The Dragons Blew It Against The Roughnecks To Fall To Last Place In The West

We’re halfway through the regular season and the Dragons sit at the bottom of the XFL (with the Vipers) with a 1-4 record. BUT, never fear, because I still contend there’s time to climb back into the playoffs! It’s gonna take a big winning streak, but I feel one coming!

To recap last Saturday’s loss in Houston, the Dragons blew a 14-0 lead in the first half (it was tied at 14 at the break), then subsequently blew a 23-14 lead midway through the third quarter, ultimately falling 32-23. The Dragons DID cover the spread (I think it was 11.5 points) and the over hit pretty easily (so, I feel like if sports gambling were legal, I would’ve won), but that does nothing for the Dragons’ playoff chances.

The offense was pretty out-of-sync all day, and most of the scoring was precipitated by turnovers generated by the defense. Two interceptions and a fumble recovery put the Dragons in VERY good position to take advantage offensively, but when it came time for B.J. Daniels and the crew to move the ball the length of the field, they just couldn’t do it.

The offensive line was pretty bad in this one. I’ve made it a point to not really get too down on these guys; after all, we don’t have enough good linemen in the NFL, why would I expect them to be anything in the XFL? But, it was particularly glaring in this one. I’d also argue that the play-calling was VERY suspect; the Dragons are what they are because Jim Zorn is the one in charge of everything, you’ll never change my mind. If we actually had our offensive coordinator (who never showed up, due to some family emergency I guess?) or, you know, HIRED a proper offensive coordinator to call plays in his stead, things might be a lot different. As it is, I cringe every time the Dragons fail on first down, because I know a 2nd & 10 run is coming (it makes the inevitable 3rd & 9 all the more frustrating).

Bottom line: with B.J. Daniels at the helm, you need to take better advantage of his running ability. He ran it 10 times for 30 yards in this one, but aside from the two goalline touchdowns, they were predominantly scrambles after the passing play broke down. I want to see more zone-read! There were countless times where he could’ve easily pulled the ball and taken off for significant yardage! I mean, this isn’t Russell Wilson here; what are you saving it for? Let’s put him to work and start winning some football games!

The defense, as usual, no notes. They have an uncanny knack for generating turnovers, which SHOULD be huge in a league like this! I will say there were a number of breakdowns in the secondary – a few deep passes down the sideline, and a bunch of guys wide open in the middle of the field – but I’m attributing that to injuries until someone tells me otherwise.

Okay, so one minor note.

Let’s get to the XFL Power Rankings:

  1. Houston Roughnecks: 5-0
  2. St. Louis BattleHawks: 3-2
  3. New York Guardians: 3-2
  4. D.C. Defenders: 3-2
  5. Dallas Renegades: 2-3
  6. Los Angeles Wildcats: 2-3
  7. Seattle Dragons: 1-4
  8. Tampa Bay Vipers: 1-4

The Guardians are rising up the ranks with a bullet! I still don’t know if they’re actually good or not (to be honest, I haven’t watched a minute of their games), but a 2-game winning streak deserves something!

D.C. got off the schneid with a win at home over the BattleHawks; the Defenders are now 3-0 at home and 0-2 on the road, by my figures. They had to replace their highly-regarded quarterback to do it, which is interesting to say the least.

So, here’s the deal (I think I talked about this last week, but I’m rehashing it here, sue me): Houston is a lock for one of the two playoff spots in the West. That leaves Seattle, Dallas, and L.A. The Renegades are the team we have to worry about the most, because we only get one more crack at them the rest of the way. Ideally, we’d like the Renegades to lose as much as possible.

We get TWO shots at the Wildcats, including this upcoming Sunday at CenturyLink Field. So, if ever there was a must-win game, you’re looking at it. If the Dragons lose on Sunday, let’s all write off the season and become BattleHawks fans. I feel a little bad for St. Louis (losing the Rams and all); if Seattle can’t win it all, I’d like to see them get some love.

Maybe by Sunday, the Dragons will have installed a better package of plays that takes advantage of Daniels’ skillset!

We Were About To Riot Until B.J. Daniels Finally Took Over For The Dragons

Too little, too late to beat the BattleHawks – as the Dragons lost 23-16 – but it was a furious and (finally!) entertaining comeback in the second half to pull it to just the one score (and cover the 11.5-point spread!).

God, I can’t wait to bet on the XFL in a couple weeks …

The Dragons’ first half offense was a fucking trainwreck of epic proportions. And yet, we were somehow only down 11-3 early in the second quarter thanks to some pretty stout bend-don’t-break defense. Until the BattleHawks ripped off a 7-minute, 78-yard touchdown drive to make it 17-3 at half.

That’s when Jim Zorn finally did what I didn’t think he had the guts to do: bench Brandon Silvers’ incompetent ass! 4 for 10 for 27 yards; 4 punts in 5 possessions (the lone field goal drive started at the St. Louis 45-yard line), so not exactly an inspiring performance.

B.J. Daniels came in and immediately looked 1,000% better. The Dragons’ first drive ended in a punt (thanks to a clear drop by Keenan Reynolds), but after that the offense was humming along nicely.

A Dragons TD made it 17-10. After giving up a field goal, the Dragons pulled to 20-16 (there was some confusion about why Zorn chose to go for three after the score; I’m STILL not convinced he knows basic math, but God bless him, he’s doing his best out there … without an offensive coordinator, no less!).

That bend-don’t-break defense gave up another field goal to make it 23-16, which left the Dragons with a primo opportunity to take the lead. Unfortunately, another promising-looking drive this time ended up with an interception down the middle of the field. There was still nearly four minutes left in the game, but the defense for the life of ’em couldn’t stop the BattleHawks, who ran out the rest of the game in pretty impressive fashion.

At this point, there’s just no damned excuse for Silvers to be back in the starting lineup next week. I’ve been saying all along: the XFL needs to dedicate itself to RUNNING QUARTERBACKS! Oh, by the way, you’re telling me Houston’s quarterback is the MVP frontrunner … and he just so happens to be exactly the type of quarterback I’m talking about?

LET B.J. COOK!!!

Dammit anyways.

Here’s my XFL Power Rankings as we head into Week 5:

  1. Houston Roughnecks, 4-0
  2. St. Louis BattleHawks, 3-1
  3. Dallas Renegades, 2-2
  4. D.C. Defenders, 2-2
  5. New York Guardians, 2-2
  6. Los Angeles Wildcats, 1-3
  7. Seattle Dragons, 1-3
  8. Tampa Bay Vipers, 1-3

Houston is running away with this league, which is unfortunate timing because this week the Dragons head there. If B.J. Daniels is starting, I give us a fighting chance. If it’s back to Silvers, they can’t make the spread high enough, give me the Roughnecks all day.

St. Louis looks strong all across the board and they more than deserve to move up in the rankings. The Defenders, on the other hand, just lost to the erstwhile-winless Vipers, so bump them down (the Defenders are 2-0 at home, 0-2 on the road, for what that’s worth). The Renegades leapfrog the Defenders for playing Houston pretty tough last week. The Dragons move down closer to the absolute cellar because I’m still moderately afraid I haven’t seen the last of Silvers (it’s FUN having a terrible Seattle sports whipping boy again!). Tampa got the surprise shutout of the Defenders, but I still need to see more.

After this week, the schedule gets a lot easier for the Dragons. So, I don’t want to say all hope is lost just yet, but we’ll need to rip off a significant winning streak to get into the playoffs.

The downside is: it’s the top two teams per division who make the playoffs, and the Dragons share a division with the Roughnecks. Granted, we get two cracks at them (but that’s also a bad thing, if they go undefeated).

