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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s who Toot Cannons might be playing:

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

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

Seattle Sports Hell 2022 NFL Power Rankings #4

How many weeks in a row will the top team lose and fall in my rankings?! I can’t wait to find out!

High Tier

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

The Vikings impressed the shit out of me by going on the road and taking it to Buffalo. The Bills disappointed the shit out of me by blowing it at the end. Either way, part of me wonders if Kansas City shouldn’t be the top-ranked team here. But, the Vikes are on a roll and deserve all the glory. Philly had to lose sometime, losing at home to a pretty solid Washington team isn’t the worst thing in the world. And, kudos to the Dolphins, who look pretty great with Tua in there!

Medium-High Tier

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

The upper tiers are starting to dwindle, while the lower tiers are starting to balloon. I like these teams right where they are.

Medium Tier

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

Couple of missed opportunities for the likes of the Bengals and Seahawks not moving up a tier. The Bengals were on a BYE, so that would be idiotic to jump them a level when they didn’t even play. Also, part of me wonders if Washington isn’t too low! Who’da thunk it?

Medium-Low Tier

16 – Green Bay Packers
17 – Atlanta Falcons
18 – New England Patriots
19 – New York Jets
20 – Arizona Cardinals
21 – L.A. Rams
22 – Chicago Bears

Is that Packers win over the Cowboys the start of a breathtaking turnaround? Or is it just a fluke? The Falcons really biffed it against an inferior Panthers team. The Pats and Jets were on a BYE last week and I gotta admit, they were NOT missed on my TV screens. The Rams are a flat-out joke. And the Bears are more impressive and fun to watch with Fields running all over the place, but they’re not winning games, which hurts their stock.

Low Tier

23 – Detroit Lions
24 – New Orleans Saints
25 – Cleveland Browns
26 – Denver Broncos
27 – Indianapolis Colts
28 – Jacksonville Jaguars
29 – Pittsburgh Steelers
30 – Las Vegas Raiders
31 – Carolina Panthers
32 – Houston Texans

I might be a little hard on the Browns. I enjoy those plucky Lions! I think the Saints will be a lot better when they come to their senses and start Jameis again. The Broncos are going to need to do A LOT to get to my predicted 12 wins. The Colts won with Jeff Saturday as their coach! Because the Raiders are fucking atrocious! Of these teams, I think the Steelers have the potential to move up significantly. If Kenny Pickett can get going, and T.J. Watt can stay healthy, I’m not saying they’re a playoff team, but they could certainly play spoiler to one.

Should The Seahawks Extend Geno Smith?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seattle Sports Hell 2022 NFL Power Rankings #2

NFL power rankings are never an exact science. There’s a ton of subjectivity to it. Even when you factor in analytics, certain things are weighted more than others (certain factors might be eliminated all together), and they never consider the intangibles. Chemistry, personal struggles, illnesses, aches and pains that don’t show up on an injury report, and sheer randomness.

That being said, I can see a lot of flaws in my power rankings from last week. I’m looking to right some wrongs this week. Did I overreact? It’s impossible to say; again, not an exact science. Let’s get to it.

High Tier

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

The Giants have slid out, which I think is appropriate. I still think the top three are in a class by themselves, but I like the Cowboys an awful lot (especially on defense), and I’m really impressed by how the Vikings just keep winning. I don’t know if they’re elite in any one area, or if they’re just really good in all areas. But, they’re not just beating bad teams to get to their 6-1 record, so they belong here.

Medium-High Tier

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

Cincinnati and the Jets fell (as did the Giants, falling two tiers!). I might be a little stingy with this tier, but I think it’s important to distinguish that these are VERY good teams, just not the best of the best. They could be. I think Miami is about a win or two away from ascending to the high tier. I also think the 49ers will get there eventually, if they can get healthy. There’s an outside chance for the other teams to jump up, but they look pretty inconsistent to me. I like those Dolphins a lot, though. Tua has impressed the hell out of me! I figured they were wasting their time getting a bunch of baller receivers around him, but they really developed that offense around Tua’s skillset, when he looked absolutely lost his first two seasons.

