Seahawks Finish Preseason, Make Cuts, Ready Themselves For Losses That Count

I probably didn’t see much more than a minute or two of the action last Friday as 7:30pm was the exact time my fantasy footall draft started.  It’s a good thing Golden Tate had a whale of a game, because I was pretty nervous that drafting him in the first round was a bad idea.

But, it’s not like it matters that I didn’t see the game, because what can you learn from a game like this anyway?  Pete Carroll went the standard route of having the starting quarterback play only a couple of series.  Then, Charlie Whitehurst came in and showed everyone why he wants to be known as The World’s Best August Quarterback.  There were field goals made by a kicker we would subsequently waive over the weekend; there were touchdowns scored by running backs we would subsequently waive over the weekend.  Justin Forsett averaged 3.0 yards per carry; Leon Washington averaged significantly less; and Tarvar – in spite of his only playing those two possessions – still managed to throw an interception.

The only thing we actually learned is:  we need to stop playing the Oakland Raiders.  Every time we play them, we come out of the game riddled with injuries!

This time, it’s Robert Gallery and defensive lineman Jimmy Wilkerson.  So that’s … that’s just great.

Over the weekend, we picked up Denver’s backup kicker (the guy who made the game-winner against us a couple weeks ago) and three other guys.  In exchange, I dunno.  Colin Cole is gone; a casualty of injury and money concerns.  Deon Butler starts on the PUP list, so that’s a shred of good news for a guy trying to come back from a brutal leg injury.  We kept Josh Portis as our third quarterback; that’s pretty exciting I guess.

The great national nightmare is officially over.  No more preseason for another year.  Now it’s on to the regular season.  Now it’s on to the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes.

The Seahawks Got Killed By Atlanta

Matt Hasselbeck sure played like shit, didn’t he?  More and more, he’s starting to resemble Dave Krieg at the end of his run.  Which is sad, but means that he makes dumb mistakes, looks battered and beaten in the pocket, and gets yanked from games like he was yesterday.  Unfortunately, it also means the fans boo and start chanting the name of the backup.

What is there to say?  The Falcons are methodical and balanced.  They have a sound, up-and-coming quarterback.  They have a quality running back with a good offensive line.  And they’ve got leadership up and down keeping the talented youth in check.  Everything about that team screams fundamental and Super Bowl-bound. 

On the flipside, Mike Williams came back.  We found out John Carlson is alive (1 catch for 31 yards).  And our rush defense is insanely better when we have both Cole and Mebane in the lineup.

But, this game was all about our quarterback.  Beleaguered doesn’t even begin to describe what’s going on with Hasselbeck.  He made a horrendous throw that looked like the defender was running the intended route; he tried to lodge another one in traffic that was tipped and also picked off; and that fumble in the end zone is probably the most unforgivable thing I’ve ever seen him do.  I mean, I can’t possibly imagine what he was thinking – that he was going to elude the grasp of a 300 pound lineman who was right on top of him? – but that’s not even a rookie mistake.  That’s a Brett Favre-ian mistake.  And I don’t know anyone who’s as less-liked than Brett Favre.

Which is why I was glad to see Football Jesus get his chance.  He didn’t look horrible, he led us on a touchdown drive when things were already out of hand, and that touch pass on the 2-point conversion was about as pretty a play as you’ll see.

I say:  Fuck it.  Let him start in Tampa.  Give Hasselbeck a chance to think things over.  I mean, Christ, he’s thrown 10 interceptions in the last 4 games!  You can’t reward that kind of play with continued play!  I don’t care what kind of a nice, stand-up guy he is; I don’t care if he’s fundamentally better right now than Whitehurst … you can’t fall back on the line, “He gives us the best chance to win.”  Because, right now, the way he’s playing, he DOESN’T give us the best chance to win.

Pete Carroll already threw Whitehurst under the bus when he started him in that Giants game – a completely un-winnable situation where he never had a chance to succeed.  Pete Carroll should turn around and give him one more chance, in a very winnable situation against the Bucs – who are hurting and falling off the map at a rapid pace.

“Earn Everything” is the catch-phrase our coach loves to use.  Well, Hasselbeck hasn’t earned squat the last four weeks and he deserves a 1-game benching.  It’s only fair.

(and then you put Hasselbeck right back in the starting lineup for the all-important Week 17 game against the Rams; because I don’t want to miss this chance to go to the playoffs because we got Whitehurst’d).

A Chance To Help Our Cause: The ‘Frisco Edition

The Seahawks are 2 games up and the 49ers suck dick.  Open and shut case, right?

Then why do I get the feeling that this is where it all goes horribly wrong?

This just has the feel of a week where we not only lay a big steaming turd, but the Rams also find a way to go into New Orleans and shock the world.  Call me crazy!  I could easily see the Rams pulling away to the point where that Week 17 game in Seattle is meaningless (which would be fitting, since I plan on GOING to that game, my only game of the year).

What are we looking at?  Why am I so nervous when a week earlier I was so sure about what’s essentially the same crappy team (just playing their home games on opposite coasts)?  I mean, Frank Gore is out for the year.  Mike Singletary’s head is taking permanent residence up his own ass.  Alex Smith is back because having a winning record isn’t enough for Troy Smith to keep his job apparently.  So, what up?

