Should NFL Teams Trade For Wide Receivers?

There have been countless trades for wide receivers in the NFL.  Countless in the sense that I refuse to try and count them all.  I’m sure the information is out there, but I’m not in the business of compiling a complete list.

I do have AH list, though.  It’s a not-insignificant list, dating back a little over a decade.  Without further ado:

February 12, 2000 – Seattle Seahawks trade Joey Galloway to Dallas Cowboys for 2000 & 2001 first round picks

From the day Joey Galloway stepped onto a football field in 1995, he was a super-stud.  Per season, through 1999, he averaged 57 receptions for 891 yards and 7 touchdowns, with a 15.7 yards per catch average.  He topped 1,000 yards receiving in three of his five seasons, with his only down year taking place in 1999 when he held out for 8 games, hoping to push newly acquired Mike Holmgren around into giving him a new contract.  On top of that, Galloway was a massive success in the punt return game, returning four for touchdowns in his first four seasons.  When Holmgren came to Seattle, everyone thought two things:  that we would FINALLY have a franchise quarterback very soon, and that Joey Galloway would flourish in the West Coast Offense.  However, much like the new inmate who stabs his cell-mate on his first day, Mike Holmgren was looking to show everyone that he was nobody’s bitch.

So, he flipped Joey Galloway for two first rounders, one of the greatest fleecings in NFL trade history!  Galloway promptly tore his ACL in his first game in a Cowboys uniform and was never the same.  He was okay, but no longer the elite burner he had been with the Seahawks.  Didn’t prevent him from having a long, lasting career, which ended after the 2010 season, but he certainly didn’t live up to the cost in Dallas.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks turned those draft picks into Shaun Alexander (pick #19 in 2000), Koren Robinson (pick #9 in 2001), Heath Evans (pick #82 in 2001) and some dumb skank in the seventh round, thanks to trading that Dallas pick (#7 overall) to let San Francisco move up two spots.  Not a bad haul, and the first of many cautionary tales of trading for wide receivers in the NFL.

March 7, 2003 – Buffalo Bills trade Peerless Price to Atlanta Falcons for 2003 first round pick

And birthed about a billion “Price Was Right For Buffalo Bills” jokes and headlines.

You know, I had completely blocked out of my memory that Drew Bledsoe played quarterback for the Bills.  But, it’s true!  It happened!  From 2002 through 2004, he kept a mediocre franchise wallowing in mediocrity.  His last truly great season was 2002 when he threw for 4,359 yards and led the Bills to an 8-8 record.  On that team, he had two primary targets:  Eric Moulds (very underrated wideout), who caught 100 balls for 1,292 yards and 10 touchdowns; and one Peerless Price (very overrated wideout), who caught 94 balls for 1,252 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Price came into the league in 1999 and for the most part underwhelmed.  However, he parlayed a career year in 2002 into a Franchise Tag designation.  The Bills eventually traded him to the Falcons for that aforementioned first round pick, which was turned into Willis McGahee.  The Falcons, meanwhile, finally decided to put some receiving talent around Michael Vick.

Except, Price was pretty awful (to be fair, so was Vick, who was more runner than thrower back then) and was released after two sub-par seasons.  Hefty PRICE to pay indeed …

March 2, 2005 – Minnesota Vikings trade Randy Moss to Oakland Raiders for Napoleon Harris & 2005 first & seventh round picks

April 29, 2007 – Oakland Raiders trade Randy Moss to New England Patriots for 2007 fourth round pick

October 6, 2010 – New England Patriots trade Randy Moss to Minnesota Vikings for 2011 third round pick

Good God, Lemon!

I’m still trying to wrap my head around why Minnesota traded Randy Moss in the first place; probably because he was a real Grade-A prick to deal with, but that’s neither here nor there.  The bounty Oakland gave up is the closest thing approaching what Seattle just gave up for Percy Harvin, except it was for a first, a seventh, and a player instead of a third round pick.  Oakland’s first round pick ended up being the #7 overall choice, which the Vikings used ostensibly to draft his replacement – Troy Williamson (a real dud), but that’s also neither here nor there, because what Oakland gave up doesn’t even come CLOSE to how this trade ultimately backfired for them.

