No One’s Really Talking About The Seahawks’ Offensive Line

The consensus biggest cause for concern when it comes to the Seahawks is the rush defense. For good reason. We were terrible at stopping the run last year. It cost us at least three very winnable games last year (vs. Tampa in Germany, vs. Vegas in an overtime shootout, and mystifyingly at home against a mediocre Panthers team). You also can’t help but wonder how we lost to the likes of the Falcons and Saints, but the rush defense deficiencies really presented itself as the season wore on, and the Bucs exposed us as a team entirely ill-equipped to prevent yards on the ground.

Rush defense is also the biggest cause for concern because I think a lot of fans question whether the Seahawks did enough to address this area of need. That remains to be seen, but I feel like it’ll be better than we expect, even if it’s far from ideal.

A lowkey potential problem lies in the offensive line though, and I don’t think anyone is giving it the attention it deserves.

I think, for the most part, people were happy with the Seahawks’ offense in general last year. We got to be pleasantly surprised; that’s always fun. Geno Smith rose from the ashes to become a competent starting quarterback in this league. The top receivers both had 1,000-yard seasons. The running backs – led by Kenneth Walker – were electric and impactful. And, the play-calling was better than we’ve seen in ages.

But, there were still a number of games where the offense really struggled. Not just against the 49ers, though those three games definitely stand out (including our first round exit in the playoffs). And I think Geno largely gets a pass even though his numbers declined as the season wore on.

The O-Line gets a pass too, though I would argue a lot of his challenges were a direct result of protection problems.

If you had to critique Geno’s performance as a whole in 2022, what would you say were his biggest areas in need of improvement? Third downs, and late game production. Even though he eventually did lead us to a few come-from-behind victories, or otherwise winning us games late, it seems like in most of our losses we had opportunities to snatch a victory, but fell short.

Shockingly, I don’t have the numbers, but what I saw indicated a team that was really lacking in protection on third downs in obvious passing situations. How many times did we see Geno take a back-breaking sack on third and long? Some of that might be on him, holding the ball too long, or not finding the open man (if there was a man open), but a good chunk of that was a total failure by the line to give him any time whatsoever. I never felt confident that we’d convert a third & long, in any situation, but especially late in games. They just crumbled under the increased pressure, and as a result too many drives ended in a whimper.

Now, obviously, the Seahawks have certain advantages with their O-Line that many teams don’t get to enjoy. On the whole, the line is fine. To me, it’s middle-of-the-road. It’s not like some of those offensive lines during the lesser Russell Wilson years. Sure, both were relatively inexpensive, but this one is actually seeing results, whereas those older ones were legitimate liabilities (and deserved to be considered among this team’s chief problem areas). We’re getting by with bookend tackles on rookie contracts. Our guards are home-grown. And the center carousel keeps turning, but at least this year we have a viable rookie to push the retread free agent we signed in the offseason. To get middle-of-the-road production from a unit so underpaid is a blessing! It allows us to field a competent offense while bolstering other areas of the team into real strengths.

But, now we’re talking about a team that wants to play with the big dogs. We’re talking about a team coming off of a surprising playoff run, that’s looking to take the next step into potentially winning the division and contending for the conference title. I don’t know if any reasonable fan or pundit would rank the Seahawks as highly as the Eagles or 49ers, but A LOT of them are picking the Seahawks as either a dark horse or a frisky contender (largely based on the perceived weakness of the NFC, but still).

I am of the belief that the Seahawks can’t simply replicate their 2022 offense and all of a sudden win 2-3 more games. I think most of us are of the opinion that the 2023 defense will be improved over their 2022 counterparts. But, we’re going to need the offense to take a similar step forward if we really want to compete with the likes of the 49ers. Since the skill guys are largely the same, that means we’re going to need a boost from the O-Line, and that’s what has me worried here today.

There’s a lot of talk about a sophomore slump vs. a sophomore boost (or whatever, I don’t remember the exact phrasing Pete Carroll used) when it comes to the likes of Charles Cross and Abe Lucas. Again, we’re thrilled they were rookies last year and played a full season, but they WILL need to step it up if we’re going to be better. I don’t 100% buy into those PFF grades, as I’ve heard they’re inherently flawed, but I’m still not encouraged by their regular low grades in both pass and run blocking. The PFF grades aren’t good for nothing, and I’d like to see them start to show out for the nerds.

I don’t get the sense that Damien Lewis is a problem, necessarily, but I also don’t know that he’s a huge benefit either. He’s never mentioned among the top guards in football. It’s nice that he’s a gamer, and he’s on a rookie deal as a third rounder who’s started since his first year. But, he kinda feels like Just A Guy. On the other side, there’s no question that Phil Haynes outplayed Gabe Jackson last year in a time-share situation; with Jackson gone, you’d think that’s an upgrade. But, there’s a reason why Haynes has largely been a fringe player in this league. He was a fourth round rookie and a backup in 2019 (after being injured for most of that season), on the IR in 2020, waived and on our practice squad for most of 2021, until finally last year he got an opportunity. Any team could’ve had him, and chose to let him remain a Seahawk. He’s on a cheap 1-year deal this year, because again, no one else wanted him. And now you figure he’s going to be pushed by Anthony Bradford, another fourth round rookie. Was Haynes as good as he was last year because he only played about half the time? Can he sustain for a full season as the starter at right guard?

Then, there’s the center. Evan Brown, in a long line of journeymen centers we’ve brought over here in the wake of the mistake that was trading Max Unger for Jimmy Graham way back in the day. He’s a guy who played guard and center for the Lions last year, and to his credit was much better as a center. That being said, you’re talking about a guy making less than $3 million on a 1-year deal. A guy, like Haynes, who it appears nobody else wanted. Someone who – like the rest of our interior line – is a JAG who may be better than some of the previous centers we’ve employed here, but that’s not saying much.

And then there’s our depth. Ye gods!

I’ve been killing these backups all month for the pisspoor performances we’ve seen from them in the first two preseason games. Again, for good reason! They’ve stunk! The running game can’t get going, the quarterback can’t get into a rhythm, and for whatever reason (maybe because we’ve won both games) people have just ignored this unit entirely! Sure, they’re backups, but they’re also going up against backups, and I can’t help but be alarmed by how inept our guys have been.

You could replace Stone Forsythe with a statue and get comparable results; he’s terrible. Granted, he’s a sixth round pick in our nadir draft of 2021 (where we only had three picks), but I can’t even say he’s a decent backup. He’s a liability! And if either of our tackles goes down, we’re super fucked!

I really liked Jake Curhan as an undrafted rookie; I thought he showed real potential and was going to be a steal for us. But, he’s had some injury issues, and we’ve tried to cross-train him at guard as well as right tackle, and I don’t know if that’s as successful as the team thinks it is. He’s looked a little rough out there, though I don’t think he’s as dire as Forsythe.

I will say that I am encouraged by the rookies Olu Oluwatimi and Anthony Bradford. But, Olu has been dealing with a nagging elbow injury that held him out of the most recent preseason game, and figures to be his undoing in this center battle (until he’s fully healthy again). All things being equal, I’d rather have Olu over Evan Brown, but not an injured Olu. As for Bradford, it’s pretty clear he’s behind Haynes. Seems like he’s more of a project, though a very promising one from what I’ve seen from him in the two preseason games. He might not be a finished product, but I can’t wait to see what that ultimately looks like, because I feel like – if he can stay healthy – he might be a monster.

Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine as far as backups go. I think the Seahawks usually only keep 9 on the 53-man roster, so that might be it.

In the early going of this season, it’s going to hinge on the improvement (or lack thereof) of Cross and Lucas. If they’re better, that’s an immediate boost. I think, with the interior, those guys are who they are, and we’re unlikely to see ANY improvement this season.

BUT, if Olu and/or Bradford ultimately work to steal jobs, we could be looking at a situation where this unit is playing better by season’s end than it is at the beginning. That doesn’t give me a lot of hope for winning the division, because a slow start is sure to torpedo us in that area; but, if we can go on a nice little run to close out the season, then who knows?

We’ll see though. For the most part, I think the Seahawks’ defense will be fine. It won’t be close to top 10, but it shouldn’t be bottom 10 either. No, this season is going to come down to the offensive line. If they can take a step foward, we’re looking at a top 5 offense.

But, if they tread water, we could be in for another .500-ish finish.

The Most Wrong I’ve Been About A Seahawks Player

Obviously, I have to shout out Field Gulls for inspiring this post. I mean, basically I’m just stealing their idea and answering it in my own forum. But, I linked to them, so what more do you want from me?! A cut of the profits! Good luck! This site is hemorrhaging money hand over fist!

