Seattle made another roster move Thursday night signing former quarterback Josh Portis. Seattle signed Portis to be the 3rd string Quarterback in 2011 backup Tavaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst. Portis then served on the practice squad last season before being let go later in the season. With the trade of Matt Flynn Seattle needed another quarterback who knew the system and decided to go with Portis.
Is Portis the quarterback Seattle feels can be the primary backup to Russell Wilson? I believe the answer is no. Portis shares many of the same skills that Wilson does, he is mobile, he can throw the ball down field and he can avoid pressure. Portis was a highly recruited Quarterback coming out of High School he attended Florida for a year before transferring to Maryland due to a lack of playing time. He was later suspended for the 2007 season due to cheating on an exam. Portis later transferred to California (PA). The fact that he was not able to find stability with a coaching staff his entire college career is concerning to me.
The problem I have with Josh Portis is he is not a great thrower in 2011 he played in three preseason games and failed to complete 50 percent of his passes coming out at an pedestrian 41.7 percent. The guy is simply not a great passer at this point and with Seattle aiming for a super bowl this year they need a backup quarterback who can move the offense. I believe if Portis gets thrown into a game that matters he will falter.
I really do like Portis as quarterback to develop for another year and see if he progresses, but the fact that Seattle was not willing to carry him on the practice squad for the entire year and another team did not take a chance on him is telling. I fully expect Seattle to sign another veteran quarterback such as Thigpen or Leinart and maybe draft a young quarterback too. Seattle needs a veteran quarterback with experience during Matt Hasselbeck’s tenure in Seattle his backups included Trent Dilfer, Brock Huard, Seneca Wallace, and Charlie Fry all Quarterbacks who had experience under their belt.
We’ve know this was going to happen for a few days now, but it finally became official today. Matt Flynn is no longer with the Seattle Seahawks.
The official terms of the trade include Seattle getting a 2013 5th round pick, and a conditional pick in 2015 draft. The exact conditions on the 2015 pick are unknown other than that it is “performanced based.” It is thought to be anywhere from a 6th to 4th, but you never know with conditional picks.
This structure of the compensation makes sense for both teams. The Raiders are a bad team that needs their picks in this draft. The Seahawks, on the other hand, are already loaded with late round picks in this year’s draft and have more picks than likely open roster spots. It makes sense for both teams to want to push the compensation out into future years.
Looking back at the poll from Saturday, it seems that only 17% of fans are going to be happy with this return in the trade for Seattle’s backup passer.
Personally though, I think the Seahawks got it right here. I was expecting a 6th round pick, so getting a 5th rounder and an additional pick the following year makes this feel a bit like Christmas. Remember, this trade happened entirely for the cap space it saved the Seahawks. Any picks netted by Seattle are just a nice bonus.
A quick survey of a the comments on twitter about the news that Matt Flynn’s inevitable trade to the Raiders led to some very disperate opinions. The response varied from excitement to anger, and this is before we learn exactly what the Seahawks are getting back in return for Flynn.
Before the terms are announced, I thought it would be interesting to gauge what everyone is expecting in return for Flynn. But instead of asking what we think will happen, what i really want to know is what you’d be happy with.
Think of it as “If we get less than ____ in return, I wont be happy with this trade.”
So 12s, what do think?Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
Reports have been flying all day that a Matt Flynn trade was “imminent.” Well, it wasn’t that imminent, since it still hasn’t happened.
What we know right now: The Raiders are the team that’s acquiring Flynn. They will release Carson Palmer to create the cap room to so.
What we “think” we know: Supposedly the trade is “completed” from the Seahawk’s end, but the deal is waiting on the Raiders to get their salary cap situation figured out. Since cutting Palmer saves more against the cap than Flynn will cost them, I’m not sure how this is so difficult.
It also appears that rather than cutting Palmer, the Raiders might be trying to trade him to the Cardinals.
What we don’t know yet: Everything else. We have no idea what the Seahawks are getting in return. We don’t have any idea what their plan is for a backup QB once Flynn is gone.
Other Random Comments:
- The Seahawks already own the Raider’s 5th round pick this year because of the Aaron Curry trade.
- Matthew will be posting a look at possible veteran options still available for the Seahawks to replace Flynn. Hopefully that will be done by the morning.
- My wild guess for compensation for the Seahawks is that the Seahawks give the Raiders back their 5th round pick along with Flynn in exchange for the Raider’s 4th round pick and 5th rounder in 2014.
- Why that compensation? Only because the idea of giving the Raiders the pick they’ve already traded to to the Seahawks is entertaining to me. It’s like a game of Aaron Curry hot potato.
- I think this trade means that the Raiders don’t believe that Geno Smith with get past Jacksonville at #2 overall in the draft.
- A huge contingent of people from the Raiders were on hand for Matt Barkley’s workout at USC, and then promptly contacted Seattle about Flynn. Connect those dots everyone.
