A Look Back at the Impressive Draft History of the John Schneider Era

With the draft coming up in a couple days, it’s always fun to look back at all the success the Seahawks have had in their current regime, overhauling a franchise in the toilet and propping it up as world champions.  You don’t get this good, this fast, without some remarkable drafting and some remarkable coaching.  Who can say if all of these guys would have been just as good under the tutelage of lesser men?  What we know is that a lot of these guys panned out in a big way, thanks to the system we have in place.

To give the full picture, you actually have to go back to the 2009 draft, when we had Jim Mora Jr. as our head coach and Tim Ruskell calling the shots on the personnel side.

Like all of Ruskell’s drafts after his first one back in 2005 – where he nabbed Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill, to solidify the middle of our defense – his 2009 class was a huge disaster.  The Seahawks had the #4 pick and wasted it on a bust of a player in Aaron Curry.  Given the downward trajectory of the franchise at that point, you had to wonder where Ruskell found his erroneous sense of job security, as he traded away Seattle’s second round pick (37th overall) to the Denver Broncos for a 2010 first round pick (to further confuse matters, the Seahawks ended up trading 3rd & 4th rounders to get back into the second round – 49th overall – to select Max Unger, the last bit of good from the Ruskell regime).

With that 2010 first round pick, however, the Seahawks would build their dynasty.  As we’re all well aware, the 2009 Seahawks ended up being a trainwreck just like the 2008 variety, leading the franchise to earn the #6 draft pick in 2010.  The 2009 Broncos did their part by going 8-8 and failing to make the playoffs, which meant that their first round draft pick (which was now ours) was 14th overall.

While the 2010 draft wasn’t quite up to the elite level of the 2012 class, it seriously jumpstarted things in a big way.

  • First Round, #6 – Russell Okung (LT)
  • First Round, #14 – Earl Thomas (S)
  • Second Round, #60 – Golden Tate (WR)
  • Fourth Round, #111 – Walter Thurmond (CB)
  • Fourth Round, #127 – E.J. Wilson (DE)
  • Fifth Round, #133 – Kam Chancellor (S)
  • Sixth Round, #185 – Anthony McCoy (TE)
  • Seventh Round, #236 – Dexter Davis (DE)
  • Seventh Round, #245 – Jameson Konz (WR/TE/DE/FB)

Of note is that the Seahawks were originally slated to draft much earlier in the second round, but ended up swapping picks with San Diego (along with giving them a third rounder in 2011) to trade for Charlie Whitehurst.  So, you can’t tell me there weren’t some roadblocks in the early going of the John Schneider era.

Also, it wasn’t all peaches and cream out of Tim Ruskell in the 2009 draft, as he sold off our 2010 third round pick to get Deon Butler in that 2009 class.  The Seahawks also ended up trading back in the 4th & 6th rounds with Tennessee to grab LenDale White and Kevin Vickerson.  Vickerson proved to be an adequate defensive tackle; White never made the roster.

In a much happier deal, the Seahawks acquired their extra fourth round pick (which they used on E.J. Wilson, who didn’t pan out) and managed to get Chris Clemons from the Eagles (who very much DID pan out), and all we had to give up was Darryl Tapp.

More deals to come.  The Seahawks traded away their original fifth round pick to the Jets for Leon Washington and the Jets’ 7th round pick.  But, the Seahawks got back into the fifth round (ahead of their original pick) in a deal with Detroit where we also received some defensive end, where we only gave up Rob Sims (a guard who was never all that good with the Seahawks) and a seventh round pick.  The Seahawks would use that pick to draft Kam Chancellor, locking down their two starting safeties in the same class.

As far as I can tell, the Seahawks didn’t really get much from the undrafted free agent class of 2010, though Lemuel Jeanpierre and Breno Giacomini were both brought in that year.  And, obviously, the Seahawks would bring in Marshawn Lynch via trade during the season.  But, when you look at that draft class, you’ve got 6 key contributors, including 4 starters (Okung, Thomas, Tate, and Chancellor) and great ones at that.

That brings us to 2011, or the mule of the John Schneider draft classes.  It gets a lot of flack for being mediocre, but upon further review was pretty underrated.

