Would The Seahawks Have Beaten The Rams With Trevone Boykin?

Short answer:  no, probably not.

Alternate short answer:  what are you, fucking stupid?

You can go ahead and throw that question into the same pile as, “Would the Patriots consider keeping Jimmy Garoppolo as their starter beyond Tom Brady’s 4-week suspension if he plays lights out?” and “Should (insert team with extensive QB injuries here) consider signing Tim Tebow/Johnny Manziel?”  They’re non-starters.  They’re wastes of your time and brain cells.  But, they’re flashy and chock full of #HotTakey goodness that people just can’t resist having an opinion about, even if the obvious answers are, “no, probably not,” and “what are you, fucking stupid?”

But, I’ll tell you this, I bet this was on Seahawks’ fans’ minds last Sunday, as we watched Russell Wilson and this offense struggle to a whopping 3 points.  I know it crossed my mind a time or two, every time Wilson failed to scramble away from pressure, every time the pocket collapsed around him in an instant, every time the running game was completely shut down because no one was buying Wilson as a threat to tuck the ball and keep it on a zone read.

OK, so maybe it crossed my mind a little more than a time or two.

My stance on injuries has always been:  if you’re too hurt to be effective, then it’s time to let someone else have a shot while you get better.  I know everyone in that organization – and probably a good percentage of Seahawks fans – respect the hell out of Russell Wilson’s toughness to play through a high ankle sprain that would render bedridden lesser men for at least a month, if not longer.  And, I suppose I would agree with them, to a point.  But, part of me also REALLY hates the macho bullshit that comes with professional athletes.  It’s one thing if you’re Percy Harvin, and every hangnail puts you on the shelf for 8 weeks; Princess Harvin couldn’t be bothered to go out on the field if he felt even the smallest pea underneath his stack of mattresses the night before.  But, if you’re obviously too injured to function, and your being out on the field is actively hurting our chances of winning, then I’m going to resent your presence.

The tricky part here is:  would the Seahawks have been better with a 100% healthy Boykin, or a 35% healthy Wilson?

On the one hand, the Seahawks scored 3 points; could Boykin have been THAT much worse?

On the other hand, yeah, maybe!

Here’s what we know:  with Boykin in there, you’re guaranteed to see a quarterback who can legitimately run with the football.  That’s not nothing.  That’s probably the biggest (and maybe the ONLY) reason to put him in there over Wilson, particularly when you factor in how good the Rams are along the defensive line.  Our O-Line had no shot against them, so it would make sense to have Boykin out there to run around, avoid sacks, maybe rack up some yards on the ground, and generally be a thorn in that defense’s side.  With Wilson in there, we were painfully one-dimensional, and not even in a good way, because there were precious few opportunities where we could throw deep or on the run outside of the pocket.

But, with a rookie, undrafted quarterback, you take the good with the bad, and in Boykin’s case, you wonder if the bad outweighs the good.  Boykin’s more likely to be turnover prone.  Even if you scale the offensive playbook way back and stress the importance of living to fight another day, it’s reasonable to expect Boykin to be fooled by coverages and by Gregg Williams’ exotic blitzes.

The Seahawks might have scored more than 3 points with Boykin, but there’s also a non-zero chance that the Seahawks could’ve been shut out.  There’s also a better-than-good chance that the Rams would’ve turned Boykin mistakes into more than the 9 points they ended up with.

Yes, it was an embarrassing defeat that never should’ve happened, but in the end, a Russell Wilson at 35% health still had the ball, with 2 minutes left in the game, and was able to drive us pretty far into Rams territory before Christine Michael fumbled to seal our fate.  Had Michael not fumbled, we would’ve had 4th & 2 on the 27 yard line (or thereabouts) with just under a minute to go.  You give that 4th down conversion about a 50/50 chance of succeeding, which puts us inside the 25 yard line with 30-40 seconds to go in the game, needing a touchdown to win it.  I think, at that point, it’s probably 50/50 that the Seahawks get that touchdown.  Making our overall odds of winning the game in this scenario 25%.

So, I’ll ask you, first:  if you had Boykin in that same exact scenario (starting a drive with 2 minutes to go, needing a touchdown), what are the odds the Seahawks win the game?  I think, given the atmosphere, given his experience level, and given his overall talent level, our odds are considerably worse with Boykin in there.

But, now I’ll ask you this:  would the game have been even THAT close had Boykin started the game?  Would we have even had a chance to win it at the end?  I find it pretty doubtful.  Aside from potential turnovers, look at time of possession; with Wilson, we were able to keep it even with the Rams.  With Boykin, you wonder how many more 3 & Outs the Seahawks would’ve had.  Short drives (both in yards gained, and in time of possession) surely would’ve strained the defense that much more than it already was.  Maybe that strain leads to a few more breakdowns, and a few more converted third downs, and maybe a few more points for the bad guys.

And finally, just psychologically speaking, what’s the difference between a 100% healthy Boykin vs. a 35% healthy Wilson?  Wilson’s a known quantity, and a Pro Bowl calibre one at that.  The Rams have to respect his abilities, and while they knew he had the ankle issue, they also knew he never missed a practice.  They had to wonder if Wilson was trying to deke them out.  But, either way, they had to respect Wilson’s arm and his accuracy.  With Boykin in there, I think they just rear back and attack at will.  Moreover, I think their confidence goes through the roof, helping them to play that much better.  On the Seahawks’ side, you have to think our guys were pumped to have Wilson in there.  With Boykin, you wonder if other guys might have tried to do too much, resulting in more mistakes like we saw with Christine Michael at the end of the game.

I think, when you add it all up, the better call was having Wilson in there, sprained ankle and all.  In case there was still any doubt, I just farted out 1,100+ words on the topic to try to put your restless mind at ease.

No, I haven’t been sleeping well since this travesty of a game ended, why do you ask?

For Whom Might The Seahawks Trade Russell Wilson?

‘Tis the season for rampant speculation on matters we know nothing about!  It’s a glorious time to be alive, what with the Internets and whatnot.

I read this over the weekend from Mike Florio with Pro Football Talk.  It references another option in the Russell Wilson Contract Saga that nobody’s really talking about:  in lieu of signing him, or franchising him, the Seahawks might feel like they need to trade him.

For the record, this is the last thing I want to see happen.  I’m of the school of thought that you do NOT trade your franchise quarterback for anything!  Unless he’s too old and broken down, and even then I’d be pretty sad to see him go.  Nevertheless, I was reading that story and it got me to thinking.  I’m not so much interested in the super-bounty of draft picks, but I am interested in the part where it talks about, “the Seahawks could send Wilson to another team for its starting quarterback.”

So, consider that the premise for this post:  who would the Seahawks realistically get in return for a Russell Wilson?

Before we get started, I agree with Mike Florio in the article:  regardless of what happens, I 100% doubt that the Seahawks are trading Russell Wilson in 2015.  Even if we’re a billion dollars apart in our contract terms, I still think we ride this season out and hope for another ring.  So, what we’re looking at – in this hypothetical world where the endgame is Russell Wilson being traded – is the Seahawks putting one of the franchise tags on him, then sending him away.

So, I’m going to go through all the quarterbacks who are either starting for their teams, or are in some kind of a timeshare/training camp battle because none of them on that particular team are all that good.

