Friday, April 20, 2018

Seahawks 2018 Schedule



There you have it-- the Seahawks 2018 schedule is now official.

Altogether, it's a relatively favorable schedule.  Rough start with 5 of the first 7 games taking the team on the road, including the Seahawks first trip across the pond to London. However, they get a mid-season bye and a bevy of home games in the latter portion of the season.

Both games against the 49ers occur in the first half of December, almost guaranteeing that Richard Sherman will be active to face his former team. Seattle also reignites the rivalry against Aaron Rodgers on a Thursday Night game. The Fail Mary game was a prime time match up as well-- so brace yourselves for plenty of throwback references. 

I like to stick by my idea that, if the team can start the season 4-2 or better, the playoffs are a reasonable expectation.  There's plenty of evidence suggesting they might just do that this year.  Denver is in a bit of a rebuild, Chicago is still unproven. Dallas comes in for the home opener with the momentum of the 12s in Seattle's corner. We don't yet know what to expect from Arizona, but I'm certainly not threatened by Sam Bradford. Hell, Carson Palmer had been healthier than him recently.

Rams will be the cream of the crop in the NFC West, at least until proven otherwise. I'll surrender that game to them, despite being at home. Oakland should rebound under Jon Gruden, but even if we lose the game in the UK-- Seattle should have a winning record heading into the bye.

It should be an exciting year we're looking forward to. With the draft coming up next Thursday, we'll be sure to call upon our resident draft expert, Adam Householder.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Predraft Presumptions

Welcome to the worst part of the NFL calendar year.

Free agency has cooled down and the draft is still weeks away. We've just come out of March Madness and baseball is underway.  Meaningful football games are still months away.

The only news that typically comes out of this period is of the unfortunate variety.  Off-field issues, mostly.  Nothing really good ever comes out during this limbo-like time frame.

This is when speculation dominates the headlines and bad ideas are rampant.  So, in the spirit of the (off) season, let's make some absurd, unfounded guesses for the coming year.


Pete Carroll wins his first 'Coach of the Year' award.

Let's face it-- it should've already happened. There were at least two seasons wherein Pete deserved this accolade, but instead saw it given to another of his peers.  With all of the roster turnover, many could argue that this season feels the least likely period of Carroll's career to snare this award.  However, that is precisely why I think he's (unintentionally) set up to win this year.

You could chalk up Pete's first roster overhaul to dumb luck.  As I've pointed out before, one excellent and one really good draft set this team up for long-term success.  By every account, this reboot felt at least premature and at best unnecessary.

If Carroll's team can overcome their personnel losses, the tremendous improvements made across their division, and still make the playoffs-- it will be extremely hard to deny him that accolade a third time.


Seahawks will fail to produce a 1,000 rusher for the 4th consecutive season.

The last Seahawk to finish the season with 1,000 rushing yards was Marshawn Lynch in 2014. Once again, it seems the Seahawks are content with placing the burden of the run game on another 2nd year back coming off of a serious injury.  It didn't work last time when Thomas Rawls was in that position-- and it would be foolish to assume that Chris Carson will have better luck.

Seattle hasn't given any indication that they plan to draft a running back in the first round, but they should.  Behind Carson is a bunch of guys that proved they didn't have the chops last season. Oh yeah, did I mention the Rams have Suh and Donald on their defensive front?


Seattle will reunite the Griffin Brothers.

This felt a lot more realistic when Shaquem was snubbed from the combine. Once the younger brother was invited and proceeded to put on one hell of a display-- his draft stock rose dramatically.

Shaquem appears to have a 3rd round grade on him, for which the Seahawks do not have a selection. However, the Seahawks now find themselves without Richard Sherman and have a desperate need at cornerback. The Seahawks could conceivably trade into the third round to fill that role by selecting Griffin.

Shaquem could play linebacker, corner or possibly even free safety.  A Griffin brother reunion would be much more than a heartwarming story-- it would provide the Seahawks with much needed defensive depth.


Earl Thomas will be traded before the draft.

Haven't we gone through enough this offseason? The prospect of losing perhaps the biggest personality on the team is unsettling for most fans, but it might be in the best interest of the future of the team.

Earl could net the Seahawks a handful of picks, including a first round selection.  If Seattle believes that they could potentially land a serviceable rookie with a high developmental ceiling to replace Thomas through the draft, they could save themselves the headache of trying to squeeze a long-term extension for Earl into their salary cap next year.

