Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Fourth Down Fumble

by: Michael Steffes

For those of you playing along at home, the Seahawks will be on tomorrow as part of the NFLN's replay series. The Hawks will be on at 10am and 5:30pm PST.

The game is the Seahawks v Rams from week 12 of last year. This game will for ever be remembered for Gus Ferotte fumbling on the 1 yard line, on a fourth down with time expiring. However, just pointing that out would be unfair to Will Witherspoon, who has a monster game for the Rams, almost single handedly stymieing the Hawks first half offense. But... A big return from Josh Wilson, and a second half surge allow the Hawks to take the lead and hold on by the skin of their teeth for victory.

Also featured, if I remember right... A crushing blow from Leroy Hill which knocks Marc Bulger out of the game. The Hawks seemed to have a knack for knocking QB's and RB's out of the game, and this was a pretty, pretty play. Pat Kerney also had a monster game with 3 sacks, a fumble recovery, and an interception on the play in which Bulger exits. Read More!

Sims Back Sooner Than Expected

by: Michael Steffes

Rob Sims, who had his knee scoped near the end of the first team mini camps in early May, may make it back a bit sooner than expected. According to this blurb from PFW, Sims only expects to miss 3 to 4 days of the June mini camps. The team practices Mon through Thur., so four days would encompass the first week.

This is good news, if it turns out to be fact. Sims is switching positions, something the article addresses as well, and could use the time to get more accustomed to right guard. Also, the line has been hit hard with players recovering from injury. Sims getting some time would allow him to build important chemistry with Sean Locklear at the very least. If Chris Spencer can participate too, well then this mini camp may really get the ball rolling. END Read More!

Didn't You Learn Your Lesson?

by: Michael Steffes

It looks like Mike Florio, man behind PFT, maybe up to his old tricks. First off, I look past Florio's common anti-Seahawk sentiment, because he is actually very good source for football info. I respect him for that. However..... when it comes to focusing on and picking specific teams this guy is about as intelligent as mule, which mirrors what most Seahawk fans think of him (jackass!).

If you remember a couple of weeks ago, in the first of his series of articles looking at the playoffs, he predicted the Seahawks would be a team who was playing in January last year who would miss the playoffs. Well, in his newest edition, he declares that the Cardinals will be a team who many think will make the playoffs but actually won't.

Well folks... that means either the Niners or Rams will be winning the west. Considering he picked the Rams to go to the Superbowl last year, we can only assume he is leaning in that direction again. Although, if he thought the Rams could go to the Superbowl last year, he may just be ignorant enough to think the Niners could do it this year. Regardless, he is destined to look like a fool again, as will all the talking heads who, once again, spend there summers convincing people the Seahawks reign is over. When. Will. You. Idiots. Learn. The more people pick against the Hawks the better I feel about 2008'. Read More!

Moving on From May

by: Michael Steffes

With today the last day of May, and the Seahawks about to the field again Monday, it appears as the team is putting a rough Month behind them. Profootballweekly, has some blurbs in their weekly "whispers" column that suggest the teams legal woes are nothing to be too concerned about.

"Our Seahawks sources tell us star MLB Lofa Tatupu couldn’t have been more apologetic and embarrassed over his ill-timed arrest May 10 on suspicion of drunken driving, and that he made a point of spreading the word to his teammates about the arrest before it became public knowledge. As for Seahawks DT Rocky Bernard, we hear the team is a lot more worried about the condition of his injured toe than his April arrest on misdemeanor assault charges following a run-in with an ex-girlfriend at a downtown Seattle nightclub. A pretrial hearing for Bernard was scheduled for June"

If you didn't know June 2nd is the first day of Mini Camp, so expect Bernard to be absent while dealing with this isses. PFW also has some kind words to say about DL Chris Cooper. Saying...
"Don’t underestimate the value of Seahawks backup DL Chris Cooper, who is back for his second go-around in Seattle. Our sources tell us the team really appreciates his ability to make plays at either end or tackle."
Cooper has a good chance to make this team due to his versatility, however, for the first time in a while, there are a lot of good players competing for roster spots as defensive linemen. The team will likely keep nine of them. Read More!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bucs Bring Back Jerramy

by: Michael Steffes

Oh Boy! Nothing like a good Jerramy Stevens sighting to end the work week. The Tampa Bay Bucs have dropped a quarterback, Bruce Gradkowski, which is a miracle in itself, so that they could re-sign Jerramy Stevens.

Not only did Stevens never live up to the hype his first round selection would warrant, but he was a horrible citizen, tormenting innocent victims and neighbors alike. When his contract was up, and the Hawks showed no interest, he celebrated by drinking lots of margaritas, scoring some dope, and driving through Scottsdale. Hope you enjoy the second season as much as the first Tampa. Has he moved there yet? END Read More!

Shaun Not Signing Soon

by: Michael Steffes

Bucky Brooks, who not only is an writer, but also use to be a former Seahawks scout, chimed in during his weekly column on why Shaun hasn't found a job. Brooks quotes several scouts as crediting....

"Alexander's astounding production to an ultra-talented Seahawks' offensive line that featured two Pro Bowlers (Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson) and many pointed out that he has "lost a step" in the two seasons following his MVP campaign. "He is a good player, but you wonder how many other runners could've had success behind that line,"

One of the reasons he is having a tough time finding a job...

"As a poor blocker and a marginal receiver, Alexander offers little as a complementary player. Thus, he is viewed throughout the league as a "stop-gap" solution for a team that suffers from a catastrophic injury or has a roster full of underperforming runners during the preseason."

Unfortunately for Shaun, Brooks' assessment is dead on. As much as I wish Shaun the best, part of me wishes he could just see what the rest of the football world seems to and maybe just retire as a Seahawk. I want him to go somewhere and do well, but it will be a shame if he does it only because someone else had their season end early. Read More!

Seahawks on the Mend

by: Michael Steffes

Here is a little chart I compiled, mostly off the top of my head to give you guys an idea of who the team will still be missing, and or nursing through mini camp next week.

The good, is that with Deion Branch injured, and Bobby likely not to participate, the young WR's will continue to have a great opportunity to build chemistry with Matt.

The bad is that three fifths of the starting offensive line are out with injury, so another offseason opportunity to build continuity and feel each other out goes by with out the unit practicing together.

END Read More!

Overrated / Underrated

by: Michael Steffes

Pete Prisco, football writer for CBS Sports released the annual rite of passage that is his overratted-underrated list. As part of this list, he opted to place a player in each category for every team.

For the Seahawks, he has a par of Deo(i)n's. Deion Branch is listed as overrated and Deon Grant is listed as underrated. It is pretty hard to argue with these selections. Although, it is somewhat unfair to label someone as overrated just because they have been injury prone. Deion Branch hasn't not lived up to expectations in Seattle yet, but he was performing very well before he got hurt last year. He was performing very well in 06' before Matt got hurt. Hopefully someday he can put it together for a full season and get people off his back.

Deon Grant is a great choice as the underrated player. How can a good safety not be underrated in this conference? This is the same conference that sends Roy Williams to the Pro Bowl every year, despite every NFC team abusing him during their meetings with the Boys'. Grants smooth and steady play elevated the games of everyone around him last year, too bad no one really took notice. END Read More!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hawks Open Mini Camp Monday

by: Michael Steffes

Starting Monday morning, the Seahawks will open the second of their voluntary mini camps. The team will be on the field practicing Monday through Thursday next week, and then again the following week.

There are several stories worth tracking through the two weeks of OTA's. First an foremost will be the Bobby Engram situation... again. Will he be there? My gut says no. Whether or not he should be there is something that has been debated since early May.

Because of Bobby's absence, that adds to another story line, the young wide receivers. It will be interesting to see the daily reports. So far they have been very positive, even for Jordan Kent, who has seemingly made great strides. The team should have plenty of players on the field, as all of the rookies are back.

With all the rookies back, that will be something else to follow (the segues are just flowing :-)). We will hear more about the progress of these youngsters. Hopefully we will not hear any reports about players who maybe spent too much time out with friends and not enough time in the weight room. I suspect this group will come back ready to prove something, although, these mini camps are usually when we start hearing about rookie mistakes.

One of these rookies is Brandon Coutu. He is going to be engaged with vet Olindo Mare in a heated kicker competition throughout the summer. According to the informal poll, most of you think he will emerge victorious. Is that is to be the case, these upcoming weeks will be the start of it

I will chime in tomorrow with a list of players that are not expected to participate due to injuries, and other issues. END Read More!

Football Knowledge

by: Michael Steffes

I just wanted to point out to all the readers who might be interested, that John Morgan over at Field Gulls, has started a series of write ups to help readers understand each position on the field better.