Medium Tier

11 – Cincinnati Bengals
12 – Seattle Seahawks
13 – L.A. Rams
14 – New York Giants
15 – Atlanta Falcons
16 – Green Bay Packers
17 – Tampa Bay Bucs
18 – Arizona Cardinals
19 – Washington Commanders
20 – New Orleans Saints
21 – Las Vegas Raiders
22 – Indianapolis Colts
23 – Chicago Bears
24 – New England Patriots
25 – New York Jets
26 – Denver Broncos

We’re back to the vast, creamy middle. The Bengals got dinged hard for losing on Monday night to the Browns. The Seahawks are clearly on the come-up, and are a couple more wins away from jumping a tier (as it is, they rose quite a bit from last week). I question putting the Seahawks ahead of the Rams, but unfortunately we won’t get a good look at a head-to-head matchup for a little bit. It might be a slight overreaction to drop the Giants all the way down here, but I contend they haven’t played a very tough schedule. I truly believe they’d lose to every team ranked ahead of them, knowing what we know now (even if they’ve already beaten the Titans and Ravens). The Falcons are certainly friskier than I expected!

There’s probably bound to be a lot of movement below the Falcons on my rankings, as these teams have some talent, but also big flaws. If you’re looking for a potential riser, I wouldn’t sleep on the Broncos. If they can work out the growing pains on offense, the defense is always going to keep them in games. Also, what the fuck happened to the Raiders last week?! Feels flukey to me, but maybe they’re not good? Or the Saints are coming around?

The Colts feel like they’re headed toward the low tier eventually. They switched quarterbacks, they fired their offensive coordinator, everything is just bad right now in Indy. Meanwhile, Washington of all teams continues to hang around (in a very difficult division, no less). I’m interested to get to know this team a bit more.

Low Tier

27 – Cleveland Browns
28 – Carolina Panthers
29 – Jacksonville Jaguars
30 – Houston Texans
31 – Pittsburgh Steelers
32 – Detroit Lions

Feels harsh to keep the Browns here, after they just dismantled the Bengals, but I don’t know how you can trust that offense without Deshaun Watson. They’re lucky they’re so good at running the football, because there’s no excuse for why teams aren’t loading up the box (or succeeding at stopping the run when they do). The Panthers almost beat the Falcons (indeed, probably would have, if it weren’t for a lame unsportsmanlike penalty following a late TD), but they still feel like kind of a mess. I wish I could drop the Jags further, but the teams below them are just TOO bad. Nevertheless, the Jags are underperforming what they should be, and it’s fucking annoying. The Lions just traded their star tight end to a division rival in Minnesota, to show you how things are going there. Expect massive coaching changes this upcoming offseason.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: The Dark At The End Of The Tunnel

It was another demoralizing defeat, it’s fine. This time, it wasn’t quite the bloodbath; I only just BARELY scored the fewest points in the league (the team I lost to the previous week – the team who scored the most that week – just edged me out by .05 points this past week). Car Talk With Josh Allen defeated RoundTine 142.95 to 117.25.

I got 2 points from Justin Fields. He’s looking like utter trash from a fantasy perspective. I would hold out hope for Mac Jones (who managed 13.15 points), but he just suffered a severe high ankle sprain. That means more Fields; lucky me!

Gabe Davis didn’t do much of anything for me; looked like he dropped a TD pass in that one. Everyone else did just sort of okay, but when you’re getting that kind of nothing out of your two QB spots, it’s going to be hard to get over the 100-point hump week-in and week-out. Even if I were able to cherry-pick my very best lineup, I still would’ve lost by a marginal amount, so I’m not too devastated. My calls would’ve been proven right had Davis nabbed that touchdown.

No waiver claims this week, but I did pick up Romeo Doubs from the Packers as a free agent. Once again, we’re playing for the future, and so I’m on the rookie receiver trail, hoping to find the next Justin Jefferson. I already picked up Garrett Wilson, now I have Doubs. In his place, I dropped Diontae Johnson, who is perfectly fine, but he’s got Mitch Trubisky throwing to him. That’s not reliable. Eventually, he’ll have a brand new rookie quarterback throwing to him. That’s also not reliable. Plus, there’s a lot of competition for targets in that offense. It all adds up to a nice little pick-up for someone else in the league to get a dependable receiver going forward.

Meanwhile, I get Doubs, who (for now) has Aaron Rodgers throwing to him. I like that a lot more. That seems VERY reliable.

It’s on to next week, against Beasts, one of the best fantasy football owners I know. Here’s who I’ve got:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) vs. Min
  • Justin Fields (QB) @ NYG
  • Gabe Davis (WR) @ Bal
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) @ Det
  • Javonte Williams (RB) @ LV
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. Was
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. Sea
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. Was
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. Mia
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ SF

I’m sitting Doubs because I’m always reluctant to immediately start my brand new lottery ticket. I did the same thing with Wilson last week and was proven correct, as he only got 12 points. I’ve still got Wilson on my bench this week, waiting for a matchup that isn’t the Steelers. He still got a great target share last week, but I think I’m also waiting for Joe Flacco to not be his quarterback anymore. Zach Wilson can return anytime he likes, as far as I’m concerned!