When it became clear that Matt Flynn was on the trading block I must confess I had mixed feelings. I like Flynn and I feel for him because things probably didn’t work out exactly as he planned last year through no fault of his own. The ascendance of Russell Wilson was something that very few predicted and Flynn had done nothing to lose his perch atop the Seahawks depth chart except be in competition with a truly special player. I hope he gets an opportunity to start because I think he’s among the 32 best QB’s in the league and deserves a shot. Additionally the return the Seahawks stand to gain in terms of draft picks and salary cap relief is going to be very useful, both for resigning a guy like Kam Chancellor and restocking the roster with quality depth. I understand and agree with the rationale behind dealing Flynn but the eternal pessimist in me really would like an elite Russell Wilson insurance policy in a year where the Seahawks are really going for it. That said, although it looks like the Raiders, Jaguars, and Bills are the front runners for Flynn, rumors of his departure got me thinking of just how many teams Matt Flynn could start for at this moment in time. I’m a guy who likes to base his theories on statistics and to be honest there aren’t a ton of statistics on Flynn so this is more subjective than I’d like, but it’s just a fun thought experiment. Quarterback depth charts aren’t finished yet but there isn’t a star QB in the draft that I’m convinced would be better than Flynn anyway. So let’s take a look at just how many teams Mr. Flynn could start for in today’s NFL:
#1 QB: Tavaris Jackson
Is Flynn an upgrade? Yes. The Seahawks brought in Flynn as an upgrade over Jackson just a year ago and Buffalo seems to be gunning for Flynn so this one is pretty easy.
New York Jets
#1 QB: Mark Sanchez
Is Flynn an upgrade? Yes. Mark Sanchez is awful. Sanchez has completed 55.1% of his passes in his career with more interceptions than touchdowns. Flynn may be something of an unknown quantity but I know he’s better than Sanchez.
#1 QB: Ryan Tannehill
Is Flynn an upgrade? Maybe, but I’ll go with no. Tannehill showed a great deal of potential as a rookie last year and could be poised for a breakout. With the kind of seasons RGIII, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson had last year people seem to forget that quarterbacks often take a while to develop.
New England Patriots
#1 QB: Tom Brady
Is Flynn an upgrade? No. Just no.
#1 QB: Ben Roethlisberger
Is Flynn an upgrade? Definitely not. Two rings and underrated statistics place Roethlisberger among the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.
#1 QB: Joe Flacco
Is Flynn an upgrade? No. You’d hope not for Baltimore’s sake given what they are paying Flacco.
#1 QB: Andy Dalton
Is Flynn an upgrade? No. Dalton is no superstar but he’s a good quarterback, not one you would be looking to replace.
Top QB on the Depth Chart: Brandon Weeden
Is Flynn an upgrade? I’d say yes. Weeden may only be a sophomore but he’s two years older than Flynn so it’s not as if there is a ton to dream on in terms of his development. I doubt the Cleveland front office would agree, but I just can’t see Weeden as a franchise player.
#1 QB: Matt Schaub
Is Flynn an upgrade? No. Schaub is getting a great deal of flak with Houston’s failure to go deep in the playoffs the last two years but he remains a solid starting quarterback.
#1 QB: Andrew Luck
Is Flynn an upgrade? No. I would like to say here that Andrew Luck’s rookie year has been heavily overrated. He put up enormous yards because the Colts threw so much and he had difficulty with accuracy and avoiding turnovers. Not to say he doesn’t have an incredibly bright future ahead of him because he does, I guess that’s just a little bit of Russell Wilson fan rant that needed to come out. No one would rather have Matt Flynn than Andrew Luck though.
#1 QB: Chad Henne/Blaine Gabbert (?)
Is Flynn an upgrade? Yes. Very much so. This is where I suspect he winds up for a reunion with Gus Bradley. It’s funny how that is a storyline people have mentioned when Flynn was the backup QB and Bradley was the defensive coordinator, I wonder to what extend they know each other…
#1 QB: Jake Locker
Is Flynn an upgrade? This is a tough one. I think in all likelihood Flynn is an upgrade on Locker who is probably a bust. However, Locker is only 25 and has only started 11 games in his career and you have to think Locker deserves a little more time to show he belongs. Verdict: Reluctant no.
#1 QB: Peyton Manning
Is Flynn an upgrade? No.
San Diego Chargers
#1 QB: Phillip Rivers
Is Flynn an upgrade? Two years ago this question would have been a joke. Now I have to pause for a second but Rivers still deserves a chance to regain his elite form and hasn’t been as bad over the last two years as people think. (Passer Ratings of 88.7 and 88.6 just to give you an idea)
Kansas City Chiefs
#1 QB: Alex Smith
Is Flynn an upgrade? The Chiefs must not think so because they paid far more for Smith than Flynn is going to cost. Smith is better but Flynn will most likely be a better value.
