Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Training Camp Info Announced

by: Mike Parker

The Seahawks have announced registration and attendance information on this year's training camp, held at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center from Aug. 3-20.

To attend one of the camps, fans have to register on seahawks.com, beginning July 16 at 10 a.m. The cost is $5 per person, which covers a transportation fee that takes fans to and from the practice field. The VMAC's parking lot will be closed to the public.

Fans will get transportation transfers and guest passes to the facility at the time of check-in. The check-in location will be found at the south end of The Landing Shopping Center in Renton, 915 North Landing Way.

All other information -- including transportation schedules, practice times and the like -- will be available on the team website at the time of registration.

These tickets are going to be gone quicker than Brian Bosworth's career, so write that date down and act accordingly, addicts.

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Housh a deep threat?

by: Aaron Weinberg

Housh is going to the Pro Bowl - he already told us that. But does he have the skills to drastically outshine Seattle's deep WR corps enough so that he can accumulate the kind of numbers typical of Pro Bowlers?

Afterall, there is a 20 year curse on the position, which hasn't been to a Pro Bowl in nearly two decades.

It can be blamed on the piss-poor 90's teams and Holmgren's penchant for spreading the ball, which isn't likely to change a lot with Greg Knapp at the helm.

Here's something I wrote in March as part of a series analyzing Houshmandzadeh's skill set. Original story.

Wide Receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said he's more than a possession receiver, something he's been dubbed by pundits and fans alike, during a live NFL.com interview.

"I think I"m a complete receiver -- I can do whatever a coach wants me to do," Houshmandzadeh said.

While used primarily as a possession receiver in Cincinnati, Houshmandzadeh proved on a few occasions that he can also burn a safety for a deep touchdown.

Seahawks fans may remember Houshmandzadeh's trip to Qwest Field in 2007, a game where Seattle narrowly pulled off the victory in the closing two minutes of the fourth quarter. He led the game in reception yards, racking up 141 yards and a touchdown. Click the photo to enlarge, and yes I admit these screen shots aren't very good. Hopefully my explanations below breathe some sense into them.

While Houshmandzadeh crosses shallow with the third receiver, Chad Johnson stretches the field to the left. This provides Houshmandzadeh with enough distance between him and safety Deon Grant to catch QB Carson Palmer's under thrown pass, then motor into the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown.

On to the infamous tie game of 2008.

Houshmandzadeh and the third receiver cross to the left sideline, but Houshmandzadeh crosses back in to run the deep out and in, ending up toward the middle of the field. Despite two defenders near him, Houshmandzadeh runs past both of them and reaches up for the 26-yard touchdown catch.
What I saw while analyzing the tape proved that Housh has enough speed and route running skills to separate from the defenders. He also utilizes his size and strength during 1 on 1 situations a la Larry Fitzgerald (And if Fitz proved anything, it's that you don't need blistering speed to get the deep ball.) However, he didn't go deep very often with the Bengals.

Obviously Housh was the benefactor of playing opposite Ocho Cinco - I'm not going to tell you he can lead a team like Fitzgerald can. But, after viewing the limited game tape of Housh going deep, it's evident he has a wider skill set than the Bengal's coaching staff would've led you to be believe after using him primarily as a possession guy.

Still, one thing you'll never see from Houshmandzadeh is him catching a 60-yard touchdown bomb after burning the entire secondary for the majority length of the field. He just doesn't have the speed to accomplish something like that. So in that respect, he isn't a true deep threat.

I'll show you what I learned from more game tape later this week, including his blocking abilities and short routes (he's good.)

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On Hasselbeck's Shoulders

by: Mike Parker

We're about one month away from training camp now, and all is quiet at the VMAC. But even as things are silent enough to hear a pin drop in Renton, the noises Matt Hasselbeck keeps hearing aren't all in his head.

Entering into his ninth season in the NFL, Hasselbeck faces arguably more scrutiny and questions in 2009 than he ever has before in his career. A bulging disc in his back kept him out of nine games last year, which drove many analysts across the country to being absolutely sure the Seahawks wouldn't pass on former USC QB Mark Sanchez with the No.4-overall pick.

But the team had other ideas.

Hasselbeck's ahead-of-schedule recovery and sharp performances during team workouts convinced new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp that drafting a QB wouldn't be necessary, as he told Clare Farnsworth.

Asked his initial assessment of Hasselbeck when he arrived, Knapp offered a one-word answer: “Sold.”
Though Hasselbeck's return to form brings to mind fond memories of stellar 2005 and 2007 seasons, (note the odd-numbered pattern forming here) Coach Mora & company know that every player is always one good hit away from another problem -- be it a new injury, of which the team saw plenty of last year, or re-igniting an old one. Because of the extra care the coaching staff plans to take with Hasselbeck (which is also by now no secret for opposing teams' pass rushers), it's a good thing the team went after Oregon G/C Max Unger early in the draft, and re-signed RT Ray Willis. This season, the Hawks are going to make every effort to protect their investment in Hasselbeck, who looked so sharp in May and June minicamps that his back wasn't even a question topic during interviews. Even still, that's not to say it's been ignored by the coaching staff.
“I’m always concerned about every player,” coach Jim Mora said. “But no more so with Matt than any other player.

“But, sure, it creeps into the back of your mind on occasion because he missed a lot of games last year. Any time a guy is coming off that it creeps into your mind. But I think through the course of training camp and the preseason that that will go away.”
As well as Hasselbeck needs to play this year, the offensive line needs to play even better. Walter Jones needs to continue to be the anchor at left tackle that he's been for the past 13 years, and Sean Locklear must be ready to step in at an elite level if Jones can't maintain. Chris Spencer cannot afford another injury-riddled season; nor can Rob Sims. The team also needs every last bit of effort and skill from the younger linemen, such as Steve Vallos, Unger and Mansfield Wrotto. The new zone-blocking scheme must not only play a vital role in protecting its offensive general, but also in giving the ground attack the extra boost it needs to succeed.

Many say the key to Seahawks' success rides on Hasselbeck's shoulders. While that may be, it's going to take a team effort on both sides of the ball for the team to be a contender, and to bounce back from the nightmare that was 2008.

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Madden 2010 - Preview Week 1

by: Ryan Romano

Hey guys, below is the first guest post from regular commenter Ryan. Since Madden has become such a huge part of the NFL season (like it or not), I asked Ryan to contribute a weekly preview article focusing on the new game and, in coming weeks, focusing on how the Seahawks can be expected to perform given the new game and the new roster. Enjoy!

What’s up my fellow Addicts? You have probably seen me around the SA site posting about Madden from time to time. Chris has been nice enough to let me do a few actual Madden posts as a guest writer for SA. I am guessing so I will stop hijacking his real life Seahawks topics. Where to begin as so much information has already been released since January?

There have been three big announcements so far this year regarding new additions to the game:

  • ProTak Interactive Physics System
  • Full Online Franchise
  • Procedural Awareness
These three, more than any other new additions to the game, will alter Madden game play. Click on to

The new ProTak system is basically a new way for the computer to generate realistic looking tackles. In Madden 09 you could tackle a running back with one to three players at a time. In Madden 10 you will be able to tackle someone with up to 9 players on a given play. You will have the ability to “steer” your tackle meaning you will be able to direct the player you are tackling toward a teammate so that he can help you make the tackle. You will also be able to hit stick a ball carrier after he is engaged with a defender, causing more fumbles. Not having played the game it is tough to tell which teams this will benefit most. I would guess that smaller faster defenses would have an advantage in getting numbers to the ball carrier quickly. Hopefully this translates well for the Seahawks defense which has been known for being undersized and fast. ProTak is the system for implementing a “fight for every yard” type football game. Running backs will be able to fight for extra yards when being solo tackled. Defenses will be able to force a player backwards till the whistle which happens all the time in real games.

