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.

Reasonable Expectations For Jaxon Smith-Njigba

People are very excited about Jaxon Smith-Njigba. I know I am! I like to think I have a sixth sense about wide receivers that the Seahawks draft. I was a HUGE fan of Tyler Lockett, even before he turned pro. I loved the D.K. Metcalf selection, both for value and potential. I remember being pretty high on Golden Tate, and even though he took a while to fully blossom, it was all worth it in the end.

And I’m very firmly in the camp of the Jaxon Smith-Njigba believers.

But, I think people – especially fantasy football people – need to temper expectations a little bit, especially in his rookie season. There’s a reason why the Seahawks are considered to have one of the best wide receiver rooms in the league. That’s because D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett were already one of the best wide receiver duos in the league. Now you add Smith-Njigba to the mix, and this has the potential to be an extremely dynamic passing game.

That being said, there are only so many targets to go around. Even in the most pass-happy offenses, how much production does the third receiver get? Who was the guy in Kansas City after Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce (before Hill’s trade to Miami)? In 2019, it was Sammy Watkins with 90 targets (52 receptions). In 2020, it was Mecole Hardman with 62 targets (41 receptions). In 2021, it was Hardman again with 83 targets (59 receptions). Going around the league, can anyone even name the third receiving option for the Bills? How has Tyler Boyd fared with the Bengals the last couple years? The Rams of late can barely field a SECOND receiving option after Kupp, let alone a third.

Now you have to factor how much the Seahawks like to run the ball. Some people would say they’re run-heavy. Others would say they’re balanced. I would liken the Seahawks to a slow-it-down sort of offense that prefers to limit possessions and bleed opponents with a thousand cuts. Not that I’m the first person to make than distinction, I’m sure.

The point is, third receivers already get overlooked by design. Now you want to put him on the Seahawks?

I don’t see Smith-Njigba as a viable fantasy option in 2023 whatsoever. Maybe take a flier on him late in the draft and bank on an injury to Metcalf or Lockett. If you’re in a dynasty league, I think there’s a little more meat on that bone, but you don’t want to go into this season wanting to depend on production out of him.

I’m guessing Smith-Njigba will have somewhere around 45 receptions for 512 yards and 3 touchdowns. Even in PPR, that’s nothing. That’s less than 7 fantasy points per game. But, for dynasty purposes, Lockett isn’t getting any younger, so I could see those numbers grow considerably in the next 2-3 years.

But, let’s put fantasy football aside now. What does he mean from a team-building perspective? As a Seahawks fan, did we use our draft capital wisely?

I say 100% yes! If Jaxon Smith-Njigba is as talented as he projects to be, the value of a high-quality third receiver is immeasurable. That’s one more elite athlete a defense has to worry about. If the best opposing cornerback is going to clamp down on D.K., you can interchange Lockett and Smith-Njigba in the slot or on the other side and create tons of mismatches. You can line them all up in a bunch formation and wait for the defense to make a coverage mistake. If teams double D.K. and Lockett is covered, then you’re talking about the 4th-best corner trying to keep up with Smith-Njigba.

Every time he makes a huge catch on third down, every time he moves the chains, that’s one more feather in the cap of Smith-Njigba being a great draft pick for this team. On top of everything else: the need for depth, injury insurance, and so on.

I think Seahawks fans are going to be elated to have Jaxon Smith-Njigba on their team. But, fantasy football players might not be super thrilled, as is our lot in life.

But that brings up a broader point: how good are the rest of the Seahawks for fantasy purposes?

It still blows my mind that Geno Smith was a value-add to a playoff team in the NFL. It blows my mind even more that he was also a Top 5 fantasy quarterback. Granted, I would say there’s a significant drop-off from the Top 4, but still, that’s impressive.

I guess it depends on where you get them, but if Seahawks players are going to be undervalued, there’s definitely an argument to be made that stacking these guys – Geno Smith, D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Kenneth Walker, and Zach Charbonnet – while keeping Smith-Njigba as a late-round insurance pick, could be a recipe for success. You might not get as many touchdowns from Geno as you’d like, but he’s also going to limit turnovers with the best of ’em. You know where his targets are going. I’m keeping Walker in my dynasty league without hesitation, but I think it might be wise to handcuff him with the rookie just in case. Given how the Seahawks have suffered with running back injuries since Beastmode left town the first time, it’s just a fact of life at this point.

I think I’ve long lived under the impression that the Seahawks’ passing game is to be avoided in fantasy. Oh sure, Russell Wilson was great, but going after his receivers felt like a fool’s errand with the way he spread the ball around. But, these Seahawks go target heavy on the top two guys, which is right where you want it. Give your best players as many opportunities to make plays as possible!

My Favorite Seattle-Based Athletes, Part 3: My Top 5

Here’s Part 1 and Part 2. Get ready for tomorrow when I give you my Mount Rushmore, followed by my top three and a half, my top two and 7/8, and my top 0.991.

All right, let’s cut the bullshit. You already know who these guys are from yesterday’s post, so let’s get to ranking. Here’s my official Top 5 Favorite Seattle-Based Athletes:

  1. King Felix
  2. Beastmode
  3. Bam Bam Kam
  4. The Reign Man
  5. The Big Unit

I was never upset at Randy Johnson for forcing his way out of Seattle. Admittedly, for a while, I was annoyed by his 1998 season, when it seemed pretty obvious he wasn’t trying very hard for Seattle, only to lay the National League to waste upon being traded to Houston (going 10-1 in 11 starts with a sub-2 ERA after going 9-10 in 23 starts with a plus-4 ERA for the M’s). The fact of the matter is: the Mariners were being fucking tightwads and using his back issues as an excuse to lowball him. Of course, we know what happened: he won 4 consecutive Cy Young Awards in Arizona, at the exact time the Mariners most desperately needed a proper ace at the head of our rotation (Freddy Garcia was nice and all, but he wasn’t a true #1, and that hurt us in the playoffs). When he was here, though, and he was on his game, there wasn’t anyone more exciting to watch. Getting to witness Randy Johnson every five days was a thrill to behold. That raging fastball, that diabolical slider (known as Mr. Snappy), that imposing figure he cut on the mound, glowering at opponents moments before making them look absolutely foolish. Also, the stamina to regularly throw WELL over 100 pitches in order to get through 7+ innings. He was one of the last of a dying breed, and the game is all the worse for it.

