The Seahawks Cut Richard Sherman, Who Signed With The 49ers

In further Blowing Up The Seahawks news, the Seahawks released Jeremy Lane and DeShawn Shead.  Lane is a goner; I don’t see any way he comes back.  But, I think there’s a good chance the team brings Shead back and lets him compete for a starting spot somewhere in the secondary.

But, obviously, the huge, franchise-altering news comes with the departure of Richard Sherman.  It honestly sickens me to have to write that sentence.  It never should’ve come to this.  Sherm was one of those Heart & Soul guys for the Seahawks, a definite Hall of Famer, and someone who deserves to have his name and jersey hanging in CenturyLink Field when it’s all said and done.  This is just all too depressing.  If the Michael Bennett trade started the End of an Era talks, this move blows it all wide open.

I guess the Seahawks save $11 million this year, which, whatever.  That still doesn’t give them enough money to fill all the holes on this roster.  That doesn’t get them back to being a playoff team, let alone a Super Bowl contender.  That also doesn’t give us a draft pick in the second or third rounds this year.  So, why?  Why do this?  Is the extra money worth more than a year of his services (when I do anticipate he will recover from his injuries and will return to being a Top 10 cornerback in this league) on top of losing a potential 3rd round comp pick if he did inevitably sign elsewhere (because you know – had he played out his deal at a Pro Bowl level – he likely would’ve gotten a max deal on the free agent market).

I don’t understand.  The only thing I can think of is the old ethos of “giving up on a player 1 year too early rather than 1 year too late.”  And, let’s face it, at this point you can see that’s bitten us in the ass too much for comfort of late, with Kam Chancellor (who likely will never play again, yet will be on the roster for all of 2018 barring a miracle), with Cliff Avril, and with Michael Bennett.  The Seahawks have well over $14 million in dead money on the 2018 cap (including over $3 million combined for Jermaine Kearse and Ahtyba Rubin, who weren’t even on the team LAST year) and have to have one of the oldest cores in all of football (our average age per player is only brought down by the need for us to carry so many rookies/young guys due to salary cap constraints, but if you count just the primary starters, we’re old af).  So, I can understand and appreciate the need to get younger and cut & run with older guys when it helps the franchise long term.  But, wouldn’t it help more if we let Sherm play out his deal and get the comp pick?

Also, not for nothing, but you gotta take these things on a player-by-player basis.  This Achilles injury is the first major injury that’s kept him out of football games, so it’s not like he’s some injury-prone loser.  But, he’s a Hall of Famer, and as such those guys tend to be more durable – either via luck or genetics – than your average salary cap cut.  It wouldn’t shock me – as I said before – for Sherm to snap right back to being a Pro Bowler in 2018, just as it wouldn’t shock me to see him play at a high level for many years to come.  There aren’t a lot of guys who play at a high level well into their 30s, but the Hall of Famers usually do.  We haven’t seen the last of Richard Sherman, not by a longshot.

As for all the chatter about him signing with the 49ers, what do I care?  It’s a free country.  The Seahawks cut HIM after all; it’s not like he forced his way out.  Plus, the rivalry isn’t the same as it was back in the day.  The 49ers haven’t been good since 2013, they no longer have Jim Harbaugh or Colin Kaepernick at the helm, and we’ve been able to handle them pretty good in the subsequent years since The Tip.  Now, the Seahawks are starting their slide.  I don’t see any chance of the Seahawks making the playoffs in 2018 – unless the Rams and 49ers suffer a slew of major injuries to their best players – while the 49ers are going to skyrocket to the top of the league.  Jimmy Garoppolo looks like the real fucking deal, the team has drafted well, they have a lot of money to play around with, and they just signed one of the best cornerbacks in the league.  It should all be coming together for them starting this year.  On top of that, I don’t see the Rams taking much of a step back, if at all, so the NFC West is going to be a 2-team race between the two California teams, with the Seahawks looking to fend off Arizona for last place.  Again, not much of a rivalry when one of the teams (the Seahawks) is so clearly inferior to the other (the 49ers).

If Richard Sherman had personal reasons for wanting to sign with the 49ers, to stick it to the Seahawks for cutting him, more power to him.  It’s not going to change the way I feel about the guy.  I love Richard Sherman for life.  He played his very best years in a Seahawks uniform, and nothing can take that away from us.  When he goes into the Hall of Fame, he’ll be wearing a Seahawks jersey.  I have so many more positive memories of Sherm that VASTLY outweigh the negative ones.  So, he can sign with the 49ers.  He can sign with the Patriots.  He can sign with the Steelers.  Hell, he can even sign with the fucking Packers and I wouldn’t care.  We had him first; the rest of the league is feasting off of our sloppy seconds.

As for where the Seahawks go from here, I hope it’s a dedicated pledge to rebuild in 2018 and go for broke again in 2019.  I see no point in trying to further mortgage the franchise in the short term if it’s going to set us back even further down the road.

The Seahawks Signed Austin Davis Instead Of Colin Kaepernick *Clutches Pearls*

Look, I’m with you to a point.  Austin Davis stinks.  To be honest, when I first heard about it, I sort of recognized the name, thought it sounded a lot like a Rams-type quarterback, and then discovered he not only played for the Rams, but also the Browns.  So, you know, a real who’s who of the National Football League.

Is Colin Kaepernick a better NFL quarterback than Austin Davis?  No question.  Absolutely.  How much better is up for debate, but considering both were unemployed to this point, I think it’s a pretty damning indictment of Kaepernick’s abilities.

Look, if Kaep is actually, truly, a starting-calibre NFL quarterback, then he’d already be signed by now.  That’s the bottom line.  You can start to compare him to all the other backups in the league right now, and note how much better he is than most of them, but that’s a separate argument.  When you focus on him just being a backup, then yes, he’s being run out of the league because of his protests last year.  It means that all the scrutiny, the distraction, the unrest among a certain (sizeable) segment of that particular team’s fanbase, isn’t worth the signing of a backup quarterback.

Like it or lump it, teams in the NFL hate distractions.  They want to focus on the next game.  They don’t want to spend all week, every week, fielding questions about a backup quarterback.  They don’t want to be flooded with calls, e-mails, Tweets, and whathaveyou about a guy a lot of people hate.  It’s not a matter of Kaepernick answering questions; it’s about the rest of the team answering those same questions, or questions ABOUT a guy who’s not even playing.

It’s the same reason why Percy Harvin was unloaded for pennies on the dollar, not long after the Seahawks traded a ton to get him and paid him a ton to keep him.  If the Seahawks got tired of the circus that was The Percy Harvin Experience, and he was at one time an MVP candidate, why should we think the Seahawks would want to deal with The Colin Kaepernick Experience?

Is it fair?  Absolutely not.  Protesting the National Anthem and standing up for his political beliefs was actually the first thing Colin Kaepernick ever did that I liked.  I always had him pegged as a pretty big douchebag, kissing his muscles and all that after touchdowns.  The fact that he played for the 49ers, back when the 49ers were elite (and the Seahawks’ biggest rival), obviously helped fuel my hate.  But, his actions last year – not just sitting for the anthem, but being open and honest with his reasons, and discussing with various veterans a more respectful way to protest what was going on in America by kneeling for the anthem, and the fact that he donates so much of his money to good causes, has really changed the perception of Kaep for a lot of people, myself included.  It’s why so many in the media are outraged by his unemployment, and why we keep getting all these articles about how stupid this all is.

The fact of the matter is, Colin Kaepernick DOES deserve to have a job in the NFL.  But, you know, he made his bed and now he’s got to sleep in it.  He knew how people would react!  Hell, all he needed to do was look back to the 90’s when Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to stand for the anthem due to his religious beliefs.  And that was in a time before 9/11, when we didn’t have the type of religious intolerance of Muslims that we do now.  That was also way before the Internet exploded, and before social media was able to turn every single thing into a MAJOR ISSUE.  Abdul-Rauf was never able to live that down.

