The Seattle Seahawks have stolen the stage during the off season after signing; Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, and trading for wide receiver Percy Harvin. Seattle added these three players to an all ready lethal squad that includes Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Zach Miller, and of course Russell Wilson. Seattle finished the 2012-2013 season in a gut wrenching loss to the Atlanta Falcons, losing a slim lead in the last 30-seconds to a Matt Bryant field goal. A lot of hype is headed Seattle’s way after adding the trio, and some are calling them the team to beat for the 2013-2014 NFL Season.
The addition of Percy Harvin has made Seattle even better on offense. Harvin will give Seattle a much needed deep threat at the wide receiver position that they lacked during Pete Carroll’s three first years in Seattle. Harvin also gives Seattle another element to us for the zone-read option. Harvin often lined up as Running back during his time at Florida with Tim Tebow, Minnesota also used Harvin at Running back on third down situations. The addition of Harvin also takes pressure off of Sidney Rice, and Golden Tate and will give Russell Wilson another weapon who will haul in a lot of receptions, and be able to gain yards after the catch, much like Golden Tate was able to last year.
On the defensive side of the ball Seattle has added defensive end Cliff Avril, and Michael Bennett who can play tackle and defensive end much like Jason Jones was able to do last year for Seattle. These two combined for 18.5 sacks last year, add that to Seattle’s total of 36 last year that is a total of 54.5 sacks. I find it hard to believe Seattle will be able to rack up that many total sacks, especially with Chris Clemons who led the Seahawks in sacks last year with 11.5 is recovering from an ACL injury he suffered in the playoffs, and may not be ready for the 2013 NFL season. However it is not hard to believe with the growth of rookie Defensive End’s Bruce Irvin, and Greg Scruggs that those two can’t add to their total sack total. Irvin led all rookies with eight-sacks, and fellow rookie defensive end Greg Scruggs totaled just two-sacks in a very limited role, I expect both players to up their sack totals next year. I see no reason Seattle can’t get at least 42 –sacks which would put them in the top half of the league.
The latter part of the 2012-2013 NFL season Seattle arguably played better than any other team in the league, they dominated on offense, and defense and showed little weakness, a slow start in the playoff game to the Falcons led to the ending of the season for Seattle, despite outscoring the Falcons 28 to 10 in the second half.ed to be one of the most complete teams in the NFL, with two deep threats at wide receiver, one of the best running backs in the league and the team is young, they bring back every starter on offense, and nine of eleven starters on defense. It is logical to think this team is only going to be better, some fans are calling this team the “Dream Team”. Is it true? Is this team the best team in the league, and the team everybody in the league does not want to play? Is this team the most talented team in the entire league? My quick answer to all three of these questions would be simply, yes. I am however scared of a team that originally dubbed themselves the “Dream Team” (something no Seattle player has done, which I am very thankful for.)
The team I am speaking of is the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles like the Seahawks brought in big named players to a team that went 10-6 the year before, and had one of the most lethal Quarterbacks in the NFL in Michael Vick. They seem a seasoned coach in Andy Reid.
The eagles decided to add to an all ready potent roster, and brought in All-Pro corner back Nnamdi Asomogha, former pro bowler defensive end Jason Babin and seasoned veteran defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins. These three starters along with former first round picks Ronnie Brown, and Vince young mixed with an all ready talented roster formed what was supposed to be the “Dream Team” as Vince Young famously called them during the 2011 off season. So with all these added additions what happened? A 11-5 NFL football team, ended up going 8-8. Poor coaching and management of the team is the simple answer, if you want a specific name it is on Andy Reid, he made the mistake of hiring Juan Castillo who coached the Offensive Line to become his Defensive Coordinator. I failed to see the logic in this, at the time and still do.
