This Is The Beginning Of The End For The Seahawks As We Know Them

When you reach the top, it’s great.  You’re winning lots of games, you’re winning Super Bowls, teams are copying your scheme and signing away your players and hiring your assistant coaches and front office staff.  Between that and the salary cap, the league does everything it can to chip away at your success, until you’re a hollow husk of your former self.

Then, on the way down, you stop winning Super Bowls, you don’t win as many games as you used to, the league is not only littered with copycats, but teams who’ve figured out your scheme, and nobody really wants to sign away your rejects or hire your assistants anymore.  After a long run of success, at the first sign of stagnation, what do you do?  Deflect blame and start firing assistants.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as ugly as it sounds.  It’s not like Pete Carroll is out on a soapbox trashing guys like Darrell Bevell, Tom Cable, or Kris Richard, but a message is sent without saying anything at all.  These guys were problems for us.  If we want to get good again, we need to replace THESE guys with THOSE guys.

And, unless you’re Mike Tomlin or Marvin Lewis (guys who never get fired, no matter what apparently), you pretty much only get to do that once.  Some coaches will take their time replacing coordinators.  One bad year, pick which unit was the worst and fire its coordinator.  Still didn’t work?  Fire the other one.  Dragging that out can sometimes help a head coach cling for dear life to his job.  But, cleaning house all at once?  That’s a bold move.

A bold move, I would argue, of a man who doesn’t figure to be here much longer.

The last ditch effort of a head coach trying to save his job is to bring in “his guys”.  Get back to basics.  And, if he has to go down with the ship, at least he went down his way.  I don’t think Pete Carroll was in any danger of getting fired this season.  I think this team could totally crater in 2018 as well and he’d probably still get a crack at turning it around in 2019.  So, I wouldn’t say this is a hot seat situation – like it usually is – so much as a guy either nearing retirement, or simply nearing the end of his run in Seattle.

Pete Carroll was with USC for 9 seasons.  He’ll be entering his 9th season with the Seahawks later this year.  I’m not trying to say there’s some significance with the number 9 or anything, but 9 years in any one spot is a long time in the coaching world.  Pete’s been in the business since the early 70’s, and his stint at USC (and now Seattle) was the longest BY FAR of any of his stops.  You have to wonder if he’s getting antsy.

You also have to wonder if he’s seeing the writing on the wall.  He saw it at USC, and left at the perfect time.  With the Seahawks, what do we have to look forward to if the players we bring in from the 2016-2018 NFL Drafts don’t develop into elite Pro Bowlers?  We’ve got a quarterback, a wide receiver, a few pieces on defense, and a lot of question marks.  That makes it sound worse than it actually is – there are plenty of fine players on the team right now – but obviously there wasn’t enough in 2017 to get this team into the playoffs!  When you’re susceptible to a kicker costing you your season, then you absolutely don’t have enough talent to be a championship contender.  And, if you’re not a championship contender, then what’s the point?

I think that’s what Pete has to be thinking.  He’s 66 years old, by far the oldest head coach in the league.  I know he’s young at heart and whatnot, but even if he coaches until he’s 72 or 73 years old (and that’s being pretty generous, I think), what does that leave him time for?  Is that enough time to turn this Seahawks franchise around?  Maybe, but again it’s going to be really hard to do if we’re coming at it as a 9-7 team.  If we string a bunch of these years together, that’s not going to help us rebuild!  It’s just enough to keep us spinning our tires in that 8-8 grind!  Better to bottom out for a year or two, then bounce back with a bunch of high draft picks (assuming, of course, that you hit on them).

Or, if we’re talking about the last 5-6 years of his head coaching career, maybe are we talking about Pete Carroll going to some OTHER downtrodden franchise and turning THEM around?  I feel like that task is much more likely to come to fruition (assuming, of course, they figure out the quarterback conundrum).

To put it another way, does Pete Carroll want to be known (from an NFL perspective) as the best head coach in Seahawks history?  Or, does he want to be known as a head coach who was able to turn around multiple franchises, and bring two different organizations to the Super Bowl?  And, what’s more likely to get him into the Hall of Fame one day?