To kick things off, the 7-9 Seahawks of 2010 were stupidly allowed into the playoffs by way of winning one of the worst divisions in recorded NFL history.  Even though that team had literally no chance of winning the Super Bowl, it still made some noise with the Beastquake run and the unlikely upset of the previous year’s Super Bowl champion Saints.  Of course, the Seahawks would go on to lose the very next week in Chicago, meaning that for all the hubbub, the Seahawks would end up picking 25th overall in the 2011 draft.

If you were like me, you saw this as a sign of doom.  The 2010 Seahawks were not good.  Not by a longshot.  And, to be hampered with drafting so low in the first round (and in subsequent rounds) would only set things back that much further.  Apparently unable to find a partner with which to trade back, the Seahawks made that selection James Carpenter, who started as our right tackle before getting bumped inside to guard.  Everyone thought this was a reach, and history has proven this to be true; Carpenter was adequate at best, but not a true impact player you’d hope to get in the first round.  Nevertheless, he was a starter all four years, so he wasn’t quite the crime against humanity everyone makes him out to be (indeed, his current salary with the Jets would speak to how other teams have come to value his strong run blocking abilities).

  • First Round, #25 – James Carpenter (OL)
  • Third Round, #75 – John Moffitt (G)
  • Fourth Round, #99 – K.J. Wright (LB)
  • Fourth Round, #107 – Kris Durham (WR)
  • Fifth Round, #154 – Richard Sherman (CB)
  • Fifth Round, #156 – Mark LeGree (S)
  • Sixth Round, #173 – Byron Maxwell (CB)
  • Seventh Round, #205 – Lazarius Levingston (DE)
  • Seventh Round, #242 – Malcolm Smith (LB)

The Seahawks ended up trading away their second round pick to the Lions to pick up an extra third & fourth round picks (used on Moffitt and Durham).  Recall they gave away their original third round pick in 2010 to get Charlie Whitehurst.  All in all, nothing too impressive with any of these moves, as Whitehurst was a bust, Moffitt ended up getting traded to Denver after a mediocre rookie season, and Durham never panned out with Seattle.  In that same Lions trade, the Seahawks moved up in the fifth and seventh rounds, which they used to grab Richard Sherman (GREAT!) and Lazarius Levingston (WHO?).

The Seahawks gave up their original fourth round pick in the Marshawn Lynch trade (as well as a conditional 2012 pick that ended up being a fifth rounder).  However, the Seahawks got back into the fourth round by trading Deion Branch back to the Patriots.  Branch was a turd sandwich in Seattle, and we used the pick we got from the Pats to grab K.J. Wright, who has been a stalwart for our linebacking corps.

That above trade wasn’t the last time we’d deal with the Lions.  In a spectacular move, the Seahawks traded away former bust under the Ruskell regime, Lawrence Jackson, to get the Lions’ sixth round pick, which we used to grab Byron Maxwell, a huge part of our success in his final two years here (and a great special teamer and backup overall).  That made up for giving away our original sixth round pick to the 49ers for Kentwan Balmer, who would go on to be cut prior to the 2011 season.

To wrap things up, the Seahawks traded their original seventh rounder to Philly for an offensive lineman who did nothing.  However, the Seahawks were granted a compensatory pick, which we used on Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith.

Among the 2011 undrafted free agents, we have Doug Baldwin (WR), Ricardo Lockette (WR), Jeron Johnson (S), and Mike Morgan (LB).  This would also be the year the Seahawks took a flyer on Brandon Browner from the CFL, among many other free agent acquisitions.

When you look at the haul of just the rookies, though, you’re talking about 10 contributors, including 5 starters (Carpenter, Wright, Sherman, Maxwell (eventually), and Baldwin).

That brings us to 2012, or one of the greatest draft classes you’ll ever see.  The 2011 were again 7-9, but thankfully weren’t saddled with a futile playoff appearance.  As such, they were granted the 12th overall selection, which they promptly traded to Philly to move back to 15.  The Seahawks were granted picks in the fourth (Jaye Howard, DT) and sixth round (Jeremy Lane, CB), and away we go!