Do you want to see a dynasty team that’s LOADED? Take a look at Beasts:

  • Justin Herbert (QB) @ Hou
  • Russell Wilson (QB) @ LV
  • Cooper Kupp (WR) @ SF
  • Courtland Sutton (WR) @ LV
  • Christian McCaffrey (RB) vs. Ari
  • Derrick Henry (RB) @ IND
  • Mark Andrews (TE) vs. Buf
  • Tyler Lockett (RB) @ Det
  • Tyler Bass (K) @ Bal
  • Tampa Bay (DEF) vs. KC

He might have to swap Herbert out due to injury, but otherwise this is a cakewalk. Do you know what it’s like to go into a contest and know – without a shadow of a doubt – that you’re going to lose? It’s like if I walked into a ring with vintage Mike Tyson. Hell, it would be like walking into a ring with TODAY Mike Tyson! What would it take for me to even be competitive? Every single one of my players would have to have the game of his life, and even then I’d get -4.05 from Fields and lose by 20.

I’d be more demoralized if I wasn’t a combined 5-1 in my other two leagues. I can still do this! I can still be a smart fantasy football guy! I just got trapped inside a hell of my own making with this league.

At one point, Tua was my future. I let him go. At one point, I had Tyreek Hill, and I traded him for some magic beans. At one point, I could’ve had Herbert or Dak or Hurts. Hell, I could’ve had Jared Goff this year and instead I opted for a fifth receiver I don’t really need! This quarterback conundrum has been neverending, for the better part of a decade. Even when I thought I had a good one, I managed to get him in the absolute worst year of his career (I’m having flashbacks to Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers at their pre-old guy nadirs). In this league, I can’t do anything right. Even when I think I’ve gotten everything BUT the quarterback position settled, it’s all just kind of mediocre. I’m in another league where I took that strategy, and it’s working splendidly. But, this league? For whatever reason, my non-quarterbacks can’t seem to get much more than 10 points per week, and often get far less.

I think that’s why I’m reluctant to move on from Jones or Fields. If Tua can do what he’s done so far this year, why couldn’t Fields – at some point – develop into the kind of player who can get me 40+ points? He was great in college, like Tua. He’s not necessarily super mobile with his legs, like Tua. He’s starting out his NFL career without much in the way of offensive talent around him, like Tua. Why couldn’t he blossom in Year 3 or Year 4?

There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be patient. It’s not like these guys are going anywhere. I’m guaranteed at least a top 4 pick for next year. Here’s hoping I’ll find someone among the incoming rookie class to hang my hat on.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: The Worst Around

Well, I scored easily the lowest points in our league last week, and I went up against the team who scored the very most. Through two weeks, I’ve scored easily the lowest points in our league, and for good measure I’ve had the most points scored against me. So, that’s fun. That’s a neat little parlor trick.

I don’t really have anything to say about my performance last week, since there was nothing I could do. Besides build a time machine, go back in time, and draft all the players I should’ve drafted in the first place – years ago – to ensure my team wouldn’t be this inept when we finally made it a dynasty league. As I said on Twitter, when you have four quarterbacks (for a 2-QB league), you really have zero quarterbacks, and that adage holds true. If there was a “right” play to be had, I would’ve went with Mac Jones (a measly 15.2) and Davis Mills (8.95). I went with Mills and Winston (the lowest of all – my “safe” bet – at 6.00), while Fields was saddled with 7.5.

I decided to make this my week to shake things up a bit. I had a good-enough waiver priority slot to get one move done. So, I had my choice: I could make a play for Garrett Wilson – rookie receiver from the Jets – or I could get Jared Goff. I made claims for both – prioritizing Wilson – and I already regret it. I don’t necessarily regret waiving Davis Mills for him, because I don’t think his noodle arm is ever going to be a massive fantasy talent (famous last words). But, Goff was probably my one and only chance to find a high-upside fantasy quarterback for nothing, and I let him fall to The Lance Petemans.

Long-term, I don’t know what Goff is. With Amon-Ra St. Brown, he’s certainly found a stud he can ride to big fantasy days. But, is this sustainable? Regardless, he’s better than the nothing I’m getting from Jones and Fields, and he seems to be more steady than the wild fluctuations of Jameis. Is he a quality #2 quarterback going forward, even beyond this season? Maybe!

