Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Monday Night Disappointment

I’ve long bemoaned my Monday night plight when it comes to fantasy football. I’ve lost countless games I was otherwise leading heading into Monday, while almost never flipping the script on someone else. If I have, I don’t remember it, and I feel like I’d remember the glory of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

Look, I’ll be the first to admit I probably didn’t deserve to win this one. But, I don’t necessarily think my opponent did either. Car Talk With Josh Allen beat Snoopy & Prickly Pete 146.40 to 141.16.

It was simple: I was up 139.16 to 125.20. I had the Rams’ defense (usually a pretty reliable one that’s good for 10-15 points or so) and he had Jimmy G, going up against that Rams defense. Jimmy G, as we all know, is usually good for a turnover or two, so I felt reasonably confident that I could pull this one out.

Instead, the Rams decided to let Deebo Samuel take over – apparently Jalen Ramsey had more pressing matters to attend to than lock down the 49ers’ best offensive weapon – and he absolutely fucking DOMINATED! Good lord. What were the Rams thinking?

Anyway, I also lost because of my own stupidity. Ben Roethlisberger was diagnosed with COVID and out for Sunday’s game. As a result, I got cold feet on Diontae Johnson and benched him for A.J. Brown. Johnson got 13.3 points – which is nothing special – but Brown, predictably, was shut down by the Saints’ defense, scoring only 3.3 points. I knew it was going to happen, but I followed Yahoo’s stupid advice anyway, and there we have it. Having rostered Brown for long enough, I have a pretty good feel for when he’s going to lay an egg. He can’t seem to get it up for elite cornerbacks. It happens to the best of us.

We prattle on. Here’s my lineup for this week:

  • Mac Jones (QB) @ ATL
  • Justin Fields (QB) vs. BAL
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ KC
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. ARI
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ KC
  • Rhamondre Stevenson (RB) @ ATL
  • Mike Gesicki (TE) @ NYJ
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) @ LAC
  • Zane Gonzalez (K) @ SEA
  • Cleveland (DEF) vs. DET

I picked up Stevenson, dropping Mark Ingram. Again, let’s keep the focus on guys who might be relevant next year and beyond. A Dynasty League owner’s roster tweaking is never done.

That’s a clear example of burying the lede, because Trader Steven was on the prowl this week! First and foremost, our trade deadline is November 20th (this upcoming Saturday). Second, as has been discussed ad nauseam throughout most of the year, I have four really good wide receivers who I like a lot; we are only allowed to keep up to three of them (two in the WR spot, one for a FLEX if that’s your preference). It was a nice luxury to have through most of the BYE weeks, because between BYEs and injuries, I always had at least three guys I could play. But, having all four on my roster to the end of the season did me no good in the grand scheme of things.

While I had four receivers I liked, I only had one running back (at most) that I liked. Ezekiel Elliott has been fine this year, but his clock is ticking. Nevertheless, the dropoff from Zeke is a steep one. Bottom line is: I was going to have to keep a running back I hated, unless I made a trade. So, with Korky Butchek, I traded away A.J. Brown, receiving in return tight end Mike Gesicki and rookie running back Javonte Williams (to make the numbers match, I dropped the other tight end I picked up recently, Pat Freiermuth).

I originally offered him Diontae Johnson straight up for Williams, but he rejected that one and countered with the above deal that I accepted. For me, the ranking of my receivers went like this:

  1. CeeDee Lamb
  2. D.K. Metcalf
  3. A.J. Brown
  4. Diontae Johnson

Lamb was as close to untouchable as it gets, and Metcalf is pretty close to untouchable as well. Brown, on the other hand, is frustratingly boom or bust, and always finds himself on the injury report in spite of his young age. He tends to get better as the season goes along, though, so I would expect great things out of him in the month of December. Plus, with Henry out, and Julio Jones largely a non-factor, Brown figures to be far and away the #1 offensive option on the Titans. This could very well be the move that spares Korky Butchek of a last place finish!

On the flipside, Javonte Williams is seen by many experts to be a “league winner”. One of those guys good teams stash on their bench, who explode for huge fantasy numbers in the final month of the season (a la Cam Akers last year). He plays on the Broncos, who are pretty devoted to the run; but they’ve – to date – also been devoted to a running back by committee approach. Here’s to hoping that changes as we head into next year.

I’m not totally sold on Gesicki’s prospects as a dynasty tight end, mostly because Miami’s quarterback situation is muddy at best. Nevertheless, you can’t deny his talent, when he’s managed to stay healthy. I’m not getting my hopes up too high, but he’s a far cry better than Noah Fant at this point.

Then, late last night, I discovered a trade was offered to me. My opponent this week wants to swap kickers – I get Gonzalez, he gets Justin Tucker – and for my trouble, he’s giving me his 2nd round draft pick next year, in exchange for my 5th rounder (in our dynasty draft, the first 10 rounds are devoted to keepers; so technically it’s a swap of his 12th rounder for my 15th rounder).

I think this is a helluva deal for me! I get better draft positioning for next year, in exchange for Justin Tucker. I can stumble into the next Justin Tucker, no problem. Besides, thus far this year, Zane Gonzalez has more points than Tucker, and is hitting at one of the highest rates of anyone in the NFL. We’ll see if that carries over into next year and beyond, but the last thing I’m going to sweat is the kicker spot, especially when I have a chance to improve through the draft next year.

We’ll see how it goes. My season is already fucked – I’ve been playing for next year since day one – so I might as well take some big swings and hope for a huge turnaround. And, you never know, if my QB situation picks up, and Williams emerges as the stud a lot of people think he’ll be, I could be well on my way to making some noise in the Consolation Bracket!

