Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Jon Ryan-- Seahawks Punter/American Ninja

Seahawks Punter Jon Ryan might be one of the more beloved special teams player ever.  The 12s have always seemed  to embrace him, but after he thew a touchdown pass on a fake field goal last season, he caught the attention of a national audience.  

Aside from being an all-around likable dude, he's also surprisingly fit for a punter.  He made headlines again earlier when a shirtless photo of his buff physique prompted a 'random' drug test request from the league. It wasn't long after that Ryan was given the opportunity to test his mettle as a ninja warrior.  Check out the clip below.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Welcome, Rookies!

Picture from www.reddit.com/r/seahawks

8 new players were added through the draft along with 12 more players signed as undrafted free agents.

Nate Boyer, LS, Texas
Jesse Davis, OL, Idaho
Austin Hill, WR, Arizona
Kennan Lambert, S, Norfolk State
Ronald Martin, S, LSU
Quayshawn Nealy, LB, Georgia Tech
Thomas Rawls, RB, Central Michigan
Trovon Reed, DB, Auburn
Alex Singleton, LB, Montana State
Tory Slater, DT, West Georgia
Rod Smith, RB, Ohio State
Triston Wade, S, Texas-San Antonio

The Seahawks did an excellent job addressing every need they had coming into this years draft.  They added a receiver that can contribute in the return game, they replenished their Legion of Boom depth, bolstered their defensive line and added potential starters to the offensive line.

I was somewhat shocked that they didn't add a center to their roster this weekend.  Given the team's pursuit of Stefen Wisniewski, who eventually signed with Gus Bradley's Jaguars, I was under the impression that the Seahawks administration wasn't entirely sold on their current group of centers.

Let's take a look at each area of concern and how Seattle addressed it:

Offensive Line:  Seattle lost James Carpenter to free agency and Max Unger in the Jimmy Graham trade. Depth along the offensive front was a major concern at the end of last season and into the playoffs. The Seahawks used both of their 4th round selections to acquire interior linemen.  Terry Poole, a former Basketball player turned offensive tackle, was selected with the 130th pick overall by Seattle. Just four picks later, Seattle selected West Virginia Guard, Mark Glowinski, who may very well fill the vacancy Carpenter left.

They continued to add depth to this position group after the draft by signing undrafted free agents. Jesse Davis from Idaho, not unlike JR Sweezy, is a converted defensive lineman that now plays on the offensive front. They also added former Texas long snapper and US Army Green Beret, Nate Boyer. Boyer is undersized at 5'11" and long in the tooth at age 34, but it would be a heart-warming story to see him find a spot on our team.

Offensive Weapons and Return Specialists:  Seattle managed to make it one play from winning back to back Super Bowls despite having no semblance of a return game after trading away Percy Harvin in the first quarter of the season. Their receiving group was dangerously thin and they couldn't find anyone that could provide more than a fair catch in the return game.  This problem was addressed marvelously with Seattle's second pick as they traded up to nab K-State prodigy, Tyler Lockett. This is precisely the explosive playmaker Seattle has been longing for. Watch this highlight film below for a taste of what Lockett is capable of on offense as well as the return game.

Additionally, the Seahawks added undrafted free agents Rod Smith, Thomas Rawls and Austin Hill who are hoping to contribute offensively. Among that group you might just find the next Doug Baldwin or Jermaine Kearse.

Defensive  Front: Brandon Mebane's absence from the second half of the season was painful. The Seahawks have shown in recent seasons that they are able to pull veterans from the scrap heap and get great production from them-- think Tony McDaniel.  Seattle added a few veterans to the line in free agency but that didn't mean they should ignore that position group in the draft.  They need to be continually building for the future.

Seattle got defensive right off the bat with their first pick in this draft.  Frank Clark, a defensive end out of Michigan with a troubled past, possesses first round talent at a position of need.  Due to his past run ins with the law, including an arrest for domestic violence and a felony count of second-degree home invasion, Clark's draft stock plummeted, making him available for the Seahawks to grab at the bottom of the second round. Clark might be groomed to eventually replace Bruce Irvin or Cliff Avril, but could certainly make an impact as a rookie.

The Seahawks scooped up two additional defensive linemen with both of their 6th round picks-- Obum Gwacham from Oregon State and Kristjan Sokoli from Buffalo. Gwacham, who converted from receiver in 2014, was a triple-jumper with the Beavers track team but will likely be a developmental player.  The Albanian-born Sokoli is big and athletic for a nose guard and could be used similarly to Michael Bennett.