Ultimately, I went with Wilson because I wanted to cash in on a rookie receiver craze. Will he be the next Justin Jefferson? Will he be this year’s Ja’Marr Chase? Probably not. Did I just blow any opportunity at having fun with this league this season? It’s highly likely. I’m up to five receivers now, and the most you can keep/play is three, so what are we doing?

This week, I go up against Car Talk With Josh Allen. As you might suspect, he’s got Josh Allen on his team, so look for him to put up 50+ (that’s the trend, first with Mahomes, then with Tua of all people). I, decidedly, do not have Josh Allen, or anyone even close to his calibre, so I’m looking to cruise to an 0-3 record by the time the morning games conclude on Sunday. Here’s the RoundTine roster:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) @ Car
  • Justin Fields (QB) vs. Hou
  • Gabe Davis (WR) @ Mia
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) @ Cle
  • Javonte Williams (RB) vs. SF
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) @ NYG
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Min
  • D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs. Atl
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ NYJ
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) @ Ari

It is, as always, a useless decision between Fields and Jones. Jones is at home against Baltimore. Baltimore just gave up a billion points to Tua last week. But, clearly, the Pats don’t have the kinds of weapons that the Dolphins have. Houston seems to be a tasty matchup, so I’m hoping to see ANYTHING out of Fields resembling a break out performance.

I’m sitting Wilson for another week, just to make sure he’s not a fluke. I’m playing D.K. because I like him at home against a paltry Falcons defense. I’ll play Gabe Davis if he’s healthy. My ultimate decision comes down to Diontae Johnson and CeeDee Lamb. If Gabe looks hurt, then it’s no decision at all, and I’ll just play them both. But, if Gabe looks on track early in the week (like, today or tomorrow) to return, then I’ll have to make a choice ahead of Thursday’s game. The more I think about it (Steelers offense against a potentially-stout Cleveland defense on the road), the more I think the Steelers will be toast in this one, at least offensively.

As for the running backs, I’m just biding my time until Walker and/or Brian Robinson take over starting duties for their respective teams. T.J. Hockenson – my tight end – is in the running for most disappointing player of 2022, which is really saying something, given the state of my roster.

Here’s my opponent:

  • Josh Allen (QB) @ Mia
  • Tom Brady (QB) vs. GB
  • Brandin Cooks (WR) @ Chi
  • Christian Kirk (WR) @ LAC
  • Joe Mixon (RB) @ NYJ
  • Aaron Jones (RB) @ TB
  • Travis Kelce (TE) @ IND
  • Leonard Fournette (RB) vs. GB
  • Nick Folk (K) vs. Bal
  • Cleveland (DEF) vs. Pit

It’s yet another bloodbath waiting to happen.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2022: What A Stupid, Idiotic Game

It’s supposed to be fun, right? Fantasy football is supposed to be a fun, entertaining lark. A way to enhance the already-enjoyable experience of watching actual football every Sunday. But, what is it really? It’s something to obsess about, to stress over, to watch in horror and/or misery as – every week – your team lets you down in one way or another. And even if you’re fortunate enough to prevail, what does that get you? A brief, temporary reprieve from all the negativity? Whatever it is, it’s short-lived, because as early as Sunday night, you’re right back at it, looking at how you want to set your lineup for the next week!

Fantasy football is a waking nightmare from September until January. Why do we put ourselves through this?

Ostensibly, usually we do this with our friends, and it’s nice to have that connection. It’s nice to check in – even if it’s only once or twice a year – to say hello and bust balls and whatnot, during the draft and off-season meeting. But, the rest of the time? You’re actively ruining one another’s existence with the outcome of these games!

Suffice it to say, RoundTine (you know, like the old Seinfeld gag about Ovaltine … the mug is round, the jar is round …) did not have a good week. As expected, I got nothing out of my Cowboys running back (I went with Pollard over Zeke, but neither one was worth a damn). Unexpectedly, though, CeeDee Lamb is a total turd and decidedly NOT a number one receiver in this league. So, that’s great. I’m so happy the fantasy football know-it-alls have been pumping him up for the last two years. These fucking morons get it right MAYBE 50% of the time, and yet they can’t shit without telling you all the “great calls” they made. For every Gabe Davis, there are thousands of CeeDee Lambs, and we should call this kind of punditry what it really is: a total fucking crapshoot.