The plus side is: we also get two cracks at the Wildcats, who don’t look amazing. If we beat up on the teams we need to beat up on, then it’s just a matter of leapfrogging the Renegades. At that point, it’s just a playoff game against (probably) the best team in the league.

No big whup.

Are You Ready For Some XFL?!

When I first heard that the XFL was coming back (my fingers keep wanting to type XLF, which sounds like the 2020 reboot of ALF, starring his derelict, estranged son he didn’t know about until later in life), of course I immediately dismissed it. The XFL was dumb in 2001, and surely it would be dumb now!

Then, when I heard Seattle was getting one of the inaugural eight teams, I don’t know if there’s a word to describe my feelings, so I just came up with one: bewildertained. I’m bewildered that this is happening in the first place, but I’m thoroughly entertained that the Seattle Dragons are a thing, and that I get to write about them on a weekly basis for the next however many weeks!

The XFL figures to be the most bewildertaining thing in my life through the end of April!

I’m also loving the fact that the Dragons might be legitimately the worst team in the league (at least, in the eyes of Vegas, as we head into the start of the season on Saturday). Of course we finally get included in something everyone’s going to take seriously for a while, and OF COURSE we’re going to be the laughingstock of it all!

Here’s what I know about the Seattle Dragons:

  1. I know Jim Zorn is the head coach. He had a 12-20 record with the Redskins over two seasons. We never could be sure if that’s because he’s bad at coaching, or if that team is bad at everything, but why can’t it be both?
  2. I know that Mike Riley is the offensive coordinator, and that every time he’s left Oregon State, he’s fallen on his ass, so that doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence.
  3. I know someone named Brandon Silvers is the quarterback. He was at Troy in college, then played one season in the Alliance of American Football. He played some, but ultimately never distinguished himself against the likes of Johnny Manziel, Christian Hackenberg, and Zach Mettenberger.
  4. I know that B.J. Daniels is the backup quarterback, he’s only 30 years old, and will almost certainly be starting for this team by week 3.
  5. I know that Kasen Williams is the big draw, and that there’s a non-zero number of Seahawks fans who wish he was still with the team.
  6. I know other ex-Seahawks are also on the team, like Keenan Reynolds, Isaiah Battle, and Mohammed Seisay (among others, probably). Don’t remember those guys? I DON’T BLAME YOU!

That’s about all of the Seattle Dragons Wikipedia page I care to go through.

I don’t totally understand why Seattle has a team, other than to pad out the western half of the United States. Granted, Seahawks fans are pretty fervent, and Sounders fans are maniacal about their team, but the Seahawks are 40+ years old, and there was already a solid base of soccer fans in the area when the MLS came to town. I feel like, while Seattle certainly has an influx of young, intelligent professionals (exactly the type of people you want to cater to if you’re a new business), if the product is terrible and/or boring, I could easily see this market fizzle out in a hurry.

You can certainly be bad and entertaining, and that’s obviously what the XFL is doing with all their rule changes (quicker pace, shorter play clock, encouraging kickoff/punt returns as well as going for it on 4th downs), but other than having the stadium in place, Seattle seems like a terrible spot for this. Why wouldn’t you go after smaller markets with the potential for a stronger attachment? Seattle has sports up the wazoo. Los Angeles has even more. If I were running the XFL, I would’ve planted the bulk of the league east of the Mississippi, and probably wouldn’t have ventured any further west than Texas.

I think they got it right with the two teams in Texas, as well as St. Louis, D.C., and Tampa. I think you have to have one in Atlanta or New Orleans, one in Pittsburgh, and shit man, why not Green Bay? Or Milwaukee or something. Hit the old-school football towns. Even if you go with Chicago, you’re going to get devoted Chicagoans to buy in early and often!

I think most football fans will avoid it altogether. Bigger football fans will tune in the first week or two, but I fully expect the ratings to fall off in a big way by week 3, regardless of how good or bad the product is. I just don’t think there’s a market for second-rate football in the springtime. We have 32 NFL teams, each with 53-man rosters and 10-man practice squads. That’s over 2,000 players, not counting guys on IR and the proverbial Ghost Rosters out there, who aren’t signed, stay in shape, and join up with a team in need as injuries mount. The XFL is essentially made up of those Ghost Rosters. In other words: the football players not good enough to crack the Top 2,000 in America.

We’re probably heading in the right direction, but I think at some point the NFL has to relax its standards on having players stay in college for two years and allow high school players go directly to the pros. I also think that instead of an XFL, the NFL should just set up a minor league system a la baseball, and not allow any of those high school players into the NFL proper until they’ve played 2 years in the minor league system they’ve set up (or college, if that’s their choice). This way, the players who want to get paid CAN get paid, and the players who want to go to college can do that instead.

Why is this so difficult?

Anyway, I’m ready for the Seattle Dragons to STINK, and I’m ready to watch them stink every single week. I’ll be watching, if for nothing else, than to bone up on who to bet AGAINST when I go to Reno in mid-March. Here’s a hint: their team colors are navy, green, and orange, and they’re THE FUCKING DRAGONS!

What is this, the football league from Any Given Sunday?

Seahawks/Chiefs Preseason Game 1 Takeaways

The usual caveats:  don’t take the pre-season too seriously.  That means:  don’t overreact to Russell Wilson’s lone-drive intercepton.

With that out of the way … how about that ending, huh?!  In what was a truly boring, nondescript affair, the final few minutes were pure fun.  I would say I hope every game is exactly like that this year, but I don’t think my heart could take it.

Things started off pretty blah, with the Chiefs getting a big runback on the opening kickoff.  With the facemask penalty, it didn’t take much for them to lead off the scoring with a touchdown.  Alex Smith hit on a pretty pass to the goalline in that drive, as the defense was just okay, but again:  first pre-season game.

After the Wilson interception, it was time to take a look at the reserves.  Christine Michael got the start at running back, and looked amazing.  Indeed, probably the best I’ve ever seen him play.  He may be making good on his 2nd round status right before our eyes.  If health holds up between him and Rawls, I think the running game is in GREAT hands.

All the running backs after Michael didn’t really make an impression, though.  Indeed, there really wasn’t a lot to like about ANY of the offensive reserves.

Trevone Boykin looked like an undrafted rookie, leaving me and my brother lamenting the loss of B.J. Daniels.  Daniels would be, hands down, the best #2 QB on this roster right now.  With as bad as Boykin looked, I was hoping for better out of Heaps, but he too looked very much the undrafted rookie.  I looked forward to him getting an extended look, though, to see if he could turn it around, but to my initial dismay, they brought Boykin back into the game in the 4th quarter.  After a 3 & Out on his first drive back, though, Boykin showed why the team likes him so much.  He threw a nice fade pass for 26 yards up the right sideline, then later he scrambled for 15 yards on 3rd & Long to put us in field goal range to bring the game back to within a touchdown.  After the defense sort of did its job, with a little over a minute to go, Boykin threw a nice seam pass for 18 yards, a 32 yard pass to Tanner McEvoy to get into Kansas City territory, and with time running out, a 37-yard quasi-Hail Mary to McEvoy again, against 1 on 1 coverage for the touchdown (a 2-point rushing conversion sealed the win).

In a pressure-packed situation, Boykin showed touch on the deep ball, he showed toughness, he showed his elusiveness, and he showed great poise in not letting the game get the better of him.  All in all, a helluva way to recover from a mostly rocky start (even if it was against third stringers).

There’s a lot to like about this McEvoy kid.  The converted quarterback is 6’6, with good hands, a big body, and is someone who makes excellent use of that big body with his positioning and his high-pointing of the ball.  I don’t know if he’ll make the team, but I also don’t know if we’ll be able to sneak him onto the practice squad.  It would be a boon if we could, but I think the NFL is going to like his size and someone will snap him up.

