The Seahawks Signed A Kicker, Earl Thomas Signed With Baltimore, And Other Stuff Happened

I didn’t really intend on writing a new Seahawks Free Agency Tracker post every single day this week, but shit happens (specifically in the NFL, and specifically not in the other major sports).

Remember when the Seahawks had a 2018 kicking competition between Jason Myers and Sebastian Janikowski? Remember when both players were about the same through the first however many weeks of the pre-season, and I argued that the Seahawks should keep the younger, cheaper guy over the fucking 40 year old, if all things were equal? Remember how the Seahawks opted to keep the fucking 40 year old while Myers signed on with the Jets and made the AFC’s Pro Bowl team?

Well, Janikowski’s gone – felled by an injury in his final game – and Myers is back, only this time on a 4-year deal worth upwards of $4 million per year. Considering Myers was destined to be a free agent either way, and since we weren’t one mediocre kicker away from winning a Super Bowl, I guess you could say the decision Pete Carroll made last year isn’t the WORST move he’s ever made. But, we could’ve saved a lot of time and agita if we’d just done the right thing the first time.

What sucks, obviously, is the cost. No more going cheap on the placekicker, which I suppose is a smart thing to do, but is Myers worth the investment? His three seasons with Jacksonville revealed a booming leg with plenty of flaws. While his lone season with the Jets is promising – 33/36, including 6/7 from 50+ – was it a fluke? Kickers, like relievers in baseball, tend to be pretty volatile from year to year. On top of that, it’s not like we have a good handle on how he’d perform in the thick marine air of Seattle. At least, you’d think, he faced his fair share of elements kicking in New York, but we’ll see how good he is on the west coast.

Ultimately, this looks like an upgrade over 2018, which is really all I’m asking for out of this offseason. Improve at as many spots as possible, and let’s get this Wild Card team into a playoff BYE week situation!

***

In other news, Earl Thomas signed a 4-year, $55 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens. Obviously, this is good for him – as he gets considerably more than I would’ve given him, and more than the Seahawks were willing to fork over – and probably good for the Ravens. I’m just not a believer in the passing ability of Lamar Jackson, and don’t think they’re a viable Super Bowl contender with him being mostly a running back; but at least their defense is jacked. Maybe they can pull off a Trent Dilfer 2.0 thing, if indeed their D is dominant enough.

Pierre Desir found a home in Indianapolis recently, and this off-season they rewarded him with a 3-year extension. Pretty good for a guy who’s built in the Seahawks Cornerback mold, and a guy we discovered first. Look at the league getting fat off our sloppy seconds!

Mychal Kendricks looks like he’s coming back on a $4 million deal; that’s exciting! It’s, of course, contingent on him being able to play football and not wallowing in prison, so fingers crossed. If it works out, it’ll be a serious boost to our linebacker room.

A room that got a little fuller with the re-signing of K.J. Wright. This just came down the pike this morning. I have to believe it’s a low-guarantee deal with lots of incentives based on number of games played. In total, I can’t imagine the max value is all that high, but I guess we’ll see. I would think given his age, his recent injury history, and the market for outside non-pass-rusher linebackers, that there weren’t a TON of teams lining up for the Pro Bowler, regardless of how good he is in coverage.

I read that George Fant was given a 2nd round tender, which makes literally all the sense in the world. I read a blog somewhere that opined he wouldn’t be tendered at all, or if he was, it would be an original round (i.e. the lowest one, with no draft pick compensation, since he was undrafted), but that was asinine. If anything, I wondered if we’d place a 1st rounder on him, but this feels more appropriate. It’s win-win for the Seahawks. Either he stays, and our O-line depth gets a boost, or some team blows him away with a deal and gives us a 2nd round draft pick in compensation. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what the Seahawks were angling for all along with this move. With three starting-calibre offensive tackles on the roster, you’d think we’d opt for the draft capital.

Finally, a little OOOOOLLLLLDDDDD Seahawks news: Brandon Mebane re-upped with the Chargers for two more years. As the oldest-drafted Seahawk (2007), he’s 34 years old and still going strong. Good for him! I’m glad to see some of these old timers still holding it down. Old.

Thinking About Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch & Pete Carroll

Maybe it’s the time of year, time to reflect.  Maybe it’s because I’m off work and listening to a lot of sports radio.  While the Pro Bowl in and of itself isn’t interesting, the idea of rewarding players and the idea of seasonal awards sort of catches me from time to time.

It’s the end of the football season, pretty much, and you’re going to hear people talking about Who Should Be The MVP?  Who Should Be The Coach Of The Year?  And so on and so forth.  Within those discussions, you’re going to hear a lot of names.  But, outside of Seattle, you’re not going to hear the names Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, or Pete Carroll.  I’m not saying they should or should not necessarily be the front-runners of those particular awards, but shouldn’t they be in the discussion?  You’re talking about a team coming off of a Super Bowl victory, that’s also a team favored right now to repeat as champs.  And yet, its two best players, and its head coach will be nowhere to be seen when it comes to the most important regular season awards in the NFL this year.

Isn’t that kind of sick and wrong and gross?  Homer or not, I mean come on!

And the arguments are pretty simple.  For Russell and Marshawn, they get discounted because the defense is so good.  Yeah, these are good players, but where would this team be if the defense was only half as good?  The same knock goes against Pete Carroll.  Except this time, it’s the TEAM that’s too good.  While other coaches are doing more with less, Pete Carroll is doing more with more.  It’s not Pete Carroll’s fault that the team is so good (except, it sort of is, since he works hand in hand with John Schneider, but that’s neither here nor there), but what exactly is he having to overcome?

And before you come at me with the laundry list of injured Seahawks we’ve had throughout the year, yeah, I know.  I’m just telling you what they’re likely thinking on a national perspective.  They see Arizona making the playoffs, currently with 11 wins, with an outside shot at the #1 seed; and they see this team having lost their top two quarterbacks and a bunch of amazing defenders, having to leap hurdle after hurdle to get where they’ve gotten.  Or, they see the Dallas Cowboys getting the monkey off their backs, finally winning a division and getting ready to host a playoff game; they see a team they ranked near the bottom of the NFC East rankings before the season started, writing them off before a single game had been played.  Defying expectations.

Except, the problem with that is, it’s the media’s fault those expectations were so low to begin with.  Not only that, but it’s kinda Jason Garrett’s fault as well.  If he didn’t suck so much dick as a head coach for all these years, underachieving with supposedly-good teams, the Cowboys wouldn’t be in the position they’re in now:  being pretty great when everyone thought they were junk.

Pete Carroll just wins games.  He wins games with a roster he helped build.  And, he had to do it under the biggest microscope the city of Seattle had ever seen.

Think about it:  think about all the stories written about this team in the first couple months of the season.  All the negative stories.  Think about the tumult with Percy Harvin.  Think about how the media worked to drive a wedge between Lynch and the organization.  Every other article about him was about how he was unhappy.  About how he wanted to leave after the season.  About how the team was sick of his antics.  And, if they weren’t writing all of these negative articles, then they were tattling to the league about how Lynch wouldn’t do interviews.  Again, I’m talking about national media guys, but that’s the type of stuff you get when you win a Super Bowl and you’ve got a lot of interesting personalities on one team.

And Pete Carroll had to wade through ALL of that shit; not to mention all the noise about how it’s hard to come back and play well after winning the Super Bowl!  The talk, the rumors, the negative stories (whether true or manufactured), combined with the fact that the Seahawks lost 4 of their first 10 games.  Yeah, team chemistry is pretty fucking easy to manage when you’re winning games hand over fist.  But, when you’ve lost nearly as many games as you’ve won just past the halfway point of the season, you’ve REALLY got to work to keep the team on the same page and to keep them believing that this season isn’t totally lost.

What has Pete Carroll done?  All of that and then some.  He’s kept this team on track through a litany of injuries and alleged in-fighting, then righted the ship and shot this season into overdrive as the Seahawks look to make it six straight wins to steal the top seed in the NFC.

In a year where the target has been on our backs, and as big as a planet, Pete Carroll molded a champion into an even more formidable champion.  Yet, where’s the recognition?

