Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nice Write-Up on Julius Jones

by: Michael Steffes

Scott Johnson, writing for the Kitsap Sun, did a nice little write up on Julius Jones and the running game today. It doesn't shatter the space-time continuum with new information, but that doesn't stop it from being revealing. I like the fact that Jones is crediting his offensive line. The article states,

"The offensive line,"[Jones] said, referring to a much-maligned unit over the past two seasons. "They've really been doing an excellent job. Everything starts with them. Those guys are the reason that we're third in the league right now."
This sentiment is being reciprocated in full. Pork Chop was quoted by Johnson as saying, "We knew he could run the ball, that's why they brought him in. He's the kind of guy who you know is going to fight for every yard. You like that."

This is something that has been missing in recent years--in fact, one could say that the offensive line got tossed under the bus a few times--and even though they probably deserved some blame, saying it doesn't help the team. If for some reason this new incarnation of the Hawks' line didn't gel with Shaun, that is now in the past. To see the line backing up their RB and the RB complementing the line is a sign that the running game problems of the past two seasons may have finally been solved. ~END~ Read More!

Your Sunday Just Got a Bit More Irritating

by: Chris Sullivan

The announcers have been, uh, announced for the Seahawks' journey to the Meadowlands to face the New York Football Giants:

Kenny Albert
Daryl Johnston
Tony Siragusa

I smell an Assclown of the Week award coming on any day now . . . Read More!

Benson a Bengal, Alexander Still Unemployed

by: Chris Sullivan

Well, it looks like Shaun Alexander won't be Tres Siete after all. After backup RB DeDe Dorsey was lost to IR for the year, the Bengals signed troubled running back Cedric Benson.

Shaun Alexander, however, remains unemployed. The injury bug appears to have hit the Steelers pretty bad, with Willie Parker still out and Rashard Mendenhall being placed on IR today. Will he get a call? END Read More!

Starting Locklear the Right Move?

by: Michael Steffes

Reports are in that Sean Locklear will take back his starting right tackle position this week against the Giants. This appears to be at the expense of Ray Willis, who played admirably in his first real time starting in this league. So is this the right move?

One could argue that this team has been searching for the right offensive line combination for 2 years. For the first time in these 2 years the line looked like a cohesive, physical unit. The team ran for nearly 400 yards in the last two games. Why change it?

Because, in my mind, it is the right move to make. First off, it sets a bad precedent to have a player lose his job to injury . . . well, aside from Rob Sims, of course (sorry Rob!). Plus, Sean Locklear is a fine player. He is very capable of handling the duties at right tackle. Even if he isn't as dominant a run blocker as Willis, he has generally been the most consistent lineman in the past few years. You could make an argument for Walt, but he did struggle a bit with Sims next to him.

Also, when in doubt, follow the money. Locklear took a hometown discount to help the Hawks, and that needs to be rewarded. Also, despite said discount, they paid Lock like a top echelon tackle. They want to make good use of that investment. And if all that wasn't enough, Ray Willis is a free agent after this year. The Hawks will most certainly want to re-sign him, as he has proven to be a valuable commodity, but the more he shines, the bigger an expense that becomes. The question is whether or not he will want to go to a place he can start. Also, if the Hawks are planning on drafting a young tackle, then that changes things too.

In the end though, it is Locklear's ability and consistency that truly drive this decision. Lock is a player, and if fully healthy, he should be able to do a nice job against Justin Tuck this weekend, and that's something I am not sure I would say if Ray Willis was the RT. ~END~ Read More!

From Shortage to Surplus

by: Mike Parker

Mike Holmgren told Danny O'Neil yesterday that a roster move could be imminent, considering that the team now has seven active receivers on the 53-man squad.

"We probably have too many," coach Mike Holmgren said. "I never thought I'd say that, but it's true. But before I say anything we've got to think about it just a little bit more."

Does that mean a roster move is coming on Tuesday?

"Could be," he said. "Could be."

Whatever Holmgren has up his sleeve, I'm not holding my breath. Roster moves are old hat by now with the 2008 Seahawks, with a league-leading seven players on injured reserve. The wide receiver shuffle is also something we're all used to by now, which put poor Matt Hasselbeck into more fantasy team add/drops than he's probably been in since the Knee Incident against Minnesota in 2006. Hell, Matt's been passed around so much by now, his nickname should be "the bong."

But I digress. Our faithful leader gets his two best weapons back this week heading into New York, and that couldn't have happened at a better time. Mr. O'Neil was even kind enough to record a quick video of said weapons--Deion Branch and Bobby Engram, of course--on the practice field yesterday and posted it here.

Holmgren says he'd obviously like the roster to be 100 percent going into Eli-land on Sunday, but that still appears to be wishful thinking. Mo Morris didn't practice yesterday with a knee injury sustained in Week One, and we've heard little to nothing on the progress of Seneca Wallace--although seeing him dressed against St. Louis two weeks ago was promising.

But, like Holmgren put it, depth at receiver is no longer the issue. And with Julius Jones playing out of his mind in the past two games, having Mo Morris back shouldn't be at the top of our worry list. Could the bye week have possibly come at a better time? -END- Read More!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Seahawks Switch Practice Squad RBs

by: Michael Steffes

In case you missed this in the beat guys' daily write-ups (or often don't read them), the Hawks made a change to their practice squad. They have released running back Yvenson Bernard and replaced him with former UMass running back Matt Lawrence. Too bad, I always liked Bernard, but he wasn't likely to ever play a role on this team.

Mike Holmgren also suggested that another roster move may be upcoming, saying the team is carrying too many WRs now. Who would have thought that was even possible? Maybe he should wait until after this week just to be sure. ~END~ Read More!

Update on Eric Smith's Hit on Boldin

by: Matthew Heuett

As mentioned by Chris Sullivan in a previous post, Anquan Boldin was the victim of a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit yesterday during the Cardinals' loss to the Jets. Today, the NFL fined the Jets' safety Eric Smith $50k and suspended him for one game for the hit (link):

Specifically, on a pass play on Sunday, Smith engaged in helmet-to-helmet contact with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who was in a defenseless position at the time contact was made.

The suspension will sideline Smith for the Jets' game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Oct. 12 following the Jets bye on Oct. 5. The $50,000 fine includes the game check Smith will forfeit for the week of his suspension.
The article also includes a quotation from the text of "Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8(g)," which is the specific rule Smith violated. In case you're wondering what all that legalese means in normal human speak, Rule 2 is the rulebook chapter on "Player Conduct," Section 2 is "Personal Fouls", Article 8 deals with "Unecessary Roughness," and subsection (g) of Article 8 specifically covers "Impermissable Use of Hands and Facemask." And as long as I'm at it, here's the full text of 8(g) from the 2006 NFL Rulebook:
using any part of a player’s helmet (including the top/crown and forehead/“hairline” parts) or facemask to butt, spear, or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily; although such violent or unnecessary use of the helmet and facemask is impermissible against any opponent, game officials will give special attention in administering this rule to protecting those players who are in virtually defenseless postures (e.g., a player in the act of or just after throwing a pass, a receiver catching or attempting to catch a pass, a runner already in the grasp of a tackler, a kickoff or punt returner attempting to field a kick in the air, or a player on the ground at the end of a play). All players in virtually defenseless postures are protected by the same prohibitions against use of the helmet and facemask that are described in the roughing-the-passer rules (see Article 11, subsection 3 below of this Rule 12, Section 2);
Read More!