  • First Round, #15 – Bruce Irvin (DE/LB)
  • Second Round, #47 – Bobby Wagner (LB)
  • Third Round, #75 – Russell Wilson (QB)
  • Fourth Round, #106 – Robert Turbin (RB)
  • Fourth Round, #114 – Jaye Howard (DT)
  • Fifth Round, #154 – Korey Toomer (LB)
  • Sixth Round, #172 – Jeremy Lane (CB)
  • Sixth Round, #181 – Winston Guy (S)
  • Seventh Round, #225 – J.R. Sweezy (G)
  • Seventh Round, #232 – Greg Scruggs (DE)

Not to be stopped, the Seahawks traded back in the second round as well, this time with the Jets.  We would pick up extra picks in the fifth and seventh rounds (Toomer & Scruggs, respectively).  That one didn’t totally pan out, though I would argue injuries to both players hampered their ability to make a significant impact early in their careers.  Nevertheless, you can sense a theme:  the Seahawks wanted as many picks in this draft as possible, as it was laden with talent.

No more trades until the seventh round, where the Seahawks got the pick they’d use to nab Sweezy from the Raiders, in addition to a conditional 2013 pick (which ended up being in the fifth round) for the privilege of jettisoning Aaron Curry (who would only last with the Raiders for a little over a year before being waived).  The Seahawks did trade away their original seventh rounder for Tyler Polumbus (from the Lions), who was a starter here, but wasn’t any good.

The Seahawks also got Jermaine Kearse (WR) and DeShawn Shead (CB) from the ranks of the undrafted free agents.  All told, this class netted the Seahawks 9 contributors, with 5 starters (Irvin, Wagner, Wilson, Sweezy, and Kearse), with Lane expected to start this year, given the big money he made this offseason to re-sign with the Seahawks.

Obviously, the 2012 squad made a huge leap, thanks to the Seahawks’ tremendous draft success.  In those three classes alone, you’re talking about 14 starters, and 25 contributors overall.  The 11-5 record, and first round victory against the Redskins, meant the Seahawks would draft 25th again in the first round in 2013 (as they did back in 2011).  In something of a stunner of a move, the Seahawks would trade away this pick, as well as its seventh rounder, and a 2014 third rounder, for the right to get Percy Harvin and sign him to an ill-advised huge free agent deal.

  • Second Round, #62 – Christine Michael (RB)
  • Third Round, #87 – Jordan Hill (DT)
  • Fourth Round, #123 – Chris Harper (WR)
  • Fifth Round, #137 – Jesse Williams (DT)
  • Fifth Round, #138 – Tharold Simon (CB)
  • Fifth Round, #158 – Luke Willson (TE)
  • Sixth Round, #194 – Spencer Ware (RB)
  • Seventh Round, #220 – Ryan Seymour (OL)
  • Seventh Round, #231 – Ty Powell (DE)
  • Seventh Round, #241 – Jared Smith (OL)
  • Seventh Round, #242 – Michael Bowie (OL)

The 2013 draft has proven to be the real dog of the John Schneider classes.  Nevertheless, let’s run through the moves that got it to where it was.  As a volume drafter, Schneider found multiple ways to recoup draft picks after spending so much on Percy Harvin.

To start, the Seahawks moved back in the second round, from 56 to 62, and received from the Ravens a fifth and a sixth (165 & 199).  As you can see from above, the Seahawks didn’t draft at either of those positions.  That’s because the Seahawks traded both of those picks to the Lions to get pick #137 (Williams) at the top of the fifth round.  The very next selection came from the Raiders in the Aaron Curry deal, which we used on Simon (who has been good, but has never been healthy).

The flurry of seventh rounders (none of whom were worth a damn) came from the Saints (pick 220, for some linebacker we gave them), and a couple of compensatory picks (#241 & #242).

Alvin Bailey was the only notable undrafted free agent in this class; he was a quality reserve along the offensive line, but nothing more.  All told, the Seahawks only managed to get one eventual starter in this class (Luke Willson, who has only been a starter thanks to injuries to Zach Miller and Jimmy Graham), and three other contributors (Michael, Hill, and Simon), though Spencer Ware got a crack at a job with the Chiefs and seems to be pretty good.

We all know what happened with that 2013 team, built on a rock solid foundation of draft picks.  Following that year, the team started to get picked apart a little bit, with free agents going to other teams.  With the 2013 class already looking like a bummer, the pressure was on John Schneider to right the ship with a banner 2014 draft.  He started it off by trading away our first round pick to the Vikings for a second straight year.  The Vikings would select Teddy Bridgewater with the 32nd pick in the class; the Seahawks would get Minnesota’s second and fourth round selections (40 & 108 overall).

