The narrative being pushed by the media this past weekend, both local and national, is that the Seattle Seahawks have a serious and growing performance-enhancing drug (PED) problem. They site the 7 PED suspensions that have happened during Pete Carroll’s tenure.
Unfortunately, the real facts don’t back up this storyline. Four of the cited suspensions have nothing to do with any so-called PED problem the Seahawks might have:
- Offensive lineman Allen Barbre tested positive in 2011, the year before he joined the Seahawks. The Seahawks signed him before the suspension was announced. The team cut him rather than putting him on the roster.
- Fullback Via Taua tested positive just after being signed to the practice squad. He had been a free agent just trying to land with a team before that.
- Offensive lineman John Moffitt tested positive for a substance that is legal in the NFL if the player has a prescription. Moffitt has a prescription, and has had it for years. The only reason he was suspended was because he and the team doctor didn’t properly file all the necessary paperwork on time.
- Cornerback Richard Sherman appealed his suspension and won, something that is supposed to be virtually impossible given today’s tests and testing protocols. Sherman was able to prove that his test sample had been tampered with.
That leaves just 3 legitimate positive tests during Carroll’s tenture as head of coach of the Seahawks: safety Winston Guy, cornerback Brandon Browner, and the recent suspension of defensive end Bruce Irvin. Those 3 suspensions would put the Seahawks right in the middle of the pack with the rest of the NFL teams.
If the Seahawks do have a problem, it is not properly educating rookies on the NFL’s PED policies. 2 of the 3 legitimate suspension have come from rookies, as was John Moffitt’s paperwork problem. Even that fact goes against the accusations of a PED culture in Seattle, since once players are acclimated into the team they are unlikely to test positive.
But why let facts get in the way of good storyline.
The sixth installment of “Obscure Seahawks Bi-Weekly” looks at LEO prospect Benson Mayowa out of Idaho. Mayowa has only been a Seahawk since Monday but might just have a chance to stay awhile.
Height: 6’ 3”
Method of Acquisition: Signed as an undrafted free agent 5/13/13
Years Pro: R
40 yard dash time: 4.73 seconds
Vertical: 37 ½
NCAA career stats: 45 GP, 67 Tackles, 19 TFL, 11 Sacks, 11 FF, 7 PD
Fun Fact: Mayowa’s 20 yard shuffle time of 4.26 would have been tied for first at the Combine among defensive ends with Ziggy Ansah.
The term that keeps coming up in scouting reports of Mayowa is ‘short-area quickness’. Whenever I investigate these fringe roster players I look for the unique talent that made them appeal to the Seahawks and for Mayowa it has to be his quickness. As shown above he had an elite 20 yard shuffle time and the buzz from his tryout was that he was very quick off the ball. That first step is essential for pass rushers and it’s a good thing that Mayowa has it because there isn’t a ton else exciting about him. His NCAA career was fine, but far from distinguished, his long speed is pedestrian and he’s on the small side, even for a LEO. Mayowa may be a one-trick pony but LEO is a one-trick position and if he can use his quickness to be disruptive in the passing game then no one will complain.
Chances of Making the Team
Not bad, at least for now. With Bruce Irvin’s suspension and the injury to Chris Clemons, Clint Avril is the last pure LEO left on the roster. Michael Bennett can play the role but he is more of a hybrid player. On 3rd downs Bennett will probably see time at DT so the Seahawks will need someone to rush across from Avril. Even if they have Bennett line up on the other end there will need to be at least one LEO backup. Although someone else could be brought in, the only three real candidates for the role are Mayowa, fellow undrafted free agent Kenneth Boatright and 2013 draft pick Ty Powell. Boatright is the least athletic of the trio and looks unlikely to figure in Seattle’s plans. Powell has better long speed and a little more size than Mayowa but as a 7th round pick it’s not as if he will be guaranteed a spot on the roster. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Seahawks bring in John Abraham to help them get through this pass rushing crisis, but he may not be inclined to sign what would amount to a 4 game contract. The door seems to be wide open for Mayowa while Irvin is out but I think there will probably be another move because I doubt a serious contender like the Seahawks would leave such an important role to such unproven players. Arbitrary Estimates: 25% chance of making the team, 35% of making the practice squad.