Mo Morris Not Practicing

by: Michael Steffes

Howevaaaaaaaa . . . Bobby, Koren, Pork Chop, and Seneca Wallace are all working. Thanks to Scott Johnson for the heads up. ~END~ Read More!

Should the Seahawks Alter Schedule for 10am Games?

by: Michael Steffes

I think that one idea that will be kicked around this week by fans is whether or not the Seahawks should alter their schedule to accommodate the 10 AM PST start. It is a reasonable thought. Nothing else has worked for the early morning East coast starts, right?

There are a couple of reasons that I think that this approach is not only a mistake, but possibly even counterproductive.

First off, the team needs to put in good, focused practices this week. If the team chooses to start practicing at an early morning hour, it throws the players' clocks off for practice. Even if they start to adjust by Sunday, which is not a given, they may not have gotten an effective week of preparation. A good week of practice, probably more than anything else, positively effects the outcome of a game.

Also, there is a staggering amount of evidence that suggests the Hawks aren't great in these situations. However, they actually fare better in east coast morning games than they do in night games. This suggests that it has nothing to do with the supposed body clock issues, and likely stems from one of the other numerous things going against them on the road in the eastern time zone.

There is one thing I might consider doing if I were the Hawks. This may sound ridiculous, but I would leave later in the week. My experience with travel, and maybe some of you can back me up, is that it is not the first day that the jetlag really hits, but the second. Flying on Friday means they will be playing on that second day. If the team were to leave on Saturday afternoon, they would be able to keep their regular routines a day longer. They would hopefully be tired on Saturday night, simply from traveling all day, and maybe from waking up early to do a walkthrough on Saturday morning before the flight as well. They then can play the game before their bodies even know what hit them.

I am just speaking off-the-cuff here, but in my opinion practicing early is a self-defeating proposition. However, changing the travel schedule could be something worth trying. It will be interesting to hear if Mike Holmgren is making any changes for the 10 AM game this week. Clearly what Arizona tried isn't the answer. Maybe the team just needs to gut out a big victory and stop all the talk about the East coast morning/travel jinx. That would certainly help. ~END~ Read More!

Hungry Mailbag

by: Mike Parker

Dear Readers and faithful 12th Men and Women -

Since we've just had the bye week and expect the return of our top receivers, (remember those?) we're expecting to have a lot of subject matter to cover Thursday night in this week's podcast. Topics will definitely include what to watch for on Sunday in the suddenly-huge game in New York as well as other happenings that took place in the division yesterday.

That being said, what we at Seahawk Addicts need from you, dear readers, are mailbag questions. Too much is never enough. We all know the responses you'd get from the so-called "experts" at the four-letter network, and we can answer everything while being 55 percent less irritating. (Really, I can't promise anything higher than that--it heavily depends on how many Red Bulls Steffes drinks before the show.)

So, fire away, everyone. Our goal is to have more questions this week--preferably 5 or 6, if possible. podcasts@seahawkaddicts.com. Feed the hungry mailbag!

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION (Will pop up a form)-END- Read More!

King Notes Seahawks' Struggles

by: Michael Steffes

After promising last week an in-depth look at what the Seahawks have gone through with wide receivers this year, he has delivered . . . sort of.

At the quarter point, he has nominated the Seahawks as the team who has overcome the most:

Perhaps a plague would be worse. Or a smallpox epidemic. But the one thing you don't want to be right now is a Seattle Seahawks receiver. If you are, you need to buy lots of insurance. Right now.
He goes on to add quotes from both Mike Shanahan and Mike Holmgren, who says Keary Colbert looks fantastic. Relatively speaking, of course. It is worth looking at, but it is nothing that is earth shattering. The Seahawks have gone through a ton of receivers so far. Not once have the same receivers projected to start two weeks in a row. It is bad luck, and that is all. Hopefully, the team has survived it. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, right?

Anyway, it is also worth noting that King thinks the Giants are the best team in the NFL. That is in the article as well. Hooooooboy. This week is going to take a year off my life. I am already nervous and excited. Can we petition to play the game on Thursday night? ~END~ Read More!

John Marshall on KJR

by: Michael Steffes

Mitch Levy interviewed everyone's favorite defensive mastermind John Marshall this morning on KJR. Marshall spent his week off in Oregon, riding around on a tractor. He also spent some time game planning.

John is happy that Plax is not playing. He says any time you can avoid going against a Pro Bowler, that is a good thing. He isn't the type of guy to say "I want your best team." He did say he is concerned that the rest of the Giants will step up their game to counteract the loss of Plax.

Marshall says the 49ers game "stuck in his craw," but since then they have broken down every play and every defensive call in that game and are now moving forward. "You live in the past, you die in the past."

Marshall says the Giants haven't changed that much from last year. He said their offensive line is very good, with good size and a toughness about them. He also said they have a very balanced offensive team and that lately they haven't turned the ball over much.

Here is my take: this is a great opportunity for the Hawks, but it is probably realistic to think that we need to see a different Hawks team than we have seen in the last few years to get the win. The defense needs to get sacks and pressure, something that hasn't happened on the east coast in recent memory. This will help create some turnovers, which will in turn help the offense. This projects to be a close game, which means absolutely no special teams gaffes. Also, we have yet to see the o-line function well on the road. They need to protect and open up holes. Basically, the Hawks need to be perfect to win this one. If they do, it will be a monumental step forward for this year's team. ~END~ Read More!

Rams Schedule Press Conference

by: Michael Steffes

The 0-4 St.Louis Rams are heading into their bye week. However, before they do, they seem to have some business to attend to. They have called a 10 AM press conference. This is presumably to announce the already reported firing of head coach Scott Linehan. It is suspected that former Saints head man and current Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett will lead the team for the remainder of the season. Things are getting ugly in St. Louis.

UPDATE VIA CHRIS:Fox Sports is reporting that Scott Linehan has been fired after another 0-4 start for the St Louis Rams. Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett will be replacing him.

There was an interesting comment on this site (maybe it was an email, I can't remember). A reader proposed that the Seahawks look into Linehan as a offensive coach on next years staff. He is a local guy, who has a history of doing good things on the offensive side of the ball. Obviously he was ill-equipped to be a head coach, but i thought i would bring this up to stir discussion. How would you feel about Linehan working with the Seahawks in the future? How about the Huskies, where his name is already being mentioned as a possible coaching candidate? Any thoughts? ~END~ Read More!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Giants Game Gains Importance

by: Michael Steffes

First off, congratulations to former Hawk QB and Coach Jim Zorn. He is putting together quite the season so far after a poor showing in the opening week. Today the Skins went to Dallas and won.

