Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson competed eight of ten passes for 98 yards, and threw for three touchdowns. Marshawn Lynch scored a touchdown and led all rushers with a modest 21-yards. Leon Washington added a 92-yard kickoff return to set up a score. Earl Thomas also contributed with an interception. Max Unger and Russell Okung provided solid protection. In the end, the NFC put up a record number of points in the 62-35 victory.
In fact, the NFC dominated in all three phases of the game, offense, defense and special teams. They scored six passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns and two field goals.
In the face of criticism, the players seemed to play with an appropriate mix of caution and competition. The game also included some fun all-star moments. Russell Wilson connected with Larry Fitzgerald for a touchdown pass. Earlier in the game, JJ Watt lined up as a receiver but failed to catch either of his two targets.
While the stakes were still lower than some fantasy football games, it was fun to watch. The broadcast included scenic shots from Hawaii and several on-field interviews. It was also a chance to see some of this year’s players get a bit of recognition for their hard work.
Six Seattle Seahawks are headed to the Pro Bowl this year. The big question that everyone is asking is, “Does anybody care?” Last year’s players were accused of not competing, not playing hard enough, and basically playing a boring game. It resulted in a 59 to 41 AFC victory. Earlier this season, when asked about his Prow Bowl snub, Seattle’s own Richard Sherman seemed indifferent. He stated only that he wanted to be listed on the all-pro team.
In fact, criticism of the NFL’s all star game has grown so strong that there has been speculation that Roger Goodell may cancel future Pro Bowls if this year’s game is a flop. If he did, it would be a shame for the NFL’s youngest fans, the kids, who really believe that watching their heroes in an all star game is an exciting event.
My strongest memory of the Prow Bowl was in 1995. That year, Seahawks’ running back Chris Warren broke the Prow Bowl record for yards in a game at 127. Soon after that, his own AFC teammate, Marshall Faulk (then of the Indianapolis Colts) broke Warrens record by gaining 180 yards. Yes, the same record went down twice in one game by players from the same team.
I was young that year, and knew more about NCAA football than I did about NFL football. Maybe that was why I was so excited to see a Seattle player take a record in a bowl game. Then, when Marshall Faulk topped Warren’s record, I felt like I would feel years later when Shaun Alexander lost his share of the single season TD title to LaDainian Tomlinson the next season.
On Sunday, Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas, and Leon Washington all have chances to put their names in the record books. All though, for Russell Wilson to get in the record books, he would have to put up impressive individual numbers. Peyton Manning owns most quarterback career marks. Perhaps playing behind his linemen Max Unger and Russell Okung will work to Wilson’s advantage.
It is true that some fans may be turned away from the Pro Bowl by the lack of hard hits, the no-blitz-allowed rule, mandatory 4-3 defense, Maddenesque scoring, and overall lack of competitiveness. There is still potential for some good performances by the best players that the NFL had to offer this season; at least the players not playing in the Super Bowl. In a way, the next two weeks are like a curtain call. The supporting cast coming out to take their bow first, and the biggest stars coming out to play one more game for the title.
In addition to the game itself, the event has always been a nice event for the city of Honolulu, and the State of Hawaii. If Seattle fans feel isolated having their team playing in the northwest, imagine how Hawaian fans feel being so far removed from the rest of the country as to not have a team.
Not only is the Pro Bowl a good chance to involve Hawaii in the world of professional football, this year, the league is reaching out across the pacific. The NFL is using the Pro Bowl weekend to help promote American football in Japan. To help strengthen the bond between American Football and Japanese American Football, the Pro Bowl squads will feature practices at Pearl Harbor, and coaching exchanges with Japanese coaches.
Believe it or not, football is actually played in Japanese high schools, colleges, and they have a semi-pro league that features a mix of Japanese and international players. Their championship is now called the X-bowl, and dates back to 1987. For the big picture of the growth of American football, building this international connection can only be seen as a positive.
While the Ichiro of football still may be a few generations away, this weekends prow bowl is dominated by American players. At the end of the day, the bloated statistics, and fanfare in Hawaii may not be as exciting as the Harbaugh brothers playing chess in between rounds of million dollar commercials. However, it is still football, and I’m going to watch it. Let’s hope that the players put on a good show, and that our Seattle Seahawks players give us something to cheer for.
Tags: afc, Chris Warren, Earl Thomas, featured, football, Leon Washington, Marhall Faulk, Marshawn Lynch, Max Unger, NFC, nfl, Peyton Manning, Popular, Pro Bowl, Richard Sherman, Roger Goodell, Russell Okung, Russell Wilson, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, Shaun Alexander
It could be time to start thinking about Vincent Jackson again.