Shawn Kemp was a man among boys, even when he was just a boy entering the league straight out of community college. The Supersonics of the early-to-mid 90’s were one of the best and most fun teams in the NBA. Run and gun and dunks and outstanding defense; they were everything you’d ever want out of a dynasty … minus the championships. It goes to show you how difficult it can be to get over the hump. Anyway, Kemp was mighty raw entering the league, but also one of the most athletic players on the court on any given night. Over time, he really developed his game, becoming a dominant post presence, and even perfecting a nice mid-range jumper. But, it’s the transition dunks that he’s most remembered for. Between his high-flying theatrics and Kevin Calabro’s genius play-by-play, Sonics fans were provided hundreds of hours of entertainment. It’s just too bad the signing of a shitty white center soured Kemp’s relationship with the organization to the point where he forced his way out. As with Randy, I don’t blame Kemp one bit. Only Gary Payton could possibly deserve more money than Kemp, but certainly not someone as oafish as Jim McIlvaine.

In keeping with great players who were also disgruntled for part of their tenures here, it’s hard to top Kam Chancellor for sheer bad-assery. The guy was the dictionary definition of an enforcer on defense. Punishing fools who dared cross his path. It’s hard to say who was more important and more vital to this team’s success between him and Earl, but even though both were safeties, they played vastly different positions. Kam was a hitting machine, could blow up your spot along the defensive line and in the short passing game, but unlike Jamal Adams, Kam also had the ability to cover guys down field. He frequently was tasked with shutting down the opposing offense’s best tight ends. No one ever gave Gronk a run for his money like Kam. Same goes for receivers like Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson. No one played bigger than Kam. Even better, you rarely got the sense Kam was a shit-talker. I love a good shit-talker as much as the next guy, but it’s even cooler when a total fucking stud goes out there and lets his play do the talking. Every once in a while – after a particularly important play – he’d drop the hammer with his Bam Bam Kam routine, and it just pumped everyone up even more.

It takes a lot to be higher in my esteem than someone like Kam, but Marshawn Lynch did just that. He was the offensive equivalent, bulldozing through guys, to the point where they just didn’t want to deal with him anymore by the ends of these games. When you talk about wearing down a defense with your running game, you’re talking about Beastmode. That’s the ideal. On top of which, by all accounts he was just the coolest fucking guy off the field, giving teammates the shirt off his back if they asked for it. And he also ended up being the first and only guy to hold the Seahawks hostage to the point where he actually earned a raise with his holdout. Isn’t that something?! There’s the Beastquake, the antics during Super Bowl Media Days, anytime he popped up on a TV show or on a late night show. He’s a delight everywhere he goes!

Of course, no one is topping Felix Hernandez. He was a tremendous prospect, he was electric as a younger player, he developed into the very best pitcher in the game, all on his rookie deal. Right there, that’s enough to rank him among my favorite Seattle athletes. But, then he did what absolutely no one thought he’d do: he signed an extension with the hapless Seattle Mariners. In February 2013, he signed a 7-year deal for $175 million dollars, and in my eyes was worth every penny. Oh sure, he didn’t age quite as gracefully as we hoped and expected. But, he played his entire 15-year career in a Mariners uniform, when he absolutely didn’t have to. All he wanted to do was win, was to lead this franchise into the post-season; when he signed his extension, we were already a dozen years removed from our previous playoff game. Then, we proceeded to keep letting him down year after year after year, until eventually he couldn’t carry this team anymore. But, you know what? He gave us 12 amazing years. Every fifth day was a new Happy Felix Day, and you never knew what you were going to get. One of those days was the most recent Perfect Game for Major League Baseball. But, there were countless Felix Quality Starts (7+ innings, 1 or fewer runs allowed). Even as his fastball waned, his change-up was the best in the game and turned him into a wizard out there on the mound. Teams didn’t know what to do with him for the longest time.

Felix is forever my guy. During his entire run here, I wasn’t a Mariners fan; I was a Felix fan. That more or less remains unchanged, even though he’s gone. I’d run through a wall for that guy. It’s the least I can do for all the times he made Seattle relevant and the Mariners worth watching.

My Favorite Seattle-Based Athletes, Part 2: My Top 10

You can check out Part 1 from yesterday.

For the record, this isn’t in any particular order. Though, I will say – spoiler alert – that the top five listed here comprise my favorite five, which I’ll get around to writing about tomorrow. Sorry to really drag out this flimsy concept!

My Top 10

  • King Felix
  • The Big Unit
  • Beastmode
  • Bam Bam Kam
  • The Reign Man
  • The Glove
  • Young Zeke
  • Tui
  • Reg-gie
  • Steve Largent

Look, not everyone can have a cool nickname or shorthand. But, for the first – I dunno – 25 to 30 years of my life, Steve Largent was my favorite athlete of all time. When you’re a kid just getting into sports, you gravitate towards the very best players. And, in the late 80’s, that guy was Largent for me. He had every wide receiver record at the time of his retirement (eventually surpassed by Jerry Rice, among others), but nothing’s ever going to top this sequence of events with Mike Harden. What’s insane is that Largent didn’t even miss a game after that cheap shot in week one! Talk about tough as nails.