Part of this is me questioning whether Pete Carroll wants to finish his career here, which I have serious doubts about.  But, the other part of it is me losing a little bit of confidence in these guys as talent evaluators and teachers of the game.  This team needs a serious infusion of talent to counter-balance this team’s aging core and terrible luck with injuries.  Because I don’t think the coaches they’ve brought in are capable enough of transforming the players we have now into superstars.  And if this team keeps trending downward, as it’s been since 2015, we could be looking at some fairly lean times ahead.

At which point, it wouldn’t shock me to see Pete Carroll bolt for another opportunity.  Nor would it shock me to see Paul Allen come in and blow everything up again.  I hope I’m wrong, but I’m heading into the 2018 season without much confidence.

Seattle Sports Hell NFL Power Rankings, Vol. 5

I would just like to start out by saying the following:  Thursday Games Are Bullshit.

The NFL was not meant to be played on Thursdays!  Let us follow the logic for a minute, shall we?  You take 11 big, strong athletes at the peak of their physical livelihood, you put them in pads and helmets, and you have them running around and crashing into one another for three hours every Sunday.  I don’t know about you, but I played flag football (with full-contact blocking) for the first time in ages just last month.  I was walking with a limp for a WEEK afterward!  And I wasn’t even playing against the best football players in the world!

Then, you’ve got to turn around, four days later, and do it all again?

I mean, I’m no NFL player, but I imagine if you play a game on Sunday, you’re doing absolutely nothing on Monday but recuperating.  Then, you return to the grind on Tuesday with a full practice.  Given the CBA, you’re only allowed so much time with your players during practice, so you’ve got to cram EVERYTHING into that one practice.  Because you’re not going all out on a Wednesday, considering there’s a game on Thursday; you don’t want to kill your players the day before they’re going to be killed again.

In essence, you get one day to prepare for a football game in the National Football League.  Are you KIDDING me?

I don’t think the NFL realizes how important each and every football game is.  Because if they did, they surely would outlaw Thursday games (unless the Thursday game came directly after those teams’ bye weeks).  Every week in the NFL is do-or-die.  Not providing teams with enough preparation or practice time before a game puts player health at risk.  It also seriously screws with the playoff race.  And, in cases like this Thursday’s game between the Seahawks and the 49ers, it screws with a divisional race.

It’s impossible to take these Thursday games seriously because most of the time they are the single shittiest games of the week.  I’m not talking necessarily from a matchup standpoint (though, yes, many of these matchups are fucking SNORES).  Mostly, I’m talking about how ugly these games are.  With unprepared players, you find a lot of mistakes.  Penalties, turnovers, players running the wrong routes, players whiffing on tackles, players getting injured.  I don’t have any hard data on any of this, it’s more of an impression I get from watching and reading about this dreck.  Doesn’t it SEEM like we see an inordinate amount of blowouts and boring games on Thursdays than we do on Mondays?

Obviously, you’re not getting the best out of both teams on Thursdays, because they don’t have the regular allotment of practice to prepare.  Which is why you see all the blowouts.  Which is why you’ll often find inferior teams defeating superior teams.  The sun even shines on a dog’s ass some days, and more often than not it’s shining bright on Thursday nights.

All of that I can ALMOST tolerate – shitty matchups, ugly games, unnecessary upsets, injuries, etc. – but there’s no excuse to put an all-important divisional game on a Thursday.  Thursday games are gimmicks!  They’re something the NFL invented to make more money and to give its network some original content that isn’t rehashing all the other games on all the other networks.  You know they’re gimmicks because not everyone can watch!  Only a fraction of people who have cable can get the NFL network (or are willing to pay extra for the privilege of watching a shitty Thursday game).  But, if your home team is involved, you’re allowed to watch it on broadcast television.  So, really, the Thursday Game is primarily for the fans of the teams involved, with a cursory audience throughout the rest of the country that could take it or leave it depending on whether they have any fantasy football implications or not.

Taken as a whole, I’ve determined that Thursday games are bullshit.  And yet, the Seahawks and the 49ers are forced to play 1/6 of their divisional schedule on a gimmick night of the week when neither team is fully prepared to give it their best efforts.

Obviously, if you’re looking to me to provide a solution, I’ve got nothing for you.  My solution would be:  don’t have fucking Thursday games, unless they follow a BYE week for both teams.  Since that’s unlikely to happen (considering we’d have to have BYE weeks every week of the season except the last, and I don’t think even that would work because you’d run out of teams to fill all the game slots they want to fill), we can all eat shit.  Still, at the very least, you’d think they could make each Thursday game an AFC/NFC matchup, so it wouldn’t have quite the impact of a conference or a divisional game.