Secondary Depth: Byron Maxwell will be missed, but the production from our secondary shouldn't falter. Seattle added Carey Williams through free agency but with Jeremy Lane in the middle of a long recovery, the Seahawks had to acquire depth from this year's draft.
I'm interested to see how Pete Carroll develops Seattle's final pick in the draft, Ryan Murphy. At 6'3", he certainly has the stature of a Legion of Boom'er, and he can play safety as well as corner.Both Murphy and Tye Smith, the Seahawks fifth round selection, could use a few extra pounds if they expect to make this team and withstand 16 physically intense games.  

Seahawks fans should be satisfied with the 2015 draft class. It feels like Pete and John have more than enough pieces to the puzzle and they certainly have earned our trust in their process at this point. The exciting part is watching them put it all together over the next few months.

Friday, April 24, 2015

'Hawks Road to Super Bowl 50 Laid Out

The NFL 2015 Schedule has been released. Although the Seahawks have the 4th most difficult schedule, it feels like a much smoother road to the Super Bowl than the year before.

Once again, the Seahawks have been given an enviable portion of prime time games, including a Monday Night homecoming for Golden Tate. 

It's nice to see some unfamiliar, yet favorable foes on this list.  It's not often Seattle see's Cleveland or Cincinnati on their schedule, but the AFC North will have to test their meddle against the Seahawks this season.

I can't wait to see our Seahawks stomp the life out of the aging Pittsburgh Steelers.  Seattle has yet to exact their revenge on the team that denied them a victory in their first Super Bowl appearance.  How great would it be to thrash them en route to our second title?

This coming season also sees Seattle getting a far more ideal Bye week than last year.  This year the Seahawks will catch a break right smack in the middle of the NFL season.  When the Bye week comes too early or too late, it can often be more of a disruption than it is a benefit.

My only concern is with the first two games.  St. Louis on the road is never an easy task for this team and I expect the Rams to be vastly improved with Nick Foles under center.  It doesn't get any easier the following week when the Seahawks head to Lambeau to face a Packer team that is understandably angry with us for how their season ended the year before.   

If Seattle can come out of those first two games 2-0, it would be hard not to peg them as clear favorites to win it all.  Even a split in those two games would help the momentum.  However, if the Seahawks are 0-2 by their first home game-- we might have a problem on our hands.

Either way, something as simple as releasing the schedule has undoubtedly fanned the flames of passion for us Seahawk fans.  The draft will be here before you know it and we'll be speculating further on how this team will be set up to start the season.

Day                 Date                Opponent                          Time (PT)     
Sunday            Sept. 13           at St. Louis Rams                  10:00 a.m.        
Sunday            Sept. 20           at Green Bay Packers           5:30 p.m.          
Sunday            Sept. 27           Chicago Bears                        1:25 p.m.           
Monday           Oct. 5              Detroit Lions                          5:30 p.m.          
Sunday            Oct. 11            at Cincinnati Bengals            10:00 a.m.         
Sunday            Oct. 18            Carolina Panthers                  1:05 p.m.           
Thursday         Oct. 22            at San Francisco 49ers         5:25 p.m.          
Sunday            Nov. 1             at Dallas Cowboys                   1:25 p.m.          
Sunday            Nov. 8             Bye Week
Sunday            Nov. 15           Arizona Cardinals                  5:30 p.m.           
Sunday            Nov. 22           San Francisco 49ers               1:25 p.m.          
Sunday            Nov. 29           Pittsburgh Steelers                 1:25 p.m.          
Sunday            Dec. 6              at Minnesota Vikings            10:00 am        
Sunday            Dec. 13            at Baltimore Ravens              5:30 p.m.          
Sunday            Dec. 20            Cleveland Browns                 1:05 p.m.           
Sunday            Dec. 27            St. Louis Rams                      1:25 p.m.            
Sunday            Jan. 3, 2016     at Arizona Cardinals              1:25 p.m.      

Thursday, March 26, 2015

All the Small Things

My excitement for the Seahawks acquisition of superstar tight end Jimmy Graham was tempered by the my concerns regarding our thin offensive & defensive lines. The subsequent acquisitions made by the Seahawks have settled my nerves enough to fantasize about what having Graham will bring to the Seahawks offense.

While the Graham move made waves across the NFL landscape, Seattle's ensuing transactions were much more low-key.  Quietly resigning long snapper Clint Gresham to a 3-year deal  helps keep the continuity of the team together while preventing another roster hole needing to be filled though the draft or free agency. 

