A Flip Of A Coin Decided The Seahawks Vs. Bucs Game

I mean, let’s be real here. The Seahawks’ defense wasn’t going to stop anything the Bucs threw at them. If they’d won the overtime coin flip, they would’ve marched right down the field and scored a touchdown, and we’d all be bitching and moaning about how Russell Wilson never got a chance to touch the ball in overtime. There’d be the side that just wants to watch good QBs get a chance to be clutch in the extra period, and there’d be the other side that would (correctly) argue that a defense should be able to keep the other team out of the endzone for a chance to deserve a possession in this scenario.

Funny how I haven’t heard too many arguments from the national media lamenting the fact that Jameis Winston never got a chance to touch the ball in overtime. Because that guy’s trash, but much like Matt Schaub the week before, we made him look like a flippin’ genius!

Winston threw for 335 yards and 2 TDs and it could’ve been even better, had that receiver not run himself out of bounds in the back of the endzone in the second half. I don’t know how he managed to do that, but it was a gift to the Seahawks and I’ll cherish it always. To be fair, Winston did have a Dave Krieg Special with his fumble (where he went to throw it, but the ball squirted backwards out of his hand), and should’ve had a pick in the endzone in the first half, but it weirdly bounced into a different receiver’s outstretched arms for a touchdown. I was waiting all day for a truly terrible decision, but it never came. Winston played well. But, he also didn’t really need to work all that hard, because his receivers were open all day.

Mike Evans should have games like this every week; I don’t understand why he isn’t the most dominant player in the NFL. I was on him (for fantasy purposes) since his rookie season; he’s truly great. In this one, he caught 12 balls for 180 yards and a touchdown. We just couldn’t cover him. Even the one time Shaquill Griffin made a seemingly great play on a ball towards his side, Evans just snatched it away and ran down field like Griffin wasn’t even there! Evans is a total stud who deserves a better quarterback like nobody’s business.

Yet, you could argue (especially since the Seahawks ended up winning) that Evans was outplayed by Tyler Lockett, who caught 13 for 152 and 2 TDs. This game went almost exactly as I predicted, with both passing attacks just FEASTING on some trash secondaries. Over 51.5 points was the easiest bet on the board all day, and I hope Vegas took a beating over that one. I don’t know who was in charge there, but that dude should be fired.

***

Anyway, for as happy as I was about Lockett, I think this was a really important turning point for D.K. Metcalf. His numbers weren’t as eye-popping (6 for 123 and a TD is nothing to sneeze at, though), but this is more of a Smell Test game for him, and he passed with flying colors. For starters, that crosser he took 53 yards to the house was a thing of beauty; it was – dare I say it – Julio Jones-esque!

But, even better was his catch in overtime. 3rd & 6 from the Tampa 35 yard line. We were clearly NOT in field goal range (more on that in a bit) and everything about this screamed 4-Down Territory. I don’t think you throw a deep back-shoulder fade like this without knowing that you’re DEFINITELY going for it on fourth down. We might never know the answer, but it didn’t matter, because Metcalf made a phenomenal play on the ball and managed to land in bounds to pretty much seal the victory. This came on the same day where he got pushed out of bounds without getting his second foot down to kill a drive and you couldn’t help thinking that was a rookie mistake in a rookie season chock full of rookie mistakes.

This was easily Metcalf’s best game as a pro, and it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. For starters, it came in the same week the Seahawks claimed Josh Gordon, who from a talent perspective feels like an older version of Metcalf (I’ll do a full write-up on the Gordon deal later this week). But, while Metcalf has always been featured pretty heavily as this team’s #2 receiver, it’s been very spotty. Heading into this one, he’d only caught 23 of his 45 targets, and you had to wonder if the pre-draft haters were at least a little on the nose with him. Granted, a lot of the balls thrown to him are 50/50 balls with a guy all over him, but he’s 6’4, 229 pounds, that’s what he’s here for is to catch the majority of those deep 1-on-1 passes. Well, I’ll be interested to see how the rest of his season shakes out from here, because that catch in overtime was the biggest of his career to date. Regardless, the more times he comes up big in big moments, the better it should prove to be for his career in Seattle. I thought there was a better-than-decent chance that D.K. Metcalf could turn into a superstar when the Seahawks drafted him (his size, his raw talent, the fact that he dropped so far in the draft and the resultant chip on his shoulder, and the nature of this offense being one very suited for his skillset), and given his season to date (29 catches, 525 yards, 5 touchdowns) I think we’re well on our way. Paired with Lockett, we could be talking about two of the very best receivers in all of football in a couple years.

***

All those words and we haven’t talked about the other breakout player from this one: Jacob Hollister! What an absolutely fascinating career he’s had to date. He was originally a quarterback in high school, and was Oregon’s 5A player of the year. He was set to go to college in Nevada, but ended up transferring both schools and his position to tight end.

He went undrafted, but signed on with the Patriots as a rookie in 2017 and played the full season as the team’s third tight end. Feels like the perfect situation, right? He was injured for much of 2018 and had to be placed on IR. But, you had to figure, with Gronk retiring after last season, this would’ve been his time to move up the depth chart.

Instead, the Patriots traded him to the Seahawks for a 2020 7th round pick, which at this point looks like the steal of the century. Bill Belichick doesn’t get fleeced like this! He’s the one doing the fleecing!

Yet, Seahawks fans had to wonder heading into this season, as Hollister found himself on the Practice Squad, behind the likes of Will Dissly, Nick Vannett, George Fant, Luke Willson, and eventually Ed Dickson when he returns from IR. I’m honestly – first – surprised that Hollister even qualified for the Practice Squad (I don’t totally understand the rules there, and quite frankly I don’t WANT to understand). Secondly, I’m surprised he wasn’t picked up by another team (you would’ve figured many teams – but particularly Miami or Detroit, who have head coaches familiar with him – would’ve been more than willing to bring in a former Patriots tight end, with their pedigree at finding talent at the position). Maybe he was about to be claimed, because the Seahawks promoted him just ahead of the Cleveland game, which was fortuitous with Dissly getting injured on that very day.

The Seahawks have been undermanned at tight end ever since, as we’ve waited for Ed Dickson to return to game shape (he should be back in the next week or two), with only two true tight ends on the roster in Willson and Hollister (with Fant as the proverbial blocking tight end, who has actually had to fill in more at the regular offensive line spots with injuries to Duane Brown in recent weeks). Willson is a known commodity, but Hollister has been a fascinating player to watch develop over the last few weeks. He didn’t do a whole lot in his first couple of games against Baltimore and Atlanta (combining for 5 receptions and 38 yards), but he exploded in this one with 4 catches, 37 yards, and 2 touchdowns (including the game-winner in overtime). You had to feel great for him as he was hoisted on the shoulders of his teammates during the celebration.

I guess the knock on him is his blocking? I dunno. Anyone’s better than Jimmy Graham, I suppose, so maybe that’s why it hasn’t bugged me too much. Anyway, with Hollister, Willson, and Dickson when he returns, tight end should be a cool position of strength for this team at just the right time. I’m glad the Seahawks didn’t panic and make a deal at the deadline for an O.J. Howard or something, because we wouldn’t have had this great moment.

***

It feels criminal I’ve gone this long without talking about our MVP. Russell Wilson threw for 378 yards (8.8 yards per attempt) and 5 touchdowns against 0 interceptions. That brings his season numbers through 9 games to 2,505 yards, 22 passing touchdowns, and only 1 interception. It’s now just a two-man race between Wilson and Lamar Jackson for the MVP Award, and I think it’ll be neck-and-neck between the two the rest of the way, assuming both teams keep winning and looking impressive on offense.

Wilson generally had all day to throw, which deserves some kudos for the O-Line. They also did their best in the run game (against the best run defense in football) in helping us go 22 for 145 on the ground (including Carson’s 105 yards, much of which came on his manly-man 59 yard run).

You take the good with the bad though, and Carson had two more fumbles in this game (one of which luckily went out of bounds on that 59 yard scamper). He’ll be in the final year of his rookie deal in 2020, and there’s already rumblings that he might hold out or otherwise demand an extension. But, with all of his fumbling issues (on top of his prior injury history), I just don’t see how you can trust him with a big-money contract. Maybe if he plays out his deal, has another big year, and finds a way to fix his fumbling problem, you could consider it. But, right now, I think he’s costing himself millions of dollars every time he puts the ball on the turf, and a smart team would just let him walk and continue to plow resources into the position through the draft.