Some of you may find this to be a bit on the basic side, but I will admit that I often take for granted peoples understanding of the game when writing. John has a unique talent for breaking down the individual assignments of players/positions. Here is the first post. If you are a reader who feels they could use a brush up on football terminology, or just wants a straightforward explanation of each positions goals and assignments, I suggest you bookmark and check Field Gulls over the next couple weeks and read up. Good work John. END Read More!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Look at Next Years Staff

by: Michael Steffes

The rumors about the Jim Mora's staff continue to mount. The original place that some some of the speculation began from was this article by John Czarnecki, which states...

"It's also no secret that current Oakland assistans Greg Knapp and Tom Rathman will be on Jim Mora's 2009 Seattle coaching staff."

Now we can add another possible name to the staff. The Silver and Black Blog at the San Francisco Chronicle has this recent post, which says...

"But, tuck this one away for future reference: current offensive line coach Tom Cable is under contract through this year, but he is rumored to be headed to Seattle after this to rejoin future Seahawks coach Jim Mora."

It appears that there could be quite a house cleaning on the offensive side of the ball come next season. None of these coaches are bad coaches. They all coached on the San Fran teams in the early part of the decade under Steve Mariucci. They worked under Mora in Atlanta. Oakland just happened to be where they caught on. That said they did a decent job last year with little to work with. It will be interesting to see how that offense functions this year, with two years in the system and few more playmakers on that side of the ball. A side note on Cable, he played high school football for Snohomish.

The good news is that the 2008 staff has a whole bunch of guys who are coaching with the knowledge that they will need a new gig next year. Think of this year as an audition. They are likely to do some very good work in an effort to build their resumes.

As for the defense, well Mora coached a top ranked defense with John Marshall in SF, so hopefully we can keep some continuity on one side of the ball. There is going to be a lot more to talk about next offseason, that is for sure. END Read More!

Interesting Perspective on NFL Issues

by: Michael Steffes

I found this article/blog post on the current situation facing the NFL, and I thought that it was worth sharing. It is from a man who knows labor issues like an owner, but cheers for teams like a fan; Mark Cuban.

In this post, Cuban uses some hypothetical situations to illustrate the current situation. He talks about how the salary cap works, and why it isn't as equitable as most make it out to be.

Cuban believes that Baseball and Football are two sports that could actually survive and benefit from not having a salary cap, but instead focusing on revenue sharing and luxury taxes. This is because it takes more than 2 or 3 players for teams in these sports to be successful. He argues that in the NBA and NHL, a cap is must, because having one or two great players can drastically change the fortune of a team.

Anyway, for those looking to further educate themselves on the upcoming issues facing the NFL, this piece is worth reading. Enjoy.

P.S. (off-topic) Mr. Cuban, forget the Cubs and focus your efforts on buying a hardball team in the Northwest. Pretty please. END Read More!

Cards to Relocate

by: Michael Steffes

Only for couple of weeks. According to this article by Mike Tulumello, from the East Valley Tribune,

"The Cardinals sound like they want to spend a week in the East during the season between games at Washington Sept. 21 and at the New York Jets Sept. 28. That way they can cut out one round trip across the country."

This is an interesting idea, and one that has been championed by Seahawk fans before as well, even though the team hasn't done this many years. I am actually kind of hoping the Cardinals try this, so other West Coast teams can use them as a guinea pig. The Seahawks thankfully don't have back to back East Coast games this year.

The obvious advantage to this is that the team has less travel, and their body clocks will obviously adjust to East Coast time. There are also pitfalls though too. The team would not only need to find a practice facility, but what be more important would be finding an adequate training room for the week as well. Dealing with injuries between weeks could be critical.

Also of concern is the players reaction to this. Usually NFL players are given Monday and Tuesday off, except to watch film. The players may prefer to be at home.

That said, San Diego has had to spend a week away from home twice in the last four years due to fire. They have performed well in those games, so there could be a unifying factor. Although fires ravaging the teams city is much more emotional than just trying to avoid a couple plane flights. What do you think of the Cardinals idea? END Read More!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Are the Cowboys the Real Deal?

by: Michael Steffes

As we inch closer and closer towards training camps, expect to hear more and more about the reloaded Cowboys. The most recent example is this article from USA Today which proclaims the reloaded Cowboys are hungry to get a playoff win. I am sure they are, especially when you consider they have been favored in their last two playoff games, one at Qwest and one in big D. One thing worth noting in the article is Boomer Esaison's take on the NFC..."The Cowboys, Seattle and the Giants should be the best three teams in the NFC." I think that is fair to say at this point.

However, well the media keeps hurdling more and more praise on the Cowboys, one would almost think that they are unbeatable. I thought it would be worth taking an in-depth look at some of the issues that are being overlooked for the sake of continuing the national love affair with this team. To continue....

The first thing that needs to be mentioned is question marks within the coaching staff. While Wade Phillips enters his second year with the team, as does Jason Garrett, the team is now quite removed from the Bill Parcells era. This started to show as the year wore on in 07'. Say what you want about a players free time being free, but who takes a trip to Mexico during the first week of the playoffs? Two of the leaders of the team in Romo and Witten. Interesting.

Besides for Parcells being gone, he took a large contingent of Cowboys with him. Not only players, but Tony Sparano, Todd Bowles, and Paul Pasqualoni. Last year, essentially the Boys had a Parcell's staff being led by Phillips and Jerry Jones. Now, one would suspect that Phillips and or Garret have their guys in place. This could be a massive change, especially when you consider that Phillips is described as the total opposite of Parcells, and Jerry Jones keeps feeding combustible personalities to the fire.

So lets talk about that. This team has a ton of talent. Nate Burleson admitted it tonight on Total Access. But football is a team sport, and there hasn't been of ton of team spirit shown so far. This morning, the newly paid Terrance Newman called out everybody's favorite whipping boy Roy Williams on a tv show. Speaking of Roy, he chose not to be with his team over OTA's, not for injury or contract issues, but for a family vacation. Not a good sign for chemistry. Now when you consider that they are adding Pac Man to this family and then putting it all on a reality show, there is the chance that this team will implode from within, and never reach its potential. And I didn't even bring up Romica, a step up on the distraction meter.

Despite from all the personality questions and character issues, this team isn't exactly with out weakness either. First, I appreciate the talents of Marion the Barbarian as much as anyone, but he has started a total of one game. He has never seen a full workload, and his backup is now rookie Felix Jones. There is defintely some talent at that position, but it is not without question marks.

Also, the wide receiver position was not addressed over the offseason. So, as it stands TO, who is 35, is the featured guy. Terry Glenn, Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd round out the group. Glenn is a question mark, and the others were capable last year, but still Owens is a year older and they can't expect the same production from Witten this year. Last year was by far and away the best of his career. While he will still be good, he most likely will not catch 90 some balls again. Behind him, the team traded Anthony Fasano, a gritty in line player and added Martellus Bennett, who could probably use a year or two to develop. Romo relies on Witten quite a bit, he may be the one offensive player, outside of Romo, the Boys need to stay healthy the most.

When they traded Fasano, they also shipped of Akin Adoyle, all for a fourth rounder. I found this to be a curious move. When you consider that Zach Thomas has had serious concussion problems in recent years, Adoyle would have been a valuable back up. Instead the team is relying heavily on the aged Thomas, who has reportedly bulked up over the offseason 20 lbs. If he struggles with coverage, it will be a field day for teams in the middle of the field. Roy Williams and even Ken Hamlin to a point can struggle in coverage. Add Thomas to that mix and the middle could end up being a problem area.
I think that this is a pretty fair view of the Cowboys 2008 team. I think what is clear is that this team could be a boom or bust proposition. Just about every team except Indy has a hard time repeating extremely successful seasons. San Diego had a struggle at the beginning of the year last year after winning 14 the year before. The Seahawks themselves could only muster 9 wins the year after winning 13. I think it should be noted that they lost both Matt and Shaun for extended times that year. Some would say it was the character of the team that got them through. I wonder out loud, how will the Boys handle adversity they are almost certain to face? I think that a lot of the media is viewing this team like a new lover. They refuse to see the flaws because it is just so exciting. It will be exciting all right... the only question is whether it will translate into NFL success.
Read More!

Nasty Nate in Studio on Total Access

by: Michael Steffes

Anybody who gets the NFLN should check out Total Access tonight. Nate Burleson is a co host, as part of players week. Apparently he was named the best dressed athlete by Maxim in 2006. He has a different custom tailored suit for every opponent. Who Knew? He is wearing his Rams suit in studio. Rich Eisen is drooling.

~~Nate believes, and he says that most players agree (he thinks) that Pacman Jones has done his time and should be allowed back in the league. He said he doesn't like the idea of the Boys getting another playmaker, but he hopes on Thanksgiving we see mostly Seahawks highlights.

