What The Seahawks Should Do At Backup Quarterback

Recent news indicates that Tarvaris Jackson is likely to test the free agent waters this year, in hopes of getting into a situation that either pays him more money and/or gives him a chance to compete for a starting job/puts him behind a quarterback who might be a little more injury-prone than Russell Wilson.  Your guess is as good as mine as to what Tarvar has been doing in recent offseasons.  This story makes it sound like he’s been settling for being Seattle’s backup because it’s comfortable and familiar.  My guess is that Seattle has indeed been giving him the best possible deal, as I can’t imagine the market is too hard-up for a guy who’s proven he’s a backup in this league and nothing more.

Granted, he’s one of the better backups across the league, but a backup he remains.

Still, if you’re Tarvar, you’re looking around at some of these teams in 2015 – struggles in Dallas, Philly, St. Louis, Frisco, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Houston – and you’ve got to be thinking that you’re better than the backups for those teams who were forced into action (Dallas and Baltimore, particularly) and in other cases, better than who they’re running out as starters (Cleveland, Houston, St. Louis and the rest).  So, yeah, it makes sense – if you want to give it a go as a real live NFL quarterback (and not just a seat-warmer on the bench) – to put yourself out there as a veteran alternative for some of these teams who don’t land their Quarterback of the Future in the NFL Draft or free agency.  At the very least, he’d be likelier to see the field playing behind someone a little less durable than Russell Wilson (boy, am I putting the whammy on our boy with this sentiment).

So, what we’re talking about is, for the first time in years, looking for a non-Tarvar backup.

All else being equal, I’d like to have Tarvar back again.  That’s going to mean many multiple teams pass him over for other alternatives, leaving him with a pretty bruised ego, but so be it.  If, however, for the sake of argument we’re talking about a Tarvar-less future, then there are two obvious routes you can take:  bring in a veteran, or draft/sign a rookie.

Seattle’s in a wonderful position in this regard, because we have Russell Wilson.  He’s a solid, franchise quarterback, still in the early-prime of his career.  We don’t necessarily NEED to bring in another starting candidate to push him.  Which means, obviously, backup quarterback is a position that you can save some money on (which is important, considering how much money Wilson is taking in).  Therefore, you won’t see the Seahawks using a high draft pick, and you won’t see them blowing out the bank on free agents like Cousins, Fitzpatrick, Osweiler, or Bradford (who will all be looking for opportunities to start somewhere anyway).

That puts us in the range of a low-round draft pick (maybe 5th or lower), an undrafted rookie, or one of the other veteran options out there on the market.

In looking at those veteran options … woof!  What a bunch of dogs!  When you think of a backup quarterback in our kind of situation (i.e. someone who is a clear backup and has no chance to be this team’s starter when all players are healthy), your BEST CASE scenario is a guy who will fill in for a few weeks and somehow manage to keep the team in/around .500.  A guy like Seneca Wallace back in the day is a perfect example of this.  We were lucky to have drafted him to play behind Hasselbeck, so he was cheap for many years.  If we can somehow do that again, that’s probably the most realistic ideal situation.  Looking at veteran options, someone like … Matt Hasselbeck last year with Indy.  He was able to fill in for a few games and led them to some quality wins!  Then, as the season dragged on, as Luck was unable to return and the games piled up, Hasselbeck was less and less effective.  Old guys getting hit a lot tend to break down, shocking I know.

This post by Field Gulls has a nice little list of free agent quarterbacks.  If you remove Tarvar (for the sake of argument), and you remove the four starting candidates (Bradford, Cousins, Fitzpatrick, and Osweiler), you’re left with the crap of the crap (obviously, it’s still really early in the offseason, and a lot of cuts/trades are out there to be made; this post won’t include guys likely to be released/already under contract).  Among guys with significant starting experience, you’re talking about:

  • Cassel
  • Clausen
  • Gradkowski
  • RGIII
  • Hasselbeck
  • Henne
  • Lindley
  • McCown
  • McCoy
  • Moore
  • Schaub
  • Stanton
  • Vick
  • Weeden
  • Whitehurst
  • Yates

Cassel is old and grossly over-valued.  I have zero confidence in his abilities to guide a team to a .500 record in the absence of this team’s starter (see:  his stint in Dallas last year).  Clausen is horrible; Gradkowski hasn’t had significant starting experience in half a decade; Lindley & Stanton are who we think they are; Vick is as done as done can be; the best thing Whitehurst has ever done is somehow trick Jewel into going out with him (aside from tricking multiple teams into giving him multiple millions of dollars, including the Seahawks, and now this is making me even more upset); and Yates apparently only has value to the Houston Texans, so that’s a stay-away in my book.

Of the guys I didn’t list in that paragraph, Hasselbeck is obviously the most interesting.  Who knows if he’s even in the market to continue his career after the thrashing he took in Luck’s absence last year?  Odds are, since Wilson does a better job of avoiding contact, he probably doesn’t suffer the same lacerated spleen or whatever the hell it was that Luck had.  Then again, if you’re Hasselbeck, would you ever expect a tough hoss like Luck to get injured in the first place?

RGIII might be another someone looking to compete for a starting job.  In fact, I’m almost sure of it, so I don’t know why I kept him here.  Obviously, I worry about injuries with him.  I also worry about his mindset.  By all accounts, he was a quality teammate last year and didn’t cause any trouble in the lockerroom.  But, for a guy drafted as high as he was, who still has a lot of the skills that made him so highly sought after (minus the legs, obviously), he’d make an ideal backup candidate.  BUT, maybe not for the Seahawks.  I just have my doubts as to his willingness to come in and be the clear #2.

If I’m being honest, I don’t totally hate the idea of Chad Henne as this team’s backup.  When he first got a crack to be a team’s starter, it was in Miami in 2009 & 2010.  Those weren’t great teams, but they were sort of middle-of-the-road, .500-ish teams, and he led them to .500-ish records accordingly.  His career started to go down the shitter when he went to Jacksonville, playing on some truly horrendous teams.  On the right team (i.e. on THIS team, the Seahawks), I think Henne could be a .500-ish quarterback again.  He’s going to complete upwards of 57-60% of his passes, and if you instruct him to refrain from taking too many chances, you might be able to coax his interception percentage down to reasonable levels.  He is getting on in age, though, so he’s probably not all that mobile, which obviously is going to be an issue for most of these veterans we’re looking at.

Luke McCown had 1 start in 2015, and played brilliantly in a losing effort.  Against Carolina, he completed 31 of 38 passes for 310 yards and a pick.  Before that, he hasn’t started a game since 2011, so I don’t know what you’d expect here.  That one start for New Orleans really skews his career numbers, but he could be an interesting buy-low candidate with some semblance of upside as a backup.

Colt McCoy might honestly be the best of the bunch.  Drafted by Cleveland, I tend to discount whatever anyone does in Cleveland, as they’ve been a trainwreck ever since the NFL let them back into the league (and for many years before they went to Baltimore to boot).  In 2014, McCoy had a string of games with the Redskins that showed everyone why he was thought of so highly coming out of college, as well as why he’s now exclusively a backup.  He had two and a half really good games (including an impressive Monday night victory over the eventual division champion Cowboys), and a couple of real stinkers (albeit, I believe that last game he was injured and had to leave the game early).  He’s definitely not going to blow anyone away or win any shootouts, but I think he could manage a game effectively well.  What more can you ask for?

Matt Moore has been backing up Tannehill these last few years, and honestly I don’t know how he can stand it.  Moore, in his starting efforts early in his career, was the epitome of a .500 quarterback.  Hovering around 59% completions, with slightly more touchdowns than interceptions.  He strikes me as another semi-ideal candidate.  Like Henne, he’s getting on in years, so I don’t know how mobile he is, and he hasn’t started a game since 2011, so that’s tough.  Maybe he’s like another Whitehurst, who loves being a backup and living in a tropical climate!  If that’s the case, I wonder if Seattle is the right spot for him.

Matt Schaub scares me.  A lot like Vick, I think he’s done.  A lot like Cassel, I think he’s over-valued.  He strikes me as a guy who, personality-wise, wouldn’t fit in on a team with this many alpha dogs.

Brandon Weeden is probably the last interesting name on the list.  He’s young enough to where you don’t totally worry about his durability (even though, let’s be honest, he’s like a tree back there in the pocket).  And, in spite of his Cleveland roots, I think it’s probably set in by this point that he’s going to be a career backup.  Last year was interesting for him, as he was the next man up after Romo went down for Dallas.  He proved to be underwhelming at best, leading to the Cowboys to over-pay for Matt Cassel (who managed to play even worse).  Weeden landed in Houston, where he ran circles around Cassel in his two appearances (though, he ended up relinquishing the job to Brian Hoyer for the playoffs, so make of that what you will).

So, in conclusion, I’ll rank my favorite options for the Seahawks’ backup quarterback:

  1. Talk Tarvaris Jackson into returning for another year
  2. Colt McCoy
  3. Matt Hasselbeck
  4. Rookie QB (either low round pick, undrafted free agent, or guy already on a futures contract)
  5. Brandon Weeden
  6. Henne/Moore (tie)
  7. Luke McCown
  8. Fuck it, give the job to Jon Ryan (also, make sure to re-sign Jon Ryan)
  9. No one/all Wildcat all the time
  10. Schaub
  11. Cassel
  12. Fan (open tryouts every week for a local Seahawks fan)

Seattle Sports Hell’s Quarterly Power Rankings

Because I got tired of doing this thing every week.