Look, if I could quantify it, I would.  We’re likely without Mike Williams, so that sucks.  We could also be short Obomanu, which equally sucks.  Colin Cole is practicing this week, but who knows if he’ll play/be effective?

And, unless I’m mistaken, Patrick Willis still plays on the other team’s defense.  Yes, THAT Patrick Willis.  The one who killed Hasselbeck’s season last year.  The one who’s a thorn in our running game as well as our ability to throw to tight ends.

Look, I’m not gonna lie to you, this is a must-win!  That pressure is hanging over everything about this team.  The players can look ahead in the schedule just like I can.  Next week:  vs. Atlanta (a.k.a. the best team in the NFC).  The week after:  @ Tampa (a.k.a. a 10am game on the east coast).  If we lose this week, we’re pretty much a shoo-in to be 6-9 heading into that Rams game.

On the flipside, even if the Rams lose this week (which, seriously, I’m not putting past them winning it), they host the Chiefs and 49ers, which are two winnable games for them.  That would mean they’d be 8-7 and playing for nothing in Week 17.  Something to think about as the Seahawks drag ass in the Bay Area this Sunday.

My Lack Of Joy In This & Every Other NFL Season

This dates back to the Super Bowl season and likely beyond.  I’m talking about key injuries of key players at key positions.

Take that season, for instance.  You look at a team that went 13-3 and just steamrolled through the NFC.  A rushing game that was tops in the league, a quarterback putting it all together, a Hall of Fame head coach, talent both young and old infused throughout.  Then what happened?  We get to the playoffs and practically everyone in our secondary went down.  We were hiring guys off the street to come in, in the biggest game of their lives, and cover solid NFL wide receivers.  What happens?  A tailspin that has yet to subside with this team.

Every year, shit in some form hits the fan.

We’ve lost Hasselbeck for stretches in 2008 and 2009.  We had that one year where every God damned wide receiver who stepped onto the field went down.  Or that year where we lost Marcus Tubbs and our rush defense went from passable to putrid.  Or last year where we churned through about 90 offensive linemen.  Or, fuck, take your pick!  Lofa, Kerney, Hill, Trufant … I could fill an entire roster with players who’ve missed significant time over the last five years and ostensibly take that team to a Super Bowl if I had any confidence whatsoever that they’d stay healthy!

What is it this year?  Same ol’ shit.  Losing Red Bryant, Colin Cole and Brandon Mebane has taken a once stout rush defense and made it Swiss cheese.  That, in turn, makes the rest of our defense weaker (because we can’t force offenses into being one-dimensional), and you get what we had here last week with Kansas City.

Let’s see, what else?  Well, Mike Williams I’ve already gone into.  He’s certainly our most talented offensive threat.  But, beyond that, our offense isn’t struggling because of one Mike Williams foot injury.  How about losing up-and-coming Max Unger?  How about losing everyone we’ve ever tried to put at Left Guard?  How about every time I look up (in between fits of tear-filled rage) I see Russell Okung limping off the field; he’s got to either have the worst luck or weakest ankles I’ve ever seen!

There’s no joy in watching scrubs and backups play the game of football.  I don’t particularly enjoy watching Craig Terrill try to plug a rushing lane even though he’s skinnier than most tight ends.  I’m tired of watching Marshawn Lynch struggle for a no-gain because our inept offensive line can’t generate any cohesion.  I’m getting ulcers over here worrying about the next hit that knocks Hasselbeck out of the ballgame (and probably out of our lives forever the way things are going).

I could tolerate a .500 team if I knew we’d be competitive more often than not.  I’d rather have bad luck on the football field cost us ballgames instead of bad luck with the injury bug.  It’s a God damned broken record and you can’t get it off the turntable!  It’s fucking super glued on there and I can’t wake up from this motherfucking nightmare!

Yeah, sure, this version of the 2010 Seahawks can make the playoffs, but what’s the point?  If we can’t even be competitive at home against the fucking Chiefs, then why should we be excited about facing a 12-4 team out of the NFC South who’s just going to come in here and roll us like a cheap cigar?

A Lot Of People Are Upset With The Seahawks Right Now

Boy, the media couldn’t WAIT to pounce after this game.  SEE, all you people who are calling for a change at quarterback?  SEE what’s waiting in the wings once Hasselbeck’s let go?

Yeah, well, sure.  That wasn’t a good game whatsoever out of Charlie Whitehurst.  I might add that it was his FIRST game and I might also add that one Mr. Matt Hasselbeck didn’t look so hot in his first games with the Seahawks either.  That would be “games” plural.  It takes time.  Some guys don’t come out of the college womb dropping dimes on receivers from 40 yards back.  I know I’m not going to make a snap judgment based on a guy’s first start.  That’s insane!  Stop it!  Calm down!