***

Marshawn Lynch is a different animal.  I’m not so sure he really deserves to be in that discussion of the NFL’s MVP award.  But, you could certainly argue he’s the most important player on the Seattle Seahawks.  Making him the most important player on the best team in the National Football League.

Lynch has 1,577 total yards from scrimmage, with 16 total touchdowns.  He accounts for nearly 27% of our total yards this year, which is pretty fucking impressive.  The offense runs through him, and many would argue the offense doesn’t run WITHOUT him.  I wonder, but thankfully, I’ll never have to know (at least, for this season).

There was an interesting discussion on the radio today, about whether or not Russell Wilson is the same quarterback without Marshawn Lynch.  Is he still as effective?  There were a couple of good points, the first being that Lynch is an elite running back.  He’s in the top two or three in the NFL right now, which is saying something, even in this day and age of the devalued running back position.  Teams have to gameplan around Lynch.  They don’t necessarily have to gameplan as much if we’re talking about Turbin or Michael.  For as good as we think they might be, they’ve never had to carry the load full time.  It’s quite possible that two players who are awesome in short spurts become less effective the more times they touch the football.

The second point they made is even better:  Marshawn Lynch never goes down on first contact.  Think about THAT.  You can’t just assign one defender to roam around worrying about Lynch.  You have to run multiple guys at him to get him down.  It’s truly a team effort when you face the Seahawks, and if you’re not disciplined as a team (or, if you go about making too many Business Decisions), then Lynch is going to make you pay (mostly by running THROUGH you).

Knowing that you really have to key in on Lynch when he’s on the field, it opens up so much more for Russell Wilson.  Yes, part of the problem is the fact that other teams don’t really respect our passing attack, so they’re more likely to load the box or otherwise leave their corners on islands.  But, with Lynch still drawing the lion’s share of the attention, Wilson is able to run off of zone reads as well as simply scramble around until he’s able to find an open receiver.  And that’s saying nothing of all the pressure Lynch takes off of his shoulders simply by running the ball or being a quality outlet when Wilson needs to check down in the passing game.

Coming into this year, I was all set in my thinking:  we’d have Marshawn Lynch one more year, but we’d consistently work in Christine Michael, and after this year we’d let Lynch go and move on to our next franchise running back.  Now, through no fault of Michael’s, my thinking is seriously twisted up.  Like many other Seahawks fans, I can’t imagine this team doing anything without Beastmode.  More importantly, I don’t WANT to imagine it!

We’ve got Lynch signed through next year and I couldn’t be happier.  At the same time, I wouldn’t even be mad if they brought him back for an extra two years AFTER that!  Get the extension done in the offseason.  Give Lynch a nice little bonus for his so-far-under-the-radar-it’s-off-the-radar MVP performance, and ride this thing out until the bitter end.  If we get through Turbin’s and Michael’s rookie contracts without either of them being named the team’s starting running back, it’ll be a huge success.  I never would’ve thought that coming into the 2014 season.  I would’ve considered it an abject failure.  I mean, after all, why draft a running back in the second round (who may still have first round talent) if you’re not going to take advantage of him while his cost is still reasonable?

But, if you’re going to get this type of play out of Marshawn Lynch, you’ve got to keep him around for as long as it lasts.  It would probably be irresponsible to give him a 4-year deal like Wright or Avril, but a 2-year deal with modest base salaries and a nice chunk bonus (and not back-loaded, so both of those years are achievable) would certainly be in order.

Let’s prove the world wrong.  Let’s show everyone that Lynch CAN be happy here for the duration of his NFL career.

***

Getting back to Russell Wilson, do you ever wonder what he’s going to be like when Lynch leaves?  Or, shit, when Pete Carroll leaves for that matter!  The next running back isn’t likely to be an MVP type of back, just because those guys are so rare as it is.  What happens to Wilson when the offense is TRULY on his shoulders?  Like all of these other great quarterbacks he’s trying to be compared to?

For starters, CAN Russell Wilson carry a team by himself?  I’m inclined to think he can.  Now, we all know the arguments against Wilson being elite, and they all boil down to some variation on the Game Manager theme.  He doesn’t make mistakes, he scrambles around for extra yards, and he comes up with just enough big plays down field to keep defenses honest.  If you had a Game Manager Spectrum, he’d be at the absolute top-end of all quarterbacks.

There are LOTS of guys out there who are or were game managers.  But, how many of them take care of the ball the way he does?  Wilson has been in the league three years.  In all three years, he will have thrown for over 3,000 yards, over 20 TDs, and 10 or fewer INTs.  He’s also averaging over 600 yards rushing with nearly 4 TDs rushing, with only 3 fumbles per year.  No matter how much you like Kyle Orton, or Ryan Fitzpatrick, or Carson Palmer, or Jay Cutler, or Alex Smith, or Eli Manning, they’re not doing for you what Russell Wilson does.

What does Russell Wilson need to do to get into that MVP discussion?  Well, he probably has to throw for 4,000 and 30 TDs or more.  That seems to be a baseline for a quarterback to start getting recognized.  If he simply does what he’s been doing these first three seasons, the Seahawks would have to probably run the table in the regular season and even THEN, there better not be an overwhelming statistical season out of the likes of Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.

Can Wilson be that guy?  Can he throw for 4,000 and 30?  I suppose anything’s possible, but even then, you’re talking about a severely weakened Seahawks team.  See, he doesn’t have those numbers right now because the Seahawks don’t NEED him to throw that much.  But, if he’s doing that, then that means our defense is probably lacking, and we’re having to throw our way back into football games.  A 4,000/30 season out of Wilson probably equates to a 9-7 or 10-6 regular season record.  And, it probably means more turnovers in the process.

There’s always that give and take.  As a fan, of course I want to see the Seahawks be dominating, so I don’t care if Russell Wilson EVER reaches those MVP type numbers.  But, then again, maybe the national consensus should rethink what it means to be an MVP.

The Baltimore Ravens had one of the greatest defenses of all time in the year 2000.  But, that wasn’t just a 1-year blip.  They had LOTS of good defenses in the 2000s.  But, you didn’t see them win lots of Super Bowls; why is that?  Because, it’s pretty fucking hard to be as dominating as they were in 2000 for multiple seasons.  But, beyond that, it’s because they never really had an elite quarterback.

The 2013 Seahawks also had one of the greatest defenses of all time.  Consistently, throughout the year (as opposed to 2012 & 2014, when there have been significant breakdowns that have seen our record suffer as a result).  If we’d only had Tarvaris Jackson last year, I can envision a scenario where the 2013 Seahawks still win a Super Bowl a la the 2000 Ravens with Trent Dilfer.  BUT, I don’t see any subsequent championships in our future if we (in this hypothetical scenario) have to stick with Tarvaris Jackson (or some reasonable facsimile) for the duration of our defense being at this still very high level.  You get what I’m saying?

I’m saying if the Ravens of the 2000s had Russell Wilson at the helm, THEY might have been the dynasty instead of the Patriots.  Did I just blow your mind?

It goes hand in hand.  Yes, the Seahawks have an elite defense.  Yes, we’re on a run of defensive football (starting in 2012, going forward as long as I can see) where the Seahawks are going to be great for a while.  But, they wouldn’t be anything without Russell Wilson.  Just like the Ravens, for the most part, weren’t much until they got Joe Flacco (who isn’t any great shakes, but he’s more than just a game manager; just like Wilson is more than just a game manager).

The main problem with most quarterbacks is something I’ve said time and time again:  they THINK they can do everything, so they try to DO everything.  They think they can thread the needle on every throw when they don’t necessarily have to.  They think they’ve got the arm strength to slam a football into a tiny opening that isn’t really there once they’ve let the ball go.  As a result, a lot of these so-called great quarterbacks find themselves hurting their teams as much – if not more – than they’re helping.  Yeah, Jay Cutler has one of the strongest arms in football.  But, he’s got the brain of a child who’s always gotten his way since he emerged from his mother with that silver spoon en tow.

Drew Brees, there’s another one.  He’s a great quarterback, don’t get me wrong.  Hall of Famer and all of that.  But, like Brett Favre and a lot of other guys, Brees makes some baffling decisions when you wonder just what in the Hell he was thinking.  Maybe it’s because of the defense.  Maybe these quarterbacks think they have to be super-perfect because they know they’ve got to compensate for a struggling defense (and Wilson doesn’t have that problem, so he can be a little more cautious).  Maybe for those teams, a punt is a defeat and not a chance to live another day like it is with the Seahawks.  I dunno.

