YOUR Disappointing 2015 Seattle Seahawks

For the record, this season would be so much more easier to digest if the Seahawks had just beaten the Rams.

This team isn’t worthless.  Indeed, there are a lot of really good pieces on the Seahawks.  That’s why they were rated so high coming into the season, that’s why a lot of Vegas odds had them as the favorites to win it all.  But, I don’t much feel like praising the praise-worthy today.  I feel like getting down into the muck and ragging on the guys who aren’t doing their jobs quite as well.

And, I’m going to start with Bruce Irvin.  HOW MANY FUCKING TIMES do I have to watch him go one-on-one against another team’s left tackle, only to watch Irvin get fucking stonewalled every fucking time?  I don’t know where his pass-rushing ranks, compared to others at his position, because I refuse to pay for a subscription to Pro Football Focus, but I know he does a good amount of going after the quarterback, and all he’s gotten for us is 18 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 1 tackle for loss.

Remember how high our hopes were for him?  Bruce Irvin is playing on the final year of his contract.  Bruce Irvin bulked up to get stronger, while still preserving his speed.  Bruce Irvin was slighted by the team – who refused to pick up his 2016 Option Year for millions upon millions of dollars – and was supposed to use that to fuel a career-defining season of dominance!  Instead, the Seahawks are looking pretty savvy in not picking up his option!  I know the salary cap probably dictated the bulk of that decision, but if we’re going to continue to get fucking nothing out of this guy, I’d rather pay a lot less to a rookie and get similar (or probably a lot BETTER) production.  It’s been 5 games, Irvin.  It’s time to make an impact.

It’s even more disappointing, because Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril truly ARE having career years.  It may not show up in the sack totals (they have 5.0 sacks combined), but reports indicate they’re the most effective pass-rushing defensive ends in a 4-3 defense.  And, they certainly pass the eye test, as they’re almost constantly in the quarterback’s face the entire game.

Moving along, let’s talk about Richard Sherman.  I’m not going to say he’s been bad, but teams sure don’t seem to be afraid to throw his way this year.  And, teams are certainly completing more passes in his direction.  Hold that thought, because I’m not done with the secondary.

Earl Thomas.  He had a pretty fantastic interception yesterday to prevent a scoring drive and help initiate one for the Seahawks.  But, other than that, I’ve yet to see Earl Thomas take over a game the way we’ve all seen him take over games before.  Is he still favoring that shoulder?  Is he a little more cautious this year, in an attempt to stay healthy?  Again, hold that thought.

Kam Chancellor.  Yeah, it was fun to get you back for the Bears.  Shutting them out was nothing special, but that was a nice soft landing for someone who missed the entire training camp and pre-season.  And, yeah, you punched that ball out of Calvin Johnson’s hands to preserve our victory against the Lions on Monday Night.  But, I’m going to need to see this kind of effort on the road.  What the fuck happened on those two identical touchdown plays to Tyler Eifert?  If he’s not your responsibility, then you need to make sure you’ve got someone to cover him up the field!

Remember when our secondary, the Legion of Boom, would make good quarterbacks look mediocre, and would make mediocre quarterbacks look like they belonged in the CFL?

  • Nick Foles – 297 yards, 67% completions, 1 TD, 0 INT, 115.8 rating
  • Aaron Rodgers – 249 yards, 76% completions, 2 TDs, 0 INT, 116.9 rating
  • Matthew Stafford – 203 yards, 69% completions, 0 TDs, 0 INT, 83.4 rating
  • Andy Dalton – 331 yards, 68% completions, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 95.9 rating

If you throw out the scrub the Bears had to start due to injuries, the Seahawks are making all of these guys look like MVPs every damn week!  Where are the interceptions?  Where are the passes defended?  Quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Andy Dalton used to have the worst games of their careers against the Seahawks.  Now, it’s like we’ve been figured out.  Either that, or we’ve got a secondary full of guys getting paid a lot of money, and they’re no longer hungry like they were when they were on their first contracts.

YOU CAN’T ONLY BE GOOD AT HOME!  Defense should play well anywhere, not just in front of the 12s.  This team had a 17-point lead in the 4th quarter and gave it all away.  It shouldn’t matter what plays Darrell Bevell calls!  You get mad at him when he runs the ball, but if we spent the entire 4th quarter throwing it and having passes land incomplete, you would’ve killed him for not running out enough clock!  Face it, be mad at Bevell all you want, but he’s not the reason we lost this game.  This team ran for 200 fucking yards!  For once, we can’t even blame the offensive line, because they played a relatively clean game!  AND, we won the turnover battle!  This team SHOULD HAVE won the game, but the defense fucked it all away.

It’s inexcusable that the defense should lose a 17-point lead.  And you can look at certain underperforming members of this defense as a big part of the reason why we’re nowhere near as dominant as we’ve been in recent seasons.

The Seahawks Face The Lions On Monday Night

With no Seahawks game on Sunday, I’m free to obsess about my fantasy football team, who’s already in a deep, dark hole thanks to Steve Smith getting injured in last night’s slugfest between the Ravens and Steelers.  In an effort to distract myself from what will surely be the first loss of many for Catalina Wine Mixer, I’ll try to focus on the real, important game on Monday night.

The Lions come to town!  Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, the return of Golden Tate, a criminally underused running game, a Suh-less defense.  It should actually be a pretty entertaining contest, even though the oddsmakers are predicting a Seahawks blowout.

What we’ve got going for us is that their offensive line is also a total and complete mess, hence why they struggle rushing the ball even though they’ve got an exciting rookie runner in Ameer Abdullah.  The Seahawks SHOULD have little trouble keeping their ground attack at bay once again, while at the same time generating significant pressure on their quarterback.  The fact that this is being played in Seattle only bolsters that argument.

What we’ve also got going for us is that their defense isn’t anything special.  So, in short, what I’m telling you is that this is pretty much every single Detroit Lions team we’ve ever seen since Barry Sanders retired.  Haloti Ngata is a big ol’ widebody and might pose some challenges to our running game.  But, he’s a significant step down from Ndamukong Suh in every way there is to be a defensive tackle, so I’m not too worried.  My worry MAY increase if Marshawn Lynch is sidelined again, but I liked what I saw from Rawls last week.  And, of course, the real question is whether our O-Line is improved enough to handle even a mediocre defense that the Lions may throw at us.  Don’t be shocked if, yet again, our offense starts slowly and frustrates for most of the first half.

Let me put it this way:  if I’m in a sportsbook while this game is going on, I’d put a large wager on the Seahawks being down at halftime (or, at the very least, not covering the halftime spread), parlayed with the Under.  Then, at half, hit up the sportsbook to bet the Seahawks to cover and the game to just crack the Over.  It’s a risky bet, but if I’ve seen any Seahawks games the last few years, I think it’s a winning one.

From everyone I’ve read, this game (more than most) should hinge on turnovers.  Matthew Stafford is a slob with the football, throwing interceptions like he’s dropping a plate full of spaghetti & meatballs on my God damned brand new carpet!  On the flip, the Seahawks have 0 interceptions and only 4 recovered fumbles in the first three games.  I wouldn’t worry about our defense in the creating-turnovers regard (the Bears were playing offensive football like old people fuck, and the Packers are the Packers and Aaron Rodgers doesn’t get picked off at home), but I think it’s also a little misguided to just expect the Seahawks to pick off Stafford 2-3 times in this game.

You know what you get with a game in Seattle.  You know you have to be extra extra EXTRA careful with the football, or you’re going to get steamrolled.  You also know that you’re most likely not going to connect on anything deep (especially when you can’t get Michael Bennett to jump offsides due to all the crowd noise).  So, as we’ve seen with almost everyone who’s played against us, expect a lot of shorter throws to open receivers.  Expect Stafford to complete a high percentage of those throws, leading to a lot of 2nd/3rd & shorts.  If we get any picks, then either Matthew Stafford is a complete moron (which, you know, don’t rule it out), or more likely the ball was probably tipped up into the air.

Either way, turnovers or no turnovers, this is still a dangerous Lions offense.  Yes, they’re 0-3, but they had to go all the way out to San Diego in week 1, then they had to go on the road to Minnesota in week 2, and they had to face the Broncos at home last week.  The Chargers are like the Lions in a lot of ways, with the Lions blowing a huge lead in the second half thanks to some shoddy defense.  The Vikings are probably better than we all expected, and they’ve got an up & coming defense that should carry them pretty far this year (at least in the hunt for a Wild Card).  And, the Broncos have one of the best defenses in football.  It’s going to take an A-Game out of our defense to match what the Broncos were able to do last week.

I’ll be really interested to see how the Seahawks look in this one.  So far, we’ve looked like crap for the first two weeks (albeit, on the road, and without a full defense), then we played probably the worst football team in the league last week at home.  This will be a good test to see where we are.  Are we closer to the teams who botched it on the road?  Or, are we closer to the dominant force we saw who shut out the Bears?  This game could go a long way towards shedding some light on how good this team really is.  If we blow it at home and fall to 1-3, we are in SEVERE trouble.  But, if we win – even in a close, ugly game – I’ll feel a lot more comfortable about our chances going forward.

As it stands, I’m pretty confident the Seahawks will prevail.  I’m sensing that this will be one of those standout Russell Wilson performances we tend to see so much in primetime games.  I wouldn’t even be shocked if we see a 300-yard passing/100-yard rushing day out of our quarterback, with the wealth spread out generously among Graham, Baldwin, Kearse, and Lockett.

Shut The Fuck Up About Jimmy Graham Not Getting The Ball Enough

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m more concerned about the Seahawks being 0-2 (and how that’s a hole you don’t necessarily want to be in) than I am about a lack of production out of Jimmy Graham.  It’s like, have you SEEN the Seahawks play football before?  Are you not totally aware by now that they like to spread the ball around to as many receivers as possible?  And, when they’re not doing that, they’re trying to run the ball as much as possible because they have one of the best running backs in the game?

HELLO!  Anybody home?

I’m sure everyone (like myself) found their assholes clench up a little bit when they heard reports this week about Jimmy Graham being upset about not getting the ball enough.  But, what is that really?  Just another diva playing the role of Squeaky Wheel in an attempt to have the quarterback look his way more the following week.  It’s been this way since the dawn of time (or, I suppose, whenever Michael Irvin came into the league).  He’s not going to hold out, he’s not going to start pulling himself out of games or start picking fights with teammates like Percy Harvin.  Because he’s got too much pride and self respect to act the fool like a certain ex-Seahawk.  Jimmy Graham wants to win football games, whereas Harvin wants everyone to pay attention to him and kiss his ass like a spoiled brat.

