by: Chris Sullivan
Well guys, I hate to say it but there is NOTHING to report in the world of the Seahawks. I've looked. Friday wasn't a media day so there was no presser, and nothing has occurred over the weekend.
We'll have a little contest: pick the final score for the Seahawks-Patriots game. The winner gets bragging rights and maybe a guest post on the blog or something. We'll figure that out.
Okay, on your marks...
~END~ Read More!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
by: Chris Sullivan
By: Chris Posted at 8:13 PM
Saturday, November 29, 2008
by: William Tomisser
Hey Seahawk fans,
I had a great Thanksgiving and hope every one of you Seahawks fans did too. The team obliged by losing the game and keeping my hopes alive of drafting another LT of Walter Jones’s caliber to man the left side of our offensive line for the next decade. I cooked up a 10 course dinner that had everyone looking for a forklift to get moved out of the dining room with when it was over.
While I was in Seattle last week, I met Strategerie for a way-too-short conversation before the Redskins game; it was really nice to put a face to the great comments and writing she does for the SA Blog. She and I could have probably talked Seahawks for a couple of hours instead of the ten minutes we had, but I do treasure the time we did have. I hope to meet more of you next year when I come down to check out the Mora era.
Now, on to the Dallas game . . .
Well, what did you expect? I think everyone knew in their heart of hearts going in that we were most likely going to get pounded. I thought we’d make a little better showing than we did, but Dallas is a team still in the hunt and hungry for a victory. We didn’t have the horses to get it done against a talented team playing on their home turf in their special game of the year. Even so, we had our moments.
Carlson is showing himself to be resilient and, despite having had some big drops in previous games, he keeps coming back and makes big plays the next time out. He’s a gamer and I think he’ll settle down and become the best TE the Seahawks have ever had before it’s over. He had 6 receptions for 105 yards and a 17.5 yard average, which equaled the combined yardage of the next two receivers for Seattle (Branch and Robinson totaled 105 yards between them). He should be a pretty good player when he gets to the point where he knows what he’s doing (sarcastic).
Once again, it looked to me as if the team played hard and didn’t give up as some of you suggested they did. They looked like they were overmatched, which is what happens when you meet a good team and you’re down to playing your backups and the backups' backups in some cases. The players who are playing don’t give up though, and that will carry forward to next season and manifest itself as team spirit. If we do get the 3rd or 4th pick in the draft, it will be legitimate and we’ll have earned it. The team shows no signs of sandbagging or intentionally losing to gain a better draft pick. That’s as it should be. I’m not under such ethical constraints, however, and I’m for going on a four game losing streak to finish the season and cashing in next April. The Seahawks can’t even think about that but I can. I don’t represent the team in any way and I can have the team’s best interest at heart no matter where that position takes me with regard to hoping for losses to garner a better draft position. More on that theme later.
Jon Ryan punted 7 times for a 50.1 yard average. While it’s not good that we had to punt 7 times, Ryan has become more dependable and has shown a strong leg of late. We may have found our punter for the foreseeable future and it’s always good to have another home town boy on the roster.
Walter Jones is starting to show that he’s just an average LT. He was beat for two sacks Thursday and got beaten so badly by Ware on the second one that he didn’t even touch him. Walter’s probably still got a decent season or two left in him but he’s only an average LT now, not the elite protector he once was for Seattle's QBs. If we end up with a high draft pick and choose our LT of the future (either Smith or Oher), we might be looking back at this season as the best thing that could have happened to us as Jones’ skills decline. He’s been our most valuable player over the last decade, and to get the opportunity to get another like him without having to actually become as bad as our probable 2-14 record might indicate is something that comes around once in a blue moon. Maybe this year is all about fate giving us a boost.
JJ lost his second fumble in the last 3 games and generally doesn’t look as good as Mo Mo does to me. It really looks as if we’d be better served by acquiring a young RB who can grow with the team and be our RB of the future somewhere along the line during the offseason. I don’t think the platoon system really worked at all and both RBs have suffered because of it. If I had to choose a RB right now to keep, it would be Morris. He’s made bigger plays and has caught the ball well coming out of the backfield. I think Ruskell still has some tinkering to do with the running game, both on the offensive line and at the RB position. Mora will probably have a lot of input into that process, as well as his chosen offensive coordinator.