***

I’ve said all I can say about the offense, so let’s talk about the defense.

That’s 34 points and 418 total yards. The Bucs were 7/15 on 3rd/4th downs. The Seahawks got a couple sacks, which was a couple more than they usually get, and the Bucs only averaged 3.8 yards per carry (“only”). But, I just don’t know. There really isn’t a way to fix this. Our pass rush just gets locked up on every damn passing play. We try to counter by doing stunts, but that just leaves gaping holes for the quarterback to run through for huge gains. We blitz, it gets picked up; we rush four, huge pocket for the QB; we rush three, the other team has all fucking day to throw the ball.

The Bucs were always well-suited to make this one a game though. Elite passing offense, a head coach in Bruce Arians who knows our team very well and has had a lot of success with his Cardinals coming into Seattle and prevailing. And that defensive line – even without Gerald McCoy – is a fucking monster. I always believed in Vita Vea since his days at the University of Washington, but boy is he a load! Husky defensive tackles don’t always pan out in the NFL, but he looks like the best of the bunch so far!

As I said before, I just don’t know, though, when it comes to the Seahawks’ defense. K.J. Wright looks seriously slow and old. The Seahawks need to start working Cody Barton into the scheme more. And, while Bobby Wagner finally got his second sack of the season, he also had one of the dumbest roughing the passer penalties I’ve ever seen. He always likes to get an unnecessary shove in there well after the ball leaves a QB’s hand, and it’s always dumb on his part (regardless of how weak the shove might’ve been; it’s 2019, figure it the fuck out already, the refs are going to protect the quarterback). That one was on third down, which turned a would-be field goal attempt into an eventual touchdown, which was at least a 4-point swing, if not a 7-pointer (had he missed the field goal, which was a distinct possibility).

***

Oh yeah, can’t leave this post without saying something about Jason Myers.

He’s awful.

Unfortunately, I don’t know what you do about it. At least a third of the NFL has issues at the kicker position. It seems like more than ever teams are shuttling kickers in and out every week. But, not every team made the big investment this past offseason like the Seahawks did. Jason Myers is here to stay, at least through his year if not through next year as well. And, again, unless there’s some college kicker who deserves to be selected in the draft, there really isn’t a lot the Seahawks can do. Stephen Hauschka isn’t walking through that door.

Jason Myers just has to get better. He needs to flush this game as soon as humanly possible and get to work on improving his accuracy. The Seahawks are too conservative at the ends of halves to not have a kicker who’s able to make a 40-yarder.

I knew as soon as the Seahawks got into Tampa territory at the end of regulation that they needed to AT LEAST move the ball another 10 yards. Why settle for a 40-yarder when you have the best quarterback in the game going up against one of the worst secondaries in the game? We still had a time out left! Chuck it down inside the red zone and let’s make this automatic! Especially on a day where Myers had struggled so savagely.

Luckily, again, the Seahawks won that overtime coin flip. Because if we hadn’t, this post would’ve been MUCH different.

If The Seahawks Continue To Suck On Defense, They’ll Lose To The Bucs This Week

Seattle’s home field advantage is officially dead. 2-2 at home through the midway point of the season means the crowd noise alone isn’t doing enough of the job. The defensive line should be swarming all around every quarterback that comes in here, but that’s clearly not the case. It’s loud everywhere, and most teams have figured out how to play with a silent count. Also, since the Seahawks apparently don’t play well in the rain, that shuts down any weather advantage you’d think we’d have.

With the way the Ravens and Saints were able to move the ball, it’s going to come down to just the talent on the field. No external circumstances figure to be in play.

On paper, you’d think that’d be a good thing. The Bucs aren’t very good. The Seahawks, if nothing else, have proven to be able to handle the not-very-good teams they’ve played so far. But, we’ve yet to put it together in all three phases, and we’ve still yet to see that game – that comes seemingly every year – where we blow one against a team we’re clearly superior to.

The Seahawks SHOULD dominate the Bucs. They also should’ve dominated the Falcons, Browns, Bengals, and Saints (without Brees). It turns out the Saints as a whole are a lot better than I thought heading into that one, but those other teams played us tough; a couple breaks going the other way, and we’d all be singing a drastically different tune about the Seahawks.

The Bucs can score in bunches. They made the Rams’ secondary look like they weren’t even on the field! They’ve got two elite receivers and a quarterback who, at times, is as talented as they come. He’s also not very bright and has a tendency to turn the ball over. Every time you think about the Bucs, you have to ask yourself: will we see Good Jameis or Bad Jameis? Good Jameis can beat any football team in any city on any given Sunday. Bad Jameis can lose to the absolute worst teams, even in ideal circumstances, with his terrible decision-making.

And, there’s really no predicting which Jameis we’ll get this week. A betting man would probably put the odds higher on Bad Jameis showing up in Seattle. It’s on the road, it’s loud here, and he definitely forces it to his receivers over his tight ends. If I were to ever buy-in on a Tampa tight end, it would be this weekend, but I dunno. They just don’t throw the ball to O.J. Howard or Cameron Brate, even though those guys are giants and very gifted (particularly in the red zone). To be fair, though, I don’t know if either one is all that healthy heading into this game.

On the flipside, it’s not like the Seahawks are so great at covering receivers. Shaquill Griffin has been rock solid on his side of the field, but it ain’t no thang to just throw to the other side, where our coverage is considerably weaker. And, if Chris Godwin plays exclusively out of the slot, he could EASILY put up double-digit catches and 200+ yards on us, with either a linebacker or a replacement-level nickel back covering him.

There’s also the factor that Bruce Arians is their coach, and if anyone knows how to beat the Seahawks, it’s Jeff Fisher Bruce Arians. I’ve seen plenty of mediocre Arizona teams come into Seattle under Arians and somehow sneak out of here with a victory.

If Bad Jameis shows up, this should be an easy Seahawks victory, maybe the easiest of the season. But, even if Good Jameis plays, it’s not like we’re screwed. Fortunately for all concerned, the Bucs’ defense gives up the second-most passing yards in the league. That works out for us, because Russell Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the game. That’s doubly important, because the Bucs give up the fewest rushing yards per game in the NFL. So, getting the ball out on time and down field will be vital. As the Bucs give up over 30 points per game, we should have no problem with our offense in this one.

As the Bucs are almost as bad at the Seahawks at getting pressure, I fully expect this one to be a shootout through the air. My one concern is if the Seahawks try to continuously run into a brick wall with Carson. I believe in him as much as anyone, but maybe this could be the week where we bust out the air attack. You gotta play to your opponent’s weaknesses, and it’s pretty clear where the Bucs are weakest.

In the end, I’m officially predicting a close Seahawks victory (if I were a betting man, I’d also be POUNDING the over on this one; as 60 points feels more accurate for these two defenses), but I could see this entire weekend going haywire. I’m already off to TERRIBLE starts in my two premiere fantasy football games (the 49ers defense dominates pretty much every opposing quarterback, except the week I go up against Kyler Murray), the Huskies are probably going to be routed by Utah for a third home loss on the season, so might as well top off this shitty sundae with a baffling loss to an inferior squad on Sunday.

Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. That’s my life’s motto and it’s in full effect this weekend.

Predicting The 2019 NFL Season

It’s that time again! My favorite sports blog post of the year! I’ll never top the year where I predicted the Ravens beating the 49ers in the Super Bowl, followed up by the very next season predicting the Seahawks over the Broncos, but I’ll be damned if I don’t try every year.

Check out all my predictions from past seasons:

As you can see last year, I had the Jags over the Rams in the Super Bowl, which was Half Right and Half Laughably Stupid. I only had 2/6 NFC playoff teams correct (though I had Eagles as division champs, not a wild card). I had 4/6 AFC playoff teams correct (though only one division champ – New England). Without further ado, here we go 2019!

NFC East

  • Philadelphia
  • Dallas
  • Washington
  • New York

Give me a first class ticket to the Philly Hype Train, because I’m ALL ABOARD! I also have a hard time believing the Cowboys won’t make the playoffs (barring a thousand injuries), so count me in for 2/6 playoff teams coming from the East. I like Washington to be around 7 wins, and I like the Giants to be among the worst teams in all of football.

