Monday, August 31, 2015

Preseason Week 3-- Seahawks 16 Chargers 15

The Seahawks managed to escape San Diego with a narrow win thanks to Steven Hauschka's 60-yard field goal. Still, the team doesn't quite look to be in regular season form.

The offense can't seem to find it's legs.  Darrell Bevel's play calling had me scratching my head.  Russell Wilson was holding on to the ball too long.  Jimmy Graham looks to be a dynamic receiver-- but hasn't grasped his blocking assignments.

Heaven help us if anything should happen to Marshawn Lynch.

There were times when the blocking seemed to hold up great, but consistency is far from where it needs to be. With one game remaining in the preseason, Seattle needs to get it's offensive line sorted out and fast.

Tyler Lockette has flashed his brilliance with every game and this one was no exception.  He hauled in a 10-yard pass and a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown. The single most refreshing observation from preseason is knowing that our Seahawks will have a dangerous special teams unit that we can rely on to pick up the slack, should our offense or defense falter.

Defensively, the Seahawks look pretty sharp, but the secondary continues to give me pause.  I wasn't exactly thrilled with the Carey Williams signing to begin with and his performance this preseason only justifies my concerns. More concerning is Tharold Simon's inability to push him for the job opposite Richard Sherman.

Jeremy Lane might not be available until mid-season, so Marcus Burley, Simon, Williams and Will Blackmon have to step up their game.  Especially as the status of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor remain highly uncertain for the opener in St. Louis.

By Tuesday at 4pm, all NFL teams must trim their rosters down to the 75-man limit. September 5th they'll have to cut it all the way down to the 53-man maximum for the regular season. It won't be long after this coming Thursday that we know exactly who we have for this season.

While I would imagine the Seahawks brass have a pretty clear picture as to what this team will look like, there will be some jobs still to be earned in Thursday's home match up against the Raiders.  However, the most pressing priority for the team has to be getting Kam Chancellor back into the fold at VMAC.

My understanding of the salary cap is minimal, but according to Spotrac.com, the Seahawks have $5,309,385 of cap space going into the 2015 season. I'm not sure what the Seahawks plans are with that money, but I have to assume that there should be enough to fatten up Chancellors deal and guarantee the years remaining on his deal.

We can argue all we like about how he should honor his deal, but the fact of the matter is that NFL contracts aren't always honored by the organization.  Had Kam performed poorly last season, Seattle could simply cut him without another word. 

Kam is a leader on the field and a tremendous asset to our community.  We 12s should consider him family-- you wouldn't advise a family member to be content with their wage despite well-outperforming their job description?  Why would this be any different?

Wilson, Thomas, Sherman, Wagner and Wright are locked in.  Everybody we want is pretty secure on this team, so long as they perform well this season. Giving Chancellor a bump and some guarantees shouldn't have any negative effect on the team's well being in the long term-- so why not reward greatness?

The Seattle Seahawks are less than 2 weeks away from the start of something incredible-- making it to three consecutive Super Bowls.  Our window doesn't appear to be closing anytime soon, so why not do all we can to keep it propped open as long as possible?

Let's get Chancellor back in action and make sure the 50th Lombardi trophy ends up in the Pacific Northwest.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Preseason Week 2-- Seahawks 13 Chiefs 14

Even though the preseason doesn't really count-- you know losing these first two games doesn't sit right with the organization.

Still, we can't panic this early.  There is definitely plenty that remains to be sorted out, but there's more than enough to be excited about. For starters, our secondary through these first two preseason match ups has been entirely made up of backups.  That really speaks to the depth of this team.

In these exhibition games, the goal is to evaluate the uncertain areas of your team.  No area on this team is as shaky as the offensive line.  They made some serious changes from last week, moving Justin Britt inside to left guard and brought in Gary Gilliam to start at right tackle. Drew Nowak got the start at center in place of Lemuel Jean-Pierre.

This semblance of linemen seemed to fair better than last week's crew.  The Chiefs have a dominant defense and what we saw Friday night felt like progress.  I'm not panicking-- we have time to sort this out.

Young defensive players caught my eye all night.  DeShawn Shead is playing more like a veteran this season.  He encompasses many of the traits of both Chancellor and Thomas.  He'll continue to provide great depth for this secondary. Dion Bailey looks more and more like Kam's heir apparent with each game.  Hopefully, he doesn't take the throne anytime soon, but it's nice to see the development.  He plays with serious intensity and the swagger needed to be included in the LOB.

Perhaps nothing was more exciting than seeing the first flashes of how deadly Wilson to Graham is going to be for the foreseeable future.  Jimmy Graham made some outstanding plays in crucial situations for the Seahawks on Friday.  Nothing surprising, but it was great to get a taste of what we're in for.

There will be some tough decisions to make in the linebacker group when the time comes to trim the roster.  On the bright side, at least we can breath a little easier when we think about this more than likely Bruce Irvin's final season as a Seahawk. Kevin Pierre-Louis looks sharp. If he stays healthy and continues his development-- and maybe bulks up a bit more-- he could slide into Irvin's role without losing much production.  Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright continue to show why they are the greatest linebacker duo in football.