It would be tough on all of us to see Earl's name added to the long list of beloved players that have departed this offseason.  Still, it might be easier to swallow now, when we could recoup some of the loss through a trade, then to wait until next year when we could lose him outright-- especially if we're coming off of a losing season.


In an unprecedented move, Seattle will actually trade up in the first round of the draft.

Perhaps Seattle has learned from the past few drafts that conventional wisdom is conventional for a reason. While there are always gems to be found in the later stages of the draft, the top 25 players are generally universally agreed upon and selected in the first round.

Seattle has too many important roles to address to be gambling on late draft selections to fill them. Irrespective of an Earl Thomas trade, it would not be a terrible idea for Seattle to get ahead of that situation by trading up to select safety Derwin James out of Florida State.  James could study under Thomas, like Thomas did with Lawyer Milloy before him, while providing high-quality insurance behind MacDougald.  If Thomas is traded, James had shown he has the tools to be a day one starter.

Additionally, a trade up for hometown stud Vita Vea could address a pressing need on the defensive line.  Naz Jones showed great promise last year and Jarran Reed has been a quality starter, but both of them have had bouts with injury. Adding Vea to that mix would create a dominant defensive line that would tremendously benefit a young defensive backfield. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

After a lot of subtraction, Seahawks move on to addition


Finally, after a whirlwind of personnel dismissals, the Seahawks are starting to add to their organization.

Curb your enthusiasm-- these moves aren't likely to excite you much.

Seattle's tight ends group was depleted and fans were revved up at the prospect of local kid, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, potentially joining the squad. However, that never actually transpired.  Instead, the Seahawks signed another relatively local player in Ed Dixon.  Dixon grew up in California, played college ball at Oregon and spent his entire career on the east coast. 

He looks to be the blocker that Jimmy Graham never was and flashed a bit of the athleticism we've seen from Luke Willson.  I'm not sure he'll adequately replace either of those guys.  Paired with Nick Vannett, Seattle may still need to look to the draft for additional stability.

Safety Maurice Alexander, who had previously spent time with the Rams, is the latest addition to the Seahawks defensive backfield. I believe he was more or less a special teams guy in Los Angeles, so his role might be taking over those tasks in Seattle while freeing up Tedrick Thompson and Delano Hill to compete with Brad MacDougald to fill the potential safety vacancies.

Additionally, Seattle brought on Jaron Brown from the Cardinals.  I think they could've found a player of similar production in the draft or as a UDFA, but it does give Seattle some receiver depth going forward. There's talk that Russell Wilson is actively trying to recruit Terrell Pryor back to Seattle, too.

While none of this signings should make your heart palpitate, they do give a little depth to a decimated roster that might make the draft a little easier.  The Seahawks have too many needs to expect the draft to solve all of their problems. 

We've seen too often the role attrition plays in the league year, so it helps to go into the draft with some wiggle room.  This has become a bit of a rebuilding year, but the Seahawks are still poised to be a good team moving ahead. 

Lots of free agency action lies ahead before next month's draft.  In the meantime, relax and enjoy the music player below.  As some of you may be aware, outside of football, music is one of my other great passions.  The player below is loaded with some of the songs I've written and performed on.  I'm currently working on a new album and a book that I hope will be ready to release this winter.



Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Seahawks have problems-- and it ain't with the players

When Pete Carroll arrived on the scene shortly before this blog was created, people were amazed with his unique approach to running the organization.

Here was this guy, at the time the second oldest coach in the league, with this new, hip approach that seemingly went against every notion of the classic, hard-ass head coach archetype we had grown accustomed to. 

We were told repeatedly that Pete's philosophy was that every individual's uniqueness would be nurtured and embraced, so long as they bought into the Always Compete & Win Forever mantras that were established in Carroll's days at USC.

Wouldn't you know?  It appeared to have worked.

Marshawn Lynch, whose career was beginning to sputter out in Buffalo, saw a tremendous resurgence once he landed with Carroll's Seahawks. To think that we got him for a 5th round pick seems laughable today.

Lynch wasn't the only unconventional athlete that thrived under Carroll's system.  Guys like Frank Clark and Bruce Irvin were thought of as thugs too risky to risk a high draft choice, came to fruition in Seattle.