Here we have a list of quarterbacks whose teams would never trade them to us:

  • Aaron Rodgers
  • Andrew Luck
  • Joe Flacco
  • Matt Ryan
  • Cam Newton
  • Ryan Tannehill

Rodgers, I feel, is pretty obvious:  he’s the best quarterback in the league and I don’t think Green Bay is in for an over-priced step down.  Luck’s not quite there yet, but he clearly WILL be the best quarterback in the league, and I would wager sooner rather than later.  Joe Flacco is already a Super Bowl-winning quarterback; I don’t see Baltimore giving him up.  You could argue he’s making too much money and looking to shed some salary, but remember in this scenario:  Russell Wilson is looking to be the highest-paid quarterback in the history of the game.  I think Ryan, Newton, and Tannehill are too young, and they’ve just gotten paid.  Plus, I don’t think those teams could afford to take the cap hit that Wilson’s going to bring (especially Miami, what with Ndamukong Suh making all the money he’s making).

Next up, quarterbacks whose teams ALMOST CERTAINLY won’t trade them:

  • Tom Brady
  • Ben Roethlisberger
  • Tony Romo
  • Eli Manning
  • Matthew Stafford

With Brady and Roethlisberger, I just think they’re too tied to their respective teams and cities.  But, those organizations have been known to be ruthless with their veterans, so if they felt like either one might be slipping, and they had a chance to get a young stud QB in return, they MIGHT pounce on him.  I’d put Romo and Manning in the same boat (too tied to their teams & cities), just on a lesser scale because they’re not as good.  Stafford’s interesting because I think he’s right on the edge of being good and being overrated.  Seemingly every year I have a different opinion about him.  Ultimately, I think Detroit feels he’s good enough to get the job done, and likely wouldn’t trade him away for a guy like Wilson.

The Division Rivals:

  • Carson Palmer
  • Nick Foles
  • Colin Kaepernick

The overarching theme of this section is:  under no circumstances do you EVER trade your franchise quarterback to a team in your division.  Putting that aside, I think all three of these teams would trade their starters for Russell Wilson in a heartbeat.  Carson Palmer is obviously too old and too injury prone to be counted upon.  Nick Foles is interesting, but ultimately not worth facing Wilson twice a year (especially with their offensive line and defense overall, I think the Rams would be a total dynasty with Wilson at the helm).  And honestly, Colin Kaepernick might be the best fit in the league for our offense – given his scrambling ability.  I think if you reined him in, forcing him to be a little more conservative with his throws, he wouldn’t be much of a step down at all compared to Wilson.  Hell, under Harbaugh he went to three straight NFC Championship Games; I think he’d do okay here as well.

The Young Ones:

  • E.J. Manuel
  • Geno Smith
  • Johnny Manziel
  • Teddy Bridgewater
  • Jameis Winston
  • Ryan Mallett/Tom Savage
  • Blake Bortles
  • Marcus Mariota
  • Derek Carr

Manuel, Smith, and Manziel are just too bad.  No way the Seahawks take them in return.  I think the Seahawks would think long and hard about Bridgewater and Winston, but if Bridgewater makes steady improvement in 2015, I don’t think the Vikings will want to get rid of him (and if he takes a step back, I don’t think the Seahawks would want him).  The Bucs are just too committed to Winston as part of their rebuild, so I don’t think he’d work out in this scenario.  Mallett and Savage are a couple of unknowns, but ultimately I don’t think they’ll be all that great as starters.  I feel like Bortles and Mariota are a couple of future backups being thrust into roles they’re not good enough for.  I think the Seahawks might take Carr in a heartbeat, but I don’t think the Raiders will give up on him (for the record, I’m pretty high on Carr and think he’s going to have a great second year).

Too Over-The-Hill:

  • Peyton Manning
  • Matt Cassel
  • Josh McCown

Pretty much says it all, if you ask me.  Manning is signed through 2016, but you have to wonder if he’s even going to be around.  He almost opted to retire THIS year.  After getting banged around in Gary Kubiak’s offense (where I FULLY expect to see Manning seriously injured at some point), I’m almost convinced he’ll be done.  Either way, I don’t think you can throw Russell Wilson away on a guy who’s going to be 40 next year, who MIGHT have 1-2 years at the most left in his career.  Cassel and McCown aren’t even worth the words.

Too Terrible:

  • Sam Bradford/Mark Sanchez/Matt Barkley/Tim Tebow
  • RGIII/Kirk Cousins
  • Jay Cutler
  • Brian Hoyer

Speaking of “aren’t even worth the words,” we have the poo-poo platter that the Eagles have in camp this year.  It should go without saying, but Bradford is TOO DAMN INJURY PRONE.  The rest of those guys are the total beans and the Eagles are going to be lucky to win five games this year.  RGIII is also too injury prone, plus he’s a terrible leader who doesn’t follow directions, plus he’s just a bad all around quarterback.  Cousins is Just Another Guy, same as Hoyer.  Jay Cutler seems enticing, but that’s just because of that cannon he’s got for an arm.  Squint a little more closely and you’ll see he’s easily the second coming of Jeff George (not a compliment).

The Definite Possibilities:

  • Drew Brees
  • Philip Rivers
  • Alex Smith
  • Andy Dalton

I know Brees and Rivers feel like those guys up top who are too tied in with their teams and cities (Brees especially).  But, I have my reasons for having these guys down here.  For starters, I think New Orleans is in full on rebuild mode.  Brees isn’t getting any younger, and the Saints are probably five years away from being a championship-type team again.  They MIGHT decide to give Brees a chance to win a title elsewhere.  And, considering we’ve already done that deal for Jimmy Graham, it honestly might be the most perfect fit we could hope for.  On the downside, Brees will be 37 years old next year, and it’ll be the last year of his current deal.  At best, you hope he’s got three more elite years left after 2015, but realistically it might be closer to one or two.  A trade for Brees gives us the best “Win Now” option.  When you consider Pete Carroll’s on the short contract (by design, as he might opt to retire or move to another team), Brees might be the next best thing to just keeping Russell Wilson forever.

Philip Rivers will only be 34 in 2016, so you gotta like your chances with him longer term.  Honestly though, this probably doesn’t work because 2015 is the final year of his deal, and I don’t know if they can franchise tag him or not.  The other variable is whether or not the Chargers are moving to Los Angeles.  Will Rivers want to stay?  If not, maybe they work out a sign & trade with the Seahawks.  The downside to that is, I’ve read reports that should Los Angeles get two teams – which seems to be the way this is going – there’s the possibility of the Chargers moving to the NFC West.  And, as I said above, you do NOT trade Wilson to a team in your own division – even a team that might one day move to your division.

Alex Smith might be the best type of guy we can hope for.  He’ll be 32 next year, and 2018 is the final year of his deal.  He’s not making all that much money – which would allow us to spread the wealth to other positions.  He’s the consummate Game Manager:  doesn’t make mistakes, is decently mobile, is comfortable playing in a run-first offense.  The downside is, obviously, his downfield throwing.  We wouldn’t get those chunk plays that we like to get.  But, with weapons like Jimmy Graham around him, and with the emergence of some of our younger receivers, I think he’d be good enough to get the job done.  He sort of reminds me of a Brad Johnson type.  Brad Johnson won a title with the Bucs, why couldn’t Alex Smith do that with the Seahawks?

Andy Dalton is the guy I most fear the Seahawks pursuing.  He’ll be 28 years old next year, and his deal runs through the 2020 season.  He too isn’t making any serious kind of money (his biggest cap hit is in the final year, and it’s only $17.7 million).  By 2020, that’s going to be peanuts!  He’s shown a propensity to hit on the deep ball, but that’s with the likes of A.J. Green.  More importantly is Dalton’s shoddy decision-making and his inflated sense of self-worth.  He’s one of those guys who thinks he’s better than he really is, which is going to make it difficult when he can’t make all the throws he needs to make.  As it is, he’s had more career meltdown games than you like to see; what’s he going to be like in three years when he’s that much older and beaten down?  Furthermore, playing behind our offensive line, how’s he going to handle the near-constant pressure?  I think Dalton is a guy the Bengals would gladly unload for the chance to sign Wilson (yes, even with how stingy their ownership is; I think they’d feel like Wilson would be worth it).  And, I think, if the Seahawks didn’t get blown away by any other deal they saw, they’d pull the trigger on a Dalton-centric trade.  I just hope like hell this never comes to fruition.

