I Wanna, I Wanna, I Wanna, I Wanna, I Wanna Really Really Really Wanna Ziggy Ansah

You have no idea how long I’ve been holding onto that Spice Girls reference …

So, here’s the good news: the Seahawks had a need and they helped fill that need with Ezekiel Ansah. Even before the Frank Clark trade, pass rush was a major concern for this team. Maybe the BIGGEST concern. With Clark’s contract situation being untenable, our options were to max out our cap space and do nothing to supplement around him, or get rid of him and hopefully improve our pass rush on the cheap. We chose the second route, and now here we are.

In the run-up to May 7th (after which the league was allowed to sign free agents without any risk to losing next year’s comp picks), the Seahawks brought in Cassius Marsh and Nate Orchard, a couple of veterans who’ve bounced around the league for 6 and 4 years respectively, and to date haven’t really made much of an impact outside of special teams. Marsh’s season high is 5.5 sacks; and Orchard (who you might remember got cut on Hard Knocks with last year’s Browns team) has a season high of only 3 sacks. L.J. Collier was our first player selected in this year’s draft, which makes him a total unknown. We paired those guys with holdovers Jacob Martin and Rasheem Green – a couple of promising players from last year’s rookie class, but who also have a lot to prove – and veterans Quinton Jefferson and Branden Jackson – who are more depth options and not really even guaranteed to have roster spots this year.

Obviously, that wasn’t going to do. There are a number of free agent options still available, and the Seahawks brought in probably the best (or at least the one with the highest upside). Ziggy Ansah is a tremendous talent! He’s a beast! At his best, he’s even BETTER than Frank Clark!

Now, the bad news: every time we talk about Ansah, we have to throw in the phrase, “When He’s Healthy.”

Ziggy Ansah When He’s Healthy is one of the best defensive ends in all of football. But, it’s not even a matter of him missing games (which he has, 14 in the last three seasons), so much as him being a shell of his usual dominant self when he’s playing through injuries. How else do you explain 2.0 sacks in 2016 when he appeared in 13 games? That followed a Pro Bowl 2015 season when he had 14.5.

He’s coming off of a shoulder injury at the moment that really slaughtered his Franchise Tag year in 2018. And, what’s worse, if reports are to be believed, this injury could keep him out through Training Camp and even a month into the regular season!

I really had no idea this was a thing before I read about it this morning. Heading into yesterday, Ansah was a no-brainer to me. OF COURSE you sign the injury risk who – if things break right – could be a stud for this defense in 2019! And, on paper, I like the contract: $5.5 million guaranteed, with $8 million more in incentives; really the ideal deal for all parties involved. If he reaches his incentives, then GREAT, the Seahawks still got a Pro Bowl-calibre player for a song; if he hardly plays, then we’re only out $5.5 million and relatively little harm done.

But, if we’re talking about a guy who might not give you more than 12 games – and that’s assuming he returns hitting the ground running, and doesn’t suffer any setbacks during even a brutal 3/4 of a season – then I’m much less hopeful. Don’t get me wrong, I would still do this deal, because even if we just have him for the back-half of the season, he’s still someone this team needs (and could be a monster for a playoff run). But, I’m more convinced than ever that the Seahawks need to add maybe another 1-2 more pass rushers on top of him.

Or else, Martin and Green better take HUGE steps forward in their progress in Year 2.

All in all, a happy day, but not the happiest of days. I really hope those reports are exaggerated, and Ansah’s injury isn’t as bad as some fear.

The Seahawks Made Some Trades & Drafted L.J. Collier In The First Round 2019

Coming into last week, the Seahawks only had 4 draft picks this year: a first, a third, a fourth, and a fifth. After dealing Frank Clark, then moving down from 21 to 30, then moving down from 30 to 37, all of a sudden long-ass Thursday night, the Seahawks now have a total of 9 picks in the 2019 draft, including #29 which we used to pick up a defensive end out of TCU, L.J. Collier.

Before we get into the guy, let’s set the stage:

  • #29 – L.J. Collier (DE)
  • #37 – Second Round (from NYG, trade down from 30)
  • #92 – Third Round (from KC, trade for Frank Clark)
  • #114 – Fourth Round (from GB, trade down from 21)
  • #118 – Fourth Round (from GB, trade down from 21)
  • #124 – Fourth Round
  • #132 – Fourth Round (from NYG, trade down from 30)
  • #142 – Fifth Round (from NYG, trade down from 30)
  • #159 – Fifth Round

Getting back to the actual guy, L.J. Collier is a 6’2, 283 pound defensive end who EVERYONE is comparing to Michael Bennett, which obviously is a shitload to live up to, but also RIGHT ON! That essentially means he’s a guy who can slide inside on pass rushing downs to allow extra speed rushers on the outside. It also means he’s equally as good at stopping the run as he is getting after the quarterback, which as we all know is a Seahawks Must.

I like the pick, because obviously I have to. What else am I going to say? The Seahawks traded away Frank Clark. As far as defensive ends go, we have Rasheem Green, Jacob Martin, and a bunch of nobodies. Also Known As: A Bunch Of Nobodies. There’s potential, but there are no proven guys. So, re-stocking through the draft was Priority #1. It’s probably Priority #1, #2, and #3.

There are complaints, of course. The Seahawks could’ve stayed at 21 and maybe gotten someone better. Hell, I thought the Seahawks were going to follow my plan to the letter! I said I thought we’d trade down from 21 to 24 or 25; instead we went from 21 ALL THE WAY to 30. As it turns out, right after we did that, the Eagles went from 25 to 22 in a swap with the Ravens, to climb up and draft Andre Dillard out of Wazzu. I don’t know if that deal was on the table or not, but if it was, the Seahawks could’ve done that and still landed Montez Sweat (who ended up going to the Redskins at 26). He was a guy many had as a Top 10 talent, who fell because of medical concerns (heart condition). Time will tell if that bit us in the ass.

What I won’t complain about is not taking a wide receiver in the first round. For a minute, the Seahawks had both #29 and #30, which was a SUPER FUN 20 minutes of draft time. I had the TV on mute, I had the 710 ESPN stream on one screen, and I had Mina Kimes going crazy on a different ESPN stream and I could NOT be more entertained! The thought of the Seahawks picking back-to-back was pretty exciting, but of course you knew we were going to spend every waking moment of those 20 minutes trying to trade down again (which we accomplished, naturally). A few minutes later, at pick 32, the Patriots took N’Keal Harry out of ASU.

