Today’s game features the Seattle Seahawks flying east to the nation’s capital to do battle with an explosive Washington Redskins team led by superhuman rookie quarterback RGIII. The Seahawks are the favorites heading into this game on the strength of their superior record and the way they closed out the season with a notable victory at Chicago followed by three blowout wins (including one over the #2 seed San Francisco) and a final win last week against St. Louis. 5 wins, 4 of them of the impressive variety, is nothings to sneeze at and it’s no surprise the Seahawks are being labeled as a dangerous team right now. The thing that people seem to be glossing over is that the Redskins won their last 7 games which is an even more remarkable feat. They can’t be taken lightly in this game but nor are they an unstoppable force. The Redskins are the sort of team you’d expect to play in wildcard weekend, a good team with some issues. One of those issues today is Robert Griffin’s knee. Although RGIII is an accomplished passer without his trademark speed he loses a dynamic aspect of his game. However, since it’s hard to discuss the matchup of the Seahawks defense vs. Robert Griffin’s knee without sounding like Gregg Williams I’ll have to turn my attention elsewhere. Instead we will focus on whole players rather than individual joints in the first ever playoff edition of “matchups of the game”.
Matchup #1: Russell Okung vs. Trent Williams
I’ll start here by saying that I am aware of the basic principles of football and the fact that these two LT’s will never see the field against each other. The comparison of the two Pro Bowl tackles in this game is what interests me. Not only were Okung (drafted 6th overall) and Williams (4th overall) compared ad nauseam during the 2010 Draft process but they likely will be during their careers. Most observers at the time saw Okung as the #1 LT prospect available but the Redskins chose Williams instead as he was a better fit for their scheme. Both teams have been rewarded with quality players. Both players are making their first Pro Bowl appearance in their third years in the league after having some trouble staying healthy in their first two years (23 starts during that period for Williams, 22 for Okung). Okung and Williams are both protecting very mobile quarterbacks which, on the surface, seems like a benefit as their quarterback’s legs can bail them out of trouble. In reality scrambling quarterbacks can be infuriating to block for because although they are a moving target to defenders they are the same for blockers and their unpredictability of movement can turn an excellent block into the wrong block in no time at all. Both the Seahawks’ and Redskins’ defenses will be keying on the oppositions running game and as a result there will be opportunities for shots down the field in this game. Whichever one of these men is able to keep their quarterback safer and in a position to hold the ball and make the deep throw might well see their team emerge victorious.
Matchup #2: Richard Sherman vs. Pierre Garcon
I’ve highlighted this matchup mainly for the reason that Richard Sherman already declared that he wasn’t worried about Garcon and I’d like to see him back up that kind of talk. I admire Sherman’s confidence and acknowledge his skill, but to be honest Garcon is the type of receiver worth losing a little sleep over. Garcon played in only 10 games this year, very few of them completely healthy, and put up 633 yards or 63.3 per game. Over a full year that average would have resulted in 1012 yards for Garcon and that’s without considering to what degree he played hurt. Given that 1000 yard receivers don’t grow on trees (there were 19 this year) Sherman will have to pay attention today. Garcon has electric down the field ability and Sherman would be wise to bully him at the line of scrimmage as much as possible. The reason that shutting down Garcon is so essential is that there is such a drop off between him and the next best receiving option in Washington. The Redskins other starting wideout, Joshua Morgan, has put up 31.9 yards a game and a far from intimidating 10.6 yards per catch. Logan Paulsen, the starting tight end, is averaging 19.3 yards per game. The bottom line is if you shut down Pierre Garcon you can cripple the Washington passing game and the Seahawks will be allocating arguably their best player to that exact assignment.
