Monday, August 22, 2016

Seahawks 11 Vikings 18 -- SeahawksFTW 0 Dish/KCPQ 2

Preseason games are often described as 'meaningless'.  That assessment has never sat well with me.  If you want to call the Pro Bowl meaningless, I'll give you that.  As much as I personally enjoy seeing the best (non-Super Bowl qualified) players in the league kick back, be themselves and compete in skills challenges-- I'm more than willing to admit that it is a meaningless event.

But how can you possibly make the same distinction for the entire preseason?

Yes, the outcome of preseason games has zero effect on your team's post season opportunity.  But outside of that, the preseason is integral in preparing your team for the all-important regular season.

Position battles are decided in the preseason.  For better or worse, teams watch these games closely to determine their depth chart heading into the season.  They watch other teams to see if there might be someone on another roster that could improve their team via trade or free agency.  Preseason ultimately determines who gets tucked away onto the practice squad for future development.

Hell, if you don't think the practice squad is important-- just look at how many former Seahawks are on teams through out the league.  The Chiefs specifically have raided Seattle's practice squad many times.

Whatever your opinion is of the preseason, you have to admit that it is comforting to know that football is back and getting to watch your team play, even in a 'meaningless' game, gets you fired up for the real deal.

For Dish subscribers such as myself-- this preseason has been a nightmare.

Imagine paying for HBO.  Sure, HBO has a wealth of tremendous programming from documentaries to blockbuster films.  While you enjoy the breadth of shows that they offer-- you consider yourself first and foremost a Game of Thrones fan.

Now, imagine you're about a month out from the season premier of  'Thrones' and you discover that HBO is squabbling with the producers of the show about money. The consequence of these two incredibly wealthy entities results in you not being able to watch the show.   You're still paying for HBO, you still have access to a myriad of programming-- but not the show that is the primary factor in your decision to become an HBO subscriber.  You can spend more of your own money to get a device that allows you to watch the show with much poorer quality-- but why should you have to shell out more of your money when you had no role in the quarrel to begin with?  Remember: the two parties that are causing this disruption have PLENTY of money.

This is how Dish customers that are Seahawks fans feel right now.

So, with regard to the Vikings/Seahawks match up this past Thursday, I ordered a set of digital rabbit ears that Amazon failed to deliver on time.  My wife then went to Fry's and purchased the set that the associate recommended to her-- aaaaaand it didn't work.

I hadn't eaten all day, utterly exhausted from moving this week and I was about to put my fist through the TV before I finally found a website that could stream the game just moments before kick off.  We ate and watched the first half of the game but as the stress brought on by the continued uncertainty of whether or not we would be able to watch the game subsided-- I passed out from fatigue around halftime.

Once again, I'm unable to give very detailed analysis and who knows if I'll have things resolved in time for the 3rd preseason game. The preseason matters because it has implications that will carry into the regular season and ultimately the playoffs.

The same can be said for this Dish dispute-- and I'm terrified to think that it could impact the regular season and playoffs for me and tons of other subscribers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Come from Behind in KC-- Seahawks 17 Chiefs 16

I had the pleasure of flying out to Chicago this past weekend to witness my sister's engagement.  I knew that it was more than likely that I would not be able to find the time to watch the Seahawks preseason opener-- at least not with the attention I would normally pay it-- but I wasn't worried, because I knew that I could just DVR it and watch it when I got back.

Or, so I thought.

My wife called me Saturday morning to inform me that Dish Network, our cable provider, is beefing with local channels who are demanding Dish pay to carry their signal, despite the fact that their broadcasts are supposed to be free to the local public.  While I appreciate Dish's effort to prevent having to pass the buck to the customer, they should have made considerably more noise BEFORE the football season was upon us, if they wanted any support or sympathy.


Not only was I unable to record the game-- I now have the issue of 'how the hell am I going to watch the NFL season this year?' to deal with moving forward.

Fortunately for me, I was able to tune in on the hotel's NFL Network broadcast to catch the last quarter of the game.  More specifically, I was able to watch Trevone Boykin lead a group of guys fighting for roster spots on a game-winning two minute drill.