Full Online Franchise was another big announcement that was released at the last E3 convention. This will allow gamers to play in 32 team full season leagues. Most have described it as similar to NCAA’s version of online franchise. There are enough options in this mode to take an entire blog post, but here are a few of the features. There can be up to 32 players in the league. You can start the league with existing teams or do a 53 round fantasy draft. The leagues go for 10 seasons. I can’t imagine a situation that would call for more as 10 seasons at 16 games a season is 160 games. The leagues I play in now usually get to about game 3 or 4 before falling apart. Leagues operate on the real schedule for next year. I will post more on Online Franchise later in the summer.

The procedural awareness updates the Madden 10 team have been working on should help the game become more realistic and give the team great base programs to build on in the future. Here is an example of what procedural awareness is trying to improve. Have you ever thrown a pass to what seems like a wide open WR, when out of nowhere a CB that had his head turned the other way, some how sees the ball through the back of his helmet, turns around in .02 seconds and picks the ball off? Me too. It is enough to make a guy go through countless broken controllers, numerous claims to never play the game again, and a generally bad feeling of getting screwed.

This is what the Madden 10 team means when they announced improvements to the player’s procedural awareness. They are improving the little things that make the game more realistic. Examples include improvements to QB play such as new QB short, mid, and deep pass accuracy ratings, slower pass speed so passes take longer to get to the WR, and a decreased effectiveness of the QB sneak. (Anyone else hate losing on a QB sneak that is basically unstoppable?) The deep ball was never a big part of the game plan when playing with Hass before, but with his low deep accuracy rating, think twice before you throw deep. True to form, the WCO short controlled passing game will be the key to winning with the Seahawks in Madden10. Our 32nd ranked running back core might play into that as well.

On the WR side of things, players will now be more aware of the side line and be more apt to drag their feet to stay inbounds. Route running has also undergone some renovation along with changes to the WR CB interaction. There have also been some improvements to the offensive and defensive line. The creation of a pocket is one of the things I am looking forward to most. Good players in the 09 game routinely roll out of the pocket to allow routes to develop and WR’s to get open. The creation of a pocket should limit player’s ability to routinely roll out.

Player momentum is a feature that should change the way running backs operate in the game. The new game will take a players speed and mass/weight into account when playing the game. I don’t even want to know what that calculation looks like, but I am sure it is complicated. Don’t let players like Brandon Jacobs get a head of steam; bigger players will be tough to tackle once they get going.

I don’t think it falls under procedural awareness but the Madden team also adjusted the finesse move/power move in Madden 10. Instead of having two buttons, one for each move, there will now be only one button for a defensive juke move. The computer will automatically pick the move that your player is best at. So when you’re rushing the QB with Curry, he will automatically do a finesse move because he has a rating of 85 fin, 76 power. Kerney on the other hand will do power moves because he has a 90 power, 79 fin.

There are a few other button changes and hopefully we will have time to go over them before the game comes out Aug 14. You can actually play the game before that by pre ordering your game at Game Stop. You then use an access code on the receipt to play a one game demo. The demo is available in late July. It is a recreation of a game we all want to forget about, SB XLIII. If you can deal with playing with one of those two teams, you can play Madden 10 a few weeks before the game comes out.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

"Ground Greg"

by: Chris Sullivan

Hey Addicts, this story's been kicking around the internet since last Wednesday, but despite my best efforts I haven't had a chance to get around to posting about it until now. Clare Farnsworth posted another nice article over at Seahawks.com that covered Greg Knapp and his and Mora's intentions for the run game in 2009. Check out the article here.

The main crux of the article is about what you'd expect from an article posted on Seahawks.com -- you aren't excited about the running game but you should be and omg here's why! Still, there were some interesting bits scattered throughout (including that John Carlson has increased his weight and lowered his body fat making him even more beastly this year). The main thing though is that it appears they are planning to use Jones and Duckett as more of a tandem than every-down/situational (respectively) backs. Justin Forsett will get a chance to actually (gasp) run the ball this year, which should excite many of the fans who remember his nice preseason last year.

So, take a look at at the article and sound off below; will Knapp work his Top-10 Rushing Offense magic again? Or will the Hawks be middle of the pack or lower?

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Carlson Has Optimism for 2009

by: Mike Parker

TE John Carlson gave a nice 3-minute phone chat with ESPN recently, in which he answered the usual array of questions: Differences in coaching staff, what the team can do to improve on last year, and how the new players are going to contribute.

Carlson says TJ Houshmandzadeh (I'm finally getting used to spelling that) has been huge so far in minicamps and should be an instant contributor. He also says everyone staying healthy is going to be a must for success this year (like we didn't already know that), and if the receivers stay healthy, who knows, maybe Carlson won't be the only end-zone threat catching touchdowns this year. I only hope to see him improve on his already-impressive rookie season.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Top 10 Seahawk Players of the Decade

by: Chris Sullivan

Mike Sando just posted (well, okay, it was yesterday morning...) a top 25 players of the decade list, and I thought, why not? Time for the Top 10 Seahawks of the Decade:

10. Cortez Kennedy - While this decade will not be considered to be one rife with Tez-struction, I would be remiss to exclude the man who is one of, if not the, best player to ever put on Seahawks green and blue. Tez only played in the 2000 season with the Hawks this decade.

9. Bobby Engram - Engram was not and is not a flashy guy, but he proved to be Mr. Reliable and never (okay, rarely) whined and moaned about being the third receiver. He turned that into a strength and became Hasselbeck's safety blanket. In addition, few Seahawks have been more out in the charity spotlight than Engram and promoting the Seahawks in doing so.

8. Kelly Jennings (just joking) - Marcus Trufant - Tru is an incredible athlete and has become one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL since moving over to the left side. In 2008, his numbers declined a bit but that was not largely a reflection on him so much as it is on the rest of the secondary. By the end of the 2009 season, it's likely that he'll need to move up the list a bit...

7. Mack Strong - All Mack Strong ever did was lead-block Shaun Alexander into some of the best seasons an NFL running back ever had. Strong was a background guy but a great one and, when an injury forced Mack to retire he stayed on the squad and helped Leonard Weaver to become 'The Weave.' Great guy, great fullback, great Seahawk.

6. Steve Hutchinson - Hutchinson will forever be a sore spot for the Seahawks fans and Tim Ruskell. He is the best guard in football to this day, and along with Walter Jones, is the main reason for Shaun Alexander's excellence.

5. Darrell Jackson - It's hard for me to put D-Jack up here after proving himself to be not much of a team player, but Jackson did nothing but catch (and drop) passes for his 7 seasons with the Seahawks. While Hasselbeck made him and sustained him, no one can deny he had talent and with 47 touchdown receptions and more than 6,400 receiving yards, he produced here.

4. Lofa Tatupu - Lofa won a starting spot as a rookie and immediately took over the defense, leading them to the team's only Super Bowl. Tatupu had a mediocre 2008, but he has some of the best instincts in football and he makes the guys around him better. The fact that he will be a Seahawk for the rest of his effective career is very good news.