First of all, are we sold that a receiver out of ASU is worthy of a first round draft slot? The kid has size and ability, but can he put it all together at the NFL level? I know that because the Patriots took him, that means he gets the NFL’s Stamp Of Approval, but when was the last time the Patriots drafted a wide receiver who actually panned out in a big way?

If you know anything about the Seahawks, you know we don’t throw the ball a ton. So, why would it make sense to blow your wad on a receiver with your top draft pick? We have SO MANY MORE needs on the defensive side of the ball! And, by all accounts, the drop-off from Collier to the next-best defensive end/defensive tackle hybrid was pretty severe. The drop off from Harry to the next-best receivers doesn’t feel all that bad.

If the Seahawks turn around at 37 and take a receiver, I won’t complain, but I’d prefer we stayed on the defensive side of the ball. What’s the point in making Russell Wilson the highest paid player if we’re going to spend all this capital on offensive weapons? Wilson is supposed to make the guys we already have BETTER! Hold out until the 3rd round, Seahawks! You’ll be glad you did!

Because it probably means you took a safety in the second round, which is absolutely what I’m clamoring for.

Tonight’s gonna be fun. Right off the bat, we’ll have another new Seahawk to obsess over. People on Twitter are talking about the large gap between #37 and #92, which I get. With 4 fourth round picks, you’d think we’d be able to package something together to either move 92 up, or move 37 down a few spots and get into the 50’s or 60’s as well.

Of course, I have a ticket to see Endgame tonight at 7pm, so my draft evening will be interrupted. That’s the price you pay for having one of the funnest weekends in recent memory fall into your lap!

The Seahawks Smartly Traded Frank Clark

Look, I love Frank Clark. I think he’s a terrific player. In a vacuum – or in a world without a salary cap – I would absolutely want him to be extended and signed to a long-term contract.

But, this is 2019, and the Seahawks just re-upped Russell Wilson, so there’s not a lot of extra money to go around. Frank Clark was already counting just over $17 million on a Franchise Tag, which would increase significantly if we were to do it again in 2020. By all accounts, he was looking for over $21 million per year as a jumping-off point for a long-term extension. With Wilson already averaging over $30 million per year – upwards of $35 million for his four new years – that just wasn’t going to work. Not with Bobby Wagner’s deal expiring after this year. Not with Jarran Reed’s rookie deal expiring after this year. Not with so many of our offensive linemen nearing the end of their deals. And so on and so forth.

As always, you can’t pay everyone. This has been a problem for the Seahawks dating back to 2014, and it’s going to continue as the team keeps drafting guys who out-perform expectations.

The bottom line with Frank Clark is: do you believe he’s one of the very best defensive ends in the league? Is he capable of getting upwards of 20 sacks in a season? Maybe in the right system, but on a team like the Seahawks – where we stress defending the run as much as rushing the passer – I don’t think that was ever going to happen. On a different team, maybe he’s allowed to sell out more to rush the passer, and as a result he gets to that 20-sack mark. But, I doubt that was ever going to happen here.

As a result, the Seahawks get back the Chiefs’ first rounder in 2019 (the 29th overall selection), one of the Chiefs’ second rounders in 2020 (the lesser of the two they have now), and we swapped down in the third round this year (we go from pick 84 to pick 92).

Sure, the Chiefs get a stud, and look like surefire Super Bowl contenders, but we get $17 million to play around with. There are still veteran defensive ends available. And, maybe this increases our chances of staying at 21 and drafting the best available defensive end. It also, obviously, gives us more flexibility to trade down for more draft picks in the second and third rounds. But, just the thought of actually picking in the first round excites me to no end!

My overall thinking is, at best we were just going to run the same team back as 2018 with Clark on a huge cap number. That team, obviously, wasn’t a Super Bowl contender, and I don’t believe the extra year’s experience was enough to push the 2019 Seahawks into that stratosphere. The only way we’ll be able to improve for the long term AND the short term is to hit on a couple key draft picks, and buy low on a couple of free agents who vastly outplay their deals. The only way to do that was to acquire MORE draft picks and have MORE money with which to spend. This deal accomplishes both of those objectives; now it’s on the front office to make good.

I’d rather have Bobby and Reed extended long term over just Frank Clark, and had we extended Clark on a max deal, I know we would’ve lost at least one of those guys. Having an interior pass rusher like Reed is a much harder find, so extending him long term should be our biggest priority going forward. Keeping Bobby happy as the anchor of this defense should be our next-highest priority. Then, finding and cultivating a young stud – to go along with Rasheem Green and Jacob Martin – will be our next challenge. I, for one, look forward to it!

Seahawks Death Week: What Did We Figure Out?

Heading into 2018, there were question marks across the board with the Seahawks. Could we develop a running game outside of Russell Wilson? Could we develop a pass rush? Would our secondary hold together? How would our new coordinators fit in? Could we develop enough young talent to push this team in the right direction for 2019 and beyond?

It felt like at least a 2-year project before we’d see the playoffs again, so to make it back in Year 1 feels like playing with house money at this point. So, let’s take a look at what went right, in no particular order:

Running Backs

In 2018, infamously the leading running back for this team was Russell Wilson with 586 yards. The next-closest back was Mike Davis with 240. The only player to run for a touchdown not named Russell Wilson was J.D. McKissic, who had 1 all year. So, you can understand why the Seahawks put so much into re-emphasizing this part of the game.

In 2019, Russell Wilson was 4th on this team in rushing yards, much more in line with where he SHOULD be. We used a first round draft pick – after trading down to acquire more picks – on Rashaad Penny, who had an underwhelming rookie season with only 419 yards (3rd on the team), but he also had the third-most attempts and actually led the group in yards per carry with 4.9. Penny didn’t come out of the gates guns blazing, as there was more of a learning curve for him as he adjusted to the NFL, but he did show flashes of brilliance and that big-play ability we brought him in here for. I don’t know if he’ll ever be a Pro Bowler, or just a nice role player, but his Sophomore campaign should tell quite a bit about where his pro career is headed.

Returning as this team’s #2 running back was Mike Davis, who showed his usual reliability and professionalism. This is a rock-solid #2 guy that I’d never have any qualms about making the occasional spot start for an injured player; he’s a huge upgrade over Robert Turbin, for instance. He ended up with 514 yards on a 4.6 average. It appears Davis will be a Free Agent next year, so hopefully we can bring him back at the right price. Though, I guess we’ll see; with the money we have in Penny, we might want to spend the minimum at a spot where there’s a 3-headed monster.