The defense once again sat back and played vanilla schemes and got smacked around until they started blitzing in the second half and finally got Romo rattled at times. Why Marshall doesn’t come out with that kind of aggression in the first half and before they get so far behind is a real puzzler. In my opinion, this is one of the big reasons that the same defense that was so good last year is so bad this year. It appears to me as if Marshall plays reactive to the situation instead of playing the aggressor and forcing the offense to adapt to his defense. It looks as if his defensive plan is to wait and see what the opponent is doing in the first half and then come up with his solution in the second half. Isn't that what game film is for? He should be able to devise a defensive strategy that is somewhat effective right out of the chute and then modify it as the game goes along according to specific game situations. His initial defensive plans are usually ineffective, forcing us to always play catch-up. I can’t wait for Mora to take it over and take these talented players we have and use their skills to best advantage. On the other hand, right now I’m pleased that Marshall is not calling it better as that contributes to our losses and that contributes to our chances of getting the high first rounder that I expect us to get as a reward for putting up with the crappy season. Keep up the good work.
Where do I start? The 7 sacks, the Cowboys scoring TDs on their first three possessions, Romo passing for 331 yards, Witten catching 9 passes for 115 yards to go along with TO’s 5 catches for 98 yards, or how about the fact that Dallas didn’t have to punt until the 5th time they had the ball? By halftime, Seattle had surrendered 17 first downs to Dallas in 33 plays, slightly better than giving one up every other play. It really looked as if the Seahawks were playing their second and third stringers against the Cowboys' first string . . . wait a minute, that’s exactly what was happening, and after Hill left the game for good, it got even worse. We really don’t have to worry about Holmgren playing younger players and giving them some game experience, as he’s got no choice. Say what you will about lame duck coaches, job insecurity, bad defensive schemes, or whatever else you may want to blame the bad season on, but injuries to a phenomenal number of our best players and backups really have accounted for the lion’s share of the problems the team has had this year. There’s not a team in the league with more injuries to important contributors or that had entire positions wiped out, and it’s no coincidence that as a result the Seahawks will probably make one of the biggest falls from glory in recent NFL history this year. Of all the people to blame for this season, fate is probably the biggest culprit. I’ve found that a lot of fans would rather point a finger at a person to be responsible than just admit that stuff happens.
Odds and Ends
I’m still not sold on Spencer at center, but a lot of you guys seem to think he should be given some slack and that he’s playing better now that he’s healthy and had some time to gel with the offensive line. I still wouldn’t mind seeing us get a veteran center and moving Spencer to guard/backup center where I think he would play better without having to make the line calls. However, I do think we have bigger fish to fry this offseason and could go along with giving Spencer some more time to develop as long as he stays healthy and gets the work in that he needs to improve. I always have to remind myself that Tobeck didn’t become an all-pro center until towards the end of his career--even he wasn’t the Tobeck we all knew and loved after only three years in the league.
Rookie TE Martellus Bennett, whom some of you may remember was the TE I wanted us to draft, caught his 3rd TD in as many games. Time will tell if he or Carlson ends up being the better choice, but he looked pretty impressive to me. As a junior coming out early, his upside for the first year wasn’t as big as Carlson's, who had the edge in experience, but I think Bennett is more athletic, faster, and will potentially become a better blocker. I hated that he went to Dallas. We wanted the most NFL ready TE so we could send Holmgren out in a blaze of glory. I hope we don’t pay for taking maturity and experience over raw talent and potential for the rest of their careers. I will say that overall I’ve been pleasantly surprised with Carlson’s development and I think it’s still up in the air who got the better deal. It’s way too soon to call that one at this point. For the present, I’ll still defer to Ruskell and Holmgren on that one and give them the benefit of the doubt as they obviously know as lot more about player talent and intangibles than I do.
