (QB) @ NYG
  • Justin Fields (QB) vs. Det
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. Phi
  • Jordan Addison (WR) @ LV
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. Phi
  • Kyren Williams (RB) @ Bal
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ LV
  • Rashee Rice (WR) vs. Buf
  • Dustin Hopkins (K) vs. Jax
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) vs. Hou

Addison has seen a dramatic downturn in his production with the absence of Kirk Cousins. Now that Justin Jefferson is nearing his return, really the last thing I want to do is start Addison. I will be looking for every opportunity to bench him when the playoffs start next week, up to and including starting two tight ends. At this point, McBride seems like a better all-around option than Addison, but we’ll see who the Vikings end up going with at quarterback. I’ll admit, Nick Mullens sounds intriguing; he’s one of the less-bad backups out there, in the right offense.

That being said, how can you hate the matchup with the Raiders? If Addison has anything left this season, he should show it this week. Can’t say that about the Rams going on the road to play Baltimore. Kyren has loads of value considering how much they use him, but I’m looking forward to whoever the Rams play next week (please don’t be the 49ers). I actually like the Rice matchup this week. That should be a high scoring game, and the Bills should put their focus on Kelce, opening up one-on-one opportunities for Rice. Let’s keep the good times going!

Let’s take a peek at Sloane N Steady, and get to know these players intimately, since I figure to be seeing a lot of them the next two weeks:

  • Aiden O’Connell (QB) vs. Min
  • Will Levis (QB) @ Mia
  • Brandon Aiyuk (WR) vs. Sea
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR) @ Chi
  • Isiah Pacheco (RB) vs. Buf
  • Travis Etienne (RB) @ Cle
  • Kyle Pitts (TE) vs. TB
  • Michael Pittman (WR) @ Cin
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. Ind
  • Baltimore (DEF) vs. LAR

His bench includes an injured Derek Carr, an injured Kenny Pickett, an injured Anthony Richardson, and an injured Aaron Rodgers. Thankfully, the Rodgers thing is a smokescreen, and he will have no effect on my life over the next two weeks. Pickett also sounds like a longshot to return anytime soon. I’m guessing Carr will be back in his lineup next week come playoff time, but we’ll see.

As far as skill guys, he’s got DeAndre Hopkins and George Pickens. So, not really a lot in reserve.

But, he’s been one of the best teams in our league this season – he was 8-3 before a recent 2-game skid – on the strength of his starting lineup (sans QB). Aiyuk and St. Brown are absolute studs, and Pittman has been on FIRE … pretty much all season. He’s 11th in WR points, but he’s 4th in receptions, and honestly if it wasn’t for him only having 4 TDs, I think he’d easily be in the top five. Pacheco and Etienne are both quietly amazing, and Pitts is as talented as they get (if only the Atlanta offense would scheme itself for him). Tacking on a tremendous, opportunistic Ravens defense, and my old kicker from the last two years, and it’s a real hornet’s nest.

I’m trying not to look ahead to next week, but suffice it to say, his matchups aren’t going to matter so much. Those guys are really matchup-proof, and it’s up to MY guys to A) stay healthy, and B) go above and beyond their projections. The fact that I’ll have to do this the rest of the way without Tank Dell is a HUGE blow. I was already on thin ice with this team, and now I’m starting to hear some ominous cracks.

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!).

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Draft Results May Vary

I completed three fantasy football drafts in about an 80-hour span; is it possible to feel terrible about every single one of them?

Before we dive into my Dyntasy League 5-round draft, I’ll talk a little bit about my other two teams, as I seem to have stumbled into a couple of different strategies without even trying.

Every draft is different. You never know where you’re going to land in any given draft (assuming it’s randomly selected for you), you never know who’s going to be available (who people reach for, or who people steal from you at the last moment), and so you can go into a draft with one plan, but circumstances force you to go another way.

I try to be adaptable. I’m just looking for as many good players as possible. If it comes down to one of two guys, I’ll simply take the player I want to root for more. And I definitely tend to skew towards younger players, especially at running back and wide receiver.

Yet, I think I have two wildly different teams! To wit, the True League, and my team, RUM HAM:

  • Jalen Hurts (QB)
  • Aaron Rodgers (QB)
  • James Conner (RB)
  • Dalvin Cook (RB)
  • Breece Hall (RB)
  • Elijah Mitchell (RB)
  • Jonathan Taylor (RB)
  • Jahan Dotson (WR)
  • Treylon Burks (WR)
  • Zay Flowers (WR)
  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR)
  • Cooper Kupp (WR)
  • Jameson Williams (WR)
  • Travis Kelce (TE)
  • Kicker TBD
  • New York Jets (DEF)

There’s injury concerns (Conner, Hall, Mitchell, Taylor, Kupp), there’s age concerns (Rodgers, Kelce, Conner again), and then there’s just an endless array of first- and second-year players (Hall, Dotson, Burks, Flowers, JSN, Williams). This is more of a standard scoring league, with half-PPR I believe, but I don’t know if I have enough TD-power to cut the mustard. Will Taylor return to playing football this season? How bad is Kupp’s injury? How many games will I get out of Conner? When will Hall have his inevitable set-back? Will I be able to hold onto Williams through his entire 6-week suspension?