I didn’t see much to hate about the starting O-Line, but again, they didn’t play all that much.  I saw a TON to hate about the reserves, though, as our backup QBs were under near-constant pressure the rest of the way.  Some of that, obviously, was on the QBs holding the ball too long, but a lot of it was simply giving defenders free runs at our backfield.

That’s pretty much it for the offense.  A lot of those back-end-of-the-roster wide receivers didn’t help their causes by dropping balls.  More good news for McEvoy, I suppose.

On the defensive side of the ball, I thought the run defense was pretty spotty.  Seemed like Kansas City could’ve done whatever they wanted on the ground, but they have a ton of QBs they want to look at; pretty much the only reason why the game was as close as it was, if you ask me.  They probably should’ve been leading by 20 late in the 4th quarter, if they’d taken a run-heavy approach.

I liked what Cassius Marsh brought to the table, both in pass rush and run defense.  He was all over the field, doing his thing.  So was Frank Clark, but again, I always like what these guys do in the pre-season.  Carry it over into September and beyond and we’ll talk.

Everyone is talking about Tyvis Powell, and for good reason.  An interception and a lot of excellent special teams plays; he’s almost a lock to make the team.

That’s pretty much it for the defense too.  Not a lot of sparkle, particularly from the pass rush, which is disappointing and a little scary.

Steven Hauschka was the MVP of this game by a million miles, with three field goals of 49 yards or more.

And now it’s time for what you’ve all been waiting for!

Steven A. Taylor’s Long Snapper Corner

I … uh, see, the thing is, I was drinking.  So, I didn’t get a good look at whoever was doing the long snapping Nolan Frese, I guess.  But, I didn’t notice any errant snaps, so good job, Frese!

I’m a good blogger-type person.

Seahawks Dominated Raiders In Final Pre-Season Game

Granted, it was essentially backups against backups, but our backups kicked the SHIT out of their backups!

But before we get to that, I have to say SOMETHING about the second play from scrimmage for the Seahawks’ offense.  Oh, you were worried about how the #1 offense had yet to score a touchdown?  How about the first pass of the game, 63 yards, from Wilson to Lockett in one of the prettier throws & catches you’re going to see.  Too bad it was wasted on a pre-season game, but I think we can all calm down a little bit about what we’ve witnessed the last four weeks.

Also, not for nothing, but the guys the Raiders had in uniform in this game were THE WORST.  So, you know, don’t get too cocky about all the ass-kicking our third stringers put on ’em.  I’m pretty sure I could’ve suited up and averaged 5.5 yards per carry on the ground.

So, with all of that mess out of the way, HOW ABOUT THAT FRANK CLARK???  He’s the fucking best.  That was a spectacle the likes of which I haven’t seen in quite some time.  On the edge, on the inside, line him up wherever, he is GOING to get through that line.  He’s big, he’s mean, he’s got a keen sense of where the ball is and what it’s going to take to get to that ball.  This is a REAL defensive force!  He’s certainly the most impressive rookie I’ve seen in the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era (with Lockett not too far behind, if I’m being perfectly honest), and that’s really saying something, when you look at guys like Earl, Okung, Wagner, Wright, and of course, Russell Wilson.

This is a terrible thing to say, but I’m going to say it anyway:  thank God for Ray Rice.  If he didn’t do what he did – causing the uproar he did – the NFL landscape wouldn’t have been in such a hyper-aware state when it comes to domestic violence, thereby leading to many multiple teams passing on Frank Clark without a second thought (some even having him off their draft boards entirely).  Without the Ray Rice woman-punching incident (and accompanying damning video footage), there’s no way in Hell Frank Clark falls to the second round.  At the same time, thank God for the Seahawks being strong enough to make that pick, knowing that the details of the case pointed to something much less than our imaginations led us to believe, because Frank Clark is going to be a monster for us for quite a long time.

Beyond that, three fringe receivers really stood out:  Kevin Smith, Kasen Williams, and B.J. Daniels.  A lot of us thought – going in – that this would be the game that would separate one from the pack.  Instead, it just made the pack that much bigger.

Smith had an underrated day compared to the other two, with 4 receptions and a few really nice returns.  We all know Lockett is the primary special teams return man, but it’d be nice having Smith in reserve just in case.  He strikes me as Doug Baldwin 2.0, and I don’t care what anyone says, I’m telling you right now you can’t have enough Doug Baldwins on your team!

Kasen Williams got some nice pub out of his two catches, one being a nifty diving grab at the back corner of the endzone.  In my eyes, I think Smith and Williams both have tremendous value.  But, I also believe the team can’t really afford to keep them both, and if I’m being honest, I have to put Smith just a slight notch ahead of Williams if I’m picking one over the other.

B.J. Daniels didn’t get a whole lot done in the receiving game – missing out on one potential explosive play due to the ball being severely underthrown – nor did he really do a whole helluva lot in the return game.  But, speaking of returns, he made his RETURN to the quarterback position in the second half, leading the team for a couple of touchdown-scoring drives (including that TD throw to Kasen).  I didn’t see a lot of evidence out of Daniels this pre-season that he’s a better receiver than either Smith or Williams, but he’s got athleticism for days, and I think his versatility (another special teams return candidate, as well as a receiver, someone you might be able to line up in the backfield, and of course as a quarterback) is off the charts and too good to pass up.

To be quite honest, I think we’re all looking for a reason for the team to dump Ricardo Lockette, and if it’s EVER going to happen, it’ll happen this weekend.  Lockette has been a mainstay because he’s outstanding on special teams.  But, I think guys like Daniels, Smith, and Williams have all proven they’re quite valuable on special teams in their own right.  Truth be told, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be totally comfortable with Lockette on my team after what happened in the Super Bowl.  Was it a great play by the defense?  That’s what I’m told; but I can’t help shake the feeling that if Lockette made a stronger play for the ball, he might have gotten it (or at least caused an incompletion).  Lockette’s got a lot to redeem in my mind, fair or unfair (of course, not as much as the coaching staff, but I’m going to leave that dead horse alone).

What I’m trying to say is, if I had my druthers, the wide receiving corps would look like this:

  • Doug Baldwin
  • Jermaine Kearse
  • Tyler Lockett
  • Chris Matthews
  • B.J. Daniels
  • Kevin Smith
  • (with Kasen Williams as our 7th, if the team opts to go with 7)

In other areas, Thomas Rawls looked good, but again I’m going to refer you to the fact that the Raiders are fucking terrible, and he got most of his carries against their scrubbiest of scrubs.  In no way shape or form should the Seahawks be thinking about keeping Rawls on the 53-man roster.  They should have no problem sneaking him onto the practice squad, and if some other team snaps him up, then oh-fucking-well.  Not really a big loss, if you ask me.

Mohammed Seisay looked pretty brutalized last night, but I can see why the team likes him.  He needs to clean up some stuff in his game, but he’s got potential.  Might not make a lick of difference, as he apparently suffered a pretty serious shoulder injury.  Looks like an IR candidate with the potential to return to compete for a spot next year.  Not too bad, if you ask me.

A lot of people are writing off Marcus Burley, but I like him, and I think I like him more than Blackmon.  My prediction:  Blackmon will be looking for employment elsewhere after the weekend.

Chris Matthews returned from injury, but didn’t do a whole lot.  Still, I think he solidified his spot in the Super Bowl.  If we don’t keep him, it’ll take about 30 seconds for another team to snatch him up.

OK, that’s it.  Regular season starts on the 13th (which seems like it’s years away).

A Pre-Pre-Season Prediction of the Seahawks’ Opening Week 53-Man Roster

Because now seems to be the time to do these.  “Now” being:  at any and every point before the actual 53-man roster is finally chosen by the coaching staff.  I’m not immune to the type of wild speculation in the early going of a football season!  I’m just as excited as the next rabid NFL fan who’s sick and tired of the Seattle Fucking Mariners already!