~~Nate also called out Deon Sanders for not putting him in the Prime Time Plays, he claimed he was robbed that his punt return in Cleveland didn't make it. Eisen told him he has to "hold it up". Nate says he will do it, but he has to talk to Holmgren about it first.

~~Nate says being the only veteran Wide Receiver working out is hard, but at the same time he enjoys helping out the young guys, having the young guys looking up to him and asking him questions about the offense.

~~Nate says he wants to be known as a top special teams return man, but Holmgren has told him that he may not let him return kicks until they get some guys up to speed.

~~ Nate said playing for Holmgren this year is like having a substitute teacher. While he knows eventually the teacher will be gone, the info he is learning will still be on the test so to speak. In other words, he realizes that he better not be slacking off. Read More!

Kelly Jennings Honored

by: Michael Steffes

I found this article that I thought was worth shedding some light on. Kelly Jennings, third year corner back, has been named the official spokesperson of the City University of Seattle. His main responsibility will be to speak publicly about the importance of higher education.

Many of you may know this, but Jennings was not the typical University of Miami student. Not only did he excel on the field, but in his four years there he completed two degrees. Clearly he values education as well as athletics.

As for this upcoming year, well Jennings will look to impress. Coaches and fans took notice of his vast improvement last year. He proved to be a very capable cover guy, but his small frame has limited his effectiveness in run support. I know many of you will agree, but I expect Jennings to move beyond just local recognition and get some league wide respect by building upon last years improvement. END Read More!

Warrick To Give it a Go Up North

by: Michael Steffes

Not for the Seahawks though. If it wasn't abundantly clear in 2005, Warrick's knee injuries have made him a step slow for the NFL. However, he may fit right in north of the border. Warrick will play for the Montreal Allouttes.

While with the Seahawks in 2005, Warrick had 11 receptions for 180 yards and 6 punt returns for 29 yards. He also had a fantastic punt return in Superbowl XL that was called back on a holding penalty that left the announcers baffled. Many calls that day did, i suppose. Warrick aslo represents the last Seahawk who used to refer to himself in the third person, which always makes for some classic quotes like this...

"I went in and had myself a nice camp. They kept telling me, 'We just want to take a look at some other guys.' I said, 'Come on, y'all have never seen me play. Call some plays for 'P-Dub'.

END Read More!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Jersey Addicts Check Here

by: Michael Steffes

As some of you know, I am a self proclaimed Seahawk Jersey addict. I have a closet full. It really is a sickness and I should probably start a support group. Well...

One of the jersey's I am strongly considering purchasing for this upcoming years is new tight end's John Carlson. Also, it just so happens that I have informed that John Carlson replica jersey's are just one of several new products available at the Seattle Team Store. If you are just itching to get some gear to help keep the excitement level high through the long offseason, Seattle Team Store is the place. By purchasing from them, you not only buy merch from a fellow Seahawk Addict, but you also support this site. It is the best of both worlds.

Also, I would just like to remind everyone that anything you do to support the site is greatly appreciated. Thanks again for all those who help out, it doesn't go unnoticed. So get yourself a JC jersey and celebrate the rebirth of the tight end position in 2008. Read More!

More TSN Rankings

by: Michael Steffes

First Off, I want to say that I hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend and a lovely Memorial Day. It was a beautiful day for being outside and grilling in So Cal. Also, I want to send my special thanks to all those who have serve or have served this country. It is because of you that people like me are allowed to publish thoughts, and others are allowed to read. This is a great country, and there are no bigger patriots than are service men and women. On to Seahawks football....

Well I had to get actually get the print copy of the TSN to provide you linebacker ratings, it appears that with the new issues out, last weeks analysis is available online. Here is a link to the TSN ratings of NFC safeties.

When it comes to the Seahawk safeties I have a hard time getting worked up when they go unnoticed. They are not flashy. They just do their jobs exactly how they are supposed to. In fact, Grant and Russell turned the fortunes of our entire defense. That said, I realize that the media likes flashy. For some reason they love Roy Williams. Every Cowboys fan I know hates him. He can't cover. As for Darren Sharper being the best in conference, well I think the Vikings pass defense last year speaks volumes, especially when you consider they don't have to drop extra men in the box in MN. Just more rankings for debate, what do you say Seahawk Addicts? END Read More!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Top 5 NFC Linebackers

by: Michael Steffes

According to the Sporting News....

1. DeMarcus Ware
2. Julian Peterson
3. Lofa Tatupu
4. Greg Ellis
5. Brian Urlacher

Maybe some of you won't agree with me, but I don't think that Peterson should be second on this list. Don't get me wrong, he is a damn fine linebacker, but it is rare that I see him make a spectacular play. He just seems to be very well rounded to me, with the possible exception of occasionally missing his gap assignment and helping to facilitate a long run. He covers much better than most linebackers and he is incredibly versatile, but I am not sure he is the second best linebacker in the NFC. I think I would rank him 4th, behind Tatupu and Urlacher. Ellis would slip of my list, all he does is rush the passer. I would consider players like Patrick Willis, AJ Hawk, and even Karlos Dansby better overall linebackers. END Read More!

More Reasons Turkey Day Will Be Great

by: Michael Steffes

A while back I posted a link to a story in which the Sporting News had begun ranking positional groups by team and conference. If you recall, they rated the Seahawks third overall, but Marcus Trufant ranked as the best NFC corner. Well, they seemed to have stopped putting these articles online, but they are still running them in the magazine.

This week they rank the linebackers. The NFC is ranked like this.

1. Cowboys
2. Seahawks
3. Bears
4. Bucs
5. Packers

TSN has the Boys ranked first. The first fallacy here is comparing 3-4 squads with 4-3 squads, but I understand that would complicate things. With the Cowboys using a 3-4, their outside linebackers are essentially defensive ends. In the middle they will have Zach Thomas and Bradie James, if Thomas can stay on the field this year with out suffering any further concussions.

Regardless, as far as pure linebackers go the Seahawks should be tops. They did have two of their starters in the Pro Bowl last year, and generally speaking, Seahawks don't go on team reputation, like Cowboys do. *cough*Roy Williams*cough*Ken Hamlin*cough* If you add Patrick Kerney to the Seahawks squad you would get a more accurate comparison, but then again, the Seahawks are probably better. As you have heard me say several times, I believe the Hawks to have the best starting linebackers in the NFL.END Read More!

Running on Fresh Legs

by: Michael Steffes

As the offseason moves on, there have been more and more looks at the new Seahawks backfield. Already, it seems that many of you are more anxious to take a look at that, above all else, when the preseason starts.

I expanded a bit on how I think the running backs should be used to make the most out of each of their unique talents. If that is something that interests you, you should check out the article. It is posted over at "The Power of 12", MVN's Seahawk page. END Read More!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Programming Note

by: Michael Steffes

Just in case anybody is interested, I thought I would alert you all to the NFLN schedule for tomorrow. They will be showing the 90 min NFL Replay version of the Seahawks vs Bears game from Qwest field last year. It will broadcast at 11:30 AM PST and at 7 PM PST as well.

If you watch, you will see the Seahawks defense give Cedric Benson his best run of the year, but then entirely shut him down. You will see "Wrecks" Grossman knocked around like a $2 pinata, eventually fumbling the game away. On the Seahawks end, this game may make you long for the days of old, as DJ Hackett goes OFF! Also, you will see Josh Brown light up Devin Hester like few have, with a clean shot to the mouth. Even if he is a total assclown, that was still a heck of a play. One I will always remember. END Read More!

Calling The Plays

by: Michael Steffes

In Seattle, it is done my Coach Mike Holmgren. He is one of 11 head coaches who still do this. Mike Sando over at ESPN has written a nice article looking at this phenomenon.

It seems, judging by his article that head coaches who call plays is something that is predominant in the Mike Holmgren coaching tree. I guess that shouldn't be a surprise. Out of the 11, many have ties to Holmgren, or a Holmgren disciple. They include Jim Zorn, Andy Ried, John Gruden, Mike McCarthy, and Brad Childress, who learned under Ried. Add Holmgren to that list and you have 6 of the eleven.

This of course begs the question, who will be calling plays next year. Gregg Knapp is the guy that most people assume will be at the helm. He called plays for Mora in Atlanta, and learned the craft under Steve Mariucci in San Francisco. Because of this, he is also from the Mike Holmgren coaching tree, one generation removed. The Seahawks are truly losing a legend. Luckily, it would seem there are plenty of coaches out there who the team can select from and still keep some continuity in the system. END Read More!

Touchdown City

by: Michael Steffes

Yesterday seemed to spark a bit of a debate on the poll that has been running on the right side of the page; Who will lead the Seahawks in touchdowns? It is an interesting question and worthy of some debate.