There’s a lot of questions swirling around my team. On the one end of the spectrum of possibilities, I’ll be spending every week scrambling to field a healthy team, constantly worried about and second-guessing injury reports. On the other end, my hurt guys get healthy, and I’m able to field a juggernaut by season’s end that will take me all the way to the championship. High variance, high reward!

Also, I should say, I do like Dotson and Burks more than most. And, really, the Cardinals ONLY have Conner, so he should feast as the only dude on that offense.

Now, here’s my other team, The Annexation Of Puerto Rico, in my beloved Splinter League:

  • Josh Allen (QB)
  • Dak Prescott (QB)
  • Matthew Stafford (QB)
  • Bijan Robinson (RB)
  • Rachaad White (RB)
  • Tyler Allgeier (RB)
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR)
  • Tee Higgins (WR)
  • Christian Kirk (WR)
  • George Pickens (WR)
  • Brandon Aiyuk (WR)
  • Treylon Burks (WR)
  • Jameson Williams (WR)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (DEF)

On the flipside, not a lot of injury issues here, at least out of the gate. But, I also don’t have the glut of running backs to pull from in a pinch. Thankfully, I have the Falcons guys to fall back on, but if White is a bust, I’m kind of screwed.

In the True League, I had the fifth pick in the draft. After the usual suspects went 1-4, I made Kelce my top overall pick. By contrast, in the Splinter League, I had the second pick. Last year, I won it all by having the 10th pick, so this was a VASTLY different experience for me. My Splinter League is even more quarterback-crazy (2 QB league, 1 point per 15 passing yards, 6-point TDs, -4 INTs), and I’m happy to say I got to take Josh Allen for the first time ever. That’s a recipe for him having an uncharacteristically-down year if I’ve ever heard one!

Anyway, I guess we’ll see. I should point out that in the True League, I got an A+ grade by Yahoo, second overall in the league. And, in the Splinter League, I also got an A+ grade, first overall. Will that mean anything? We’ll see. I had a high grade last year in Splinter as well, and ended up winning the whole thing. But, there’s a lot that goes into a championship season; you need to get extremely lucky along the way.

In my Dynasty League, my team – Fight The Mattriarchy! – got a D grade, 8th out of 10 teams. Since everyone’s 10 keepers get slotted randomly into the draft rounds 1-10, I don’t know how much of that grade is outside of my control. But, with the way AI has been trending, I think Yahoo is probably able to take a global view of every team’s quality and depth of players and make an honest assessment. I mean, I’ve been kind of bottom-feeding for a while now; maybe my keepers aren’t up to snuff.

I wrote about my dilemma last week, so you can read that HERE. That link will also tell you who my keepers were. Without further ado, let’s talk about my 5-round draft! Or, rather, my 3-round/5-person draft.

As expected, the two rookie running backs went 1 and 2 (Bijan and Jahmyr Gibbs). That left one guy standing between me and the quarterback of my dreams/nightmares. He ended up taking Anthony Richardson, which left me no choice but to take Bryce Young. Here’s hoping that #1 overall NFL draft pedigree accounts for something!

By the time I selected with my second pick in the first round, I sadly missed out on re-acquiring D.K. Metcalf, who went two picks earlier. I also missed out on Joe Mixon, C.J. Stroud, Calvin Ridley, and Daniel Jones. So, I made my pick, and I made it Kirk Cousins.

He was already on my radar as a potential pick at #4, because I’ve got Fields and Love, so why not have a little leeway in case of injuries or ineffectiveness? Now, I get to have both my cake and eating it too! I get my rookie lottery ticket, AND I get the veteran who’s mostly good, but occasionally terrible when you least can afford it. I’m not saying I love having Cousins on my team; I’m just saying he should be better than Young and Love, at least in the early going.

I’M FIELDING A FANTASY TEAM WITH TWO COMPETENT QUARTERBACKS IF IT FUCKING KILLS ME!

The second round went pretty well for me: JSN, Sam Howell, and Isiah Pacheco with the top three. I had pretty much my pick of the rookie receivers, and opted to go with the guy from the Vikings, Jordan Addison. I would’ve taken him even if I didn’t have Cousins, but I love having them both, for obvious Double Touchdown reasons! The rest of the second round went Miles Sanders, James Cook, Dotson, Mac Jones, and Mike Williams before I selected again. I would’ve only wanted Dotson, or MAYBE Cook, out of that group. I’ve had Mac Jones for the last couple seasons, and good riddance!

With my second pick in the second round, I got to FINALLY draft Scary Terry McLaurin! I’ve wanted him since he was a rookie, but he was snagged out from under me. Having him fall to me couldn’t have gone better; I’m very happy with my receiver depth now!

