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.