Anyway, I’m done ranting about something that will never change.  On to the rankings:

  1. Atlanta Falcons (6-0):  They don’t all have to be pretty, but as long as Atlanta’s undefeated, they remain in the top spot.  (Last Week:  1)
  2. Baltimore Ravens (5-1):  Lotta guts, grit, and fire in that game against Dallas that they almost blew at the end.  Possibly their biggest test of the season comes up this week in their game at Houston.  Could very well decide the top seed in the AFC.  (Last Week:  4)
  3. Chicago Bears (4-1):  I’m not necessarily saying Detroit is a pushover, but that’s a game they SHOULD win on Monday night.  After that, they host Carolina and go to Tennessee.  I wouldn’t look for this team to fall in the rankings anytime soon.  (Last Week:  6)
  4. Houston Texans (5-1):  Boy did they fall apart against Green Bay!  Where’s that amazing defense I’ve heard so much about?  Seriously, 42 points, that’s a reason for concern.  This team has to go to Detroit and New England later in the season.  If they continue to give up monster games to elite offenses, that might spell their doom in the playoffs.  (Last Week:  2)
  5. New York Giants (4-2):  Yeah, I know they just beat an elite team, but I don’t trust the Giants as far as I can throw them.  Alex Smith has been beyond due for an Alex Smith Game and he had one last week.  Until the Giants can show this type of consistency within their division (where they are currently 0-2), I wouldn’t consider them the cream of the NFC crop just yet.  (Last Week:  7)
  6. San Francisco 49ers (4-2):  Just when I think this team is fucking unbeatable, they let an East Coast team fly all the way out and walk all over them.  Tracking mud in the house, wiping dog shit on your white couch a la Rick James.  Jim Harbaugh may be Supercoach, but it’s looking more and more like Alex Smith is his kryptonite.  (Last Week:  3)
  7. Seattle Seahawks (4-2):  So … Seattle is going 8-0 at home.  That’s just a fact of life.  If I’m Minnesota, the Jets, or the other three NFC West teams, I’m not even game planning for my Day of Hell at CenturyLink and just looking ahead to the next week.  (Last Week:  11)
  8. New England Patriots (3-3):  If I were still involved in a suicide pool, this would be the week I’d be taking the Patriots.  They’re going to drop 8 touchdowns on the Jets this week or I’ll eat my fucking hat.  (Last Week:  5)
  9. Green Bay Packers (3-3):  Boy, did we leave the Packers for dead after that Colts loss!  I’m not going to say they’re back, but you gotta figure a lot of exhaling just went on in Wisconsin this past Sunday.  (Last Week:  13)
  10. Minnesota Vikings (4-2):  These next two games will go a long way in determining if the Vikings are For Real or if they’re just another 8-8 disappointment.  Home against Arizona and Tampa.  If you have eyes on a wild card spot, you HAVE to win these two games.  Or, at the very least you have to win one.  But, if you lose both, say hello to Next Year.  (Last Week:  8)
  11. Arizona Cardinals (4-2):  Yeah, I dunno.  I will say that ever since I traded for their defense in fantasy, the Cardinals have looked a LOT more mediocre.  You can thank me later when the Seahawks make the playoffs and the Cardinals make diddly squat.  (Last Week:  9)
  12. Denver Broncos (3-3):  On the plus side, they’re 2-0 in their division, they’re tied for the division lead, and their division looks like utter crap.  On the downside, I wouldn’t be buying any plane tickets to New Orleans for the Super Bowl this year.  (Last Week:  18)
  13. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3):  What are you gonna do?  They got bit by the Thursday Night bug.  Matt Hasselbeck isn’t entirely worthless.  And they still can’t really run the ball.  You do the math.  I don’t see how Roethlisberger can do EVERYTHING for this fucking team.  They look like they’re in desperate need for some youth infused into that defense, I’ll tell you that much.  Stop hanging on to those aging veterans; the Steelers used to be GREAT at unloading old farts before they became liabilities.  (Last Week:  10)
  14. St. Louis Rams (3-3):  This team is in trouble.  They play Green Bay and New England the next two weeks.  I think both of those teams are just a little bit sick and tired of losing to the NFC West.  I say they take it out on the poor, poor Rams.  (Last Week:  12)