Chris Carson returned from an injury in 2018 and should really be in the running for Comeback Player of the Year. He led the Seahawks with 1,151 yards on a 4.7 yard average with a whopping 9 touchdowns. He’s the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Seahawks since Beastmode in 2014, and let me tell you, he looked A LOT like our future Ring of Honor stud. We were a different team with Carson on the field, as he bowled and jumped over opposing players with regularity.

Overall, I’d say the position is set for 2019, though it’ll be ultra-set if we bring back Davis.

Pass Rush

The Seahawks were tied for 13th in 2017 with 39.0 sacks (league-leading Pittsburgh had 56.0), which was okay, but obviously not great. We improved to being tied for 11th in 2018 with 43.0 sacks (league-leading Pittsburgh & Kansas City had 52.0) which is a step in the right direction, though we could always be better.

Frank Clark led the way with 14.0 sacks; he’s also set to be a free agent in 2019. The Seahawks are saying all the right things about bringing him back on a long-term extension, though they’re also looking to re-up Wilson and a few others, so they’ve got their work cut out for them. Regardless, the franchise tag is in our pocket, and Clark’s already on record as saying he’d welcome the challenge of playing on the tag, thereby having his value skyrocket if he stays healthy and performs as he did this year. He also could, theoretically, still improve, particularly with better pieces around him, so we may just be scratching the surface with him. Either way, this was a HUGE step forward for a guy a lot of people wondered about. I don’t know if I ever expected him to perform at this level, so it’s great to see!

Even more shocking was what Jarran Reed was able to do in his third season as an interior lineman. He went from 1.5 sacks in each of his first two years to a whopping 10.5 sacks in 2018, which is just an astronomical leap! That’s Cortez Kennedy-level ball-busting! He’s another guy this team needs to keep around for the long term.

After those two, it drops off considerably. The next-highest guy was Quinton Jefferson with 3, and he’s just a rotation guy at best. Rookie Jacob Martin also had 3 sacks, which is encouraging for a high-motor guy still developing his NFL body. It’ll be interesting to see what strides he’s able to make between Year 1 and Year 2.

Rasheem Green was the other highly-touted rookie who had only 1 sack this year, and often found himself as a healthy scratch by season’s end. He was always going to be something of a project, so it’s not surprising, but it is a little disappointing. He was never going to have as much opportunity as 2018, considering you have to figure the Seahawks are planning on pouring big money into the area for next year.

Overall, we’ve got two studs, one maybe, and a lot of filler. While this area was better than I expected heading into the year – as I expected this team to totally fall off the cliff – our stars stayed healthy and produced. Now, it’s just a matter of filling in with better talent around those stars.

Secondary

This was always going to be a challenge, with Kam essentially forced into retirement, with Earl holding out, then playing disgruntled, then being lost for the year to injury. And, of course, the Seahawks waived Richard Sherman, which pushed Shaquill Griffin over to his side of the field as the team’s primary cornerback. For all the grief I gave him about that playoff game, I thought Griffin was fine. At times he was a solid tackler, but he also appeared to be out of position every so often, and took bad angles on tackles. He also finished with only 2 interceptions, which is pretty weak for the team’s primary corner. He’s not going anywhere in 2019, so let’s hope he makes a major jump in his performance in Year 3.

The other cornerback spot appeared to change hands multiple times heading into the 2018 season. Byron Maxwell looked to have the inside track, but he came in injured and never made the team. Other veterans were vetted, but the job ended up in the hands of rookie Tre Flowers, who took it and ran with it. There were the expected growing pains, but he really picked it up over the second half of the season, and looks to be a solid cog in this secondary. He didn’t get any picks, but you have to figure those will come with experience.

With both of our starting safeties out, Bradley McDougald really held this whole thing together. He’s a solid veteran who was playing at a Pro Bowl level for a while, but appeared to break down by season’s end. With him, Tedric Thompson and Delano Hill got their chances to make their marks on this team in their second seasons, but both of them were pretty hit or miss. You have to think the experience was nothing but a positive for them, but they’ll still have to parlay it into 2019 and make significant jumps if they want to be here long term.

I have to think the Seahawks will be looking in the draft for another primo safety. While we’re not set yet, it’s good to see the secondary playing as well as they did this season. They might not have showed out with the turnovers as the L.O.B. did when they hit the scene, but they limited big plays and kept this team in ballgames, which is all you can ask for. I’d also like to see the team extend Justin Coleman long-term, as he’s still one of the better nickel corners in this league.

Tight End

Jimmy Graham was thankfully sent packing, and in his place the team actually improved. Who knew?

Oh yeah, we all knew.

Will Dissly made a HUGE impact in Week 1, then got hurt and was lost for the season. Considering he was the best blocking tight end in the draft last year, and with his offense being better than anticipated, he looks like he’ll be an awesome weapon next year, assuming he returns from injury okay.

Nick Vannett really stepped up in his absence, in his 3rd season in the NFL. He had career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. They weren’t super-amazing or anything (29, 269, 3), but this team doesn’t NEED a Jimmy Graham-like tight end to be effective offensively. I am perfectly happy with those numbers from our 2016 third round draft pick.

Ed Dickson was a free agent signee, and he didn’t make a huge impact either – actually finishing with fewer yards than Dissly, thanks to his own injury issues to start the season – but he had some big plays here and there, and still chipped in 3 TDs of his own. Combined, the TE position had 8 touchdowns on the season (51 catches for 600 yards, if you count George Fant, which I absolutely do!), which is perfectly fine for what little resources we’ve pumped into the position. You don’t need superstars at tight end to have a winning offense.

Tight end is set, assuming Dissly is back to 100%.

Offensive Line

The O-Line was the biggest question mark heading into the season, and thankfully it eventually turned into one of this team’s biggest strengths. Duane Brown was a Second Team All Pro at left tackle, Justin Britt brought his usual solidness at the center position, and Germain Ifedi made a big leap in his third year to finally become a passable right tackle. There were some growing pains at the guard spots – arguably the most important spots on the entire O-Line for a team with a Russell Wilson at quarterback – but after the second game, when J.R. Sweezy took over on the left side and D.J. Fluker took over on the right, they finally morphed into a cohesive, solid unit.

The downside is both Sweezy and Fluker are free agents heading into 2019. They’re also getting up there in age, and seemingly always face a litany of injuries. While that should theoretically keep their costs down, it’s hard to ignore the strides this team made when both of them were healthy. As such, you have to figure they’re in store for raises over the $1.5 million each of them made in 2018.

Beyond those two, Ethan Pocic was a disaster. He started those first two games we lost (when couldn’t do a damn thing offensively), and every time he took the field late in the season, the offense took an immediate step back. I don’t know if he’s undersized, incompetent, or both, but he’s got A LOT of work to do if he’s aiming to return to the starting five. As a second round pick already in his second year, with plenty of experience under his belt already, this is NOT trending well.