When Dallas fell, it left only the Giants with an unblemished record in the NFC. So...

If the Hawks can find some way to pull off an upset next week, not only will they have evened their record, but they will find themselves only 1 game out of possibly having home field advantage.

I know this is putting the cart before the horse; however, with all three NFC West teams falling today, it seems as if the Hawks will have every opportunity to compete for the title in this division. And if you think the playoffs are still a possibility, which I do, well then you can't help but think about the Hawks gaining home field throughout. It would give them an undeniable advantage.

Now, let's go shock the Giants. ~END~ Read More!

Anquan Boldin injured in sickening double helmet-to-helmet

by: Chris Sullivan

Again, of course, no flags thrown. This game wasn't shown in the Seattle market, so I'm not sure if anyone else has seen this, but it looks bad. I'm not posting this to be gratuitous, and knowing the NFL it won't last long anyway, but here is the YouTube video of the hit(s):

When is the NFL going to start taking itself and its players seriously? No flags for this (Eric Smith, apparently, was the culprit on the main hit) and none for a number of face masks I've seen today, but they fine players $7,500 for pointing to his jersey? Riiiight.

[UPDATE: Boldin was "alert" and moving his extremities after the game.]

Our thoughts and prayers are with Anquan Boldin; here's hoping this is not as serious as it looks. He was eventually removed on a stretcher. And I know that the Hawks may end up benefiting down the road from the Cards not having a healthy Boldin, but don't harp on that in the comments--keep it classy. I know 99% of Hawk fans would anyway, but there are always a few out there. END Read More!

SF Secondary No Match for Shorthanded Saints

by: Michael Steffes

Despite the fact that Jeremy Shockey and Marcus Colston are out and David Patten is slowed by injury, the Saints are going up top early and often on the Niners. Lance Moore (Who? You're welcome, Bad News Kennels) has caught two touchdown passes, and Drew Brees just hit Robert Meachem on a long TD pass before the half.

The Niners have been able to force Brees out of his rhythm a bit with pressure, but when he has had time he picks them apart. Also, much like Kurt Warner, J.T. O'Sullivan has also had some ball security issues this morning.

My question is this: how come the Hawks are the only team who takes a bad wrap for playing poorly at 10:00 AM? I can't remember the Cards or Niners ever playing great in these situations, and they have often had the benefit of playing lesser teams in the Eastern divisions. ~END~ Read More!

So Much for Staying on the East Coast

by: Michael Steffes

Spending the week on the Eastern seaboard doesn't seem to have done the Cardinals a lick of good. The are getting housed early in NY. The score is currently 21-0. The Jets are inside the Cardinal's 10 again.

Kurt Warner is having trouble holding on to the ball in the humidity. He fumbled a ball backwards 20 yards from the Jets' 10 early on. He has also thrown two picks.

The Cards had two opportunities in the red zone early in the game and came away with zero points. This mirrors what they did in the opener at SF. It could be a long day for Whisenhunt and crew. This is also good news for the Seahawks. ~END~ Read More!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Previewing Tomorrow's Action

by: Michael Steffes

With the Seahawks playing home games the last two weeks, I am looking forward to having a Sunday on my couch flipping between numerous excellent football games. I thought I would tell you a bit of what I will be watching tomorrow. Then you can chime in with what you will be watching with no Seahawks action.

  • The 49ers/Saints game will be #1 on my morning hit list. I think that this has the potential to be an extremely entertaining game. I am hoping to see both Frank Gore and Reggie Bush trade blows, leading the Leavy Conspiracy to a 4-0 record in the Seahawk Addicts Expert League.
  • I am also interested in the Green Bay/Tampa Bay game. Many of you probably remember when these two teams were division rivals. For some reason it always seems to be an entertaining game. Also, both teams represent critical upcoming games for the Hawks.
  • I will certainly keep tabs on AZ vs the J-E-T-S, Jets Jets Jets as well. Here's hoping Arizona starts coming back to the pack. Also, I want to see if staying on the East Coast helps them play better. If so, it could start a trend.
  • The afternoon schedule is underwhelming at best. I suppose fans are being railroaded into watching the Cowboys/Skins matchup. I will probably play along. However, I expect the Boys to roll in this one, but who knows? Maybe Zorn surprises.
~END~ Read More!

Get Your Listen On

by: Michael Steffes

After a one-week tech induced hiatus, the Seahawk Addicts podcast has returned. Thank you to all 400 subscribers, you make us feel important!

Anyway, listen to Chris, Gonzo and I ramble through a look at the Rams game, our thoughts on the season as a whole, and the regular features like Reader Mailbag and Assclown of the Week. Unfortunately I edited this one...so good luck!

The special guest this week is Scott Wright. Scott runs a great site called Draftcountdown.com. He lends his insight into some current Seahawk predicaments (Coutu vs Forsett), and gives a breakdown of some players the Hawks might target next April. This gives the avid football fan a great list of college players to take note of going forward. Thanks again to Scott, he is great guy, and make sure to check out his site. Even you hate us, you should listen to Scott's interview, because he brought his A game.

Here is the link to the podcast site. Here is a link to the direct download. And you can subscribe to the podcast in Itunes with one click on the right side of the page. Hope you enjoy! ~END~ Read More!

Looking Forward to my Trip to NY Now

by: Michael Steffes

I hate to even give these losers more publicity, but the blogoshpere has already exploded on this. If there wasn't a reason for outsiders to dislike Seahawk fans, there is now.

The owner of a Seahawks based message board that you may have seen, called Seahawks Huddle, posted one of the most offensive and appalling attempts at trash talk I have ever seen. It was enough that the NY Daily News even took notice. As has Deadspin. And rightfully so, there is a lot of Hawkfan bashing going on.

Every fanbase has its idiots. Put them behind a computer and things get interesting. This is just pathetic, and it makes me sad. Judging by the reaction of Giants fans, I expect to hear about this next week while attending the game. In both of the last Giants games at Qwest, I sat next to Giants fans, and I found them to be to both humble and knowledgeable. Hopefully, after the anger subsides, they will understand that this is one isolated asshat and not a representation of Seahawks fans in general. ~END~

[Given the subject matter, the comments responding to this post are likely going to be angry and rough. Vent if you need to, but please try to keep your language out of four-letter territory. -Ed.] Read More!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Plax Nears Settlement on Appeal

by: Michael Steffes

According to ESPN, Plaxico Burress is close to a settlement. He will still miss the game against the Seahawks, but will only owe half of the 235K in fines.

This is good news if you are hoping for the Seahawks to squeak out a win in NY. If you are Giants fan, it probably doesn't do much for your opinion of Plax. The guy just sat out considerable time in order to get a contract extension. He then misses meetings and doesn't inform the team, gets suspended, and then appeals the suspension just to get some money back. Nice.