Granted, Minnesota didn’t really benefit from Moss’s departure (as Harris didn’t have much of an impact either), but Oakland got royally hosed.  Moss showed up, caught just a touch over 1,000 yards in 2005, then completely tanked it in 2006, which forced the Raiders to rid themselves of this pain in the ass once and for all.  They essentially gave him away to the Patriots for a 4th round pick, and SURPRISE, Moss magically returned to form.

Randy Moss was the best player alive in 2007 as the Patriots’ record-setting offense saw them go undefeated up until the Super Bowl, where they lost by mere inches as Tom Brady overthrew a streaking Moss in the waning seconds for a potential 80+ yard touchdown bomb.  Moss continued to be top-notch through 2009, until things got real cancerous in 2010, whereupon Moss was traded BACK to the Vikings for a third round pick.

Yeah, you read that right.  New England traded away a fourth rounder, got three amazing years out of a potential Hall of Famer, then traded him away for an even BETTER draft pick in the 2011 draft.  Holy Frijoles!

April 29, 2006 – Green Bay Packers trade Javon Walker to Denver Broncos for 2006 second round pick

Walker had one good season in Green Bay, in 2004, going for nearly 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns with Brett Favre throwing him the ball.  This was after a couple of so-so seasons to start his career.  With one Pro Bowl under his belt, OF COURSE it was time to stick it to the man for a huge pay raise!  Because the Green Bay Packers have built up their dynasty on the foundation of over-paying for flashes in the pan.

Walker hired Drew Rosenhaus, talked a whole truckload of shit in the offseason, threatened to hold out and/or retire in 2005 if he wasn’t granted a trade or release, and finally came to his senses.  This led to him playing in Game 1, tearing an ACL, and being placed on injured reserve (I guess that’s one way to accrue a year’s service time).

Somehow, there was a market for this trainwreck, with the highest bidder being the Denver Broncos.  They not only gave away a second round draft pick, but they signed him to a HUGE 5-year deal.  Again, a guy coming off of an ACL injury, who lost a full season, and who had serious getting-along-with-others issues.  With Jake Plummer and a rookie Jay Cutler at the helm, Walker bounced back in 2006 to catch 69 balls for 1,084 yards and 8 touchdowns.  But, he faltered hard in 2007, became untradeable, and was ultimately released.  Oakland picked him up for the 2008 & 2009 seasons (after the Randy Moss experiment failed), but they got nothing from him and he never played a down thereafter.

September 11, 2006 – New England Patriots trade Deion Branch to Seattle Seahawks for 2007 first round pick

See this post for full details.

March 5, 2007 – Miami Dolphins trade Wes Welker to New England Patriots for 2007 second & seventh round picks

If this article teaches you anything, it’s that the Patriots should be the ONLY team allowed to participate in trades of wide receivers.

Essentially, Miami got nothing out of this deal.  New England got six years of a guy who caught over 100 passes and over 1,000 yards in five of those six seasons.  He has, in short, been a total and complete stud out of the slot.  Even though things appear to be ending acrimoniously, it’s pretty safe to say the Patriots dominated this trade.

April 28, 2007 – Detroit Lions trade Mike Williams and Josh McCown to Oakland Raiders for 2007 fourth round pick

This was how desperate the Lions were to trade erstwhile first rounder Mike Williams (out of USC).  They packaged him with a journeyman backup quarterback and STILL could only get a fourth round pick back from Oakland.  Williams was released after 6 games with the Raiders, played 2 more games with the Titans that season, then didn’t return to the NFL until 2010 with the Seahawks.  All the promise in the world, gone to waste.

April 29, 2007 – Seattle Seahawks trade Darrell Jackson to San Francisco 49ers for 2007 fourth round pick

Jackson put in seven seasons with the Seahawks of varying quality.  He was here for our rise and our best extended run of football.  But, he was constantly battling nagging injuries and was pretty much unable to practice by the time his run in Seattle ended.  So, the Seahawks opted to trade him for whatever they could get, to save a little cap and save themselves another season-ending injury.