Since I was unable to watch the game first hand, I will share with you some of the observations I've heard on local sports radio this week.

From all accounts, the offensive line looks good.  No one was comfortable with the idea of 5 new

Christine Michael might be pushing for the starting running back job.  Sometimes, a swift kick in the ass is what someone needs to live up to their potential.  Michael got that after bouncing around the league last season before ultimately returning to the team that drafted him.  While Michael may not win the starting job from Thomas Rawls, he is making a case to factor into Seattle's run game plans this season.

All in all, the Seahawks are in good form.  Let's hope my digital rabbit ears I purchased on Amazon arrive in time for Thursday night's playoff rematch against the Vikings.
starters taking over the group that protects our franchise quarterback and paves the way for our post-Beastmode run game. Nothing about that situation felt good.  However, it seems like they may have got it right.  Though, it does sound like Garry Gilliam will be returning to the right tackle position he manned last season.  In the aftermath of the first preseason game, it would appear that the only question mark on the line is who will start at left tackle-- the most important spot on the line.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Football is Coming

The past few seasons have spoiled me.

The space between the conclusion of the Super Bowl and kickoff of the first preseason game once had me clamoring for every football morsel I could scavenge. I would beg the Mariners to keep me entertained through the football void and spend hours spanning the internet and listening to sports talk radio.

You may have noticed that I haven't been very active on this blog since the conclusion of the Seahawks playoff run.  Yeah, I wrote about the draft and free agent moves as it pertained to the Seahawks-- but I didn't delve into the minutia of the offseason.

All that matters to me is seeing this team play for keeps.

Bring on the regular season.  I'm ready for another championship run.  While I am excited to see some of the position battles play out over the preseason-- how can you not be stoked for some of the Seahawks regular season matchups this year?

We got a rematch against the Patriots, post-Brady suspension.  We got a shot at revenge with the Panthers coming to the CLink.  Road games against Rodgers and Brees. The rivalry with the Cardinals is bound to intensify this season.  It has all the makings for a special season.

But what will this team look like?

The front office has been tremendous in drafting and retaining talent.  Wilson, Sherman, Thomas, Wagner, Wright, Baldwin and Kearse are all locked up. Sure, Bennett and Chancellor aren't thrilled with their deals, but they are under contract beyond this season.

How strange it will feel not having Beastmode on this team for the first time in years? Everyone is excited to see Thomas Rawls take over, but the question remains whether he can stay healthy for 16 games.  Rawls has demonstrated the ability to emulate Marshawn's aggressive style and big numbers, but Lynch had a consistency and reliability that might be difficult to replace.

Jimmy Graham resumed practicing-- which is great news!  It was reported that he is 15 lbs lighter this season. Couple that with the selection of Nick Vannett in the draft and you have to believe that the Seahawks are going to finally let go of the idea of converting Graham into a Zach Miller-type of blocking tight end and let him do the things that earned him a huge contract in New Orleans as a pass catcher.

Another change that might be less noticeable once the regular season begins is the absence of backup
quarterback, Travaris Jackson.  The Seahawks have opted to go into the preseason with Trevone Boykin, a rookie undrafted free agent, as the presumed backup to Russell and coin toss caller. Jackson got into some off field trouble that he has since been absolved from, but Boykin impressed enough for the team to move on from T-Jack.


 I'm pulling for Boykin.  His play style is complementary to Wilson's and seems like it would be beneficial in keeping the offense in rhythm, should Russell ever miss any time with injury.  He should see considerable playing time in Saturday's matchup in Kansas City.

Perhaps no position group looks more different from last season than the offensive line. Every position across the line will be manned by an entirely different player.  Only Gary Gilliam and Justin Britt started the season before, but even they will play entirely new positions with Gilliams switching from right to left tackle and Britt moving from guard to center. Despite the drastic change, I actually feel better about this season's group than the previous two years.