#1 QB: Carson Palmer (for now)
Is Flynn an upgrade? Sadly yes. I remember when Palmer was an elite quarterback but those days are deep in the past. Palmer has been a huge disappointment in Oakland, especially given the price they paid for him. Oakland is in the running for Flynn and I’d assume Palmer would get cut if the Raiders grab Flynn. It would be funny if we then signed Palmer as a backup but I’m getting ahead of myself.
New York Giants
#1 QB: Eli Manning
Is Flynn an upgrade? No, personally I despise Manning but there is no way for me to realistically claim Flynn is the better player
#1 QB: RGIII
Is Flynn an upgrade? Easy no.
#1 QB: Tony Romo
Is Flynn an upgrade? No. Romo is a really good quarterback who seems one of the best in the sport at attracting undeserved criticism. Thanks for that playoff win though, Tony.
#1 QB: Mike Vick
Is Flynn an upgrade? I’m going to say yes here. Vick is getting old and breaking down. He was an absolute mess last year and only demonstrated the ability to be an above average passer once, in 2010.
Green Bay Packers
#1 QB: Aaron Rodgers
Is Flynn an upgrade? Another quick no.
#1 QB: Matt Stafford
Is Flynn an upgrade? Stafford and the Lions had a nasty year in 2012 but this is a very easy no.
#1 QB: Jay Cutler
Is Flynn an upgrade? No. There are many dislikable things about Jay Cutler but he is a good player with a terrible supporting cast and has been for years. For some reason the Bears just can’t provide him with any pass protection (hands up if you think Jermaine Bushrod is the answer).
#1 QB: Christian Ponder
Is Flynn an upgrade? Maybe. This is another tough one. Despite Percy Harvin’s opinion of him Ponder is young and improving and so I don’t think I could describe Flynn as a definite upgrade.
New Orleans Saints
#1 QB: Drew Brees
Is Flynn an upgrade? No. no. no.
#1 QB: Cam Newton
Is Flynn an upgrade? Newton has some serious detractors but one would have to say no here.
#1 QB: Matt Ryan
Is Flynn an upgrade? Nope.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
#1 QB: Josh Freeman
Is Flynn an upgrade? It’s possible but Freeman still has upside remaining at 25 and if the accuracy that abandoned him last year returns he will go back to being a solid starter. Tentative no.
San Francisco 49ers
#1 QB: Colin Kaepernick
Is Flynn an upgrade? Not likely
St. Louis Rams
#1 QB: Sam Bradford
Is Flynn an upgrade? First truly bold call… Yes. Bradford turns 26 this year and has only shown marginal growth as a quarterback in his three years in the league.
#1 QB Drew Stanton
Is Flynn an upgrade? Yes. Stanton hasn’t played a great deal more than Flynn and when he has he’s been much worse. Stanton is also a year older.
People often say things like, “Player X could start for X number of teams” (they usually use real players and numbers to be fair) but they rarely back it up. This used to come up quite a bit with Maurice Morris when he was backing up Shaun Alexander. I figured I would actually take a look exactly how many teams I figure Flynn could start for, and based on this highly subjective analysis I’d say that he would be an upgrade at quarterback for eight teams. That’s a quarter of the NFL. Flynn is a real asset, and as much as it would be nice to keep him around he’s a luxury considering he could really be a starter elsewhere. I look forward to seeing what kind of return the Seahawks could get for someone who is quite clearly among the top 32 quarterbacks in the league.
The most talked about aspect of the Seahawks offseason so far has definitely been the future of backup QB Matt Flynn. He’s good enough to start for a number of teams, but he’s never going to get that chance here in Seattle now that Russell Wilson is entrenched at the position. He deserves his chance to go elsewhere and try and lead his own team.
Than then there is the problem of his contract. If he stays, he’ll once again be among the highest paid backup QBs in the NFL. The Seahawks have enough cap space to keep him, but they also have a number of players who need new contracts, and some extra cap space this year might allow them to address that issue.
His future is clearly up in the air. At this point, its possible he’s traded or released; its even possible that stays as Wilson’s backup.
I’ve already broken down the financial implications for each of the options. Here is how it looks for all of the possibilites:
|Situation||Cap #||Cap Savings|
|On Roster||$7.25 mil||–|
|Released||$6 mil*||$1.25 mil|
|Traded||$4 mil||$3.25 mil|
It’s prediction time: Its time to hear what you think will happen with Flynn this offseason. Remember, this isn’t what you want to see happen, it’s what you think will happen.Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
Now that we’re in the bye part of our season, I wanted to take a moment to evaluate what we know we have… and have not.