Of course, this is just my best estimate, having seen exactly zero of the practices to this point.  I’m sure things will change greatly between now and the final pre-season game against the Raiders on September 3rd.  Will I do more of these as the pre-season goes along?  Maybe one more, right before the end, if I’m in the mood.

For most of these position groups, you’ll see a dashed line (————-).  Anyone listed above that line I consider a lock to make the team.  Anyone listed below that line I still think will make the final 53-man roster, but I’m not as confident.

Quarterback

Russell Wilson
Tarvaris Jackson

Seems pretty cut & dry.  You gotta wonder how long we’re going to be able to keep bringing Tarvar back on 1-year deals, but I’m game to keep him around as long as he’s willing to keep winning championships.

Running Back

Marshawn Lynch
Robert Turbin
Christine Michael
————————
Derrick Coleman

I’m not as sold as some are on Thomas Rawls or Rod Smith.  I think either or both could be kept around on the practice squad (unless, of course, one or both absolutely breaks out in the pre-season games).  I still like Coleman over Will Tukuafu, even though Tukuafu is more versatile.  Coleman is still younger and better on special teams.  If he can stay healthy, I think he’s got it on lock.  I also highly doubt the team keeps five running backs, but if they do, it’ll likely come from one of my offensive line spots.

Wide Receiver

Doug Baldwin
Jermaine Kearse
Tyler Lockett
————————-
Ricardo Lockette
Chris Matthews
Kevin Norwood

I’m not deaf to all the hype surrounding Kasen Williams right now, but it’s one thing to look impressive in practice and it’s another to do so in game situations.  Norwood still has a year’s worth of experience on him.  Besides that, I think we can also sneak Kasen onto the practice squad.  The other five guys figure to be pretty safe, especially with Douglas McNeil converting to cornerback.  B.J. Daniels is a dark horse candidate to win a job, but to do so, there’d probably have to be a rash of injuries ahead of him.

Tight End

Jimmy Graham
Luke Willson
———————–
Cooper Helfet

This one will be interesting, though it might go down to who stays healthy.  Should the team keep Helfet, then we’re essentially talking about the team keeping three “move” tight ends.  Anthony McCoy is the obvious other choice to be the team’s third tight end, and you’d have to think he’d have an advantage given his blocking ability.  But, he hasn’t been able to stay healthy through an entire pre-season for I don’t know how long anymore.  I can’t pencil him into my predicted 53-man lineup until I actually see him play in a game again.

Offensive Line

Russell Okung
J.R. Sweezy
Justin Britt
———————
Drew Nowak
Mark Glowinski
Alvin Bailey
Garry Gilliam
Lemuel Jeanpierre
Kristjan Sokoli
Keavon Milton

I’ll be honest with you, offensive line is the biggest crapshoot on this team.  I’ve got three locks, that’s how bad it is right now.  The safe play is to say that Bailey and Jeanpierre will join the other locks in giving us the best chance to win right now.  But, I have a feeling that the team will give our rookies every opportunity to try to steal those jobs away, even if it means taking a hit on our production right now, with the hope that their ceilings will be higher by season’s end.  Terry Poole is a tough one to chop, but to be honest I wouldn’t be shocked to see him or a couple of these other guys I’ve listed make the practice squad.  I can’t imagine the rest of the NFL is all that excited about picking up some of our projects who we’ve converted from being defensive linemen.

Defensive End

Michael Bennett
Cliff Avril
Frank Clark
Cassius Marsh

All locks, all should be productive members of our pass rush this year.  Can’t wait to see how this unit meshes.

Defensive Tackle

Brandon Mebane
Jordan Hill
Ahtyba Rubin
———————–
Jimmy Staten

Really difficult to see who the fourth guy will be.  I think it comes down to Staten and D’Anthony Smith, but it very well could go to a guy who’s not even on the roster right now.  Pre-season games will go a long way in shedding light.

Linebacker

Bobby Wagner
K.J. Wright
Bruce Irvin
Brock Coyle
Kevin Pierre-Louis
————————-
Mike Morgan

Probably the most potent unit on the entire defense.  The final spot(s) will come down to special teams.  Mike Morgan has been here forever, which is a plus and a minus in his favor.  He knows the system, he’s versatile, and he’s obviously good otherwise he wouldn’t have lasted as long as he has.  But, I think he’s in the last year of his deal, so you have to wonder if the team will opt to go younger with someone like Eric Pinkins.  The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and I think the nod goes to Morgan when all is said and done.  (Unless, of course, KPL’s injury is worse than expected, in which case, maybe both make it?)

Cornerback

Richard Sherman
Tharold Simon
Cary Williams
————————
Will Blackmon
Mohammed Seisay
Marcus Burley

For what it’s worth, I’m REALLY banking on Simon returning to action at some point this pre-season and not landing on the PUP.  Haven’t seen him yet, so we’ll see.  Jeremy Lane will obviously start on either the PUP or IR Designated To Return.  While he’s a huge loss, it opens up some good competition this month.  I’m THIS close to making Blackmon a lock, simply because – while he’s on the older side at 30 – this team can’t fuck around at a position where it’s so thin.  We’re already committed to Williams and the young & injury-prone Simon, so it’ll be nice to have someone who’s good and knows the system, in spite of his age.  Beyond that, I like Seisay’s height and I hope like Hell that he makes a positive impact this pre-season.  The final spot goes to Burley until I see whether Tye Smith is capable of living up to the high expectations thrust upon the L.O.B.  What I’ve heard about Smith thus far has been pretty underwhelming, so I have to believe Burley has the advantage.  Smith might be a guy we can sneak onto the practice squad, so I wouldn’t consider him a total draft pick bust just yet.

Safety

Earl Thomas
Kam Chancellor
DeShawn Shead
———————–
Steven Terrell
Dion Bailey

MAYBE the team opts to keep only four safeties, in order to stock up on the D-Line, but I don’t think I’m buying it.  I think, at least in the early going, this team will want to have sufficent backups in the event Earl Thomas re-injures himself.  Obviously, Kam is still a concern, considering he still has yet to show up to camp.  I don’t know what’s going to happen there, but I like how the younger guys are getting a lot of run.  I’ve heard a lot of exciting things about Dion Bailey, so I really hope he sticks.  Terrell appears to be pretty safe, as he’s still young, yet has some good experience.  Shead is obviously the glue that’s going to help us hold things together, as he can play both safety spots.  If he needs to step in for Kam, I don’t think we lose all that much (as crazy as that sounds).

Special Teams

Steven Hauschka
Jon Ryan
Clint Gresham

Not a lot to say here.  The Nate Boyer story is fun, but I can’t see us keeping him unless Gresham gets injured.

Top 12 Seahawks I’m Most Looking Forward To Seeing This Pre-Season

I get it, the pre-season isn’t for everyone.  For the casual fan, it just means we’re about a month away from real football.  A good chunk will watch at least SOME of the pre-season games, but I’d be willing to bet the vast majority start checking out as soon as the regulars leave the game.

I happen to love the pre-season.  I try to block out the evening so I can watch the entire game uninterrupted.  Inevitably, I end up camping with my family during one of the pre-season games, but the last few years we’ve been DVR’ing it and watching it upon our return – avoiding our phones and any news on the radio until we’ve had a chance to get it in.  If you’re a hardcore football fan, what’s not to like?  You already get to watch 16 weeks with the regulars, plus playoff games.  They’re stressful and intense and exciting.

