An Appreciation of Sidney Rice

There are rumblings that Sidney Rice will be waived very soon.  This comes as zero surprise.  There’s a $7.3 million boost to the salary cap that comes with this move.  To show you how not-surprising this move is, literally every single time I’ve ever sat down to write about the Seahawks’ impending salary cap situation for 2014 and beyond, the very first thing I’ve done every time is go to Google and type “Sidney Rice overthecap” and hit “I’m Feeling Lucky”.

Ever wondered who uses the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button?  I’m your man!

I have a difficult time bad-mouthing anything the Seahawks have ever done in the Pete Carroll/John Schneider regime, since they went and won us a championship and everything.  But, I have a feeling that people are going to look at the career of Sidney Rice in a Seahawks’ uniform and say, “Well, that was a move that totally backfired!”

The Seahawks signed Sidney Rice coming into the 2011 season.  We were coming off of a 7-9 campaign that resulted in a division championship, a wild playoff victory over the Saints, and a predictable playoff defeat against the Bears.  He signed for 5 years and $41 million, with a $6 million signing bonus.  In his three years with the Seahawks, Sidney Rice earned $23.5 million of his $41 million deal; not too shabby for three years’ work.

The 2010 Seahawks were led in receptions and yards by Big Mike Williams (65 for 751 and 2 TDs), followed by Deon Butler, Ben Obomanu, John Carlson, and Brandon Stokley (all ranging between 30-36 receptions and 318-494 yards).  Suffice it to say, the Seahawks could use some help in their receiving corps.  Golden Tate was on the roster, but he was still a rookie in 2010, and two years away from starting to break out.

There were plenty of holes on that Seahawks team, and thanks to an unlikely Divisional Round playoff appearance, we were rewarded with a low first round draft pick.  Not only that, but the 2011 season came on the heels of the Lockout, so the time to sign players and get them ready for the season was ridiculously short.

And, I don’t know if you remember anything about the free agents in 2011, but here’s a smattering of names that were available:  Mike Sims-Walker, Antwaan Randle-El, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Torry Holt, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Chris Chambers, Plaxico Burress, and Steve Breaston (and those are just the names I recognize).  We had our pick of a bunch of nobodies, and a bunch of those aforementioned, over-the-hill losers.

Truth be told, Sidney Rice was the pick of the litter.  Granted, they probably should have just drowned that litter and started over, but that’s neither here nor there.

An interesting name being floated around at the time was Vincent Jackson.  He was franchised by the Chargers in 2011 and was looking to get the hell out of there.  He was a disgruntled, super-talented receiver looking for greener grass, and the Seahawks had their eyes on him.  Of course, he would have cost us a buttload of draft picks on top of what would eventually be a 5-year $55 million deal (that he would go on to sign in Tampa the very next year), and at that point it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for that Seahawks team (with that many holes they needed to fill through the draft) to give up draft capital just to bring in a superstar receiver.

So, the Seahawks got Sidney Rice.  And they got Zach Miller.  And those two moves sort of paid dividends, except Rice was injured through most of his first year here and ended up only playing in 9 games.  I would argue that his full participation in 2011 wouldn’t have made much of a difference, because we still weren’t that great of a football team, so I’m willing to overlook all of that.

Rice came back in 2012 and played in all 16 games, leading the team in receptions and yards.  Granted, they weren’t the greatest numbers in the world (50 for 748 and 7 TDs), but on that team, with how much we wanted to run the ball, those were indeed #1 receiver numbers.  I’d say in 2012 we got our money’s worth.

2013 was, once again, a disappointment, as Rice was only able to play in 8 games before tearing his ACL and losing out on our Super Bowl run.  Even in those 8 games, it’s hard to say he was living up to what was expected, as his numbers were WAY down compared to 2012.  That’s essentially while he was playing with the same receiving corps (Harvin and Rice never once played a down together at the same time last season).