3. Shaun Alexander - Knock Shaun all you want, by the end I was annoyed and frustrated too, but we can't forget that this guy was THE symbol of the Seattle Seahawks for the better part of this decade. Without Alexander and his toothy smile (regardless of what was happening in the game) the Seahawks would never have gotten the attention that they did. Without someone running near the top of the charts or passing there, a team can be ignored especially when they're in South Alaska. While Hasselbeck and Holmgren were the nuts and bolts of the offense's success, Alexander was the head of state.

2. Matthew Hasselbeck - There are few people as likable as Matt Hasselbeck, and fewer still more self-deprecatingly humorous. I'm hoping when he retires he takes over Jimmy Fallon's shell of a late-night show. Anyway, Hass came to Seattle in a trade as a cocky, mediocre quarterback. He was disciplined and smart and underwent a massive transformation that we now take for granted. Imagine Matt Leinart of 2008 leading the Cards to the Super Bowl. Now you're talking. Hass is the face, and the arm, of the franchise. There are injury concerns going forward based on his past, but no one can deny when you think back to the "Golden Years" of the Seahawks it is Hasselbeck and Holmgren all the way (and maybe a Sea Gal or two).

1. Walter Jones - If there has ever been a Seahawk who is a better football player or more dominant force than Cortez Kennedy, it is Walter Jones. Jones is, arguably, the most complete and best offensive lineman to ever play the game. There may never be another Walter Jones and I will forever be proud to be a Seahawks fan because this great man and great player dominated defenses in our Blue and Green.

Honorary Mentions: Michael Sinclair, Josh Brown, Jerry Rice, Julian Peterson and Robby Tobeck.
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Another poll - which goal is most attainable?

by: Aaron Weinberg

I'm on a mini-vacation so here's another quick and easy poll (Everybody loves polls, right?)

In the wake of T.J. Houshmandzadeh proclaiming on record that he and Matt Hasselbeck will both have top five seasons, dual Pro Bowls and a playoff run, it might be interesting to see what the Addicts think about the possibility of both players achieving those goals.

And don't forget about Burleson's and Tapp's earlier goals, stated via Twitter. The addicts voted Tapp's goal of 12 sacks to be more realistic than Burleson's goal of 15 touchdowns by a 60/40 margin with more than 1,000 total votes.

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Housh and the Hype

by: Mike Parker

I'm all for the team setting lofty goals for themselves going into training camp, but one should use caution before setting the bar too high.

TJ Houshmandzadeh may have stepped into dangerous recently when he went on record with The Sporting News's Denis Dillon and proclaimed the following:

“I just want to let everyone know that Matt Hasselbeck and I will be leading the Seahawks to the playoffs this season,” Houshmandzadeh proclaims. “And we’ll be going to the Pro Bowl as a tandem. We’re both going to have top five seasons: He’ll have a top five quarterback season, and I’ll have a top five receiving season. I’ll put up stats I’ve never had before yards-wise because they’re allowing me to be a complete receiver.”
While I can't fault Housh for the vote of confidence and positive outlook going into the season, I have a tendency to cringe when players come out of the gates and make bold predictions before a single game is played.

It's all too reminiscent of Lofa's five-shutout prediction, but not quite as ridiculous as Isaac Bruce claiming the 49ers would score six touchdowns per game last year. (Or was it seven? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?)

Still, I don't see Housh turning into a clone of another certain receiver whose first name begins with "T" and ends in "Owens," as the above comments seem to be sparked out of confidence rather than arrogance.

But hype is one thing, and you can believe whatever talking head you wish -- be it a player, coach or analyst. But what I find most hilarious about this story is PFT's Mike Florio bringing on the Hatorade by the gallon here:
Maybe the truth is that no one in Seattle in inclined to gush over [Houshmandzadeh] based on what he did as Ochocinco’s second fiddle, and that they want to see whether T.J. can get it done with the Seahawks. Or maybe they’re simply no longer impressed by big-name receivers who seem to disappear once they suit up for the Seahawks.
Really, Florio? Deion Branch is one thing, but DJ Hackett and Darrell Jackson's careers sure flourished after they left, didn't they? And we can't forget Koren Robinson and how his stats totally inflated with Green Bay after a career year in 2002 with the Seahawks? And Bobby Engram's career year in 2007 when he stepped up as Hasselbeck's most consistent target? Yes, all of Seattle's receivers fade into total obscurity once they suit up here. Clearly, it's outrageous to think otherwise.

Getting back to the original point, let's be realistic here -- even while I'm confident Houshmandzadeh can produce, he now has to put his money where his mouth is. And since he now has plenty of money (as if he didn't before), 2009 will be time for him to put up or shut up.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Madden 2010 Drinks the Hatorade

by: Chris Sullivan

The annual Madden 2010 ratings are out on a player-by-player basis and the Madden folks were pretty tough on the Seahawks this year. While Housh (91) and Carlson (87) can't help but smile at their ratings, Branch (79) and Burleson (74) are not likely smiling from ear to ear. A 74 for a guy who, coming off a 9-TD season, tore his ACL. Does that make him that much worse than the ~83-85 he was last year?

Oh, and who is our best running back? Justin Griffith of course, with a 77. #2? Owen Schmitt. Yep, our top two running threats are our FULLBACKS. Come on. Jones, Forsett and Duckett round out those five. Hasselbeck was awarded an 84, but that's understandable after his terrible year in 2008. Wallace was given a 69, a pretty low rating for someone who only got better throughout last year. To compare, Matt "Beer Bong" Leinart was given a 68.

Tatupu, Walter Jones, Patrick Kerney, and Housh were the only players in the 90s. While that's a pretty fair list, I would have to say that Trufant (88) deserves to be up there too. Mike Wahle was given an 88 as well, but while he was better than many of us give him credit for, he was no 88. Ray Willis is the second-lowest scoring O-Lineman for the Hawks with a 65. Did they see him play? Not a stud, but again, not a 65.

The lowest rated Seahawk was--really inexplicably, I would say--Kevin Hobbs, who was given a 40. Now, we are of course privy to a lot of the insider camp info and such that Madden folks would have no reason to pay mind to, but Hobbs seems like an up and comer who, if not for Wilson stepping up last year, may well have found himself on the field more often. A 40 is very, very low. The only other guy in the 40s was Jeff Rowe.

Biggest outrage of the day though?

Brandon Mebane - 71.


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Runaway Beer Truck Gets Pulled Over

by: Mike Parker

Everyone's favorite mohawked Seahawk, Owen Schmitt, was pulled over and arrested Saturday in Black Diamond, WA, for suspicion of drunk driving.

Schmitt blew BAC levels of .151 and .161, according to Washington State Patrol records. The legal limit in this state is .08, so the name "Runaway Beer Truck" is unfortunately all too applicable for this situation. As one commenter in Danny O'Neil's story put it, "he was Schmitt-faced." Pretty much.

On the plus side, there was no accident, nobody was hurt, and Schmitt seems genuinely remorseful of his actions. The team released a statement from him today: "I sincerely apologize to the team, the NFL, the fans and my family and friends for my actions and my poor judgment," Schmitt said.

"I fully understand the seriousness of this matter, and I am disappointed in myself. I am committed to earning back the trust of everyone affected."
I just hope the rest of the team can stay off the police blotter through the summer and report to camp on time.