It’s hard for me to feel satisfied with picking a player who I had zero expectations about, who went on to greatness. Like, I’m not – and have never been – a draftnik. So, I didn’t see Richard Sherman coming, for instance. Or Doug Baldwin. Or Kam Chancellor. I’m pretty sure I had equally as low expectations for a lot of those guys drafted in the later rounds, so the fact that I was so “wrong” about them doesn’t really say a whole lot. I mean, who saw Tom Brady, 6th Round quarterback turning into the Greatest Of All Time? That specific element, I’m throwing away.

The flipside, however, probably has my answer: someone drafted high, whose career totally took a shit.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of highly-drafted busts in Seahawks history. But, by and large, these were players we could’ve seen coming. Lawrence Jackson, Lamar King, L.J. Collier, Germain Ifedi, whathaveyou. Even Koren Robinson had his off-field issues that dogged him into his NFL playing days.

I would say the answer for me is Aaron Curry. Unfortunately, that was in my pre-blogging days, so I don’t have a record of my thoughts at the time, but I do remember very distinctly thinking he was a sure thing linebacker for this team. What I didn’t realize was his lack of pass rushing ability. Why a team would draft an off-ball linebacker – and not even a middle linebacker at that – with the 4th overall pick, is beyond me. But, that’s how great of a prospect he was at the time. He was the consensus “safest pick of the draft”. Plug & play. No worries here!

And then we just got nothing in return. Two and a half years of dud-ery, then somehow we traded him to the Raiders for a couple low-end draft picks.

If I had to give an honorable mention, I’d say I was pretty high on the Percy Harvin trade. That just felt like another one where there was no way to screw it up. Harvin was a superstar talent. We were in a position where the team was already built up considerably, so we had the excess salary cap room and draft capital to spend. It felt like the rich getting richer; instead, it was the beginning of the end.

What absolutely doesn’t belong is the Jimmy Graham deal. I didn’t like that one nearly as much as the Harvin deal. Mostly because we lost Max Unger, but also because Graham wasn’t a blocker whatsoever, and we’ve never thrown it enough to make him a viable weapon.

I probably should’ve been more wary of the Jamal Adams deal, but he seemed like another no-brainer sort of talent. No way I saw his injury issues coming. And no way I saw us falling as flat as we did in 2021.

And for good measure, I was pretty high on both Sheldon Richardson and Jadeveon Clowney when they were brought in. Seemed pretty low-risk/high-reward. Get a couple of motivated pass rushers on one-year deals, and either we sign them to an extension, or we let them walk and get a big, fat compensatory pick. Except, surprise! They were both already on the downside of their careers, they did nothing much in Seattle, and they never got those big money deals with other teams. In other words, they walked for nothing, and we were no better for having had them.

I should probably have pointed out by now that the ACTUAL answer to this question is unquestionably Geno Smith. If you told me before 2021 that Geno Smith would eventually replace Russell Wilson, and go on to have a better season than him – at ANY point in their respective careers – I would’ve thought you were a fucking psychopath drug addict. Even if you told me – this time last year – that Geno Smith would not only win the starting quarterback job, but would go on to play at a Pro Bowl level, and earn a potential big-money extension in 2023 and beyond (even with the incentives at work), I would’ve thought you were nuts. There’s no world where I would’ve envisioned a successful Geno Smith.

Now, granted, what has he done? Led a team to a 9-8 record and a first round exit in the playoffs. There are LOTS of quarterbacks who could’ve done that. Hell, Matt Schaub and Andy Dalton made entire careers out of that kind of “success”. But, my opinion of Geno Smith was so low prior to last season, that I legitimately believed Drew Lock was destined to be our starter last year. That’s a thing I not only believed, but was convinced about!

I legitimately don’t know who would be #2 on the list of players I had absolutely zero faith in whatsoever, who went on to greatness. Jarred Kelenic is somewhere in the ballpark, but he’s still young enough that his 2023 improvement isn’t a total shock. I mean, with Geno, it’s not just a matter of having no belief in him, but his presence was met with utter contempt! I couldn’t stand the thought of him taking snaps on this team. I only begrudgingly accepted him as Russell Wilson’s backup because Russ never took any plays off.

And therein lies the rub. Usually, I develop contempt for players only after they’ve sucked for my team. I don’t often have contempt for a player that then subsequently joins my team. And, by and large, any player who has stunk, comes to Seattle and continues to stink. This type of turnaround in my opinion doesn’t happen easily with me. Which is why Geno is such a rare case.

If we’re taking Geno off the table as too obvious, I’m sticking with Aaron Curry as my pick. Honorable mention for someone who isn’t a player at all: Pete Carroll.

As soon as the Seahawks introduced Pete Carroll as their head coach and really the head honcho alongside John Schneider (in other words, not under the GM like most coaches, and having final say over personnel), I thought this was a panic move of desperation by an organization that gave up on Mike Holmgren too early, and clearly reserved the franchise for the wrong coach in Jim Mora Jr. There’s no way in a million years that I expected Pete Carroll to be worth a damn in the NFL. Not after the way he flamed out in the 90’s. Not after the bevy of college coaches who have made the jump and failed miserably (perhaps no one more miserably than Nick Saban, who went on to supersonic success after going to Alabama from the Dolphins).

You could argue – if we included coaches – I was most wrong about Pete Carroll as the Seahawks’ head coach. What’s funny is that a lot of fans were right there with me at the time, and a lot of fans continue to doubt his abilities to this day. I don’t know how smart that is.

At this point, the 2023 Seahawks might have the biggest collection of Nobody Believed In Us personnel of any team in the NFL. Nobody believes in this defense. Nobody believes in the coaching staff (ehh, some might believe in Shane Waldron, but certainly no one believes in Hurtt or Carroll). People stopped believing in John Schneider for a while there. Geno Smith obviously overcame a mountain of haters. Lockett and Metcalf were overlooked by a lot of teams in their respective drafts. Even JSN fell to 20, when he might be a Top 10 talent. If the power of nobody believing in you was something that translated into the win/loss column, I’d say the Seahawks are Super Bowl contenders on that alone!

Of course, that’s not really a thing, and I don’t actually think the Seahawks are Super Bowl contenders. But, I’m more than happy to be proven wrong!

My Least-Favorite Seattle-Based Athletes, Part 1

I’ve been writing about my favorite athletes this week, which naturally led me down a path of thinking about my least-favorite athletes. It’s not as simple of an exercise, though!

For starters, I’m ostensibly a fan of these teams, so I’m not predisposed to hate these players. With my favorites, I had a deep pool of reserves with which to select five guys from each team; but I couldn’t even get to five with Husky football, for instance (and the four I’ve got I’m lukewarm on at best). It also feels weird to say you hate a college athlete. Maybe not as weird anymore, since they’re effectively semi-pro players with salaries and no contracts, who can transfer on the slightest whim. But, more broadly, most of the players I hate – or are otherwise my “least-favorite” – are on other teams. John Stockton, John Elway, Paul O’Neill, Mike Trout, literally anyone who’s ever donned an Oregon Ducks uniform.

I’ll be honest, people in general who wear green and yellow kinda piss me off.

To limit this list to people who’ve played for Seattle sports teams usually means one of two things: either they were high draft picks who faltered spectacularly, or they were high-priced free agents we brought in from an outside organization … who faltered spectacularly. But, here’s where I struggle with this. Because, as I just said, I’m not predisposed to hate these guys, usually my deepest ire is focused on those in power who brought these players here. The GM’s, the college coaches; I dislike Tyrone Willingham more than I dislike any individual college player.

But, I did my best to replicate what I did before. Let’s see if we can wrap it up in two days’ worth of posts.

Husky Football

  • Dylan Morris
  • Jacob Eason
  • Ronnie Fouch
  • Casey (don’t call me Corey) Paus

I’m getting this out of the way, because I’m telling you right now, none of these guys come close to cracking my Top 10. Paus and Fouch were from the dark days of Husky football and they just flat-out stunk. Eason was a hired gun returning home from Georgia and was supposed to lead our last great Husky team under Coach Pete to the playoffs; instead, he had zero touch on his deep ball and led us to a mediocre finish (while Jacob Haener who – by all accounts – actually outplayed him in training camp, was left to transfer to Fresno State, where he was awesome). And Dylan Morris was a recent whipping boy under Jimmy Lake who really had no business starting.

Husky Basketball

  • Jamal Bey
  • Markelle Fultz
  • Abdul Gaddy
  • Ryan Appleby
  • Spencer Hawes

Bey just never developed like he was supposed to. That might be Mike Hopkins’ fault more than anyone. But, he’s also been here for-fucking-ever and seemingly will never leave, which is my nightmare in this era of college athletics where guys transfer to new schools all the time. Why couldn’t we shake this kid? Fultz was a five-star phenom who never lived up to the hype. Gaddy never developed a consistent offensive game, for someone who was the number 2 point guard in the country. Appleby never saw a wild jacked-up three he didn’t automatically shoot (and brick). And Hawes was another one-and-done whose one year was pretty pathetic.