NFC North

  • Minnesota
  • Chicago
  • Green Bay
  • Detroit

I have a tough time reading this division, but for some reason the Vikings really strike me as a tough team on the cusp. I also think the Bears are due for some regression. The fact of the matter is, I believe the Bears are probably a 10-win team, but I think they’ll get axed out by another 10-win team with a better conference record. As for the Packers, you can never rule them out with A-Rod at the helm, but they feel like they’re in a mediocre, 8-8 spiral right now until they improve the defense. There will be growing pains nevertheless, with a new coaching staff at the helm. Honestly, it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if the Packers finish 4th in the division; the Lions could be a little underrated (but probably not).

NFC South

  • New Orleans
  • Atlanta
  • Tampa Bay
  • Carolina

We call this one: Playing It Safe. I agree the Saints are probably the shakiest one of the bunch, with Drew Brees as old as he is, and as ineffective as he is on the road in open-air stadia. But, they were the deserving team to make the Super Bowl last year, and I believe they would’ve beaten the Patriots. That fire is only going to make them tougher to beat this year, even with the target on their backs. Atlanta feels like a 9-win team on the outside looking in. The Bucs could be one of the surprise teams of the NFC if Jameis Winston figures out a way to put it all together under Bruce Arians. I think the Panthers are destined to lose Cam Newton to injury at some point and will win about 4 games.

NFC West

  • Seattle
  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco
  • Arizona

Boom! Bombshell! Here’s the deal – and we’ll get into this more during my official Seahawks preview – but I think the Seahawks are more poised than they’ve been in YEARS to start off strong. Last year, the Seahawks were 3-3 at the BYE, and eventually fell to 4-5 before finishing on a 6-1 run. By and large, in this run under Pete Carroll, that’s been in line with tradition: starting off okay, finishing on a tear. I think it’s well within the realm of possibility for the Seahawks to start 4-1 with a home win on Thursday night over the Rams to take a brief edge in the divisional battle. If that comes to fruition, we could be looking at something special, as over the subsequent five weeks, the Seahawks should also go 4-1 to be 8-2 heading into the BYE week. From there, we close out the season – again, traditionally the time we play the best – with a few potential NFC contenders and a few of the dregs in the last three weeks. I mean, if things break right, 13-3 or 12-4 is on the table. I fully anticipate the Rams to be right around that level as well, but with a tiebreaker based on head-to-head, the Seahawks could take the nod and potentially secure a BYE. I think the 49ers are a year away from double-digit wins, and I think the Cardinals are just happy to be here.

AFC East

  • New England
  • Buffalo
  • New York
  • Miami

The only question here is who will be better, the Bills or the Jets; I’m banking on Buffalo, who I think could be in line for a wild card spot. What’s for certain is the Patriots winning the division (and probably a playoff BYE) and the Dolphins being in the running for the #1 draft pick.

AFC North

  • Pittsburgh
  • Cleveland
  • Baltimore
  • Cincinnati

For some reason, I love the Steelers this year. I’ve been going after them like they’re the antidote in my fantasy drafts. I think with a locker room free from head cases, they’re poised to take a step forward on offense. And, I think their defense is criminally underrated. I like Cleveland to keep pace, and ultimately come down with one of the wild cards, because they’ll be fun and talented on both sides of the ball. I’m not buying the Ravens at all; I think they’re a 7-win team, mostly because their defense is strong. The rest of the league will figure out Lamar Jackson, though, and he won’t be able to throw his way to victories. The Bengals will be bottom feeders.

AFC South

  • Houston
  • Indianapolis
  • Jacksonville
  • Tennessee

This could be the most mediocre division in football, with the highest floor but the lowest ceiling. I’m projecting between 7-9 wins for all four of these teams; and it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if the Colts actually come away victorious. With Luck, I would’ve had them on top, but without Luck this is still a solid team through and through. I’m giving the nod to the Texans because I think they’re pretty dynamic in the passing game.

AFC West

  • Kansas City
  • Los Angeles
  • Denver
  • Oakland

Will the Chiefs regress in Mahomes’ second full season starting? Absolutely. Nevertheless, he’s so good that even his regression will still make them among the best teams in all of football. I like the Chiefs to repeat as division champs and crack the top overall seed. I still like the Chargers, but I’m not quite as high on them as their 12-win campaign proved them to be in 2018. They’ll be a wild card and like it. I think Denver will be okay, and I think the Raiders are still a mess, though they should be more fun offensively.

NFC Playoffs

  1. Philadelphia
  2. Seattle
  3. New Orleans
  4. Minnesota
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Dallas

AFC Playoffs

  1. Kansas City
  2. New England
  3. Pittsburgh
  4. Houston
  5. Cleveland
  6. Los Angeles

Wild Card Round

  • New Orleans over Dallas
  • Los Angeles over Minnesota
  • Pittsburgh over Los Angeles
  • Cleveland over Houston

Divisional Round

  • Seattle over New Orleans
  • Philadelphia over Los Angeles
  • New England over Pittsburgh
  • Kansas City over Cleveland

Championship Round

  • Philadelphia over Seattle
  • Kansas City over New England

Super Bowl

  • Kansas City over Philadelphia

My backup guess is a Super Bowl of the Rams vs. Chiefs, with the Rams prevailing, but I’ll never hang my hat on another team in the NFC West outside of Seattle winning it all.

Russell Wilson Will Be The NFL MVP For The 2019 Season

SCORCHING MOLTEN LAVA TAKE ALERT! This is one of those things where if I’m right, I’ll be crowing like a jackass for the rest of my life. And, if I’m wrong, then it’ll never be spoken of again.

Remember the time I predicted the Seahawks would beat the Broncos in the Super Bowl before the season started?

Remember the time before that when I predicted the Ravens would beat the 49ers in the Super Bowl just 1 week into the regular season?

I’ll leave it to the rest of you to find all the times I’ve been wrong, and go out on a limb to say I’m the greatest sports mind of our generation.

I don’t often do a lot of prognosticating on the NFL’s MVP award – or ANY MVP award, really – because I kind of don’t care about it. The only time a Seahawk has won was in 2005, when Shaun Alexander ran for 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns in leading the Seahawks to their first-ever Super Bowl appearance in a 13-3 regular season. I argued this at the time and maintain it to this day: the most important player to the Seahawks’ success that year was actually Matt Hasselbeck (we NEVER would’ve gotten anywhere without him), but since he didn’t have insanely gaudy stats (3,459 yards, 65.5% completions, 24 TDs, 9 INTs) he didn’t stand a chance.

Which brings me right back to this year and begs the question: if gaudy stats are a precursor, WHY IN THE HOLY HELL WOULD I PREDICT RUSSELL WILSON FOR THIS AWARD?

Look, it’s not the most thought-out opinion I’ve ever had. 99% of everything I say on here I pull straight from my gut, which has been notoriously inconsistent over the years. But, I’ll try to make an argument and you take it with however much salt you want.

Last year, Wilson had a pretty impressive season: 3,448 yards, 65.6% completions, 35 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and a 110.9 passer rating. Of course, that was nothing compared to Patrick Mahomes’ season (the actual MVP): 5,097 yards, 66.0% completions, 50 TDs, 12 INTs, and 113.8 rating. Every step of the way (except for INTs) he was better than Wilson.

Well, the first part of my argument is that I believe Mahomes takes a step back in his second full year as a starter. I think he’ll come down to Earth and be more in the middle of the pack. He’ll almost certainly throw for over 4,000 yards, but I don’t think he’ll approach 50 TDs again, and I think his INTs will increase. I would also argue that whenever someone wins as thoroughly as he has, there’s inevitably a backlash among voters, who are constantly looking to give the award to someone different. If you don’t believe that to be true, then please explain to me why LeBron James has zero MVP awards since the 2012/2013 season, in spite of the fact that until this year, he carried his teams to every single NBA Championship series in that span. Also, while you’re at it, tell me why Bill Belichick hasn’t won since 2010 and yet Bruce Arians and Ron Rivera have both won twice in that span.