Schmitt's arraignment is scheduled for July 8. If Schmitt's legal problems accumulate, this means more reps for Justin Griffith, which might not be such a bad thing anyway. However, I'd still like to see Schmitt contribute.

END Read More!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Which Is More Likely: Burleson with 15 TDs or Tapp with 12 Sacks?

by: Aaron Weinberg
Last year before the season began Tatupu predicted five shutouts. You don't even have to look at game scores to realize that didn't happen because Seattle only won four games.

This year, Burleson and Tapp both publicly set some lofty goals via Twitter.

Here's a quick write-up I did on their playfully bold claims.

If you don't have a mouse or are too lazy to click, Burleson said 15 touchdowns, while Tapp fired back with 12 sacks.

So Addicts, which goal is more attainable, Burleson's or Tapp's?

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Hawks Will Play Against Favre One More Time

by: Mike Parker

According to NBC Sports, legendary QB-turned-assclown Brett Favre has agreed to an undisclosed deal with the Minnesota Vikings.

Now, football fans across the nation will once again be subjected to the media saturation of Favre's ridiculously drama-filled twilight to an otherwise brilliant career. You'll hear about how "Favre still has it in him" and how much the younger quarterbacks in Minnesota will now have the tutelage of a legend. You'll hear about how the Vikings finally have a legitimate threat under center (a point I'm questioning but will no less certainly be brought up), and best of all, you'll see images of No.4 green-and-yellow jerseys being ceremoniously burned outside of Lambeau Field for days on end.

And let's not forget why this all matters to the Seahawks -- the Vikings are hosting Seattle on Sunday, Nov. 22 at Minneapolis.

I seriously hope this is the last time football nation has to deal with this laughable saga of Favre's successive un-retirements. I don't think I can take anymore of this crap.

If we see John Madden coming back out of retirement following this story, I'm fleeing the country.

EDIT: Apparently Favre's agent has been denying claims of a deal with the Vikings, but there's plenty of reason to believe otherwise. Is this ever really going to end??

END Read More!

Unger, Reed got out just in time

by: Chris Sullivan

The University of Oregon is no stranger to uniform changes. In the last 11 years, they've had 7 complete reformations of their Unis including new uniforms in each of the last three seasons -- make that four.

The Ducks have come up with what can only be described as... well... hmm. This:

Now, while none of those are particularly awesome, take a look at the one on the far right. Holy Crap. Are they the Ducks or the Fightin' Canaries? Maybe the Rough and Tumble Bumbles? Further, they took their somewhat awesome green -- the only redeeming quality of the 2008 Ducks uniforms -- and turned it into a Chalkboard. The White with Silver just doesn't make any sense at all. I am awestruck.

What do you think are the worst uniforms in sports? Doesn't matter the sport, the level, or even if its current. Include a picture if at all possible (just link the pic).

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Top 15 Seahawks for 2009

by: Chris Sullivan

Danny O'Neil had the great idea to rank the Seahawks by level of importance -- a sort of intra-squad Power Rankings. He's working on his, but I figured I'd toss one together because I love the idea. Here's a top 15 for you guys, I encourage you to do the same!

1) Matt Hasselbeck - Hate to be so cliche and name the QB the most important player on the team, but uh, who else would it be? Hass is the leader of the team and must be the pointman for this to be a wining team. Unquestionably the top pick. Also, he is bald.

2) Lofa Tatupu - From QB to QB of the Defense, Tatupu must play well for the defense to perform. He is the spiritual and, typically, tackle leader of the defense and his instinct for the game drives the rest of the defense.

3) Walter Jones -- Wow, it's like a list of "Top Fan Jerseys," isn't it? Well, Jones is important and will continue to be important. The left tackle position is key and Jones' health is another pivot point of 2009. If he is healthy, we are good to go.

4) To-be-determined Left Guard -- As important and skilled as Walter Jones is, he isn't half as good without a solid left guard as we learned in 2006 and 2007. When Wahle lined up next to him last year, he was his old self again. When Wahle was injured, Jones dropped off markedly and eventually succumbed to an injury of his own (likely unrelated, but hey, whatever). Be it Wahle or his replacement -- Wrotto? Willis? the Left Guard will be almost as important as the left tackle this year.

5) Brandon Mebane - The Defensive Line will be the absolute key to the defense this year. Mebane is shifting to 3-tech and will be expected to routinely get pressure on the quarterback. His ability to adapt to his new position is key. I'm not worried about Colin Cole's ability to fill space and take up two blockers because he is absolutely gigantic. I believe Mebane is the anchor of the defense for years to come and should see his first pro-bowl berth this year.

6) Patrick Kerney - The Seahawks have not added a second star edge-rusher yet, so on Kerney's shoulders it rests. Jackson, Redding, Tapp and Atkins will all be relied upon but the expectations are somewhat low. Kerney and Mebane will be relied upon to get our pass rush going and failure to do so will likely result in another awful season.

7) Julius Jones - Again, this is ranking based on importance, not skill. Jones absolutely must step up and become what he has yet to in his career (think Thomas Jones last year). The Seahawks are relying on Jones to get, at minimum, 1,000 yards next year and probably more like 1,400. He was not given a chance next year, but he also did not really shine when put in the spotlight. This is make or break for him. Failure to meet expectations and he will be out on his booty in 2010.

8) TJ Houshmandzadeh - This is, of course, in conjunction with Matt Hasselbeck, but Housh is slotted to be the go-to offensive threat. If Housh can't put up numbers similar to Engram's in 2007, he will be viewed as an expensive disappointment. We're not calling for 15 TDs and 2,000 yards, but he must impress. I think he will, but time will tell.

9) Aaron Curry -- Is he the 9th most important guy on the team? Not necessarily, but the future of this defense is tied to Curry's ability to be a jack of all trades and a master of all. He is an every down player and will be asked to get pressure on the quarterback from time to time, drop into coverage quite frequently, and smash the facemask off many-a-tailback.

10) Brian Russell -- Why is Russell more important than the rest of the secondary? He's not. But you guys think he is more responsible (perhaps he is), so he is the most important in the sense that he must improve the most. Russell has to learn the scheme and play it perfect technically. He is in charge of watching personnel and adjusting the defense accordingly, but don't believe for a second that he is not instantly disposable if the Hawks are getting pressure and still failing to contain the pass. 2010 is the year of the safety draft with the top two safeties in at least 5 years coming out -- Eric Berry and Taylor Mays.

11) Chris Spencer -- The center is key and actually will be taking on more responsibilities in the zone blocking scheme that Knapp is using for the Hawks. Spencer has been a mediocre center with some upside remaining, but he's being followed by Max Unger and Steve Vallos who both have a ton of upside and smaller paychecks. This is make or break for Spencer in a contract year. Look for him to be pulled in favor of Unger by Week 4 if he has not stepped up fully. The linecalls will be essential in the ZBS and that is where Spencer has always suffered.

12) Ken Lucas -- If this were by skill, Trufant would be in the top 5 or 6, but it's not, its by importance. Trufant is a known quantity, Lucas, less so. We need Ken Lucas to come in and prevent the big play against the big recievers -- here's lookin' at you, L-Fitz. Josh Wilson will be breathing down Lucas' neck all season and in 2008 made great strides technically. Can Lucas stave him off? This competition should be excellent for the defense.