I have compiled a chart documenting the Touchdown leaders of the Holmgren era. Lets take a look and then breakdown the case for each of this years players.

To Continue....

The first thing that we see is that in two thirds of the Holmgren years the team was led in touchdowns by a running back. That is odd considering Coaches reputation as a passing game genius. Several of those years though the back caught touchdown passes as well, with the tops being four by Alexander in 04'.

However, with the running game struggling the last two years, and with the feature back spending time injured, a wide receiver has led the team. DJack in 06', and Nate last year, both had double digit touchdowns. That hadn't happened since Holmgren's first year, when Derrick Mayes led the team with 10 TD catches.

So I guess an exercise in predicting this years TD leader comes down to choosing one of two theories....

1) Holmgren prefers to finish the drives off on the ground. It is, in essence, easier to run it in, once in close, than pass, due to the condensed space near the goal line. Or...

2) Holmgren is going back to his roots. He now has backs who can catch and pass protect, and thus we will see an offense again in which the back is featured as a receiver more, and thus a WR should grab double digit catches while the running backs share the wealth.

Only once in the Holmgren era, in 2005, when the Seahawks led the league in offense did the team have both a double digit TD running back, and receiver (Joe Jurevicius,10). However, in 2005, Shaun set the record (at the time) for touchdowns. Clearly the team could spread the wealth a bit more and have again have a both a double digit TD runner and wide out, despite possibly not being as proficient as the 05' squad.

Back to 2008. In the poll on the right, right now Julius Jones is leading. Nate Burleson is second. Lets take a look at the case of each player and see if we can't narrow down the one with a better chance to lead the team.

Julius Jones:

Reasons for... The running game figures to be much improved. With a new, pro bowl guard and new line coach, all of us expect the team to be able to run more effectively. Jones figures to be one of the recipients of this improvement. He defintely has the speed to take it to the house if he breaks free. Also, he figures to be involved in the passing game, which will give him an opportunity to be on the field even on third down situations; A bonus when the team is in red zone.

Reasons against... Not known as a tough goal line runner. The team has TJ Duckett who could be used as a goal line back despite Holmgren saying he isn't sure how to use him. Regardless, it appears to be a running back by committee and both Duckett and Morris will vulture TD's away from Jones. Also, Jones has been known to get banged up and miss games from time to time. Also, Seahawks look to be returning to their passing roots, which will keep the overall touchdown numbers of the backs down.

Nate Burleson:

Reasons for.... Nate lead the team last year. Also, this the third year in the system for him, which has been known as a magic number. He easily is the biggest threat in the open field amongst the wide receiver core. No questions about playing time this year. Still possible he could be used in return game, all though questions surround that. Seems to be improving every year, if that continues he should build on lasts years total.

Reasons against... The team was forced to throw the ball more than they wanted last year. An improved running game means less opportunity. Plus, the young guys are better suited to take away catches this year. Bobby will be playing for a contract, he will surely be in fine form. Also, an improved defense may mean more leads, and thus the running game takes priority. New tight ends could vulture some red zone scores Losing return duties will shrink his total.

Overall, I think that both of these players have equal chance to lead the team. Holmgren has a history, in Seattle, of using his running game when it works. It could also be said that TJ Duckett or Mo Morris has an opportunity too. While the running backs should be scoring more than last year, that doesn't necessarily mean less touchdowns from the passing game. I expect this team to score more. The West Coast Offense spreads the ball around. This year the team has added a position to spread the ball to, in the tight end. I think even if Nate improves, it would be hard for him to score more than 10 or 11 touchdowns. If one running back proves to be better than the rest, they could top that. Either way, having so many people who we expect to score is a good dilemma. Now...what do you think?
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Friday, May 23, 2008

Big Walt.... Country Music Superstar?

by: Michael Steffes

Well, not quite, but his foundation is putting on a giant country music concert featuring Clint Black. The event is being put on by the Walter Jones Foundation to help raise money for Cancer research. The article by Mark Hughes Cobb at Tusk Magazine states....

Jones, an Aliceville native and Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowl lineman, has been so blessed by his pro career, Graham said, that he wanted to give back to his home state. In fact, the concert idea was sparked in part by the failure of the A-Day concert, and because Jones has seen many shows go to Birmingham that he thinks would work as well in Tuscaloosa.

I always like to point out the good work Seahawks do when I see it. Especially when we have an offseason marred by couple of arrests. Regardless of the behavior problems throughout the NFL, it could also be said that NFL players are some of the most generous athletes around as well. We all know Big Walt is a big teddy bear off the field, but it is good to point it out anyway. There is nothing better than a sure fire Hall of Famer who is also a great role model to not only kids, but younger players as well. END Read More!

Answers To Your Questions Vol 9

by: Michael Steffes

Wow great to see so much excitement surrounding the season! Sounds like Seahawk Addicts will have a representative reader at almost every game. Also, seems like a lot are interested in doing a meet and greet. I am certainly in favor. I will see what I can find as the best way to set something up for a pre-game tailgate. I have a little something up my sleeve for the New England game too, which will be an all day tailgate because of the evening kickoff. I will have to see how things shape out.

Anyway, I thought I would use this post as a way to address many of the great comments from the day. Here we go....

AuburnCaHawkfan... As for now, I am only planning on going to the home SF game, but that has been the plan before and I end up at Monster Park, or whatever they are calling it these days. Crappy stadium, but a great place to jive it up with Niner fans. That would probably be cheap to get to for me, so I will keep you updated.

Chris (Sullivan I think?) Enjoy Miami! I wanted to go, but I got Giants tickets given to me instead. Miami will be a rager!

Steve.... Why do SA's think Julius Jones will lead the team in touchdowns?

That is a good question Steve. I understand your point with the RB by Committee limiting touchdowns by any one RB. I think the same ends up happening with WR's too though. I expect Nate to get nastier this year as well. Hopefully he scores even more. As for the poll, I say lets chalk it up to running game optimism. I am confident both guys get double digit TD's.

BobbyK... That will be a fun game regardless of it being the first preseason game. You will have to report back and tell us about the experience. Although, I think the famous crowd noise will be a bit tempered. In any other year, the preseason is mostly a throw away, but this year there are so many compelling story lines. Hopefully you will be able to get up and close to the action.

Scotia Seahawk.... Asked how I get tickets to road games?

I am a big fan on Ebay for tickets, but I have found the key is to watch it like a Hawk for a good deal. Right now tickets for all the games are expensive because people haven't even received the actual tickets. Once fans actually have the tickets, you can find some decent deals. Not everyone is a cold hearted scalper these days, although the secondary market has totally exploded in recent years. Luckily for the Giants game, I got tickets from a family friend. I often take friends I have around the country to games at Qwest, like the last Giants game (poor guy), and that way when the Hawks play on their turf it gets returned.

Stratagerie... Oh yeah, you can tailgate and not go to the game for sure. Most of it takes place outside the stadium. You got to get to a game this year girl. Tim Ryan and Pat Kirwan will come through for ya!

Jarrod.... We will have to figure something out for the Bills game. I also found out there is a So Cal Seahawks group that meets in Culver City as well, really close to me. However, in the end I have a feeling I will like to be near my computer during most road games.

Papahawk.... Sounds like you got a great system! Parking is a killer down there! I usually park in the North lot because I get a pass with my tix, but maybe when there is going to be a big SA crowd, we could just get one or two cars to park and the rest could walk in. That might be the best way to go about getting a Seahawk Addicts tailgate together. I got a person or two in mind already.

Jeremy, AL, and Josh
... Dallas game is going to be sweet!!!! I am going to be tied up a bit with family stuff, but I can't wait to see a bunch of Hawks fans in Big D! Julius is going to cut through the Dallas D like John Madden does a tur-duck-en!

Great Job today folks. Sounds like we are all in the same boat, just can't wait for the season to get going.
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Out of the Office

by: Michael Steffes

Hey, I just wanted to let all you loyal readers know, I am out of the office for most of the day so to speak. In other words, it will be a struggle for me to get to the computer. I searched and searched for something to start a good topic to carry discussion through the day, but alas I found nothing this morning.

Anyway, I thought I would propose two things. One, with the slow news days this week, and spurred by a fear of rising fuel costs, I have organized most of my Seahawks travel schedule. My plans of now are SF, STL, NYG, Philly, AZ, Dallas, NE, NYJ. I am reserving judgment on the Packers game until I see how they start and how much a last minute airfare might cost. Enough about me, jeez, my question is... What games are you going to? What games are you looking most forward to? Which games will turn out to be the most important? I am interested in hearing if there is any interest in starting a Seahawk Addicts tailgate as well, for the diehards. Lets see where this goes....