I’ve had some discussions with a few fans who absolutely think that I’m somehow morally wrong to be rooting against the Seahawks just so they can get a better draft choice at this point in the season. That’s absurd! I don’t have any way of influencing the team and wholeheartedly agree that every player who is playing on that field should be trying to win the game to the best of his ability. However, I’m a fan and I don’t have any of those constraints. I can wish for anything I want and, if it comes to pass, I will be totally free from guilt in my conscience about my team benefiting from it. The team has to be clean and try to win games as hard as they can; I, on the other hand, can be as mercenary as I want. No conflict here. Lose the rest of the games and get a great draft pick. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the best thing that can possibly happen to the Seahawks now. Just because I can articulate it and hope for it and do nothing but talk about it doesn’t mean I’ve lost my Seahawks fan status or my desire to see the team do well in the long run. The point of this little tirade is that if you’re one of the fans who can’t stand to see me root against the Seahawks or think it’s unsportsmanlike to hope we lose to get a better draft pick, go jump in a lake! I think it’s absolutely crazy to want to win another game when all that would do is hurt our chances of acquiring a blue chip player for the cheap and hollow buzz you’d get after the meaningless victory and because you think it’s somehow the right thing to do, then wonder next season why we didn’t get better and start talking about how bad a talent evaluator Ruskell is. Give the man something to work with and watch what happens. Ruskell hasn’t gotten to draft lower than the mid twenties in his four drafts with the Seahawks. Given some of the talent he’s pulled out of that position, I’d love to see him work with a top 5 choice. Although no one from the Seahawks can even talk about it in a dark room all alone on a deserted island, I have to believe that some of them have considered in the most guarded part of their mind the ramifications of losing the rest of their games and getting that very special player who may be able to make an impact on a team as talented as the Seahawks are when its players are healthy enough to bring them back into the serious contention. The big difference is that they can never never never even make a whisper about the subject, but I can shout it out and openly campaign for it and you’ll hear me counting it down for the rest of the season. That’s it. If you don’t like it, tough. If you think I’m a traitor, I could care less. I know in my heart where I stand with my team. If you don’t want to hear it, don’t read anything I write. If you feel as I do, welcome aboard the gravy train.
**End Of Tirade Time**
The Week From Your Comments
A lot of our attention is being turned to possible players we might be interested in from either the draft or in free agency. By now, everyone pretty much knows my position about whom we should draft, and from what you’ve all been saying it appears a lot of you feel the same way. The offensive line seems to be favorite area to concentrate on if we have a high first round pick and I think that Walter Jones’ performance against Dallas Thursday pretty much underscores that need as well as defines where the help is most needed. It’s becoming pretty obvious that we’re in need of a dominant LT to take over from Jones as soon as maybe even next season. There were some unsubstantiated rumors that Walt might be thinking of hanging it up and departing with Holmgren, but even if he plays for another year or two the handwriting’s on the wall. The strength of your offensive line, your QB’s health, the running game’s ability to move the ball, and your passing game’s ability to function all depend on the effectivness of your LT and his ability to dominate and anchor your offensive line. Walt’s been our most valuable player for a long time now and life without a top drawer LT could be difficult to imagine. A lot of you guys out there get that and realize what another great LT could do for our team in the coming decade. Michael Oher seems to be the top choice among fans, but Andre Smith has his supporters too. Below in the Weekly Topic Of Discussion, I talk about what has to happen for that to become a reality for the Seahawks.
Most of you have also put a high emphasis on acquiring a WR or two to bolster our receiver corps for next season. A mix of a prime free agent and a mid-round draft choice seems to be what most of you feel the Seahawks should try to make happen. It was pointed out that with Branch, Burleson, Payne, Obomanu, Bumpus, and the possibility of Engram and Robinson coming back to boot, we’re maybe not as bad off as it would seem at first glance. The other half of the four young guys will most likely be back to vie for a spot, too (Kent and Taylor), which makes for nine receivers without adding any new ones. Since we we still don’t know how recovered Branch is and how well Burleson will come back from his injury, I think it would be prudent to go after a free agent WR who can play any position and who has proven himself to be dependable as well as draft a WR somewhere in the 2nd through the 4th rounds who has the upside to become one of our top receivers after learning the offense. Let those 11 guys fight it out for the 5 or 6 available roster positions and any practice squad positions available for which they would qualify. Wide receiver is definitely a position that should get a thorough appraisal along with some help from Ruskell during the next offseason.
To summarize the fixes we’ve all suggested to the offense, it seems that it all starts with the offensive line and, more specifically, the LT position. Secondly, it appears that some of you think we should also be going after another premier guard to give us a young line who can develop together and perhaps become as cohesive as our 2005 line was. I think that these are very good suggestions and to put together a young and talented line could very well be the most important consideration to putting this team back into position to start another multi-year run at the big prize. Other than the offensive line, a lot of you guys think we need to bolster the WR position with both free agent and draft acquisitions. I can’t disagree with that one either, but it’s probably somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction to this year's decimation of the receivers group. On the other hand, having 10 or so receivers fight it out for 5 or 6 jobs could very well bring out the best in all of them and give us a very talented group with which we can go into next season. As long as Hasslebeck is alright we’ll be good for another 2 or 3 years in his hands, but I think we also need to consider getting his eventual replacement identified and working behind him so he’s ready when Matt is done. I also think that getting a young stud RB wouldn’t be a bad idea, plus we should figure out who is going to be the featured back for next season and stick with him. The only trepidation I have about all the offensive changes and fixes we’re proposing is that, with Mora being a defensively minded coach and Ruskell also coming from the defensive side of the game, will they let the new OC have these changes or will having the high draft choice make it too much to resist going after a blue chip defensive player instead of an LT? I just hope they really see what Walter Jones has meant to the franchise over the last decade.