Jordan Simmons, however, was a revelation when he stepped in for Fluker! He’s a big ol’ mauler in Fluker’s image, but his season ended prematurely with injury. Combine that with the fact that he spent most of his college career injured, and I don’t think he’s someone we can count on long term. As a fill-in, backup type guy, though, it’s nice to know he’s around.

Joey Hunt is heading into free agency; he’s not someone I’d mind if we kept around or not. He looks undersized, and at this point Pocic might only be able to salvage his career if he backs up Britt at center, so Hunt is probably a luxury this team doesn’t need. He could still develop into a quality starter somewhere, but probably not here.

Finally, the aforementioned George Fant had quite a bit of playing time. He was often a sixth lineman this team implemented when we wanted to pound the rock, and once in a while found himself running routes (with his lone catch being a highlight of the season). He filled in for Ifedi late in the year – with Ifedi sliding over to guard for an injured Fluker – and that didn’t go so great. But, I would still expect him back, as I can’t imagine there’s going to be a huge bidding war for Fant.

Conclusion

With an elite quarterback, an elite middle linebacker, two elite wide receivers, and some nice pieces noted above, this is a team that’s heading in the right direction for another playoff run in 2019. How they spend their money in free agency will ultimately determine if this team’s going to contend for a division title. There are still quite a bit of holes left to fill, so it should be interesting.

Not Winners & Losers Of The Seahawks’ Game Against The Packers

The Seahawks temporarily saved their season with a 27-24 victory over the Packers.  The win brought us back to .500 at 5-5, while the Pack fell to 4-5-1, with their playoff chances taking a significant hit.  The Seahawks were down 14-3 early, but rallied in the second quarter and put the game away in the final frame with some rock-solid defense and just enough big plays on offense.

What I’m Geeked Out About After Ten Games

I haven’t gotten to say this a lot this year, but what a game by the defense!  The Packers were up 21-17 at halftime, but only scored 3 points the rest of the way.  Just fantastic!  I was convinced we’d never see anything even remotely resembling a pass rush, but here we ended up with 5 sacks on the day, generally making Aaron Rodgers’ life miserable.  Frank Clark, of course, led the way with 2 sacks.  He’s already got 10 on the year, tying his previous career high from 2016, with 6 more games to go.  That man is going to make a TON of money this offseason.  Maybe even more importantly, Jacob Martin and Rasheem Green both had their first career sacks as the young guys work their way into the rotation.  And, while he was held sackless, Bobby Wagner led the way with 9 tackles and was a dominant force all game.

Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Good Way)

Russell Wilson overcame a slow start to go 21/31 for 225 and 2 TDs against 0 INTs.  For the season, he’s hitting 66.2% of his passes for 2,192 yards, 23 TDs and only 5 INTs, which is good for a 110.2 rating.  That’s Top 5 Elite Quarterback shit!

Chris Carson also overcame a slow start – fumbling on the first play of the game – to run for 83 yards on 17 carries with a TD.  The rest of the rotation was similarly on top of their games; Penny had 46 yards on 8 carries, as he’s looking more and more like the guy we wasted spent a first round pick on; and Davis chipped in with 26 yards on 4 carries, mostly on our clock-killing 4:20 drive to close out the game.  All told, the team managed 173 more yards on the ground in this one, with a 4.9 average.  Not giving Aaron Rodgers the ball back with the game on the line?  Absolutely the reason we won the game.

A tip of the hat to the big 3 receivers, as Baldwin got his first TD of the year (along with 52 yards on 7 catches), Moore had four big catches for 57 yards, and Lockett led the way with 71 yards on 5 catches.  To top it all off, Ed Dickson had his 2nd TD of the season, and the game-winner as it turns out.

Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Bad Way)

The big problem area in this one ended up being the secondary.  Too many deep balls down field, which the elimination of is supposed to be this team’s specialty.  And no one was immune.  Shaq Griffin bit hard on one, Tre Flowers was routinely challenged, Bradley McDougald gave up a long TD, and even Justin Coleman got in on the action of getting beat.  Not to be outdone, Austin Calitro got the start for K.J. Wright and I really thought that was going to cost us the game, as the Packers got the better of him seemingly the entire first half.  Now, obviously, Aaron Rodgers is going to make a lot of secondaries around the league look pretty foolish on the regular, but it’s particularly alarming to see the young guys continue to repeat the same mistakes.

The good news is, we got through this one without a bevy of new injuries.  Now, with 10 days to prepare for a HUGE showdown in Carolina, let’s hope the team is able to take advantage of this scheduling gift.

I’m Perfectly Okay With The Seahawks Not Trading For Anyone

There was a lot of news around the NFL yesterday, as some pretty prominent names switched teams.  The Rams got more pass rush help (as if they needed more) in Dante Fowler.  Demaryius Thomas will now disappoint for the Texans instead of the Broncos.  Golden Tate looks to contend for another Super Bowl, this time with the Eagles.  The Packers are apparently sold on their secondary being good-enough, as they gave away a still-productive Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the Redskins.

And, I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting, but I don’t care all that much because it doesn’t involve the Seahawks.  All the Seahawks did yesterday was waive Brandon Marshall, who wasn’t really playing a whole lot as it is (and when he did play, he was dropping balls left and right).

I pointed out yesterday (on Twitter) that I didn’t really want the Seahawks to trade for anyone, and someone responded that the Seahawks need Bruce Irvin.  I can see why someone would say that.  Obviously, the Seahawks are well aware of his abilities.  The Raiders are in full-on tank mode, shipping off veterans as they collect high draft picks.  And, what have we been talking about all year as the Seahawks’ most pressing need?  Pass rush!  So, yeah, Bruce Irvin makes a lot of sense.

But, does he?  I honestly haven’t paid him much mind since he went to the Raiders.  What I know from his Seahawks days is that he was drafted to be our LEO defensive end.  He got 8 sacks as a rookie, which is still the most sacks he’s gotten in a season.  By 2015 – his last year in Seattle – Irvin was converted to a SAM linebacker.  Like I said, I don’t know what he’s been up to in Oakland, but if he’s still a SAM, I’ve got news for you:  so is Barkevious Mingo.  Mychal Kendricks can also play that position, and he’s set to return to the Seahawks from his suspension later this season, in week 14.