Remember the cardinal rule folks: even when they say it isn't, it is always about the money. ~END~ Read More!

Keep the Faith

by: Michael Steffes

Don Banks is. In his newest article for cnnsi.com, Banks lists the Hawks as one of three teams with a losing record he sees still making the playoffs. He doesn't necessarily see the Seahawks making a big run, but has them getting above .500, which he believes is enough to win the NFC West. This is what he says:

Not for one second do I think it's going to pretty this season in Seahawks-land. It's going to be one step forward, two steps back all year long. But I can see a route to 9-7 -- barely -- and that will be good enough to squeak out a fifth consecutive division title, and a sixth-straight trip to the playoffs. It's up to the Cardinals or 49ers to convince me otherwise.
This is similar to my feelings. In my recent post re-examining the Seahawks' schedule, I think that 10 wins is still a possibility. Not only that, but the Seahawks schedule softens near the end of the year.

The moral of this story? We should be watching the Hawks for improvement in their play over the next few weeks, and try not to get too caught up in the record. They will likely be in a hole for the majority of the first half of the season. Luckily, they have both games against their biggest competition for the division title (AZ) in the second half, along with numerous winnable games. This bodes well for the team's confidence if it does escape this poor start and still makes the playoffs. ~END~ Read More!

Week 4 Picks - We guarantee the Hawks won't lose!

by: The Seahawk Addicts Team

Well, the bye weekend is almost here, but that doesn't stop the writers from continuing to display their pathetic knowledge of the rest of the NFL. Luckily, no one will accuse us of being homers for at least another week because we can't pick the Hawks to win. Lets see where things stand so far....

Last Week:

Steffes 10-6
Sullivan 9-7
Dr. Gonzo 11-5


Steffes 28-19
Dr. Gonzo 28-19
Sullivan 27-20

Thrilling stuff! Gonzo takes the week and pulls into a first place tie. As always, please only use this information for gambling if you are A) a total dummy, B) like throwing money away, or C) want to lose more often than USC in Corvallis. Anyway...

Here are the picks....

GAME Steffes Sullivan Gonzo
Minn @ Tenn Minn Tenn Tenn
Denver @ KC Denver Denver Denver
SF @ New Orleans New Orleans NO Nawlins
Arizona @ NYJ NYJ Arizona NYJ
Green Bay @Tampa Bay Tampa Green Bay Green Bay
Atlanta @Carolina Carolina Carolina Carolina
Houston @ Jacksonville Jacksonville Jax Jacksonville
Cleveland @ Cincinnati Cincinnati Cleveland Cincy
San Diego @ Oakland San Diego San Diego San Diego
Buffalo @ St. Louis Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo
Washington @ Dallas Dallas Dallas Dallas
Philly @ Chicago Philly Philly Philly
Baltimore @ Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Baltimore

Sullivan is the only writer with faith in the vaunted NFC West. The swing games appear to be Minn/Tenn, The battle of the Bays, the awfulness in Ohio, and the Monday Night black-and-blue runfest. Turn on your Sunday Ticket and give em' a look. Read More!

Seahawks Scouting Ducks

by: Michael Steffes

Tim Ruskell alluded to this in his interview, and here is some confirmation. The Seahawks were at a Ducks practice this week. They were supposedly watching the defensive side of the ball, according to GoDucks.com.

One name to definitely keep an eye on is safety Patrick Chung. Scott Wright has him going 29th in his most recent Mock Draft, to the Patriots. Here is what he says:

A versatile player with the size and speed to be a factor in coverage and in-the-box, Chung has proven to be a playmaker in the secondary and is also the type of leader with top intangibles that the Patriots [and Seahawks] look for . . . Chung isn’t a “consensus” first rounder on most boards that sort of thing has never deterred the Patriots [and Seahawks] in the past.
Other Ducks that are possibly of interest to the Hawks include:

C Max Unger
OT Fenuki Tupou
RB Jeremiah Johnson
WR Jaison Williams

For more from Scott Wright and Draft Countdown, make sure to tune into this week's podcast, where I will be talking to him about this year's draft class and how it relates to the Hawks. You can always find a link to this great site in the right hand sidebar. ~END~ Read More!

Quick Look Ahead to the Giants

by: Michael Steffes

The big news broke early in the week that the Giants would likely be missing top receiving threat Plaxico Burress for the Seahawks game. This has been met with all sorts of reaction. I thought it would be worth taking a look at how this news is affecting the game outlook. I have included thoughts from both sides. To continue....

To start I went to a friend of the blog, John Woods. John is an editor for the New York Times' Fifth-Down Blog. I will be writing a game preview next week for their site, but I thought I would get his opinion on how the Burress suspension would affect the game. Here is what he said:

I don't really "cover" the team. So take this for what it's worth: I don't think the Giants miss him. Ordinarily, I would be very Doomsday about this. Burress is a huge part of the passing offense. After the first two weeks, I think Burress had accounted for close to 40 percent of the Giants' receptions. But there are two reasons why I think this is not a devastating blow. One, and with all due respect, it's only the Seahawks. I am not sure Seattle poses such an offensive threat that the Giants are going to be pushed to the limit to keep up. And defense, especially pass defense, does not appear to be Seattle's strength. Eli Manning might be able to get away with a few mistakes. And two, I will probably eat these words, but I was very Doomsday about the Giants' losing Jeremy Shockey last season, and all the Giants did was win the Super Bowl. Shockey had a quarter of Manning's career touchdown passes, but the whole offense simply adjusted away from the tight end. I think they key for them is that Eli Manning has matured enough so that, in short stretches, anyway, he can lift otherwise mediocre players up to his level. So, in short, losing Burress won't hurt the Giants because the Seahawks aren't very good and the Giants have proved they can replace major pieces of their offense without acquiring outside help.
Now readers, let's not get in a huff over his comments about the Seahawks being bad. For an outsider, it certainly looks that way right now, since the team is 1-2 and lost at home to SF. Last year around this time we would have said the Giants were bad. Instead, let's examine the logic. The pass defense for Seattle has been bad at times this year, but they brought back all the members of the top pass defense from last year, so clearly they should improve. The Giants game will let us know if SF was a lapse or a trend. I think that John is right, in that the Giants can shift the offense towards other players, but the one thing I would be worried about if I were the Giants is that Plax is a safety blanket for Manning. When things get tight, Manning can force balls to Plax because of his height. A high throw to Plax in good coverage can still be caught. Without that, we may see Manning make some bad throws, which Woods alludes to by saying "Eli Manning might be able to get away with a few mistakes." Clearly, he just believes the Hawks won't be able to capitalize on those mistakes, and that is fair. They need to prove they can.