What are the Seahawks doing?  What could they possibly be thinking?  Oh, I don’t know, how about not getting into a situation like the one we were in this time last year!  Is September of 2014 really too far back to remember?  Well, here’s a refresher:  all we heard about in the off-season and pre-season heading into last year was how Darrell Bevell was configuring the offense to showcase the unique talents of one Percy Harvin.  In the first game against the Packers, it was a phenomenal success.  The Pack had no answer for him, through the air or on fly sweeps.  It looked like a brilliant marriage.  The following week, he had a couple big plays against the Chargers in a losing effort, but only 1 reception on offense.  Things deteriorated to the point where we had the Dallas debacle, followed by him being traded that week, and the rest is history.

In case you’ve forgotten, the Seahawks’ offense looked pretty mediocre after that game against the Packers last year.  That is, until Harvin was let go and we stopped force-feeding him the ball all the time on all those fucking bubble screens that were progressively less effective every time we used them.

You really have to ask yourself:  do you want the Seahawks’ offense to perform at its most efficient and effective?  Or, do you want Russell Wilson to throw the ball to Jimmy Graham 12 times a game, regardless of whether he’s wide open or in triple-coverage?

Look, sometimes, the option just won’t be available.  Sometimes, Graham will be covered too well, either by one defender or multiple.  Sometimes, the pressure will get to Wilson too fast, resulting in him having to run for his life, while the opportunity to throw to an open Graham goes by the wayside.  And, shit, sometimes Wilson just won’t see him, because there isn’t a good passing lane and he’s not 6’5.  But, just because Graham is on the Seahawks doesn’t mean he’s going to turn into a poor man’s Anthony McCoy.  He’s GOING to get his opportunities.  I’d just rather he get them in the natural flow of the offense.

I’d also like the offense to design quality plays to effectively get him open and involved in mismatches, but that’s another issue entirely.

And another thing:  we’re two games in.  Not only that, but it’s not like Graham has gotten NOTHING thus far in these two games.  Against the Rams, he had 6 catches on 8 targets, for 51 yards and a touchdown.  For a tight end, on this team, that’s an amazing fucking day!  If he expects anything more than that on a regular basis, then his thinking heading into this season was probably WAY out of whack!  Yes, against the Packers, he had 1 catch on 2 targets, and that’s not what you want out of your top pass-catching weapon.  But, at the same point, is that something we’ve never seen anywhere else?  Look at #1 receivers all around the league, from Julio Jones to Calvin Johnson to … well, not Antonio Brown, but MOST receivers have a shit day every now and then.  It happens!  One game out of two is not a sign that the Seahawks don’t know what the fuck they’re doing with Graham.  It just means – as I said above – that the Packers did a good job covering him, and Wilson didn’t have an opportunity to get him the ball when they weren’t covering him so well.  Shit happens, get over it.

Winning football games is all that matters.  Not how well Graham performs for your fantasy football team.  If you didn’t have enough sense to stay the fuck away from drafting Jimmy Graham, then you only have yourselves to blame.

Are The Seahawks Building The Right Way?

The 2013 Seahawks were something of a unicorn, the likes of which come around maybe once in a generation.  The sheer volume of talent, the number of superstars on their first contracts, the way we were able to stockpile depth on top of depth; the 2013 Seahawks could’ve had an outbreak of smallpox and still come away with enough talent to do some real playoff damage.

Since then, we’ve seen 9 guys get paid, with Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner next on the list.  While there was certainly a challenge in getting the talent level to where it was and where it currently is, the REAL challenge begins now:  how do we keep producing a winner when we’re forced to pay our top tier quarterback like a top tier quarterback?

It’s going to happen.  Maybe this year, maybe next year, maybe the year after that, but EVENTUALLY, we’re going to give Wilson the contract he deserves.  And, with Wagner possibly commanding upwards of $10 million per season on average, we have a good idea of who the Haves are in reference to the Have Nots on this team.  In essence, we know how this team is being built.

It obviously starts with the quarterback.  Elsewhere, we’ve got a large chunk of money going to Marshawn Lynch for as long as he wants to remain a Seahawk.  Jimmy Graham – while he won’t cost us a cent in dead money if we cut him – still counts an average of $9 million per year against our cap in base salary.  The other major expense is Russell Okung on the final year of his deal.  One would think if you’re going to pay ANYONE on the offensive line, it would be your Pro Bowl left tackle.  But, with the way this team is constructed, Okung might be too rich for our blood.

For, you see, the defense is really taking the lion’s share of the cap space.  Richard Sherman is our top cap hit until Wilson signs.  Avril, Bennett, and Thomas all make bank; Chancellor and Wright are more reasonable chunks of money.  And, Mebane is on the final year that sees him making $5.5 million.  When Wagner ultimately gets his, it’s going to mean a lot of changes in 2016 and beyond.

For starters, you have to imagine Bruce Irvin is gone after 2015.  The Seahawks can ill afford to make the same mistake they made under Holmgren, by overpaying for all three linebacker spots.  Wagner’s a stud, obviously you lock him down for the long haul.  But, as far as I’m concerned, you can go replacement level on the other two linebacker spots and get by just fine.  Wright is a luxury who’s not killing us in the cap, but he also might want to watch his back in a year or two, especially if the injury bug strikes again.

To be honest, though, I don’t really have a problem with any of the high-contract guys we’ve got right now.  I like pouring money into the secondary and pass rush.  I like the idea of replacement guys along the interior of the line, while continuing to develop younger guys on the outside.  And on offense, as you can see from the last three years, if you have a truly mobile quarterback who’s also accurate and looking more to throw the ball than tuck & run, you can get by while skimping on the offensive line.  What the Cowboys are doing with their O-Line is great and everything, but it tends to all fall apart once the injury bug hits (which it inevitably always does).  I’d rather do what the Seahawks do:  find value late in the draft, and cheap among free agents, then train them at multiple positions so you have a contingency when guys get hurt.

Beyond that, while I wouldn’t normally be crazy about making the running back one of your biggest cap hits, Marshawn Lynch isn’t just any running back.  When he leaves, I think the Seahawks would be better served going with a committee of young, cheap backs.  But, as long as Lynch is around, you pay that man until he can’t carry this offense on his back anymore.  Separately, I think too much is made of having elite, #1-type receivers.  If you go back the last 10 years and look at all the Super Bowl winners, who are the truly elite receivers on those teams?  I would argue even with the Packers, Colts, and Saints when they won, it was more about their Hall of Fame quarterbacks than it was about any of the receivers they were throwing to (would the likes of Marvin Harrison, Jordy Nelson, or Marques Colston be as great as we think they are if Kyle Orton was throwing to them?).  The bottom line is:  if your quarterback is good enough, he should be able to make the receivers around him better than they are.  I think Russell Wilson is that type of guy.  Hell, he’s helped make the careers of Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and Ricardo Lockette, and he almost single-handedly made Chris Matthews the MVP of the Super Bowl had we ended up winning!


So, what should the Seahawks do going forward?

Well, I don’t have as great of a grasp on the cap as others, so I’ll stick with the broad strokes.  For starters, pay Russell Wilson his money.  I want quarterback locked down for the duration.  Keep paying Marshawn Lynch as long as he’s in his prime, then make the tough cut if it looks like he’s done.  Same thing goes for Jimmy Graham; keep him until he breaks down.  Of the entire veteran wide receiver group, I think Doug Baldwin is the only indispensable one, but at the same time I need him to want to be here on modest contracts.  I can’t justify paying Baldwin anywhere near Calvin Johnson money, so if he’s looking to get the type of touches someone requires to show he’s worth #1 receiver money, then he better sign on with the Packers or some other pass-wacky team.  But, Baldwin’s leadership and rapport with Wilson is something you just can’t quantify on the stat sheet.  If he’s willing, keep him around and keep bringing in undrafted receivers for him to mold in his own image.

Or, keep drafting guys like Tyler Lockett, because I think he’s going to be the stud of studs.

Along the O-Line, as long as Tom Cable is here, I think you try to skimp as much as you can.  ((as a quick aside, I really think they need to keep Cable here long term, even if it means guaranteeing him the head coaching job when Pete Carroll eventually retires or moves on)).  I’m not against Okung coming back, but his deal better be incentive-based, because he’s ALWAYS missing games!  At this point, I’d almost rather the team extend Sweezy with Okung’s future money, because I think when it’s all said and done, Sweezy will be one of the better right guards we’ve ever had.  As far as tight end goes, I don’t mind giving your top dog a good-sized contract – if he truly is a top dog.  After that, I think you can skimp on your 2nd & 3rd tight ends and get by just fine.

Defensively, if you can hack it, give at least two pass rushers good-sized contracts.  Michael Bennett is as good as it gets.  Cliff Avril is a solid number 2.  What’s interesting here is what Bruce Irvin does in his contract year.  I wonder if he’s going to ball-out in hopes of getting a big-money deal.  Part of me hopes he does, even though I’m already on record as saying this team can’t afford to pay all three linebackers.  See, there’s an outside chance that if the team wants to extend Irvin, they’d have to get rid of Avril – who can be cut without any serious penalty if they drop him within the first few days of the offseason.  I’m of the opinion that as long as Irvin really wants it, he can be one of the greats, and his prime is still a few years away yet.  We’ve only seen Irvin in years 1-3; I could see his best years being years 5-8 (again, if he really wants to be great; I think it’s all mental with him at this point, because he’s got the physical gifts).  Let’s face it, Avril will be 30 next year; will his skillset age all that well?  I’m willing to go out on a limb and say Irvin will be vastly more valuable in the next four years.

For the interior, I think the Seahawks need to make a better effort in drafting Mebane’s replacement next year.  I don’t mind bringing in veterans on smallish deals to plug & play, and I don’t mind these young projects we’ve got at tackle.  But, I think we really need to go after a young stud in the draft very soon to keep our run-stuffing continuity going.

At linebacker, play it out.  Wagner deserves to be here for the rest of his career.  Wright should never break the bank.  Irvin’s spot should be filled by a younger player (especially if Irvin moves back to LEO end should he be extended).

In the secondary, do what you’ve been doing.  The L.O.B. is Earl, Kam, and Sherm.  Plug that opposite cornerback spot with a modestly-priced veteran or a toolsy draft choice.  Let the coaching staff do what it’s been brought here to do and mold young players into starters.

