The Bears Hired Former Seahawks OC Shane Waldron

For the record, I never thought Shane Waldron was The Problem with the Seahawks the last few years. I don’t know if I was often wildly impressed with his playcalling or his gameplans, but he never stood out so negatively that I felt the urge to run him out on a rail.

We hired him from the Rams ahead of the 2021 season, where he was a, I dunno, Passing Game Coordinator? What even is that? Not someone who calls plays. Not someone who designs an offense. Pretty much: he knows Sean McVay, so maybe he can deploy an offense like Sean McVay. All right. I would say the McVay Coaching Tree isn’t totally bereft; Matt LaFleur is doing well in Green Bay, and Zac Taylor lucked into Joe Burrow in Cincinnati. But, now we’re just plucking any ol’ made up position coach and handing them the keys to an entire side of the football?

I wouldn’t say Waldron had the easiest landing when it came to his biggest promotion to date. He had to endure the final season of Russell Wilson in Seattle (where Wilson missed three games, then played terribly through the next three games thanks to a thumb injury), he had to transition to Geno Smith, and then he had to survive the final season of Pete Carroll in Seattle (where Geno missed some time and Drew Lock had to start actual football games).

In 2021, the Seahawks were 20th in yards per game and 16th in points per game. In 2022, we improved to 13th in yards per game (a 27 yards per game jump) and 9th in points per game (only a 0.7 PPG jump). In 2023, we regressed to 21st in yards per game, and 17th in PPG.

So, some good and some bad. We actually dropped in 2021 (in total yards and total points) compared to 2020 (the last season with Brian Schottenheimer as the OC), but you can see why a first-time signal caller would have some growing pains, especially in the dysfunction that was the 2021 Seahawks. But, as I noted here, the 2023 regression came at the hands of a wildly disappointing rushing attack, and that’s with arguably better talent at the running back position.

I find it interesting that the Bears were all over Shane Waldron. Granted, they’re The Bears, and it’s about as inept of a group as you’ll find in the NFL, especially on the offensive side of the ball. How many OCs is this for Justin Fields, going into just his fourth NFL season? Three. Dating back to 2010, no OC has lasted more than two seasons there. Their head coach, Matt Eberflus, just survived by the hairs on his chinny-chin-chin when it came to retaining his own job. I think it’s fair to say if this team doesn’t miraculously make the playoffs in 2024, we’ll likely see a full blown reconstruction of the coaching staff. And that’s not even factoring in the HUGE decision they have to make: do they take Caleb Williams at #1 overall? Or, do they trade that pick for more picks and roll with Justin Fields in the final year of his rookie deal?

This is The Bears we’re talking about, so whatever they choose will be the wrong decision. But, who knows? Crazier things have happened. The Lions are in the NFC Championship Game for crying out loud!

The thing with Shane Waldron is: we don’t really know if he’s good or bad. I get the feeling it’s difficult to be a coordinator under Pete Carroll. I feel like sometimes Pete meddles, and sometimes he’s entirely hands off, but either way it tends to go poorly unless we’re loaded with supremely talented players to make up for coaching deficiencies.

Darrell Bevell is the best offensive coordinator we’ve ever had (who just so happens to have gotten buried under the weight of one terrible call in the Super Bowl). I thought he was relatively creative and adaptive to personnel. He also had Russell Wilson in his magician years, and one of the most underrated receivers of all time in Doug Baldwin, to say nothing of the toughest running back of his era in Marshawn Lynch. In that sense, you’d think pretty much any playcaller would be able to succeed with that collection of talent.

Shane Waldron didn’t have those players. His players were okay, but definitely not on that level. The thing that stands out with Waldron is: there’s no one thing he appears to be elite at. It definitely didn’t feel like we got the Rams’ offense in Seattle. There were times this unit looked unstoppable, but also too many times where they kept getting in their own way and couldn’t do anything but go 3 & Out.

That being said, I didn’t see a lot of absolutely terrible play calls. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing that you wouldn’t see from any other offense. Sometimes it seemed like he’d go away from the running game just as it was working, but if that’s your biggest complaint, it’s probably not so bad.

Ultimately, Waldron wasn’t special. He was Just A Guy, in a long line of JAGs. We could do worse, of course. But, the hope is that we’ll end up doing better.

Shane Waldron just so happened to coincide with Clint Hurtt being the DC at the same time during his tenure here. So, in that sense, he lucked out. All the vitriol went to his counterpart, leaving Waldron flying well under the radar.

And apparently, doing a good-enough job for the Bears to hire him at the most critical juncture of their franchise’s history in the last two decades.

The Seahawks Aren’t Great At Any One Thing

The Seahawks get a lot of credit for being competitive. If I understand the phrase right, it’s a double-edged sword. When things are going well, people point to the coaching staff and say, “Boy Pete Carroll does a great job of adapting and getting the most out of his players!” But, when things go poorly, people point to the coaching staff and say, “Boy Pete Carroll is over the hill and washed up and doesn’t understand what the game of football is morphing into!”

There was a time this year where the Seahawks were winners of 5 out of 6 games, and the one we lost (to the Bengals) you could argue we gave away. But, even still, they were the Bengals, Joe Burrow was still alive, and you can understand why even a good team would lose that game on the road. The offense felt vibrant, the defense appeared to be improving, and we all let ourselves believe that these Seahawks could compete with those 49ers for this NFC West and maybe even above and beyond.

Then, we got massacred by the Ravens. That kicked off a lull where we lost 4 out of 5 games, with the lone victory being a 3-point variety against one of the worst, most dysfunctional teams in football (the Commanders), at home no less. We won the next two games to regain control over our own playoff destiny, only to lose to the Steelers last week, to once again need a Week 18 victory plus some help.

The Seahawks are 8-8. You can’t really give this team a lot of credit for being competitive, because if we’re honest with ourselves, this team is only competitive against very flawed-to-bad teams.

There are lots of teams hovering around .500, though. Lots of flawed teams who are in contention for the playoffs. There have been plenty of flawed teams throughout the years who have made the playoffs, gotten hot, and managed to do some damage (even winning a Super Bowl here and there). It’s not always the VERY BEST teams who win it all. Sometimes, you just need to pose the right matchup problems against the right teams, to get the result you want.

The Cleveland Browns are 11-5 and locked into the playoffs. You wouldn’t consider them a front-runner; they’re on, what, their fourth quarterback? Joe Flacco off the scrap heap re-joined the league and has set the world on fire. Has Joe Flacco suddenly gotten amazing again? No way! But, he’s in the right situation, with the right team, that has some elite components (defense, running game, O-Line) that allows them to make up for any mistakes Flacco might generate.

The Dolphins are also 11-5 and locked into the playoffs. Their defense kinda stinks, but they’re so dynamic on offense that you could see them winning any game if things break right. The Chiefs are 10-6 and their receivers are hot garbage. The Eagles are 11-5 and their defense has regressed HARD. The Rams are 9-7, but they’re still well-coached and explosive enough (and veteran enough) on offense to beat anybody.

Which brings me to the Seahawks. They’re a consummate 7-seed type of team. But, unlike the Packers, Steelers, or either of the South divisions, the Seahawks don’t have any one thing they do extremely well. They just have a lot of things they’re okay at, with some VERY glaring weaknesses that hold them back.

It’s honestly pretty miserable watching the Seahawks closely. I wonder if these other fringe teams have the same type of disgruntled fans. There’s nothing you can hang your hat on, where you can say, “If THIS happens, we can pull it out.” Even in the post-L.O.B. era of Seahawks football with prime Russell Wilson at the helm, we could look at the team and say, “Well, if Russell Wilson plays out of his mind, maybe we can win three playoff games and get to the Super Bowl.” Of course, that never happened, and we now understand why it was foolish to think that way. But, at least there was a chance. Russell Wilson used to be magic, and sometimes he was all we needed to will ourselves to victories.

