Saturday, January 31, 2009

Do We Really Want Albert Haynesworth?

by: William P. Tomisser

For those of you who may have missed it, Albert Haynesworth was interviewed by Softy on KJR Radio yesterday from the Super Bowl arena.

As I started listening to him the first thing that popped into my mind was Fat Albert.

He didn't sound too enthused about the game of football but for all that he seemed to have an agenda. To me, he sounded like he was a few grains of sand short of an hour in the hourglass but I'll leave it for you guys to decide.

I know for 100% sure after listening to that interview that there's a guy I don't want on my football team. I highly recommend anyone who thinks he might be a solution to our teams defensive tackle problems give this interview a listen. If ever there's a man with one thing on his mind, he's it and it isn't playing for a championship team.

The follow on Football Friday Segment with Hugh Millen has some of the KJR crew commenting on the Haynesworth interview and they heard it the same way I did. It's a good listen too. Millen brought up some very good stuff on defensive tackles and how they can take plays off better than most positions without notice.

Segment two of Football Friday has a Matt Hasselbeck interview at the end of it where he talks more about Knapp and his offense and how much he's coming to respect coach Knapp for his organizational skills and some of the good things he's heard about him from other quarterbacks who have worked with him. Also worth a listen.

I'll turn this one over to you Seahawk Addicts to listen to and decide if we want to get within a million miles of this Albert Haynesworth.

Enjoy the Millen stuff and Hasselbeck interview too.




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Hall of Fame Class of 2009 to be Announced Today

by: Matthew Heuett

The Hall of Fame Class of 2009 will be announced today live on NFL Network from 11:30 to 1:30 Pacific. Since I have the most basic of basic cables ($12/month represent!) I don't get NFL Network, but perhaps one of you with more channels than I would be willing to fill the rest of us in?

UPDATE: The inductees this year are Bruce Smith, Rod Woodson, Randall McDaniel, Bob Hayes, Derrick Thomas, and Ralph Wilson. Hopefully next year will we'll be celebrating Kennedy's induction.
~END~ Read More!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Overtime Auctions?

by: Chris Sullivan

At the beginning of every NFL game, there is a coin toss. The winner of that coin toss decides whether they will recieve the ball in the first quarter or the third (well, that's a bit of an oversimplification, but you dig me). This is a fair way of deciding things, because whatever they choose the other team will get the ball at the converse time and things should be fairly even, at least over the course of a season. However, the NFL's sudden death overtime period creates a whole different dynamic, because the winner of the toss again decides who gets the ball (uh, it's always going to be them) and has merely to drive the ball to the 30-35 yard line to win the game.

This makes the overtime period both frustrating and unexciting (despite the attempts at drama by the announcers). The bottom line is, in the 2008 season the overtime coin toss winner won the game more than 70% of the time. This hardly seems "fair." Still, what other solutions are there?

The most popularly mentioned one is the college solution wherein you start at the X yard line (no kickoff) and try to score; regardless of whether you succeed or fail, the other team starts at the X yard line and gets an opportunity to do the same thing. The first one to end the period ahead wins. Yahoo! However, this has typically been seen as unpalatable to most NFL fans, as there's a certain joy involved in watching your team win the sudden death period; it's almost more . . . warlike.

So, we seem to be at an impasse. However, some other folks have been thinking of the same issue. The ideal solution, at least in their minds? An auction, as lined out in an article yesterday in Slate:

An even more elegant solution to the overtime problem was proposed in 2002 by Chris Quanbeck, an electrical engineer (and Green Bay Packers fan). Quanbeck's idea was to auction off possession of the ball in the natural currency of the game: field position. The team that was willing to begin closest to its own goal line would receive the privilege of possession.
Later in the article, an economist from Columbia University and a professor of business information systems from UC Berkeley looked at the auction solution, the "Divide and Choose" solution (where the loser of the coin toss names the starting position and the winner chooses whether to take the ball from there or let the other team take it there first), and the current solution:

They concluded that it [the auction system] would be [fairer], because the auction is completely symmetric — unlike with the "divide and choose" method, neither coach is forced to make the first move, so nobody has a built-in advantage.
So, what do you guys think? Should we stick with the current OT or move towards another form? And what form would that be? ~END~ Read More!

Best Player Available Mock

By: William P. Tomisser

I was thinking the other day that we all talk about drafting the best player available as being the best philosophy to use on draft day and that our pick at number 4 really should reflect that. Also, comments have been made that the reason you see picks like the Rams taking a left tackle and the Seahawks taking a wide receiver is that those are the biggest needs as perceived by the person making the mock draft. Most mock drafts are constructed by matching the team who is on the board and their biggest need with the best player at that position still available.

That makes all the mocks basically a mockery (pun intended) of the best player available theory. I decided to make my own mock and put the best player available philosophy to the test as the best way to draft. Using the top 100 players ranked in order of their value regardless of position by CBS Sports' NFL Draft, I made a three round mock draft where each team simply takes the next player on the list, as that player should be the best player available to them at the time.

So, here’s what it would look for Seattle if they really followed that age old philosophy instead of just giving lip service to the concept. Seattle has the 4th, 37th, and 68th picks in the first 3 rounds:

Round 1 – 4th best player: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State, 6’, 200 lbs, 4.45 - 40

Round 2: - 37th best player: Patrick Chung, SS, Oregon , 5’ 11”, 210 lbs, 4.54 - 40

Round 3: - 68th best player: Brian Robiskei, WR, Ohio State, 6’ 2”, 200 lbs, 4.52 - 40

Of course, if the teams really did that, each team would construct their own draft board and so the order of the top 100 players would change from team to team somewhat based on their internal rankings, but you can see it produces quite a different looking mock.

For example, Walter Football has Chung going to Dallas at number 51 in its recent mock draft, so taking him at 37 would have been considered a reach. That same mock had us selecting Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina at number 37. Hakeem is ranked number 26 on the top 100 players chart-- if the teams drafted in best player order, he would have been long gone by then.

Brian Robiskei was selected in the third round at number 76 by the New York Jets in the Walter Football mock. They had us selecting Derek Pegues, a FS from Mississippi State who was the 49th best player on the top 100 chart. Pegues also would have been long gone by the time we select according to the best player theory.

By the way, Walter Football had us selecting Eugene Monroe in the first round, with Malcolm Jenkins going at number 14 to the New Orleans Saints. Monroe is the 5th best player on the top 100 chart, so the Saints would be getting a steal by taking the 4th best player at pick 14.

If the draft falls more like Walter Football projects in their mock draft, we end up with the 5th, 26th, and 49th best rated players for our first 3 picks. That’s quite an improvement over the 4th, 37th, and 68th best players we get from going for the best athlete available if the teams draft right down the line. Interesting, huh?

One thing to note is that we ended up with three useful players out of the best player draft. We got a CB to go opposite Trufant, a replacement safety for Russell, and a much-needed wide receiver. We can’t complain about any part of that. Additionally, I’ve seen a few people post about Chung from Oregon being a good prospect, too.

So Seahawk Addicts, if Seattle got the three players indicated by actually going for the best player available, how would you rate that draft?

To Continue and see the whole 3 round draft . . .

Round 1

1 Detroit *Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech
2 St.Louis Aaron Curry OLB Wake Forest
3 Kansas City Michael Oher OT Mississippi
4 Seattle Malcolm Jenkins CB Ohio State
5 Cleveland Eugene Monroe OT Virginia
6 Cincinnati Brian Orakpo DE Texas
7 Oakland James Laurinaitis ILB Ohio State
8 Jacksonville Rey Maualuga ILB Southern Cal
9 Green Bay *Andre Smith OT Alabama
10 San Francisco *Matthew Stafford QB Georgia
11 Buffalo Jason Smith OT Baylor
12 Denver Brandon Pettigrew TE Oklahoma State
13 Washington *Everette Brown DE Florida State
14 New Orleans *Chris Wells RB Ohio State
15 Houston *D.J. Moore CB Vanderbilt
16 San Diego *Knowshon Moreno RB Georgia
17 New York Jets B.J. Raji DT Boston College
18 Chicago *Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri 1
19 Tampa Bay Michael Johnson DE Georgia Tech
20 Detroit (from Dallas) Peria Jerry DT Mississippi
21 Philadelphia *Eben Britton OT Arizona
22 Minnesota Brian Cushing OLB Southern Cal
23 New England William Moore FS Missouri
24 Atlanta *Paul Kruger DE Utah
25 Miami Alphonso Smith CB Wake Forest
26 Baltimore *Hakeem Nicks WR North Carolina
27 Indianapolis Clint Sintim OLB Virginia
28 Philadelphia (from Car)*Vontae Davis CB Illinois
29 New York Giants Chase Coffman TE Missouri
30 Tennessee Duke Robinson OG Oklahoma
31 Arizona Herman Johnson OG LSU
32 Pittsburgh *Sean Smith CB Utah