Tyler Lockette demonstrated that he's more than just a return specialist on Friday night.  He showed that he has the quickness and the sure hands to potentially develop into an effective slot receiver.  Kevin Smith and Kasen Williams would round out Seattle's receiving group nicely.

Thomas Rawls has impressed me far more than both Turbin and Michael.  I was hoping Michael would shine enough over these first two games to draw trade interest.  Unfortunately, Michael has yet to take the next step to show that he has potential to be an every down back.  He's flashed some explosiveness, but he lacks the consistency for me to believe he has much future with this team. Either way, this team will only keep two backs behind Lynch and it would be difficult to pass on Rawls.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Preseason Week 1-- Seahawks 20 Broncos 22

Preseason football usually conjures up mixed emotions among NFL fans.  After a long drought, we finally have football again but with the caveat that none of this counts.  We typically see little from the stars of our teams and it doesn't quite have the look and feel of the football we're accustomed to.

This preseason was different for Seahawks fans.  We needed the baptism of the preseason to wash away the awful feeling we've carried since that ill-fated pass in Super Bowl 49.  For more than six months, 12s lived with the agony of having our second consecutive Lombardi trophy ripped from our hands in the blink of an eye.

Unlike the Seahawks themselves, I did not have a productive offseason.  I could not bring myself to write about the team. I felt like my only options were to replay that interception over and over in my head to analyze it to death or get caught up in the Russell Wilson contract speculation and the team holdouts. I didn't have the strength of passion for either.

I knew the team was going to contend again this season.  I knew Seahawks brass would take care of business and get Wilson and Wagner's deals done.  I couldn't care less about Russell's relationship with Ciara or the holdouts and comments from players who were still under contract.  I knew it was all going to work out, and short of repeating that ad nauseum-- I didn't want to put any energy toward speculation and rumors until the team had the opportunity to prove itself again.

Finally, the road to redemption unfolded on Friday when the Seahawks took on the team the defeated in Super Bowl 48 at the CLink. While many of the stars were absent due to injury, holdout or otherwise, we were treated to our first taste of Seahawks football since our hearts were broken in February.

We know this team will be good, so the real draw for this game was for fans and staff alike to get a taste of the new blood brought in through the draft and free agency. Seahawks top pick, 2nd rounder Frank Clark, looked great.  He saw significant playing time and made several plays including a forced fumble.

After trading Percy Harvin early last season, Seattle was left with no semblance of a return game.  While that didn't stop the team from reaching the Super Bowl, it certainly didn't make it easy to get there.  The seem to have solved that problem when they drafted Tyler Lockett in May.  Lockette looked explosive every time he got the ball in his hands and even took a kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown.  He didn't see much action as a receiver, but he surely proved he will play a roll on this team.

Jimmy Graham only caught one pass, but it was enough to see that he will be extremely valuable to Russell Wilson this season.  Undrafted free agent Thomas Rawls looked as impressive as the early camp reports indicated-- I wouldn't be surprised to see Christine Michael traded for a late draft pick before the season starts.

It was refreshing to see Jesse Williams return to action.
Lots of talented youngsters showed flashes on the defensive side of the ball.  Most impressively was Jesse Williams-- just 3 months removed from losing a kidney to cancer.  Williams showed excellent strength and #90 was seen getting to the ball carrier often.  Cassius Marsh also looked sharp coming back from injury.  Rookie Dion Bailey displayed to me why Kam Chancellor might be continuing his hold out.  If Bailey can put on a few extra pounds, he looks every bit the part of the heir to Kam's throne.

One thing I found especially impressive was Richard Sherman.  No, he didn't see any action on Friday, but it was his sideline demeanor that caught my eye.  If Sherm's face wasn't so easily recognizable, you might have mistaken him for a defensive coach.  He looked focused and rather than jaw-jack with the other stars that didn't suit up, he was actively helping to make his team better by coaching up the young bucks and enthusiastically praising them when they did well.

The only real issue I saw was the same one everybody else did-- this offensive line needs to get better fast.  Wilson's first dropback resulted in strip sack as Von Miller blew right by second year right tackle, Justin Britt.  Denver's starting defense pushed around the Seahawks line all night and even rolled up Tarvaris Jackson's ankle later in the game.


Tom Cable once again has his work cut out for him, but this has been the case every year and he's never let us down.  I expect him to sort things out eventually, but hopefully sooner rather than later.

We're only a quarter of the way through the preseason but at least the bitter taste of the Super Bowl is slowly leaving my mouth.  I promise to ramp up my writing as we near the upcoming season.  It's a new season and we have a team capable of winning it all.


UPDATE-- Seahawks announced Monday that they will be moving Justin Britt inside, from Right Tackle to Left Guard.  Gary Gilliam (the guy that caught Jon Ryan's touchdown pass last season) and Alvin Bailey will compete for the Right Tackle job. 

Also, Tarvaris Jackson was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain that will sideline him 4-6 weeks. We should see more from R.J. Archer this preseason.  Perhaps they'll sign another QB in the interim, or maybe B.J. Daniels will reconsider his move from Quarterback to Receiver.



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.