You can’t say that about Geno Smith. Russell Wilson could get by with a rancid offensive line. Geno Smith is like this delicate flower that needs a climate-controlled environment to flourish. I’m not talking about weather here; it’s sort of a terrible analogy. But, like, Geno needs very good O-Line play. He needs the defense to keep us in it. He can’t carry us on his back and will us to victory. Oh sure, if everything is just right, he can lead us to a late come-from-behind victory every now and then. But, you better not allow any pass rushers to get in his face! He’s not making those comebacks against the likes of the 49ers, Cowboys, or Steelers!

What’s the best thing Seattle has going for it? The easy answer is the wide receiver room, but that’s so dependant on your quarterback’s play, that I think I have to push them down a tier. I think the actual best thing Seattle has going for it is the running back room. The one-two punch of Kenneth Walker and Zach Charbonnet is as good as it gets. Walker makes something out of nothing in a way I haven’t seen since Barry Sanders. I’m not saying he’s as good as Barry Sanders, but I’m saying the moves you see him put on people on the football field week-in and week-out are as electric and jaw-dropping as I’ve seen out of anyone since Sanders retired. Charbonnet, on the other hand, is just a solid and dynamic straight-ahead runner. Every time I see him play well, I wonder if he’s the future #1 on this team, but then Walker comes back and flashes those amazing cut-back moves, and I’m swayed in his direction. Either way, those two combined – with their tremendous blocking and pass-catching abilities – puts us at a level few teams are at in the NFL.

So, why don’t we feature it more? Why aren’t we scheming to highlight the run, rather than using it to complement a passing attack that’s … fine? Your guess is as good as mine. Seems to me, once again, we have the wrong offensive coordinator. He was brought in to try to appease a disgruntled Russell Wilson, we traded Wilson a year later, and now we’ve been trying to make it work. Sometimes, Waldron looks like one of the best OCs in football. But, too often – especially this season – he gets too one-track minded. He goes away from the run – mind-bogglingly – even though we’re in more games than we’re way behind. And less and less do we see guys schemed open. We were supposed to get the system that the Rams use to tremendous success. Lots of crossers, lots of different plays out of similar-looking personnel groupings. But, either Geno isn’t seeing them, or we’ve gone away from them. Regardless, this offense looks as dysfunctional as it was under Schotty and in the final years of Bevell.

Getting back to the receivers, I’ll tell you what this team doesn’t have; it doesn’t have Doug Baldwin, or a Doug Baldwin type. It doesn’t have that guy who can get open under any circumstance. It doesn’t have that guy you can go to on 3rd & Long, when you absolutely need a conversion to move the chains. Tyler Lockett sort of used to be that guy, but not really, and definitely not anymore. I don’t know what Lockett is nowadays, if I’m being honest. Either he’s trending towards being washed up, or we’re just not utilizing him like we should. More often than not, we’re going to D.K. when we need a big catch to move the chains. Don’t get me wrong, D.K. has been GREAT this year. But, he still has massive drops at the worst times, and you never know when he’s going to be that powderkeg that’s one bad taunt away from exploding.

The good news is: maybe Jaxon Smith-Njigba will be the next true heir apparent to Doug Baldwin. But, he’s still a rookie, he’s still developing that relationship with Geno, and while he’s much more productive now than he was at the beginning of the season, he’s not quite there yet. Hopefully in the next year or two, but that doesn’t help us out THIS season, now does it?

As far as the defense goes, write it off. There’s nothing elite about any of these position groups. Jamal Adams was shut down, having never fully recovered from his knee injury. He was getting beaten on the reg, and was less and less productive out in space near the line of scrimmage the more he played. Clearly, his body is broken, and it’s going to really suck if we’re stuck with him for another year.

As for the rest of the secondary, that was sort of our big hope, but it hasn’t come to fruition. I think the depth is there, but the top-end talent has been lacking. Which is interesting, because two of our three Pro Bowlers came from this group (Devon Witherspoon and Julian Love). Witherspoon looks as good as advertised, but he started the year banged up, and he’s ending the year banged up. When he’s been healthy out there, he’s been a game-changer. But, I’m starting to have serious doubts that we’re ever going to get a full season out of him. And I’m certainly dubious about getting a respectable second contract out of him. As for Love, he’s definitely come on late, but early this season he was a huge liability! The bar to climb over for Pro Bowl contention seems to be getting lower and lower nowadays.

You can’t deny Riq Woolen’s sophomore season has been anything but disappointing. Seems like he too is injured, but I don’t remember him ever being all that active in tackling near the line of scrimmage. That wasn’t a problem last year when he was making plays and generating turnovers; but this year, when he’s not doing that, he’s not really doing anything for you, is he? The rest of the guys – Diggs, Brown, Jackson, Burns, etc. – have all flashed some level of greatness, but have also totally disappeared for long stretches. As a result, this defense is getting increasingly shredded as the season goes along.

The linebackers have been okay against the run, but Bobby Wagner has been one of the biggest weaknesses in the passing game in the entire NFL (he’s a Pro Bowler based on reputation only). Without Jordyn Brooks, the linebacker room is totally decimated (as we saw last week against the Steelers). It’s tough when you’re as thin as you are, and you’re forced to play Wagner at or near 100% of the snaps every week. Now we have to pay Brooks whatever the market rate is for a top-end interior linebacker? What are we doing with our money here?!

I think the interior of the defensive line has been the most productive unit on this team, especially with the addition of Leonard Williams. Between him, Jarran Reed, and Dre’Mont Jones, we’re as solid as you can get. But, when Nwosu went down, the edge has been kind of a wasteland. Frank Clark has hardly played, and I think has since been cut (or is on the verge of being cut). Darrell Taylor can’t set an edge to save his life. Boye Mafe has slowed down considerably the second half of this season. Derick Hall is also struggling to play his position properly (but he’s a rookie, so he gets a pass). So, when you talk defensive line as a whole, I think you have to give them a net-negative. They get sacks at a decent clip, but I would say overall pressure numbers are sub-par, and the run defense has actually gotten worse as the season has gone along.

Defensive coordinator might be our biggest weakness, so we’ll see where that goes this offseason.

That leaves the O-Line, which is middling at best. But, Abe Lucas has been banged up all year, and we’ve had a revolving door at most of our positions from week to week. So much so that we’ve had to emphasize getting the ball out incredibly quickly if we even WANT to have a passing game. Seems like that would be the time to try to pound the rock, but again, we’re not, because of Reasons.

All told, that adds up to a team – as I said in the title – that isn’t great at any one thing. They’re okay at some things, terrible at others, and that’s what adds up to an 8-8 record heading into the final week of the season. Which is why I’ve been saying – for however many weeks now – that I do NOT want these Seahawks in the playoffs. What good does it do to get in there and get your doors blown off in the first round? We did that last year; did it do anything to make the 2023 Seahawks even remotely better? Or, did it just give us worse draft positioning, while allowing us to delude ourselves into thinking we were closer to Super Bowl contention than we actually were?

The Seahawks only make significant changes when they fail to make the playoffs. Whenever we make the playoffs, we bring our coaching staff back, keep the majority of the veterans we’re able to keep, and try to fill in around the fringes with what little resources we have left over. We’ve never really committed to a true rebuild since the 2010 season, and it’s starting to feel like all those Mariners teams from 2004-2018. Close, but no cigar.

What’s this team going to do as a 7-seed? Probably go to Dallas and lose by double digits. We already couldn’t stop them once – the week after Thanksgiving – what makes you think we can stop them now, when our talent is actually more depleted thanks to injury? We tried our best to keep up offensively – putting up 35 in a losing effort – but literally everything had to go right for that to happen, and I’m not buying that we can do that a second time.

And even IF we somehow, miraculously, beat the Cowboys in Dallas (because, at their heart, they love to choke in the playoffs), what is our reward? Playing the 1-seed 49ers after a week off (and after playing no one of consequence in Week 18). Just the worst case scenario of all scenarios; we haven’t come CLOSE to beating them for the last two years now.

So, no, I don’t want to see us in the playoffs. I don’t even want to see us winning this week! I want us 8-9. I want that LOSERS label to be firmly stamped all over this team. Pete Carroll and John Schneider aren’t going anywhere. But, maybe with a losing record, they’ll stumble into the correct coaching and personnel moves to turn this thing around before we’re all old and gray.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Down Goes Cousins

Well, I beat Champagne & Sweats 181.45 to 164.25. That brings my record to 4-4. I’m in fifth place, but I have the third-most points scored in the league. That’s the good news, I guess.