It’s pretty hard to know who will win in any given game, but the objective here is to review what teams have done in an attempt to predict what they’ll do in the future.  Oh what a difference a week makes!  This time last week, I had the Arizona Cardinals in my Top 3, looking pretty unstoppable.  Then, this past Sunday, they lost at home to the Rams (who somehow managed to lose to the Redskins and the Steelers in a game where Ben Roethlisberger got injured and Mike Vick had to play meaningful snaps late in the game), and suddenly the once-perfect Cardinals look far more vulnerable, and are ranked accordingly.

I’m going to try to do a better job of taking a look at who a team has beaten, as well as my own gut feelings, to give more of a well-rounded view of where things stand.  Let’s take a look at the Top 8.  Teams listed in single parentheses () are those who that team beat; teams listed in double parentheses (()) are those who that team lost to.

  • New England:  3-0, (Pit, Buf, Jax)
  • Green Bay:  4-0, (Chi, Sea, KC, SF)
  • Cincinnati:  4-0, (Oak, SD, Bal, KC)
  • Denver:  4-0, (Bal, KC, Det, Min)
  • Atlanta:  4-0, (Phi, NYG, Dal, Hou)
  • Seattle:  2-2, (Chi, Det), ((St.L, GB))
  • Arizona:  3-1, (NO, Chi, SF), ((St.L))
  • New York Jets:  3-1, (Cle, Ind, Mia), ((Phi))

I don’t know if there’s necessarily a good reason to have the Patriots listed ahead of the Packers, this would be more my gut feeling.  The Pats have looked like absolute world-beaters, so they get my top spot.  I like Cincy over Denver based on strength of schedule, though I’m sure they’ll end up losing to the Broncos when they go out on the road in late December.  Enjoy it while it lasts, Cincy!  It only seems fair to have Atlanta in the Top 5, though really, who have they beaten?  Listing Seattle at 6 just SCREAMS “me being a homer”, especially when you consider the teams we beat (at home) have a combined 1 victory.  I still have some respect for the Lions (they’ve had a brutal schedule so far), and to be quite honest, the Cards get knocked down a peg for losing at home to the Rams, so suck it.  The Jets cap off our top 8 almost exclusively because their defense is top notch, and their quarterbacking play isn’t so horrendous.  A lot to like out there.

  • New York Giants:  2-2, (WA, Buf), ((Dal, Atl))
  • Buffalo:  2-2, (Ind, Mia), ((NE, NYG))
  • Carolina:  4-0, (Jax, Hou, NO, TB)
  • St. Louis:  2-2, (Sea, AZ), ((WA, Pit))
  • Minnesota:  2-2, (Det, SD), ((SF, Den))
  • Kansas City:  1-3, (Hou), ((Den, GB, Cin))
  • San Diego:  2-2, (Det, Cle), ((Cin, Min))
  • Washington:  2-2, (St.L, Phi), ((Mia, NYG))

Back-to-back heartbreaking losses to the Cowboys and Falcons were followed by back-to-back really strong wins against the Redskins and Bills.  The Giants are a team who are a couple of unlucky breaks away from 4-0, and the division they’re in is kind of a mess right now.  The Bills might be this year’s enigma team of the AFC (like the Rams in the NFC), or they might have just pounded on a couple of bad teams in Indy and Miami.  Their defense isn’t quite as dominant as we anticipated, but on the flipside their schedule going forward is pretty weak, so if they can continue beating up on bad teams, they might have 7-8 more wins to throw onto the pile.  Carolina couldn’t be more properly rated, outside of the Top 10.  This is a paper tiger 4-0 record if I’ve ever seen one.  They played against three shitty QBs (Bortles, Mallett, Luke McCown) followed by a rookie in Winston.  Their schedule gets remarkably more difficult in the games ahead.  As for the Rams, what can you say?  They’re 2-0 in the division right now and at this pace should end the season 6-10.

I’m having a tough time getting a proper read on the Vikings.  The 49ers are pretty solid on D and the Broncos are probably the best defense in the league.  I still like the talent on this team, but they’re far from perfect.  The Chiefs have had a pretty rough go from the schedule gods early on, with losses to three of the best four teams in the league.  As things get easier, I’d expect the 1-3 record to turn around in a hurry.  The Chargers lost a couple games on the road, to far-away lands of Cincinnati and Minnesota.  I’m not ready to bury them yet, but they better prove they can win a few on the road before I declare them ready for the playoffs.  And don’t look now, but the Redskins are better than we thought!  I’ll throw out that stinker of a Thursday night game, because all of those games on Thursday nights are stinkers.  They’ve played okay defense and gotten just enough out of their quarterback.

  • Oakland:  2-2, (Bal, Cle), ((Cin, Chi))
  • Baltimore:  1-3, (Pit), ((Den, Oak, Cin))
  • Pittsburgh:  2-2, (SF, St.L), ((NE, Bal))
  • Indianapolis:  2-2, (Ten, Jax), ((Buf, NYJ))
  • Detroit:  0-4, ((SD, Min, Den, Sea))
  • New Orleans:  1-3, (Dal), ((AZ, TB, Car))
  • Dallas:  2-2, (NYG, Phi), ((Atl, NO))
  • Miami:  1-3, (WA), ((Jax, Buf, NYJ))

There are going to be lots of ups & downs with a team like the Raiders, hence why they lost to the Bears over the weekend.  Just be glad there are any ups at all.  Baltimore’s yet another team that got hit over the head with the Difficult Early Schedule stick.  It’s promising they were able to pull out a tough one against the Steelers, but at the same time, it’s probably better to temper expectations with that team, given their difficulties on defense and atrocious wide receiver corps.  Pittsburgh is a team I like to do great things this year, but I’ll like them a lot more when Roethlisberger gets healthy.  Indy is a complete trainwreck right now, having managed two wins over two of the worst teams in the league.  I’d say it’s time to temper expectations there too, but have you SEEN their division?

The Lions had a rough early schedule, especially having to play three of their first four on the road.  But, they’re rewarded with 6 of their next 8 games at home.  If they’re going to do ANYTHING after this winless start, they better go on a huge run at home.  The Saints are closer to the Ain’ts than I’ve seen in quite some time, and I don’t think there’s much helping this team.  They might steal a few wins against some crappy teams, but this isn’t much more than a 4- or 5-win team.  The Cowboys will go up this list in a hurry if/when they get Romo and Dez back and start winning some games.  Miami has no one to blame but themselves, as their early schedule hasn’t been all that difficult.  I know I’d hate to lose a home game to London (where there were considerably more Jets fans than “home” team Dolphins fans), but that ugly loss on the road in Jacksonville really sealed Joe Philbin’s fate.

  • Philadelphia:  1-3, (NYJ), ((Atl, Dal, WA))
  • San Francisco:  1-3, (Min), ((Pit, AZ, GB))
  • Chicago:  1-3, (Oak), ((GB, AZ, Sea))
  • Cleveland:  1-3, (Ten), ((NYJ, Oak, SD))
  • Houston:  1-3, (TB), ((KC, Car, Atl))
  • Jacksonville:  1-3, (Mia), ((Car, NE, Ind))
  • Tennessee:  1-2, (TB), ((Cle, Ind))
  • Tampa Bay:  1-3, (NO), ((Ten, Hou, Car))

The Eagles are a disaster; HOW did they beat the Jets???  The 49ers’ offense is a joke and Kaepernick is well on his way to finishing his career as a mediocre backup.  The Bears need Cutler just to look somewhat respectable, and they’re killing any shot they had at the #1 overall draft pick by playing him (who thought I’d ever say that?).  The Browns look somewhat spry, but ultimately should go nowhere.  The Texans look the opposite of spry.  They probably have to play Mallett, just to see what they have in him (as we all know what Hoyer is capable of), but they’ll never win with him and would honestly be better off giving Hoyer a go and seeing if he’s enough to get them over the hump that is Indy’s floating carcass.  The Jags are the Jags, and that’s all they’ll ever be.  The Titans looked great in week 1, until we all realized they beat up on the NFL’s Junior Varsity squad.  The Bucs should be pretty awesome in a few years, if they can keep piling up on #1 overall draft picks.

Seahawks! Eagles! Sunday Sunday Sunday!

Earlier in the week, I got more into why this game with Philly is important.  Today, I’ll be looking at what we’ve got to do to beat them.

For starters, while Philly is a team you definitely want to take seriously, it’s not a team you necessarily want to mythologize.  Their most impressive victory is probably the week 2 barn burner on Monday night in Indianapolis.  They don’t really have any bad losses on their record (at SF, at AZ, at GB), but aside from that win in Indy and the drubbing they laid down in Dallas on Thanksgiving, I don’t see a lot of meat on their schedule.

They got the AFC South, which aside from the Colts is pretty terrible.  The Redskins and Giants are God-awful.  But, then again, the Seahawks catch their share of dogs as well.  Against common opponents, the Eagles are 5-3 while the Seahawks are 6-2.  Against teams with winning records, the Eagles are 2-3 while the Seahawks are 4-3.  So, there’s a BIT of a discrepancy there, but it’s hardly an overwhelming argument in our favor.  Yeah, the Seahawks have had a slightly tougher schedule, and yeah, the Seahawks are slightly better.  But, all in all, that doesn’t mean a whole lot come Sunday afternoon.

The Eagles have a lot of really good players, a smart head coach, and a dynamic offensive system.  The Seahawks have a lot of really good players, a smart head coach, and a dynamic defense.  SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE and whatnot.