We have not: a quarterback controversy. In fact, yesterday I heard sports radio commentators remarking that the Jets switching out quarterbacks during a drive was actually disruptive and created a stall in drives. This was followed by advice to commit to your quarterback just like Seattle did with Wilson… that it would have been the height of stupidity to bring Flynn in just to see what he had. Hind sight is a wonderful thing! It hasn’t been that many weeks since Seattle sports commentators were calling for Flynn to play just to see what he had.
We have: an unseasoned quarterback. As good as Wilson is performing, he’s still a rookie and there will be mistakes. There were certainly plays in the first half of the Jets game where he struggled, holding on to the ball too long, not sliding when he ran for yardage, missing open receivers down field.
We have: A quarterback with amazing ability to implement learned information in the middle of a game. In spite of his youth and inexperience in the NFL, Wilson isn’t one to continually make mistakes. He has an amazing ability to filter information and implement it immediately.
We have not: a solid receiver corp. Although we have some excellent receivers, injury has kept us from being solid at this position. While Rice and Tate have been consistent, Edwards and Baldwin have been only spotty contributors (injuries) even though both looked great in training camp. Meanwhile Kearse remains untested after drops in the Viking game.
We have: An amazing Tight End. Zack Miller is golden. Whether blocking, running routes or catching the ball, he’s a favorite target down the middle and with his size, a difficult player to bring down.
We have: an amazing defense. Even though they have faced questions regarding how good they really are (optimus prime) they continue to be formidable opponents; opportunists with great speed, size and a desire to hold other team scoreless…
We have: a fantastic owner/front office.
We have: a much needed week off to heal injuries and prepare for the home stretch.
We have: a chance to be a 10-6 team! Or 11-5!
The NFL’s trade deadline was moved from today and noon to Thursday at the same time because of the Hurricane. That gives teams 2 more days to try and get deals done. Unfortunately, it wont matter. This is the NFL, and not MLB, so new players can’t just slide into a new team and contribute. It takes time to learn the new team’s system. Plus, draft picks, the currency of which trades usually take place, have become and increasingly precious commodity in recent years.
Overall, trades just don’t happen very often in the NFL, so the extra time just isn’t going to make the NFL trade deadline period any more interesting.
But even with all that in mind, I’ve come up with 3 trades I’d like to see the Seahawks do before Thursday’s deadline. All are fair in terms of value for both teams, and the end result nets them much needed upgrades and WR and TE, and is roughly draft pick neutral for the Seahawks because they are able to deal from positions where they have strength and depth.
1) Matt Flynn and Golden Tate to Kansas City For QB Matt Cassell and WR Dwayne Bowe
This move just makes so much sense for both teams. The Chief’s season is over as far as competing is concerned. Matt Cassell’s tenture is done as well, and Brady Quinn has shown already that he isn’t going to be a long term answer at QB. The best thing for the Chiefs this season would be to acquire a potential QB of the future and use the rest of the season to evaluate and develop him. Bowe has said he wants out of KC and wont re-sign with them, so using him as trade bait to get that QB is probably best rather than expending draft picks.
The Seahawks have committed to Russell Wilson at QB, so Flynn’s contract is something they’ll want to move at some point. Trading Flynn leave the Seahawks without a backup QB, which is why Cassell would be a part of the deal. It would be a risk, since Cassell doesn’t know the offense, but with the bye week coming up he would get acclimated fairly quickly.
Bowe would be a big upgrade at WR for the Seahawks, and give the Seahawks a great compliment to Sydney Rice on the outside. Bowe is the type of weapon that could really be a difference maker as the Seahawks make a run for the playoffs.
2) Anthony McCoy and a 6th round pick to Tennessee for TE Jared Cook
Jared Cook was hoping that a breakout year would lead to a big contract this next offseason. Instead, a bad team and the need to block on almost play has led Cook to being frustrated and wanting out of Tennessee. Cook would be a huge upgrade at TE for Seattle, and allow them to take better advantage of multi TE sets.
Cook would also be a good candidate for a 1 year “prove it” contract that the Seahawks like to give. Plus, if they can get him to sign one, he’d be good Zach Miller insurance as they try to negotiate down his current $11 million cap number for next season.
McCoy give the Titans a young TE with upside, but low current value, and a draft pick compensation for a player who is going to be leaving anyways.
3) Marcus Trufant to Baltimore for 6th (or 5th) round draft pick.
A 5th round pick would be ideal for Seattle, and probably fair compensation for Trufant, but I’d take a 6th if it gets the deal done. The Seahawks need a roster spot for Walter Thurmond who about to come off the PUP list. Thurmond is a better fit than Trufant for Seattle’s scheme, and is a younger player with much more upside. I also keep hearing how much the Seahawk’s coaches have been impressed with Danny Gorrer, and want to expand his roll in the near future. The return of Thurmond and the emergence of Gorrer almost certainly means a decreased roll for Trufant here in Seattle.