Yesterday I took at look at the number of drives that each team’s defense was on the field for. Those results were interesting, but they didn’t tell us much about what those drives resulted in. We were able to infer some of that based on the total points given up by those teams, but honestly, I want something more concrete than that.
I decided to take a look at how each of those drives ended. It doesn’t matter if a defense isn’t on the field much compared to other teams, if that defense still gives up a lot of touchdowns. (I’m looking at you Cowboys.) Ultimately, I believe the true measure of the quality of a defense is somewhere to be found in this particular data set.
Unless I’ve made a horrible mistake here, drives can only end in 7 different ways: a touchdown, a field goal attempt, a punt, a turnover, a failed 4th down attempt, a safety, and at the end of a half. That’s a fairly limited number of possible outcomes, meaning I should be able to eventually tease out some very meaningful evaluation tools from this. We’ll see, there’s still a long way to go.
I was hoping to have some meaningful result to tell you about, but that’s going to have to wait until tomorrow. Compiling all this data took more time than I originally had available. Just getting this compiled and posted was all I could handle. I left off the safeties, since there’s only a couple total from the entire season and I’m already pushing the limits on the width of this table.
I did manage to give you the percentage for each outcome, though I’m not sure while that seems like a big deal in my head.
|4||New York Giants||170||35||20.59%||30||17.65%||54||31.76%||35||20.59%||11||6.47%||5|
|6||Kansas City Chiefs||173||40||23.12%||38||21.97%||73||42.20%||13||7.51%||1||0.58%||8|
|7||San Francisco 49ers||173||26||15.03%||27||15.61%||78||45.09%||25||14.45%||11||6.36%||6|
|11||San Diego Chargers||176||38||21.59%||21||11.93%||79||44.89%||28||15.91%||6||3.41%||4|
|12||St. Louis Rams||176||34||19.32%||37||21.02%||72||40.91%||21||11.93%||10||5.68%||2|
|19||Green Bay Packers||184||36||19.57%||30||16.30%||74||40.22%||23||12.50%||14||7.61%||7|
|24||New Orleans Saints||187||49||26.20%||33||17.65%||62||33.16%||26||13.90%||9||4.81%||8|
|25||New York Jets||187||37||19.79%||31||16.58%||89||47.59%||23||12.30%||3||1.60%||4|
|26||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||187||43||22.99%||28||14.97%||76||40.64%||26||13.90%||8||4.28%||6|
|28||New England Patriots||191||37||19.37%||25||13.09%||67||35.08%||41||21.47%||14||7.33%||7|
The NFL announced today that Seattle Seahawks defensive end Bruce Irvin has ben suspended for the first 4 games of the 2013 season for violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. It is unknown what substance he tested positive for at this time. Irvin has announced that he will not appeal the suspension.
This statement from Irvin was released though the team:
“I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and Seahawks fans for making a mistake when I took a substance that is prohibited in the NFL without a medical exemption. I am extremely disappointed in the poor judgment I showed and take full responsibility for my actions. I will not appeal the discipline and instead will focus my energy on preparing for the season so I can begin earning your trust and respect again. I look forward to contributing to the team the moment I return.”
The suspension to start the season will hurt Seattle more than if it had come later in the year. Fellow DE Chris Clemons is likely to begin the year on the Physically Unable To Perform list as he works back from a torn ACL injury. That means that the Seahawks will begin the season without their top 2 sack leaders from last season.
The Seahawks signed both Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett this past offseason to help with the pass rush, but they now appear to need additional help for the first 4 games. I wonder if John Abraham’s price has come down enough that John Schneider will consider adding him.
The fifth installment of ‘Obscure Seahawks Weekly” looks at athletic fullback/special teams ace Derrick Coleman. Coleman is an interesting guy (http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/columns/ncf/story/_/id/7273486/derrick-coleman-ucla-bruins-story-worth-hearing) who might just have the versatility and athleticism to stick around.
Height: 5′ 11″
Method of Acquisition: Signed to futures contract 01/16/13
Years Pro: 2
40 yard dash time: 4.50
Vertical: 36 1/2
NCAA career stats: 49 GP, 341 carries, 1780 yards, 5.2 YPC, 19 TD
Fun Fact: Derrick Coleman is hard of hearing and reads lips in order to get audibles from his quarterback.