What I do know is you’re not that awesome just because you throw for 4 TDs a game if you’re also throwing 3 interceptions while doing it.

I’m just thankful that for at least these last few years, as a Seahawks fan, I’ve had it all.  Superstars come and go, but rarely do so many converge in the same place at the same time.  Unlike prior Seattle sports teams, this one is taking full advantage.  Here’s to another Super Bowl run; let’s get the job done on Sunday.

Comparing The 2005 Seahawks To The 2013 Seahawks

Last week, we more or less giddily looked forward to the “Big Game” on February 2nd.  This week, I’ve decided to take a step back and review the last time the Seahawks were in a position to give all of our lives meaning.

The 2005 Seahawks didn’t come out of nowhere, per se, but they also didn’t look like a team that would be bound for the Super Bowl.  In 2003, the Seahawks finished second in the NFC West (to the Rams), and lost in the Wild Card round to Green Bay (take the ball, score, all of that nonsense you wish you could forget).  In 2004, the Seahawks won the NFC West, but lost again in the Wild Card round, this time to the Rams (who, sadly, managed to beat us three times that season).

Suffice it to say, these Seahawks were starting to remind everyone of the early George Karl Sonics teams (good enough to win divisions and make the playoffs, but ALWAYS with the first round exits).  In a way, 2005 was a make-or-break year for Mike Holmgren.  Obviously, he had already lost his General Managing duties by this point, but if there was another underperforming finish to this season, you had to wonder how hot his seat would’ve been.  2005 was his seventh season in Seattle.  He had made the playoffs three times in those seven years, and each time he lost in the first round.

So, it was more than a little disconcerting to see us go into Jacksonville – where we expected to be the better team, given the Jags’ questions at quarterback – and lose to kick off the season.  Granted, those Jags would end up 12-4, but we had no idea they’d be that good going in.  The Seahawks bounced back with a couple of home wins over a couple of mediocre teams (Falcons & Cardinals), before losing on the road once again (this time to the Redskins).

By this point, it was the same boring storyline:  the Seahawks can’t win on the road (and they especially can’t win on the road at 10am Pacific time).  The very next week would, once again, put this theory to the test, as we faced off against our most bitter rival (at the time), the St. Louis Rams.  After they’d beaten us three times the previous year, we knew there was a dragon left to be slain.  Having it on the road, in the morning, made it all the sweeter when we won 37-31.

This kicked off an 11-game winning streak that was only broken in Week 17 when we rested many of our starters (as we’d locked up the #1 seed).

Looking back on it, the NFC was VERY weak in 2005.  The Rams & Packers were both in the midst of down seasons.  The Bears had a great defense, but were led by Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman of all people.  The Seahawks drew the Redskins in the Divisional Round, with the aging Mark Brunell, and easily dispatched them.  That led to an NFC Championship Game against the Carolina Panthers.  We made mincemeat of Jake Delhomme (probably the beginning of the end of his career, with three interceptions against only one touchdown) and Steve Smith (at the height of his powers, held to a trivial 5 catches for 33 yards).  These were not teams to fear.

For sure, all the talent was in the AFC in 2005.  The 14-2 Colts were the best team in football.  The 13-3 Broncos were surprisingly effective with Jake Plummer at the helm and the 3rd ranked defense by points scored.  The 10-6 Patriots were still, more or less, the same team that had won three of the last four Super Bowls.  The 11-5 Bengals were a surprising division winner, with Carson Palmer looking to really make his mark on this league.  The 12-4 Jaguars were one of the better 5-seeds in the history of the league to that point (boxed out by the aforementioned 14-2 Colts).  Leaving the 11-5 Steelers, in the 6-seed.

Had things gone according to plan (or according to the 2013 blueprint), the Seahawks would have played Peyton Manning and his Colts in the Super Bowl.  Of course, nothing goes the way you want it to.

The Steelers started out their playoff run by killing Carson Palmer’s career.  He thew one pass for 66 yards.  On his next attempt, he was hit at the knees by a defensive lineman and was out for the game (Palmer would make it back, but he was never as good as he was in 2005).  A promising Bengals team was defeated, with Jon Kitna at the helm.  The Steelers continued their run by going into Indy and playing the top team in the league.  They came away with a 3-point victory.  That led to them going into Denver to play the Broncos (who somehow managed to defeat the Patriots), where they won easily.

To be honest, the run couldn’t have gone more perfectly for the 6-seeded Steelers.  It was a harrowing feat to say the least.  You want to talk about steel sharpening steel?  Compare that run of three straight road games to the charmed life the Seahawks had, with one of the easiest conference regular seasons in recent memory, followed by two home games where we enjoy the best Home Field Advantage in the world.  Pretty much, the Seahawks were flying first class to the Super Bowl, while the Steelers had to survive a death march over steaming hot coals.

In any other year, against any other team, I would have been cheering on the Steelers like nobody’s business.  Instead, I came out of Super Bowl XL with the Steelers as one of my most hated teams of all time

***

I’ll have more on Super Bowl XL tomorrow.  Right now, let’s take a look at those 2005 Seahawks, and how they compare to the 2013 version.

As a general overview, the 2005 Seahawks were (unsurprisingly) quite successful on offense and not so much on defense.  In fact, they led the league in points scored and were second in yards gained.  However, on defense, they weren’t quite the trainwreck I seem to remember.  They were 7th-best in points allowed and 16th in yards given up.  Of course, I would contend their schedule had something to do with that, but the point is, we’re not talking about the 2012 Saints or anything.

The 2005 Seahawks had the MVP of the league in Shaun Alexander.  He scored 27 rushing touchdowns which, at the time, was the NFL record.  It would be beaten by LaDainian Tomlinson the very next season, but it was still an amazing achievement.  Alexander also ran for 1,880 yards, which was a career high for him.  You can say what you want about his running style, but the man got the job done for us and should be appreciated as the greatest running back in Seahawks history.

The 2005 Seahawks were led by Matt Hasselbeck.  He was in his seventh year in the league, fifth year with the Seahawks, and third year as the Seahawks’ unquestioned starter at the quarterback position.  Remember, when he first got here, we were jerking him around with Trent Dilfer on the roster.  As if winning that Super Bowl with the Ravens (and the greatest defense of all time) somehow made Dilfer competent at the quarterback position or something.  Anyway, I made the point at the time (and stand behind it to this day) that the 2005 Seahawks were as good as they were because they had Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback.  Shaun Alexander might have been the league’s MVP, but Hasselbeck was the team’s MVP.  Had we played that season with a replacement-level quarterback (or, Seneca Wallace, as he’s formally known), we would have had replacement-level results, no matter how many yards and touchdowns Alexander ran for.

Then again, the heart and soul of the 2005 Seahawks resided along the offensive line.  It was EASILY the best in football and EASILY the best line we’ve ever seen in Seattle.  It also probably rivals some of the best offensive lines in the history of the league, but I’ll leave that argument for people smarter than me to make.  All I know is:  with Walter Jones & Steve Hutchinson on the left side of that line, the rest of the offense’s job was made a lot easier.

So, let’s start there.  Let’s make the rest of this post a position-by-position breakdown, starting with the offensive line.  For the record, I’m going to try to pick the player who played the most games at his given position (or, who is known as that team’s “starter”).  The better player is highlighted in blue.

Left Tackle
2005 – Walter Jones
2013 – Russell Okung

Left Guard
2005 – Steve Hutchinson
2013 – James Carpenter / Paul McQuistan

Center
2005 – Robbie Tobeck
2013 – Max Unger

Right Guard
2005 – Chris Gray
2013 – J.R. Sweezy

Right Tackle
2005 – Sean Locklear
2013 – Breno Giacomini

Overall, when you consider the offensive line as a whole, you give the overwhelming nod to the 2005 Seahawks.  The 2013 Seahawks have no one NEAR the calibre of Walter Jones & Steve Hutchinson of 2005.  Max Unger gets a marginal nod over Tobeck.  Chris Gray was like 2005’s version of Paul McQuistan (savvy veteran, able to play multiple positions along the line, helps more than he hurts).  I never did like Sean Locklear.