Coach is mesmerized by The Professor's ponytail
With Brandon Mebane's contract needing to be reworked, rather than sit and wait until he restructures or have their hand forced to cut him, the Seahawks signed two inexpensive veterans to bolster their defensive line.  The Seahawks added defensive tackles D'Anthony Smith and Ahtyba Rubin, giving them the depth that they sorely needed down the stretch of last season. Resigning Ricardo Lockette to a one-year deal might not mean much to our receiving group, but his talents on special teams were second to none last year. 

Those small, unsexy moves coupled with the 11 draft picks they'll have next month take a lot of the pressure off the team to reload for the coming season.  If they can bat .272 and snare 3 starters from those 11 picks-- it's hard not to pick the Seahawks as favorites for Super Bowl 50.

For those of you that require drama to carry you through the days until we are again blessed with football, there's still plenty to unnecessarily worry about.

Russell Wilson still hasn't been locked into a long-term deal.  They don't have to until next season, but everything that has been said eludes to the likelihood of the deal getting done before the season begins.  Hammering out that deal would be incredibly comforting to the team and fans alike. 

Still, after Wilson is secured, it's on to Bobby Wagner.  Hopefully the team can quietly work out extensions for Wagner and Bruce Irvin as the season progresses, but we'll have to hold our breath.  Perhaps their heirs will be drafted next month and spend the season training under them.  Either way, hopefully we'll have something to hang our hats on by the time the season is underway.

You can speculate over the Michael Bennett rumors, you can worry about the health of our secondary heading into the season or you can continue to grieve over the heartache of the Super Bowl.  We've got a lot of time before football is fully back in our lives and you've got to fill the void somehow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Moving Forward

So much has happened since the ill-fated pass that ended the Seahawks hopes of repeating as world champions.  We'll get to all of it, but the major topic of discussion in the NFL is the blockbuster trade wherein the Seahawks sent All-Pro Center Max Unger and their first round draft choice to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for Superstar Tight End Jimmy Graham and the Saints' fourth round pick.

I shouldn't have to, but I will preface everything I'm about to say with two points of emphasis:  #1 I think Jimmy Graham is a tremendous talent and I'm excited that we have him.  #2 I always hope that everything works out in the Seahawks' best interest.

That being said, I have serious concerns about the state of our offensive line for next season.

Max Unger was getting long in the tooth.  He, along with Jon Ryan and Brandon Mebane, were the only 3 players on this roster that were on the team prior to Pete Carroll and John Schneider's arrival.

Many fans and analysts alike have criticized Unger's durability.  While I understand where they're coming from, I do find this criticism to be a little excessive. Unger is only 28 years old and he's started in 50 of his last possible 64 regular season games.  That's one more than we've got out of Russell Okung in the same stretch.

To be clear, my concern isn't at all with the acquisition of Jimmy Graham. My concerns lie solely with the state of our offensive front.  It makes me feel uneasy having just gotten rid of the leader of that line with no heir apparent in sight. I honestly would've felt better if we had given up a pair of first round picks to get Graham while drafting Unger's replacement without throwing some kid straight into the fire.

Lets break down where our offensive line stands as of today.  Russell Okung is at left tackle.  When healthy, he's been among the league's best-- but he's been less reliable than Unger when it comes to health. James Carpenter is now with the New York Jets, so the left guard position is now in flux. At the moment, I'll assume Alvin Bailey is penciled in at left guard.  I like Bailey, but more as a depth player than a starter.

Similarly, we have to assume that Patrick Lewis or Lemuel JeanPierre will be penciled in to replace Unger.  JeanPierre's versatility is incredibly valuable, as he can play center or guard, but not exactly who I want leading the linemen.  I liked what I saw from Lewis in his starts covering for the injured Unger. He's young enough to be a candidate to start and he has the potential, but only time will tell.

Sweezy and Britt are pretty much assured to anchor the right side of the line but depth remains as much of an issue today as it did down the stretch of last season.  I trust in the Pete & John leadership to square this away in the draft, but that's asking a lot. Even for them.

There's a lot of déjà vu with this move.  The excitement I'm hearing from the vocal majority of fans and the repeated praise from local analysts reminds me too much of the Percy Harvin acquisition. Terms like 'explosive playmaker' and 'unique talent' and 'one of the best at his position' feel like echos of that previous deal.  I would certainly agree that the purported locker room issues regarding Graham seem far less of an issue than they were of Harvin-- but I would definitely argue that Harvin was far more dynamic and worth the potential risk.