Okay, so maybe we could’ve just played Irvin at defensive end.  I suppose that’s possible.  He’s still pretty under-sized at 250 pounds, so that hurts us in run defense.  Also, he has yet to really develop into a dominant pass rusher.  As I mentioned, his season high in sacks is still 8.  He’s had 18 total sacks in the last 2.5 seasons with the Raiders, which honestly isn’t all that impressive.  He has 3 sacks in 7 games this year, and I think he’s dealing with nagging injury issues.  Regardless, he’s not exactly filling up the stat sheet with his production.

We know Frank Clark is better than Irvin.  I would argue Dion Jordan is better than Irvin when he’s healthy.  I also like the upside of both Jacob Martin and Rasheem Green and would prefer to see both of those guys gain experience through the second half of this season over someone like Irvin, who has a clear and defined ceiling (which, again, isn’t all that impressive).

Finally, there’s the matter of his contract.  He’s set to earn whatever $8 million is pro-rated over the rest of the season.  He’d be owed $9.25 million for 2019 if we opted to keep him, which isn’t a ton of money, but is probably money we can use to acquire better players in the offseason.  We could cut him after this year without a cap hit, at which point we’d be trading for a half-year rental.  How much would you be willing to give up for something like that?  For me, it wouldn’t be anything over a 6th round pick.  Is that something the Raiders would accept?  I highly doubt it.  See, they too can cut him after this year with no cap hit.  Odds are, if we wanted to bring Irvin back next year, we could sign him in the offseason for a lot less than $9 million, based on his NFL production across 7 seasons.

I’d rather the Seahawks just hang onto our draft picks, all things considered.

Most of all, I’m still a believer that the Seahawks aren’t a championship contender in 2018.  Now, given the way they’ve played the last few weeks, the Seahawks are certainly a lot better than I expected – and a lot closer to being a championship contender than I ever thought possible – but we’re still at least a year or two away from truly contending.  So, save that money to make big splashes in free agency next year, and save those draft picks to continue filling in the rest of the roster with young, hungry talent.  We’re not a Bruce Irvin (or, really, anyone else who would’ve been legitimately available in trade) away from making it back to the Super Bowl this year, so better not to panic and stay the course.

Things are still looking good!  The future looks bright!  Let’s just enjoy the ride as it’s been constructed.

To Seahawks Or Not To Seahawks, That Is The Question

Since Russell Wilson came into the league, the Seahawks are 4-2 coming out of the BYE week.  Does that mean anything?  No it does not.

The two post-BYE losses happened in 2012 and 2015, exactly 3 years apart.  It’s been 3 years since our last post-BYE defeat, ergo we’re due for another one in 2018.  Does that mean anything?  No it does not.

The Seahawks are as healthy as they’re ever going to be the rest of the year; now that DOES mean something.  K.J. Wright is practicing again, Ed Dickson is ready to come off the PUP list, Rasheem Green is out there mixing it up.  Doug Baldwin had an extra week to rest his knees.  Our offensive linemen had an extra week to rest their everything.  Russell Wilson’s hammy (or whatever) is another week fresher.  And, everyone else who’s dealing with nagging whathaveyou’s, I’m sure, has enjoyed the break.  Hell, even C.J. Prosise is probably … nah, let’s not go THAT far.

I don’t know if there’s necessarily ever a “perfect” time for a team to hit its BYE week, but this one was as good as it’s gonna get for this particular team in this particular year.  Now, we hit the road to play the Detroit Lions, in an early 10am start after they beat up on the Dolphins in Miami the week prior.

By all accounts, I think the Seahawks are the better of the two teams.  At worst, these two teams are dead even, which is what Vegas appears to think.  The Lions are favored by 3 points, which is generally the figure granted to a team playing at home.  That’s not the ONLY reason why I think the Lions will win on Sunday, but it’s up there.

In reviewing the respective schedules, it looks like the Lions have better-looking victories (Patriots, Packers, at Dolphins); while the Seahawks beat a mediocre Cowboys team at home, a bad Cardinals team on the road, and a God awful Raiders team in London.  I guess we can all hang our hats on a close home defeat to the Rams, but that’s not really much comfort to me.

You can look at these two teams and see a clear advantage for both offenses.  The Seahawks want to ground and pound; the Lions’ defense has been among the worst in the league in defending the run.  They did just trade for Damon Harrison, who is a tremendous big body in the middle that should shore up that weakness, but can one guy really make that much of a difference?  I guess we’ll see.  I still like our O-Line an awful lot, and as long as those guys stay healthy, we should be able to open up some holes for Carson & Co.

The Lions’ offense, meanwhile, has traditionally been a more professional version of the Air Raid.  Matthew Stafford just airing it out left and right, winning and losing on his powerful right arm.  But, this year, with the introduction of rookie phenom Kerryon Johnson, they’re MUCH more balanced.  I feel like Matt Patricia’s influence as their new head coach has a lot to say about how the offense is run this year.  He’s seen what it takes to win, and for as good as Brady has been in his career, the Patriots have always had balance (especially late in the season, when the weather turns bad).  The Seahawks’ defense is better than we all had any right to expect, but it’s been susceptible to the run game at times.  Compound that with a lack of a pass rush, and the quick-strike ability of them to still kill you through the air, I think if anything this game is going to be high scoring.  The over/under is 49.5, so officially put me in for the OVER.

What needs to happen for the Seahawks to prevail is we’re going to have to avoid allowing too many big plays.  That’s sort of our specialty, so I wouldn’t expect it to be a problem, but if anyone will be able to fit the football into some tight windows down field, it’s Stafford.  He’s that good and that reckless.  Ideally, the Seahawks will take advantage of those times where he tries to bite off more than he can chew, and hopefully we’ll see a couple take-aways.

More than anything, the Seahawks are going to need to be efficient passing the ball.  The way I see this game going might be a little different than everyone else.  We’ve seen the Seahawks – over their last 4 games – really dominate with the run and see excellent results.  But, I don’t think it’s going to be that easy this time around.  I think there will be SOME rushing, but we won’t overwhelm them.  Where we can make some hay is through the air.  The Lions are pretty stingy with their passing yards allowed, but they’re among the worst in the league as far as passer rating is concerned.  That’s where the Seahawks can shine.  Stick with the rushing gameplan, by all means, but know when to strike through the air.  There will be opportunities to hit the Lions with deep balls, and we’re going to have to connect on them to make this thing happen.

All of that being said, do I see a Seahawks victory on Sunday?  I honestly don’t.  It’s more of a gut feeling than anything else.