Quarterback
2005 – Matt Hasselbeck
2013 – Russell Wilson

I’m not gonna lie to you, before I looked at the stats, just going off of memory, I REALLY wanted to pick Hasselbeck over Wilson.  I just thought, given the style of offense (West-Coast, heavy on the passing and the completion percentage), the Seahawks would have required more out of Hasselbeck than they do out of Wilson now.  But, look at these numbers!

Hasselbeck:  294/449 (65.5%), 3,459 yards, 24 TDs, 9 INTs, rating of 98.2
Wilson:  257/407 (63.1%), 3,357, 26 TDs, 9 INTs, rating of 101.2

First of all, I thought Hasselbeck would have attempted WAY more passes than Wilson, but it turned out to only be 42 more passes (or a little over two and a half passes per game).  As it turns out, Wilson was the more efficient quarterback, who still managed to best Hasselbeck in touchdowns thrown.  When you tack on Wilson’s rushing yards, it’s pretty clear who’s the better quarterback.  It’s NOT Year 7 Hasselbeck; it’s Year 2 Wilson.  Soak that in as you daydream about the next dozen years with Wilson at the helm.

Running Back
2005 – Shaun Alexander
2013 – Marshawn Lynch

Listen to me, now.  I know how much you love Beastmode.  Hell, I love myself some Beastmode as much as anybody!  I wouldn’t trade his hard-nosed, rugged running style for anything.  It isn’t even really a question of who would you rather have.  I’m not posing the notion of putting 2005 Alexander with 2013’s offensive line to see who would be the better guy.  Let’s face it, 2005 Alexander WITH 2005’s offensive line is just a better running back than 2013 Lynch with 2013’s line.  I’ll kindly refer you to the numbers:

Alexander:  370 attempts, 1,880 yards, 5.1 yards per carry, 27 touchdowns
Lynch:  301 attempts, 1,257 yards, 4.2 yards per carry, 12 touchdowns

Let’s face it, 2005 Alexander’s numbers are Looney Tunes!  You just don’t see running backs like this very much anymore.  They’re a dying breed.  Alexander was 28 when he had this season.  Lynch is 27, but considering the pounding his body takes, you’d have to think he’s in a similar boat.  When Alexander hit 30, he fell off the cliff.  I would expect nothing less out of Lynch.

Also, 2005 Alexander had 69 more attempts!  In what is supposed to be a pass-oriented offense.  Now, granted, those Seahawks won a lot of games and leaned on teams late with that rushing attack.  But, the 2013 Seahawks ALSO won a lot of games, but weren’t putting up numbers like this.

It boils down to those 2005 Seahawks being a fast-paced offense vs. the 2013 Seahawks slowing the game down.  Of course you’re going to get better offensive numbers if you’re going to be running so many more plays.

Wide Receiver 1
2005 – Darrell Jackson
2013 – Golden Tate

The numbers don’t bear out that Jackson was the team’s #1 receiver – because he missed a good ten games in the middle of the season before returning for the playoff run – but it’s pretty obvious who the team’s top target was.  Jackson’s early career was mired by drops, but he managed to get his shit together starting in 2005.  And, in that playoff run (where he caught 20 balls for 268 yards in three games – and it would have been more in the Super Bowl had things gone a little differently), Jackson really took a step forward.

Nevertheless, Golden Tate gets the nod.  He draws the lion’s share of the coverage (usually with the other team’s best cover corner), and still managed to catch 64 balls for 898 yards.  What puts Tate over the top is his talent, his versatility, and his ability in the punt return game.

Wide Receiver 2
2005 – Joe Jurevicius
2013 – Sidney Rice / Jermaine Kearse

I resisted the urge to put Doug Baldwin here, mainly because I want to save him so I can compare him to Bobby Engram.  In his stead, I put the duo of Rice & Kearse.  Rice was obviously this team’s #2 receiver when he was healthy, but of course, he went down after 8 games and Kearse picked up some of the slack.  You’ve got to ding Rice for not being reliable with his health.  But, aside from all that, Jurevicius was rock solid in 2005.

He caught 55 balls for 694 yards and a whopping 10 touchdowns!  He was the type of big body that Pete Carroll has been spending his entire Seahawks career trying to bring in.

Wide Receiver 3
2005 – Bobby Engram
2013 – Doug Baldwin

Bobby Engram was Doug Baldwin before Doug Baldwin was even a twinkle in the Seahawks’ eye!  Engram was Hasselbeck’s 3rd Down security blanket just as Baldwin is that for Wilson today.  And, when other receivers went down – as they seemingly always did – Engram was able to pick up the slack, just like Baldwin has this year after Rice went down.

I’m giving the nod to Baldwin for a couple reason.  Even though Engram caught 17 more passes, they caught the same exact number of yards:  778.  Doug Baldwin is the more explosive receiver.  He can go downfield and make a big play FAR more regularly than Engram ever could.  While he may play in the slot, Baldwin isn’t just a traditional slot receiver like Engram was.  Baldwin can play all over, yet still be that security blanket on third down who finds the hole in the zone or makes the diving sideline grab.

Tight End
2005 – Jerramy Stevens
2013 – Zach Miller

I probably shouldn’t let my emotions get the better of me, but in this case I can’t help it.  2005 Jerramy Stevens’ numbers absolutely dwarf Zach Miller’s, and if he even REMOTELY lived up to the hype coming into his pro career, Jerramy Stevens would be a beloved individual around these parts.  Instead, he sucked dick, and is beloved in Pittsburgh for handing them the Super Bowl.  So, Zach Miller gets the nod (plus, Miller is actually a true tight end who blocks well and does the whole thing; Stevens was a glorified, overweight wide receiver and not a very good one at that).

So, if you add it up for both sides, 2005 gets the edge on Offensive Line, Running Back (an extension of the offensive line), and one of the three wide receivers.  2013 wins on Quarterback play, Tight End, and 2/3 of the wide receivers.  If I’m weighting things as I should, it’s pretty neck and neck.  Offensive line is the most important part of any football team, so they factor in pretty heavily.  QB comes next.  And, I figure the receivers and tight end equal out the Shaun Alexander MVP factor.  I’m calling it a wash across the board.  But, you can’t just call it a tie, so let’s go to the numbers:

2005:  452 points, 5,915 yards, 1,020 total plays, 5.8 yards per play, 17 turnovers
2013:  417 points, 5,424 yards, 973 total plays, 5.6 yards per play, 19 turnovers

Look, by the slimmest of margins, I’m giving 2005 the nod over 2013 on offense.  There are pieces there to cobble together the greatest offense of all time (2005 O-Line with 2013’s skill position players), but if you want the truth, I’m going to go with the offense that scored more points.  It’s kind of as simple as that.

***

Let’s hop right into the defenses.

2005 Defensive Line
Bryce Fisher (DE)
Grant Wistrom (DE)
Rocky Bernard (DT)
Marcus Tubbs (DT)
Chuck Darby (DT)

2013 Defensive Line
Red Bryant (DE)
Chris Clemons (DE)
Brandon Mebane (DT)
Cliff Avril (DE)
Michael Bennett (DE/DT)
Tony McDaniel (DT)
Clinton McDonald (DT)

This goes without question.  I mean, LOOK at that rotation!  The 2013 Seahawks can come up with any number of fronts, whereas the 2005 version pretty much ran out the same four guys play-in and play-out.  I would argue that Mebane was just as disruptive up the middle as Tubbs.  Michael Bennett can do just as much as Rocky Bernard on the inside (as far as pass rush is concerned), as well as have the ability to slide outside and rush on the edge.  Grant Wistrom was less of a joke than a nightmare I’m still trying to wake up from.  No contest.  Next song.

2005 Linebackers
Leroy Hill
D.D. Lewis
Lofa Tatupu

2013 Linebackers
K.J. Wright
Malcolm Smith
Bobby Wagner
Bruce Irvin

In 2005, you had Leroy Hill and Lofa Tatupu as rookies, and therefore at the height of their powers and physicality.  But, Tatupu was never good enough to hold Bobby Wagner’s jock, and the combination of Wright & Smith is WAY more versatile than Leroy Hill ever was.  Hill was great at run-stuffing, and he managed 7.5 sacks in his rookie campaign, but there’s more to linebacker than simply running forward.  You’ve got to run laterally, and backward.  You’ve got to play in coverage, and that’s where the 2013 crew has it all over the 2005 crew.  Which is odd, because those Holmgren defenses were known for their speed.  Here’s the thing:  2013 HAS that speed, but they’ve also got size and versatility.  Again, no contest.  Next song.