If I’m sitting here objectively, looking at his totals over the last three seasons (97 receptions, 1,463 yards, 12 TDs, 33 of a possible 48 regular season games played), then no, there’s no way that type of production was worth $23.5 million.  97/1,463/12 are the type of numbers you’d expect out of a legitimate #1 receiver in a single season, not spread out over three.  And make no mistake, Sidney Rice was getting paid #1 receiver money.

But, here’s the thing:  what else were the Seahawks supposed to do?  Sidney Rice was the best-available option in a free agent class that could best be described as “slim pickin’s”.  We needed offensive firepower, because the previous regime left this team bereft.  And yes, Sidney Rice had injury concerns coming in (which turned out to be valid, given the number of games he missed with the Seahawks), but you have to figure that’s the cost of doing business.

Sidney Rice was never a bona fide #1 receiver for the Seahawks, but he was incredibly valuable in that 2012 run.  Likewise, once we lost him in 2013, our offense suffered tremendously.  Had the Seahawks lost in the playoffs, instead of all this joy in my heart, I would have written endlessly about how losing Sidney Rice was an underrated aspect in this past season falling apart.  Sidney Rice might have never been a true #1, but he made some catches that left my jaw on the floor.  And without him, I don’t think we would have seen near the progress in this offense from Russell Wilson’s first snaps onward.

It all boils down to football being a business.  Some fans feel a little jaded because this team paid all this money to a guy who did relatively little, but as I said before, it’s the price of doing business.  When you’re a bad team looking for a quick fix via free agency, that’s the price you have to pay to bring in talent.  Conversely, some players get upset because teams never honor their contracts.  The price of doing business:  if you’re over-compensated, you’re going to get the ax when your contract becomes too prohibitive.  Had Sidney Rice lived up to his #1 billing, then paying him a little under $20 million for the next two years would have been a relative bargain (or, at least commensurate to what he’s capable of producing).  Since he didn’t live up to his end, he’s gone.  So it goes.

Sidney Rice won’t go down as one of the greatest Seahawks wide receivers of all time, but that’s okay, because in the end we got our championship.  While he didn’t catch any game-winning touchdowns down the stretch, he was still a part of this team.  He was a part of turning around a franchise, from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs.  For that, he’ll always be remembered fondly, at least in my book.

And, with this cap savings, you could say Sidney Rice is the gift that keeps on giving.  With this $7.3 million (not to mention the base salary of $9 million we won’t have to pay next year), we’ll be able to re-sign Michael Bennett.  Or extend Earl Thomas or Richard Sherman.  His sacrifice enables our greater good.  So, don’t kick the man on his way out of town.  Thank him for his hard work and wish him well in his next endeavor.  There’s no sense in being resentful when your team is getting fitted for championship rings as we speak.

Focusing On What Percy Harvin Is, Not What He Might Be

The more I think about it, the more I read about it, the more I let go of my Seattle “poor me” baggage, the harder my dick gets at the thought of Percy Harvin in a Seahawks uniform.

Which is odd, because for every amazing new tidbit of exciting information I receive, there’s also another that should give me even more pause.  Like how Percy Harvin is a Diva Head Case.  Like how he might have faked migraines because he was disgruntled in Minnesota.  Like how you never promise crazy a baby (i.e. don’t reward someone’s insanity with one of the biggest wide receiver contracts in recorded history).

But, you know what?  Fuck it.  I’m putting on the big ol’ floppy Homer Hat and I’m swatting criticism of this trade away like a pimp in a bitch-slapping competition.

No more worrying about injuries!  No more concerning myself with what it has taken to bring him here (a first & seventh rounder this year, and a third rounder next year … yeesh)!  No more fretting over what it’s going to cost to keep him here (upwards of $12 million per year)!  No mulling over what this is going to do to what was once a cap situation the envy of all of pro football!  I’m just going to sit back, and soak in all the potential goodness.