Before Seattle could make a pick, we traded back again, this time with the Lions.  The Lions picked at 40, and also received our fifth round pick at 146 (which we got from the Raiders for Matt Flynn) in exchange for second, fourth, and seventh rounders from Detroit (45, 111, & 227).  At 45, the Seahawks finally made their first pick, selecting Paul Richardson.

  • Second Round, #45 – Paul Richardson (WR)
  • Second Round, #64 – Justin Britt (OL)
  • Fourth Round, #108 – Cassius Marsh (DE)
  • Fourth Round, #123 – Kevin Norwood (WR)
  • Fourth Round, #132 – Kevin Pierre-Louis (LB)
  • Fifth Round, #172 – Jimmy Staten (DT)
  • Sixth Round, #199 – Garrett Scott (OL)
  • Sixth Round, #208 – Eric Pinkins (DB/LB)
  • Seventh Round, #227 – Kiero Small (FB)

To make up for the loss of our third rounder (to the Vikings, in the Harvin deal the previous year), you can see why the Seahawks wanted to trade back so many times to start the draft.  They were able to pick up two extra fourth rounders.  That pick we got from the Vikings would go to Marsh, who has been a quality reserve and special teamer.  The Seahawks would use that 111th pick to trade with the Bengals to get pick 123 (Norwood) and an extra sixth rounder (Scott, who never made the team due to health concerns).  That seventh rounder from Detroit ended up being Kiero Small, who also didn’t make the team (the Seahawks would trade away their original seventh round pick to the Raiders for Terrelle Pryor, who never amounted to much of anything).

Among the undrafted free agents, we grabbed Garry Gilliam (OL), Brock Coyle (LB), and Dion Bailey (S).  At first glance, this class doesn’t look any more impressive than the 2013 class, but there are a number of under-the-radar players in there.  Right now, we’re looking at 2 starters (Britt and Gilliam), with four other contributors (Richardson, Marsh, KPL, and Coyle).  Depth guys, special teams guys, people to round out the roster.  When you figure so many of this team’s starters were already on the team ahead of this class, it’s not like you’re talking about a huge number of available openings.  Granted, a lot of this class hinges on Britt and Gilliam improving, and Richardson remaining healthy for a full season.  Should they fail, then you could make an argument that THIS is indeed the worst class of the John Schneider era.  But, until another couple years pass, it’s still TBD.

A second Super Bowl appearance for the 2014 squad meant that the 2015 Seahawks would be drafting quite low again.  With the obvious disaster of the Harvin trade looming over the franchise, the Seahawks opted to take another swing for the fences, trading away their first rounder (along with Max Unger) to the Saints for Jimmy Graham (and their fourth round pick, #112 overall).  We kick off the 2015 draft DEEP into the second round, with a controversial pick in Frank Clark (with domestic abuse allegations swirling around him, yet with an obvious cliff after him with regards to pass rushers in this draft class).

  • Second Round, #63 – Frank Clark (DE)
  • Third Round, #69 – Tyler Lockett (WR)
  • Fourth Round, #130 – Terry Poole (OL)
  • Fourth Round, #134 – Mark Glowinski (G)
  • Fifth Round, #170 – Tye Smith (CB)
  • Sixth Round, #209 – Obum Gwacham (DE)
  • Sixth Round, #214 – Kristjan Sokoli (OL)
  • Seventh Round, #248 – Ryan Murphy (DB)

The Seahawks had a ton of extra picks in this draft, which I’ll get to below.  They used a package of third (95), fourth (112), fifth (167), and sixth (181) round picks to move up to #69 from the Redskins.  That pick at 95 was our original third rounder.  That fourth rounder at 112 came from the Saints in the Jimmy Graham deal.  That fifth rounder at 167 was our original fifth rounder.  And that sixth rounder at 181 came from the Jets when we gave them Percy Harvin.  So, obviously, we sent away two picks that we got in deals, and two original picks.  We were more than happy to do so because 1) Tyler Lockett is a special player, and 2) we had extra picks throughout.

Poole was from our original fourth round pick; Glowinski was from a compensatory pick.  Tye Smith was also a compensatory pick, as were both of our sixth round guys (Gwacham and Sokoli).  That’s what you get when you don’t over-pay to keep your own players who aren’t necessarily worth big-money deals.