This week, I’m going up against the annoyingly-named Hahmez Wah 360 Allstars, who has been Joey IR Police on the message boards. God forbid anyone leave a player on the IR spot for an extra week to try to get through the BYE weeks with all your players! IT’S THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY, AND HAHMEZ WAH 360 ALLSTARS IS GOING TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT! Here are the guys who will defeat my guys:

  • Jalen Hurts (QB) vs. NO
  • Tyrod Taylor (QB) @ TEN
  • Deebo Samuel (WR) @ JAX
  • Stefon Diggs (WR) vs. IND
  • D’Andre Swift (RB) @ CLE
  • D’Onta Foreman (RB) vs. HOU
  • Zach Ertz (TE) @ SEA
  • Marquise Brown (WR) @ CHI
  • Justin Tucker (K) @ CHI
  • Buffalo (DEF) vs. IND

I’ve got three of his guys (Hurts, Diggs, and Brown) in another league, so it’s like looking in a mirror this week. There’s no analysis needed here, his team is better than mine from top to bottom. I’ll take my loss like a man and move on.

Unfortunately, bungling the game last week drops me to 2-8. I’m still in last place by a full game, and also 50+ points behind Korky Butchek in the tie-breaker of total points. That’s huge, because I recently learned the Toilet Trophy goes to the regular season last place team, and not – as I’d originally hoped – the Consolation Bracket loser.

So, here’s the deal: I play Korky over Thanksgiving weekend. If trends continue, that game might very well decide the Toilet Trophy winner. I’m calling it the Toilet Bowl. I just hope he doesn’t win this upcoming week to ruin my narrative ahead of our Sludge Match!

Splinter League Round-Up!

BUCK FUTTER bounced back with a victory that was more difficult than it needed to be, over 50 Shades Of Gritty. That improves me to 6-4 and in third place (the best of all the 6-4 teams). So far, it looks like a 5-team race for four spots. The top two teams are 9-1 and 8-2; they’re going to be hard to catch up to. Though, one of them (Beer Thirty, the 8-2 team) is going up against me this week. Ideally, I need one of the other 6-4 teams to start losing, but it’s getting scary out there for ol’ BUCK FUTTER. Someone give me a break!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2021: Going Down Without A Fight

I’m just going to say this right now: I picked the best-possible weekend to get away to Leavenworth, because almost NOTHING went right for me, sports-wise. On top of the Mariners and Huskies bungling things, all three of my fantasy teams collectively shit their respective beds!

Snoopy & Prickly Pete lost to Toot Cannons 157.48 to 129.90. With a score that feeble, you’d expect my team had problems throughout the lineup, but really it was just a matter of having the worst quarterback situation in the league, combined with the Rams’ defense getting boat-raced.

My position players – save CeeDee Lamb, who mystifyingly did nothing in a game where the Cowboys scored 36 points (it happens, I guess) – all did okay! Metcalf had 16.5 points, Zeke got me 20.3, even CEH got me 19.4. Noah Fant had a respectable tight end day with 16.6, and Diontae Johnson busted out with 24.2 (making the waiver claim my highest scorer on the week). I even got 13 points from my kicker! I would take those scores from those guys every week and be happy.

But, Jimmy G was held to 10.25 points (before being pulled with a “calf injury” at halftime), and Justin Fields was held to 7.35. If I’d gone with Jameis and Mac Jones, I could’ve added approximately 21 points to my total, but that still wouldn’t have made up for the -1 I got from the Rams’ defense. I was just destined to lose this game.

Toot Cannons didn’t blow my doors off or anything; he didn’t put up 200+ like you can in this league. But, he had competent quarterbacks, and a huge day from Saquon Barkley, Najee Harris, Justin Jefferson, and Darren Waller. Those are the kinds of young studs I wish I had.

I managed to get Taylor Heinicke in a waiver claim, which I feel like is the last possible moment someone can get this guy. He’s been good-to-great since he’s been in the lineup! Certainly better than any of my quarterbacks I’ve been rolling with. He put up 36.8 against the Falcons for Christ’s sake! I don’t know if he’s a viable long-term option, but for the rest of this year he’s a must-start for me until things take a turn for the worse.

I have lots of other last-minute decisions to make this week, because I’ve got lots of guys who are KINDA injured, but might still play. What I want to do is bench D.K. Metcalf, because Jalen Ramsey always makes him his bitch. But, I don’t know if A.J. Brown is going to for-sure play or not, and with my bench structured the way it is (with all these quarterbacks), it’s not like I’m loaded with alternatives to start at the rest of my spots. Plus, even if Brown plays – it’s a great matchup against a terrible Jags defense – who knows if he’ll just be out there as a decoy, or if he’ll actually be incorporated into the offense? If Brown suits up, I might put him in for Diontae Johnson (who has a tough matchup against the Broncos), but like I said, that’ll be a last-minute decision (that I’m sure I’ll get wrong, no matter what I choose).

I really have a conundrum at the QB spot. Jimmy G may or may not go; I like his chances for a high-scoring game against the Cards, as they will need to throw a lot to stay in it. Justin Fields may or may not go, with Andy Dalton on the mend; but he’s yet to score over 8 fantasy points in our league, so is he worth starting at this point, after doing nothing against the Lions? I’m leaning Jameis against the Washington Football Team, but he keeps getting TDs sniped inside the 10 yard line by the bane of my existence Taysom Hill. Mac Jones looked semi-competent against the Bucs and has a solid matchup against the lowly Texans.