Finally, the third round went like this: Dalton Kincaid, Christian Kirk, and Aiyuk. That left me with Dalvin Cook as my final draft pick of the evening. I don’t love him as a long-term prospect, but early on he should get the bulk of the carries as Hall returns from his injury. Cook is also insurance against Alexander Mattison, in the event a starter’s load doesn’t suit him well. As long as Cook stays healthy, Aaron Rodgers is going to want him in there, and that offense should have enough meat on the bone for all their stars, including Cook for an occasional TD. Who’s to say Cook couldn’t be the Ezekiel Elliott in this offense, vulturing touchdowns left and right?!

For Week 1, I’m starting Fields & Cousins, Lamb & Watson, Walker & Pollard, Hockenson & Cook (though, I may put McLaurin in there as a last-minute replacement, if it looks like he’s fully healthy, because that Arizona defense looks like straight garbage).

We’ll see how it all goes! I’ll be on here every week lamenting my losses and celebrating my victories.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Anthony Richardson vs. Bryce Young vs. ???

Our draft in my dynasty league is this Friday, September 1st, and so much is hinging on what happens in these five rounds. Rookies, players left over from last year; playing for this year while keeping an eye towards the future. It’s a lot to grapple with!

For those unaware of how this league operates, I ask you, why are you reading this? You don’t want to hear about my fantasy team! Nobody wants to hear about anyone’s fantasy team! But, if you’re interested in continuing, here’s the jist: this is a 2-QB PPR league with adjusted scoring to make quarterbacks more important (6-point TDs, 1 point per 20 yards passing, -4 points for INTs). Every team keeps 10 players, one per position, with one regular flex. Here’s the roster I kept:

  • Justin Fields (QB)
  • Jordan Love (QB)
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR)
  • Christian Watson (WR)
  • Tony Pollard (RB)
  • Kenneth Walker (RB)
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE)
  • Alexander Mattison (RB)
  • Evan McPherson (K)
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF)

I had one decision to agonize over, and that was leaving D.K. Metcalf off of my team. For starters, he was a prior trade acquisition of mine, so part of me feels like I gave up a lot to get him, and then threw him away for nothing. Granted, I don’t remember what it cost to bring him to my team, but I remember it being somewhat significant. It more or less came down to Metcalf vs. Watson. I was committed to keeping three running backs, especially when Dalvin Cook was released by the Vikings and Mattison was there to pick up all those extra snaps. Now, Mattison might be mediocre, and he might get hurt or eventually lose his starting job. But, I couldn’t resist keeping a bona fide lead running back in a high-powered offense.

The Watson vs. Metcalf debate might haunt me all season long, though. My rationale for only keeping two receivers is simple: you can always find a quality receiver late in the draft or in free agency during the season. It’s how I got Watson in the first place. I like Watson’s upside as the #1 receiver with relatively little competition from any other Packer; whereas Metcalf has to contend with Lockett and Smith-Njigba and a quarterback who likes to spread the ball around. The obvious downside is the fact that Metcalf is a proven 1,000-yard receiver, who’s going to get the lion’s share of attention in red zone situations (and, not for nothing, but he’s also got big play abilities to score from anywhere on the field). Watson is a second year player, catching balls from a quarterback in his first year as the starter. He could be a total bust! But, the big plays he was making, and his pedigree out of the draft last year, made him intriguing. You don’t win fantasy football leagues on intriguing players, I get that. But, ultimately, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have both Love and Watson on my team. Double touchdowns!

In lesser decision-making news, I decided to keep Love over both Stafford (old, injured last year, on a terrible team) and Mac Jones (might be good for a bounce-back under better offensive coaching, but I’ll have to see it to believe it), going for upside.

As has been the case for the last half-decade, if not longer, Quarterback is my weakest position. In a league where quarterbacks are – again – the most important position. The difference here is that I feel like I finally have someone viable in Justin Fields. If he stays healthy, he’s a strong bet to turn into a Jalen Hurts type. If that’s the case, with the rest of my team looking pretty strong, that means I need to focus on the second quarterback spot.

I’m drafting fourth this year. I also have extra picks in the first two rounds (in a deal made last season), while having given up my picks in the final two rounds. So, every team drafts their bench, essentially. Five rounds for five spots (or, in my case, three rounds for five spots).

I have it on reasonably-good authority that both Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs will be selected ahead of me. These could be lies, of course. Competitors gaining an edge by throwing me off the scent. But, I know for a fact that one of the teams has two loaded quarterbacks and has no need to take another rookie. So, even if the other guy goes rogue and both Anthony Richardson and Bryce Young are gone by the time I select, then I have no problem whatsoever grabbing Gibbs and further bolstering my running back stable.

Based on the information I have, and knowing who the #3 pick has at quarterback heading into the draft (Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr), I am reasonably sure he’s 1,000% taking a quarterback.