The Eagles are 6th in total rushing yards.  They’re only 12th in yards per attempt (at 4.2), but they’re tied for 5th in attempts.  The Eagles are almost always in a hurry-up mode and are among the league leaders in total plays run.  Their offensive line is impressive, having only given up 18 sacks (5th fewest in football).  Overall, their offense is something to behold.

Then, of course, there’s the Mark Sanchez thing.  He took over in their Week 9 game and has led the team to a 4-1 record.  He’s averaging 280.8 yards in his 4+ games this year, with a 63.4 completion percentage.  You could argue his weakness is what his weakness has been all along:  turnovers.  He’s got 8 TDs and 6 INTs and another 2 fumbles.  You hate to boil a game down to who wins the turnover battle, but it would be a big help.  Of course, it won’t be everything, because their offense is so potent, it could and HAS overcome such troubles.

Aside from the quarterback, the Seahawks will have to watch out for LeSean McCoy.  From a fantasy football perspective, he’s having a down year.  Darren Sproles is cutting into both his touchdowns and his targets in the passing game.  But, he’s still a Top 5 runner in this league and someone to take seriously.  The aforementioned Sproles is another dangerous weapon; we’re all familiar with him from New Orleans last year.  I don’t really remember him gashing us too much, as we’ve got speedy linebackers who are able to neutralize him, but if we put all of our focus on McCoy, Sproles is a guy who could burn us.

At wide receiver, it doesn’t get any easier.  Jeremy Maclin is a straight up stud.  He’s actually my worst nightmare in this game, if I’m being honest.  These speedy receivers tend to give us fits.  On the plus side, Mark Sanchez isn’t Andrew Luck.  By all accounts, Sanchez isn’t a guy who’s going to challenge you deep very often.  However, it only takes one sometimes.  I could see Maclin having a nothing day, or a huge day, and pretty much nothing in between.  Jordan Matthews is a really good-looking rookie, but at 6’3 and without the speed of Maclin, I see him being pretty easily handled.

Defensively, the Eagles are aggressive.  They’re among the league leaders in getting after the quarterback, so it’s going to be important for our O-Line to handle they business.  You can run on the Eagles, and lord knows the Seahawks can run the football, so we could be looking at Marshawn Lynch being a big part of this game.

And, you know what?  Quite frankly, this could be Russell Wilson’s time to really shine.  I could seriously see the Eagles going all out to stop Beastmode, forcing Wilson to scramble around and find open receivers.  If the Eagles are able to put up points on us, I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest to see Wilson throw for over 300 yards with 3 or 4 TDs.

My main concern with this game is getting off to a slow start.  The NFL graced us with an afternoon kickoff, even though it’s being played in the Eastern time zone, but that doesn’t necessarily preclude us from starting slowly.  We haven’t played the Eagles in quite some time.  2011, in fact.  Remember?  When Tarvaris Jackson was quarterback for the Seahawks, Andy Reid was coach of the Eagles, and one Vince Young was starting in place of Mike Vick.

Yeah, suffice it to say, these are a couple of VERY different teams.  I could easily see this as a game where the Seahawks’ offense struggles early, the Seahawks’ defense lets them dink and dunk their way down the field, and we’re unable to hold them to field goals when we need to.  In many ways, I find this game resembling the Atlanta game from the playoffs a couple years ago.  I could see the Eagles getting a 3-touchdown lead on us, with us playing catch-up in the second half.

I know our defense has been playing lights out of late, but the offenses of the Cardinals and 49ers are pretty pathetic.  If nothing else, don’t count on the Eagles being held to 3 points.  Promisingly, their defense isn’t that of the Cardinals and 49ers either, so figure the Seahawks are good for more than 19.

Or, shit, let’s just have the Seahawks keep winning games 19-3 every week for the rest of time.  Sounds good to me.

Seattle Sports Hell 2014 NFL Power Rankings – Week 13

We got a game coming up this Sunday against the Eagles that looms large.  I get the feeling that it looms larger than people give it credit for.

At this time last year, the Seahawks were 11-1.  We had just come off the most impressive drubbing of the Saints on Monday night, a week removed from our BYE.  The season was a smashing success and we were officially a win or two away from locking up everything.

At the same time last year, the Eagles were 7-5.  They were in the middle of an impressive run, where they finished the season on a 7-1 streak to take the NFC East with a 10-6 record.  Nick Foles had officially supplanted Mike Vick as the quarterback on the team and was looking like a real winner.  The Eagles scored 24 or more points in each of their final eight games, as Chip Kelly’s high voltage offense was humming along.

When the playoffs came around, the Seahawks were enjoying the #1 seed they’d worked so hard to get, while the Eagles hosted the Saints in the Wild Card round.  The Eagles had a lead late, but the Saints were able to move into field goal range and kick the game winner as time expired.

All Seahawks fans know what happened from there:  we hosted the Saints and beat them pretty soundly.  Which, in turn, saw us hosting the 49ers before thumping the Broncos in the Super Bowl.  What all Seahawks fans might not be aware of is that the Eagles and their fans wanted us bad.  Last year, the Eagles featured the best offense in the NFC by yards and the second best offense in the NFC by points scored.  They were a threat.  To be fair, the Saints were also a threat, but the Eagles were a different threat.  They were a threat the Seahawks hadn’t seen before.  Not in that incarnation.  Not with that style of play.

If I’m a betting man, and we could do last year over with the same exact circumstances, only with the Eagles replacing the Saints in the NFC Divisional round (which is actually impossible, because the Eagles were the 3-seed, meaning we would’ve faced the 49ers in that round, followed by the winner of the hypothetical Panthers/Eagles game in the NFC Championship game; but just go with me on this one), I’d wager that the Seahawks would’ve won just the same.

But, it’s that unknown that’s always given me pause.  With the Saints, you had to figure the game would’ve been different than it was the first time, but there wasn’t a doubt in my mind:  we were going to beat them into submission once again.  We had the horses to stop Jimmy Graham, and after that everything would slot into place quite nicely (as it did).  The weather was a variable I didn’t foresee, but how could you, you know?

As it stands, I’m glad everything worked out, and I wouldn’t trade 2013 for anything in the world.  Nevertheless, now it’s 2014, and we’ve got the Eagles coming up this Sunday as our opponent.  Nick Foles is out, but Mark Sanchez has looked fine in his place.  Indeed, theirs is an offense that’s not as quarterback-reliant as most others.  You can get by with a subpar signal caller.  2014 Nick Foles hasn’t looked nearly as good as 2013 Nick Foles, leading us all to wonder whether he’s truly an elite quarterback, or just a good player in an elite system (and that was before the injury that’s kept him out for the better part of the last five games).

This system, by the way, is mind blowing.  Yes, every team has a system, and the term “system quarterback” is very dismissive.  Aaron Rodgers is a “system quarterback”, but he’s also a fucking manimal.  Mark Sanchez has proven without a shadow of a doubt that he’s a massive tool.  You could’ve put Rodgers on the Jets way back when and he’d still be leading them to the playoffs on the reg.  You couldn’t put Sanchez in Green Bay unless you wanted to be the first general manager to be lynched.

I still can’t fully wrap my head around how the Eagles have been this successful, almost from the get go.  Right now, the Eagles are 9-3, in first place in the NFC East, and while they currently hold the 3-seed, they’re tied for the best record in the NFC.  True, both the Cardinals and the Packers have tiebreakers over them thanks to head-to-head matchups with each.  But, it’s not impossible to envision a scenario where they leap one or both of those team by season’s end.  After the Seahawks, they get Dallas at home, followed by the Redskins & Giants on the road.  If they win out and get a little help, you never know.

If the Seahawks are able to win this game, not only does it send a clear message to the rest of the NFL that we’re BACK in a big way, but it helps our chances in getting one of the top seeds in the NFC playoffs.

A Seahawks win means both us and the Eagles would be 9-4.  At that point, we just need the Eagles to maintain their division lead over the Cowboys (because the ‘Boys hold a tiebreaker over us by way of beating us earlier this year) and we’ll have it.  All the Eagles would have to do is either beat Dallas next week (which they should do), or just have the same record as them at season’s end (because their superior divisional record would give them a tie-breaker in the event Dallas is able to even up that head-to-head record).

At that point, if the Seahawks win the NFC West, and the Eagles win the East, and both teams have the same record, we’re guaranteed to have a Top 2 seed.  From there, we’d still need help from the Packers to take over the number 1 overall seed; their schedule is as easy as pie the rest of the way (vs. Atlanta, at Buffalo, at Tampa, vs. Detroit).  IF we can somehow achieve a tie with Green Bay, we’d overtake them in the rankings, based on our head-to-head win to start the season.  But, that’s a long way off (and would require the Seahawks winning out, followed by the Lions not only beating the Packers in week 17, but having something to actually play for, which might not be the case if they continue winning as well).

A lot of variables going forward, but this game on Sunday will go a long way toward determining things.  A Seahawks victory doesn’t guarantee anything, as we still have three tough (but winnable) games within our division.  But, a Seahawks loss almost certainly guarantees that we won’t have a first round BYE in the playoffs (and it might go a long way in sealing our fate as to whether or not we win our division at all).

As I said up top:  this one looms large.  I know everyone is giddy about beating the 49ers on the road on Thanksgiving.  And, I know everyone is even giddier about beating the 49ers again NEXT week and almost certainly knocking them out of the playoff hunt.  But, let’s not overlook the one that’s right in front of us.  Never has the phrase “championship opportunity” been more appropriate for a regular season game.  Never has “going 1-0 every week” been a better motto to have.  Can’t look past the Eagles.  Gotta have the eyes on that prize.