Coleman has great speed for his size and has shown the ability to carry the ball effectively. He has the potential to be an excellent short-yardage back, not that Seattle has a particular need in that area. He has been an excellent special teams player at the college level and has the experience and physical ability to excel in a similar role in the NFL. Coleman wasn’t asked to catch many balls at UCLA so there is some uncertainty regarding that aspect of his game. Has to improve his blocking to be a successful fullback but has youth and physical tools on his side. Could find a niche as a Leonard Weaver-esque hybrid FB/RB.
Chances of Making the Team
Not impossible. Coleman’s chances are very dependent on how many fullbacks the Seahawks want to keep. If Seattle only keeps one fullback then Coleman has no opportunity to make this squad unless Michael Robinson becomes a salary cap casualty. If Pete Carroll feels like he can afford to keep two fullbacks Coleman will be in a duel with Spencer Ware for the backup fullback job. Although Ware was drafted by this regime, Coleman is a more accomplished special teamer and is significantly faster at the same size. Seattle hasn’t committed very much to Ware considering he was a sixth round pick, so Ware and Coleman would be in for a really interesting roster battle if the Seahawks are willing to carry two fullbacks on the roster. Coleman could also make this team if Carroll figured he was indispensable as a pure special teams player like Alex Bannister was a while back. However, that’s a fairly unlikely scenario. Coleman has quite a bit to offer but he needs a few things to break his way to make the 2013 Seahawks. Arbitrary Estimates: 16% chance of making the team, 34% chance of making the practice squad.
I know this is a football and, more specifically, a Seahawks website but bear with me. I currently find myself in a state of severe depression. Today, the NBA has essentially told Seattle to kiss its ass. Some of you might be wondering how that relates to football, and it doesn’t. At least not directly.
What it does share with football, and any other team one might support in any city, is what it means to the common fan. People like the ones that write at sites like this for no reason other than their love of their team and the sport in general. A team provides a shared history and culture among all residents. A bond that makes no real sense when analyzed too deeply, but is felt by all of us anyway.
Five years ago, Seattle got robbed. Through a perfect storm of economic downturn, poor political representation and being sold down the river by scumbags like Howard Schultz, Seattle lost its oldest franchise. The only franchise in the city that possessed a national championship. Today, Seattle learned that despite doing nearly everything right, it would not get a team to replace the one that was stolen.
Unfortunately, the process required taking a team from another city that probably didn’t deserve to lose theirs. Nobody liked it, but that is the playbook the NBA has established. It turned out, however, that the rules had changed since Seattle lost the Sonics. Now priority was placed on teams with 28 years of incumbency, never mind that the Sonics had 41 in Seattle. No matter how much money was placed under the NBA’s nose, they simply didn’t care.
If only Seattle got the same advantages that Sacramento did when Schultz got his panties in a bunch and threw a hissy fit that he should be humiliated by until the day he dies. When Schultz decided he was unhappy he sold the team without any notice to Clay Bennett and a cartel of carpet-baggers from Oklahoma City with the help of one, douchebag David Stern. To this day, I refuse to go to Starbucks or watch an NBA game.
I honestly feel sucker punched and my stomach is in knots after Stern’s half-assed press conference this afternoon. I am utterly and thoroughly depressed and am discovering that no amount of booze is making me feel better. I want nothing more than to introduce David Stern to a dark basement and a baseball bat.
I’m also hoping that having another team and sport I love, the Seahawks, that I might find catharsis in some way. At least maybe writing about this might give me some relief. (It hasn’t so far.) It also makes me realize how much sports matter and the civic value they provide a city and a group of people. Seattle currently has the Sounders, Seahawks, and the perpetually crappy Mariners. Seattleites are fans of some, all, or none of these teams. Nonetheless, these teams provide a way for people to support a common cause for certain parts of the year.
Seeing games live has continued to become more and more a rich person’s event. From ticket prices to concessions, it is harder for the “regular Joe” to take his kid, wife, or whoever to games the way my dad took me to Sonics games when I was young. That’s why it was amazing that Chris Hansen and Steve Balmer were willing to privately finance (through bonds) the building of a new basketball arena. Unfortunately, the NBA prefers to strong-arm and rob cities through tax financing of new arenas. Otherwise the teams will be stolen away, a la the Sonics.