The Seahawks went on to win one Super Bowl and narrowly lose a second under Pete.  However, the past season or two have seen the Seahawks show signs of inner turmoil that haven't really been addressed by Seahawks leadership.

Fast forward to today-- the Seahawks have traded Michael Bennett to the Eagles and there are rumors that Richard Sherman may have played his last game for Seattle. 

Again, as of right now, no one in the Seahawks front office has offered any clarity on the issue, but it has been mentioned that these moves were at least partially motivated by these player's vocal stance on social issues.

If there is even a kernel of truth to that statement-- I have effectively lost faith in the Carroll/Schneider regime.

You can't tell your team to buy in to a philosophy that encourages them to be themselves, only to turn around and tell them to 'shut up and play' because they took a stance on a polarizing issue that affects their lives both on and off the field.

Not only is that astonishingly disingenuous-- but its foolish on a whole other level when you consider the current state of the roster.

By my count, Seattle has 8 selections in the upcoming draft.  Most off which fall on the last two days of the draft. When all is said and done, the Seahawks could very likely find themselves without Sherman, Chancellor, Thomas, Bennett, Richardson and Avril from their defense alone.

I would bet my life that they won't replace that groups production from the draft this year, even if they completely ignore the offensive issues.

Seattle is preparing to enter the 3rd season post-Marshawn and nobody knows who will start at running back to open the season.  Evidently, it's Chris Carson, who, like Thomas Rawls before him, shined his rookie season in a small sample of appearances and is returning from a difficult injury. Rawls was never the same after breaking his leg, but unless Seattle takes a running back in the first round of this upcoming draft-- I'm forced to believe that they feel that was a fluke, rather than learning from their past experiences.

The offensive line is still a major concern.  I suppose we're hoping a revamped coaching staff will get better results from the resources we've thrown at the offense the past few years.  Again, I wouldn't count on that, but what do I know?

It certainly feels like the Seahawks have attempted to kill a spider with a flame thrower.  Instead of reloading, it looks like we're rebuilding-- which shouldn't be the case for a team that has a proven franchise quarterback.

To blame any of this team's recent shortcomings on the off-field antics of any player not named Malik McDowell is nothing more than an excuse. Pete's vague optimism was charming when the team was having great success, but it's starting to get annoying.

If Seattle misses the playoffs next year outside of a serious injury to Russell Wilson, it will be past due for us to stop mindlessly chanting "In Pete & John we trust!" and start demanding that he be more transparent with explaining his actions.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Seahawks Year in Review

I suppose I should write an end-of-the-year summation.

I just can't bring myself to do it.

The 2017 season was not supposed to end this way. The Seahawks were not supposed to miss the playoffs-- even with the Rams' stellar year. It'd been five seasons since the Seahawks season ended after 16 games.

The Seahawks entered Week 17 with their destiny in the hands of others. They needed to not only win their home game against the Cardinals, but they needed the Panthers to eliminate the Falcons.

Much like the Seahawks, Carolina didn't look all that interested in making the playoffs.

As soon as the Panthers' lost-- the Seahawks season was over.

That wasn't the disappointing part. With the opportunity to still go out on a high note-- Seattle found
a way to lose to an Arizona team that trotted out their back up quarterback and a losing record.

Leading up to the game, Cardinals coach, Bruce Arians, made a comment in the locker room that was captured on camera where he suggested that CenturyLink Field is their home field.

Evidently, that bulletin board material and playoff hopes wasn't enough to motivate the Seahawks.

It was a fitting end to a season wrought with bad luck.  A season where nothing seemed to go as planned.  The problems started about this time last year.

The Seahawks ultimately decided that their solution to filling the hole left behind by Marshawn Lynch was signing Eddie Lacy to pair with Thomas Rawls, who was coming off of a broken ankle.

I said from the start that this was risky and insufficient. Lacy, when healthy, was declining in production.  Even behind Aaron Rodgers, who has made a career out of making mediocre backs look great.

Rawls looked great in 8 games his rookie season, but we had no reason to think that he'd produce at that level once healthy. Alex Collins hadn't shown any promise, despite making the Pro Bowl for the Ravens after getting cut.  Chris Carson was a 7th round pick-- who would've thought he'd end up the starter?