I’ve softened on my stance that the Seahawks NEED to have a #1 seed to get back to the Super Bowl, but do you REALLY want to go back to Philly in January?  Do you REALLY want to face the Packers on the road?  Does it sound like a good time to you to face both of those teams on the road, in back to back weeks, where I can all but guarantee that at least one of those games will be snowbound?

No, the Seahawks don’t NEED to be the top seed, but it sure as shit helps.  To get there, this game is just as important as the others.  Maybe the most important.

***

  1. Green Bay Packers (9-3) – The curse of the #1 team CONTINUES; I’m a living, breathing jinx!
  2. Denver Broncos (9-3) – Yeah, but do you really think they’re going to have the stones to dedicate themselves to running the ball from here on out?
  3. New England Patriots (9-3) – Pretty tough loss, but raise your hand if you expected the Patriots to help the Seahawks out by beating an impressive NFC foe.  I’m not saying they lost on purpose, but I’m also saying I remember back in 2012 when the Seahawks were surging at season’s end and the Patriots could’ve handed us the division and a Top 2 seed by beating the 49ers.
  4. Indianapolis Colts (8-4) – Look, from here on out, if Andrew Luck is going to explode for a million yards and touchdowns, I’m going to need the vast majority of both to go to T.Y. Hilton, otherwise my first place (regular season) fantasy football team is doomed.
  5. Detroit Lions (8-4) – They’re solidly better than all the crap teams, but I doubt they have what it takes when push comes to shove.
  6. San Diego Chargers (8-4) – I seem to remember writing this team off after their 3-game losing streak.  They followed that up with a 3-game winning streak and an absolutely crucial victory in Baltimore.
  7. Philadelphia Eagles (9-3) – This Eagles game will be the last big test for the Seahawks.  If we can find a way to win, I’ll officially believe that we’re “back”.  If we narrowly lose, that’s not necessarily the worst thing in the world, though it’ll mean we have to play on Wild Card Weekend.  If we get blown out, I’ll officially be petrified of the playoffs this year.
  8. Seattle Seahawks (8-4) – I’m at the point now where I’m secure enough in my knowledge of the NFC West to know that the Seahawks are the best team in the division.  I’m pretty confident that we’ll win out our last three games (home vs. SF, at AZ, home vs. St. Louis).  But, the question remains:  will that be enough?  Arizona lost in Atlanta, and that’s great.  That helps tremendously, in fact!  But, if the Seahawks lose in Philly, we’re going to need the Cards to drop another game.  They play at home vs. KC, at St. Louis, and at Frisco in their other remaining games.  We’ll see.
  9. Arizona Cardinals (9-3) – To be fair, the Cards on offense look awful, so that’s encouraging.
  10. Dallas Cowboys (8-4) – It’s December now, but the Cowboys got an early start on their collapse over Thanksgiving.
  11. Cincinnati Bengals (8-3-1) – So, they almost lost to the Bucs?  How is that possible?
  12. Kansas City Chiefs (7-5) – At some point, you need to adjust your offensive scheme against the likes of the Broncos and Chargers, right?  Why not let Alex Smith loose and throw it 40 times?  You might be pleasantly surprised, or you might lose horribly like you’d do anyway because you’re just not better than those teams.
  13. Baltimore Ravens (8-4) – Luckily for Ravens fans, none of the teams in the AFC North – even though they all have winning records – are all that terrifying.
  14. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) – See:  the Pittsburgh Steelers as one of those non-terrifying teams.
  15. San Francisco 49ers (7-5) – I could still see them finishing 10-6 and pulling out a Wild Card spot, if indeed the Cards are ready for the full collapse.
  16. Miami Dolphins (7-5) – Woof, what a dog of a game against the Jets!  Shakiest good team I’ve seen in a long time.

The Loser’s Bracket:

  1. St. Louis Rams (5-7) – The Rams are the consummate “They Scare The Shit Out Of Me NEXT Year” team, but then every time the next year rolls around, they shit the bed, so whatever.
  2. Houston Texans (6-6) – That was quite the mashing of the Titans on Sunday.
  3. Buffalo Bills (7-5) – I know we’re all happy about the Bills being relevant again, but they’ve got three road games to go, two of them at Denver & at New England (with a home game against Green Bay for good measure).  This isn’t your year, Bills fans.
  4. Atlanta Falcons (5-7) – Big riser in my rankings thanks to beating the Cardinals!  Good on ya.
  5. New Orleans Saints (5-7) – Remarkably easy schedule the rest of the way.  It’ll all boil down to their showdown at home against Atlanta in Week 16, but it’s still possible they finish 9-7 and everyone calms down a bit about the whole NFC South thing.
  6. Cleveland Browns (7-5) – Your record is good, but you’re not going to the playoffs.  Might as well start Johnny JamBoogie and see what he’s got for you in the last month.
  7. Chicago Bears (5-7) – I’m beyond the point of caring about the Bears.
  8. Minnesota Vikings (5-7) – Same goes for the Vikings.
  9. Carolina Panthers (3-8-1) – Hello darkness, my old friend.
  10. New York Giants (3-9) – You are one pathetic loser!
  11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-10) – Mike Evans could be a fantasy stud, but we’ll never know about it, because they’ve got the world’s shittiest set of quarterbacks.
  12. Washington Redskins (3-9) – See, if your team is terrible for long enough, no one will care what nickname you call your team!
  13. New York Jets (2-10) – Hard to say you didn’t see a game like this coming.  What’s the best way to mitigate the damage of Geno Smith?  Don’t let Geno Smith throw the football.  Like, at all.
  14. Tennessee Titans (2-10) – Yeah, I dunno.
  15. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10) – Probably not a good thing to win too many more games the rest of the way.
  16. Oakland Raiders (1-11) – Just when I thought it was safe to pull the Raiders away from their last-place standing, they go and get shut out by the Rams, 52-0.

Seahawks Satisfy By Stomping The Slumping 49ers

I’d just like to point out that this is the defense fantasy owners were expecting when they drafted the Seahawks about six rounds too high.  If you managed to somehow make it through the first 11 weeks of the season still in a position to make the post-season:  CONGRATS!  If you were also determined to keep the Seahawks’ D on your roster all year, you’re going to be rewarded with a nice little run of games.

Of course, if you’re just running out the clock in anticipation of the Consolation Bracket, then you’re wondering just where in the Hell THIS defense has been all year!

In the last two weeks, the Seahawks have defeated the Cardinals and the 49ers by a score of 19-3.  Isn’t that just a LITTLE weird?  Can we all agree that we’ve never seen that happen before?  I mean, what kind of voodoo mindfuck is going on here?  Yesterday, I put up a preview of the game where I said, “The Seahawks are the 49ers are the Cardinals are the Rams.”  Except, that’s not really true.  See, the Seahawks – when we’re at full strength (or, as close as we can be to full strength without the likes of Unger, Miller, and Mebane) – are a championship calibre team.  The Cardinals are pretty good – and they’ve been mighty lucky in these close games this year – but they’re nowhere near our league.  The 49ers are just plain awful.  At least, when you compare them to the Seahawks.

Does anyone know what happened to Colin Kaepernick?  Did he catch a glimpse of that Sports Illustrated cover with him and Russell Wilson’s massive schlong and immediately forget how to play football as he looks longingly into the distance, pondering the meaning of life?  WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, RUSSELL WILSON’S MASSIVE SCHLONG???

Because, whatever is going on, the fact remains:  Kaepernick has lost it.  That essence.  What was once a promising, young quarterback leading his team to back-to-back NFC Championship Games is now a homeless man’s Kordell Stewart.  So, what’s changed?  Unless we’re talking about some sort of Body Snatchers situation, this should be the same guy who has been awesome since he made his first start in this league.  His receivers and running backs are at full strength.  The defense has been solid as usual.  The one thing that stands out has to be health at the offensive line position.

Before we get too far down this rabbit hole, I want to look at some numbers:

  • Russell Wilson – 214/335, 63.9%, 2,466 yards, 15 TDs, 5 INTs, 59.0 QBR, 94.7 rating
  • Colin Kaepernick – 230/376, 61.2%, 2,736 yards, 15 TDs, 8 INTs, 52.7 QBR, 87.8 rating

These numbers don’t strike me as too terribly dissimilar, right?  You’ve got a couple of quarterbacks here who are having semi-down years, with many of their troubles due to injuries across their offensive lines.  And yet, if you needed to win a game behind a feeble line, going up against a tough defensive front seven, you’d choose to play with Wilson in a heartbeat!  I mean, it’s not even close!  Let’s say you get to replay last night’s game, and you’re running the 49ers, and you get a chance to swap – for one day only – Wilson for Kaepernick.  All else is equal.  I’m going with Wilson, even against the teeth of the Seahawks’ pass rush!

I don’t know how to quite put my finger on it, but Wilson is just a gamer.  He’s able to elevate his level of play to the circumstances at hand.  He’s able to adapt when faced with overwhelming torment from the defense.  If a game dictates that he needs to hand the ball off 30 times, so be it.  If a game dictates that he needs to tuck it and run, he’s on it.  If he’s got to whirl and twirl to avoid almost-instantaneous pressure, only to find a wide open receiver at the opposite side of the field with nothing but green grass in front of him, he’s going to do it and break your collective heart in the process.

Russell Wilson is whatever you need him to be.  That’s why he’s great and that’s why he’s going to continue to be great.  And, as his athletic gifts start to wane in his advancing years, I have no doubt he’ll have picked up enough tricks of the passing trade to make it as a quick-strike pocket passer.