And finally, whatever you do, don’t skimp on your special team specialists.  Everyone thinks punter is a great way to shave off some cap space, until you land on an inexperienced guy who keeps giving away huge chunks of field position.  Same goes for kicker:  Oh, just bring in anybody, it’s fine!  Yeah, and then you lose a few heartbreakers because your kicker can’t handle the pressure, then you’re bringing in guys mid-season to compete, and ultimately it costs you come playoff time.  I’ve seen it a thousand times.

Seattle Sports Hell 2014 NFL Power Rankings – Week 12

Get a load of this clown and then come on back.

If you give two shits about Marshawn Lynch not talking to the media, then you either need to find some more meaningful shit to do with your life, or you’re a self-righteous, self-important member of the media who needs to find some more meaningful shit to do with your life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying ALL members of the media are pompous windbags who start immediately sniffing their own farts once they smugly turn in one of their articles or click “Publish” on their blog posts.  Indeed, I enjoy the works of many of our local beat writers and such.  And I’m sure they’d LIKE it if Lynch would talk more, and give more satisfying answers to their questions – Lynch is a unique person and as a fan, I’m sure I’d be endlessly entertained if I had the opportunity to sit around and bullshit with Beastmode – but they understand Lynch’s stance of not talking to the media.

It’s when you start talking about these national guys and gals.  The people who survived the struggle of local sports coverage and really “made it” in the bigtime.  These people who think it’s their job to police everything media related, even when they only have about a quarter of the actual story.  The same people who read a misleading headline and automatically label Lynch as disgruntled without any insider knowledge whatsoever.  They like to make you BELIEVE they have all this insider info, but few of them ever do.

Here’s the lo-down, from what I can tell:  one of these members of the national media tattled on Lynch, because he wasn’t talking to anyone after games.  The NFL, in turn, fined Lynch for continuing to not talk (after a brief reprieve on Media Day during Super Bowl week earlier this year).  As such, hoping not to be fined further, Lynch sat down and gave a ridiculous Q&A session to some reporters around his locker after the game last week.

Were Lynch’s actions juvenile?  Yes.  But, that’s because the NFL’s actions – and the media’s REACTION – towards this whole thing is fucking disgraceful.

I understand the rules the NFL sets out.  If you play in the NFL, you have to abide by the rules, or else you’ll get punished.  In this case, the punishment is in fines collected.  Considering he’s a millionaire, I’m sure he can afford it, so don’t think I’m sitting here defending a one-percenter because he’s inconvenienced out of some pocket change.

But, the rules are fucking retarded, and this Ed Sherman guy takes the retard cake.  In his post – linked above – he talks about the struggle the NFL faced many, many, MANY decades ago, when it was a fledgling sport trying to gain traction in a baseball-obsessed world.  Yes, I’m sure in the 1920s and 30s, the print media was king, and so it behooved the NFL to kowtow to the newspaper writers in order to get attention, sell tickets, and ultimately bloat the league into the monster it is today.

But, guess what?  Print media isn’t king anymore.  And, besides that, the media needs the NFL WAY more than the NFL needs the media.  How do you sell papers?  Or, more importantly, how do you generate clicks on the Internet?  You write about what people want to read about.  In this case, the NFL is king, and without access to it, what would all these sportswriters do for a living?

Let’s take this to its illogical conclusion:  if we let one guy ignore the media, what’s to stop the next guy, and the next guy?  Hell, what’s to stop every single player from ignoring the media?  That’s the argument they’re trying to make, right?  Surely, society would collapse upon itself!  Surely, without the almighty written word of beat writers and national pundits, the NFL would fold and the American public would have to spend time with their families on Sundays during the fall and winter months!

Oh, wait, that wouldn’t happen at all.  People would still watch the NFL, because people can’t get enough of football.  “Mutter(ing) a few short answers,” and “throw(ing) in a cliché or two” won’t make a fuck-all of difference.  What Ed Sherman is proposing is that everyone just “plays the game” and we’ll all go home happy.  Except, you’re forgetting one thing:  the overwhelming majority of sports fans HATE clichéd answers to their bullshit questions!  Sports clichés have a lower approval rating than the fucking U.S. Congress!

And, besides ALL of that, NFL players aren’t going to simply up and stop talking to the media.  Why?  Because many NFL players are still businessmen at heart.  Some have aspirations after football.  Those aspirations usually include some role in the very media we’re talking about!  Even if Richard Sherman doesn’t have an ounce of interest in being a studio analyst after football, or being a color analyst, or hosting his own sports-related talk show, he knows he has a brand and a persona that he wants the world to see.  The sky is the limit for someone like Richard Sherman BECAUSE he’s so good with the media, talking to large crowds and before the cameras and whatnot.

Marshawn Lynch, and people like Marshawn Lynch, who might not necessarily have any post-football aspirations to be in the public life, shouldn’t be required to do something they’re obviously uncomfortable doing, for whatever reason.  It’s another form of bullying and it’s absolutely unacceptable to hold someone to this asinine rule just because the media used to be important to the NFL’s fledgling success back in its infancy!

I’ll say this loud enough for you to hear:


The only people who care are these elitist fuckwads like Ed Sherman.  Fuckwads who end up running off and crying to Papa Goodell because the bad man won’t talk words to us when we want him to!  Grow up.  No one is sympathetic to members of the media.  At all.  You earn your living by writing about professional sports; you pretty much have the best jobs in the world outside of people actually PLAYING those sports.  If you can’t “do you job” because a few guys won’t talk to you, then obviously you’re not very good at your job.  Quotes from Marshawn Lynch won’t make or break your story.  Just talk to the punter, obtain a cliché or two, and you’re out the door.

It really isn’t that difficult.


  1. New England Patriots (9-2) – The curse of the #1 team is in full effect; you’ve been warned.
  2. Denver Broncos (8-3) – Some serious holes with this Broncos team, but either way, it should be a fun AFC playoffs.
  3. Green Bay Packers (8-3) – This defense isn’t as good as advertised.  Better than last year, sure, but they’re not going to continue to dominate the rest of the way.
  4. Arizona Cardinals (9-2) – I don’t know if it’s fair to expect the Cards to come into Seattle and win that game.  Did we expose some flaws in their overall scheme?  I’d like to think so, but I’m not sure the New England Patriots themselves could have come up here and won that game, with the way our defense was playing.  That game was more about how the Seahawks FINALLY brought their A-Game more than the Cardinals struggling or otherwise regressing back to the mean (hopefully we’ll see signs of that when we go down to Glendale in December).
  5. Indianapolis Colts (7-4) – When I saw that T.Y. Hilton was about to be a father on Sunday morning, I would have bet everything I own on him scoring a touchdown that day.  Luckily, he’s a major factor on my fantasy team, so all’s well that ends well.
  6. Detroit Lions (7-4) – Hitting a bit of a rough patch.  I had no idea their offense was this inept!  With Stafford, Johnson, and Tate, they should be putting up 30 points a game!  I still have faith in the Lions, but it’s good to see them lose a few games.  The last thing I need is another amazing run defense weaseling its way into the playoffs.
  7. Philadelphia Eagles (8-3) – The Eagles would get more credit in my eyes as soon as they use Mark Sanchez to win a football game against a good opponent.
  8. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) – A loss to the Raiders = moving down in my rankings.
  9. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4) – Pretty jealous of anyone who gets a week 12 BYE.  This is the last time I’ll get to say this, but the NFL needs to fix this shit.  Starting next year:  two BYE weeks for each team.  Get on it.
  10. San Francisco 49ers (7-4) – It’s mindblowing how bad their offense is right now.
  11. Dallas Cowboys (8-3) – Oh, I wish they would’ve blown that game against the Giants.
  12. San Diego Chargers (7-4) – It took a goalline interception by their defense to beat the Rams, but that might be the play that saves their season.  Good for them.
  13. Seattle Seahawks (7-4) – Forget the Seahawks, I need them to beat the 49ers this week!  If I have to go 10 days between Thanksgiving and the next game in Philly, stewing over a loss to the Santa Clara Fuckwads, I might go insane.
  14. Cincinnati Bengals (7-3-1) – Just don’t figure them to win many games when the national spotlight is focused on them and they’re sure to go far.  What are the odds the Bengals can get the NFL to televise all of their playoff games within the region of Cincinnati and its opponent exclusively?
  15. Baltimore Ravens (7-4) – That’s a nice win down in New Orleans, but it’s not THAT nice.  Let’s see them run the ball that well against a respectable defense, then we’ll talk.
  16. Miami Dolphins (6-5) – Season hanging on by a thread; things should get easier with 3 of their remaining 5 games against the Jets and Vikings.

The Loser’s Bracket:

  1. St. Louis Rams (4-7) – I don’t care that they’re 4-7, they’re better than the Browns!  And, obviously, they’re better than a few of the teams in the winner’s bracket.
  2. Cleveland Browns (7-4) – Didn’t deserve to beat the Falcons.  Then again, they didn’t deserve to beat the Browns.  This one should have been decided by penalty kicks.
  3. Houston Texans (5-6) – If their defense hadn’t scored that touchdown off of an interception, it would’ve been a terrible fantasy week for them.  How you gonna let the Bengals move the ball up and down the field like that?
  4. New Orleans Saints (4-7) – Not gonna lie to you, I really wasn’t prepared for the Saints to lose to the Ravens.  I understand the defense is pretty brutal, but why is the offense so inept so often?
  5. Buffalo Bills (6-5) – That Mario Williams is a nasty mofo.
  6. Chicago Bears (5-6) – They’re hovering, but they won’t sneak up on anyone.
  7. Atlanta Falcons (4-7) – Mike Smith is the most toothless, spineless, ineffectual head coach in the NFL when it comes to managing the game.  If anyone ever tries to point to Andy Reid or Jim Caldwell, you send them over to see me.
  8. Carolina Panthers (3-7-1) – Hello darkness, my old friend.
  9. Minnesota Vikings (4-7) – Did they … did they play this week?  They did, right?
  10. New York Giants (3-8) – You are one pathetic loser!
  11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9) – More like Josh McCLOWN, am I right?
  12. Washington Redskins (3-8) – You had one job:  beat the 49ers.  ONE JOB.
  13. New York Jets (2-9) – Wow.
  14. Tennessee Titans (2-9) – There are no words.
  15. Oakland Raiders (1-10) – Those defenders celebrating after that 3rd down sack, almost resulting in the Raiders being penalized for being 30 yards offsides on the 4th down snap are my favorite things I’ll see all year in the NFL, except maybe for that ODB catch Sunday night.
  16. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10) – Now, this feels right, doesn’t it?