First round draft pick Germain Ifedi is slated to start at right guard, and he's already showing some grit in training camp. Ifedi has been in multiple scrums with some of the veteran defensive players. This group has to play with an edge this season.  They're getting ripped by criticism before they even set foot on the field.

Football is almost here-- and I'm feeling pretty good about these Seahawks.


Football is Coming

The past few seasons have spoiled me.

The space between the conclusion of the Super Bowl and kickoff of the first preseason game once had me clamoring for every football morsel I could scavenge. I would beg the Mariners to keep me entertained through the football void and spend hours spanning the internet and listening to sports talk radio.

You may have noticed that I haven't been very active on this blog since the conclusion of the Seahawks playoff run.  Yeah, I wrote about the draft and free agent moves as it pertained to the Seahawks-- but I didn't delve into the minutia of the offseason.

All that matters to me is seeing this team play for keeps.

Bring on the regular season.  I'm ready for another championship run.  While I am excited to see some of the position battles play out over the preseason-- how can you not be stoked for some of the Seahawks regular season matchups this year?

We got a rematch against the Patriots, post-Brady suspension.  We got a shot at revenge with the Panthers coming to the CLink.  Road games against Rodgers and Brees. The rivalry with the Cardinals is bound to intensify this season.  It has all the makings for a special season.

But what will this team look like?

The front office has been tremendous in drafting and retaining talent.  Wilson, Sherman, Thomas, Wagner, Wright, Baldwin and Kearse are all locked up. Sure, Bennett and Chancellor aren't thrilled with their deals, but they are under contract beyond this season.

How strange it will feel not having Beastmode on this team for the first time in years? Everyone is excited to see Thomas Rawls take over, but the question remains whether he can stay healthy for 16 games.  Rawls has demonstrated the ability to emulate Marshawn's aggressive style and big numbers, but Lynch had a consistency and reliability that might be difficult to replace.

Jimmy Graham resumed practicing-- which is great news!  It was reported that he is 15 lbs lighter this season. Couple that with the selection of Nick Vannett in the draft and you have to believe that the Seahawks are going to finally let go of the idea of converting Graham into a Zach Miller-type of blocking tight end and let him do the things that earned him a huge contract in New Orleans as a pass catcher.

Another change that might be less noticeable once the regular season begins is the absence of backup
quarterback, Travaris Jackson.  The Seahawks have opted to go into the preseason with Travon Boykin, a rookie undrafted free agent, as the presumed backup to Russell and coin toss caller. Jackson got into some off field trouble that he has since been absolved from, but Boykin impressed enough for the team to move on from T-Jack.


 I'm pulling for Boykin.  His play style is complementary to Wilson's and seems like it would be beneficial in keeping the offense in rhythm, should Russell ever miss any time with injury.  He should see considerable playing time in Saturday's matchup in Kansas City.

Perhaps no position group looks more different from last season than the offensive line. Every position across the line will be manned by an entirely different player.  Only Gary Gilliam and Justin Britt started the season before, but even they will play entirely new positions with Gilliams switching from right to left tackle and Britt moving from guard to center. Despite the drastic change, I actually feel better about this season's group than the previous two years.

First round draft pick Germain Ifedi is slated to start at right guard, and he's already showing some grit in training camp. Ifedi has been in multiple scrums with some of the veteran defensive players. This group has to play with an edge this season.  They're getting ripped by criticism before they even set foot on the field.

Football is almost here-- and I'm feeling pretty good about these Seahawks.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Seahawks 2016 Projected Starters

NFL.com recently released a piece on the projected starters fort the NFC West.

Seattle Seahawks


Seahawks Projected Starters
 OffenseDefense
 QB: Russell WilsonDE: Michael Bennett
 RB: Thomas RawlsDT: Jarran Reed
 WR1: Doug BaldwinDE: Cliff Avril
WR2: Jermaine KearseOLB: K.J. Wright
 WR3 Tyler LockettILB: Bobby Wagner
TE: Jimmy GrahamILB: Brandon Browner
LT: Garry GilliamCB1: Richard Sherman
LG: Mark GlowinskiCB2: Jeremy Lane
C: Justin BrittCB3: DeShawn Shead
RG: Germain IfediS: Earl Thomas
RT: J'Marcus WebbS: Kam Chancellor



















This early in the league year, all we have is speculation to go on.  While I don't entirely agree with this assessment, we should all agree that this year's team will look drastically different from the previous year's team.