Colin Kaepernick, on the other hand, refuses to adapt.  Part of that, without question, is his RGIII-syndrome.  All quarterbacks have egos the size of Jupiter, it’s in the nature of the position.  If you don’t believe you’re the best, then you’ve already been weeded out of the game long before reaching the Pros.  But, there’s a difference between a Russell Wilson ego and a Colin Kaepernick ego.  Wilson is a student of the game.  He’s humble enough to know that he’s not one of the all time greats yet.  When he puts out a poor performance, he’s going to do whatever it takes to correct his mistakes.  But, Kaepernick’s got the ego where he won’t listen to anyone but his legion of Yes Men.  He’s at the point where he thinks he’s too good and too talented; so even if he has a bad game, it must be a fluke and will surely be rectified the next time he steps onto the field.  Not through intensive practice, study, and self-reflection, but just because he’s Colin Kaepernick and greatness is in his blood, or something.

I mean, we’re talking about the guy who won’t even admit that it’s POSSIBLE he made a poor decision in challenging Richard Sherman at the end of the NFC Championship Game.  A guy who said he would make the same choice 100 out of 100 times!  And I believe him!  You know why I believe him?  BECAUSE HE DID IT AGAIN LAST NIGHT!

I mean, come on.  Are you seriously right now?  Two picks, both to Richard Sherman, and what’s worse:  the targets were their third and fourth receivers!  He wasn’t even trying to get the ball to his supposed #1 guy Crabtree (who ended up with a sub-mediocre 3 catches for all of 10 yards).  No, he was throwing to the likes of Brandon Lloyd and Stevie Johnson of all people!

You just don’t get it, do you Kaepernick?  You THINK you’re good enough to beat anyone and everyone, but you’re not.  Instead of realizing your limitations, you try to force that square peg through the round hole.  You don’t do what’s best for the team, you do what’s best for yourself.  As a result, you’ll never be a champion, and you sure as shit will never be one of The Greats.

But, to be fair, he’s also not terrible.  Well, he’s not terrible when he plays teams not named the Seattle Seahawks.  If you look at his game log this year, the only other game of his on par with last night’s monstrosity was the week 2 loss to Chicago where he threw three picks.  He’s got 8 interceptions on the year, and five have come in the two games against the Bears and Seahawks.  MOST of the time, he’s adequate.  Once in a while, he can be really good (about as often as he has one of these meltdowns like last night).  He’s got a lot of games where he throws 1 TD and 0 INTs, with passing yardage in the low to mid 200s.  It’s actually pretty remarkable how consistently acceptable he is.  Colin Kaepernick is like missionary position sexual intercourse with your longtime partner or significant other:  for the most part, he gets the job done, but it’s rarely exciting or exceeding expectations.

Also, what happened to his threatening you with his legs?  I highly doubt that defenses have adjusted to the point where he is completely shut down, but he’s only had three games this year where he has run for over 40 yards, and all of them happened in the first month of the season.  Unless there’s some sort of nagging injury that I’m not aware of, this appears to be a conscious decision on either his part or the coaching staff’s part to eliminate the threat of the run altogether.  Why do I know it’s that, and not the rest of the NFL catching up?  Because Russell Wilson has almost twice the number of rushing yards on the year as Kaepernick.  You don’t think defenses are geared up to keep Wilson in the pocket and prevent him from gashing them?  Of course they are!  But, Wilson is still doing it.  Why?  Because he doesn’t think rushing the football is beneath him.  Clearly, Kaepernick is above all that.  And, as a result, he’s not as good of a quarterback.

Now, I’m not here to JUST dump on Kaepernick.  I no longer hate him as much as I did, say, last year.  Chalk that up to me having to rely on him as one of my fantasy football quarterbacks the last few years, and somehow being in first place right now in spite of his nothingness.  For instance, I don’t think he’s ONLY a running quarterback.  He’s not a guy who has gotten to this point simply by running with the football (like, say, Mike Vick, for instance, who still has a career somehow even though he’s been terrible for a while now).  But, without the THREAT of the run, Kaepernick is VERY ordinary.  There’s no doubt about that.  To be one of these hybrid quarterbacks and be successful in this league, you can’t just abandon one of the two elements that makes you great!  Russell Wilson has come to grips with that reality and is thriving because of it.  Without Wilson being on pace to surpass 1,000 yards rushing, he’d be having a pretty miserable year all things considered.  But, when you tack on those rushing totals, it makes him the real deal, and it makes this offense formidable (even though we’ve been struggling to get into the endzone for the better part of this entire season).

The red zone struggles continued last night.  How much of that is our offense still continuing to spin its wheels vs. the 49ers defense being very good?  I can’t say.  Just as I couldn’t say last week when we faced the very good Cardinals defense.  Weather permitting, we should have a pretty good idea in Philly next week as to whether or not our offense is starting to click, or if this is going to be a problem the rest of the way.  Regardless, the Seahawks didn’t need much more than a few field goals last night, and that’s all that matters.

Once again, smothering defense was the name of the game.  In addition to those two picks, Kaepernick went 16/29 for 121 yards and obviously 0 touchdowns.  He also had to endure 4 sacks and another 5 QB hits, with only 17 rushing yards on 3 attempts.  As I talked about in yesterday’s post, Getting Home was what it was all about.  I called out Bennett, Avril, and Irvin specifically, and each one of them ended up with a sack apiece and at least one other QB hit and one other tackle for loss.  All around SOLID game out of the defensive line last night.  This is made all the more clear by the fact that we saw our second consecutive strong performance in the rushing defense department, giving up only 64 yards on the ground, on 18 carries, for a 3.6 yard average.  Either the Kansas City game was a fluke, or Bobby Wagner really IS the key to this whole thing.  Whatever the reason, I’m glad to have him back.

Offensively, one positive was the fact that we WERE moving the ball.  379 total yards is nothing to sneeze at, even if four drives ended up as field goals.  That’s solid improvement on the offensive side of the ball that you can take to the bank.  All we need now is a little more improved execution and I think we can put this whole dark chapter of our season to bed.

Beastmode continues to put on a clinic out there, wearing out defenses.  He ran the ball 20 times for 104 yards.  I don’t even care that he was shut out of the endzone, nor do I care that the 49ers are down some of their regular defenders, it’s always impressive when you run for over 100 yards against this team.

Wilson was once again his usual, efficient self:  15/22, 236 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs.  He also ran the ball 7 times for 35 yards.  Aside from a couple of fumbles (that were luckily recovered by the Seahawks), he had quite a clean day in spite of the four 49ers sacks.

Every great thing I said about the defense last week holds up.  All around HUGE effort out of those guys.  We’ll need it to continue if we’re going to slow down the Eagles next week.

Seattle Sports Hell 2014 NFL Power Rankings – Week 10

The storyline for the week has been something along the lines of:  Marshawn Lynch isn’t likely to be back next season, but the Seahawks would be foolish to let him go.

This talk, quite frankly, is defeatist.  EVENTUALLY, at some point, the Seahawks are going to have to find a way to move on from Marshawn Lynch.  He’s not going to play forever.  And he’s NOT going to be here through the life of Russell Wilson’s career.  So, really, what are we talking about?  Delaying the inevitable?

I’m not saying it’s going to be peaches and cream if and when Marshawn Lynch is let go, but it’s not like we’re stuck with chopped liver in his absence.  Granted, there isn’t a running back on this team right now quite like Beastmode.  But, that’s a little unfair, because there isn’t a running back on this PLANET quite like Beastmode.  Are you kidding me?  His toughness, his ability to break tackles, his skill as a pass catcher, his durability to play every down if we needed him to, there is NOT anyone like him.  Anywhere.

But, there’s a distinction there.  I didn’t say Marshawn Lynch is the “best” running back in the league.  Just that there’s no one else like him.  And that’s true.  Marshawn Lynch is, indeed, the best running back on the Seahawks, but I’m not so sure I’d go as far as to say he’s the best in the NFL.  He’s in the discussion, I guess, but what does it all boil down to when you’re talking about running backs?

Yards.  Yards and touchdowns.  Right now, Lynch is fifth in the NFL in rushing yards, but he’s tops in the NFL in rushing touchdowns after his 4-TD game last week.  Those are great figures, and this team is better for having him.  But, is it fair to say this team would be sunk without him?

Robert Turbin is probably best suited as a backup running back.  I can’t see him breaking any records as a starter.  But, among backups, I’d rate him near the top.  He COULD start in this league and, I think, be pretty effective.  He’s got the tools, he runs hard, he can catch the ball, he blocks well.  He’s a clear step down from Beastmode, but who isn’t?

Then, there’s Christine Michael.  The Great Running Back Hope.  Our second round draft pick in 2013.  At the moment, he’s a big unknown.  He hasn’t played a whole lot because of speculative issues with his blocking or having his head screwed on straight or whatever.  Really, he hasn’t been playing because there’s a Top 5 Running Back In The NFL ahead of him, plus a quality backup with more experience also ahead of him.  Teams don’t tend to run with 3-headed hydras in their backfield unless they’re one of those unfortunate teams who simply DON’T have a true #1 running back.

What we think we know about Michael is that he’s got game-breaking speed and toughness.  The sky is the limit with this kid, but first he needs to get playing time outside of the preseason so he can let us know where he’s at.  I happen to think he could be something special with the ball in his hands.  But, again, what do I know?