13) Cory Redding -- The Hybrid D-lineman, Redding has every reason in the world to have the best season of his career. He is on a one-year contract with the Seahawks after spurning the last four (or three?) years of his Lions contract for less money on a better team. He will be a free agent in 2010. Anyway, Redding plays heavily into the D-Line's plans as a hybrid DE/DT who will be expected to pressure the quarterback whenever he's on the field. Are you getting any sense that pressure will be important in 2009? Just checking.

14) Jim Mora -- Oops, almost forgot the coach. Okay, okay, he's not a player, but its impossible to overlook him in year one. Mora must come in and lead the team with authority, set the tone for the team in both wins and losses, and continue to imbue the players with energy from week 1 to 17 (and beyond). Don Wakamatsu is doing a good job of this right now, but hopefully a little less micromanaging from Mora and more awesome press conferences like his Pa.

15) John Carlson -- What can I say, no Seahawks list is complete without John Carlson anymore. Think Houshmandzadeh's role but trickier and with more blocking. Carlson has the ability to get open against the best players in the league, and should demand a lot moer attention than your typical TE. If he can bolster his blocking to the next level, he's en route to a Pro Bowl in 2009 or 10.

END Read More!

Rookies Going the Extra Mile

by: Mike Parker

On June 12, Coach Mora and company sent the boys in blue on a six-week vacation until training camp starts, but the 12 new Seahawks rookies are taking some extra time at a place a little closer to home: the VMAC.

Monday marked the start to the second week of a rookies-only offseason conditioning program, led by strength & conditioning coach Mike Clark and assistant Darren Krein. The program is geared toward not only solidifying camaraderie amongst the dozen new players, but most importantly to make up for lost time -- there were two minicamps the rookies didn't participate in, held just before and after the draft. Aaron Curry put it best:

“We’re already at a disadvantage just being rookies,” said Curry, a linebacker from Wake Forest and the team’s first-round draft choice. “The vets had an extra minicamp that we didn’t participate in.”
The program is being closely monitored by Clark, who is taking the time to individually rate each player's progress and ability in a variety of different areas of training. And, appropriately, the program was preempted by Coach Mora taking the rookies up his infamous Tiger Mountain run last Friday.

Mora presented each player with a rock from the mountain to display in their lockers "to remind them they made it to the top." There were no reports of vomiting by any of the players on the way up, so this is either one tough group of rookies, or Patrick Kerney is now handling team PR duties.

Speaking of Mora and his infamous adventures, more pictures from his jaunt with Bryce Fisher aboard an FC-135 refueling jet can be found here, at photographer Rod Mar's blog. The pictures are breathtaking and definitely worth a look.

END Read More!

Monday, June 22, 2009

What are your top moments of the decade?

by: Aaron Weinberg

My first "real" post was sort of a downer so hopefully this one will at least draw a few grins.

Sports Illustrated recently named Seattle the no. 10 ranked team of the decade. To commemorate the most successful decade in Seahawks history (and because there's nothing else to write about) we ran a series over at Next Season Sports detailing the top ten moments of the decade.

Here is my list:

10 - "We want the ball, and we're gonna score."
9 - Alexander breaks the record for touchdowns in a half
8 - Jay Feely blows three field goals, Seattle wins in overtime
7 - Qwest Field opens for business
6 - Holmgren trades for Green bay's backup quarterback
5 - Romo botches the snap
4 - Ruskell selects Lofa Tatupu in the second round
3 - Hasselbeck leads fourth-quarter comeback against Chargers in 2002
2 - Alexander is named league's most valuable player
1 - Seahawks reach the Super Bowl

So Addicts, what would your list be for the top ten moments of the decade? Or if you're old enough, top ten moments of the franchise's history?

Or maybe you want to just re-arrange my list? Have at it.

END Read More!

Complete Roster Breakdown (So Far)

by: Mike Parker

Never one to be outdone, Eric Williams at The Tacoma News-Tribune has posted a complete roster analysis/breakdown through what he's seen at training camp so far. He also describes what the key position battles are likely going to be this summer, bringing names into the fold that often get lost over the buzz and excitement of top-tier draft picks and big free agent signings.

Since running back seems to be a huge point of contention so far in 2009, here's what Williams has to say:

Number kept last season: Six
Currently on roster: Eight.
Average number kept since 2002: 5.5
Locks: T.J. Duckett, Julius Jones, Justin Forsett, Owen Schmitt, Justin Griffith.
In the hunt: Devin Moore, David Kirtman
Longer odds: Dan Curran
Comment – Both head coach Jim Mora and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp believe the team has enough depth at running back on the roster right now. Jones will be counted on to be the main ball carrier, while Duckett and Forsett will play complimentary roles. Schmitt and Griffith will compete for the starting fullback spot. Griffith has experience on his side, having played in Knapp’s offense in both Atlanta and Oakland. But Schmitt seemed to be picking up the scheme quickly during camp and certainly has the physical tools to excel at the position. Moore, a guy with good speed through the hole, is likely headed for the practice squad.
Williams' observations on Jones and Grifftih are correct - Julius needs to prove he can be a consistent three-down back, and Griffith will give the Runaway Beer Truck a serious run for his money for the starting job at fullback. Personally, I'll be happy just to see Duckett used as more than a completely one-dimensional short-yardage specialist. That was one of the things that drove me absolutely insane about the stagnancy of the offense last year -- Holmgren seemed to have his typical, predictable list of role players that were underutilized. Looking back, it's never a good sign when the coach of the team comes out before the season and publicly declares, "we don't how to use this guy," especially after he shows he can go the distance through the hole in preseason.

Other notions worth mentioning from Williams here:

-DBs coach Tim Lewis saying that this is the most talented group he's ever worked with in his NFL career

-Billy McMullen and Ben Obomanu getting the 5th and 6th WR jobs (I agree with the Obo contention, not with McMullen)

-Jon Ryan remains the team's lock for punter at the current time, but Williams says he may have some competition brought in during camp. There isn't another punter on the roster as of now, but I don't see why the team wouldn't at least bring in some competition.

-About the offensive line: Unger is apparently coming along very well in the second unit, but my gut feeling tells me he'll overtake Chris Spencer at center eventually. It might not happen this year, but Spencer can't afford another injury. Williams says if Jones and Wahle stay healthy, the team has enough depth here. While I'd be inclined to agree, I still want to see more from the backup group that protected Seneca Wallace so effectively against the Jets in the snow last year.

The current Seahawks depth chart can be found here.

END Read More!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

No news is good news?

by: Chris Sullivan

Well, that's what my dad always said. Still, this lack of Seahawks news is driving me crazy and I'm sure I'm not alone. While we will continue bringing everything we can to the forefront, and working on some non-news related analyses, I think I am going to be shifting my focus to improving the website.

If you've got tips or suggestions on how we can improve the site, please leave them below. We're open. I am definitely going to try to bring a forum to the site as a lot of you seemed to enjoy that. It will be difficult to integrate the two though, so if you've got ideas on how to do that let me know.

Blah blah blah. Happy Fathers Day to all you dads out there.

END Read More!

Schrager: "I don't want to hear the Seahawks fans crying about this list, That team was terrible last year."

by: Aaron Weinberg

Peter Schrager of Fox Sports, as expected, received numerous emails complaining about his top 99 list, which apparently had a a lot of the football community up in arms.

"My email box took a beating the next day," Schrager said.

Only one Seahawk made the list, Housh at no. 68.

He responded to fan questions and comments in a FoxSports.com video and addressed a Seattle fan's question.

Here's a link to the video.