They admit that Thomas Rawls and Jimmy Graham are merely penciled in as starters.  In a perfect world-- this will absolutely be the case.  But I doubt Seattle invested a substantial amount of draft picks on running backs and a 3rd round tight end, simply because they were the best players available.  There are serious question marks surrounding the availability of those two key contributors.

While the QB and WR spots are pretty well set in stone, you can bet that the offensive line will shuffle in the preseason. Let's just hope that it is decided by week one and not the ongoing carousel it has been in previous seasons.  Justin Britt will have to come out and take the center position from Patrick Lewis.

It should not simply be handed to him because Seattle invested a 2nd round pick on Britt.  They've given us no reason to believe that they would favor one player over another based on salary or pedigree, but the fact that Patrick Lewis isn't getting the benefit of the doubt for shoring up the line late last season when he took over for Drew Nowak shows that they either aren't satisfied with Lewis or they believe they have something better in Britt-- I'm hoping its the latter.

Their assessment of the projected defensive lineup is peculiar simply because it isn't projecting Seattle's typical Base 4-3 alignment.  Yes, we have heard that Pete Carroll intends on using Brandon Browner in a new and unique role, but that hardly means they'll be basing their defense around that move.

NFL.com makes no mention of Seattle's expressed desire in having Frank Clark transition to Bruce Irvin's vacated role.  I think that will be far more prominent that Browner's involvement, purely based on the age of the two players.

The truth is, we should expect to see several variations of the Seahawks defense depending on the situation.  Chris Clemons is back and will factor into the pass rush.  Jordan Hill has improved with each season and now finds himself in an especially deep (and talented) DT group.  Seattle's DB group looks to be poised for significantly greater competition from the previous year.

We're not going to be able to determine the starting line up for months to come-- and that's great news!  This team has lacked internal competition since winning the Super Bowl three seasons ago, but this year feels like the Seahawks are returning to what made them great.

#AlwaysCompete

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Seahawks 2016 Draft Class


The Seattle Seahawks championship window is far from closing, but last season revealed a myriad of minor but nonetheless legitimate deficiencies throughout the team.

The offensive line was a mess.  As it has in seemingly every season under Pete Carroll, it took weeks before we saw a cohesive semblance of an offensive line. In the two seasons prior to last year, the Seahawks were able to rally through the slow starts and reach the Super Bowl, but last year's sluggish beginning was more than the team could overcome.

Perhaps the biggest reason Seattle fell behind was not having Marshawn Lynch available down the stretch.  This coming season, we won't have him at all.

Couple those challenges with the loss of some outstanding contributors the team took this offseason.  No longer will we have the electric play of Bruce Irvin or the unwavering consistency of Brandon Mebane.  Suffice to say-- Seahawks fans had plenty of question marks heading into the draft.

At the conclusion of this years draft, most of my concerns were alleviated.  Pete and John were tremendous in addressing every area of need on this team.  Given the unpredictable history of their drafts, I genuinely did not know what to expect.  Where they going to get cute and take players they thought were the best available?  It was anybody's guess.

However, they drafted as smartly as they did unpredictably.  The Seahawks were able to trade back a few picks to allow Denver to get their QB of the future while Seattle acquired an additional 3rd round pick before selecting offensive tackle Germain Ifedi with the last pick in the first round.

Right off the bat, they picked up a valuable 3rd round pick and a player to join our weakest position group.

Seattle's next two picks addressed the losses of Brandon Mebane and Marshawn Lynch.  They traded up to grab DT Jarran Reed in the 2nd round and got an explosive, pass-catching playmaker in CJ Prosise.  Prosise will join Thomas Rawls in trying to fill the gaping hole vacated by Lynch.