I don’t have a problem with how we’ve used the running backs this year.  Lynch is getting his periodic rest, the backups are getting some work in, and quite frankly the Seahawks have one of the best running back units in the NFL.  I wouldn’t even have a problem with the Seahawks honoring Lynch’s deal and bringing him back for 2015.  He is, after all, one of my favorite players on this team, and I’d love to watch him do what he does for another year.

But, we do need to be thinking about the future as well.  If the front office feels that it’s time to move in a different direction after this season.  Or, if Beastmode wants out, to try to get a big deal on the open market, I’m not going to be too sad.  I just want things to end amicably, so I can look back on Marshawn Lynch with the fond memories his tenure here in Seattle deserves.  That means not keeping him here too long, past his prime, where we only grow to resent him as he makes millions of dollars he doesn’t deserve.  Likewise, that also doesn’t mean keeping him here against his will, on a 2015 contract that isn’t indicative of his true value to this team.  If 2014 has to be the last year he’s here, I’m not going to throw a fit.  The Seahawks will find a way to move on, I promise.  There are two quality backs here, plus a whole draft to pick up a third.

Getting even 75% of Marshawn Lynch going forward should still be pretty damn good.

***

  1. Denver Broncos (7-2) – I’d like to point out that my fantasy team is 2-0 this year against Peyton Manning, but Honky Hoedown is dreading the inevitable third showdown in the playoffs.
  2. Arizona Cardinals (8-1) – This is about the time I’d set Arizona way down the list on the ol’ Power Rankings, but they’ve continued to win games even without Carson Palmer, so fuck that.
  3. Detroit Lions (7-2) – You don’t want to face this team in the playoffs.
  4. New England Patriots (7-2) – Words cannot describe how excited I am for this Patriots/Colts game this week.
  5. Indianapolis Colts (6-3) – Colts are at home, they’ve got a great quarterback who’s prone to making mistakes from time to time.  But, he’s also prone to overcoming those mistakes.  Again, should be a great, GREAT game.
  6. Green Bay Packers (6-3) – No doubt about it, the Packers are better than the Bears.
  7. Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) – Good defense, great running game, solid quarterback.  This team is legit and it’ll be impressive if the Seahawks beat them this week.
  8. Seattle Seahawks (6-3) – Going to have to play mistake-free football, or as close to mistake-free as it gets.
  9. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) – So, the Steelers only have two numbers retired after Mean Joe Greene last week?  What number do they have reserved for their Fans to wear, then?
  10. Philadelphia Eagles (7-2) – I’m going to need to see an extended period of greatness with Sanchez behind center before I’m willing to move them up.  And, if it happens, then I’ve gott ask:  what is it about Chip Kelly’s offense that turns even the biggest piles of crap into winners?
  11. Dallas Cowboys (7-3) – Talk to me in December when you’re NOT blowing games you should win.
  12. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3-1) – The last straw for Cincy’s defense in fantasy was laying a huge turd against the Browns.
  13. San Francisco 49ers (5-4) – Drew Brees saved your season.  How do you feel about that?
  14. Miami Dolphins (5-4) – That’s a tough team with a hard-luck loss against an elite Lions team.  Miami is on the rise, no doubt about it.
  15. San Diego Chargers (5-4) – On the fall, we have the Chargers.  Probably too late to turn it around.
  16. New Orleans Saints (4-5) – It’s never too late when you play in the pathetic NFC South!  I can’t believe I thought this would be the best division in football before the season.
  17. Baltimore Ravens (6-4) – Even though they’ve got a decent record, I don’t see the Ravens as a playoff team.
  18. Cleveland Browns (6-3) – See:  what I said about the Ravens.
  19. Carolina Panthers (3-6-1) – Hello darkness, my old friend.
  20. Houston Texans (4-5) – On the plus side, I didn’t see J.J. Watt’s commercial all weekend, and neither did you.
  21. Chicago Bears (3-6) – How many Bears fans would go back in time, trade Cutler to the Bucs for a couple draft picks, and retain Josh McCown for pennies on the dollar?  Is it more than 50%?  75%?
  22. Buffalo Bills (5-4) – Kyle Orton isn’t the solution you were looking for.
  23. New York Giants (3-6) – You are one pathetic loser!
  24. St. Louis Rams (3-6) – It’s never going to happen with Jeff Fisher & the Rams, there I said it.
  25. Atlanta Falcons (3-6) – The question remains:  do I keep Matt Ryan in my fantasy league?  It’s a QB-centric league, which means it’s closer to real life (quarterbacks are the most important players on the football field, so why shouldn’t they be the most important players in fantasy football?).  I have to believe that Matt Ryan is going to get improved offensive line play next year.  But, what I need to know is:  is Matt Ryan an elite quarterback?  On that, I’m not so sure.
  26. Minnesota Vikings (4-5) – Wouldn’t it be weird if Adrian Peterson returned and led the Vikings to a Wild Card?  I’ve gotten so used to an Adrian Peterson-free league.
  27. Washington Redskins (3-6) – Better with RGIII, I guess.
  28. New York Jets (2-8) – Better with Vick, I guess.
  29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) – Better with McCown, not so much.
  30. Tennessee Titans (2-7) – A-yup.
  31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) – Woof.
  32. Oakland Raiders (0-9) – Yiminy.

Ray Rice Is A Piece Of Shit

Let’s see, how do we twist this into being appropriate for a Seattle sports blog?  I know!  Ray Rice sucks at football and I hope the Seahawks never sign him.

With that out of the way …

We’ve all seen the original video of Ray Rice’s then-girlfriend (now-wife) being dragged out of an elevator, unconscious.  As it was just the two of them in there, it was pretty obvious what had happened:  he beat the shit out of her.  I can’t rightly remember if there was any admission of guilt or what happened after that; all I know is:  he didn’t go to prison, she stuck by his side, and he ended up getting a 2-game suspension for his troubles.

Then, yesterday, TMZ finally got a hold of the video from inside the elevator and unleashed it upon the world.  In the video, you get a clear view of Ray Rice beating the shit out of her, which is what we all assumed happened in the first place.

As you can probably tell, aside from seeing snippets of the original video, I didn’t follow this story all that closely.  Seemed to me that it was an obvious case of abuse.  I guess I just forgot about it as time passed, as I don’t remember ever hearing about what happened with his criminal case.  I guess she didn’t want to press charges?  That doesn’t matter, of course; the state obviously has the right to press charges independently – which, GOOD GOD, how did they let this one slip through the cracks?

What it all boils down to is:  everyone fucked up.  The state fucked up for not prosecuting his ass to the full extent of the law.  The NFL fucked up by only suspending him for two games.  The media fucked up as it collectively shrugged its shoulders instead of digging further into this issue (seriously, how did it take so long for this video to get out, and why is TMZ doing all the heavy lifting when these supposedly serious media outlets like the New York Times, CNN, et al, are sitting back picking goobers out of their asses?).  The main issue at hand seems to be:  no one saw the video from inside the elevator and no one who mattered (the district attorney, the commissioner, the head honchos of the Ravens) even WANTED to see the video.

How does that happen?  I can see why the NFL wanted to sweep this under the rug:  they don’t need any more negative press in this post-Aaron Hernandez world.  Plus, Ray Rice and his lady friend kissed and made up, so all the better.  Just a bump on the road to a happy marriage!  But, how does the district attorney not see the video?  And if they did, how do they let that pass?

If there’s one thing you know about the world we’re living in, it’s that the skeletons will ALWAYS make their way out of the closet.  Just ask Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton and any other celebrity who’s had their phones hacked and their naked selfies distributed throughout the Internet.  Everyone KNEW there was video from inside the elevator.  I’m sure that was one of the first questions asked when people started sniffing around this investigation.  It’s one thing for the NFL to sit down and take the plea of the victim to heart.  But, to ONLY go by that plea – of a victim who may or may not have been under duress – is pretty stupid when you know there’s a video out there that will be leaked.  It’s only a matter of time.  And, in this case, time came up yesterday.

At one end of the spectrum, you’ve got an unimaginable amount of stupidity.  On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got corrupt, evil fuckheaditude.  Everyone involved in the decision to not send Ray Rice to jail, to not suspend him for more than two games, to not ban him indefinitely right from the start, falls somewhere on that spectrum.  And, if the story is true – that they wanted to remain willfully ignorant to try to cover their asses if-and-when the shit hit the fan – then that falls much closer to evil fuckheaditude in my book.

As for Ray Rice, yeah, he’s a piece of shit.  He deserves to be kicked out of the NFL.  He deserves to lose out on endorsement deals.  He deserves to have his dream end right here.  Whether that’s actually what’s going to happen remains to be seen.  I mean, shit, Michael Vick is back in football and he’s practically the devil (or, at the very least, Cruella de Vil … OH MY GOD THAT’S ACTUALLY HOW DISNEY SPELLS HER NAME!).  If you’re in any way invested in this story, you probably despise Ray Rice because he beats women.

For starters, no, it’s not okay to beat women.  But, really, it’s not okay to beat on ANYONE.  Especially if you’re a big, strong football player and you’re clocking someone half your size.  But, that’s neither here nor there.

Keith Olbermann had a nice little rant last night.  Here it is, if you somehow missed it.  I generally like Olbermann.  Some people think he’s a pompous blowhard, but that’s because he IS a pompous blowhard.  But, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have valid points on a wide range of topics.  I was right there with him on his Ray Rice stuff, until the very end, when he talked about the NFL being boycotted by all of us if the commissioner isn’t banned and if Baltimore’s executives aren’t fired.