Round 2

33 Detroit Larry English OLB Northern Illinois
34 St. Louis *Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Maryland
35 Kansas City Max Unger C Oregon
36 Cleveland Tyrone McKenzie OLB South Florida
37 Seattle Patrick Chung SS Oregon
38 Cincinnati *Shonn Greene RB Iowa
39 Jacksonville Mike Mickens CB Cincinnati
40 Oakland Fili Moala DT Southern Cal
41 Green Bay Jonathan Luigs C Arkansas
42 Buffalo Evander Hood DT Missouri
43 San Francisco Victor Harris CB Virginia Tech
44 Miami William Beatty OT Connecticut
45 New York Giants Clay Matthews OLB Southern Cal
46 Houston Juaquin Iglesias WR Oklahoma
47 New England Connor Barwin DE Cincinnati
48 Denver Derrick Williams WR Penn State
49 Chicago Derek Pegues FS Mississippi State
50 Tampa Bay *Kenny Britt WR Rutgers
51 Dallas Phil Loadholt OT Oklahoma
52 Philadelphia *James Casey TE Rice
53 New York Jets *Donald Brown RB Connecticut
54 Minnesota Darry Beckwith ILB LSU
55 Atlanta Alex Mack C California
56 Miami Louis Murphy WR Florida
57 Baltimore *Jared Cook TE South Carolina
58 New England Darius Butler CB Connecticut
59 Carolina Alex Magee DT Purdue
60 New York Giants Matt Shaughnessy DE Wisconsin
61 Indianapolis Javon Ringer RB Michigan State
62 Tennessee Troy Kropog OT Tulane 2-3
63 Arizona *Josh Freeman QB Kansas State
64 Pittsburgh Coye Francies CB San Jose State

Round 3

65 Detroit Marcus Freeman OLB Ohio State
66 St. Louis *Sen'Derrick Marks DT Auburn
67 Kansas City Michael Hamlin SS Clemson
68 Seattle Brian Robiskie WR Ohio State
69 Dallas *Austin Collie WR BYU
70 Cincinnati Tyson Jackson DE LSU
71 Oakland Trevor Canfield OG Cincinnati
72 Jacksonville Eric Wood C Louisville
73 Green Bay Louis Delmas FS Western Michigan
74 San Francisco Rashad Jennings RB Liberty
75 Buffalo Rhett Bomar QB Sam Houston State
76 New York Jets Kraig Urbik OG Wisconsin
77 Houston Zack Follett OLB California
78 San Diego *Captain Munnerlyn CB South Carolina
79 Denver Mohamed Massaquoi WR Georgia
80 Washington Nic Harris SS Oklahoma
81 Tamp Bay Devin Moore RB Wyoming
82 Detroit Fenuki Tupou OT Oregon
83 Philadelphia Keenan Lewis CB Oregon State
84 Green Bay Tim Jamison DE Michigan
85 Chicago Vance Walker DT Georgia Tech
86 Minnesota Brandon Gibson WR Washington State
87 Miami Dannell Ellerbe ILB Georgia
88 Baltimore Ryan Purvis TE Boston College
89 New England Ramses Barden WR Cal Poly
90 Atlanta Jeremiah Johnson RB Oregon
91 New York Giants Antoine Caldwell C Alabama
92 Indianapolis Graham Harrell QB Texas Tech
93 Carolina Robert Ayers DE Tennessee
94 Tennessee Andy Levitre OG Oregon State
95 Arizona Jonathan Casillas OLB Wisconsin
96 Pittsburgh Jamon Meredith OT South Carolina


Bill T


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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Update on Hassle-back

by: Mike Parker

Our beloved QB's back hassles appear to be nearing an ahead-of-schedule recovery, according to an ESPN report.

Hasselbeck has been in Vancouver, BC, for extended periods of rehab, and the prognosis so far is he'll be good to go long before the start of training camp. This is encouraging news after health problems and age seemed to be getting the best of Matt this season, forcing him to miss nine games.

But on the plus side, we saw a much-improved Seneca Wallace under center in Matt's place, which is also encouraging if (knock on wood) anything else was to happen to our first-stringer.

And rumor has it, both QBs will be having some new and talented faces to be throwing to in 2009....-END- Read More!

Blog Love!

by: Chris Sullivan

Hey guys, busy morning, but shoot, you know I'm still reading stuff. Here are my favorite reads today from some of my favorite Hawk blogs:

Rob Staton discusses Knowshon Moreno, a RB from Georgia. He is being lauded by, well, at least one guy, as the second coming of LT. If you've seen the kid play, you know he's good, but will the Seahawks take a serious look at him? After seeing the Chris Johnson-Lendale White tandem last season, a Moreno-Duckett backfield almost has to be worth at least considering.

Phil (as in, Phil N d'Blanc) lists all the 1st Round tackles since 1987. Worth noting is that until the Free Agency period, the true value of Left tackles was unknown--they were paid and treated like interchangable cogs on the offensive line until the 1980s, but even through the 80s they didn't make more money than the other O-Linemen, despite a few coaches (such as Bill Walsh) understanding their value. I'd look more closely at the tackles taken from 1994 on.

Aaron Weinberg over at Next Season Sports argues that the Hawks need more of a defensive tweaking than a rebuild. I find myself in the same boat here, for the most part, but I have to wonder if part of that is doubting that Ruskell is willing to rebuild the secondary again and not wanting to get my hopes up. Heh.

John Morgan over at Fieldgulls suggests the Hawks replace Leroy Hill with a tandem of David Hawthorne and Will Herring. Herring would likely be an improvement on passing downs, while both would represent a drop-off on rushing plays. Since neither Hill nor Peterson are great in coverage, having a former safety like Herring play a bit more makes quite a lot of sense. If Ruskell plans to go after a big name free agent or three, this might make a lot of sense. ~END~ Read More!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Where Do Failed Seahawk Coaches Go to Die?

by: Michael Steffes

. . . Well, the Raiders, of course. First, the Raiders gave Dwaine Board work as their defensive line coach, and possibly on his recommendation they will also be interviewing the notorious John Marshall.

And they think that will replace Rob Ryan?

Well, considering that Al Davis is known to be HEAVILY involved on the defense, John Marshall seems like a perfect fit.

AL: John, play man to man on the outside!

JOHN: Can I blitz seven on every third down?

AL: Fine. I am sure no one will notice that pattern, just make sure Asomugha doesn't get exposed--I am paying him 18 million this year so he can never leave. Welcome to Hotel California, Marshall! Hahahahahhahaa!

JOHN: Are those track suits team issued? Where can I get me one? The silver one will match my hair!

END Read More!

A Look at Recent First Round WR Picks

by: Chris Sullivan

Well, everybody has us going with Michael Crabtree, and honestly I'm probably still in that boat right now. We'll see how the Combine goes, of course, but he seems like a freak athlete who could be a real ballhawkin' game changer. Still, the big concern is with WR busts, so I thought I'd look at the last four Drafts and check out the Bust v. Booms in the first round picks. Ugh, pardon the poor quality, did this in a rush!

Green guys I considered unqualified successes (though I'm not happy with Edwards--he made the Pro Bowl, and that's the ONLY reason he would justify a 3 pick, so, y'know, do with that what you will). The main thing is that I was looking at them based on the value they should provide at their pick. Anthony Gonzalez is no Lee Evans, but neither should he be expected to be, etc. Red players are failures, in my mind at leas; Craig Davis should have qualified too, but I was too busy being confused about who the hell Craig Davis was to color his name all fancy.

Anyway, it seems like for the most part there are a lot of success stories, a lot of failures, and a lot of middle-of-the-roaders, but the heavily touted guys--Fitzgerald, Williams, Edwards, Williamson, Johnson--seem to have done fairly well. The great-hands crowd (Fitz and Johnson especially) have made waves--Calvin Johnson is imprisoned by his terrible team, but he still has shown flashes of brilliance out there.

Anyway, I actually did more digging before, but then lost the first five years of the analysis. Oops. It tended to continue corraborating the above stuff, though; the main difference is that the further out we get, the better read we get. For example, Koren Robinson looked like a great signing two years in (fewer drops), but we all know how that turned out in the end.

So, what do you guys think? What makes a WR bust in the NFL?

[UPDATE: Additional draft data on first round wide receivers and tackles going all the way back to 1987 can be found here and here, courtesy of Seahawk Addicts reader Phil N d'Blanc. Thanks, Phil! -Ed.]

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Passing the Ruskell Test

by: Chris Sullivan

Rob Staton over at the Seahawks Draft Blog has a great article on whether the top Seahawk prospects pass or fail the "Ruskell Test." Good stuff, as always. What say you? ~END~
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The Case for Malcolm Jenkins

by: William P. Tomisser

Last season, the Seahawks were dead last in pass defense. How bad was it? Clare Farnsworth laid it out in his article today in the Seattle P-I.

The Seahawks were the only team in the league to allow 4,000-plus passing yards (4,149; or 563 more than the runner-up Jaguars).