One of the teams I have been comparing the Seahawks against this year is the Minnesota Vikings.  Like Seattle, the Vikings had recently parted ways with a back that was legendary to their franchise. Minnesota's approach was much smarter than Seattle's.

The Vikings already had Jerrick McKinnon on their roster, likely drafted as an eventual replacement for Adrian Peterson. McKinnon never quite emerged as a starer, but like Rawls, showed flashes of promise.

They then brought in free agent Latavious Murray, but didn't stop there.  Early in the second round of the draft, they took the speedy Dalvin Cook. They covered all their bases in an attempt to replace a legend. 

Also like Seattle-- it didn't exactly work out as planned.  Dalvin Cook looked like he was a runaway candidate for Rookie of the Year before his season-ending injury. However, the Vikings had sufficient depth to overcome the loss.

The Vikings had every bit as much attrition as the Seahawks.  Arguably more.  Yet, they were a game away from the Super Bowl while the Seahawks stayed home.

Now, the Seahawks are riddled with question marks heading into the offseason. They've already cut a ton of staff, including key personnel Darrell Bevell, Tom Cable and Chris Richard.


Their replacements were anything but exciting to Seattle's disappointed fan base. This report from Rotoworld (left) hits it right on the head quite eloquently.

Schottenheimer hasn't had much success to stand behind.  Despite the clear nepotism in play, most of the people that have worked with Schottenheimer rave about his dedication to the game.

Bringing back Ken Norton, Jr. to run the defense is more exciting.  Norton struggled in Oakland after leaving the Seahawks, but the Seahawks defense was never better than when he was on staff.

Another promising hire was Tom Cable's replacement, Mike Solari.  Solari is a proven offensive line coach with 30 plus years of experience.  As well regarded as Cable was, I never saw significant development from any of the linemen in his tenure.  Hopefully, Solari can provide a fresh perspective and scheme that helps keep our franchise quarterback clean.

It's not just the coaching staff that will look vastly different from the previous season.  Seattle has some difficult roster decisions to make for the future.

It has been suggested that the Seahawks will look to move on from Richard Sherman in the wake of his Achilles injury and the fact that he's entering the final year of his contract.  I think it would be incredibly foolish of the Seahawks to do anything with Sherman this year. 

Let 2018 play out.  If he bounces back from injury anywhere close to where he was before-- try to resign him.  If not, let him test the free agent market next off season. Seattle has nothing to lose. Just don't handle his inevitable departure like the Giants did with Eli.

Similar tough calls will have to be made throughout the roster.  Should the Seahawks resign Paul Richardson or look to upgrade in the draft? Will the Seahawks be able to keep both Michael Bennett and Sheldon Richardson? Will Kam Chancellor or Cliff Avril ever play again?

Those questions will be easier to answer once the free agency period is underway and after the draft. The bottom line is that Seattle has a lot of work to do in order to get back to the playoffs. They will need to be active in free agency, trades and the draft to revamp this roster.  They have the most important piece of the puzzle-- but they have to do a better job building around him than they did last season.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Fitting End to a Rough Year-- Seahawks 24 Cardinals 26

Seattle needed just two things to go there way to put themselves three games away from their 3rd Super Bowl appearance under Pete Carroll.

They needed to handle their business at home against a floundering division rival and they needed the Panthers to express some interest in winning their division by beating Atlanta.

Tampa Bay rallied to beat New Orleans, which meant that a Panthers win would give Carolina the NFC North title. Unfortunately, Cam Newton played like shit and the Falcons' victory eliminated the Seahawks from the playoffs, regardless of the outcome of Seattle's game.

Seattle, before a raucous home crowd, did what they had done too many times all season.

The committed too many penalties.  They failed to convert third downs. They started slow.  They played down to their competition.  They could not run the football.

Perhaps most fitting of all, Blair Walsh missed the game-winning field goal wide right. 

I'd love to think that Vikings fans are having a good chuckle at our expense, but they're probably just enjoying their team's victory and dreaming of a home Super Bowl.

There's no doubt that the rash of significant injuries suffered by key personnel played a substantial role in Seattle's struggles this season.  I'll dig deeper into those when I write my end of the season review, but I wanted to bring them up now because I do not want to hear about them being an excuse this season.

Injuries are a part of the game.  Since it's a quarterback-driven league, unless your signal caller is knocked out for the year, the expectation is for you to figure it out and move on.