John Morgan at Field Gulls also had some interesting thoughts on this subject. Here is what he said the other day:
Typically, I argue not to overstate the value of one player. Great teams make stars, but stars do not make great teams. Plaxico Burress is an exception. Not just because he's so much better than the Giants other receivers, but because he's perfectly matched for Eli Manning's abilities and inabilities. In 2007, Burress accounted for 139 DYAR. Manning, -70. While that could be a function of Burress' position, scouting data backs up the numbers. Manning is notorious for his overthrows and the 6'5" and exceptionally rangy Burress was the perfect foil for Manning's inaccuracy. Well, nearly. Burress receives a lot of wild passes "targeting" him, and as such has hovered around a 50% completion percentage in his three years with New York.

In the past three season, Burress has missed one game. In 2006, against the Houston Texans, Eli Manning, including sacks, attempted 30 passes for an adjusted net yards per attempt of 4.43. That season, Manning and the Texans opponents averaged 5.6 adjusted net yards per attempt. What production Manning had that day came through his tight end and running backs. The wide receivers combined for five receptions for 52 yards. The only remaining wide receiver from that group of Mike Jennings, Tim Carter and Amani Toomer is Toomer. Toomer suffered worst of all, targeted four times, for an interception, an incomplete and two receptions for 16 yards. Toomer is now 34, and tore his ACL in 2006. Toomer is also now New York's nominative number one receiver.
Morgan's research seems to back up what John Woods said. The Giants, in the past, have shifted their offense to the other positions to make up for the loss of Burress. The question is, will this approach be effective against the Hawks?

My take is this. So far the Hawks have excelled at stopping the run, which is something the Giants' offense has relied on. If the Hawks can hold the Giants running game to small gains, forcing 3rd and longs, then the soft under-zone passing game the Hawks are likely to employ (smartly in this game by the way) will be effective. I don't expect the Hawks to have great success rushing the passer. The Giants have an outstanding line, and the Hawks will be playing on the road at 10:00 AM PST. Still, playing coverage could allow the front four to create enough pressure to force some poor decisions. Rattling Eli, and hopefully bringing back memories of Eli past to the Meadowlands faithful, may be the Hawks best chance to even their record.

Now more on Burress. John Morgan makes good points about Plax and his value to Eli Manning. This is something that I think cannot be underestimated. The stats of Eli's performance without Plax are the proof. However, I am cautious of these numbers for one reason. I think that overall, the Giants have much improved depth in their WR core. So far, Steve Smith, Sinorice Moss, and Dominick Hixon have performed well. I think they are better players than Mike Jennings and Tim Carter. That said, I still believe the Seahawks corners match up well with smaller receivers like Smith and Moss. They struggle against the bigger guys like Plax. What I would caution the Hawks on the most is to not overlook these guys. Treat them as if they are NFL starters and they should be OK. The safety play this week (as always) will be key.

In the end, I think that how the Seahawks handle the Giants defense is what will really decide the game. We will get into that next week.

I also have some more info from John Woods about the Giants game last week vs the Bengals, which many are using as a ray of hope, but I will work that into a post later. No reason to mix the message. In the meantime Seahawk Addicts, feel free to debate, but it would be appreciated if you debate the message and don't insult the messenger, our friend from the Times specifically. He was kind enough to tell it to us straight, and you can't ask for more than that. Read More!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Inside the Mind of Tim Ruskell

by: Michael Steffes

Not sure how many of you have heard this or not, but Tim Ruskell was on yesterday with Dave "Softy" Mahler. It is a decent interview. Usually I am not the biggest Softy fan, but he gets some decent info here.

Check it out with this link.

Ruskell talks about bringing back Koren, carrying two kickers for the season, and signing Leroy Hill. He also mentions that he will be attending the USC/Oregon State game tonight. So if you are watching, keep that in mind next year when we start talking about who the Hawks could draft. Please be Taylor Mays! Please be Taylor Mays! ~END~ Read More!

Special Deal for Seahawk Addicts

by: Michael Steffes

I wanted to spread the word that Jeff, loyal reader, and owner of the Seattle Team Store, has come up with a special deal for Seahawk Addict readers. Here is what Jeff wrote to me:

I am emailing to offer the following special deal for Seahawks Addicts readers...Free Ground Shipping with any purchase over $75 at www.seattleteams.com Spend $75 and use coupon code ADDICTS to receive the free shipping. Offer expires October 1 and is not valid on a limited number of items (oversize, heavyweight or drop ships – which will be specified in the product descriptions). All of the regular type clothing, jersey, hats, souvenirs are part of this offer. And, of course, have them link through your website.

And this offer comes on the heels of three pieces of great news on each day of the week (I stole this from Mitch at KJR).

Monday – Holmgren announces that Engram, Branch and Morris will be available for the Giants

Tuesday – We learn that Al Harris will not play when we face the Packers in two weeks

Wednesday – We learn that Plaxico is suspended for one game which happens to be our good fortune.

What’s next for tomorrow? Keep the good news coming.
Thank you, Jeff, for recognizing that the hardcore fans deserve a break and for keeping the good vibes of the week flowing. This gives you all a fantastic reason to gear up for the meat of the season and also support the site. Many of you have used the Seattle Teams Store in the last month and it is GREATLY appreciated. Thank You! And thank you also to all of you who have used Stubhub, Fathead, and Travelocity as well. Please continue to read and support the site. Seahawk Addicts has grown into something more than I have ever imagined. and it is the readers who make it what it is. ~END~ Read More!

Webster and Lewis Mentioned for Lions GM Job

by: Michael Steffes

Adam Schefter of the NFL Network has brought up Ruston Webster and Will Lewis's names as possible GMs for the Detroit Lions. I thought the same thing yesterday when people were suggesting they take a similar approach to the hiring just done in Atlanta. Specifically, finding a personal familiar with scouting and personnel from a successful organization.

I thought it was worthy to note this. Neither Webster or Lewis are being interviewed or anything, yet. In fact, the Lions said they won't hire anyone until the offseason. However, expect this to become more common as jobs come up. Webster was someone that Tim Ruskell brought in from his days in Tampa and seemingly is grooming to be a GM in this league. Currently Webster handles the salary cap for the Hawks and Lewis handles all of the pro personnel. He would have been heavily involved in the recent WR crisis, which was handled as well as one could imagine. Both are quality candidates and would be bringing a winning philosophy to a new organization. This is something to watch over the offseason. ~END~ Read More!

Podcast to Return

by: Michael Steffes

Hey loyal podcast listeners.... first I want to apologize about last week. We had some difficulty with our recording gear, and we were not able to re-record the podcast before I left for Seattle. However, the podcast will return this week with a vengeance. We have a nice bye week guest coming by to talk: Scott Wright, who runs one of the best draft sites out there. We will be chatting about how the incoming crop of players is looking, specifically those who play positions that are Seahawk problem areas.

Also, because there is no game to preview we will be having an extended reader mailbag section. Thus, we need you to fill our inbox. Please send us your questions, and we will do our best to answer them. Here is the address: podcasts@seahawkaddicts.com. Bring your A-game folks! We appreciate all the input we have gotten so far. Thanks! ~END~ Read More!

Injury Bug Getting Around

by: Michael Steffes

The theory on injuries goes something like this....