I don’t know of a great way to rank all the amazing Husky wide receivers through the years, but anecdotally the first name that comes to my mind is Reggie Williams. He started playing with us a year after that magical 2000 season, and is sort of synonymous with my friends and I following the team religiously. There just wasn’t anyone like him. It seemed like every game he was good for at least a small handful of big plays. And, as it turns out, it was pretty much exclusively thanks to his natural-born ability, as he was never really able to parlay his college dominance into NFL success. I’ll save that for some bitter old-time Jags fans who were underwhelmed by him on a regular basis after being a top 10 pick in the NFL draft. But, as far as Huskies go, there were few better.

One of those guys would be Marques Tuiasosopo. All I need to talk about is 300/200. Against Stanford. 300 yards passing, 200 yards rushing. For the longest time, he was on an all-time list of only his name, until very recently when Malik Cunningham did it with Louisville in 2021. Tui led us to an 11-1 record in 2000 and a Rose Bowl victory over Drew Brees and the Purdue Boilermakers, and I still contend if we had a college football playoff system, that Husky team would’ve made some noise! Maybe even won it all! Just a fun guy to watch on a weekly basis though, especially when you consider how good the Pac-10 was back then, as well as how many times he pulled games out of his ass late.

Isaiah Thomas followed a succession of great Husky basketball players, but how could you not root for a guy of his size and ability? I’ll be honest, he’s on this list because of this, one of my top three favorite singular plays in Seattle sports history. I mean, it’s up there with The Tip and the Beastquake, but I’ll be honest, the one I keep coming back to and rewatching on YouTube is the Cold Blooded call from Gus Johnson in the Pac-10 Conference Tournament Championship Game. It’s just unfortunate that the program hasn’t even come close to getting back to that level of play.

The Supersonics were the model sports franchise in Seattle for the longest time. From the 70’s through the 90’s, they were consistent winners. Regularly in the playoffs. Made the finals three times – winning once in 1979 – and had our lone world championship until the Seahawks won it all in 2013. Clearly, there were a lot of tremendous players to wear that uniform, but none were better than Gary Payton. He was the heart and soul of all those 90s squads, and I’d put him up there with any Seattle sports all time great, Griffey, Largent, you name it. He made a name for himself with his unrivaled defensive ability, but over time he really developed a strong offensive game. He was one of the more potent post-up guards in the league, and eventually he even found his 3-point stroke. Things became a lot more challenging for him once he lost his partner in crime in Shawn Kemp, but he still did his best to keep this franchise afloat. Also, he makes this list for being one of the best shit-talkers in the history of mankind.

My Favorite Seattle-Based Athletes, Part 1

Ahh yes, we’re in one of those dead periods of the sports calendar (unless your team happens to be in the Super Bowl, or you’re super-jazzed by what they’re doing with the Pro Bowl nowadays); it’s a struggle to find things to write about. So, to kill some time, I thought I’d write about my favorite Seattle athletes, both college and pros.

These aren’t necessarily people who were born and/or raised in the Seattle area (although, they could be). These are people who played their respective sports – either in college or as professionals – in Seattle. We’re talking Seahawks, Mariners, Supersonics, and Huskies. For this exercise, I went through each team and picked my favorite five guys. I’ll write a little bit about each, then we’ll narrow it down to a top ten overall, then we’ll see if we’re able to rank those. I don’t expect this to be easy.

I should point out – for frame of reference – that I didn’t really start getting into sports until 1987 or 1988, with the 90’s being my heyday. I got into the Seahawks first, then the Sonics in the early 90’s, then the Mariners in 1995, and it wasn’t until I started going to UW in the fall of 1999 when I truly became a Husky fan. This isn’t a ranking of the All Time Best Seattle Athletes. These are just MY favorites. If they’re not your favorites, I don’t care. Go start your own blog; they’re not too hard to make.

Mariners

  • Felix Hernandez
  • Randy Johnson
  • Ken Griffey Jr.
  • Ichiro
  • Alex Rodriguez

Spoiler alert: Felix and Randy are making my Top 10, so I’ll write more about them later. It feels corny as hell to have Griffey in my top five favorite Mariners, but I don’t know how you leave him off. He balled out in the outfield, making insane catches and throws, and he was one of the best home run hitters of all time. You couldn’t take your eyes off of him when he was doing whatever it was he was doing, even if it was just chuckling with teammates in the dugout. I would say over time, the bloom came off the rose with Ichiro, but those first few years, he was a force of nature. You couldn’t believe what you were seeing out of this magnetic little guy, with his cannon of an arm, and his ability to beat out seemingly-routine grounders. Eventually, he became a slap-hitting singles guy who never dove for balls and whose arm stopped being challenged by baserunners. But, for a while there, he was all we had. A common theme going forward is going to be how tough I had it trying to pick a fifth favorite. Edgar was just boringly amazing. Buhner was certainly a terrific personality. And there were plenty of quietly-excellent guys around the turn of the century. But, A-Rod was a guy who could do it all, at least as long as he wore a Mariners uniform. Power, speed, defense (at the most premium defensive spot on the team), great eye, great average. We somehow brought in a guy who could legitimately push Griffey as the best player on the team. Say what you will about his exit from Seattle, but even then, it was fun to root against him on other teams.