The only notable undrafted free agent from 2015 was Thomas Rawls, who very well may be our starting running back in 2016.  Combine him with Lockett (a Pro Bowl returner, and #3 wide receiver), Clark (valued rotation guy on the D-Line), Glowinski (projected starter at right guard in 2016), and Tye Smith (someone who will battle for minutes this pre-season) and you’ve got the makings of a very good draft class, that could be great if some of these players turn into elite starters.

With the 2016 draft class supposedly dripping with talent throughout, it wouldn’t be crazy to see the best Seahawks draft class since 2012.  Obviously, we’re drafting pretty low again, this year at #26, but with compenatory selections, the Seahawks already have 9 picks to select from, with a real opportunity to trade down in the first round to pick up some more (and gain some flexibility within the draft, in case we want to move up later).

I’m pretty excited for this year’s draft.  I’m sure I won’t know who these players are when I hear their names, but over the ensuing months, I look forward to getting to know them.

In Other Words …

I feel I owe it to myself to make up for this post.  Good GOD what happened there?

Yeah, so Julius Jones is still a Seahawk.  He’s just a Seahawk making less money than he was supposed to (in exchange, he gets to remain an NFL football player against all rational judgment).

And … Big Play Babs is still a Seahawk!  Hooray!  He’s also a Seahawk making less money, but unlike some people, Babs could have actually gotten work elsewhere had he so desired. 

Vickerson is still not a Seahawk.  I guess that’s about right.  We replaced him with some cast-off from Dallas I think, so that’s pretty much a wash.  Anyone who thought Vickerson was going to be a difference-maker for this defensive line can just go straight to hell.

Craig Terrill is no longer a Seahawk.  That’s one I kinda saw coming early on in camp and frankly left me stunned that he wasn’t in the first round of major cuts.  Yeah, Charlie Hustle guys are nice, I guess, but I’d rather have players who are going to put up some stats as opposed to just take up space.  Everyone loves the Steve Schefflers of the world, but let’s win some football games first before we start scrounging around for feel-good stories.

The only other move that’s somewhat expected (though, at this point, with the 9,000 moves the Seahawks have made this offseason, who can expect anything?) is a potential release of Heather Sean Locklear.  Which could potentially save us a huge chunk of change while at the same time ridding us of one of my all-time loathed players.  This guy’s been riding the coattails of that 2005 offensive line since he was drafted!  He only looked good then because there were 4 other studs to his left picking up all the slack.  Now, he looks like what he is:  a crappy lineman.  The heir to Walter Jones’ throne, huh?  Yeah, how’d that work out for us last season?

Questionable (and not so Questionable) Moves: Jones & Big Play Babs

UPDATE:  I hate ESPN-sanctioned Twitter rumors … Jones still on roster as of right now, 12:35pm Monday September 6th …

And, I guess Kevin Vickerson.  Thereby making that trade with Tennessee entirely pointless.

Ding Dong, The Jones Is Gone!  I hate Julius Jones, I never liked his signing, and I’m glad we’re rid of his worthless ass.  Replacing Shaun Alexander with the likes of him was one of Tim Ruskell’s DUMBEST fucking moves.  Christ, you’re almost always going to get better quickness and production out of a rookie – even a 7th rounder like Forsett – than you are some washed up loser.

Losing Big Play Babs is a little tougher to swallow, but he’s a victim of economics.  Making the money he was looking to make (I think over two mil) doesn’t make much sense given his backup status.  The thing you hate to see is that he’s so versatile – he can play corner and safety – and let’s face it, we’re GOING to have injuries which would push him into the starting lineup.  That’s just a fact, we ALWAYS have injuries.  It could be a very VERY long season if we lose multiple safeties or multiple corners … going young there – combined with our complete and utter lack of quarterback pressure – is going to make for some lopsided scores.

The rebuild continues.  These moves are the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly … losing Babs might just be MIGHTY ugly.

Player Profile: Brandon Mebane

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

Doubles As Refrigerator Perry

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

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

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

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

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

Player Profile: Leon Washington

Will everyone’s favorite emergency fantasy football reserve once again be Leon Washington?

I love the way you get me first downs

Seahawks fans the region over were pretty excited on the draft weekend with first rounders Russell Okung and Earl Thomas, and with the awesome find that was Golden Tate later in the 2nd round.  But what really got the rest of the country to pay attention were the trades for veteran running backs LenDale White and Leon Washington.