In any given year, over the course of the year, the injuries come close to evening out. Thus, injuries are not an excuse in the NFL (unless you're the 2007 Rams). Everybody suffers them, it is how you battle through that defines your team.

Well, the Hawks already lead the league in players on IR. However, their depth has helped them tremendously. The O-Line depth has been KEY. Now with Lock back, and Chop and Willis playing well, this unit looks strong. The D-line has a highly touted rookie sitting. While the DBs have been banged up we still haven't seen much of Kevin Hobbs, who seems to be a player on the rise. And here is the kicker: with the surprise showing of Billy McMullen, along with our GM's refusal to sit on his hands during a crisis, this team now has more WRs than it needs. Good stuff!

As for the rest of the NFC West, well they are starting to take hits:

  • San Francisco announced this week that starting corner Shawnte Spencer will miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear.
  • This morning the Cards announced that Bertrand Berry has a torn groin (god that even hurts to type it). Berry, who has a long injury history but is quite a load when healthy, is out indefinitely.
If things start to even out, at the end of the year we may be able to look back and say some of the things we started the season saying. Such as...."this team is Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep." This depth is clearly one advantage the Hawks have over other teams in this division. It is a long season, and right now that is a good thing. ~END~ Read More!

Hasselbeck is a Goof

by: Michael Steffes

The kind people at Cataylst PR sent me this video of Matt goofing around at an EAS commercial shoot. Thought I would share, it is pretty funny.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

David Greene: Good Teams Believe...Why?

by: Michael Steffes

David Greene has ended up on another team. After his two year stint with the Hawks, Greene was signed by the Patriots, eventually being let go. Now, David Greene has ended up with Indianapolis Colts.

Apparently there is something in David Greene that intrigues top level teams. Despite his brief stay in Kansas City, he has been with three of the league's best franchises, at least in recent years. Clearly the things that are attractive about Greene are his intangibles. He is heady and a four year collegiate starter who won a ton of games. Unfortunately, what he is not is strong armed or accurate. Maybe teams think they can coach him up into a back up? Who knows? But there are believers, or so it appears.

It is kind of funny to see that one of Tim Ruskell's biggest blunders still seemingly shows enough promise to intrigue teams known for excellent scouting and personnel decisions. ~END~ Read More!

Re-Assessing the Schedule

by: Michael Steffes

I thought that since news is bye-week slow, and things haven't gone as many expected so far, it would be fun to look back and re-examine the early look I took at the Seahawks and their schedule. Here is the original post.

First off, it is important to note that one of the reasons I originally broke the schedule up the way i did was because NFL football is hard nut to crack so to speak, at least as far as predictions go. Good teams get bad, bad teams rise up, and injuries hit everyone. Some harder than others. So when looking at the schedule after it came out, I broke it up into quarters. I was less inclined to pick specific games because not only are the Seahawks often schizophrenic, but it gives a bit of a cushion for the ever changing NFL landscape. To re-visit the previous predictions with a eye on how it looks now...

Here is what i said about the first quarter (@ Buffalo, San Fran, St Louis, Bye, NYG)

First off, it stinks that the team has their bye in the first quarter. Hopefully, it will not slow down momentum that the Hawks will seem to have after week 3. Buffalo reminds me of opening in Jacksonville in 05', but this is a much more experienced team. Plus, there is a chance Tubbs will still be healthy at this point (please don't jinx him) and that will help with Buffalo's run first offense. Then the team gets two winnable home games against division opponents. Those are key. Expect the Niners to have a long day during the home opener and St Louis, while they will be geared up, they would much rather face us in the dome before coming to Qwest.
I predicted a 3-1 record, for the record (damn!). How wrong I was about the bye week, huh? Who could have known we would be so in need of rest already? The Jacksonville/Buffalo comparison was right on, and in a way I was right about SF. That game was a long day, all the way to overtime. Too bad we couldn't have won it, the Hawks would have had a chance to make me look smart. Now the best we can get is 2-2.

Here is my look at the second quarter (Packers, @ Bucs, @ 49ers, Eagles)
The second quarter has some teams that project to be fine football teams. The first two games are against NFC teams that won their division last year. To me this is the hardest quarter to predict. The Hawks could win all four, or they could struggle like this section of last year.
So far so good, right? This quarter hasn't changed much, except that the Hawks will probably be playing with a bit more urgency after their slow start. I think that next week will go a long way towards foreshadowing how the Hawks will preform in this section of the schedule. My official prediction was 2-2, which still seems reasonable.

On to the third quarter (@ Miami, AZ, Skins, @ Dallas ). Of course this is where we get our first crack at the mighty AZ Cardinals. We can only wonder what the division race will look like at this point. Here is what I said in April:
I think it too much to expect the Hawks to go through this stretch undefeated, however this is the time of the year they really start to role. Plus, they will be thinking playoff bye at least for a few more weeks. The important thing is that they leave this quarter of the season feeling good and gaining momentum. They should even have welcomed Deion back by now. That will provide a boost in energy to the offense.
I guess I was wrong about the team thinking home field advantage, or so it looks. I suppose that is still available, but losses will need to be few and far between from hereon out. All these games still seem winnable, except maybe Dallas, but I am not going to count the Hawks out of that one just yet. My official prediction was 3-1, and I will stick with that.

The fourth quarter (NE, @ Rams, Jets, @ AZ) is where a lot has already changed, mainly because of the Tom Brady injury and Brett Favre trade. Here is what I said:
The New England Sunday Night game starts off this quarter, and it will be like a playoff game....The Hawks will have had ten days to prepare/rest. It will certainly be an epic battle.... Either way, the Rams will want to take a chunk out of the Hawks, as will the Cards the final week. With the Jets in between, this shapes up to be a difficult quarter. I think that if the Hawks are looking for a bye, that will help them. If they are fighting for the division that will help too. But anything in between and I see the patented late season flailing by the Hawks
My official prediction was 2-2 here, but now I am not so sure. I think 3-1 is a much more reasonable expectation. The Pats aren't nearly as formidable. The Jets haven't looked so hot on the road so far, but could be better by then. The Rams are in shambles and home field won't even help them, especially if the game means something to Seattle, which it almost certainly will. If it comes down to week 17, I am taking the Hawks and their playoff experience as of right now.

My overall prediction was 10-6 and a division championship, which still seems very obtainable. While the first quarter hasn't gone as planned, it seems the end of the schedule now looks easier. If the team drops the Giants game, the would still have the back end of the schedule to catch up so to speak. I think getting to .500 by the Eagles game is reasonable. From there, the Hawks should get on a run.

For the first time in several years, this team could be playing meaningful games in December against beatable teams. This is a recipe for playoff success, especially since the Hawks would have a home game to introduce the younger players to the playoff atmosphere.

Of course, all of this could change again by the start of next quarter. ~END~ Read More!

Cut Hawk signs elsewhere...

by: Chris Sullivan

Omare Lowe, former UW Husky and Seattle Seahawk, signed with Jacksonville today, Clare is reporting. Good for Lowe! Go Dawgs and go Hawks! END Read More!

