Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween Podcast is Up

by: Michael Steffes

I can't decide which is scarier: the Seahawks injury situation or the fact that Chris Sullivan is getting married this weekend. That's right, Congrats to Chris! However, if he was your favorite member of the podcast team you might be disappointed for an episode or three. Hopefully he will read this--you were easily replaceable Chris! Nahhh, just kidding. Enjoy your honeymoon!

His loss was our new editor Matthew's gain. He jumped in and helped us take the podcast to a new dimension of horror this week. Perfect for Halloween! I got wired while M. got drunk and Gonzo lost his mind again. How can you not check it out?

Anyway, this time around we talked about the Niners win, Divisional chances, and Brandon Mebane popping open his jaw and swallowing Donavan McNabb's head whole like a snake. And of course, as always, we answer your questions (PLEASE SEND MORE!) and nominate a certain samurai as the Assclown!

If you've got an hour to kill, well, there are probably better ways, but still . . .

Listen to it here, or subscribe right here.

~END~ Read More!

Neither Weaver nor Lofa Practice

by: Michael Steffes

Both are going to be game time decisions for Sunday's game. This injury thing is getting a touch ridiculous, and that's about all I have to say on that. Jeeesh. Maybe we should all wear black jerseys to the game, 'cause it is starting to look like a funeral for the 2008 season. ~END~ Read More!

Mora Officially Not a Candidate for Huskies Coach

by: Mike Parker

Breathe a sigh of relief, everyone--Jim Mora is not a candidate for the soon-to-be-vacant Washington Huskies head coaching job, according to a source close to the situation and reported by the Seattle Times.

It would've been nice to see Mora come out and dispel all the rumors himself [Note from Steffes: He did dispel the rumors to Jim Moore of the PI in a text message last night], but this is good news regardless. The 12th Man can breathe easier now that this can be crossed off the list of worries for an already-maligned season. (Thanks to my good buddy Tam for the tip on this.)

In the meantime, I'm at my new job and need to look busy again. I just thought I'd pop back up on the radar to spread the good news. Happy Halloween, everyone. -END- Read More!

Kerney Officialy Out, Heading to Birmingham

by: Michael Steffes

Mitch Levy and KJR just reported that Patrick Kerney is officially out this week. Not only that, but his season my be in jeopardy. He will not even be in attendance at the game. Instead, he is traveling to Birmingham, Alabama to see the infamous Dr. James Andrews. Not too many visits to Dr. Andrews end in good news. Could this be the end of Patrick Kerney's season? Let's keep our fingers crossed it isn't.

If Kerney has sustained another serious injury, it may be time to talk about whether or not he will be on this team going forward. His contract takes quite a jump after this year, and while he was unbelievable last year, this would represent the second time in three years he has been knocked out with a season-ending injury. Kerney is 32 and is unlikely to repeat last year's performance going forward. ~END~ Read More!

Questions Heading into Sunday?

by: Michael Steffes

Here are some of the big questions I see heading into Sunday. How the Hawks answer these will go a long way in deciding the outcome of the game. Lets dive right in....

How will the Hawks contain Brian Westbrook?
If the Hawks are going to have a chance, they are going to have to limit the effectiveness of top 5 running back Brian Westbrook. One thing that makes Westbrook so dangerous is that he will line up in numerous spots, including as the slot the receiver. The Hawks would be well served to use a combination of players to handle Westbrook. Expect to see Deon Grant and Brian Russell keeping tabs on Westbrook when he leaves his traditional position in the backfield. Grant is probably the better bet. Having Julian Peterson keep tabs on Westbrook would also be a decent match up, but he might be busy elsewhere, which leads to the next question...

Where will the pressure come from? With Patrick Kerney likely to sit this one out, the Hawks may have some difficulty creating pressure on the Eagles Donvan McNabb, something they have to do if they want to win. Their best bet to get some hits on the Eagle QB come from their duo of OLBs in Julian Peterson and Leroy Hill. I imagine a game plan similar to that Wild Card game last year when Kerney was often double and triple teamed. Peterson has been a regular pass rush threat this year, but Leroy Hill has been under-utilized in this role, despite it being one of his best attributes. If the Hawks want to win, they should send Leroy down Hill early and often.

Can the Hawks score enough points to win?
This is probably the biggest question every week these days. The Hawks are playing with a back up qb, receivers who were on their couch a month ago, and are playing against a tough as nails defense. To combat this, the Hawks are going to need to focus on simply getting one first down at a time. Every first down the offense gets keeps Philly of the field and gives the defense a chance to catch its breath. The Hawks have been focusing on the running game this week and shoring up what has ailed them the last few weeks. Mo Morris had a career game vs Philly last year and Julius Jones knows them well. Also the Hawks have run better at home. Having a balanced offense this week is the only way to beat the Eagles. If the Hawks are forced into traditional passing situations, Seneca is going to get pummeled.

Who will step up for the Hawks? Well, I pointed out earlier this week that the Eagles have a tough time with tight ends. This means Carlson could be in line for a big game. However, that won't be enough. The player who needs to make his impact felt is Bobby Engram. It has been several weeks since Bobby has been back. He has yet to really make a big impact. However, he and Seneca were close to some big plays last week. If there was any week for Bobby to break out and look like the Engram of old, it is this week. Having an effective threat on the outside will open things up for both Carlson and the run game. One tip for Johnny... make sure you know were Brian Dawkins is. That guy can hit! ~END~ Read More!

Who Needs Practice?

by: Michael Steffes

Frank Hughes had an interesting story this morning about Lofa Tatupu excelling without practice.

He mentions something that had slipped my mind: Lofa didn't practice at all in the week leading up to the Philly game last year. That worked out okay, right?

After all, Tatupu did not practice in the week leading up to the Seahawks’ game in Philadelphia last year because of a strained oblique, then spent Saturday night in his hotel room with the team’s medical personnel attending to him.

“I was sick,” Tatupu recalls. “I was supposed to go out shopping that weekend with the guys out in Philly, and I was getting IVs back at the hotel.”

The result? On Sunday afternoon, in chilling cold and pouring rain, Tatupu had three interceptions, the last of which came in the final minute and preserved a 28-24 Seattle victory.
The conditions are set up for a very similar game. It should be cold and rainy, and Lofa has had plenty of time to study tape. Go get 'em, 51! ~END~ Read More!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Run Seneca Run

by: Michael Steffes

Like it or not, here come the Eagles. And, like it or not, the Hawks are sending their mighty backup Seneca Wallace into battle with the season hanging in the balance. There are two things that are common knowledge in this equation: Jim Johnson likes to blitz, and Seneca Wallace is a mobile QB. Seems like a good match, except for one thing . . .

Seneca Wallace hasn't been so mobile this time around.

If the Seahawks are going to have a chance on Sunday they are going to need some help from Seneca's legs. So far this year, he has had two runs for six yards. This is a far cry from the Seneca we saw start four games back in 2006. Here were his numbers then:

@ KC..... 3 rushes for 21 yards
vs Oak... 3 rushes for 49 yards
vs StL.... 2 rushes for 31 yards
@ SF..... 2 rushes for 21 yards

Total: 10 rushes, 122 yards, 12.2 average

Sounds like a good day at the office to me. A 12.2 average equates to a first down every time Seneca escapes. Not only that, but after a few big runs the Eagles may have to rethink their blitz strategies. Is Seneca's lack of running this year directly related to his calf? Probably, at least a little bit. But, maybe, Seneca is still trying to prove he is a pocket passer.