Seattle Sports Hell 2014 NFL Power Rankings – Week 7

No fancy intro today.  Just straight power rankings.


  1. Denver Broncos (5-1) – Not missing a beat from last year.
  2. San Diego Chargers (5-2) – I’m not going to knock down a team too much for losing a tough game against a good divisional opponent.  As for this week, either they beat Denver and return to the top spot, or they lose again and likely fall out of the Top 5.
  3. Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) – I still think they’re a LITTLE better than Dallas.
  4. Dallas Cowboys (6-1) – I still think they’re a LITTLE bit of a fraud.  A fraud with an amazing offensive line and a much better-than-expected defense.  Who knew Jason Garrett had the wherewithal to stick with the run for this long?
  5. Detroit Lions (5-2) – Excellent defense.  And an offense that should only get better once Calvin Johnson is able to recover.
  6. Indianapolis Colts (5-2) – Andrew Luck is a fucking stud, plain and simple, and the top reason why our fantasy football keeper league is fighting hard for a total re-draft next year.  It also helps that their defense has taken a big step forward this year, to not put EVERYTHING on Luck’s shoulders.  This team could go far.
  7. Green Bay Packers (5-2) – They’re really ramping up against the bad teams.  Looking forward to this game against the Saints on Sunday.
  8. Arizona Cardinals (5-1) – Their schedule gets remarkably more difficult the rest of the way:  Phi, @Dal, St.L, Det, @Sea, @Atl, KC, @St.L, Sea, @SF.  Just sayin’, don’t punch their ticket to a division title just yet.  It’s pretty easy to be 5-1 when you play the Giants, Redskins, and Raiders in three of those games.
  9. San Francisco 49ers (4-3) – Sometimes, I get a wild hair up my ass and think some ridiculous thoughts.  Like, in my weekly pick ’em game with my friends, sometimes I’ll latch onto a team and pick them week after week, because I think I have special jinxing-type powers where if I pick a team, that team will lose.  Sort of a mutual spiting, if you will.  This year, it’s been the 49ers, and I’d say my plan is working perfectly, wouldn’t you?
  10. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) – Without a doubt, I underestimated the Ravens and overestimated the Bengals coming into this season.  I don’t think you can make it any more clear:  the Ravens are the best team in the AFC North.  That having been said, this week they travel to Cincy.  They already lost in week 1 to the Bengals; if they lose this week, they’ll be in a serious hole.  For the record, I don’t think the Ravens will lose.
  11. New England Patriots (5-2) – A narrow victory over the Jets isn’t enough to vault the Pats into the Top 10.  Strength of schedule is still VERY iffy for a team that will likely cruise to another division title.
  12. Kansas City Chiefs (3-3) – I don’t think I’ll ever wrap my head around how this team lost to the Titans in week 1.  They knocked the Dolphins and Patriots on their asses, played the 49ers tough on the road, and won a hard-fought game on the road down in San Diego.  Don’t look now, but the Chiefs have played 4 of their first 6 games on the road.  They still get Oakland twice, the Jets & St. Louis at home, the Bills & Steelers on the road, with their only tough non-Divisional game being on the road in Arizona.  This is still a team very much in the hunt for that final wild card spot; the rest of the AFC should be worried.
  13. Seattle Seahawks (3-3) – If the Seahawks can’t go to St. Louis and look even remotely competent, why would we expect them to go into Carolina and win?  Because the NFL is fucked up and retarded, that’s why.  The Seahawks probably have no business being able to shut down an underrated Panthers offense, but watch it happen.  Just watch it happen.
  14. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2-1) – The Bengals are reeling!  They’re on the ropes, clinging for dear life!  Loss, Tie, Loss to the Pats, Panthers, and Colts.  Their schedule the rest of the way is still pretty soft, with the likes of Jacksonville, Cleveland twice, New Orleans, Houston, Tampa, and Pittsburgh twice; they’re far from a lost cause.  Nevertheless, they’re going to want to get back on the horse this week and lock up a tiebreaker against the Ravens, because I don’t know if they’ll have enough wins to make a Wild Card.
  15. Carolina Panthers (3-3-1) – This team is impossible to predict, except that their defense is terrible.
  16. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) – Not a good team, but probably the best of the mediocre.  And yet, that Bucs loss?
  17. Miami Dolphins (3-3) – They’re going to have to be WAY more consistent if they’re going to fight for a playoff spot.
  18. New York Giants (3-4) – They’re 1-2 in their division, but all three games have been on the road.  So, you know, that’s something to keep in mind going forward, I guess.
  19. Houston Texans (3-4) – I have it, on record, guaranteeing a Texans victory this week in Tennessee.  I may have been drinking when I made this guarantee.  Either way, don’t make me look like a twat, Houston!
  20. Chicago Bears (3-4) – Is this a joke?  Seriously, is this some kind of joke?
  21. New Orleans Saints (2-4) – Rob Ryan’s updating his resume as we speak.  He should probably be looking at being a coordinator for college or something; seems more his style.
  22. Buffalo Bills (4-3) – That was quite the game-winning drive last week against the Vikings.  NFL Sunday Ticket is ridiculously overpriced, but it’s finishes like these that make it all worthwhile.
  23. Cleveland Browns (3-3) – Just when you were starting to get excited about the new regime, BAM, loss to the winless Jags.
  24. St. Louis Rams (2-4) – They needed all the flukey shit in the world and STILL almost blew the game against us.
  25. Atlanta Falcons (2-5) – Bad defense, even worse offensive line.  And, for some reason, Steven Jackson is still around.
  26. Washington Redskins (2-5) – I’m more offended by Colt McCoy still getting an opportunity to be a starting quarterback than I am by the name “Redskins”.
  27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-5) – Sometimes-competent to completely-useless, you never know what you’re going to get out of the Bucs, but odds are it won’t be them winning a football game.
  28. New York Jets (1-6) – Here’s to Percy Harvin being on his best behavior, the Jets retaining him for 2015, and the Seahawks bumping that draft pick up to a 4th rounder.
  29. Minnesota Vikings (2-5) – Yeah, I dunno.
  30. Tennessee Titans (2-5) – Ditto.
  31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6) – Seriously.
  32. Oakland Raiders (0-6) – Whatever.

Looking Ahead To YOUR 2014 Seattle Seahawks

This was me last year.  I predicted the Seahawks would go 13-3, take the #1 seed in the NFC, and beat the Broncos in the Super Bowl.  Last year’s NFL season was so easy to predict, I actually managed to correctly guess 2 of the Seahawks’ 3 losses (Indy & at SF, with my lone boner being the Atlanta game).  Of course, when you’re predicting the fortunes of a team this good, it’s hard to be wrong.  Just pick the Seahawks to win every game and you’re bound to be mostly right!

These Seahawks aren’t too different from the 2013 Seahawks.  Off the top of my head (so, forgive me if I forget a few), here are the players no longer on the roster, who had at least a minor impact on last year’s championship squad:

  • Golden Tate (#1 receiver)
  • Michael Robinson (fullback)
  • Paul McQuistan (guard/tackle)
  • Breno Giacomini (starting right tackle)
  • Kellen Davis (3rd tight end)
  • Sidney Rice (receiver)
  • Michael Bowie (guard/tackle depth)
  • Chris Clemons (starting LEO defensive end)
  • Red Bryant (starting 5-tech defensive end)
  • Brandon Browner (starting cornerback)
  • Walter Thurmond (nickel cornerback)
  • Clinton McDonald (backup defensive tackle)
  • Chris Maragos (backup safety)
  • Heath Farwell (IR) (backup linebacker)

On paper, that looks like a lot.  But, it’s pretty easy to spot which players were REALLY important to our success in 2013, and which players were sort of along for the ride.

Golden Tate is obviously the biggest blow.  He was our top receiver and punt returner.  He’s playing for Detroit now and should put up monster numbers while playing alongside Calvin Johnson.  His loss is mitigated somewhat by having a fully healthy Percy Harvin.  If Harvin can play all or the majority of games in 2014, it’s pretty easy to make the argument that our passing game (and offense as a whole) should actually IMPROVE.  Yes, Tate is a good player, but Harvin is on a completely different level of greatness.

Our offensive line depth took some big hits, and that’s going to be a concern.  No doubt about it.  I’d go out on a limb and say losing Paul McQuistan is addition by subtraction, though.  He’s getting up there in age and probably shouldn’t be an everyday starter going forward.  His best position is guard, but he was also our backup left tackle last year when Okung went down.  As a tackle, McQuistan is THE WORST.  So, not having him around to tempt the coaches into starting him when Okung ultimately gets hurt again is probably for the best.

Michael Bowie was always a depth guy last year, who got some serious playing time with all the injuries we suffered.  He was going to contend for the starting right tackle spot this year – and many had penciled him in as the favorite coming into Training Camp.  But, what no one expected was Bowie coming into camp overweight and/or out of shape, as well as injured.  He was ultimately released and the starting right tackle job has been given to rookie 2nd rounder Justin Britt.  In the long run, going with Britt now hopefully will prove to be the smart choice.  But, in the short term, we’re probably going to feel the sting of losing Giacomini.  I really liked him and thought he was solid when healthy.  But, again, you can’t afford to pay everyone, and you’ve got to get younger whenever possible to keep the roster fresh and vibrant (and to be able to afford expensive extensions to your stars).  I think by season’s end, Britt will have made us all forget about Giacomini’s reign of terror.  But, in the early going, it could be rough.

No one is worried about losing Sidney Rice, because he never really impacted this roster to the extent his contract would have dictated.  Jermaine Kearse is more than capable of picking up the slack.  Michael Robinson was on his last legs, plus fullback isn’t an important position.  Ditto the third tight end spot.  So, that rounds out the losses to our offense.

Defensively, our line took a big hit.  Clemons and Bryant were both starters and were both critical to stopping opposing offenses from running the ball.  McDonald was a pleasant surprise, capable of generating good pressure on the quarterback with our second unit.  Being able to interchange our linemen so frequently ultimately helped keep everyone fresh and healthy when it came time to make our playoff run.

In their place, Michael Bennett was extended; he’ll play a bigger role.  Cliff Avril will move into the starting LEO spot.  Kevin Williams was signed as a free agent.  In his prime, Williams was one of the best defensive tackles in the league.  He’s older now, but with reduced snaps – and playing alongside the elite talent we’ve got – he should prove to at least be as effective as McDonald.