So, if you bet Mahomes at +400, you’re throwing your money away. Which brings me to the current betting odds:

  • Patrick Mahomes +400
  • Drew Brees +700
  • Aaron Rodgers +800
  • Andrew Luck +800
  • Tom Brady +1000
  • Baker Mayfield +1400
  • Russell Wilson +1600
  • Carson Wentz +1900
  • Philip Rivers +2200
  • Deshaun Watson +2500

That’s just the top 10. Some things stand out. All of those guys are quarterbacks (the most important players in the game) and all of those guys are projected to be in the playoffs (or at least contending for the playoffs). While being a quarterback isn’t a MUST, it’s certainly the safest bet. For a non-quarterback to win it, he has to do something REALLY special. Like Shaun Alexander’s touchdown totals. The last non-quarterback to win it was in 2012 when Adrian Peterson came within 8 yards of the all-time rushing yards record in a single season. The time before that, it was LaDainian Tomlinson the year after Alexander, when he ran for 1,815 yards and broke Alexander’s rushing touchdown record with 28.

If I were going to pick a non-QB in 2019, I’d lean towards Saquon Barkley (at +4000), but the Giants are so bad that he would literally have to break every single rushing record for it to happen.

Anyway, as you can see, Wilson is firmly in the Top 10 (shamefully behind Baker Mayfield, which is just a crime against humanity at this point), so Vegas likes his chances. With his new contract extension, Wilson’s name is in the zeitgeist. And, at this junction in his career, I believe there are enough fervent Wilson believers out there to really help make his case and keep his name alive.

Now, he can’t do it alone. It’s going to require the Seahawks to get back to the playoffs. It’ll probably even require the Seahawks to win the NFC West, which I believe this team is capable of. Ideally, the Seahawks will be a top 1 or 2 seed and have a BYE in the playoffs. Something like 12-4 could accomplish this, if everything breaks right. The Rams, you figure, are in for a Super Bowl hangover. The Saints and Bears figure to be our biggest obstacles, as I believe the NFC East will feast upon itself to keep their records down.

Playing well in marquee games is also a must. The Seahawks have five primetime games scheduled, including three in a row late in the season, right in that window where we separate the men from the boys in races like these. Wilson has traditionally stepped up big in these games, so I don’t see that as being an issue either.

With the team playing well, and with his reputation intact, that just leaves his biggest hurdle: his numbers.

Wilson has thrown for over 4,000 yards only twice in his career (though he was 17 yards away in 2017 from making it three times), and last year he was obviously limited by the offense’s design. Part of that was a backlash against the losses in our first two weeks, when the coaching staff had to re-set everything. But, ultimately this team was so successful running the ball that there wasn’t always a serious need to get things done through the air. While the plan heading into the season will be more of the same run-centric style, it wouldn’t totally shock me to see our effectiveness on the ground weaken (much in the same way that I see Mahomes’ numbers taking a dive). Opposing defenses will game plan better. And, I figure injuries will play a more significant role (Carson played in 14 games; I could see that dropping as he doesn’t seem like a guy who can stay healthy for the duration) with both the running backs and the O-Line. There’s no Mike Davis, who was a solid contributor, and I seriously question whether Penny will be up to the task if he’s thrust into the #1 role. There should be just enough of a dip in the running game to add a few hundred more yards to Wilson’s passing total.

On top of that, Wilson’s rushing yards are going to continue to go down with every year. He’s a quarterback, and an elite one at that. Elite quarterbacks throw the ball or hand it off, period. He’s heading into his 8th season, which puts him squarely in his prime. He’s had a Hall of Fame trajectory to this point in his career, and I don’t know a whole lot of Hall of Fame quarterbacks who haven’t won an MVP award. With that in mind, it sort of feels like it’s his destiny to win this award at least once. If we get to the end of the season, and no one has really stood out with awe-inspiring numbers at any position, maybe the voters will look around, see Wilson sitting there with 0 career MVPs, and figure he’s due. People have voted for things based on dumber logic before (say hello to every politician who ever seemed like a guy you’d want to have a beer with).

Getting back to the numbers, though, Wilson’s best chance seems to be with his touchdowns. While he was a far cry from Mahomes’ 50 last year, Wilson was still tied for third with 35. In 2017, he led the league with 34. In 2015, he came in sixth also with 34. I could easily see that number jump up into the 40’s, which should put him well within range. More than that, he’s usually very careful with the ball. Last year he tied a career low with only 7 INTs. I feel with his ability, he can shave that down even further. If he has an insane TD:INT ratio of something like 40:3, that’s the sort of stat that could push him over the top.

Finally, if we’re truly talking about the Most VALUABLE Player, then who has had more value to his team than Russell Wilson in his career to date? The knock against him has always been that he’s had an elite defense (except for last year) or an elite running game (except for a few years there post-Beastmode). Well, I’ve already argued that I don’t believe the running game will be as exceptional as it was in 2018, and as for the defense, it was already middle-of-the-road last year; this year, I think middle-of-the-road will be this unit’s CEILING. I think the defense could be truly terrible this year. We’ll likely rank in the bottom third or bottom quarter in the league in sacks and turnovers.

In 2018, the Seahawks had 43 sacks, 13 of which belonged to Frank Clark. 43 put us 11th in football; 30 would’ve been tied for 30th. Ziggy Ansah figures to mitigate some of that, but I highly doubt he’s going to get us all the way there. In fact, I don’t think he’ll even get us halfway there (yes, I’m putting Ansah’s over/under of sacks at 6.5, and I’ll bet the under). With no one else coming in to help account for the loss of Clark’s production (both in sacks, and in the help he provided someone like Jarran Reed, who saw his numbers skyrocket playing with Clark on the outside next to him). If Reed is our only pass-rushing threat (assuming Ansah misses multiple games, or plays through injury and is ineffective as a result), he can be easily neutralized, sending the D-Line tumbling towards the bottom of the league.

In 2018, the Seahawks had 12 interceptions, 5 of which belonged to Earl Thomas, Justin Coleman, and Frank Clark. 12 put us tied for 18th in football; 7 would’ve been tied for 29th. Bradley McDougald had 3 of his own last year, but he’s also an injury waiting to happen. Of our younger core in the defensive backfield, Shaquill Griffin, Tedric Thompson, Delano Hill, and Tre Flowers all combined for 3 total INTs (Hill and Flowers combining for 0). Who did we add to this group? A couple of rookies, and presumably whatever veterans we bring into Training Camp later this summer. There just isn’t a lot of turnover production in this unit. With the D-Line unable to get pressure, that puts more of the onus on the secondary, which is not NEARLY as talented as the Legion of Boom in its prime.

Now, of course, the Seahawks tied for the league lead in fumble recoveries in 2018, but as we all know, that’s largely based on the luck of the bouncing ball. We did tie for third in forced fumbles, which you’d hope would translate, but again our leader in that category – Frank Clark – is gone.

My point with all of this is to further indicate that I think the Seahawks’ defense will be bad. Our only hope is that we hold teams to an inordinate amount of field goals. But, my expectation is, for the Seahawks to win a lot of games, we’re going to rely exclusively on our offense. That means Russell Wilson will have to do considerably more than he had to do in 2018.

All that being said, it still doesn’t feel like a strong argument, and I get that. All I can say is, with this being the second season with a new offensive coordinator, you have to figure Brian Schottenheimer has had a full year to work with this team, and a second full off-season to tinker with his scheme. While it’ll be foolish to expect the running game to take a complete back seat, I think his ability to adjust in games will improve. With the defense putting us into more passing situations – based on game score alone – I think it’ll open things up for Wilson to really shine like he’s never quite shone before.

Wilson has had spurts. The back-half of his 2015 was as brilliant as it gets; if he had a full season of that, he’d be a hands-down winner of the MVP. I also thought 2018 was his best year yet, particularly from an efficiency standpoint. If we keep the efficiency (or even improve upon it slightly), increase touchdowns, decrease turnovers, and boost up those yards, there won’t be any other excuses to keep him from his due. ESPECIALLY when you consider Baldwin retired, and Lockett is his only quality veteran receiver heading into this season. Voters won’t have the L.O.B. to fall back on, nor will they have as dominant of a running game. They’ll have 8 full years’ worth of elite game play, with 2019 as a coronation of sorts.

In a muddled year of MVP candidates, Wilson will win it in a close voting battle. Mark my words (unless I’m wrong, then forget this ever happened).

A Big Weekend For The Seattle Seahawks

Well, here we go.  Seahawks beat the Cardinals, and Panthers beat the Falcons, and the Seahawks are in the playoffs as a 6-seed.  It’s the only way.  Well, it’s the only way I’m going to talk about today, because I don’t give a fuck about ties.