Like how this trade might give the Seahawks the very best offense in football.  Yeah, I said it!  Did you see how this offense performed down the stretch last season?  That happened because Russell Wilson improved exponentially.  Now, we’re injecting that same offense – where everyone came together and gelled so spectacularly – with one of the biggest talents in the NFL.

Now, you’ll notice I didn’t say one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, though I would argue he’s easily in the Top 20.  But, when you factor in how he’s a multi-threat, that puts him in a very small, very elite league of his own.  Already, you can argue he’s one of the best slot receivers in the game.  Already, you can argue he’s one of the best kick returners in the league.  Now, recall he has experience coming out of the backfield.  Also recall he has experience in the zone read with Tim Tebow back in college.  And, for shits and giggles, I’m not going to limit him to just short and intermediate routes; right now, he’s probably the fastest receiver on the Seahawks.  So, you’ll be damn sure that this team is going to stretch the field with him and see if he can’t get behind some safeties.

Let’s just count the ways Percy Harvin can take over a football game:

  1. Deep Threat
  2. Zone Read Option back
  3. Natural running back
  4. End-Around runner
  5. Screen pass catcher
  6. Slot receiver
  7. Kick returner
  8. Punt returner

Am I missing anything?  Because, that’s pretty fucking insane, right?

Someone likened him to Darren Sproles earlier today.  Remember how Darren Sproles was an absolute game-changer for the New Orleans Saints, once he was paired with Drew Brees?  And that’s a straight up running back who primarily runs the ball and catches screen & swing passes, with a few other short routes mixed in.  Harvin can stretch the field!  You don’t need a tall receiver a la Randy Moss in his prime to stretch the field.  Pure speed and pass-catching ability will do.  Harvin has that.  Maybe he won’t win the most jump balls in the world, but there are other ways to score touchdowns.  Wes Welker doesn’t have much problem scoring in the red zone.

This time last year, one of our biggest concerns was the wide receiver corps.  Sidney Rice couldn’t stay healthy.  Golden Tate hadn’t shown much of anything in his first two seasons.  Doug Baldwin was a nice story as a rookie, but could he keep up his production?  And where was the Zach Miller we thought we were getting when we signed him to that huge contract as a free agent?

Well, Tate took a big step forward, Rice stayed healthy (for the most part), Baldwin kept up his end of the bargain even though he spent most of the year battling nagging injuries, and Miller came up HUGE in the playoffs.  Now, throw Harvin into that mix.  Worst case scenario:  you’re improving the overall receiver depth on this team tenfold.  Instead of Jermaine Kearse or Charly Martin, or Insert Over-The-Hill Veteran’s Name Here (Braylon Edwards, T.O., Mike Williams, Brandon Stokley), this team can go into 2013 with a legitimately high-tier receiving corps.  I’m not going to say we’re the best 1 through 4 in the NFL (my big ol’ floppy Homer Hat only goes so far), but we’re certainly in the top half in the league.  Maybe top 10.  MAYBE, if everyone reaches their potential, top 5.  I don’t know; it’s too early to start focusing on the rest of the league right now.

Before I drop this (for the time being), I’m taking a quick looksee at our 2013 schedule.  The dates & times haven’t been set, but we know the teams and we know WHERE we will be playing them.  It’s the AFC South, the NFC South, the NFC West (obviously), and Minnesota and the Giants.  Without a doubt, the Seahawks are going 8-0 again at home (toughest non-49ers matchup at home is New Orleans, which is a team we can probably score 50 on).  As for the road, the toughest non-49ers games are the Falcons, the Texans, and the Giants (with honorable mention going to the Colts).  Still, the only tough non-49ers defense we play all year will likely be Houston’s.

In other words, there is no saying this team CAN’T average 30 points per game.  13-3 is a reasonable expectation.  14-2 isn’t off the table.  Hell, feel free to dream a little dream about 15-1, because THERE’S NO STOPPING THE BLUE WAVE!