I was pretty happy with Gabe Davis, that might be the one fantasy football move I’ve made in this league over the last five seasons that actually works out in my favor. But, he couldn’t possibly make up for all the dreadful decisions I’ve made. Mac Jones, for instance, did nothing. T.J. Hockenson did nothing. I got a pretty good game out of Jameis, but he’s hot one week and ice cold the next. I was able to pick up Baltimore’s defense, which was nice to have against a bumbling Jets team, but how many inept offenses will they go up against this year? And how long can I afford to hold two defenses, when I’m dealing with two injured running backs and only one IR spot to take advantage of?

It didn’t help that I was going up against a buzzsaw, who had a 70+ point lead over me heading into Monday night. Nearly 50 from Mahomes, 30 from Davante Adams, 20+ from Miami’s defense and Antonio Gibson. That’s just an impossible gauntlet to try to get through, especially for my team. I need opponents who have uncharacteristically bad weeks. This was someone who outscored his projected points by 12. Final score 171.50 to 129.10.

This week, I face Toot Cannons. Let’s see who I’ve got at my disposal:

  • Jameis Winston (QB) vs. TB
  • Mac Jones (QB) @ Pit
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. Cin
  • Diontae Johnson (WR) vs. NE
  • Javonte Williams (RB) vs. Hou
  • Ezekiel Elliott (RB) vs. Cin
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. Was
  • Gabe Davis (WR) vs. Ten
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ Dal
  • L.A. Rams (DEF) vs. Atl

I didn’t put in any waiver claims this week. No one really jumped out at me. So, for what it’s worth, I’m up to 5th in waiver priority. We’ll see how high I can get, or what that will ultimately net me.

I did make a free agent pick up. Quarterback Davis Mills in exchange for the Baltimore defense. I’m rebuilding, it makes zero sense to hold onto multiple defenses. But, here we go. That brings me to 4 quarterbacks on my roster. I’m in this fucking quagmire for another season.

I opted for James and Mac based on matchups. I don’t love Jones going up against the Steelers on the road, but who are my alternatives? Fields on the road against a great Packers defense? Mills on the road against a great and pissed off Broncos defense? I might still switch out this spot 40 times between now and Sunday, but for now that’s my rationale. Just go with Yahoo’s expected points, who has Jones a fraction ahead of Fields (who are both a good 5 points ahead of Mills).

I opted to bench D.K. because I think the Seahawks are going to have a LONG day offensively against the 49ers on the road. I was pretty happy with Javonte Williams for the Broncos and think he’ll be a Must Start as long as he’s healthy. I went back to Zeke in hopes that the Cowboys go run-heavy without Dak; maybe he’ll get me a TD for my trouble. Not a lot of alternatives on my roster; Kenneth Walker might return this week, but he’ll be decidedly behind Penny for quite some time, methinks.

Here’s Toot Cannons:

  • Kyler Murray (QB) @ LV
  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB) @ Bal
  • Tee Higgins (WR) @ Dal
  • Justin Jefferson (WR) @ Phi
  • Najee Harris (RB) vs. NE
  • Saquon Barkley (RB) vs. Car
  • Darren Waller (TE) vs. Ari
  • Mike Williams (WR) @ KC
  • Harrison Butker (K) vs. LAC
  • San Francisco (DEF) vs. Sea

He’s got some injury issues already; we’ll see if Higgins or Harris play. Also, his kicker might be out? Will that be worth rostering a second kicker for a week? As always, though, he’s got plenty on his bench to make up for it. Michael Carter for the Jets and Rashod Bateman for the Ravens are both steps down, but should be more than enough to get the job done against my pathetic team.

Toot Cannons is really looking to make a comeback this year, with a rejuvenated Barkley kicking ass and taking names. Jefferson and Murray are both point-hogs. Waller should have a better week against some shaky linebackers on the Cards. Mike Williams looks to ascend to the team’s #1 receiver role with Keenan Allen potentially out this Thursday. Even Tua looks decent with all those weapons around him!

Toot Cannons could defeat RoundTine with one hand tied behind his back. Here we go.

Predicting The 2022 NFL Season

You know it and love it! The NFL prediction post is back again! Here are the prior years I’ve done it:

Not to toot my own horn too much, but I did pretty damn good last year. I had all of the NFC divisional winners, and 5 of the 7 playoff teams from that conference. I only missed the Eagles and Cardinals (I had WFT and the Seahawks, of course). I wasn’t quite as good with the AFC, picking half of the divisional winners correct. But, I still managed 4 of the 7 playoff participants. I’ll take it!