Here are the key quotes from Schrager about Seahawk omissions:

The Seahawks, did not love what they did last year and I'm not sure if I'm gonna' love what they do this year. To be honest I got T.J. Houshmandzadeh in there as the no. 68 player, he's the only Seahawk on the list. That defense was atrocious last year. So you're throwing me Tatupu and Hill, even Patrick Kerney? These guys were not good last year. They're banged up, they're old. Not Tatupu so much but the other guys.

I mean I don't know if they're top 99 players. If anyone's a top 99 player on that defense, it's
Aaron Curry the first round pick and I think he's going to be great and an impact player this season. I don't want to hear the Seahawks fans crying about this list, That team was terrible last year. Banged up with injuries, sure, but really just did not even show up in the 2008 season. Let's see if they can change that in 2009.
As a Seahawk fan, Schrager's arguments seem a little off.

For one, he seems to be using the 2008 season as the sole barometer to gauge the Seahawks, which is unfair because he didn't stick to 2008 with a lot of the other players on the list.

Walter Jones is still one of the best in the league, Tatupu has been to the Pro Bowl every year except one and Hasselbeck, in my opinion, has to be one of the top 13 QB's in the league. And how about Trufant?

By not at least putting Jones or Tatupu in the list, Schrager rightfully lost credibility among the Seahawk faithful.

So what do the addicts thing about Schrager's defense?

END Read More!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Offense may be "hard to watch"

by: Aaron Weinberg

It's third and eight at the Cardinals game last year deep in our own territory. The guy sitting next to me turns and says, "Holmgren's gonna' run the draw," in a disappointed sort of tone.

As expected, Hasselbeck hands it off and whoever got the ball after that runs into a brick wall.

The fan sitting next to me can only bury his face in his hands and slump in his seat like every other fan in the stadium.

That's hard to watch.

Greg Knapp can be notoriously conservative. He also loves to run the ball and has said he'll aim for a 50/50 pass/rush ratio.

Run game
Statistics show Knapp teams succeed running the ball. (Numbers indicated league rank)

Passing. Ehhhhh, not so much. OK, so there wasn't much he could do in Oakland the last two seasons or when he was with Vick and the Falcons. But, he had Jeff Garcia throwing to T.O. with the Niners and still only managed middle of the pack numbers.

Here's where the frustrating part might come into play. We all know Hasselbeck can lead an offense almost on his own (see 2007 season). The fact is, our current offense is built for the pass.

Nothing, NOTHING about our running game is proven. Quite the opposite, it's been a weakness since 2006. Now we're implementing a new running game with the zone blocking scheme.

My worry is we won't see Knapp fully utilizing Seattle's deadly WR corps, and that could be a bit frustrating to watch, especially with such an average (if not below average), trio of RB's.

Dave the Falconer of the Falcoholic wrote a guest column about Greg Knapp on my Web site a few months ago. Here's an excerpt: (edited, because for some reason the excerpt didn't publish)

"While he might have been remembered more fondly had he simply been in charge of play calling for our running game--which was quite good the entire time he was in Atlanta--
his refusal to adjust for the personnel he already had got him in a lot of trouble"

And it appears that's what's already happening, with this "50/50" nonsense. Sure the mantra looks good in writing, but we already know we can pass the ball and go to the playoffs. Why not tip the balance to cater to the players on the field?

Reasons for optimism
Hope springs eternal in Seahawk Nation. There's plenty reason for optimism this year.

Julius Jones showed why we picked him up last year early on in the season, shining against the Niners and Rams. It was a glimpse at what could have been had fortune's coin flipped the other way. T.J. Duckett showed he was the downhill runner he was paid to be and even proved he could break one open. Both Duckett and Jones also gladly and more than adequately pay their dues blocking, which is huge for Matt.

Justin Forsett? Well, much has been said about the preseason wonder and there's not much else to say. He's fun to watch when he's up against third stringers and running behind our deep offensive line. Still, he's got good instincts.

As for the passing game, I don't think we have to worry too much about those guys because the top three players are tried and true. But, as with any team, the key WRs (Branch and Burleson) will have to avoid catastrophic injury.

END Read More!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Picture of the Day

by: Chris Sullivan

Captions? Photoshop? Do your worst, Addicts! Hat tip to the follow-worthy SeahawksSpin.

END Read More!

Morrah Gets a 4-Year Deal

by: Mike Parker

According to the Seahawks' official Twitter site, the team has just signed TE Cameron Morrah to a 4-year deal.

No other details are available at this time, but scratch another one off the list.

END Read More!

Hello Seahawk Addicts

by: Aaron Weinberg

I'm not very good at introductions so I'll just get to it.

My name is Aaron Weinberg and Chris Sullivan asked me to write for the blog.

Some of you might already know me by reading Next Season Sports, a Seattle sports news Web site that I publish. There, I'll continue to cover Seahawks and Sounders FC news.

Here, I'll post my thoughts, musings and crazy ideas as they come to me.

To get started, here is a brief list of random things I believe about the current Seahawks:
1. The success of the 2009 defense largely depends on line play
2. Matt Hasselbeck has only two years left to run the offense
3. Brian Russell isn't as bad as everyone says he is
4. The offense will be tough to watch in 2009 (Greg Knapp)
5. Seattle will beat the Colts in Indy
6. This will be Walter Jones' final season due to injury
7. Seattle still could have won the division last year
8. The defense will be vastly improved
9. Kerney will play at least 13 games
10. Undefeated at home for 2009 (gotta' believe!)

Glad to be writing here.

END Read More!

Revitalized Mora Ready for Another Shot

by: Mike Parker

Steve Wyche at NFL.com has put up a great story and video revolving around all things Jim Mora.

By now, we're all pretty familiar with the man we've come to know as the new Seahawks head coach. We know he's has his past success, failures and learning experiences largely as head coach of the 2004-2006 Atlanta Falcons, with the high point of that stint coming in 2004. (His first year with the team. Hint hint?)

It could've gone better, of course, as the 2004 conference championship game ended in a loss for the Falcons. But in a first year as a head coach of a franchise not exactly known for high-flying success until that point, that's admirable.

Wyche also takes a more personal look at Mora, and why the decision came down from Falcons owner Arthur Blank to cut ties with him.

In firing Mora, Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Mora's mistakes -- such as violating league rules by using a team employee's cell phone during a game against Tampa Bay to check on playoff scenarios, riding to a team event in cornerback DeAngelo Hall's sports car, and that fateful radio interview -- were reparable. Just not in Atlanta. If only Blank knew then that Mora's firing was just the first push of the snowball that only grew worse with the hiring of Bobby Petrino, the downfall of Michael Vick and the implosion of his team that prompted Petrino to quit during the season.
Atlanta didn't know what a great thing it had until it went away, if you ask me. Mora's focus is perfectly aligned with that of Tim Ruskell, and this is glaringly obvious for two reasons that coincide:

-Ruskell and Holmgren weren't in agreement about many decisions being made with the team;

-Ruskell and Mora are both in a "win-now" frame of mind.

Mora also has the added advantage of working with a few familiar faces on his second go-round as a head coach, including FB Justin Griffith and DE Patrick Kerney. The chemistry picked up right where it left off, and the players who hadn't played for Mora before now are getting a taste of how infectious the man's energy and attitude really are.