Most people know that LunchPail was released not too long after being acquired (the real victory in that trade with the Titans is sure to be defensive tackle Vickerson), and I don’t think that hurt our overall A-grade for the draft weekend one bit.  Because we still have Leon Washington, and by all accounts he’s returning ahead of schedule from his nasty broken leg.

Anyone forced to endure the 2009 season knows one irrefutable truth:  that team lacked playmakers.  No one on defense, no one on special teams … the best you can give me is Nate Burleson but even then, it’s not like other teams are specifically game-planning to stop Nate Burleson.  He’s a nice complementary player, sure.  But he’s not what I – or many outside of the Burleson family – would call a playmaker.

It would seem that’s been rectified somewhat in 2010 with a guy like Tate and a guy like Washington.

Leon Washington has never been a #1 back since being drafted in the 4th round in 2006.  But, as a 3rd down back and a return man, he’s about as good as it gets (like a Darren Sproles type).  For his career, Washington has averaged 4.8 yards per carry, and his reception totals have improved every season until last year’s freakish injury.  Culminating in 2008 with 47 catches for 355 yards and 2 TDs (which says nothing of that season’s 448 yards rushing – a whopping 5.9 per carry – and 6 TDs).  THEN, go ahead and tack on a 26 yards per kickoff return average (where he broke 4 TDs over the ’07 and ’08 seasons), and I’d say that’s the making of a playmaker right down to the letter.

What are my expectations for Washington this year?  To be honest, if we get what he was able to produce when he’s been healthy, it’ll be a boon for the entire organization.  I’m just happy to have him on the team.  Between Washington and Forsett, we could really have the makings of an explosive backfield that everyone in Seattle can be proud of.

The Seahawks Are Undefeated Under Pete Carroll

Here’s a quick trivia question:  what was the Seahawks’ preseason record under Jim Mora Jr. in his one and only season?

That’d be a big 4-0, good buddy!

Now, let us never speak of this unpleasantness again.  I think the irrelevance of the pre-season can be attributed by the “crowd” that congregated at Qwest Field last night for a Quarter With The Stars (and but a single drive with Chris Johnson, who scored).  Last night’s attendance was only out-numbered by the amount of season ticket holders who bitch and moan about the fact that they’re forced to purchase – AND pay full regular season price – the two stupid preseason games.

Really, there’s two schools of thought with how to accept the results of a preseason game:  focus only on the portion where the starters played or wipe your ass with the whole fucking game because it’s not like even the starters are out there giving it their all.

There’s something to be said for that ass-wiping one.  Especially after last night’s performance by said starters.

My Guess: Tackled At The Line Of Scrimmage As Usual

I’m just going to get this out of the way, because if I don’t get it off my chest, I might just kill something.  Julius Jones HAS TO GO.  By my account last night, he looked like the 4th best running back on our team, but I’d have to amend that statement to him being the 5th best, because Louis Rankin is CERTAINLY better than Jones.  This, of course, is taking into account Leon Washington’s absence from last night’s game; I’d take him with one functioning leg over Jones in a heartbeat.

Justin Forsett has earned his spot as the starter.  Done.  In my mind, it’s not even a question.  The kid can make something out of nothing, whereas Jones just plows ahead into the first closing gap he can find, hoping to maybe fall forward for half a yard.  Forsett just looks like he’s trying harder out there.  It looks like he actually gives a damn about taking the ball places.  I’m sick of watching Jones and I want him out of my life (in truth, I wish he’d never entered my life, but that’s neither here nor there).  Julius Jones is a waste of space and should be given the opportunity to scratch his nuts some place else.

Moving on.

The Titans just plowed through our defense on the first drive of the ball game.  We looked lost and overly aggressive.  They blended run and pass beautifully, and when Vince Young did pass, they were short and quick (not that our line was going to generate pressure anyway, but that’s an especially demoralizing way to go).

One thing that did catch my eye, even after Johnson went off-tackle for a 1-yard touchdown, was how tough it’s going to be to run on us in between those tackles.  We are about as stout a line as I’ve ever seen with Vickerson, Mebane, and Bryant.  I can’t tell if Vickerson will actually be opening some eyes this year, or if his spirited play last night was solely because he was facing his former team, but I like his potential.

As for OUR first-team offense, it was pretty abysmal.  Again, do you take that with a grain of salt or an entire salt cavern?  Still, Hasselbeck looked particularly not-sharp in finishing 4 for 10 passing.  I did notice that he targeted Branch 4 times, by far the most of any receiver.  I also noticed Jones drop a ball he should’ve caught.