Seahawks

  • Marshawn Lynch
  • Kam Chancellor
  • Steve Largent
  • Russell Wilson
  • Richard Sherman

Spoiler alert: Lynch, Kam, and Largent are all making my Top 10. The Seahawks were tough in a different way, because I could’ve gone 20 deep in this preliminary list; it was difficult to limit it to just five. Cortez Kennedy, Shaun Alexander, Matt Hasselbeck, Joey Galloway, Earl Thomas, Michael Bennett, Ricky Watters, Brian Blades, Bobby Wagner, Michael Sinclair, Jacob Green, Lofa Tatupu, Walter Jones, Doug Baldwin. You could go on and on and on. But, in spite of recent schadenfreude, Russell Wilson was still a super fun quarterback to watch and root for on a weekly basis. In his prime, he would regularly pull our asses out of the fire late in games, and even late in plays as he’d avoid the pass rush in order to make some insane throw down field. Sherm ended up landing my fifth spot simply because of his personality. You could always tell what kind of shit he was talking even if he wasn’t mic’ed up on the field. If teams had the misfortune of trying to challenge him, they’d often find that plan thwarted real quick. Even later in his career – after quarterbacks by and large stopped throwing his way – it was always comforting knowing half the field was closed for business.

Supersonics

  • Shawn Kemp
  • Gary Payton
  • Detlef Schrempf
  • Sam Perkins
  • Nate McMillan

Spoiler alert: Kemp and Payton are in my Top 10. You’ll notice the top four listed here were the top four in minutes played in that amazing 1995/1996 season (and that all five were on that team in major roles). The fifth guy came down to Mac-10, Ray Allen, Dale Ellis, Hersey Hawkins, and Rashard Lewis, but I’ll always have a soft spot for Mr. Sonic. For a lot of reasons, but I’ll never forget how banged up he was in those Finals against the Bulls. Yet, he came back and played a critical role in our winning games four and five. I’ll always believe that a healthy Nate would’ve propelled us to the upset to end all upsets against those juggernaut Bulls. Detlef was a consummate pro and a perfect complement to Gary and Shawn’s theatrics. And Big Smooth – for that nickname alone – very nearly made my Top 10. Just a stud of a big man who drained threes like nobody’s business (at a time in league history where that was an extreme rarity, unlike today where it’s the norm).

Husky Basketball

  • Isaiah Thomas
  • Jon Brockman
  • Nate Robinson
  • Brandon Roy
  • Matisse Thybulle

Spoiler alert: only IT makes my Top 10 from here. If I had to pick a second, I’d go with Brockman, who was a great all-around forward under Romar. He got better every year in a complementary role, and as a senior really picked up and led this team in ways we wouldn’t have expected from him as a freshman. Nate Rob was super flashy and fun to watch. Roy probably had the best game of all of them, but was one of those boringly-excellent players (who, unfortunately, could never stay healthy as a pro). And Thybulle really got unlocked under Mike Hopkins, in probably the only good thing he’s done as a coach of the Huskies. Honorable mention goes to Terrell Brown, for being super fun to watch game-in and game-out last year.

Husky Football

  • Marques Tuiasosopo
  • Reggie Williams
  • John Ross
  • Budda Baker
  • Michael Penix

Spoiler alert: Tui and Reggie both made my Top 10. If there was a Top 11, John Ross would be in it. Nothing more fun than my friends and I screaming JOHN ROSS at the tops of our lungs whenever he corralled a 40+ yard bomb for a touchdown. My love for Budda Baker started when he flipped from the Ducks to the Huskies. Then, he proceeded to ball out for us for three of the best teams we’ve ever had, before becoming one of the pros I most wanted the Seahawks to draft. We let him go to the Cardinals and part of me has never forgiven them for it. Consider this the kiss of death for Penix’s 2023 season, as I’ve surely jinxed him. But, he might be the best and most pro-ready quarterback I’ve ever seen in a Husky uniform. As someone who stepped in right away this past season and led us to double-digit wins – including a bowl victory over the Longhorns – it’s a remarkable feat, even if he is a transfer. Penix obviously gets extra credit for choosing to return for a second season – when he easily could’ve gone pro and been at least a Day 2 draft pick, if not a sneaky first rounder – and of course for all the Big Penix Energy jokes my friends and I get to rattle off. If he parlays this into a conference title in 2023, I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s able to sneak into my Top 10 by this time next year.

Tomorrow: my top 10.

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!

Bummer: Chris Carson Retired

It was announced yesterday that Chris Carson has retired. Really, it’s more of a medically-induced forced retirement, because I would say if it weren’t for a spinal injury, he’d have many more yards left to gain.

Carson packed a lot into his 5-year career. Even though he was a 7th round draft pick, you could tell right away that this was a different type of running back. He came to us in kind of a fallow period for Seahawks running backs. 2015 was Marshawn Lynch’s last year here, but by then Thomas Rawls appeared to be the heir apparent. That was short-lived, as 2016 was not only a step-back for him, but for the entire running game, with Christine Michael leading the way with less than 500 yards. 2017 was a running back nadir for this team; Russell Wilson led the team in rushing with 586 yards, and the next guy on the list was Mike Davis with 240.

However, even though Carson finished his rookie season with only 208 yards, he made quite an impression. It was unfortunate that his year ended with injury after 4 games, because if he’d stuck around, he surely would’ve propped up the entire running back room with his powerful running style.

Carson returned mostly healthy in 2018 and had back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons. However, he could never quite make it a full year unscathed. By 2020, injuries were starting to encroach more and more, culminating in another 4-game season in 2021, with his neck injury leading us to this point.

He finishes his career 8th in Seahawks history with 3,502 rushing yards. It’s right where you’d expect him to be, with the usual suspects in the top 7: Shaun Alexander, Chris Warren, Curt Warner, Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson, John L. Williams, and Ricky Watters all ahead of him. It’s impossible to project where he could’ve ended up had he stayed healthy, because that’s a relative term. Even if he didn’t have this spinal issue, you have to imagine there’d be usual bumps and bruises that would limit him at times.

But, I’ll say this: at his peak, there weren’t many guys I’d rather have on my team. Chris Carson was indeed one of the best running backs in the NFL. Good vision, great size, fierce tenacity to get those extra yards. He was the true heir apparent to Marshawn Lynch, and it’s just a damn shame he couldn’t extend his career out a few more years.