Supersonics

  • Kendall Gill
  • Jim McIlvaine
  • Sarunas Marciulionis
  • Vin Baker
  • Calvin Booth

We’ll get more into Gill and McIlvaine tomorrow. Marciulionis was a shooting guard we brought in for the ill-fated 1994-1995 season. I don’t know if he’s actually as bad as I remember, but I sure didn’t like him at the time. He catches a good portion of the blame for our first round exit that year (with Gill infamously getting the lion’s share). The thing was, he was supposed to be this veteran hot-shot to get us over the hump (after the disaster that was being the first #1 seed to lose in the first round the previous season). Instead, we finished even worse and still lost in the first round. Vin Baker’s a tough case because when we first traded for him, he was awesome. Then, we signed him to a big-money extension, and he went in the tank. We would go on to find out he was an alcoholic with depression issues, so now it feels bad to shit on him. But, those were dark days for us all. Booth was just another in a long line of shitty centers we VASTLY overpaid; you could put nine guys in this spot and I’d loathe them all the same.

Seahawks

  • Jerramy Stevens
  • Kelly Jennings
  • Rick Mirer
  • Germain Ifedi
  • Jimmy Graham

We’ll save Stevens and Jennings for tomorrow. I’ve gone to great lengths to bemoan our fate for being saddled with Mirer, when just one pick earlier we could’ve gotten Drew Bledsoe. But, having the second quarterback in a draft – at the number 2 pick, to boot – should come with a reasonable amount of success! Maybe in another time, we could’ve crafted an offense to properly utilize his running ability. But, the damn guy just couldn’t throw the football, and he set us back for years to come. Ifedi was a mediocre guard we tried to shoehorn into the right tackle spot, to predictably terrible results. And, again, I hate the idea of trading for Jimmy Graham – giving away our elite center in the process – more than I hate the actual player. Of course, his “blocking” style left a lot to be desired, and by the time he got here, he wasn’t the same athlete that he was in New Orleans. Consider it the opening salvo of catering to Russell Wilson’s desires, which torpedoed this franchise for the duration of his tenure here.

Mariners

  • Richie Sexson
  • Chone Figgins
  • Jesus Montero
  • Carlos Silva
  • Justin Smoak

You wanna know where the vast majority of my discontent resides? Look no further! Spoiler alert, we’re going to talk about my Top 10 least-favorite Seattle-based athletes tomorrow, and all five of these Mariners are on the list! This doesn’t even get into Hector Noesi (who might be the worst pitcher of all time), Bobby Ayala (crushed us on the regular out of the bullpen in the mid-to-late 90’s), Eric Byrnes (absolutely worthless), Jarrod Washburn (an overpaid dud), Erik Bedard (we traded a king’s ransom for a Five-And-Diver), Jeff Weaver (got crushed in 2007), Dustin Ackley (“best hitter in the draft” who couldn’t actually hit Major League pitching), Heathcliff Slocumb (cost us two great baseball players and didn’t even improve our bullpen one iota), or the countless other pieces of garbage who we’ve been saddled with over the years for this underachieving organization. It’s taking a lot out of me to not make the entire Top 10 exclusively Seattle Mariners.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a deeper look at those guys and rank them accordingly.

The Seahawks Aren’t Good At Tight Ends Anymore

Considering the reports this week that the Seahawks re-signed Will Dissly to a 3-year, $24 million deal, it got me to thinking about what we’ve seen from the tight end position in recent years with the Seahawks, relative to the cost.

I like Will Dissly as much as the next guy (is something someone says right before they’re about to shit on them), buuuuuuut … an average of $8 million per year? I know the guaranteed money is actually just under $16 million (and you can probably get out of this after a year or two at the most), but is this just what average tight ends go for now, and I didn’t get the memo? Dissly played 10 games over his first two seasons. From what I could tell, they scaled back his role a great deal as a result of those injury-plagued years, making him more of a #2 tight end. So, he’s not even an “average tight end”, but an “average #2 tight end”. His season high in receptions is 24; his season high in touchdowns is 4.

What’s even more baffling – and maybe this is just me showing my age – but I’ll grant you that he’s an elite “blocking tight end”. Even if he’s the very best blocking tight end in all of football, those guys used to be a dime a dozen! You could find one on the scrap heap every year for the minimum, in a plug-and-play type of role. Are they THAT rare nowadays? Is he THAT good?

Apparently.

He still figures to be our #2 with the trade for Noah Fant in the Russell Wilson deal, so it’s not like we should expect some advanced role for him. And, again, I really like Dissly! But, it just seems like a lot.

And tight ends have seemed to cost a lot for a while now, at least where the Seahawks are concerned. In 2021, we signed Gerald Everett for 1 year, $6 million. Seemingly a relative bargain, except it’s a 1 year deal and all of that ended up being guaranteed. In 2020, we signed the bust that is Greg Olsen for 1 year, $7 million (in a season where we were very much up against the salary cap going into that deal). In 2018, we signed Ed Dickson to a 3 year, $14 million deal, then kept him around for two of those years even though his first season with us was injury-riddled.

In trades, the Seahawks have been spotty. The deal for Jacob Hollister in 2019 was good (we only gave up a 7th round pick). But, obviously, the deal for Jimmy Graham in 2015 was a lowkey disaster for any number of reasons we’ve all belabored for far too long.

And, I don’t know how great we’ve been at drafting tight ends; again it’s hit or miss (with the hits not being particularly high). Colby Parkinson in 2020 gets an incomplete, though it’s a bad sign he’s been on the team for two years and has done next-to-nothing. Will Dissly was a great draft pick in 2018, if again you overlook the first two years where he missed so many games. Nick Vannett was an unquestioned bust in 2016. Luke Willson was the best of the bunch in 2013, but the team still let him walk multiple times in his tenure; luckily he was all too happy to keep returning on minimum deals (as it should be). Anthony McCoy – dating back to the 2010 draft – feels like he was here eons ago, back when blocking tight ends were the aforementioned dime a dozen.

The best move the Seahawks made at tight end in the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era was to sign Zach Miller in 2011. He was a hit anyway you slice it, even though he was only healthy for three years before injuries caught up to him in 2014. But, that was us going out and signing one of the best available (if not THE best available) tight ends at that time. We haven’t come close in the years since. And, lately, it seems like we’re dumpster diving and paying a premium (for some reason) to do so.

Like with most of our roster moves, tight end seems to be a microcosm of our fortunes: we were great until 2013, and then we forgot how to scout talent. But, maybe I expect too much from the Seahawks. I seem to have this idea that we were one of the better tight end teams in football. Or, at the very least, one of the more underrated ones. There have been some spectacular duds across all eras of Seahawks football (notably Jerramy Stevens in the Holmgren era stands out), but there have been some real diamonds in the rough as well. Itula Mili, Christian Fauria, John Carlson, Mike Tice, Carlester Crumpler (an all-timer of a football name). We’ve gotten a lot of value out of low-cost tight ends throughout our history, but that seems to be going by the wayside over the last decade.

Jamal Adams’ 2021 Season Is Over

Jamal Adams suffered an injury to his shoulder against the 49ers this past weekend. It’s a similar injury to one he had last year, both of which necessitated surgery. As a result, his season is done.

It’s been a disappointing year for the Seahawks, who sit at 4-8 and have the remotest of chances of making the playoffs. They would pretty much need to run the table AND get help, which – this far out from season’s end – is never a good sign. Last year, Adams largely played through multiple injuries (though, he still had to miss a few games), but it doesn’t make any sense to have him continue playing now, considering the Seahawks are going nowhere.

It’s also been a disappointing year for Adams, who returned on time and fully healthy – after multiple offseason surgeries – but hasn’t been the same player. Part of that has to do with scheme – he’s simply not rushing the passer as much as he has in seasons’ past – but part of that has to do with Adams himself. He’s failed to take advantage of the opportunities given, and for the most part has been a non-factor anywhere in the defensive scheme. Granted, his play improved of late – he has two interceptions in his last four games – but for a so-called Impact Player, there’s been relatively little impact on the positive side for the Seahawks. Numerous dropped interceptions have plagued his brief Seahawks career dating back to last season. And his 0 sacks and 2 quarterback hits this year certainly don’t amount to anything in my book.

The gray cloud extending over everything is the fact that the Seahawks ARE so bad, and they still owe another first round draft pick to the Jets next year. Right now, it’s a Top 10 pick, and the loss of Adams leaves open the possibility that it becomes a Top 5 pick.

Fans are justifiably disgruntled by this. We wouldn’t mind the loss of a first round pick if it were in the 20’s, because the Seahawks would be a playoff team in that scenario. But, seeing this team for what it is – and all the holes that need filling by younger, hungrier players – and knowing this is probably Russell Wilson’s final year here, a lot of fan ire is directed towards Adams, fairly or unfairly.

Of course, there are plenty of fans who are upset with the front office – and, by extension, head coach Pete Carroll – which makes a lot more sense. Regardless of where you place your blame, this is a worst-case scenario playing out before our very eyes.