Seahawks Lose Pre-Season Opener To Broncos

You’ll have to forgive the lateness of my posting on this.  I took today off because I spent last night drinking and watching the game on a delay via DVR.  Then, I got up this morning and went out to watch that new James Brown movie.  So, you know.

I saw what y’all saw.  For starters, the offensive line was a fucking disaster!  That’ll happen when your starting left tackle, left guard, and center are all nursing injuries and didn’t even make the flight.  That’ll also happen when you’re breaking in a rookie at right tackle who doesn’t appear as if he’ll be ready to step right in and own the position like we all hoped he would.  Also, was it just me, or did J.R. Sweezy play hardly at all?  Probably could’ve used him when some dud named Schilling was letting guys get free runs at our quarterback.

But, you know, you expect difficulties with the pass protection when you’re sending in a M.A.S.H. unit at offensive line.  But, our utter inability to run the ball was even MORE disturbing.  Not counting the quarterbacks running for their lives, we only managed 59 fucking yards on the ground on 21 attempts for a measly 2.81 yards per attempt.  Yeah, the Broncos’ first unit is pretty stout against the run; but, how do you explain the last three quarters?  It’s not like we were facing a huge deficit in scoring!  The opportunities were there, but we as an offense just couldn’t get the job done.

Obviously, it’s the first pre-season game, so it’s not like I’m going to start panicking.  But, this offensive line has proven time and time again that it can’t stay healthy.  If we’ve got to rely on these backups to be thrown into the fire, I’d like to think we could hang in there okay.  They’ve got three more games to get their shit together.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom, of course.  There were some bright spots.  I thought Paul Richardson looked good in his first action in the pros.  Indeed, the receivers as a whole look like a huge strength for this team (this team that likes to base its identity on rushing, but that’s neither here nor there).

The defense didn’t look bad, but they were spotty, and clearly rusty.  Cassius Marsh looks like a guy who can step in right now and be a force in that defensive line rotation.  He just needs to stay healthy.  Yeah, he missed that crucial sack in the second half, letting their QB run for a third down conversion, but he showed great ability to disrupt and get through that line.  He very well may be solid coming off the edge, in time, but I REALLY like his potential coming from the D-Tackle position on sure passing downs.  Throw him in there with our other studs – Bennett, Avril, Irvin when he’s healthy – and we just might not miss a beat this year in the pass rush department.

I thought the starters looked good at defending the run.  Better than I expected anyway.  The secondary should be solid as per usual – you can’t stop a guy like Peyton Manning all day every day (in spite of what happened in the Super Bowl).  Yes, their starters drove on us for a touchdown, but it was a hard-fought drive that chewed through clock and a bunch of plays.  I’d like to acknowledge A.J. Jefferson for being a true force in that cornerback rotation.  Here’s to hoping his ankle injury isn’t serious, and that he’s able to quickly bounce back, because I think he can really help this team this year (or, if we cut him, he’ll certainly help some other team and rub it in our faces).

I’ll close with my thoughts on the quarterback position.  Russell Wilson didn’t have the best game, but he REALLY looks like he’s going to take the leap this year into true greatness (as scary as that sounds, considering he’s already pretty fucking great).  Here’s to hoping we get our offensive line issues squared away so he can stay on the field and achieve that true greatness.  Tom Cable is REALLY going to earn his money this year if we’re to make it back to the Promised Land.

Here’s also to hoping that the Seahawks don’t treat this battle for the backup job the way they treated the “battle” for the starting job two years ago (where they kept talking about it being a battle, but stacked the deck heavily in favor of Russell Wilson winning the job over Matt Flynn).  Yes, they were vindicated in their treatment of that delicate situation, because Russell Wilson appears to be the real deal.  But, I have no faith whatsoever that Terrelle Pryor is the man to backup our franchise quarterback over Tarvaris Jackson.

I’ve given Tarvar a lot of hell over the years, because I don’t see him as a viable starting quarterback in this league.  However, he’s absolutely Solid Gold as a #2.  No, I don’t want him starting 16 games for my team; but if the worst should happen, I wouldn’t mind seeing him spot-start a couple/few times.

Tarvar is steady.  He knows the offense better than he knows himself.  He’s a veteran and a leader.  He’s the guy who will carefully guide this offense while not trying to do too much.  And, with the talent around him, he may even thrive for a short period.

But Pryor?  I just don’t see it.  Yeah, he had an okay game last night, but it’s nothing to fall all over yourself praising.  For starters, he was going up against the dregs of the Broncos’ roster.  Yes, he has elite athleticism (which would come in handy should this offensive line continue to struggle on into the regular season), but he strikes me as a slightly-better Tim Tebow and nothing more.  You like his strong arm, and his ability to elude tacklers in open space.  But, for all that he gives you in those departments, he takes away from you in everything else.  I don’t want a Check-Down Charlie with escapability.  I want a guy who can run this offense like it was his own.

For me, Terrelle Pryor would have to be far-and-away the superior player to Tarvaris Jackson for him to supplant the veteran.  Not only do I not see that, I don’t think he’s even as good!  It would be a potentially vital mistake for the Seahawks to give Pryor every opportunity to win that #2 job, because to be quite honest, I don’t even think he’s the third-best quarterback on this team.  Letting him win that job while getting reps against the worst players from these pre-season games would be absolutely tragic.

But, as I said before, it’s just one game.  One pre-season game.  You could hear it from all the 12s in Seahawkland going into this game:  the Broncos want it more.  This game meant more to them than it did to us.  None of us were going to freak out if the Seahawks came up on the short end of the stick, because we won the Lombardi Trophy last February, and they don’t take that away because you lose a pre-season game.  Now that it’s behind us – and our pre-season winning streak is behind us – maybe we can move on and put 2013 to bed.  We don’t see Denver again until the regular season.  In Seattle.  With the starters playing all four quarters.

THAT will be a very different affair.

Seahawks Trade For Terrelle Pryor

When I first heard about this, the people on Twitter were flipping out … in a positive way!  My initial reaction was to think, “Well, this is a nothing move that’s going to get analyzed to death.”

We have a quarterback.  His name is Russell Wilson and he just led us to a championship.  We also already have a backup quarterback.  His name is Tarvaris Jackson, and in spite of my feelings for him as a starter, he’s still a better backup option than Terrelle Pryor.

Also, Terrelle Pryor’s contract runs through the end of the 2014 season, meaning we’ve got him under contract for exactly the same amount of time we’ve got Tarvar, so it’s not like we just picked up our “Backup Quarterback of the Future”, if such a thing even exists.

What did we do?  We gave away a seventh round draft pick to … I guess … light a fire under Tarvar for that #2 Quarterback job?  Mind you, the Seahawks have had some relative success in the seventh round and among the undrafted free agents.  You use those seventh round draft picks to grab would-be UFAs who you think won’t sign with you if granted their UFA status.  And we squandered it on, what, a third-string quarterback?

If that is the case, if we are looking to carry a third quarterback on our roster all year, then who does that bump?  The Seahawks have been one of the deepest teams in football the last couple years, and 2014 should be no different.  There are open spots on this team, sure, but I expect those spots will be filled by rookies and practice squad guys from last year.  The point is, it’s tough making those last few cuts, and now we’re going to have to make one more if we want to keep Pryor on the 53-man.