There are actually three games that directly matter as to whether the Seahawks get into the post-season or not.  The third being the Saints and Bucs.  Fortunately, all three of these games start at 1:25pm Pacific Time.  I guess the only way it would be better is if the Panthers/Falcons game was in the early slot, because then there wouldn’t be the chance for Carolina to rest their stars in the 4th quarter, should the Saints rack up a huge lead over Tampa.  That’s probably my #1 biggest fear heading into Sunday.

My #2 biggest fear?  The Seahawks actually finding a way to lose to the Cards.  Wouldn’t that just be so perfectly Seattle?  Have everything else go our way, but in the end we shit our OWN bed?

For the record, I don’t think that’ll happen, but you never know with these teams.  To be perfectly honest, I almost NEVER think the Cardinals will beat the Seahawks; and then there I am, sitting there watching the game, quietly mystified that the Seahawks are trailing as we head into the 4th quarter, until before I know it the upset has taken hold and I stomp around like a giant baby for the rest of the night.

I’ll say this:  no Carson Palmer really helps.  He’s not good as it is, but he has a knack for finding a way to beat the Seahawks more than I like.  A lot has been made about how the Cards have come into Seattle and made us their bitch pretty regularly since 2012, but I don’t remember that ever happening when Palmer was out with injury.  Because it’s never happened.  The last time a non-Palmer quarterback for the Cardinals beat the Seahawks on ANY field was in Week 1 in 2012, in Russell Wilson’s very first game.  So, you know, that’s cool.

I’ll also say that I don’t fear their defense NEARLY as much without Calais Campbell locking down the middle.  That didn’t stop the Cards from sacking Russell Wilson 5 times earlier this year (though, that was the game Duane Brown injured his ankle, so I’m sure that played a large part in it).

The problem, as I see it, is that they won’t NEED Calais Campbell to shut down this Seahawks offense.  We’ve never been able to run the ball this year, but the last two weeks, we haven’t been able to throw it either.  We’ve done nothing well on offense.  You could say the Rams smashed us because they’re just better in all three phases of the game; but how does that explain how badly we struggled against the Cowboys last week?  They couldn’t stop a … thing that never moves anyway!!!

With a healthy linebacking corps, it’s hard to see the Cards running the ball very well.  All they really have to do is come in here with a conservative game plan, protect the football, and the game should keep itself close.  Make a few big conversions here and there, and it’s a recipe for another Seahawks disaster.

The wild card in this whole thing is Bruce Arians.  First, WILL he be willing to come in here with a conservative game plan?  Or, will he want to gunsling it all around the field like he always does, regardless of how inept his quarterback is?  And, second, is this actually going to be his last game in Arizona (or his last game period)?  You’d think he’d want to go out on top, but he strikes me as the type of coach who’d want to go out on his own terms, meaning coaching the game the way he’s always coached it.  If that’s the case, I like the Seahawks’ chances a lot more.

The weather doesn’t look like it’ll be a factor, which oddly enough helps the Seahawks, since Russell Wilson seemingly always shits the bed in the driving rain.  So, this game is really ripe for the taking!

Regardless of what the other teams do, in a way it’d still be cool for the Seahawks to win this one.  That’ll be 6 straight seasons with at least 10 wins, which is pretty remarkable when you think about it.  It would be a bummer to get to 10 wins and NOT make the playoffs, when we’re looking at possibly two AFC wild card teams that will have 9 wins (or one that might have 8), but if that’s the case, then so be it.  Never should’ve lost to the fucking Redskins in the first fucking place.

It’s nice when I can end these on a positive note, but I gotta be me.  And I can’t help but see the worst in damn near every situation.  That fucking game would haunt me for a long time, if the Seahawks didn’t already have too many injuries to make a serious playoff run anyway.  Why am I rooting for us to make the playoffs again?

The Thanksgiving (No More BYEs) Seattle Sports Hell Power Rankings

Everyone has officially played 10 games.  I think we all know where everyone stands, so let’s get to this.

  • Philadelphia (9-1)
  • New England (8-2)
  • New Orleans (8-2)
  • Minnesota (8-2)
  • Pittsburgh (8-2)
  • L.A. Rams (7-3)
  • Carolina (7-3)
  • Jacksonville (7-3)

I know a lot of people want to put New England right back to the top of the heap, but they’re playing well in a terrible conference.  I still legitimately think Philly is better than them right now, on both sides of the ball.  They might not lose another game the rest of the year!  I like New Orleans over the Vikings and Steelers, because I think they’ve got the full package of offense and defense, and they have a real identity.  The Steelers play down to the level of their opponents too often, and the Vikings are a quarterback controversy just waiting to happen.  Give me the Saints and that world-destroying running game.  Also, I can’t keep the Panthers or Jags out of the Top 8 anymore.  Yeah, the Jags are running The Bort out there, but that defense is legit.

  • Atlanta (6-4)
  • Detroit (6-4)
  • Seattle (6-4)
  • Kansas City (6-4)
  • Washington (4-6)
  • Tennessee (6-4)
  • Dallas (5-5)
  • L.A. Chargers (4-6)

For what it’s worth, I don’t like any of those 6-4 teams, and honestly I think both of the teams that are 4-6 could make more of a run down the stretch.  Watch out for the Chargers; I see them leapfrogging the Cowboys tomorrow afternoon.  Also, I wonder about Detroit and Atlanta; are they ready to make a run?  Or will they step right back down to Earth this week?

  • Baltimore (5-5)
  • Tampa Bay (4-6)
  • N.Y. Jets (4-6)
  • Oakland (4-6)
  • Cincinnati (4-6)
  • Buffalo (5-5)
  • Miami (4-6)
  • Houston (4-6)

I was going to put the Bills about three spots higher, but that franchise is a joke.  I honestly wonder about all of these AFC teams; I feel like they should all be better, but they keep stumbling when you least expect it.  This is going to be a HUGE week for the Bucs; they have to win in Atlanta or their season is effectively over.

  • Denver (3-7)
  • Arizona (4-6)
  • Green Bay (5-5)
  • Indianapolis (3-7)
  • Chicago (3-7)
  • N.Y. Giants (2-8)
  • San Francisco (1-9)
  • Cleveland (0-10)

Oh how the mighty Broncos have fallen.  Also, boy did the Giants pick a stupid game to win; gonna lose a Top 2 draft pick over some bullshit?  This week, we see the start of the Jimmy Garoppolo Era in San Francisco against the Seahawks.  Between the 49ers (whose coaching staff I really like, and whose 2017 draft class looked pretty impressive) and the Rams (whose coaching staff I like even more, and whose team looks like it’s going to be a contender for years to come), it looks like it could be really tough sledding in the NFC West.  Thank God for the lowly Arizona Cardinals.  Who’s going to be the next aging veteran QB they bring in to run Bruce Arians’ system?  My money is on either Alex Smith or Eli Manning, though they’ll be fools if they don’t make a run at Tyrod Taylor this offseason.

Seattle Sports Hell 2014 NFL Power Rankings – Week 6

Last week, we got into it with the defense a little bit.  Certainly, those issues are still around.  This is the second time the Seahawks have given up 30 points in a game this year; the Seahawks gave up 30 or more only once all of last year (including playoffs).  The Cowboys used the Chargers’ model of beating the Seahawks:  converting lots of third downs, running a lot of plays, churning lots of clock, and scoring touchdowns in the red zone instead of field goals.  The L.O.B. stinks right now, the defensive line is a shell of their 2013 selves, and injuries abound.  This is not a good unit and it’s looking like the prophecy was correct:  give these players big-money contracts and watch them dog it on the field.

Oh, I’m sorry, am I wrong?  Is that unfair?  Then, prove it, cuntbags!  Get out there and dominate like you’re supposed to!

Anyway, I’m through with the defense for now.  This week, we’re talking offense.

I go through ebbs and flows when it comes to listening to sports radio.  Sometimes, I have the radio on daily, sitting in my living room after work, catching up on the goings on.  Sometimes, I’ll go weeks without.  Let’s face it, sports radio can be a little irritating sometimes.

But, it’s always good to tap into the public discourse once in a while, to see what’s bothering the masses.  Sometimes, what’s bothering the masses this week is what they were falling all over themselves praising last week.  For instance, take Russell Wilson.