While I don’t think it will – or should – happen, the Seahawks have shown interest in acquiring Jackson this offseason. And the Chargers, who were originally opposed to dealing their productive receiver, have apparently opened up to the idea of a trade.
The Chargers are facing tough personnel decisions with offensive tackle Marcus McNeil, Jackson, and perhaps linebacker Shawne Merriman becoming holdouts. Merriman should be a little easier to deal with, but McNeil and Jackson could become ugly holdouts that last well into the regular season.
Chargers general manager A.J. Smith recently said he might be willing to trade Vincent Jackson, but Marcus McNeil probably isn’t going anywhere.
It is definitely a situation worth keeping an eye on; the rumor mill identifies Seattle as one of San Diego’s likely trading partners (probably because of an admitted interest in acquiring Jackson). But what franchise, if the price is right, wouldn’t want to add a Pro Bowl talent to its roster?
The Seahawks were interested in trading for Brandon Marshall earlier this offseason. They were linked to T.O. rumors before head coach Pete Carroll abruptly shot them down. They invested a second-round pick in the NFL Draft on Golden Tate, a talented prospect out of Notre Dame.
It seems obvious the franchise would like to upgrade its group of wide receivers. But at what cost?
To acquire Brandon Marshall, the Miami Dolphins sent two second-round picks to Denver and rewarded the disgruntled wide receiver a huge, new contract. But Miami is a possible contender, and the Seahawks are clearly rebuilding.
Parting with second-round picks in consecutive years would be counterproductive for a rebuilding team; spending cash on skilled positions is pointless when you’re thin in the trenches. A rebuilding team needs to focus on acquiring as much young talent as possible, and in my opinion, should build from the inside-out.
I don’t think the San Diego Chargers want to get rid of their Pro Bowl talent. They’d probably prefer to retain Vincent Jackson and other potential holdouts.
But if A.J. Smith is willing to deal Jackson, don’t expect the price tag to be any cheaper than Brandon Marshall’s.
If Smith was able to play the market and receive compensation greater than the tender for Charlie Whitehurst, do you really think he’ll except anything less than what Jackson is worth? Jackson isn’t as productive as Marshall, but their value should be similar in a trade.
If Vincent Jackson is available, would you want the Seattle Seahawks to pursue him? And at what cost?
Now that the Chargers are reportedly willing to at least consider trading Jackson, expect the rumors to pick up steam again. And for no other reason than previous interest, the Seahawks will probably be the first team mentioned.
Tags: Brandon Marshall, Charlie Whitehurst, football, Golden Tate, holdout, Marcus McNeil, Miami Dolphins, nfl, Pete Carroll, Pro Bowl, Rumors, San Diego Chargers, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, Terrell Owens, trade, vincent jackson, wide receiver
Albert Haynesworth is a selfish player; he wants to make plays on the football field.
Haynesworth doesn’t want to take on opposing blockers so someone else can claim the glory; he wants to be the playmaker and focal point of the defensive line.
Unfortunately for Haynesworth, the Washington Redskins are asking him to play nose tackle in their 3-4 defense. The zero-technique nose tackle is responsible for multiple gaps and simultaneously taking on at least two offensive players. In other words, the nose tackle does the dirty work so other players can make plays.
Haynesworth, who typically plays the right defensive tackle position, is used to playing in an aggressive, one-gap scheme. He has spent most of his career lined up as a three-technique tackle, allowing him to quickly and aggressively attack his gap and make plays.
The Redskins want him to play nose tackle, but Haynesworth would prefer playing for a team that employs a different scheme.
Thanks to a rumor started by Len Pasquarelli, the Seattle Seahawks could be the new team willing to feature Haynesworth in a more agreeable scheme. Haynesworth is likely to be traded and the former All-Pro could be had for close to nothing.
But do the Seahawks really need to acquire a player who could potentially develop into a headache?
Haynesworth’s dominance on the field earned him a seven-year, $100 million contract from Washington. You would almost expect such a high-paid athlete – Haynesworth, or any other player making millions – to be willing to line up anywhere on the field, regardless of the situation or potential outcome.
Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett was critical of Haynesworth via Twitter a few days ago, and probably said what a lot of people were already thinking:
Did I just hear this correctly ‘Albert Haynesworth’ will not be [at] mandatory minicamp? And he wants a trade, after signing 100 million dollar contract?”
That’s why I tell yall I’m nothing like these dudes, for a 100 million my ass will play 4-4, 3-4, 5-9, 4-8, and still whip ass!
If Haynesworth can revert back to All-Pro form, it could be worth it to let him play whatever role he wants on the defensive line. Disruptive and dominant are good ways to describe a happy and healthy Albert Haynesworth – you would be hard-pressed to find someone on Seattle’s defensive line who matches the same description.