So, I dunno what I’ll do. Here’s how my lineup tentatively shakes out for Week 5:

  • Taylor Heinicke (QB) vs. NO
  • Mac Jones (QB) @ HOU
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. LAR
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) vs. DEN
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. NYG
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) vs. BUF
  • Noah Fant (TE) @ PIT
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. NYG
  • Justin Tucker (K) vs. IND
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ SEA

Justin Tucker is my favorite person on the planet. I’m hoping for a big bounce-back game out of Lamb. Zeke looks rejuvenated with Dak back in the fold. And, I fully expect the Rams to make Russell Wilson’s life miserable all game long.

My opponent this week is Sloane N Steady. I’m currently in 9th place with a 1-3 record; he is currently in 10th place with a 1-3 record (only two points separate us). It’s a rumble for last place! You hate to see it. Here’s what I have to go against:

  • Aaron Rodgers (QB) @ CIN
  • Derek Carr (QB) vs. CHI
  • Mike Evans (WR) vs. MIA
  • Michael Pittman Jr. (WR) @ BAL
  • Nick Chubb (RB) @ LAC
  • Dalvin Cook (RB) vs. DET
  • Kyle Pitts (TE) vs. NYJ
  • Kareem Hunt (RB) @ LAC
  • TBD (K) vs. TBD
  • San Francisco (DEF) @ ARI

He’s got good quarterbacks, he’s got elite running backs, so I don’t totally get why he’s doing so poorly this year. His receivers are a little lacking, but it seems like he could fix that in free agency. And, it feels like it’s only a matter of time before Kyle Pitts busts out.

I don’t like my chances, but then again I never do. I think I’ll have sole possession of last place when this week is done, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to climb out of it the rest of the year. I just need to figure something out for the Consolation Bracket and try to finagle my way into a Top 2 pick for next year.

Splinter League Round-Up!

I’m starting to regret adding this segment to my weekly fantasy column, because BUCK FUTTER has lost two games in four weeks now; I was projected to lose only one all season! I don’t know what happened, but my non-QBs totally shit the bed. Chuba Hubbard was a waste of a waiver claim, and Waddle and Godwin did practically nothing. I’ll try to right the ship next week, but it’s like I’m getting everyone’s best efforts every week.

The 2021 Seattle Seahawks Regular Season Preview Extraordinaire!

If you feel like reading about my position-by-position breakdowns, click HERE and go through all the links at the top. And, in case you missed it, I talked briefly about my predictions for how the 2021 NFL season is going to go as a whole HERE. There’s a pretty significant spoiler in there about my feelings on the Seahawks, which I’m going to get to directly.

I think the 2021 Seattle Seahawks are going to be disappointing. That’s not a very unique hill to die on. If you’re a playoff contender, only one team’s season WON’T be disappointing. But, I guess that’s my point: the 2021 Seattle Seahawks aren’t going to win the Super Bowl. For a team with Russell Wilson as its quarterback, for a team that has been to two Super Bowls in the last decade – and been to the playoffs in all but one year dating back to 2012 – not winning the Super Bowl is always going to be disappointing. Seasons change and we’re all getting fucking older, and it’s reasonable to wonder if we’re all going to die without the Seahawks ever winning a Super Bowl again.

In skimming last year’s preview post, I think my feelings about the team are similar, but for slightly different reasons. I was probably a little higher on the offense than I am this season, and for the first half that was validated by what we saw on the field. Then, the level of our defensive competition improved, and we were unable to adjust to what they were doing to us. On the flipside, there were lots of worries about the defense heading into the season – also validated by what we saw on the field – but that tightened up in the second half (as the level of offensive competition declined, and we were able to adjust to what teams were doing to us). Ultimately, we were looking at a fatally flawed team in 2020, and we’re still looking at a fatally flawed team in 2021.

There’s a lot to like about the offense once again. The talent is on par with the most talented offensive teams in the NFL. We have a Top 5 quarterback, we have arguably the best wide receiver duo, we have a stable of quality running backs and tight ends (when healthy), and our offensive line is good enough (especially with Duane Brown back in the fold). I only have one concern about the offense, but it’s a big one: Shane Waldron.

He’s never called plays before. He’s never been in charge of setting up an offense or scheming against an opposing defense. I don’t know what it was, exactly, he did with the Rams, but he wasn’t The Guy. The buck didn’t stop with Shane Waldron. We ASSUME – since he worked under offensive genius Sean McVay – that we’re going to get “The Rams’ offense” with our Seahawks talent executing it. And, we ASSUME – because the Rams’ offense has always been so great for them since McVay was brought over there – that it’s going to translate seamlessly to our team. But, we don’t know if it’s going to work out at all!

There’s a chance the offense is more efficient, and we’re able to connect on the short passing game, which in turn will open up the deep passing game again, which in turn will also open up our rushing attack. But, I would argue there’s an equally-good chance (if not a better chance) that the offense is even less efficient than it was before, and we’re reduced to an embarrassing shambles with a guy who doesn’t know how to call plays or adjust in-game to what defenses are throwing at us.

Frankly, I’m leaning towards the offense being a frustrating mess more often than not. What’s more likely? Some first-time offensive coordinator – who no one’s ever heard of outside of hardcore football circles – comes in and takes the play-calling world by storm? Or, like the 8th coordinator poached from the Rams under Sean McVay goes to another team and sucks like all the rest?

