Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: I’ve Got Good News & Bad News

Damnedest thing: I won again! That’s three wins in a row, for those keeping track. This time, it was a pretty healthy 161.00 to 136.90 victory over Toot Cannons. That brings my record to 4-7, and my place in the standings ALLLLL the way up to 8th place. I have a one-game lead over the two teams below me, but of course, I have the fewest points in the league, so tying in record with those animals will put me right back in last place where I belong.

I will say that I’m slowly, but surely, creeping up on The Lance Petemans in points. He has less than a 10-point lead, with three weeks to go in the regular season. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) we don’t play one another in any of those games; I’ll see him next in the Consolation Bracket (which doesn’t factor into who gets the Toilet Trophy).

The bad news is: my meal ticket might be going away, as Justin Fields injured his non-throwing shoulder. That’s not always the end of the world for a quarterback, but it can be pretty devastating for a quarterback who’s better at running with the football than throwing it.

Fields had another respectable week, getting me over 24 points. Christian Watson kicked off the week strong wth 21. The Jets defense did me proud (a couple weeks after I traded away the Eagles) with 19, and Evan McPherson kicked in 17 points in The Week Of The Kicker (where Tyler Bass got over 20, and Brett Maher tied the single-game record for kickers, all-time, with 29).

The star of my team was Tony Pollard. He’s been thrashing the league during my winning streak, thanks in large part to Ezekiel Elliott being injured. Zeke returned this past week and got 17 points for my bench. But, Pollard’s big-play ability netted me almost 37: 2 touchdowns, 109 receiving yards, and 80 rushing yards to boot. My dream for this offseason is the Cowboys cut Zeke in a cost-cutting measure, and make Pollard the full-time #1 running back. He’ll set NFL records!

My big boner of a move was benching Matthew Stafford in favor of Davis Mills. Stafford got me 20 points for my bench, while Mills needed garbage time to get up to 7.45. Mills had the better matchup, and was projected to out-score Stafford (who is without Cooper Kupp for the foreseeable future), but at some point common sense needs to prevail.

This week, I go up against Car Talk With Josh Allen, the second place team in our league. I’m just happy I get to play him both times without Deshaun Watson, as he doesn’t need any extra help to lay me to waste. Here are my guys:

  • Justin Fields (QB) @ NYJ
  • Mac Jones (QB) @ Min
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. NYG
  • Gabe Davis (WR) @ Det
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) vs. LV
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. NYG
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. NE
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. LV
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ Ten
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) vs. Chi

I might have to start BOTH of my backup quarterbacks. Matthew Stafford had another concussion late in the game last week, which almost guarantees he sees time on the IR. I don’t like Mac Jones, but I’m going to hope he has a little something left in the tank against the Vikings, in what will need to be a high-scoring affair if the Patriots hope to win. If Fields goes down, I’ll have to start Davis Mills against the Dolphins (assuming he’s still starting for the Texans).

It’s a toss-up between Zeke and Pollard as long as both are healthy. When they’re both healthy, they split carries pretty evenly. Pollard gets the advantage of being a bigger factor in the passing game, but Zeke gets the advantage of being the goalline back by and large. Pollard is more boom-or-bust as a result, but also somehow has a higher floor. That isn’t to say Zeke won’t out-score him on the regular, because their offense is very efficient, so he’ll get his opportunities to punch it in. But, I’m sort of resigned to being disappointed whenever my guy isn’t in there.

This might be the last week I play Gabe Davis over Christian Watson. The Lions stink. I know they’ve been a lot better of late, but Davis should have no problem scoring in bunches in this matchup. The concern is that the Bills get Diggs going and forget about Davis, which is a nightmare scenario. I kinda need Davis to be The Guy since I’m going up against Josh Allen (spoiler alert). Taking away his touchdowns would be a big help. On the flipside, Watson is going up against the Eagles’ defense, which is very good against the pass. My hunch is that he comes down to Earth a little bit this week. However, if he puts in a third consecutive humongous week, then it’s time to set him (in my lineup) and forget him.

Here’s the list of players who figure to destroy me:

  • Josh Allen (QB) @ Det
  • Tom Brady (QB) @ Cle
  • DeVonta Smith (WR) vs. GB
  • Amari Cooper (WR) vs. TB
  • Aaron Jones (RB) @ Phi
  • Joe Mixon (RB) @ Ten
  • Travis Kelce (TE) vs. LAR
  • Christian Kirk (WR) vs. Bal
  • Tyler Bass (K) @ Det
  • Kansas City (DEF) vs. LAR

A lot of these guys had big weeks LAST week, so my hope is that they … don’t have big weeks this week.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: RoundTine Is On A Roll!

It’s crazy to me that I’ve won two games in a row. It’s even crazier to me that I outscored every single person in the league, one week after setting my previous season-high in points. It’s crazier still that I’m not even in last place anymore, in spite of me having far and away the fewest points in the league (and over 200 fewer points than the actual last place team at the moment).

None of this is supposed to happen! Yet, here I am, 3-7 on the season, 3-2 in my last five games, with four weeks to fuck around and see if I can sneak into the sixth and final playoff spot (currently held by a team that’s only one game – and hundreds of points – better than me).

This is the kind of optimism you can get out of me when things start going my way. It’s taken A LOT of patience so far this season (starting out 0-5, you kinda have no choice BUT to be patient and wear some of these lopsided losses), but I finally feel like the tide is turning.

RoundTine defeated Space Forcin’ 186.90 to 178.21. It’s supremely unlucky for him that he scored the second-most points this past week, and just so happened to run into a juggernaut, but them’s the breaks.

Justin Fields got me another 43.05 points, one week after putting up almost 50. CeeDee Lamb got me an even 38 points. Gabe Davis and Tony Pollard each got me over 20. Everything pretty much went my way, except the kicker and defense I picked up for BYE replacements. Philly’s kicker only got me 3 points, and the Rams D only got me 4. But, everyone else did their jobs, and that’s all I can ask.