Also, anybody who as any questions that they would like my opinion on, please fill up this thread. When my commitments at school are done, I will be happy to answer anything asked. That way there will be something to post this evening before my next commitment. As you can see.... I am out of the office today, which of course means something major will break. See you when it does.... Read More!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mike Wahle Interview

by: Michael Steffes

For your listening pleasure this evening, check out the interview done with Mike Wahle, by Softy at KJR. They cover the running game pretty extensively, everything from Rob Sims to Mo Morris, with lots of Solari/DeBoard praise in between.

Wahle seems like as heady a player as the Seahawks have had on their line in quite sometime. I am always cautious when it seems there is overkill, praising the improvement of a unit, especially in the offseason. With the running game though, I can't get enough.

I just don't see how this unit can't be at worst league average, and last year, that might have sent us to Arizona. I am on the edge of my seat waiting until that second pre-season game when the starters get a half of football to really make us all hopeful. Between the running game and the wide receivers, this is going to be one of the most compelling training camps in recent time. END Read More!

International Flavor

by: Michael Steffes

I haven seen much written about this, but if you didn't know, the Seahawks will be given one extra spot on this years practice squad for an international player. This is part of the NFL's International Development Practice Squad Program.

Each year, it rotates to different divisions. Last year the NFC North and the AFC's East and South divisions had this privilege. At the recent owners meeting this program was just expanded to include 16 players and four divisions each year. This year both of the West and South divisions will have an international player on their practice squads.

Only one player from this program has seen time in a regular season game, and that was G Rolando Cantu from Mexico. After spending 2004 on the Cards practice squad, he stuck around and eventually played week 17 of 2005 with the Cards.

2004 was the last year the Seahawks had this exemption and the player who spent the year with the Hawks was Christian Mohr, a defensive end from Germany. Mohr was recently on the Eagles practice squad. I will update this story when I see who the Hawks will add, but in the meantime, maybe some of our overseas readers can update us on who the stars were last year across the pond. Read More!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Seahawks Take on the Labor Issues

by: Michael Steffes

With little else to talk about around the NFL, the pundits are beating the labor issues like a dead horse, despite the reality that the parties have two years to work things out. Anyway, it inspired me to at least take a look-see on how it could effect the Seahawks. Here is what I see...

The labor strife could actually end up benefiting the Seahawks, but also making it a touch difficult on them too. First off, the Seahawks have three guys who could be looking to strike it big in 2010, what would be the uncapped year. These three players are Chris Spencer, Rob Sims, and Darrell Tapp. Here is the problem. If 2010 is actually an uncapped year, none of those three players will actually be free agents. They will be restricted free agents. The Hawks could essentially control their destiny, which is probably good for the Hawks, especially if Sims and Spencer take off under coach Mike Solari.

Here is the part that could be difficult on the Hawks. There is also a rule to balance the loss of the salary cap that the final eight teams must lose free agents before they are allowed to sign free agents of equal value. As an example, if a free agent left and signed for 10 million, then the Hawks would be allowed to go spend 10 million. Well.... The Hawks have their key players locked up through 2010. With no notable free agents coming free, who would not be restricted,it is unlikely the Hawks would be allowed to open up Paul Allen's checkbook to improve the team. What is most likely is that the team opens up the vault to get Spencer, Sims and Tapp signed long term. Can you say front-loaded contracts?

Of course a lot could change between then and now. Most likely though, this is all for naught. All parties involved have every reason to get a deal done. Read More!

Sims Takes Shot at Shaun?

by: Michael Steffes

Over at the Seattle Times Blog, Jose Romero has transcribed some of his interview with Rob Sims, the one used for the story I linked to earlier.

Here is what Rob Says about the new look running game....

"It's a new deal. We're falling in love with Julius Jones. With T.J. Duckett there and the guys up front, man, it's starting to fit. Nobody feels like anybodys bigger than anybody else."
For those of you who read this blog, I am not usually in the business of stirring the pot just for the sake of making waves. However, I couldn't help but point out the implications of what Sims is saying. Nobody feels bigger than anybody else? I think the only way this can be interpreted is that Shaun maybe saw himself in a different light than the rest of the team. It is funny to see a veiled shot at the former running back, especially after all the veiled shots sent the lines way last year from #37, deserved or not. END Read More!

Mike Holmgren: Genius or Not?

by: Michael Steffes

I think that most of us in Seahawkland agree that Coach Holmgren is pretty smart guy. He, in fact, is a coach who should end up in the Hall of Fame. However, this doesn't mean he is without flaws.

Many times each season, everyone from radio hosts to blog readers have a few choice words to say about coaches decision making in critical situations. Now you have something to back it up. Here is an article in Gelf Magazine, talking about a computer program called Zeus. Zeus analyzes coaches decision making on situations like 4th down (going for it vs punting), PAT's, and kickoffs. These are labeled "critical". Zeus says the Seahawks rank 27th, and lost 1.06 games due to decision making error last year. In a non-linear sort of way, who knows what would have happened had the Seahawks had one more victory heading into the final quarter of the season. Things might have been a lot different, for the entire NFL.

Now, I give Mike Holmgren all the credit in the world for knowing how to get the most out of an offense. But when it comes to making these types of "critical" decisions, some times his choices are baffling. Was it the New Orleans game where he could have kicked a field goal and then gone for the onside, when instead he went for it on fourth down? It seemed last year there was about 4 or 5 questionable decisions that fall into this "critical" type element. Pittsburgh was another one, at the end of the half.

So what do you think, first about Zeus, and second about Coach? And does this really matter.... The Rams finished at the top and they were plain awful last year. Maybe they should have made some different decisions. Also, what other Seahawk games do you remember questionable decisions being made?

Holmgren might be lucky, he might escape before they program a computer to rate his clock management skills.... Read More!

Rob Sims On Track

by: Michael Steffes

Wow, it seems like it has been a week at least since the last Seahawks article was written. However, Rob Sims spoke to a group of public school teachers who were being honored yesterday at Qwest. This gave Seattle Times reporter Jose Romero a chance to catch up with him.

Sims seems to have adjusted his attitude quite quickly about playing RG...

"I'm kind of kicking myself for getting mad in the first place," Sims said. "It's one of those deals where this game is kind of territorial, and it's one of those things where you get excited too fast before you need to. Now I feel great about it."

It also seems as if he won't miss anymore time because of the arthroscopic knee surgery he had....

"As soon as I came out of it, they [doctors] looked at it and said 'You're already a week ahead of schedule"

Just the fact that he will be participating the next time the Seahawks hit the field is a big plus. Now if we can get Spencer and Big Walt out there soon, this line might really have something. END Read More!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tough To Beat with #4

by: Michael Steffes

A bit off topic here, kinda, but the Sonics were just given the number four pick in the upcoming draft. I thought it would be worth a discussion of picking number 4. The Seahawks selected in this spot once, in 1981. They selected UCLA safety and Ring of Honor member Kenny Easley.

In his time in Seattle Easley went to 5 Pro Bowls, was a first team all-pro 3 times, and was the key defensive cog during the Seahawks run to the 1983 AFC Championship game.

If the Sonics find a way to make Seattle remain their hometown, we can only hope they find a player with Easley's talent and character. It would go a long way to making Sonics Basketball relevant again. Read More!

Florio Disses Seahawks

by: Michael Steffes

Mike Florio, mastermind behind has done it this time. In his most recent article for the Sporting News, he lists the Seahawks as one of 6 teams who won't be returning to the playoffs.

With coach Mike Holmgren entering his final year on the sideline and the team’s next head coach (Jim Mora) already working in the building, there’s a strange vibe coming out of Seattle. Shaun Alexander, the league MVP in 2005, is long gone, and the hole in the left side of the line that was created by the departure of Steve Hutchinson in 2006 is still there. The rest of the team seems stagnant, in a division with three other squads that could be getting better. If only one of them delivers, the Seahawks will lose their hold on the NFC West.

Mike Florio has been labeled as Seahawk Hater on here before (DKSB where you at?), and in this case it seems he is surely misguided. However, it could also be a case of him looking to sensationalize. He also picks the Steelers and Giants too, which I am sure will cause a bigger reaction than the lowly Seahawks (sarcasm). Either way, he seems pretty off base on this one, probably stemming from the fact that he clearly has no idea what is going on in Kirkland.

Actually, this could be a good omen, Florio picked the Rams to go to the Superbowl last year. I trust him on the NFC West like I would trust Brittney Spears for parenting advice. Maybe he should stick to legal issues in future columns, cause I have a feeling that he may end up looking stupid when all is said and done on this one. END Read More!

More About the Labor (Dis)Agreement

by: Michael Steffes

If anybody is interested in reading more about the owners decision to opt out of the labor agreement, I added an article over at The Power of 12, MVN's Seahawks site.