Why is no one talking about this? Why isn’t this a bigger story? Everyone’s just taking for granted that the Seahawks are going to look exactly like the Rams offensively; it makes no sense. We’ve got a quarterback who can’t shit until he holds out for the long bomb – taking umpteen sacks in the process by holding the ball too long; we’ve got a head coach who wants to run the ball more than anyone else in the league; and we’ve got an offensive line that still has to face the front sevens of the rest of the NFC West six times a year (plus playoffs), on top of many other difficult D-Lines around the league. This is a recipe for utter disaster!

Honestly, I really question whether or not Brian Schottenheimer was the main problem last year. You’re telling me he doesn’t have a short or intermediate passing game in his playbook? You’re telling me HE was the reason this team never called screen passes or crossing patterns? Or, is it because the quarterback always wants to throw the home run ball, and he can’t see over all the linemen in his way to hit his receivers 10 yards downfield? Come on, let’s think about this rationally here.

I expect this offense to struggle mightily through the first month or two, until this team goes back to calling the same plays it’s called over the last decade. At which point we MIGHT see marginal improvement, but by that time we’ll have already lost too many games to get the top seed in the NFC, and it’ll be iffy at best if we can even compete for the divisional title.

While we’re on the topic, let’s get to probably the biggest reason why the 2021 Seahawks will be disappointing: the NFC West.

They’re all better. I’m just going to say that right off the bat. The 49ers are healthy again; they figure to have enough talent to contend for a playoff spot (and maybe even the division). The Cardinals were 8-8 last year and their quarterback was playing injured for most of the second half of the season. The Rams won 10 games, beat the Seahawks in Seattle in the first round of the playoffs, and VASTLY upgraded at quarterback with Stafford over Goff. I fully expect the Rams – still stacked at virtually every single position group – to not only win the NFC West, but have the best record in the entire conference. This isn’t just reverse-jinx posturing; I’m staking my fantasy football life on it (going all in on Stafford and the Rams’ defense, earlier than probably most any other non-Rams fan in existence).

It’s almost an impossible ask to expect the Seahawks to win this division in back-to-back seasons! Especially since you can’t really point to any one thing the Seahawks do as definitely exceptional. The Rams have a great offense and the best defensive player alive. The 49ers have a great offensive scheme (if maybe lacking in talent at the quarterback position) and a stacked front seven on defense. The Cardinals have one of the best mobile quarterbacks in the league, who almost always keeps them in ballgames with a chance to win it at the end.

The Seahawks have … a less-mobile Russell Wilson, in a new offense. They have maybe the best receiver in the game in D.K. Metcalf … who was largely neutralized in the second half of last season thanks to countless double teams and defenses (or just Jalen Ramsey) blanketing his side of the field. The only certainty is that the Seahawks have the best Safety Who Gets Sacks in football. Okay. Who was the last team that featured a sacking safety that won the Super Bowl? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

At the same time, though, I can’t say it’s all Doom & Gloom either. Because, as I said up top, this team IS talented, pretty much throughout. There’s enough talent on offense that I fully expect – in 2-minute situations, when Wilson is calling the plays in hurry-up – points will be scored. My argument is: it’s not going to be as seamless as everyone is expecting; it’s going to be a struggle sometimes. The Seahawks aren’t going to lead the league in points; they’re not even going to be in the Top 5. Talent alone will probably keep us in the Top 10, but I don’t think that’s going to be good enough to push us over the hump into the upper stratosphere.

Sure, there’s also talent on defense. I think the starting linebacker unit is solid, the defensive line should be at least on par with what we saw in the second half of 2020, and I have zero issues with the safeties. But, the cornerbacks are an obvious weakness, and there’s still the Ken Norton in the room. He’s a terrible defensive coordinator! He might’ve been okay when there were Hall of Famers throughout this side of the ball, but literally anyone could’ve coordinated those defenses and had a top DVOA unit. This is a group with a lot of young guys in prominent roles, a lot of fringe-starters getting full-time snaps, who desperately need to be coached up, and Ken Norton is completely incapable of doing that outside of the linebacker room. He should be a linebackers coach; that’s where his ceiling is from a coaching perspective. But, he’s in charge of the entire defense, and that’s where this team gets fucked.

The defense hasn’t been the same since Dan Quinn left for Atlanta. I’d feel a lot better about things if we’d brought him back this year, instead of letting Dallas take him in.

So, you know, expect a lot of frustrating defensive series. Expect teams to continue to dink and dunk on us at will, at times, in every single game. Expect a good amount of chunk plays to go against us because our cornerbacks are crappy and our safeties can’t be everywhere at once. Then, expect us to adjust and slow teams down for a while in the second or third quarters of games, before they finally figure out how to move it again midway through the fourth quarter.

In short, expect the Seahawks defense you’ve come to know and loathe since Dan Quinn left. Along with it, expect the usual Cardiac Seahawks games where they’re maddeningly close until the bitter end, with the final possession deciding the game’s outcome. You like one-score games? I hope so, because the Seahawks enjoy nothing more than playing the same fucking Greatest Hits for us every single week.

I haven’t done this in a while, so let’s go game-by-game and see if we can predict wins and losses. This is fun for about 30 seconds, right?

  • @ Indy – Win
  • Tenn – Win
  • @ Minn – Win
  • @ Frisco – Loss
  • Rams – Loss
  • @ Pitt – Loss
  • Saints – Win
  • Jags – Win
  • BYE
  • @ Pack – Loss
  • Zona – Loss
  • @ Wash – Win
  • Frisco – Win
  • @ Hou – Win
  • @ Rams – Loss
  • Bears – Win
  • Lions – Win
  • @ Zona – Win

I have us at 11-6 in this scenario. It might not shake out EXACTLY in this fashion, but I think 5-3 heading into the BYE is probably reasonable. I think 2-4 against the division is probably the difference-maker between us or the 49ers getting the higher wild card seed (I think we probably end up with the same record, but they figure out a way to sweep the Cards and get one over on the Rams).