Giants' best receiver suspended

by: Chris Sullivan

Michael just heard on Sirius Radio, and ABC News corroborates, that Plaxico Burress has been suspended by the Giants for one game due to violations of team policy. That one game? The Seahawks at the Giants on October 5th. This is good news for us, in that it takes the best offensive player off the field, sure, but it also will likely mean a slightly stronger focus on the running game.

It is also good news in that, if we do pull off a win against the Giants, the media now has the reason why the 20-27th ranked team in the NFL (uh, thats us... what?) beat the #1-5 ranked team (uh, what?). Keep building that chip on our shoulder, please. END Read More!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Some Thoughts Going into the Bye Week...

by: Mike Parker

Though it didn't come as any huge surprise, the jumbo-sized can of whoop-ass we opened against the Rams this weekend made me breathe a huge sigh of relief when the smoke cleared. Josh Brown was sent home from the city that once worshiped the ground he walked on with his tail between his legs, no doubt looking at Olindo Mare with a renewed sense of envy.

Meanwhile, the rest of us were relishing victory and saying hello to the Seahawks team that had been lying dormant for the past two weeks. We knew they were in there somewhere, it was just a question of when and how they'd show themselves. I was very glad to see it turned out to be the defensive line doing the familiar sight of tap dancing (or Tapp dancing?!) on Marc Bulger's face while the Qwest crowd brought enough noise to get the attention of nearby seismologists.

To continue....

But I digress. While watching the Giants-Bengals game earlier that morning, I was looking for weaknesses in the Giants' weaponry. I was damn near scrutinizing at the level of some defensive coordinator in the film room on a Monday morning, using my DVR setup repeatedly to the point of making my girlfriend look away from the TV to avoid going insane.

It was then that I realized if Carson Palmer can show only mere glimpses of his glory days and still force the Giants into overtime on their own turf, the Seahawks can sure as hell make them sweat and probably even leave the Meadowlands in two weeks with a 2-2 record.

A few things to think about:

-Since the Seahawks' running game has re-emerged as a solid pillar of the offense (not counting the Buffalo encounter of which we won't speak), Julius Jones and TJ Duckett have combined for 5 rushing touchdowns.

-The Giants scored a total of 1 rushing TD at home Sunday against the lowly Bengals, whose defense couldn't blitz if their lives depended on it. The only other TD scored by Eli & the gang was a 4-yard pass to TE Kevin Boss, his first of the year. The rest of the Giants' points? Thank John Carney, whose 4 field goals showed the old guy still has some gas left in the tank.

-Meanwhile, Palmer came back to life and managed to hook up with TJ Housyourmamma for 146 yards and a touchdown, exploiting the Giants' weaknesses in the secondary.

What this means for us in Week 5:

-On the run, the Seahawks have developed into a solid unit, not only when running the ball but also stuffing opposing backs very effectively. They held Steven Jackson to an average of 2.9 yards per carry on Sunday, and for the most part stopping Frank Gore last week. If the Hawks can pull off the same performance against the unit that calls themselves "Earth, Wind and Fire" in Week 5 (Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw) then we've got ourselves a ballgame, folks.

-Stopping the run attack would force Eli into throwing it a lot, which should lead to mistakes so long as the front 7 can overcome their road-phobia and provide the menacing pressure that Marc Bulger is still having nightmares about.

-The Hawks' secondary played up to par this weekend, limiting Torry Holt to just four catches for 37 yards, and forcing Steven Jackson to become the Rams' leading receiver. He caught five balls for 62 yards out of the backfield, which is an odd statistic, but it was probably the only thing that worked for them. As one announcer put it on the highlight reels later, "Nothing is working for the Rams. And I'm not exaggerating there. Nothing at all is working for them this season."

If the Hawks keep up their solid play, which included a Deon Grant interception and 7 tackles from the previously questionable Josh Wilson, there's no reason why they can't handle a stud receiver like Plaxico Burress. Remember, Torry Holt used to burn this team to no end, especially in 2006 in St. Louis with that insane bobbling catch that looked like something out of The Matrix.

Even with all this already said (and probably covered in Michael's posts from earlier), I still haven't mentioned the fact that Branch and Engram will be back, along with the extra firepower of Mo Morris and Koren Robinson. These are all things to be excited about, especially since everyone gets an extra week of rest with the bye coming up on Sunday. Granted, the Giants are also on their bye this week, so it'll be a true test in many ways for both teams.

For Matt, this has to feel something like getting the keys back to the Ferrari that's now back in the garage after having it sit in the body shop for the past two months.

This team has already proven itself in situations like this before. Every season is about overcoming adversity, and this past Sunday was the first rung on the ladder that the Hawks needed to climb. I'm not saying it's all smooth sailing from here, because the remaining schedule isn't exactly a cakewalk. (Who the hell saw that one coming, anyway?! I'd sit here yelling "conspiracy" but that's old hat in this town.)

But on that same note, the weapons are soon to be back in the arsenal. In the end, it's going to come down to what shape they're in and how well they're used. -END-
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Not up to Par

by: Michael Steffes

So Far, these are the areas that are failing to impress....

Courtney Taylor: Oh Courtney, all the hype and none of the performance to back it up. Taylor has been long heralded as a talent, big and physical with the ability to make plays down the field. What have we seen so far? Well, his three catches have come near the line of scrimmage and he has fought for his yards. Add that in with the dropped passes and the apparent loafing on deep routes, and Taylor may not be around for long. Somebody needs to get this kid on track--obviously he shows his skills in practice, so we know he is better than this. Grade: D-

Ryan Plackemeier/John Ryan: Much like long snapping last year, it seems as if the punting team is set to be the abscess on the face of special teams. The team moved quick to cut ties with Fudge, but John Ryan hasn't produced much better results. He has failed in two attempts to pin the ball deep, had a punt blocked, and shanked another. All this with no field position changing boomers to help his average. I am sure the Hawks are still looking to improve this. So far it has been unacceptable. Grade: F

Special Teams/Bruce DeHaven: So far, this has been the weakest unit of the team by far. I am hesitant to lump them all together, but I have been disappointed with most aspects. The protection has been bad. The Coverage units are showing improvement, but there was nowhere to go but up. On top of that, I have seen some interesting decisions being made. Most notably, the Hawks squib kicked after going up 14-0 vs SF, which inevitably gave the 49ers the ball in Seattle territory after a poor coverage and allowed them to answer with a field goal without working for it. Having the players run around with brooms behind their backs looks good for a picture, but where are the results? Grade: D

Third Down Defense: Along with short yardage, one of last year's bugaboos was third down defense. I haven't seen much improvement yet. Third and long is supposed to be an advantage for the defense, but not against the Hawks. So far, SF hit a 50 yard pass and the Rams scored a touchdown, both in long yardage situations. Part of this is John Marshall. He needs to find a happy medium between sending the house and playing coverage. Maybe it is just luck. He seems to get burned no matter what he does. Either way, until they figure it out I feel more confident in the defense's ability to stop on third and short than third and long. Grade: D ~END~ Read More!