Seneca is a an acceptable backup quarterback. However, he is 5'-11". He needs to find lanes to throw through. In the face of the blitz, his height becomes a major disadvantage, but in turn his legs become an asset.

Let's hope that is the case this weekend, because first downs are going to be hard for the Hawks' offense to come by. If Seneca can scamper past the markers a few times himself, then maybe the Hawks will have a chance. ~END~ Read More!

Mora Speaks . . .

by: Michael Steffes

. . . and says nothing. At least, nothing about the speculation that he might leave the Hawks for the Huskies in the offseason, which is something I think is being manufactured by overzealous Huskies fans. This is getting to be frustrating, but only because there is an easy remedy.

Hopefully he understands that by taking this route he will only be fueling more speculation from those who desperately want him in Montlake.

In his defense, it a situation similar to Nick Saban, who as head coach of the Dolphins in '06 shot down rumors of his interest in the Alabama job 642 times and still continued to get asked about it on a daily basis. Of course, he also ended up taking the job after Miami's season ended.

I am not sure I understand how Mora saying he will be the next Seahawks coach and not the next Huskies coach breaks his promise of laying low this year. I also understand he doesn't want to be a distraction to the team right now; however, it is my belief that he is causing a distraction with his continued silence.

An honest and sincere statement about his intentions would settle this. Of course, that might be easier said than done. ~END~ Read More!

Seahawks Beat the Pants off of Singletary--Literally

by: Matthew Heuett

Mike Singletary's post-game speech after the Seahawks beat his 49ers in a blowout victory last week was a fascinating mixture of rage, frustration, and at least twelve other rage-related emotions. However, as entertaining as that was to watch, we all seem to have missed out on the even more apoplectic halftime speech he gave in the 49ers locker room:

At halftime of that game, Singletary called for the attention of his players. He then dropped his pants, turned around and pointed to his backside. He used this occasion and that visual to describe what happened to his team in the first half.

A NFL source inside the room confirmed the story with my radio partner, XTRA 910 football guru Mike Jurecki, and added that Singletary then addressed the team for 3-4 minutes with his pants around his ankles.
So here's my question to all of you: what's the over/under on how many weeks the 49ers can lose in a row before they give Samurai Mike a heart attack? ~END~ Read More!

Seahawks in Interesting Position

by: Michael Steffes

The Seahawks are in an interesting position this weekend: they are the "trap" in the trap game, not the giant who might stumble. And rightfully so.

I mentioned earlier in the week that I was surprised that the Hawks were 7 point underdogs at home, mainly because they have been so good at home in recent years. Well, some research points to this being the first time since playing the Raiders at Husky Stadium in 2001 that the Seahawks have been such big underdogs at home. Is this that big of a mismatch?

According to Football Outsiders, yes. They rank Philly as the #1 team in the league in their all-encompassing DVOA statistic. Seattle is only 27th. Or if you prefer, Whatifsports runs numerous (10,001) game simulations in an effort to predict winners, and Seattle only won in 15% of those simulations. They predict the score will be 28-14, Eagles.

So why do I feel like this is all talk and that Seahawks have a pretty good chance in this one? Maybe I am crazy, but I am looking forward to this one being settled on the field and not on paper.

Eagle fans would tell you that the Seahawks have never faced Donovan McNabb, instead feasting on the backup quarterbacks of years past. Well, I say Donovan McNabb has never played at Qwest, something that has frustrated even the most experienced signal callers.

Eagles fans will tell you that Brian Westbrook is their best player and he is finally healthy. Well, I say if you take away the Giants game, which they had won by the end of the first quarter, and you'll see that the Hawks have held good runners in check all year.

The Eagles have trouble in short yardage situations. The Hawks defense excels in them.

The vaunted Eagle defense hasn't been nearly that spectacular on the road, allowing over 30 points a game. The meager Seahawks offense has shown some life at Qwest, averaging 28 points per game at home.

Besides, as long as we've got Lofa against this team, we've got a chance. And Mike Holmgren doesn't want to lose to another former assistant before he heads out of town. I hope. Seneca is ready, and so am I and the rest of the 12th Men. Plus, it is supposed to rain, just the way Seattle likes it. ~END~ Read More!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

by: Michael Steffes

During his press conference earlier today, Mike Holmgren talked for a moment about the unique abilities of Brian Westbrook. He talked about his vision, his quickness, and of course his versatility. He also mentioned something that I did not recall: Holmgren coached Westbrook during Senior Bowl week. He suggested that they thought highly of Westbrook, but had no idea he would become as good as he has. In his defense, Westbrook was overlooked by many GMs.

Something about this exchange just forced me to re-examine the 2002 draft. This was probably the draft that got Holmgren's personnel powers revoked. Now, looking back on a draft is all about second guesses and what-could-have-beens, with full access to the results. To take a look . . .

Round 1 (28): TE Jerramy Stevens

The Hawks trade back and still get their guy, convinced they can change his two-cent head. Really, there wasn't anyone near this slot who screams "what were you thinking?" A couple decent linemen in Marc Columbo and Kendall Simmons were picked right after Stevens, but nothing to cry over. I am not going to review how this turned out, as Joey Porter can tell you all about it.

Round 2 (54): RB Mo Morris

Morris has never really been able to shake his backup role. In fact, you could argue that Holmgren picked him specifically to be Shaun's backup, which is a poor use of resources. Mo will probably be gone after this year. What is a killer is that Westbrook was taken a whole round later, after the Hawks had picked twice more. If you were taking a back up, well . . . uhhhh. Instead, the Hawks could have gone with Deion Branch--he would have only cost a late second at this point--or even Will Witherspoon, who could have anchored the middle for those seemingly lost years before Lofa.

Round 2 (60): DE Anton Palepoi

Ouch! Bad pick alert. Both of the guys mentioned above (Branch and Witherspoon) were also picked after Palepoi. Unfortunately, the Hawks also had access to several good tight ends after these picks like Doug Jolley, Chris Baker, and Randy McMichael. Of course, we had already solved that problem with Jerramy Stevens.

Round 3 (85): DB Kris Richard

Another wasted pick, and this one was a shame too. This was a great draft for DBs, at least in the top rounds. The Eagles took Lito Shepperd and Sheldon Brown after the Hawks picked in the first and second rounds. Chris Hope also went shortly after this pick, and he is having a nice year for Tenn. Even serviceable DBs like Dante Wesley, Coy Wire, and Brian Williams went right after Richard. However, he never stuck--anywhere.

Round 4 (120): DB Terreal Bierria

Anybody who remembers the '04 season doesn't remember Bierria fondly. He was the original "couldn't cover anybody" Seahawks safety. He was consistently beat deep. I know I have bad memories. If the Hawks hadn't taken Palepoi earlier, maybe they could have considered DE Jarvis Moss instead, who was picked a couple slots after Bierria, or if they were really bold they could have grabbed Aaron Kampman, who went shortly after the Hawks' next pick. Najeah Davenport went close by, too.

Round 5 (146): DT Rocky Bernard

They got this one right. He is no Albert Haynesworth (who went 15th in this draft), but he has been a quality DT for this team. It's too bad that, with him and Morris likely to depart after this season, this draft will have been erased from the Hawks' roster next year. That might actually be a good thing, though.

Round 5 (169): TE Ryan Hannam

Hannam played an important role as a blocking tight end on the Hawks '05 team. However, his career was cut short by a degenerative knee condition. It's hard to complain about this pick, but this draft produced a bunch of tight ends. On top of those previously mentioned, Robert Royal and Justin Peele came off the board shortly before this pick, and John Gilmore, an accomplished blocking TE, was picked shortly afterwards.