For starters, I seriously doubt – if Olbermann is any kind of serious professional football fan – that he’s going to sit there on Sunday with his arms folded, watching TCM classic movies or some damn thing when his favorite team is playing on the other channel.  But, he does raise a good point about fandom.

What would have to happen to get you to stop watching the NFL?

The answer to that question is different for everyone.  For the casual fan, who doesn’t really have a favorite team and isn’t all that invested in the goings on, it probably wouldn’t take much.  They could take on Keith Olbermann’s challenge to boycott the NFL and probably not lose a whole lot of sleep.  But, for the hardcore addicts out there, what are we supposed to do?

I’ve been watching the NFL since I was a small child.  I’ve been a Seahawks fan for practically my whole life (minus a period in the 90s when I would troll my family and root against this hapless organization just to get a rise out of them).  Football is my favorite sport and so much of my autumns are dictated by what’s going on on Sundays.  Fantasy Football, Pick ‘Em, Eliminator Pools (which I somehow always manage to lose in week 1), and the games the Seahawks are involved in.  I spend $200 just to get NFL Sunday Ticket for my computer, so I’m not stuck watching the dregs that Fox and CBS make me watch.  There’s nothing romantic about my affiliation with football, but it does dominate many of my conversations, just as it fills my days leading up to the game, reading countless articles and blogs on the topic.

Really, it’s more disease than anything else.  The NFL is a cancer flowing through my body; I’m powerless to resist its charms!

The only way I’d stop watching the NFL is if the Seahawks were bought out and moved to another city.  And even then … I do like the Atlanta Falcons an awful lot; I suppose it wouldn’t take much to just bump my affinity over there …

So, does that make me an accessory after the fact?  Am I implicitly condoning Ray Rice’s actions?  Of course not, don’t be silly.  For starters, I’m not a fan of Ray Rice.  I’m not a fan of the Baltimore Ravens.  Hell, I’m not REALLY even a fan of the NFL.  I’m a fan of the Seattle Seahawks.  I can dislike how the NFL runs its organization, I can disagree with certain rules and policies – hell, I can VEHEMENTLY disagree – yet still be a fan of the product.

I can do that, just as I can do that with the United States of America.  There’s a lot about this country I find fucked up and retarded.  I think all politicians are corrupt pieces of shit only out for their own interests.  I think the drug laws in this country are ridiculous.  I think the medical health and insurance industries are sucking this country dry.  But, you know what?  There are parts of this country I really like too.  I’m not going to boycott America just because it’s run by assholes and fuck ups, just like I’m not going to boycott the NFL because it’s run by the same.

What interests me more is how Ravens fans reconcile themselves with what they’ve seen on these videos.  Ray Rice has been such a huge part of that team for so long now; he helped bring them an NFL championship and was certainly well on his way to a Ring of Honor spot (or whatever they call their organizational hall of fame).  This would be equivalent to Marshawn Lynch beating the shit out of his significant other in an elevator and seeing it all on video.

How would I handle that?  I’ve always been of the opinion that I don’t care what these people do in their personal lives, as long as they help the team win.  If someone drives drunk or does drugs or gets arrested for some other reason, I don’t care!  Now, obviously, in such a high-profile situation as this, it ends up working itself out:  Ray Rice is off the team and out of the league.  So, if I’m a Ravens fan, I can continue being a Ravens fan without being a specific fan of Ray Rice.

With me, it’s always about the team.  Which would make it a little more difficult to reconcile my feelings about the team president and general manager also turning a blind eye to the whole thing.  MAYBE, they were directed by the NFL front office to let it go.  MAYBE, they were directed by ownership to let it go.  Or, maybe they just didn’t want to rock the boat.  Players could look at the team tacking on games to a player’s suspension as being quite antagonistic.  The NFL is supposed to dole out the punishment, not the team they’re trying to win games for.  But, I’m not buying that.  If it were me, and I was a fan of the Ravens, I’d want the organization to take a hard line, even harder than the NFL’s.  Maybe not on its asinine substance abuse policy, where you can be suspended just by drinking in your own home, but certainly on something like domestic violence.

Look at it this way, the University of Washington and Chris Petersen just suspended Marcus Peters for the next game because of a personal foul penalty in the previous game, followed by Peters allegedly throwing a tantrum on the sideline when he was taken out of the game.  I don’t like not having one of our best defenders on the field against Illinois – especially when our secondary is so maligned – but I LOVE that he’s sending the message to other players that this crap won’t be tolerated.

It should be that way for the Ravens and frankly, it should be that way for the NFL.

I have no sympathy for a multi-millionaire who fucks up his own life.  Ray Rice had the golden goose and now it’s gone.  Is it an unfair standard?  Sure it is.  A regular Joe probably isn’t losing his job and his primary means to earn a living just because he beats up his wife.  Then again, a regular Joe is probably going to see some jail time for his crimes, because he’s not a multi millionaire who can buy his way out of these things.

But, make no mistake, Ray Rice isn’t in this shit because he’s a woman beater.  He’s in this shit because he beat a woman, it was caught on video, and that video leaked to the world.  Let none of us delude ourselves as we condemn this man.  We’ve been tacitly endorsing this behavior since the game began and started to get huge.

You think Ray Rice is the first NFL player to beat the shit out of his girlfriend or wife?  You think YOU’RE free from guilt because no one on your favorite team was arrested or kicked off the team?  Think again.  Just because we don’t hear about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.  Hell, we still DO hear about it, and those players don’t necessarily suffer the slings and arrows that Ray Rice has felt (Greg Hardy, anyone?).

I know I’m supporting a league that supports domestic violence.  That supports its players pretty much doing anything they want – up to and including murder, Ray Lewis – and getting away with it because they’re rich and famous and too big to fail.  I also support a league that extorts cities into paying for stadia even though its teams are owned by some of the richest men in the world.

But, you know what?  When I eat my Taco Del Mar burrito, I don’t sit around thinking about how the meat got processed.  When I have a beer, I don’t think about all the millions of alcoholics who have ruined their lives.  That’s how it is with the NFL.  When I sit down to watch the Seahawks thump their next opponent, I’m not thinking about all the nasty, evil shit the NFL is involved with.  If I did that, if I lived my life that way, I’d never find an ounce of joy in anything.  My whole life would be consumed with hating everything because it’s somehow, tangentially related to something that’s despicable.

Seriously, think about it.  Think about all the things in your life that either bring you joy or keep you alive.  Your job, where you shop, the movies you watch, the magazines you read, the food you eat, the country you live in, the city you call home.  If you lived your life boycotting all the things you find fault in, as Keith Olbermann might suggest, you’d be the most insufferable prick in the world or you’d be dead.

Sometimes, you just have to let things go.  I know that’s not how things get done and how great social change is enacted, but leave all that shit to the people who actually give a damn.  Because either way, they’re going to find a way to complain and voice their complaints until the rancor and outrage is at its zenith.  I’ll be over here, watching football on Sunday with a beer in one hand and a pork burrito in the other, refreshing my fantasy football page on my laptop, with an erection at full mast, wondering just how in the hell it can get any better than this.

Seattle Sports Hell 2013 NFL Power Rankings – Week 1

I don’t throw around the word “love” very often, but I fucking LOVE NFL Sunday Ticket.  I purchased the Madden game for X-Box and got a deal on the online-only version of DirecTV’s signature product, and boy was it worth it!  The only shame of it was the fact that the Seahawks were playing at 10am, so the bulk of my focus was on that.  Nevertheless, I had my laptop running the Atlanta/New Orleans game in the background.  And, when both games were on commercial:  that was time to flip it over to the Red Zone channel!

I’m sure many of you have enjoyed this NFL viewing experience for years now, but this is entirely new to me.  Anytime I’ve ever had a chance to watch multiple games, it was either at my Dad’s house or in a bar somewhere.  At my dad’s, he’s got three TVs in the living room.  But, he’s only got regular ol’ cable TV, so I was at the mercy of whatever Fox or CBS deemed worthy for the Seattle market.  Which usually means a lot of Jets, a lot of Cowboys, and in the afternoon, a lot of Raiders and Rams and Cardinals.  I fucking can’t stand all of those teams.

At a bar, sure, you can watch whatever games you want (if you find the right bar, with the right configuration of TVs, and you’re not bombarded with a bunch of annoying Steelers or Packers fans).  But, if you’re getting any sound, it’s on one dedicated game, so you can’t toggle between games like you could at home.  And, you can’t just sit at a bar and not buy anything, so in any given day, you’re spending anywhere from $30-$60, depending on how much you eat and drink.  If you’re going to spend that much every week, you might as well just buy DirecTV and get it over with!

This is starting to sound like an advertisement, which I promise you it is not.  I’ve only had it for one week, so I’m sure there are things I’ll hate.  But, right now, it’s a whole new world.  I’m hooked.  I would probably pay any amount of money in the world just to know that I’ll never have to watch another boring Jets game ever again.