Matchup #3: Golden Tate vs. Josh Wilson
The battle of Seattle’s 2010 2nd round pick and their 2007 2nd rounder should be a doozy. Even though Sidney Rice isn’t 100% (1 catch for 14 yards in his last 2 games) he will still likely draw DeAngelo Hall leaving two “mighty mites” to duke it out on the other side of the field. Tate actually has the height advantage in this one, a luxury he rarely has access to, which might make it easier for him to reel in a jump ball or two down field. He has really emerged this year with 45.9 yards per game, almost twice his career high of 23.9 yards per match. Tate has finally turned his strength and short area quickness into tangible production and is beginning to look the part of a starting WR. If the Seattle passing game is really going to get going Tate will need to be involved but that’s easier said than done against former Seahawk Josh Wilson. Wilson has emerged as a viable starting corner over the last two years in Washington starting all 32 games and averaging 2 INT and 14 PD per year. Adding in a knack for creating fumbles (3FF this year) and the fact he is immensely dangerous with the ball in his hands (you may recall he led the league in kick return yardage for the 2008 Seahawks), Wilson is a nifty player and a formidable opponent. However, he is a formidable opponent Tate will have to best because unless Rice finds his stride again Tate is the #1 option for Russell Wilson today.
This game has the makings of a memorable contest. The Seahawks take to the road looking for their first road win since 1983 (a stat that just keeps coming up this week) against a team that is likely inferior but only slightly so. With the Redskins holding home field advantage I’d say this one is about dead even. An absolute dogfight is in order with two powerful RB’s, two Pro Bowl LT’s and two rookie sensations leading the way at QB. The difference in this game is that Seattle has the elite defense and Washington doesn’t (the Redskins allowed 1144 yards and 143 points more than Seattle over the course of the year). I have faith that Seattle can put some points against a Washington defense that is fairly unimpressive, so all they really have to do is stop RGIII and company. That sounds so simple. I’ve got this sneaking suspicion it’s easier said than done. Whatever the case may be Seahawks fans are in for an exciting day, and with any luck, an even more exciting night.
Pete Carroll and John Schneider both addressed the media at the VMAC yesterday. It was a very busy day for the Seattle Seahawks; the team finalized a deal that sent Josh Wilson to Baltimore, acquired an offensive tackle from Detroit, and restructured Leroy Hill’s contract.
The most unexpected move of the day came when Josh Wilson was traded to the Baltimore Ravens for a conditional fifth-round pick.
“This is an opportunity for us that came along to us because of our depth,” Pete Carroll said, regarding Wilson. “And our situation at the cornerback position that we’re very happy with, with the play of Tru and Kelly Jennings, Walter Thurmond and Roy Lewis. Josh is a great kid and we love him and all of that. But this is a team that really came after him, and it happened very quickly.”
John Schneider, Seattle’s general manager, mostly agreed with Carroll: “Josh has been a factor here for several years now, and has done a great job in the community and everything. He’s very well respected. This was a team that was very aggressive in coming after Josh. They have a situation where they have a strong need. And as Pete said, it has more to do with the way Walter has stepped up, and the way Tru is playing and some of the younger guys.”
Surprisingly, the front office seems excited about the deal.
“It was one of those deals that comes along,” Schneider told reporters. “We get calls on players and we don’t do everything. But this was one of those deals we felt like we couldn’t pass up.”
The Seahawks received a conditional fifth-round pick for Wilson, but the final compensation will likely be a fourth-round pick based on Wilson’s expected contributions in Baltimore. A lot of fans think the Seahawks should have gotten more in return, but Schneider believes the trade met Wilson’s current market value.
“The market is different at different times,” he said. “Randy Moss was traded for a fourth-round pick. So it fluctuates. And right now with Josh in terms of value, we felt like it was at a level with him being an unrestricted free agent next year that it was at a point we felt was definitely fair.”
In the same volatile market only a few years ago, the Seahawks spent a first-round pick to acquire Deion Branch. Hopefully this deal works out better for the team.
Tags: Baltimore Ravens, cornerback, Deion Branch, football, John Schneider, Josh Wilson, Kelly Jennings, Marcus Trufant, nfl, Pete Carroll, Roy Lewis, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, trade, Walter Thurmond
Like most fans in Seattle, I don’t quite understand why the Seahawks traded cornerback Josh Wilson. In my opinion, Josh Wilson has been the team’s most productive and impressive defensive back the past two seasons.
Wilson always seemed to be fighting for a starting job during his time spent in Seattle. Pitted against Kelly Jennings, Ken Lucas, and other defensive backs, he always managed to earn playing time and overcome any competition.
While he certainly isn’t an elite defensive back, Wilson is a very good football player. Not many Seahawks are untouchable, but to dump Wilson for a late-round draft pick seems absurd. No doubt the Baltimore Ravens are happy to acquire him for such a bargain price.