But, the pre-season?  It’s all relaxation!  Like a nice little vacation.  You can watch for the starters, to get a sense of how guys will mesh and work their ways into playing shape.  But, I like it mostly for the other guys.  The roster fringe.  You get to start out with 90 guys at the beginning of camp, knowing full well that many of them won’t make it.  But, there’s always a few who pop from out of nowhere.  And, there are bona fide prospects getting ready to make the jump from back-end of the roster to potential future star.  There are incoming free agents, draft picks, and guys returning from injuries.  I want to see ’em all!

And here are the 12 I want to see the most.  We’ll go in order starting with the one I’m most excited to see (jersey number in parentheses):

1.  Tyler Lockett, Wide Receiver/Punt & Kick Returner (#16)

The Seahawks traded up in the third round to nab him, giving up quite the haul.  Many believed it to be a reach, but I’ve been touting this guy since his final bowl game when he did a number on UCLA.  The safe stance has been:  well, at least the Seahawks finally have a quality return man; but, I think this kid has something special in him.  I think he’s going to make a real and immediate impact for our offense the way Paul Richardson never did.  Hell, the last rookie receiver to make an impact for this team was Doug Baldwin, so you can throw a bunch of names on that list of guys who never made an immediate impact (including Golden Tate, for the record).  Per reports, Lockett has looked good in the early going, so not only am I looking forward to him getting a lot of play this pre-season, but I’m looking forward to him getting some play with the starters.

2.  Cassius Marsh, Defensive End (#91)

He was a rookie last year, played in a few games, started to show some promise, and then he got injured and was lost for most of the year.  Now, he’s back, and per reports looks like an immediate impact player.  He figures to be a rotational guy behind Avril and Bennett, but I’ll be looking forward to seeing what he does for us in nickel situations, and in some base defense situations.  If he could apply the impact we used to get with Chris Clemons, there’s that third pass-rushing defensive end we’ve been looking for!

3.  Douglas McNeil, Wide Receiver (#19)

He’s 6’3, 200 pounds.  Most fans have probably never heard his name before; truth be told, I’m just getting acquainted with what he has to offer.  Watch the catch he makes at the 50-second mark, this kid could be the real deal.  Yes, he’s an Arena Football League receiver, but his hands, his quicks, his athleticism, they’ll all play well in the NFL.  Hopefully, he’s got some polish and is able to run a quality route, because he could be a nice little find for us.

4.  Frank Clark, Defensive End (#55)

I don’t expect as much out of Clark as I do out of Marsh, so that’s why he’s ranked a little lower (even though he’s probably a higher-ceiling talent).  It’s just tough for rookies to step into the league and dominate.  Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to seeing what we got out of our controversial first draft pick this year.  He’ll figure to get a lot of play in the second and third quarters – and even some special teams work – so we should certainly get our fill and he should certainly get his opportunities to make some sort of pre-season impact.

5.  Jimmy Graham, Tight End (#88)

If this was a list of Guys I’m Looking Forward To Seeing This Regular Season, Graham would absolutely top the list.  As it stands, this is the pre-season incarnation of that article, so he figures to not get all that much playing time.  At least until the third game, when the starters usually play into the second half.  Regardless, I’m pretty excited about that first drive of the first pre-season game next week, when I’m sure they’ll feature him extensively, followed by the fans in attendance going absolutely bitchcakes.

6.  Bruce Irvin, Linebacker (#51)

Again, this is more of a guy I’m looking forward to seeing in the regular season – as I’m CONVINCED he’s going to give us one of the better Contract Seasons we’ve ever seen – but from reports I’ve read, he looks like he’s bulked up while still keeping the speed that made him such an enticing first rounder to begin with.  Even though the pre-season games don’t really count, I’m still looking forward to Irvin making an immediate impact, to set the tone that this will be the best season we’ve ever seen out of a guy looking to get paid like a superstar.

7.  Chris Matthews, Wide Receiver (#13)

It’s been pretty resounding in the early going this camp:  the wide receiver battle is the one to watch.  Baldwin and Kearse look pretty entrenched.  Lockett obviously will have his spot on lock.  Paul Richardson will most likely start on the PUP, opening up one spot.  Kevin Norwood has the advantage of being a draft pick last year; Ricardo Lockette has the advantage of having played in the system for so long (plus, his talent for playing special teams).  It’s very possible there will be a bunch of REALLY talented receivers all fighting for one final roster spot.  Which is where Chris Matthews comes in.  He’s the tallest receiver in camp, at 6’5, AND he had that miraculous Super Bowl performance that kept it from turning into a New England rout.  A lot of people believe that Matthews has a spot waiting for him, so I’m looking forward to seeing if he goes out there this pre-season and earns it.  Nothing will be handed to him, and we’ve got a lot of hungry cats on this team.  Let’s see how he responds.

8.  Brandon Mebane, Defensive Tackle (#92)

Normally, Mebane wouldn’t be anywhere near this list.  After all, how excited can you be for a nose tackle in the pre-season?  For the record, I don’t expect him to play a ton, but I do expect him to play, as he’s coming off of a bad injury – his first real heavy-duty injury that kept him out of multiple games – and he’s getting up there in age.  On top of that, with the team releasing Tony McDaniel, we’re a little thin (so to speak) along the interior of our defensive line.  So, I’m looking forward to Mebane looking like his usual self, if nothing else than to calm my fears (let’s face it, I’ve got enough to worry about with how thin we are in the secondary right now).

9.  Ahtyba Rubin, Defensive Tackle (#77)

ANOTHER defensive tackle???  Well, yeah, but this guy’s new!  He played for Cleveland last year, but now he’s ours, and he’s officially replacing Tony McDaniel as our starting 3-tech defensive tackle in our base defense.  Beyond that, I’ve been hearing NOTHING but good things about him from our coaches in interviews, so I’m pretty stoked to see what he can do.

10.  B.J. Daniels, Wide Receiver (#5)

You may remember B.J. Daniels as our third-string quarterback the last few years.  Well, he has officially converted to wide receiver full time, and this is his first camp in that new role.  I don’t think he has much of a shot to make the final 53-man roster, but he’s got amazing athleticism, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the transition takes.  Hopefully he gets more play than just as our backup return man.  I want to see him get some snaps on offense, even if it’s with the second or third strings.

Tie – 11 & 12.  Kevin Smith & Kasen Williams, Wide Receiver (#17 & #18)

So, how exciting is the wide receiver battle this year?  HALF of my Top 12 are receivers!  Obviously, you can’t keep everyone, but these guys will give the coaching staff something to think about.  Maybe enough of these fringe receivers show promise to allow the organization to cut someone like Jermaine Kearse to save some money.  I’m not advocating for that (especially in this, my Washington Husky wide receiver section of the post), but I think we all know there’s a better than good chance Kearse is playing elsewhere in 2016; I don’t think the team will have the money to extend him long term.  So, maybe these aren’t guys we’re looking at to make the team this year, but MAYBE – if they’re still around – we could be talking about these guys next year.  Per reports, Kevin Smith has looked rock solid.  I’m not hearing as much about Kasen Williams, but he’s out there battling and it would be nice to see good things out of someone coming back from such a devastating injury.  Maybe one or both gets stashed on the practice squad.  I guess we’ll find out in a few weeks.

Your Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLIX Roster

I did this last year, albeit in a different format.  It’s nothing fancy, no real analysis or anything, but it’s just something I’d like to look at (and later, look back on and reflect).

Last year, it was more a reflection of how we crafted our Super Bowl roster (mostly via draft & undrafted free agents).  This year, I thought I’d take a gander at who’s on the team now as it compares to last year’s Super Bowl roster.  As with last year’s post, I’m not including guys who are on IR, or who were on the team earlier in the year and were released or traded.  I’m specifically looking at the guys on the 53-man roster RIGHT NOW.

I reserve the right to come back and adjust this if the Seahawks make any minor moves between now and February 1st.