They allowed a league-high 59 pass plays of 20-plus yards, one of only four teams to yield more than 50.

They also allowed 11 pass plays of 40-plus yards, one of nine teams to surrender double digits in that category.

They were one of only three teams to allow at least 200 passing first downs (207).

Opposing quarterbacks compiled a 96.0 passer rating against the Seahawks, fourth highest in the league.

They yielded a league-worst 10 100-yard receiving games, and the next highest was six by the New Orleans Saints

There is some debate on whether the defensive line is to blame due to a lack of a pass rush or the defensive backs were to blame for a lack of ability to make plays on the ball even when in position. Some blamed John Marshall's scheme. The truth probably lies in between somewhere.

To Continue . . .

Some people have pointed out that the defensive backs were coached last season by our new head coach and asked point blank how well that bodes for the future of the franchise. Here's Mora's answer from Farnsworth's article:

Defense is a function of all 11 (players)," Mora said. "It's a function of team. If you're not hitting on all cylinders, it's tough."

"When people evaluate defenses, it's typical that they attribute success or failure (against) the run game to the front seven, and success or failure (against) the pass game to the back four."

"It's not quite that simple."

After Patrick Kerney was injured last season, Seattle's pass rush was not nearly as dominant as it had been the previous season and it left our defensive backs out on a limb trying to cover NFL receivers for five or six seconds. The best in the business can't do that.

When we resorted to the blitz, whether it was because of our scheme or the fact that it was telegraphed somehow, the opponents seemed ready and made several big plays throughout the season, finding the holes we left in our defense while committing our linebackers and defensive backs to help mount an effective pass rush.

There is no secret that we are in dire need of a big defensive tackle who can collapse the pocket and create pressure up the middle. Mora mentioned the need for the front four to generate much of the pass rush in his inaugural press conference.

However, the other problem that surfaced last season is a direct reflection on the defensive backfield. Both Jennings and his replacement Wilson got burned several times by bigger, taller receivers.

Although they were able to work themselves into position to make the play when the ball was in the air, Jennings fell down a couple of times and was guilty of not turning his head around and looking for the ball and Wilson just got outmuscled at times.

Wilson has problems making plays on receivers six inches taller than he is. Although he came in and showed better ball hawking skills than Jennings, he still tends to be outmatched against bigger receivers.

Grant and Russell didn't play as well as they did the previous season and Mora said that he was disappointed that the Seahawk's best players didn't have their best year. In part, he was talking about Russell and Grant's play where the previous season they were part of the same Seahawk defensive unit that allowed the fewest passing touchdowns in the league.

Mora defended the defensive backfield's consistency and has said that he feels that Grant and Russell can still be effective for the Seahawks. To be fair, Marshall's scheme had a lot to do with them not being in position to make plays too, and there wasn't anything Mora could do about it last season since he worked for Marshall.

As Farnsworth wrote about the situation,

The most glaring shortcoming was the lack of a playmaker -- and size -- at the cornerback spot opposite Marcus Trufant. Kelly Jennings, a 180-pounder who is called "Slim" by his teammates, started the season, but was not the answer. The coaches then turned to Josh Wilson, a more aggressive player, but one who is 5 feet 9.

Bigger receivers gave these two even bigger problems all season.

One big help would be to get a more physical cornerback with better size to play opposite Trufant. Right now Trufant doesn't get many opportunities to make a play on the ball because opposing teams mostly throw away from him to the opposite side of the field.

With a bigger, more physical presence there, teams would have to spread the ball around more and we would get our best cornerback back into the game as well as having a much stronger backfield overall.

Although we've mainly argued that, with the fourth overall pick, the team should take an offensive tackle or wide receiver with some speculation about taking a linebacker lately, the fact is that besides the three left tackles, wide receiver, and top-rated linebacker who are considered top 10 pick material, there is also a blue chip cornerback who most draft gurus have deemed worthy of a top 5 pick this year.

Malcolm Jenkins is 6' tall and 200 lbs. Bigger than Trufant, he passed up a chance to be a top pick last year in the draft to go after a national title at Ohio State. Winner of the Jim Thorpe award, which is given to the best defensive backfield player in the country, he has all the tools to be a complete shutdown cornerback at the NFL level. According to Draft Dog,

[Jenkins] really is a complete package at corner. At 6’ 0" 200 lbs, he the size teams want and he knows how to use it. He gets physical with receivers and uses that size as weapon in all facets of the game. Much like Woodson in his prime, Jenkins has a great vertical and will muscle a receiver off the ball to make a play. Jenkins also has more than enough speed to keep up downfield and possess tremendous burst to the ball. He has all of the tools needed to be an elite shutdown corner at the next level.

Let's all forget about left tackles, wide receivers, or replacing linebackers for a moment. Last season, teams threw away from Trufant because we have a real weakness on the other side of the field, but also because Tru could hurt them. Put a guy like Jenkins on the other corner and all of a sudden, you have a "pick your poison" situation. Neither side would be safe, and assuming that we get better play out of our two safeties next season (as Mora thinks is possible), our defensive backfield could all of a sudden become one of the top secondaries in the league.

Add to that having one of the best linebacker corps in the league if we retain Hill and Peterson, and that puts us basically a defensive tackle away from possibly having a premier defense next season for Mora to take over and direct.

It's another direction that Mora and Ruskell could take with our number 4 pick, and with all the struggles we've been through since Lucas left in free agency trying to get back our rock-solid defensive backfield, it makes enough sense that we should take a hard and long look.

We were down towards the bottom of the league in passing offense last season, and with the injuries we had there's justification for that occurrence but our injured players will return and with them our passing game. We didn't suffer any massive injuries to our pass defense, yet it finished dead last in the league.

That's D. E. A. D. L. A. S. T!!!!!!!!

I think there's some justification in claiming that the Seahawk's pass defense is one of the most critical areas of need on our team, if not the most. Drafting Jenkins could go a long way towards fixing that problem. I think you have to consider him in the same way you would consider Crabtree or Monroe or whomever else is your favorite left tackle prospect.

Jenkins is going to be a great lockdown corner for some team, and with his going back to Ohio State last season instead of coming out he's NFL ready and one of the absolute safest picks in the top 5 for this draft. Cornerback is another elite position that has been a traditional top 5 or 10 pick, and along with your quarterbacks and left tackles is one of the most highly paid positions because of its value to the team. Jenkins should get serious consideration from the Seahawks on draft day.

I now turn it over to the Seahawk Addicts to thoroughly ponder whether a cornerback might be our best option.


Bill T


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Monday, January 26, 2009

Another year, another LB apology

by: Chris Sullivan

We all remember Lofa's "heartfelt" apology last year. Well, politickin' ain't sleazy man, here's Hill's official statement:

"I want to apologize to my family, my teammates, the Seahawks organization and fans. I am embarrassed by the incident Saturday morning and the poor judgment I showed. Please understand my actions were not consistent with the type of person I hope to become."
Just like Lofa, he pretty much says what he needs to say without saying much more. I personally think that this is a little bit better, in that he at least mentions what he did (passively). I also personally liked that he mentioned the "Seahawks organization," since he really didn't have any reason to except to be a) a bit classy and b) maybe he is hoping to stick around and knows this is a big screw-up towards that goal. By the way, here is Ruskell's statement on Hill:
"Any time anybody in our family gets in trouble or gets arrested, it feels like a punch in the gut. We are a team always striving for good, consistent character, so it is disappointing when something like this happens. However, we will never stop trying to be better."
Go ahead guys, I know you're dying to give your read on these statements! Read More!

The DT Draft -- Senior Bowl reaction

by: Chris Sullivan 

Well, while we were busy watching the Senior Bowl, Leroy Hill was busy getting arrested and, well, that was sort of the end of the senior bowl coverage. 

I thought I'd take a look at the Defensive Tackle situation since we had focused on it quite a bit last week. BJ Raji stepped up in practices last week and dominated against just about everyone he faced... in practice. Unfortunately for Mr. Raji he forgot to show up at the actual Senior Bowl. Well, not literally, but he didn't really make a play all night and seemed pretty far away from doing so.

On the other hand, the closest thing Raji has to a rival for the top DT spot in the draft, Peria ("Peh-ray") Jerry made a number of plays, most noticeably diving on a fumble in the endzone to put the final nail in the North teams coffin. Friend to the blog Scott Wright noted (from the sidelines, no less): 
Ole Miss DT Peria Jerry was a force of nature in the second half, ringing up a sack, a tipped ball and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. He was one of the best players I saw on the field for either team tonight.
Here are scouting reports for both of them: Peria Jerry & BJ Raji. who would you rather see in a Seahawks uniform? 
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Warner: Unheralded Free Agent

by: Mike Parker

As far as the 2009 NFC West competition is concerned, one factor remains a big question mark that nobody's bothered talking about very much:

Kurt Warner's future.