Maybe the team is looking to build a group of larger defensive backs. But Josh Wilson played more physical than most of Seattle’s defenders and overcame his physical limitations on the field. Wilson frequently showed off sub-4.4 speed and playmaking ability to make up for his lack of size.
The emergence of young prospects played a role in Wilson’s departure, but I still don’t like letting him walk for a fourth- or fifth-round draft pick.
Roy Lewis and Walter Thurmond have both looked impressive in training camp and exhibition games, and the team probably won’t carry more than four cornerbacks on the 53-man roster. Marcus Trufant is healthy again, and Kelly Jennings is playing good enough to start on the opposite side.
Josh Wilson may have been expendable because of Seattle’s depth at his position, but I have to believe the Seahawks could have demanded more than a late-round pick for him. Considering Baltimore’s reported interest, one would have to assume the Seahawks should have had leverage in any negotiations that took place.
Maybe I’m just overreacting. Maybe Josh Wilson isn’t as good as I think he is; a homer bias can quickly turn good players in great ones.
Either way, best of luck to Josh Wilson in Baltimore. The Ravens are getting a good player for close to nothing and Wilson returns to Maryland where he played college ball.
Everyone involved seems to be a winner – except the Seahawks.
Tags: Baltimore Ravens, cornerback, defensive back, football, Josh Wilson, Kelly Jennings, Marcus Trufant, Maryland, National Football League, nfl, Opinion, Popular, Roy Lewis, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, trade, Walter Thurmond
More breaking news from today: the Seahawks have traded cornerback Josh Wilson to the Baltimore Ravens for an undisclosed pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Wilson has started 24 games for the Seahawks since they selected him in the second round of the 2007 draft. Since Seattle traded its 2007 first-round pick to New England for Deion Branch, Wilson was the first player the Seahawks selected that year.
In three seasons, Wilson has recorded 130 tackles, 2 sacks, and 6 interceptions. Despite his lack of size – he is only 5-feet-9 and 192 pounds – Wilson developed into one of Seattle’s only playmakers on defense last season. Two of his six interceptions were returned for touchdowns.
Only 25 years old, Wilson will likely have an opportunity to compete for a starting job with the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens were reportedly very interested in acquiring Wilson, who played at the University of Maryland in college.
One can only hope Baltimore’s interest means a fourth- or maybe third-round pick for the Seahawks. Anything less seems like a bargain; Wilson is a capable starting cornerback and occasional playmaker at the professional level.
UPDATE: The Seahawks will reportedly receive a fifth-round pick from Baltimore in exchange for Josh Wilson. The pick could become a fourth rounder, depending on how many games Wilson starts.
Josh Wilson is kinda funny looking and resembles someone’s little brother. He strikes fear into the hearts of few, and up until one month ago, he wasn’t even the best Josh Wilson in the city of Seattle, let alone the world (the local distinction, at least, belonged to the Seahawks cornerback of the exact same name).
But that matters not anymore, because Wilson, nicknamed “The Paperboy,” has delivered time and again for the Mariners so far this season.
That ability to rise to the occasion, along with Wilson’s unequivocal underdoggedness, has vaulted the 29-year-old shortstop to the top of my Favorite Obscure Mariners list. This small grouping of esteemed individuals has previously included the likes of the following few: Hiram Bocachica, Henry Cotto, Charles Gipson, Josias Manzanillo, Greg Pirkl, and Doug Strange, among a Webster-sized handful of others. It’s a select team of pseudo-all-stars that Wilson can forever and always associate himself with.
A minor leaguer to start the 2010 campaign, Wilson was called up to replace the injury-prone Jack Wilson in early May. On May 5, Josh Wilson became the team’s regular shortstop and proceeded to go ape nuts on the American League.
After his first six ballgames, the former Florida Marlin, Colorado Rockie, Washington National, Tampa Bay Devil Ray (back when they still associated with Satan), Pittsburgh Pirate, Boston Red Sock, Arizona Diamondback, and San Diego Padre was batting .353 with an OPS of 1.147. Those are Pujols numbers.
By the end of May, the four-time waiver claimee had settled in with a .300 batting average, .364 on-base percentage, and .776 OPS. He had come back to earth, but only slightly.