We have these weird, flukey games every season in the early going.  Last year, in week 3, we lost a shootout to the Titans of all teams.  The year before that, we had that wonky loss down in New Orleans.  In 2015, we had that overtime defeat to the Bengals where we blew a late lead.  In 2014, it was a week 2 loss in 100+ degree heat in San Diego.  And, who can forget the shootout loss in Indy in 2013 to Andrew Luck?  Don’t get me started on our 2012 loss to the very same Lions in Detroit.  The score was 28-24, and I see something awfully similar happening this time around.

What do all of those losses have in common?  They were all against pretty good-to-great quarterbacks, they were all on the road in the first half of their respective seasons, and they were all games where our offense ostensibly did enough to win the game, but the defense just didn’t have what it took to put those teams away.  Sometimes, the Seahawks take control early and gag it away late; sometimes the other team goes up big and we mount a furious comeback that falls just short.  I could see either one of those things happening on Sunday.

What I can’t see is a Seahawks victory.  I hope I’m wrong.  Because the Seahawks REALLY need this one if we want to contend for a playoff spot.

Is It Possible The Seahawks Are Actually Good This Year?

Seeing is usually believing, because just believing can be deceiving (my name is M.C. Renob and I’m here to say …).

I don’t want to be sucked into this thing, is my point.  For starters, the Seahawks have already lost two games (Broncos & Bears) that they probably should’ve won.  At the VERY least, the Seahawks should’ve gone 1-1 in those games (history will prove that this year’s Broncos team is fucking trash), but because we played them on the road, we biffed it.  Now, at 2-3, we’re playing considerably better than we were a month ago, but we’re severely behind the 8-ball, and we’re going to be without our best defensive player in Earl Thomas.

Winning the division is out, which is a bummer to consider just 6 weeks into the season, but the Rams are the Rams and we’re not.  Nevertheless, last week’s game proved we can at least HANG with the Rams (albeit at home), and that game next month down in L.A. will be even more informative (because all NFC roads appear to be going through there in the playoffs).

I’ve been on the 8-8 train all along, and I’m not quite ready to jump onto the bandwagon just yet, but after last week’s hard-fought defeat, I have to ask:  could the Seahawks ACTUALLY be good?

This is the team we all expected heading into the season:  smashmouth, run-first on offense; quality against the run on defense, better than expected in the secondary, with a highly suspect pass rush.  The fact that it took us 2 weeks (and 2 losses) to figure it out is pretty frustrating, but that’s neither here nor there.  The point is, the blueprint is being followed, and the last three weeks the Seahawks have looked much better.  What does that mean going forward?

Well, for starters, this game in London is a Must Win.  The Raiders are bad, and you have to beat them if you expect to make the playoffs.

Fortunately, their defense is pretty crappy, so we should have no trouble running on them.  We should furthermore have no trouble throwing on them, as they traded away their one and only pass rushing asset in the offseason.  So, if we struggle on 3rd downs, or otherwise can’t move the ball against them, then that’s a REAL problem and I just don’t want to get into that right now.

The question becomes:  can our defense stop that Raiders offensive attack?  I don’t see why not.  For starters, they have Tom Cable running their O-Line, so even our weak-ass pass rush should be able to do SOMETHING, right?  Beastmode is legit, so he’ll get his, and I tend to like Derek Carr more than most (as long as I’m not counting on him for fantasy purposes) and think he’ll have no problem carving up our defense.  The problem for the Raiders, as I see it, is all the mistakes.  Carr throws too many interceptions – and really boneheaded ones to boot – to be a dependable quarterback in this league.  The Raiders, quite frankly, should look a lot more like the Seahawks on offense, except Russell Wilson knows how to take care of the football, and Derek Carr is reckless.

The Raiders will keep it close – and probably even win – if Carr plays a clean game.  The Seahawks likely will need a 2-turnover edge in the ol’ +/- to really put this one away like they should.  If the Seahawks move the ball well on offense, convert in the red zone (and don’t leave it up to our hit-or-miss kicker), and get a couple picks early, I think this could be a laugher by halftime (with Carr maybe getting some garbage points late in the game).

Not for nothing, but I think Seahawks fans are going to travel MUCH harder for this one, and their presence will be noticed on the broadcast.

The rest of this blog post gets thrown out the window if the Seahawks lose on Sunday, so let’s just assume we take care of business.

At 3-3, the Seahawks will head home and enjoy their BYE week.  We’ll use that extra week to try to figure out a way to slow down the Detroit offense.  Like with most of these games, the Seahawks and the Lions are pretty equal (I’d argue maybe the Lions are a little bit better on paper); with the game being in Detroit, I’d expect the Lions to be favored by a minimum of 3.5 points, all the way up to maybe 5 or 5.5 (assuming the Lions get to 3-3 heading into this showdown).  That’s probably a game the Seahawks need to win to be a wild card team (as it’s an NFC opponent, and one that figures to also be in the wild card hunt), and it’s not totally unreasonable that the Seahawks would pull it off.  Honestly, the Lions feel pretty similar to the Raiders, except Oakland has a better run game.

Then, the Seahawks catch the Chargers at home before going on the road to play the Rams.  I never like the Seahawks’ chances when playing the Chargers – because I think their offense is the most adept at picking us apart – but getting them in Seattle is a big help (as evidenced by our performance against the Rams).  To make the wild card, the Seahawks probably HAVE to win that one, because I can’t see us beating the Rams.

That would get us to 5-4 heading into another tough stretch.  We host the Packers on Thursday night.  They don’t look nearly as good as they’ve looked in recent seasons, and that’s yet another game we have to win.  Playing the Panthers on the road is never ideal, but that’s also not an elite team, and I think we actually match up with them pretty well.  Even if we go 1-1 against these two teams, things open up from there.

We close out with 4/5 at home.  In that stretch, we play a pretty hapless 49ers team twice, and the Cardinals once.  We HAVE to win those three.  That gets us to 9 wins.  We also get the Vikings at home, and they don’t look anywhere CLOSE to how good they were in 2017, so that should be another win.  That’s 10.  Finally, in week 16, we host the Chiefs (our season closes at home against the aforementioned Cards).  You never know how the season is gonna go, but the Chiefs could very well have their division clinched, and maybe even home field throughout the playoffs.  I mean, the AFC looks pretty soft, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they’re 12-2 at that point and just sort of going through the motions.  Are they going to go all out in a road game in nasty-weather Seattle?  Or, are they going to ease off the throttle and save it for a home game in week 17 against the Raiders?

I’m just saying, there’s a path to getting to 10-11 wins, and it doesn’t involve the Seahawks playing out of their minds.  It does, however, require this team to improve as the season goes on (as well as not losing too many more significant stars).