Whenever something like this happens, I immediately check to see what the rest of Adams’ contract looks like. Cutting him after this year leaves us with $16 million in dead cap money. Subtract $4 million per year over the next four years to get a sense of what we would owe if we don’t let his deal play out though the 2025 season. Spotrac lists a “potential out” after the 2023 season, which is two years away (and still has us owing $8 million in dead money), but that’s when his base salary balloons to over $16 million per year.

The sickening thing about all of this is that he’s in his Year 26 season. He’s so young, and yet the last two years have seen him play a total of 12 games per. For someone who plays as physically and aggressively, for someone of his size and stature, and the nature of his injuries (shoulder, which is what you lead with when tackling someone as physically and aggressively as he does), it’s disconcerting to say the least that he’s breaking down in this way already, with at least 2 years left before we can realistically cut him.

As we saw with Kam Chancellor, strong safeties in this mold don’t age well. What a nightmare.

You can argue there’s a double-whammy going on as we speak, because I don’t think it’s a question that Quandre Diggs is the best safety on this team, healthy or otherwise. He’s probably the best defender on this team, and he’s in the final year of his deal (having been dicked around by the front office, due to salary constraints). He’s going to command a huge salary going forward – as a likely Pro Bowler this year for the second straight season – and I don’t think the Seahawks can afford to keep him. Either we extend him to top-of-the-market money – and employ the highest-paid safety tandem in football – or we let him go and put that money to better use elsewhere. When, in reality, Diggs is the one who deserves Jamal Adams-type money, and Adams never should’ve been traded for in the first place (hindsight being 20/20 and all that).

My brain is numb. The Seahawks are an utter and complete shitshow, and it’s still somehow getting worse by the day. We’ve all jumped out of an airplane, but our parachutes have been replaced with a bunch of dishes and silverware that are now scattered across the sky above us. Brace for impact, folks!

At what point does the Jamal Adams trade become the worst trade in franchise history? We’ll be debating that after this season, when we see what that other Jets draft pick turns out to be. But, suffice it to say, it’s ranking right up there with the Jimmy Graham deal. Not great, Bob!

Seahawks Death Week: Why It Will Never Get Any Better

Leave it to me to always look on the bright side. Here’s where I get to REALLY wallow in my football depression. Won’t you indulge me?

You know what never works? Trying to recreate old glories. Politicians talk about taking us back to the good ol’ days of the 1950’s, when a single-income middle class family could thrive; sorry to break it to you, but those days are never coming back. Paunchy men in their 40’s and 50’s going through mid-life crises might buy flashy sports cars and pop Cialis like they’re Tic Tacs in hopes of reclaiming a youth lost to the drudgery of parenthood and a loveless marriage; sorry to break it to you, but women in their 20’s almost certainly don’t want to fuck you.

The Seahawks are in an interesting position for an NFL franchise, that you rarely get to see. From a head-coaching standpoint, the Seahawks are the fifth-most stable franchise. Pete Carroll was hired in 2010; only four coaches have held their positions longer. There aren’t great numbers at our disposal, but the average tenure for an NFL head coach seems to be less than four years. Even Doug Pederson – who led the Eagles to their first-ever Super Bowl title over a heavily-favored New England Patriots team in 2017 – was let go after five years on the job. That’s nuts! The pressure to win and win immediately has never been higher (even though the league is more profitable than it’s ever been, and seemingly will continue to be so regardless of whether your team is good or not). So, it’s pretty rare to see someone in Pete Carroll’s position: someone who won it all relatively early, and is still firmly entrenched many years later.

Carroll is also still as determined as ever to get this team back to the Super Bowl, and appears to be going about it the same way as those politicians and middle aged men: by trying to recreate the glory days of the 2012-2015 Seattle Seahawks.

Even at that time, the NFL was clearly in the midst of an offensive revolution. Pass first, pass often, pass to win games. Worry about the defense next (but, obviously, don’t put too many resources into it), and worry about the running game not-at-all. The very best teams have more-or-less won it all with this model (while hitting the lottery on injury luck and drafting plenty of young, cheap defensive stars who pop at the right time). The Seahawks of that era zagged when the rest of the league zigged; we emphasized the run game, we spent the majority of our salary cap dollars on defense, we slowed games down, and managed to prevail late in games more often than not.

For the last half-decade or so, the Seahawks have been living a total identity crisis. I think it’s safe to say it all started with the trade for Jimmy Graham, a soft-as-cotton-candy tight end who never met a block he didn’t olé like a matador. For a while there, our talent at running back plummeted just as our neglect along the offensive line ruined us. We’ve since managed to claw our way back to respectability since 2017, but that’s come at the expense of a defense that’s slowly declined as piece-by-piece the stars of old have moved on to other teams or life outside of football.

It’s been a neverending game of Whac-A-Mole. Pay Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Duane Brown, and so on … watch as our secondary erodes and the pass rush falters. Trade for Jadeveon Clowney, Jamal Adams, and Carlos Dunlap … marvel at the shrinking violet offensive line and an interior defensive line that can’t stop the run when it matters most. It’s always fucking SOMETHING with this team. We can’t seem to ever put it all back together again.

And yet, this is what Pete Carroll is trying to accomplish. It starts with firing Brian Schottenheimer (just as soon as I figure out how to spell his name without checking with Google first). Schotty, obviously, has eyes to be a head coach like his dad one day. You don’t get head coaching jobs by helming a run-first, middle-of-the-road offense. You do it by scoring lots of points with flashy plays through the air. Unfortunately for him, that’s really not his strong suit. Defenses figured him out and he was incapable of adjusting; Schotty should probably NEVER be a head coach. Or, who knows, maybe that’s what he was always meant to be, and he should NEVER be an offensive coordinator! The problem is, you can’t get to that next level until you master your current position, and it doesn’t look like that’ll ever be in the cards for him.

I won’t shed a tear for the loss of Schotty, but that also doesn’t mean I’m super stoked by who’s going to come in. Pete Carroll wants a guy who’s going to run the offense his way. Emphasis on the word “run”. Knowing the climate of the NFL, hiring someone who has higher aspirations for his coaching career is going to be tricky; he’s going to have to do his job well with one hand tied behind his back (so to speak). He’s going to have to lead this team to Super Bowl success while calling an offense that doesn’t necessarily light it up among the league’s very best. It’s hard to get noticed that way, when there are so many viable head coaching candidates throughout the pro and college ranks.

What’s clear is that the Seahawks will never succeed when different factions are trying to pull the team in opposing directions. We can’t forget the Russell Wilson in the room. He obviously wants to be recognized as one of the best quarterbacks in football. Yes, he wants to win, but he also wants accolades. He wants MVPs. When he hangs ’em up, he wants to be among the greatest to ever play the position. I don’t know what part he played in Schotty being fired, but from where I’m sitting, it seems like they were on the same page. Both wanted to throw the ball more this year, and Pete Carroll was the one who had to let them do it. So, I would imagine Wilson isn’t too keen on the loss of Schotty, and the prospects of going back to a run-first attack.

Will Wilson want to stick around for the next offensive coordinator? One who’s just a puppet for Pete Carroll? Or, will he opt to demand a trade to a team that will utilize him the way he feels he should be utilized? I guess we’ll see.

The biggest flaw I see in this notion of trying to revert back to what the Seahawks were doing in those glory years is financial in nature. Those teams were taking advantage of having a Pro Bowl quarterback on a cheap rookie deal, so they were free to spend money elsewhere. With Wilson making money near the top of the market, there’s obviously a lot less money to go around (saying nothing of the reduction in the salary cap we’re looking at for next season and maybe beyond).

Then, there’s the matter of there not being as many stars on this roster as there were back then. We drafted tremendously from 2010-2012! We haven’t come close to hitting on that many guys since then. You could argue that 8 of the top 10 players from the Super Bowl winning squad were on rookie deals. How many guys – heading into 2021 – in our top 10 will be on similar contracts? I’m thinking two, maybe three. And, other than D.K. Metcalf, I would say that none of them are of the Pro Bowl/All Pro calibre of the guys from our heyday.

The vast majority of our best players are on second, third, or fourth contracts. That shit adds up! We need more of these guys on rookie deals to pop in a major way, but are incapable of developing them timely enough. And, with a lack of high draft picks (or draft picks period), that doesn’t figure to change anytime soon.

So, what are we banking on, then? We’re saddled in an NFC West that figures to continue being the class of the NFL for many years to come; ideally things would revert to them all being terrible, allowing us to cakewalk to division titles and high seeds in the conference standings. We’re banking on a return of the significant injury luck we had in the early going. And we’re banking on some mythological version of Russell Wilson that pulls our asses out of the fire every time it’s the fourth quarter and we’re losing by double digits.

That NFC Championship Game against the Packers was a once-in-a-generation event! It can’t be a fucking strategy that we hang our hats on every year in the playoffs!