Those were my initial thoughts, in a nutshell.  But, then, as people started talking about his athleticism, and people kept wondering what he’d look like on the field split out wide, I started to get a little excited.  Terrelle Pryor is a running quarterback who isn’t much of a quarterback!  Remember when we had Seneca Wallace and he had those one or two times where we threw it to him and he made amazing plays in the open field?  Remember how we had to reign Seneca Wallace in because he was our only other viable quarterbacking option, so we couldn’t risk him getting injured?  Well, what if we had that … WITHOUT the concern about him getting injured?

Of course, that feels a little unrealistic to me.  I mean, you’re going to take this guy who has been a quarterback all his life, at the highest levels of the game, and you’re going to try to get him to learn a different position?  The Seahawks are saying all the things you’d expect them to say – they plan on Pryor playing the quarterback position when he gets here – so I ask again:  why is he here?

Maybe he’s just this year’s version of Brady Quinn.  Maybe we bring him in to make Training Camp a little more interesting, and then we cut him because we get to see with our own eyes that he’s horrible.

Or, maybe it’s my worst nightmare come to life:  we bring Pryor in and he shows us something, and then our offensive coordinator creates this package of plays based on his “abilities” and he’s our version of Tim Tebow, disrupting the regular offense by being shuttled on and off the field to diminishing returns.

I’m not going to freak out one way or the other on this move, because it’s not important.  People are making it into a bigger deal than it is, because it’s the quarterback position and because he played for a bigtime program in Ohio State.  So, I hope you like hearing about this all day every day, because that’s what your week’s going to be like if you follow sports in Seattle.

Who Is The Better Football Team: Seahawks or 49ers?

You know what’s fun?  Comparing one team against another to see which one you think is better.  You know what’s ALMOST as fun?  Actually watching those teams play against one another to determine who is ACTUALLY better.

Wait, reverse that.

This is the NFL offseason.  The offseason is, by definition, NOT the season.  The offseason is long and painful and boring.  It’s why we have other sports at other times of the year to fill the void.  In the NFL offseason, we have nothing else better to do except look at the teams on paper, compare them to one another, and talk ourselves into believing that OUR team – on paper – is good enough to win the Super Bowl.  Gotta do something to pass the time, right?

This year, there appears to be two teams who are head & shoulders above the rest:  San Francisco and Seattle.  There will be countless articles and blog posts written on the subject of:  Which Team Is Better?  A standard practice in trying to figure out which team is better is to break them down, position-by-position.  Whichever team has more victories in the position-by-position battles will BE the better team (again, on paper).

Except, you can’t really do that.  Because not all positions are created equal.  If one team has the better quarterback, and the other team has the better punter, you’re not going to say that those teams are thus far tied at 1 to 1 in the position battle breakdown.  That’s insane!  You’ve got to weight the positions in order of importance.  You win a higher percentage of the pie, you’re the better team.

There are ten areas of a football team.  If you split them up into wedges of a pie, they would break down thusly:

  • Quarterback – 25%
  • Offensive Line – 15%
  • Pass Rush – 12%
  • Secondary – 12%
  • Receivers – 10%
  • Special Teams – 8%
  • Running Backs – 7%
  • Rush Defense – 7%
  • Coaching – 4%

It should be obvious why a quarterback is so important, but I’ll say it again anyway.  A good quarterback can make mediocre receivers better.  A good quarterback will stop defenses from loading up in the box, meaning the running game should be better.  A good quarterback can make up for a weak offensive line by making quick (and smart) decisions.  A good quarterback will also make the lives of your special teams easier by scoring touchdowns instead of settling for field goal tries (and by shifting field position to make punt coverage easier).  Let us not forget, a good quarterback, when successful, will make the defense’s lives easier by scoring a lot of points and letting his defense play with a lead.  It’s always better to play with a lead.  Finally, a good quarterback makes the coaching staff look like geniuses because a good quarterback usually leads the team to winning more games.

I hate to break it down all Ron Fairly on you, but AH-DUH!

I’ve got offensive line in second position because a good offensive line will usually make a mediocre quarterback look good (see Mark Sanchez’s first two seasons).  A bad offensive line will often render a #1 overall drafted quarterback into a pile of mush (see Alex Smith’s first however-many seasons before the 49ers finally bolstered their O-Line).

I have pass rush and secondary on equal footing because if you have one or the other, you can usually get by.  If you’ve got both, then your defense is amazing and probably unstoppable.

I’ve got receivers ahead of running backs because they’re more important (and more in numbers).  You’ll notice I don’t have tight ends on this thing and that’s for a reason.  Either they block and they’re part of the offensive line, or they go out in a pattern and become receivers.  There’s no sense in making tight end its own category because there isn’t anything about a tight end that is exclusively “tight end”.  They’re either blockers or receivers, so think of them as members of both groups.  Anyway, this is a passing league.  Quarterbacks are breaking records left and right.  Receivers are a bigger part of that than running backs.  A running game can take pressure off of a quarterback, but ultimately, for the most part, if you’re putting up huge rushing numbers, it’s because you’re winning and racking up tons of yards late in games.  There are obviously exceptions, but exceptions are just that.  They’re not the rule.

I had a hard time trying to figure out what Special Teams was worth, originally having them dead last.  But, the more I think about it, the more you can’t deny that Special Teams are a major part of football.  They probably SHOULDN’T be, but they are.  I still feel that teams punt way more than they need to, and settle for field goals way more than they should probably go for the touchdown.  In an ideal world, Special Teams would be worth somewhere around 1-2%, but as it stands, you’ve got to put them at 8%.  Too much can go wrong.  Games are won and lost all the times based on Special Teams breakdowns.  Huge returns in the closing seconds of the 4th quarter; a return man bringing back multiple kicks/punts to the house; a blocked field goal being returned for a touchdown; a bungled punt snap resulting in a sack and/or safety.  These things determine ballgames and, if you have enough of them, they can also determine playoff seeding.

Running backs and rush defense are also on equal footing because they can easily cancel each other out.  A great running game is great and all, but it doesn’t take you very far in today’s NFL.  See last year’s Vikings team.  See, also, Tim Tebow’s Broncos team.  With the devaluation of the rush game, there’s also a devaluation in rush defense.  Teams are looking more towards pass rush and stopping opposing quarterbacks from shredding them for 400 yards per game.  You might not like to see it, but teams win games all the time while being dominated in Time of Possession (see:  any Peyton Manning team ever).

Linebackers can be fun and exciting to watch, but they’re essentially the defense’s version of tight ends.  Either they go towards the line, plugging gaps and making tackes in the run game, or they go out into coverage and try to prevent receivers from catching footballs (or, you know, they try to sack the quarterback).  There’s no sense in singling out linebackers because they essentially do everything I’ve already listed.  Besides, I would argue just as the NFL is devaluing the running game, it’s also devaluing linebackers.  This isn’t the 1970s or 80s.  Teams are getting by with late-round (or undrafted) linebackers.  The market for free agent linebackers has to be at an all time low (respectively, accounting for inflation and all that).  Nowadays, teams will spend high draft picks on linebackers with a specialty in the pass rush.  If you don’t have the potential for double-digit sacks, then the odds are you won’t be picked in the first round.

Last, but not least, we have coaches.  If there’s parity in any aspect of the NFL, it’s probably in coaching.  Now, if I were to throw in General Managers (or just the aspect of scouting, drafting, and signing free agents), then these numbers would be skewed WAY in favor of GMs.  But, I’m not counting them, because once the two teams are on the field, GMs no longer hold any influence.  Their influence has already spoken.