Now 19 days into June, the Paperboy remains as one of the team’s hottest hitters. With a .288/.346/.736 line, along with one home run and 14 RBI, Wilson has eclipsed his career averages of .238/.294/.633, and has made solid headway on his career totals (yes, totals) of five home runs and 37 RBI entering 2010.
Should Jack Wilson ever return from the disabled list in one piece, the Mariners will be hard-pressed to find a way for their former starting shortstop to work his way back into the lineup. Were Josh Wilson to be benched in favor of the higher-paid Jack Wilson, it would be an act more egregious than the time that rat bastard Eddie Martel crossed the picket line and took back the Washington Sentinels’ starting quarterback job from Shane Falco in The Replacements. Seriously.
In the midst of an increasingly-lost season, Josh Wilson is one of the M’s few bright spots. Veteran journeyman makes most of opportunity, becomes big-league regular. That’s the headline we can tag to the team’s designated newspaper carrier.
And if I may, one request for the Mariners’ marketing team. If it would at all be possible to introduce Wilson’s at-bats with Paperboy’s infamous ballad, Ditty, that would be fantastic. Some of us would really enjoy that. Namely, me. Thank you.
Filed under: Mariners
Cliff Lee pitched a complete game shutout over the visiting Cincinnati Reds by a score of 1-0 in front of 43,362 Mariners Fans. Lee squared off against Johnny Quento in a classic pitcher’s duel that the crafty veteran Lee prevailed in. The Reds came into tonight’s game a half game up in the NL Central thanks to a potent offense featuring four hitters batting over .300. However Cliff Lee failed to walk a single batter and struck-out 7 Reds using his aggressive style and pin-point accuracy. After tonight’s performance the Mariners may have to figure out a way to come-up with whatever it takes to entice Lee into signing an extension. If not it may be worthwhile to hang on to him for the rest of the season just to give the fans a reason to come-out to the Ballpark.
The Reds did threaten in the first with runners on second and third after a 2-out double by the veteran Scott Rolen before Lee got out of the inning with a ground-ball to third. The Mariners managed to load the bases in the second following the first of two doubles by Jose Lopez and a couple of walks. Unfortunately Michael Saunders was not able to produce, leaving the bases loaded after a pop-up. The Mariners were stifled at the plate along with the Reds up until the sixth inning when Jose Lopez got hit by a pitch with 2-outs. Franklin Gutierrez who was moved down in the order tonight into the fifth spot, then blooped a single to center setting the stage for Josh Wilson. The Paper boy delivered with a single up the middle which drove home a hustling Lopez who narrowly avoided the tag with a great slide.
The Reds manager Dusty Baker pulled Queto after Wilson’s single and the M’s skipper Don Wakamatsu countered by bringing in Mike Sweeney off the bench to pinch-hit for the struggling Mike Carp. It was nice to Sweeney back with the club even though he was not able to drive-in the runners on base and instead struck-out against Reds reliever Daniel Herrera on a wicked curve that broke 18 inches. The Mariners got a break in the eighth when Reds left fielder Johnny Gomes lost a ball in the twilight allowing Jose Lopez to land at second with two outs. Unfortunately Gutierrez went down swinging and was unable to provide the Mariners with an insurance run off of ex-Mariner Arthur Rhodes who at age 40 can still get it done.
This was a nice game to watch for the fans many of which may have come to the game for an Ichiro-Griffey bobble-head doll but instead were treated to a pitching gem starring Cliff Lee. Perhaps the thing that sticks in my mind most from Lee’s pitching performance was watching him sprint to the mound in the 8th and 9th innings. Cliff Lee just keeps getting better this year and tonight he surely turned up the dial on any trade rumors floating around baseball. Tomorrow our other newly rebounding Ace Felix Hernandez will be on the mound trying to keep the flickering flame of hope alive for the Mariners in 2010. http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Cincinnati Reds, Cliff Lee, Josh Wilson, Mariners
Doug Fister came into this game tonight with the best ERA in the AL, but tonight he got tagged for 3 homers by the Minnesota Twins and the Mariners couldn’t quite catch up and lost this one 5-4. The sun came out this afternoon and it was actually pleasant at the Safe when I joined 19,795 other fans on this Memorial day. A color guard from the various branches of the service were on hand to commemorate the veterans from previous conflicts and to honor those still in active duty. The Twins fans were out in full force as well, cheering on their club complete with signs, jerseys and ya-sure ya-betcha midwest accents.