I even nailed half of the Super Bowl matchup, though the Bills screwed me. If they weren’t so unfathomably shitty on defense against the Chiefs, they might’ve made it!

Anyway, that’s last year. This year, I’ve done even less research than usual. That’s what happens when you pack your summer with trips and activities. That’s also what happens when the Seahawks suck and I just don’t give a fuck. Let’s get into it.

NFC East

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Guardians
  • New York Football Giants

I know everyone is on the Eagles’ hype train this year, after apparently making every single correct move this offseason. But, I’m not there yet. I need to see it before I’ll believe it. The Cowboys are still really fucking talented, and in spite of their bumbler of a head coach, I think they’ll prevail in the division. I think Washington will probably be middle-of-the-road at best, and I think the Giants will be among the worst four teams in football.

NFC North

  • Green Bay Packers
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Detroit Lions
  • Chicago Bears

I wanted to put the Vikings in the top seat, but I kept feeling supremely dumb going against the Packers. I’ll say this much: the Packers won’t get to 13 wins again this year. The receivers are GOING to be an issue, that’s just the way it is. But, they should have enough talent to hold everyone else at bay. I do think the Vikings have a good shot to make it as a wild card. I’m not drinking the Lions’ Kool Aid after watching them on Hard Knocks, but I do think they could be a 7-8 win team. I think the Bears will be among the worst four teams in football.

NFC South

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Carolina Panthers
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Atlanta Falcons

REAL fucking samey in the NFC so far. I like the Bucs even less than I like the Packers, what with their O-Line woes. If the O-Line doesn’t hold up, and if the receivers aren’t back to full health, I think this will be a LONG year for Brady. I predict this is the beginning of the end, and we won’t see Brady in the NFL next year. I’m not as high on the Saints as most people; I think the surprise team will be the Panthers and how competent they are with Baker at the helm. And I think the Falcons will be among the worst four teams in football.

NFC West

  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Seattle Seahawks

I was going to run it back with all four same division winners, but I could see some Super Bowl Hangover with the Rams. The 49ers are loaded all over the place, and I think Trey Lance will be just dynamic enough to make some plays and not screw things up. He could also be amazing with that Shanahan offense. I like the Cards to take a step back this year. And I HOPE BEYOND HOPE that the Seahawks are among the worst four teams in football.

AFC East

  • Buffalo Bills
  • Miami Dolphins
  • New England Patriots
  • New York Jets

Surprise surprise, I love the Bills again! God dammit. I hope they shored up their defense. I don’t like any of the other teams, but that’s also not shocking. I think the Dolphins get one over on the Pats, even though Tua’s Noodle Arm looks like a poor fit for what should be a high-volume passing offense. I’m not hearing great things about the Pats, which is just fucking great, because I’m saddled with Mac Jones in my dynasty league. And the Jets are gonna Jets.

AFC North

  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Cleveland Browns

Definite Super Bowl Hangover for the Bengals, but I still like them enough to make the playoffs. I think Lamar Jackson comes out on fire this year, in looking for a new deal. The Ravens might vie for the top seed overall. I think the Browns will STINK under Jacoby Brissett, and I think they will continue to stink under Deshaun Watson. The dude will have missed nearly two full years, there’s no way he’s coming back and being awesome right off the bat. On top of which, he’s pretty much going to be hated everywhere he goes, so he’s definitely going to feel the effects of that on the field. The Steelers won’t be good, but I think they’ll out-perform expectations.

AFC South

  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Tennessee Titans
  • Houston Texans
  • Jacksonville Jaguars

All right, THIS is the year the Colts put it together and supplant the Titans atop the AFC South. Matt Ryan might not be elite, but he’s good enough, and the pieces will be around him to coast to an easy 10 or 11 wins. This might be the end of the road for Ryan Tannehill; where are his weapons? The loss of A.J. Brown is going to be HUGE, and look for them to over-compensate next offseason by whatever means necessary. I also think Derrick Henry is going to continue breaking down; they might not even be the second-best team in this division. Kill me, I like Davis Mills! I know most people like the Jags to be a sleeper, but I think they’re still a year away. I like the Texans to be a possible sleeper, since really EVERYONE is sleeping on them.

AFC West

  • Denver Broncos
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Las Vegas Raiders

I kinda want to put them all in the playoffs! But, ultimately, I think the Raiders come up JUST short. The Chiefs are definitely going to be hurt by the loss of Hill; it can’t all fall on Kelce. Defenses are going to double-team him and no one else will be there to step up (you can save the JuJu talk). I like the Broncos here because there’s no way the Seahawks don’t get screwed in this Russell Wilson deal. They’re going to win 12-13 games just to spite me. I do like the Chargers to finally get over the hump and make it as a wild card, though.