There’s one interesting wrinkle to this debate, and that’s the fact that Kirk Cousins is available as well. Of the quarterbacks not kept by teams from last year, the top holdovers are Cousins, Stafford, Daniel Jones, Sam Howell, and then the likes of Jimmy G, Ryan Tannehill, Baker Mayfield, Mac Jones, and Desmond Ridder. So, the quality is falling FAST. If #3 is looking to play for this year, and wants a safe, pro-ready option to gobble a lot of points, he could very well roll with Cousins and take his chances. If you believe Aaron Rodgers is destined for a bounce-back, on a new team, with a familiar coordinator, and a stable of studs at the skill positions around him, then you could do a lot worse choosing between Carr and Cousins every week based on matchups. I like the rest of #3’s team, so he could definitely make that work and ride it into the playoffs.

My take on this year’s rookies is pretty well set in my mind. For fantasy purposes, I think Anthony Richardson is the clear top dog. I think Bryce Young is the safest bet, even though he’s too short and doesn’t run and has no weapons and a suspect O-Line (for what it’s worth, I think they all have suspect O-Lines). And I think C.J. Stroud is the worst of the three, in the worst situation (even worse weapons, with a first time head coach who might be bad at the job, in an organization that has no idea what it’s doing). I was never taking C.J. Stroud, even if the other two guys were taken ahead of me; he’s off all my draft boards (so, knowing me, maybe bet the farm on Stroud being a Hall of Famer when it’s all said and done).

They all have drawbacks, of course. I think the hype train is a little too inflated for Richardson. He’s getting A LOT of Josh Allen comparisons. But, Josh Allens don’t grow on trees! He’s kind of a unicorn. Most quarterbacks don’t improve their completion percentages that significantly from the college to the pros. With Richardson, obviously he’s projected to be a points hog because he runs so well. And now it appears the Colts won’t have any competition for him, if they ultimately trade Jonathan Taylor (or he holds out). But, the downside is, his value is mitigated if he can’t also throw for touchdowns, or worse, if he throws a lot of interceptions (the -4 for INTs is the great equalizer in our league, and should be standard for all fantasy football leagues). Also, on a personal level, do I really want both Fields and Richardson? Two guys who run a lot, can’t throw, and are one big hit away from sinking my season?

If I were to talk myself into Bryce Young, I’d talk about his leadership, his poise, his intangibles. He’s also very accurate and he’s a winner. There’s a reason why he was the #1 pick in the NFL. Young really bridges the gap for me when it comes to being ready THIS season. Richardson might have more upside, and a higher longterm outlook for fantasy purposes. But, if I want to win THIS year? Young might be the better way to go.

My second pick in the first round isn’t until the very end, at number 10. I highly doubt Cousins will be there for me in this scenario. But, I don’t want to throw all my eggs in the Cousins basket for this year at pick 4, because he’s 35 years old, he’s on the final year of his deal, and I have no idea where he’ll be going forward. Also, it’s never fun to have to rely on Cousins; he takes a dump at the most inopportune times!

Once I have my quarterback locked in at 4, I need to scramble and get a receiver at 10. Because if I wait until the second round, it might be too late. My secret hope is that D.K. Metcalf is still there at 10, but that might be a longshot. How confident am I in Calvin Ridley? Yeesh. That’s either going to work out spectacularly or blow up in my face. I’ve always wanted Scary Terry McLaurin, and he’s out there again for me!

Of the rookie receivers, I dunno. JSN is probably the most talented, but not in a situation to showcase his talents. Do I want to trust a receiver for the Ravens? Or the third receiver on the Chargers? Or the #2 to Justin Jefferson’s #1? I wouldn’t mind terribly seeing who’s left over of those four, and taking that guy in the second round.

Then, it’s just Best Player Available. Don’t have to worry about kickers. I could always look into keeping a second defense, though I like the Jets a lot and they don’t have a BYE until Week 7. We’ll see. A lot riding on this one! I’ve been in rebuild mode for the last 3-4 years; now it’s time to see if I can take that next step.

I’m Having A Hard Time Getting Excited For Football Right Now

This SHOULD be the perfect scenario to get me super pumped for football. We had another down college basketball season; hockey was fun, but in a Just Glad To Be There sort of way when it came to a middling playoff run; and the Mariners are obviously in the midst of yet another in a long line of disappointing seasons (save one) over the last couple decades.

When it’s late-July and baseball is going nowhere, downtrodden Seattle sports fans turn their sights to the impending football season, and all the possibilities therein. But, not me.

I don’t know what it is. Maybe the Mariners play a part in that, in how far below expectations they’ve landed, sucking all of our collective wills to live. There’s a case to be made to have high expectations for both the Seahawks and Huskies. The Seahawks are coming off of an unlikely playoff appearance, they’re coming off of back-to-back potentially-elite draft classes, the dark cloud of the previous era of Seahawks football came to a close with Russell Wilson playing in Denver now. Vibes are high! Now, take the Huskies; they’re coming off of an unlikely bowl game victory, and an even unlikelier double digit-win season. That came on the heels of the team totally falling apart, and the death knell of the Chris Petersen-to-Jimmy Lake Era that had once achieved soaring heights. With most of our important players returning, vibes are even higher on Montlake!