The bad news is that Kirk Cousins tore an Achilles, and he’s out for the year. This might do irreparable damage to my fantasy chances this year. I don’t know if I’ll be able to recover. For starters, I have three other Vikings on my team, who all suffer an immediate impact as a result of this injury. Besides that, Cousins has been one of the best fantasy QBs in the league this year! He’s right there with Tua (and would probably be ahead of him had he not gotten hurt during the last game), with only Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts ahead of him (and not by a ton).

So, that’s one of the best quarterbacks – and, indeed, one of the best players overall – lost for the rest of the year. That’s a hit to Addison significantly, a hit to Hockenson moderately, and practically kills Mattison’s value (which was already diminishing as Akers eats into his carries) because the Vikings are sure to be playing from behind the rest of the way.

On top of which, my depth at QB is sus as hell. Jordan Love is Just A Guy, but now he’s thrust into my every-week lineup for the foreseeable future, so I have to pray that he figures it out. Justin Fields can be great when he’s healthy, but who knows when he’ll be able to grip a football again? I already know he’s out this week; it might be two more on top of that, given a 6-week timetable for thumb injuries, then he has his BYE in Week 13. It feels like best case scenario is I have Fields for the final four weeks, but who knows how effective he’ll be after such a layoff? Then, there’s Bryce Young, who immediately becomes my second starter. I had no intention of playing him EVER, or at least until he took a significant step forward in his development. That might not ever happen! Not with how bad the team is around him (especially his O-Line). He’s averaging about 19.48 points per in his last three games, which is probably the best I can hope for. He’s also missed a game with injury and has two other games with fewer than 10 points, which is my nightmare right now.

I tried to make a waiver claim for Will Levis – who had his rookie debut last week, to the tune of 4 TD passes – but sadly not even my #2 waiver priority was enough to get me there. I’ve clung to that waiver priority all season (as a result of where I finished the previous year), but the #1 guy – who also has significant quarterback concerns – was able to leapfrog me. Levis will surely go on to have a Hall of Fame career, and this will be yet another back-breaking setback in a fantasy football career full of them.

Who else is available? Well, shockingly, Mac Jones is still out there. He’s the only legitimate starter I could grab. But, I’ve had him since he was a rookie (sans this season, of course), and he has NOT developed one iota since then. There are a couple of 26+ point performances, but also three games well under 10 (two of those being in the negative). I’m not thrilled, but I had to pick him up just to give myself a little depth for the time being, since my quarterbacks are apparently dropping like flies.

Of course, I dropped him within a couple hours yesterday, when it was announced that the Raiders are absolutely cleaning house. I decided Aidan O’Connell would be a higher-upside sort of guy. Considering he’s a 4th round rookie … probably not going to end up being the next Kirk Cousins (who was, himself, a 4th round draft pick at one point).

What a downer, for an otherwise excellent week. I got 40+ out of CeeDee Lamb, and a combined 40+ from Addison and Hockenson. Everyone but my starting running backs contributed in a legit way! I’m going to need that kind of collective effort A LOT going forward if I want to hang around. Otherwise, it’s the Consolation Bracket for me once again.

This week, I’m facing the other 4-4 team, Korky Butchek. I’m up on him by less than 10 points, so this is quite the Battle For Mediocrity! Here’s my (sigh) lineup:

  • Bryce Young (QB) vs. Ind
  • Jordan Love (QB) vs. LAR
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ Phi
  • Jordan Addison (WR) @ Atl
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) @ Bal
  • Tony Pollard (RB) @ Phi
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Atl
  • Terry McLaurin (WR) @ NE
  • Dustin Hopkins (K) vs. Ari
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) vs. LAC

If Young can’t get it going against Indy’s terrible defense, I’ll have much bigger concerns about his abilities going forward. I would also love to see Love get it going against a beat-up Rams defense, the way the Cowboys were able to shred them. Predictably, when I dropped Christian Watson, he was picked up by the guy I was going up against last week (the same guy who’s a Packers fan and had been trying to trade Love away from me). He didn’t start Watson, but it’s only a matter of time before Watson starts blowing up like he did last year.

The only start/sit decision I had to make was McLaurin vs. Downs. Given the way Scary Terry has been utilized in recent weeks, combined with how often they have to throw the ball, he should be good for solid points. I may change my mind though. Indy throws the ball a lot, but may have a huge lead and decide to run it to death against the Panthers. We’ll see.

Lotta road games. Lotta bad matchups in those road games. I’m going to get crushed. Here’s Korky’s team:

  • Joe Burrow (QB) vs. Buf
  • Baker Mayfield (QB) @ Hou
  • A.J. Brown (WR) vs. Dal
  • Puka Nacua (WR) @ GB
  • Bijan Robinson (RB) vs. Min
  • Breece Hall (RB) vs. LAC
  • Dalton Kincaid (TE) @ Cin
  • D.J. Moore (WR) @ NO
  • Jason Sanders (K) @ KC
  • Kansas City (DEF) vs. Mia

Thankfully, Trevor Lawrence and George Kittle are on BYE for him, otherwise I’d get smashed into oblivion. Baker is obviously a HUGE step down, but nothing about Houston’s defense scares me too bad; I think he gets right this week. His RBs are studly and lethal; I also own them in other leagues where my teams are better, so that’s a bad sign. A.J. Brown is up there for best WR in the game right now; no way that doesn’t continue. Moore is a little iffy, but he’s got other capable backups on his bench if he decides to swap him out. I would be a little worried about KC’s defense against the Dolphins, but this game is in Europe, so anything can happen. They’ve also proven to be a fantastic fantasy defense this season regardless of opponent, so I expect nothing to change there either.

The Seahawks Blew It In Cincinnati

I was right: the Bengals beat the Seahawks. But, they didn’t quite do it as I expected.

As I noted on Friday, I was at the Taylor Swift movie experience – surprisingly, they did NOT cut away occasionally to Travis Kelce cheering along in the luxury suites – so I didn’t get to see this game. As such, this will be a post with more questions than answers. I’ll tell you this much, I didn’t project this as a 17-13 slugfest.

I have two main takeaways coming out of this game. First and foremost – the reason why we lost this one – has to lay at the feet of the offense. Geno Smith had one truly atrocious pick, and another where D.K. apparently gave up on the route. The team as a whole was only 5/12 on third down, and critically 0 for 2 on fourth down (both near the goalline in the fourth quarter, where we had a chance to take the lead or even win the game). Penalties were costly in setting us behind the sticks. And the Bengals were able to pressure us more than we’ve been pressured all season.

I’d love to know what the gameplan was coming into this game. We got Charles Cross back from his injury, but were still saddled with Jake Curhan at right tackle (with some interior shuffling, moving Haynes to left guard, and starting Bradford at right). Did we leave them on more islands than we had the previous few games, opting to go with more 3 wide receiver sets and fewer jumbo packages? Or, was it pretty comparable, and we just got manhandled by a superior front seven? I would hope the coaching staff would have more sense than that, but you can’t rule it out until we see the snap counts. Regardless, it didn’t seem like a well-called game by Waldron. Nor was it a very efficient game from Geno and the rest of our skill players.

My other big takeaway, however, has to do with the defense, and how promising this unit looks going forward.

The Bengals had back-to-back touchdown-scoring drives to open this game, which initially led me to believe my prognostication would be accurate: that we wouldn’t touch Burrow, and they’d carve us up and down the field accordingly. But, we ended up tightening things up the rest of the way, giving up just 3 points after the 12:20 mark in the second quarter. We forced 6 punts and got an interception. We sacked Burrow 3 times in the game, hit him 5 times, got 4 tackles for loss, and knocked down 6 passes. We held Burrow to a paltry 185 yards passing (5.3 yards per attempt) and held their running game to 46 yards on 15 carries. Coming on the heels of that Giants massacre, there were a lot of questions about whether or not we could keep that going against a competent offense. The Seahawks’ defense came through this one with flying colors. They absolutely did enough to win us this game, which hasn’t been something we’ve been able to say very often the last 5+ years.