Haynesworth would immediately upgrade Seattle’s pass rush. As a three-technique defensive tackle in Seattle’s defense, rather than occupying blockers as the nose tackle in a three-man front, Haynesworth would be able to penetrate, slant, and attack. Such a disruptive force in the trenches would attract additional attention and also allow opportunities for other defensive linemen.
But despite the upside of acquiring Haynesworth, is it really worth the risk? Even if Haynesworth is no longer disgruntled, he could still prove to be a headache with a new team.
Haynesworth spent the first five seasons of his NFL career operating as an overweight underachiever, and his stomping on the head of Andre Gurode was so shocking some people still question his character. Despite being a dominant force when healthy, Haynesworth is somewhat prone to injury and has never played a full campaign during his eight seasons in the NFL. And at 29 years old, it could be argued that Haynesworth’s best days are now behind him.
If the Seattle Seahawks can acquire Albert Haynesworth, the dominant, disruptive defensive tackle who regularly commands double- and triple-teams, then I’m definitely a proponent of any deal.
But if the Albert Haynesworth they’re going to acquire is injury-prone, disgruntled, and lazy, then I would prefer the Seahawks don’t even pick up when the Redskins call.
Tags: 3-4 defense, 4-3 defense, Albert Haynesworth, Andre Gurode, Brandon Mebane, Colin Cole, contract, Darnell Dockett, defensive scheme, defensive tackle, football, Len Pasquarelli, National Football League, nfl, nose tackle, Pro Bowl, rumor, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, trade, Washington Redskins
Fans of the Seattle Seahawks still cringe when Steve Hutchinson is mentioned in any casual conversation. Hutchinson, of course, is the one that got away. His departure is the defining moment of the Tim Ruskell era in Seattle.
Since Hutchinson bolted for greener pastures in Minnesota, the Twelfth Man has yearned for a dominant, nasty player at the offensive guard position. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of players capable of filling Hutchinson’s shoes – Mike Wahle, Rob Sims, and a handful of other replacements just weren’t the same.
But now news is breaking that Logan Mankins, who plays guard for the New England Patriots, is seeking a trade.
The puddles of water outside aren’t from rain in June; they were created by the Twelfth Man collectively salivating from the news. Mankins is a mauler in the same mold as Hutchinson, capable of impressing even casual fans from the trenches of the offensive line.
Before we get carried away, however, we must understand the Seahawks have a new scheme and philosophy on the offensive side of the football.
Hutchinson was a great fit next to Walter Jones in Seattle’s power-blocking scheme during the years leading up to Super Bowl XL. For Seattle fans, an overwhelming, powerful offensive line means victories, division championships, and Super Bowl appearances.
But Mankins, despite drawing comparisons to Hutchinson, probably wouldn’t be a great fit in Seattle. He is a good offensive lineman, but the cost is too high and there are more realistic, capable alternatives for the zone-blocking scheme.
Since Steve Hutchinson signed a seven-year, $49 million contract in 2006, the value of premier offensive guards has skyrocketed. The New Orleans Saints just re-signed Pro Bowl guard Jahri Evans to a seven-year, $56.7 million contract that makes him the highest-paid interior lineman in the National Football League.
Logan Mankins wants a contract that at least matches or exceeds that of Jahri Evans’. According to sources, a five-year deal from the New England Patriots, worth about $7 million per year, has been on the table for “a significant amount of time.”
In addition to rewarding Mankins with a lucrative contract, the Seahawks, or any other NFL team, would have to compensate the Patriots in a trade. The New England Patriots aren’t likely to accept anything less than market value for Mankins, and Adam Caplan of Scout.com says that a first-round pick is a “fair asking price.”
Do you really want the Seattle Seahawks to give up a first-round draft pick for Logan Mankins? Do you think breaking the bank for a powerful guard is the best option for Seattle’s zone-blocking scheme?
Don’t get me wrong; Logan Mankins is talented and versatile. While I believe he could develop into a good lineman in the zone-blocking scheme, there are better, more sensible options for the Seattle Seahawks.
Ben Hamilton, for example, was signed to a one-year deal in April. He isn’t the overwhelming presence that Mankins is, but Hamilton is a veteran of the zone-blocking scheme and is a better-than-serviceable option at left guard. Hamilton gives Seattle the best value for a player at his position.
In addition, Hamilton is expected to act as a mentor for new players on the offensive line. Allowing rookie offensive tackle Russell Okung to play alongside a veteran like Hamilton is something the coaching staff believes will pay dividends:
“You can’t throw him out there without someone to guide them,” [Alex] Gibbs said. “We needed a player that had done that, and knew the system that I knew, to help him make the transfer. That’s what Ben [Hamilton] is for.