I wouldn’t say anyone really “won” this trade – he caught less than 50 passes in his lone season with San Francisco for less than 500 yards before moving on with his career – because the Seahawks didn’t exactly make the best use of their fourth round pick (Mansfield Wrotto, because Tim Ruskell, obvs).  I would say expectations were higher for the 49ers; they were likely expecting a quality starter who would push them over the top in 2007.  What they got was a guy nearing the end of his run.  Too bad, because I always thought Jackson was a good guy.

October 16, 2007 – Miami Dolphins trade Chris Chambers to San Diego Chargers for 2008 second round pick

Chambers was always a super-talented receiver who, for whatever reason, couldn’t kick it up that notch to elite status.  In his first six seasons with the Dolphins, he only surpassed 1,000 yards one time (though he was over 650 yards in each of those seasons).  He made the Pro Bowl in 2005 and everyone thought he had turned a corner.  Except, in 2006, he took a giant step back.  In the middle of 2007, he was traded, which is the ultimate cautionary tale:  you never trade for a wide receiver in the middle of a season.

It’s bad news!  If I had the time, I would devote a post just to this, because it’s absolutely asinine.  You 100% need that time in the offseason and pre-season to get acquainted with your quarterback.  Learn his tendencies, anticipate where he wants you to go when a play breaks down.  San Diego had none of that, so of course the rest of his 2007 season was a lost cause.

Of course, with Chambers, a full offseason probably wouldn’t have done a lick of good.  My guess:  he dogged it and got too lazy to keep up in the rigorous NFL.  Either way, his 2008 was absolutely piss-poor, and he was released 7 games into 2009.  He finished his miserable career in Kansas City, where he belonged.

October 14, 2008 – Detroit Lions trade Roy Williams & 2010 seventh round pick to Dallas Cowboys for 2009 first, third, and sixth round picks

Man, don’t speak Roy Williams’ name around Cowboys fans; they might murder you!

Roy Williams was another decent-to-good receiver on a bad team traded in the middle of a season.  Dallas obviously didn’t learn its lesson from the Joey Galloway debacle and were rewarded thusly:  two and a half seasons of drops, fumbles, and all-around crappy play.  I don’t think anyone could have foreseen him stinking as badly as he did – especially when you consider he was surrounded by a talented quarterback and some talented receivers in Miles Austin and Jason Witten, but there you go.

April 11, 2010 – Pittsburgh Steelers trade Santonio Holmes to New York Jets for 2010 fifth round pick

After Roy Williams and Deion Branch, I thought it was safe to say we’d seen the last of teams trading first round draft picks for wide receivers.  Still, it was pretty shocking to see what little the Steelers actually got in return for a fairly productive fourth-year veteran.  You’d think with the Jets’ dearth of talent on offense, they could’ve squeezed a second or third rounder out of ’em.  But, considering what Holmes has become – injured and only so-so performance-wise – maybe a fifth rounder was OVER-paying.

April 14, 2010 – Denver Broncos trade Brandon Marshall to Miami Dolphins for 2010 & 2011 second round picks

March 13, 2012 – Miami Dolphins trade Brandon Marshall to Chicago Bears for 2012 & 2013 third round picks

Miami!  Did anyone ever tell you you’re THE WORST at dealing wide receivers?

Marshall was a pain in Denver’s God-foresaken ass pretty much from day 1, when it was apparent that he would be a stud and a diva at the same time.  When Jay Cutler officially took over as the starter in Denver – in Marshall’s second season – Marshall was the primary beneficiary.  Three consecutive seasons, from 2007-2009, Marshall caught over 100 passes.  But, since the Broncos were tired of his bullshit, they took the best offer they could get and they ran with it:  two second rounders.

The Dolphins hoped, by bringing in Marshall, they’d provide Chad Henne with the elite receiver to boost their overall passing game.  Unfortunately, they backed the wrong horse, as Chad Henne continued to suck dick in the endless Dolphins parade of dick-sucking at quarterback since Dan Marino retired.  When the Dolphins realized they sucked at life, they decided to trade a guy who caught back-to-back seasons of 80-plus passes for them to the Bears for considerably LESS than what they paid to bring him there in the first place.