I can’t sit here and get too down on this team after one game. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel very strongly the other way either; I’m not telling you everything is wonderful. It probably helps that I didn’t actually sit through this game for 3 hours; I’m sure in the moment I would’ve been miserable for damn near every minute. Part of me wants to say people are too quick to write off Geno Smith (and they’re damn near insane if they’re calling for Drew Lock to start for this team!), but there’s another part of me that saw Geno finish 3-6 last year (including playoffs), and knows he’s still getting credit for some of those early-2022 performances. He’s good against bad defenses, he’s pretty miserable against good-to-great defenses, and we still don’t have a lot of those late-game heroics that we regularly saw during Russell Wilson’s prime.

I’ll also say that we’ve given Wilson a lot of crap – especially since he’s gone to Denver and stunk up the joint – for poor performances on 3rd down and with taking brutal sacks, but that hasn’t really let up a whole lot with Geno under center. Especially in the biggest games. I don’t know what that says about the team as a whole, other than it’s really hard to be great at quarterback in the NFL, and I ultimately don’t think Geno Smith is great. I think he’s fine. He’s much closer to Ryan Tannehill in his prime than Russell Wilson in his prime.

But, I think we’re going to need to see this season as a whole before we can totally rule him out. There are more opportunities for Geno to turn it around. In a couple weeks, we have back-to-back games against the Browns and Ravens, two good-to-great defenses that he’ll need to be the best version of himself if we expect to win either of those games.

Ultimately, it’s a loss to an AFC team, which means very little in the grand scheme of things. Thankfully, we were bailed out by the Browns – who took care of business against the 49ers – so we haven’t lost any ground. But, that makes next week’s game against the Cards all the more important.

Good on Kenneth Walker for continuing to look like a stud. Good on Tyler Lockett for having another big game. Good on Jaxon Smith-Njigba for being involved, and good on Jake Bobo for making a couple of hard-nosed catches.

Devon Witherspoon had a quieter game than the one in New York, but still broke up 3 passes. Jamal Adams stayed healthy throughout. Dre’Mont Jones, Jarran Reed, and Boye Mafe each had sacks. Tre Brown returned from injury and had a bigtime pick (the combo of him, Witherspoon, and Woolen look dominant together). And look at Jason Myers being perfect (and hitting a 55 yard field goal)!

I will say that I was disappointed in Pete Carroll. If there was ever a game we needed him to be the conservative version of himself, this was it. The defense was rolling by the fourth quarter. We were down 4 points, we had the ball near the goalline. We failed to get it in due to offensive incompetence. There was still over 2 minutes to go, we had two time outs, and he opted to keep the offense out there on 4th & goal at the 6. Kick the field goal! Then, you’re down 1, you have a chance to get the ball back (which we did), and drive it down for the game-winner. It’s mind-boggling when Pete decides to be hyper-aggressive, and when he decides to turtle up. He’ll punt from the opposing 40 yard line in one drive (when we’ve proven capable of moving the football), then he’ll go for it near the goalline (when we’ve looked like ass trying to score in the red zone). Just be consistent! He’s standing on a 16 against a dealer’s 10, then he’s hitting on a 14 when the dealer has a 5, just because he has a feeling or whatever.

Ain’t No Way The Seahawks Are Beating The Bengals

I can’t remember the last time I was so thoroughly convinced of an impending Seahawks loss. I’m sure it wasn’t THAT long ago, probably as recently as last season, but this isn’t one of those deals where our opponent is so vastly superior – like, for instance, the 49ers – that it’s just a slam dunk defeat.

The Bengals have been one of the most disappointing and mediocre teams in the NFL so far this season. The defense hasn’t been as effective as we’ve seen the last few years, but really the onus falls on the offense. Joe Burrow was injured through most of the pre-season, and even though he’s gutted it out through every regular season game, he hasn’t been particularly good.

One might argue the schedule has been on the tougher side. They lost 24-3 to the Browns in week 1, but the Browns’ defense looks like a top 5 unit in the NFL. They lost 27-24 to the Ravens, but those look like two fairly evenly-matched squads. They managed to beat the Rams, but only 19-16; again, the Rams have looked a lot better than we thought heading into the year. The real shocker was the loss at Tennessee, where once again the Bengals were held to 3 points in a 27-3 blowout. The Titans are crap. Okay, their run defense is probably solid, but that doesn’t explain why the Bengals weren’t able to move the ball through the air.

Last week’s 34-20 victory in Arizona was the first time the Bengals looked like the Bengals. The Cards have been frisky this year, so that makes it even more impressive. But, you know, they’re still a bad team. Was this the first time Burrow’s felt fully healthy (or, as healthy as he’s going to be with a nagging calf injury)?

You could argue that playing in Cincinnati this early is the best possible scenario for the Seahawks, over playing them late, when they usually start to go on a tear towards the playoffs. Given that they’re 2-3, and we’re 3-1 (and have looked better and better every week), one might expect the Seahawks to take care of business in this one. But, I just don’t think we match up very well.

Our run defense is undeniably improved over last year, which is great. We give up among the fewest yards per game in the league, and I think I saw a stat somewhere saying we give up the fewest yards per carry, which is outstanding! But, our passing yards per game are among the highest given up in the league (worse than the Broncos, and pretty close to what the Bears and Chargers are giving up). The Bengals, in spite of having a solid back in Joe Mixon, don’t feature the run. They use it to complement their passing attack, but the offense runs through Burrow, and he’s saying he’s as close to 100% as he’s been all season. That’s scary.

He’s a smart, capable quarterback who doesn’t take a lot of sacks. I don’t know if people watched that Monday night dismantling of the Giants and are now thinking this is the new normal for the Seahawks’ defense, but I don’t expect us to touch Burrow. I feel like this is going to be a lot like the Rams game in week 1, where he is getting the ball out quickly, moving the sticks, and picking us apart in the secondary. Burrow’s biggest problem this year has been his accuracy, which is in the bottom quarter of starting quarterbacks. But, a lot of that has to do with his injury, and now that he’s feeling better, I expect that to be less of an issue. He’s averaged 62.4% completions on the season, but last week against the Cards, he was up to 78.2%. He’s not Daniel Jones, in other words.

That all isn’t to say that I think we’re destined to get blown out of the stadium – like we were against the Rams – because the Seahawks have a number of things going for them that should make this game interesting. For starters, we’re coming off of our BYE week, which is always nice. That means we’re rested, and we’re starting to get healthy again.

Jamal Adams should be back from his concussion, which saves us yet another missed game from him (since you have to think – had we played last Sunday – he wouldn’t have been available, given the way concussion injuries have gone this season). I think Charles Cross and Phil Haynes are practicing again. Tre Brown is back. Riq Woolen and Devon Witherspoon are another week out from their respective injuries. As is JSN, who clearly hasn’t been what we saw in the pre-season, since he injured his hand. And, of course, Geno isn’t as hobbled, after taking that nasty hit out of bounds against the Giants. We’re not as healthy as we’ve ever been, but we’re as healthy as can be expected, and we’ll need every bit of it to hang with Cincy.

You can’t take this game for granted. I would argue this is a different Bengals team than we saw through the first month. Much closer to their expected status as an AFC contender. Solid enough on defense, great-to-elite on offense.

I do think the Seahawks will keep it close. Vegas clearly agrees, as they have the Bengals -2.5. They seem to be in line with what I’m expecting; I imagine there’s a good number of squares out there putting money on the Seahawks. I have to believe the sharps are on the home team.

I think the Seahawks will look a little ragged at times on offense, but will eventually get it going. I think the Bengals, however, will put up 31 points, minimum. I could see it being a 34-31 game where we come out on the losing end. I could also see the Bengals tacking on a late break-away touchdown to make it 41-31. Regardless, I’m not expecting to say very many good things about the defense when we come back here on Monday.