We’re getting pretty far into the season, and I’ve been hanging onto this #1 waiver priority for quite some time. I figured it was time to cash it in on a potential stud. So, I put in a claim for Christian Watson, who caught 4 balls on 8 targets for 107 yards against the Cowboys last week. The big thing was that three of those catches went for touchdowns. Also, he’s like 6’5 and was their highest-drafted receiver in ages. I’m fully expecting him to disappoint the rest of the way (just kidding! Two more TDs and 21.1 points last night). But, if there’s even a sliver of a chance for him to blow up in the back-half of this season, I’m willing to try it out.

I also, not for nothing, have a couple BYEs I’m worrying about this week (both Seahawks players), so I’d like to actually fill out a roster in the short term. In the long term, though, I’m not entirely sold on Gabe Davis as a viable fantasy keeper. He seems better suited as roster depth. Watson – if he blows up – could be a top 10 receiver in this league, as long as Aaron Rodgers is there throwing him the ball, anyway.

This week, I go up against Toot Cannons, who has a number of BYE issues of his own. Here’s who I’m rolling out:

  • Justin Fields (QB) @ Atl
  • Davis Mills (QB) vs. Was
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ Min
  • Gabe Davis (WR) vs. Cle
  • Brian Robinson (RB) @ Hou
  • Tony Pollard (RB) @ Min
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. Dal
  • Christian Watson (WR) vs. Ten
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ Pit
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) @ NE

Losing D.K. and Walker this week is a blow, but I don’t mind those guys getting a week off to rest and recover. Mac Jones gets to ride my bench for … the rest of the year? That guy’s a total trainwreck. It really says something when I don’t even think twice about ranking Davis Mills ahead of him. It looks like Stafford returns from injury this week, though I hate him even more now that Cooper Kupp is on IR. Also, at this point, consider me among the loud majority who are calling for Zeke Elliott to take a backseat to Pollard.

Here’s who Toot Cannons might be playing:

  • QB Cardinals (QB) vs. SF
  • Baker Mayfield (QB) @ Bal
  • Justin Jefferson (WR) vs. Dal
  • Tee Higgins (WR) @ Pit
  • Saquon Barkley (RB) vs. Det
  • Najee Harris (RB) vs. Cin
  • TBD (TE) vs. TBD
  • Chris Olave (WR) vs. LAR
  • Harrison Butker (K) @ LAC
  • San Francisco (DEF) vs. Ari

Rough week to lose your top two tight ends, as both Waller and now Goedert are out. He’s also missing Tua, which is a huge blow. But, there’s a significant amount of talent at the skill positions to make this week challenging as hell for RoundTine.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: Let The Justin Fields Era Begin!

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m legitimately shocked. Not only did RoundTine defeat Korky Butchek 158.60 to 114.25, but I would’ve defeated 6 out of the 9 other teams in this league last week! It was far and away the most points I’ve scored this season, which is delightful and also really fucking sad. Teams can score over 200 points in our league fairly regularly. 160 is a decent average weekly score. So, yeah.

All praise goes to Justin Fields, though, who got me 49.95 points. That has to be a personal best for any single player on RoundTine this year. He’s turned into an animal! And to think, in the first month of the season, I was THIS CLOSE to cutting him entirely and moving on. If my team wasn’t so atrocious, I might’ve done just that; I shudder to think what I would’ve gotten in his stead, but rest assured I would have wanted to put a bullet in my brain.

I’m a little gunshy about raising the ol’ Mission Accomplished banner, though. I’d like to sit here and boast about how I’ve FINALLY gotten one of my quarterback spots locked down for the foreseeable future. But, all I really see is a guy who unlocked his rushing ability, but who still struggles throwing the ball. Maybe he improves that over the next year – like Jalen Hurts has this past year – or maybe this is as good as it gets with Fields.

I’ll be very interested to see how Fields progresses through the second half, especially in a stretch that includes some elite-level defenses in the Jets, Packers, Eagles, and Bills. If he continues on this trajectory, and improves his passing ability, I might be able to rest a little easier heading into 2023. At the very least, maybe I can make some noise in the Consolation Bracket this year!

I got another 27.5 points out of Kenneth Walker, as well as a ridiculous trade offer for him, in exchange for a broken-down Matthew Stafford. I shot that down immediately and countered an offer of Brian Robinson for Stafford. He swatted that one away and came back with a Stafford for Philly’s Defense offer. Boy that piqued my interest! I sat with that one for a full day, mulling it over. Stafford clearly isn’t the same player he once was. That shoulder isn’t getting any better, and the more the Rams lose, the closer we’ll get to them just shutting Stafford down for the year. At which point, either he rests & rehabs, or he goes in for surgery (or, worst case scenario, he rest & rehabs, that fails, and then he goes in for surgery later, costing him a chunk of next season). Best case scenario, he’s on an offense with one good skill guy for the rest of this year.

I crowd sourced my dilemma to some friends, who recommended holding out for draft picks next year. I like that idea! I can grab higher draft picks from wherever this guy ends up, and all it will cost me is a defense. On the flipside, I can utilize that defense to help me in the Consolation Bracket this year, getting me potentially a top overall draft pick. There’s a good chance that it won’t matter though. Unless the Philly defense goes bananas in the Consolation Bracket, the rest of my team is likely to be so bad it won’t make a difference. At which point, I’ll wish I had gone after the extra draft capital.

After careful deliberation, I made a slight tweak in my counter offer. I traded the Philly defense and my last two draft picks for Matthew Stafford and his FIRST two draft picks. So, at the very least, even if Stafford gives me nothing this year, I’ll have two first and second rounders in next year’s dynasty draft.

What’s funny is, my trade partner doesn’t really NEED the Philly D. He already has the Patriots. So, other than this BYE week, he’ll have two of the three best fantasy defenses, but obviously he can only play one.