On defense, our biggest problem is our pass defense, yet I didn’t see much mentioned about possible remedies for that problem. Most of you focused on the offense. To me, getting a better pass rush is paramount if we want to solve the problem of letting teams pass their way through third downs and march right down the field for a score when all we had to do is stop them once on a third down and give our team another opportunity to rally and get us back in the game or extend our lead. No matter who has been shredding us, it seems that as soon as we start mounting a decent pass rush, we climb right back into the game and become competitive again. Sometimes I see one of our DBs get burned, but if it’s after covering their man adequately for 2 to 3 seconds, you have to put that on the defensive line and the pass rush because even the best DBs can’t cover an NFL receiver for much longer than 3 seconds. If we’re giving the opposing QB more than 3 seconds to evaluate the defense and throw the ball, we’re asking too much out of our DBs and not getting enough out of our pass rush. Lots of times during the season I’ve seen our DBs criticized for not covering a receiver, but in reality it was our inability to put pressure on the QB that was at fault. I think that somehow getting a pass rusher who can consistently put pressure on the QB should be another of our absolute top needs for next season. I put a premier pass rusher right up there in importance with LT and WR. We’ll have time after the season ends to hash it out and figure who we think can best fit the bill for us, but a pass rushing DE or DT is another important ingredient for next year's team.
I think that two other defensive positions should be considered for upgrade are a safety with which to replace Russell and a CB to play opposite Trufant. Jennings should still be given a chance to develop and Wilson does pretty well in the nickel CB position, but we’re lacking another sizeable athletic type of CB to play opposite Trufant and keep defenses from avoiding him by picking on a weaker player. Grant can play either the free safety or the strong safety position, and acquiring either type of safety to play opposite him would give our defensive backfield new blood and, along with a fearsome pass rusher and better CB, would give our defense a chance of being the top defense we envisioned them being this year.
Of course, we need to resign Hill so we don’t end up with even more holes in our defense to fill, but assuming that Ruskell accomplishes that all-important signing, acquiring a pass rusher, a CB, and a safety who can come in and play should be the extent of the defensive adjustments needed to give Mora a top group of talent to mold into a feared shutdown machine next season. I welcome your comments on what you guys and gals think we should be doing to bolster the defense next season.
Weekly Topic Of Discussion
I’ve taken a good look at the rest of our schedule and the schedules of the rest of our biggest competitors for a high round draft pick along with each of their supposed needs are and discovered what the scenarios are that will lead us to the prize. I kind of detailed this in a post last week, but I wanted to put it out in a easily understood format for everyone who is interested in reading it.
According to various draft sites, the Chiefs are pretty well set at LT, but both the Lions and Bengals are in need of an LT as well as other positions. Assuming that we lose out (our magic number is now 4 more losses), our pick will still depend on the last game of the season between the what would be 1-13-1 Bengals and the 1-14 Chiefs, assuming that they also lose out until then (which is highly likely, given their schedules). We would be 2-13 going into the Arizona game.
With a Bengals win on the last weekend, the draft order would be:
This is our best scenario because the Chiefs are presumably not interested in an LT and unless they would trade down to someone needing a LT we’d have a chance at either Smith or Oher--and depending on whom Detroit selects or if they pass on LT, we could have our choice of the two.
A Chiefs win would put the order as:
A tiebreaker of some sort would decide between the 3rd and 4th picks. Under this scenario, both Smith and Oher could be gone to the cats (Lions and Bengals) before we get on the board. Under the previous one, we would get either Smith or Oher depending on who the Lions took, unless the Chiefs let someone else trade up to their position to snatch the other premium LT away from us. I consider Monroe a bit of a step down from Oher and Smith. From what I have read the Lions prefer Smith, so with a Cincinnati win on that last game, we would probably get our man in Oher.
That scenario still looks good with more injuries from Thursday’s loss to Dallas and not much chance of winning against the Patriots or Jets at Quest or at Arizona in the desert in a morning game. Arizona’s loss plays into our hands in that they could still be fighting for playoff seed on the last game and be playing to win instead of resting their starters. That leaves the Rams as the pivotal game in my mind. It will most likely come down to them or us having that 3rd or 4th pick and having the chance to draft a franchise LT (or whomever the Rams might draft in that position). If we beat the Rams, just paste them into the Seahawks' position in the above draft order and put us down another three spots or so and out of the LT sweepstakes. We’d still get a pretty good player, just maybe not an elite one like Smith and Oher promise to be.