For the Ravens though, Trufant has a lot of value. The Ravens are short handed at CB, and Trufant would be a valuable asset to them as they make a playoff run. Plus, Trufants zone coverage abilities and sure tackling make him a better fit in Baltimore’s scheme than in Seattle’s, where his lack of man to man skills are a liability.
It seems that everyone has had their say on the Seahawks QB position. Even Warren Moon weighed in earlier this week. Now it’s time to find out what you think.Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
Now, we already know that Wilson will be playing this week vs Carolina. Pete Carroll didn’t make the change, and thus Wilson got all the practice time again. He also said that Matt Flynn is continuing to compete and that the QB competition isn’t over.
That certainly isn’t a ringing endorsement for Wilson. If Carroll wan’t to put out the fire of a QB controversy he would have just said that Wilson is the starter no matter what. Instead, when asked about the QB position, the first thing he talked about was Flynn healing elbow and how he’s finally ready to practice full time. It was a odd choice by Carroll if he wasn’t already considering making a change.Seahawks
Hopefully, Wilson goes out and has a huge game this week. If that happens, the Seahawks will almost certainly win and the questions about the QBs will go away for another week. If he doesn’t have a good game, and especially if the Seahawks lose, the calls for a QB change will only get louder.
And with games against the 49ers and Patriots looming, Carroll may be forced to make a change.
Your intrepid reporter was bouncing back and forth between her virtual tech world and the game on Sunday. As a result, she now feels unqualified to write a comprehensive piece covering the scope of the Seahawks/Rams game. However, she has managed to pull her head out of her servers long enough to form a few opinions. And ask a few questions….
1. Pointless in Seattle, AKA- We’re not scoring a lot of points – Your reporter is not sure if this is a QB issue, a stubborn head coach issue or an offensive coordinator with a hitch in his giddy-up issue. Press “D” for all of the above.
2. D Plane! D Plane! – As high flyin’ as our D is, they can still be rattled. (self explanatory)
3. What’s my line? – That Pete is one cagey dude. Is Flynn’s elbow hurt? Is it sore? Is it swollen? Is it too sore to start but not too sore to practice? Does he even have an elbow? Is it bionic? This reporter believes there’s a story here.
4. Our Man Flynn – If Flynn can’t come in, what’s the plan? Are we really playing with only one QB? Does Portis sleep with his head on the playbook in case he’s suddenly promoted? Do we have TJack on speed dial? These are the questions that keep your reporter up at night.
5. Now isn’t that special? – When did our special teams become less special? At the end of game three, your reporter was sure our special teams had found themselves. After week 4, she’s sending them a map.
6. Our arch nemesis, (insert look of dread) The Third Down – Someone throw a young lady into the volcano! The curse of The Third Down must be defeated.
7. The consistency! It’s all wrong! – Yet again, our team faces it’s greatest challenge – consistency. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows are enough to cause even the hardiest of fans (your reporter included) to question what the heck kind of script we following here…
When she looks at her copy of the script, it still has the initials RW in the corner.
The Seahawks are now a quarter of the way through the season. They are 2-2 overall, and 0-2 in their division. They could be 4-0, barring two late game offensive collapses against Arizona and St. Louis, and they could be 1-3 if the call goes differently at the end of the game against Green Bay. The only game the Seahawks absolutely won was at home against Dallas. Seattle should have beat St. Louis. There is nobody that can convince me otherwise. The Rams didn’t beat the Seahawks, the Seahawks beat themselves. The Seahawks once again showed a completely dominant defense (not allowing a single touchdown) and a potent ground attack (both Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin had great games). The passing offense was completely impotent. In fact, it was embarrassing and it was clear the Rams didn’t respect it. The Rams would rush around both ends of the line and, while I think the offensive line did alright, Wilson did not have the poise required.
I have received some pretty vitriolic and ridiculous comments from people who feel I am being too hard on Russell Wilson and I have no doubt that there will be a few after this post. Reality, however is that he is not effectively running Seattle’s offense. Pete Carroll can take responsibility for the uncreative play-calling but Wilson is the one on the field, leading the charge. I have no doubt that if the Seahawks were doing well, Wilson would get the lion’s share of credit, which is fair, but credit and responsibility cuts both ways. As Jason pointed out on Twitter, if three events don’t happen we’d be thinking differently about Wilson. While this is true, the fact is, it happened the way it did. Doug Baldwin should have caught that ball that went through his arms. Anthony McCoy shouldn’t have slipped. And Seattle should never have fallen for the fake field goal. (The third is totally inexcusable in my opinion.)
Wilson is yet to have any sort of “break-out” performance. When I listen to Fox, CBS, and NFL Network’s pre and post-game “discussions,” Wilson is no longer mentioned along with Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, and Robert Griffin. I’m not saying I like the punditry or even agree with it, but it is telling. Seattle does have more rushing yards than passing yards and has shown a complete ineptitude in the passing game.