The Seahawks Say GTFO To Some More Guys

On the plus side, the Seahawks have also said Get The Fuck In to some guys guy too.

GONE is Matt Leinart.  Of course, since he was never here to begin with, this makes no sense.  Still, he’s decided to stay in Houston, presumably because he’s decided it’s better to go full retard than to go to a team with your former head coach and no defined starter at his very position of employment.  What does that say about a guy’s heart?  I mean, assuming these rumors were true and the Seahawks were truly trying to sign this guy, where are your nuts at, guy?

Matt Schaub is the man in Houston.  He’s proven himself and they’ve proven they’re married to him by way of what it took to get him there in the first place.  The Seahawks, meanwhile, have two suck-asses at quarterback.  Regardless of the fact that we’ve invested draft picks and millions into Whitehurst, regardless of the fact that we hired Jackson’s offensive coordinator (i.e. regardless of the fact that it appears both have a leg up over a theoretical Matt Leinart), neither of those guys have established themselves as starting quarterbacks in this league.  Therefore, you’re looking at a strict 3-way competition with the best of the worst earning that starting job come September.

Leinart just chose an automatic 2nd string quarterback job over the potential for a 1st string job.  Somebody get that guy a tampon, stat.  For his vagina!  Because he a little girl!  Ho-ho!

GONE is Will Herring.  He’s signing with New Orleans.  I lamented this for about 10 seconds until I realized that backup linebackers are a dime a dozen and we drafted a couple more a few months ago.  Herring was good, worthy of being a starter SOMEWHERE, and he was aces as a special teams coverage man.  I hope the Saints let him start because I have a feeling he’ll dominate for many years to come.

GONE is Olindo Mare.  He goes to Carolina.  What is it with Carolina stealing all our fucking kickers?  I didn’t even know John Kasay had retired … and apparently he didn’t know that either.  That’s too bad, I guess.  Since I no longer have any delusions of competing for even a crappy NFC West, I’m not going to sweat this Olindo Mare move.  We should just sign the best undrafted free agent kicker out there and give him a shot for a year; what harm could it do?  Better than picking up some old fuck off the scrap heap.

GONE is Brandon Stokley.  Again, another move I’m not going to sweat.  It’s not like we’ll have Hasselbeck around; buying a possession receiver for the likes of Jackson or Whitehurst just seems like a waste of funds.  Unless the possession receiver has Go-Go Gadget arms to reach all the overthrown balls tossed in their general vicinity, I don’t see the point.

HERE is Robert Gallery!  This is pretty exciting.  The lone bright spot in this whole week of disappointment, we’ve got our O-Line set for at least the next 3 seasons.  What ISN’T there to like?  He’s experienced, he’s good, he’s familiar with Tom Cable’s system, he’s a veteran presence for these young guys on the line to grow up around, AND it’s only a 3-year deal.  Not that teams are necessarily bound by contract years, this is still a good thing all around.  I’ll probably have more good things to say about this as the season approaches, but it’s new and fresh now so I thought I’d mention it.

So, what’s next?

Part of me thinks it’s ominous that we don’t have Brandon Mebane signed yet, but I just need to calm down a bit.  He’s GOING to test free agency, that’s just something I’m gonna have to get used to.  Doesn’t mean he’s going to sign elsewhere, but it does mean his price will go up accordingly.  He’s one of the better, younger D-linemen out there on the market; he deserves to get his money now.  I just hope Schneider is a little flexible with his negotiating.  I have a feeling he’s got a firm offer on the table and it’s going to be dwarfed by the open market.  I guess we’ll see.

Also, still no word on a cornerback.  It’s still early, none of the big studs have found a home yet (in other words, the market won’t be set until Nnamdi Asomugha signs), and who knows?  The Seahawks could very well be comfortable going with Trufant, Thurmond, and the rookies.  At the very least, though, I wish they’d get Big Play Babs back in here (if, indeed, they’re not going to make a bigger splash in the cornerback market).