Seattle is lucky to have a great owner of the Seahawks in Paul Allen. Portland is lucky to have him as owner of the Trailblazers. He values the civic nature of owning a sports franchise. To borrow a phrase from the human being that is worth less than maggots crawling in the dog crap in my front yard, a “public trust.” I feel reassured knowing that Allen is such an owner. It also makes me feel worse about what happened with the Sonics and the ever diminishing hope of their return.
Through today’s misery, I realize the importance of teams in a city. It doesn’t matter if you have one or four or even more. They all represent something unique and special. Losing one does create a hole that can’t just be filled in with one of the other franchises. And being kicked around a league or other fans makes it even worse.
A sports team can make some of the lousier periods of one’s life a little bit better. You can get together with some friends and watch a game. If the team is successful you can share that success at least vicariously and take some pride in the fact that that team is representing you and your city. It is a way to socialize and network with other fans. Sure the players are ultimately doing it for the money and glory, but as the Seahawks players realize, the 12th Man is part of it. Their success wouldn’t be as enjoyable without the fans behind them.
I realize this is a rambling post full of non sequiturs, most of which aren’t even football related but I appreciate your indulgence. I was hoping writing this would bring me some peace of mind, but it hasn’t. I still hate David Stern with all my soul. Same with Howard Schultz and Clay Bennett. I wish them misery and failure. There is a hole in my fan experience with the Sonics gone. Luckily the Seahawks’ success makes it a little better, but even they can’t fill it completely.
Today was a sad day for Seattle sports. Through the continued void of the Sonics, I have realized my passion for the Seahawks. The football season can’t start soon enough. And in the meantime, I sure wouldn’t mind if David Stern’s charter jet flew into the side of a mountain, wiping his existence from the planet.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think there might be some solace to be found at the bottom of this next bottle.
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The Seattle Seahawks concluded their rookie minicamp yesterday afternoon. It’s a chance for the draft picks and rookie free agents to get a jump start on learning the offensive and defensive schemes, but it’s tough to draw other conclusions about the players.
There’s no pads, and the workouts are strictly non-contact. Plus, there’s no veteran players here to compare the rookies too. So while it’s easy to say that a player stood out, it difficult to tell if that is because they are going to be playmakers on Sundays, or just because the others in camp at the position were simply lesser players.
Here’s some notes from the three days of camp:
- If you’re looking for a list of those players who attended, the official roster was tweeted as a couple pics by Curtis Crabtree on Friday:
- Most of the players at this mini-camp are non-roster players. These players were there officially as a tryout. It’s hard to believe that more than 1 or 2 will be added to the roster.
- Pro basketball player turned TE Darren Fells, who was cut last Wednesday, was present as one of the players who were there as a tryout.
- It’s notable that 2nd year LB Korey Toomer was present for this training camp. A 2012 5th round pick, Toomer didn’t make the team out of training camp, but was on the practice squad for most of the year.
- Jared Smith, the former defensive tackel who’s trying to make the switch to offensive line, spend the mini-camp playing center.
- As we expected from the moment that he was drafted, Spencer Ware is going to be a FB. He spent most of the mini-camp at the position.
- TE Luke Willson was one of the stars of the minicamp. He showed great hands and route running, as well as tremendous speed.
- The early lead for the battle to be Russell Wilson’s backup is now owned by Jarrod Johnson. He impressed throughout the weekend. I’ll have more on him in the coming days.
- Pete Carroll mentioned after practice that Jordan Hill is likely to be the team’s nose tackle in passing situations. This was the role that Clinton McDonald played last year, and could mean that McDonald’s roster spot is in jeopardy.
The fourth installment of “Obscure Seahawks Bi-Weekly” looks at undrafted free agent Ray Polk. Polk is a hard hitting safety with the kind of eye-popping athleticism that is likely to make Pete Carroll take notice.
Height: 6’ 1”
Method of Acquisition: Signed as an undrafted free agent 4/27/13
40 yard dash: 4.40 seconds
Vertical: 39 inches
NCAA career stats: 41GP, 33GS, 237 tackles, 1 INT, 4 PD
Fun Fact: Polk was a very high rated running back recruit coming out of high school with Rivals.com ranking him as the No. 3 prospect out of Arizona and the No. 11 running back in the nation.