Mora himself is humbled, he says, by the chance to give coaching in the NFL another shot.
"I've had opportunities to coach elsewhere the past two years, even head-coaching opportunities, but had I stepped right back into a head-coaching spot, I wouldn't be as humbled as I am and I don't think I'd be as prepared as I feel now," Mora said. "When I say humbled, it's not in a way where I lack confidence. I just don't think I'd be as aware of the pitfalls of the things that could happen, still, if I hadn't gone through what I have in the past."
Even if you don't have time to read the entire story today, I'd recommend any Hawks fan watch the video. Consider it one small echo of the roar of the 12th Man at Qwest Field, but an equally resounding and satisfying echo no less.

END Read More!

Capt. Bryce Fisher Takes Mora, Others on Memorable Ride

by: Mike Parker

Capt. Bryce Fisher of the Washington Air National Guard -- better known as a former DE for the Rams and Seahawks -- took to the skies with some Seattle players, coaches and familiars Wednesday.

Their mission? A simple refueling exercise in a KC-135 jet. It was a fairly routine deal for Fisher, now retired out of the NFL and pursuing a life he envisioned for himself after football. But for the day's honorary crew members, it was a sight unlike any they'd ever seen.

On board the refueling jet for the day's mission were Seahawks head coach Jim Mora, strength coach Mike Clark, tight ends John Carlson and Joe Newton, and ESPN's NFC West writer, Mike Sando.

Two excellent pictures of the day's event can be found on Sando's Facebook page, taken by former Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar. (Speaking as a former Times writer/photographer, I miss those days myself.)

Carlson said being along for the ride was an unforgettable experience.

"If I make a mistake on a route, I might drop a ball or there might be an interception," tight end John Carlson said. "If they make a mistake, it might be life or death. It really puts it into perspective."
The KC-135 even had a Seahawks logo painted on its tail. How's that for a dedicated fanbase?

END Read More!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Could a 3-4 Defense Work in Seattle?

By Chris Sullivan

After hearing yesterday that Aaron Curry has been taking some practice snaps at Defensive End, I started thinking about the Seahawks defense might look in years to come (I'm not sure why -- Curry would undoubtedly remain a LB if the Hawks did move to a 3-4, but whatever). We have noted before on here that a number of the new defensive coaches have some, if not most, of their experience operating from a 3-4 defense. Do the Seahawks have the pieces to run a hybrid 4-3/3-4 defense?

The Line

The Seahawks bolstered their defensive line this year by adding nose tackle Colin Cole and Defensive End / DT Cory Redding. They also made an attempt to acquire Chris Canty, the standout 3-4 DE from Dallas. If the Hawks were looking to move to a 3-4 defense, these two additions would seem to be key. I imagine the line would be Cory Redding - Colin Cole - Patrick Kerney/Lawrence Jackson. Jackson has the ability to slide in and play DT in 4-3 and has the size (and frame to add more bulk) that you look for in a 3-4 End.

The problem here is that Cole would be the main cog on the defensive line in the 3-4. The Hawks will not intentionally take Brandon Mebane out for more than a few plays each drive. Though Mebane has proven that he can be a very good nose tackle, it appears that his best fit is in the three-tech position. If he can get 6.5 sacks with two blockers on him just wait until next year, right?

The Linebackers

Well, not a whole lot changes here. OLBs will remain Curry and Hill and they will likely continue their less-than-typical lineup with the Weakside--Hill--being the dominant pass-rusher and Curry dropping into coverage more frequently against the TE on the strongside. The roles are fluid though, as both Hill and Curry will be asked to cover and to rush the passer. Inside Linebackers would be Tatupu (obviously) who would remain the QB of the defense, and likely DD Lewis or Will Herring. Herring brings cover skills that none of the other linebackers can match, which would take some of the pressure off the OLBs despite that not frequently being the main role of the ILBs. Lewis and Tatupu are both good against the run, so they would likely be the guys.

Long Run Prospects?

I'd say that the likelihood of us seeing a lot of 3-4 is fairly minimal this year. The guys are learning an all-new system anyway, so throwing wrinkles in doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Still, in the coming years it would present an opportunity for the Seahawks to show another look to offenses and to bring the versatility that we keep hearing about to another level. In order for the Seahawks to flash a lot of 3-4 in coming years, the two positions that would need to be filled are a second Inside Linebacker with a rush-stopping specialty and a second large defensive end to fill in for the likely-departing Cory Redding.

What are your thoughts? Where am I wrong?

Read More!

Still No Contract for Morrah

by: Mike Parker

Since the Seahawks mistakenly announced the signing of 7th-round pick TE Cameron Morrah a week ago, things have been quiet ever since. For Morrah, at least.

The mistaken announcement came wedged between the signings of former Oregon DE Nick Reed and former Rutgers teammates QB Mike Teel and S Courtney Greene. Since Teel was a 6th-round pick, one has to wonder what happened with Morrah. Teams normally go in a backwards-progression style when it comes to signing new draft picks, saving the top-tier picks for last. And seeing how Morrah's fellow 7th-rounders already have deals in place, it's kind of strange as to why there was a mistake in the initial announcement and then dead silence on the matter for the following seven days. (Seven seems to be the unlucky number at work here. And that joke was almost as bad as one of Sullivan's.)

Morrah entered the draft as a junior, coming out of Cal. His production rose dramatically from the 2007 to 2008 seasons, which likely bolstered his confidence and drove him to declare for the draft before finishing school. Everyone has their own opinion on that topic, but I'm hoping immaturity isn't a factor with Morrah's curious situation. If he's a 7th-round pick holding out for 6th-rounder money, we may be looking at a bit of a problem before we even realize it.

Hopefully that's not the case. Even with John Carlson, Joe Newton and John Owens already on the team, there would be room for another tough pass-catching tight end in Greg Knapp's offense. Knapp has already said he's going to be utilizing a lot of two-TE sets with the new system, so the issue isn't a matter of Morrah fitting in with the roster.

Whatever it is, I hope it's just a minor setback and not the onset to some dispute that's being kept behind closed doors for now. In all seriousness, I doubt that's what's happening, but one can't help but speculate when these things arise. (Though I admit the fact that there's very little else to pay attention to in Seahawk news lately also helps.)

END Read More!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Aaron Curry: Pass Rusher

by: Mike Parker

That's the word coming down from Renton today, as the No.4-overall pick has reportedly spent lots of time rushing the passer in minicamps.

Curry has been able to effectively get to the quarterback in recent practices at the VMAC, but this is all happening, of course, without any pads on. Things could see something of a drastic shift in either direction once training camp gets underway.

Still, Curry recently told Mitch Levy on KJR that he "plays linebacker and defensive end." If that's the case and translates well into the preseason games, it'll be interesting to see how often the Seahawks utilize his skills on passing downs. The added versatility can't hurt, but how crowded is defensive end going to get? Kerney, Tapp, Lo-Jack and Nick Reed are already on the roster, with Cory Redding expected to put in some time on the outside to boot. Can Curry's pass rush ability really shine through, even above his exceptional skills at linebacker?

Still, the team drafted him to play linebacker, and I imagine that's where he'll spend the majority of his time. Who says he can't become the next Julian Peterson anyway? (And possibly even surpass him?)

END Read More!

Cards Fans On the Defensive?

by: Mike Parker

It would appear that Cardinal fans have gone on the offensive with regards to their impending Super Bowl hangover season. Mike Sando's recent mailbag had reader Brad from New York writing in to make a case that Seahawk Nation is going to vehemently disagree with:

Brad from New York writes: I find it quite amusing that Rams, Seahawks and 49ers fans comment on the lack of Cardinals-related questions. As a "life-long" Cardinals fan [who grew up in NYC and lived through more Giant beatdowns than you can imagine], allow me to help these disgruntled fans better understand the reality of the NFC West.