Coaches decide who the best players are and make them their starters.  Anyone who is football-smart can tell who is the best player at all the positions!  Coaches decide which plays to run; some are more pass-heavy than others, but ultimately it’s up to the players as to whether the plays they run are good enough.  I’m putting the onus on players, because it’s a fact of the game that great players make coaches look like geniuses while poor players get coaches fired.  A coach can essentially be the same guy from one job to the next, but if the players perform at one job and don’t perform at another, did he immediately get “worse” as a coach?  Or, did the GM not provide him with the talent required to succeed?

Coaches aren’t COMPLETELY inconsequential, though.  Someone has to be in charge of calling time outs.  Someone has to get all hormonal when making the decision to go for it on 4th and 1 at mid-field.  In most close games, it often comes down to a curious coaching decision that we choose to dissect ad nauseum all week (even though, in all honesty, that one decision would’ve been rendered moot if the players had executed better earlier in the game).

Anyway, that’s my rationale for how I break down teams.  But, it’s not as simple as it seems.  For instance, if I went with Seattle vs. San Francisco, it would look something like this:

  • Quarterbacks (25%) – Seattle
  • Offensive Line (15%) – San Francisco
  • Pass Rush (12%) – San Francisco
  • Secondary (12%) – Seattle
  • Receivers (10%) – Seattle
  • Special Teams (8%) – Seattle
  • Running Backs (7%) – Seattle
  • Rush Defense (7%) – San Francisco
  • Coaching (4%) – San Francisco

If I went and just added up the numbers, the end result would be Seattle 62%, San Francisco 38%.  That’s a drubbing!  That’s like saying Seattle would win 62% of the time and San Francisco would win only 38% of the time.  These teams aren’t that far apart!

Look at it another way.  If the quarterback position is worth 25%, then by giving Seattle the advantage (however slim I feel that advantage may be), essentially I’m saying that Russell Wilson = 25% and Colin Kaepernick = 0%.  Now, we know that’s not true.  So, you’ve got to break down these numbers even further.  There’s going to be SOME percentage for both teams.  Adjusting for this reality, the breakdown looks a little something like this:

  • Quarterbacks (25%):  Seattle 13%, San Francisco 12%
  • Offensive Line (15%):  San Francisco 9%, Seattle 6%
  • Pass Rush (12%):  San Francisco 7%, Seattle 5%
  • Secondary (12%):  Seattle 8%, San Francisco 4%
  • Receivers (10%):  Seattle 6%, San Francisco 4%
  • Special Teams (8%):  Seattle 5%, San Francisco 3%
  • Running Backs (7%):  Seattle 4%, San Francisco 3%
  • Rush Defense (7%):  San Francisco 4%, Seattle 3%
  • Coaching (4%):  San Francisco 3%, Seattle 1%

You’ll notice right off the bat that I don’t believe in ties.  One team is better than the other at each one of these aspects of the game, so quit riding the fence!  The next thing you’ll notice is how close these two teams are in talent.  Seattle 51%, San Francisco 49%.  That feels about right.  On offense, it’s Seattle 29%, San Francisco 28%; on defense, it’s Seattle 16%, San Francisco 15%.  Seattle gets a slight edge in special teams, San Francisco gets a slight edge in coaching.  If these two teams played 100 times, I would readily believe that Seattle would win 51 of them and lose 49 of them.  That makes a lot more sense to me than 62 and 38.

And, for the record, I gave each team a number for every category before I added them up; I didn’t come up with a 51/49 split and then mess around with the figures to make my conclusion work.  That’s just the way it came out (believe it or not, it’s up to you).

My rationale looks like this:

At quarterback, you’re looking at nearly a dead-heat.  There isn’t one thing that Kaepernick does that Wilson can’t do and vice versa.  I gave the nod to Wilson because I feel like I can trust him more to do the right thing and make the right decision.  Believe me, I like both of these guys.  Wilson is my favorite team’s franchise quarterback.  Kaepernick is my fantasy team’s franchise quarterback (and perennial keeper as long as he stays healthy).  I’m not a hater by any means; in fact, I HAVE to like Kaepernick, or risk another last place finish in the league of which I’m the commissioner.  On a purely physical, athletic level, I’d probably give the slight edge to Kaepernick.  But, this is just as much a mental game, so the nod goes to Wilson.

Until Seattle proves otherwise, they have the inferior offensive line.  That’s just a fact, two Pro Bowlers or not.  This could change in a hurry if the guard situation is settled, but as long as it’s up in the air, this is a hefty 3-point advantage for the 49ers.

Before the Seahawks went out and brought in guys like Avril and Bennett, the discrepancy between these two teams’ pass rushes would’ve been vastly in favor of the 49ers.  Seattle closed the gap, but not quite enough to take the lead.

The biggest difference in talent resides in the secondary, with Seattle having a 4-point swing.  I wanted to go bigger, but couldn’t justify it in this case.  San Francisco isn’t a 3% secondary, no matter how much I like Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.

Seattle is deeper and arguably more talented at receiver.  Sidney Rice is better than Crabtree.  Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin are both young, hungry, and looking for long-term deals; Boldin is on his last legs and didn’t really show up to play until the playoffs last season.  Percy Harvin is the real dynamo in this equation; San Francisco doesn’t have anyone like him.  San Francisco’s edge in pass-catching tight ends (with Vernon Davis a clear winner over Zach Miller) keeps this category as close as it is.  They just better hope Kam Chancellor doesn’t knock his fucking block off again.

As for special teams, I’ll take Jon ‘MVP’ Ryan all day every day.  San Francisco’s doubts at kicker trump Seattle’s doubts at kicker.  The combo of Harvin and Tate in the return game leaves me absolutely salivating over whatever the 49ers are going to trot out there.

Yes, Frank Gore is aging, but he’s still got the wheels to be effective.  Lynch is better, but not THAT much better.  We’ll see how things shake out behind those two stalwarts.  If the rookies pan out for Seattle, we might be shifting these numbers even further in our direction.

Rush defense goes to the Niners because, quite honestly, I didn’t like what I saw from Seattle down the stretch last year.  It COULD be better.  I’d like to see a big step forward from our primary linebackers (Wright & Wagner) before I start thinking about flipping this category in Seattle’s direction.

As much as it pains me to say it, I have to say that San Francisco has the edge in the coaching battle.  Now, if we were talking coach and GM combo, then the edge is Seattle’s all the way, but again we’re not.  Harbaugh – as douchey as he is – took an underperforming team and immediately turned it into a winner.  Carroll has worked with Schneider to build one of the best teams in all of football, and in what has to be record time.  But, is Carroll and Co. really coaching up these guys?  Or, is the talent so good that a beagle could lead this team to 11-12 wins?

I feel like Harbaugh goes into every game with a better plan and the 49ers are better able to make adjustments within that game.  It seems to me Carroll has yet to really cement an identity.  Is he conservative?  He would seem to be, with his run-first philosophy.  Then again, this team also likes the play-action and grabbing huge chunks of yardage through the air.  Is he aggressive?  A press defense with blitzers coming from every conceivable angle would indicate that’s so.  But, then again, this team also plays a lot of zone and likes to go heavy against the run in their base defense.  Ultimately, he’s unpredictable, which is attributable to the way he will go for it on 4th down at one point, but not at another, seemingly with no rhyme or reason for either.  It can make for exciting football, but it can also be reckless.  At least Carroll isn’t a raging toolbag of a honky.  I might trust Harbaugh more on the sidelines, but I’ll take Carroll over him any day.