The Bears, with Cutler en tow, enjoyed Marshall’s return to form, catching over 100 passes for over 1,500 yards in his best-ever season stats-wise.  The Dolphins, conversely, just overpaid for Mike Wallace so he can try to catch balls from Ryan Tannehill (see:  endless dick-sucking parade from before).

March 5, 2010 – Arizona Cardinals trade Anquan Boldin & 2010 fifth round pick to Baltimore Ravens for 2010 third & fourth round picks

March 12, 2013 – Baltimore Ravens trade Anquan Boldin to San Francisco 49ers for 2013 sixth round pick

The Cardinals were looking ahead in their attempt to pay Larry Fitzgerald insane gobs of money to keep him there (even though they trick-fucked him by letting Kurt Warner retire and not having a proper heir to replace him set up and ready to go) and knew they couldn’t afford to keep both him and Boldin, so there you go.  They got what they could from Baltimore and let the Ravens give him a big-money deal.  The Ravens were rewarded with three adequate, sub-1,000 yard seasons (as an offense that wasn’t really all that high-scoring anyway) and a Super Bowl victory this past February.  I’d say:  not too bad of a deal for the Ravens.  And, it’s hard to blame the Cardinals too much for this particular move.  I mean, when you compare it to literally EVERY OTHER MOVE they’ve made since losing that Super Bowl to the Steelers, trading away Boldin for a couple of mid-draft picks is pretty not-bad by comparison.

The Ravens are in a similar boat right now, having just signed Joe Flacco to the biggest deal in the history of ever.  Boldin was counting too much against the cap, so he had to go.  It’s pretty disingenuous of Flacco to publicly root for the Ravens to keep their other stars when he selfishly signed such a crippling contract, but I guess he got the “respect” he was looking for (money, respect = money).

And this is an AMAZING deal for a 49ers team still in their prime and looking to make it back to the Super Bowl.  I’m sure Boldin is licking his chops at the chance to go to back-to-back Super Bowls, only this time with the team he just beat LAST season.

March 12, 2013 – Minnesota Vikings trade Percy Harvin to Seattle Seahawks for 2013 first & seventh round picks & 2014 third round pick

I’m not going to get into some of the other guys I had jotted down (Brandon Lloyd, Mike Thomas, etc.) because this post is long enough as it is and I’ve got other shit to do.

I’m also not going to get too deep into this whole Harvin deal, because I’ve spent the whole fucking week talking about it.  I will say that the Seahawks are the first team to pony up a first rounder since the Cowboys did so for Roy Williams.  In fact, if you’ve been paying attention to this post, you’ll notice that not one single team got the value they were looking for when they gave away first round pick(s) to get wide receivers.  They all THOUGHT they were getting something amazing.  But, one way or another, they all got fucked.

So, something to look forward to.  Don’t necessarily buy into the gambler’s fallacy; just because the last ten flips of the coin were tails doesn’t necessarily mean this flip is destined to be heads.  Just put your money down and hope, that’s all you can do as a Seahawks fan.

***

There have been some miserable failures on this list, to be sure.  But, let us not forget one of the greatest success stories of all time.  A reason for hope!  Probably the greatest/most-lopsided trade in the history of the NFL:

August 26, 1976 – Houston Oilers trade Steve Largent to Seattle Seahawks for 1977 eighth round pick

That’s right.  The greatest Seahawk who ever lived, the first-ever Hall of Famer in franchise history, and the guy who retired with almost every wide receiving record in NFL history (before Art Monk, and later Jerry Rice blew right on past him) was drafted by the Houston Oilers and traded for a draft pick who never played a down of regular season NFL football.

So, you know, trading for a wide receiver isn’t ALL bad …

A List Of Current Seahawks Facing Free Agency

We’ve got a lot of decisions to make this year, much like we did last year.  The disadvantage is, of course, the impending lockout (which I’m not going to get into, because what’s the point?  Yeah, I hate the idea of a lockout as I assume every other fan does too; bitching about it will accomplish nothing.  Football WILL be played again eventually, and when it is, you will watch).  The ADvantage, however, is that this coaching staff (or what’s left) and this management has had a year to analyze the players who will potentially be on their way out.  Here’s what I perceive to be the official list, with my thoughts on whether or not we should keep them.