The NFL is the biggest sport in America, which means that it has the largest swath of fans.  Things get skewed because most of the voices in the media trend liberal, but the vast majority of the NFL fanbase – and many of the players in the league itself – are ultra conservative.  Kaepernick HAD to have known this, which is why he was so brave in his stance, but he’s also a fool if he thought it would just blow over, or it wouldn’t have an effect on his future employment.

On top of that, it’s not the Seahawks’ responsibility to take on the role of all that is right and just in this league.  Everyone keeps coming back to this thing where the Seahawks choose to employ Frank Clark (who is at least DV-adjacent), but spurned Kaepernick (someone trying to affect real change in society), but I don’t know what to tell you.  Why are you surprised that the Seahawks are acting like every other NFL team?  The Seahawks are in the business of winning football games, period.  They’re not in the business of signing every good-character person out there.  This isn’t a charity.  If they feel they have a better chance of winning with Austin Davis on the roster over Colin Kaepernick – taking into account ALL issues, and not just which one of the two is better in a vacuum – then the Seahawks have also made their own bed, haven’t they?

I think we can all agree on one issue:  if the Seahawks are forced into playing their backup quarterback for an extensive amount of time this year, they’re fucked regardless.

I’ll admit, I was tantalized by the idea of Kaepernick stepping in there for Russell Wilson, should the unthinkable happen and we’re forced into that situation.  He seems like a guy who could fit in well with this offense.  We could even potentially run MORE zone read plays than we do right now (as the team is clearly scaling back on that, as Wilson gets more comfortable in the pocket).

But, take a step back and really think about it.  If Wilson gets injured, it’s almost a given that the reason is because our offensive line is atrocious.  Now, recall when Kaepernick was still an effective quarterback in this league:  it’s when he had that top notch O-Line.  When the 49ers started chipping away at that, due to injuries or retirement, Kaepernick’s play suffered accordingly.  But, he’s NEVER been behind an O-Line THIS bad.  Obviously, the fact that he’s mobile is a big help in this regard, but his decision-making is suspect when he’s under pressure.  Granted, his TD/INT ratio last year was solid, but he was also playing it VERY safe.  And, in spite of that, the 49ers were still largely ineffective on offense, with the likes of Chip Kelly at the helm running the offense.

All of that is independent of Austin Davis, of course.  If we’re in agreement that Kaepernick would struggle behind this Seahawks O-Line, we’re overwhelmingly in agreement that Davis would be the God Damned Worst, but that’s where all the other issues come into play.

I would also argue there are a couple of other things going on that are more Seahawks-related than anything else.  First, we don’t know the cost of bringing in Davis.  Is he earning less money than Kaepernick would’ve earned?  A story broke saying that the Seahawks and Kaepernick were equal in their money offering/demands.  Well, just because they were on the same page on the money issue doesn’t mean that Davis and Kaepernick were on the same page.  Maybe Davis is making a lot less!  That absolutely factors into this thing, when you consider the Seahawks’ salary cap is right up against it.  We need to save money for injuries, as well as potential cuts at the end of Training Camp, when the Seahawks might be in the market to boost their depth elsewhere.

There’s also this other issue that might be crazy, but would fit in with what the Seahawks have done in the past.  Trevone Boykin is still on the roster.  In spite of his off-season transgressions, I wonder if the Seahawks still like his potential as a backup on this team.  Signing Colin Kaepernick is a VERY strong indicator that he’s going to be your #2, end of story.  Signing Austin Davis, however, leaves open the possibility that Trevone Boykin is able to fend him off and keep his status as this team’s #2.  When you consider how this team gave Russell Wilson every opportunity to win the starting job back in 2012, I think it’s a strong possibility that they’re doing everything they can to have Boykin win the #2 job.  Why?  More team control, much cheaper contract, potential for a higher ceiling if he reaches his potential.

My thinking is, there is VERY little (if any) guaranteed money on the Davis deal.  My hunch is that the Seahawks will end up sticking with Boykin when they cut down to 53 players (barring injury, of course).  This brings up a question of whether or not Kaepernick is better than Boykin, to which I’d say it’s too soon to tell.  What we know right now is that Boykin is a lot cheaper, and offers a similar skillset as far as being mobile is concerned.  Plus, Boykin has the advantage of having a year in our system, whereas Kaepernick would have to learn a brand new offense.  Let’s save any more analysis on this issue for another time, if and when Boykin actually has the #2 job.

Should The Seahawks Stop Punting On Backup Quarterback Already?

There was some Tweet saying that John Schneider was at Texas Tech’s Pro Day, ostensibly to look at their quarterback who’s coming out in this year’s draft (but, I would think, more likely to look at other players).  With the Seahawks, there’s been a lot of non-stories being spread around (more per capita than the average team, if I have anything to say about it), between Beastmode forcing a trade to the Raiders, and the Seahawks supposedly soliciting offers to trade away Richard Sherman; it’s all a bunch of media-created nonsense to generate clicks, pageviews, and hours of sports radio content.


Anyway, now there’s that Tweet, and it makes it sound like the Seahawks are in the market for selecting a quarterback high in the draft, with the intended effect of Seahawks fans speculating on Russell Wilson’s future with the team.

Obviously, the Seahawks aren’t getting rid of Russell Wilson, so let’s just put that to bed right now.  It’s probably like I said above, there’s probably some low-rated draft prospect on Texas Tech the Seahawks are getting a closer look at, nothing more.

But, the more I thought about it, the more I started to wonder:  SHOULD the Seahawks look to fill their backup quarterback role with someone other than an undrafted rookie who recently was involved in a drunken driving collision and an arrest?  Even if Trevone Boykin was a model citizen, does it make sense to run him out there again as our #2?

2016 should’ve opened up PLENTY of eyes in that Seahawks organization with all that went down.  Specifically, the quality of the offensive line, and the byproduct of Russell Wilson being hobbled for more than half the season.  Hey, fancy that, the kid’s actually human!  (sort of)  Russell Wilson has ankles rolled up on and knees bending the wrong way just like the rest of us!  (that made more sense in my head)  I’m not saying he’s going to be the next Ben Roethlisberger, who’s injured every year without fail, but I will say a couple things:

  1. After 4 full seasons where Wilson never missed even a practice rep, he had something of a year from hell and we got to see what this offense looks like with him at 50% or worse; so just imagine what it would look like with him totally sidelined.
  2. When you start sustaining injuries like that to your knees and ankles, you don’t see your foot speed increase over time.  You tend to get a lot slower as you age; that shit adds up!  At some point, Wilson’s legs will be as worthless as Peyton Manning’s, and at that time, will he still be as effective a leader of this offense?

Before 2016, we didn’t have to worry about this shit, because we had Tarvaris Jackson and we all agreed that he was the kind of quality backup this team needed in the event where Wilson might go down.  But, he was always coming back on 1-year deals (when the rest of the league turned its collective backs to him), and the Seahawks really needed something more permanent in its backup.  Someone who could grow with Wilson, build value in the pre-season, and maybe generate draft picks in trade should he turn into a Jimmy Garoppolo-type.  More than anything, we need someone comfortable in our system and someone with actual NFL talent, for when disaster does strike (and believe you me, it will strike, eventually).

Trevone Boykin is almost certainly not that guy.  At no point would I have ever felt comfortable with him leading this team last year, and I highly doubt he’s going to make some magical jump between Year 1 and Year 2.  He’s a third stringer at best, and should probably be nothing more than camp fodder before he gives up the ghost and signs with the CFL.  And I’m NOT saying that just because he got arrested recently (though, that certainly doesn’t help).  It’s like what Joe Thomas was saying about Colin Kaepernick:  NFL teams don’t want any sort of distraction coming from their backup quarterbacks (and, make no mistake, Kaepernick IS a backup quarterback).

Speaking of, there’s been a lot of chatter among Seahawks fans saying they desperately want the team to sign Kaep to be Wilson’s backup.  I dunno.  I guess I understand the argument – Wilson is a mobile quarterback; Kaepernick’s mobility is as good as it gets – but they’re really two VERY different players.  As the Seahawks start transitioning towards a precision-passing attack – mostly to compensate for a crappy O-Line, but also to help enhance Wilson’s pocket-passing game – Kaepernick has terrible timing, and a big ol’ wind-up in his throws.  Granted, he throws really fucking hard, but so does Jay Cutler, and I don’t see people clamoring for the Seahawks to sign him!  Maybe, if Wilson got hurt and Kaepernick went in, as long as the Seahawks shifted the offense back to one of a heavy rushing load, with lots and lots of zone read, I’d be okay with it.