Where we’re really going to be tested is in our depth.  Last year, our second-unit defensive line featured Bennett and Avril (it was truly an embarrassment of riches).  This year, they’re starting, and we’ve got to find replacements.  Cassius Marsh is a promising rookie out of the 4th round who can play on the end and on the inside.  But, he’s been dinged up quite a bit in the pre-season, so durability is in question.  Greg Scruggs is back and healthy this year, but he didn’t show a whole helluva lot in the pre-season.  It looks like he can play both outside & inside as well, but I don’t know if he’s any good at either.  O’Brien Schofield was one of the biggest surprises in camp, as he fought off Benson Mayowa for one of the final roster spots.  Schofield was on the team last year, but didn’t get a whole lot of playing time (and didn’t really deserve a whole lot of playing time, considering the talent around him).  He was signed away by the Giants in the offseason, but they ended up backing out of the deal, worried about possible injuries.  So, the Seahawks swooped in and re-signed him to a small number; he could be the steal of the off-season!  I have to imagine he’s the backup LEO behind Avril at this point, with the potential to join our NASCAR defense and play on the same line as Avril, Bennett, and either Marsh or Williams, with Irvin coming from the linebacker spot.

No, we’re not as deep as we were last year, but it could be close enough if Schofield shows up to play.

We have similar depth issues with our secondary as well.  We ultimately lost Browner and Thurmond for long stretches late in the season last year, but we found that Byron Maxwell was more than up to the task of being the starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman.  Maxwell is back – on the last year of his deal – so we should be okay there.  But, again, the depth has taken a hit.

With Thurmond gone, Jeremy Lane steps up.  I like Lane and think he has the potential to be as good or better than Thurmond; but, right now Lane is injured, so that’s troubling.  Tharold Simon was a rookie last year and never played thanks to injuries.  He looks to be back and healthy now (though, like Lane, he’s suffering through some nagging something or other at the moment), and he also looks capable of being another in a long line of productive outside cornerbacks.  Where we’re light is in the nickel corner spot, which is why we recently traded for Marcus Burley for a 6th round pick in next year’s draft.  I know pretty much nothing about him, but apparently he had a pretty good camp this year.  And, apparently he’s pretty fast and super athletic.

I’m less inclined to worry about the secondary than the D-Line, because our starters are intact.  And our backup safeties are top-notch, with DeShawn Shead and Jeron Johnson.  Shead, especially, can play both the safety and corner spots, so in a pinch we can totally put Shead in the nickel and be fine.

With our linebackers healthy and peaking at the right time, we should be just fine on defense.  Yes, we lost Farwell – who was our special teams captain – but we picked up Brock Coyle, an undrafted rookie, who could be Farwell 2.0.


So, those were the primary changes between 2013 and 2014.  Next, we’ll look at what’s the same.

When I was younger, I would’ve taken the position that:  if you’ve got a championship team, just keep that team together for as long as possible.  Indeed, the 95/96 Supersonics were a championship-calibre team (they just ran into the buzz-saw that was the greatest team of all time, with those Jordan/Pippen/Rodman 72-win Chicago Bulls).  If the 96/97 Sonics wouldn’t have tinkered so much (like signing Jim McIlvaine to a monster contract), they could’ve made serious runs at a title for the next 2-3 years.  Same goes for the 1995 Mariners.  Just keep that team together and make some moderate improvements to the pitching staff.  DON’T trade Tino Martinez and Jeff Nelson to the fucking Yankees and hand them a million championships!

But, there’s one main difference between the NBA/MLB and the NFL:  keeping the team intact for too long will ultimately kill your franchise in football.  The shelf life for good-to-great baskeball and baseball players is WAY longer than it is in football.  In the NFL, if you’re approaching 30, you’re approaching retirement.  The ideal scenario in the NFL is to get young, coach those young players into being stars, and then constantly churn about 20% of your roster every year, where you’re shipping off the older players and infusing with young talent through the draft (or among the undrafted).

Could the Seahawks have retained Golden Tate, Chris Clemons, Red Bryant, and Breno Giacomini?  Yeah, I think I can envision a scenario where we make it all work for at least one more year.  But, then we wouldn’t have gotten the team-friendly extensions for Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett, and Doug Baldwin.  We wouldn’t be in a position to make Russell Wilson one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league next year.  Getting those guys done early (not counting Bennett, who was an unrestricted free agent at the time) is supremely important (as you can see by the subsequent cornerback deals for Patrick Peterson and the like, which were higher than what we ended up giving Sherman).

Yes, there were some losses to the roster.  There will always be losses to the roster.  Teams have to make important decisions each and every year.  Next year, we’re looking at the possibility of not having Marshawn Lynch, Zach Miller, James Carpenter, K.J. Wright, Malcolm Smith, and Cliff Avril around.  I would anticipate at least a few of those players WILL be here, but that’s life in the NFL.  You never know.

Most importantly to the Seahawks chances in 2014 will be who is still around.  This is still a MONSTER of a lineup:

  • Russell Wilson (QB)
  • Marshawn Lynch (RB)
  • Percy Harvin (WR)
  • Doug Baldwin (WR)
  • Jermaine Kearse (WR)
  • Zach Miller (TE)
  • Luke Willson (TE)
  • Robert Turbin (RB)
  • Christine Michael (RB)

And those are just the skill position players!  Our offensive line is 4/5 intact (and looking MUCH improved at the guard positions, with Carpenter in the “best shape of his life” and with Sweezy having bulked up while still retaining his athleticism).  And, we’ve got a couple rookie receivers who may not make much of an impact this season, but who should prove to be important for many years to come.

Then, on defense, you’re looking at:

  • Michael Bennett (DE/DT)
  • Cliff Avril (DE)
  • Brandon Mebane (NT)
  • Tony McDaniel (DT/DE)
  • Bobby Wagner (MLB)
  • K.J. Wright (OLB)
  • Bruce Irvin (OLB
  • Malcolm Smith (OLB)
  • Richard Sherman (CB)
  • Earl Thomas (FS)
  • Kam Chancellor (SS)
  • Byron Maxwell (CB)

I’d still put that defense up against any other defense in the NFL.  Depth will be an issue, but depth is an issue pretty much everywhere, every year.  This is still a Top 5 defense unless we just get absolutely crushed with injuries.


Now, it’s time for my favorite part of any preview post:  predicting the schedule results.

Week 1, vs. Green Bay, 5:30pm (Thursday Game)

I go back and forth on this one.  Like, 85% of me believes this will be a comfortable Seahawks victory.  14% of me believes this will be a nailbiter of a Seahawks victory.  And, that last 1% seems to think that Green Bay can come in here, withstand all the craziness, and pull off a huge upset.

Are you kidding?  A week’s worth of build-up.  The city shutting down large areas of SoDo and Pioneer Square.  A pre-game concert.  THE UNVEILING OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP BANNER!  All of that alone would be enough to have the loudest 12th Man presence in the history of the world, but I expect there to be a hidden edge to this game.  The NFL cursed us with this game being the only home game played at night.  They’d have you believe that’s just the way it shook out, but I’m CONVINCED it’s because we keep crushing our opponents whenever we have a night game at home, and they’re tired of televising blowouts.  With this being our only chance to shine on a national stage (unless we somehow have one of our late-season games flexed), I think the 12th Man is going to take it to another level.  Look for this to be somewhere in the range of 38-17, Seahawks.

Week 2, at San Diego, 1:05pm

The schedule this year will be famous for the difficult first three games and the difficult final five games.  This has “Trap Game” written all over it.  Hangover from our season-opening win, combined with a rematch of the Super Bowl NEXT week back at home.  Considering the Chargers should be plenty good this year, I’m not calling this one a walk-over by any stretch.  In fact, I could see this being pretty high-scoring.  In the end, I think the Seahawks are able to do just enough to pull out a 33-30 victory.

Week 3, vs. Denver, 1:25pm

No chance.  No way, no how we lose this game.  I do think we’re looking at a closer contest, but that’s only because I think the Broncos’ defense has improved enough to warrant it.  Losing Wes Welker to suspension certainly hurts the Broncos.  Indeed, I think they’ll try to lean on their running game like they did in the pre-season.  How our defense responds will be key.  The Seahawks still win, but we’re looking at a 24-20 type game.

Week 4 – BYE

Bullshit.  Complete and utter bullshit.  I would’ve rather had the alternate NFL schedule that put the Seahawks on the road for three straight weeks over having a BYE in September.  For the record, NO team should have a BYE week in September.  They should all be clustered in late October and early November, to make it fair for everyone.  Either that, or break down and give every team two BYE weeks per year, because this shit is ridiculous.

Week 5, at Washington, 5:30pm (Monday Night)

If the NFL didn’t want to televise blowout Seahawks victories, they probably shouldn’t have put this game on the schedule.  Indeed, there appears to be a lot of dogs when it comes to the Monday Night slate this year; don’t know how that worked itself out, but I’d be pissed if I ran ESPN.  The Redskins don’t have a defense that can anywhere REMOTELY hang with our speed.  44-10, Seahawks victory.

Week 6, vs. Dallas, 1:25pm

This game is my wet dream.  A pass-first offense without a bona fide slot receiver and a shaky quarterback who takes too many chances?  If Richard Sherman doesn’t get his hands on at least 8 balls (interceptions, tips, etc.), I’ll be shocked.  35-17 Seahawks (and that’s only because it’s going to be 28-3 at halftime and we end up running out the clock in the second half; we could probably drop 50 on them if we tried for the full game).

Week 7, at St. Louis, 10am

The League did do us one favor with the schedule:  we’ve only got three 10am starts this year.  This is the first one.  No Sam Bradford, no win for the Rams.  Last year, we were lucky to come away from this game with a victory, needing a last-second goalline stop to preserve it.  This year, I’m expecting more of an easier go.  We’re not going to be perfect; they do still have a solid defensive line.  But, 27-13 is in order.

Week 8, at Carolina, 10am

Back to back road games starting at 10am Pacific time.  I’m already on record as saying that I think Carolina is going to struggle mightily this year.  But, this is still a road game on the East Coast, so a victory won’t come easy.  I’m looking at something like 19-9, with a LOT of field goals.  Seahawks improve to 7-0.

Week 9, vs. Oakland, 1:25pm

I like catching Oakland here.  Derek Carr will have had some bumps in the road by now, so his confidence will likely be shaken.  Their veterans on defense will be wearing down and/or injured by this point.  I’m expecting an easy victory, if maybe a sloppy one.  Still, we should take it going way, 27-6.