Round 5: (171) OT Matt Hill

I wouldn't ever attach a negative term like bust or wasted pick to a fifth rounder. They are always hit and miss at this point. Every team hits with some, and some never make the team. Hill never did anything in the league. He started two games in '03 and was off the team the next year. Maybe the Hawks could have chosen Marquand Manuel in this slot, who went to the Bengals 10 picks later. Then they wouldn't have had to prove to the world how bad Bierria was.

Round 6 (194): P Craig Jarret

A punter. The Hawks have been trying to find a freakin' punter since . . . well, since forever. Expect them to draft one this year, too. Maybe this pick would have been better used on Adrian Peterson (the other one) or Chester Taylor if we had still needed someone to play behind Shaun.

Round 7 (232): QB Jeff Kelly

Ah, the backup QB. Holmgren seemed to take one just about every year back then, and rightfully so. Kelly was one who never went anywhere. Ronald Curry was taken by the Raiders right after this. Wonder how he would have done as a complementary receiver in the Holmgren system? I am thinking pretty well.

Once again, it's very easy to look back on a draft and say woulda, coulda, shoulda. I am not trying to disparage Mike Holmgren as a GM. I just thought it was an interesting exercise, especially when you see what the Eagles did in this same draft, picking as they did after the Hawks. Shepperd, Brown, Westbrook, and Raheem Brock were all Eagles picks who have played well in this league, and one is a Pro Bowl guy. That is how you sustain success in this league. If only they had been able to keep their QB healthy, right?

Anyway, if you want to look at the draft yourself, Here is the link from Pro Football Reference. ~end~
Read More!

Hawks Likely to be Without Patrick Kerney

by: Michael Steffes

It looks like Pat Kerney will miss Sunday's game. He is officially being labeled as doubtful by coach Holmgren. His shoulder, which was surgically repaired in the offseason, is very sore after re-injuring it in the San Francisco game. Holmgren said in his press conference that Baraka Atkins would move into the rotation to replace Kerney.

The Seahawks are obviously going to miss the effort that Kerney brings to the field every week. However, defensive end is a position the team is somewhat deep at. Kerney's talent is replaceable, but his effort is rarely matched. Jackson and Tapp will be the main players at defensive end in the upcoming game. Both have a lot to prove, as does Atkins, who will be active for just the second time this season. Thankfully the game is at Qwest. That 1/2 second advantage may be enough to help create an acceptable amount of pressure. ~END~ Read More!

Holmgren Pre-Practice Press Conference

by: Michael Steffes

Holmgren is talking Eagles/Hawks--here is what he has to say . . .

  • The Eagles have a great blitz package, which everybody knows. You have to prepare for that. The fact that Seneca can move a bit should help. Holmgren expects Wallace to get better each week.
  • Atkins will move into the rotation to replace Patrick Kerney? (I missed the beginning, but he is talking about Atkins moving into the rotation.)
  • Every team uses zone blitzing schemes now. Even the Hawks, but they have been burned doing it this year. If you get home it is a good play, but if you don't it often goes the other way.
  • What makes the Eagles so good? They have a great QB, a great RB, and a HUGE offensive line. McNabb is tough to tackle. Westbrook is very versatile, he does everything--runs, catches, blocks, etc.
  • Qwest Field is still a difficult place for opponents to play. The question Holmgren posed is whether the Hawks are good enough to take advantage of the advantage.
  • Last year versus the Eagles, Lofa's performance was one of the finest games from a LB that coach has ever seen. He said Lofa has been banged up this year. He is a fantastic player when he is healthy. He is very good in the classroom and prepares himself well, which is why he can miss practices and still play.
  • Holmgren shared his history with Andy Ried, from meeting him at BYU, to Holmgren hiring him to coach TEs in GB, to when he became a QB coach and was hired to lead the Eagles.
  • He talked about how they have gained a greater understanding of the Eagles' defensive scheme since that game at Husky stadium in 2002. Also, that was one of Matt's first games as a starter. The team has gotten better, too. He said the QB diagnoses where the pressure is coming from and shifts protection. If he is wrong, he gets hit. Then they get you thinking and it takes you out of your normal rhythm.
  • Holmgren talked about coaching Westbrook at the Senior Bowl. He could see he was good, but he had no idea he would be this good. He said he has vision and quickness, which is what makes him so great. It's one thing to have vision, but you have to have the quickness to use it.
  • He is pleased with the way Wallace went through his progressions last week and used his 3rd and 4th options. He said a lot of the time the guys who can run never get to their late options because they take off. He wants Wallace to run, but only as a last resort. (He has 2 carries for 6 yards so far.)
  • He talked about the decision to punt to Westbrook last year with the game in the balance. He said in retrospect that he should have made it clearer that the ball needed to be kicked out bounds.
  • Holmgren talked about Josh Wilson. He sees him getting better, and better, and better. He is competitive and tough. The third corner gets picked on. Josh is fun-loving and talks a lot to the other team. He classified him as a media darling.
The feed is crappy today; I can torture myself no longer. We will have to wait for some of the lovely folks who get to attend in person to give us the rest of the info. ~END~ Read More!

Speaking of . . .

by: Michael Steffes

Remember those Huskies fans who want Jim Mora? Check this out:

Feel free to add me to the doubters' chart, guys! I would be happy to send in a picture.

A statement from Mora and the Seahawks will likely be upcoming. ~END~ Read More!

Should the Seahawks and Mora Quash the Huskies Job Speculation?

by: Michael Steffes

There are a lot of storylines right now if you want to talk about the Seahawks. Can they beat the Eagles? Will Matt Hasselbeck really be back? Red Bryant: Man or Beast? (That one is a personal favorite of mine.) However, everywhere you look, the story that is being talked about is whether or not Jim Mora is a coaching candidate for the Huskies' head coaching job. I don't want to break the hearts of all you Husky supporters, but Jim Mora is almost certain to fulfill his obligation to the Seahawks.

First off, an NFL coaching job is a special gig. There are 32 of them, and they are the pinnacle of the football coaching profession. Jim Mora made a splash as an NFL head coach. He made some mistakes that he would probably take back if he could, but he also led a team to the final four. He has never finished a season with less than 7 wins. He has never coached a college team before. He was once a graduate assistant, yes, but let's be realistic: college football is about a lot more than football. In the NFL, you draft and you play; no grades, no parents, no boosters, etc. If Mora is good enough to be an NFL coach--and he has proven he is--then why would you go backwards?

The argument would be that he loves the Huskies and that coaching them is his dream job, which was something he said in jest while talking with some radio hosts years ago, and that comment got him fired by Arthur Blank. But right now, if you look at it objectively, is the Husky program anybody's dream job? It is hard to imagine it is. The program is looking at a winless season and a lost year of recruiting, and on top of that they also have a brand new athletic director who will be feeling his way out as well. Even if the Seahawks were to admit that they are a rebuilding project, which they don't need to do, in the NFL a team can rebuild a lot faster than one in the college ranks. Just look at the Atlanta Falcons.

Finally, Mora is going to be paid close to $5 million per year for coaching the Seahawks. The last Husky coach, Ty Willingham, was making $1.3 mil per year, with some of it deferred. If we assume that coaching the Huskies really is his dream job, they would have to be close on pay, because they are no longer offering him the opportunity to come home and raise his family in Seattle, which is what was originally important to Mora. Truth be told, the Huskies waited too long and missed out on a chance at snagging Jim Mora.