The other haunting similarity with this deal and past Seahawks moves is when Zach Miller was brought in.  Now, Miller is no where near the athlete that Graham is, but he was a gifted receiving tight end who, unlike Graham, was an excellent blocker as well. 

However, when Miller arrived, he was all but denied the ability to establish himself as a receiving threat.  Seattle's offensive line was so abysmal, Miller spent most of his tenure with the Seahawks operating as a third offensive tackle.  Given the current state of our line, I worry that history could repeat itself. 

Would Graham be up for the task of shoring up the line?  Michael Bennett doesn't seem to think so.

I saw a thread on Reddit supposing that we didn't make this move. 

Imagine free agency had come and gone. We'd nibbled at Fitzgerald, at Marshall, at Andre Johnson, but ultimately ended up as bridesmaids. Then we drafted 10 guys you never heard of at largely non-skill positions. And at some point during all of this, the Saints had made a trade with some other team for Graham, giving up less than you'd have thought. (Maybe a good-but-oft-injured offensive lineman toward the end of his deal.) We get a couple weeks into the season, and we're moving the ball pretty well, but struggling in the red zone. Then, someone tweets that the Seahawks had actually had a chance to get Graham (and a 4th rounder) in exchange for Unger and #31, but Carroll and Schneider decided not to pull the trigger. We'd all be super pissed, right?

First off-- great hypothetical.  He's right, we would be pissed knowing about this opportunity in hindsight if our red zone ineptitude persists into next season.  But I would like to counter that with a different hypothetical:

What if Graham's shoulder continues to be a concern that causes him to miss time early in the season.  What if he divides the locker room, given his history with Bruce Irvin and Bennett? What if we find out that our red zone deficiencies have more to do with our front line than having a tall, athletic receiving option?

I truly hope no one is expecting Graham to come close to the numbers he put up in the Saints' offense.  It's simply not going to happen in the Seahawks system.  Seahawks will continue to be a run first offense (they didn't give Marshawn a raise because his interviews are priceless) and the Saints throw the ball 50 times per game.  Conversely, I will not use statistics to judge the merits of this trade because of that fact.

This is the season for speculation and it's important for fans to be concerned of their teams weaknesses. I hope we have the best offensive line since Hutch & Walt and Graham continues his dominance. I'm thrilled about Russell Wilson's new toy and the potential that comes with his arrival to the team.  I'm sure my mind will be put at ease once the draft is over and mini camps begin-- but for the moment, I have serious concerns about the offensive line.

Monday, February 9, 2015

After the dust settles...

It's been more than a week since our beloved Seahawks Super Bowl hopes deflated like a Patriots game ball.  The shock has subsided but the pain lingers as strong as the day it happened. While I've tried to make peace with it, I'm haunted by the facts of the matter everywhere I turn.

While (begrudgingly) watching Grey's Anatomy with my girlfriend, I was treated to whimsical commercial of Patriots highlights cut with shots from the Magic Kingdom.  My stomach ached as Julian Edelman and Malcolm Butler embraced as the shouted "We're going to Disneyland!"

Sports media websites are flooded with dejected Seahawks photos and jubilant Patriots shots.  Stories questioning the Seahawks play call as well as their future-- other pieces question simply whether the Pats own the greatest dynasty or simply the greatest coach and QB duo.

Lord help you if you stumble into the comments section... 

Personally, I'm trying to adopt Russell Wilson's attitude about all this.  I just want to get next season underway as soon as possible.  Despite stating in my last piece that everyone is entitled to grieve/cheer/support this team however they choose-- there are a few things that have been bugging me.

A petition was brought to my attention recently that is gaining a lot of support. There's a faction of Seahawks fans out there that want/wanted to host a citywide celebration of the teams season despite the bitter ending.  This repulses me.  

Don't get me wrong-- I love this team.  This was a tremendous season full of memories I'll hold dear forever.  But losing doesn't get you a parade.  I've followed this team for almost 30 years and only once have they deserved a celebration.
(Left to Right) Me, my beautiful daughter and my best friend.

Last year's event was remarkable.  The players visibly enjoyed riding through a sea of damn near a million Seahawks fans, being heralded as Kings.  They earned it that year.  This year, they fell heart-breakingly short. I love them, but they need to be HUNGRY to experience that feeling again.