By the by, I’m getting my info from this website.  Took me a while to track down something so simple, so credit where credit is due.  It’s worth a glance as it is a list of EVERY ALMOST EVERY Seahawks player and when they’re up for free agency.

1.  Matt Hasselbeck – I don’t know if I’m on record or not, but I’ll say it again:  I want Matt Hasselbeck back next year.  I WANT him to retire as a Seahawk, but at the very least I want him for a couple more years.  Of course, I also want us to draft someone in this upcoming draft, so he can work behind Hasselbeck, but for now Matt gives us the best chance to repeat as NFC West champs in 2011.  Final Answer:  2-year extension.

2.  Leon Washington – The dude is in his prime, 28 years of age, and he’s one of the best return men in the game.  Of COURSE I want him back.  I’d give him a 2-3 year extension if I had it my way.  Unless he hits the market and gets blown away with an offer.  I love what the guy brings, but let’s get serious, blowing a bunch of money on a running back you never use AS a running back is a bit much.  Final Answer:  2-3 year extension, if the price is right.

3.  Sean Locklear – Let him go.  He’s a bum and will be due for raises he’s not worth.  Final Answer:  No way; there are other fish in the sea.

4.  Ray Willis – If he can come back healthy, I’d like to get him on the cheap.  A bulldog with size, and at the very least can bring some depth.  Final Answer:  Yes, if healthy.

5.  Tyler Polumbus – Another solid depth guy; he’s young and cheap.  Final Answer:  Yes.

6.  Ben Hamilton & Mansfield Wrotto – I was under the impression that we’d already traded Wrotto away.  And Hamilton, I’m pretty sure, is retiring.  Final Answer:  N/A.

7.  Chris Spencer – I liken centers to defensive ends and quarterbacks:  they generally get better with age and experience.  You rarely see any of those three positions come out of college lighting the world on fire (unlike running backs, linebackers, some offensive tackles and safeties, who tend to rely on their explosive raw talent immediately).  I don’t think Spencer will ever be a Pro Bowler, but I think he can still be a solid center in this league for another 5-8 years if his body holds up.  I think he kinda gets lumped in with the shitstorm that was the 2009 Seahawks offensive line, and I think that’s unfair.  Put some talent around him, and I think Spencer is a guy worth keeping around.  He’s coming into his own now, I’d like to see where that’ll take him going forward.  Final Answer:  Yes, sign to a long-term extension.

8.  Brandon Mebane – This is EASILY the number 1 guy we have to re-sign in whatever free agency period we have this year.  If defensive tackle wasn’t so injury-prone as a position (regardless of the player), I would say we’re stupid for not inking him to a long-term deal BEFORE the offseason.  As it stands, it will weaken our already weak defensive line CONSIDERABLY if we don’t wrap this up.  He’s a run-stuffing machine who can cause a little havoc from time to time; exactly what you want with a D-line that plays 3 tackles with a Leo end as the primary pass rusher.  Final Answer:  Hell Yes!  Long-Term Deal!

9.  LeRoy Hill – We made it through this year without Hill, we specifically voided the remaining years on his deal to GET him to free agency this year, so no, I don’t think we’ll be re-signing LeRoy Hill.  Should we?  That’s up for debate.  His hitting ability is there.  If we got him cheap enough, I’d say that wouldn’t be the worst thing.  But, look, we’ve got Hawthorne entrenched at our other outside linebacker position.  We’ve got cheap, young linebacker depth kicking ass on our special teams.  We don’t NEED LeRoy Hill.  If he came back, he’d have to earn his way onto this team and likely wouldn’t be starting unless someone got injured or we started playing 4 linebacker sets.  With Tatupu’s injury history, it might not be the worst thing in the world.  We can slide Hawthorne into the middle and Hill could reclaim his old position.  Final Answer:  If he’s cheap enough, yes; but I doubt this will even be an issue.

10.  Kelly Jennings – HELL NO!  I’ve been counting the fucking days until this waste of space is out of my life.  He’s too small, he’s too slow, he’s never in a position to make a play, and it forces the safeties to help out on his side too many times, making Marcus Trufant’s life a living hell.  We need to dump the zero and sign a true lockdown corner (ahem, Nnamdi Asomugha), so the safeties can return to helping out Trufant and we can start kicking some tail on the defensive end.  Final Answer:  Are you shitting me?