Unfortunately, most of the people who are talking about the Huskies job don't see that. They continue to bring Mora's name up as a dark horse candidate. Behind the scenes, the Seahawks have said that they have an "ironclad" agreement with Mora to coach the team. However, is it time for them to let Mora speak or issue a statement, much like Gary Pinkle did, and quash the speculation once and for all. The Seahawks don't need distractions right now. They don't need anything else to overcome. They need to focus on the Eagles, and then the Dolphins, and then Cardinals, etc., not the Huskies and future coaching gigs.

Since Husky fans will continue to dream of Jim Mora wearing purple and gold next year, the Hawks and Jim Mora need to tell them it isn't going to happen. ~END~ Read More!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wilson Needs Your Vote

by: Michael Steffes

Josh Wilson has been nominated for the GMC Defensive Player of the Week award. He is going up against some heavyweights in Joey Porter, Shaun Rogers, Mathias Kiwanuka and Richard Seymour. Cast your vote, Wilson has been playing great lately. He is also 4th in the league in kick return yards. Show the "midget" your support! Here is the link. ~END~ Read More!

Chargers Make Move--Are Hawks Fans Envious?

by: Michael Steffes

The Chargers made a bold and decisive move today as they felt their season slipping away while playing in an easily winnable division. They fired their defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, promoting linebackers coach Ron Rivera to that position. Here is how the two teams stack up on the defensive side of the ball:

Total Defense 28th (371.6) 27th (367.0)
Passing Defense 32nd (265.1) 30th (245.3)
Rushing D 16th (106.5) 22nd (121.7)
Scoring Defense 23rd (24.9) 25th (26.3)
Sacks 9th (17) T-6th (19)

Both of these teams were expected to be contenders. Both were expected to have elite defenses. The biggest difference between these two teams? One of them has a coach who is worried about keeping his job, and the other is just coaching out the season. That, and one of the teams has a competent offense, which is probably why the Seahawks are hesitant to blame their defensive coaching staff. ~END~ Read More!

Seneca Wallace, Meet John Carlson

by: Michael Steffes

In an early look at this week's opponent, one big thing stood out to me: the Eagles seem to have a hard time dealing with tight ends. The Seahawks have an emerging tight end threat in John Carlson. Seneca gave him a few looks last week, completing one for 13 yards and a big first down. This week, they may want to get to know each other a little better.

Tight Ends Vs The Eagles This Year

1 Rams McMichael 5 77 0
2 Cowboys Witten 7 110 0
3 Steelers Miller 4 63 0
4 Bears Olsen 4 35 1
5 Skins Cooley 8 109 1
6 49ers Davis 6 75 0
8 Falcons Peele 1 17 0

So . . . Seneca Wallace, get to know John Carlson. If the Hawks are to win, he will likely play a big role. ~END~ Read More!

Hasselbeck Fails Strength Test

by: Michael Steffes

Matt failed his strength tests, he told KIRO this morning (audio link). This means it is highly unlikely that he will face the Eagles this weekend. He says he was told he doesn't need surgery and likely never will. Also, he has no pain in his knee or back. He is suffering some sort of "dead leg" symptom which doesn't allow him to walk on his heels.

When will we see Matt on the field again? My hunch is week 11 versus Arizona. ~END~ Read More!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Injury Updates

by: Mike Parker

Danny O'Neil reported in his blog that Matt Hasselbeck is in Los Angeles today seeing a specialist about his back and leg problems. Holmgren hasn't been specific about whether or not the QB will return Sunday against the Eagles, but he's been quoted as saying it's "possible."

Meanwhile, Deion Branch is likely out for another game because of what appears to be increased soreness in the heel injury he sustained against the Giants. With that kind of injury, it's especially nerve-wracking because of how close it is to the Achilles' tendon, so Branch is probably going to be out indefinitely. Don't be surprised to hear him placed on IR if things don't start looking up.

Lofa Tatupu will also see limited time in practice this week because of a groin injury suffered Sunday, and Patrick Kerney got a little dinged up in the shoulder that he had surgery on during the offseason. Neither Lofa's nor Pat's injuries sound like anything to be concerned about, but I seem to recall saying that before about other players.

At any rate, as soon as we know what's up, you'll know what's up - good or bad. -END- Read More!

Shaun Alexander: Practice is for Everybody Else?

by: Michael Steffes

Hey, I was tempted to let this go because I hate to see Seahawk Addicts divided over a player that is no longer on the team, but this article written by Greg Bishop made me cringe. Shaun is back in the NFL, and playing for two former coaches in Jim Zorn and Stump Mitchell. Apparently that has freed Zorn and Mitchell to speak truthfully about Shaun. Check it out.

There are a couple of quotes from Zorn that are particularly bothersome if you are a fan. Like this:

“Repeating that ’05 season would have been hard. And he just seemed to either not have the knack, or he seemed to take a view of, ‘Hey, listen, when the hole’s there, I’m going to run through, but if the hole’s not there, you might as well go and call the next play.’
Zorn then went on to say this:
Shaun didn’t have a great work ethic in Seattle,” Zorn added. “He didn’t. He said he felt practice was for everybody else.”
The article also said that "Teammates grumbled about his practice habits and the way he smiled after losses." While all of this was just innuendo while he was in Seattle, it seems that neither Shaun nor Zorn minds that it is being shared now. Given all that, it is not surprising that that the Seahawks decided to move on.

Regardless, Shaun is an all-time great Seahawk and should be received well when he returns to Qwest. However, he and his new head coach might want to keep things a little more private if they want it to stay that way. ~END~ Read More!

Mike Holmgren Victory Presser

by: Michael Steffes

I am summarizing what Holmgren has to say, as he speaks. From his mouth to your . . . screen, or whatever. Get your Hawk on! If you want to see the talking points . . .

  • The feeling is better today. The players continued to work hard and he is glad it finally paid off. Comparing the last couple games, the big difference was the Hawks got the big plays this time. Against GB and Tampa it was the other way around.
  • Philly is coming in. They are an outstanding football team. Hopefully we get lucky with the injury situation. Hopefully the defense continues to create opportunities, and special teams seem much improved.
  • Matt is in LA to see Dr. Watkins. They will know more on Matt tomorrow. Lofa had a groin strain and won't practice, but should be able to play on Sunday. Kerney re-injured his surgically repaired shoulder. He is stronger today than yesterday, and he likely won't practice, but if he is strong enough by the end of the week he could play.
  • Matt is in the same boat as Kerney. He will rehab this week and if he is strong enough he might play. It is a day to day thing, but for now Seneca is the QB and the team will continue to rally behind him.
  • Holmgren took some responsibility for the Tampa game, saying he didn't give Wallace much of a chance to win it. This week he said to the offense, instead of being perfect and trying not to make mistakes that they were going to let loose and play a bit. They responded.
  • The plays that Weaver scored on are actually base plays that the team runs a lot, so he thinks that Weaver's performance is not a fluke thing. We may see more of Weaver going forward. Holmgren's reaction when seeing Weaver break free was "Finally! Finally a few go our way!"
  • Talking about Koren, Coach said he has always enjoyed the physical part of football, and that he has always been willing to block in the run game.
  • Holmgren was asked if Weaver has asked for more touches. He said "he can ask," implying that it would be a long shot for Weaver to be featured in the offense.
  • Holmgren took responsibility for the last two losses. He believed the best chance to win was to play it close to the vest. They lost though, so this week he felt that if they were going to go down, then they were going down with guns blazing. Surprisingly, calling the game was more fun for him.
  • D.D. Lewis is doing fine filling in for Lofa
  • Coach doubts that Deion Branch will be back this week. He is hoping for the following week in Miami. There is a little uncertainty as to what is bothering him. They worked him out hard last week and he became really sore. When he can work out and still be okay the following day, then he will play.
  • He is happy with the way the newer WRs are playing. He reminded everyone that it takes up to three years to learn the nuances of what Coach wants them to do. They are learning and working hard.
  • He said Wilson is really doing a nice job of maturing. Teams are picking on him because he is young and he is learning from it. He is an explosive player. He really likes Josh a lot.
  • When dealing with a defense like Philly, you have to keep the QB from getting hit, the QB needs to have a good week of prep, and when there is a chance for a big play you have to make it. Philly does a good job of not tipping where they are coming from. Any team could learn and copy what Philly does, but you have to have the right players and a coach that teaches and believes in the system for the players to execute it that well.
  • Holmgren was asked about the Singletary press conference. He didn't see it. When Clare elaborated on what happened, coach said that sounds like Singletary the player. Everyone has to do what they think they have to do.
  • Holmgren was asked about Ty Willingham. He expressed regret that things went the way they did for Ty. He talked about knowing Ty from their work with the Salvation Army and that his nephew(?) was working with Ty. He said that every head coach knows that this can happen going in, but he never likes to see things not work out for any coach. It's a results-oriented business, though.
  • Holmgren talked about learning by watching Bill Walsh handling the media. He said he learned to be honest. You can't con anybody--not players, not the media, etc. He said he learned not to be condescending because there are smart guys sitting on the other side of the table.
  • Coach said he chose to defer the kickoff because Mitch Levy told him to. Freaking hilarious! Too bad Mitch told him to do it at home. He said they needed to change some things, and this was one thing they changed.
  • When Holmgren was on the competition committee he was never in favor of that rule. He didn't want any more decisions to have to make.
~END~ Read More!