Let’s start with the offense:

2014 2015
Quarterback 1 Russell Wilson Russell Wilson
Quarterback 2 Tarvaris Jackson Tarvaris Jackson
Quarterback 3 B.J. Daniels
Running Back 1 Marshawn Lynch Marshawn Lynch
Running Back 2 Robert Turbin Robert Turbin
Running Back 3 Christine Michael * Christine Michael
Fullback 1 Michael Robinson Will Tukuafu
Fullback 2 Derrick Coleman
Wide Receiver 1 Golden Tate Doug Baldwin
Wide Receiver 2 Percy Harvin Jermaine Kearse
Wide Receiver 3 Doug Baldwin Ricardo Lockette
Wide Receiver 4 Jermaine Kearse Bryan Walters
Wide Receiver 5 Ricardo Lockette Chris Matthews
Wide Receiver 6 Bryan Walters * Kevin Norwood
Tight End 1 Zach Miller Luke Willson
Tight End 2 Luke Willson Tony Moeaki
Tight End 3 Kellen Davis * Cooper Helfet
Left Tackle Russell Okung Russell Okung
Left Guard James Carpenter James Carpenter
Center Max Unger Max Unger
Right Guard J.R. Sweezy J.R. Sweezy
Right Tackle Breno Giacomini Justin Britt
Guard/Tackle Alvin Bailey Alvin Bailey
Tackle Michael Bowie * Garry Gilliam
Center Lemuel Jeanpierre Lemuel Jeanpierre
Offensive Line Paul McQuistan Patrick Lewis
Offensive Line Caylin Hauptmann * Keavon Milton

* denotes Inactive for Super Bowl

As you can see, from a roster standpoint, we’re carrying the third quarterback for some reason (even though he was inactive for the NFC Championship Game, and will most likely be inactive again for the Super Bowl), whereas last year we carried the extra fullback.  Obviously, Robinson is retired and Coleman is injured, so that’s what happened there.

What stands out the most is the drop-off in quality in the wide receiver department.  The 2015 Seahawks are essentially chopped off at the knees at this position, with Golden Tate and Percy Harvin playing elsewhere.  Baldwin, Kearse, Lockette, and Walters each move up two spots respectively, severely weakening our passing game.  Rookie Norwood was active for the NFCCG, but I would expect him to be inactive if Helfet is healthy.

Speaking of tight ends, another big blow is the loss of Miller.  I like Willson a lot and think he’s taken a big step forward this year (in spite of some infamous drops), but it’s pretty clear we’re hurting.  Moeaki is a fine stand-in, but he’s no Zach Miller.  I’ll be looking forward to all three tight ends as being active – again – if Helfet is healthy.  I think this can be a real mismatch in our favor against the Patriots.

The offensive line is largely the same as last year.  Britt sat out against the Packers with an injury, but I have to figure he’ll be back with the two weeks off to recover.  I think Britt is more-or-less a wash compared to Giacomini (MAYBE a slight downgrade, but in the long run will be a big improvement).  Our depth is pretty solid as well, as four of our reserves have played significant minutes this year.  I’ve still never heard of this Milton guy, so expect him to be inactive.

Now, let’s go with the defense:

2014 2015
Defensive End 1 Chris Clemons Michael Bennett
Defensive End 2 Red Bryant Cliff Avril
Defensive End 3 Michael Bennett O’Brien Schofield
Defensive End 4 Cliff Avril Demarcus Dobbs
Defensive End 5 O’Brien Schofield David King
Defensive End 6 Benson Mayowa *
Defensive Tackle 1 Brandon Mebane Kevin Williams
Defensive Tackle 2 Tony McDaniel Tony McDaniel
Defensive Tackle 3 Clinton McDonald Landon Cohen
Defensive Tackle 4 Jordan Hill *
Outside Linebacker K.J. Wright K.J. Wright
Middle Linebacker Bobby Wagner Bobby Wagner
Outside Linebacker Bruce Irvin Bruce Irvin
Linebacker 4 Malcolm Smith Malcolm Smith
Linebacker 5 Mike Morgan Mike Morgan
Linebacker 6 Heath Farwell Brock Coyle
Cornerback 1 Richard Sherman Richard Sherman
Cornerback 2 Byron Maxwell Byron Maxwell
Cornerback 3 Walter Thurmond Jeremy Lane
Cornerback 4 Jeremy Lane DeShawn Shead
Cornerback 5 DeShawn Shead Tharold Simon
Cornerback 6 Marcus Burley
Free Safety 1 Earl Thomas Earl Thomas
Free Safety 2 Chris Maragos Steven Terrell
Strong Safety 1 Kam Chancellor Kam Chancellor
Strong Safety 2 Jeron Johnson
Long Snapper Clint Gresham Clint Gresham
Punter Jon Ryan Jon Ryan
Kicker Steven Hauschka Steven Hauschka

* denotes Inactive for Super Bowl

As you can see, we’re carrying two fewer linemen and two more defensive backs.  Injuries have hurt us bigtime in the defensive line department, but depth has been an issue all year with our DBs, as it seems like we’re dealing with nagging injuries on a weekly basis in our secondary.

Along the line, we’re hurting bad.  Clemons and Bryant are obviously gone, so Bennett and Avril moved up into their places.  From a quality of play standpoint, this is an improvement.  But, from a depth standpoint, it’s not pretty.  Jordan Hill was a positive contributor this year until he got hurt.  Kevin Williams has been a godsend with Mebane going down.  McDaniel is as steady as they come.  And, Cohen is a widebody who played some key snaps against the Packers in our goalline package.  It’s our pass rush that I’m most concerned about, with Schofield essentially replacing Clemons from last year, which is indeed a step down.  Bruce Irvin will be key in this regard, as he’s looking a lot better when he rushes the passer.

Our linebackers are largely intact, as our top 5 are all holdovers from last year.  Coyle replaces Farwell, and from my naked eye, I haven’t seen a huge downturn in our special teams coverage.

Our secondary is still our strongest unit.  The only real change is Simon for Thurmond.  Thurmond was more versatile, but Simon is cheaper, under team control for longer, and is better on the outside.

I would argue we’re actually stronger in the secondary this year compared to last year.  Linebacking, offensive line, running backs, quarterbacks, and specialists (kicker/punter/long snapper) are all a wash.  We’re a bit worse in our tight ends and at fullback.  And, we’re A LOT worse along the defensive line and in our wide receiver group.  I may come back to this when the season is over, to compare & contrast 2013’s overall roster to 2014’s, but suffice it to say, we’re not as good of a team as we were last year.  That was to be expected, so it’s not like I’m telling you anything that’s untrue or shocking.  How much worse, I guess, depends on how the Super Bowl turns out.

Either way, as the years go on, we’re REALLY going to marvel at how good that 2013 team was.  To run out a squad with that amount of talent and depth is about as awe-inspiring as it gets.

For the Super Bowl, unless injuries are a factor, here’s my prediction for the seven inactives:

  1. B.J. Daniels – QB
  2. Christine Michael – RB
  3. Kevin Norwood – WR
  4. Keavon Milton – OL
  5. Patrick Lewis – C
  6. David King – DE
  7. Marcus Burley – CB

It was a struggle down there at the bottom.  In theory, you’d want to keep King active to give yourself another pass rusher, but really, how many can you have on the field at once?  I think Cohen gives you more value, especially if the Patriots make a concerted effort to run the ball with Blount.  I thought about keeping Burley active as well – what with Sherman and Thomas playing through injury, you may want more depth in the secondary – but he seems to be the low man on the totem pole right now.

Obviously, this changes as the injury reports start coming out.  Guys to watch out for here are obviously Britt and Helfet, as well as Terrell and Johnson in the secondary.  But, for now, my official guess at the inactives is what I’ve listed above.