11.  Lawyer Milloy – This one is about as 50/50 as it gets for me.  He won’t be expensive, he’s a natural leader and a great mentor for Earl Thomas, he knows the system inside and out, he’s a Dawg, and if we don’t re-sign him it’s unlikely he’ll go somewhere else and burn us.  On the downside, he’s pushing 40 (which means he might as well be pushing 70 in football years).  He has a tendency to over-play the run and get beat deep.  We should probably be looking towards the future at this position too.  Final Answer:  1-year extension, draft a safety that he can tutor, and that will be that.

12.  Olindo Mare – Do we dare franchise our kicker two years in a row?  Final Answer:  Hell yes we do!  Franchise the hell out of him until he stops making field goals and then cut him to the dogs!

Interesting fact of note:  Our top receivers and tight ends are signed through at least next season (can’t find word on Stokley though; I’d like to get him back if he wants back).  However, with Deon Butler’s massacre at the end of the season, we’ll likely be looking for more talent in the pass-catching department.

I know for a fact that there are others Seahawks free agents (reserves, special teamers), but I think that’s as good a rundown as we’re going to get.  The only guy who will kill me if he isn’t retained is Mebane.  The only guy who will kill me if he IS retained is Jennings.  Obviously, keeping the team the same is no way to improve (after all, we DID only win 7 games last year; and no way we blame that all on injuries), so I don’t expect all the guys I want back to BE back.  But I think my argument speaks for itself.

Welcome To Seattle, Marshawn

I pretty much only know the world through the filter of Fantasy Football.  In that sense, all I know about Marshawn Lynch – whom the Seattle Seahawks acquired in a trade with the Bills for a 4th round pick next year and another pick (likely a 6th rounder) in 2012 – is that he’s been kind of a disappointment lately, after coming on like gangbusters in his rookie season.

In that rookie season, according to his ESPN page, he had 1,115 yards in 13 games, averaging an even 4.0 ypc.  The next year, he had 30 less carries and only 1,036 yards, but for a 4.1 ypc average.  After that, for whatever reason, Buffalo decided it needed another running back to spell Lynch (L-Y-N-C-H … but I digress) and he fell to 120 carries for only 450 yards last year (with a 3.8 ypc average).  Then they drafted C.J. Spiller (yes, THAT C.J. Spiller, the guy the Seahawks could have drafted if they were so inclined), and that spelled the end of the Marshawn Lynch era (t-h-e e-n-d …).

Fantasy Bust?  You betcha!  But, that doesn’t make him a bad running back.  That doesn’t mean he can’t come in here and immediately help this ballclub, with his 215 pound frame and his 24 years of age.  By all rights, if he’s kept himself in shape, refrained from smoking too much reefer, and hasn’t half-killed his liver in long, booze-filled nights, Marshawn Lynch should have a good 6 years left to his career.

In other words, this COULD be the running back we see heading our attack for a while.  What do you think about that?

I think the price is right, first of all.  A 4th round pick is pretty much Mansfield Wrotto, so if you look at it that way, we just raped Buffalo in their junk!  A 6th round pick is pretty much Steve Vallos, so there you go.

Secondly, I don’t know if I necessarily buy the whole Thunder & Lightning theory when it comes to a running game (which goes:  you need a big bruising back to tenderize the defense while getting those tough yards, then you pop them across the jaw with a small, shifty guy with a lot of quicks who can get to that second level and take some longer runs to the house).  I think if your offensive line is bad, anything short of Adrian Peterson will look a whole lot like Julius Jones.  However, if your offensive line is good, you can have Thunder & Thunder or Lightning & Lightning and do just fine.

Overall, I don’t hate the move.  I’m not enamored just yet, but if he comes in here and gives us some offensive stability, I could be.  I think this is just a piece.  In the offseason, it was clear we needed another running back (and less of a Julius Jones who’s FINALLY been officially cut thank Christ).  We tried with trades, but found that Leon Washington is quite similar to what we have in Forsett (only better on kickoffs) and we found that Lunch Pail is who we thought he was.  We opted to NOT go via the draft which I think is fine because Earl Thomas will be YOUR Defensive ROY.  So, once again we tried the trade route.  We didn’t give up too much, and we got someone considerably younger and considerably better than Lunch Pail.