Like I said, I dunno.  I’ve been so conditioned to hate the 49ers for so long, it’s hard to flip that script and start liking or wanting a guy like Kaepernick on my team.  There’s also the legitimate concern that he’s been VERY terrible for a while now, but is it a chicken/egg thing?  Like, yeah, he’s been terrible, but so has the entire 49ers organization from the top down.  Is he terrible because everyone around him is terrible?  I mean, it’s really a helluva regression from where he was, at one point considered one of the league’s very best young quarterbacks.  It can’t ALL be due to the league just figuring him out and Jim Harbaugh leaving, can it?

I’ll just say this and let it be done:  I’m ready to move on from Trevone Boykin.  I’m ready for a semi-competent backup, because I truly fear for Russell Wilson’s safety behind this O-Line.  If that means Kaepernick, or that Texas Tech quarterback, or someone else I haven’t mentioned today, I’m all for it.

Seahawks Barely Beat 49ers, Settle For 3-Seed

I literally don’t think I’ve ever been as disgruntled with a Seahawks division champ/playoff team.  MAYBE 2010, because we were 7-9 and had no business being in the playoffs in the first place – and we were actively screwing ourselves out of a higher draft pick – but at least that year gave us the Beastquake.  I highly doubt there will be anything to top that this year.  Just more disappointment in an ever-closing championship window.

The Seahawks beat the 49ers in Santa Clara 25-23, but had to overcome a 14-3 deficit to do it.  We were able to hit on some impressive deep balls, but the running game was non-existent yet again, and the defense looked shaky-at-best against an inept 49ers offense led by the washed-up Colin Kaepernick.  At best, you have to hope the Seahawks were so convinced the Falcons would do their job at home against the Saints (which they did, no surprise there) that they just didn’t show up until the second quarter and let the 49ers hang around until it was time to pull the starters (even though that could’ve meant our losing the game and dropping to the 4-seed in the process, but let’s go ahead and sweep that little turd nugget under the rug).

This team is doomed, plain and simple.  Injuries, complacency, a defensive coordinator in over his head, an offensive coordinator and a quarterback who refuse to even try to establish a running game, an offensive line coach who has probably worn out his welcome, an offensive line that’s just a fucking disaster.  If the Seahawks don’t lose to the Lions this week, they will DEFINITELY lose to Atlanta next week, meaning we’re just delaying the inevitable.

As it stands, I give the Seahawks a 50/50 chance of beating the Lions on Saturday.  Do you know how pathetic that is?  The Seahawks should absolutely ROLL over the Lions at home, but they absolutely will not.  They will struggle like they always do, against what looks like the worst of the pass rushes remaining in the playoffs, let the Lions hang around (or worse, let the Lions go up big and have to come back late), and either the Seahawks will get it done late in the 4th quarter or they won’t.  But, like I said, it won’t matter.  When I first gave thought to it, I figured if the Seahawks made it to Atlanta next week, they had an 85% chance of losing, but I’m ready to throw that figure into the 90’s.  What about this team inspires confidence?  Hell, I’d be shocked if the Lions don’t put up 30 points on us!  What do you think the Falcons will do?  The same Falcons team that feels like it was jobbed back in Seattle earlier in the regular season?  They’re out for blood, and after the Lions, the Seahawks are the juiciest piece of bleeding flesh left out in shark-infested waters.  Just waiting for a predator to come along and swallow us whole.

As you can see, I’m already mentally preparing myself for the offseason.  Maybe next year we’ll be luckier with injuries.  Maybe next year the O-Line will gel into a cohesive unit.  Maybe next year we’ll be able to make a few free agency splashes to shore up our very worst positions.  Maybe our next first round draft pick will be worth a damn from week 1 and we won’t have to suffer yet another year of growing pains.  Maybe we’ll find a long-snapper who doesn’t make me want to slit my own throat.

I Guess The Seahawks Will Beat The Bills, But I Dunno

The Seahawks have looked anywhere from mediocre to pathetic the last couple weeks, particularly on offense, particularly in losing on the road to a Saints team you should absolutely beat 100 times out of 100.  I know this is a home game, but you’re still talking about a Bills team that’s a clear cut above the Saints, with more talent than the Saints on both sides of the ball (albeit, not necessarily at quarterback), and oh yeah, this is a team that leads the league in sacks and likes to blitz on the majority of their defensive snaps.  The Seahawks, with their turnstile offensive line, should be crushed in this game.  They’ve proven they can’t protect Russell Wilson without incurring a ton of flags, they’ve proven they can’t run the ball with any semblance of regularity, and quite frankly, I think it’s time to really start second-guessing my faith in Russell Wilson’s abilities.

All along, I’ve been railing against the national media who likes to do nothing more than pick out the flaws in Wilson’s game.  He’s a system guy.  He has that tremendous defense.  He has Marshawn Lynch to lean on.  He’s not asked to do too much.  On and on and on.  And, through it all, I’ve just been waiting for him to prove them wrong.  One day, Wilson will be called upon to be The Man, and he’s going to rise to the challenge, and he’s going to be one of those guys you talk about when you talk about the cream of the crop at quarterback!

Well, that time is now, and I know he’s got all the injuries and everything, but he ain’t rising up for shit!  Maybe it’s all a result of him not being able to run around like he used to, but while he looked like a guy taking the next step in the second half of last year (particularly with his pocket passing, as he had one of the quicker releases in football in that span), now it just looks like he’s rushing throws and making poor decisions to boot.  I know it’s not all on him; his offensive line is a joke.  But, when you talk about the greats, you talk about how they make everyone else around them better.  And, that’s just not happening right now for this man and this team.

All that having been said, watch the Seahawks go out there and put up 400 yards of offense.  Like I said, I dunno!  Who can predict how this team will look from week to week?  I’m sure it doesn’t help in games against the Cards and Saints that they’re so familiar with the way we play ball.  Buffalo doesn’t face us all that often, so maybe they won’t be ready for us?

On the flipside, you’d think our defense would be able to shut them down.  The thing they like to do best – run the ball – is the thing we tend to shut down the best.  That having been said, the Cards and Saints were both hyper-dedicated to running the ball against us, and while their yards per carry average wasn’t all that impressive, they still put their quarterbacks in manageable situations on second and third downs (something I’ve been SCREAMING for the Seahawks to do these past two weeks).  Tyrod Taylor isn’t nearly as effective as Brees or Palmer, but he’s good enough, and he’s mobile.  Remember Colin Kaepernick when he was good?  Taylor is like a better version of that.  And while his weapons might not be all there, what with injuries and whatnot, I fully expect him to move the ball just enough to keep them in the game.  I would, in no way shape or form, expect a Seahawks blowout.

So, shit, why not?  I guess we’ll see a Seahawks blowout!  Because, again, I have no fucking idea what’s going on, with this team, this season, or anything else in the NFL.  Having me predict NFL games is a fool’s errand; I’ve been obnoxiously terrible at it this year.

I don’t even care about this game, to tell you the truth.  The Seahawks are so decimated by injuries that it’s not even fun to watch this team anymore.  No Kam Chancellor, no Michael Bennett, no Thomas Rawls, a gimpy Tyler Lockett, a gimpier Russell Wilson … I mean, you’re talking about all of my favorite players on this team either out or playing significantly less than 100%.  Who wants to watch THIS team?  This team stinks!  Can we fast forward to December when these guys are all back to full health?

If you want to watch exciting, fun football, watch the Washington Huskies.  They play Cal on Saturday night at 7:30pm and that game is going to be a million times more exciting than whatever garbage we’re stuck with on Monday night.

Why Russell Wilson Is One Of The Four Best Quarterbacks In The NFL Right Now

This post is going to be COMPLETELY subjective and COMPLETELY drenched in my homerizzm, but I don’t care.