Stafford is looking like he’s out this week, with a concussion. That’s a bit of a bummer, but maybe a week off will do his arm some good. In the meantime, I was able to snag the Jets’ defense. They’re currently fifth in fantasy scoring, but they’ve been on a tear the last six weeks, after struggling mightily the first three. I’ll still need to pick up a defense for this week – with the Jets on a BYE – but if they can keep it up going forward, I don’t think it’s a huge step down from Philly.

This week, I go up against Space Forcin’. Here’s my lineup:

  • Justin Fields (QB) vs. Det
  • Davis Mills (QB) @ NYG
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ GB
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ TB
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) @ TB
  • Tony Pollard (RB) @ GB
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Buf
  • Gabe Davis (WR) vs. Min
  • Jake Elliott (K) vs. Was
  • TBD (DEF) vs. TBD

We lost Doubs to injury; he’ll be in my IR slot for a while. We also don’t have to worry about the Patriots, thanks to their BYE. What I do have to worry about is what decisions they make regarding their starting quarterback position. How patient are they going to be with Mac Jones, who is clearly struggling? That leaves me in a 2-week limbo period, since you know news won’t leak from there until it’s too late.

Here’s what I’m going up against:

  • Marcus Mariota (QB) @ Car
  • Patrick Mahomes (QB) vs. Jax
  • Chris Godwin (WR) vs. Sea
  • Davante Adams (WR) vs. Ind
  • Alvin Kamara (RB) @ Pit
  • Dameon Pierce (RB) @ NYG
  • Dalton Schultz (TE) @ GB
  • Antonio Gibson (RB) @ Phi
  • Younghoe Koo (K) @ Car
  • Buffalo (DEF) vs. Min

Lots of studs! Mahomes always throws for 17 touchdowns whenever I go up against him, so look for him to out-score my entire team. Also, that Pierce guy is one of the best young running backs in the game today. In the draft, it came down to him or Walker. I’m happy with my choice, but still.

Seattle Sports Hell 2022 NFL Power Rankings #3

A little shake-up at the top, a lot of shake-up in the middle, and even a little nudge at the very bottom. It’s a wild and wacky (distracted) power rankings, so let me get it over with get to it.

High Tier

1 – Philadelphia Eagles
2 – Dallas Cowboys
3 – Buffalo Bills
4 – Kansas City Chiefs
5 – Minnesota Vikings

I can’t deny it anymore. I still question how viable the Eagles would be in a potential Super Bowl situation against the likes of the Bills or Chiefs, but they’re undefeated and look pretty great on both sides of the ball. Dallas catches a little boost as well, thanks to their elite defense and their good-enough offense. I still like the Bills over the Chiefs, but it’s unnerving that the Bills are prone to bad games against inferior opponents. And the Vikings just keep winning somehow! At this rate, they’re going to lock up the NFC North by Thanksgiving!

Medium-High Tier

6 – Miami Dolphins
7 – Baltimore Ravens
8 – San Francisco 49ers
9 – Tennessee Titans
10 – L.A. Chargers

I was highly impressed by the Ravens winning on Monday night in spite of most of their offensive weapons being injured. The Titans got dinged, but they also impressed by hanging tough against the Chiefs in spite of playing with a nothing QB. You can’t rate them super high as long as Malik Willis is under center, but everyone around him (including the coaches) is top notch.

Medium Tier

11 – Cincinnati Bengals
12 – Seattle Seahawks
13 – New York Giants
14 – Atlanta Falcons
15 – Tampa Bay Bucs
16 – Washington Commanders

I’m so very close to moving the Bengals and Seahawks up a tier. Any week now! I decided to break up the medium tier, because there were too many teams here, and because these medium teams are greatly differentiated by the next tier down. I think all of these teams are playoff contenders; I think all the teams below them are … not. Real impressed with Washington continuing to play teams tough in spite of all the turmoil around them. The Bucs are real interesting to me as well; I wonder if we’ll see improved play by them now that Tom Brady’s divorce is final.

Medium-Low Tier

17 – New England Patriots
18 – New York Jets
19 – L.A. Rams
20 – Green Bay Packers
21 – New Orleans Saints
22 – Chicago Bears
23 – Arizona Cardinals
24 – Denver Broncos

Mac Jones fucking sucks. Zach Wilson fucking sucks even more. The Rams are an all-around disaster (I think Stafford’s arm issues are limiting him greatly). The Packers are an even-bigger disaster, for all the obvious reasons. The Saints are stupid for continuing to start Andy Dalton over Jameis Winston (my quarterback-needy fantasy teams hate them for this as well). The Bears won’t be good until Fields can do something other than run with the ball (my dynasty league team loves him for this, though). The Cardinals won’t be good until they clean house from the top down. And the Broncos needed that BYE week in the worst way.

Low Tier

25 – Las Vegas Raiders
26 – Cleveland Browns
27 – Detroit Lions
28 – Jacksonville Jaguars
29 – Carolina Panthers
30 – Houston Texans
31 – Indianapolis Colts
32 – Pittsburgh Steelers

What happened to the fucking Raiders?! Nothing is as crazy as the Colts though, who seemingly have talent on defense, but are going with an atrocious quarterback, and just fired their head coach. That’s a team that’s intentionally tanking for a top pick. The problem is, they’re in the mix with a bunch of other teams, and that tie they got is doing them little favors. They might need to lose out to make a dent.

Should The Seahawks Extend Geno Smith?

When you’ve lived your life for many years under a particular assumption, it can be difficult to then accept a new reality. Pretty much since Geno Smith was drafted and started playing as a rookie in 2013, my opinion of him has been highly negative. It’s easy to write off a “bad quarterback”. It’s much harder for that opinion to flip the other way. Great quarterbacks seem like they start out great, so if you’re not immediately lighting the world on fire within the first six or so weeks, then you’re automatically relegated to Bust status.