Seahawks Bring In Brady Quinn

It’s not all so simple as:  The Seahawks Traded Matt Flynn For Brady Quinn & A Couple Of Later Round Picks In The Next Couple Of Drafts.  But, I’ll be damned if that isn’t the way people are going to spin this.

I’m on record as officially against the trade of Matt Flynn.  But, that’s the Better Safe Than Sorry side of me taking over.  The safe choice is to keep Flynn and hope you never have to use him, but also more than willing to have him in there for multiple games at a time if need be.  He’s not better than Russell Wilson, he might not even be better than half the quarterbacks in the league.  But, in my eyes, he’s a starting-caliber quarterback who we had as a backup.

The “sorry” side of the “Better Safe Than Sorry” credo turns out to be Brady Quinn.  The 22nd overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft who has bounced around from Cleveland to Denver to Kansas City in his six years in the league.  In that time, Quinn started 20 games.  In those 20 games, Quinn’s team has won four times.  Quinn’s overall career involves a guy who has thrown for a little over 3,000 yards in 24 total games, with 12 touchdowns & 17 interceptions.  He has a career passer rating of 64.4.  He is, in short, terrible.

We went from starting-caliber to terrible.  In doing so, we saved some money and grabbed a couple of extra draft picks.  But, there are secondary factors we can’t necessarily see because we’re not running the show.  Does this turn of events help us secure Kam Chancellor to a long-term deal ahead of his becoming a free agent?  Does this restore a sense of balance in the locker room, where the starting quarterback’s contract is no longer dwarfed by his backup?  My guess is, for the time being, Quinn’s contract will still surpass Wilson’s – since he’s been in the league longer and the minimums go up for veterans – but it won’t be so obscene.  Likewise, Russell Wilson won’t have to sit in a quarterback room with a guy he beat just last season for the starting job.  I don’t know how much this affects a locker room, but it can’t be completely insignificant.

In the end, though, on the outside this is what we’ve got.  Brady Quinn, backup quarterback.  You never root for the starter to fail or get injured, but at this point I’m actively afraid for Russell Wilson’s safety!  If he goes down, even for one game, we might be fucked!  I don’t EVER want to see Brady Quinn starting for us!  Yeah, he was well-hyped coming out of college, yeah, he was a first round draft pick; but so was Tebow.  Quinn has proven to be a botch-job as a quarterback in this league and he’s lucky to still be employed.

Then again, maybe that’s the reason.  You know the old adage about the backup quarterback being the most popular guy on the team with regards to a fickle fanbase.  Well, there is NO CHANCE this is the case going into 2013!

You want my guess on how this shakes out?  Well, for starters, the Seahawks WILL be drafting a quarterback later this month.  I wouldn’t even be surprised if the Seahawks use their 2nd round pick, if the right guy falls to them.

You want something else?  I doubt Quinn even makes the opening-week roster.  If he’s on the sidelines come Week 1, I’ll eat my hat, capisce?  So, don’t get carried away.

But, if you’re still a little nervous, maybe invest in a lucky rabbit’s foot.  Pray to the ACL gods that Russell Wilson stays healthy for a full 19 weeks this autumn.  Because he’s now walking that same tightrope he walked across last season, only now we don’t have a safety net.  That’s all we need:  a long-suffering fanbase with something ELSE to worry about when things finally start turning positively.

Focusing On What Percy Harvin Is, Not What He Might Be

The more I think about it, the more I read about it, the more I let go of my Seattle “poor me” baggage, the harder my dick gets at the thought of Percy Harvin in a Seahawks uniform.

Which is odd, because for every amazing new tidbit of exciting information I receive, there’s also another that should give me even more pause.  Like how Percy Harvin is a Diva Head Case.  Like how he might have faked migraines because he was disgruntled in Minnesota.  Like how you never promise crazy a baby (i.e. don’t reward someone’s insanity with one of the biggest wide receiver contracts in recorded history).

But, you know what?  Fuck it.  I’m putting on the big ol’ floppy Homer Hat and I’m swatting criticism of this trade away like a pimp in a bitch-slapping competition.

No more worrying about injuries!  No more concerning myself with what it has taken to bring him here (a first & seventh rounder this year, and a third rounder next year … yeesh)!  No more fretting over what it’s going to cost to keep him here (upwards of $12 million per year)!  No mulling over what this is going to do to what was once a cap situation the envy of all of pro football!  I’m just going to sit back, and soak in all the potential goodness.

Like how this trade might give the Seahawks the very best offense in football.  Yeah, I said it!  Did you see how this offense performed down the stretch last season?  That happened because Russell Wilson improved exponentially.  Now, we’re injecting that same offense – where everyone came together and gelled so spectacularly – with one of the biggest talents in the NFL.

Now, you’ll notice I didn’t say one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, though I would argue he’s easily in the Top 20.  But, when you factor in how he’s a multi-threat, that puts him in a very small, very elite league of his own.  Already, you can argue he’s one of the best slot receivers in the game.  Already, you can argue he’s one of the best kick returners in the league.  Now, recall he has experience coming out of the backfield.  Also recall he has experience in the zone read with Tim Tebow back in college.  And, for shits and giggles, I’m not going to limit him to just short and intermediate routes; right now, he’s probably the fastest receiver on the Seahawks.  So, you’ll be damn sure that this team is going to stretch the field with him and see if he can’t get behind some safeties.

Let’s just count the ways Percy Harvin can take over a football game:

  1. Deep Threat
  2. Zone Read Option back
  3. Natural running back
  4. End-Around runner
  5. Screen pass catcher
  6. Slot receiver
  7. Kick returner
  8. Punt returner

Am I missing anything?  Because, that’s pretty fucking insane, right?

Someone likened him to Darren Sproles earlier today.  Remember how Darren Sproles was an absolute game-changer for the New Orleans Saints, once he was paired with Drew Brees?  And that’s a straight up running back who primarily runs the ball and catches screen & swing passes, with a few other short routes mixed in.  Harvin can stretch the field!  You don’t need a tall receiver a la Randy Moss in his prime to stretch the field.  Pure speed and pass-catching ability will do.  Harvin has that.  Maybe he won’t win the most jump balls in the world, but there are other ways to score touchdowns.  Wes Welker doesn’t have much problem scoring in the red zone.

This time last year, one of our biggest concerns was the wide receiver corps.  Sidney Rice couldn’t stay healthy.  Golden Tate hadn’t shown much of anything in his first two seasons.  Doug Baldwin was a nice story as a rookie, but could he keep up his production?  And where was the Zach Miller we thought we were getting when we signed him to that huge contract as a free agent?

Well, Tate took a big step forward, Rice stayed healthy (for the most part), Baldwin kept up his end of the bargain even though he spent most of the year battling nagging injuries, and Miller came up HUGE in the playoffs.  Now, throw Harvin into that mix.  Worst case scenario:  you’re improving the overall receiver depth on this team tenfold.  Instead of Jermaine Kearse or Charly Martin, or Insert Over-The-Hill Veteran’s Name Here (Braylon Edwards, T.O., Mike Williams, Brandon Stokley), this team can go into 2013 with a legitimately high-tier receiving corps.  I’m not going to say we’re the best 1 through 4 in the NFL (my big ol’ floppy Homer Hat only goes so far), but we’re certainly in the top half in the league.  Maybe top 10.  MAYBE, if everyone reaches their potential, top 5.  I don’t know; it’s too early to start focusing on the rest of the league right now.

Before I drop this (for the time being), I’m taking a quick looksee at our 2013 schedule.  The dates & times haven’t been set, but we know the teams and we know WHERE we will be playing them.  It’s the AFC South, the NFC South, the NFC West (obviously), and Minnesota and the Giants.  Without a doubt, the Seahawks are going 8-0 again at home (toughest non-49ers matchup at home is New Orleans, which is a team we can probably score 50 on).  As for the road, the toughest non-49ers games are the Falcons, the Texans, and the Giants (with honorable mention going to the Colts).  Still, the only tough non-49ers defense we play all year will likely be Houston’s.