I think Russell Wilson is pretty great at football.  If you’re a Seahawks fan, you probably agree.  I also think we’re just scratching the surface of Russell Wilson’s greatness.  Based on the second half of his 2015 season, if you’re a Seahawks fan, you probably also agree.

Why do I think Russell Wilson is one of the four best quarterbacks in the NFL?  It’s quite simple:  I can’t think of more than three quarterbacks in the league for whom I’d be willing to trade our franchise guy.  For the sake of this exercise, I should point out that I’m including age and experience in this thing, but I’m not really all that focused on the size of the contract or anything like that.  This is a simple one-for-one swap:  would I rather have Russell Wilson for however many remaining years of his career (probably well over 10 more years, if everything goes well health-wise), or would I rather have Player X?  It’s not as simple as:  you have one year, who is your starting quarterback?  It’s also not as simple as:  who had the best 2015 season?  This is, going forward, who would you be willing to have start for your team in place of Russell Wilson?

Also, for the sake of argument, let’s forget about all the growing pains of bringing in a new guy, having him learn the system, having him build a rapport with the players, and so on.  Let’s just assume, whoever you trade for, will know our system and will get along with the players as well as Wilson has.

To fulfill the “experience” and “quality” requirements, I chopped off over half of the league’s starters from last year.  None of the 2016 rookies interest me whatsoever when compared to Wilson.  Guys like Bortles, Mariota, and Winston are all very interesting, but they’re obviously not at the level of quality or experience that Wilson has.  Tyrod Taylor is another interesting name, but I’m going to need more than 14 games started before I can take you seriously as a Wilson replacement.  Osweiler is yet another interesting name, who’s had many years backing up a hall of famer, but only in 2015 was given the opportunity to start real, regular season games.  Carr, with the Raiders, is the last of the young’uns I left off of my list.  He looks every part the gunslinger that team has desperately needed for ages, but I just can’t quite put trust in any belief that his ceiling is higher than Wilson’s until I’ve seen it first.

The next group of candidates have the experience, but are lacking in the quality department, and have been left off for what I feel are obvious reasons.  Foles, Kaepernick/Gabbert, Cutler, Stafford, Bradford, Alex Smith, Dalton, Flacco, Tannehill, Fitzpatrick, and anyone else I didn’t list above, who deserve to remain nameless because they suck.  I may get blowback on guys like Dalton, Stafford, and maybe even Cutler, but those guys have showed me absolutely nothing outside of a season here and there.  They can’t consistently stay out of their own way and they tend to shit the bed when it matters most.  To be honest, Joe Flacco is probably my favorite of this bunch; I think he’d fit in quite well with what the Seahawks like to do on offense (run the ball, play action deep passes), but there’s no way in hell I’m trading Wilson for him.

That brings me to the realistic candidates.  Quarterbacks who have the ability to play at an elite level, but for various reasons I’d rather not give up Wilson for them.  Let’s start with Tom Brady, because that’s obviously the name everyone puts at or near the top of any list of the world’s best quarterbacks.  Yes, obviously, if I had one season and I wanted to win a championship, I’d consider trading Wilson for Brady.  But, Brady is going to be 39 years old this August.  While he’s still playing at an elite level this deep into his career, how many more years can you reasonably expect him to squeeze out, let alone at that aforementioned elite level?  Two?  MAYBE three?  Remember, at age 37, Peyton Manning had the greatest season of any quarterback in the history of the game.  Two seasons later, it looks like he’s played his last down.  I’m not trading upwards of a decade or more of Russell Wilson for 1-2 more quality Brady years, sorry-not-sorry (people still say that, right?).

Same story for Brees.  He’s got a lot of mileage and I’m not wasting a guy in his prime for a guy who will be out of the league soon.

Next up, I’m going to lump in guys like Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, and Ben Roethlisberger.  Of all the quarterbacks playing today, Roethlisberger might be playing at the highest level (doesn’t hurt he’s got the weapons he’s got).  But, all three of these guys are injury risks, which makes them older – in an NFL sense – than their actual ages.  All are quality passers, but I just don’t think I’d ever trade Wilson for them.

Then, there’s Eli.  He’s started every single game for the Giants since the start of the 2005 season; no injury concerns there.  He’s going into his age 35 season, so you figure if things continue to go as well as they have, he’s probably got another good 5 years or so.  I just don’t think, as a quarterback, he’s as good as Wilson (and that’s not even taking into account my opinion that Wilson will only get better as these next few years go on).  Matt Ryan is another guy who’s been pretty durable, and when he’s got a good team around him, he’s shown he’s a franchise guy.  But, like Eli, I don’t think Ryan is nearly the calibre of passer as Wilson.  I mean, let’s face it, Wilson has done a lot of good with what’s been a pretty poor pass-protection unit.  Ryan falls apart at the first instance of pressure!  No thank you.

Philip Rivers is the last guy in this section, and he’s one I honestly sort of agonized over.  He’s been on some pretty terrible and injury-riddled teams of late.  One wonders what he’d be able to do on a legitimately great team like the Seahawks.  He can go out and win you a shoot-out if need be.  He can slow it down and play the high-percentage, short passing game.  He’s not that mobile, but he’s lightning-quick in his decision-making.  My only knock against him is that he tends to be a little too reckless with the football.  Not as bad as Cutler, or some of these other guys lower on the list, but it’s still a concern.  He’ll also be 35 years old by season’s end this year, so there’s fewer seasons to look forward to with him, compared to Wilson.

Of the players I feel are of equal or greater value to Wilson, I can count only three.

Andrew Luck is a guy I think, when it’s all said and done, will be a Hall of Famer.  He needs to learn to get hit less on his scrambles, but it would also help if he had a better offensive line (Indy’s line makes Seattle’s look like the Hogs from the 80s).  I still see a long and fruitful career for Luck; don’t forget, he’s largely been carrying that team with not a lot of talent around him.  Imagine what he’d do on a stacked Seahawks team!  Right now, I’d probably rank Wilson ahead of Luck, but I wouldn’t be totally devastated if they were swapped straight up.

Next up, obviously, when you talk about the world’s greatest quarterbacks, you’re talking about Aaron Rodgers.  A-Rod will be 33 years old by season’s end, but who gives a shit?  He’s another Hall of Famer, and another guy who should play into his 40s when all is said and done.  I think, until Wilson really starts to pour it on (i.e. turns the second half of his 2015 season into many multiple FULL seasons in the future), you have to rank A-Rod ahead of him.  Even though I think he’s a collosal douche, I’d trade Wilson for him straight up.

Finally, there’s Cam.  No one wants to hear it, because everyone outside of Carolina hates Cam (and/or spends way too much time defending him when he acts like an immature little crybaby), but the dude is a straight-up baller, and not just with his legs (although, it doesn’t hurt that he’s so good running with the football).  One wonders how his body will handle all the hits long-term, but I think his running ability will last a lot longer than Wilson’s (who I feel will slide into more of a pocket passer role the more he gets comfortable reading pre-snap defenses).  Like Luck, I don’t know if Cam is necessarily BETTER than Wilson, but he’s certainly on par, and he’s young enough, and he’s carried sub-par teams to winning records/playoff appearances for multiple seasons.  From a fan standpoint, I’d probably prefer Luck to Cam, but from strictly a player standpoint, I think I could be talked into taking Cam over Luck.  Talk to me again in a year or two and that statement might look batshit crazier than it already does, but that’s how I feel right now, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.

In conclusion, I’d like to reiterate (if it wasn’t already clear) that I think Russell Wilson is great and I don’t necessarily want to trade him for anyone in the league.  But, if I HAD to, I’d only accept A-Rod, Cam, or Luck, in that order.  Anyone else, I feel, would be beneath what Russell Wilson has to offer over the course of the rest of his career in this league.

The Seattle At Carolina Preview

When you take them one game at a time, it doesn’t feel so ominous.  In a vacuum, these Seahawks are fully capable of winning a game in Minnesota.  In a vacuum, these Seahawks are fully capable of winning a game in Carolina.  And, in a vacuum, these Seahawks are fully capable of winning a game in Arizona OR a game in Green Bay.  But, jeez, when you line them all up in a row, knowing you have to do all this in back-to-back-to-back weeks, it starts to feel REALLY daunting.  Even though it’s just a series of three coin flips, one week apart, it’s just knowing that you have to win all three that sort of drives me batty.