Almost always, when a quarterback is labeled a Bust, he stays a bust forever. There are occasional guys who take a little longer to break through. Some guys just need time to develop (Josh Allen had a rocky first year before settling in). Some guys need stability within the coaching staff to grow (Tua being a prime example). Some guys need a change of scenery (Ryan Tannehill being a notable one). However, Geno Smith seemingly needed all of these things before it finally clicked.

What befuddles me about Geno Smith is the fact that he was extremely mediocre-to-bad with the Jets. He continued along that path as a backup with the Giants and Chargers. And even though he’s been with the Seahawks since 2019, I haven’t noticed a single change in his level of play before this year. Whenever he’s gotten into pre-season games, he’s been the same ol’ Geno Smith. When he started three games last year – in Shane Waldron’s system – he looked just as mediocre-to-bad as ever (his one great game was against the Jags, the consensus worst team in football at the time). Even this past pre-season – when he regularly got starter’s snaps in practice – he looked like a liability. He looked like someone the team couldn’t wait to cut, if only Drew Lock showed one iota of competence. I still contend that if Lock hadn’t gotten COVID and missed that second pre-season game, he would’ve been our starter heading into the regular season.

And even though Geno came out on fire in the first half of that Broncos game in week one, there were a number of growing pains early in the regular season (especially in a 20-point loss to the 49ers. But, starting with that shootout against the Lions, Geno’s not just been adequate, he’s been legitimately great! He’s been so great, people are clamoring for the Seahawks to extend him NOW. During the season, not later, when he hits the free agent market. And, these aren’t just reactionary fans, but smart football prognosticators. It’s something I never would’ve imagined in a million years.

So, I’m here to work this out in my mind. Should the Seahawks extend Geno Smith? How big of a deal should they sign him to? Should they also bother drafting a quarterback early next year?

There’s a lot of variables we just don’t know the answers to. For starters, we still don’t REALLY know how legitimate this improvement is. I understand the logic of signing Geno to an extension now: you hope to gain some semblance of a discount by not having to compete on the open market. But, you’re talking about a guy who’s not afraid to bet on himself. You’re talking about a guy who has signed repeated 1-year deals to stay here. You’re also talking about his first period of sustained success; he’s going to want to cash in on this opportunity. He’s 32 years old, this is probably his one and only opportunity to gain generational wealth on a big-time deal.

Since he is 32 years old, and he has such a history of mediocrity, I don’t think there’s any way he’s getting some sort of top-of-market contract. He’s not going to get $50 million per year, or anywhere close to it. Nor is he going to sign for anything more than 4-5 years (with probably only 1-2 of them guaranteed). I would also argue he’s very much a product of this particular system. Unless the Rams are going to cut Stafford and make a play for Geno, I don’t see him having nearly the same success with just any quarterback-needy team. On top of which, the Seahawks’ offensive line has been tremendous. Put him on a team with a Swiss cheese line and you’ll see him struggle just like most everyone else.

So, I don’t really believe Geno has the leverage you’d expect. That doesn’t mean he won’t have earned himself a nice little raise. But, I do think we can afford to let this season play out and THEN try to re-sign him. Also, not for nothing, but I don’t know if we even could afford to extend him now, with how much our salary cap is tied up in dead money.

In short, I’m in favor of waiting to extend him. But, I do believe – if he continues to play at this high level – that he does deserve an extension. I think this level of play would be a bargain at $20-$25 million per year, with 2023 and maybe a portion of 2024 guaranteed. I’d be reluctant to go over $25 million, though. There’s a point where he’s going to turn back into a pumpkin, and it’s probably sooner than we’d like.

As such, I would also look to draft a quarterback in the first round next year.

This is where I’m torn, though. One of the big perks of moving on from a high-priced quarterback is the grace period you have with a new guy on a rookie deal. You get to enjoy all the savings – while hopefully the rookie pans out and turns into a stud early on in his development – so you can build around him and hopefully make the Super Bowl before that guy is going to cost you an arm and a leg.

But, if we jump right from Russell Wilson making what he made (and costing us dearly in dead money) to Geno Smith making upwards of $25 million, you’re not really getting that competitive financial advantage. If we draft a rookie in the first round next year, he’ll almost certainly sit behind Geno the whole season (maybe even the first two). Then, if you move on from Geno to the guy on the third year of his rookie deal, you’re dealing with a season of him gaining experience, before he hopefully figures it out in year four. At which point, if he does figure it out, he’s going to command a huge contract, and you’ve essentially wasted his entire period of affordability, while needing to make difficult decisions elsewhere on the roster to keep him around.

The flipside to that argument is, of course, the fact that rookies aren’t guaranteed to be great, even when you draft them high in the first round. If the idea is to win football games, and Geno Smith is playing at a level that can win you a lot of football games, it’s probably more prudent to keep him around, while letting the young guy learn and develop at a slower pace. But, if the young guy is special, it would be a shame to have to sit him for longer than absolutely necessary. Aaron Rodgers hardly played at all his first three years; that seems crazy in today’s game.

Another variable to consider is: what happens if the Seahawks don’t have a Top 10 draft pick? What happens if we make the playoffs (which puts us drafting into the 20’s) and the Broncos improve to the point where maybe they approach .500 (or, God forbid, if they also make it as a wild card team in a weaker-than-expected AFC; they do still have time to turn things around)? Is there a quarterback we’d feel comfortable trading up for in the first round? Or, would we use our first rounders on other players and maybe focus on the 2nd or 3rd round for a rookie QB?

There’s a nightmare scenario where the Seahawks have two draft picks in the 20’s, where all of the elite-level quarterbacks and pass rushers have gone off the board. We’re already set at offensive tackle, we’ve got a couple great receivers (and are never really looking to draft receiver that highly), we’ve got solid cornerbacks (and, again, don’t usually look to this spot in the draft to take that position). So, there’s a real chance that we have to settle for a lower-tier pass rusher, or we have to reach for a linebacker or a lesser quarterback prospect. That’s not what I want to see, even if we’re able to extend Geno Smith on a team-friendly deal.