Mike Florio at the has touched on this subject today, emphasizing a few key points that could explain why this isn't being very widely discussed.

No one's saying much about it, probably because no one thinks that the Cardinals will let him get away. But with reports (per ESPN's Chris Mortensen) of the team willing to sign Warner to a two-year deal worth $8 million to $9 million per season, why shouldn't Warner find out what another team will pay?
And why not? After a season with numbers like this when most people wrote him off in Week 2, Warner has shown some kind of ungodly second wind for a player his age. I'm quite sure more than one team in this league who's stuck with an underachieving scrub (Tavaris Jackson) or injury-prone liability (Carson Palmer) would be willing to pay Warner ridiculous amounts to play for them, but that begs the question: How much gas does Warner have left in the tank?

What's more - hearing Warner's reaction to what happened to Anquan Boldin during the gut-wrenching helmet-to-helmet hit he suffered with Jets safety Eric Smith, my first instinct told me Warner pretty much decided to retire on the spot. (Something about God trying to tell him not to play anymore, I don't quite remember.) However, now that Warner's led another underdog story to the Super Bowl, I can't help but wonder where his mind is now - and more importantly, what the Cardinals' front office is thinking. Florio chimes in:
If Warner balks at the Birds' best offer, their only alternative will be to use the franchise tag to keep him in place. And that'll cost $14.8 million for one season - only a couple million less than what they're reportedly ready to pay him for twice the duration.
So, for the sake of argument, say Warner is franchised by the Cards and stays with them for a 1 to 2-year contract. How would that hurt the Seahawks' chances of winning another division title and putting the Cards back in their all-too-familiar territory of being decimated at Qwest and finishing with a 7-9 record? And if Warner retires (understandable and at least somewhat likely) or somehow gets picked up by another team (a colossal blunder on the part of the Cards), is anyone really scared of Matt Leinart possibly leading Arizona to another Cinderella season? (Assuming of course he manages to put down the beer bong, get out of bed with Victoria's Secret models and show up for practice.) DISCUSS! -END- Read More!

A Question of Character

By: William P. Tomisser

How far does Tim Ruskell's character test that his players must pass really extend? How serious is he really about making sure he only has good character players playing for him?

John McGrath has delved into the issue after Leroy Hill became the latest in a string of Seahawks players who have apparently stepped over the line. All but one are players who were on the Seahawks' roster when the transgression happened.

The problem is determining what, exactly, defines “good character.” Hitting a spouse or a girlfriend, it seems to me, is not consistent with good character. Yet the Seahawks’ roster contains two players – Sean Locklear and Rocky Bernard – who have served suspensions for domestic violence.

Failing a drug test, it also seems to me, is not consistent with good character. Yet the Seahawks continue to employ defensive back Jordan Babineaux.

An arrest for driving while intoxicated can’t be an indication of good character, but one of the reasons Hill could be considered expendable is that the linebacker position is a team strength, thanks to Lofa Tatupu. Last summer, he copped a guilty plea to a DUI charge.

Accumulating a rap sheet thicker than a Tolstoy novel, as Koren Robinson has done, definitely is not consistent with good character. The Hawks, desperate for healthy receivers, reacquired Robinson last season. They were pleased enough with his performance that he’ll be invited to training camp this summer.

Now we can add Hill's name to the wall of shame that maybe should be going up at the new Seahawks headquarters if we believe that the team has strayed from the pure intentions with which Ruskell started out.

To Continue . . .

The likelihood of another offense appears to be the difference between players like Locklear, Babineaux, Tatupu, Bernard, and Robinson, and players like Jeremy Stevens who was deemed not worthy of another chance. So far, the guys Ruskell kept haven't fallen off the wagon but Stevens did for his new team, proving Ruskell right on that one.

To be fair, Bernard is a free agent this year and it's entirely possible that he's not going to be retained. How much of that might be because of the incident he had last year versus the way his play has dropped off the last three seasons since the Super Bowl year in 2005 may never be known if he's not re-signed.

Many Seahawk Addicts readers have commented that you can't be too aggressive in pursuing squeaky clean prospects or you may eliminate all but the milquetoast variety of player from your roster. Sometimes, you need that player with an aggressive attitude and mean disposition to settle the disputes in the trenches that arise every time the ball is snapped. Some of those players with the big aggressive play carry baggage.

The trick is to be able to distinguish between those players who just made a mistake and are unlikely to repeat the offense and the ones who are just wired that way and will always be at risk of having moral lapses and therefore damage the organization that employs them. As McGrath points out,

It could be argued that Bernard and Locklear had no previous incidents, and that they deserved a second chance. Same with Babineaux and Tatupu. And it’s clear Robinson is a changed man – a case study in the wonders of rehabilitation.

But the question persists: What defines good character? The question persists because some of the most upstanding citizens are capable of acts of pettiness and deceit, and some of the most despicable thugs are capable of bravery and poise in a crisis.

It looks like Tim Ruskell needs to look at each case individually and determine which type of man he's dealing with--one who made a mistake that he's not made before and is truly remorseful that it happened, or someone who has been there before and hasn't learned his lesson or, worse yet, just has that bad streak in his makeup?

The good thing here is that as we analyze his actions since becoming Seattle's GM, it looks like his character rule is more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule. That should assure some people that we're not going to let a valuable player slip past us because he's made one mistake in an otherwise clean past.

Even a player who had a history of repeating mistakes but is able to finally get himself clean and on track can be given another chance. I would have almost bet money that Koren Robinson wouldn't be invited back after Holmgren left the organization as his protector, but apparently, according to John McGrath, Koren will be back in training camp competing for a roster spot this summer.

With some of the top potential draft picks having concerns ranging from minor academic problems to more severe infractions that resulted in expulsion as well as, for example, having a roommate who sold cocaine and not reporting it to authorities, it's hopeful that our GM isn't going to just automatically disqualify all those blue chip players without giving each one a chance to explain his side and investigating the circumstances surrounding those events thoroughly.

John McGrath sums up his article by saying that Ruskell should either tell Hill that he's not wanted any longer in Seattle or open up the gates and abolish his good character stipulation:

All I know is this: If Leroy Hill isn’t told that he’s no longer wanted in Seattle, then Tim Ruskell needs to stop talking about character. If the behavior of a potential draft choice raises red flags, pick somebody else.

However, earlier in the article he puts the Hill situation in perspective:

Some perspective is in order. Falling asleep at a busy intersection has its hazards, not the least of which is arousing the road rage of drivers who aren’t in a forgiving mood so early in the morning. But on the menace-to-society scale, falling asleep in a parked car at 4 a.m. isn’t nearly as dangerous as speeding through a school zone at 4 p.m.

First of all, it's a misdemeanor. He only had a small quantity of pot. There's no evidence that he's a reckless person who doesn't have a high regard for other people's well being or was selling drugs. Without proper tests (which weren't done), all the evidence is circumstantial anyway except for him being asleep at the wheel at an intersection.

I think this is a situation that Tim has to take in the same regard that he did Tatupu's DUI arrest and take the fact that Hill's never done anything like this before into account. He should give him the same sanctions he previously gave to Tatupu and/or Babineaux, who both had substance abuse violations. Hill is a valuable part of our team and I take a different viewpoint to John McGrath. I say if you're going to get rid of Hill for this violation, Tatupu, Babineaux, Locklear, and Rocky should all pack their bags, too. Robinson shouldn't be allowed near training camp.

If you're going to have a hard and fast rule, it should apply to all equally. If you're going to take the good character proclamation as more of a guideline, you have to examine previous policy that's already been set according to that guideline before deciding on the latest case.

Ruskell's good character rule seems to actually function more like a very good guideline where exceptions should only be made on a case by case basis and only after thorough investigation. We've made exceptions already for players who had worse transgressions than Hill's. I don't think that Hill's case is where we should draw the line. The line was quite a bit further out in the Stevens case, and I think after careful consideration Ruskell will do the right thing here, too.

How do you Addicts feel about the good character policy that Ruskell has employed since taking over as GM? Is it being used to good advantage by allowing for some slack where there are extenuating circumstances or transgressions that aren't too severe? Should it be loosened further, tightened back up, or is it used well enough as it is? Tell it like it is, fellow Addicts.


Bill T


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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rumor Mill: Seahawks Interested in Houshyermama

by: Chris Sullivan

At least, according to Pro Football Weekly. They say that the rumors "have some merit" based on T.J. Houshmanzadeh's college days at Oregon State and a source saying that the Hawks are not willing to be reliant on unproven talent going into 2009--Obamanu, Payne, and Taylor are all mentioned.

I'm still not totally sold on Housh fitting into the Seahawks' repertoire. While he is clearly an excellent receiver, seems like a good guy, and is content with sharing the stage with another reciever, I think the only way we see him brought in is if Ruskell decides that we are re-building that unit from the ground up. With Branch and Burleson both seeming like long-term holds (or at least, somewhat long-term), and the four young guys (Obo, Logan, Taylor and Kent), I have trouble believing that Housh will be in Blue and White next year, especially if we're looking to fill that hole in the draft.