Maybe you aren’t into rooting for losses to get a better draft choice and maybe you are, but in the words of our beloved immortal lame duck it is what it is. The team has had some pretty good luck with very high draft choices like Shawn Springs (3rd), Cortez Kennedy (3rd), Joey Galloway (8th), Walter Jones (6th), Jacob Green (10th), Kenny Easley (4th), Curt Warner (3rd), and Sam Adams (8th) all being top ten picks. How many of you wouldn’t mind having another player of that caliber playing for Seattle again? So, here’s to a perfect 0–4 record over the next month and then having 4 months to salivate over our next blue chip player.
By: Chris Posted at 5:11 PM
Friday, November 28, 2008
by: Chris Sullivan
...of John Marshall, that is. Well, they didn't say that directly, but that's the intimation Frank Hughes suggests. I am glad to see these tired, annoyed players finally saying "what the hell are we doing?"
The article points out that the Hawks were playing a zone defense in the first half (when 24 of the 34 points were allowed) and utilizing half-hearted blitzing schemes at best. The speed of this defense lends itself well to strong man-to-man play and better pass rush skills. The latter is affected without Kerney, of course, but let's be honest, how many times have seen Leroy Hill rush the QB this year? Once? He is arguably our most disruptive LB, so what is the point of pushing him into coverage (arguably his least-developed skill)?
I think we all already agree that Marshall, whatever his strengths used to be, is now a bad coach who needs to be purged for the good of this talented defense. It won't happen this year, so why doesn't he just throw up his arms, open up the playbook, and have some fun with his last four weeks with the franchise? ~END~ Read More!
By: Chris Posted at 9:29 AM
by: Chris Sullivan
Well, the Hawks still suck. Hurrah.
After an embarassing performance yesterday, the Hawks season is really down to one question: will this tie the Seahawks' all-time low mark of 2-14? Realistically, our best chance of going out with a third win is against the Rams or the Cardinals (especially if Arizona has clinched its seed in the playoffs and has nothing to play for). I think we should be able to handle the Rams, but who knows anymore?
The Hawks played poorly, no question. I said there were four things that we needed to do to win, so let's see how that went:
- Hasselbeck must play more like a Matt and less like a Tim. Well, he definitely played more like himself, but he was still a bit off. I saw fewer drops from the recievers, which was nice, but other than that Hass still looks a bit off. More than anything he looks easily frustrated, no longer the steely resolved Matt we're used to seeing, but I think that Matt will be back to his old form next year. I said before that for the Hawks to win consistently, Matt needs to be near 65% completion; yesterday, he was around 58% with no TDs and a pick.
- Julius Jones must prove himself to Dallas and, more importantly, to Seattle. Some might argue that Jones did prove himself to both teams yesterday, but unfortunately he proved himself to be something of a disappointment and someone unable to live up to his own big mouth. I like Jones, but his constant talk about being disrespected and having a chip on his shoulder was a rallying point for the Cowboys and their fans. Once he fumbled, he couldn't regain any composure. Morris played considerably worse, however, netting 10 yards on 6 carries for 1.7 yards per carry (versus 3.4 ypc for Jones).
- Trufant and Wilson must shut T.O. down. Well, they did an alright job, and on TO's touchdown it was Peterson covering him (which probably goes as another strike in John Marshall's column). More importantly though, the Safeties and LBs didn't shut Witten down. Romo threw where he wanted to throw, there was rarely a Seahawk near the intended reciever and, let's be honest, Wilson probably had his worst game starting this season as both a corner and kick returner.
- WIN IN THE TRENCHES. Hasselbeck was sacked 7 times. Romo was sacked 0 times. Seahawks RBs combined for 70 yards on 21 carries, while Cowboy RBs combined for 102 yards on 22 carries. The Hawks lost this one big time, and our otherwise pretty good offensive line finally starting showing the cracks we should've been expecting weeks ago. With only our starting OTs playing, Vallos and Willis both showed their inexperience at their positions. Walter Jones had a bad game as well, giving up two sacks to Demarcus Ware (no doubt one of the best rushers in the league, but still). It's hard to believe he wouldn't have fared better with Wahle next to him.