Play of the Game goes to Charlie Whitehurst – who played two quarters of efficient and sometimes spectacular football – and Mike Williams.  It was 3rd and 1, it looked like the Titans were going to blitz, it looked like C.W. audibled something at the line, it looked like a curl or out-route to Williams, who juked or did something and was gone for the long touchdown.  Very impressive all around.  Here’s to hoping Williams becomes a big and imposing presence for our receiving game.

The young guy everyone’s talking about (because there can’t be a preseason game without praising someone nobody’s ever heard of) is Kam Chancellor, safety out of Virginia Tech.  Yeah, he made the game-clinching interception when it was thrown right to him like he was in the huddle with the other team.  But, he was also crushing guys with hard hits – including that hard-luck USC running back who’d previously had a bar-bell land on his throat, busting up his ankle pretty good last night.  Besides that, no one else really had a Nick Reed kind of impact.

Big props to C.W. for his big game.  He won’t be our starter in Game 1, but Game 6?

Craig Terrill, you are officially On The Bubble.  You looked undersized and ineffective out there, even if you are Johnny Hustle.  There’s a car dealership in Federal Way with your name all over it, my friend.

Okung looked solid.  He was briefly injured around the ankle, but only missed a few plays.  Other than that, he’s a mauler.

Also, Ben Hamilton is a white guy?  Who knew?

Player Profile: Red Bryant

Again, why do a profile on someone as seemingly minor as Red Bryant?

The Great 323 Pound Hope!

The man has played in all of 10 games in his NFL career over 2 seasons.  According to that NFL.com link above, he’s recorded 16 tackles and accumulated exactly 0 other stats.  Yet, if you’ve been reading all the early stuff out of OTA’s and Training Camp, Red Bryant is all anyone can seem to talk about.  Pete Carroll is absolutely in a froth over this man’s potential to make The Leap.

Without question, our biggest weakness this year is perceived to be the defensive line.  It was our second biggest weakness last year, but that’s only because our O-Line was the God damned apocalypse.  And, while we brought in a highly-touted rookie Left Tackle and a veteran Left Guard to shore up our O; we’ve done next-to-nothing for our D-Line.  E.J. Wilson in the draft, Chris Clemons in a trade for Darryl Tapp (who, in my opinion, are basically the same player).  We lost Grant Wistrom Patrick Kerney to injuries/retirement … so HOW exactly are we supposed to generate a pass rush?

Well, certainly not with Red Bryant, who in the biggest news thus far this off-season, has made the move to End from his more natural (?) Tackle position.

Supposedly, it works like this.  On one side – going against the Right Tackle – you’ve got Bryant.  He’s there to stuff some run and collapse some pocket.  Then you’ve got the tackles (presumably Mebane, the quicker one, and Vickerson, the fatter one), then you’ve got the speed end.  The speed end being either Clemons or Nick Reed.  With Aaron Curry coming from the outside if we want a blitzer.

Apparently, teams do this.  Don’t ask me how the world works, all I know is that Pete Carroll is ALL jazzed up, and when Pete’s jazzed, we’re all jazzed.  Jazz.

I’ve always kinda liked Bryant and hoped he’d be a force for our line.  On the plus side, he’s still young, this being only his third year.  Durability has been an issue, but I feel that’s always going to be an issue with big guys.  Knees aren’t meant to handle such bulk on top.  You just hope he plays in more games than he doesn’t, and that when he plays he makes a positive impact.  And, if you can generate one magical season (see:  Marcus Tubbs), then your value will be forever known and appreciated and missed when you ultimately need microfracture surgery.

Plus, Red Bryant is married (or engaged, I can’t remember) to legendary Seahawk Jacob Green’s daughter.  Jacob Green is easily in my top 5 Seahawks of all time, without question.  That guy was an animal in the 80s.

You’ll notice, lost in all the Bryant Brouhaha is Lawrence Jackson.  He’s a USC guy who played under Carroll, a former first round pick, and he’s currently blocked by a guy who’s got 20-30 pounds on him, who was formerly a DT.  Is it safe to say that if Carroll were the Seahawks coach at the time, he wouldn’t have drafted Lo-Jack?  Of course not, but I’m saying it here.