Justin Morneau picked up 3-hits including a couple doubles to move his average to .377, but it was the long-balls by Cuddyer, Kubel, and Young that killed us tonight. Fister gave up all three dingers with 2-outs including back-to-back homers in the 4th which provided all the runs the Twins would need. This could prove to be a rough series for the Mariners as the Twins are hot and focused on getting back in the play-offs after getting knocked out by the Yankees last year.
On the positive side of things Figgins and Lopez each picked up a couple of hits and scored three of the four Mariners runs. Josh Wilson continued to deliver and boosted his average to .300, going 3-4 with a RBI. It looked as if our boys might pull it off in the ninth when Lopez opened the frame with a double and the Paper Boy delivered a single up the middle to pull us within one run. Wakamatsu brought in Griffey to pinch-hit which got the crowd on its feet, only to be let-down when he grounded out. Casey Kotchman also got into the game and hit a hard grounder to first which turned into a double-play that killed the rally and sent us all home.
For some reason Rob Johnson got the start tonight behind the plate and went 0-3, which was disturbing in light of Eliezer Alfonso’s 3-4 debut yesterday. It appears that the Mariners want Rob Johnson to be the everyday catcher no matter how bad he plays or how well the other catchers perform. Ryan Rowland-Smith came in to relieve Fister and looked out-of-place and shaky before being pulled for Brandon League, League got the Mariners out of a first and third no outs jam in the 8th to keep this one close.
Both Oakland and LA won today so we lost ground in the AL West. Fister and Vargas have pitched way over their heads thus far and reality began to set-in tonight. It does appear that Figgins and Lopez are waking-up, but Bradley and Sweeney were both cold as May in Seattle tonight. Anyway we will be playing the Twins three more games this week so we will have plenty of chances to make-up for this loss.
I was just informed that the Mariners have called up Garrett Olson and Sean White to replace Jesus Colome and Kanekoa Texeira in the pen. Not sure if this move will solve all the problems but at least it will be a start. I look for more moves this week.http://jeffsmariners.com
Cliff Lee struck out 10 Los Angeles Angels tonight and pitched 8 strong innings as the Mariners won for the third straight game and now are 6 1/2 games out of first. Lee faced off against Scott Kazmir tonight, and outside of a shaky first where Lee committed an error there was no doubt who was in charge of this match between AL West rivals. Coming off two come from behind victories against the Tigers, the Mariners appear to be playing their best ball of the year recently. Tonight the Mariners were able to combine for 11 hits spread throughout the lineup, with everyone getting a hit except Mike Sweeney who has hit plenty in the current comeback for this club.
In the third inning Ichiro got on with a 2-out single followed by a walk to Figgins setting the table for Franklin Gutierrez who proceeded to drive in a run with a base-knock making it 2-1. Bradley came up with runners on 1st and 2nd and ripped a drive into left that Figgins and Gutierrez were running on, amazingly Guti scored all the way from first as Bradley was held to a single but got the runs in. Yesterday I mentioned the key to this resurgence was going to be Figgins and Jose Lopez and sure enough Lopez unloaded for a solo shot in the 4th to put the club up 4-2.
In the 5th inning the Mariners once again tore-up the bases on a line drive by Figgins to right that scored Ichiro all the way from first landing Figgins on third. Milton Bradley drove in Figgins with a sac-fly giving him a 3 RBI night down in Disneyland. The Angels managed to pick-up a run in the 5th off Lee but after that it was lights-out by the Lee as he dominated the Angels with pinpoint accuracy all night long.
The “Paper boy” Josh Wilson delivered again in the 9th with an RBI double to keep his hitting streak alive at 9 games. Having Josh Wilson producing at the bottom of the order has made a big difference lately as the Mariners try to claw their way back up to .500 by the All-Star Break. The AL West is wide-open this year and with a sweep in Anaheim the Mariners could find themselves back in business. Felix Hernandez will take the mound in the day game tomorrow, he is due for a dominant performance of his own. Lets keep our fingers crossed as this series is crucial if we are going get back in this thing. http://jeffsmariners.com
Today I joined 22,422 of my closest friends down at the Safe to enjoy an indoor matinée played out on a grass field between white lines on another gloomy Seattle late May afternoon. In the first 8 innings it looked like the visiting gladiators from Motown were toying with our Mariners from the soggy Northwest before finally unloading their lethal bats on us. But for some reason the Detroit Tigers were unable to put the hurt on our boys despite hitting line drives all over the park that were just playable by our crafty sailors.