I don’t know that Matt Flynn would be better. It might even be that is injured in some way and that is preventing him from playing (even though I’d require more clarity on this phantom injury that Carroll is citing before buying it). What I do know, though, is that as a fan I’m tired of waiting. I’m tired of rebuilding. We have an elite defense and we’d be a 3-1 team, with at least one division win, if we had even an average offense. I’ll admit that I’m very frustrated.
I want Russell Wilson to succeed. Believe me when I say that I do. I want him to succeed because I want the Seahawks to win. I want Seattle, as a city, to have a team that is a perennial contender. The current iteration of the Seahawks, though, is not a contender. Wilson is bothered by blitzes and it takes a little extra work, and time, for him to get a good vantage of the passing lanes. I see the potential for him to be a good quarterback but, as a fan, I’m not willing to burn a season on him getting there. I’d rather have Wilson as backup for three seasons while he learned the pro-game and, hopefully, win in the meantime with a quarterback that has spent time as a backup and does have a better familiarity with the offense. Essentially, I care about the team’s success above any individual player’s success.
In short, I want to win, and I want to win now. I don’t care who leads us to victory but after a quarter of the season, I feel less and less like Wilson, at this very early point in his career, can do that. When Seattle needs to score a touchdown late in the game, I feel anything but confident. For the defense to allow only field goals, some of them at a ridiculous distance, and still lose upsets me as a fan. It’s frustrating to see a lot of energy spent, and ultimately wasted, because the offense, and special teams in this game, can’t get their act together.
Finally, I would like to know that certain key members of the team share my sense of urgency and desperation. I know Lynch does because of the way he runs on every carry. The normally thoughtful Sidney Rice does, as well. I think the vast majority of the team does because they are built that way and if they live around the Seattle area, it’s hard not to realize how much Seattle wants this team to succeed now.
I would like to know Russell Wilson also feels that way. I am not questioning who he is as a person or a leader. This is something purely personal that I want to know about my team’s athletes. As a fan, when my team loses, I feel crappy the rest of the day. My dad knows not to call me to talk about the game. My girlfriend gives me my space. It’s who I am. I am proud of my city in all its aspects, including is sports teams. And when something happens that reflects badly upon that which I love, I wear my heart on my sleeve and take it (too) personally. Therefore, I feel better when I know that players hate losing as much as I do. I don’t think Wilson likes to lose, but I want him to understand he is representing a city that has been screwed by sports fairly regularly. I want him to have that sense of urgency and competitive edge. I don’t like seeing optimistic “positive” tweets after a loss about moving forward and learning. I assume professionals learn after a loss. I don’t need to be told that. If you didn’t learn you wouldn’t be a pro. I want to know that the disappointment is shared. I wouldn’t be upset if there was an overt flash of frustration after the first four games. Breno Giacomini’s two personal foul penalties were not an acceptable expression of frustration.
Fair or not, the quarterback is generally the “leader” and “face” of a team and right now, that’s Wilson. That comes with all of the perks, accolades, and blame (all of which may sometimes be out of proportion) to actual events. And have no doubt; if Matt Flynn or anyone else was running our current offense and everything was the same, I’d be equally critical of them.
It is painfully clear that things aren’t firing on all cylinders and there is a lot of untapped potential in the offense. If I knew my frustration was shared by key leaders, I’d feel better following a very disappointing first four games.
*Quick disclaimer. These posts are titled “Gut Reaction” for a reason. They are literally my immediate thoughts and feelings from within 24 hours of the game (sans the profanity) in written form. While there may be some actual nuggets of analysis in these posts, they generally aren’t acmes of analysis. (I’d say they are approximately 80% emotion and 20% analysis.) I encourage all forms of discussion and comments, but I want readers to understand that the intent of these posts before making ridiculous accusations against yours truly.
I very much hoped we were past this; that when the Seahawks finally chose a QB, that the 12th man would rally behind him and be supportive. That is unfortunately not the case right now.
It started just after the game did. The Seahawks were less than 3 minutes into the game when first “Matt Flynn would have completed that” comments flashed across my twitter timeline. By halftime, the noise had gotten loud enough that Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer felt the need to tweet this:
When the Seahawks offense scored 13 unanswered pints in the third quarter, the chatter about the QBs quieted down, but it was unstoppable when the Seahawks final drive ended 4 yards short of a victory.
It hasn’t gone away all week either. There’s been claims of an unfair competition that favored Flynn (the same claims that were made by Wilson supporters when it appeared Flynn had won the competition earlier in camp), there have been claims that Carroll played Wilson (and Sweezy at RG) in order to try and get Matt Barkley in April. and there have been claims that Carroll is trying to lose so he can get fired, still get paid, and go back to college football. Clearly the foil-hat brigade is out in full force this week.