I don’t know what to tell you. If you’re happy just making the playoffs every year, more power to you. If you derive enjoyment from watching a Hall of Fame quarterback who only wins one Super Bowl in his career, then I’m happy for you. It seems like a very Seattle type of mindset, so you’re certainly in the right place when it comes to settling.

Settling doesn’t come easy to me, though. The problem is, I’m loyal to a fault, and the Seahawks are the team I’ve chosen to follow. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect better! But, I’m also able to see this team for what it is. The confluence of things that would have to happen for this team – as it’s currently constructed, from the top down – to win another Super Bowl is so remote and far-fetched that it’s hardly even worth talking about, because it’s almost certainly never going to happen.

The 2020 Seahawks were an interesting case study for me. I don’t remember a team so schizophrenic in all the time I’ve been following the league. An elite offense went in the tank; an all-time poor defense turned itself around into something pretty darn good. Yet, with the power of hindsight, it’s clear that the schedule – as it was sequenced for us – did no one any favors. This team looked as good as any, and as likely to make it to the Super Bowl as any. We had talent at all levels, a stable coaching staff, and enough health throughout that this should be a team that’s preparing to play this weekend (not one still searching for answers).

It’s weird to say a 12-4 team is a fraud, but the Seahawks both took advantage of the schedule and were bamboozled by it. We played all of four games against opponents who made the playoffs, and went 2-2 in those games. One of those teams was a division winner with a losing record, so I kind of want to throw that one out. We were 1-3 against truly great teams (including playoffs) and all three of those losses were games we weren’t even that competitive in! And remember, this was a Seahawks team that – at least from the eye test – was the best one we’ve seen around here since 2015.

That’s pretty damning. And it’s why I’ve lost all confidence that things will ever get any better than this. Sure, we’ll continue to make the playoffs. We might even make it to the Divisional Round again if faced with the right first round matchup. But, this isn’t a team that’s going to get back to playing for championships anytime soon. Not as long as we’re doing everything in our power to try to turn back the clock to 2012 again.

Pete Carroll would have better luck buying a Maserati and firing up the ol’ Ashley Madison account. At least that way he might be the one doing some of the fucking, instead of constantly being the one getting fucked.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: And Tua All A Good Night

There are plenty of reasons to hate fantasy football, but I think the sheer randomness of it all really gets to me. MOSTLY, that randomness goes against me, because I make poor decisions, or because the fantasy football gods hate me. But, sometimes – in spite of myself – I manage to prevail when I have no business doing so. Among this week’s five winners, I had the lowest total points. Yet, my opponent – Space Forcin’ – underperformed to such a massive degree that I ended up winning pretty comfortably. Normally, the thought of sweating out a Patrick Mahomes Monday Night Football performance is enough to want to crawl under a rock and die (rather than watch my slow, inevitable demise unfold on television), but this time it was as worry-free as it gets!

Nobody Beats The Wiz won 147.39 to 117.85. I ended up getting A LOT of garbage-time points out of Carson Wentz (who is quickly becoming the new king of Garbage Time), who led the way with 35.55. Daniel Jones seemingly got all 15 of his points in the first quarter, then did nothing the rest of the way. A.J. Brown led the way among my receivers with 22.6, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire put in a strong pre-Le’Veon Bell performance (who will be joining the Chiefs this week, to take snaps away from my first round draft pick, to my utter dismay) with 20.9.

Odell Beckham Jr. led the way among my disappointments, with 4.5. I figured he – and by extension, the Browns – would struggle against the Steelers (and they did), but I had hoped for some Garbage Time Magic there that never came. The Indianapolis defense also didn’t do much for me, until salvaging things at the very end with a cool 8 points. Also, while CeeDee Lamb’s 13.44 isn’t totally awful, Andy Dalton – Dak Prescott’s replacement at quarterback – IS and will be dragging down the entire Cowboys offense with him (with an assist from Ezekiel Elliott’s fumbling issues).

Before the weekend last week, I made a (hopefully) significant move for Nobody Beats The Wiz’s future. Tua Tagovailoa, the rookie backup for the Dolphins, was out there as a free agent; I could have put in a waiver claim for him, but my waiver status was #4 (which is as high as it’s been all season), so I kinda wanted to save that for something more urgent. In the end, no one claimed Tua (I’m really going to have to get used to spelling out that guy’s last name at some point), so I got him (dropping the Chargers’ defense).

At the time, I had no idea if Tua would ever play this year; I knew the Dolphins wanted to take things slowly with him, since he’s coming off of an injury in college, not to mention the fact that he’s a rookie. I always figured Ryan Fitzpatrick would eventually show his true colors (or get injured) and Tua would assume the starting role, but FitzMagic has killed it for the most part. With week 7 being their BYE week, I was a little discouraged, because I really didn’t see them making the move now, even though this would be the best and most natural time to do it. The Dolphins are 3-3; it’s far too early to give up on a season when 7 of 16 AFC teams will make the playoffs.

But, to my shock and delight, on Tuesday they announced Tua would be taking over the rest of the way! I was right, this is the best and most natural time to do it – giving him two weeks to get acclimated to being the top guy – and I’m heartened that they’re essentially sticking to their plan. Tua was drafted to be their Quarterback of the Future, so they might as well get to work in seeing what they have, and drawing up an offense around his talents to best help him succeed.

I’m probably going to have to be in it for the long haul here. Tua was SO GOOD at Alabama. Patrick Mahomes only played in one game as a rookie – Week 17 – and not only did he turn into the superstar we see before us, but Space Forcin’ made the bold move to make him one of his keepers with just one game’s worth of experience. Some might say that’s idiotic, but I can CERTAINLY be that stupid! At least I should have more of a resume to look at before I have to make my keeper decisions for next year. But, I just don’t see any other alternative (unless I luck out, get a top draft pick again next year, and have the honor of picking up Trevor Lawrence). You gotta take some chances in life to get what you want! And I want that fucking fantasy football trophy!

That wasn’t the end of my moves heading into Week 7. I’ve got a minor BYE week concern, with Indianapolis off this week. Speaking of how stupid I can be, Buffalo’s defense was just sitting out there! I could’ve had them for nothing, and they’re playing the Jets (the most inept offensive team I’ve ever seen)! I don’t love using my waiver status on a defense, but I feel I have little choice. There also weren’t many great options at my choosing. I made one waiver claim, the Rams’ defense (hosting the Bears on Monday Night), and had to drop Cam Akers. I knew this day would probably come; it’s hard to hold onto someone who never plays when you only have five bench spots and so many BYE weeks to contend with throughout the football season. I’ll try to get him back at some point, but I’m obviously less bullish on him ever being one of my keepers heading into next year.

My opponent for this week is COVID Bubble Boys, the consensus worst team in the league at the moment, with a 1-5 record and the fewest points scored by a wide margin. He was also my partner in the Top Two of the fantasy draft this year, picking #1 overall to my #2. I have him to thank for my having Clyde Edwards-Helaire (he ended up taking Drew Brees with the first pick, which I know from experience in my other league, has been quite a mixed bag). On top of his team being so poor, I also have the tremendous fortune of dodging last year’s MVP, as Lamar Jackson is on BYE this week. Boy, with all of this great news, that SURELY seems like a bad omen of things to come! Here’s my lineup:

  • Carson Wentz (QB) vs. NYG
  • Daniel Jones (QB) @ PHI
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. PIT
  • Odell Beckham Jr. (WR) @ CIN
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ WAS
  • Josh Jacobs (RB) vs. TB
  • Noah Fant (TE) vs. KC
  • Deebo Samuel (WR) @ NE
  • Harrison Butker (K) @ DEN
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. CHI

I don’t LOVE seeing both of my quarterbacks participating in the Thursday Night game together! Those games are notorious one-sided shit-shows, so I’m expecting either Wentz or (more likely) Jones to really stink up the joint.

I have decided to break up my 3-headed running back hydra for now, thanks to Le’Veon Bell. I imagine the Chiefs are going to want to work him in, to get used to the offense. Also, Denver has a pretty good defense (according to Yahoo!, they give up the fewest points to opposing running backs), so I don’t see a lot of upside there. Not that I’m a huge believer that Jacobs can carve up the Bucs’ defense, but you never know.

My wide receivers have all sorts of terrible matchups this week. Once again, I have a receiver going up against the Steelers in Brown; surely the Titans will be able to do what the Browns couldn’t. Since I don’t have a lot of faith in the Giants on Thursday night, it seems doubly idiotic to start Slayton, even though the Eagles’ defense is pretty inept, and Slayton seems to rise to the occasion in primetime; but he’s also nursing a nagging foot injury, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s out of the game by the end of the first quarter. Also, will Baker Mayfield play this week? Will he be effective? The Bengals don’t have much of a defense, so it’s hard to sit Odell Beckham, but let’s just say I don’t have the highest of confidence either. It’s further troubling that I don’t have options I like on my bench any better. CeeDee Lamb is going to be downgraded a bit, as I play the matchups with Dallas’ offense. I can’t trust Andy Dalton to hit him in stride as far as I can throw him, and I still expect the Cowboys to try to run the ball more. Finally, Deebo Samuel does look healthy – he scored 18 points for my bench last week – but I would’ve liked to give him another week before I thrust him into my lineup. He’s likely to draw New England’s top cornerback, but he seems to be pretty defender-proof (plus, I JUST don’t have any better alternatives).