1) There is no team in the division that can stop our offense, period. Break it down all you want, but the Cardinals will never be out of a game.

2) The Cards have a playmaking defense. Do they give up a lot of points and suffer from mind-lapses? Yes. But again, no team in the division can match the pick-6 ability that the Cards employ, not to mention their ability to force fumbles. These abilities can not be underestimated.

3) The Cardinals are the only team with a solidified coach in Ken Whisenhunt. All three other coaches are either new, fill-ins or inexperienced. The Cardinals know what to expect and how to handle their business.

These points add up to a single premise -- the Cardinals will barely be challenged for the 2009 NFC West crown. We don't really have a lot of questions. Sorry, guys.
Sando replied with the following:
Barely be challenged? That was last season. Here's hoping we have a division race to analyze come December.
I think Brad here is conveniently leaving out a slew of question marks in Cardinal-ville, including the fact that their offensive coordinator took a head coaching job in Kansas City. I'm predicting his absence will be felt, especially in light of the comments Kurt Warner made just after his departure about the chemistry they had. Plus, Warner's ability to perform at such a high level as last year remains a point of speculation. In a year where all the QB question marks seem to be thrown at Hasselbeck and his health, (which are admittedly valid for now), no one seems to be mentioning anything about Warner pushing 40 and working with a brand-new offensive coordinator.

Also, there were times last year when the Cardinals' defense just fell asleep at the wheel. The blowouts at the hands of the Vikings and Patriots that wound down the Cards' 2008 season are direct examples of this suspect area of the team. No Cards fan can make the argument that Leinart's two fumbles under center in the snow at New England were to blame -- allowing 47 points with a secondary featuring Dominique Rogers-Cromartie and Adrian Wilson just should not happen.

And let's not forget about Anquan Boldin's and Karlos Dansby's contract-related issues the Cardinals still causing drama. Boldin has said he wants a trade and hasn't reported to any of Arizona's offseason activities thus far.

Furthermore, while Ken Whisenhunt may be the only returning head coach in the NFC West this year, the entire coaching staff beneath him basically conducted a mass exodus after the season was over. I realize the Seahawks are in the same category here, as special teams coach Bruce DeHaven is one of the only remaining pieces of the Holmgren-era regime still active with the team, so this situation could go either way for either team. But it depends on chemistry, morale and a heap of other issues that will take shape as the season goes on. I'd give the advantage here to Jim Mora & company, simply because he's brought former cohorts such as Greg Knapp to Seattle.

All in all, I think Sando's right when he says this season's NFC West crown could be a much tougher race than it has in years past. The Cards are undoubtedly a good team on paper, as are the Seahawks. The 49ers also seem to have something resembling a pulse now that Mike Singletary is at the helm, but the Rams are still looking at a long road back to credibility.

Either way, I presume the Cardinals will not "barely be challenged" in 2009.

END Read More!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I Saw Hawks

by: Chris Sullivan

Well, I figured I might as well give a bit of a wrap-up of yesterday's day. The wife and I headed out to Tacoma to check out Bobby Engram's softball game. There were a ton of Seahawks (and other NFL players) there including an unplanned appearance by Lofa Tatupu who basically filled in for the no-show Aaron Curry. More on that later.

Then we headed back into Seattle for the Pro Shop partayyy starring all the rookies (less Unger). That was good times too. So, who did I bump into and what were my impressions? I'm glad I asked. I mean you. Asked.

Colin Cole -- okay, so, technically this was yesterday but I held off on reporting because there's not a whole lot to say. Cole was 40 minutes late (boo), but came pushing a stroller with his wife and kids in tow. Extra points for bringing them all there. Cole himself was a mountain of a man and honestly looked like about 95% muscle. I made no efforts to invoke his ire.

Nate Burleson -- the first of the day, my eagle-eyed wife saw Burleson pre-autograph table and he seemed like an awesome guy, gave everyone autographs and took pictures and looked genuinely happy doing so. One guy mentioned that the only jersey he had was Nasty Nate's, which he definitely thought was rad, which was, y'know, rad.

Darryl Tapp -- Seemed like a great guy, we again caught him pre-table as he was arriving (the wife's eyes again). He was in a hurry, but was happy to walk and give autographs, which he did for the three or four of us who noticed him. Couldn't have been nicer. He swung by our section and spoke with a few fans for about 3-5 minutes.

Leonard "The Weave" Weaver -- generous with his time and was very gracious, said nothing bad about the organization when some people were basically trying to get him to. "It's business, I loved it here, I'll love it in Philadelphia, I just love football." He appreciated my "Church Van" reference.

Marcus Trufant -- Got mobbed by fans as he was arriving but was incredibly patient, took photos, signed everything, took more photos when peoples' cameras jammed, et cetera. Appreciative of comments and was in no hurry to get past the fans, despite being called to the field by the dude from KISW. Haha.

Deon Butler -- Not the best softball player, but seemed like an awesome guy. We're at the pro shop signing now, by the way. Butler was chatty and very low-key, and a pretty funny guy. I'm not sure, but I think he might have slipped my wife his number. I presume thats just so we can interview him...

Nick Reed -- didn't say much but was "enjoying Seattle." Looks exactly like his scouting pictures. Exactly. It was kind of creepy, but in a mostly good way. Everyone thought he was Max Unger (who wasn't there).

Mike Teel -- he's just a regular everyday normal guy, and easily would have blended in with the crowd. He was friendly and had one of the most legible signatures, so that was cool.

Devin Moore -- yes, he is little, but he was also very friendly and refused to boldly proclaim that he was going to beat out Justin Forsett (I had to ask). He said that Forsett was a great athlete and we'll see how things go. Nice attitude!

Courtney Greene -- Greene wins the award for nicest signature, but not for nicest guy. He looked grumpy and not very approachable. Probably just a bad day, but he was sort of slumped in the chair.

Aaron Curry -- Well, what can I say? I think it must have just been a bad day for Aaron. Nothing that I've seen from him has been anything but happy and friendly. He showed up late (about an hour) after not showing up at the softball game in the earlier part of the day. When the 60-70 of us got through to get his signature, he didn't seem particularly engaging with fans, wasn't looking at us, talking to us much, and after signing my stuff he said something about Lofa Tatupu's house being huge, while ignoring my wife holding her hat out. Heh. No big deal, like I said, I'm sure there was something else going on yesterday -- these guys do have lives outside of football. It was not impressive though, and actually quite disappointing.

He sure looks like he can play football though!

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

2005 Hawks vs. 2008 Cardinals

by: Chris Sullivan

Hey Addicts, just a heads up that things will be a bit slow today. I'm going to the Bobby Engram Foundation softball game, and will report back when I return.

In the meantime, I thought I would post a fun little simulation I ran last night on whatifsports.com. I pitted the 2005 Seahawks vs. the 2008 Cardinals -- with the Hawks favoring a West Coast offense attack and the Cardinals going pass-heavy -- to see which team was better. Here is the simulation, I did 15 games -- 7 at home for the Cardinals followed by 7 at home for the Seahawks followed by 1 game on a neutral field.


2005 Seahawks

2008 Cardinals














































Boom! Seahawks won 10 of the 15 match ups. We are the champions!!!

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