They’re also jumping all over the defense, specifically Marcus Trufant, for what was just a miserable all around performance.  Yeah, well, give up 41 points and that’s pretty justified.  But, before everyone jumps into the abyss, I’d like to point out the 2009 Seattle Seahawks.  See, because their problems are our problems now:

  • Injury at quarterback
  • Thin at offensive line
  • Injuries all over the defense

What does that amount to?  The same losing formula of one year ago:  offense can’t stay on the field and put up points (17:26 time of possession, 7 points), so the defense is overworked.  On top of that, 3/4ths of our starting defensive line are injured; and they just so happen to be the run-stopping 3/4ths.  Mebane, Cole, and Bryant.  Replaced by Huey, Dewey, and Louie.  Lo and behold!  197 yards rushing for the Giants and 0 sacks for the Seahawks!

At that point, it’s pick your poison time.  Try to stuff their run, or let them chew through you like so much soft and mushy mulch.

I’m sorry, but if you didn’t see this game coming, then you’re a Dan Fool.  The Giants, right now, are clearly a superior team to the Seahawks.  Of course, were we as healthy as we were a month ago, and still playing at home, then you could easily expect us to keep this thing competitive.  But, we’re not healthy, and they are, and they straight up smoked us.

That’s why I’m not mad.  There’s literally nothing we could have done.  Did the Seahawks come out flatter than we would’ve liked?  Probably.  But, let’s get serious, we might as well have been waving the white flag as soon as we decided it was in Hasselbeck’s long-term best interest to sit this one out.

At least we can say this:  when we want to, we can protect the quarterback like nobody’s business.  0 sacks for the Giants and only 1 quarterback hit.  Whitehurst sure had a soft landing to walk into.  Too bad that cost him a number of weapons that probably did contribute to hindering his performance.  After all, going 2 tight end and/or running back all game to Max Protect is going to leave you with less guys to throw to.  Something to chew on as we stew on this game all week.

74-3: Seattle Football Gets Stomped

I don’t know what to tell you.  Is it understandable that both teams lost?  Sure.  But that doesn’t mean it’s still not shocking to see just how BAD both teams looked.

I’m not gonna lie to you, I was at that Stanford game and the only thing I remember about it was leaving early.  Every time I drifted back into consciousness, I’d look up and Stanford’s score would be higher than it was before I passed out.  For a game like that, being blackout drunk is probably the only way to enjoy oneself.

I’m not gonna lie to you, I was heavily hungover on Sunday.  So much so that I didn’t even wake up until the 2nd quarter of the Seahawks game.  At the time, we were only down 3-0, but the writing was on the wall.  Something like the first five drives were 3-and-outs for the Seahawks.  That’s always ominous.  We just couldn’t do a damn thing against their press coverage.  So, instead of trying to play our game, we ended up chucking a lot of balls down the sidelines in hopes that we’d make a play one on one.  More often than not, that strategy failed.

It looked like we were playing against 13 or 14 guys out there; not being able to run the ball certainly killed any chance we had to be successful.  Conversely, our once-stout run defense was absolutely shredded as injuries have taken their toll.  First Mebane, then Bryant, and even Colin Cole went down with an ankle.  That’s going to wreck your day any way you slice it.

As for the Huskies, I’m not ready to write off the season just yet.  But, we’re nowhere NEAR the league of a team like Stanford.  So, this Saturday in Oregon should be a barrel of monkeys.

And as for the Seahawks, I’m just hoping this was a one-game thing (kinda like St. Louis was just a one-game thing).  We’re home for the Giants, but unfortunately we’re all out of BYE weeks, so I don’t know how all these injured starters are going to get healthy.

Player Profile: Brandon Mebane

Will the most unheralded star of this year’s team be Brandon Mebane?

Doubles As Refrigerator Perry

That may or may not be a fair question.  I think plenty of Seahawks fans herald Brandon Mebane quite well.  In looking back over the Tim Ruskell drafts, I think he shines as one of the better picks, even if last year felt like a bit of a step back.

In 2007, Mebane played in all the games, but was a rookie so he did little more than take up space when asked.  In 2008, Mebane once again played in all the games, and this year saw a spike in his sack totals (from 2.0 to 5.5).  In 2009, Mebane missed 1 game and saw his sack total go down by 4.

So, what gives?  Is this a man who peaked in his 2nd year and is on the downslope of his career?  I highly doubt that.  What’s more likely is that 2008 was the last year we ever got consistent pressure on the quarterback, when we had veterans like Rocky Bernard and Patrick Kerney.  2009 was just a sorry state of affairs all around; plus Mebane took it upon himself to lose a considerable amount of girth before the season.

This year, the girth returns, and with it the hope of a new quarterback-mauling day.  Among the defensive tackles (some of whom are even playing on the End, Red Bryant), Mebane has the most explosiveness.  And with big tubs like Cole and Vickerson lining up alongside him, I’d look for Mebane to take advantage of teams double-teaming the Other Fat Guys on the line.

I don’t think anyone is going to confuse Mebane with Warren Sapp in his heyday, but the potential is there.  For a unit that’s getting crushed by the critics this offseason (of which I am among), I don’t think we’ll have to worry about Mebane so much as the under-experienced fellows around him.  After all, if you just went by Games Played, I think Mebane leads the pack (assuming, of course, that Terrill gets cut, which I’m still expecting).