Ultimately, I don’t think the Seahawks did enough to win with either QB last week. They didn’t win with Wilson, so we know that one. While I think that Flynn likely makes a few plays that Wilson doesn’t in that game, there was a number of plays that only happened because of Wilson’s athleticism. It becomes a case where what you gain in one area you lose in another, and I don’t think it makes enough of a difference to matter.
This is the thing with rookie QBs. They aren’t perfect early. Wilson will get better. That is something you can count on. I just hope that when he does, that all of the 12th Man will finally be behind him.
Seahawks Preseason Game 4
Having missed the first preseason game, the Seahawks/Raiders game was my first time since training camp to see our team in action. Rather than do a play by play, I’d thought I’d just share some thoughts from Thursday night.
- Russell Wilson is more than technically correct. – You know when a really accomplished athlete, one who has perfected their moves is so consistent, so easy to watch? Like the way Matt Hasselbeck had that perfect play action fake? Or the way Ichiro went through his batting warm up each time complete with the tugging up of his sleeve? Or the way Beastmode can fake a defender right out of his shoes? Well, Russell Wilson is different than all that. He’s… well… graceful. His hand-offs are technically correct, but when he drops back to pass, it’s so smooth and so graceful that he’s passed before you know it. There’s no huge “arm action” or indicator on where he’s going to throw it, it’s just in the air. He’s really interesting to watch.
- Matt Flynn is so solid. – Matt Flynn is the quarterback I thought he would be. Proficient, smart, calm, mobile, able to look to his 2nd and 3rd receivers, and a great leader in the huddle. It’s clear that he’s ready to play and his preparedness shows when he hits the field. If anything happens to Wilson, there’s not the usual stomach clench at the thought of the other quarterback coming in.
- Depth – One of the biggest evolutions Pete and John have created in the last 3 years is depth at multiple positions. Watching the second string and the “trying to make the team” players wasn’t as exciting perhaps, since the Raiders were playing theirs as well, but it was worthwhile. There were several players that were very impressive and you knew we couldn’t keep them because the talent in front of them had a lock on the roster spots.
- The Defense – The defense is so solid, so in tune with each other. It’s like they’re all wearing foil under their helmets so they can read each others thoughts. They’re big, they’re fast, they’re bad ass.
And now for a couple non-football related observations.
- There’s new food! When you walk into the lower stadium from the north entrance, you want to keep walking past the Top Pot donuts (if you can) and head toward the center of the concourse. In front of the Pro Shop, there’s a vendor in the middle of the floor that sells Mac and Cheese (with penne pasta) and Tomato Basil soup! I know it’s that exciting in August, but visualize yourself in November when it’s all chilly and what not. Yes! I tried the mac and cheese and it was All That!
- There’s real beer and it’s easy to find! If you’re a craft been aficionado and you hate cruising vendor to vendor trying to find something besides Bud Light, you’re in luck. The stadium now has Craft Brew stands and you can easily find an IPA, a stout or a Wit effortlessly. The downside is that you’ll pay $9.50 for a premium draft, but it’s a wonderful option! Now if only they would carry a strong cider!
See you at the next game!
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, QB Tarvaris Jackson has been traded to the Buffalo Bills. The return coming to the Seahawks has not been reported, but is believed to be draft picks.
The Seahawks were originally hoping to get a 5th round pick for Jackson per a report by CBS Sports, but I’d heard many people around the league doubt that the Seahawks would get that much compensation for Jackson.
Jackson started last season with the Seahawks and led them to 7-7 record in 14 starts, he also played through a major pec injury for most of the season, and was the incumbent starter and at the top of the depth chart at the position at the start of training camp. He was later passed on the depth chart, first by Matt Flynn, and later by Russell Wilson, making him expendable.
With this trade, one has to assume that the news on Matt Flynn’s injured elbow must be good. I have a tough time believing that the Seahawks would trade Jackson if there was legitimate concerns that Flynn’s injury is major.
When I sat down to write an article today I told myself I was going to steer clear of the quarterback situation. I looked into other topics, I tried to stay away. I really did. Ultimately, I could not help myself. The quarterback competition is “the story” surrounding the Seahawks right now and it cannot be avoided. Discussion about this conundrum has become heated and frenzied, especially following Russell Wilson’s outstanding performance against Kansas City. Personally, I believe that Flynn should be given the opportunity to open the season as the starter and Russell Wilson should be brought along slowly. I understand people believing that course of action to be too conservative, and while I respect their point of view, I really do think it is too early to assume that Russell Wilson will be a star or even a viable starting quarterback based on a few preseason performances. In this article I will look at preseason passing leaders over the last five years to see how well their performances carried over to the regular season in an effort to decipher the significance of Russell Wilson’s extraordinary preseason. I will use passer rating as my tool of evaluation because, although it is imperfect, it gives an overall snapshot of quarterback performance and with smaller samples the leaderboards for counting stats like touchdowns are very clustered.