It talks about what an uncapped year really means and some of the points besides money the owners are looking to address. Hopefully this sheds a little extra light on things for people who may be wondering what the heck is going on. END. Read More!

NFC West Nostalgia

by: Michael Steffes

Here is an interesting story this morning from Yahoo Sports Mike Silver that should peak the interest of NFC West fans. The Rams are for Sale, which isn't by itself all that interesting except when you look at who wants to buy back in, Eddie DeBartolo JR. I can hear the Niners fans grumbling from all the way down here in LA. DeBartolo was of course the Niners owner during their glory days who was disgraced during a rough patch in which he was indicted in a Fraud/Gambling/Bribery scandal. He signed the team over to his sister who is now running the team, Denise DeBartolo-York.

The other interesting note, is that Eddie would possibly be interested in moving the team back Los Angeles. That would shave some of the miles of the Seahawks travel schedule, along with eliminating the only divisional game with a 10am start. That would be plus. That and there would be one heck of a family feud going on within the division, which will certainly create some headlines. We will see what happens, the league is going to be taking a PR hit with the labor problems already, so they may not be as interested in bringing DeBartolo back as he is in becoming an owner again. To quote Eddie Jr, ""It'll be interesting to see what happens."END Read More!

Labor Turmoil? -Owners Opt Out

by: Michael Steffes

ESPN is reporting that the owners have unanimously voted to opt out of the current labor agreement. The CBA will now expire in 2011, with 2010 being an uncapped year, unless a new agreement is struck.

This was expected, although there was talk that Commissioner Rodger Goodell was trying to convince the owners otherwise. Really, we won't see the effects of this until next offseason, when contract negotiations will get very interesting.

But fear not football fans, there will be football for the next three seasons for sure. That seems like a lot of time to get something worked out, but the chatter from both sides suggest it is going to be an ugly fight. END Read More!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Jimmy Williams: Back in the League

by: Michael Steffes

Many of you should remember former Seahawk defensive back and punt returner Jimmy Williams. He was on the 2005 Superbowl team. He was also one of the DB's that fatefully went down in Tampa week 17 of the 06' season, leaving the Hawks looking for corners off the street. That was the last action he saw.... until now.

The Houston Texans have signed Willimas to help with their own shortage of DB's. The link is to a Mike Sando post at ESPN's Hashmarks. He makes the connection between Ray Rhodes and Jimmy Williams. More importantly though, he gives some insight into Williams time with the Hawks, saying..."The gregarious Williams was extremely popular in the Seattle locker room."

While Williams was with the Hawks, he had 38 punt returns and 4 kick returns for a total of 299 yards. He also had 2 interceptions in 2005. Good luck to you Jimmy. END Read More!

Seahawks Keep Things Fan Friendly

by: Michael Steffes

The Buffalo News kicked off a three part series today about the changing economics in football. This is an interesting topic. The economics of this sport are changing. This is part of the reason that owners are about to opt out of the current labor agreement and take their chances with a new negotiation. There has become quite a schism between small and large market teams. If you want to learn more, you should read Mark Gaughan's article.

What fascinated me about this story was the chart that went along with it. It chronicles the average ticket price of each NFL team. Buffalo has the lowest average ticket price. The interesting part is that Seattle has the 5th lowest at $54.74. The only teams lower are Tennessee, Jacksonville, Cleveland, and of course Buffalo. Seattle clearly sticks out on that list.

Ticket prices essentially work on a free market system. Teams get what they can for tickets. That is why you see a team like New England on top with an average price of over $90 a ticket. Seattle has now had a wait list for tickets since 2005. I would believe they could get more for the tickets, but by selling them below market value, they continue to show that this organization puts the fans first. Maybe that is why the 12th man is so crazy. So dedicated.

As a fan, and a season ticket holder, I applaud this. As Seahawks fans we are treated better than the majority of fans. We have a new, and beautiful stadium with all the amenities. Plus, the Seahawks organization takes the necessary steps to keep a winner on the field. It is truly the best of both worlds, and I didn't want it to go unrecognized. END Read More!

Ranking Pass Rushers

by: Michael Steffes

Bill Williamson over at ESPN has written a little article today, contending that Michael Strahan is passing the torch to a new group of pass rushers. I could argue that some of these players blew past Strahan several years ago, but it doesn't matter.

Williamson uses this piece to rank the top ten pass rushers, assuming Strahan is gone. As you can imagine, a Seahawk makes the list. It is Patrick Kerney. ESPN ranks him 6th. The top 5 are Jared Allen, Mario Williams, Dwight Freeny, Osi Umenyiora and Demarcus Ware. Really!?!

I would contend that Mario Williams at two is highly overrated after having one decent season. Things might change now that he will be double and triple teamed (like Patrick) more often. Freeny too, in my mind shouldn't be so high. He was showing signs of decline before his serious foot injury. I think Ware is a legitimate top three guy, and Umenyiora surely shows the talent even if he is a bit inconsistent.

Personally, my list would have Ware second, with Shawn Merriman and Patrick Kerney in the spots of Freeny and Umenyiora, who would slide to fifth. I will let you figure em' out from there. And please, Mr. Williamson, get Jason Taylor off the list, how is Michael Strahan passing anything except AARP information to JT? Read More!

Polar Opposites

by: Michael Steffes

There isn't much news coming out of Kirkland right now, but the big news so far this morning in the NFL is that the Bengals will be releasing MLB Odell Thurman today for missing VOLUNTARY workouts to help with his Grandmother's funeral. That is a story in itself, mostly again proving the Bengals are easily one of the most mismanaged franchises in professional sports. But I digress....

If you didn't already know, Odell Thurman was selected by the Bengals, who were in desperate need of a MLB (and will be again), with the 48th pick of the 2005 draft. Probably about 30 minutes before, the Seahawks had shipped off two 4th round picks along with their original second to move up three spots in front of the Bengals and take Lofa Tatupu. Knowing what we know, especially after this years draft, it is fair to assume that Tim Ruskell had some intelligence that said Tatupu might go. Even if he didn't, maybe he felt he couldn't get stuck with a second choice. Either way, the Seahawks have soared since Lofa took over the middle, the Bengals have fizzled.

To Continue...

Actually that is not entirely true. Odell Thurman showed almost as much promise in his rookie year as Lofa Tatupu. The Bengals won their division and played a home playoff game vs Pittsburgh. We know how that turned out, considering the Hawks saw Pittsburgh later in the same playoffs. But since then, Odell hasn't seen the field. He was suspended for 06' for violations in the league substance abuse program. It was extended another year when he was stopped for DUI. The same one where the camera in the police car caught Chris Henry vomiting out the back window. During that time, Lofa Tatupu has gone to three straight Pro Bowls, and the Hawks have built one of the most successful franchises in the league.

So what could have been? I don't think it is fair to say that switching two players would make that much difference, but it would have had an effect. First off, I don't think the Hawks would have taken Thurman, more likely Kirk Morrison who is also a pretty darn good player. But they wouldn't be where they are without Lofa, recent legal troubles aside.

Compare the two teams. Both have pretty darn good passing attacks. Both have run the football OK at times, but mostly inconsistently. The difference between sitting home every year and playing deep in January has been the defense. And the price for the key brick in that defense was two fourth rounders. Want to know who was taken?

The first pick was used to select Stephan Lafors, QB, Louisville. The Panthers traded the second pick to the Eagles who took T, Todd Herremans. The best players taken around those two picks were Kerry Rhodes, Brady Poppinga, and Trent Cole. All who also would have helped the Seahawks build a defense. But really nobody knows if they would have taken the leadership role from day one that Lofa embraced.

In the end, this may go down as Tim Ruskell's finest move. He made an eerily similar move this year, moving up from the back of the second to the front end, to make sure he go the guy he wanted to fill what has seemingly been a black hole on this team. Exactly the same reasoning when he moved up for Lofa. Hopefully we can look back and say it worked out just as well. That way, on draft day, when we give up picks to move forward, it will clue us in that another superstar is on the way. So far the Seahawks are one for one, we will know about number two by the end of the year.
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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Who is the NFC's Best?

by: Michael Steffes

Ok, today seems like a perfect today to do this, so I have updated the Seahawk Addicts Power Rankings.

I have made the decision to change the format a bit. Rather than debating the top 15 teams or so, I decided that, for now, we shouldn't even worry about the AFC. To stay congruent with what the Hawks focus should be, I have changed the power rankings to NFC Power Rankings.

For one, you no longer have to sort through all the AFC team crammed into the top because of media bias. Now we can compare apples to apples. Also, I ranked based of talent, not other factors. You will see that St. Louis is ahead of San Fran, despite me picking San Fran to finish ahead of the Rams in the division. While I mention the Rams schedule, the talent is what earns them their ranking until the games are played. Anyway, here are the rankings...