It’s not hard to remember when our expectations were as mammoth; see: the 2023 Mariners.

Now remember that we’re Seattle sports fans, and Seattle is Sports Hell. It’s not Sports Hell because all our teams are miserable all the damn time. It’s so much more than that! We’re in Sports Hell because of this very scenaro. Because our teams do – occasionally – see expectations raised. And THAT’S when our teams choose to fall on their fucking faces.

We have decades upon decades full of experience in this arena. And exactly three championships for our efforts, between the Supersonics, Seahawks, Mariners, and Husky basketball & football teams. In my 42 years of existence – since I’ve been rooting for these respective teams – I’ve only gotten to witness the one (Super Bowl XLVIII), since I wasn’t a Husky fan in the early 90’s. That’s a lotta heartbreak.

I’ve seen a lot of good-not-great teams in my lifetime. The Sonics of the entire 1990’s, the Mariners of the mid 90’s, the turn-of-the-century Mariners (who were a very different beast entirely), the Holmgren Era Seahawks, the Romar Era Huskies, the Legion Of Boom, the Chris Peterson Huskies, the Post-LOB Seahawks, and this current era of Mariners baseball. There’s a lot of great memories sprinkled throughout, but one main throughline: they all fell short of ultimate glory, save one.

I’ve discussed this topic quite a bit on my blog throughout the years. It’s all a matter of perspective. If I was able to just enjoy the journey, take these teams for what they are, and accept the fact that we can’t always win it all, then I’m sure I’d be a lot happier. But, how do you enjoy the 2023 Mariners, when you know this team is underachieving, and we all expected them to be better than they are? This team was supposed to win 90+ games in the regular season and really make a dent in the playoffs; instead, they’re struggling to get to 81 wins, and will almost certainly not reach the post-season. And, as such, now we go into 2024 with more questions than answers. We go into 2024 with more holes than we thought we’d have, and an apparent lack of opportunities and willingness to do what it takes to fill those holes.

I guess the answer to that question is: don’t have expectations going in. If I had zero expectations for the 2023 Mariners, then maybe I could appreciate a .500 team that’s still kinda/sorta in it, and hold out hope that they’ll figure something out in the next two months to eke their way into the playoffs.

But, that’s not how I’m wired. That’s how a fairweather fan thinks, or a complete non-fan. My fiancé could do that, because she isn’t saddled with the burden of following these teams, and has zero interest in them outside of the fact that I have interest, and she enjoys my company enough to care about what I care about.

I can’t go into this football season with no expectations. I see the 2023 Seahawks and I see a team on the rise. I see a lot of talented youths with potential for greatness. I see a division and an NFC that’s up for grabs, and I see us as a potential dark horse.

Then, I see the 2023 Huskies and I see a team that’s there! That’s a legitimate contender for the Pac-12 crown, and if they play their cards right, maybe even a berth in the college football playoffs.

In total, I see two football teams where you don’t necessarily have to squint very hard to see them going pretty far. Just as I saw a certain Mariners team, in the very same light.

So, how could my favorite football teams Mariners things up this season?

Well, the Huskies might just be God-awful on defense, particularly in the secondary and linebacker units. They might need to score a ton on offense every single week, which means they’d have to be damn near perfect on an efficiency standpoint. What if Michael Penix doesn’t even remotely resemble a Heisman Trophy candidate? What if the O-Line doesn’t hold up? What if we get bitten by the injury bug or bad fumble luck? What if we simply lose two fucking conference games and it knocks us out of the conference race entirely? It doesn’t take a whole helluva lot to ruin a college football team with high expectations. Two Pac-12 defeats, that’d do it. We always lose at least one dumb bullshit game against some fucking annoyingly shitty Arizona or Bay Area school with an 8pm start time. Do that, and lose to a legitimately good team, and there you have it: season ruined.

It’s a lot easier to see how the Seahawks could fuck up.

The Seahawks might just be God-awful on defense, particularly in the D-Line and linebacker units. There’s also a decent chance Geno Smith doesn’t survive the entire 17-game season, meaning we’ll have to endure Drew Lock in games that count. But, even if Geno manages to stay healthy, is he really the guy who’s going to lead us to a division title and a deep playoff run? Behind an extremely inexperienced O-Line? The 49ers are still pretty fucking good, even with their injury question marks at quarterback. The Eagles should still make some noise. The rest of the NFC East is nothing to sneeze at, and the Vikings figure to win a lot of games again. Then, you have to factor in how the Seahawks continually get off to slow starts to the regular season under Pete Carroll. It’s a lot to overcome.

I’ll admit, my expectations for the Seahawks aren’t nearly as high as they are for the Huskies. But, I can already feel the homer in me yearning to believe big. He knows that if we can keep this team mostly healthy, they’ll really surprise the rest of the league! Homer Steven is a simpleton like that. He’ll believe anything! So, I’m bound to be disappointed when the Seahawks are just another wild card team losing in the first round again. Or, God forbid, another Seahawks team that failed to make the playoffs entirely (but also wasn’t bad enough to get a Top 10 pick out of the deal).