Last week, against the Redskins on Monday Night, Russell Wilson was the best player on the football field.  He practically single-handedly won us that game with his legs and his arms and his leg-arms (or, rather, his ability to throw while running away from immediate pressure).  He was great.  He proved once again that he’s a Top 5 quarterback in this league.

Then, six days later, against the Cowboys, Russell Wilson turned in one of the very-worst performances of his young career.  Now, all of a sudden, what makes him great – scrambling around, eluding pressure, keeping plays alive – are reasons to take him down a peg.  “He doesn’t step up into the pocket enough.”  That’s the biggest criticism I’m hearing this week on sports radio.  Instead of twirling all around, running backwards out of the pocket, he should step up into a throwing lane and make a play.

The thing is, what hardly gets acknowledged in this scenario is that quarterbacks who step up in the pocket to throw the football tend to take body-crushing hits.  Yeah, it’s macho to be that guy who “hangs in the pocket”, unleashing a perfect pass just as someone is burrowing his shoulder into your chest, but that shit adds up!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  live to fight another day.  I’d rather have Wilson scrambling all around, this way and that, vs. stepping up and getting destroyed.  That’s how ribs are broken.  That’s how hands are mashed against opposing helmets.  That’s how concussions start to ruin your life.

I hope Wilson NEVER listens to these sports radio yahoos who’ve never played a day of quarterback in their lives.  He can just keep doing what he’s doing.  For the most part, I have a lot of problems with how the offense is performing, but none of those problems involve #3.

My main problem involves the offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell.

After winning the Super Bowl last year, I tried making a pact with myself to leave the man alone.  I’ve been criticizing him pretty much from Day 1, when we were forced to go with Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback thanks to the NFL lockout.  Slowly but surely, I’ve grown to appreciate his style, as I think it meshes well with what we’re trying to do:  ground & pound.

Here’s the thing, though.  For the last couple years, Darrell Bevell has been among the top head coaching candidates in the NFL.  He’s seen Gus Bradley get his shot.  He’s heard about Dan Quinn’s impending promotion.  With winning comes great notoriety; losing teams will look towards the winning ones to find out what they’re doing that works.  More often than not, winning clubs lose their coordinators as the losers of the world hope to catch that lightning in a bottle twice.  Maybe a little Pete Carroll magic has rubbed off on so-and-so.  It’s IMPOSSIBLE to think that this thought process hasn’t wormed its way into Bevell’s brain.  What I’m arguing here is that it’s not only something that’s on his mind, but it’s something that’s affecting his job performance.

Obviously, there’s nothing that can be done and nothing that will be done at this point in the season.  Our BYE week has come and gone.  Besides that, it would be a batshit crazy overreaction to fire Darrell Bevell.  But, one has to wonder:  is he doing more harm than good?

You know what Darrell Bevell is?  He’s a U.S. Senator running for President.  He’s on his way out!  It’s only a matter of time.  In his mind, he’s checked out.  His duties as Senator no longer interest him; all he can think about now is what he’s going to do when he’s in the Oval Office.  And so, instead of doing his job, he’s spending the next year actively campaigning around the country for something better.

What do I mean by this?  It’s plainly simple.  Darrell Bevell’s job is to call the plays that work best in this team’s system.  This is a team that runs the ball.  When it’s not running the ball, it’s throwing off of play-action.  And, at least 4-5 times a game, it’s having Russell Wilson throw deep for the home run.  That is what works for this team.  That is what has worked for the last two years.  Everyone else in the league knows what we’re doing and we do it anyway.

The thing is, Darrell Bevell isn’t DOING his job.  He’s gone out and created this whole other offense based around Percy Harvin (who I’ll get to in a bit).  Fly sweeps and lateral passing and screen plays and handoffs up the middle.  Yes, Percy Harvin is a great weapon to have.  Yes, he’s among the most dangerous weapons in all of football with his speed and elusiveness.  But, you can’t forget that this team has OTHER weapons that are just as good and effective in their own ways.

Marshawn Lynch is one of the most dynamic running backs in the game.  What the FUCK is he doing only getting 10 carries in a game, EVER?  I don’t care if Dallas hogged the football through most of the first half of that game.  I don’t care if it leads to repeat 3 & Outs, you better kick off the game by handing the rock to Beastmode!  On first AND second down if you have to!

Now, I know that’s not sexy.  Handing the ball to Lynch isn’t going to get you noticed as a coordinator; but it WORKS.

And that’s just it.  To get noticed as a coordinator, you’ve got to be running a well-oiled machine of an offense.  You’ve got to have that scoreboard spinning!  You’ve got to average around 30 points per game with lots of big plays from your skill positions.  In this case:  Russell Wilson & Percy Harvin.  So, he’s forcing Wilson to force the ball to Harvin as much as possible.

When it’s working, Bevell looks like a genius.  Why did Gus Bradley get the Jacksonville job?  Because he turned around a defense that was among the very worst to one of the very best.  That’s what gets defensive coordinators jobs as head coaches.  How do offensive coordinators get jobs as head coaches?  Well, it starts at quarterback.

If Bevell can make Wilson a legit Top 5 quarterback in this league – and not the perceived Game Manager everyone thinks he is – then he will have done the impossible and he’ll have his choice of teams to head coach next year.  Russell Wilson isn’t going to shed that Game Manager label by handing the ball off to Lynch all day long; he’s got to throw the ball!  With Harvin as the team’s best weapon in the passing game, of course Bevell is going to organize the offense around his abilities!

So, that’s what we’re going to get.  The only problem is:  we’re going to get that type of offense to the detriment of the TEAM.  That’s a problem for Seahawks fans, but guess who it helps.  Guess who actually benefits if the Seahawks manage to lose a few too many games this year!  That’s right:  Darrell Bevell.  Because coordinators who make the Super Bowl don’t get hired as head coaches.  Because it takes too long, and other teams want to get a jump-start on their next seasons.  THAT’S why I think Darrell Bevell is doing more harm than good.  I’m not going to sit here and tell you that he’s actively trying to cost us ballgames.  But, I am saying that defeats aren’t going to linger with him the way they’re lingering with fans.  I’m also saying that he’s being pig-headed with this new offensive scheme and is going to stick with it – without making the necessary adjustments – for better and for worse.

Here’s what I’ll say about Harvin:  he works best as a complementary player.  A change-of-pace.  Because:

  1. You don’t want to give him the lion’s share of the touches because he might get injured.
  2. Teams know what to expect out of him after multiple viewings.

The injury thing is obvious.  He’s a small guy.  He takes vicious hits because he runs so fast and because defenders are so much bigger than he is.  But, it’s the second part that Bevell doesn’t seem to understand.

In the Super Bowl, Harvin was electric.  Why?  Because nobody had seen him play all that often in a Seahawks uniform.  They didn’t have a really good idea how we’d use him.  So, those fly sweeps went for big gains.  And, in the early going of this year, it was more of the same.  Those quick-hitters to Harvin went for big money because the Packers and Chargers didn’t know what was coming.

Now?  Teams know what we’re doing.  This isn’t college football.  You know why John Ross is so great as a Husky?  Because he’s a man among boys.  He’s an NFL player surrounded by glorified high schoolers.  All you have to do is give Ross the football and he’s going to make magic happen (evidenced by that 86-yard touchdown against Cal, which would’ve been stopped for a modest gain AT BEST in the NFL).

Harvin is a great weapon because of his usefulness as a decoy.  When we send him in motion towards the quarterback pre-snap, the defense has to be on alert:  will the Seahawks hand it off to him?  Will Wilson turn and throw it to him as he runs away from him, in sort of a swing pass?  They have to account for him, which opens up the handoff up the gut to Lynch.  That takes one guy from The Box and removes him from the play, making life easier for Beastmode and the blockers in front of him.

And yes, it’s good to get his hands on the football once in a while, in space, like a glorified handoff.  But, you’ve also got to run him out in patterns sometimes!  He’s a slot receiver; how about you fucking USE him like a slot receiver?  Run some slants with him.  Run some double-moves and get him going down field!  I know the deep passing thing isn’t his game, necessarily, but the threat has to be there!  They can’t always expect Harvin to be hovering around the line of scrimmage.

Go watch tape of Green Bay.  Go look at how they use Randall Cobb.  Make THAT part of Harvin’s game.  Let’s keep the defense on their toes.