Man, can’t wait for Day 3.  At this rate, I’m going to be writing one of these recaps every day through the weekend!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A List Of Current Seahawks Facing Free Agency

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And We’re Done

Shitty game that was over in the first quarter.  Give up too many big plays on defense, don’t capitalize on interception opportunities, have a bunch of crucial drops on offense, a bunch of players get hurt by basically doing nothing more than falling to the ground wrong … this was every other loss the Seahawks suffered this year.  Only this time the Bears’ prevent defense let us get within 2 touchdowns at the end.

Gamblers who took the Seahawks and the points must’ve been PISSED that we didn’t go for two on that last touchdown.  JUST missed covering that 10.5 point spread.

I’ll save the Grand Overview for another day.  As well as the ramifications of getting this far only to get embarrassed on national television.  Right now, it’s about the game.

Losing to the fucking Bears.  Again.  For starters, the Bears suck and they’re GOING to get their shit kicked in next week when the Packers destroy them.  So, don’t get too comfortable Bears fans.  Jackasses.

Secondly, it’s just incredible how much holding the refs were allowing.  This game was worse than two lumbering heavyweight prize-fighters in the 7th round.  Unbelievable.  You know, there’s this penalty they have – you might have heard of it – it’s called “Illegal Contact”.  It means you can’t touch our fucking receiver after 5 yards.  YOU MIGHT WANT TO LOOK INTO IT, DOUCHEBAG NFL REFEREES!

Third, Devin Hester is overrated.  Let every other team’s Special Teams unit hold and block in the back like that and I guarantee returners would be breaking career records left and right.

This game was just awful, as I said earlier, like every other loss we’ve had this year.  Pretend you’re in a cabin on a snowy mountain.  And let’s say there’s this avalanche that covers your cabin entirely; the only hope you have for being rescued is to dig your way through the snow.  You jimmy the door open and grab whatever tool you can find, and you start digging a snow tunnel outward and upward.  Except the avalanche tremors keep striking, causing your tunnel to collapse and forcing you back down into the cabin to start over again.

THAT’S what this game was.  The initial avalanche was that first quarter.  Triggered by a long bomb to a tight end who made Lawyer Milloy look rediculous.  Then a drop by Stokley when he lost his footing.  Then Big Play Babs mis-playing one ball that could’ve been picked off and returned, followed by Big Play Babs flat out dropping another potential interception at the goalline before the Bears ran it in with Chester Taylor.  Down 14-0, it was dig-out time, and we weren’t doing ourselves any favors.

Maybe, I dunno, DON’T RUN RIGHT UP THE MIDDLE EVERY TIME YOU TRY TO RUN!  What worked on the very first play of the game?  A counter, where the linemen go one way and the runner goes another.  Got us 9 yards before we completed our first of many 3 & Outs.  What did we never do again the rest of the game?  A counter, where the linemen go one way and the runner goes another.

This game just stunk.  The Bears were who we thought they were in the second half, for the most part.  Held them to two touchdowns, but that was WAY after I stopped paying attention.  I didn’t even have a problem one little bit when Pete Carroll kicked the field goal down 28-0, even though that’s a rediculous concept.  Who does that, if not losers?

Well, we were losers yesterday, just like we were losers all year.  And now we get the 25th pick in the draft for our troubles.  You know how we desperately need cornerback help, among many other positions?  Yeah, that’s JUST about where we drafted our last big first-round cornerback bust.  I’m optimistic for the future.

The Greatest Seahawks Win Ever

We weren’t supposed to do this.  We weren’t even supposed to compete!  We were supposed to be shredded on defense and clumsy on offense, as we’ve been all year long.

Instead, we were brilliant on offense.  And we did just enough on defense to snatch a 5 point victory from the jaws of Who Dat Nation.