2005 Secondary
Marcus Trufant
Kelly Herndon
Michael Boulware
Marquand Manuel
Jordan Babineaux
Ken Hamlin
Etric Pruitt

2013 Secondary
Richard Sherman
Byron Maxwell
Earl Thomas
Kam Chancellor
Brandon Browner
Walter Thurmond
Jeremy Lane

I could have stopped after just Richard Sherman – with he alone covering all of the other team’s receivers – and he would have beaten out the 2005 secondary.  I was going to split them up by cornerbacks and safeties, but what’s the point?  It’s laughable how terrible that 2005 secondary was.  Luckily for the 2005 team, they were frequently playing with a lead.  It’s a lot easier to play defense with a lead than it is from behind.

On the whole, it’s not even close.  2013 defense in a landslide.  In fact, I don’t know if there are any guys on that 2005 team would would even PLAY on the 2013 version!  I don’t think anyone turns down a 2005 Rocky Bernard.  And I know 2005 Bryce Fisher had 9.0 sacks, but does he have the ability to stuff the run like Chris Clemons does?  I mean, maybe Fisher cracks the defensive end rotation, but most of those 2005 guys are backups at best on the 2013 team.  I’ll tell you this much:  I’m starting Byron Maxwell over Marcus Trufant every day of the week.

***

In conclusion, the 2013 Seahawks are the better team.  You pit them against the 2005 Seahawks, one game, winner takes all, it’s the 2013 team by a comfortable margin.  2013’s defensive line might struggle to get pressure on the quarterback, and it’s 50/50 whether or not the 2005 team runs the ball well.  But, there’s no way 2005 is throwing all that well against 2013’s secondary.

For the record, nothing would bring me greater joy than to see Kam Chancellor knock the shit out of Jerramy Stevens.  I don’t even mean in any hypothetical matchup between these two teams.  I mean in real life.  Kam Chancellor hunts Jerramy Stevens down, wherever he’s living, and he fucks his shit up.  For real.

The Seahawks Defense Asserts Its Dominance, Shuts Out Pathetic Giants

There’s something inherently frustrating about the New York Giants (if you’re a fan of that particular team).  You’ve still got the same core elements in place of what has recently been a championship team.  And yet, they don’t really fit the model of what you think a team is supposed to go through.  You start out young, you improve, you win a championship (or at least enjoy some sustained success), then you decline, then you blow it all up and start over.  With the Giants, though, they seem to speed this process along every couple of years before getting right back to being amazing again.

This team shouldn’t be as bad as it is.  Their defense is actually kind of solid!  I never thought things were in doubt yesterday, but it wasn’t until the second half before I really felt comfortable.  And that’s because their defense always found a way to step up and limit the damage.  This should have been more along the lines of the Falcons or Saints games, with our offense just moving at will.  But, credit half of the Giants:  they came ready to play and didn’t TOTALLY embarrass themselves.  I can’t say that about their offense.

Eli Manning has these types of games in him.  And I’m not talking about Once In A Blue Moon the way most quarterbacks have these types of games in them; I’m talking about at least a couple times a year.  That’s why it’s fucking retarded to put him in the same breath as Peyton Manning, just because he won ONE more Super Bowl.  Eli is like a SLIGHTLY better version of Trent Dilfer.  The problem is:  Eli thinks he’s a WAY better version of Trent Dilfer.  As a Game Manager (and I mean that in the most derogatory way you can tender the phrase), Eli Manning can get the job done.  But, since Eli thinks he’s one of the elites, he tries to force balls into places they have no business being.  Like anywhere NEAR Richard Sherman.  I mean, come on!  Either he’s riddled with stupidity, or he’s got the hubris of a much better quarterback who thinks he’s immune to the best cornerback in football.  Eli, listen to me buddy:  don’t throw on Richard Sherman.

To be fair, one of his FIVE interceptions yesterday was a total fluke.  There was, like, three seconds left in the first half when the Seahawks scored.  Hauschka tried to squib the kick, except it went out of bounds, giving the Giants the ball at the 40 (whereupon the Giants tried a Hail Mary that was picked off).  If we just kick it down the middle and it goes a little further, they simply kneel the ball and go to half.

But, still, those other four picks were pure Eli.  He’s a cautionary tale, to be sure.  Put a guy like that on a good team and he’ll work magic; but put him on a bad team, and he turns into Jake Delhomme.  Makes you wonder what Russell Wilson would look like if the rest of the team somehow turned to shit.

This is normally the part of the day-after post where I give out my game balls.  Apologies to the offense, but this game was all about the D.

Excellent game by Richard Sherman.  Of course, I could say that every week, but it’s not every week that the opposing quarterback actually challenges our All Pro!  He’s got 6 interceptions on the year, which currently has him tied for the lead.  That number feels low, right?  Isn’t there usually a league-leader who has like 8 or 9 picks by now?  We’re 14 games into the season!

At one spot behind, we’ve got Earl Thomas with 5 picks.  The one he got yesterday was all thanks to Sherman, who from the back of the endzone tipped another ill-advised Eli pass to Thomas as he ran on-screen.  Nice bounce-back game for Thomas, who was really shut down against the 49ers last week.

Byron Maxwell appears to be the whipping boy on this team, netting the lion’s share of the targets with Richard Sherman locking down the other side of the field.  Honestly, I’m shocked that Maxwell hasn’t given up more big plays, but that’s probably because I’ve never really watched him all that closely.  He’s amazing!  This team never ceases to amaze me when it comes to our backups playing like starters.  I know we spent most of the off-season preaching about depth on this team, and how the Seahawks have the best depth in football, but this is ridiculous!  Can you imagine what teams like the Patriots or Broncos would look like if they had the depth we have?  Probably a lot like us, because that’s how good we are.

Bobby Wagner had himself a helluva game, with 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks.  With K.J. Wright out until MAYBE the Super Bowl, Wagner is certainly the guy who will have to step up and carry some extra burden.

Michael Bennett only has 7.5 sacks on the year, but doesn’t it feel like he has a lot more?  I feel like he should be leading the team, but then I see that Cliff Avril has 8.0 sacks on the year.  You know how a team will go into an offseason and make a couple of big splashes to compensate for an obvious disadvantage, thinking that these couple of guys will solve all of our problems?  And you know how most of the time, those moves never work out the way you intended (usually for the worse)?  Well, the Bennett & Avril signings have gone EXACTLY as well as I could have possibly hoped!  Bennett – playing on a 1-year deal – is looking to earn himself a big, fat raise next season.  Avril – playing on a 2-year deal that was weighted to REALLY make it a 1-year deal – has earned himself at least some long-term security.  He’s due to make nearly $10 million next year, which probably won’t work for us cap-wise.  But, I could easily see us restructuring, giving him a 3-year deal that’s a little more reasonable for all three years.

On a quick side note – as this won’t be a problem again until maybe the Super Bowl – but these ends have gotta do a better job of not biting on the hard count.  The one thing Eli did exceedingly well yesterday was get our guys to jump offsides.  AND, that was a bullshit call by the refs on that false start, where he said Eli shook his hands.  If a defensive end is going to jump offsides because a quarterback moves his hands, then that means he’s not watching the ball and THAT is a problem!  Again, though, with two more home games (followed by two playoff home games), this won’t be an issue until at least the Super Bowl.

I’m going back to the secondary well to give big ups to Jeremy Lane, who had 7 tackles and a really nice pass defended.  See:  pretty much everything I wrote about Byron Maxwell, plus Lane is awesome at tackling on special teams.

I’ll close with our run defense.  Some dipshit at the USA Today wrote an article about how – if the Seahawks have any weakness – our wide receivers are our biggest weakness.  I think that’s total horseshit.  A.  Because our wide receivers are awesome and probably the most underrated in the league; and B.  Because our run defense is probably our biggest weakness.  Again, IF we have a weakness.