Week 10, vs. NY Giants, 1:25pm

Give me Eli, give me a nothing defense, and give me no weapons on offense.  Is it possible to shut out a team in back-to-back years?  I think so!  44-0, Seahawks.

Week 11, at Kansas City, 10am

Final morning game.  Kansas City is sure to come back to Earth this year, as their defense is worse and they still did nothing to improve the offense around Jamaal Charles.  Nevertheless, I got a feeling this one will be closer.  I’m looking at a 34-28 victory for the Seahawks.

Week 12, vs. Arizona, 1:05pm

There will be no repeat of last year’s fluke Cardinals victory in Seattle.  The defense is remarkably worse and Carson Palmer is remarkably a year older.  I’m sensing a 33-7 Seahawks victory.

Week 13, at San Francisco, 5:30pm (Thanksgiving)

The Seahawks will be the talk of the nation coming into this game, as their 11-0 record is the best in football.  However, their relatively tame schedule to this point (highlighted by poor seasons out of the teams they’ve played in recent weeks) will give pundits cause for concern:  is this team really as good as their record?

It will be at this point that I will give just about anything to steal a win in Santa Clara.  EVERY YEAR I keep thinking:  this will be the time.  And every year, the 49ers end up finding a way to pull it out.  I can’t remember the last time we won down there, but I’m sure it was the best day of my life.

Unfortunately, this year will be no different (prove me wrong, Seahawks!), as the underwhelming 49ers find a way to pull it out.  I’m thinking 28-24, Seahawks lose to go to 11-1.

Week 14, at Philadelphia, 1:25pm

Many pundits are eyeballing this as a defeat for the Seahawks.  The Eagles were pretty good last year; their offense is and was on point.  Could be looking at another Trap Game, as this one is sandwiched between the two games against the 49ers on our regular season schedule.

I don’t see it, though.  I think the Seahawks’ offense is the story of this game.  I’m looking at something around 44-34, Seahawks win.

Week 15, vs. San Francisco, 1:25pm

And here is the game where we kill the 49ers, like we do every time they come to town.  Nothing fancy, just making Kaepernick our bitch.  31-13, Seahawks.

Week 16, at Arizona, 5:30pm (Sunday Night)

By this point, I’m expecting to see the Cardinals in full give-up mode.  Carson Palmer will be either benched or injured, and their backup will be some lame-ass.  Their defense will still be terrible and the Seahawks will roll, 38-10.

Week 17, vs. St. Louis, 1:25pm

At this point, we’ll be 14-1 and we will have wrapped up home field advantage.  So, it’ll come down to a couple things:  how long will our starters play in this game, and how well will our backups hold the fort?

For the record, I DO think our starters will get at least some play.  My guess is, anywhere from 1 to 2 quarters.  Yes, Seahawks fans will lose their God damn minds (as, again, the Rams have the best defensive line in football, and the last thing we need is for Russell Wilson to take unnecessary hits).  I don’t think we’ll be necessarily all that sharp though.

In the end, the backups come in and they’ll get pushed around a little bit.  The Rams will make a late-game comeback, and the Seahawks will lose.  Something like 24-17.

The Seahawks will be 14-2, and in spite of the final-week defeat, will be on fire as a football team heading into the playoffs.  I think ultimately the schedule will prove to be easier than last year’s, as a lot of the teams we THINK will be good are ultimately not.  I think the 49ers start to decline, even though they’ve got enough talent to still be pretty okay.  In the end, I think the Seahawks are just too good.  They’re too talented, they’re strong at every position group, and they’ll have enough depth to push through and overcome any injuries in their way (except for the quarterback position, of course).

Yes, repeating as world champions is one of the most difficult things to do.  Hell, just winning ONE championship is one of the most difficult things to do!  But, we’re in a once-in-a-lifetime window here where the Seahawks are the best team in football.  Now, it’s time to go out and show the world just how great we truly are.

#8 – Doug Baldwin

To see the full list of the Top 10 Most Important Seahawks in 2014, click here.

Spoiler Alert:  Doug Baldwin is one of my very favorite Seahawks playing for this team right now.  You gotta like the underdogs, am I right?

We all know about Doug Baldwin, superficially.  Undrafted free agent out of Stanford in 2011, he earned a roster spot right out of the gate.  To be fair, the Seahawks had a real dearth of talent at the time.  Yes, they’d made the playoffs in 2010, but it was as a 7-9 squad with tons of turnover at the back-end.  It was a good time to be an undrafted guy, or a lowly-drafted guy, because there were tons of spots up for grabs.  I know Pete Carroll always says that everyone needs to compete for their spots at all times, but let’s be realistic:  if you’re good enough and talented enough, you’re not losing your spot.  Richard Sherman doesn’t have to worry about his job, no matter HOW talented Tharold Simon is.

In 2011, though, it was wide open.  And, to his credit, not only did Doug Baldwin take advantage of his opportunity, he thrived, leading the team in yards as a rookie.  His numbers hit a dip in 2012 due to injuries, but he returned in 2013 as good as ever.  And, in 2014, another opportunity has opened for him.  It’ll be interesting to see him once again seize this opportunity and surpass expectations beyond our wildest dreams.

Doug Baldwin has always had a heavy role in the offense, but this year he’s going to be a starter on the outside – rather than the slot – for the first time in his career.  Sure, he’s had some experience out there, but now that’s his primary position.  Instead of going up against a lot of nickel corners, he’ll be going up against the best of what other teams have to offer on the outside.  Will he be able to hold his own, the way Golden Tate was able to?  I think so, without a doubt.

Doug Baldwin can do anything he sets his mind to; you can’t say that about everyone.  I mean, think about it, we’re over here wondering if Cliff Avril can rush the passer from the LEO position – because he’s been so comfortable rushing the passer from the other side – and there’s a legitimate concern that Avril will struggle now that he has to go up against a left tackle on most plays.  To be honest, I DON’T think Avril can do anything he puts his mind to (don’t mean to pick on him, but that’s just the example that came immediately to mind).  Doug Baldwin, on the other hand, could probably figure out how to play quarterback if you gave him enough time!

Doug Baldwin has always been critical in making this offense go.  He’s got the most reliable hands, he runs the most precise routes, and he’s got the best body control on the team, which is how he’s able to make all those circus catches on the sideline.  He’s always there when we need to convert and Russell Wilson is running for his life.  The rapport those two share is unlike any we’ve seen between quarterback and wide receiver since Dave Krieg and Steve Largent (with an honorable mention going to Hasselbeck & Engram).

This year, though, Baldwin’s importance goes through the roof.  Most people talk about Percy Harvin replacing Golden Tate, but that’s not really accurate.  Percy Harvin’s role in this offense is going to look nothing like Tate’s.  In reality, Harvin is replacing Baldwin, because it’s Baldwin who is replacing Tate!

This offense is always going to have the threat of the deep pass at its disposal, because it’s always going to have the great running game.  With the great running game, you’ve got defenses who will want to crowd the line of scrimmage.  With Harvin also doing the bulk of his damage around the line, you’ve got to figure defenses will be more keyed in than ever before on what’s going on in the short field.  Which means that Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse on the outside will be the beneficiaries of a lot of our deep balls on play-action.  Can Baldwin do what Tate did?  Can he win more often than not on those jump balls?  Can he shed tackles and break plays for long runs?  Most of America doubts that he can, but not me.  I think he’ll be on-par with what Tate was able to bring.  And, at a fraction of the cost, it was why I wanted so desperately for this team to choose Baldwin over Tate in this past offseason.  I think Tate will be great in Detroit, opposite Calvin Johnson.  But, I think Baldwin will be the more important and more efficient player in Seattle.

Speaking of contract, Doug Baldwin is locked in for the next three years.  He was a restricted free agent, meaning he was going to get something around $2.4 million for this year.  Instead, we were able to lock him in at 3 years, $13 million – a VERY reasonable deal.  This bought us a few more years at a good cap number, while it gave Baldwin a little security and a nice payday.  After the 2016 season, Baldwin will be 28 years old, which is RIGHT in the sweet spot in his career.  If he’s able to continue his upward trajectory, it’ll be interesting to see the decision the Seahawks make on who to keep or not.  I know this is three years away, but if Baldwin does well, and continues to improve, he could be looking at a HUGE deal.  It would be nice to see Baldwin end up a lifelong Seahawk.  That Wilson to Baldwin connection needs to be something we see through to the bitter end.

Futzing Around With Seahawks Top 10 Lists

I just saw this, while killing some time.  It’s a cool take on the whole “Top Ten Seahawks Of All Time” list idea.  And, as you may or may not know, I’m a total SUCKER for LISTS!

Terry’s rules for this list were:  no current players, and they must have played at least 5 seasons with the Seahawks.  That leaves us with a good chunk of players.  He was provided 29 different names by fans in their own lists they sent to him.  Of those 29 players listed, here is my Top 10:

  1. Walter Jones
  2. Cortez Kennedy
  3. Steve Largent
  4. Shaun Alexander
  5. Jacob Green
  6. Kenny Easley
  7. Matt Hasselbeck
  8. Dave Brown
  9. Steve Hutchinson
  10. Lofa Tatupu

For starters, we have the three NFL Hall of Famers in the top three spots, because that’s just what has to be done.  I organized these three by their place in NFL history.  Walter Jones has gone down as one of the greatest left tackles in all of NFL history (if not THE greatest).  There aren’t enough superlatives, so let’s just move on.

Cortez, I believe, has to be on everyone’s Top 10 list for defensive tackles (at least in the modern era, if not all time).  He doesn’t get the credit he deserves, since he played for Seattle (and played on a bunch of awful teams by a terribly-run organization), but he was truly a monster force in the middle.

If my 10 year old self could see what I’m writing now, he’d call me a fucking idiot for putting Steve Largent at #3, when he’s so obviously the greatest wide receiver of all time.  Except, in the 23 years since then, about a thousand receivers have passed Largent and broken all of his records.  He’s great, and in his time he was the greatest, but now he’s long-forgotten, and you legitimately have to question whether he’d make the Hall of Fame if he had his same exact stats, but retired today instead of at the end of the 1989 season.