The Seahawks will likely put a lot of focus on Ja’Marr Chase, which might keep him out of the endzone, but he’ll still have good fantasy numbers when it’s all said and done. If the Seahawks let him blow up for 200+ yards and two scores, then I expect this game will get ugly in a hurry. They’ve really got more than enough weapons all over the field though, hence my belief that they won’t have trouble moving the ball on us.

This also just has the feel of One Of Those Games, you know? The Seahawks are riding high, this feels like one of those games we can go on the road and steal, and then BAM, we get smacked in the face.

The last time we started 3-1 or better was in 2020; that year we went 5-0 heading into our BYE before losing at Arizona in overtime. We are 7-6 in weeks after our BYE in the Pete Carroll era, but we’re on a 3-year losing streak where we haven’t looked good AT ALL in those games. We’re also 6-5 in our first AFC road games of the season dating back to 2012, which means nothing, but I find it amusing. There’s lots of these random AFC losses on our ledger; maybe it’s because we don’t face these teams very often. Maybe it’s just dumb luck.

I dunno. I got a bad feeling though. My family and I are going to the Taylor Swift movie concert thing on Sunday at 11am, so I’m probably not going to see very much of this game, unless I can watch it on delay after I get home. I fully expect to leave the theater to news of a Seahawks loss. If I didn’t already lose the Taylor Family Farm dozens of times, I’d put it up to win a boatload, because I think I’m right. As right as I’ve ever been!

Can The Underdog Seahawks Turn Their Season Around?

There’s kind of a lot on the line this week. I’m the last person who LIKES being an alarmist; it’s just so fucking predictable and cliche for the hardcore football fan to be like, “WEEK 2 IS A MUST WIN GAME FOR THE SEAHAWKS OTHERWISE THE SEASON IS OVER AND WE MIGHT AS WELL ALL KILL OURSELVES!!!1”.

For the record: do NOT kill yourself if the Seahawks lose this week.

There’s a number of ways to look at this, though. Every time week 2 of the NFL season comes and goes, you get the requisite: such and such percent of teams who start 0-2 make the playoffs; that percentage falls to such and such if they start 0-3. I really only have articles from last year, but since 1970, only 9.5% of teams that started 0-2 made the playoffs. Since 1990, only 14.8% of 0-2 teams made it. Last year, Cincinnati started 0-2 and finished with a 12-4 record (the unfinished Buffalo game notwithstanding) to win their division. That’s a pretty remarkable turnaround; definitely not the norm.

There’s been 6 teams total since 1979 that have made the playoffs after an 0-3 start, for what it’s worth. So, not great.

Last year, the Seahawks started 1-2 before turning things around – oddly enough, with a 48-45 victory over the Lions in Detroit kicking things off – but I guess I’m less concerned about just making the playoffs. There’s always a 9- or 10-win team squeaking into a wild card spot. It’s very possible to start 0-2 and get there; tack on a win at home next week against Carolina and we’re in the same spot we were a year ago. But, I guess I just had higher hopes for this team. Or, you know, just fool me a bit! Make me believe the Seahawks have what it takes to contend with the 49ers! Don’t rip off the band aid in the first two weeks with an 0-2 start.

Sports seasons are most fun when you know you’re elite. 49ers fans must be thrilled right now. Eagles and Cowboys fans are feeling great. The next level of entertainment is when you THINK you’re great. Dolphins fans, Lions fans, Chiefs, Bills, Bengals, Jaguars, and even lower rung teams like Packers, Browns, Ravens, Patriots, Vikings, and Giants fans can delude themselves into having high hopes. No hope for Jets fans though. Never Jets fans. And the Giants fans are only there because they’re galoots who don’t know any better.

But, we Seahawks fans don’t get to live in that fantasy. Not after last week. The best we can hope for is that the Rams are better than anyone expected, and might be a dark horse for a playoff spot. I don’t believe that’s the case. I think the Rams ARE who we thought they were, and they’re going to finish among the bottom teams in football. Which makes our 17-point loss at home all the more demoralizing.

So, that’s a lot to overcome in one week. The Seahawks are fighting for their own fans to have some semblance of confidence in this team, this season. Even if we were always meant to be in a stepping stone year in 2023, it has to actually be a step UP. It can’t look like every other year since 2015.

What does that look like? Well, the team as a whole gets off to a slow start. Not an alarmingly slow start, but an annoyingly slow start. The defense is utter shit, but the offense is just good enough (sometimes) to float around .500 for a while. Then, we go on a little mid-season run to get everyone flying high, before the offense collapses into itself and the we’re stumbling our way into the playoffs. We settle for yet another wild card spot, and we lose in the wild card round. While I’m exaggerating about the 2015 thing, it’s been a virtual reality since 2018 (there was a surprise division championship in 2020, only for us to lose to the Rams in the first round at home).

I can’t go through it again. I REALLY can’t go through it again when I know exactly what’s going to happen.

Winning in Detroit this week would go a long way in changing that perception.

For the record, I’m not even REMOTELY interested in any moral victories this week. We all know the storyline: the Seahawks are as low as a team can be. The Lions, meanwhile, finished 9-8 last year, knocking hated rivals Green Bay out of the playoffs in Week 18, and followed that up with a thrilling victory in Kansas City over the Super Bowl champs last Thursday to kick off the NFL season. They had a potentially-underrated off-season and draft, there’s both a lot of hype and anti-hype surrounding the Lions (many predicting them to win the NFC North; many also predicting them to be the team that most disappoints expectations), but one thing most people agree upon: they’re going to be fun and they’re going to score a lot of points this year. Now, with their 1-0 start, they play at home in front of a sellout crowd that’s going to be louder and more raucous than they’ve been since Barry Sanders’ heyday.

It’s a lot for the Seahawks to walk into.

The Lions are favored by 4.5 points. That line hasn’t really changed since the week began; we’ll see what happens as Sunday approaches. No one REALLY thinks the Seahawks are going to win. Odds say the Lions have a 2/3 chance of winning, which honestly feels low. The Seahawks are likely to be missing both offensive tackles. Devon Witherspoon is probably another week away from entering the starting lineup (who knows if he’ll even play at all this Sunday); Jamal Adams is probably a month away from returning to limited game action. JSN sure as shit didn’t look 100% last week, and I have no idea what’s going on with Lockett. The Seahawks just signed 41 year old Jason Peters off the scrap heap, who might HAVE to start this week, because Stone Forsythe is a joke. Meanwhile, Abe Lucas just hit the IR and we’ll see if he’s able to return this year and actually make a positive impact.

It’s a nightmare. I’m flashing on the Seahawks getting saddled with having the ball first, going 3 & Out, and the roof literally exploding off of that dome. It makes me physically ill.

I’m also flashing on Jared Goff carving up our defense with precision passes, and their running backs double-teaming us right in the pooper at a 5-yards-per-carry clip.

Maybe that all comes to fruition. Maybe these Seahawks are significantly worse than we thought. Maybe we just caught two teams at the wrong time of year, when they’re playing their absolute best. I’m not willing to completely throw out of bed the possibility that we lose by double digits once again.

But, it’s not like we haven’t been here before. There’s something fishy about a line like 4.5, after the Seahawks looked the way they looked last week, and the Lions looked the way they looked last week. Why isn’t it 6 or 7? If I was a dispassionate sports bettor, I’d be looking at the Lions like the lock of the week. I’m assuming the betting public will be on the Lions hot and heavy, if they aren’t already. What are the sharps doing, though? Where are they going to lean?

The Seahawks thrive in chaos. The Seahawks love being the underdogs. The Seahawks constantly defy expectations when you least expect it. There’s no real rational reason to pick the Seahawks to win this game. But, winning this game – dirty and ugly – is the most Seahawky thing I can think of. Especially if they go down 7-0 early in the first quarter.

There’s been nothing but bad vibes permeating throughout Seahawksland this week. Everything that could go wrong DID go wrong last week. We’re all just bracing for the 0-2 start, and the obituaries that will surely follow.

But, isn’t that what Week 2 is all about? Trying to figure out what’s real, and what’s an overreaction?