***

  1. Seattle Seahawks (1-0) – Until the Seahawks lose, I’m not even thinking about moving them down this list.
  2. San Francisco 49ers (1-0) – For anyone wondering when Kaepernick is going to go through some sort of second-year slump, keep dreaming.
  3. Denver Broncos (1-0) – They might end up with the best record in football, but that won’t make them the best team.  Nevertheless, they’re still pretty fucking good.
  4. Green Bay Packers (0-1) – Man, what can I say?  The 49ers just have their number.  Pretty sure that’s the only team in the NFL they fear playing in the playoffs.
  5. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) – The Falcons are still the second-best home team in the NFL.  They lost a tough road game against a tough divisional opponent; and they almost won anyway!
  6. Houston Texans (1-0) – Pretty amazing come-from-behind win to start their season.
  7. New England Patriots (1-0) – I’m pretty sure the Patriots won’t be terrible this year, but they’re not going to be elite.  The defense is still iffy, and the offense totally lacks weapons.
  8. New Orleans Saints (1-0) – Outside of the Chiefs, the Saints might be the most improved team in the NFL this year.  Still, Drew Brees can be sloppy with the ball.
  9. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) – Chicago certainly isn’t the easiest place to start your NFL season, but the Bengals are better than that.  They’ll bounce back.
  10. Washington Redskins (0-1) – Welp, that’s what happens when your starting quarterback goes the entire pre-season without playing.  I expect the offense to improve and in a hurry.
  11. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) – Something tells me the Chiefs won’t be out of the Top 10 for long.  Andy Reid was a terrible coach for what the Eagles became last year, but he’s just what these Chiefs need.
  12. Carolina Panthers (0-1) – Excellent front seven, better-than-they-showed-on-Sunday offense.  I kinda predicted Tampa Bay would be one of the breakout teams of the NFC, but it’s probably going to be Carolina.
  13. Detroit Lions (1-0) – You pair that passing game with Reggie Bush and you’ve got something lethal.  They better hope Bush can stay healthy for the duration; a pass-catching back is all they need to be unstoppable on offense.
  14. Baltimore Ravens (0-1) – The thing is, those receivers won’t drop as many balls as they did in the opener.  The other thing is:  I’m telling you, this is a .500 football team.
  15. Dallas Cowboys (1-0) – Jesus Dallas, how did you almost blow that game after generating six turnovers?
  16. New York Giants (0-1) – Of course this is the year that Eli Manning dominates.  I had him on my fantasy team LAST year and avoided him like the plague this year.
  17. Chicago Bears (1-0) – This is still a team that only has one receiver, and still a team that under-utilizes their running back.
  18. Indianapolis Colts (1-0) – Took quite the effort to beat the Raiders, when it should have taken no effort whatsoever.
  19. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) – Weird!  You lean on LeSean McCoy and use Vick in the passing game as little as possible and you do well on offense!  Andy Reid, are you fucking WATCHING THIS?
  20. St. Louis Rams (1-0) – I kind of expected the Rams to handle the Cardinals better than they did.  Does that mean the Rams are worse than advertised, or are the Cards better?
  21. Miami Dolphins (1-0) – Whoop-dee-doo, they beat up on the Cleveland Browns, BFD.
  22. San Diego Chargers (0-1) – I’m shocked that they blew a 21-point lead, but then again I’m not that shocked.  Philip Rivers always finds a way.
  23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) – They were one bone-head play from being 1-0.  Then again, I’m hearing all kinds of bad press on Josh Freeman.  In a contract year?  That doesn’t bode well.
  24. Minnesota Vikings (0-1) – God the Vikings are terrible.  Ponder is one of many busts at quarterback starting right now.
  25. Arizona Cardinals (0-1) – Carson Palmer, where have you been all of Larry Fitzgerald’s career?
  26. Cleveland Browns (0-1) – I’m having a tough time figuring out how bad Weeden is.  He throws the ball a ton of times per game and kinda racks up the yardage.  But, his completion percentage is usually terrible and he throws for more picks than TDs.  He sort of strikes me as a young, disappointing Vinny Testaverde, without the possibility of ever having a long career.
  27. Tennessee Titans (1-0) – The Titans are terrible.  But, who knows?  Maybe they’re not as terrible as we thought.  Who am I kidding?  They ARE as terrible as we thought, but the teams under them are even worse.
  28. Oakland Raiders (0-1) – I never for one minute thought they were going to beat the Colts.
  29. New York Jets (1-0) – Lucky win for a bullshit team.  Here’s to hoping Geno Smith turns out well.  Mark Sanchez needs to go away forever.
  30. Buffalo Bills (0-1) – Goes to show you how underwhelming this rookie quarterback class is that EJ Manuel is getting seriously glowing press even though he only threw for 150 yards.
  31. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) – The Steelers might not be the next-to-worst team in the NFL, but this is the penalty they get for being my Survivor Pool pick in week 1.  I might not ever put them in the top 30 all season.
  32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) – Two points?  Gus Bradley, would you like to reconsider your decision?

Should NFL Teams Trade For Wide Receivers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good God, Lemon!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See this post for full details.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

Much Ado About Matt Flynn

Even though we’re still in the doldrums of the local sports calendar, I’m planning on ramping down the Seahawks posts (until, of course, something important happens), because GET OVER IT ALREADY!  The season’s over!  Move on!

But, since today is Friday, and I ain’t got shit-else to do, I thought I’d come back on here and blather on about Matt Flynn for a few hundred words.

Alex Smith was just traded from our most-direct rival for a king’s ransom.  Yay.  Rumors abound, but it appears they’re getting a very-high 2nd round pick in this year’s draft, and another similar pick in next year’s draft.  So, don’t start counting those divisional winning chickens just yet, Seahawks fans!  The 49ers have a pretty damn good front office too.

Everybody wants to know what this means for the Seahawks.  After all, we’re in a very similar situation with a backup quarterback making a lot more money than the younger starting quarterback (with the obvious difference being that Alex Smith has extensive starting experience, while Matt Flynn started two games).  Obviously, Alex Smith is worth more – even though we were writing him off no less than two years ago as a total and complete bust – because he was able to generate some semblance of a successful season in 2011 (and, like, half a successful season in 2012 before being benched).  So, don’t come around here expecting the Seahawks to fleece some team out of its 2nd round draft pick, because that just ain’t happening!

Nobody wanted Matt Flynn last offseason, so what makes you think they suddenly want him now?

He came here as a highly-touted backup, involved with a championship organization in Green Bay, yet he still couldn’t beat out a 3rd round rookie draft pick.  Now, you can say what you want about the circumstances surrounding that whole ordeal; personally I think the coaching staff was looking for every reason to give the job to Russell Wilson (as opposed to this highly-popular theory the Seahawks are spreading around, that Wilson simply went out there and “took” the job). 

It says a lot about what the league thinks about Matt Flynn – when you really sit down and think about it – when you consider how reasonable his contract was when he first signed it.  This was pre-draft, mind you.  There were a number of teams out there (like Miami, like Washington, like Indianapolis, like Cleveland, like Arizona) who could’ve used an upgrade at the quarterback position.  Yet, the Seahawks were able to sign him for a modest 3-year deal for around $20 mil, with only $10 million guaranteed.  Now, why is that?  Were teams scared off from the Kevin Kolb fiasco in Arizona?  Or, for that matter, the Charlie Whitehurst experiment in Seattle?  There’s no denying it:  it’s a HUGE risk to just turn over your franchise to an inexperienced backup, just as it is to turn it over to a rookie.  Either way you slice it, if he doesn’t have real game experience, then you absolutely can’t know what you have in a player.  Pre-season doesn’t count.  A spot start every other year doesn’t count.

So, this is pretty much the same exact player who was signed as a free agent last year.  Except now, he’s going to cost a team at least a draft pick, if not two.  He’s another year older, AND he has a potential arm issue (tendonitis, or some damn thing, which kept him out of that fateful pre-season game against Kansas City last year).  Oh boy, I can see the teams lining up for MILES to trade for this guy!

The question remains:  what could the Seahawks reasonably expect to get back from a guy like Flynn?  Well, considering the market, not bloody much.  Our biggest hope has to be that Gus Bradley absolutely fell in love with the guy and is willing to do whatever it takes to bring him to Jacksonville.  Failing that, you’re not dealing him to the Jets unless you want a Tebow in return (no thanks).  You’re not dealing him to the Raiders because they have too much capital invested in the quarterback position, in terms of both dollars and draft picks squandered.  You’re not dealing him to the Chiefs because they just traded for Smith.  You’re not dealing him to Arizona, because they’re not dumb enough to fall for that same trick twice (and because he’s not the type of quarterback Bruce Arians likes).  You’re not dealing him to Miami because they JUST drafted a guy, and they kinda like their guy.  You’re not dealing him to Cleveland for the same reason.  Ditto Tennessee.  You’re not dealing him to Buffalo because they just re-signed Tarvar and are inviting him to compete for the starting job.  You’re not dealing him to Philly because they re-worked Mike Vick’s contract.  It’s Jacksonville or bust!  What kind of market is that?  You’re not playing one team against the other, because there ISN’T any other (and there might not even be AH team).

If the best case scenario is Gus Bradley losing his mind, then the most realistic scenario is:  the Seahawks get a 6th or 7th round pick in return for a straight-up salary dump.

Which would be pointless.  You’re looking at a team well under the cap.  You’re looking at a team that won’t cut Flynn because they wouldn’t save enough money to counter the fact that they’d still need to sign a backup quarterback, because SURPRISE:  they HAVE no other backup quarterbacks!

What you’re going to get is another year with Matt Flynn as the backup, of which I am TOTALLY in favor.  Why go to these extreme lengths to trade Flynn for nothing, then sign another veteran to be a backup when you’ve already GOT the veteran backup, he knows the system, and he works well with Russell Wilson?  Not only that, but he’s still got that fire and hunger to be a starting quarterback, so he’s going to do nothing but push Russell Wilson to be even BETTER.  It’s win/win all around.

So can we PRETTY PLEASE, with sugar on top, stop fucking talking about a potential Matt Flynn trade?  It’s making me crazy.  Do the math:  it’s NOT FUCKING HAPPENING.