Just Say No To Terrelle Pryor

Boy, that Derek Carr kid really fucked us right in the pussy, didn’t he?

I know this isn’t a Raiders blog, but the biggest takeaway I got out of this game is:  Derek Carr is the real deal.  That kid was FEARLESS out there, grabbing the Legion of Boom by the horns and riding them down into the turf like a wounded animal.  Not too many quarterbacks are able to ram it down our throats like that – not even the greats like Manning or Brees.  Here’s to hoping Matt Schaub is renting and didn’t already buy, because he’s going to have to pack his bags by season’s end.

Not too much to say about this one.  It was the fourth pre-season game.  The starters – for the most part – played for one series.  Granted, it was the greatest fucking series known to man:  4 plays, 80 yards, and a touchdown in less than 2 minutes to kick off the game.  Consider me the most psyched that we actually managed to get Russell Wilson out of the football game after only one series.  Seems to me he manages to weasel his way into more pointless pre-season series than I care to witness.

After that, it was all young guys (with the exception of Okung and a few others who needed to play longer to get their conditioning in order, since they missed so much of the pre-season).  The Raiders, under Carr’s direction, scored 28 unanswered after our opening touchdown, and they never looked back, even though they immediately took him out of the game at that point and replaced him with Matt McGloin before Carr could drop 50 on us.

Not a whole lot of people stood out on the good side of things.  Bryan Walters had a seemingly good game, but he also fumbled a kickoff, so he’s probably gone.  Can’t be holding the ball like a loaf of bread out there (whatever that means).  None of the running backs stood out.  Jordan Hill played an okay game, I suppose.  DeShawn Shead had that interception return for a touchdown (off of McGloin) that I didn’t see because I was out picking up a few things from the store.

I thought Phillip Adams looked pretty terrible, especially considering he was out there with the second-team defense and is right there on the bubble of making this team.  You can’t get caught flat-footed when you have no help behind you on a go-route.  There’s being aggressive and there’s making aggressive mistakes, and you’ve got to walk the finest of lines if you want to make this team.

The backups as a whole didn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence.  It wasn’t, really, until the second half before our pass rush got home with any sort of regularity.  Derek Carr might be the best quarterback in his draft class, or he might just be another Mike Glennon, but even the Mike Glennonest of quarterbacks will be able to tear through your defense if you’re giving him all day to throw.

The thing I really want to talk about is Terrelle Pryor.  I don’t think the Seahawks should keep him, in case you couldn’t tell from the title.  He’s not a good quarterback, plain and simple.  There’s talent there, sure.  Strong arm, running ability, but those guys are a dime a fucking dozen and you all know this!  Stop being dazzled by these qualities!  He’s not accurate, he doesn’t make quick decisions, he often doesn’t make GOOD decisions, and I don’t care if there are openings within our division – the 49ers probably aren’t happy with their backup QB situation; the Rams obviously lost Bradford for the year – I would GLADLY watch Pryor walk to one of their teams, because I think we’d rip his shit apart if he ended up starting against us.

I said it before and I’ll say it again, Terrelle Pryor isn’t even the third-best quarterback on this roster right now.  B.J. Daniels is FAR superior, plus you don’t lose all that much in the arm strength arena or the run ability arena.  But, that’s neither here nor there, because I think keeping a third quarterback is idiotic.

Are we really going to lose two quarterbacks in the same game?  Is that something that needs to be worried about?  How often does that happen?  For two quarterbacks to get SO injured that they can’t simply stand there and hand the ball off until the clock reaches zero?

Are you keeping him so you can prevent other teams from picking him up?  Well, that’s stupid.  For starters, he doesn’t know their playbook, so if he’s picked up elsewhere, it’ll take him weeks before he’s able to figure out what he’s doing.  And even then, as long as the starter on that team is healthy, he’s not going to get the reps in practice to work out his shit.  He’s a free agent at the end of this season anyway, so it’s not like that team would get to work with him long term unless he signed an extension.

Finally, let’s say for the sake of argument that the Seahawks end up watching both Russell Wilson AND Tarvaris Jackson go down with injury at the same time this season:  you think Terrelle Pryor is going to come in there and save our bacon?  He’s TERRIBLE!  He can hardly move the ball against second and third string defenses!  What makes you think he can move the ball against the likes of the 49ers, or literally anyone else?  Let’s face it, our season ends the moment Russell Wilson goes down with a long-term injury.  I don’t care how good the rest of the pieces are around him, no one else is leading this team back to the Super Bowl.

No, there’s no damn point in it.  Terrelle Pryor needs to go.  My first preference would be for the Seahawks to keep only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and take their chances with B.J. Daniels trying to slip through to the practice squad.  There are too many other areas of need on this team when it comes to depth.  My second preference would be to keep Daniels as our third QB, because he honestly has more upside.  Plus, he’s been with the team longer, so I have to believe he knows the players and the system better.

Cut-downs come by tomorrow.  Let’s hope I get what I want; you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

Seahawks 2014 Draft Roundup

Well, Mel Kiper gave the Seahawks one of his worst draft grades, so we should probably expect a couple of All Pros and a few more Pro Bowlers in this class.

Here’s the rundown:

  • Paul Richardson, WR (2nd)
  • Justin Britt, OT (2nd)
  • Cassius Marsh, DE (4th)
  • Kevin Norwood, WR (4th)
  • Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB (4th)
  • Jimmy Staten, DT (5th)
  • Garrett Scott, OT (6th)
  • Eric Pinkins, CB/S (6th)
  • Kiero Small, FB (7th)

At first glance, I like the chances of Richardson, Britt, and Norwood to make an immediate impact.  Marsh is the epitome of a wild card, though I think he’ll get every chance to win a spot in the LEO rotation.  KPL and Pinkins are practically guaranteed to be standout special teamers right away, with outside chances to be impact starters in 2015 and beyond.  I’ve got Staten as the leader in the clubhouse to be the first draft pick cut in training camp.  Scott looks like total practice squad fodder.  And Small could range anywhere from a starting fullback on this team (which, in and of itself doesn’t come with all that many snaps per game) and a key special teamer, all the way down to practice squad (if we can somehow sneak him through, which shouldn’t be too hard considering how fullback is devalued in the league nowadays).

This is a huge draft for the future of the Seattle Seahawks.  We’ve got a ton of guys entering their final year or two with this team.  It sounds funny to say, considering we just won the Super Bowl and were among the youngest teams in the league, but the Seahawks are really in need of an infusion of young talent.

I think it’s safe to say that last year’s class was a little underwhelming.  Luke Willson had the biggest impact of anyone, and he was a backup tight end who didn’t get a ton of snaps.  Our two defensive tackles rode the pine (one because of injury, one because he wasn’t ready/good enough for the rotation).  Our top draft pick hardly played at all considering the logjam at running back.  And, the guys with the most promise were a couple of unheralded offensive linemen who are looking to make a bigger impact in 2014.  But, when you compare the 2013 draft class to the three that came before it, there’s a lot for those guys to live up to.

We need these classes (2013 & 2014) to be future starters in the next year or two.  After a year with the 2013 guys, it’s reasonable to have your doubts.  It’s also a reason to be excited for some of the freakish athletes we picked up over the weekend.

Paul Richardson

LOVE this pick!  He’s a little under-sized, but so is Harvin, and what are the odds that BOTH of them get injured at the same time?

Richardson is a speed freak and a big play waiting to happen.  But, while Harvin is a guy you want to throw short to, in space, giving him room to create; Richardson is the guy we’ve been waiting for to seriously stretch the field.  I want to see him on the field as much as possible right away.