Henry Ellard has Largent beat by almost 700 yards, but he’s not in the HOF.  Tim Brown has almost 2,000 more yards and the same number of receiving touchdowns and hasn’t made the HOF yet.  When Largent retired, he was #1 in both yards and touchdowns for a receiver; now he’s 14th and tied for 7th, respectively.  More receivers are breaking his records every year, with still more right on his heels.  Andre Johnson and Steve Smith are both one good year away from passing him in yards (within 1,000 of the Seahawks legend).  Larry Fitzgerald is a year or two away, and if Anquan Boldin’s creaky old bones can cling to life, he’s probably two or three years away.  Going forward, Calvin Johnson is practically a shoo-in to be in the top 10 in yards; and Brandon Marshall and Dez Bryant will likely pass Largent as well.  Granted, it’s a different style of NFL play now than it was in the 70s & 80s, but that’s not going to make it any easier going forward for any more of those fringe old-timers to make the HOF.  Largent’s lucky he retired when he did.

After the top three of Jones, Tez, and Largent, I found the next five to be pretty easy.  Alexander is the best running back in franchise history, was an MVP, and led us to our first Super Bowl appearance.  He won’t be a HOFer, but he’s still one of the best Seahawks ever, so his slot at #4 is well-deserved.

Jacob Green is another one of those guys who isn’t quite a HOFer, but he’s tops in the Seahawks’ book.  Green, ranking #1 in franchise history in sacks with 97.5, ranks tied for 32nd in NFL history.  The magic number for sack-artists to get into the HOF is apparently 125, so Green was a ways off.  Nevertheless, he was solid for us.

Kenny Easley kinda makes this list on talent and potential over longevity which is QUITE hypocritical considering I left Curt Warner off my list because he couldn’t stay healthy.  But still, Easley is hands down the best member of the Seahawks secondary in franchise history (not counting the current members of the L.O.B.).

Matt Hasselbeck – the franchise’s best quarterback – comes in at #7.  That’s a testament to the quality of players ahead of him on my list, as well as the lack of really elite quarterbacks in franchise history.  Hasselbeck is also kinda like those other near-HOF types, except he’s pushed way down that list; I mean, you can KINDA make a case for Shaun Alexander to be in the HOF, but you’ll be laughed out of the country if you try to make a case for Hasselbeck!

Rounding out the last of my easy choices, Dave Brown was the best cornerback in franchise history (again, not including those in the L.O.B.).  After him, I had a really tough time choosing the last two.  I eventually narrowed it down to six players:  Curt Warner, John L. Williams, Brian Blades, Hutch, Lofa, and Eugene Robinson.  I couldn’t decide between the two running backs, so as a compromise, I decided to leave them both out.  Blades was a tough one to cut out; he’s certainly my #11 pick on this list.  And, Eugene gets docked because he did a lot of his best playing after he left the Seahawks.

Which, again, reveals my blatant hypocrisy, because I gave Hutch the #9 slot.  Losing him right smack dab in the middle of his prime definitely hurts his ranking on my list (had he been a career Seahawk, it’s pretty easy to see him in my top three or four), but I can’t deny his elite talent level.  Granted, Joey Galloway also had elite talent, and his end with the team was similarly acrimonious, and yet he wasn’t even an honorable mention!  To that, I don’t know what to tell you.  I’ll always be kind of annoyed with Hutch and his dickhead agent, and to a lesser extent the Vikings (even though we just won a Super Bowl with a bunch of their players), but the real villain in that whole deal was Tim Ruskell, leaving me the opportunity to (for the most part) feel good about Hutch’s time here.

The last spot goes to Lofa.  He was truly great from the moment he was selected by this team, and he’s a big reason why our defense was able to cobble together enough yards & points prevention to lead this team to a #1 seed and a Super Bowl appearance in 2005/2006.  Lofa’s career ended prematurely due to injury, otherwise it’s possible his all time ranking could’ve been higher as well.  He was a tackling machine who – had he not worn down so fast – might have made a play for the HOF, with the way he was racking them up in his first few years.


Now that I’ve given you my Top 10 list of Seahawks not currently on the team, why don’t I give you my Top 10 list of only Seahawks who ARE currently on the team?  Here we go:

  1. Earl Thomas
  2. Russell Wilson
  3. Marshawn Lynch
  4. Richard Sherman
  5. Kam Chancellor
  6. Russell Okung
  7. Brandon Mebane
  8. Bobby Wagner
  9. Michael Bennett
  10. Doug Baldwin

Before I get started, I have to point out that Percy Harvin is left off because he’s played in all of three games in a Seahawks uniform.  I’m going to need at least a season or two out of him before I start putting him among the all time leaders.

Byron Maxwell was left off because I had a really hard time putting four LOB members on my list.  But, talent-wise, he probably deserves it.  At the very least, he’d be my #11 pick (and, by the end of 2014, could see his ranking go up even higher).  Zach Miller was left off because, while I appreciate all that he does, it still feels like we could do what we do without him.  Max Unger was left off due to an inconsistent (and injury-riddled) 2013 season.  Cliff Avril was another honorable mention.

In going down my list, I knew the other three members of the LOB would be there and be ranked high, but it was just a matter of where they’d rank.  I have Earl Thomas at #1 because I think he’s far and away the best safety in the game today.  Richard Sherman has some competition for best corner, but I think he’s #1 with a bunch of other guys right on his heels.  That’s the difference between the two.

Nevertheless, I had to put Russell Wilson at #2 because he is ABSOLUTELY VITAL to what we do on offense.  He’s the franchise quarterback we’ve been dreaming of since Seattle was given a franchise!  He and Earl Thomas are the perfect bookends for this team, from their elite talent level, to how they prepare, to their desire to win above all else, to their abilities to make those around them insanely better.

Marshawn Lynch gets the #3 spot because he’s the workhorse.  He’s also in the Top 3 when it comes to NFL running backs today.  While that sounds odd to say, knowing that I put Richard Sherman at the #4 spot (and I consider him to be the best corner in football), I will say that there are way more elite cornerbacks than there are elite running backs.  That’s just the way it goes.

Kam gets into my Top 5 because he’s Kam.  He’s the baddest, hardest hitting motherfucker in this league and he was certainly deserving of being the MVP of the Super Bowl over Malcolm Smith.  In the national spotlight, Kam gets lost a little bit because of Sherman’s outspokenness and Earl’s on-field flashiness, but on almost any other team, he’d be the best player on that defense and it wouldn’t even be close.

Okung gets his spot on the list based on talent and potential, though he certainly gets knocked down for his inability to stay healthy.  Brandon Mebane is almost the opposite.  He does nothing BUT stay healthy.  He doesn’t have the highest pedigree.  He isn’t an animal in the middle like Cortez was.  But, Mebane has been a ROCK on that D-Line since he got here in 2007.  And, from what I’ve read, his 2013 season was arguably his best year in the league.  That’s unbelievably impressive, especially when you consider he plays a spot on the line that’s difficult to keep healthy.  Seems like whenever a nose tackle gets injured, it’s only a matter of time before his career fizzles out.

I had to pick a linebacker, because we’ve got three good ones, so I went with the best.  Bobby Wagner is the guy – if we’re only able to keep one for salary cap purposes – that I’d most want to retain.  He plays middle linebacker, which is the most important spot of the three, and he plays it at a high level (either as well, or if not, very close to the level of Luke Kuechly).  The best part:  he’s played at this level since day 1, and could very well see even MORE improvement.

There’s a reason why we decided to bring back Michael Bennett and let key leaders Red Bryant and Chris Clemons go.  Bennett can do everything on the defensive line and do it all well.

Finally, what can I say about Doug Baldwin that hasn’t already been said?  I feel MUCH more secure about this team and its offense when I know I have Doug Baldwin on the field.


Now, the real point of all of this:  when I was reading the above Terry Blount post, and I read that current players were to be left off for the purposes of this exercise, I got to wondering:  how many current players would – right now – make the Top 10 in franchise history?

You’d have to think quite a few, considering the Super Bowl is fresh on our minds, and that’s something no other Seahawks team has ever accomplished.  Fans would rabidly vote for today’s players, because it’s all about that action, boss.

I’m going to try to set emotion aside on this one and try to be rational about it.  Essentially, since a lot of these guys are fairly new, I have to go by what they’ve done as well as what they could potentially do, if they can stay reasonably healthy.  Anyway, here’s my list:

  1. Walter Jones
  2. Earl Thomas
  3. Richard Sherman
  4. Russell Wilson
  5. Cortez Kennedy
  6. Steve Largent
  7. Shaun Alexander
  8. Kam Chancellor
  9. Marshawn Lynch
  10. Jacob Green

As you’ll notice, both Sherm and Kam passed Lynch on this list.  That’s because, when all is said and done, I expect both of those guys to surpass Lynch’s output – which projects to end after the 2014 season.  You’ll also notice that Sherm passes Wilson on this list, because in the end I think Sherman will be a greater cornerback (on the all time NFL list) than Wilson will be a quarterback (on the all time NFL list).  Nevertheless, I expect both of them, as well as Earl, to make the HOF (giving us six total Seahawks, and counting).  Shaun Alexander still gets the nod over Lynch because there’s no way Lynch is passing him in total output.  I know most people like Lynch more, but I won’t discount Alexander’s overall talents.  Jacob Green nabs down that 10-spot, because he’s awesome.  Of the current players who could someday crack the top ten that I don’t have in there right now, I’d look at Wagner and maybe Baldwin.

So, that’s five current players in the All Time Top 10.  I never would have thought you could have ANY sort of Seahawks Top 10 without Matt Hasselbeck, but there you have it.  What’s more impressive is, I have three current players in the top 5.  I don’t know if I’ll ever see a player on the level of Walter Jones, but if anyone has a chance to pass him, it’s most likely Earl Thomas.

Then again, if Russell Wilson leads us to five Super Bowl championships, that may be the ultimate decider.

The Key To Roster Building In The NFL

I’ll preface this by saying:  you can’t do anything without a quarterback.  That’s obvious.  Everyone knows it, so there’s really not even much point in bringing it up, except if you don’t bring it up, then wise-asses will come on here and tell me I forgot about the quarterback position.

There are all kinds of different types of quarterbacks that can win you a championship, as evidenced by the last decade or so of NFL champions.  Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady are going to go down as all-time greats.  Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, and Ben Roethlisberger likely won’t.  Doesn’t mean they’re BAD; just means that no one is going to put them in their Top 10 All Time Greatest Quarterbacks list.

For the record, my picks:

  1. Joe Montana
  2. Tom Brady
  3. John Elway
  4. Peyton Manning
  5. Dan Marino
  6. Steve Young
  7. Johnny Unitas
  8. Brett Favre
  9. Drew Brees
  10. Warren Moon

But, that’s neither here nor there.  The point is, the quarterback is crucial.  It’s too early to say where Russell Wilson will fall on that list, but I’d venture to say we’d still be ringless if he had to carry a team with an underperforming defense last season.