Look at fantasy. Think about all the players who stunk up the joint last week. Hell, I had a number of them on my teams! Tee “Zero Catches” Higgins, Joe Burrow, Christian Kirk, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Elijah Mitchell, the Steelers’ defense; they all did nothing or next-to-nothing last week. Meanwhile, Jordan Love, Zay Flowers, Brandon Aiyuk, Tyler Allgeier, Puka Nacua, Matthew Stafford, Jordan Addison, the Jets’ defense; they all killed it in week 1 (many of them for my bench, or on the waiver pile). Are all of those guys who stunk going to continue to suck? Of course not; I would bet on most of them turning it around this very week. Similarly, will Jordan Love play at an MVP clip, and will Flowers, Nacua, and Addison never have ANY rookie pitfalls? Of course not.

Guys have bad games. The good ones tend to bounce back the very next week. I still believe the Seahawks have a number of good guys on their team.

The question will be: is this a fundamental, deeply-rooted problem that goes beyond the individual talent level of guys like Dre’Mont Jones, D.K. Metcalf, Bobby Wagner, and Geno Smith? Is it the scheme? The coaching staff? The head coach? The general manager?

We’ll find out. For what it’s worth, I like the Seahawks to cover +4.5. I also don’t hate the notion of the Seahawks winning outright, but a 30-something percent chance – as I mentioned before – feels a little high. My fear is that the Seahawks look 1,000% better than they did last week, but they still fall short at the end. Either the Lions score late to win it, or we have the ball with two minutes to go and Geno is running for his life and getting sacked for his trouble.

0-2, here we come.

Is Geno Smith A Top 10 Quarterback In 2023?

There’s a lot of Top 10 lists being thrown around nowadays when it comes to the NFL. You know, it’s still pre pre-season, most of the important free agents have signed with teams, and there just isn’t much going on. The calm before the storm, if you will.

So, to get everyone all riled up, media outlets create fake outrage (in the absence of legitimate outrage, which will surely be coming, if it isn’t already here – NFL running backs being underpaid and whatnot) to get everyone talking about football. It’s how we keep the NFL on the front of everyone’s mind 24/7/365.

They’ve been doing this series of Top 10 lists by position group, and save D.K. Metcalf (I think), the Seahawks can’t seem to buy any representation. Hell, even Pete Carroll can’t get a Top 10 nod, being ranked behind the likes of Brian Daboll, Kyle Shanahan, among other coaches who don’t have the resume Pete has. Other than PFF being responsible for that head coach list, I don’t really know where these are coming from. Is it ESPN? NFL.com? Other? I don’t really care.

Other than the head coaching thing, I kind of understand why the Seahawks aren’t among the Top 10 in anything. Outside of D.K., who is our biggest star? I would argue our very best players are so young, they haven’t had a chance to really prove themselves. There’s a variety of rookies from the last couple drafts (including 2023) who I believe will turn into studs, if they aren’t there already. So, you know what? Disrespect them now! Put another chip on their shoulders! I read on Twitter that the Seahawks were iced out of the top 32 in NFL offensive tackles; great! Stupendous! Charles Cross and Abe Lucas see that, and they’re coming for you!

But, if anyone might have a gripe, I think it’s Geno Smith. I think he might be a Top 10 quarterback, and he’s being summarily dismissed once again in the eyes of the know-it-all pundits.

Not all of them. There are always contrarians out there willing to go to bat for Geno. But, it’s weird just the same.

We’re not making a case for All Time Top 10. We’re just talking about the Top 10 quarterbacks heading into 2023. It’s a prediction, based on last year’s production, and what you think is possible for this year.

The usual suspects round out the very top of this list: Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert. On the next tier down, I think you can make an argument for Lamar Jackson, Kirk Cousins, Tua Tagovailoa, Trevor Lawrence, Jared Goff, Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, and even Aaron Rodgers; they all have flaws, but I think they have to be in the conversation just the same.

And I would put Geno Smith squarely in that group in the second tier.

So, we’re locking in the Top 5, in some order: Mahomes, Burrow, Allen, Hurts, Herbert. What about the next five?

Well, I think you have to consider the very real injury risks coming with the likes of Tua, Dak, Lamar, and Stafford. Stafford’s arm is about to fall off, plus the talent around him is depleted. Even if he plays in 2023, I don’t think he’ll be better than Geno. When you take away the Dak injury, he was still wildly inconsistent, and good for at least a mistake a game that might cost ’em. At this point, the bloom is off the rose and I don’t think I would rank him over Geno. Lamar, as a running quarterback, is taking a massive amount of hits over the average pocket passer or scrambler. He isn’t the smartest about avoiding contact, and frankly he’s not the passer that Geno is. Other than Mark Andrews, who is he throwing to? Now that he’s been given the massive contract he was looking for, will he be as motivated? I have a lot of doubts about Lamar, most of all: is he a winner? In the regular season, sure, but I think I’d rather have Geno in a playoff game, all things considered. And, we all know what’s going on with Tua. He’s legit elite in that offense, and could be a Top 5 QB when healthy. But, one more big hit to the head might end his career. No thanks.

Aaron Rodgers is an interesting case here. He definitely wasn’t a Top 10 quarterback in 2022; he was legitimately bad! A lot of that, I’m sure, had to do with the loss of Davante Adams, though it’s concerning because great QBs are supposed to elevate the talent around them. I just think A-Rod was done with Green Bay prior to last season, but they couldn’t move him for a variety of reasons, so they had to eat a sub-par year out of him before sending him on his way. Rodgers has elite receivers in New York. Presumably, the O-Line will be fine, though they might also be terrible (which would worry me). More than anything, I wonder if his heart is in it anymore. He’s getting up there. He’s got a world of interests outside of football. He spent a significant portion of this offseason contemplating whether or not he would play again. And, everyone is already crowning the Jets as the next Super Team, which is always cause for concern. BUT, on the flipside, everyone is already counting Rodgers out. There’s a significant portion of the talking heads out there who are dismissing the Jets for all the reasons I just mentioned. And people are taking every opportunity to clown on Rodgers for his … everything (personality, beliefs, political leanings, etc.). In that respect, part of me wonders if he goes Scorched Earth on the NFL for one more year. I mean, he was just the MVP back-to-back years in 2021 and 2022, so you can’t entirely rule him out.

As for Cousins and Goff, I think there’s enough of a sample for both of them to see where they’re lacking. They play up against the bad teams, but don’t always show up against the good ones. There’s enough mistakes in their game to make them total wild cards on any given week. And, with Trevor Lawrence, last year was really his first with any sort of coaching competence around him. And, in spite of that, Geno still out-performed him in most every major category.

This isn’t to say I think Geno Smith is perfect, or even the best option of all of these Tier 2 guys. He has his own mistake issues. He’ll throw a back-breaking interception, drop a killer fumble, or allow defensive pressure to get the best of him. And he also only has the one season of quality play.

But, Geno was Top 10 in total yards (8th, with 4,282), was 4th in passer rating among quarterbacks who played in at least 13 games, he led the league in completion percentage among qualified passers, he averaged 7.5 yards per attempt (7th in football among QBs who played in at least 13 games), and was one of only 8 quarterbacks who played in all 17 games. He also had the 4th most touchdown passes with 30.

I think in aggregate – based on all of the above – you have to put Geno in the Top 10. That doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to be there at season’s end. But, knowing what we know now, about him and the rest of the league, when you factor in his ability, the talent and coaching around him, I would put him in the Top 10, and I’m as much of a doubter as anyone.

Will Russell Wilson Be A Hall Of Famer?

It feels insane to even ask this. Even one year ago, I would’ve told you, “Absolutely, 100%!” But, after that 2022 season, it’s probably a fair question. I mean, shit, people are going to debate Eli Manning’s worthiness up until (and probably even after) he gets in, and the dude won two Super Bowls and is in the top ten of all time passing yardage leaders; you don’t think people are going to debate someone as polarizing as Russell Wilson?

If Russell Wilson was having this career 30 years ago, it’d be a no-brainer. He’d already be a lock to get into the Hall of Fame. But, times have clearly changed. Guys are passing for more and more yards; it’s easier than ever to be an NFL quarterback! I no longer think it’s a simple matter of hanging around for a long time and passing for a ton of yards. I think you need titles, plural. I think you need an MVP or two. I think you need to make a significant impact upon the NFL, ideally with playoff appearances and victories.