Last week, it felt like a foregone conclusion that the Seahawks would advance.  Of course, the game ended up being a lot closer (and a lot closer to DISASTER) than I anticipated, but the better team did win and move on.  This week, as I’ve said repeatedly, feels like the Super Bowl.  I still think the Seahawks are the better football team, but they’ve got SO MUCH going against them.  At this point, fair or unfair, right or wrong, it’s going to depend on which Seahawks team shows up.  Will it be the team that struggled to find consistency in the first half of the season (and in recent games against the Rams & Vikings)?  Or, will it be the team running like a top, who has taken care of business against some pretty good opponents?

As a Seahawks fan in recent years, we’ve come to expect certain things.  We expect our defense to clamp down like a bear trap.  We expect varying levels of success out of our offense, with steady improvement as the game goes along.  This year has flipped the script a little bit.  The defense – while still tops in points allowed – isn’t quite what it has been in recent years.  It shows flashes, and sometimes pulls off entire games where it looks as dominant as ever.  But, other times, the game starts to get away from them.  Breakdowns happen.  Where once it was the Seahawks making their furious comebacks late in games, now it’s the other teams taking it to us.

I don’t know how you get more frustrating than that first Carolina game this year.  Let’s take a look back, blow by blow.

  • We traded punts on the first three drives of the game
  • On Carolina’s second possession, deep in their own territory, Cam Newton threw a pick to Earl Thomas at the Carolina 33 yard line.  The Seahawks ran four plays & had to settle for a field goal
  • On the next possession, Carolina ate up the rest of the first quarter, marching 80 yards with an equal mix of run & pass, for a TD
  • On the next possession, Seattle marched right back to score a TD, re-taking the lead 10-7, which is how the half ended after trading more punts
  • Carolina got the ball to start the 2nd half, went 3 & Out
  • On the next possession, Seattle scored a TD on two explosive pass plays to make it a 2-score game
  • Again, deep in their territory, Cam Newton threw a pick, returned to the Carolina 33 yard line.  The Seahawks went 3 & Out and settled for a long field goal to go up 20-7
  • On the next possession, Carolina marched 80 yards AGAIN, with an equal mix of run & pass, for a TD
  • The teams traded punts, then the Seahawks drove for a FG to again make it a 2-score game, 23-14
  • The teams again traded punts, then the Panthers engineered their third 80-yard TD drive, mostly on the arm of Cam Newton, to make it a 1-score game
  • On the next possession, the Seahawks went 4 & Out – marred by penalties & sacks, while only managing to take off less than 90 seconds of game clock
  • In a little under 2 minutes, the Panthers completed their comeback with their FOURTH 80-yard TD drive of the day, with Greg Olsen catching the go-ahead score on a broken coverage in the secondary

It was a good sign to see the team move the ball relatively effectively, as well as the defense forcing Cam Newton into two interceptions on the day.  But, the offense was a miserable 4/14 on third down (29% conversion), 1/3 in the red zone, and failed to convert either of those turnovers into touchdowns.  On top of that, I’m sorry, but that was a mind-boggling performance by the defense.  On Carolina’s four 80-yard TD drives, they ran 42 of their 72 overall plays, while taking up 18:23 of their 32:12 time of possession.  And, as I said, for the most part it was a healthy mix of run & pass, running for 135 yards and throwing for another 248 in total on the day.  We’re talking about a defense who – all year – only gave up 6.6 yards per pass attempt; Cam Newton managed 7.5.  And a defense who – all year – only gave up 3.6 yards per carry; Carolina managed 4.1.

Now, obviously, the Seahawks were missing some dawgs.  Bobby Wagner, Jordan Hill, Jeremy Lane, Marcus Burley, all sat out with injury.  And, of course, the notorious Cary Williams (who has been, without fail, the biggest fucking scapegoat I’ve EVER seen) still held his starting job at that time, and was getting picked on throughout.  Nevertheless, if I’m a member of the Seahawks defense, going into Carolina this weekend, I’m out for blood.  Our Week 6 performance was absolutely unacceptable.

For all the factors going against the Seahawks this weekend, there’s one positive in all this:  the revenge factor.  Coming into the 2015 season, the Seahawks had made Carolina our bitches time and time again.  Close, hard fought games, sure.  But, we always found a way to pull it out, and I’m sure that had to have driven them CRAZY.  It all came to a head in last year’s playoffs, where the Panthers came in and played pretty well for a team with a losing record.  But, we owned that fourth quarter, and pulled away when it mattered.  So, when they came back to Seattle in Week 6 with an undefeated record, against a somewhat reeling Seahawks team still trying to find its footing, they were not only prepared for the onslaught of the fans and the hugeness of the game, but they powered through and made us look silly in the fourth quarter, when that’s OUR time.  That’s when WE make YOU look silly!

So, now, here we are.  Underdogs in a playoff game for the first time since probably 2012.  Going into Big, Bad Carolina, the 15-1 juggernaut who couldn’t have had an easier path to the #1 seed.  The last taste we have in our mouths being that Week 6 embarrassment.  You’re telling me we don’t have a reason to be up for this game, outside of the obvious (this being the playoffs, win or go home, and all that)?  I think the Seahawks want to show Carolina – and the rest of the world – who the REAL top dawgs are.  We may have stumbled at times this year, but we’re STILL the champs.  And January is when we come to play our best!


Can I just step back for a second and say how much fun I think this all is?  On the one hand, yeah, it’s the playoffs and it’s nerve wracking as all get-out.  The further you advance, the more intense it becomes.  And LOSING in the playoffs?  I don’t know what’s worse.  For a good week or two or three or fifty (as is the case when you lose a Super Bowl like the Seahawks did last year), I just couldn’t feel any lower as a fan.  Depressed and angry and jealous and confused and depressed some more.  There are SO MANY drawbacks to being a sports fan, I sometimes wonder why it’s all worth it.

But, then we get to a week like this.  Seahawks at Panthers.  THIS is what being a fan is all about.  Remember how jacked up we all got when the Seahawks would face the Jim Harbaugh 49ers?  This feels just like that.  Maybe Ron Rivera isn’t as loathesome as The Douchebag (I actually respect the hell out of the guy, if I’m being honest); but I’m starting to come around on hating Cam Newton.  I don’t know if anyone can be as revolting as Colin Kaepernick kissing his own bicep after a touchdown, but Cam Newton and all his dabbing is a REAL close second in my book.  If I’m being perfectly honest, I do think a lot of the hate, in general, from non-Carolina fans throughout the country, is at least somewhat racially motivated.  I mean, when Tom Brady runs around like a maniac during his touchdown celebrations, mostly people just talk about how he’s a competitor and a fiery guy; but when Cam Newton does his thing, he’s a preening cunt.  I’m not going to be that guy who’s out here calling everyone a racist, but I think subliminally, there’s a little something to it.

All I know is, if he was my team’s franchise quarterback (and I knew nothing of what it’s like to have Russell Wilson), I’m sure I’d love Cam Newton to death.  But, he’s not on my team, and he plays on one of my team’s biggest rivals, so I’m starting to hate him just a little bit more.  It’s only healthy.

What’s fun about the Seahawks/Panthers matchup is that it IS a rivalry now.  We’ve played them at least once every year since Russell Wilson came into the league.  Five times overall.  The Seahawks won the first four matchups (including last season in the Divisional Round), and through that point, while the games were all close and highly competitive, it was a little bit like the Big Brother holding the little brother at arm’s length while he stands there flailing his fists wildly to no avail.  Our defense was the embodiment of “Stop Hitting Yourself!” when it came to forcing Cam Newton into untimely mistakes (untimely for the Panthers, anyway).  Then, the Panthers came into Seattle in Week 6 and totally pantsed us, and NOW it’s a true rivalry.  They stole our mojo, in the home of the 12’s, and rode that mojo to the best record in all of football.  Now, it’s on, and it couldn’t be more exciting.