So debate away... Thats what power ranks are meant to do. As always, tell us your logic so that readers understand where you are coming from and can debate back.

Also, with a slow day expected, if anybody has questions about all things Seahawks, I will be happy to give my opinion later in the day.

Also, if there is ever a question you have that you want me to be alerted to that isn't part of a normal conversation, use the special question mark that is part of the smiley faces. I have been meaning to alert readers to this as a way to say HEY MICHAEL ANSWER THIS FOOL! I believe the code is_ :?: _Use it!

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Will Lightning Strike Twice?

by: Michael Steffes

Ok. I am talking about a current Seahawk. See if you can guess who. He played college ball in the ACC. He started his college career as a defensive linemen, playing both end and tackle. After several years on the defensive side of the ball, he was moved over to the offensive line and started to flourish. After showing enough raw skills at that position, the Seahawks used a mid-round draft pick on him as an offensive linemen.

Who is your guess? Ok, now....

You guessed Mansfield Wrotto didn't you. You are right, in a way. But that is not who I am talking about.

I am talking about Sean Locklear. Did you realize that? I didn't until today, and I thought it would be an interesting talking point.

Locklear started his career at NCST as a defensive end and defensive tackle. After two years he was shifted over to the offensive line. In his senior year he saw time starting at right guard, right tackle, and even left tackle vs Maryland. Locklear was taken by the Hawks in the 3rd round and after one year on the bench, he became the starting right tackle. That squad went to the Superbowl, and Lock hasn't looked back. He just signed a lengthy deal with the Hawks that gave him 16 million guaranteed.

So now lets talk Mansfield Wrotto. Wrotto enters his second season with the Hawks. Up until now he is simply the player acquired via the pick traded to the Hawks for Darrell Jackson. However, he also looks to be a important cog of the future on the Seahawks line. With Mike Wahle an aged free agent taking over on the left side, and Rob Sims likely switching to the right side, Wrotto isn't expected to start this year. That is probably for the best. However, that doesn't diminish the importance of this year for him. He may be asked to play before too long.

Unlock like Locklear, he only got to play one year, not two, on the offensive line in college. Essentially that puts him one year behind were Lock was. Now I am not meaning to imply that Wrotto is the next Sean Locklear, because nobody knows that at this point. What I want to point out, is that despite some poor reviews from the reporters out at mini camp, there is no need to give up hope just yet. Instead, lets give him another year.

As mini camps and training season move on, I will try and update the status of this young man. However in the meantime, lets take solace in the fact that this move is not unprecedented. In fact, the Seahawks have already had great success with a very similar player.
Read More!

Lame Duck vs Victory Tour

by: Michael Steffes

When Coach Holmgren announced that he was coming back in late January, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Mike Holmgren has played a big part in putting the Seahawks on the proverbial NFL map. Not only that, but he is a hall of fame coach who gives the Seahawks the best chance to win, right now.

That said, I was equally relieved when the team had announced that Jim Mora would be taking over in 2008. Whether or not you believe in Mora's talent as a coach, and by most accounts you should, the fact that this team doesn't face the uncertainty or speculation surrounding a change will be a good thing. Dan Pompei, and for that matter, a lot of the national media, don't share that rational. All off season, in every interview, Seahawks keep getting asked about the "lame duck" situation. Pompei has written a recent article about it, here. He contends that having two head coaches can divide a locker room, unless both are "working in lockstep."

Here are my thoughts....

I think the best way to approach this, is to take some of Pompei's points one by one and address the concerns with a less fatalistic view point. Hopefully this will give some good talking points that create a good topic for discussion over everyones morning coffee.

The NFL is such a fluid business with so many moving parts that trying anticipate everything that could happen one year from now is a dangerous way to operate.

Yes and No. The only thing that is going to change in Seattle is the personnel, and that happens on every team. We know who the owner is, we know who the GM is, and in reality you can do a fairly good job predicting the key cogs on both sides of the ball. The only thing that I would be worried about being "fluid" would have been Holmgren's decision. If he decided after this year he WANTED to come back, it would be nice to have a spot for him. However, by naming Mora, we take some of the fluidity out of it. The Seahawks will not be tied to a coaching search, and on top of that, they should be able to retain as many assistants as they want to because there will never be a vacancy. If a coaching search was going on, assistants would be leaving right and left, we saw that this year with just a little uncertainty before they announced Mora would be taking over. It gives the team more choices at the least .

By saying he would come back for only one more season, Holmgren risked losing some of his juice, both in the locker room and with regard to organizational issues. But he also gave himself a motivational advantage — everyone wants to win this for Mike.

It would be pretty hard in my mind for a HOF coach to lose some of his juice, especially considering he lost it regarding "organizational issues" several years ago. As for in the locker room, well you can't have both ways. Either players RESPECT him, and thus they want to "win this for Mike." Or the don't, and then they slack off and wait for the new regime to take over. Everything I know about Mike Holmgren, and even Tim Ruskell, says that if you choose the latter option, you won't be in Seattle to see the coaching change take place. My bet is that the players that are here are in it to win it. Isn't that the reason every free agent cites after signing.... they are trying to win a championship and I want to be a part of it.

Two voices aren't necessarily better than one.

How is it any different than when a head coach has a potential head coach on his staff as a coordinator? This implies that there must be some ultimate authority. There is, and his name is Tim Ruskell. Plus, Mora and Holmgren work on two very separate things. Mora may have final word, with his secondary, but really how does that effect Holmgren or the players. Mike keeps his hands off the defense, unless he sends a gnarly snarl their way.

Plus, all accounts coming out of Kirkland are that Jimmy Mora is being very respectful and staying out of the way. If that is the case then two voices are better than one, especially when they have both taken teams to NFC Championship games this decade. That is a problem most teams would love to have.

The head-coach-in-waiting concept is an interesting one, but probably is not the start of a trend.

Doesn't this fly in the face of everything the national media tells us about the NFL. They say, it is a copy cat league. Well.....two of the premier franchises in the league, Seattle and Indy are doing it. Granted the circumstances aren't going to present themselves very often, but if they do, and both Seattle and Indy remain competitive, why wouldn't become a trend?

Anyway, these are my thoughts. I think that this a smart move. I was never in support of the "Big Hire" to replace Holmgren, such as Bill Cower. I think that would have led to more turnover. Essentially, Mora comes from the 2nd generation of Holmgren coaches. He worked in San Fran with coaches who learned from Holmgren. This is like a family business being handed over to a son. Different people, to be sure, but they have the same basic principals.

Also, if you hadn't picked up on yet, I think we are much more likely to witness the Mike Holmgren victory tour than a lame duck year. Whatever that really means anyway. Your thoughts.....

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VMAC Update

by: Michael Steffes

Not too much we haven't heard before, but Adam McFadden of The Bellevue Reporter has a short article on the Virgina Mason Athletic Center. It seems that the Hawks are preparing for it be very fan friendly, however, most likely the big crowds will be next year. In order to accommodate the cars, there will be a shuttle from a local parking lot, which I found interesting. The reason fans aren't allowed in Kirkland is mainly that there is no place to park cars, or so I was told.

The teams last announced plan was to move into the facility the final week of the preseason. They are expected to hold practice there on Saturdays during training camp so that fans can come and watch. END Read More!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Matt Hasselbeck & His Red Beetle

by: Michael Steffes

With a peace sign to boot! If you haven't seen this article yet, it is a must read. Not only does it profile the newest linemen, Mike Wahle, but it contains some classic Hasselbeck anecdotes. Specifically, one I had never heard, about his little red beetle.

Mike Kahn from does a fantastic job mediating a very funny running joke between Hasselbeck and Wahle. Apparently Matt showed up to his first training camp in a little VW with a flower or peace sign on it depending on who you believe. It also had psychedelic purple lights. Can you imagine Hasselbeck, Wahle and two other rookies roaming around the tiny town that is Green Bay in a little bug with hippie paraphernalia? If that doesn't make you chuckle than I don't know what will. END Read More!

NFC West Preview: Unit By Unit Rankings (Part II)

by: Michael Steffes

Ok, with the offense out of the way, lets get down to the Seahawks star unit; The defense. Wow, it has been a long time since we could say that.

A few notes...

First, I really wanted to divide the defensive line into Tackles and Ends, but in the end I combined them. It is two hard to separate them because both the Cards and Niners are playing a hybrid 3-4/4-3. Because of that, it was unfair to measure the tackles and ends against each other because they are asked to do different things.

Also, I included some special teams rankings. It was only fair. I felt bad for the Niners, and that was the only way they were going to get a high ranking.