So, yeah, I figure to have a lot of disappointing moments this fall. And, when I’m not disappointed, I’ll just be dreading the impending disappointment I know is right around the corner. This is the year where my regular football fandom meets my fantasy football fandom.

Speaking of which, I’m coming off of one league championship in my Splinter League, so anything short of a repeat performance is bound to be a letdown. And, in my Dynasty League, so much has gone right for me this offseason, I don’t even know where to begin.

For starters, the Cowboys finally cut Ezekiel Elliott. I have Tony Pollard as the unquestioned lead back. Then, the Vikings cut Dalvin Cook; I have Alexander Mattison. And, the coup de grace, since my Dynasty team has struggled with shabby quarterback play for the last decade, I’m actually not dreading my two guys. Justin Fields – when healthy – gobbles up points with his legs; his experience last year should hopefully propel him into better results through the air. Then, with Rodgers being traded to the Jets, I get to hang onto Jordan Love and see what he’s made of. If they both pan out, I’ve got two QBs locked and loaded for the next half decade. With the way the rest of my team shakes out, I’m not desperate to fill any particular need; I can truly take the Best Player Available in the draft to fill out my bench, and my team should be all the better for it.

Except, of course, we know that’s not how it actually works. My quarterbacks will probably stink and/or get hurt. The rest of my roster will underperform. I’ll play against a lot of fantasy teams going on their best weeks. And, even the weeks I’m victorious, I’ll just dread the following week all the more, because that’s how fantasy football works. It’s a neverending hellscape of frustration.

If I wasn’t getting married and going on a honeymoon this fall, I don’t know WHAT I would be looking forward to! But, it sure as shit isn’t this football season. That I’ll be watching with my hands covering my face, one eye peeking in between a set of fingers, ready for the next nut punch to come my way.

Is Geno Smith A Top 10 Quarterback In 2023?

There’s a lot of Top 10 lists being thrown around nowadays when it comes to the NFL. You know, it’s still pre pre-season, most of the important free agents have signed with teams, and there just isn’t much going on. The calm before the storm, if you will.

So, to get everyone all riled up, media outlets create fake outrage (in the absence of legitimate outrage, which will surely be coming, if it isn’t already here – NFL running backs being underpaid and whatnot) to get everyone talking about football. It’s how we keep the NFL on the front of everyone’s mind 24/7/365.

They’ve been doing this series of Top 10 lists by position group, and save D.K. Metcalf (I think), the Seahawks can’t seem to buy any representation. Hell, even Pete Carroll can’t get a Top 10 nod, being ranked behind the likes of Brian Daboll, Kyle Shanahan, among other coaches who don’t have the resume Pete has. Other than PFF being responsible for that head coach list, I don’t really know where these are coming from. Is it ESPN? NFL.com? Other? I don’t really care.

Other than the head coaching thing, I kind of understand why the Seahawks aren’t among the Top 10 in anything. Outside of D.K., who is our biggest star? I would argue our very best players are so young, they haven’t had a chance to really prove themselves. There’s a variety of rookies from the last couple drafts (including 2023) who I believe will turn into studs, if they aren’t there already. So, you know what? Disrespect them now! Put another chip on their shoulders! I read on Twitter that the Seahawks were iced out of the top 32 in NFL offensive tackles; great! Stupendous! Charles Cross and Abe Lucas see that, and they’re coming for you!

But, if anyone might have a gripe, I think it’s Geno Smith. I think he might be a Top 10 quarterback, and he’s being summarily dismissed once again in the eyes of the know-it-all pundits.

Not all of them. There are always contrarians out there willing to go to bat for Geno. But, it’s weird just the same.

We’re not making a case for All Time Top 10. We’re just talking about the Top 10 quarterbacks heading into 2023. It’s a prediction, based on last year’s production, and what you think is possible for this year.

The usual suspects round out the very top of this list: Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert. On the next tier down, I think you can make an argument for Lamar Jackson, Kirk Cousins, Tua Tagovailoa, Trevor Lawrence, Jared Goff, Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, and even Aaron Rodgers; they all have flaws, but I think they have to be in the conversation just the same.

And I would put Geno Smith squarely in that group in the second tier.

So, we’re locking in the Top 5, in some order: Mahomes, Burrow, Allen, Hurts, Herbert. What about the next five?