If you’re a football fan, and you don’t necessarily have a hog in this race, I don’t see how you can look at the four games this weekend and NOT be looking forward to the Seahawks/Panthers matchup the most.  Kansas City/New England?  There’s a slim chance that game is competitive, but my money is on the team with the better quarterback.  I think the odds of that game being a blowout are VASTLY greater than of the game being interesting in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.  Green Bay/Arizona?  No way.  The Cards are going to CRUSH them into dust!  That might be the most boring game of the weekend.  Pittsburgh/Denver is the only game that might even approach the quality of our game, but there are a lot of reasons to think that might be an ugly affair.  Can Ben Roethlisberger throw the ball more than 10 yards in the air?  Does Peyton Manning have any juice left?  We could be looking at a matchup of the noodliest arms in the history of the league!  With Denver’s defense on a mission, if Ben doesn’t have it, I could see this being a rout in the Broncos’ favor.

Seattle/Carolina, that’s what’s up.

We’re talking about two teams who are as healthy as they could possibly be at this point in the season (not counting players on IR, of course; and assuming Marshawn Lynch is able to give it a go).  We’re talking about the MVP of the league (Cam) against the hottest quarterback in the league the last half of the season (Wilson, 25 TDs, 2 INTs in the last 8 games, including last week).  We’re talking about the #1 scoring offense (Carolina) against the #1 scoring defense (Seattle).  The #2 rush offense (Carolina) against the #1 rush defense (Seattle).  A rematch of last year’s remarkable Divisional playoff game, only this time played in the other team’s stadium.

And, when you flip it around, it’s still pretty damn close.  Seattle was the #4 scoring offense; Carolina was the #6 scoring defense.  Seattle was the #3 rushing offense; Carolina was the #4 rushing defense.  Seattle’s got big play-makers on both sides of the ball (Wilson, Lynch, Baldwin, Bennett, Avril, Wagner, LOB); Carolina’s got big play-makers on both sides of the ball (Newton, Stewart, Olsen, Kuechly, Davis, Short, Norman).  Our strengths are their strengths; this should prove to be a massively entertaining ordeal.

The great equalizer in all this, oddly enough, will be Seattle’s offensive line.  In that Week 6 game, Russell Wilson was sacked 4 times, but harassed all day.  The Panthers had 7 QB hits and another 6 tackles for loss.  Russell Okung also had a pretty costly holding penalty that negated a big run by Lynch, helping lead to that drive stalling.  Over the majority of the second half of the season, as Russell Wilson’s performance has improved, so has the offensive line’s.  Everyone returned for last week’s game, and no new injuries cropped up.  On top of that, Luke Willson is returning, who should provide a boost over the other tight ends on the roster when it comes to blocking.

If the Seahawks’ offensive line plays to the best of its abilities, the Seahawks shouldn’t have any trouble improving upon their third down conversion rate, moving the football, and scoring touchdowns over field goals (when compared to our Week 6 contest).  When the Seahawks are clicking, as they’ve been known to do from time to time, there’s no team in the game that can stop them.

But, when the Seahawks make mistakes.  When they let the pressure overwhelm them, when they allow lots of hurries and sacks, when they get penalized at inopportune times, then the game gets all mucked up, and before you know it, there we are at the end of the game sweating out another nailbiter.

As far as weather is concerned, we’re looking at the low-to-mid 40s come kickoff.  Says there’s a 20% chance of rain, but overall looks pretty reasonable.  Nothing too much to be concerned with there.

The thing I can’t help but shake is the comparison to the 2012 playoffs.  That was our first year with Russell Wilson, but we still blew it in the first half, and ultimately blew it at the game’s end.  Getting over THIS hump feels like the more difficult challenge than the hump that would await (likely in Arizona); just like getting over the hump in Atlanta in 2012 proved to be more difficult than it would have been to beat the 49ers that year.  Losing in the Divisional Round is pretty bad in its own right, because it leaves you with so many more What If’s.  Mainly:  what if we’d won and gotten a chance to play in the NFC Championship Game?

We can’t lose this one.  And, I don’t THINK we will, but I’m not nearly as confident as I was last week.  What everyone is banking on is that the Seahawks are battle tested.  7 of our 16 regular season games were against playoff teams; we were 3-4 in those games.  The Panthers, by contrast, only faced off against 4 playoff teams in their 16 regular season games; they went 4-0 in those games.  Obviously, the most impressive win was against Seattle IN Seattle.  Two of those games were against Houston and Washington (both at home), who were two of the shakiest divisional winners of all time.  The other was also at home, against a struggling and injury-plagued Packers team.  Their schedule, to be quite honest, deserves all the ridicule it gets.  But, to be fair, they did get the job done, and beat the teams they were supposed to beat.

And, as we all know, anything can happen in a 1-game sample.

So close, and yet still so far away.  This is the week where the Seahawks can prove whether they truly earned the title of Team Nobody Wants To Play in this year’s playoffs, or if they’ll just be another in a long line of cautionary tales, about the struggles that good teams can face when they don’t get one of the top two seeds and home field advantage.

I’ve got Seahawks 33, Panthers 27, but like I said before, I’m not confident at all.

We should be fucking dead, my friend. What happened here was a miracle and I want you to fucking acknowledge it!

I’m simply amazed at the capacity for this team to amaze me.

Playoff MVPs ...

Playoff MVPs …

I don’t know if what we witnessed yesterday was a football game, or some bizarre form of torture porn; all I know is I’m glad it’s over and point me in the direction of the nearest bathroom, because I do believe I’ve soiled myself.

The weather was stupid cold, which as we all know causes freaky shit to happen.  For the vast majority of that game, said “freaky shit” came in the form of every God damn Rams game we’ve ever seen in the last four years:  Seahawks struggling on offense, Seahawks unable to get pressure on defense (because everything is a run or a quick pass), Seahawks getting absolutely none of the breaks (whether it comes to penalties or turnovers).  And, like Every God Damn Rams Game Ever, you knew even though the Seahawks were down, there’d be a comeback.  Although, I have to admit, when the Vikings kicked that third field goal to make it a 2-score game (9-0), most of me didn’t have much hope for the Seahawks, needing to drive twice in the same quarter.

Then, somehow, it finally started to click.  The play of the game (non-field goal edition) just happened to be an errant snap from Patrick Lewis, where Russell Wilson turned chicken shit into a 35-yard completion to Tyler Lockett and a first & goal situation.  And, I shit you not, I was woken from a dead sleep yesterday morning before the game by a vision of a botched shotgun snap resulting in a Wilson sack, so stop trying to tell me “all my visions come true” because sometimes they’re a little off (Pobody’s Nerfect).  A touchdown to the vital and spry Doug Baldwin made the game 9-7, and a forced fumble of Adrian Peterson helped make the game 10-9 on the very next drive.

That led us to the part of the game where I’m glad I muted Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, because if I had to listen to them blather on about all the 4th quarter collapses the Seahawks have had this year, I would no longer be the owner of a Toshiba flat-screen TV, because that Toshiba flat-screen TV would be lying broken and discarded on top of someone’s vehicle outside of my balcony five stories below.  Good God, I know not everyone watching is a hardcore Seahawks fan, and they have to paint the complete picture, but suck an unhealthy amount of dicks, you guys!

It’s true, though.  The Seahawks HAVE blown a ton of games this year.  Feels like five by my count.  When you get all the way to the fourth quarter before the Seahawks score a point, and then they manage to somehow get 10 points and take a lead, it leaves you wondering, “HOW IN THE FUCK IS THERE STILL 8 MINUTES LEFT IN THIS GAME RIGHT NOW???”  And yet, we forced the 3 & Out, and I’m foolishly thinking, “All right!  Maybe we can score again and lock this shit down!”

We followed up their 3 & Out with one of our own, and then somehow managed to force a punt AGAIN, very close to the 2 minute warning.  All we had to do was get a God damn first down and this game would be ours!  And, even if we failed, their offense wasn’t going anywhere against our defense, when our defense finally had a chance to pin its ears back and attack the quarterback!  We got this!