“Ben will line up inside of him and guide him through this whole process. So he’s Coach one, I’m Coach two. That’s why he’s here.”
Guards in Alex Gibbs’ zone-blocking scheme must be athletic, versatile, and intelligent. Height and length doesn’t mean much; leverage is everything. Maulers aren’t necessary, as Gibbs prefers athletic players who can move and get out to make blocks. Intelligence is more valuable than strength in the zone-blocking scheme.
In addition, calls made on the offensive line are made from the inside out in Gibbs’ scheme. Centers call guards, guards tell tackles what to do, tackles tell tight ends what to do, and so on. Having a veteran presence at left guard will be invaluable to Russell Okung’s development.
Acquiring Logan Mankins would be a luxury, but a premier player of his caliber is not necessary. This is especially true when considering the compensation required (both trade and player contract). Ben Hamilton is a valuable, veteran presence on the offensive line, and acquiring an additional starting guard would possibly slow the development of Max Unger.
In short, Mankins would be nice. But replacing Steve Hutchinson (with another Steve Hutchinson) should not be the goal any longer.
Tags: Alex Gibbs, Ben Hamilton, contract, football, Jahri Evans, left guard, Logan Mankins, Max Unger, Mike Wahle, Minnesota Vikings, National Football League, New England Patriots, nfl, offensive line, Opinion, Pete Carroll, Pro Bowl, Rob Sims, Rumors, Russell Okung, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, Steve Hutchinson, trade, value, zone-blocking scheme
Last week, I posted a short piece about Houshmandzadeh’s feelings towards bringing Terrell Owens in Seattle. According to T.J., acquiring Owens wouldn’t be such a bad thing:
“I have no problem with it whatsoever. You know, it’s the NFL. [They're] gonna bring guys in and if they feel like T.O. can help us, bring him in. I’m sure he can help us.”
But of course, T.J. has been wrong before. In fact, he was wrong about another wide receiver – at least, so far – in the same radio interview.
The Seattle Seahawks parted ways with wide receiver Mike Jones last week, who was praised by Houshmandzadeh for his efforts during offseason minicamps and OTAs.
“Nobody even knows who a guy like Mike Jones is, but I think he’s done well, in my opinion,” Houshmandzadeh said last week. “And in the OTAs and camps everybody’s nobody until you get a chance to show that you’re somebody, you know? And so, if a guy can get an opportunity to say, ‘Okay, I’m gonna give Obo, Ben Obomanu, a chance to play,’ either you’re going to sink or swim. And if you swim, you got something there. And if he doesn’t, okay, let’s try the next guy and somebody’s gonna swim and make a name for them self. That’s what the NFL is about. You wouldn’t even know who a Tom Brady, Wes Welker, you wouldn’t even know these guys had they not got that opportunity. And so it’s just a matter of how you take advantage of it.”
Of course, I can say I disagree with everything Houshmandzadeh said. Actually, I agree with most of it. As a former seventh-round draft pick, T.J. knows about making the most of every opportunity in the National Football League.
But comparing Mike Jones’ situation to Wes Welker’s development may be a stretch.
This isn’t the first time Houshmandzadeh has been wrong in predicting the success of himself or teammates.
About a year ago, T.J. boldly predicted that he and Matt Hasselbeck would have a very productive year together in 2009:
“I just want to let everyone know that Matt Hasselbeck and I will be leading the Seahawks to the playoffs this season. And we’ll be going to the Pro Bowl as a tandem. We’re both goign to have top five seasons: He’ll have a top five quarterback season, and I’ll have a top five receiving season. I’ll put up stats I’ve never had before yardswise because they’re allowing me to be a complete receiver.”
Recently, T.J. maintained his confidence and forecasted a 100-catch season in 2010, despite a disappointing first season in Seattle:
“I think 100 catches, to me, should be the minimum I get this year just because of the offense we’re in.”
T.J. Houshmandzadeh is a good receiver in the NFL, and I love his confidence. But sometimes he gets ahead of himself when attempting to put his self-confidence into words.
So before we assume a vote of confidence for Terrell Owens from T.J. Houshmandzadeh makes the potential acquisition fool-proof, remember that Housh has a history of getting things wrong. Maybe he is right about Owens, but he sure wasn’t about Jones (not yet, anyway).
Tags: Ben Obomanu, football, Matt Hasselbeck, Mike Jones, National Football League, nfl, Pete Carroll, Pro Bowl, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Terrell Owens, Wes Welker, wide receiver