Lost in all of this might be the most important question of all: can the Seahawks win a championship with Geno Smith in the next 2-3 years? Before this year, I would’ve said unequivocally, 1,000% no. But now? There’s a slight glimmer of hope. I would still contend the Seahawks haven’t played anyone super great, and won’t until we go to play Kansas City late in the year. As far as the best teams in the NFC are concerned – Philly, Dallas, Minnesota – we wouldn’t see them until maybe the playoffs. And if we bank on the 49ers, Rams, and Bucs having at least good-to-great defenses, I’d like to see how Geno fares against them before making any real proclamation on his ability to take us all the way.

If he can keep it up, and show out against those teams, then I’d have to grudgingly say yes, we could win a championship with Geno. But, I’m really going to need to see it with my own eyes before I’ll fully believe.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: You Snooze & Lose

I don’t know what to tell you. Jameis Winston has back fractures one week and he plays as normal. Then, all of a sudden, it’s too much? I had him locked into my starting lineup all week and really didn’t give it a second thought. What are the Saints going to do, start Andy Dalton? Yeah! They did! And, to make matters worse, the game was in London, so I was fast asleep by the time it was announced that Winston wouldn’t be out there. Dead to the world! Thanks NFL!

To be fair, it would not have mattered. No quarterback I could’ve picked up would’ve made up for my 185.13 – 117.30 drubbing. I could’ve played ALL available QBs and still lost!

I will say that it was nice to see T.J. Hockenson make good on his promise. I held onto him for so long through the end of last year, I kept him over Mike Gesicki, and wouldn’t you know it? He finally made me look like a smart guy!

Justin Fields continues to look like a fucking steaming pile of dogshit. 11.9. Against the New York Football Giants. What can you even say about how inept he – and that offense – is?

No roster moves this week. I’m licking my wounds, hoping Winston makes it back. Moreover, I’m REALLY hoping Mac Jones has a chance to play, because the Pats are going up against the Lions and their circus show on defense. I’m not holding my breath, though. Here’s who I’ve got, tentatively:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) vs. Sea
  • Justin Fields (QB) @ MIN
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ LAR
  • Romeo Doubs (WR) vs. NYG
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ LAR
  • Tony Pollard (RB) @ LAR
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ NE
  • Gabe Davis (WR) vs. Pit
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ Bal
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. Dal

We lost Javonte Williams for the year. At the time of this writing, I could pick up Melvin Gordon, but I won’t. I don’t trust him (fumbler) and I don’t think the team does either. I think that’ll turn into a wild merry-go-round of whoever is the hot hand at the time. No thanks. I have Williams in my IR slot – presumably for the rest of the year – but he has one of the worst kinds of knee injuries, and I don’t know if I will want to bother with that mess. Maybe I abandon the Denver running game. I dunno, I’ll give it more thought later.

My ideal scenario is that Mac Jones makes a triumphant return, because then I would actually love my quarterback matchups. I’m praying that Jameis can get back to the field, because Seattle is ripe to be shredded. But, even if I have to go with Fields, I can think of a worse fate than him against the Vikings.

Ken Walker is firmly the #2 in Seattle, so I can’t play him yet. Brian Robinson is off the NFI list this week, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be active. There is hope he might be, though, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be starting. There’s a lot I need to actually see from someone who was just shot a bunch of times before I can trust playing him. So, I’m doubling up on the Cowboys running backs, hoping between them we can approach 30 points. Pipe dream, I know.

I’m benching D.K. Metcalf again, and that’s probably a mistake. But, I don’t expect the Seahawks to repeat what they were able to do against the Lions in New Orleans. They have a lockdown corner in Marshon Lattimore, for starters, who can get in Metcalf’s head. I also don’t think the Seahawks’ offense will be nearly as effective on the road against a competent defense, so I’m playing the odds here. I also have Garrett Wilson on my bench because of course the week after everyone said he’s a “Must Add”, he’s done little-to-nothing. Fantasy Experts: They’re Just Like Us (Morons).

RoundTine has Einfach A.F. as its opponent this week. Yeah, I don’t get the name either. He’s the other 0-4 team in our league at the moment, but he has a whopping 152.75 more points than me. He will get his first win of the season this week. Here’s who he’ll do it with:

  • Matthew Stafford (QB) vs. Dal
  • Jalen Hurts (QB) @ AZ
  • Stefon Diggs (WR) vs. Pit
  • Deebo Samuel (WR) @ Car
  • Chase Edmonds (RB) @ NYJ
  • Rashaad Penny (RB) @ NO
  • Zach Ertz (TE) vs. Phi
  • Devin Duvernay (RB) vs. Cin
  • Justin Tucker (K) vs. Cin
  • Green Bay (DEF) vs. NYG

In Guys I Have In Other Leagues News: I’ll be rooting hard for Ertz and the Packers’ defense.

He had a week like I did last week, accidentally leaving in Cordarrelle Patterson even though he was ruled out late. I’m assuming he’ll get Penny in there at some point this week, but you never can tell sometimes.

Hurts is elite. Diggs is having a helluva year (one year after I had him in another league and he did Just Okay). Deebo is an animal. Again, I will lose, and it won’t be particularly close.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Could The Seahawks Be Okay At Quarterback?

Recently, I wrote about the Seahawks roster at every position other than quarterback. The conclusion I came to was that there’s potential for improvement, but still probably too many holes to fill in this one offseason. If enough draft picks and whatnot pan out, maybe we can head into 2023 and do enough damage in free agency to lift us back into the playoffs.

My take on the quarterback position, however, is that the guys we’ve got on the roster right now should be bad enough to help us tank for a quality draft pick next year, at which point we should go all in on a rookie QB to be our next franchise player. But, what this blog post presupposes is … maybe we don’t?