Hawks Big Underdogs at Home

by: Michael Steffes

Wow. The Eagles/Hawks line opens up with the Hawks being 7 point underdogs. That is an awfully big number for a team that has put up a dominant record at home over the last few years. Consider this: winless Detroit was only a 7 point dog versus 5-2 Washington this weekend, and they weren't coming off a blowout win.

Part of this is that Vegas is trying to get action on both sides, and they realize that the average person believes Philly to be a dominant team, plus they believe that same hypothetical person didn't pay any attention to the Hawks this weekend. Giving the Hawks a one touchdown deficit at home would have seemed almost unthinkable a year ago. How the mighty have fallen. Oh well, this team plays better with a chip on its collective shoulder, or at least it used to.

Regardless of the line, I suspect this will be a tough game to figure out. The Eagles, who have been banged up, have played poorly on the road. They gave up, to quote Rich Eisen, a 40 burger in Dallas. They lost in Chicago. And in San Francisco, the Eagles had to count on a 4th quarter meltdown from J.T. "the turnover waiting to happen" O'Sullivan to prevail. It will be interesting to see how much their recent road woes were due to the loss of Westbrook or if they are simply a team not performing up to expectations. They needed another terrible call by NFL officials to put Atlanta away at home yesterday, and they lost to the surging Skins at The Link as well.

In my opinion, its a hard one to predict. Vegas sees it otherwise. ~END~ Read More!

Offensive Line Play

by: Michael Steffes

In watching the DVR this morning, it is clear that the offensive line play from yesterday will not grade out well. It would be easy to surmise that from the rushing stats, but San Fran was also keying in on the Seahawks run, something I am sure a guy like Mike Singletary was focused on throughout the week. However, the Niners didn't need extra players to stop the run yesterday, as their front seven were in the Hawks backfield all day. The right side of the line appeared to be the biggest culprit.

Could this be the eventual effect of Holmgren splitting up all the reps? With Lock and Willis splitting time at RT and Womack missing practice with the flu, the right side didn't put up much of a fight yesterday. At least Mike Wahle didn't get flagged for holding, I guess.

Anyway, if the Hawks want to keep their mojo working, the line play is going to need to make a dramatic shift from Sunday's performance. Jim Johnson will get off the bus blitzing, and recognizing blitzes and setting the right protection hasn't exactly been a strong point in recent years.

Locklear looked closer to last year's form than I have seen him so far this season, and Womack should put in a full week of practice. This might be a good week to make sure the line gets as many reps together as possible, and that Chris Spencer and Mike Solari spend an extra hour or two in the film room. Otherwise, the Seahawks home record is going to slip to a previously unbelievable 1-3.

UPDATED NOTE: Robbie Tobek was talking about this very subject on KJR this morning. He said that you should NEVER rotate linemen. He also said that if you have to bench someone then do it, but rotating guys in and out is a sure way to screw up the offensive tempo. ~END~ Read More!

Did Mike Holmgren Set the Tone?

by: Michael Steffes

Mike Holmgren has taken a lot of flak lately, on this site and other fan populated sites, for his ultra conservative approach in the two previous games. I for one called for Mike Holmgren to do what is necessary to win the game, not to simply not lose it. Yesterday, he answered the call.

On 4th and 6 from the SF 35, with the Hawks only up 6 - 0, Holmgren went for it. It would have been a 52-53 yard field goal, something Mare could conceivably make. Mike could have also pooched the ball deep in Niner territory, hoping to play the field position game the Hawks haven't been able to win yet. Instead he went three wide, with Carlson flexed out to make it trips right. Wallace exploited the single coverage on Koren Robinson for a first down.

By the end of the drive the Hawks were up 13-0. This represents a huge difference from previous road games where the Hawks fell behind and were seemingly beat by halftime. Mike Holmgren finally decided the Hawks had nothing else to lose and played with some aggression. His players followed suit. ~END~ Read More!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Potentially Far Too Optimistic look at the Next 9 Weeks

by: Chris Sullivan

Let me preface the following post by saying this: the Seahawks are still in a lot of trouble. This season has not turned around yet; we have no idea whether the team that won today will be back on the field next week, and we also don't know if that team would be good enough to beat the Eagles if they do show up. We are not out of the woods yet, not by any stretch.

But hey, guess what? We're two games behind the Cardinals, and tied for second place in our division. Yes, the NFC West is the worst division in football, but hey, they invited us to the party so whatever.

I thought I'd look at the rest of the season and take some stabs in the dark as to how this season will end up. There are a few caveats, of course. First, I don't see the Cardinals losing much at home or winning much on the road. My brothers have crafted this belief, and it's worked out pretty well so far. Second, this all assumes that the Seahawks continue on an upward slope and do not regress to where we have been the prior three weeks--that probably relies on Hasselbeck not missing any more (or much more) game time.

This is, admittedly, somewhat optimistic, but only as far as the Seahawks are concerned. I tried to be pretty realistic with the rest of the division.

Home games are bolded and italicized.

This scenario has the Seahawks winning the NFC West based on 2 victories over the Cards and an overall 5-1 division record versus a 3-3 record for the Cards. Considering that the Seahawks may have won the first game against the 49ers if not for a few unlucky calls/breaks, it is possible that they still have the division rivals' numbers. We will see for real when we face the Cards.

What do you guys think? ~END~ Read More!

Hawks Get Big W, But Still Have a Long Way to Go

by: Michael Steffes

The scoreboard today tells a much different story than the game itself. While the Seahawks marched to a much needed (and fan appreciated) 34-13 win, they did little to distinguish themselves from the pretender status they have obtained through 6 weeks of bad football.

Seneca Wallace is a backup QB, but that doesn't preclude him from winning football games. He did what a backup needs to do to get a win: he didn't turn the ball over, and he got the ball into the hands of people who can win the game. Today that player was Leonard Weaver, who had a monster day amassing 100+ yards receiving with 2 TDs.