Finally, with Noah Fant back and healthy (I hope), I’m free to waive Jimmy Graham. Don’t think the fact that I was 2-0 with Graham in my lineup didn’t weigh on my feeble mind; was he my good luck charm? Only time will tell!

Here’s what ol’ COVID Bubble Boys are bringing to the yard:

  • Matthew Stafford (QB) @ ATL
  • Drew Brees (QB) vs. CAR
  • Terry McLaurin (WR) vs. DAL
  • Kenny Golladay (WR) @ ATL
  • Mike Davis (RB) @ NO
  • Kenyan Drake (RB) vs. SEA
  • Eric Ebron (TE) @ TEN
  • Julio Jones (WR) vs. DET
  • Zane Gonzalez (K) vs. SEA
  • New England (DEF) vs. SF

Based on matchups alone, I think this will be the end of Nobody Beats The Wiz’s winning streak. Atlanta’s defense is awful, and I fully expect that game against the Lions to be a total shootout (so, look for huge days out of Stafford, Golladay, and Jones). Scary Terry is one of my favorite fantasy football players in recent years, and he was SNATCHED from me by COVID Bubble Boys in the draft, right before I was about to take him! I had him as a rookie last year and if he was on any other team with even a halfway competent quarterback, I would’ve gladly made him one of my keepers. As it is, as atrocious as they are in Washington, Scary Terry is still the go-to option on offense. The fact that they’re playing Dallas’ Swiss cheese defense makes him all the more potent. Then, there’s Drake going up against the Seahawks, the defense that never was. Mike Davis has been solid in place of Christian McCaffrey, and that offense is just conservative enough to feed Davis consistently. I don’t know how good the Saints’ defense is, but it wouldn’t shock me to see Davis hit the endzone a couple times.

Not only do I think I’m going to lose this game, but I think COVID Bubble Boys will finally bust out with a 200-point game (they are officially favored over me by around 7 points at the time of this writing). It would be only natural for Nobody Beats The Wiz, who has already had that happen twice before.

Mark this day! After six weeks, Nobody Beats The Wiz is 3-3 and in sixth place in the league! That’s good enough for the final playoff spot, in spite of the fact that I have the second-fewest total points. Like I said up top, fantasy football isn’t fair. I should be down there in the cellar, rolling around with COVID Bubble Boys for last place. Of course, odds are – if I keep putting up these putrid performances – I WILL be down there by season’s end! So, again, mark this day. Because I predict this will be Nobody Beats The Wiz’s high water mark on the season. It’s all surely downhill from here.

There’s always 2021 though. Tua, I need you! Please be my savior!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Signs Of Life!

There are two keys to Nobody Beats The Wiz that you can bank on most weeks: my non-quarterbacks are pretty solid, and my actual quarterbacks are the fucking worst. That’s not the ONLY way to score in the 160’s in back-to-back weeks (which is a respectable number for our league; 170+ is good, under 150 is bad), but it happens to be MY way.

So, if the 160-range is to be my ceiling (which will be the case, as long as Carson Wentz and Daniel Jones continue to play like dogshit), then I’m going to need my opponents to not go off for crazy-good weeks. Thankfully (and FINALLY), someone obliged when I needed it the most. Nobody Beats The Wiz defeated Sloane N Steady 163.12 to 137.20.

My QBs combined for 30.40 points. That’s an average score for one quarterback having a good week. Wentz was going up against the Steelers and threw a last-second hail mary interception, otherwise I wouldn’t be so upset with his day. But, Jones eked out just over 10 points against a putrid Cowboys defense and I couldn’t be more despondent. Back to the quarterback drawing board in 2021 I guess!

As I alluded to above, the rest of my moves panned out! I made smart fantasy football decisions for once! Darius Slayton was an INSPIRED choice over Odell Beckham Jr. My guy got almost 10 more points over ODB. Including Slayton and Wentz, I had five guys score over 20 points (CeeDee Lamb is a Must Start every week, even with Dak lost for the season). No one else really even deserves to be singled out for poor performance, that’s how pleased I am with my non-QB roster!

Sloane N Steady just had an off-game, highlighted by his quarterbacks also struggling mightily (they combined for 32.10 points to beat my duds, but still vastly underwhelm); he had three guys get under 10 points in this one to seal his fate.

My only roster move actually took place over the weekend. As soon as Yahoo! allowed me to put Noah Fant in my IR spot for the week (because he was ruled out, right before the Broncos game ended up getting postponed to next week), I picked up the Chargers’ defense. Not so I could employ them last week, but absolutely so I could employ them this upcoming week! They’re playing the Jets, and while I like Indy’s defense in pretty much any situation, when you have an opportunity to use the defense that’s going up against the Jets, you have to take advantage! And just like that, the Chargers/Jets game has been moved to Week 11 thanks to COVID schedule shuffling around the league. So, I guess that brilliant idea is out!

This week, Nobody Beats The Wiz goes up against Space Forcin’. This is always a killer matchup for me, as I seem to lose to this guy every fucking time that I play him. It doesn’t matter how good his team is over the decades we’ve been playing against one another, but lately he’s had a lot of elite-level talent as his keepers and it makes beating him a huge struggle.

BYE weeks affect us both, but probably him a little more than me. I will be without Josh Jacobs, so my three-headed running back hydra is down a head. Thankfully, I have my full assortment of healthy receivers at my disposal. He will be without Saints back Alvin Kamara and Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett, so I feel like those are pretty huge bullets dodged. But, he does get Davante Adams back from injury which is pretty scary. First, here’s what my lineup is looking like:

  • Carson Wentz (QB) vs. BAL
  • Daniel Jones (QB) vs. WAS
  • Odell Beckham Jr. (WR) @ PIT
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. HOU
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. ARI
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) @ BUF
  • Jimmy Graham (TE) @ CAR
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. ARI
  • Harrison Butker (K) @ BUF
  • Indianapolis (DEF) vs. CIN

My already-abysmal quarterbacks have even MORE abysmal matchups. The silver lining for Wentz is that the Eagles will probably be losing heavily to the Ravens and have to throw to get back in the game; the downside is the Eagles might very well be losing BECAUSE Wentz is throwing picks and otherwise ineffective. As for Jones, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a worse matchup. The Washington Football Team isn’t anything special, but they have a great defensive line that can get a lot of sacks; the Giants have one of the worst offensive lines in all respects, so we’re almost certainly looking at another long day for Jones.

Ezekiel Elliott figures to be my MVP going forward, with Dak Prescott out for the season. I assume Dallas will be riding him all day long. That also puts into question Lamb’s value as the #2 receiver on that team. Andy Dalton is no slouch (well, he’s only SORT OF a slouch), but with the Cowboys defense being as bad as it is, I still expect they’ll need to throw the ball quite a bit. I just think it’ll be a little more balanced going forward, now that their starting quarterback isn’t someone who is trying to re-set the entire quarterback market behind Patrick Mahomes. Lamb is a true focal point for the passing game and I don’t think that will change one iota the rest of the way (unless Dalton gets injured, then I’ll be worried).

I don’t love CEH’s potential against that Buffalo defense; but I DO love Butker’s potential in the kicking game. That could be a game where the Chiefs kick a lot of field goals, so maybe he’ll make up for CEH’s lack of production a little bit.

I’m not super high on my starting receivers. I could see myself flip-flopping a bunch of these guys before Sunday rolls around. Indeed, the flip-flopping has already started, as just before writing this, I inserted A.J. Brown over Darius Slayton. Brown returned from injury and played well on Tuesday against the Bills. That gives me all the confidence I need to roll with him against the Texans. I really want to find a way to get Deebo Samuel into my lineup, but I think patience is going to be the play with the 49ers until their offense gets rolling again.