The Seahawks are already getting better-than-expected production out of Tre Flowers, Bradley McDougald, their entire running back room, and their offensive line.  They’re getting predictably good production from their quarterback, middle linebacker, Frank Clark, Tyler Lockett, Shquill Griffin, and their interior run-stuffing tackles.  They’ll hopefully get K.J. Wright and Doug Baldwin back to some semblance of full strength.

What we need to see is a guy or two step up from a pass rush standpoint.  We need Frank Clark to go from good to GREAT.  We need Dion Jordan to do literally anything.  We need Rasheem Green to get back on the field and give us something comparable to what Tre Flowers is doing for our secondary.  Or, we just need one of those other D-Linemen to come from out of nowhere and really surprise us, even if it’s unsustainable for the long term.

We also need someone to step into that Earl Thomas role and give us just 75% of what he was.  That means Tedric Thompson, improving his tackling, improving his angles in coverage, and making opportune plays (picks, tipped passes, forced fumbles).  There’s no magical fix coming; it has to come from within.

This season can be like the 2011 Seahawks or the 2012 Seahawks.  Recall the 2011 team went 7-9 and was still a year-plus away from really contending.  Whereas the 2012 team APPEARED to be a year-plus away, but got steadily better until it was steamrolling opponents by season’s end, and came within 30 seconds of getting to the NFC Championship Game.

How will this year go?  Well, a lot of it has to do with what happens the next two games.  It all starts in London on Sunday.  Can’t shit the bed there, or this season will REALLY go south in a hurry.

Hope You’re Ready For The Seahawks To Be Obliterated

I don’t know what you do with this game.  The Rams are so far and away the better of the two teams that it hardly feels like anything to get worked up about.  Stick me on a court and pit me against LeBron James … and I’m supposed to be upset when he beats me 5,000,000 to 0?

I’m sorry, but I got nothin’.  Last December, the Rams came to town and won 42-7, and it wasn’t even THAT close!  I know there were a number of injured players – particularly on defense – that hampered the Seahawks’ chances … but guess what?  Earl’s gone, K.J. is still down, Mychal Kendricks is suspended, Avril’s retired, Kam’s retired, Bennett’s gone, Sherm’s gone, Dion Jordan is whatever, Rasheem Green’s got an ankle of some sort.  This defense is a shell of its former self, and while they’ve done the lord’s work in over-achieving thus far in 2018, the Seahawks haven’t seen a team even REMOTELY close to what the Rams are, particularly on offense.

The Broncos are garbage, as we all expected.  The Cardinals are trash.  The Cowboys are a mess.  And don’t be fooled by what the Bears did to the Bucs, because that Bucs defense is one of the worst in all of football.

This is the Los Angeles Fucking Rams!  Even when they had Jeff Fisher they were kicking our asses, and now they have a living and breathing genius at the helm!  They’re 4-0 and they’ve scored over 30 points in every game.  Say what you want about the teams they played (Raiders, Cardinals, Chargers, and Vikings all look pretty suspect on defense), but the Rams weren’t pussyfooting around.  They reached out, grabbed those teams by the throat, and went to fucking TOWN!  No easing off the accelerator, no going up big and coasting in the second halves.  They just keep coming and coming and coming, until the final whistle blows.

But, you know, crazy things happen.  The Bills went into Minnesota and destroyed them.  They’ve since come to look pretty mediocre against the Packers, so was that a fluke?  Are the Vikings way overrated?  Hard to say.  I still think the Bills are good for less than 6 wins this year, and I’d be hard-pressed to peg them as winners of more than 2 or 3.  The point is, they don’t play games on paper.  Games aren’t decided by one yutz’s blog post.  So, let’s get to work; let’s try to solve this impossible riddle of how to beat the Rams.

For starters, you have to like the fact the game’s in Seattle.  The Rams have played 3/4 games at home so far and their only road game was in Oakland, which … come on.  The Seahawks are 2-2 now, on a 2-game winning streak, and this season is pretty much on the line this Sunday.  Lose, and the Seahawks are who we thought they were; win, and the sky just might be the limit.  The way I’m leaning, I’ve got it 99:1 that the Seahawks lose, but in that rare 1% chance, we could be talking about something great.

But, home field advantage never won a game by itself.  The 12’s can be as loud as they want, but it’s still going to require the Seahawks to go out there and do the job.  From that angle, I see two possibilities.

The first involves the Seahawks doing exactly what they’ve done the last two weeks.  Lots of running the ball on first & second downs, getting into 3rd & short situations, slowing the game down, limiting turnovers, hopefully limiting opportunities for the other team to have the ball, and grinding out an ugly, close, low-scoring game.  If I had to guess what the game plan is for this week, it’s going to look exactly like that.

And I think that if you asked around the league, most people would agree that’s how you do it.  How do you beat Peyton Manning?  Keep him off the field.  How do you beat Tom Brady?  Keep him off the field.  And that’s worked at times; probably less than a 50% success rate, but better than nothing.  But, has it worked for teams with defenses this deficient?

The problem with that scheme is, we can slow things down all we want, but the Rams are still BETTER than us.  They’ll most likely be able to get off the field on third downs, get the ball back to their offense, and race down the field for many multiple scores, all with incredible ease.  If we try to slow it down and muck it up, we’re going to lose and lose big, I have no doubt about it.

The other possibility is a shootout, which I still feel is our only hope.  It won’t happen right off the bat, but after a quarter of play, when the Seahawks are down 14-0, obviously the script is going to have to be thrown out the window.  They’re going to have to take the training wheels off of Russell Wilson, and they’re going to have to let him run the show.  Up tempo, lots of throwing, one or two magical escape acts sprinkled in, and maybe you can find a way to keep up with their offense in a 38-35 type game (a la the game against the Steelers in 2015).  Those games are so rare and precious that it’s stupid to want to expect it, but if the Seahawks are going to win this game, that’s going to have to be how we do it.

There’s no way in hell that the Seahawks will be the first team to keep the Rams under 30 points this season.  We have no pass rush, full stop.  But, that’s neither here nor there, because the Rams are too quick anyway.  They get the ball out fast, before we’d even have a CHANCE to move the pocket.  They have the best running back in the league, who is a threat running and receiving.  K.J. Wright was always the key in guarding someone like Gurley, and you saw last year what happened when we were without our best pass-defending linebacker.  What’s going to happen this time?  Are we going to shadow him with Bobby Wagner?  Are we going to bring Bradley McDougald down closer to the line?  What does that do to our pass defense when Tedric Thompson is our guy roaming the middle?