The only frustrating thing about his career was the fact that you never had any idea when it would happen, but make no mistake, you always knew an injury was lurking around every corner. In the early going, I’d cheer like crazy whenever he ran over a guy for a few extra yards. But, by the end, I was wincing every time he took any sort of hit.

In the end, Carson joins a long line of Seahawks legends who’ve had their careers cut drastically short in recent years due to injury. But, ultimately, you can’t risk it. You can’t risk being paralyzed just for the game of football. The note that came out says the Seahawks “took care of him” by … whatever they did when they released him. He’s supposedly getting a few extra million dollars on the way out, which is only right.

The real tragedy of it all is the fact that we could never really build a winner around him. Carson got saddled in a stupid period of Seahawks football, post-LOB, but still with Russell Wilson at the helm. In his five years, we made the playoffs three times, and went 1-3 in those games. And he didn’t even get to be part of the lone victory, thanks to being on IR by that point in the season.

Oh, what might’ve been. Still, I’ll always look back fondly on a punishing runner with sky-high potential.

The Russell Wilson Era With The Seahawks Was Beautiful Chaos

I’ll admit, against my better judgment, I bought into all the hype that the Seahawks were looking to hold onto Russell Wilson. It started to make sense. What never made sense was trading him last year, when he made his big stink in the media and leaked out the four teams he’d be willing to go to. Back then, though, I always thought 2022 would be the perfect time. The cap hit wouldn’t be too severe, but he’d still have the value left on his deal (two more seasons). This would give the team one last gasp to see if they could run it back in 2021, otherwise they could start to clean house from a much better salary cap perspective.

I’m officially good with the trade, even though I readily acknowledge this could all backfire horribly for the Seahawks. Yesterday was all about the visceral reaction, for most of us, I imagine. Today, let’s reflect (I know there was other news that also happened yesterday, and we’ll get to that, but for now I’m focused on Russ).

It’s weird how endings can shape your overall perception of something. A great show with a dud of an ending (a Game of Thrones, let’s say, or a Rescue Me or Sons of Anarchy) can leave a sour taste in your mouth. I rewatch a lot of television shows in my spare time, but I can pretty safely say I’ll never go back and watch any of those shows again, even though I really thought they were great up until their final season or two. Why do I get a Game of Thrones vibe with these Russell Wilson Seahawks?

It’s crazy, because if you offered me a decade with a bona fide franchise quarterback, and told me he would lead my team to 8 playoff appearances, 4 divisional titles, 2 Super Bowls, and 1 championship, I would accept that in a heartbeat! Do you know the level of difficulty there is to achieve all of that? Most franchise quarterbacks can’t even do that over an entire career, and now here we are, with Russell Wilson slated to have a whole second career somewhere else.

But, it feels … incomplete. Because the first half of that decade saw 3 of the divisional tiles, both Super Bowls, and of course the one title. The last half of that decade saw both of the seasons where we missed the playoffs, only one divisional title, and only one appearance in the Divisional Round of the playoffs (where we lost). We were 8-4 in the playoffs over the first five seasons, then 1-3 over the next five. I don’t mean to belabor why a change needed to be made, but if you flip-flopped those two half-decades, I know I’d be singing a much different tune right now.

As it is, obviously, Russell Wilson is the greatest quarterback in franchise history. He’s a legend. He embodies my absolute favorite style of play: a guy who can scramble around, a guy who can throw accurately on the run (even to his left, as a right-handed thrower), a wizard with the deep pass, and a guy who got better as the game (and season) progressed.

It’s fun to think back at all the crazy death-defying acts of wonder he performed, eluding defenders while receivers broke off of their routes to come open for big plays. These were truly the Cardiac Seahawks with all the times he led us back from the brink in the fourth quarters of games. He was astonishing to watch on the field. An absolute unicorn; there will never be another player quite like him.

I can already tell that he’s going to be the guy I compare all future quarterbacks to. I find myself doing it already, when I watch other teams play! I’ll say to no one in particular, “Russell Wilson would’ve made that throw.” It’s going to be a nightmare.

There are so many phenomenal moments to choose from to talk about when you look back at his Seahawks career. Obviously, the first one I think back on is the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. His never-say-die attitude is legendary (though, I imagine it could be grating at times), and in this case it came to fruition in the most improbable fashion. Even though he was having the worst game of his life through most of it, he still helped orchestrate the complete comeback, down 12 points late in the fourth quarter, ultimately prevailing in overtime. That throw to Kearse is a thing of beauty.

Then, there’s the fourth down throw in the NFCCG against the 49ers the year prior (also to Kearse) to give us the lead. There’s the rampage he went on in the second half of 2015, when we won 6 of 7 games to come back from the dead and finish 10-6. There was the fact that he played all of 2016 in spite of two very serious injuries sustained (one in the very first game) and still led us to a division title. And, there’s the simple fact that no quarterback has won more games through the first ten years of his career, in spite of the fact that he often was saddled with some of the worst O-Line play ever seen in the modern era.

Russell Wilson was the fucking best. He made the Seahawks the most fun team to watch and root for. If you wanted an entertaining game to showcase on primetime, schedule the Seahawks! Something unique and amazing would happen, eventually.

And, even though Marshawn Lynch and the Legion of Boom gets most of the credit for our Super Bowl years, I’ve argued all along that the Seahawks never would’ve won it all, nor would we have been nearly as successful in that span, if we didn’t have Russell Wilson leading the way. He was more than a game manager, even way back then. He pulled our asses out of the fire many times.

The fact of the matter is: we were spoiled. Most fans understand, on some level, how difficult it is to actually contend for a Super Bowl. Not just be a playoff team, but be one of the best three or four teams in the league over an entire season. Especially the fans of really poorly-run organizations. But, you don’t fully understand how difficult it is to get back and win multiple Super Bowls until your team has literally been the best team in the game for four straight seasons. Until you witness what you feel is a legitimate dynasty, which I thought the Seahawks were, starting in late 2012 and running through the 2015 season. I thought we were the new New England Patriots, I really did. We were young, we were hungry, and we were the baddest motherfuckers on the planet.