Sure as shit, we didn’t “got this”.  On 2nd & 10, the Vikings were bailed out on a pathetic pass interference call on Kam Chancellor (seriously, their guy ran straight into Kam; how is that Kam’s fault???), before parlaying that into another long gain by their tight end (the pass just getting beyond the outstretched arms of Kam, who I thought had an underwhelming return, even though he forced the fumble on All Day).  That put the Vikings SQUARE into field goal position (especially when you consider their kicker was lights out all day, hitting from longs of 43 & 47 yards).  Three straight runs after that bled all of our time outs, and all but 26 seconds of game clock, putting them at the 9 yard line.  A chip shot, by every measure, even in 0-degree weather.  He was on the left hash mark, 27 yards away from glory …

And he hooked it left.

Richard Sherman, coming off of the right side, nearly blocked one of his previous kicks, so maybe that was on Blair Walsh’s mind?  Also, the laces were in, but that didn’t prevent him from making a previous kick.  He just flat out blew it, whatever the reason, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

What is it about the Seahawks and breaking the minds, bodies, and spirits of teams and fans in the NFC North?

Like I said at the top, I don’t know what you can say about this team anymore.  We seem to be harvesting multiple generations’ worth of karma in these last few years.  It’s not even like being “clutch”, though there have been some clutch plays.  This team’s overall playoff performance – dating back to 2012 – would look MUCH different if it weren’t for some downright lucky things.  Like the missed chipshot yesterday, or the onside kick against Green Bay last year, or even Colin Kaepernick’s insane decision to throw on Richard Sherman two years ago.

I’ll tell you what, though.  I said it last week and I’ll say it again:  the Seahawks ARE the better team.  When you run into cold weather and dominating, physical defenses, shit tends to happen.  Once again, our offense wasn’t good enough.  Russell Wilson wasn’t good enough, for most of the day.  You don’t have to get rid of the bubble screen altogether, but the bubble screen to Doug Baldwin needs to be ripped out of the playbook and set on fire.  Also, in obvious rushing situations (3rd & 1), what are you doing going with a standard, under-center run formation, when the zone read has been killing them all day?  Shit like this is going to bite us in the end if we keep making the same mistakes we made in the early part of this season!  So, let’s get it on!

And, Jesus Christ, can we get our play calls in faster?

And will someone teach Jon Ryan to run AWAY from contact instead of right at it?

Happy for the win, though.  As the better of the two teams, we’re sure to see a good, competitive couple of games next weekend out of the NFC.  If the Vikings had advanced, I guarantee 10 out of 10 times they’d go into Arizona and get their asses kicked.  So, don’t feel too bad Vikings fans, your would-be glory would’ve been short lived anyway.

Players of the game, I’ve got a few:

Richard Sherman played like a boss all day, coming up huge with his 6 solo tackles, while getting dinged on a bogus illegal contact penalty.

Earl Thomas, Bobby Wagner, and K.J. Wright all came up huge.

Still gotta give props to Kam Chancellor for the rip on A.D.

Michael Bennett might have been the best player on the field today as he sliced his way through their line time and time and time and time and time and time and time and time and time and time and time and time again.

Kudos to Avril, Mebane, Rubin, and the rest of those guys too, holding Peterson to only 45 yards on 23 carries (not too much of an improvement, tbh, on his 8 carries for 18 yards earlier this season).

Offensive line, I thought, was a mixed bag.  A few really glaring errors, but for the most part gave Wilson enough time, and opened up enough holes in the running game to keep them honest.  Mostly positive day, really, against a really tough front seven.

Christine Michael finished with 70 yards on 21 carries, probably as good as one could expect against that defense.

Doug Baldwin with the SICK 1-handed catch to get a first down, also led the team with 5 catches, 42 yards, and our lone touchdown.

Good on Lockett to get open on that scramble play.  Good on Kearse for being Wilson’s security blanket after dropping the first pass thrown his way on the day.

Finally, good on the special teams for not letting Cordarrelle Patterson, their kick returner, do any damage.  I have to admit, that was a gnawing fear, as I kept hoping the team would start squibbing on those kickoffs, since it was clear Hauschka wasn’t going to have the leg to force any touchbacks.

Seattle Sports Hell’s Quarterly Power Rankings, Part Deux

A lotta movers and shakers in these rankings over the last 5 weeks!  And, a lotta stayers and stillers in these rankings, particularly at the very top and bottom.  We just finished week 9, so every team has played at least 8 games, and as such is either at or has surpassed the midpoint of the season.  As we head into Week 10, it’s a big, pivotal moment, both for the playoff hopefuls and the bottom-feeders looking to snag that #1 overall draft pick.

It’s also a big week for myself and a few buddies of mine.  We have a 3-year run of Tahoe trips for the first weekend of March Madness that should and hopefully will continue for the duration of our lives, until there is only one (last man standing has to move to Tahoe permanently, and gamble away his 401K in all of our honors … I haven’t discussed this with the rest of the fellas yet, but I’m sure they’ll be on board).  Well, this year, a few of us have opted to shoe-horn in a second Tahoe trip during the NFL season.  Why?  Because none of us know squat about betting on college basketball (the March trip is more a reason to get together and drink our brains out and lose large quantities of money … or hopefully shuffle money through the casinos and come home pretty close to even), but we DO have a pretty good handle on the NFL (or, at least we THINK we do).  As such, we opted for Week 10 to fly back down there.  Leave Friday in the evening, spend all day Saturday watching college football, drinking, and putting the finishing touches on all of our NFL bets, and then spend all day Sunday crying out in anguish as each and every one of our parlays goes down the toilet because Green Bay can’t cover a GOD DAMN SPREAD!

Pardon me.  I’m just trying to harden myself for the worst possible scenario.

Anyway, like I’ve said all along, if we lose big in the afternoon, we’ll just put all of our remaining cash on the Seahawks to beat the shit out of the Cardinals.  TALLY-HO!

  • New England:  8-0, last quarter’s rank: #1
  • Cincinnati:  8-0, #3
  • Arizona:  6-2, #7
  • Denver:  7-1, #4
  • Carolina:  8-0, #11
  • Green Bay:  6-2, #2
  • Minnesota:  6-2, #13
  • St. Louis:  4-4, #12

No question who the top two teams are.  I don’t know how you can’t be on board with Cincy’s legitimacy at this point; Andy Dalton has taken it up another notch, they’re loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, and they’ve beaten enough good teams in tough situations (at Oakland and at Pittsburgh particularly) to eliminate any doubt.  Arizona gets a bump up to #3 simply because I feel if they were to play any of the teams below them on a neutral field, they’d most likely win.  Denver has flaws (particularly with a noodle-armed little so-and-so), Carolina gets a little disrespect here because Cam Newton is careless with the football and that offense is bound to be exposed by a quality defense, and Green Bay’s receivers have been exposed as guys who can’t get open with great regularity (not to mention their defense is who we thought they were).  Minnesota and St. Louis take the big leaps for having outstanding defenses and running games, with suspect quarterback play.  Those teams will make the playoffs IF their quarterbacks can eliminate mistakes.  We’ll see if they’ve got what it takes.

  • Seattle:  4-4, #6
  • Pittsburgh:  5-4, #19
  • Oakland:  4-4, #17
  • New York Jets:  5-3, #8
  • New York Giants:  5-4, #9
  • Buffalo:  4-4, #10
  • Indianapolis:  4-5, #20
  • New Orleans:  4-5, #22

Seattle gets bumped out of the Top 8 for blowing two more huge leads against the Bengals and Panthers, and for looking like respectable garbage in Dallas.  Time for them to shit or get off the pot; if they lose to the Cards, it’s going to be a grim finish.  Pittsburgh can’t seem to keep their quarterback or running backs on the field, but it looks like Ben Roethlisberger won’t be out for too long (if the Seahawks could avoid him in three weeks, that’d be amazing).  Oakland feels like they deserve to be higher, because their offense is a lot of fun.  But, their defense kinda stinks and the only quality win they have on their schedule is a home game against the Jets, where Geno Smith played the majority of the game.  Speaking of the Jets, still like their defense, but they’ve got holes.  If Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t stay healthy, it’s all over for them.  The Giants’ only quality win (if you can call it that) is a road win in Buffalo; plus their defense allowed 52 against Drew Brees a couple weeks ago.  Those Bills look pretty great when they play bad teams and Tyrod Taylor’s healthy; otherwise they look pretty mediocre.  Indy spent the whole season getting smashed by better teams until an impressive home win against the Broncos; Andrew Luck started looking like his old self again.  With a BYE week this week, his health should only continue to improve that’s just one less game the team will see him miss as he has a fucking LACERATED KIDNEY.  With a VERY soft schedule going forward, Indy’s playoff chances seem all but assured Indy’s playoff chances rest on Matt Hasselbeck’s very capable 40 year old hands.  The Saints are all offense and no defense.  As such, probably count them out of the playoffs (but they make for some very entertaining games nevertheless).