Lynch might not help us too much this season.  But, next year?  The year after?  We could have something there.

Down Goes Unger!

I’m beginning to think all those Player Profiles I did before the season are bad luck!

There are certain types of injuries – MCLs, ACLs, concussions, broken bones – that are just plain bad.  Devastating even!  For the most part, they put you down for the count, and in some instances not just for the rest of the season, but your entire career.

And then there’s the injury I hate more than any other – the toe injury.  Because when you think about it … it’s a toe!  You’re a big strong man!  How do you let a toe render you so completely helpless?

Yet, here we are.  Max Unger, after one game, in only his second season, is on Injured Reserve with a toe.

These toe injuries always range in severity.  For some, of the “Turf Toe” variety, you can still play on them, but they slow you down and hamper your productivity (while also preventing you from practicing ever, meaning even if you weren’t hampered on gameday, you’ll still be out of sync … see:  Antonio Gates a couple years ago on my fantasy team doing nothing for me).  For others, like linemen, the dreaded toe injury is akin to a horse with a broken leg.

All you do as an offensive lineman is dig your feet into the turf and try to drive your opponent back or from side to side.  Your most important body parts are your arms and your toes!  You can’t dig in and get any leverage while standing on your heels!

This is just a sick day all around.  You may not think losing Max Unger is all that big a deal – he is, after all, only a right guard – but wait and see.  If you thought the run game was bad before …

In perverse news, Welcome Back Mansfield Wrotto!  I’m gonna go throw up now.

For the record, my favorite injuries?  Broken bones in the fingers of defensive linemen.  I love watching a guy who plays with a giant club for a hand!

Player Profile: Left Tackle

Will the guy who starts the most games at left tackle be someone named Tyler Polumbus?

You Big Freak Of Nature!

The title of this was SUPPOSED to read, “Player Profile:  Russell Okung”, but how the hell am I going to profile someone I haven’t seen play in three weeks?  As it stands, you can’t very well be pancaking many guys when you’ve got a bum wheel, now can you?

So, here’s our depth chart at left tackle assuming everyone’s healthy:

  1. Rookie Okung
  2. Mansfield Wrotto
  3. Tyler Polumbus

Who’s Mansfield Wrotto you ask?  Exactly.  He’s a guy they have to surgically attach a tight end to just to be a functional human being on the O-Line.

But, who’s this Tyler Polumbus fella?  This guy sounds just delightful!

Well, I’ll tell ya, he’s 6’8, 300 pounds of prime USDA Man Meat.  In the league now for his third year out of Colorado, Tyler Polumbus was recently waived by the Denver Broncos and claimed by the Detroit Lions.  I think just to spite us for hoodwinking them into taking Rob Sims, I can’t be positive.  Anyway, we wanted him, and durn-it we made sure we got him!

I’m not gonna lie to you, give him a bat and a baseball helmet and he’s Bucky Jacobsen 2.0!  That’s how special I think this talent will be.

Anyway, I guess we’re supposed to like Polumbus because his name sounds like Columbus he played in 15 games for the Broncos last year (unfortunately, I don’t know where you can go to get his Pancake stats … unless there’s some IHop Wall of Fame or something) and I guess because the Broncos still(?) use the zone blocking scheme we are adopting now, so he should fit right in.  I guess.  All I know is:  6 foot 8?  Are you kidding me?  This guy’s like Andre the Giant!

Get well soon, Okung.  God dammit get well soon!

The Preseason Seahawks Aren’t Quite Who We Preseason Thought They Were

So, Earl Thomas is fast.

Imagine This Guy In A Seahawks Uniform

He caught a tipped pass at the 14 yard line as – once again – the Vikings were moving the ball down the field in the 2nd quarter.  After weaving a little bit – including a nifty move to run all the way around a Seahawks blocker in his path – he sprinted about as fast as I’ve seen anyone sprint until showboating down near the goalline.  Breathtaking.