Then came the obvious disaster in the second Super Bowl, and from there it all unravelled. We never even got to another conference championship game after that. That’s how tenuous it can all be.

That’s when egos took over, and the organization was forced to choose a side: the franchise quarterback – who might play until his 40s – or the all-world defense – who by and large, one by one, all failed to make it to 40 (unless Bobby can somehow keep it going another 9 years).

It was a no-brainer. But, in hindsight, ego will destroy us all. Even someone as seemingly good and wholesome as Russell Wilson. Even his head got too big for his own good. He paid lip service to being all about winning, but if that was actually the case, he would’ve gotten with the program and played within the system that works best for him. Obviously, the organization – the coaches and talent evaluators – aren’t absolved of guilt. But, it’s ironic to see all the changes we made after the 2014 and 2015 seasons – in the name of ridding us of dysfunction and promoting a more harmonious environment – only to see the dysfunction return with a vengeance from the very man the organization was working to protect.

Chaos. It’s all around us.

I don’t hate Russell Wilson. I wish him well in his future endeavors. But, he’s also a weird fucking robo-celebrity who might not be all there mentally, and I’m all too happy to not have to listen to another one of his verbally acrobatic press conferences or interviews. I’ll look back on his time here fondly – as I do just about all of our Seattle superstars – but I’m ready to turn the page and close the book on that era. It’s time for a new era.

The scary era. Where we have to try to replace a Hall of Famer at the most important position in football. Yikes!

Seahawks Death Week: Talking About The Elephants In The Room

Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll, and John Schneider are those elephants. Jody Allen & Co. have some decisions to make. As I see it, the options are as follows:

  • Keep Everybody
  • Keep Pete Carroll and John Schneider, Trade Russell Wilson
  • Keep Pete and Russ, Fire John
  • Keep John and Russ, Fire Pete
  • Keep Russell Wilson, Fire Pete Carroll and John Schneider
  • Keep John Schneider, Fire Pete Carroll, Trade Russell Wilson
  • Keep Pete Carroll, Fire John Schneider, Trade Russell Wilson
  • Trade/Fire Everybody

Does that look right? It’s absurd how long it took me to figure out that 3-way quagmire. Anyway, one of those eight scenarios is bound to happen.

The likeliest three – in some order – are “Keep Everybody”, “Keep Pete & John (trade Russ)”, or “Keep Russ (fire Pete & John)”. The virtual lock that absolutely won’t happen is that everybody is gone.

Considering the news over the last couple days – and the fact that no change has been made as of yet – I’d say Pete and John are here to stay. I suppose – since we don’t have a traditional ownership set-up – they could be taking their time and might wait a little bit before making a move, but that seems like a disasterous scenario to me (considering all the teams who did their shit-canning on Black Monday would have a head start on us by now). It makes sense though, from a financial perspective. Pete and John were just extended to big money deals through the 2025 season (Pete) and 2027 draft (John); that’s fully guaranteed money. I know, in the grand scheme of things, a billionaire owner wouldn’t flinch at throwing away that kind of money if they felt it was necessary to make a move, but I would also argue the recency of these signings indicates they’re all on the same page with how this team should be run.

As for Russell Wilson, that’s anyone’s guess.

Do you put more stock in the rosy feeling of the Seahawks dominating their final two regular season games (and winning 4 of 6 overall)? Or, do you put more stock in Russell Wilson’s media campaign following the 2020 season, and how he nudge-nudge, wink-wink, wouldn’t mind being traded to a certain four teams? Everyone’s careful to state it wasn’t a trade demand, but following a 7-10 season, maybe whatever it was turns into one now.

Predicting this feels like a coin flip. I’m leaning towards Russell Wilson wanting out. I think there’s a lot of evidence to back it up. I would say, for starters, professional athletes (and coaches, and front office people, and just about everyone else) are notorious liars. So, when Wilson talks about wanting to be in Seattle, I’d put a big ol’ Maury Povich meme up next to that.

Wilson obviously wants to be in an offense that caters to his need to be the best quarterback in football. He wants everything to run through him, he wants to pass the ball significantly more than he hands it off. He wants an MVP award. He wants to be the main reason (by leaps and bounds) why his team wins football games. And he wants to win multiple Super Bowls. Ultimately, he wants to be a Hall of Famer. Because, again, he wants to go down as the best to ever play the position (or, failing that, the best after Tom Brady).

Yet, whenever Russell Wilson has tried to bite off more than he can chew in Seattle, he’s almost always struggled. The last two years of this Let Russ Cook nonsense is a prime example. It’s not ALL his fault, because obviously there’s a tug o’ war going on with Pete Carroll, who does stick his nose in and limits his rampant passing whenever the offense struggles and/or turns the ball over too much. It’s also not his fault that this offensive line largely struggles in pass protection (specifically for someone like Wilson, who likes to move around a lot and will run himself into opposing linemen; it’s hard to know where Wilson will be at any given moment as a play breaks down). It’s also not his fault that we continue to waste time with inferior linemen in general, when there are better options available (why it took so long for Phil Haynes to get an opportunity is anybody’s guess; why Pocic sat for so long after he returned from his injury is, again, a mystery).

But, I think we’ve also seen enough from Wilson to know where he’s limited, and where he’s sabotaging things. He’s not good at the intermediate passing game. He’s not smart about checking down when the deep pass isn’t there. He too often tries to twirl out of trouble or run backwards, exacerbating sacks that don’t need to be so devastating. He’s, frankly, not a good third down quarterback. And he chooses not to run as often as he should, to keep defenses honest; even if he’s lost a step, he’s still capable of running when he wants to.