Okay, not quite. But, there’s been this concept that’s been gnawing at the back of my mind for a while now. The 2018 Los Angeles Rams went to the Super Bowl with Jared Goff at quarterback. What we’ve come to learn about Jared Goff since he was drafted first overall in 2016 is that he’s not as terrible as he showed in that rookie season. Of course, that was under the tenure of Jeff Fisher; Sean McVay was hired going into the 2017 season. What we also know about Goff, however, is that he’s not as good as his two (?!) Pro Bowl seasons either. McVay essentially declared he can’t win it all with Goff under center.

Yet, the system was good enough to get them all the way to the very end with a mediocre QB like Goff. That’s obviously intriguing to us as Seahawks fans.

Because here we are, with Shane Waldron as our offensive coordinator, looking to run something very similar to the system McVay installed with the Rams. And, here we also are, with Drew Lock and Geno Smith, mediocre quarterbacks just as Goff has been.

These aren’t apples-to-apples comparisons, though. Waldron is, obviously, a diluted form of McVay; McVay is largely seen as an offensive genius, and someone who might be “The Next Bill Belichick”. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but he does seem to be one of the top five-or-so head coaches in the NFL right now. And, I think it’s fair to say Lock and Smith haven’t shown to be anywhere near as competent as Goff, though obviously Lock is younger and less experienced (in other words, he very well could be as competent as Goff, we just haven’t seen him in a Rams-style offensive system yet).

What it boils down to is this: how reliable is this Rams system? Once you know the ins and outs, can literally anyone run it? Or, does it take the finesse and knowledge of a McVay to make it function as it should (to say nothing of a quarterback as capable as Stafford to push through as world champions)?

If it’s just a rock-solid system and anyone can do it, then I think I’m not out of bounds when I say Drew Lock could appear to be better than expected, as early as this season. If Jared Goff can take the Rams to the Super Bowl, why couldn’t Drew Lock take the Seahawks to the playoffs (especially when they let in three wild card teams now)? We’d need the defense to make huge leaps in development, and we’d probably have to rely more on our running game than the Rams ever have under McVay, but I don’t think it’s batshit crazy to come to this conclusion.

Look, am I saying it’s likely? Absolutely not. The smart money is totally and completely on the Seahawks to NOT make the playoffs in 2022. And, in fact, I don’t want them to, because what would be the point? We’re never winning a Super Bowl with Lock or Smith under center, no matter how good the roster is around them, or how good the scheme could potentially be. While the Seahawks will never actively try to tank, I hope a series of misfortunes befalls this team week after week after week, until we’re left with two picks in the top five (because I also hope a series of misfortunes befalls the Broncos to a similar degree). I’m talking injuries, I’m talking hail marys going against the Seahawks/Broncos, I’m talking about an unsustainably terrible record in one-score games. I want all of it. I want these to be the two unluckiest and most inept teams in all of football. THAT is my dream.

Not a Drew Lock-led Seahawks team squeaking in as a seventh seed only to lose in the Wild Card round.

We Don’t Root For Russell Wilson On The Broncos

I don’t know who needs to be reminded of this, but if you’re here you’re probably a Seahawks fan. If you’re from another fanbase, I don’t know what to tell you. How did you find this?! It’s not a particularly well-publicized blog. I’ve got no adds. I don’t even know what SEO stands for, let alone how it works.

Anyway, it should be obvious – as Seahawks fans – why we don’t root for the Broncos. Especially in 2022. We get their first round draft pick from this season! So, the worse they are, the better our return will be on this trade. I know, as fans of Wilson for the past decade, there’s a soft spot in our hearts for the greatest quarterback in franchise history. But, you’ve got to push that aside for the good of the team, and you’ve got to push that aside from day one.

I should also point out – for those not around in the dreaded Before Times – that the Seahawks shared a division with the Broncos for a significant portion of our time in the league. I fucking hate the Broncos based on history alone. John Elway is a douche, Mike Harden is a dick; the Broncos can go fuck themselves. Kicking their asses in our lone Super Bowl victory is one of the highlights of my life for this very reason.

It’s tough, though. Because while I would expect Russell Wilson will keep playing another 10 years or so (and I would expect many of those years to be played in Denver), he’s never going to be better than he is right now. And, right now, he’s still capable of being really good. Even over the last couple of up-and-down seasons, we’ve seen Wilson be as good as he ever was at times. When he’s healthy, when he gets time in the pocket, when his receivers are able to get open. So, if he plays for Denver another 5-10 years, odds are he’s going to be at his best in 2022.

This makes it difficult to root for the Broncos to be terrible, because odds are they’ll be pretty good. Wish (for the Broncos to suck) in one hand and shit in the other, you know?

There’s a nightmare scenario lurking as a result of this trade. That mostly involves the Seahawks bungling the draft picks they got, settling for a mediocre quarterback, and spending the next decade or more trying to find our next franchise quarterback. But, that nightmare scenario also involves the Broncos doing what the Bucs did in 2020 and what the Rams did in 2021: having their brand new quarterbacks take them to – and winning – the Super Bowl.

I don’t know enough about the Broncos’ roster to have much of an opinion. They seem to have some quality offensive weapons. Javonte Williams looks like a superstar-in-waiting at running back. They have interesting wide receivers who have been in the wilderness thanks to their inept quarterback play the last few years. They traded us Fant, but apparently have an even-better young tight end to replace him. Are these weapons on par with what the Bucs and Rams have enjoyed the last two seasons? I don’t think so, but I also don’t think they’re a significant drop-off either.

I’m told the O-Line is good at pass blocking, but I guess we’ll see. I’m told the defense is young and up-and-coming. I’m told Von Miller might re-sign with them. I’m told they have a lot of money to spend in free agency, even while taking on Wilson’s salary. They certainly seem poised to Win Now, as is the popular strategy of our time.

Indeed, they appear to be one of the few teams that looks set everywhere; all they needed was a franchise quarterback, and now they have him.