Preseason 2011- Top 5 Rated Quarterbacks*
1. Charlie Whitehurst (91.1)- I couldn’t make this stuff up. I think we all know the story here. Last year Whitehurst started two games, both of them losses, completing 48.2% of his passes with a single touchdown for a 62.9 Passer rating. Clearly his stellar work in the preseason did not continue into the regular season.
2. Stephen McGee (89.0)- McGee filled in for an injured Tony Romo in one game last year throwing for 182 yards and one touchdown for a solid, but unspectacular 83.2 Passer rating. An admirable performance for a backup QB but not one suggesting he will unseat Romo any time soon.
3. Greg McElroy (87.9)- I had never heard of McElroy before beginning to write this piece and I’m guessing you hadn’t either. He has never thrown an NFL pass.
4. Joe Flacco (82.7)- Flacco had arguably his worst year as a pro last year with career lows in completion percentage and yards per attempt. His Passer Rating of 80.9 was fairly similar to his preseason mark but his season was clearly a disappointment.
5. Matt Ryan (80.8)- Matt Ryan had possibly his best year last year setting career highs in touchdown passes (29) and Passer Rating (92.2). He is the only one on this leaderboard to exceed expectations over the course of the season.
Preseason 2010- Top Rated Quarterbacks
1. Luke McCown (99.2)- McCown went on to appear in one game with the Jaguars in 2010, throwing for 120 yards and a 76.6 rating. One should not forgot that McCown is an absolutely dreadful quarterback as demonstrated by the almost unfathomable 39.0 passer rating he managed when he opened the season as Jacksonville’s starter in 2011
2. Kyle Orton (95.4)- Despite the fact Denver was awful in 2010 Orton had a good year throwing 20 touchdowns compared with only 9 interceptions for a 87.5 rating. Although he didn’t match his preseason rating this was the best year of Orton’s career statistically.
3. Brian Hoyer (93.5)- We know very little about Hoyer who appeared in 5 games in 2010 primarily in mop up duty and produced 122 yards, one touchdown and a 69.3 passer rating. As long as Hoyer remains in New England we are very unlikely to know if he’s any good or not.
4. Joe Flacco (90.9)- Flacco makes his second appearance on the preseason leaderboards. This time he would go on to have a career year with his highest ever totals in yards (3622), touchdowns (25) and passer rating (93.6).
5. Rudy Carpenter (87.6)- Carpenter is another player I had never heard of who has not thrown a pass in the NFL.
Unfortunately some record keeping error at NFL.com has made the preseason passing stats for 2009 disappear, probably due to widespread conspiracy that goes all the way to the top of the United States government. That annoyingly breaks up the flow of our magical journey into the history of preseason passing leaders so I suppose I’ll cut things short. For the sake of brevity I will tell you that the three top rated quarterbacks in the 2008 preseason were David Carr, Brady Quinn and Dan Orlovsky. In 2007 they were Sage Rosenfels, Bruce Gradkowski and Gus Frerotte. I think you know where I’m going with this.
Russell Wilson has shown us some very exciting things in this preseason and after the win against Kansas City he has done so against first team defensive players. This does not mean nothing. However, it seems that there is virtually no correlation between preseason success and regular season success. So perhaps we need to take these performances with a grain of salt, or two, or five thousand. I’m not saying that Russell Wilson can’t or won’t be the starting quarterback for the Seahawks this year or in the future. I’m merely saying that we need to take a step back and have a little bit of perspective in terms of what he’s done so far. When Russell Wilson does what he’s doing now against NFL defenses during the regular season consistently then I will gladly hop aboard this bandwagon, until such time we need to keep our expectations within the realm of what is reasonable, especially for a rookie quarterback.
Before we get into the heated commentary that has permeated this site over the past few days I would like to point out that this article is not meant as an assault on Russell Wilson. If Wilson starts for Seattle in week one I will cheer for him with as much enthusiasm as any of the people out there calling for him to start. What people seem to forget is that both Russell Wilson and Matt Flynn are Seattle Seahawks and regardless of which one you would prefer to see start for your team they both deserve your support as a fan. Last time I checked this was a Seattle Seahawks blog not a Russell Wilson blog or a Matt Flynn blog. If someone wants to start one of those they should go ahead. Let’s not let our opinions on this quarterback situation cloud the fact that we all cheer for the Seahawks regardless of who plays where. I will support the Seahawks whether they put Russell Wilson at starting quarterback or third string defensive tackle (to be fair, he might be a bit short for that), and I hope you do as well.
*Quarterbacks had to have thrown 14 passes a game to qualify for the passer rating leaderboard