The fact of the matter is, yeah, Bevell is getting stagnant with his scheme vis-a-vis Harvin.  And a little stubbornness going along with that stagnation.  But, that doesn’t absolve Harvin himself.  He’s making A LOT of money.  And I know his mere presence on the field as a decoy will help this offense in the long run.  But, he’s not getting all those millions of dollars to give us 22 receptions for a measly 133 yards and 0 receiving touchdowns across five football games.  He’s also not getting all those millions of dollars to give us 11 rushing attempts for 92 yards and a single rushing TD.  He needs to be doing more.  EVERYONE needs to be doing more, but Percy Harvin can never again have a fucking game where he gets the ball 6 times and has negative net yardage.  We didn’t pay him all this money to be a speedy kick return man.  Ted Ginn Jr. is out there if you want that.  Much cheaper, too.

Finally, I’ll just say this:  if you’re injured, stop playing.  Sit out.  Because you’re only making your injury worse, and you’re not functioning properly when you’re on the field.  You’re not helping!  You’re actively hurting us with your penalties and with you being constantly out of position.  I’m looking at you, Okung, and I’m looking at anyone else who’s playing injured in secret.  STOP IT!  Get well, then come back.  Don’t be Mr. Macho Man, because you’ll get no credit from me for playing through pain.  You’ll only get my scorn for making the team worse.  I know you think that You at 75% is better than someone else at 100%, but I promise you you’re wrong.  Take a seat.

***

  1. San Diego Chargers (5-1) – Could’ve used a better defensive performance in Oakland for fantasy purposes, but I suppose I can’t really hold it against them.  It’s always tough going on the road in your own division.  I still really like their body of work right now and think they match up really well with the Broncos.
  2. Denver Broncos (4-1) – Not for nothing, but they get dinged a little bit (and therefore stuck in the #2 spot) because they lost to the Seahawks, who REALLY aren’t as good as I thought they were.
  3. Seattle Seahawks (3-2) – I’m not willing to dump the Seahawks much farther than this spot right now, though – because I think a lot of teams are iffy at this point – but a few more injuries and unexpected defeats will surely plummet them quick.
  4. San Francisco 49ers (4-2) – And they’re only going to get better as the season goes on, with their injured guys returning and their later BYE week.
  5. Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) – I can’t believe how fast people jumped off their bandwagon this week.  SO MANY pundits took the Giants.  Just when you start to believe the Eagles’ offense is in a slump, they bust out.  Let that be a lesson.
  6. Dallas Cowboys (5-1) – As advertised:  one of the best offensive lines in all of football.  Limit Romo’s opportunities and you’ll limit his mistakes.  Simple Fucking Equation.
  7. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1-1) – The defense is starting to mess me up in the head a little bit.
  8. Detroit Lions (4-2) – Frankly, the offense is starting to mess me up in the head a little bit.
  9. Indianapolis Colts (4-2) – Just Colts being Colts.
  10. Green Bay Packers (4-2) – Nice little underrated win, going down to Miami to steal one.
  11. Baltimore Ravens (4-2) – If only Flacco could play that well every week, he’d be a cinch for the Hall of Fame.
  12. New England Patriots (4-2) – Death, taxes, and the Patriots beating the Bills.
  13. Arizona Cardinals (4-1) – I’m beginning to think the NFC West – aside from the Rams – has the best collection of coaching staffs in all of football.  I don’t know what sort of voodoo Bruce Arians practices; I just know I don’t want to get on his bad side.
  14. Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) – I dunno, they had a BYE week.  Hard to look good on your BYE week, when better teams around you are kicking ass and taking names.
  15. New Orleans Saints (2-3) – They’re out of my Top 10.  Smell you later, Saints.  Smell you later forever!
  16. Chicago Bears (3-3) – Yeah, good luck going up against the Lions and Packers; you’ve got no shot at the division.
  17. Carolina Panthers (3-2-1) – What was once considered – by me – as possibly being the best division in football, the NFC South is now one of the worst?  Lump them in with their AFC counterparts and the South in general is just a fucked up pile of shit.  HEY, WAIT A MINUTE!
  18. Cleveland Browns (3-2) – Haha, Steelers.
  19. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3) – Ha. Ha.
  20. New York Giants (3-3) – Poor Eli.
  21. Houston Texans (3-3) – Poor J.J.
  22. Atlanta Falcons (2-4) – I place them below the Texans because their offensive line is horrendous.  And if they ever went up against J.J. Watt, Matt Ryan would cease to be.
  23. Miami Dolphins (2-3) – Making me look bad, Dolphins!  You don’t want to see me when I’m angry.
  24. Buffalo Bills (3-3) – This is a frisky little team, but all the used-up, washed-out white quarterbacks in the world won’t help them make the playoffs.
  25. Washington Redskins (1-5) – I just learned this week that they have only one win and not two.  Because I pay attention to detail and have a solid awareness of what’s going on in the world.
  26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-5) – What the hell is up with this defense?  This is borderline offensive(!).
  27. New York Jets (1-5) – They’re going to have a mighty housecleaning if they don’t get improved quarterback play pretty soon.
  28. Minnesota Vikings (2-4) – This offense is a mess.  I think Norv has used up all his magic beans.
  29. St. Louis Rams (1-4) – Pretty tall order for a rookie quarterback to go up against the 49ers on Monday Night.
  30. Tennessee Titans (2-4) – You move up no spots because all you did was beat the fucking Jags.
  31. Oakland Raiders (0-5) – You move up one spot in the rankings because you’re not the Jags.
  32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6) – Fuck you, Jags!  You’re supposed to be BETTER than this right now!  How many years in a row are you going to lead the league in being the 32nd-ranked team in the NFL?  Moreover, who ever told you that you could work with men?

Seahawks Make Cardinals Their Bitch

For starters, I’ll tell you this much:  I don’t know why ANY home team would ever choose to take the ball first if they won the coin toss.  Seems to me, you’d want to get your defense on the field, get the crowd into it, and put the fear of God into your opponents.  Likewise, if you’re a team like Arizona, there is absolutely no excuse, I don’t care if Bruce Arians is an offensively-minded head coach.  That Cardinals team has a freakish D-Line.  That Cardinals team also has a fucking TERRIBLE offense!  You gotta play to your strengths when you’re going up against a clearly superior team!  And your strengths last night were being at home and flaunting that defense.

Now, that having been said, maybe it wouldn’t have mattered.  Those first two drives by the Seahawks were as easy as it gets.  We haven’t seen that kind of early-game efficiency by this team since the LAST time we played the Cardinals.  And for a while there, it looked like we were going to see a repeat of the 58-0 drubbing; but of course it’s never that easy on the road.

Once we set out on that 14-point lead, my concerns over this game sort of washed away.  Having Seattle’s defense in fantasy still kept me interested in the specific goings on, but as Arizona pulled closer, I could only find myself getting more and more irritated.

The first Russell Wilson fumble was squarely on him.  He held onto the ball WAY too long.  Then again, at that point in the game, it seemed like we had a semi-good thing going for us on the ground; why didn’t we just run the ball?  It was close enough to the end of the first half that we could have stood to run some of the clock, but what are you gonna do?  Our opponent has gotten a cheap, pre-halftime touchdown the last two weeks now.

The other two Russell Wilson fumbles (one recovered by us, one not) were not his fault at ALL.  Our offensive tackles were getting whipped like this was a re-creation of Roots!  For my money, Paul McQuistan can’t return to his rightful position of left guard fast enough (or on the bench entirely, depending on the health of Pancakes Carpenter).  Michael Bowie, I will admit, has shown some improvement since he was inserted into the lineup, but he took a huge step back last night as our resident red-headed stepchild.  I’m not as convinced as some that he’s destined to be Breno Giacomini’s permanent replacement.

There were too many free runs at Russell Wilson.  That’s my point.  Either by design (leaving a defender unblocked in hopes to make a big run & catch out on the flat) or because someone was beat.  No quarterback can take the kind of pounding Wilson has been taking in recent weeks and expect that he’s going to play a full 19 games.  I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but it seems like Wilson has been hit A LOT more than he was last year.  This is a nasty trend that needs to curb itself real quick.

On the flipside, our defense was OUTSTANDING last night.  Kam Chancellor had what I think is probably the most beastly play I’ve ever seen.  Earl Thomas had another one of his soaring, diving interceptions.  Brandon Browner could have absolutely made my night until he fell for no good God damn reason at the two yard line on his would-be pick-six.  Richard Sherman was more wide receiver than defensive back.  K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith were all over the field, blitzing, filling gaps to stop the run.  Tony McDaniel tossed that left guard down like a ragdoll and ate Carson Palmer for dinner a light snack.  And the rest of our line got enough consistent pressure that Palmer really had no time to do much of anything.