Then there are, of course, all the non-football reasons why Wilson might want to leave. Seattle is a middling media market. Ciara is an international music star. Russ wants to be a Business, man. I think they would prefer he play for a team in New York, L.A., Miami, Chicago, Dallas, D.C., or Vegas. For football reasons, throw New Orleans, Atlanta, Indy, Denver, Cleveland, or Minnesota into the mix. There’s lots of options, any number of them would be more attractive for someone looking for a change of scenery than Seattle.

If we assume Pete and John are here to stay for the foreseeable future, then Russ has to decide if this is the place he wants to be. And, if he chooses to stay, then he needs to buy in 100% to the way this offense needs to be operated. We need to rely on our running game to bring the defense closer to the line of scrimmage; it’s the best way for Wilson to take advantage of what he does best: exploiting the defense over the top for explosive chunk gains.

Meanwhile, John needs to shore up talent along the offensive line, and have a better plan when it comes to bringing in quality running backs. And Pete and his coaching staff need to determine who the best players are earlier in the season, so we don’t keep blowing games early.

But, as I said before, gun to my head, I think Russ forces a trade. Now, is that something I want?

It’s hard. I know I’ve talked about how I’ve soured on Wilson after last year’s media blitz, but I’ve seen how this team can perform at its best. When everyone is on the same page, and everything is clicking, the Seahawks’ offense can do some real damage. And I do NOT believe Wilson has fallen off a cliff. Sure, he’s on the downside of his career, but he’s still close enough to his peak to easily be a Top 10 quarterback in this league, with a shot at being a Top 5 guy if everything goes according to plan. I still believe he’s destined to be a Hall of Famer; even the best all-time QBs have had down years during their careers.

Beating the Lions and Cardinals the way they did to close out the season shows me this team’s potential. That’s the closest I’ve seen to our late-2012 run since it happened. Sure, we’ve ended seasons on fire before, but not imposing our will the way we did in those two games. Again, the last 50-point game we put up was in 2012; that’s extremely difficult to do in the NFL!

But, do I want to be sucked in by our most recent two performances, one of which happened against one of the two worst teams in football (ignoring all the games that came before it, both this season and some of the more infuriating games we’ve bungled over the last half-decade)? Do I ultimately believe that this is a team – with Russell Wilson at the helm – that won’t just contend for playoff spots, but win a motherfucking championship?

Not really.

I think we, as Seahawks fans, have to face up to some hard truths. One of which is: Russell Wilson absolutely needs a quality running game and defense to win championships. Simply having “Russell Wilson: Top 5 Quarterback” isn’t sufficient. He’s good enough to make up for a lot of illnesses across this roster, but he’s only one man. Without proper support in those two key areas, all is lost.

I don’t believe those Seahawks teams from 2012-2015 would’ve been nearly as dominant without Russell Wilson; I certainly don’t think they would’ve made the Super Bowl in back-to-back years with someone like Andy Dalton (or some other replacement-level quarterback). That being said, it’s clear why those teams were so successful: the defense and Marshawn Lynch.

The defense, more or less since 2015, has declined severely as the key guys from that Legion of Boom era have all retired, gotten older/slower, or moved on to other teams. We’ve been massively unsuccessful in replacing those guys through the draft, trades, or free agency. And, as our coaching staff kept getting poached of its best and brightest, we’re left with mediocre leadership who continue to fail to get the most out of their players.

Meanwhile, we’ve tried countless times to find the successor to Marshawn Lynch. Most have been mediocre. Chris Carson was a worthy follow up, but he’s been too injured too often to come close to living up. Beastmode has so many elite and wonderful qualities – from his rough-house style of play, to his infectious personality – but one of the more underrated aspects to his greatness was his availability. He showed up, game-in and game-out.

Just go back and look at those seasons, particularly our Super Bowl runs of 2013 and 2014. Look at how many games where our offense struggled for long stretches and needed the defense to keep us in them, until Wilson led the offense to a late-game victory. Or, those games where the offense got us a lead, and the defense had to hold on to secure it. Now, start thinking about all of those games we haven’t won since 2016. Think about how the defense has struggled. Think about how we’ve needed the offense to be the one to carry this team, and how often they’ve failed in key moments.

The thing is, it’s not one or the other. You need the running game and the defense, but you DO need the quarterback as well. However, there’s only so much money to go around. And there’s only so much a GM can do when you’re drafting so low in the first round most years (that is, when you’re not trading away those picks to try to find elite talent in other ways, since there’s rarely elite talent falling into the 20’s of the NFL draft). Can the Seahawks build that defense when they’re paying Russell Wilson so much money? It’s possible, but it’s very difficult. Can a defense that’s not-quite-elite still win us a title with Wilson at quarterback? It’s possible, but it requires buy-in from the quarterback himself. And, even then, it’s going to need a running game like we saw from Rashaad Penny the last month of the season.

My main line of thinking is that I don’t believe Russell Wilson will ever get with the program. Even if he makes the commitment to stay and buys in to a more balanced philosophy that features more rushing than he’d like, he is who he is. He’s still going to struggle in the intermediate game, finding check-downs, converting third downs, and knowing when he himself needs to run with the football. I also don’t believe we’re ever going to find someone as durable as Marshawn Lynch, and so our running game will continue to be a revolving door from week to week. Finally, I don’t believe this defense – with Ken Norton & Co. in charge – is capable of being consistent enough to sustain even a Top 15 level of production.

At this point, I think it’s probably best for all involved for Wilson to demand a trade. The Seahawks need an infusion of draft picks. They need to bring in a new, young QB while we still have the culture in place to surround him with quality players in order to turn him into a winner. And, they need to use any and all resources – with that quarterback on his rookie deal – to bolster the defense like they did heading into 2013, so that we can take advantage in that brief window where the quarterback isn’t earning an untenable percentage of the overall salary cap.