Here’s what we’re looking at with Space Forcin’ this week:

  • Patrick Mahomes (QB) @ BUF
  • Tom Brady (QB) vs. GB
  • Cooper Kupp (WR) @ SF
  • Robby Anderson (WR) vs. CHI
  • Chase Edmonds (RB) @ DAL
  • Antonio GIbson (RB) @ NYG
  • Zach Ertz (TE) vs. BAL
  • Davante Adams (WR) @ TB
  • TBD (K) vs. TBD
  • Baltimore (DEF) @ PHI

Well, I thought I MIGHT have caught a break with his quarterbacks not having the greatest matchups, but that was before I saw the Bills let Ryan Tannehill have a career day on Tuesday. Considering Mahomes is coming off of his first defeat of the season, I’m sure he’ll be good and pissed off and ready to throw seven TDs against me the Bills. Also, the Bills figure to be among the top AFC teams vying for that #1 seed, so a Chiefs victory will be doubly important (motivation won’t be an issue, in other words). As for Brady, who knows what we’ll see from week to week? Or from quarter to quarter?! He’s old and has a noodle arm, but he’s also a Hall of Famer and there must still be some magic in that old silk hat he found …

As I expected, as soon as Davante Adams was cleared to play, Space Forcin’ found room in his lineup for him. David Johnson, the Texans’ running back, was benched in his place. In the only game Adams was fully healthy for this year, he put up over 40 points. With the way that Packers offense is humming along, this move will likely seal my fate.

Also, don’t think I’m not HIGHLY annoyed by the fact that he has Zach Ertz – Carson Wentz’s number one target in an offense lacking in receiving weapons – who will probably catch 20 balls and wrangle in all the receiving TDs. Just a little insult to injury in what should be a massive blowout loss for Nobody Beats The Wiz.

Just when I clawed my way into 8th place, with a 2-3 record. I still have the second-fewest total points, but the team with the third-fewest total points is currently 4-1 and sitting in second place in the league. So, there’s hope for me yet! Not this week, of course. Space Forcin’ is 3-2 and has the second-MOST total points (and that’s, again, with a number of injuries to key players throughout this season). I would need a miracle just to keep it close.

Which is why I don’t fully understand why Yahoo! has me projected to win by almost 9 points. Granted, Space Forcin’ doesn’t have a kicker yet – and thanks to his roster construction, might not want to drop anyone to pick one up – but I really don’t think that will matter. On paper, everything always looks fine for Nobody Beats The Wiz! And then the games start, and my team proceeds to get trounced.

I’m not falling for the bullshit lies anymore, Yahoo! You hear me?! So can it!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2020: Literally Everyone Beats The Fucking Wiz

To Be Named By Casey was apparently … named by Casey between my last fantasy football column and this past weekend. To Be Named By Casey was the only 0-3 team in the league, and pretty safely had the lowest total points out of everyone. BUT, let me introduce you to Sausage Shaped Pest! Same guy, same collection of players, but he’s going up against Nobody Beats The Wiz, so OF COURSE he scores the second-most points in the league this past week.

Yes, I lost. I lost handily. 200.40 to 165.39. My score wasn’t great, but it was far from terrible; I would’ve beaten five teams in our league this week, so there was some good to come out of my suffering.

Odell Beckham Jr. put up 38.4 to lead the way. CeeDee Lamb rocked pretty hard with 26.24. Ezekiel Elliott put up a stout 20.50, and even Carson Wentz put up a respectable 23.35.

But, the lows were mighty low. For a second straight week, I started a quarterback who got benched midway through his game; in this case, Nick Mullens put up all of 6 points. That’s going to be hard to overcome for most teams, but particularly difficult for me when I had so many mediocre performances. Including Mullens, I had six guys get me 13 or less. Against someone who had six guys get 20 or more (including Joe Mixon, who looked like he might be too injured to play heading into this one, who dominated to the tune of 42.1 points), that’s just a recipe for disaster.

I didn’t have anything on my bench that would’ve put me over the top, either. Daniel Jones finished with an even 10 points, and it’s looking increasingly idiotic to have made him a keeper. A guy who has no offensive line, no quality weapons, a new offensive coordinator, and a fanbase that’s certainly riding his ASS every fucking day of his life, it can’t be fun to be Daniel Jones right now (on the plus side, he’s a millionaire quarterback in the NFL, in his 20’s, who can date probably anyone he wants, so in the grand scheme of things he’s doing all right).

At 1-3 on the season, I know it’s not technically over for me, but I’m already sort of eyeballing who my keepers might be for next year. I can’t envision a scenario where any of them are the quarterbacks I currently have on hand, but part of me doesn’t think I’ll ever be able to quit Carson Wentz for some masochistic reason.

In free agency news, my tight end – Noah Fant – got injured in his game on Thursday night, so I had to scramble to pick up someone to start for this upcoming week. That person is Jimmy Graham, an ex-Seahawk I hate more than life itself. I dropped that rookie receiver Justin Jefferson, which I’m sure I’ll live to regret.

On the plus side, I have Deebo Samuel back from his early-season IR stint. It sounds like they’re bringing him back slowly, but he could very well provide a boost for my struggling team. I won’t play him until Jimmy G is healthy again, but once he is, watch out! With A.J. Brown in the fold, that’ll be five receivers (with Darius Slayton being #5) that I won’t mind starting!

I’m banking on a strong second half to make my season relevant again. That’s going to require good health, and some positive regression from my uber-struggling QBs (and probably a lot of luck).

I would love to tell you about my OTHER fantasy football league, where I’m 3-1 and actually LIKE what my life has become (if only to show that I’m not completely and utterly bereft of fantasy football acumen), but this is a family fantasy football column, and I don’t think my X-rated MacGruber references are going to fly in the flyover states.

So instead, let’s look ahead to Week 5. I’m facing off against Sloane N Steady. Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Carson Wentz (QB) @ PIT
  • Daniel Jones (QB) @ DAL
  • Darius Slayton (WR) @ DAL
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. NYG
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. NYG
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) vs. LV
  • Jimmy Graham (TE) vs. TB
  • Josh Jacobs (RB) @ KC
  • Harrison Butker (K) vs. LV
  • Indianapolis (DEF) @ CLE

Here’s the deal, am I potentially a fool for sitting ODB a week after he just exploded for 38.4 points? Probably. Am I over-thinking things as usual? 100%. But, recency bias is a bitch, and in fantasy football I fall for her charms more times than I like to admit. Guys go from hero to zero and vice versa all the time! I also don’t want Cleveland to do well because they’re going up against my defense (and, not for nothing, but Yahoo! tells me Indy gives up the 4th-fewest points to opposing receivers).

I’m playing a hunch here. I’m hoping the Cowboys/Giants game will be a huge shoot-out. Dallas has an elite offense, so I want as many of their guys (Lamb & Elliott) as possible. The Giants have a TERRIBLE defense. On top of which, Dallas has a bad record and will look to throw a pounding on the Giants to get right. On the flipside, I’m stuck with Daniel Jones because I literally have no other alternatives. But, Dallas’ defense is also pretty awful, so maybe this is also a get-right game for Jones? I sure hope so, and I sure hope he throws all of his touchdowns to Darius Slayton (who hasn’t had a game over 10 points since week 1, when he had 28.2).

So, since I’m counting on Cowboys/Giants being high-scoring, feel free to use that knowledge and bet the UNDER 54.5 total points, because this game being a low-scoring snoozer is all but guaranteed thanks to me.

I need to see Deebo Samuel and A.J. Brown play well – coming off of injuries – before I’ll be comfortable starting them. With Brown going up against the Bills (if that game even happens at all), I’m comfortable keeping him on my bench against their top-tier defense.

Sloane N Steady gets bitten a little bit by the BYE week, as he’ll be without MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers. His replacement is Nick Foles, which doesn’t inspire much confidence. Sloane N Steady also got hit by the injury stick, as Nick Chubb will miss some time. Here’s what his lineup is looking like:

  • Baker Mayfield (QB) vs. IND
  • Nick Foles (QB) vs. TB
  • Adam Thielen (WR) @ SEA
  • Amari Cooper (WR) vs. NYG
  • Dalvin Cook (RB) @ SEA
  • Jonathan Taylor (RB) @ CLE
  • Tyler Higbee (TE) @ WAS
  • Tyler Boyd (WR) @ BAL
  • Randy Bullock (K) @ BAL
  • Seattle (DEF) vs. MIN

I don’t love his quarterback matchups. His wide receiver matchups across the board are pretty elite (he’s even got Diontae Johnson going up against Philly’s decimated secondary, if he gets cold feet about Tyler Boyd). Even though Dalvin Cook is a stud, the Seahawks don’t give up many points to running backs. But, Cleveland’s defense sure does, so Taylor should make up for the loss of what Cook would normally bring. It’ll be interesting to see if Sloane N Steady continues to go with the Seahawks defense, since he has so many Vikings on his roster (and since the Seahawks are so iffy on that side of the ball).

Sloane N Steady is 4-0, the only undefeated team in our league, and has scored the third-most points. Nobody Beats The Wiz is 1-3, in ninth place, and has scored the second-fewest points. YOU KNOW, FOR SOME REASON I JUST DON’T THINK THIS WEEK IS GOING TO BE MY WEEK!

I’ve lost one game to someone who absolutely sucked, because I scored the fewest points in the league; and now I’ve lost two games to teams who’ve surpassed 200 points. The fantasy gods aren’t happy with me for some reason (which wouldn’t be a problem if any of the other gods thought enough of me to throw me a damn bone once in a while; I’m looking at you Lotto gods). Should I sacrifice a chicken? Pull out my old lucky rabbit’s foot? Suck it up because in the grand scheme of things I’ve got it pretty good right now, all things considered?