By: Chris Posted at 8:49 AM
Thursday, November 27, 2008
By: Chris Posted at 4:45 PM
by: Chris Sullivan
Alright ladies and germs, it's that time of year... time to give thanks for your many blessings and close calls. Even in the worst years there are a few things that can make a fan smile. Following are mine:
- John Carlson. Ruskell traded up for a solid player who was a little bit boring as a draft prospect, but has been everything we could expect from a rookie. The team's leading receiver has been a decent blocker and appears to be getting better by the week. Most importantly, he has come into a difficult system and gelled with the leader of that system -- be it Matt, Seneca or Charlie.
- Mike Solari. Solari has created a pretty solid line that makes few mistakes and has clearly improved over the season. This is despite the fact that injuries have plagued the line, with Sims going out early, Locklear having nagging injuries, Womack being Womack, and now Spencer and Wahle with an injury. Knock on wood the list stops there, but regardless, we have replaced those guys with backups who have played well (sometimes better). This is a testament to Mike Solari, and I'm thankful we've got him and hope he sticks around for years to come.
- Josh Wilson. Wilson has stepped up (get it, cuz he's short?) to the challenge and has become a playmaker on the Seahawks defense and special teams. He's not the best CB in the league, no, but he appears to be getting much more technically sound and with that, he is able to keep up with the top guys in the league, persistently force them towards the sidelines, and make the big play when it's needed. He has also pushed Jennings into stepping up his game, which he appeared to do in Week 12.
- Brandon Mebane. What can I say, he's my favorite Seahawk right now. Mebane is becoming a dominant force in the trenches in his second year. He came in last year as a so-so middle-round pick, and, taking over for an injured Chuck Darby, he became one of our most consistent players on defense. That continues this year, especially clutch considering nothing else on our defense has been very consistent (well, not consistently good).
- Mike Holmgren. Yep, we know. It's a lame duck year. That's fine. But I thank Mike Holmgren for what he has done for this franchise, what he has meant to the players, and how he has created a program of winning. In a way, it seems fitting that in this, his last year as coach, we are having a terrible season. It helps to remind me of what things were like before Holmgren came here, when every single year we sucked and quite honestly, we could never look forward to getting back to our "winning ways." We didn't have winning ways!
Happy Thanksgiving, Americans, and happy November 27th to the rest of ya. END Read More!
By: Chris Posted at 11:00 AM
by: Chris Sullivan
Hey all, here's the chat link for today. I would expect a pretty sparse crowd for everything but the Seahawks game, but I'll leave it up through the Lions and Cardinal
By: Chris Posted at 9:20 AM
|Tennessee @ Detroit||Tennessee||Tennessee||Tennessee|
|Arizona @ Philly||Philly||Arizona||Philly|
|Seattle @ Dallas||Dallas||Dallas 30 - 24||Seattle 27-23|
Bingo Bongo, not too shongo! Those are our picks. We'd all love the optimism of Pussyhands today, but Steffes and Sullivan are picking Dallas in order to have low expectations going into our gorge-fest, so as not to baste our turkeys with tears. END Read More!
By: Chris Posted at 7:44 AM
by: Chris Sullivan
Call it the 'game changer' that never was. At the beginning of the year, I think all of us were looking to this game as the most important non-divisional matchup of the year, a way to really test the Seahawks resolve after narrowly beating the Redskins (in our mind) and getting ready to take out the winless Pats 10 days later. Well... uh... abouuut that...
The main reason people are paying attention to this game now is that it happens to be on. Oh, and its still a lot better than the Titans vs. the Lions, but then, I think watching Nascar with the Golf Channel picture in picture is going to be more entertaining than any Lions games this year.
The Seahawks are playing spoiler from here on out, and lets be honest, they're also playing for pride (what's left of it). As Sando has pointed out a few times, Holmgren needs to win 3 of the next 5 games to not have one of the top five worst 'final seasons' as a head coach (assuming he won't be HC elsewhere). Hasselbeck has been off all year for myriad reasons, but the bottom line is, we need him if we're going to win this year. So, lets look at the keys to the game:
- Hasselbeck must play more like a Matt and less like a Tim. Yeah, I said it, Matty has been playing like his brother out there this year -- he's just out of sync with his receivers and is making bad decisions when he forces things. We need a game out of Matt -- 60% completion percentage and no more than 1 interception. Hopefully a few touchdowns too. He's shown he is still the old Matt when things are clicking, but I think he needs to be the leader he can be and make sure things are clicking.
- Julius Jones must prove himself to Dallas and, more importantly, to Seattle. Jones has a chip on his shoulder for how he was treated in Dallas, and this is his opportunity to decorate that chip in an 11-layer dip known as the Dallas Cowboys defense. (I've never been one for metaphors.) More importantly, Jones needs to continue proving himself to Holmgren and the Seahawks, because for whatever reason, Mike doesn't appear convinced. I personally wonder if Mike is trying to give Morris as much exposure as he can (without being divisive) in order to get one of his guys a job in 2009. Either way, lets see 120 yards and 1 TD from Jones today, with Duckett picking up one or two for good measure.