Yet, for some reason, I had a ton of confidence in our abilities to stop the run yesterday.  So much confidence, in fact, that I bet a buddy of mine (not a Seahawks fan) ten bucks that we would hold the Giants to less than 50 yards on the ground.  Granted, this bet took place in a drunken stupor, but look at what happened!  25 yards rushing!  And you could tell, this was a Giants team that REALLY wanted to run the ball.  It was embarrassing how much they wanted to run the ball, until it got to the point where they were too far behind and had to throw the rest of the way.

To be fair, I also bet that buddy of mine $1 (at 10 to 1 odds) that the Seahawks would hold the Giants to exactly 49 yards.  So, I’m only $9 richer.  But, is it really about the money?  Or about lording the fact that I was right over him for the next week?

Both.  It’s both.

#1 – Russell Wilson

To see the full list of the 30 most important Seahawks in 2013, click here.

Isn’t it obvious by now why Russell Wilson would be #1 on this list?  Let’s face it, the Trent Dilfer Ravens only comes around MAYBE once a generation.  To win in this league, you need a stud quarterback.  Russell Wilson is that stud.

It’s going to get a little homo-erotic in here going forward, so you may want to hit the Escape button now while you still can.

How do I love Russell Wilson?  Let me count the ways!

The Seattle Seahawks have drafted 17 quarterbacks in their history.  These are those quarterbacks:

  1. Russell Wilson
  2. Mike Teel *
  3. David Greene *
  4. Seneca Wallace
  5. Jeff Kelly *
  6. Josh Booty *
  7. Brock Huard
  8. Rick Mirer
  9. Dan McGwire
  10. John Gromos *
  11. Sammy Garza
  12. David Norrie
  13. John Conner *
  14. Frank Seurer
  15. Sam Adkins
  16. Steve Myer *
  17. Chris Rowland *

Seven of those guys never completed a pass for the Seahawks and possibly for the NFL (denoted by *).  Of the remaining ten, only three of them appeared in more than 13 games in their careers.  Seneca Wallace was a 4th round pick that Mike Holmgren turned into a serviceable backup for seven seasons.  Rick Mirer was a #2 overall draft pick who stuck around the league for 11 years, but was a huge disappointment in the process.

I think it’s safe to say that Russell Wilson is the greatest quarterback the Seattle Seahawks have ever drafted.  And it’s not even close.

His rookie numbers were insane.  252 for 393 (64.1%) for 3,118 yards, 26 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions.  Also, he ran for 489 yards on 94 carries for a 5.2 yards per attempt average and 4 touchdowns.  He had 5 game-winning drives en route to an 11-5 regular season record.  He took this team across the country in his first-ever playoff game and came away victorious against the Redskins.  Then, he took this team BACK across the country in his second-ever playoff game and came within 30 seconds of victory against the Falcons.  He led the world’s best offense for the last 8 games of the regular season.  And did I mention he was a rookie?  He was a rookie.  A ROOKIE!

Not only that, but he was a third round draft pick.  As a third round pick, he either matched the play or outright out-played the likes of Andrew Luck and RGIII (the top two picks of the draft).  Not only that, but as a rookie third rounder, Russell Wilson out-played most of the LEAGUE.  His 100.0 passer rating ranked fourth in the NFL last year (behind Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, and RGIII).  Not bad for a kid who wasn’t given total control of the offense for a good chunk of his early season.

People will try to argue that it’s not sustainable.  That he’s due to regress.  That he surely couldn’t match the numbers of his rookie campaign, let alone beat them.  Haters gonna hate, after all.  Of course, a lot of those same haters were saying how his numbers were going to hit the wall towards the end of last season too.  He had a stretch of four straight games without an interception and right around that time, a prominent NFL writer for Grantland wrote something about how he surely wouldn’t keep that up.  I guess that’s technically true, but for his last 10 games (including the 2 playoff games), Wilson had only 3 interceptions, and one of them came at the end of the Atlanta game when the Falcons caught a hail mary to seal it.

I’m here to argue, homer that I am, that not only can Russell Wilson match his rookie output, but he can BEAT that rookie output!  Why do I think that?

Because he’s talented.  There are guys like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, and Drew Brees all in the top tier in the NFL.

In that very next tier, you’ve got guys like Russell Wilson, RGIII, Andrew Luck, Colin Kaepernick, Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Matthew Stafford.  Some of those guys in the second tier – like Flacco, Manning, Roethlisberger, and Stafford – are as good as they’re ever going to get.  Those guys most likely will NEVER be in the top tier.  That doesn’t mean they’re bad.  Some of them are Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, for crying out loud!  But, they won’t approach the level of play the top five guys have shown.

However, guys like Wilson, Luck, RGIII, and Kaep have a chance.  In Wilson’s case, I think we will be able to put him in that top tier within the first five years of him being in the league.

He can make all the throws.  He throws as well on the run as he does in the pocket.  He’s got a strong arm and he’s accurate.  Most importantly, he avoids turnovers.  Even someone like Drew Brees can’t say that.

The main reason why I think Russell Wilson will be better in 2013 is his make up.  He’s the hardest working player on the team.  He spent the whole off-season getting guys together and working on plays.  He’s also the most studious player on the team.  He goes through hours of tape like Peyton Manning goes through hours of tape.  His level of play won’t go down because he won’t LET it go down.  He’s always striving to get better every day.  With that kind of attitude, and with the actions to back up his words, Russell Wilson is the complete package we’ve been looking for since the Seahawks first entered this league.

He will go down as the best quarterback in franchise history.  And he will make it in the Hall of Fame.  Because he will have won the most Super Bowls of any quarterback in the history of the world.

Russell Wilson, will you go to the prom with me?

Seahawks Embark Upon The Home Portion Of Their Divisional Schedule

The Arizona Cardinals are what the Seattle Seahawks would look like if they didn’t have Marshawn Lynch or a quarterback.  Almost exactly!  Granted, the Seahawks don’t have anyone like Larry Fitzgerald, but what good is Larry Fitzgerald if you don’t have anyone to throw to him?  It’s like having a big ol’ dick, no one to stick it in, and no hands to … you know what, let’s think harder on this analogy.

Larry Fitzgerald and no quarterback:  it’s like having some big ol’ titties, but … hold on, I can do better.

Larry Fitzgerald and no quarterback:  it’s like a Washington State Strip Club.  It costs a bundle, you can’t touch anything, and they don’t serve alcohol, so really, what’s the fucking point?

Something like that.  I may or may not need to get laid here pretty soon.

But really, am I wrong here?  What IS the point of having a Larry Fitzgerald if you’re going to keep trotting out these DOUCHEBAGS?  Even a moderately AVERAGE quarterback could lead this team to the playoffs.  Trent Dilfer in his prime would be absolutely DROOLING over this team!  Whoever constructed this team deserves the Bill Bavasi Award For Extreme Incompetence.

What I’m trying to say is:  Arizona is a fucking mess.  Yeah, they have a solid defense, but as you can clearly see by their 8-game losing streak, a fat lot of good that’s going to do you in the ol’ win/loss record.  Their passing game is atrocious, their running game is even worse, and even though they have the single greatest wide receiver in the NFL, he’s only able to muster 54 yards per game!  Larry Fitzgerald, in case you didn’t know, has a whopping THREE games this season where he was held to a single reception.  1 for 4 yards in New England, 1 for 11 yards in Atlanta, and 1 for 23 yards in New York against the Jets.  Mind you, it’s not for a lack of targets:  he averages 12 targets per game!  It’s just the trifecta of suck that is Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and whatever the fuck a Ryan Lindley is!

There is no reason whatsoever (aside from him getting injured on the first snap of the ballgame) for Larry Fitzgerald to only catch one ball in a football game.  The Cardinals are a fucking disgrace and their coaching staff deserves to be drawn & quartered for their crimes.  Mind you, the Cardinals are a hated rival, and yet I can’t help but feel sorry for Larry Fitzgerald.  What did the guy ever do to deserve such a fate?