Let’s take Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan, for instance. Both have thrown for over 60,000 yards; only 8 players have ever done so (Aaron Rodgers will be the 9th, if he plays again next year). There’s even a legitimate question about those two guys, though! Ryan has one Super Bowl appearance (that he famously lost), and Rivers doesn’t even have that. Ryan probably has a little bit of an edge, given that he was the Rookie of the Year and later an MVP, but he’s also only cracked the Pro Bowl four times in his career, and has had plenty of infuriating and underwhelming seasons to his credit.

Wilson, right now, sits at 21 in total passing yards with 40,583. Even if he just repeats his abysmal 2022 season, he’ll get to around 18th in 2023. He’s only 34 years old and has every intention of playing until he’s 40 or beyond. Presumably, even it if means bouncing from team to team, taking whatever chances to start that he can get. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t get to at least 50,000 yards passing, and if he does find a way to start for another six years, that probably gets him over the hump of 60,000. But, again, will that – and one title – be enough?

We’ll have to take into consideration what the league looks like by the time Wilson hangs ’em up. Mahomes will be skyrocketing up the passing yardage rankings, as will Burrow, Allen, Herbert, and maybe even Lawrence. He almost certainly will have played an entire career without so much as an MVP vote, let alone an MVP award. And, with the way he’s playing as he ages, I’m finding it harder and harder to believe he’s got another ring in him. The longer that goes on, the more people are going to recognize that 2013 Seahawks team for what it was: the genius of Pete Carroll and John Schneider, and the dominance of Marshawn Lynch and the L.O.B. It’s already swinging back in that direction after years of trying to shoehorn Wilson in there as the catalyst (of which I bought in as much as anyone).

And then there’s the Popularity Contest part of the Hall of Fame voting. You need a media person to plead your case to the committee. Is he well liked by the media? Given his boring, robotic quotes in literally every single interview, I’m guessing not. Is he liked at all? If Kyle Brandt’s not-even-hot take is at all representative of the greater American football media, it wouldn’t shock me if Wilson doesn’t have someone champing at the bit to vouch for him. Jake Heaps isn’t even on the radio anymore, for crying out loud!

I’ll admit, I’m really torn. There’s part of me that wants to see Russell Wilson succeed again, but I think in general I’m going to have a hard time rooting for him in a Broncos uniform. I think a lot of that has to do with me just not liking that particular team. I also have very little love for the Walmart family just based on their business practices alone. But, there’s also that need for the Seahawks to be correct in their decision-making. If Russell Wilson bounces back and leads the Broncos to the Super Bowl, that makes them look better than us. But, if he bounces back with his next team, then we’re an organization removed from this trade, and I can start to see myself rooting for a Wilson comeback (unless he returns to the NFC West to play for one of our rivals, then fuck him).

If I just take the last couple years out of it and stick to the good ol’ days, there are a TON of fond memories. All I would have to do is search Russell Wilson Seahawks Highlights on YouTube and there’d be countless compilation videos of him doing amazing, wonderful, magical things. You look at the Seahawks’ records in those seasons, you look at his records on the stat sheet, it all boils down to the best quarterback this organization has ever had.

When Russell Wilson retires, I’m sure we’ll get right back there. But, you can’t disregard what’s gone down the last two years. His vocal discontent in the media. His talking about a trade demand, followed by the next offseason actually following through on that demand. The way he made things miserable for this organization in his final season here. The way every contract he signed hamstrung this team in ways Tom Brady’s never has. Our worst nightmare – once it became clear Wilson was a star in this league – was him turning into a Me First diva. That’s exactly what happened, and it made the Seahawks actively worse as a result.

It’s not totally unforgivable, but it’s going to take some time to get over. You learn a lot about what kind of guy someone is the longer he stays around with the same team. I think we wanted to desperately to believe Russell Wilson was infallible, that we couldn’t see he was actually the cancer in this organization all along.

But, getting back to the original question, I would say right now, he is not a hall of famer. If he doesn’t win another title, he probably needs another 10-15 thousand more yards. And, even if he does manage to win one more, I’m guessing it’ll be more about the team around him than what he’s able to do slinging the ball. If that’s the case, I think he’s Eli 2.0, and it might take him a while to get over the hump.

Then again, he got his ultimate wish of having Sean Payton becoming his head coach, so I definitely won’t rule out a crazy Russell Wilson Second Act!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: Screwed By My Own Incompetence

My team is not good, and it was on full display this weekend as I lost to You Dropped Your Dildo 170.60 to 132.20. If I could go back in time and cherry pick my perfect roster, I would have prevailed, but that’s the thing about points on your bench, isn’t it? You’re supposed to take solace in the fact that your logic might’ve been sound for the decisions you made, but you still take the L, don’t you?

So, I guess I have to play Justin Fields every week now. That’s four weeks in a row of 20 or more points, which isn’t much in any fantasy football scoring system, but it’s especially unimpressive in our 2-QB league. Yet, I’d kill for a quarterback who averages 20+ points per game, given the fucking paltry numbers I’ve gotten this season. How many of these last four weeks have I had Fields in my lineup? Two. Two of the four. Incidentally, the first two of the four. The last two of the four – the most two recent games – he’s managed 25 and 31 points, against the Patriots and Cowboys. Those are serious defenses! That means this is something close to legit.

Of course, now that he’s locked into my starting lineup regardless of opponent, watch him fucking shit his fucking pants. God fucking dammit I fucking hate fantasy fucking football.

Anyway, that was a bummer. Fields’ 31 points on my bench, while Davis Mills got me a whopping 10 and Mac Jones got me 13. For some reason, even though Mac Jones has sucked like no one has ever sucked before – he has yet to score over 15 fantasy points this season – I thought it was a good idea to play him over Fields, who is clearly starting to find his fantasy footing. I’m an idiot.

I did get to enjoy Tony Pollard, the Philly defense, and CeeDee Lamb’s consistent awesomeness, but they weren’t nearly enough. I ran into a buzzsaw. I’m slowly getting closer to having the most points scored against me, right now I’m 8 behind the leader.

I’m in a bit of a sticky spot this week, as the Cowboys are on a BYE, which means my best receiver is down, as well as two of my running backs. So, I’ve gotta find a way to mop up with the dudes on my roster. Have a looksee:

  • Justin Fields (QB) vs. Mia
  • Mac Jones (QB) vs. Ind
  • Gabe Davis (WR) @ NYJ
  • Romeo Doubs (WR) @ Det
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) @ Ari
  • Brian Robinson (RB) vs. Min
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Was
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ Ari
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. Car
  • Philadelphia (DEF) @ Hou

I’m SOOOOO ready to write off Mac Jones, as I think he’s a garbage piece of shit football player. But, he has a considerably better matchup over Davis Mills, who is going up against the Eagles. In the end, it might not matter, as Mac Jones will probably turn it over three times, but what can you do?

I nabbed Doubs last week before Sunday’s games started, when I was finally allowed to put Zeke Elliott into my IR slot. I’m keeping Zeke in my IR slot through the BYE week, because fuck the world. Anyway, Doubs had a nice bounce-back last week (getting 16 points for my bench) after three straight games of less than 10 points. I would hope – if he has any future in this league whatsoever – that he’ll feast against the Lions’ secondary.

Also, big ups on D.K. Metcalf for playing last week, after what seemed like a serious knee injury. I don’t know if he’s going to make it the whole year on that leg, but if he could replicate the 17 points he got for my bench last week, I’d be happy.

T.J. Hockenson was traded to the Vikings this week, which seems like a boost for him long-term, but will probably mean he’s hardly involved at all in the game this week. I’m expecting a 0 from my tight end spot, so anything above that will be gravy.

I don’t know how playable Brian Robinson is going to be for me this year, outside of an injury replacement or BYE weeks. His O-Line is a steaming turd, and they refuse to throw him the ball.