Polk has great speed and range but uses that to make big hits as opposed to plays in coverage. He played as a free safety throughout his college career but his game seems better suited to the strong safety position where the Seahawks have him listed. Polk’s great speed and vertical leap should lend itself to making plays on the ball but he has only one interception in his entire college career which leads to some concerns about his instincts. Apparently Colorado deployed him very deep due to their questionable corners so this may have depressed his pass coverage statistics slightly. He also has some durability concerns and only played in seven games in his senior season last year.
Chances of Making the Team
Not awful. Polk has quite a bit of potential and Pete Carroll has a way with defensive backs so Polk may have landed on the right team. He has the speed and range to play free safety where the Seahawks badly need a reliable backup for Earl Thomas. However, Polk’s game is more Chancellor-esque and the Seahawks are more likely to see him as a strong safety long term. Seattle needs to keep Chris Maragos (or someone else off waivers) to back up Thomas and Jeron Johnson has shown himself to be useful in sub packages, and remains very cheap, so there is no real reason to jettison him as the primary backup at strong safety. Last year the Seahawks kept five safeties though. The fifth safety was Winston Guy who showed little on the field and was suspended for using performance enhancing substances. Should Seattle choose to keep five safeties again I think Polk has a really good chance of making this squad. As the fifth safety very little would be asked of him so he could develop his coverage skills in practice and put his elite athleticism to work as a special teams star. That seems like the perfect role for Polk, long term project and short term special teams contributor. There is no guarantee the Seahawks keep more than four safeties, and if they don’t I would be surprised if Polk didn’t find himself on the practice squad. For the highest arbitrary estimates yet I will say Polk has a 23% chance of making the team and a 60% chance of making the practice squad.
Richard Sherman is already a fan favorite in Seattle, but the Seahawk’s CB is set a new standard for how to be awesome today.
Even though there was no reason for him to be anywhere near the Seahawks facilities today, Sherman decided to head over the the VMAC to check out the rookies and the players trying out for the team. Did I mention that he did so on a jet ski? Yep, some people just have style.
I think he needs to get closer if he’s going to see anything interesting, though it’s also tough to say that he doesn’t have the best seat for watching today’s action.
In case you’re wondering if this is faked some how, there’s no reason to worry. Everyone at the facility figured out it was him, and a few people even snapped a few picks.
Sherman apparently wasn’t the only person trying to get close enough to see what was going on.
Sherman is clearly just out having a good time. He seems like a fun-loving dude off the field most of the time, and it’s pretty cool that he takes his camera with him to help us share in the fun.
Here the real question: Will this be his primary way of commuting to practice every day once training camp start? Unlikely, but I wouldn’t put it past him.
The San Francisco 49ers and Levi Strauss announced today that they have reached an agreement for the naming rights of San Francisco’s new stadium. The deal is actually quite lucrative for the 49ers, but that doesn’t mean that the stadium’s name won’t end up sounding extremely out of place.
Why yes Victoria, that is an excellent idea!
Please let that come true. Please let that come true. Please let that come true.
Worst part of that joke is that, about an hour later, it was actually made by someone at the press conference officially announcing the deal.
Of course, there was a 49er fan who tried to join the party.
To be fair, Alex is a friend from back when we both were writers for Fansided’s Seattle Mariners site. We give each other crap all the time, he’s not the usual delusional trash-talker. So don’t give him too much crap for it. I know he was joking……mostly.
Of course, there’s also the interesting side story here that Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson is a paid spokesman for the brand.
I can’t wait to make that joke every time the Seahawks are in that stadium over the next decade to two.
Even NFL Network’s Rich Eisen couldn’t help from making jokes.
Of course, Eisen wasn’t the only media member to get in on the act.
Of couse, I didn’t let this opportunity for silliness go unheeded either. I decided to quickly (and poorly) mock up the 49ers uniforms as if they were wearing jeans. Take a look:
As usual though, there are people out there with better ideas than mine.
Why yes, yes they should. Wouldn’t that be an awkward site on Sundays? I think I might die laughing if that actually happened.