Well, I think you have to consider the very real injury risks coming with the likes of Tua, Dak, Lamar, and Stafford. Stafford’s arm is about to fall off, plus the talent around him is depleted. Even if he plays in 2023, I don’t think he’ll be better than Geno. When you take away the Dak injury, he was still wildly inconsistent, and good for at least a mistake a game that might cost ’em. At this point, the bloom is off the rose and I don’t think I would rank him over Geno. Lamar, as a running quarterback, is taking a massive amount of hits over the average pocket passer or scrambler. He isn’t the smartest about avoiding contact, and frankly he’s not the passer that Geno is. Other than Mark Andrews, who is he throwing to? Now that he’s been given the massive contract he was looking for, will he be as motivated? I have a lot of doubts about Lamar, most of all: is he a winner? In the regular season, sure, but I think I’d rather have Geno in a playoff game, all things considered. And, we all know what’s going on with Tua. He’s legit elite in that offense, and could be a Top 5 QB when healthy. But, one more big hit to the head might end his career. No thanks.

Aaron Rodgers is an interesting case here. He definitely wasn’t a Top 10 quarterback in 2022; he was legitimately bad! A lot of that, I’m sure, had to do with the loss of Davante Adams, though it’s concerning because great QBs are supposed to elevate the talent around them. I just think A-Rod was done with Green Bay prior to last season, but they couldn’t move him for a variety of reasons, so they had to eat a sub-par year out of him before sending him on his way. Rodgers has elite receivers in New York. Presumably, the O-Line will be fine, though they might also be terrible (which would worry me). More than anything, I wonder if his heart is in it anymore. He’s getting up there. He’s got a world of interests outside of football. He spent a significant portion of this offseason contemplating whether or not he would play again. And, everyone is already crowning the Jets as the next Super Team, which is always cause for concern. BUT, on the flipside, everyone is already counting Rodgers out. There’s a significant portion of the talking heads out there who are dismissing the Jets for all the reasons I just mentioned. And people are taking every opportunity to clown on Rodgers for his … everything (personality, beliefs, political leanings, etc.). In that respect, part of me wonders if he goes Scorched Earth on the NFL for one more year. I mean, he was just the MVP back-to-back years in 2021 and 2022, so you can’t entirely rule him out.

As for Cousins and Goff, I think there’s enough of a sample for both of them to see where they’re lacking. They play up against the bad teams, but don’t always show up against the good ones. There’s enough mistakes in their game to make them total wild cards on any given week. And, with Trevor Lawrence, last year was really his first with any sort of coaching competence around him. And, in spite of that, Geno still out-performed him in most every major category.

This isn’t to say I think Geno Smith is perfect, or even the best option of all of these Tier 2 guys. He has his own mistake issues. He’ll throw a back-breaking interception, drop a killer fumble, or allow defensive pressure to get the best of him. And he also only has the one season of quality play.

But, Geno was Top 10 in total yards (8th, with 4,282), was 4th in passer rating among quarterbacks who played in at least 13 games, he led the league in completion percentage among qualified passers, he averaged 7.5 yards per attempt (7th in football among QBs who played in at least 13 games), and was one of only 8 quarterbacks who played in all 17 games. He also had the 4th most touchdown passes with 30.

I think in aggregate – based on all of the above – you have to put Geno in the Top 10. That doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to be there at season’s end. But, knowing what we know now, about him and the rest of the league, when you factor in his ability, the talent and coaching around him, I would put him in the Top 10, and I’m as much of a doubter as anyone.

What If The Seahawks Take A Quarterback With The Fifth Pick?

This question feels like a waste of time. It feels like clickbait nonsense. When you read it from established journalists/pundits – as opposed to yours truly, who’s writing this in his pajamas in the middle of the afternoon while listening to some #FunkyDiscoHouse – it feels like they’re just parroting what unnamed agents/NFL front offices want them to “leak”, for financial/competitive gains.

When I read about the Seahawks showing interest in the quarterback position at the top of the draft, it seems very disingenuous. That’s what we WANT the rest of the league to believe, so the price to trade into our spot goes up. Or, so teams will leapfrog us, in hopes that one of the bigtime defensive line prospects falls to us. And/or to drive Geno Smith’s price down.

99.9% of me believes it’s bullshit that the Seahawks would select a quarterback with the fifth overall draft pick. I can’t say 100%, because nothing is 100% in the game of football. But, I’m saying it without saying it: the Seahawks are NOT drafting a quarterback fifth overall.

I say that as a fan of the Seahawks who has followed this organization VERY closely through the years.

Can you name the highest-drafted quarterback in the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era? You should, because his name is Russell Wilson, and he was famously taken by us in the third round. We’ve taken exactly one other quarterback in the draft since 2010: Alex McGough in 2018, in the 7th round. That’s a 50% success rate, for those keeping track at home.

The Seahawks have largely been unconventional at the spot over the last 12+ years. The inherited Matt Hasselbeck, they traded for Charlie Whitehurst (a huge bust), they took on Tarvaris Jackson because he was familiar with Darrell Bevell’s system, they made a medium-sized splash on Matt Flynn, and they’ve run through a number of starting busts to sit behind Wilson until we got to Geno and Drew Lock last year battling it out. LOTTA crap there, up to and including Hasselbeck’s last year here (when he was over the hill), outside of hitting the lottery on Russell Wilson.