Jury Still Out

by: Michael Steffes

These are things that it's still too early to judge....

Kicking Game: I would like to put this in the post about the team's successes, but my feeling is that this is still too early to judge. So far Olindo Mare has done a great job. His kickoffs are as advertised and he hasn't missed a regular season kick yet. However, he hasn't really had to make a pressure kick yet either. Also, Brandon Coutu is on the 53 man roster, but so far has been inactive. He did look good in the preseason though. So far losing Josh Brown hasn't hurt us, but let's wait a little deeper into the season when the weather kicks up and bumps and bruises mount before we say this was a win. Grade: Inc

Red Bryant: It is not his fault. Red suffered a knee injury in camp and so far has yet to really crack the rotation. Holmgren hinted at this when he went down. In my opinion he has looked good when in, but has been inconsistent too. It could be a good thing if we don't get an accurate read on Bryant until next year, as that would mean the big nasties stay healthy. I would trust the writers fawning all over Bryant in the preseason more if they hadn't done the same thing about Courtney Taylor. Grade: Inc

Bill Lazor/ Loss of Zorn: This was something that wasn't supposed to be a big deal, but so far Matt Hasselbeck hasn't put up typical numbers. Obviously, this has a lot to do with the rotating receiver situation, which is why I won't judge. However, this could become something we talk about if Matt doesn't start tossing the rock around a bit better when Bobby and Deion come back. Even last week, the Seahawks ran the ball so effectively it was hard to get a good read on where Matt is. I did see him miss some throws, though. I am sure this season has been tough on him so far, so he gets the benefit of the doubt for a few more weeks. Either way, clearly Bill Lazor has improved Matt's blocking! Grade: Inc

Lame Duck Coach: Before the season, I was as adamant as anyone that this wouldn't be an issue. However, I don't feel as strongly about that now. Mora's secondary unit was awful in week two, essentially robbing the rest of the team of a much-needed win. Why? They didn't seem very prepared to play. Complacency? Let's hope not. Otherwise, the coaching situation could become a negative. Again, let's hope not. Grade: Inc. ~END~ Read More!

Early Returns

by: Michael Steffes

What's Worked So Far.....

The Revamped Running Game: The Seahawks put considerable efforts this offseason into completely revamping their abysmal running game from 2007. So far it has worked. With the exception of Buffalo, in which the running game was severely hindered by numerous problems, most notably receivers unable to make catches and Rob Sims' torn pec muscle, the running game has been stellar. Mostly though, the change that has fans excited is the addition of Julius Jones. While he may never be a superstar back, he fights hard, stays on his feet, and doesn't suffer a ton of negative yardage plays. Also, the team is 100% so far on short yardage opportunities, which bodes well for close games to be played in the future. Duckett has been as advertised when signed, despite the negative reviews he received most of the offseason. Grade A

John Carlson, TE: The second biggest goal of the offseason was to solve the tight end situation that had developed since Jerramy Stevens reached complete d-bag status. The team traded up to get John Carlson in a somewhat debated move at the time. Can we stop questioning Mr. Ruskell when he makes a move to get the guy he wants now? Carlson has made a Lofa Tatupu-like rookie impact on a banged-up offense. This is supposed to be a tough position to make an impact at, but Carlson is doing it. His blocking is better than advertised and he has essentially made Jeb Putzier disappear like a first down on a dropped pass (JEB!). Grade A

The Defensive Line: The d-line was a bit of a worry at times. For a while, it looked as if the team would need a contribution from oft-injured Marcus Tubbs. However, Tubby is gone. Even the reinforcements, Larry Tripplett and Chris Cooper, weren't needed. In fact, Red Bryant, who looked good in his time on the field, hasn't been needed yet. The Seahawks have shut down some fine running backs so far, a trend continuing from the second half of the season last year (until GB). This seems to have been improved by the switch from Darryl Tapp to Lawrence Jackson. The only thing that really seems to be lacking so far is pressure when they only rush four. The Hawks have needed to blitz to create their pressure, but hopefully, like last year, Pat Kerney will get it going in the 2nd half. Grade B

Keith Gilbertson: Just a brief note here, because Gilby's contributions have mostly gone unrecognized by the mainstream guys. I am sure when Gilby agreed to coach WRs, he never imagined the sheer number of players he would have to put through crash courses. However, he has done pretty well in my opinion. Billy McMullen has come from nowhere to look damned effective in this system. Logan Payne was making strides before being hurt. Keary Colbert by all accounts is fitting in nicely (side note: did anyone else notice he was the first player off the sideline to high five teammates when the Hawks scored? We noted this at the game). Now if only Gilby could find a way harness the talents CT supposedly has. Grade B. ~END~ Read More!

Bulger Benched

by: Michael Steffes

Scott Linehan seems to have survived his team's weekend walloping in Seattle, but his QB has not. Linehan has announced he is making a change at QB, bringing Trent Green off the bench to replace Marc Bulger. A very interesting move indeed. It begs of desperation to hold on to his job, his season, and any sort of command he has of the team. This can't sit well with ownership, as they laid out big bucks for Bulger before last year. The over under on quarters played before Trent Green suffers a career-ending concussion is 3 1/2. ~END~ Read More!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Holmgren on the Mic

by: Michael Steffes

Mike Holmgren has taken the podium for his day-after press conference. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Mike thinks the line has been doing a very good job; no assignment errors and very physical play. He thinks Leonard Weaver did an excellent job blocking.
  • Holmgren says the team is striving for balance. Yesterday they ran the ball twice as much as they threw it. Buffalo was just the opposite.
  • Holmgren gave high praise to Chop. He said Solari is thrilled with how he is playing as well. It is just a matter of keeping him healthy because he is a pretty good player.
  • Lock is back, and he is fine coming out of yesterday. Coach says that Morris, Branch, Engram, Wallace, and Robinson should be good coming out of the bye. They are expected back.
  • He said one problem they just talked about was how hard it will be to choose the inactive players, especially at WR. How funny is that?
  • He said that with Branch, you have to watch him because he hasn't really been banged around yet, but the timing should be there because he has been practicing. Holmgren said Engram's play on his return will be like riding a bike. They also have to find a way to get Robinson some reps so that he can re-develop his chemistry with Matt.
  • The line is kind of up in the air. Holmgren really likes what Willis brings to the right side of the line. He said they are going to have to talk about what to do on the line. (Has Locklear been Wally Pipp-ed?)
  • Holmgren doesn't anticipate a lot of roster activity, but they will continue to bring players in to work out, and are always looking to improve the team.
  • Holmgren says he has faith in Bumpus as a punt returner, even though he misjudged that ball and made a mistake trying to catch it. He surmises that we won't see that happen again.
  • "Have a great week everybody!" says coach.
And it is official...the bye week is upon us. ~END~ Read More!