- Trufant and Wilson must shut T.O. down. Make Romo rely on his inside routes or, better still, to an unfamiliar target in Roy Williams. If we keep T.O. frustrated, he drains the entire team of energy. Put some big bumps on him at the line and bigger hits on him down the field. The secondary needs to start trusting that they can stop these guys. We saw that a bit from Jennings finally last week, and I think Wilson has been understanding that technique can match talent if its good enough. We know Tru is solid.
- WIN IN THE TRENCHES. This should be there for every game. We need our Offensive Line to play. We figure to be playing the following week one starters: Walter Jones. Uh... GULP. Steve Vallos will get his first start today, and the rest of the line has slowly been decimated by minor injuries. Good thing it doesn't really matter at this point. On the defensive side of the ball, Mebane and Rocky have been doing a great job in recent weeks keeping that side of the ball competitive without Kerney. We need LoJack and Tapp to step up in this game, and we need Baraka Atkins to finally prove he deserves a spot on this team. Can he?
By: Chris Posted at 7:19 AM
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
by: Matthew Heuett
It's that time of year again--the NFL Hall of Fame has released the names of the twenty-five modern era semifinalists for the Class of 2009, and our favorite defensive tackle is on the list once again (the two senior candidates were announced back in August). Will this be the year he finally gets a yellow jacket? ~END~ Read More!
By: Matthew Heuett Posted at 2:00 PM
by: Mike Parker
Originally it seemed as if Jamar Adams would benefit from TE Jeb Putzier being waived, but the team has once again cut Putzier, and this time OT Kyle Williams has been bumped up onto the 53-man roster from the practice squad.
It seems like Putzier has become the Seahawks' temporary roster fill-in for practice squad moves, which must be really irritating for him. Fortunately for him, he might not have to worry about that anymore if Williams performs well when given the chance. I still think it's a bad idea to constantly rotate offensive linemen, but the coaching staff has probably already switched gears into rebuild mode and is giving some of the emerging talent room to grow. I would've liked for Adams to see more action at safety after he got signed for his inexplicably short stint, but so be it. Maybe the coaches see something in Williams, an ex-Trojan, who's barely even a blip on the radar for Seattle fans so far.
Regardless of strange roster moves, a win tomorrow in Dallas would almost validate the entire season so far. At least, it would for me. Oh, and Romo, don't forget to bring Jessica to the game tomorrow. Do it for your friends here in Seattle. We know how awesome you are when she's watchin' you. -END- Read More!
By: Mike Parker Posted at 1:46 PM
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
by: Chris Sullivan
Well guys, we apologize for the delay. Michael is still swamped with his master's project.
Today, I thought we should take a look at how the wide receivers might be shaping up for next year. We have seen Ruskell remake a different section of the team each year (with mixed success, some might argue), and I think the odds-on favorite for the 2009 revamp is the wide receiver corps. First, let's take a look at what our options will be. I've ranked [loosely] the current Seahawk receivers, the top five options from the Draft, and the top five options out of free agency.
|CURRENT SEAHAWK OPTIONS|
|1||Bobby Engram||Excellent when healthy, aging|
|2||Deion Branch||Has been injury-prone and mediocre|
|3||Nate Burleson||Improved in '07, missed in '08|
|4||Logan Payne||Ruskell loves him; slot guy|
|5||Koren Robinson||Strong, but drop-prone|
So, this information is nothing new. I think there is, at best, a 50% chance that Bobby stays with the Hawks in 2009. I hope he does. Ruskell has not been willing to negotiate with him, and let's be honest, Bobby has been injured a lot over the last five years--we will not pay him based on 2007 alone. I imagine we'll make him an offer, and that will be that. Branch will likely stay on through next year, but who knows? Burleson has done nothing to lose his spot, and really emerged as a favorite target for Hasselbeck in '07. He's on the squad. At this point, I see Logan Payne and Jordan Kent again fighting it out for a spot or two on the team, and I have to imagine it is more likely Payne than Kent. Finally, we've got Koren Robinson whom I still like a lot. I'd love to see K-Rob stick around, but he was hired back begrudgingly and has continued his drops. He's had flashes of brilliance too, but I don't think it's very likely that he is a Hawk next year.