But, at the same time, there haven’t been those huge swings you see out of most other franchises. Do you know who was the last quarterback we drafted in the first two rounds? The much-maligned Rick Mirer at number two overall, back in 1993. In fact, there’s only one other QB the Seahawks have taken in the first two rounds, and that was Dan McGwire at number 16 in 1991 (when Chuck Knox lobbied hard for Brett Favre). That’s a 0% success rate, for those keeping track at home.

Isn’t that interesting, though? When you think about the Seahawks, you don’t think about us being totally bereft of quarterback talent. But, we’ve been unorthodox at getting our guys. Jim Zorn was an undrafted free agent. Dave Krieg was as well. Warren Moon was a free agent, Matt Hasselbeck was a trade acquisition; those are all the big names, that comprise a significant chunk of the Pre-Wilson Seahawks history.

What’s also interesting – especially going from the Holmgren era through the John Schneider era (both with ties to the Green Bay Packers way of doing things) – is that this organization doesn’t even take a lot of draft fliers the way the Packers model themselves after. We get our franchise quarterback, and we throw whatever scrubs we find off the scrap heap behind him. Now, to be fair, what are we talking about? The Packers have made two high-profile draft picks of Aaron Rodgers (when Favre was still playing at a high level) and Jordan Love (when Rodgers was still playing at a high level); it’s not like they’re actually drafting a new quarterback every season.

But, that’s their reputation, and that’s also the reputation that was foisted upon John Schneider. I don’t know if he buys into that or not. Maybe that was an unfair allegation that was levied against him, since he came from Green Bay. But, regardless, it hasn’t been even remotely his practice since coming here. Not even when you consider this team really could’ve used a little more attention paid to the position!

There are those rumors that he was all in on Patrick Mahomes and/or Josh Allen. That if those guys would’ve fallen to us in their respective draft classes, we would’ve taken one of them even though that was smack in Wilson’s prime. Of course, we’ll never know; it’s easy to plant those stories to make yourself look smart. It’s also easy to plant those stories when you want to drive down the price of your own franchise quarterback in times of contract extension. But, it’s a great What If. What if we traded Wilson back in 2017 and acquired a ton of draft picks at that time? What if we used those picks to select (or trade up for) one of Mahomes or Allen? Wouldn’t that be exciting?!

That’s where you get to the 00.1% chance of the Seahawks taking a quarterback at five. Because to do that, they would have to be SO SURE this guy is the next superstar in this league. Which is what makes all the Anthony Richardson hullabaloo at the combine over the weekend all the more intriguing. He blew the collective minds of everyone watching, with his freakish athleticism, with his interviewing skills, and with his leadership traits. He also apparently had a very positive interview with Pete Carroll (who, as we all remember, had that crazy interaction with D.K. Metcalf before we later took him at the end of the second round).

Would I be excited if the Seahawks took a quarterback at five? You’re damn right I would be! Because I love a surprise out of left field. Because I don’t really want to overpay for Geno Smith’s services. And because I would have to 100% buy in on this guy, since the organization is taking such a huge risk. With our philosophy largely undermining the quarterback spot throughout the years, this would be a HUGE step in the other direction.

Naturally, it depends on who we take at five. I’ll say this, there’s no “sure thing” in this draft. Bryce Young is undersized and slight of frame. Also, I don’t know how much I buy Alabama quarterbacks, after the underwhelming showing of both Mac Jones and Tua (Hurts goes pretty far in turning that tide for me, but he also transferred out of there, and had to find a way to succeed without the crutch of being on the best roster college football has to offer). C.J. Stroud has great accuracy, but lacks a willingness to scramble, and if I don’t trust Bama quarterbacks, I REALLY don’t trust Buckeye QBs. He also had the luxury of being on an elite roster of players, and it’s impossible to tell how someone will react to the real world of the NFL, where there’s significantly more parity.

Richardson is naturally on everyone’s minds – and might excite me more than the other two guys, if only for his potential upside – but he has serious accuracy problems. He also didn’t play much at college and might be a little too reliant on his legs for success at the next level. I know it feels nitpicky – one guy runs too much, the other not enough, what is this a 3 Bears situation? – but that’s the nature of the beast with drafting a quarterback, especially in the upper half of the first round. For every Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning, there are dozens of Blake Bortleses. You don’t often get those “sure things”. Most of the time, you get someone with flaws that you hope don’t usher him out of the league as a bust.

But, as I said, if the Seahawks take a quarterback at five, of course I’m going to be excited! What other choice do I have? That being said, if it’s not one of those three guys I just referenced, not only would it be a gargantuan shock, but it would be downright irresponsible. There’s just no one else worthy of that kind of attention.

When Seahawks fans speculate on the team taking a QB, it’s usually in the second or third round; MAYBE with the 20th overall pick (or trade down from 20 and take him later in the first). That feels a little more reasonable. It’s FAR less sexy, but it’s also probably the smarter play. Take a bigger project with less upside and hope to mold him over this season as he rides the pine behind Geno. But, can you imagine how much we’d lose our minds if we were one of those teams to take a quarterback in the top five?! What a thrill!