There's also been a lot of criticism lobbed at Pete Carroll for owning up to the play call.  There is a lot of blame and criticism to be dolled out for not adding to the trophy shelf this year.  You could not only dissect the entire Super Bowl performance but the entire season if you wanted. If it helps you sleep at night-- but I suspect it wont.

From Cris Collinsworth's in-game commentary right after the play occurred, to Matt Lauer's sit down interview with the coach on the Today Show to Hugh Millen's passionate defense of Carroll-- it's been discussed ad nauseam. 

Millen spit a fiery rebuttal against the typhoon of criticism mounted against Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll for his decision to pass the ball on the play that ended Seattle's Super Bowl hopes.

Hugh Millen is one of the football analysts I most admire.  He's a former Washington Husky with tremendous football acumen.  He's shared quarterback rooms with some of the All-Time Greats, including John Elway and Troy Aikman.  

After hearing Bevell, Carroll, Wilson and Millen breakdown the play: I get it.  They didn't want to leave too much time on the clock in fear of setting up Tom Brady for a spectacular comeback we all know he's capable of.  New England gave the defensive 'look' that favored the passing play call.  Millen indicated that the offensive line hadn't demonstrated the ability to impose their will confidently enough to ensure that running right at them would prevail. The match ups were favorable and they knew what they were doing.

I get it.  It makes sense. However...

They absolutely, 100%, without a doubt should have given the ball to #24 instead of passing on that particular play. Period. I would have to expect that every member of the Seahawks organization knows this in their heart of hearts.  

I hope that once the dust settles Pete and Darrell in particular will admit that although they believed at the time that their play call was appropriate-- the best decision in hindsight was to feed the beast.

Was it the worst play call of all time? Only because of the outcome.  They had justifiable reasons for making the call they did, but the best bet would've been keeping it on the ground.  Like comedian J.B. Smoove said on the Howard Stern show "You pass the ball when you need to.  You run the ball when you have to."

Does Pete Carroll deserve all of this criticism?  Absolutely not.  Some of it, sure-- but not all of the piling on we've heard since that play ended in tears. I'll even cut Bevell slack for the play call, though I hope he's not retained as the Offensive Coordinator next year.  I will not, however, cut him slack for throwing Ricardo Lockette under the bus.

The explanation for the call made sense.  Because of that, I'm concluding that Seattle's coaching staff is guilty of nothing more than over-thinking the situation.  

Giving the ball to Lynch was such an obvious no-brainer, it couldn't have been the right decision. The chain of events that lead to that call must have had the staff thinking that it was too good to be true, so it mustn't have been.  I'd be willing to be that Bill Belichick has this effect on a lot of coaches-- even the best of them.

They over thought it.  That's all.  We'll live with the call for the rest of our lives and the only thing that will provide any relief would be another shot made good.

Well, maybe a Mariners World Series would help.  

Let's not hold our breath...

Monday, February 2, 2015


I've been a Seahawks fan all of my life.  I've been privileged to have watched all three Super Bowls Seattle has been a part of.  All three felt uniquely different before, during and afterward. After Super Bowl XL, I felt cheated and angry.  After Super Bowl XLVIII, I felt euphoric and joyous.  After last night, I feel sick to my stomach.

Going into last nights match, having experienced a devastating loss as well as a triumphant victory, I had very measured expectations. I knew we were going up against one of the greatest coaches and quarterbacks of all time.  I knew this wasn't going to be a repeat of last year's thrashing, but I also believed we were far and away a more complete and better team. I expected to win, but I knew it wasn't going to be easy.

That was more or less my feeling all season long.  I never wanted last season's euphoria to end.  Unlike last year where I savored every victory and milestone along the way, knowing that this was a special team on track for a special season, I instead watched every game this season somewhat nervously just wanting it to be over so we could add to the trophy shelf.

After Tom Brady connected with Julian Edelman for the go ahead touchdown with 2:02 remaining in the game, it truly felt like the prophecy was ready to be fulfilled. We had all three of our time outs, plus the two minute warning.  We were giving the ball to our star quarterback who has pulled out these kinds of miracles all throughout his short career. We had the ball and fate in our hands.  A two minute drill was all we needed to become the first back to back champions in over a decade.

The kickoff sailed through the back of the endzone. No time was taken off the clock and we had 80 yards between us and history. The very first play of the drive, Russell Wilson connects with Marshawn Lynch on a 31 yard wheel route that gives us the ball near midfield.  The two minute warning stops the clock for us at 1:55.  We still have all three time outs.