Overall, under Wallace the Hawks' passing game showed some improvement. Wallace threw for 222 yards, which is more than the last two weeks combined (I think). Both Koren Robinson and Bobby Engram caught 4 balls each, which shows that the team was able to get into a rhythm in the passing game. However, they could have done better. There were several balls Engram probably should have come up with, and two of those were on third downs. While the Hawks' 6-14 performance on 3rd down was better than they have been doing, it leaves room for improvement as well. All this also came at the expense of targets for John Carlson, who only caught one ball. When they get Carlson, the backs, and the wideouts catching passes at the same time, then the Hawks offense will be truly threatening.

Today, the running game stalled. Both Jones and Morris averaged 1.5 yards per carry. In a way, this was to be expected as teams would be stupid not to key in on the Seahawks' run offense right now. TJ Duckett did hold up his end of the bargain, converting a 4th and 1, and a short goal-line TD run. The running game will get better again as the passing game improves. Luckily the backs made themselves useful in the passing game, which really helped the Hawks offense do just enough to keep the defense fresh.

Speaking of the defense, it is hard to judge their performance accurately. Early on, they got pressure, forced turnovers, and created big plays. However, once a lead was established, the Niners began moving the ball effectively. The Niners outgained the Hawks in both passing and rushing yards. The defense allowed 3rd down conversions close to 50% of the time again. The Niners also ran 20 more plays than the Hawks and had 4 drives lasting 10+ plays. Were the Hawks playing conservative defense? There is little doubt. In a way, their performance was similar to what they would have done last year. They won convincingly, but were far from dominant. However, as for road performances of recent memory, the defense's performance today was improved. They will need to be better next week vs Philly though, that is for sure. Hopefully this win will re-energize the 12th man for next week.

Overall it is great to get a win. The Hawks are now right in the thick of things in the NFC West again. They are two games out of the top spot in the division, with two versus the leader Arizona still to play. However, they are not playing near the level they need to be to beat Arizona, or even a team like Philly for that matter. But, if they improve as much this week as they did last week, then they have a chance. In the end, that is enough to keep a smile on my face this week, and hopefully it does the same for you.


Leonard Weaver
: Embrace the Neon, peeps! Those shoes are the costume of a 260lbs superhero! Weaver has been under-utilized so far this year, but he still presents a nice threat. Hopefully he will be more involved in the offense going forward.

Josh Wilson X 2: For a "midget" and a "bust," he has really been turning on the jets lately. Today should have marked his second defensive TD in as many weeks, plus he is excelling as part of the much-improved return game. He is making smarter decisions with the kicks and making big plays when he has the chance. ~END~ Read More!

Leonard Weaver and his Neon Shoes! Seahawks Win! Seahawks Win!

by: Michael Steffes

Leonard Weaver was an animal! Seneca took care of the football! Josh Wilson scored his second TD in two weeks (sort of)! But most importantly, Seahawks Win! Seahawks Win! Share your raw emotion in any way you want! Happy Days ahead this week! I am going to enjoy this for a while and will be back to write it up later. Yeeeeeeee Haw!

~END~ Read More!

Likely Inactives [Updated]

by: Michael Steffes

Here is my best guess at those who are likely to be inactive this week:

Brandon Coutu
Matt Hasselbeck
Deion Branch
Will Heller
Howard Green
Mansfield Wrotto
Baraka Atkins
Kevin Hobbs

[Update: Michael was right, those are the inactives. Nice! 8 for 8!]

~END~ Read More!

Easy Like Sunday Morning

by: Michael Steffes

WEEK 8--Rock out with your Hawk out!

Game Time: 1:15 PM

Weather: 70 and Sunny

Pride is on the line today, along with the future of our backup QB. Time to get win #2! It would be a shame to be swept by San Fran in 2 of the last 3 years.

Today's Motto: Third downs . . . anybody want to make a play?

Jersey Choice: Cortez Kennedy

~END~ Read More!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Weekly Picks

by: Seahawk Addicts Staff

Gonzo goes from worst to first with a HUGE week! Sullivan is starting to stink up the joint. Maybe he needs to spend a little less time picking out floral arrangements and a little more thinking about football? Else, he is going to end up wearing the infamous neon green thong to next year's opener. Here are last week's results:

Right Wrong %
Steffes 8 6 0.571429
Sullivan 5 9 0.357143
Gonzo 12 2 0.857143

Here are the overall standings......

Right Wrong %
Steffes 59 46 56.2%
Sullivan 57 48 54.3%
Gonzo 60 45 57.1%

Here are this week's picks:

GAME Steffes Sullivan Gonzo
Tampa Bay @ Dallas Dallas Tampa Tampa
Washington @ Detroit Washington Washington Washington
Buffalo @ Miami Miami Buffalo Buffalo
St. Louis @ New England New England New England New England
San Diego vs NO (in London) San Diego New Orleans San Diego
Kansas City @ NYJ NYJ NYJ NYJ
Atlanta @ Philly Philly Atlanta Philly
Arizona @ Carolina Carolina Carolina Carolina
Oakland @ Baltimore Baltimore Oakland Baltimore
Cincinnati @ Houston Houston Houston Houston
Cleveland @ Jacksonville Jacksonville Cleveland Jacksonville
NYG @ Pittsburgh Pittsburgh NYG NYG
Indy @ Tennessee Tennessee Tennessee Tennessee
Seattle @ San Francisco San Fran 21-20 Seattle 20 - 6 Seattle 17-13

Steffes is taking the dysfunctional Cowboys and the wildcat Dolphins. He is also going with the Singletary effect in the Hawks game (traitor!). Chris thinks Oakland will make it two in a row and New Orleans will take London by storm. Just like his nickname would suggest, Gonzo didn't go out on a limb for any of his picks. We will see if he can repeat last week's performance. ~END~ Read More!

Nice Threads

by: Michael Steffes

While we all sit and wait and hope for the Hawks to find win number two, I found something of interest to talk about. Matt Barrows, who covers the 49ers for the Sacramento Bee, has ranked the NFL Uniforms from 1-32.

He ranks the Seahawks at #12. I think that is fair. Here is what he says:

Unis perfectly capture the city, from the Northwest tribal art-inspired logo to the "looks like rain" color scheme. Ok, the Mr. Yuck neon has to go.
Now Matt, why you gotta go and dis the neon? The neon is something that we embrace. Have you seen Matt Hasselbeck's choice of sideline hat this year? How about the beauty of our players when they pimp the neon shoes? The neon is where it's at! The Hawks realize it needs be worked in moderation though, hence no alternate neon green jersey . . . yet.

Anyway, this was a good little write up. His explanations are amusing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. ~END~ Read More!

The Week in Review with Bill T

by: William Tomisser

Hey gang. Michael asked me if I wanted to do a weekly article and maybe just recap the week’s subjects of discussion and put my spin on them. I’ve never done this before except about a million times as a regular poster in various newsgroups and blogs that have to do with the Seahawks, so, feeling like I’ve been preparing for this all my life, here’s the first and I hope not the last.