More or less, this is my way of saying that the Seahawks should win handily this Sunday.  This is another one of those games where allowing them to score more than 3 points would be a travesty.  But, then again, this defense of ours has shown some cracks of late.  I can by no means guarantee single-digits allowed.  I probably CAN guarantee no more than the mid-to-low teens, and I think the Seahawks are good enough to beat whatever it is the Cardinals can muster.  My guess?  20-10.  Something like that.  MAYBE a late touchdown to push it to 27-10.  But, this game should be a snore.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

#30 – Russell Wilson

To see the full list of the 30 most important Seahawks in 2012, click here.

He may be #30 on this countdown, but Russell Wilson will be #1 in my heart if he does what I hope he does.  That would be:  unseating Tarvar as the backup quarterback on this team and causing Tarvar’s unceremonious dismissal.

I think I’m a patient man (actually, no, no I am not).  I’ve had to suffer years upon years of mediocre quarterbacking.  From the tail end of Dave Krieg’s fumble-prone career, to the triad of suck known as Kelly Stouffer, Dan McGwire & Stan Gelbaugh, to #2 overall draft pick-turned-bust Rick Mirer.  Then, you’ve got the underwhelming efforts of John Friesz, Jon Kitna, Trent Dilfer and Brock Huard (with a still-good, though highly injury-prone Warren Moon at the end of his Hall of Fame career mixed in for good measure).  Have I NOT suffered enough as a Seahawks fan?  I’m sorry, but a half-decade’s worth of Pro Bowl-calibre effort from Matt Hasselbeck cannot erase the entire decade of the 90s.

Tarvar is the icing on the cake e coli on the Jack In The Box hamburger that is the quarterback position of the Seattle Seahawks for the last 20+ years (again, give or take a few great Hasselbeck seasons).  It’s not enough to know that Tarvar won’t be the starting quarterback going into this season; I want him out of my life FOREVER.  I don’t even want a CHANCE of him entering the game as a hobbled Flynn limps off the field after a particularly nasty sack.

Which means, obvs, I have to root for Russell Wilson to be extremely effective this pre-season.

Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?  That’s a thing people say when they’ve hatched a scheme and it concludes flawlessly.  Well, that’s sort of how I feel when one of my favorite teams eliminates the last of the players I hate.  Tarvar, really, is the only guy on the Seahawks I actively don’t like.  Not because I think he’s a bad person.  Just because I think he’s a bad quarterback.  I will be popping open a bottle of champagne the day this team releases him, thanking the heavens that the clouds have parted and I’m free of mediocrity once and for all!

What the Seahawks Should Do At Quarterback In 2012

In the event you can’t count, the Seattle Seahawks have four quarterbacks on the roster.  Well, not technically, but we expect Russell Wilson to sign his contract any time.  THEN we’ll have four quarterbacks.

In the event you’re new to the game of professional football, teams rarely – if EVER – keep more than three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.  Sometimes, it’s as few as two.  Three.  Three is the cheese.

"Speaks so well" isn't a compliment!

Now, if you’re like me, you think Matt Flynn is going to be our starter going into Week 1 of the regular season.  The only conceivable way this DOESN’T happen is if he gets injured.  Matt Flynn getting injured would be very VERY bad for my mental well-being.  I can’t handle a whole fucking summer of the Mariners, followed by our best quarterback going into the regular season injured.

Depending on the severity of the hypothetical injury, we could see some interesting things shake out.  If Flynn goes down for the count early in the preseason, I don’t think there’s any question Tarvar enters as the Number 1 Quarterback.  If Flynn’s injury is something that’s only going to cost him a week or two … maybe not?

Here’s my thinking on the matter:  let’s say Matt Flynn wins the starting job in Training Camp, but let’s say it’s not exactly a landslide.  Both quarterbacks show flashes of brilliance, and both show flashes of why they should be backups in this league.  At that point, the last thing this team wants is a Quarterback Controversy.  Tarvar is in the last year of his 2-year deal.  Flynn is in the first year of a 4-year deal.  Obviously, all things being equal, all things are not equal.  That’s a notch in Flynn’s belt right off the bat, before he’s even thrown a pass in a Seahawks uniform.

I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if, given the closeness of the outcome between the two players, Tarvar is released before the regular season starts, in the final roster cut-downs.

Seahawks fans might not love the guy, but Tarvar showed a lot of grit and a lot of guts last season by taking a pounding behind an inexperienced offensive line.  Granted, some of that was of his own making by holding the ball too damn long, but still.  If Flynn comes out of the gate and costs us a couple of ballgames, who’s to say these fans around here wouldn’t be calling for Tarvar to replace our Golden Child?  Hell, these fans once chanted for Trent Fucking Dilfer!  They once chanted for Charlie Whitehurst!

On the one hand, I see the value of having a veteran guy who knows the offense as your second string quarterback.  QBs go down all the time in this league!  With the talent we have around the quarterback position, I could easily see Tarvar stepping in for a game or two (while Flynn works through an ankle sprain or something) and this team not missing a beat.

On the other, more favorable hand, I want Tarvar out of my life but permanently.  I want to see Matt Flynn thrash the shit out of him in Training Camp so there’s absolutely no question who the leader is of this team.  I want to see more of Josh Portis, because I think he can be exciting.  And, I want to see what Russell Wilson is capable of.

Essentially, Tarvar’s fate rests in Russell Wilson’s hands.  I think we’re all pretty confident in the fact that Josh Portis is a third stringer and no more.  But, Wilson is the real wild card here.  He’s a rookie, so off the bat everything is going to be difficult for him.  But, if he shows this coaching staff he can handle the workload, can remain composed on the field, and lead this offense on some impressive drives, then he could easily snatch that second string job from Tarvar and make the decision to waive him academic.

I, for one, hope exactly that happens.  Wilson seems to have a good head on his shoulders.  Seems like he’ll be willing to put in all the extra work required to be a major player in this league.  If he ends up being the reason why we jettison Tarvar, he will most certainly earn a place in this bitter blogger’s heart.

Tarvar was a move based out of necessity.  We needed to rid this team of Matt Hasselbeck because his best days were clearly behind him.  We needed a quarterback who knew the offense our coordinator was bringing in because we had no offseason thanks to the lockout.  Tarvar came in, tried his hardest, and led this team to a number of impressive wins.  But, he’s still a .500 quarterback at best.  It’s time to let him go and see what a real man can do with the position.

Seattle Seahawks Free Agents 2012

Here is my source.

I’m just going to talk about the 18 unrestricted free agents.  In this space, I’m going to rank them thusly:  MUST HAVE; Ehh, Either Way; and Throw The Bum Out.  Up first:

MUST HAVE

  1. Red Bryant – This was a close one, but I gotta say that what Red Bryant brings is more important to his position than what Lynch brings to his.  Let’s face it, with Bryant in at defensive end, we are a completely different defense!  We’re able to shut down running games, make other teams one-dimensional, and free up space for guys like Clemons to get in there and sack the quarterback.  It’s hard to double-team someone like Clemons when you’ve got a beast on the other end requiring two guys to stop him.  And, let’s not forget his absolute dominance along the line defending kicks.  Anytime you can retain a guy who – by himself – can take points away from another team, that’s a guy you pay premium dollars to.
  2. Marshawn Lynch – If the Seahawks aren’t going to go out in the draft and do whatever it takes to end up with Chris Polk, then I say we HAVE to get Beastmode back in the fold.  He’s easily the most marketable guy on the team right now, and he’s producing like no one since Shaun Alexander in 2005.  I would fully anticipate – based on how our offensive line improved over the course of this past season – that Lynch will compete for NFL rushing titles in the coming seasons.
  3. David Hawthorne – Now, I wouldn’t go throwing this guy insane gobs of money, but I think it’s super-important to retain The Heater.  First and foremost, he is a leader and a veteran on that defense.  It’s imperative with K.J. Wright on one side, and with whoever may or may not replace Leroy Hill on the other side (if it’s not Hill, then it’s likely another rookie or first-year starter), to have a veteran presence in the middle who is not only a smart defensive player, but still a DYNAMIC power hitter able to induce fear in opposing offenses.
  4. Michael Robinson – I talked about him before, and I still believe he is one of our four MUST HAVE guys.  A good fullback makes for a great running game.  And just look at how bad we’ve been whenever Robinson has been injured!  Fullbacks tend to get better with age (again, see:  Mack Strong).  So, I would make it a priority to not only re-sign Robinson, but to give him a good 3-year contract to keep him in the fold for a while.