The most interesting pick the Seahawks made came in the third round when they selected Ohio State tight end, Nick Vannett.  Vannett is a big-bodied blocking tight end who may have been an insurance pick in the case that Jimmy Graham's recovery isn't progressing as hoped.  Luke Willson is also a free agent after this season, so they may be looking to move on from him.

They finished the draft  by snaring two more offensive linemen, an additional defensive tackle, a pair of running backs after Prosise and a receiver who happens to be the favorite target of first overall pick, Jared Goff.

Overall, the Seahawks did a fantastic job.  Still, we'll have to see how it all shakes out before week one, but we can at least be assured that competition has increased at all position groups-- something that was lacking from the previous season.


Here's the list of upcoming events as we make our way toward the new season:


EventDate




OTAsMay

MinicampJune

Training CampJuly

PreseasonAugust 11-15

2016 NFL SeasonSeptember 11


Here's a list of the Seahawks selections with links to their NFL.com Draft Profiles:

Seahawks 2016 Draft Picks


RdPickPlayerPosSchool
131Germain IfediOT
249Jarran ReedDT
390C.J. ProsiseRB
394Nick VannettTE
397Rees OdhiamboOG
5147Quinton JeffersonDT
5171Alex CollinsRB
6215Joey HuntC
7243Kenny LawlerWR
7247Zac BrooksRB



At the conclusion of every draft, the Seahawks sign a handful of undrafted free agents.  The Seahawks have had tremendous success with previous UDFAs including Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin.  Here's who they got this year:


WR DeAnthony Arnett 
QB Trevone Boykin 
DT Brandin Bryant 
CB DeAndre Elliot 
TE George Fant 
LB Christian French 
CB Darvell Harri 
DL Lars Koht 
LB Steve Longa 
RB Tre Madden 
S Tanner McEvoy 
OL Lene Maiava 
S Tyvis Powell

Additionally, former Eastern WA/Oregon standout QB Vernon Adams was invited to camp.


Friday, February 26, 2016

I get no satisfaction-- when it comes to the offseason

I have found myself in a situation that you could call 'a good problem to have' over the past few years.  What was once a period like the 12 days leading up to Christmas, the offseason no longer excites me like it once did. 

It used to be a time of exciting mystery for me.  A fresh start where anything could happen.  All 32 teams have Super Bowl aspirations and every team is undefeated.

It just doesn't thrill me anymore.

Why is it that I simply want to hurry up and get to week one? Well, for starters, every offseason since Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over has been anything but predictable.  Mostly for better, rarely for worse.  Still, the comfort of trusting in P & J has entirely replaced the anxious excitement of the NFL Draft and Combine.

Mock Drafts are ruined for me. Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have absolutely no idea what the Seahawks are going to do-- despite what they'd have you believe.

If the Seahawks don't trade out of the first round all together, they're sure to pick someone you never heard of or someone you'd least expect.  Let's face it-- the first round of the NFL draft is far and away the most exciting and anticipated part of the offseason.

Not for Seahawks fans anymore.

For the Seahawks, the exciting part of the draft is rounds 3 through 5.  That is where they have repeatedly struck gold.  Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Tyler Lockett, Kam Chancellor, KJ Wright, Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane were all selected within those middle rounds. 

The problem with that is that we have no realistic way of predicting what players they will take in those rounds. Be honest, outside of maybe Russell Wilson, do you remember hearing any of the aforementioned names prior to them being selected by the Seahawks?

The only reason Wilson's name came up is because EVERY quarterback in the draft class gets put under the microscope.

Though, like I said, it's a great problem to have.  Back in the Seahawks lean years, the offseason was almost better than the regular season. So much speculation and wonder in a time where nothing could be proven made it great.

Still, I much prefer knowing that my team's top brass knows what they're doing-- even if the rest of us are oblivious.  At least we know that this team will undoubtedly be in contention next season.  We will have to wait and see who will be joining this already stacked roster as perhaps the missing component. We can scrutinize the new draft class to death in the months that lie between now and the start of the new season, but at least we aren't desperate
.