  • Atlanta:  6-3, #5
  • Philadelphia:  4-4, #25
  • Kansas City:  3-5, #14
  • Washington:  3-5, #16
  • Miami:  3-5, #24
  • Chicago:  3-5, #27
  • San Francisco:  3-6, #26
  • Dallas:  2-6, #23

Atlanta is your biggest dropper, as they’ve laid nothing but turds since the first quarter.  Good for the Seahawks (if we’re stuck rooting for a Wild Card), but bad for their playoff chances.  The best team the Falcons beat all year was the Giants; and they’ve lost two straight against the Bucs & 49ers with Blaine Gabbert.  So … that’s where they are.  The Eagles have a quarterback who can’t challenge you deep, so they’re pretty easy to stop (and ugly to watch); their best win was against the Jets.  The Chiefs had a brutal early schedule, and failed to take full advantage of the gooey middle.  Doesn’t get a whole lot easier the rest of the way; look for the Chiefs to finish right around .500.  Washington is a garbage team and it always surprises me when they ever win.  Miami got their head coach fired, then beat a couple duds, then got demolished on the road in New England and Buffalo.  They’re not going anywhere.  The Bears have looked a little spry lately, but their only impressive win was at home against the Raiders.  The 49ers have given up on Colin Kaepernick, and therefore their season.  Dallas is still waiting for Romo to return in week 11; they’ve gotten exactly zero help from their backup quarterbacks since he’s been gone.

  • Baltimore:  2-6, #18
  • San Diego:  2-7, #15
  • Cleveland:  2-7, #28
  • Detroit:  1-7, #21
  • Tampa Bay:  3-5, #32
  • Houston:  3-5, #29
  • Tennessee:  2-6, #31
  • Jacksonville:  2-6, #30

Baltimore’s defense is terrible and their best wide receiver is out for the year.  On the plus side, they have smart management and will make quality use of their Top 10 draft pick.  The Chargers’ defense is even worse, and their whole team is banged up.  The Browns are just bad, and don’t realize they should probably take the rest of the season to see what they have in Johnny Manziel.  The Lions are even worse somehow and will be cleaning house at season’s end.  The Bucs look a little better, but still lack a quality win, and their defense will always hold them back.  The Texans have as much of a right to be ranked #32 as anyone with their level of quarterback play this year.  Just when Brian Hoyer starts to suck me back in, he crushes all hope in south Texas.  The Titans just won a shootout against the Saints to get out of the bottom spot, but maybe that’s not such a huge feat given the crap quality of the Saints’ defense?  Also, the Titans got their head coach fired.  Finally, I’m putting the Jags back down in a familiar spot where they belong, as the worst team in the league.  I’d have to say it’s unfair, as the Bort has looked better this year, and they’ve been within one score in all but two games (Patriots and Panthers).  But, then again, no one ever said I was smart at this football thing.

Why am I going to Tahoe again?

Taking A Mid-Season Look At The Seahawks, Part 1

You gotta love these Week 9 bye weeks.  We’re a full … half-season in, then we get to reflect for two weeks before the mad scramble to the finish, as teams scratch and claw to climb over one another for one of their respective conference’s rare, precious six playoff spots.

I don’t mean to get off on a tangent this early, but how fucked up is it that all four division winners are guaranteed not only a playoff spot, but a home playoff game?  Where was this type of thinking back in 2010?  Surely, nowhere even remotely in my homer brain, but that’s neither here nor there.  Someone is going to win that motherfucking AFC South with a God damn 6-10 record and it’s patently ludicrous!  And don’t think for a minute you deserve any praise, you NFC East you!

But, as they say, I digress.  Whoa-oh, we’re halfway there, so let’s take a look back at the Seahawks, the good and the bad.

The Good

Beating up on the 49ers was probably the highlight, because how many more chances are we going to have to really stick it to Colin Kaepernick?  Hell, is it even appropriate to ENJOY sticking it to Kaepernick anymore?  I feel like most people just feel sorry for him because the 49ers stink, their head coach is a dunce, and their ownership & front office makes their head coach look like Vince Lombardi!  Kaepernick and the 49ers were supposed to be our main rivals for the next decade, and now they’re being washed away like so many thousands of gallons of sewage out into the oceans.

Getting an extra bye week so early in the season was another highlight, I suppose.  Oh, wait, nevermind.  That was the week we faced off against the Chicago Bears!  Without Jay Cutler, without Alshon Jeffery, but still with a gutless loser of a head coach who didn’t even try to pose a threat.  Getting a shutout to pad our defensive stats was a nice touch.

Drilling down to the player level, I’d say the co-MVPs are easily Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett.  Cop-out, I know; I suppose if you put a gun to my head, I’d make MVP 1-A Avril and MVP 1-B Bennett, if only because Avril hasn’t irritated the shit out of me with countless offsides and personal foul penalties.  These guys have been our rocks.  They never take a game off, and rarely – if ever – take a play off.  They’re at the tops of their games, and our defense would be a shell of its former self without them.

Honorable mentions have to start with K.J. Wright, who is clearly having his greatest season and is proving without a shadow of a doubt how invaluable he is to this defense.  You hear about the “glue guy” and K.J. Wright is that guy.  In a season where we’ve seen fewer explosive plays out of our high-priced middle linebacker, it’s comforting to know that Wright is always … right there to pick up the slack and keep this defense humming.

Our next honorable mention (and believe me, I’m going in descending order) goes to Tyler Lockett.  The rookie showed tremendous promise in the pre-season, and he’s delivered in the regular season.  His reputation is already as such that teams are avoiding him at all costs, as he’s already returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns.  With a 25.4 yards per return average, he’s already 9th among qualified kickoff returners.  AND, he’s already 4th in catches and receiving yards for our struggling offense.  Not too shabby for a player who is sure to only get better as he gains more experience.

Next up, I think you have to like what Jimmy Graham has brought to the table, even if some fans and media people will never be satisfied until he’s replicated his numbers in New Orleans.  I still have a bone to pick with how he’s used around the goalline, but I think in general, Graham has acclimated himself quite well for a player new to the offense.  He’s got a nice little rapport going with Russell Wilson, that I’m sure will only improve as the season continues.  He leads the team in receptions and yards; what more do you expect?  Any beef you have with Jimmy Graham, you actually have with the coaching staff and specifically the offensive coordinator.  But, Jimmy Graham the player has done all he’s been asked to do, and that’s all I can ask from him.

Finally, I’m giving joint kudos to the running backs.  I know Lynch hasn’t had his greatest season, but he’s been dealing with some nagging injury issues, as well as this horrendous offensive line.  You can only make so much chicken salad out of the “holes” they’re opening up for him.  Granted, the line has been much improved in the run game in recent weeks, so that’s going to be less of an excuse going forward.  But, when Lynch has been healthy, he’s looked just as good and strong and quick as ever.  And, what can you say about Thomas Rawls?  Believe it or not, he leads the team in rushing yards (376 to Lynch’s 375) with 34 fewer attempts.  Obviously, the bulk of that came in two games:  garbage time against the Bears for 104 yards, and the entire Bengals game for 169 yards.  Either way, Rawls looks good.  A lot better than Turbin and Michael, in fact.  Is he our running back of the future?  That’s tough to say, but I like what I’ve seen so far.

Tomorrow, we’ll get to The Bad.