I’d love nothing more than to be wrong. There’s a small part of me that wants to believe the Seahawks have been on this upward trajectory since 2017 (the last time we missed the playoffs). We were 9-7 that year, and have improved by one win every season since, with us finally winning the division again in 2020. The next step in that progression is to not only win the division, but take the top seed in the NFC again. And, with that – ideally – a spot in the Super Bowl.

But, usually, teams who do that are able to get that one final piece to the puzzle in the lead-up to that season. In 2013, for instance, we went out and got Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. The Bucs last year got Tom Brady and loaded up on veterans on defense. When was the last team you saw that was THIS flawed that somehow managed to improve? Almost always – when a team is this flawed – there’s negative regression the other way.

Frankly, the Seahawks have been flawed every season since 2017; things can’t keep improving forever.

This feels like a total meltdown waiting to happen. We were already teetering on the brink this offseason with Russell Wilson complaining in the media. I’m half-expecting everything to totally fall apart, with the final nail being a Wilson trade out of here. And knowing our Seattle luck with trading superstars, he will hamstring us with the list of teams we’re allowed to trade him to, resulting in our getting a terrible package of picks and players in return.

Officially, I’m predicting the Seahawks will be 11-6 and the 6th seed in the NFC. But, secretly I wouldn’t be shocked to see us fall to 8-9, miss out on the playoffs, and have all hell break loose.

Earlier this week I called out the Ravens as the team having a Season From Hell. But, don’t be surprised if it’s us. Again, I hope I’m wrong, but I feel it in my gut: the future looks grim.

Seahawks Position Breakdown 2021: Cornerbacks

This feels like a timely position group to talk about, considering the recent moves.

Let’s start with the trade for Sidney Jones. We sent Jacksonville a sixth round pick for him, so you’d expect he’ll have every opportunity to start. Jones, of course, was a standout with the University of Washington, and might’ve even been a first round pick if it weren’t for an injury that led him to slide to the second round. That felt like a steal for the Eagles at the time, but unfortunately the injury bug has followed him into the NFL. All these injuries seem to have stunted his NFL development to the point where he’s really just been a fringe starter at best. The Eagles waived him after the 2019 season and he played last year in Jacksonville before coming here.

I’d like to say that all he needs to do is stay healthy and he’ll be an effective player for us, but I can’t make that guarantee. Even if he’s 100%, I don’t know if he’s necessarily any better than anyone else we’ve got on the roster. Besides, who knows if he’s a fit for our scheme and the way we like our cornerbacks to play defense? It’s a nice low-risk gamble on a guy with a good amount of talent, but I’m not getting my hopes up that it’ll pay off like gangbusters.

Which is a shame, because the Seahawks really needed the front office to make a splash at this spot. It feels like we’re an elite cornerback away from being a Top 5 defense. Unfortunately, the difference is quite significant, as I can see this as – at best – a Top 15 unit. I’m expecting lots of soft coverage, lots of first downs by opponents, more deep completions than we’re used to seeing given up, and a complete and utter lack of turnovers generated. Hopefully our run defense can step it up and be an impact-maker, and hopefully we get enough timely sacks to help us win a lot more than we lose. But, without that lockdown corner, I just don’t see us being able to make the stops necessary in the playoffs to get to the Super Bowl.

There’s lots of nice second- and third-tier cornerbacks on this roster, though. Starting with D.J. Reed, who isn’t a lockdown corner, but is the next tier down. He’s been injured all pre-season, of course, so that’s a concern. Next man down the ladder is probably Sidney Jones, who I’ve talked about. Then, there’s Ugo Amadi, who is a nice nickel/slot corner. Between him and Marquise Blair (both listed as safeties), we’ve got a couple of nice specialist coverage men who can get the little guys and big guys, respectively.

It gets dicey from there. Ahkello Witherspoon was a moderate free agent signing this past offseason from the 49ers. He disappointed in San Francisco throughout his career, until the back-half of this past season, and now we’re supposed to believe he’s fixed all of his problems? By many accounts, he’s looked like nothing special in training camp and pre-season. He’s been competing with Tre Flowers, who still isn’t guaranteed a spot on this team – even though he made the initial 53-man roster – because he has zero guaranteed dollars in the final year of his deal. Many fans and beat writers alike were surprised to see him even make the 53-man! We all know what Tre Flowers is, and based on what we’ve seen in the pre-season, we know that nothing has changed. He’s serviceable; which means he’s far from great.

The last one left is Tre Brown, who is one of our three rookie draft picks this year. I’ve heard both good and bad things about him in practice, which puts him in line with most every rookie ever.

I don’t think the plan was to intentionally skimp on the cornerback spot, but clearly more resources were poured into the safety, linebacker, and defensive line spots. The default thinking from there is: if we can harass the opposing quarterback enough, then the cornerbacks won’t have to work as hard (especially if we can do enough of that harassing with our base four linemen). The problem with that is, even when we blitz, there are going to be times where the protection holds up. And, I fear those’ll be the times when opposing offenses hit us for big plays in our swiss cheese secondary.

I think this unit tops out at a B-, and bottoms out at a D+. The Glass Half Full thinker might believe D.J. Reed IS a shutdown corner, and Jones or Witherspoon continue to take steps in the right direction. Cornerback will always be a liability, but maybe it can be a limited one.