First, to introduce myself to those of you who don’t already know who I am, I’m a 61 year old total Seahawk fanatic. I attended the very first pro football game ever played in Seattle, which was a preseason game played in 1975 if I recall correctly between the Steelers and the Jets and featured Terry Bradshaw going against Wooly Joe Namath, a couple of football legends. This was a game to generate interest in the upcoming franchise that had been awarded to Seattle to begin play in 1976. I had never seen anything so precise in my life, having only watched college football live up until then. At one point, Namath drove the length of the field with three passes, scoring on the third one. I was blown away. When the Seahawks burst upon the scene in 1976, I stood in line for hours to get my season tickets, which I still own. I’ve been crazy about the Seahawks ever since and have conservatively estimated that over the last 33 years, I’ve invested over a hundred thousand dollars in season tickets, airline tickets, and Seahawks gear.

In 1980, I moved to Anchorage, Alaska but never lost my passion or my season tickets for the team. Currently, I’m retired/disabled from my job as a Systems Analyst with the Municipality Of Anchorage and am a 100% disabled Veteran of Vietnam after having been exposed to Agent Orange while there. I have a second lifelong passion for music and have been a professional musician for over 45 years now. I play in a 12 piece funk/soul band in Anchorage called Power Of Ten who is currently doing a Tower Of Power tribute weekly at a downtown Anchorage Club. I’m also the club historian for the “Midnight Sun Seahawkers” who are the longest standing official fan club of the Seattle Seahawks in existence. But enough about me.

I jotted down a few thoughts after returning home from the game Sunday and then saw most of you guys echo those thoughts throughout the week. For my first go at this weekly column, I thought we would review the week. To continue . . .

Mike Holmgren

I was watching Holmgren when they showed him on the broadcast and like some of you pointed out, he doesn’t seem to have any fire left. He doesn’t look like it bothers him that he’s putting in the most dismal performance of his entire career. To me, he looks tired, like he really needs a break. All of a sudden, I see him as a 60 year old man just trying to get through the season instead of this animated involved coach I’ve always seen on our sidelines who looks younger than his years. I have been one of Holmgren’s biggest supporters throughout his tenure but even I’m ready for a change. Looking at Holmgren Sunday made me realize he does need to go put a few thousand miles on his Harley next year and forget about football for awhile. Meanwhile, the team seems to be taking their cues from him and while I don’t think it’s a conscience thing, it’s a very real thing.

Seahawks Team

When Holmgren took over the Seahawks, they had a loser’s mentality that had been developed over almost two decades. It had become an inertia that it seemed no coach could overcome. I remember watching so many games where they would take a lead into the 4th quarter and then give it all up like they knew they couldn’t win and you would always watch their opponent make that last drive down the field to score and beat them and you just knew it was coming. You could count on it because the team knew they couldn’t prevent it. They were losers. That was a big reason it took Holmgren 5 years just to get this team on track. A lot of fans are saying that the Seahawks have that look again. I hope Holmgren doesn’t take that winner's attitude he finally instilled in the team away with him when he leaves, but hopefully Mora can put it back. So far, my perception is that the players are still playing hard and that they aren’t giving up before the final whistle. If they’re taking their cues from their Head Coach though, he doesn’t seem to be too upset that they’re tanking the season and, as I mentioned above, he looks tired and emotionless. His team looks it too.

Tampa Game Keys

The Tampa game had some questionable calls from the refs which a lot of you guys pointed out, and a lot of you said that they really didn’t affect the game. I disagree. We could have gained a lot of momentum at the start of this game with some plays going our way and decent calls from the refs. If we had scored a couple of TDs and gone up on the Bucs, I submit it could have been a much different game. Let’s look at all the turning points, both those caused by the ref's whistle and by our own failure to make plays. Chuck Knox used to say in any NFL game there would be three to five big plays that would be the keys to deciding who ultimately won the contest. Let’s look at those keys for the Seahawks. We started the game with a good looking drive and picked up a first down. Then on a third down play there was a long pass thrown to Carlson who had the ball in his hands, got his feet down in bounds and then lost the ball. That catch could have put us in scoring position and right off the bat we could have put up some points on the board. Instead, we punted.

On Tampa’s first drive and second down, Garcia’s second pass was tipped and two Seattle defenders went up for the ball and knocked it out of each other's hands. There’s our second possible big play and the game's only 3 ½ minutes old at that point. The Bucs continued the drive and scored on a play where the refs threw a flag that most observers thought was going to be on the Tampa receiver for pass interference, but after Tampa made it into the endzone and the refs had a conference, they picked it up. We’re down 7 and we could have been up by between 6 to 14 points at that time and still defending Tampa’s first drive. After trading punts with them and then Seattle punting one more time, Tampa drove down to the 11 where Garcia threw a short pass to Hilliard who got creamed and fumbled. Wilson picked up the fumble and had a clear path to TB’s endzone for the score, but the refs blow the play dead. Right there they killed us. Dead! Now instead of being up by as much as 21 if we’d made the plays previously, and being tied at 7 at the worst, we’ve got the ball at the Tampa 2 yard line. Then it gets even worse. On third down, Duckett blasted up the middle for 21 yards and a huge first down. Unfortunately, he runs over the ref, who first assists Tampa in slowing him down and then really dishes out an assist by calling another ticky-tack holding penalty on Wahle, putting back on the 6 yard line with 8 yards to go. The team fails on 3rd and long and punts back to Tampa, who then drives down the field and scores. Now we’re down 14 to zip instead of being up by 21 to nothing or, at the very worst without interference from the refs, tied even if we had lost the pass intereference call and the holding call. Stick a fork in us, we’re done for the day. That’s two big plays we didn’t make and three big calls from the refs for total of all 5 of those big game changers Knox talked about and there’s still 7 minutes to go before the half.

From thereon out, Tampa scores a FG, and then Spencer mis-snapped the ball for a fumble that Tampa recovered before halftime. 17–0, Tampa Bay. In the 3rd quarter, Mare made a FG and missed another. Seattle’s defense held TB to no points even though they were getting exhausted with Seattle’s offense only being on the field for 18 minutes over the entire game. In the 4th, Tampa added a FG and Seattle finally scored a TD, which is way to little and way too late. 20–10 is the final score, but the game was not even remotely that close. When you add in Mare’s missed FG, there were 6 plays where we either failed to make the big play or had the refs take the big play away from us that could have turned the game around completely. It just seems that the breaks aren’t falling our way for some reason. If we could have made half of those failed plays and maybe gotten a break on one or two of them, Seattle could have been in the game right to the end, if not in control of it. It seems to me that we’re fighting the refs a lot this year and of course we’re our own worst enemy the rest of the time.

Next, some bad mojo:


As a lot of you guys pointed out, we really need to get ourselves a NFL quality center who can make pre-snap adjustment calls, set the blocking assignments, and of course play too. Spencer should be tried at guard, and if he can’t be used there, released. I argued last summer when they were fixing the running game that we also needed to address the right guard and center positions. Lots of fans thought that the addition of Wahle and Solari fixed the line problems. Both Sims and Spencer aren’t getting the job done in my opinion. We fixed the Sims problem with an injury, but we need to do something about center. Tobeck and not Hutch has been our biggest loss, as far as I’m concerned. He may not have been the most gifted player talent-wise of the two, but he was by far the most cerebral player and he earned his place by being able to size up a defensive set and call out the correct blocking assignments and offensive line set correctly most of the time. That was a huge advantage for our 2005 line and Spencer hasn’t come close to being able to replace that aspect of Tobeck’s play. That’s why we were going to be screwed after Tobeck left whether we had retained Hutch or not.


He is not going to be a first string QB. Why can't he run the team at the up tempo rate that Hass does? He has had plenty of time in the system to be able to do so, but the team always seems to be dragging when he’s under center. Although still much better than Frye, he has seemed to have reached his peak performance and it’s just not good enough to carry the team for longer than a game or two. Seneca is just not a QB who will be anything more than a backup and he should be a third stringer at that. Your second stringer should be someone who can come in and win some games when your first sting QB is down and maybe also be the QB of the future waiting to take over the reins. Seneca is neither.