|1||Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech)||6'3", 214 lbs, 4.55 40-yd dash|
|2||Louis Murphy (Florida)||6'1", 195 lbs, 4.40|
|3||Derrick Williams (Penn St)||6'0", 194 lbs, 4.45|
|4||Juaquain Iglesias (Oklahoma)||6'0", 194 lbs, 4.45|
|5||Brian Robiskie (Ohio St)||6'3", 190 lbs, 4.50|
I think everyone is hoping at this point that the Hawks grab Michael Crabtree in the first, but we can assume he'll be a top 10 pick (if he does indeed declare--he's still an underclassman). I think it's more likely that we go after another position (OT or DB) in the first or trade down for two first rounders. I like Brian Robiskie a lot, even if he is a Buckeye, and his size is something that Hasselbeck hasn't had in years. He's smaller (but a little faster) than Crabtree--less dominant, but would likely fit into our offense a bit better and could be grabbed in the second or third round. Louis Murphy is another stud, but like Crabtree may well be a bit more than Ruskell will give up for a WR.
|FREE AGENT OPTIONS|
|1||TJ Houshmanzadeh (Cincinatti)||A stud in Cincy, which says a lot|
|2||Antonio Bryant (TB Bucs)||Great year after mediocrity. Promising.|
|3||Devery Henderson (NO Saints)||Nice deep threat, very fast|
|4||Nate Washington (Pittsburgh)||Pretty solid receiver, #2 or 4, potentially |
|5||Malcom Floyd (SD Chargers)||6'4" has been solid this year. Young.|
The free agents this year are actually pretty strong, but in recent years the best guys have often been resigned by their current teams. Out of this crew I like Bryant, Henderson, and Floyd the most. Housh is great, yes, but his price tag is likely out of our league.
So, that's that. Based on the above, I would say a likely scenario would be:
UPDATE: A lot of you guys caught one that I dumbly missed: Ben Obamanu. I imagine Obo will fill in for Kent or Payne in either of those scenarios.
~END~ Read More!
By: Chris Posted at 9:02 PM
By: Matthew Heuett Posted at 2:38 PM
Monday, November 24, 2008
by: Chris Sullivan
I was one of the lucky few attending the game yesterday, and something that really stuck out to me was how terrible Matt Hasselbeck looked. Now, of course, he had flashes of brilliance as we would expect, but for the most part Matt looked like Bizarro Matt. He was constantly missing his receivers and appeared to be just plain off. I know he is unfamiliar with a lot of his WRs, but that was the case in 2005 too, let's not forget.
So, I wanted to see just how bad the Seahawks passing game was this year. Their stats are summarized below:
|PROJ 08 Hawks||16||237||458||51.7||2445||5.3||17.45||17.45||59.7|
So, uh, that's not very good. Still, to make us feel better, I compared those stats to our worst year, the 2-14 Seahawks of 1992.
It made me wonder, what the hell is wrong with our QBs? Matt especially is having an atrocious year--30 points behind his career average in QB rating. What changed? A lot of things! We know the issues with the WRs, and we know that we have a new TE (who has been excellent for Matt), new RBs, and a fullback who has emerged as a screen pass threat, etc., etc.
Those are some changes. We also changed our QB coach when Jim Zorn left to lead the Redskins, replacing him with the recently fired Bill Lazor (former a Redskins coach). Could it be his fault? How? I have always viewed the QB coach as relatively unimportant, at least for someone like Hasselbeck who is well established and generally just pushes himself to be better [it would seem]. Let's look at Lazor's history, though:
Those last three years are not great. Not bad, though. Last year's numbers were significantly padded by Todd Collins coming in and slaying the last five or six games for them, throwing no interceptions in the regular season and nailing quite a few TDs. There's little question that Lazor failed to develop Jason Campbell into the quasi-weapon Zorn has helped him become this year. What I found very interesting though, is Lazor's first year in all three of his jobs.
|PROJ 08 Hawks||16||237||458||51.7||2445||5.3||17.5||17.5|
Very, very mediocre. Exceedingly mediocre. So mediocre, it's BAD. Literally. He was never given a shot to improve on his record in 2003 (under Mora), and it's possible that he will be let go after this disastrous year. More likely is that he is another "Ruskell/Mora" guy, and he'll stick around, so hopefully we'll see more numbers like the '05 Redskins and less like the '08 Seahawks. It could be worse, but it's pretty bad.
So why, pray tell, is no one calling for Lazor's head? Is it because we all just love Hass too much? What are your thoughts, guys and gals? And while we're at it, in what round do we draft a QB in 2009? ~END~ Read More!
By: Chris Posted at 5:41 PM