Jason Vargas managed to keep this game close by going 5 full innings and giving up only 2 runs despite not having his best stuff. On the other hand Jason Bonderman pitching for the Tigers only got touched for a single run in the second and it looked like he would coast to an easy victory. The Tigers have a tough line-up and got a long ball from Ordonez and added two more in the sixth off of Ryan Rowland-Smith, who should have gotten out of the inning were it not for the error by Jose Lopez.
But then came the bottom of the 8th…. Franklin Gutierrez lashed a lead-off single to right, followed by a strikeout from Milton Bradley. This brought up Mike Sweeney who has been on a tear lately and played an awkward first base today. Mike Sweeney has a knack for the dramatic and today was no different as he unloaded for a 2-run bomb that suddenly made it 4-3. Jose Lopez managed to get on with a single to bring up Rob Johnson who replaced Josh Bard who came out with an injury earlier in the game. Johnson is sometimes difficult to watch at the plate and he knows he is on the bubble with the Mariners. However today Johnson managed to drive a double off the wall in left and we had runners at second and third with the “Paper Boy” Josh Wilson coming to bat. Josh Wilson continued to make us forget about ailing Jack Wilson with a clutch 2-run RBI single that put the Mariners up for good at 5-4.
With the 2-game sweep the Mariners pulled to 7 1/2 games back of the Texas Rangers who lost today. But more importantly the last 2 games have shown everyone that the Mariners, though still ten games under .500 have not given up on the season and in fact are starting to gel. We now have a day off before heading to Anaheim for a 3-game series with the Angels. This was a decent home stand where we went 4-3 and could well be the turning point of the season. Between now and the All-Star break the Mariners have a chance to get back in the race slowly but surely with the formula of good pitching and timely hitting. Jose Lopez and Chone Figgins will be a key component of any comeback and they both are overdue to break-out and start producing like they are capable of. It looks like our ship hasn’t sunk yet so remember: Hope Floats! http://jeffsmariners.com
Well it looks like we can relax a bit as the Mariners ended their 8 game losing streak today at Safeco field with an 8-1 victory behind the stellar pitching of Jason Vargas. In a nice present for all the Mothers down at the Safe today, our sailors stopped drifting and begin the upcoming road trip on a positive note. I mentioned hitting coach Alan Cockerell in my post a few days ago as someone to watch, well sure enough he was given his walking-papers before today’s game and Alonzo Powell from AAA Tacoma took over.
Speaking of AAA Tacoma, our recently called up players from the minors all proved they were hungry today and hopefully will push the regulars into taking another look at themselves. Josh Wilson led the group with a 3-run homer in the 4th and also had a single, walk, and triple. Michael “Condor” Saunders let everyone know he was legit as well with a solo HR and RBI single later in the game. Ryan Langerhans got on base with a couple of walks and picked up a steal as he gave Casey Kotchman the day off to regroup. Even Adam Moore who is on the bubble picked up an RBI single in the 8th.
I hope the Cockrell move today is not the last in Jack Z’s effort to shake things up. I’d like to see Josh Wilson in the lineup when Jack Wilson comes back Tuesday against Baltimore. Josh Wilson is hungry and I bet he could manage at second base while Chone Figgins gets a chance to work with the new Hitting Coach. This home stand has been trying on the nerves and for once I will be happy to see our guys get on a plane.
In other news around Baseball Oakland Pitcher Dallas Braden pitched a Perfect Game, only the 19th in Major League History. I saw a great video clip of him hugging his Grandma after the game on Mothers day, I thought of my Mom, Suzanne Marjorie Engels who always loved Baseball and was born in NYC when my Grandfather Gordon Rhodes pitched for the Yankees. Happy Mothers day Mom , Mrs Braden and all you Mothers out there. Baseball is a timeless game that connects families and generations like no other and thus is America’s Pastime.http://jeffsmariners.com