They even have a new head coach in Nathaniel Hackett, who was Green Bay’s offensive coordinator the last few years. The Packers have been elite – to say the least – in his time there (obviously, with Aaron Rodgers winning back-to-back MVPs). He seems like the ideal head coach for someone like Russell Wilson; someone who will base the offense around his top tier quarterback. What can go wrong?

Well, Russ isn’t Rodgers, for starters. Both can be wildly stubborn, but it does seem that Rodgers has bought into the system the Packers have been running. Will Russ be as amenable to tweaking his game? You have to believe the Broncos are going to utilize what makes Wilson so special – his deep bombs – but he also needs to do a better job of taking what the defense gives him. Settling for the cheap, short stuff. And he’s still going to want to make good use of the running backs, because it’s only going to make his job easier.

Russell Wilson is obsessed with being the best. That means winning football games and championships, but that also means putting up monster stats and winning MVPs. It’s hard to marry the two when the best path for Wilson to win games and championships is for him to do less, not more. Efficiency has always been his very best trait. Sure, he’ll have high TD games, but that might mean 4 passing TDs on 220 yards throwing.

Wilson becomes very predictable the more he throws the ball. He wants to chase those long balls, so all you really need to do is play a Cover-2 and wait for your pressure to get home. He doesn’t run as much as he could, and he’s slower than he used to be; that’s a bad combo for someone who holds the ball as long as he does in trying to find the perfect play.

It’ll be fascinating to see what he does. It’s all on him now. He needs to be the one to adjust. You can give him any offensive coordinator he wants, but if he’s going to continue playing Russell Wilson Ball, then you’re going to get Russell Wilson Results like we’ve seen the last half-decade. He’ll win more than he loses, but he won’t take you to the Super Bowl.

It’s even more fascinating because he has more power than he ever has before. Because Russell Wilson finally got what he wanted. He forced his way off the Seahawks and got to pick his destination. He landed on a team that’s been dying for a competent quarterback and is desperate to contend for another championship. The Broncos need him more than he needs them; he’s only got two years left on his deal. If this season goes poorly, he can always see his contract out and hit free agency. Pete Carroll was never going to cater to Wilson’s whims; I don’t think the Broncos have any other choice. They’ve invested too much.

It could be a disaster. We could see Wilson doing all those frustrating Wilson things that soured our last couple seasons. He could get injured. And we can all imagine the sidelong glances the Seahawks’ brass will give one another, as if to say, “See? This is why we got out from under this when we did.”

It could also be a total triumph for the Broncos. We’ll have to watch him in primetime a ton, we’ll see nonstop highlights on Twitter week-in and week-out, and we very well could see him with tears streaming down his face as confetti falls at the next Super Bowl. It’s all up to Wilson now. Is he smart enough to do what needs to be done?

Culture Is Everything In The NFL

Buyer beware, because I can already tell this is going to be a long, rambling mess. Buckle up!

I’m on record as being in favor of the Seahawks retaining Pete Carroll, even if it’s at the expense of Russell Wilson demanding a trade out of Seattle. Yes, I’ll acknowledge the obvious: it’s really fucking hard to find a franchise quarterback in the NFL who’s capable of leading you to a championship.

There are differences between run of the mill franchise quarterbacks, and those who can take you all the way. Andy Dalton was a franchise quarterback for many years; he led the Bengals to the playoffs a number of times. But, he was never going to win them a title. Not without a remarkable level of talent around him, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. I would lump guys like Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, and Matthew Stafford into that camp, even though Flacco won it all, Ryan very nearly won it all, and Stafford very well might win it all this season. Flacco rode an elite defense and a red-hot playoff streak to a title; Ryan had the biggest Super Bowl choke job in NFL history; and Stafford has a crazy fantasy roster around him helping prop up his damaged throwing hand and shaky decision-making.

The point is, none of those guys are on the level of Russell Wilson. And I would still pick Pete Carroll over him, even though odds are Carroll’s time in the NFL will come to an end first. Because I would argue it’s just as hard – if not harder – to find a quality head coach in the NFL to build the kind of winning culture you need to succeed for many years.

Head coaching in the NFL is a neverending revolving door. Really, you can extend that to all the major professional sports.

The Seahawks have been lucky in that regard. We’ve had three Grade-A culture builders in our relatively short tenure in the NFL. Chuck Knox was the first, and arguably one of the most underrated; if he was blessed with a proper ownership group, there’s no telling where he could’ve taken this franchise. Even still, from 1983-1991, he led the Seahawks to the second-best winning percentage in franchise history (minimum of 10 games), even better than Mike Holmgren (who everyone points to as the first great culture builder in Seahawks history). Holmgren, obviously, helped build and lead the Seahawks to their first-ever Super Bowl appearance. Then, we’ve got Pete Carroll, hands down the best of the bunch. Those three guys comprise 31 of the Seahawks’ 46 seasons of existence; we’ve been spoiled with great culture builders!

You’ll notice, though, of the 15 other years, we had a total of 5 separate head coaches. And that’s common throughout the NFL. I couldn’t tell you what the average is, but it feels right to say guys get approximately 3 years to prove if they’re winners or not. When you consider it’s predominantly the worst organizations who are doing most of the hiring of new coaches – you don’t see the Steelers, Ravens, Patriots, or Seahawks hiring and firing guys all willy-nilly all the time – it’s doubly hard to turn things around. You really have to catch lightning in a bottle with the right quarterback, the right roster construction, the right scheme, and the right salary cap situation to see those kinds of quick results. All just to prolong your tenure an extra few years! But, as you’ll frequently see, even guys who’ve won it all don’t get a free pass forever. One or two bad years and suddenly you’re washed up. This leads to going the complete opposite direction with who you hire next: a stern disciplinarian might give way to a “players’ coach”, a defensive guru might give way to an offensive mastermind, etc.