In other words, there is no saying this team CAN’T average 30 points per game.  13-3 is a reasonable expectation.  14-2 isn’t off the table.  Hell, feel free to dream a little dream about 15-1, because THERE’S NO STOPPING THE BLUE WAVE!

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.

Seattle Sports Hell NFL Power Rankings, Vol. 12

Upon further reflection of this weekend’s events, a question comes to mind:  what does Russell Wilson have to do to win Rookie of the Year?

Without question, the three rookies in contention for 2012 are, in no particular order:  RGIII, Andrew Luck, and Russell Wilson.  Actually, there is SORT OF a particular order involved there; I would say Luck & RGIII are in the top 2, with Wilson a distant third.  Some stats:

  • Luck:  279/503 (55.5%), 3,596 yards, 17 TDs (+5 rushing TDs, 216 rushing yards), 16 INTs, 76.1 rating, 8-4 record
  • RGIII:  218/325 (67.1%), 2,660 yards, 17 TDs (+6 rushing TDs, 714 rushing yards), 4 INTs, 104.4 rating, 6-6 record
  • Wilson:  201/317 (63.4%), 2,344 yards, 19 TDs (0 rushing TDs, 298 rushing yards), 8 INTs, 95.2 rating, 7-5 record

If the award were to be decided today, I think you’re looking at a landslide RGIII victory.  He’s got comparable overall yardage numbers to Luck, comparable touchdown numbers, and he’s got a whopping 12 fewer interceptions.  I would say they both mean just as much to their respective teams’ overall success this season.  Luck does have the advantage of currently leading his team to a 5th seed in the AFC (while RGIII is on the outside-looking-in on a playoff spot), but RGIII has ALL of the late-season momentum.  Back-to-back nationally televised games (Thanksgiving win over Dallas, Monday night victory over Giants last night) has RGIII firmly entrenched in the minds of football viewers across the nation.

So, how do we get Russell Wilson in on some of that action?

The problem with Wilson is, all of his nationally-televised games happened early in the season.  Washington might be finished with the night games, but this week’s matchup with Baltimore will be heavily scrutinized.  And their week 17 matchup with Dallas could very well be flexed to the night game if it turns out both teams are in contention for a Wild Card spot.  Likewise, Indy has no more scheduled night games, but they have two games against Houston in the final three weeks of the season that’ll get some real publicity, especially if Luck finds a way to lead the Colts to victories.  Seattle, on the other hand, only has the game against the 49ers in Week 16.  There’s a CHANCE that game gets flexed, but it’s not likely.  Not with San Francisco already scheduled to play the Sunday Night game the week before in New England.

With that kind of a disadvantage, it’s going to take quite the effort for Wilson to wedge his way into the discussion.  First and foremost, the Seahawks will have to go 4-0 to close out the season, and he will have to look good doing it.  If he can throw for another 10 touchdowns in the next four games, that would be a big plus.  I would say at least another 1,000 yards would be required too.  If he can finish the season with numbers like this:

  • 3,300 yards, 30 TDs, 500 rushing yards, 10 INTs, and somewhere around a 100 passer rating

That would be a good start.  He’s also going to need some help.  For starters, we don’t want Washington anywhere near the playoffs.  A loss to Baltimore, a loss to Dallas, and some poor performances in between would do the trick.  I don’t know if there’s any way to keep Indy out of the playoffs, with their pisspoor remaining schedule, but if we can keep Luck around a 1:1 TD:INT ratio, we’re on the right track.

In short, it’s going to take Wilson being perfect the rest of the way and it’s going to require the other two guys to fall back down to Earth.  A long task, to be sure.  Even then, it’ll take some arguing.

For starters, that schedule for Indy needs to come into question.  I know they’ve played the same divisions as Seattle (NFC North, AFC East), but when you factor in their other conference games (Cleveland, Kansas City) vs. Seattle’s (Carolina, Dallas) and the calibre of the NFC West vs. the AFC South (Arizona and St. Louis have problems, but are leaps & bounds better than Tennessee & Jacksonville), I think there’s an argument to be made.  Also, factor in performances against common opponents (outlined in Sando’s piece HERE) and I would say that Wilson should get more credit for what he’s accomplished.

When you look at the schedule for Washington, I think they get a little more benefit of the doubt.  Nevertheless, there’s something to be said for how shitty & overrated the NFC East is in general.  Prior to the season, you could’ve made an argument for any of the big three (Giants, Eagles, Cowboys) to make the playoffs and possibly do some damage.  Now, look at where they are & how for they’ve fallen.  Inconsistent doesn’t even BEGIN to describe this division.

The fact of the matter is, regardless of any argument, I think the odds are super long for Wilson.  I think he’ll end up third no matter what happens.  By this point in the season, so many people have already made up their minds on who they’re going to vote for, any kind of late-season push is only good for Sports-Talk Radio & Television, but in the real world, it’s already a done deal.

Still, it’ll be interesting.  Especially if Seattle takes the NFC West and earns a #2 seed.

And on to the rankings:

  1. Atlanta Falcons (11-1):  Division Clinched.  You get a gold star!  You also get a nice little gold star for getting the New Orleans monkey off your back.  They’re about two weeks away from clinching the #1 overall seed in the NFC.  Next two games:  @Carolina and vs. the Giants.  I’d say we’re already there.  (Last Week:  2)
  2. Houston Texans (11-1):  A whatever win over the Titans locked up at least a playoff spot.  Now the showdown:  @New England.  Monday night.  You gotta like the Texans’ chances against a banged up Patriots squad.  (Last Week:  3)
  3. Denver Broncos (9-3):  Division Clinched!  This is some kind of run they’re on.  As long as they don’t sleep on Oakland this Thursday, they’ll have a nice 10 days to prepare for Baltimore.  Well on their way to a #2 seed if they can get past the Ravens.  (Last Week:  5)
  4. Baltimore Ravens (9-3):  Boy, does my prediction of the Ravens going to the Super Bowl look Super Shaky.  They can help out their own cause – and that of the Seahawks – by beating the Redskins this Sunday.  (Last Week:  4)
  5. San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1):  Boy, does my prediction of the 49ers going to the Super Bowl look Super Shaky.  Are you kidding me?  Winless against the Rams?  I was ready to write them in as a Top 2 seed, now I’m trying to figure out if the Seahawks can steal the division from them.  What the FUCK?  (Last Week:  1)
  6. Green Bay Packers (8-4):  Uh, you’re welcome Packers.  Ooo, the Seahawks stole a game from you on Monday night with a completed touchdwon pass!  Well, we just took out the Bears and handed you the division.  YOU’RE WELCOME, BITCHES!  Jeez, how about a little fucking gratitude … (Last Week:  9)
  7. New England Patriots (9-3):  Division Clinched!  Everyone is REAL down on the Patriots.  Probably with good reason.  I still can’t believe they let the Dolphins hang around for so long last week.  Doesn’t get much easier for them the next two weeks (Houston & San Fran), but 3 of their final 4 are at home.  (Last Week:  7)
  8. Seattle Seahawks (7-5):  Well, the hard part’s over.  Now, all you gotta do is win out and the playoffs are yours!  (Last Week:  14)
  9. Chicago Bears (8-4):  I can’t remember why I was so high on the Bears earlier this season.  Thus far, every loss they’ve had has come to a team currently in the playoffs (if the season ended today).  Their most impressive win was a Week 1 blowout at home over the Colts when Andrew Luck was playing in his first-ever NFL game.  I gotta say, them falling completely out of the playoffs isn’t out of the question.  3 of their last 4 are on the road, their only home game is against the Packers … not looking good.  (Last Week:  6)
  10. New York Giants (7-5):  Remember when the Giants were 6-2 and had seemingly beaten the curse of the Super Bowl Champ?  Me neither.  (Last Week:  8)
  11. Indianapolis Colts (8-4):  I’ll give them credit:  they managed to have the ball last in Detroit.  Pretty much every game involved with the Lions ends up with the last team with the ball winning the game.  I still don’t think they’re a Top 10 team and I still guarantee they lose their first and only playoff game.  (Last Week:  11)
  12. Cincinnati Bengals (7-5):  Remember when the Bengals were 3-5 and left for dead?  Me neither.  (Last Week:  12)
  13. Washington Redskins (6-6):  A 3-game winning streak against the shitty SHITTY NFC East and all of a sudden they’re world-beaters.  Haaaaaaaaaaave you met their defense?  (Last Week:  15)
  14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6):  There, that’s more like it.  Two consecutive losses and we can all calm down about the Bucs.  Of course, they could still win out and make our lives a living hell, so don’t get too comfortable.  (Last Week:  10)
  15. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5):  Just an amazing win in Baltimore.  The Steelers had no business even being in that game, but there you go.  The Ravens will constantly disappoint.  (Last Week:  16)
  16. Dallas Cowboys (6-6):  They’ve won 3 of 4 against Cleveland and Philly.  In other words, this is still a shitty team who won’t have a winning record at season’s end.  (Last Week:  18)
  17. New Orleans (5-7):  Going winless until week 17:  still on the table.  (Last Week:  13)
  18. St. Louis Rams (5-6-1):  I mean, I just don’t know what to tell you.  The Vikings were able to beat the 49ers this season too; that’s not saying a whole lot.  The Rams won’t make the playoffs, but they could still figure out a way to have a winning record.   I’m seeing 8-7-1 in their future.  If they figure out a way to play their cards right, they can go into Bufflo and Tampa and win.  Minnesota at home could be a pushover too.  (Last Week:  20)
  19. Miami Dolphins (5-7):  This team’s scrappy, you gotta give them that.  If they can manage to go into San Francisco this week and come away victorious, I might even sing their fight song.  (Last Week:  21)
  20. Minnesota Vikings (6-6):  Oh how the mighty have fallen!  Losers of 4 of their last 5, they’re sinking faster than … a yak in heat!  (Last Week:  17)
  21. Buffalo Bills (5-7):   I know they’re pretty bad, but they’ve got 3 of 4 at home the rest of the way.  It’s not IMPOSSIBLE they win out!  Here’s the schedule:  StL, Sea, @Mia, Jets.  That’s about as soft as soft gets.  (Last Week:  24)
  22. Detroit Lions (4-8):  Falling.  Apart.  (Last Week:  19)
  23. Cleveland Browns (48):  Yeah, you beat the Raiders, BFD.  (Last Week:  26)
  24. San Diego Chargers (4-8):  Norv Norv Rivers Norv Fired Norv Buttplug Dan Fouts.  (Last Week:  22)
  25. Tennessee Titans (4-8):  Can somebody get Locker some fucking talent to play with?!  He went to the University of Washington for five years, he DESERVES some talent at this point!  (Last Week:  23)
  26. New York Jets (5-7):  It does seem odd that Rex Ryan waited until Tebow was injured and unavailable before he benched Sanchez.  You’re telling me Sanchez NEVER deserved to be benched before this past weekend?  Really!  Not one time all season!  Ryan must REALLY hate having Tebow on his team, is all I’m saying.  (Last Week:  25)
  27. Carolina Panthers (3-9):  You ran into the buzzsaw that was a team in turmoil following a tragedy.  Those teams tend to come together and rally for a win, even if they’re quarterbacked by Brady Quinn.  What are you gonna do?  (Last Week:  27)
  28. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10):  Even a rejuvenated Chad Henne can’t get you a win in Buffalo.  Pity.  (Last Week:  28)
  29. Arizona Cardinals (4-8):  Yes, your defense is still solid.  But, this weekend, you vill lose.  (Last Week:  29)
  30. Oakland Raiders (3-9):  Just the fucking worst.  (Last Week:  30)
  31. Philadelphia Eagles (3-9):  Except for these guys.  (Last Week:  31)
  32. Kansas City Chiefs (2-10):  And, I guess these guys (no kicking-them-when-they’re-down guy).  (Last Week:  32)

Seahawks Defeat The Feeble Jets

So, the Jets essentially scored 1 point on offense.  The other six came on a fumble returned for a touchdown.  I was CLOSE.  I was damn close.

The Jets had no business scoring ANY points yesterday, but there was a portion of the game – after the first Seahawks touchdown drive – where Russell Wilson looked painfully like a rookie quarterback.  Holding the ball too long, running himself INTO pressure, not throwing the ball away when defenders were closing in.  For two or three possessions, he looked exactly like a 3rd round draft pick quarterback should look.  Then, he turned it around.

Honestly, the Jets’ defense impressed me.  I know Lynch ended up with 124 yards on the day, but for a good long while there, his yards were tough to come by!  After what looked like an easy TD drive to put the Seahawks up 7-0, the Jets really clamped down, until they gave up another TD drive as the half was closing in.  Overall, though, that defense is better than I gave it credit for.  What you have to remember about that team is:  their offense is so utterly terrible that their defense is constantly playing with their backs to the wall.  You can’t win football games that way.  You could have the best defense in the league and still lose a ton of games with whatever it is the Jets are trying to do on offense.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  Mark Sanchez is a joke.  He’s not a starting quarterback in this league.  But, that having been said, you can’t keep running him in and out of the game – seemingly on the whims of a madman – and expect him to keep any sort of consistency.  I mean, there was one time where Sanchez made a really good throw, the Jets gained a bunch of yards, and on the very next play they had Tebow out there, ready to dink and dunk his way to another 3-4 yard gain before running back to the sideline again.

What I would ultimately say about this game is:  there’s not a whole lot to learn.  Had the Seahawks lost, we would’ve learned that this won’t be a playoff team this year.  But, they won, and they won in such a way that I think most of us EXPECTED them to win.

What you could say is:  there’s no reason to heap lavish amounts of praise upon Russell Wilson.  Let’s face it, there were long stretches where he looked like a rookie quarterback.  That’s good.  The fact that he gets some game lessons, but we still win the game:  that’s great news!  We won this game with a solid rushing attack and amazing defense.  The prototypical Seahawks win.

So much to like about what the defense did.  We were missing K.J. Wright, yet didn’t really miss a beat.  Mike Morgan had a great tackle for loss early in the game to set the tone.  The Jets were held to 84 yards rushing, under 4 per carry.  Tebow’s presence was more of a distraction for the Jets than it was for the Seahawks.  Sanchez was once again held under 50% completions, with that back-breaking interception at the goalline that seemed to say, “Nice try, but you’re never getting this close to scoring ever again.”

At no point was I worried about this game.  It was 7-7 with the Jets driving and Wilson playing like crap and I still wasn’t concerned.  That goalline pick by Sherman was almost preordained.  That Sherman sack and forced fumble was a thing of beauty.  Consider his Pro Bowl ticket punched.

Now the Seahawks go into the BYE week with a 6-4 record.  For the most part, everyone is (or will be) healthy when we hit the road in two weeks.  And, would you look at that?  Suddenly, that Miami game isn’t so scary anymore.  Fancy that …