Speaking of which, the Rams have three REALLY good receivers on top of their all-world running back.  Brandin Cooks is a stud and a deep threat.  Robert Woods is savagely underrated.  And Cooper Kupp is a top notch slot receiver.  Our corners are, I think, better than expected heading into the season, but they’re not going to completely shut those guys down.  And there’s a significant talent gap from Earl to the next man up, which is going to further open things up in the middle of the field.

Honestly, this game is going to be hard to watch.  If you need some sort of alcohol or marijuana enhancement to make it through this one, I won’t blame you one bit.

My Way-Too-Late Seahawks 53-Man Roster Prediction

What is this, a day before the final pre-season game?  Yeah, let’s go out there on that limb and predict the 53-man roster for the Seahawks.

Quarterbacks

  • Russell Wilson
  • Alex McGough
  • Brett Hundley

Obviously we all know the starter here.  My gut tells me that the actual backup QB will be Austin Davis, but I’m gonna go with what my eyes have seen.  They’ve seen a guy in Davis who has done absolutely nothing through three pre-season games, while they’ve seen a guy in McGough who has steadily improved every time he’s gone out there.  Now, it hasn’t translated into wins, but that’s neither here nor there.  I think you can waive Davis and he’ll just be sitting out there collecting dust.  With McGough, you can PROBABLY get him onto your practice squad, but that also risks him to other teams’ practice squads as well (particularly if they have less certain QB situations).  I’d rather go with the guy who can be a viable long-term solution to the backup QB spot (with potential to be trade bait if/when we get to his 4th season).

I guess forget all that, because the Seahawks just traded for Hundley.  SOMEONE GOT CAUGHT PRE-WRITING A 53-MAN ROSTER PREDICTION POST!

Running Backs

  • Chris Carson
  • Rashaad Penny
  • C.J. Prosise
  • Mike Davis
  • Tre Madden

I just can’t see the team holding onto someone like McKissic who could be out for up to a month.  They could IR him, but that seems like a waste.  I honestly think they just cut him and try to re-sign him when he’s healthy, or at least on the way.  But, with concerns about Penny and Prosise, I find it hard to believe they’re keeping McKissic over Davis, and I find it hard to believe they’re keeping a 6th RB when they have plenty of guys on this team who can return kicks in a pinch (should Lockett go down).  McKissic isn’t someone you HAVE to have, especially considering he’s pretty undersized too and as such will come with his own injury concerns going forward.

Wide Receivers

  • Doug Baldwin
  • Tyler Lockett
  • Jaron Brown
  • Brandon Marshall
  • David Moore
  • Marcus Johnson

I don’t think Darboh is a guy you have to keep either.  Honestly, I don’t see why you couldn’t sneak him onto the practice squad; what has he ever done in his 1+ years that makes him attractive to other teams?  No loss, in my book, if he does go somewhere else; David Moore will be a better pro, so it’s all good.  I like Johnson’s potential on special teams and as a deep threat should Lockett get injured.  I like Marshall to be that red zone, Jimmy Graham-type target (I also like Marshall to be more effective between the 20’s; I just like Marshall a lot).

Tight Ends

  • Nick Vannett
  • Will Dissly
  • Tyrone Swoopes

I think Ed Dickson stays on the PUP.  Part of me wonders if he’ll get cut entirely, but that seems far less likely given his contract.  But, that injury appears to be legit enough to hold him out for 6 more weeks.  Also, I have a feeling the team would much rather go after some other team’s cut tight end, so if Dickson does remain on the PUP, Swoopes is no guarantee.

Offensive Line

  • Duane Brown
  • Ethan Pocic
  • Justin Britt
  • D.J. Fluker
  • Germain Ifedi
  • George Fant
  • Jordan Roos
  • Isaiah Battle
  • Rees Odhiambo

I think Jamarco Jones goes on IR.  I think Sweezy gets cut because he just can’t get healthy and stay on the field.  I think the team would be fine with Pocic at center if Britt goes down (so there’s no point in keeping Hunt).  And, ultimately I think Ifedi keeps his job as the team’s right tackle to start the season, but it’s no guarantee he starts all 16 games even if he stays healthy.

Defensive Line

  • Frank Clark
  • Rasheem Green
  • Branden Jackson
  • Jacob Martin
  • Quinton Jefferson
  • Tom Johnson
  • Jarran Reed
  • Naz Jones
  • Shamar Stephen
  • Poona Ford

For the record, I think it’s a longshot that this team actually keeps Poona Ford, but I like him and I want to see him make this team.  I also think it would speak volumes about this team wanting to actually stop the run like they always say they want to.  And, I think there could be a surprise cut from these 10; someone who has looked really good this pre-season, but maybe for whatever reason the coaches think is expendable (Quinton Jefferson or Shamar Stephen come to mind).  I also think Dion Jordan starts the year on PUP.

Linebackers

  • Bobby Wagner
  • K.J. Wright
  • Barkevious Mingo
  • Shaquem Griffin
  • Erik Walden

I’m probably least confident in my prediction of this group, all things considered.  Especially if K.J. Wright’s knee issue is worse than they’re letting on, it might force them to keep an extra linebacker, which would surely take away from the DL group.  D.J. Alexander is obviously a name to watch, as he’s a huge special teams guy.  And, I’d say Austin Calitro has earned an opportunity to be a backup to Bobby.  If any of my picks is NOT likely to make the team, I’d look at Walden (though I think as strictly a pass rusher, the team probably NEEDS him the most, and should look to shift him to that LEO end spot that Chris Clemons and Cliff Avril played).

Cornerbacks

  • Shaquill Griffin
  • Justin Coleman
  • Tre Flowers
  • Dontae Johnson
  • Neiko Thorpe
  • Byron Maxwell

I am less certain by the day that Byron Maxwell actually makes this team.  Now, that having been said, if you’re okay with anyone missing the entire pre-season and coming in to start day 1, I’d probably be most okay with that person being Maxy, but nevertheless it’s not a good sign.  That having been said, I don’t think anyone on this roster has set himself apart to steal that job from the trusty veteran (Akeem King might be closest, but he’s no sure thing).  I guess a lot of it depends on whether or not the Seahawks keep 5 safeties or only 4.

Safeties

  • Bradley McDougald
  • Tedric Thompson
  • Delano Hill
  • Maurice Alexander

Obviously, Kam goes on IR here, and Earl maintains his holdout well into the regular season.  I just don’t see a whole lot of reason to keep a fifth safety unless he’s a huge special teams guy, and I think you’ve already got Neiko to play that role.  If there is a fifth guy, I guess it’s Mike Tyson, but I don’t see this team bending over backwards to keep him on the roster.  He’s always struck me as just a guy.  He’s certainly not someone you’d have to keep over someone like Maxwell.