If it doesn’t happen, and Wilson opts to stick around, I won’t be up in arms or anything. But, I’ll go into every season from here on out knowing there’s a ceiling to the Seahawks’ success, that being the Divisional Round of the playoffs and no further. Until they prove me wrong, that’s what we have to look forward to. And, instead of getting a jumpstart on a rebuild – while there’s enough of a core in place to possibly right the ship in a hurry – we’ll just kick this can down the road another few years, until Pete Carroll has to retire in disgrace, John Schneider returns to Green Bay, and Russell Wilson is wearing another jersey anyway.

The Seahawks Are Losers

I’ll admit, last night I was more annoyed by my fantasy football team almost blowing it (I had D.K. Metcalf and Taylor Heinicke going, and only a 15-point deficit to overcome; it shouldn’t have taken ALL GAME to finally do it) than I was by the Seahawks once again playing like the losers that they are.

Did anyone think they were going to legitimately run the table? If you were holding back a shovelful of dirt for some reason, go ahead and drop that right on top of the coffin there. This team is dead, and it’s not coming back.

Nevertheless, it’s not so easy to wrap my head around what’s going on. I know where I place most of the blame though: on Russell Wilson’s shoulders. I refuse to blame the offensive coordinator, because this is the guy that Wilson wanted. I’m also not entirely sure Wilson is running the offense properly, as indicated by all the times we’ve seen guys running WIDE OPEN who he is simply missing. I’m also not blaming the offensive line, though they are not as good as any of us expected, nor are they as good as they’ve been the last couple years. But, Wilson has thrived under worse offensive line conditions before.

I don’t think Wilson is done as a quarterback in the NFL, though we may be witnessing the beginning of the downside of his career. I’ve always wondered what his game would look like when he can no longer run/refuses to run and is JUST a pocket passer. He’s always passed well from the pocket before, but that was when he had legs and knew how to use them. Now that he’s more or less a statue, is he physically capable of seeing all the receivers and making all the throws? Who can say?

The obvious scapegoat is to blame the finger injury. I’m sure that will be the excuse when the season is over. It has to be, because Wilson won’t blame himself or his deteriorating skills. He’ll say something to the effect of, “Yeah, I probably pushed myself too hard to come back too soon,” and he’ll get credit for actively harming the team. The interviewer will laud him for being a tough guy, when he’s really just being selfish. But, that would only really make sense if we’re talking about the last three games. Wilson has been an ongoing problem for this team all season.

You want to know what I really think? I believe Russell Wilson has one of the lowest football IQs among all of the elite quarterbacks. There’s levels of stupidity in the NFL. Thankfully, Wilson isn’t a guy who foolishly puts the ball in harm’s way too often. But, what I’m talking about is the more cerebral side of the game. The pre-snap stuff. Dissecting a defense and knowing where to go with a football. I don’t think he’s good at that at all. He’s not Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady or Drew Brees, and he’s never going to be them. Those guys aged into wise veteran quarterbacks who beat teams with their minds. Those guys made the teams around them better.

Russell Wilson, on the other hand, is on some fucked up Hero Ball shit. Wilson doesn’t make the team around him better and he never has. Instead, he wants to do everything himself. He’s been blessed with some of the most gifted receivers in the NFL over the years, but if he could throw the ball to himself for long bomb touchdowns, he would do it. It’s always gotta be the home run. It’s never the checkdown until we get under two minutes against a prevent defense. It’s never taking what the defense gives us. Instead, it’s trying to force his will against other teams who know exactly what Wilson is trying to do. He isn’t capable of adjusting, because he’s not intelligent enough to see that his blind faith way of doing business isn’t working anymore. You can’t just close your eyes, chuck it deep, and hope that God will place the ball where you want it to go.

You don’t ever hear about how dumb Russell Wilson is as a quarterback, because everyone is so mystified by the magical plays he’s managed to pull out of his ass at times. But, those instances are fewer and farther between nowadays. And, it’s not like you can ever get a straight answer from Wilson himself, because every interview is an avalanche of clichéd gibberish. If that doesn’t speak to how simple-minded he is, then I don’t know what does. He’s literally just memorized the same dozen phrases and spews them out over an over, in a different order, every time he gets in front of a microphone. He can’t think on his feet, he can’t analyze and react in real time; you see that whenever an interviewer really pushes him to give an honest answer, he freezes and doesn’t know what to say, and you can almost catch him, until his robot programming takes over. He’s also pretty dim when it comes to interacting with his teammates; he doesn’t know what to do around people. It’s almost sad to see what happens when he can no longer simply rely on his out-of-this-world physical gifts, because his brain won’t be able to get him out of this jam.

There’s been a lot of talk about this being an “end of an era” for the Seahawks. I don’t think that’s totally accurate though, not in the way people intend. They’re talking about this “era” of Seahawks football as a monolith, from 2012-2021, but it hasn’t been one singular era. Really, there was the era from 2010-2015, then 2016-2021. The first era was the great one, the second era has largely been miserable. The first era was the Legion Of Boom Era; the second one has been the Russell Wilson Era.

Even though Russell Wilson’s tenure spans both eras, this didn’t really become HIS team until most of those L.O.B. guys were long gone (I would throw Marshawn Lynch in with them as well, since he embodied that mindset). It’s still my belief that the Seahawks never would’ve reached the heights that we did in the Legion Of Boom Era without Russell Wilson. If we’d had Andy Dalton, or some other mere game manager, it’s possible we still could’ve won a Super Bowl, but I don’t think it would’ve been likely. However, it’s clear to me now that Russell Wilson will never make it back to the Super Bowl without an elite defense. He can’t carry a team by himself. In that sense, the Russell Wilson Era has been an abject failure.