Also, something we've been saying here for a long time, Koren Robinson is a long shot to return next year. The main reason is his knee injury, according to the above source: "Not only does he have a bone-on-bone knee injury, but you just can’t count on him anymore as a legitimate run-after-catch threat." Don't sweat it, Koren, you could still beat me in a footrace! ~END~
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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Leroy Hill: Assclown?

by: Chris Sullivan 

Well, just in case the Seahawks were looking for a calm, easy, arrest-free offseason, their biggest free agent of the year just saw to it that that would not be the case. Leroy Hill was arrested outside of Atlanta today or last night.

Hill was arrested after being found passed out behind the steering wheel at an intersection. Two bags of marijuana were found in the ensuing car search, and the authorities (quite kindly, from a professional-football-player point of view) did not give Hill any sort of breath or alcohol tests. He was also cited for a faulty taillight, hah. 

This cannot help his cause in the free agency pool and it doesn't really help him in the eyes of Mr. Ruskell. Still, Ruskell sees him as a success, and I do not think this necessarily disqualifies him from being re-signed. Marijuana charges -- especially misdreamonr ones -- are not really that big of a deal and pretty much everyone knows it. We'll monitor this going forward, of course... Thanks to FlaHawker in the comments!
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Seahawk Addicts Senior Bowl Coverage - 1st Half

by: Chris Sullivan

5:32 -- Heading into the half, B.J. Raji appears to have not shown up. His name was mentioned once, and not in a good way, as he got manhandled on a touchdown run. Michael Oher looked great early, then fell off a bit twice, once on a run play and another on a near sack that was only saved by some fancy QB footwork; on a 4th and 1, Oher just got called for a hold at the end of the 2nd on a stupid play. Patrick Chung is looking good, and the rest of the guys I said I would watch have been pretty so-so. Honestly, it's not a great game so far... Iglesias from Oklahoma is without a doubt the biggest non-factor from what I can tell, wow, mistake after mistake after mistake... 

5:29 -- Louis Delmars knows how to tackle. A DB from Western Michigan, wouldn't expect him to go too early, but he looked pretty good. I might have his name wrong. 

5:24 -- J. Johnson just broke a 15 yard run on 4th and 1; Unger led it with a great block, with Alex Mack assisting from the guard position. BAM, Screen pass to Jeremiah Johnson for 5 and a TD. Movin' on up... 

5:21 -- Andre Johnson is probably the MVP through the first half; Jeremiah Johnson of Oregon just broke open a nice 20 yard play for the North.  21-3 South, with the North driving.

5:01 -- Washington State's only player is not playing; injured his hamstring on Wednesday. William Moore is out for the rest of the game with a minor ankle injury. That may hurt his chances; dominant junior, weak senior year, might he drop to the second, even third? Could be a good option there.

4:55 -- Pat White is looking a bit better, and there was just a nice run off a screen pass (facilitated by a hold). Jennings from Liberty is in now, keeping my eye on him (per someone's suggestion). Touchdown by the fullback. Jennings almost had it on a 3 yard run, setting up Johnson from LSU for the short TD.

4:46 -- First play of the 2nd Quarter Ellis Lankster (WVU) just destroyed the RB. WOW. Not a Hawk, but a nice tackle. 

4:41 -- Rhett Bomar took one play to look better than Graham Harrell. We'll see if he can keep it up. Pat White looked pretty bad on his first drive, but there were two drops as well. Derek Pegues just made a nice little tackle, another guy the Hawks have their eyes on in the second or even third round at Safety. Looks pretty fast. 

4:36 -- Graham Harrell is not looking very good in the pro-style offense. Having a LOT of trouble getting it past the numbers... that said, Iglesias (Oklahoma) just stepped out of bounds while going to the ground to convert on a third down pass, thus nullifying his reception. The North is looking sloppy, sloppy... No wonder the Bengals stink. By the way, since when is Texas Tech "North"? 

4:21 -- Haha, some dude on the sidelines just got beaned in the ear by a throwaway pass.

4:18 -- Michael Oher is looking pretty dominant, doing basically whatever he wants with whoever is near him. 

4:13 -- Fili Moala looked good on 1st and 10, bursting through to distrupt the play a bit. He made a tackle on 2nd as well; I like him for a second, maybe even third round pick. FYI -- Max Unger is playing guard when Harrell is QB.

4:11 -- Patrick Chung just NAILED an intended receiver, heh heh. Chung moved up to #2 safety by Mayock after this week. 

4:07 -- If you see Graham Harrell, you're seeing Alex Mack; someone else (I missed who) will be taking snaps from Max Unger. 

4:06 -- The NFLN guys suggest watching BJ Raji, Brian Robiskie, and USC's other LB Cushing. I definitely like Robiskie as a second round pick if we don't grab Crabtree in the first.

Today marks the beginning of the offseason as far as I am concerned. The Senior Bowl is the first big event leading up to the draft, and you better believe we’re going to be doing our best to cover it. I’ll be watching (and recording) the game, and will try to keep an eye out for impressive (and disappointing) performances. This can serve as our updating thread (if necessary). Feel free to leave comments in the thread (obviously), and if there is interest, I can set up a chat room. Lemme know. 

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Senior Bowl 2009 - Rosters!

by: Chris Sullivan

Hey guys, I thought I'd let you all know who I'm looking at this evening in the Senior Bowl (NFL Network at 4pm PST). Here are the North and South Rosters in Word format, with people highlighted in blue if I'm watching them. 

There is only one Washington school player, Brandon Gibson from WSU. Patrick Chung (S), Jeremiah Johnson (RB), and of course Max Unger (C) are in the big game representing Oregon, with Andy Levitre (OL) and Keenan Lewis (DB) repping' the Beavers. Who are you guys looking at? 

My top "five":
1) Michael Oher
2) B.J. Raji
3) Alex Mack
4) Peria Jerry
5) Derek Pegues 
6) Nic Harris
7) Pat White

(As you can tell, I didn't major in counting.) 
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Nic Harris - Potential Seahawk?

by: Chris Sullivan 

Hey guys, I apologize for the blog being a bit slow lately. I've been busy at work, and a bit beaten down by the Super Bowl contenders, to be quite honest. Still, I have finally gotten a bit of time to catch up on my Senior Bowl stuff (though, I hardly needed to watch NFL Network with Rob covering everything regarding the Senior Bowl!). Great work as always, Rob.  

Anyway, as I was watching the most recent 'recap show,' there was a bit of focus on Nic Harris. For those of you not too familiar with Harris, he's  been a Safety at Oklahoma for the bulk of his college career, but was recently converted to a linebacker (which is the role he's been playing for the most part in Senior Bowl practices). He's got good size -- 6'2", 233 with plenty of room on his frame to bulk up a bit more. He's very quick, but lacks the elite speed one would hope for in a top-flight NFL safety. 

One of the potential areas of need for the Seahawks this offseason is Linebacker, but we're also looking to fill a hole at Safety. If Hill goes, Harris might be able to fill in for him or at least play strong special teams while backing up Lewis/Herring/Hawthorne whomever fills Hill's spot. In the long run, he could backup Safety or could come in and cover the pass from the Linebacking spot in the Tampa 2. I'm not an expert by any stretch on the T2 scheme, but from my understanding, typically it is the MLB who drops back to give safety-like help; if that could be altered successfully to be an OLB, Harris might work very well in that way. 

Beyond that, he's expected to go in the "late rounds," per our friend Scott Wright, so he could be a project for Mora + Co if they are interested in him. He has overcome a lot of personal adversity, apparently, and appears to be a great kid with a lot of upside. He's not an NFL starter in year one, and may never be, but he seems to have a lot of the things that Ruskell looks for in a player. 

What do you guys think? In the coming weeks and months we'll be really plumbing the depths and looking at some second, third, hell, seventh round possibilities for the Hawks. Like last year, we'll try to throw together a mock draft as well (because who doesn't love to be wrong 30 times out of 32?). Let us know how you would like us to cover the draft and free agency, and we'll do our best to accomadate. Since Steffes left we're still searching for the right balance on here, and we need the readers to pitch in and guide us! Thanks for all you guys do, always appreciate the emails and links. 

UPDATE: Hat tip to J, who wrote this in the comments:
Harris has developed a reputation as one of the dirtiest players in college football. A quick search on Harris via Big 12 blogs will turn up a long list of complaints about his tactics and his reputation as one of the dirtiest and most disliked players in the conference. And, the Seahawks organization, if anything, has made it a priority to avoid guys with character issues. We are the team with the fewest personal fouls in the last five years and will continue to be so, which is why we will not go with Harris who majors in personal fouls.