Now, take a step back and look at the Mariners, for instance. Lou Piniella was our greatest and longest tenured manager in franchise history; he was out following the 2002 season. Scott Servais is already the second-best and second-longest tenured manager in Mariners’ history at only 6 seasons. Of the Mariners’ 45 years in existence, Piniella and Servais have managed for 16 seasons; of the remaining 29 seasons, the M’s have had 18 official managers (interim or otherwise). That’s insane. Merely taking into account the 13 seasons between Piniella and Servais, we had 8 managers. When you think of the worst-run, most-dysfunctional North American professional sports franchises, you think of – among many others – the team with the longest playoff drought: the Seattle Mariners. Is it any surprise that we would have 8 managers in 13 seasons, until finally stabilizing things under Servais and Dipoto? I’m not saying either of them are perfect, but unless things go totally FUBAR, they should be the ones to lead us back into the post-season (even if an extra playoff spot will help necessitate it). I’d say it’s looking good – with the talent we have at all levels of the organization – that they’ve done a good job of both finding the right talent and turning the culture into a winning one. They still have to go and do it, of course. But, that’s how hard it can be. That’s how long it can take. The Mariners were one of the best baseball organizations from the mid-90s through the early 2000’s; then they were one of the worst for almost two full decades. That has everything to do with the culture we let fall apart with the loss of Lou Piniella and Pat Gillick; finding their replacements has been exceedingly difficult.

Now, take a look around the rest of the NFL. The longest tenured head coaches are Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, John Harbaugh, Pete Carroll, and Andy Reid. All are guys at the top of their profession, who regularly take their teams into the playoffs and have won at least one championship. But, aside from Belichick, they’ve all weathered some down periods. Down periods that lesser organizations might’ve fired them over. Of course, they’re still employed because those down periods aren’t very long, nor are they very bad, but still. Head coaches have been fired for a lot less, because their organizatons lack the fortitude to ride out the rough patches.

Every coach aside from those top five have been hired in 2017 or later. Not coincidentally, I would argue those head coaches are one or two bad years away from also joining the unemployment line, even though they’re coaches who’ve led their teams to conference championship games and Super Bowls.

Not all of them, of course. I think there’s a valid point that a great head coach needs a great quarterback, but I would also say the reverse is true: a great quarterback needs a great head coach. Granted, great quarterbacks have been propping up good-to-mediocre head coaches since time immemorial, but a great QB by himself is only going to take you so far. How many titles has Aaron Rodgers won in his Hall of Fame career? How about Drew Brees? On down the line.

I would argue great quarterbacks are helped along and nurtured to their fullest potential by the elite head coaches who’ve built a culture in which they can thrive. It’s when they try to bash heads with the head coach and the culture where things go sideways. And organizations – fearing reprisal from the fanbase – will almost always side with the elite QB over the elite head coach.

For those who wanted to put the issue to bed after one Tom Brady championship in Tampa Bay, just look at what Belichick has done in that same time: he had a down year with Cam Newton at the helm, then he turned right around and made it back to the playoffs with a rookie QB. Now, it looks like the Patriots are set up for another decade of success, while Brady just went and retired. THAT is what an elite coach – with an elite culture – can do for an organization.

Meanwhile, look at the Dolphins. They just fired Brian Flores after back-to-back winning seasons. His first season with the team was arguably his best, in spite of a 5-11 finish. The ownership and GM did everything to strip that team of all its talent; yet, Flores managed to win 5 of his last 9 games with a nothing roster.

Now, he can’t get hired anywhere, even though I think he’s proven to be an effective and winning head coach with a great culture. The reason why the Dolphins failed to make the playoffs in 2021 has everything to do with being saddled with a sub-par quarterback. And yet, Flores still managed to coach them to a winning record! He’s suing the NFL and I think he has a point; the Giants knew who they wanted to hire well before they “interviewed” Flores for the job. Flores was only cursorily considered for the job because he’s a person of color, and therefore fits the requirement under the Rooney Rule.

Look at David Culley of the Houston Texans. He – another person of color – replaced Bill O’Brien, someone who gutted the organization in his desperation to cling to his job. O’Brien, not for nothing, was a mediocre coach and culture builder, responsible for some of the worst and most lopsidedly terrible trades I’ve ever seen. How he kept his job for as long as he did is baffling. Culley only won 4 games this year and was fired after one season on the job. A season, mind you, where the Texans – much like the Dolphins in 2019 – gutted the roster to try to tank for the top draft pick. The fact that they won any games at all is a testament to the job Culley did.

These are just two examples of dysfunctional organizations; I haven’t even mentioned the Washington Football Team, which seems to embarrass itself on a monthly basis with its variety of scandals. Or the Jaguars, who churn through terrible head coaches like cheap sticks of gum. Or the Lions or Bears or Cowboys or Raiders or Jets, who have done nothing but underachieve for years and years and years. They continue to fuck up on the regular, with zero accountability from the top.

Is that what you want for the Seahawks?

Most franchises pay a lot of lip service to diversity and doing the right thing; very few actually back that up in their hiring practices and the way they construct their organizations. The Seahawks aren’t perfect; no team is. But the Seahawks do it better than most.

I don’t worry about the Seahawks paying lip service to hiring their next defensive coordinator. Because they have the culture in place, and a proven track record of hiring based on their scheme and the qualifications of the coach, regardless of race. If the Seahawks hire a white guy, I’ll at least be satisfied with the fact that they searched far and wide for the best person for the job. If the Seahawks hire a person of color, ditto.

The thing about culture is it has to be about what’s best for the organization, what’s best for everyone involved. It can’t be all about one man’s ego trip. That’s where you see pitfalls throughout professional sports. The ego of the owner, the ego of the general manager, the ego of the head coach, the ego of the quarterback (or that team’s best player, whoever it may be). Once it becomes about one man’s quest to be the best, all is lost. That person is the cancer, and that person is who needs to go. Unfortunately, that’s much easier said than done, the higher they are on the organizational chart.