What are teams going to do with both Harvin AND Richardson on the field?  One guy will stretch the field and force defenses to protect the pass over the top, the other guy is going to use that space to his advantage for big plays underneath.  Or, if defenses focus on Harvin (as they rightly should), there’s the opportunity for deep bombs.

Kevin Norwood

Might as well keep it in the WR unit.  While Richardson is the speed demon we’ve been looking for, Norwood is the big body we’ve been looking for.  Unlike other big bodies we’ve tried out (Durham, Mike Williams, Sidney Rice), Norwood doesn’t appear to be an injury waiting to happen, a drop waiting to happen, or a big lumbering slowpoke waiting to happen.

One of Norwood’s gifts is his ability to find the quarterback after a play has broken down.  In case you haven’t been watching, that’s sort of Russell Wilson’s forte.  Norwood will improvise with the best of ’em, and he’ll make those twinkle-toe catches along the sideline.

Norwood’s presence makes Sidney Rice’s chances of winning a spot drastically reduced.  I’m seeing the Seahawks keeping:  Harvin, Baldwin, Kearse, Richardson, and Norwood for sure.  Rice might be able to win a sixth receiver spot, but it’s no sure thing.  It’ll depend on how the roster crunch plays out (doesn’t help him if the Seahawks opt to keep three QBs on the roster, with Wilson, Tarvar, and Pryor).

Justin Britt

One hope of mine was, if the Seahawks drafted a tackle reasonably high (as they did with this pick), it would be a guy who could, theoretically, shift over to left tackle in the event that the Seahawks aren’t able to re-sign Okung at the end of his deal.  Gotta find savings somewhere, and if you can use a guy on his rookie deal who isn’t a huge dropoff from the incumbent, all the better.

But, after listening to Tom Cable talk about the guy, it sounds like there’s zero chance Britt ever gets the nod on the left side.

Britt’s claim to fame is absolutely shutting down Jadeveon Clowney in the latest college season.  Don’t know if that’s one of those games that Clowney “took off”, but it seems to me Clowney playing at 60% is still better than most pass rushers, so I’ll take it.

Britt will come in and compete right away for the starting right tackle spot against Michael Bowie.  Love it.  Either he wins the job and we’ve got arguably an improvement at the position over the last few years, or he pushes Bowie to be even better than we thought.  That’s what you call a win-win.  At the very least, Britt should be great line depth for injuries (and you know there are ALWAYS injuries).

Cassius Marsh

As I said above, this guy is a total wild card.  If I let my imagination run wild, I’d tell you that he has the chance to be a J.J. Watt clone, but I’m not about to go that far.  My opinion all along has been that it’s VERY difficult for pass rushers to make an immediate impact.  Bruce Irvin did pretty well as a rookie, but he’s a beast with his speed rush.  Marsh doesn’t have his speed, but reportedly has some good hands, so he should be able to shed blocks pretty well.

I say if Marsh manages to find a way into the rotation on an occasional basis, improving as the season goes along, it’s a victory.  Failing that, I could see him as a guy who sticks to the 53-man roster, but is rarely active on gameday.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his hot-headedness.  That scares me a little bit, but if there’s any team that can rein that in and teach him how to use that aggressiveness to his advantage, I feel like it’s this team.  Also, don’t ask me why, but my gut tells me this guy is a candidate for failing the NFL’s drug policy in some way, shape or form.  I have no precedent to cite for this, but it’s just a feeling I have.

Kevin Pierre-Louis

This is EXACTLY what I was talking about when I said I wanted the Seahawks to draft a linebacker in the middle rounds.  He won’t play much on defense in 2014, but given his athleticism, he’s almost a lock to be a huge player on special teams (and probably force Heath Farwell out of Seattle).

And, if he finds a way to pick up the scheme quickly and refine his technique in the pass-coverage game, he should force his way into the starting lineup in 2015 when we have to make a difficult decision between K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith.  People are saying KPL is a natural weak-side linebacker, which is Smith’s natural position, so we may be seeing the final season of Malcolm Smith in a Seahawks uniform.

Eric Pinkins

Meet my absolute favorite draft pick of the 2014 class.  6’2, 230 pounds.  He was a safety in college for San Diego State; when the Seahawks picked him, we immediately thought of Kam Chancellor.  However, in interviews after the draft, it was noted that the team is looking at him to play corner.

So, now we’re thinking:  Brandon Browner.

This guy could be HUGE.  I’m, like, one interception in the preseason away from buying a Pinkins jersey and getting in on the ground floor.  You know the Seahawks are excellent at player development, especially in the secondary.  There’s no reason to think – with Pinkins being the athletic freak of nature that he is – that this coaching staff WON’T turn him into a viable starter.

Why is that big?  Byron Maxwell is entering his final season and is almost guaranteed to be playing for another team in 2015.  If Pinkins turns into a more athletic Brandon Browner, we’ve just fortified the Legion of Boom for years to come, and at a bargain to boot!

Other teams might have taken this guy and stuck him at safety where he’s comfortable.  The Seahawks see this guy and have the talent and know-how to convert him into a starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman.  I’m tingling.

The Rest

I don’t know anything about Jimmy Staten.  Looks like he could be a 3-Tech tackle in the rotation with Jordan Hill.  Maybe there’s an outside chance this team bulks him up another 30 pounds or so and tries him out at nose tackle, but who knows?

Garrett Scott looks like a project along the offensive line.  I don’t see how this guy DOESN’T make the practice squad.  Considering the talent we’ve got on the O-Line, it’s going to be difficult to get him in on the rotation.  But, he sounds like he’s really athletic and a perfect fit for the zone blocking scheme.  I’ve even heard that he’s going to get some play at left tackle.

Kiero Small is a fullback.  By the sound of things, he could be one to watch, but again, it’s fullback.  When you consider the fact that this team normally keeps five running back/fullback types, let’s count ’em out:

  1. Marshawn Lynch
  2. Robert Turbin
  3. Christine Michael
  4. Derrick Coleman
  5. Spencer Ware
  6. Kiero Small

It looks like it’s going to come down to Small vs. Ware, if he’s going to make the 53-man roster.  Which means it might come down to which of the two are better in special teams.  Ware might have worn out his welcome with that DUI last year, so Small probably has a pretty good shot.  We’ll have to see how he does in camp.

As for the undrafted rookies, the Seahawks have Keith Price.  Zero chance he makes the team.  Probably a pretty good chance he rocks it in the practice squad.  Then again, if you’re keeping three QBs on your 53-man roster, do you really need a QB on the practice squad?

It’s going to be tough for Price.  How often do you ever see four quarterbacks play in the preseason games?  You know how the Seahawks will play Wilson (a series or two in game 1, a quarter or two in game 2, into the third quarter in game 3, a series or two in game 4).  They’ll likely want to give Tarvar his share of reps to keep him warm and get him ready for the season.  And, you’d think they’ll want to watch Terrelle Pryor as much as possible to see if he’s worth keeping on the team.  And, don’t forget B.J. Daniels.

What does that mean?  If Price looks good in camp, MAYBE he gets a series or two in the entirety of the preseason games.  Don’t know if that’s enough to get him an opportunity with another team, but maybe just the fact that the Seahawks wanted him and brought him into camp, that might be enough for another team to pick him up and stash him.  We’ll see.

All in all, as I said before, I’m a big fan of this draft.  The best part?  Our entire coaching staff is intact.  We didn’t lose Cable, we didn’t lose Quinn, we didn’t lose Bevell, and we’ve got everyone else.  Considering how good the Seahawks are, and how coveted those guys would have been had the Seahawks not made the Super Bowl, it’s like we’re playing with house money.  Another year with this full staff intact?  That’s going to be an insane advantage for this draft class to eventually make the jump to full time starters for this team in the years to come.