For those who watched the BCS Championship game you might last remember Harris as the guy twisting Percy Harvin's leg after the play was over or smashing his knee down onto Tebow's neck while he lay helpless on the turf, or committing a horse collar tackle and face mask viscous enough to result in major injuries. Harris has "Raider" written all over him and if the Seahawks want to go with this type of player then they would be making a major departure from their philosophy of character first.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Jones & Duckett to Share Carries?

by: Matthew Heuett

According to an article posted today on Pro Football Weekly's website, the carries for Seattle's new rushing attack will be shared equally by Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett, and Leonard Weaver--assuming he is resigned--will likely have an increased role in the offense, too. Those of you who wanted to see more of Duckett and Weaver this season may very well have your wishes (belatedly) granted in '09.

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Left Tackle Free-For-All

by: William P. Tomisser

Yesterday when I did the piece on Raji, I added the excellent reviews Michael Oher had gotten at the Senior Bowl practice and started the perfect storm on Oher and his true potential. Without bringing names into it, I was basted a bit for seemingly favoring Oher over every other choice in the universe. The discussion got a little brisk there for a moment and I thought, why not let everyone in on the fun?

I thought I'd put this topic out there and let everyone have a chance to put their two cents into the debate. Let's open it up a bit though and have us a good old-fashioned left tackle free-for-all. For all you guys who had so much to say about Oher yesterday, here's your chance to lay it all on the line. Let's not just post links at each other to support our points of view, but do our own research and post the quotes we want to use to support our assertions.

Let's start with the premise that Tim Ruskell has decided that the Seahawks are going to select a left tackle with their first choice no matter what. There are four top prospects who are figured to go in the top 10 picks or so. Let's further say for the sake of this discussion that Detroit, St. Louis, and Kansas City all pass on left tackles so all four of the blue chip prospects are available.

Those would be Andre Smith from Alabama, Michael Oher of Ole Miss, Eugene Monroe from Virginia, and Jason Smith of Baylor.

Here's the deal. I want everyone to make their case for which left tackle we should choose given those parameters and justify their choice. If you want to take a shot at putting a knock on one of the left tackles in the process, be my guest just so long as you ultimately suggest which one you would select and why.

Which left tackle would be the best fit for the Seahawks at pick number four in April and why?

Go for it, Seahawk Addicts!


Bill T

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Holmgren And Dungy To Do Pre-Game Analysis

by: William P. Tomisser

Mike Holmgren has been signed on to be one of the Super Bowl pre-game analysts along with Tony Dungy.

Here's the release from NBC:

Tony Dungy and Mike Holmgren, who as NFL head coaches combined to win two Super Bowl rings and reach four Super Bowls, will join NBC's pregame coverage of Super Bowl XLIII, which begins at 12 noon, ET on Sunday, Feb. 1. The announcement was made today by Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics and Executive Producer of NBC's Super Bowl broadcast.

Man, that was one short sabbatical wasn't it?


Bill T

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

More on Lewis

by: Chris Sullivan

The hiring of Lewis appears to be smart, and was helped along by the fact that his brother is the Pro Personnel Director for Seattle. Lewis is a smart guy with a knack for defense and a background in the secondary. Here's Sando, speaking of his credentials:

The Steelers' defense ranked among the top 10 all four years Lewis was
coordinator. When did the Seahawks last hire a defensive coach able to make such
a claim? Perhaps you can think of one. I cannot. The Giants' defense jumped from
28th to 12th with Lewis as coordinator.

Lewis was also an excellent cornerback himself, a clear area of focus for him (which is, of course, pretty fitting considering the hire . . .). He was the 11th overall pick in 1983 and was an excellent DB the three years he played in the league before his career was ended by an unfortunate neck injury. He was the D-backs coach at Southern Methodist U before returning to his alma mater--U Pittsburgh--to lead their DBs. In 1995, he was hired by the Steelers to coach their defensive backs where he was eventually promoted to Defensive Coordinator in 2000. He lasted four seasons there before moving to the Giants for three years as their DC, before his conservative playcalling cost him his job. The last two seasons, Lewis has coached the DBs in Carolina with decent but not great results.

Mora has assembled an incredible defensive coaching staff--Monte Kiffin's right hand man Casey Bradley at DC, Dan Quinn on the D-Line, and now Tim Lewis stepping in for the new Head Coach with the DBs. It remains to be seen whether all of these men will work together well, especially on the side of the ball for which Mora will basically be calling the shots anyway. We've either got something great on our hands or a recipe for in-fighting. ~END~ Read More!

New Defensive Backs Coach Hired

by: Mike Parker

The National Football Post has just reported that the Seahawks have just hired Tim Lewis as the team's defensive backs coach for the 2009 season.

Lewis served as the DBs coach for the Carolina Panthers during the 2008 season. Lewis is a relatively unknown name, but Ruskell and Mora must have seen some promise in him. Carolina's secondary may not have set the world on fire in 2008, but then again they don't have a Marcus Trufant in the ranks, either. (Who clearly wasn't himself with John Marshall calling what had to be the most predictable blitzes in NFL history this year.)

So now it appears we've got a clearer picture of what the 2009 Seahawks coaching staff is going to look like. So far, I like what I see. I think there's a lot of upside to this group, and the term "player's coach" is coming to mind more than once.(Thanks to Tam for the tip.) -END- Read More!

From the Archives: DT Explained

by: Chris Sullivan / Michael Steffes

(Chris) This is an article that Steffes wrote last year to explain the defensive tackle position, specifically the differences between the three-technique and two-gap tackle positions. It was written back in March, before the draft. It appears likely that the Seahawks are looking to convert Red Bryant into a three-tech, but it remains to be seen if that's the case. From what little I've seen of B.J. Raji, he seems more like a small (but talented) two-gap, which is not much of a need with Mebane starting. Peria Jerry from Ole Miss would be a good three-tech, but is unlikely to earn a top-5 pick and won't likely drop to the second round. We'll keep an eye out. Now then, here is



Ok, so the Hawks run a 4-3 and have 4 D-linemen on the field at time. The defensive ends, Patrick Kerney and Darrell Tapp remain on the field in most situations. The defensive tackles tend to rotate in and out a bit more (usually cause of their size they get tired). The Hawks scheme functions best when they have a pair of tackles on the field with contrasting abilities. Usually they like to have one two gap player. This is a tackle who can occupy two blockers at once, usually a guard and the center. They also like to have what is called a 3-technique tackle. This is usually a smaller, quicker tackle, who can win a one on one match up and cause a disruption in the backfield.

So, as I mentioned, these DT's operate in pairs for the most part. One of the reason the team was so successful in 05' was that Tubbs was healthy. He is the closest thing the team had to a true two gap player until last year when they discovered Mebane. While not typical size, he holds up multiple blockers very well. This is why Holmgren sang his praises despite little proof on the stat sheet to back him up. Rocky Bernard is the teams top 3-tech tackle. He is the penetrator. Behind him, Craig Terrill would be considered a 3-tech, even though he is clearly not starting material, at least not with how important consistent pressure is in this scheme. Beyond these players, Howard Green is a definite 2 gap player, and Chris Cooper would be the 3rd 3-tech tackle. Hope you can see this way how the pairings would probably work.

So here is the problem. First, Tubbs can't be counted on to be the starter, so every body moves up. Mebane and Rocky are the top pair. Rocky, however, is showing signs of age along with the fact he is a free agent next year. Because of Mebane being entrenched as a starter, it seems that a 3-technique tackle is the biggest need.

Here is the kicker though, Tubbs, who no one even knows about how much he will contribute, is also a free agent. So essentially the Hawks could use both types of tackles for 2009. My reason for supporting the 3-technique guy is that he would have a year to learn the system behind Rocky and would need to start next year. The team could take a two gap player late, or next year, and he would be a back up to Mebane. So in my opinion, the Hawks should be looking for the smaller quicker type of defensive tackle first.

When we look at the draft, there are a variety of names being thrown around. Let me do my best to group them....

--3-Technique-------------------------2 Gap Tackles---
Sedrick Ellis...........................Glenn Dorsey
Kentawn Balmer...........................Red Bryant
Trevor Laws..........................Marcus Harrison
Pat Sims.................................Frank Okam
DeMario Pressley........................Athaya Rubin

So that is my not so brief breakdown of the D tackle roles. The Hawks seem to be in need of both. This year they have the starters mostly set. Now, if Tubbs can be the backup 2 gap tackle, that may open Craig Terrill up for a great year. If he can't, Howard Green will be playing that role. He was Ok last year, and he is certainly big enough and strong enough. One of the other advantages of having a second top notch penetrator (3 tech) is that they could pair him with Rocky on obvious passing downs and really start to collapse the pocket. The Giants used an oversized defensive end in Justin Tuck to do this last year and you can see where it got them. He is only 6-4 275, but when he is playing tackle, his speed gives guards fits. However it is important that they do this only situationally, because stopping the run is the best way to get the defense to third and long. ~END~ Read More!