The next play, Wilson fails to connect on a deep ball to Jermaine Kearse.  The subsequent play, Max Unger fails to get the snap off in time and forces Seattle to burn it's first time out. No worries-- we're still on a short field with two timeouts.

Wilson tries again on a deep ball to Chris Mathews, who was having his finest performance, but fails to connect.  However, on 3rd and 10, Wilson comes up huge with an 11 yard strike to Ricardo Lockette.

The Seahawks appear to be in no apparent hurry despite their circumstances.  They get back up to the line with about a minute and 14 seconds left and Wilson heaves it downfield to Kearse.  Everyone thought the pass was broken up, but Kearse never took his eyes off it and managed to maintain possession.  An improbable play places Seattle five yards away from victory.  They kill the clock with their second time out at 1:06 and it looks like we have this one in the bag.

First and Goal from the 5.  Seattle feeds the ball to Lynch who picks up 4, stopping just shy of pay dirt. Seattle lets the clock trickle down.  After all, they've still got about 50 seconds left, a timeout and a mere 36 inches to move the football. 

As Seattle returned to the line to run the next play on 2nd down, my mind was flooded with thoughts.

I envisioned Seattle running a counter play to the left, giving it to Beastmode as he powers his way into the endzone.  I pictured New England getting the ball back with about 30 seconds left.  Brady checks one down and calls a time out.  He gets sacked and they burn their final time out.  He then heaves the ball skyward on a last second hailmary, only to get picked off by Richard Sherman.  The blue, white and green confetti rains down on the University of Phoenix field as the Lombardi trophy returns to the Pacific Northwest. I pictured Wilson, Lynch and Wagner signing long term deals.  This team becomes a sure-fire dynasty for years to come.

My dream sequence was snapped in unison with the ball and suddenly I found myself staring at the screen. It felt like I was looking down at my body on an operating room table.  Did we just throw the ball?  Have I died?  What just happened? We didn't just throw the ball there, did we?  Did I die?

Did we seriously just NOT give the ball to Marshawn Lynch?

The party I was at erupted in raucous confusion. Someone yelled "It was incomplete!" There were shouts of "What were they thinking?" But I just sat there, dumbfounded, thinking "How do you not give that ball to Marshawn?"

Just like that, we knew the season was over.  Russell Wilson's pass intended for Ricardo Lockette was intercepted by a rookie cornerback named Malcolm Butler. The Patriots would get the ball back at the one yardline.  They had no room to kneel on it, we had a time out left and it was still not outside the realm of possibility for us to at least get a safety, or perhaps even a game-winning fumble recovery for a touchdown.

A miracle could still happen, but this was Tom Brady and Bill Belichick-- Our miracle quota expired after Kearse's amazingly improbable catch. 

Sure enough, Seattle jumped offside and a scrum ensued.  New England got the ball at the 20 with 18 seconds left.  We were out of timeouts.  Tom Brady took a knee, won his 3rd MVP and his 4th Super Bowl. We had it.  We gave it to them.

It's hard as hell to get to a Super Bowl.  Despite what many of us may have thought after last year-- it's really hard to win them, too.  It's okay to feel how you're feeling right now.  Whether it's sadness, anger, frustration, confusion, fear or whatever-- it's okay to feel that way.

No matter how you feel, you have no choice but to look forward to Super Bowl L.  It's the only thing that will wash that horrible taste out of your mouth.

We won't have the same team next year.  Dan Quinn is heading over to the Falcons to take over their operation.  Kevin Williams will probably retire. Who knows what's next in the Marshawn Lynch saga.  Will we be able to bring back Wilson, Wagner, Maxwell and the rest?  Who knows.

We know that we have a tremendous nucleus to build upon, but we also know there are plenty of holes to fill on this roster.  After Percy Harvin left, we had no semblance of a special teams threat.  We can't get by with Brian Walters next year-- we need some explosivity. 

Dan Quinn will have to be replaced and we can only pray that he brings Darrell Bevell with him. Bevell is a huge reason for the slow start we got off to and apparently the mastermind behind the play that cost us our second Super Bowl title.
 We'll save the speculation for the offseason.  I love these guys and I know  we're going to have a great, competitive team for years to come.  We should have had this one, though.  We let it get away.  This one will haunt everyone for the rest of their lives. But the only thing that will sooth that burn will be getting a shot at another one. 

I'm ready for the ride next year.  I hope to see you all there.