First off, let me start by saying that as high as I am on the Seahawks d-line right now, I am not ready to put them up against the best in the business. That said, when comparing with in this division, they are easily the best. One player, Patrick Kerney does that almost by himself. He is really the only guy in the division who offenses still fear. Add in Mebane and the current depth, and this is a good group top to bottom. The Rams came in second here, but mostly by attrition. Chris Long has to prove it, but by all accounts should be solid right away. Little can still rush and Carraker had a solid rookie year and should be better. I felt San Fran and Arizona were pretty even. I gave the nod to San Fran because they do what they are supposed to. Justin Smith has been a pretty good all around end, and I like their nose tackles. With Arizona, they would be better if Dockett and Berry stay healthy, but when has that ever happen. I am a Michigan fan, and I think Watson and Branch are terrible players. Plus almost all their depth comes from the 3 DE's they selected in the draft. You could say I have very little faith in Calais Campbell ever being special as well.

Was there any doubt about the top ranked linebacking group. I believe the Hawks have the best starting group in the NFL. The team is happier with the depth than I am, but assuming the starters are good to go, which they almost always have been, this unit is first by a LARGE margin. I gave the Niners 2nd. They have some questions to be sure, but they have Patrick Willis. 170 Tackles last year! They also have better depth at that position than the other two teams. I like both Will Witherspoon and Karlos Dansby a lot. But when I looked at the Cards, I think they are a little better. Chike Okeafor is playing outside for them. Plus if you expect Clark Haggins to remain a quality player, they are deeper than the Rams. The Rams needed linebackers and then proceeded to wait until the 6th and 7th to draft any. Not good.

On the defensive side of the ball, I found the safeties the hardest to rank. As you can see, I am allowing the Cards, Rams, and Hawks to all share the top spot. Each for a different reason. Adrian Wilson is an all world safety, but is coming off a tough injury for a player who needs to be explosive. Moving Rolle to safety might make them the best. He is a ball hawk to complement Wilson ferocious hitting. However, it is too early to tell with Wilson's injury and Rolle's lack of experience. The Rams have pretty darn good safeties as well. Oshiomogho Atogwe is probably the Rams best defender right now and Corey Chavious is solid. I included the Hawks here because they ask the safeties to play a totally different roll than the other teams. They ask that the safeties just keep people in front of them. Considering the Hawks were tops in touchdown passes allowed, they are pretty darn good at doing their jobs. Russel could be better, but he is equal to a Corey Chavious. How bout them Niners? Poor Niner fans. Roman and Lewis don't scare anybody.

Only one NFC West corner went to the Pro Bowl, and he wasn't the one who got the biggest free agent contract before the year began. Trufant, by all accounts, looks just as good now as he did before he got paid. With Jennings in year three, and the experience of Babs, plus a speedy Josh Wilson who will hopefully improve, the Hawks are tops again. Clements by himself puts San Fran to 2, but they are going to need some sort of pass rush to show their corners skills. Arizona came in third because of the way they played last year, which was over their heads. However, adding DRC to Rod Hood and Eric Green makes them better than the sorry group in St. Louis. Ron Bartell? Fakhir Brown? Justin King? Anybody smell burnt toast?

In the name of fair and balanced, I have included the specialists. If you read the team previews, you know I am very high on the Niners specialists. Andy Lee was a very good punter last year. Joe Nedney is solid, as he should be as the team's primary scoring threat. Rackers and Barr get the Cards second. They have a bit more flash than the other two teams. I strongly considered ranking the Hawks above the Rams, simply because they are using two Seattle castaways in Donnie Jones and Josh Brown. But in the end, I had to be realistic. Plackemeirer was one of the worst punters last year numbers wise and the Hawks kicker situation is in flux. And as much as I hate to say it now, Brown did look like a pretty good kicker, at times. Take note though Seahawk fans, specialists are about as unpredictable as any positional group out there, so these rankings could flip flop by week 2.

Not wanting to end on a bad note, I separated the returners. Nate Burleson is EASILY the best of the bunch. Even if he gets taken off duty, Josh Wilson had the same number of return TD's as Arizona's up-and- comer Steve Breaston. Between Nate, Wilson, and maybe Forsett, I am expecting the Hawks trend of good returns to continue. As for the bottom two, I tied them at third. Alan Rossum and Dante Hall both are over the hill. The teams are basically hoping for one return a year that equals their previous skill levels. Neither will do much over the course of a season, in my opinion. Plus, they tend to get banged up easily.

Well, alright Seahawk Addicts. That sums up the week long NFC West preview. You should have plenty to discuss. One thing is clear. The Hawks are the best team in this division, and I feel confident that even Cardinals, Rams, and Niner fans would admit that to themselves in the cobwebbed corners of their souls. If this team doesn't come out with a purpose this year it will be a shame, but regardless they clearly have enough to win this division again. Go Hawks!!
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NFC West Preview: Unit By Unit Rankings

by: Michael Steffes

One thing that was suggested when I first laid out my plans to do the NFC West Preview, was a unit by unit analysis. Since an NFL division only has four teams in in it, this makes for a nice Friday summation piece.

This task was a bit harder than I expected. Because of that I hope it will get some good discussion going. I initial instinct was to rate the Seahawks high in every category. Then I thought that wasn't realistic. However, when you start to look at the disparity in talent between the Seahawks and the rest of the division, you see why this team wins going away every year. So lets take a look, and as always, if you want to leave a comment and disagree, make sure to state a case so we all can see where you are coming from. Check it out....


I don't think that too many people who follow the NFL could disagree with the fact that the Seahawks have the best quarterback in the division. Matt Hasselbeck has now been to three Pro Bowls and led his team to a Superbowl. After Matthew, things get a little more blurry. I took the Cards second. If this was done before last year it would have been the Rams. However, the duo of Warner and Leinart tops Bulger in my mind. Bulger has had issues staying healthy and looks a bit shell shocked these days. One thing that is clear is that the Niners are hurting at this position. They don't even know who the starter will be yet.

To me this one was pretty clear cut as well. Unfortunately, the Hawks are still far behind the competition in my mind. All will agree, Steven Jackson is a load when healthy. He runs with power and has the speed to take it to the house. Second is the Niners. Frank Gore didn't look anything like the back we saw in 2006, but part of that was the Niners having zero passing attack. I think that if the Niners throw with more efficiency, which Mike Martz should help with, then Gore will look more like 06'. The Seahawks are simply a work in progress. We don't know. Maybe we will all be wowed beyond our imagination, but on paper, the Hawks look mediocre at this position. However, still, I ranked AZ last. I see Edge as the next Shaun, and this is probably the year he starts to look bad. The Cards really should have gotten someone better to put behind him.

Wide Receivers is a clear cut winner for Arizona. Boldin and Fitzgerald are monsters. Fortunate for the rest of the division, they have been injury prone and have played with streaky quarterbacks. I ranked the Hawks second. Of course I am including both Bobby Engram and Deion Branch in this equation. Branch will be back at some point. Engram and Nate started most of the games last year anyway, and while they don't have the pedigree of a Torry Holt, overall the Hawks have a better group. The Rams hit third, mainly because Holt is aging. He wasn't the same guy last year. Plus Bennett is no Issac Bruce. Reche Caldwell and rookies don't do much for me. The Niners, are well, the Niners. Bruce and Johnson have to prove they can be featured guys for different reasons. Arnez Battle has been consistently OK. Beyond that they have nothing.

Tight end was the first position that really caused some waffling on my part. In the end I just couldn't justify ranking the teams. Its a tie! In my mind, at this time they are all significantly crappy or unproven. You can make your case for any team. The starters are Pope, McMichael, Vernon Davis, and maybe Carlson. McMichael has done the most to this point, but he is still nothing to sing from a mountain top about. Davis has maybe the most talent; somebody nudge me when he starts using it. I guess if this was a long term projection I would take the Hawks and Carlson, but for now, nobody stands out. Feel free to chime in...

Now while I still ranked the Hawks running backs behind the competition, I felt the improvements in their line vaulted them to the top. To me coaching was factored in here as well. What it really came down to was Walter Jones. He is the best/most proven guy in the division. When you add a former Pro Bowler next to him to go with a first round pick and another top flight tackle in Lock, it is easily the most solid unit. Right guard is the only hole and Sims at least has experience. I made AZ second despite the presence of Pace on the Rams. I think really the bottom three lines are fairly even... and average. Staley figures to be rising star in San Fran just like Levi Brown n AZ. The Rams still have Pace. All of those lines could go either way. The Hawks are the only one I feel comfortable with both tackles and an entire side. San Frans line is just pitiful outside of Staley which is why they are on the bottom. Chilo Rachel could make them better, but not this year in my opinion.

This has turned into a lengthy post already. I will split the two sides of the ball. I think that I tended to be a bit biased on the D, but that should make for a happy Friday afternoon post, right. I will have that up later today. Hope you enjoyed. I look forward to seeing the comments.
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