If anyone tries to peddle this BS excuse to you-- remind them that we just lost on our home field to Drew Stanton and the David Johnson-less Cardinals.  They were without their best player (Johnson) and their franchise QB.

Additionally, the Vikings lost their franchise QB last year to an injury that kept him out almost two full seasons.  They then traded their first round pick to acquire Sam Bradford, who was lost for the year.  Couple that with the fact that, when their franchise-leading running back, Adrian Peterson, parted ways like Marshawn Lynch did with us-- they didn't just hope that an undrafted kid would hop right in and assume the load.  They drafted Dalvin Cook, one of the top rated backs in the draft, only to see him lost for the year early in the season.

Now, Mike Zimmer could've made excuses for his misfortune.  He could have even sat out the year to recover from a serious eye issue that caused him to miss some time.  Instead, the Vikings made adjustments and now have a first round bye in the playoffs.

The Seahawks problems in this game were no different that their problems all season long-- and probably the past two seasons, as well.  Pete Carroll's belief in his philosophy is so steadfast that he seems blinded by reality.

I, personally, have completely bought in to Carroll's philosophy-- but it is nothing short of maddening to see them flat out ignore the cold hard reality of what is right in front of them.

The Seahawks were hit hard by injuries and had some preseason gambles bust on them. They are by no means the only team that can claim that hardship this year.  Good teams find a way to play to their strengths-- even if that means throwing out the game plan and starting from scratch.  There is no pride to glean from 'going down with the ship'. 

Maybe Dave Wyman is right-- perhaps I'm spoiled by the Seahawks recent string of success. 

But we were never without Russell Wilson this season.  Not even a half-injured Russell Wilson.  When you have a player like that on your team, there is no reason to not win ten games. 
 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Staying Alive-- Seahawks 21 @ Cowboys 12

The Seahawks, despite a lackluster offensive performance, managed to keep their postseason hopes alive in Dallas on Christmas Eve.

In an atmosphere that felt strangely like a playoff game, Seattle fended off the freshly reinstated Zeke Elliott and the Cowboys while the Falcons lost their game, keeping Seattle squarely in the hunt for the final NFC Wild Card spot.

The defense was able to shake off an abysmal showing against Los Angeles last week to hold the Cowboys to a handful of field goals. Largely due to having KJ and Bobby back in the lineup, but also due to the fact that Dak Prescott simply isn't that great. I admittedly haven't seen much of Dak's film but he did not live up to the residual hype of his rookie season.

I've watched enough of the Seahawks to know that our defense is in arguably its roughest shape since Pete Carroll arrived and they made the Cowboys look nothing more than ordinary on Christmas Eve.

The offense continues to look lost.  Even Wilson has played his way out of the MVP discussion, despite Carson Wentz being done for the year and Tom Brady having nothing to play for the final few weeks of this season.

Even with everything on the line and a relatively healthy offense, all Seattle has done to affect the MVP race recently was to put an enormous spotlight on Todd Gurley.

Nevertheless, we find ourselves with one game remaining in the regular season.  It's a home game, though that doesn't seem to hold the same regard this season.  It's against a crestfallen Cardinals team that has not only no playoff hopes, but will quite possibly be without Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and coach Bruce Arians next season. Also, the Seahawks destiny isn't solely in their own hands-- we need to not only win our match up with Arizona, but a Carolina win over Atlanta in order to play football in January.

Oh, yeah.  Even if all of that falls the Seahawks way, it's more than likely that they will have to play the Rams in the Wild Card game.  Sure, we beat them in LA, but the most recent game appeared to show that the Seahawks have no answer for Gurley and Goff.

I desperately hope that Seattle is able to reach their sixth consecutive post season, but I'm admittedly not terribly optimistic of their chances.  Not only to get in to the playoffs-- but what they might accomplish, should they get in.

If not for the majesty of number 3, this would've long since been considered a lost season for the Seahawks. Not only have the Seahawks been severe victims of attrition, but seemingly every gamble they took in the offseason has seemingly blown up in their faces. 

I will undoubtedly have a lot to say when they season is ultimately completed for the Seahawks, but I will say this with confidence-- if the defense can perform anywhere close to its potential and the offensive line simply doesn't play its worst games in January -- Russell Wilson has the potential to win the Super Bowl.

There's just one guaranteed game left this season-- keep dreaming.