The Glass Half Empty thinker might worry that the top-end depth in this unit gets injured, and bemoan the fact that we didn’t go after Stephon Gilmore in a trade. That’s the type of Go For It attitude this team needs to really put it over the top. The Rams did something similar with Jalen Ramsey, and they’re all the better for it.

UPDATE 9/3/2021: My how the tables have turned! Tre Flowers went from looking like he might get cut to being the starter opposite D.J. Reed. Meanwhile, Witherspoon was traded to the Steelers for a 2023 5th round pick (they’re likelier to be worse in 2022 than they’ll be in 2021, so I like that we pushed it a year), and it sounds like the Seahawks still aren’t done making moves. I’m disappointed that I did the Cornerbacks post so early, with so much yet to come in the next few days.

That Was The Worst The 2020 Seahawks Have Looked

Could I have hit the nail more on the head in last Friday’s preview post? I even got the part about being down double digits, scrambling late to pull it to a single score, and needing an onside kick that ultimately didn’t bounce our way!

Look, I can’t say with any certainty that I’m definitely psychic, but slots for my palm readings are filling up fast! Be advised, these are VERY sexual readings …

What I got wrong in that post, I got VERY wrong though. I never would’ve predicted a game where less than 40 total points were scored, but there you have it: Rams 23, Seahawks 16. That seemed pretty unthinkable in the first quarter, when the Seahawks got the ball on their first drive of the day and drove it 78 yards to take a 7-3 lead. The Rams promptly made it 17-7 midway through the second quarter, and this REALLY had all the markings of a no-defense special, something we’ve been lapping up all year like goons.

This game took a weird turn after that, and I couldn’t for the life of me explain why it ended the way it did. After pulling the game to 17-10, the Rams had the ball and it looked like they were set on blowing the game wide open. Instead, Jamal Adams got in there and forced a Goff fumble that the Seahawks recovered deep in enemy territory. It looked like we were set to tie the game up heading into halftime! Then, with nothing but green grass ahead of him, Russell Wilson inexplicably threw an interception in the endzone to kill that dream. The only reason I can think of for the decision is Wilson is counting his stats. He saw he hadn’t thrown a touchdown pass all day, saw one of his receivers briefly flash open, but failed to see the defender who had an EASY play on the ball.

This was always the worry of handing the keys to the Ferrari to Russell Wilson after years of his safe and reliable Subaru driving. He’s pretty talented behind the wheel, but when you REALLY open it up, those cars can be dangerous and spin off the road every once in a while!

Or, I guess we can stick with the cooking analogy. Wilson has spent his career making perfect golden-brown DiGiorno pepperoni pizzas and now we’re asking him to make Fugu; sometimes it turns out perfect, but prepare it wrong and it can kill you.

As much as we see Russell Wilson as a team-first guy who only cares about winning – and certainly, he says all the right things all the time – he’s also human. He’s a hotshot NFL quarterback with an ego the size of Virginia. He wants that MVP award and he’s going to do everything in his power to get it. Even if circumstances arise that he’s unable to see, and by trying to do too much on his own, he inflicts more damage upon his chances than settling for a simple rushing touchdown would’ve done.

That pick was a bitter pill to swallow. But, my sharpest criticism of this game falls on Pete Carroll. Forget the fact that he and the rest of his staff didn’t seem to have the team properly prepared for this one, but his in-game decisionmaking was atrocious. The Seahawks brought the game to 17-13 at halftime – thanks to a franchise-record 61-yard field goal as the clock expired by Jason Myers, who is having a fabulous year – and got the ball first in the second half. On 3rd & 4, Wilson nearly scrambled for a first down, but was deemed to be less than a yard short. On 4th & Inches, on our own 42 yard line, we wasted a challenge on the spot, then wasted 25 full seconds with that bullshit where the quarterback stands at the line of scrimmage barking fake signals to try to get the defense to jump offsides. This NEVER FUCKING WORKS and I wish the Seahawks would put this tactic in a rocketship with “icing the kicker” and “Michael Dickson’s onside drop-kick that never gives us a chance to recover” and send them all on a collison course with the fucking sun, because they’re all equally as asinine. Then, with a 5-yard delay of game penalty, we punted. Fucking hell!

I lost my mind after that. Forget the fact that our defense had shown us NOTHING at that point, except one fumble we wasted. All you have to see is the fact that we lost by one score – needing the aforementioned onside kick that fell into Robert Woods’ open arms – and you can point to this wasted possession. I don’t care where we were on the field; the Rams can score from any distance (indeed, they drove RIGHT down the field right after that punt, 88 yards, to take a 23-13 lead); but if we can’t convert INCHES, then we obviously have no business even playing the game.

With the Rams able to safely sit on a two-score lead, they teed off on Russell Wilson. Knowing the Seahawks like to strike plays deep down field – and knowing we NEEDED to do just that, with time ticking away – it makes a lot of sense that our offense did next-to-nothing the rest of the way, because they could have their secondary play back and force us to check down. Most importantly, the Rams were able to take the ball out of the hands of their biggest liability – Jared Goff – and we suffered as a result. Sure, we forced the Rams’ offense into some second half punts, but we missed out on the opportunity for Goff to turn the ball over and give us some more short fields! The Rams could’ve knelt down on every offensive play and prevailed once they were up by 10 points.