B. J. Raji Soaring up the Draft Board, Oher Dominates

by: William P. Tomisser

Those scouts who have proclaimed that there isn't a defensive tackle worthy of a top ten pick this year are starting to eat their words.

After three days of practice at Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl to be held this Saturday, defensive tackle B. J. Raji from Boston College has dominated the practices. At 6' 2" and 334 lbs, he's not at all fat. In fact, he doesn't look that big until he gets close to another lineman who you know is a 300 pounder. He is absolutely a beast and is expected to dominate in the game Saturday.

He has pushed virtually every top college senior offensive lineman into the offensive backfield, including Alex Mack and Max Unger. No one has been able to stand up to him. Many draft boards have already pushed him into their top ten pick status and some are saying that the combine could power him into the top 5.

Here's what Rob Rang has to say about Raji:

Regardless of who lined up in front of him Tuesday, Raji overpowered him. Built like a Coke machine and just as tough to move, Raji holds up well against the run. His burst off the snap is impressive, as well, allowing teams to project him at nose guard and defensive tackle. When not pushing his opponent into the backfield, Raji often was able to knife through the gaps and disrupt the timing of both running and passing plays during the North Team’s morning practice. - Rob Rang

To Continue . . .

Read Rob's complete assessment here.

Could he be on the Seahawk's radar? There are some character concerns that have tempered some scouts' enthusiasm for him as a top 10 pick and have made them consider him only a probable top 15 selection. He has been suspended and ejected for on-field problems. The details are sketchy and there are some rumors that some of the issues aren't being placed fairly on him. I hadn't heard of any off-field problems, though.

His abilities are a very good match for what the Seahawks have been looking for in a defensive tackle for quite some time now. He's big, strong, and particularly disruptive in the middle of the line.

Not only is he an immovable object in the middle of the line that clogs the middle of the field against the run, but his quick feet forces offensive lineman to double up on stopping his penetration which allows outside rushers to have a much less impeded path to the quarterback.

He would be exactly what Mora needs to add to our defensive tackle rotation to have our front four provide a pass rush that would be difficult to stop, thus allowing our linebackers and defensive backs to do their jobs without the need to be involved heavily in blitz schemes.

There wouldn't be any holes in our defense for the opposition to exploit due to having to commit additional players to blitz, as the Seahawks have had to do to generate a decent pass rush in the last few years. We haven't had a defensive tackle with abilities like Raji is showing since Cortez Kennedy played for us.

Also, in the day 3 recap, Michael Oher received some rave reviews. They say he has pancaked several rushers and was able to hold up against the speed rushers as well. Some scouts called him the most dominating player on the field today. Definitely, Oher and Raji are the offensive and defensive players to keep an eye on in the game Saturday as the top talent in the trenches.

Here's what Rang had to say about Oher:

The most physically gifted player on either team remains Mississippi left tackle Michael Oher. While blessed with the strength and foot speed of an All-Pro, Oher's grade is lower with scouts than his physical talents warrant. The concerns are almost completely personality driven as teams try to determine if the All-American has the will and toughness to maximize his jaw-dropping potential.

If Tuesday's practice was any indication, Oher is out to prove he has the nastiness scouts are looking for. His initial match within the pit came against Hawaii defensive end David Veikune. Veikune, whose speed and quick hands gave pass blockers trouble at times Tuesday, allowed his hands to get too high and ripped Oher's helmet off. Undeterred, Oher forcefully controlled Veikune on the play, shaking him like a rag doll well after the Jacksonville coaches were yelling to stop.

Many of Oher's remaining matchups in the pit went the same way. On the first play of a later scrimmage, Oher, left uncovered, released off the line to snatch, lift and drive an unfortunate outside linebacker in his path. The physicality and aggression did not go unnoticed by scouts.

Like Raji, it appears that Oher has also had on-field issues, but no off-field problems. Both players will probably be interviewed by Seattle coaches and scouts and evaluated for those on-field problems they allegedly have had. It seems to me that someone who is willing to give those two players a chance is looking at the possibility of acquiring a truly dominating player who could be a perennial all-pro and pro bowl candidate.

Of course the flip side is that either one could become a problem and not realize that vast potential. We can rest pretty easy in Seattle that Ruskell will sort it out and not take too big a chance on any player with our number 4 pick. I just hope they don't get too cautious and pass up the player of the decade in the process as realized by another team with a little more tolerance and more willing to take some risk.

We all remember what happened when everyone passed on Randy Moss until Minnesota took him in the bottom half of the first round, as he was a dominating offensive player for a number of years for them. Right now, Oher and Raji look to be the two most dominating and talked-about players from the Senior Bowl practices. We're in the market for such a player here in Seattle, aren't we?

How about it, Addicts? Do we play it safe and just say no thanks to those two talents, or do we dig deeper and evaluate their past transgressions and consider how they could change our fortunes here in Seattle?


Bill T


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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The need for 3 Stellar LBs?

by: Chris Sullivan

I was listening to Mitch in the Morning on KJR (I'll try to update later with audio if I can find it for this section of their show). Basically, Mitch was talking about the Leroy Hill situation, and wondered aloud whether it was necessary to keep him and, if not, how to replace him? It's a question we've all thought about. The gut reaction is, of course we should keep him! He's a very solid player that, in my opinion, deserves the Pro Bowl much more than Peterson has in the past few years. Mitch was saying that Hill is the team's best LB (a fact that not many dispute), but that keeping this linebacking corps should not be a top concern--"Where has it gotten us?" he kept demanding.

While I will agree that 2008 was not a great year for LBs in Seattle (I will agree that Hill played the best this year) I think it's definitely worth keeping Leroy around, but would be willing to part with Peterson if we could arrange a trade. I do not foresee letting him go as a likely option, mind you, but I think we would survive with only slight impact to our defense.

The most obvious replacement of Hill, if we do let him go, is Aaron Curry from Wake Forest. He is universally expected to be the first LB drafted, and likely the first defensive player overall picked. He is an excellent pass rusher (which, though you'd never know it under Marshall, so is Hill--remember his 9.5 sacks in 2005?). Still, while we love high impact defensive players, there is a good case to be made that our most consistent and reliable (and durable!) linebacker this year was D.D. Lewis. Now, part of that was his lack of playing time early in the season, so naturally wasn't as banged up as everyone else later in the season.

So, how do we fill the void at LB if someone leaves this year? Do we need to spend our #4 pick on Curry (who would, no doubt, be a great addition) or could we go after a depth LB in free agency and move Lewis or Herring into the starting lineup? ~END~ Read More!

Can We Afford Both Hill and Peterson?

by: William P. Tomisser

Leroy Hill and his agent seem likely to test the free agent waters unless Ruskell decides to franchise him or take another try at using the transition tag.

The latter action seems highly unlikely, since Ruskell uncovered a big problem with using that tag on guard Steve Hutchinson in 2006 when Minnesota unveiled the "poison pill" contract and life in the NFL became more complicated for GMs navigating the free agent market. Ruskell seems the sort to have learned his lesson.

Hill doesn't seem interested in making any deals until he sees what other teams would pay a linebacker that Seattle's three-time pro bowl middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu calls the best linebacker on the Seahawks. That's pretty high praise when you consider that Seattle's other starting linebacker is five-time pro bowl linebacker Julian Peterson (as most of you already know, three of those pro bowl trips have coincided with the three years he's been with the Seahawks).

Last season the Arizona Cardinals had to pay Karlos Dansby $8.065 million as the going rate to franchise a linebacker in the NFL. This year it will cost more. Seattle is already scheduled to pay Peterson similar money as his contract is escalating moving into its back half, and Tatupu makes enough that the three linebackers could cost well over 20 million of the team's salary cap for 2009 if we franchised Hill and kept Peterson's contract intact.

The big question is, can we afford to do that?

Clare Farnsworth has written an article that helps us understand how important Hill is to the team and discussing the relative merits of keeping Hill and what some of the alternatives would be.

To Continue . . .

While Hill might be the Seahawks' only starting linebacker who has not been voted to the Pro Bowl, there is no denying that he has Pro Bowl talent and potential.

"I'd say Leroy is our best linebacker," said middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, a three-time Pro Bowl selection.

"It's tough to say that. I've got a lot of pride. Julian (Peterson) has got a lot of pride. He probably wouldn't admit it, but he'd be wrong in saying that Leroy isn't our best linebacker."

I'd say that there are a couple of factors that aren't discussed in this article that could have a big impact on the outcome. According to the Commish, the salary cap is going to go up by approximately 7 million per team in 2009. Remember that the Seahawks also wisely applied all of Alexander's dead money to the 2008 cap and finished off Grant Wistrom's dead money, which I believe means all past players are now off the books.

If you take the $7 million in cap increase and add a couple million, that's the franchise tag amount for Hill. As we did with Trufant last year, we could continue to negotiate for a longterm contract with a low cap figure for the first couple of years.