NFC Playoffs

  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. San Francisco 49ers
  3. Green Bay Packers
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  5. Los Angeles Rams
  6. Philadelphia Eagles
  7. Minnesota Vikings

AFC Playoffs

  1. Buffalo Bills
  2. Baltimore Ravens
  3. Denver Broncos
  4. Indianapolis Colts
  5. Kansas City Chiefs
  6. Los Angeles Chargers
  7. Cincinnati Bengals

Wild Card Round

  • 49ers over Vikings
  • Packers over Eagles
  • Rams over Bucs
  • Ravens over Bengals
  • Broncos over Chargers
  • Chiefs over Colts

Divisional Round

  • Cowboys over Rams
  • Packers over 49ers
  • Bills over Chiefs
  • Broncos over Ravens

Championship Round

  • Packers over Cowboys
  • Bills over Broncos

Super Bowl

  • Bills over Packers

Now that I have it all laid out, I could not be less enthused by this prediction post. I think I’m going to be LAUGHABLY off-base. None of it is coherent; for some reason I’m skeptical about the Packers up top, but I like them to go all the way to the Super Bowl? I dunno. This is gonna be one of those years where it’s a total crapshoot. Kinda exciting!

What If The Seahawks Got Baker Mayfield?

All right, calm down people. I’m not sitting here advocating for the Seahawks to acquire Baker Mayfield, in case that’s the conclusion you jumped to. GET OFF MY ASS! We’re just talking things through here.

The situation is this: the Browns traded for Deshaun Watson, and gave him a batshit crazy all-guaranteed contract. Somehow, Watson allegedly sexually harassed (if not outright sexually abused) dozens of women, and yet he held all the cards when it came to his future? How does this work? Browns gonna Browns, of course, but it would seem multiple teams were prepared to go to this great length – burning down the league’s leverage in the quarterback contract market for all future superstars – so I guess I would just point to the insanity of the NFL owners themselves. They’ll cater to an alleged abuser, but they won’t even give a tryout to a guy in Colin Kaepernick fighting for social justice. Okay.

Anyway, the Browns have Watson, they also just signed Jacoby Brissett to be his backup, and all the while there’s Baker Mayfield in the final year of his rookie deal, making around $18 million. Not an outrageous sum of money for a viable starting quarterback, but the question remains: IS Baker Mayfield a viable starting quarterback? One that can lead a team to a championship?

It’s obvious to anyone with half a brain that the Browns have shit the bed in this one particular scenario: they want out from under Mayfield’s guaranteed money. Unfortunately, most of the big ticket quarterback moves have already been made. Aaron Rodgers is staying with Green Bay. Russell Wilson is now with the Broncos. The aforementioned Watson is with the Browns. Matt Ryan went to the Colts. Carson Wentz … went to the Commanders. Tom Brady is back with the Bucs. The Vikings are committed to Cousins, the Dolphins are committed to Tua, the Saints look to be committed to Jameis, the Jets are (apparently) committed to Zach Wilson, the Giants are (bafflingly) committed to Danny Dimes. Of the quarterbacks who are reported to be available in trades, Jimmy G should head that list, and so far there haven’t been any takers. So, where’s Baker’s market, exactly?

If the Browns cut Baker, they’re on the hook for his entire salary. But, they obviously can’t keep him around through training camp, because he almost certainly won’t be there, as he’s now demanded a change of scenery.

If I’m the rest of the NFL, and I had the slightest inkling in bringing in Baker, I’d play hardball and force the Browns to cut him. Then, swoop in with a lowball, incentive-laden offer to take him on as a 1-year flier.

No fanbase is excited about Baker Mayfield, though. It’s undeniable that he had a bad season in 2021, so there’s that taste in everyone’s mouths. He did have the torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, though, which undoubtedly affected his on-field play. He’s also, not for nothing, irritatingly over-exposed in TV commercials (based on his personality, I guess, because it’s not a reflection of his performance in actual professional football games). Even before his 2021 injury-plagued season, it’s not like Baker Mayfield was the epitome of an elite franchise quarterback. Odell Beckham’s dad more or less saw to making that clear to everyone with a Twitter feed.

He’s not particularly tall, he’s not particularly athletic, his arm isn’t particularly strong …

Funny Office Space quotes are funny …

And that’s where we are now. I still think the Steelers are the most logical destination for him, because he feels like a Steelers-type quarterback. Plus, he’d get two chances a year to stick it to the Browns, which I’m sure he’d love to do.