I was especially dismayed with the way Wilson ignored D.K. Metcalf the entire game. Sure, Jalen Ramsey was locked onto him for most of the game, but he wasn’t shadowing him 100% of the time; there were plays for Metcalf to make! He was open and Wilson didn’t even bother checking in. Also, not for nothing, but D.K. Metcalf is a fucking monster; even when he’s got blanket coverage he’s still open! Why not toss him a jump ball or two when it’s one-on-one coverage? Make the All Pro defender make a play or two; Ramsey isn’t perfect! He’s been beaten before and he’ll be beaten again!

One of the biggest take-aways from this one is how much the team is missing Chris Carson. Alex Collins got a lot of carries and I thought looked pretty good, but he’s no Carson. He’s not the pass-catching threat that Carson is. Nor is he the total badass that Carson is!

It’s tough to totally make out whether or not the defense made any progress in this one. We had three more sacks, but two of them were via Jamal Adams blitzes. Obviously, only giving up the six second half points is a positive, but as I mentioned, the Rams went hyper-conservative towards the end.

Nevertheless, I’m not panicking yet. As predicted, the Cardinals beat the Bills (on a last-second hail mary touchdown, which is insane), so the Seahawks are currently third place in the division thanks to head-to-head tiebreakers. We can rectify that – and get to work on our atrocious divisional record – this Thursday night, at home, against those very Cardinals. If we prevail, my prediction for a 7-game winning streak to close the season is very much in play.

If we lose … then yes, I will be panicking. And so should you.

The Seahawks Traded Away A Fuckload To Bring Back Jamal Adams

Turns out it wasn’t just a nonsense rumor.

Here’s the damage. The Jets get:

  • 2021 & 2022 Seahawks first round draft picks
  • 2021 Seahawks third round draft pick
  • Bradley McDougald, with 1 year and $3.6 million remaining on his deal

The Seahawks get:

  • 2022 Jets fourth round pick
  • Jamal Adams, making around $3.59 million this year, and set to earn $9.86 million in 2021

Fine, so Jamal Adams is one of the best safeties in football. Does that make him worth two first rounders? Is ANY safety worth two first rounders? Well, you could argue (and I have) that the Seahawks are just going to screw up with whoever they select in the first round anyway, so what are first rounders REALLY worth on this team? Still, it seems like getting rid of a headache for the Jets should come at a little bit more of a discount!

How is Jamal Adams a headache, you ask? Well, he fancies himself one of the best safeties in football, and as you can see from above, he’s not exactly taking in the type of money one would expect. Also, not for nothing, but he had the misfortune of being drafted by the Jets! As one of the poorer-run franchises in all of professional sports (not the worst, mind you; they’re not the Washington Football Team or anything), they rarely make good decisions on personnel and ipso facto, they rarely make the playoffs or are any sort of legitimate threat to win championships. So, of course, he’s been threatening to hold out (don’t know how much good that does players anymore), requesting a re-worked deal at the top of the safety market, demanding a re-worked deal at the top of the safety market, and ultimately just demanding a trade out of the Jets’ organization.

The Jets seemed willing to wait it out. With the fourth year of Adams’ rookie deal yet to be played, and with the fifth year option already administered, they were holding a pretty good hand. The Seahawks opted to blink first, and here we are.

What’s interesting is, you might expect the Seahawks to turn around and immediately announce a long-term contract extension for Adams. Not to say that still can’t happen (indeed, the way salary has been dumped over the last day might indicate something is afoot), but a reporter on Twitter this morning said both sides have agreed that Adams will play on his existing contract, with no promises about the future. My hunch is, if this is true, the Seahawks are going to see how he looks and determine how best to fit him within the scheme, and then if it pans out, either extend him sometime during the season or in the next offseason. I do NOT expect Adams to play on his fifth-year option next year, nor do I expect the Seahawks to let him walk (at best, we would get a third round draft pick in compensation if he did, which is nowhere near worth the cost of giving up two first rounders and a third).

I’ll be interested in how Jamal Adams is used by the Seahawks. When I think of the best safety in football, I think of Earl Thomas. I think THAT guy has real high-end value! His speed, his instincts, his playmaking when it comes to generating turnovers and absolutely destroying fools: it’s pretty unmatched! By all accounts, Adams doesn’t play the same game as Earl. While you can put him in at free safety, that’s not his natural spot; he’s more of a strong safety, or even a quasi-linebacker type.

He has 12.0 sacks in his 3-year career, including a whopping 6.5 last year! He’s also only got two interceptions, which is pretty underwhelming. In looking at various charts and whatnot, it looks like Adams lines up pretty close to the line of scrimmage on most plays, which would indicate more of a Kam Chancellor type. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Kam – he’s one of my all-time favorite professional athletes! – but is he worth two 1’s and a 3?

People say Adams is a better version of Kam, that he can do more in coverage (particularly against tight ends *ahem, George Kittle*). And, really, what’s undeniable is that this defense has NOT been the same since Kam was forced into early retirement because of his neck injury.

I have a lot of conflicting emotions, is the point I’m trying to make. The Seahawks don’t have the best track record when it comes to these types of blockbuster trades (which I’ll look into in a future post). But, here’s the good news: the Seahawks added another playmaker!

Adams is undeniably an upgrade over Bradley McDougald. I was a big fan of McDougald when he was here; I thought the Seahawks got tremendous value out of him in his three years here. But, he’s 30 years old this year, and while he laced ’em up just about every game, injuries wore his body down. McDougald was generally pretty great early in seasons, but his production fell off the map as the weeks dragged on and he was forced to play through a nagging this or a bruised that. As an everyman, as a third option to fill in or help out on a part-time basis, I don’t think there are many who would be better in that role than McDougald; in a defense featuring Quandre Diggs and Marquise Blair as your starters, I liked that trio a lot.