And that’s what the elite quarterback will afford you.  The elites – like Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Brees, etc. – can cover up for just a so-so defense.  Of course, the fact that all of those quarterbacks only have one championship apiece will tell you that a quarterback can’t do it by himself (and, truth be told, the years their respective teams won it all, their defenses weren’t that bad).

The more talent you have around your quarterback, the less perfect your quarterback has to be (hence why Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger both have two championships each).  But, the NFL has a salary cap, and teams have got to find a way to fit 53 players into that cap (plus a little extra to make up for injuries and such).  So, HOW you build around your quarterback is just about as important as the quarterback itself.

There isn’t exactly one specific way to run your team, but I’ll tell you this much:  you’re not going to get very far without a good defense.  That means one of two things:  elite pass rush, or elite secondary (or, ideally both).  Without really delving deep into things, I think it’s pretty safe to say that at least half of NFL teams are pretty happy with their quarterbacks.  I don’t think it’s out of the question to say that at least half of the teams have a guy under center capable of winning it all (assuming everything breaks right and they have a good team around them).  So, you figure that at least half the time, your defense is going to face a pretty good quarterback.

Now, if you’re going to build a defense to combat all those pretty good-to-great quarterbacks, you’ve got to have one of the two aforementioned qualities:  an elite pass rush or an elite secondary.  It’s all about disrupting the quarterback’s timing and forcing him to do things he doesn’t want to do.  If you’ve got the pass rush, then odds are you’ll be able to force him to throw early; if you’ve got the secondary, then odds are you’ll be able to force him to throw late (and hopefully give your adequate pass rush enough time to get home).  So, it would stand to reason that if you’re building your roster to win a championship, you’re going to focus the bulk of your defensive salary cap on edge rushers and/or the secondary.

What you DON’T want to do is start pumping a bunch of money down into your linebackers and interior linemen.  Unless that interior lineman is in the Cortez Kennedy/Warren Sapp mold, you’re probably overpaying.  You can find wide-bodies just about anywhere, on the cheap, no problem.  Ditto linebackers.  People will point to some of the quality guys like Patrick Willis and Luke Kuechly, and I will admit that those dudes are pretty awesome at what they do.  But, you know who else is pretty awesome?  Bobby Wagner.  He’s a second round pick making a fraction of what those guys are making and will make.  Bobby Wagner isn’t heralded in the least, but he’s still awesome.  And, I would venture that you can find a TON of Bobby Wagners in the draft, which will save you money in the long run over massive extensions for the Kuechlys of the world.

Take a look at the Seahawks.  We’ve pumped some serious money into Earl Thomas, Michael Bennett, Kam Chancellor, and soon we’ll devote a whole bunch more into Richard Sherman.  Pass rush & secondary.  Where are we finding savings?  How about three linebackers (Wagner, Wright, Smith) all drafted in the 2nd round or later, all still on rookie deals.  Now, the Seahawks MIGHT extend one or more of those guys when the time comes, but I bet they’ll be mid-range contracts that don’t kill our cap for years to come.

We’re also saving money on our interior line.  Brandon Mebane has a $5 million APY, and that leads the team on interior line spending.  Tony McDaniel is on a short-term, on-the-cheap deal, and the rest of our interior guys are on rookie contracts.

Of course, the Seahawks could always use a little more pass rush security.  Maybe Cliff Avril gets extended beyond this year.  Maybe we hit on someone in the draft.  Maybe we pick up another team’s cast-off.  Or, maybe we just try to hold the fort and steal another team’s outgoing free agent next year.

The point is:  pass rush & secondary = big money players.  Linebackers & interior linemen = savings.

On offense, the Seahawks have proven that a run-first model isn’t entirely out-dated.  Nevertheless, their spending in this area kinda sorta is.

Marshawn Lynch has the fourth-highest average per-year salary on the team (behind Harvin, Thomas, and Okung).  His contact runs out after the 2015 season.  Nobody really expects Lynch to see the final year of that deal as it’s currently configured, because nobody really expects Lynch to continue playing at the high level he’s been at the last three or four years.  Plus, there’s the whole issue with Russell Wilson getting his money after the 2014 season (when the team can negotiate an extension and finally pay him what he’s really worth).

As you can see from all the free agent deals for running backs this off-season, they’re not getting the kind of money they used to get even 10 years ago.  It sounds crazy when you think of someone like Chris Johnson, who can only get a 2-year deal; he was once the best runner in football and he’s NOT THAT OLD.  Same goes for these other guys.  What kind of a deal would Ben Tate have gotten even five years ago?  Now, he’s playing for peanuts, as is MJD, Darren McFadden, and every other running back who hits free agency.

Why is that?  Because teams are reluctant to go with the one-back system and instead opt for a By-Committee approach.  Because injuries are a son of a bitch.  And because all too often, a no-name guy from the back-end of the draft will enter the mix in the NFL and be just as good, if not better, than these over-paid mama’s boys (Trent Richardson) who somehow still get drafted high.

All of this tells me one thing:  you’re foolish if you’re pumping too much money into the running back position.

The Seahawks have the luxury of paying Marshawn Lynch a high salary because they’re paying next-to-nothing for Russell Wilson (and the quarterback position at large).  But, when Wilson’s commanding around $20 million per season, you’ve got to find ways to cut corners somewhere.  I would wager the Seahawks will pull some of that money out of the running back position (which is a shame, because everyone loves Marshawn Lynch with a passion).

It’ll be difficult, for the Seahawks more than others, because we DO rely on the run so much to make our offense go.  The run sets up the play-action pass.  The run keeps defenses honest.  The run also reduces the risk of turnovers, because if we’re successfully running the ball, then we’re not throwing as much.  If we’re not throwing as much, then we’re not throwing as many interceptions.  Bing, bang, boom.  So, the Seahawks can’t throw just any ol’ scrub in the backfield and expect to succeed.

To do what I advocate, you have to draft wisely and you have to draft often.  Finding value in a guy like Christine Michael (if he does, indeed, turn out to be the elite runner we all expect) will set us up for a good long while.  Yet, even if we were saddled with only Robert Turbin and whoever else via draft, I’d be content.

Because as long as you put value and talent into your offensive line, it really shouldn’t matter who you have at running back.

Under my system – which incidentally is the one the Seahawks have been using – you’ve got to have a great left tackle.  Russell Okung fits that mold.  He’s not quite Walter Jones, but then again, who is?  You SHOULD be able to cut corners a little bit on the guard spots, as long as you’ve got a great center.  The Seahawks have Max Unger, who is pretty terrific.  I’d like to see a breakdown of the best centers and how often they’re involved in lengthy playoff runs, because I think they’re WAY more important than most people give them credit for.

Under almost no circumstances should you be paying elite money to a guard.  Unless you know you’re getting someone like Hutch in his prime.  At which point, you should probably find a value center and make due with a so-so right tackle.  Obviously, you can’t pay everyone, but you should probably have at least two guys who are worthy of high-paying contracts.

If you’re a bad team, get that left tackle with a high draft pick.  There is ALWAYS an elite left tackle coming out in the draft.  So, if you have a high draft pick, make that guy your first priority.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a wonderful coach like Tom Cable, so try to get yourselves one of those.

The model isn’t perfect, obviously.  The Seahawks had two great linemen and a bunch of injuries last year and really struggled to protect the quarterback.  That’s where your QB comes into play.  You can put a crappy QB behind an elite O-Line and make some hay.  You probably won’t win many championships, but you can consistently make the playoffs.  The worse your O-Line is, though, the better your quarterback must be.  Russell Wilson probably isn’t an elite QB just yet, but he was good enough to make up for all the injuries and inconsistencies we suffered last year.

And, of course, that leads us to the passing game.  You can run the football all you want, but unless you can throw the ball when it counts, you’re not going to go all the way.  Ask Adrian Peterson about that, I’m sure he’s got some stories to tell.

Like I said at the top, you need the quarterback, but it helps if he has talent to throw to.

Some quarterbacks – like Brees, Peyton Manning, etc. – will turn any receiver into a 1,000 yard threat.  Others – I’m looking at you Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, Jay Cutler, etc. – need their receivers to elevate their games.

Andy Dalton would be a poor man’s Kyle Orton if he didn’t have A.J. Green.  Kaepernick was God-awful last year without Crabtree!  And Jay Cutler’s a fucking mess WITH guys like Brandon Marshall, but just imagine how terrible he’d be without him.

Now, say what you will about our receivers, but I think they’ve been pretty great.  And, until Percy Harvin came along, they’ve been relatively cheap as well.

Again, a great quarterback will make up for a lot of deficiencies.  I have no doubt that someone like Russell Wilson makes someone like Jermaine Kearse a better football player.  It’s tough to say what Kearse’s ceiling would be in an offense that passes as much as New Orleans or Green Bay, but I bet it would be higher than you’d think if you had someone like Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees throwing the ball around 35 times a game.

Our offense doesn’t need to over-spend at the wide receiver position, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.  If you can get someone like Percy Harvin, you probably should do it.  If you draft someone and he turns out to be the next Calvin Johnson, then you should probably do whatever it takes to keep him.

This can be a little tricky, because if your #1 receiver is making top quarterback money, AND if you happen to have one of those top quarterbacks, then you can get into a situation like they’ve got down in Detroit.  The Lions should probably worry about pumping their resources into an offensive line, or a secondary, to round out their team (and not, for instance, over-pay for someone like Golden Tate, but you didn’t hear that from me).

There are talented receivers out there in the draft and among the undrafted free agents, but you gotta be smart about it.  I would more than be in favor of an A-B-C salary structure for your top three receivers.  Your A-player gets the lion’s share, your B-player gets a healthy mid-level contract, and your C-player is probably a rookie or a young guy on a cheap deal.

In short, on offense, you’re going to want to pump a lot of money into the quarterback and the offensive line.  Stay away from overpaying running backs and tight ends (unless you’ve got one like Jimmy Graham that plays more like a wide receiver anyway).  And, just be smart about paying your receivers.  If you’re only going to throw 20-25 times per game, maybe don’t throw all your eggs into the receiver basket.  But, don’t leave the cupboard completely barren either.

The point of all of this is to say that the Seahawks are doing it the right way.  If you root for another team, and they happen to be struggling, then follow the money.  Where are their big-money contracts going?  Would they be better off putting that money elsewhere?  Are they making the same mistakes over and over?  Then, you might be a redneck Mariners fan, and get out of my brain.