Ehh, Either Way

  1. Atari Bigby – He brings depth, veteran leadership, and another hard-hitter to our secondary.  Plus, I like as many guys with dreads as possible on my defense.
  2. Leroy Hill – He played every game this year, he’s still got the hard-hitting ability, he likely won’t cost a whole lot to retain, and he was 4th on the team in tackles in 2011.  Also, not for nothin’, but he was 2nd on the team in sacks with 4.0.  The guy still has it!  Might as well bring him back, I say.
  3. Anthony Hargrove – I don’t remember a whole lot about this reserve defensive end, but I’m pretty sure I witnessed every one of his 3.0 sacks.  Hard to say if this guy made as much of an impact as I remember – seeing as he’s a journeyman who hasn’t stayed in the same city for more than 2 years at a time – but he could be good depth insurance at a position we will eventually need to address in the draft.
  4. Breno Giacomini, Paul McQuistan, Mike Gibson (tie) – Offensive line depth.  I don’t remember Gibson playing all that much (if at all), but I do vaguely remember someone saying that he’s our backup center.  Or something.  I dunno.  That’s why these guys are in this catagory; it wouldn’t kill me either way if they stayed or left.  But, considering the job the first two guys did in the absence of our injured draft picks, it would probably be ideal to keep them aboard for future insurance at a position that ALWAYS seems to be injury-prone for the Seahawks.
  5. John Carlson – Hard to believe, before this season, seeing him ranked so low on my level of favoritism, but I’ve come to the realization that the Seahawks are NEVER going to have a good tight end, so what’s the point in getting all worked up about it?  Besides, it would seem to be impractical to put a ton of money into this position (considering Zach Miller’s salary) when we’re destined to never get much of a return.  If he’s cheap and wants to stay?  Fantastic!  If he gets a better deal or opportunity elsewhere (and turns out to be an All Pro), then so be it.  It’s probably never meant to be here anyway.
  6. David Vobora, Heath Farwell, Matt McCoy (tie) – All depth.  All special teams guys.  All likely WON’T be re-signed.  If I had to put one ahead of the others, I seem to remember Farwell making a bunch of impact tackles on special teams, so let’s make him a priority over the other two.
  7. Raheem Brock – He took a significant step back this year (9 sacks in 2010, 3 sacks in 2011) and I’m pretty sure he was THIS close to not being re-signed anyway.  Throw in his legal troubles, and I would say he’s toast.  But, if he did come back, I guess I wouldn’t throw a tantrum.
  8. Justin Forsett – If he comes cheap, and he’s good for the clubhouse atmosphere, and he will keep Marshawn Lynch happy, then okay.  But, if any of those three things are untrue, then so long!  We can pick up another undersized 7th round running back!
  9. Jimmy Wilkerson – He was injured all year, so he didn’t record any stats.  He’s a 9-year veteran who hasn’t really done all that much in his 9 years (though he had a career-best 6.0 sacks in 2009), but I suppose we signed him before the 2011 season for a reason.  The fact that he doesn’t have any additional wear & tear on his legs is probably a plus.  The fact that that’s because he injured his knee so bad it put him on the IR in the preseason is most definitely a huge minus.  Ehh, either way though.

Throw The Bum Out

  1. Charlie Whitehurst – Who couldn’t see this ending coming a mile away?  He cost us a couple draft picks, millions of dollars, and all he gave us in return was a victory against St. Louis sandwiched around two abysmal defeats to the Giants (2010) and Browns (2011) where we scored a combined 10 points.  In those other games, where he appeared in reserve roles, he brought nothing to the table.  He was a preseason dandy who reverted to a dud in the regular season.  In a long line of attrocious Seahawks quarterbacks (Kelly Stouffer, Dan McGwire, Stan Gelbaugh, Rick Mirer, John Friesz, Jon Kitna, Trent Dilfer, Seneca Wallace), Charlie Whitehurst might’ve been the very worst.  Then again, Dan McGwire WAS pretty shitty, but did he cost us multiple draft picks and millions of dollars?

Why I’m So Down On Tarvaris Jackson

It’s really easy to look at the stats and simply dismiss Tarvaris Jackson as a Never Was.  It’s even easier just to close your eyes and remember what he’s looked like as a player.  I’m a Seattle fan, I live in the area, but I still feel like I’ve seen more than my fair share of Minnesota Vikings games over the last four years simply because they’re on TV so much.  I’ve SEEN what Tarvaris Jackson is capable of.  He’s pretty much the opposite of a West Coast Offense quarterback being shoe-horned into a system he’ll never succeed in.  Darrell Bevell is essentially the 2 year old who’s trying to hammer the square block through the round hole.

But, let’s forget WHY he failed as a quarterback.  That can be debated until the cows are blue in the face; I’m only interested in the fact that he did, indeed, fail as a quarterback.  Let’s make no mistake, when you’re benched for Gus Frerotte, then again for Brett Favre (I mean, seriously, your team went all the way out of their way TWICE to woo this guy into playing for them because they knew you didn’t have what it took to lead them to the Super Bowl), THEN you’re not even tendered a contract to even give them a draft pick in return for your leaving because your team is too afraid you’ll take the deal … I’m sorry, but you’re a failure.

Everyone talks about the pressure he had to face in Minnesota.  First of all, don’t buy that.  There’s pressure to win everywhere you go in the NFL; I don’t think degrees of pressure really make a whole lotta sense when you’re dealing with professional football.  It’s difficult, it’s a huge adjustment from college, let’s just get past the pressure issue.  Nevertheless, that’s the excuse given.  Minnesota was a team on the rise, they put it on a young quarterback’s shoulders, and he ultimately couldn’t get it done.

First of all, I don’t know an athlete alive who wouldn’t relish that pressure.  Who wouldn’t demand to have everything on his shoulders.  That’s how much of a competitor you are when you reach the pro ranks; you want all the glory, you want to beat everyone else’s brains in.

Secondly, if we’re going to say there are varying degrees of pressure depending on your team’s situation, I don’t understand how there was more pressure on Minnesota at the time.  If anything, I’d say the pressure was LESS.

Think about it, what’s the ideal scenario for a young/rookie quarterback?  To be drafted into a veteran or on-the-rise type of team.  Look at guys like Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers … sure, they’re all quality quarterbacks who’ve proven they have what it takes to be elite players in this league, but they also were all drafted onto good NFL teams with a lot of veteran leadership to help take the pressure off.

Minnesota was no different in 2006.  Sure, they might have been bad that year, but they were on the come!  They had an elite running back, they had a top-notch defense that kept giving you the ball back, keeping games close.  And STILL Tarvaris Jackson failed.

If he had come in and been drafted by a terrible team like the Lions or Texans, you could poo-poo this argument and say, “Look, the guy was drafted by a terrible team and he kept getting killed game after game because there was no talent around him.”  But Minnesota HAD talent!  Jackson only had to start 2 games as a rookie, at the end of the season; where’s the pressure?  It wasn’t until he was a second-year pro where he was given the keys.  Better quarterbacks (like those aforementioned elite guys listed above) didn’t even get THAT; they had to start right away, and for the most part they did pretty well for themselves.

See, it’s not about WHY he failed.  It’s just that he failed.  He failed when he had a great team around him.  So, how am I SUPPOSED to take it when the Seahawks pick him up?  If he was terrible then, please, tell me, how’s he going to turn it around when the Seahawks are significantly worse than the Vikings in recent years?

And, if we’re getting back to the issue of pressure, how’s this for pressure:  going into a city where the majority of the fan base doesn’t even want to give you a chance, where every misstep is going to be amplified by a skeptical home crowd, and where your teammates have been talking all summer in the media and on Twitter about how much they respect and want Matt Hasselbeck to return.  I’d say that’s a lot of pressure for a guy to take when he’s about as low as he could possibly be in his career and trying to turn it all around with this new opportunity.

Seattle suffers a lot of losing teams, but we don’t stand for garbage players.  Even a guy like Matt Hasselbeck had a helluva time getting the fans on his side when he first got here, what with the constant chants for Trent Dilfer after every interception.  Sounds to me like a lot to handle for a guy who’s already crumbled under pressure before.