It looked bad early.  Looked like Another One Of Those Games.  Kickoff out of bounds to start things off.  3 minutes later, a field goal.  Then we got the ball and promptly turned it over on 3rd down (on a play that was destined for failure anyway, forcing me to curse the name of our offensive coordinator).  4 minutes later, a touchdown and a 10-0 deficit.

Then something happened.  Our offense came alive!  A 3-minute touchdown drive to pull within 3.  New Orleans answered with a drive of their own, but then we ripped off 17 straight points before they nailed a field goal as time expired at the end of the half.  But, we had a 24-20 lead.  We had ourselves a ballgame!

To show it wasn’t a fluke, we went ahead and dominated the 3rd quarter 10-0 to give ourselves a 2-touchdown cushion.  We would need all of that cushion and then some as the Saints mounted their comeback in the 4th.  A touchdown and a field goal brought it back to a 4-point game, with a little over 4 minutes left.

And that’s when the Greatest Run I’ve Ever Seen In My Life happened.  Marshawn Lynch went Beast Mode all over their defense, breaking tackles, pushing people down, enforcing his will on all comers!  Literally, I’m not exaggerating:  Greatest Run I’ve Ever Seen In My Life.

They got a quick touchdown after that, but they missed the 2-point conversion (like I said, the defense doing just enough) and they booted probably the worst onside kick ever attempted to seal the victory for the Good Guys.

This game was just outstanding!  Hasselbeck dropping picture perfect passes to Stokley, Williams, and Morrah.  Nailing John Carlson for two early TDs.  He showed he’s the best quarterback after missing a week due to injury. 

But look, we weren’t supposed to win this game.  That much is clear.  We were 7-9, we only beat 2 teams with winning records and lost to the rest by half a million points.  They were the Super Bowl Champions, they were on a roll having recently beaten Atlanta, and they handled us earlier this year.

Which is why this was our greatest win ever.  Because it was so unexpected.  Because if you replayed this game 99 more times, the outcome would probably be reversed every single time.  Because we caught so much shit this week for being a 7-9 team hosting a playoff game; it’s nice to shove this result in everyone’s faces.

And, let’s face it, we did the Saints a favor.  They don’t want to be one of those teams everyone gets sick of winning all the time.  Now they can come back next season and dominate their way to a Super Bowl run without any backlash whatsoever!

First class all the way.  If this is how we remember Matt Hasselbeck in Qwest Field, then it’s one for the ages.

I Like Mike

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Seahawks Have A Great Third Quarter

That game was so bad in the first half, I couldn’t even watch it.  Down 14-0 to the woeful Carolina Panthers was going to be the final nail for a frustrating season in which we COULD have won the NFC West, but instead frittered it away on injuries and inconsistent play.  The fact that we had to settle for a field goal before halftime was the icing on the shit cake.

And it wasn’t like they got a couple of flukey return touchdowns.  They moved the ball!  They ran it like they were the Panthers of last year, only their quarterback wasn’t awful like the Panthers of last year.

Then, shit man, something happened.  Cameron Morrah snatched a 36 yard pass down the seam (showing that maybe he, and not John Carlson, is the best pass-catching tight end on this team), the running game came alive a little bit, Brandon Stokley was Brandon Stokley, the defense slammed the door shut, and the Seattle Seahawks took a 24-14 lead into the fourth quarter.  A Lofa Tatupu interception for a TD was sandwiched between two 1-yard Lynch blasts through the goalline, and just like that all momentum had swung.

This one could have been devastating.  Not just because the Rams won to keep pace at 6-6, but because you HAVE to beat the crap teams.  And Carolina is a crap team.  Losing to them would’ve meant that WE are a crap team too; maybe not as bad as Arizona, but still pretty damn bad.  We may be among the worst 10-15 teams in the NFL, but at least we’re not among the worst 5.

Next up:  in San Francisco.  They’re bottom-feeders too.  This is a game we should win, but certainly won’t if we play like we did in the first half of this weekend’s game.

The Kansas City Breakdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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