This week, I face Korky Butchek, who has to be bummed he only gets to play me once this year. Here’s who he’s got:

  • Joe Burrow (QB) vs. Car
  • Trevor Lawrence (QB) vs. LV
  • A.J. Brown (WR) @ Hou
  • Tyler Boyd (WR) vs. Car
  • David Montgomery (RB) vs. Mia
  • D’Andre Swift (RB) vs. GB
  • TBD (TE) vs. TBD
  • D.J. Moore (WR) @ Cin
  • Daniel Carlson (K) @ Jax
  • Indianapolis (DEF) @ NE

Every time I go up against D.J. Moore, he gets a shit-ton of points. Indeed, it seems like whenever I go up against ANY #1 Carolina receiver through the years, I get burned. It’s annoying.

How Long Will It Take The Seahawks To Find Their Franchise Quarterback?

19 of the 32 NFL head coaches were hired in 2020 or later. That gives you some idea of the kind of turnover we’re talking about in the league. It also gives you a little bit of an idea of how many well-run franchises are out there. The teams with head coaches hired since 2020 by and large haven’t been very good. There are exceptions, of course; Tampa and New Orleans had legit guys either retire or take a year off. But, for the most part, when you think of the worst-run franchises in the NFL – the Giants, Jets, Texans, Jags, Bears, Lions, Commanders, Browns – and even the mediocre franchises – Panthers, Cowboys, Falcons, Dolphins, Eagles, Vikings, Raiders, Chargers – they’re all on this list.

I would say the best-run orgs with new head coaches are the Broncos, Saints, and Bucs. The Broncos just made a huge move to bring in Russell Wilson. The Saints are on year two of trying to replace Drew Brees. And we’re well aware of the Bucs and how they’ve done with Tom Brady.

It’s no coincidence that to win in the NFL – and therefore to be considered a well-run organization – you need a quality quarterback. But, even that doesn’t guarantee anything. Do we think the Bengals are a well-run organization? Of course not. But, they lucked into Joe Burrow, who seems to be a generational talent. Do we think the Cardinals are well-run? No way! But, they’re saddled with Kyler Murray through a second contract, and we’ll get to watch them fail to make a Super Bowl for many years to come. The Titans and Colts have won a lot of games in recent years, but I don’t think either franchise is super thrilled with their quarterback situations.

What I’m trying to get at here is the Chicken/Egg question: are well-run organizations more prone to finding quality franchise quarterbacks? Or, is it the quality franchise quarterback that makes an organization appear to be well-run?

What makes it tricky is the fact that head coaches don’t usually get opportunities to stick around through multiple quarterback changes. Either the coach finds his quarterback, and they make a pact to run it back for a long time, or the coach is brought in after the quarterback is already in place – maybe having underachieved during a prior head coach – and they make a pact to run it back for a long time. But, very rarely – especially in today’s game – do you bring in a coach, and he sticks around beyond the one main guy.

Bill Belichick, obviously, went from Drew Bledsoe to Tom Brady to Mac Jones (we’ll see on how good Jones ends up being). If Mac Jones pans out, I think that speaks very highly of Belichick and the organization as a whole being an environment that’s able to foster quarterback development. But, he’s also the greatest head coach of all time, so what are we talking about here? He’s a one of one. If anyone can do something like that, it’s him.

The Steelers will be an excellent case study, because Mike Tomlin is the second-longest tenured head coach in football, and as a whole they are considered to be probably a top five organization. They’re moving on from Ben Roethlisberger for the first time since Tomlin has been there. If they can turn Kenny Pickett into a star – especially when he wasn’t graded out super-high in this poor overall draft class for quarterbacks – then that’s another notch in the belt of Organization being more important than simply finding a fluke of a quarterback in the lottery that is the NFL Draft.

The Ravens succeeded pretty well in transitioning from Joe Flacco to Lamar Jackson (and even Tyler Huntley balled out in limited duty); the fact that they’ve won as much as they have speaks volumes. The Chiefs obviously hit the aforementioned lottery with Patrick Mahomes, but would he be the consensus #1 quarterback alive without Andy Reid’s system? The Rams certainly took it to another level when they brought Matthew Stafford into the fold, but they were winning at a tremendous clip with Jared Goff of all people. The 49ers have been pretty injury-prone under Shanahan, but he’s definitely built up a solid overall roster, and if Trey Lance hits, I think that’s another feather in his cap.

Clearly, this is all preamble before I talk about the Seahawks. I would put the Seahawks up there – at least in the top 10, if not the top 5 – in well-run organizations. But, maybe that’s mistaken. Maybe that’s the homer in me. After all, we’re talking about the VAST majority of our success coming in years where Russell Wilson was the starting quarterback. Clearly, we fared a lot better when we had a bomb-ass team around him – a bomb-ass team built through Pete Carroll and this organization – but even when the team around him faltered, Russell Wilson kept things afloat, almost by himself.

Before Russell Wilson, it was two years of rebuilding, with mediocre quarterback play (though, to be fair, I don’t know if even Russ could’ve won with the collection of “talent” we had in 2010 and 2011). Now, in 2022, it’ll be just the third season without Wilson at the helm for Pete Carroll & Co.

One thing’s for sure: I don’t believe our next franchise quarterback is on the roster at the moment. Geno Smith is a mediocre quarterback at best, Drew Lock might be even worse, and Jacob Eason seems to be destined for the XFL or USFL or working at a car dealership. Best case scenario, 2022 will be a rebuilding year akin to 2011. If everything goes right and we’re able to build up the roster around the quarterback position, maybe we luck into that franchise guy in 2023 and beyond.

Assuming we don’t trade for Jimmy G – who I would not place in that franchise quarterback bucket, especially since now we’re talking about not one but two teams who’ve given up on him – then we’re talking about 2023 at the earliest. But, even if we’re bad this year – which most people agree that we’ll be in the bottom 10, and maybe bottom 5 – that’s no guarantee that the guy we draft next year will be The Next Russell Wilson, or The Next Fill-In-The-Blank.

Think about all of those teams who’ve hired a new head coach since 2020. You don’t think they tried repeatedly to draft their franchise guy? For some of those organizations, that’s all they ever do! The Bears are STILL trying to find The Next Sid Luckman!

But, I also believe there’s something to the notion that better teams – with a solid foundation in place, both in coaching, as well as personnel – are better able to find those franchise guys, just as they’re better able to win with perhaps sub-par guys (see: the Titans). We’ll find out how true that is with the Seahawks, when they presumably draft a quarterback next year in one of the first three rounds (almost certainly in the first round, but you never know). I think that’ll give us a pretty good sense of what we’re dealing with here. There’s a good contingent of Pete Carroll haters out there – or, at least, Pete Carroll doubters – and I think they’re all of the same mind, that this team needs a breath of fresh air before we go out and find the next quarterback. I disagree. I want Pete Carroll here during these uncertain times. Why? Because he led us out of the wilderness during the LAST period of uncertainty.

Growing up, the Seahawks went from being a relatively well-run organization – through at least the early portion of the Chuck Knox era – to without question the worst-run organization. We were a laughingstock in the late 80s and early 90s. Really, it wasn’t until we hired Mike Holmgren before things turned around. He built us into winners. I don’t think that’s a coincidence, just as I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Pete Carroll was able to do what he did in the last decade. Winners find a way to win. They attract other winners.

Obviously, it’s fair to question whether or not the game has passed Carroll by. I think that’s the argument for a lot of the doubters. We’ll see. I think he’ll get through this year no matter what our record is. Then, I think he’ll get 2023 to see if we can turn things around and start looking competitive again. If we fade in 2023, then I highly doubt he’ll have 2024 or beyond to do anything.

The next two years will say a lot about the question of Organization vs. Quarterback. Can we find and develop the next franchise guy? Can we win with just an okay guy? If not, then there’s no way this doesn’t get blown up by 2024. And if THAT comes to fruition, then who the fuck knows how long it’ll take to find our next franchise quarterback? We could be talking decades!

2024, not so coincidentally, will also likely coincide with the Seahawks potentially being sold to a new ownership group. That’s something else to keep in mind. Maybe that’s a reason to keep Carroll an extra year or two, to make the transition. But, all that uncertainty might make a clean break ideal for all parties, especially if the Seahawks are bottom-dwellers over the next couple seasons.