Those few seconds were, by far, the most enjoyable of the entire game tonight.  For some reason, once again the Seahawks had a hard time moving the ball, staying on the field, keeping their defense fresh.  In spite of all that, we still caught two of Favre’s balls and landed atop one of his fumbles.

It wasn’t until the 3rd quarter when Mike Williams caught one in stride down the middle of the field for 42 yards.  Not surprisingly, the drive ended in a field goal.  We were like a God damned invalid pissing on himself whenever we got inside the Vikings’ half of the field.  And, of course, we couldn’t run the ball to save our lives.  Averaging less than 3 yards on only 15 carries.

Next week, we should just run the ball on every single down.  Who cares?  It’s the fourth preseason game, on a Thursday, in Oakland at 7pm.  It’s about as pointless as it gets, and obviously our O-Line needs the practice!

Anyway, Hasselbeck looked solid, but unspectacular.  Whitehurst looked just a little bit worse (though had a nice bomb down the sideline to Golden Tate for 41 yards, and almost an identical completion the very next play, just a little overthrown).  In all, we completed 3 pass plays on the night over 40 yards, so that’s something.

Lofa was back, and the change in our defensive intensity was noticable.  Even if the Vikings seemingly moved the ball at will in the first half.  We still got those turnovers; Bend Don’t Break and all that.  Chris Clemons had our only 2 sacks, one of them where he legitimately beat the Left Tackle on an inside move (that seemed to at the very least make Favre’s throwing hand sore) and for once wasn’t a Coverage Sack.  I thought the secondary had a great game, but we were actually kinda soft in the middle of the field where the linebackers are supposed to roam.  Can’t like that.

Mansfield Wrotto’s major setback was a false start penalty.  That’s a win in my book, I don’t care what the score says.

Preseason: Here We Go Again

This is the spot where sports radio guys and everyone else with an opinion are pounding their fists and saying, “Why do we play so many preseason games?  They’re only good for getting your star players injured!”

Of course, there are more important players who’ve gotten injured in the history of preseason football than Russell Okung, with far more devastating injuries than an ankle sprain, but here we go again!  Let the injuries commence!

At least it’s somewhat minor.  At least it’s not a knee or a shoulder or something.  It’s just an ankle; hell, nagging turf toe injuries have had more of an impact than a sprained ankle.  Give it some rest, then give it some tape, he should be good to go.  That’s the hope anyway.  I don’t want this thing dragging out.  My worst nightmare is Okung becoming one of those guys who can’t make it onto the field because he’s always hurt.  This is a BAD omen.  He comes in late to camp, he makes it through one preseason game, then in the first quarter (on the first drive?  in the first play?) down goes Okung.

I’m going to fight the urge to say that nothing else in this game mattered, but I have five words for you:  Mansfield Wrotto, Starting Left Tackle.  If that doesn’t shake you down to your core, then you simply don’t have a soul!

Besides that – and I guess Kelly Jennings got a little banged up – we’ve gone two games and haven’t really lost all that much.  Still, the big test is next week, Game 3, when the starters tend to play into the 3rd Quarter for the first time.  Any football fan just hopes beyond hope that their team makes it through Game 3 unscathed; because Game 4 is even more pointless than Game 1.

As for the rest of the team, Matt Hasselbeck made a statement (11 for 15, 127 yards, 1 TD, 120.7 rating), as did Charlie Whitehurst, a statement in a different sense (9 for 20, 73 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 31.9 rating).  A couple of the receivers looked good:  Housh and Mike Williams had 4 balls apiece.

And the defense looked AWFUL.  The #1 Defense couldn’t stop a slug with a mountain of salt at their disposal.  Getting no pressure, giving up anything the opposing offense wants in the middle of the field, not making tackles, not getting off the field.  If we don’t get killed every week in Time of Possession, I would be shocked.

Now, is that a byproduct of it being Preseason?  A combination of players still coming together, learning the scheme, and not showing the blitz packages?  Maybe.  Or is this just Who We Are?  A defense that’s decent-to-good against the run, non-existent in pass rush, and getting consistently beat in the passing game not because the secondary is inferior (I still think it could be a strength of this defense), but because the line isn’t doing its job.

I choose to believe the latter until this team convinces me through its regular season play that it’s the former.