I believe that all of the above puts the Seahawks in good position to franchise Hill if necessary. The big problem with letting Hill hit free agency is that you lose all control over the player's future. At least with the franchise tag applied, even if we decided to trade him we would get some compensation and not just lose a valuable player who would need to be replaced like we did Josh Brown last year.

If we traded Hill and decided to either draft someone like Curry or acquire a free agent linebacker, that could very well cost us in the neighborhood of $10 million per year (McFadden cost the Raiders $60 million for 6 years as last year's 4th round pick). That is probably even more than franchising Hill would cost, so you kind of have to swallow hard and get a grip sometimes when negotiating with top NFL talent on a new contract.

Another big problem in my book with losing Hill and replacing him with that high draft pick is that we lose a quality player off the team that way because we can't spend the high pick on another position of real need. If we can retain our excellent linebacker corps, we will add an elite player to that mix and improve the team overall instead of trying to get back to what we were before losing a player of Hill's talent.

With Mora's defense utilizing the linebackers in the Tampa Cover 2 defense for everything from blitzing to run support to pass coverage to end containment, it's imperative that we have the best if we want to field a top defense. With the cap at around $124 million next year, our starting linebackers could eat up around 17% of it. That's a pretty high number, but doable if the Seahawks feel that the linebackers are that important.

With Mora stating that he feels the defensive line is adequate (although I calculate that he's a DT short) as well as coming out in defense of Russell at safety, I'm not sure what he plans to spend money on for the defense if not linebackers. Even if he did go after a DT and maybe a safety, it seems that they should have the money to afford three highly paid linebackers; I'm sure no one will complain if it brings us success.

So, you capologists out there, should we put 17% of our cap into our starting linebackers and then add to the overall talent level with a much-needed blue chip player in the draft, or do we draw the line and downgrade our linebackers in order to keep our cap more manageable? It's the question of the day.


Bill T


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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mora Thinks We Have Necessary Defensive Line Talent

by: William P. Tomisser

Jim Mora thinks that newly hired defensive line coach Dan Quinn can take the talent we already have and get them playing at a higher level:

"I believe we have some really fine young players, and an outstanding player in Pat Kerney," Mora said. "I also believe that it is the responsibility of a coach to try to -- as you evaluate your players -- figure out how to put them in the right position to have success. To come up with pass-rush plans, to educate them on protection schemes."

Clare Farnsworth wrote about Mora's assessments in his Seattle P-I column in today's edition.

Mora mentioned Bryant, Mebane, Jackson, Tapp, Miller (DE picked up off waivers last season), and Atkins as players who have the desire to be great players. He feels that desire coupled with a coach like Quinn will cause the defensive line to play at a higher level next season and produce an increased pass rush. Speaking of that dynamic with respect to Seattle's defensive ends, Mora said:

"If you couple their intelligence, their hunger, with what Dan Quinn brings to the table, I believe you'll see an increase in our outside pass rush," Mora said.

To Continue . . .

Patrick Kerney thinks that the injury to his left shoulder was the type of injury that has a low probability of happening again. He said that he caught his arm up just so for the injury to occur and that situation probably won't manifest itself again. He expects to be back playing next season.

Mora acknowledged that it was absolutely necessary for Kerney to be healthy for them to increase their pass rush with their existing personnel. Their success as a team in the pass rush department is almost twice as effective when Kerney is in the lineup.

Absent from Mora's comments was any talk about Rocky Bernard, which probably pretty well seals his fate and his career as a Seahawk. He had 8 1/2 sacks in 2005 but has only managed 11 in the three years since.

There doesn't seem to be much interest from the Seahawks in trying to pry All-Pro defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth away from the Tennessee Titans or defensive end Bertrand Berry away from the Arizona Cardinals either. Mora seems confident that we already have good players on the defensive line and that they just need to be developed and coached up.

Farnsworth's article sums it up by saying:

"WHAT THEY NEED: To get Patrick Kerney healthy, and keep him healthy for an entire season. To have their young linemen step up to the next level, especially Darryl Tapp and Lawrence Jackson. The Seahawks also need to turn into reality all the talk of improvement that Mora makes sound so reasonable."

Jim Mora has us all dazzled with his enthusiasm and has some of us believing that infusing the team with that same kind of emotion and desire can make a big difference with the talent we already have on the team.

He seems to have supreme confidence in his newly hired coaches and the coaches he left in place from Holmgren's staff to be able to get more out of the current players and get them playing at a higher level. In addition, adding top draft choices and a couple of free agents should give us the necessary talent to compete with the rest of the league for the championship.

Are we drinking the Kool-Aid yet? Do you guys here at SA buy into the theory that our current defensive linemen can raise their level of their play and become a top pressure unit in the NFL next season and put the kind of suffocating pressure on opposing quarterbacks that Mora wants to see? Do we have sufficient talent that a good defensive line coach can come in and make that kind of difference?

Even assuming that we will resign Green in free agency, if Bernard goes then we still need to acquire another defensive tackle unless Mora is counting on Kevin Brown from the practice squad to step in and enter the rotation this coming season. Mebane, Bryant, Terrill, and Green are four of the probable five DTs that we would maintain on our 53 man roster next season. We carried 5 defensive tackles last season along with 4 defensive ends.

Bill T


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Rob Rang Talks Seahawk Draft

by: William P. Tomisser

Hey gang, I'm back. I had a couple of gigs over the weekend, and when my band plays it pretty much shoots the weekend for anything else. I was listening to the KJR podcasts last night to catch up on my favorite interviews.

NFL draft analyst Rob Rang (NFL Draft Scout) talked to John Clayton over the weekend and they got down to specifics on what the Seahawks were likely to do with their first pick in the draft.

You can listen to the broadcast here.

Rob discounted what Ruskell said about offensive linemen recently and said that Seattle really has to take a hard look at that position since this draft has four offensive tackles that could go in the top ten. With Bradford going back to school, that puts the offensive tackles at the very top of the talent pool.

To Continue . . .

When asked to break it down, Rang said that Detroit had a good chance at looking at an offensive tackle, since Bradford was out of the draft and there wasn't another quarterback worthy of the first pick.

Rang continued on to say that the Rams, picking second, would probably go for another of the offensive tackles and then the Chiefs would most likely go for a defensive pick. Coming to the Seahawks, he said there's a 50% chance they would go for an offensive tackle, citing Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith as the most likely candidates who would be left after Detroit and St. Louis picked.

Rob likened Oher to being almost as good as Walter Jones was coming out of college and Andre Smith to be the superior run blocker available. He also said that Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith were very close talent-wise to Michael Oher and Andre Smith and that Seattle would like the character of either tackle.

He did mention that Oher might have a questionable character flag on Ruskell's board. It is certain that one of the four left tackles will be available for the Seahawks no matter what happens. He said that Jason Smith's stock is rising and I've seen other places who think that he might be the Seahawks' pick recently. Jason Smith is the kind of sleeper who just might be on Ruskell's radar.

He went on to say that there was a 25% chance as he saw it that Crabtree would be the pick (and he thinks he will be available) and a 25% chance that we would select cornerback Malcolm Jenkins if we pass on the offensive tackles and Crabtree.

He did say that Crabtree could drop out of the top ten if he wasn't able to run at least in the 4.4s or 4.3s for the 40 at the combine. He said if Crabtree runs a 4.5 or 4.6 as his speed has been documented to be, he will likely slip out of the top 10 because he won't be seen as having the speed to get necessary separation on downfield routes. A top 10 pick as a receiver needs to have elite speed and that is what might kill Crabtree's chances at a top 5 or top 10 pick.

Fitzgerald has that kind of speed, and to compare Crabtree as a like receiver he needs to have all the tools Fitzgerald has to be able to make the same impact. In fact, talking about impact again yesterday, Rang talked to Softy on KJR and had some additional observations about Crabtree. He was asked if there was any reason Seattle might shy away from Crabtree in the first round.

He said that, in general, wide receivers don't make an immediate impact in the NFL as the biggest reason. He said it again when he observed that rookie wide receivers don't typically help a team that struggled like the Seahawks did in 2008 reach the playoffs the following season.

He went on to emphasize again that he believed that there was going to be four offensive tackles taken in the top ten picks, which he says never happens. That's an indication of how good the offensive tackles are in this draft and he said that's where the value lies in this year's draft.

He said that not only do you need a receiver like Fitzgerald but you also need to be able to stop a receiver like Fitzgerald and once again mentioned Malcolm Jenkins as an elite talent and someone the Seahawks could be interested in.

Eugene Monroe, Jason Smith, and Malcolm Jenkins are three players whom we haven't talked about too much here at SA, but I think they are all players who fit Ruskell's character template and all are kind of sleepers as the 4th pick. That kind of makes them a possible Ruskell pick when you look at the fact that he usually does something none of us saw coming.

I always like listening to Rob Rang talk draft stuff because he's always well-versed on the Seahawks' needs and of course he's one of our home town boys. Give a listen if you want, or make a comment, or splurge and do both if you're really ready to live it up.


Bill T


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