The offense has been a shambles from the start. All through mini camps and then training camp, our offensive line was mostly recovering from surgeries and never got any time together to work with new coach Mike Solari, who implemented a new blocking scheme among other improvements. I don’t care how good you are in a classroom situation, you’re not going to translate that chalk talk to the field without significant time out in practice with the guys you’re going to be playing with next to learning the system together. Add to that the fact that we already had the first of our receivers injured and Hasslebeck also missing most of the action, and th end result is our whole offense not getting the reps together they needed. I’m not sure what anyone expected to happen when the bell sounded, especially when in short order we lost all of our receivers, and not metaphorically either--I mean we literally lost all of our receivers. Then we lost our first and second string QBs. Just how well did anyone expect the offense to play after all that? Well, they did what they could, but as we all can see, it wasn’t much.


Our defense can’t be effective when the offense is only on the field for 18 minutes and is plagued by the offensive woes we just discussed. Our defense looked out of gas by the middle of the 3rd quarter. Even then, they played plenty good enough to win this game if not for the miscues and ref calls on Sunday. This is still a highly talented defense who just needs a scheme put in place that takes advantage of our player's specific talents. This is a finesse and speed defense that is being asked to play head-to-head power football. As Marshall is fond of saying, you just line up and find the guy with the ball and knock him down. That’s how you play with a big physical defense. We need to use some deception, we need to confuse the offense a bit, and we need to dictate to them how they can play. Hugh Millen noticed that we’re playing with a single safety back this year where we had been playing with two back in previous years. His take is that we’re intent on stopping the run first, which is probably a kneejerk reaction to the loss at Green Bay in last year’s postseason play. He feels that it is mostly this change that’s allowing teams to have such great success throwing down field on us. We don’t have any help over the top and our guys are unable to hold up on man to man coverage. Hardcore football aside, it comes down to scheme as so many of you have pointed out, and that’s Marshall’s responsibility.


Why is everyone so down on Mora? What's with wanting to fire him already without him even making any of the decisions? Is this based on an unsubstantiated story that he’s applied to the University of Washington for the HC position there? It’s not his defense, its Marshall’s. It’s not his choice of coaches, that’s Holmgren gig. It’s not his choice of players either, that’s Ruskell’s bailiwick. We have an excellent run defense that's carried over from last year. Everything that is killing us has been through the air this season. Although he coaches the DBs, it’s the scheme that’s killing us, not the player's skills, and the scheme is not his area of responsibility. He doesn’t set the scheme, Marshall does. A lot of you have indicated that if Mora can’t coach the DBs, how can he coach the whole team as Head coach? Hugh Millen answered that one on KJR this week when he pointed out that the skill set required for a position coach and a head coach are completely different. There’s your answer for that one, folks.


I think he’s way out of his league. He’s not inventive and only knows how to play straight ahead knock-your-guy-down defensive football. You can’t stay vanilla in this league, you have to keep inventing new things as Robbie Tobeck pointed out on KJR this week. Teams figure out stuff, and once the first team figures a way to crack your scheme then everyone know how to do it and copies what works and then everyone can beat it. That can apply to offense or defense. Marshall isn’t an innovator and doesn’t make adjustments on the fly well. In fact, he doesn’t seem to make many adjustments at all. The one big adjustment that he’s seemed to have made was the one mentioned earlier concerning the lone deep safety instead of the two we’ve used in the past. That seems to have opened us up to having teams figure out how to just pound the living crap out of us with the intermediate and down field passing game. Has anyone noticed that every team’s doing it to us just like Millen said they would? They all know how to beat Seattle now and Marshall’s doesn’t seem to be up to the task of fixing it. We need a young defensive coach to come in here and devise a scheme to utilize our talent according to our ability. Oh wait, that’s exactly what we do have coming. His name is Jim Mora!

General Observations

On to this talk of next year's draft. Skill positions are not good choices for high draft picks. I see some of you guys are wishing for a WR or QB to be drafted if we get a high first round pick. LTs, DEs, DTs, CBs, and sometimes LBs or safeties are all positions where it’s much harder to find blue chip talent. QBs are especially risky. ESPN did a study which showed that between 1989 and 2003, 16 out of 30 QBs drafted in the first round were officially busts. I posted a thing about that last week that can be looked up on SA if you want the names. WRs and QBs are better when acquired after they have proven themselves to have the talent and be able to play in the NFL. They will cost you big bucks as a high round draft pick, so it's better to pay those big bucks after we know they can pass muster.

There’s a lot of dispute about whether our team is suffering from poor talent or bad coaching. Right now our problems are probably more due to distracted coaches who are either not sure where they fit into the Seahawks in the future and a Head Coach who does know where he’s headed and it’s not into the next season. Players do pick up on vibes their coaches put out, and right now it’s probably pretty unsettled over there. Hugh Millen talked about this issue a bit on KJR. I don’t think anyone is consciously not playing as hard as they can, but when you’ve got a lot of doubt running rampant, sometimes it slows you down subconsciously. I really think are a lot of factors hampering us, from the injuries, to Marshall running vanilla schemes that are outdated, to other teams knowing what we’re going to be doing because we’ve been dumbing down our offense because of all the new players and 2nd and 3rd string QBs. As was discussed earlier, when you’ve been doing the same thing for a long time, other teams figure out how to defend against you. Without using some trick plays or deception or changing your stuff around a bit, the other team doesn’t have to be on their toes as much on defense. Once one team figures out how to stop you, everyone looks at the film and then they all know how to stop you. Holmgren can’t be an innovator this season for reasons just pointed out. Everyone knows how to stop us this year and we've played right into their hands, and then we've added to that the just talked about unsettling atmosphere of a coach who is going to be gone in half a season. Looking back, it probably would have made much more sense for Holmgren to have just called it quits when he knew he didn’t want to be the coach of the Seahawks anymore rather than try to do a “final year.” Right now, I think our team is suffering from all of the above going on at one time and it’s likely not to get fixed until we have coaches who are hired for the foreseeable future and a Head coach who will be there from year to year. A lot of us thought the last year concept would work. It hasn’t.

Ruskell bashers are still moaning about Hutch and saying he’s a terrible talent evaluator. That's not what everyone was saying at draft time. In fact there was a lot of excitement at that time. How come we all thought it was a great draft, but when we started losing all of a sudden Ruskell is accused of having a hard time picking good players? Maybee all that talk is just sour grapes because of the current losing streak? Otherwise, we’re all just as bad because we all endorsed his choices. Are we terrible talent evaluators too? I have to laugh when next year fans come up with the guys we could have drafted with our picks after having had the whole season to see which guys panned out. What I want to see is some of those great prognosticators pick those same players when no one knows who will blossom into a good NFL player. I remember when everyone was upset we didn’t draft Jimmy Kennedy. Enough said.

Well, thanks for reading this to the bitter end. I hope I’ve provided some insight and some further topics for conversation and haven’t bored you to tears with my first effort. I’ll try and be a bit more brief next time (good luck with that), but I had a lot to say this week. I’ll be back next Saturday with my take on Seahawk football. Let’s go knock the crap out of the 49ers and keep a small bit of hope alive for the season. Next week we’ll talk about when to think about playing younger players, when we should declare it impossible to get to the playoffs, and how we should feel as fans about the team at that point, plus whatever else happens to come up during the week.


Bill Tomisser
Anchorage, Alaska
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