But, McDougald almost certainly would’ve started off this season as one of the starters, and Blair is the big unknown in all of this. He was a rookie last year, ultimately didn’t play much at all until very late in the season, and now here we are in 2020 with no pre-season games and some weird training camp that’s unlike anything we’ve ever had to experience before. How much can you count on Blair taking a big step forward? And, will he EVER develop into a viable starting safety in this league?

I don’t know the answer to that. No one does. Jamal Adams, on the other hand, is a proven, elite strong safety. Quandre Diggs is a proven, very good, free safety. Combined, we might be looking at the very best safety tandem in all of football (and, if Quinton Dunbar is freed of all charges and allowed to play this year, that will translate into the Seahawks having the very best secondary in all of football). With Blair as your number three, there’s just a bit of a drop-off from McDougald, but the upside is significantly higher. If Blair reaches that upside, then at some point we can let Diggs walk and have Blair take over at free safety.

What this trade signifies is this: Pete Carroll did NOT like the Seahawks’ secondary last year! He did NOT like playing so much base defense! The fact that we muddled through and somehow made the playoffs is a testament to our coaching staff and defensive scheme (and, yeah, Russell Wilson, but there have been plenty of elite quarterbacks with terrible defenses who failed to make the playoffs, so he doesn’t get ALL the credit). But, Carroll was NOT about to suffer another season of this secondary getting shredded.

The thing that a lot of football people keep returning to is the massive haul the Seahawks gave up. Here’s a good article delving pretty deep into it. Normally, when you see teams giving up multiple first rounders, you’re getting someone who the consensus feels is at a position of importance. A defensive end (Khalil Mack), a lockdown cornerback (Jalen Ramsey), a left tackle (Laremy Tunsil). You don’t see it a lot with quarterbacks, mostly because the very best QB’s are kept by their teams, but historically you’ve seen it with them (Jay Cutler, Jeff George, Jim Everett) and running backs (Ricky Williams, Herschel Walker, Eric Dickerson). Safety, as that article points out, is not considered to be one of the highest-value positions (as their salaries tend to indicate).

To that, I would say, I don’t agree with the consensus. I think safeties can make all the difference on a defense. I don’t see anyone complaining when they have one of the very best safeties in all of football, because those guys are constantly making impact plays! Usually, at least once a game, and once in a while they can absolutely take over! When it comes to the NFL, and the parity therein, just one more high-impact play per game can really impact your season. It can make a mediocre team good enough for a Wild Card spot, and it can make a Wild Card team good enough to win a division!

The Seahawks certainly hope the latter comes true in 2020.

While I’m a safety apologist, I do buy the argument that maybe this wasn’t the ideal blockbuster for this team to make. As I’ve noted, I was pretty happy with the safeties we had. Without Adams, this team had the potential to have a very good – maybe Top 5 – secondary, so the improvement might’ve very well been negligible. On the other hand, there are outlets indicating the Seahawks have the 32nd-ranked defensive line/pass rush (out of 32 teams), and if there’s a defensive end out there who could’ve been had for the same haul of draft picks, the Seahawks probably would’ve been better served going that route. I can’t argue with that! I’m the guy who’s been going on and on about the defensive line all offseason! A trade like THAT might’ve pulled this unit up into the middle of the pack; with all else being the same, that’s probably enough to make this team a Super Bowl contender, instead of just Wild Card fodder.

It’s not even an argument, but I would question if there WERE any elite defensive ends out there that were available to be traded. Khalil Mack is a future Hall of Famer, were any of these other disgruntled, franchise tagged defensive ends on a similar course? If not, then that’s probably not draft capital well spent. I mean, is that Jacksonville guy really REALLY elite? Or, is he one of dozens of guys who out-performed his rookie deal and is mad he’s on a shitty team?

Jamal Adams seems like he’s really REALLY elite. He looks like he’s on a Hall of Fame course. And, he’ll be only 25 years old in October, so there are PLENTY of great years ahead.

At this point, my only concern is character-based. He’s obviously upset with how little money he’s earning. He knows he’s going to get a huge deal somewhere. He probably understands that he’s going to get that here in Seattle. But, how reasonable is he? The Seahawks obviously have a lot of experience with passionate, arrogant, sometimes-unhinged individuals with no lacking of self-confidence. Is Adams going to get along with this coaching staff and front office? Or, is he going to be a pain in the ass from day one that we’re stuck with because we pushed all of our chips into the middle of the table to get this guy in here?

I’m willing to suffer those types of players when the Seahawks draft them; I’m less willing to put up with it from outsiders, from hired guns we bring in for the express purpose of winning us a championship. We’ll see.

The bottom line is, I’m not thrilled with what it cost to get him here. I’m not super-jazzed about the moderate improvement to our secondary (compared to what could’ve been a significant improvement to our defensive line). I’m wary about how we’re going to be trounced from a value standpoint, for a guy who we’re only seeing for one of the four years on his rookie deal (before he starts making about $15 million per season as one of the highest-paid guys on our team). But, I love a great safety! If he comes in, makes an immediate and lasting impact, then who cares what it cost to get him here and keep him here?! If we win the Super Bowl during Russell Wilson’s prime, then again, who gives a horse fuck?!

All Pros are always worth having on your team. The more, the better. Heading into 2020, all we had was Bobby Wagner on defense. Now, we’ve got him and Jamal Adams. The middle of our defense is going to be SICK!