This was the type of D-Line performance everyone envisioned when we signed guys like Avril and Bennett.  A pass rush consisting of those two guys, with Clemons on the other side and Bruce Irvin coming from the strong-side linebacker spot.  It only works when we’re able to stop the run, and last night we really proved our worth.  Big Red, Mebane, and Clinton McDonald were a total madhouse!  Arizona got all of 30 yards on the ground, and it’s not like they abandoned it because they were so far behind.  18 attempts, for a whopping 1.7 yard average.  Their longest run was 6 yards!

Not that their passing was that much better.  The game was 34-16 before the defense went into Prevent Mode (should have been 34-9, but that first Wilson fumble set them up at the 3 yard line, for the easy punch-in).  Obviously, when Carson Palmer is facing a bunch of 3-man fronts, with the DBs playing off the line, he’s going to get his garbage-time points.  That’s his M.O.  Carson Palmer’s futility puts his team in a huge hole, then in the end he generates a couple of long drives to put up his numbers, and voila!  258 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs.  Against any other team, he probably would’ve had 358, 2 TDs, and 3 INTs, but essentially that’s the prototypical Carson Palmer Game now.

For my Players of the Game, I’m going to start with Marshawn Lynch, who had his usual bruising, feisty game.  91 yards against that front seven is nothing to sneeze at.

I thought Zach Miller really opened things up for us and was our Glue Guy on offense.  He caught a smattering of balls with defenders in Wilson’s face, he occupied the middle and allowed our receivers to run freer than they normally would.  He even got in there and played some fullback when Derrick Coleman went down!

Malcolm Smith deserves to be singled out.  He’s thrust into a starting role as our weakside linebacker with the injury to Bobby Wagner (K.J. moved to Wagner’s spot).  With Smith being as capable as he was, it allowed Wright to do his thing and you wouldn’t even know that we were missing our leading tackler from last season!  Smith really filled up the stat sheet too, leading the team with 9 tackles (2 for loss), a sack, a pass defended, a QB hit, and a number of QB hurries.  When you think of quality depth on this team, you don’t just have to think about our secondary.  We’ve got it everywhere in this defense.  Malcolm Smith is the embodiment of that.

The L.O.B. still gets credit for being amazing.  I can’t say it enough.  Chancellor was a man possessed out there.  Earl got his pick and was all over the field as usual.  Sherman locked down his man and nearly got a pick of his own.  And Browner really made up for his performance last week, even though he fell down on that return.

Finally, what can I say about Russell Wilson that hasn’t already been said?  We were 7 for 12 on third downs and a big reason for that was Wilson and his decision-making.  Yeah, there were a few fumbles, but for the most part you’re talking about the exact type of game we want out of him.  And if you blame him for losing the football when there’s a man behind him as soon as he’s finished with his drop, then you’re a tool who’s just looking for something to be argumentative about.  I’m looking at you, Softy.  STAY OUT OF MALIBU, SOFTY!

Much Ado About Matt Flynn

Even though we’re still in the doldrums of the local sports calendar, I’m planning on ramping down the Seahawks posts (until, of course, something important happens), because GET OVER IT ALREADY!  The season’s over!  Move on!

But, since today is Friday, and I ain’t got shit-else to do, I thought I’d come back on here and blather on about Matt Flynn for a few hundred words.

Alex Smith was just traded from our most-direct rival for a king’s ransom.  Yay.  Rumors abound, but it appears they’re getting a very-high 2nd round pick in this year’s draft, and another similar pick in next year’s draft.  So, don’t start counting those divisional winning chickens just yet, Seahawks fans!  The 49ers have a pretty damn good front office too.

Everybody wants to know what this means for the Seahawks.  After all, we’re in a very similar situation with a backup quarterback making a lot more money than the younger starting quarterback (with the obvious difference being that Alex Smith has extensive starting experience, while Matt Flynn started two games).  Obviously, Alex Smith is worth more – even though we were writing him off no less than two years ago as a total and complete bust – because he was able to generate some semblance of a successful season in 2011 (and, like, half a successful season in 2012 before being benched).  So, don’t come around here expecting the Seahawks to fleece some team out of its 2nd round draft pick, because that just ain’t happening!

Nobody wanted Matt Flynn last offseason, so what makes you think they suddenly want him now?

He came here as a highly-touted backup, involved with a championship organization in Green Bay, yet he still couldn’t beat out a 3rd round rookie draft pick.  Now, you can say what you want about the circumstances surrounding that whole ordeal; personally I think the coaching staff was looking for every reason to give the job to Russell Wilson (as opposed to this highly-popular theory the Seahawks are spreading around, that Wilson simply went out there and “took” the job). 

It says a lot about what the league thinks about Matt Flynn – when you really sit down and think about it – when you consider how reasonable his contract was when he first signed it.  This was pre-draft, mind you.  There were a number of teams out there (like Miami, like Washington, like Indianapolis, like Cleveland, like Arizona) who could’ve used an upgrade at the quarterback position.  Yet, the Seahawks were able to sign him for a modest 3-year deal for around $20 mil, with only $10 million guaranteed.  Now, why is that?  Were teams scared off from the Kevin Kolb fiasco in Arizona?  Or, for that matter, the Charlie Whitehurst experiment in Seattle?  There’s no denying it:  it’s a HUGE risk to just turn over your franchise to an inexperienced backup, just as it is to turn it over to a rookie.  Either way you slice it, if he doesn’t have real game experience, then you absolutely can’t know what you have in a player.  Pre-season doesn’t count.  A spot start every other year doesn’t count.

So, this is pretty much the same exact player who was signed as a free agent last year.  Except now, he’s going to cost a team at least a draft pick, if not two.  He’s another year older, AND he has a potential arm issue (tendonitis, or some damn thing, which kept him out of that fateful pre-season game against Kansas City last year).  Oh boy, I can see the teams lining up for MILES to trade for this guy!

The question remains:  what could the Seahawks reasonably expect to get back from a guy like Flynn?  Well, considering the market, not bloody much.  Our biggest hope has to be that Gus Bradley absolutely fell in love with the guy and is willing to do whatever it takes to bring him to Jacksonville.  Failing that, you’re not dealing him to the Jets unless you want a Tebow in return (no thanks).  You’re not dealing him to the Raiders because they have too much capital invested in the quarterback position, in terms of both dollars and draft picks squandered.  You’re not dealing him to the Chiefs because they just traded for Smith.  You’re not dealing him to Arizona, because they’re not dumb enough to fall for that same trick twice (and because he’s not the type of quarterback Bruce Arians likes).  You’re not dealing him to Miami because they JUST drafted a guy, and they kinda like their guy.  You’re not dealing him to Cleveland for the same reason.  Ditto Tennessee.  You’re not dealing him to Buffalo because they just re-signed Tarvar and are inviting him to compete for the starting job.  You’re not dealing him to Philly because they re-worked Mike Vick’s contract.  It’s Jacksonville or bust!  What kind of market is that?  You’re not playing one team against the other, because there ISN’T any other (and there might not even be AH team).

If the best case scenario is Gus Bradley losing his mind, then the most realistic scenario is:  the Seahawks get a 6th or 7th round pick in return for a straight-up salary dump.

Which would be pointless.  You’re looking at a team well under the cap.  You’re looking at a team that won’t cut Flynn because they wouldn’t save enough money to counter the fact that they’d still need to sign a backup quarterback, because SURPRISE:  they HAVE no other backup quarterbacks!

What you’re going to get is another year with Matt Flynn as the backup, of which I am TOTALLY in favor.  Why go to these extreme lengths to trade Flynn for nothing, then sign another veteran to be a backup when you’ve already GOT the veteran backup, he knows the system, and he works well with Russell Wilson?  Not only that, but he’s still got that fire and hunger to be a starting quarterback, so he’s going to do nothing but push Russell Wilson to be even BETTER.  It’s win/win all around.

So can we PRETTY PLEASE, with sugar on top, stop fucking talking about a potential Matt Flynn trade?  It’s making me crazy.  Do the math:  it’s NOT FUCKING HAPPENING.