  15. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3):  This team is kind of a joke, isn’t it?  The Michael Vick Experiment has to be ending soon, right?  Or is it going to take a whole cleaning of the house from the top down to generate the change this organization needs?  (Last Week:  14)
  16. Dallas Cowboys (2-3):  Jerry Jones is an asshole.  He treats objects like women, man!  (Last Week:  17)
  17. Washington Redskins (3-3):  It’s hard to bet on this team either way, but God damn are they fun to watch!  Slap a halfway competent defense on this thing and you’ve got yourself a dominant force for years to come!  That trade for RGIII is looking better and better for this team.  Who would’ve thought that the Rams – by receiving a million draft picks – would be the ones to get swindled in that deal?  They should’ve cut Sam Bradford and tried their hands at a winner.  (Last Week:  19)
  18. Miami Dolphins (3-3):  Can you believe how close this team is to being 5-1?  It boggles the mind!  They’re not great at any one thing, but they seem to do just enough to hang around most games.  P.S.  I would sell my soul for a blowjob from Tannehill’s lady friend.  (Last Week:  20)
  19. Cincinnati Bengals (3-3):  What a fucking disappointing team.  Marvin Lewis HAS to be the first coach fired this offseason, right?  I mean, he just has to be.  They can’t continue underachieving with this loser!  (Last Week:  16)
  20. San Diego Chargers (3-3):  I would say Norv Turner has to be the first coach fired this offseason, except I think he’s the first coach fired DURING the season.  I could easily see this team losing 6 of its next 7 games and Norv getting the ax.  Fingers crossed, Chargers fans!  (Last Week:  15)
  21. Detroit Lions (2-3):  I don’t know if anyone needed a win last week like the Lions needed a win.  It wasn’t pretty, and they still waited around until the 4th quarter before they did anything, but a win is a win.  It’s going to be a long road if they want to make it back to the playoffs.  I just don’t see it this year.  (Last Week:  21)
  22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3):  That was a nice blowout win they had against the Chiefs.  Anything less than a victory by 4 TDs over Brady Quinn and Romeo Crennel would have been an embarrassment.  (Last Week:  22)
  23. New York Jets (3-3):  Ugh, this team is just the worst.  How Rex Ryan can honestly come out and declare they’re going to beat the Patriots this week is beyond laughable.  I hate how they pad their schedule with these bullshit wins over shitty teams, sucking everyone into believing the Jets are good when they’re SHIT.  DIE ALREADY!  (Last Week:  23)
  24. Buffalo Bills (3-3):   Thank you, Buffalo!  If you win no other game the rest of the year, you will still have done us a great service by beating the Cardinals.  Now, go take care of business against the Titans and enjoy your BYE week.  (Last Week:  24)
  25. Tennessee Titans (2-4):  What can I say?  That was a nice win against a quality opponent, Thursday game or no Thursday game.  If they can steal one from Buffalo this week … they still won’t make the playoffs, so who really cares?  (Last Week:  30)
  26. Indianapolis Colts (2-3):  Man, you guys REALLY let me down this week!  I thought for sure you’d take advantage of a shitty Jets squad!  Especially after that uplifting win over the Packers.  (Last Week:  25)
  27. Carolina Panthers (1-4):  Stick a fork in this team.  They’ve got six wins in them, tops.  (Last Week:  26)
  28. New Orleans (1-4):  If this team is ever going to get back in the hunt, they’re going to have to rip off a serious winning streak.  What better time than now?  They go to Tampa and Denver before home games against the Eagles and Falcons.  Pretty much, they have to win ALL of those games, or else stick a fork in them too.  (Last Week:  27)
  29. Cleveland Browns (15):  What can you say about Brandon Weeden that hasn’t already been said, except, “He’s not THAT bad”?  (Last Week:  32)
  30. Oakland Raiders (1-4):  This team is so fucked, it’s unreal.  Are we positive Al Davis isn’t running this team from beyond the grave?  (Last Week:  28)
  31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4): No, wait, THIS team is so fucked it’s unreal!  Gabbert is only getting WORSE with age!  (Last Week:  31)
  32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-5):  Scratch that.  This is the team most fucked.  It puts the lotion on its skin … (Last Week:  29)