I can’t do that! Fantasy football is the bane of my existence! If it’s not making me miserable, then am I really alive?!

Are The 2020 Seahawks Better Than The 2019 Seahawks?

I’m having difficulty getting a read from the fanbase when it comes to their overall thoughts on the 2019 Seahawks; is that team considered a disappointment, or did they make the most of what they had? It’s easy to forget – knowing that was a Wild Card team who was ultimately thrust from the playoffs in the Divisional Round – but the 2019 Seahawks started out 10-2, among the best teams in all of football by record at the time. We lost three of our last four regular season games (all to divisional opponents) to lose our handle on the divisional title and a chance at a top two seed in the NFC, then we beat a decimated Eagles team before losing like we usually do on the road in the Divisional Round (by falling into a deep hole early and not having enough in the tank to come all the way back late). When you factor in a generational talent like Russell Wilson being in his prime, once again falling short of the Super Bowl, that feels disappointing to me. Maybe I’m spoiled, but I don’t know what to tell you.

The 2020 Seahawks are 4-0 right now. With the way our schedule is shaping up – among the easiest in football – not only do I see a reasonable path to at least matching our 10-2 start from a season ago, unless things take a dramatically dark turn, I’d be shocked if we’re not 12-2 as we head into the final two weeks of the season. 13-3 is not only on the table at this point, but should be the FLOOR. I don’t think a perfect season is happening, but one or two losses? I’m not throwing that out of bed for eating crackers!

When you think about how much we’ve obsessed over the quality of the defense to date – rightfully so, I might add – I can’t help but question whether or not this team is actually better than the one we saw a year ago. Are we better, or is our schedule just easier?

Well, let’s get the simple question out of the way: the schedule is unquestionably easier. The 2019 AFC North was much more difficult than the 2020 AFC East; give me those Ravens over these Bills, those Steelers (when we played them, with a healthy Big Ben) over these Patriots, those Browns over these Dolphins, and even those Bengals over these Jets. The 2019 NFC South was much more difficult than the 2020 NFC East; there’s no point in even going through the teams (we’ve seen this NFC East for many seasons continue to underwhelm at every turn). The 2019 Eagles and Vikings were superior to the 2020 Falcons and Vikings, no contest. And, I would argue the 2019 NFC West was much more difficult than the 2020 version, based on the 49ers being decimated by injuries and clearly not living up to the standard they set last year. We might’ve overrated the Cardinals in Year 2 of the Kyler Murray regime, and I think the Rams are about equal to what they were a season ago (Jared Goff will never take the next step as an elite quarterback, I’m sorry).

So, let’s look at the first question: are the Seahawks better?

On paper, just looking at the roster alone, the offense doesn’t look a whole lot different. Same quarterback, mostly same receivers, same starting running back, many of the same tight ends and offensive linemen, and even the same offensive coordinator. Obviously, everything is being made about Letting Russ Cook, but what is so remarkable to me is that there doesn’t seem to be any drop in efficiency. That was the knock against letting Russ cook in the past: we were winning games, mostly because he was the most efficient quarterback in football. He did more with less (attempts), and the only reason why he wasn’t among the MVP finalists is because he didn’t have those attempts, or total yardage numbers, that dazzle the eye and cloud the brain. Russell Wilson has always had high passer ratings, low interception numbers, and high yards per attempt averages. And, obviously, we’re looking at a quarter of the normal sample size in any given year, but he’s blowing all of those numbers out of the water so far!

You would think more attempts = more opportunities for mistakes. Or, more attempts = more short passes, for a lower yards per attempt average. Again, it’s the opposite! Last year, his passer rating was 106.3 (his career high in any season was 110.9 in 2018); this year his rating is 136.7 (out of a possible 158.3). Last year, his yards per attempt were an even 8.0 (his career high in any season was 8.3 in 2015); this year it’s 9.4. He’s not just dinking and dunking and checking down to running backs and tight ends; he’s throwing deep as he always has and still connecting on these beautiful arcing rainbow balls!

In short (no pun intended), I think many of us (myself included) thought we’d seen the best of what Russell Wilson has to offer, but he’s continuing to soar to new heights (ditto) and it’s incredible to witness.

There’s also a very credible argument to be made that these are the best weapons he’s ever had. That is a BOLD statement! Remember, he’s had guys like Marshawn Lynch, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate, Sidney Rice, Zach Miller … and sure, Jimmy Graham and Percy Harvin. But, would you rather have those guys, or Chris Carson, Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, Greg Olsen, Will Dissly, David Moore, Carlos Hyde, Jacob Hollister, and Freddie Swain? They’ve all come up big in the early going, and we still have Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, and Rashaad Penny waiting in the wings! Even when you just compare the 2020 group to 2019, I think you have to factor in the improved development of guys like Metcalf and Moore, as well as the rookie Swain who is already better than any fourth/fifth receiver we had last year.

Even though so many of the pieces are similar to what they were a season ago, this offense is unquestionably leaps & bounds better than it was (and better than it’s ever been, in the history of this franchise).

That brings us back to the defense.

So … yeah, the pass defense isn’t great. The pass rush was never thought to be anything above the bottom quarter in football, but the secondary has been atrocious as well. We’re still giving up over 400 yards passing per game, which is easily worst in the NFL. However! The run defense is only giving up 75.8 yards per game (third best); in 2019, the Seahawks gave up 117.7 rushing yards per game (11th worst). In a way, that makes sense, because our offense is so good, teams have to throw more to keep up and/or catch up with what we’re doing. But, it’s not like our 2019 offense was a turd sandwich or anything; we were in the top ten in yards and points. I do believe there is a drastic improvement in the quality of our run defense, which is further helping us force opposing offenses into being one-dimensional. Think of it this way: don’t you think every single team that faces the Seahawks wants to do whatever it takes to keep Russell Wilson on the sideline? Wouldn’t you think – that being the case – that teams would do their best to get a running game going against us? The fact that they’ve mostly failed in that endeavor is pretty telling.

I also want to look at turnovers, because I like what I’ve seen from this part of our defense so far and I don’t think it’s getting enough credit. The Seahawks are +5 in turnover ratio right now, tied for second (and, as we all know, one of those Wilson interceptions went right off of Greg Olsen’s hands, so we really should be tied for first at +6). The offense should always limit turnovers based on our quarterback and our coaching staff’s emphasis on taking care of the rock, so that ratio is always going to be in our favor. But, the defense alone has generated 8 turnovers, good for a tie for second (the Browns lead the NFL with 10). Of those 8 turnovers, 6 are via the interception, which I think is huge (the Browns, by contrast, only have 4 interceptions). Fumbles are largely a byproduct of luck. Most fumbles are 50/50 propositions; it’s an anomaly if one team is particularly good or bad at recovering them. Sure, teams can be good at FORCING them, but the name of this particular game I’m talking about is turnovers. Getting the ball back. If we’re not going to sack the opposing quarterback (six in four games, tied for sixth-worst), then we better be good at generating turnovers if we’re going to contend for a Super Bowl.

Last year, the Seahawks were tied for third in turnover differential at +12. We had 32 takeaways, also good for third in the NFL. Of those 32, it was an even 16/16 split between interceptions and fumble recoveries; 16 interceptions is pretty good (tied for fifth in the NFL last year), but the 16 fumble recoveries were tied for second most, which is a pretty remarkable feat and difficult to match from year to year. However, if you project a decrease in the number of fumbles our defense can recover in 2020 (which I do), while acknowledging that even a moderate increase in interceptions MIGHT be in play, can we really expect to have a drastically improved turnover differential? I would say absolutely! Because remember, that factors in the number of times our offense gave away the football. The Seahawks in 2019 were tied for the third-most lost fumbles (many of them thanks to Chris Carson’s butter fingers, which improved dramatically as the season went on); the odds of the Seahawks losing that many fumbles on offense in 2020 seem low to me. Partly because of regression in fumble luck, partly because we’re just not running the ball as much, and partly because Chris Carson is in a contract year (and fumblers don’t get max-money deals).

I don’t see a path where our sack numbers improve from where they were a season ago (we were tied for second-worst in 2019, which feels about right for 2020), but I do very much see a path to an increase in interceptions, given the level of talent in our secondary (which will get better as they get used to playing with one another; those communication breakdowns will be eliminated, I’m sure of it) as well as the fact that most teams will be forced into throwing the ball more than they’re used to (thanks to our offense putting up tons of points, and our run defense stuffing the everloving shit out of the line of scrimmage).

All of that combined, I think, points to this 2020 Seahawks team being much improved over the 2019 incarnation. Tack on the easy schedule, and the top seed in the NFC is very much in our sights.

We just need the Packers to lose a few games and we’ll be all set!