But, the Seahawks keep coming up in the rumor mill, and I have some free time this morning, so let’s get into it.

I’m just putting this back out into the universe for anyone who wants to read it: my number one preference for the Seahawks is to tank in 2022. That means, likely, giving Drew Lock as many reps as he can handle and watching him crash and burn spectacularly. That does NOT mean bringing in a middling veteran to annoyingly steal wins we don’t need. Draft a great pass rusher in the first round this year (or an elite left tackle, if one is still available), draft a couple of quality starters in the second round, and wait to draft a quarterback until 2023.

I have no number two preference. All other options for the Seahawks are going to be met with disdain. That includes Baker Mayfield.

If we MUST bring him in, then I would rather we wait for the Browns to cut him, and sign him to that aforementioned lowball, incentive-laden offer. I’ll admit, if that comes to fruition, I’d be intrigued.

I’m curious about what a healthy Baker Mayfield can accomplish, who is savagely pissed off at the world and hyper-motivated to rehabilitate his image. Don’t forget, it wasn’t that long ago when the Browns were lauded for taking him above the rest of his 2018 draft class. Of course, now we know Josh Allen was the true prize, but at first there were lots of questions about Allen’s accuracy and whatnot.

Ryan Tannehill is a name that gets bandied about. As a former Top 10 draft pick who flamed out with his original team, he became a … pretty good quarterback when he was inserted onto the right team. He doesn’t have to do too much, so long as Derrick Henry is healthy, but when he’s asked to step up, he tends to make plays more often than not. Now, EVERY team thinks they can rehab their own guys (to wit: the Giants with Danny Dimes), and it’s becoming sort of a disturbing trend. Most of these quarterbacks flame out for a reason, so giving them opportunity after opportunity is only going to prolong the mediocrity that’s so prevalent at the position.

But, if anyone can be “the next Ryan Tannehill”, I could see it being Baker.

Now, I’m not saying Tannehill is some great shakes, but he’s fine. Could Baker also be fine? Sure, why not?

The thing is, I don’t HATE the rest of the Seahawks’ roster. Assuming, of course, that they don’t trade away D.K. Metcalf. You know. If they do that, then the rebuild is almost certainly going into overdrive. But, with D.K., we’ve got two elite receivers, two stud tight ends, one potentially elite running back (with the high likelihood we draft another), and a pretty solid offensive line (whenever we figure out the left tackle spot).

I also don’t HATE the defense. We’ve got a new coaching staff and a tweaked scheme. Our interior linemen look good, we signed a promising pass rusher away from the Chargers, we’re moving on from Bobby and getting younger at linebacker, we’ve got Darrell Taylor who looks outstanding, and our secondary has a high floor, if not quite so high of a ceiling (unless Tre Brown returns from injury and asserts himself as the next great cornerback on this team). Don’t get me wrong, we still need an infusion of hot talent from the draft, but the bones are there for a quick turnaround (assuming we eventually get the right quarterback).

Could Baker Mayfield join this roster and lead us to a 9-8 record? It wouldn’t shock me in the slightest. That might be a worst-case scenario in its own right, though, because 9-8 doesn’t seem like it’ll be good enough to catch a Wild Card spot, even with the expanded playoffs we’ve made our new reality.

However, I firmly do NOT believe Baker joins this roster and makes us a divisional contender. He certainly doesn’t make us a Super Bowl contender. At which point, his addition to this team just smacks of Pete Carroll refusing to rebuild through the draft like we need to.

And this scenario only gets scarier the more the Seahawks have to give up to get him here. The Browns are reportedly looking for a second round draft pick; that’s asinine. I wouldn’t give up anything higher than a 5th rounder, and even then, the Browns better be paying the bulk of his contract.

The thing is, I don’t think the Browns want him to go to the Steelers. And, if they cut him, I think that’s his top destination; I think he’d do everything – including taking a minimum contract from them – to make it happen. So, the Browns should be happy to take a 7th rounder from us – and pay the entirety of his contract – just to get him out of the AFC. Because, there won’t be anyone more motivated to beat up on the Browns if he’s in Pittsburgh (a city that already hates Cleveland with a passion).

In conclusion, Baker Mayfield is my nightmare. But, ultimately I don’t think he’ll be a Seahawk when it’s all said and done. Good luck, Steelers fans.

Culture Is Everything In The NFL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is that what you want for the Seahawks?

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

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

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