Reid also tried to buy himself a championship team, something in football you can’t do. He added a lot of high priced guys who did not fit with his or his staffs coaching. Injuries to Michael Vick also led to the demise of the Eagle’s football season but that should also be blamed on Reid for failing to give his franchise Quarterback Michael Vick a stable offensive line to protect him. I highly doubt this fate will be Seattle’s. They return the entire coaching staff besides defensive coordinator Gus Bradley who went on to become the Head Coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Seattle replaced him with former Florida Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn who also worked under Gus Bradley through 2009-2010 in Seattle as the Defensive Line Coach. As long as Seattle stays with the current defensive system they have ran under Carroll I see no reason why the defense should suffer with the arrivals of Avril, and Bennett, and Dan Quinn.
The 2007 New England Patriots also took the route of free agency to improve an all ready talented team who went 12-4 the year before. The result turned into a 16-0 regular season finish, and a loss in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants.
The Patriots first move of the 2007 off season was trading for Miami Dolphins wide receiver Wes Welker giving up a 2nd and 7th round draft pick, to acquire the veteran pass catcher. The Patriots then looked to further boost a wide receiving group that lacked explosiveness and signed free agent wide receiver Donte Stallworth. New England then went a step further to acquire one more wide receiver to help out Tom Brady and traded for Oakland Raiders wide receiver Randy Moss. The end result was a 16-0 season and both Brady and Moss shattered the touchdown record for their respected positions on the football field. Moss was the biggest risk as many felt he played lazy and uninspired football during his stint with Oakland. Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick was able to keep the talented wide receiver happy. All three wide receivers contributed greatly to the season. Moss finished the season with 98 receptions, 1493 yards, and 23 touchdowns. Welker had 112 receptions, 1175 yards, and 8 touchdowns, and Donte Stallworth finished his season with 46 receptions, 697 yards, and three touchdowns. The result of spending in free agency can work if you have a good coach, stability at the quarterback position and the franchise. Patriots clearly had that, Eagles well they are still looking.
So will the Seahawk’s season end in dismay like the Eagle’s, or will it end in record breaking success like the patriots. I feel somewhere in between, I do not believe Russell Wilson will throw for 50 touchdowns, and that Harvin will haul in 21 touchdown receptions, or haul in 112 receptions the team is too balanced for that to happen, nor do I believe they will go 16-0 at the moment. I do believe however they can achieve something the 2007 New England Patriots were not able to achieve and that is a Super Bowl. I do believe this Seattle team is the Dream Team and team to beat for the 2013 NFL season.
Tags: Advanced Analysis, Andy Reid, Chris Clemons, Cliff Avril, Dream Team, featured, football, Marshawn Lynch, Michael Bennett, Michael Vick, News, nfl, Percy Harvin, Philadelphia Eagles, Popular, Previews, Randy Moss, Russell Wilson, Seahawks, Seattle, Seattle Seahawks, Tom Brady
The match up for Super Bowl XLVII is incredibly difficult to call. Both teams have overcome adversity, and both teams have weaknesses. In fact, I don’t totally trust either quarterback, or defense. Baltimore shut out the New England Patriots in the second half of the AFC Championship game, but San Francisco runs a totally different offense. San Francisco plays physical, but their defense almost let the Atlanta Falcons run away with the game early on in the NFC Championship game.
As for the quarterbacks, Joe Flacco has won playoff games in each of his seasons in the league, but he has also lost playoff games in each of those seasons. Colin Kaepernick has great skills, but he was shut down by the Seattle Seahawks in a prime time match up earlier in the season.
Both teams also have questions on special teams. San Francisco’s place kicker, David Akers, has missed several field goal attempts. The Baltimore Ravens, on the other hand, have a better kicker in Justin Tucker, but have been known to blow coverages on kick offs and punts.
In the passing game, The Ravens have a slight edge with their deep threat of Flacco to Torrey Smith. Anquan Boldin, and Dennis Pitta are solid, but The 49ers have the better overall receiving corps with Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, and Vernon Davis.
Both teams are solid in the run game. Baltimore’s Ray Rice is the top rusher in the playoffs this season with 247 yards. However, Frank Gore is number three with 230 yards in one less game. Right behind him is San Francisco quarterback Colin Kapernick has put up a jaw-dropping 202 yards rushing in his first NFL postseason. 183 of those yards came in one game against the Green Bay Packers.
Historically, both teams boast impressive records. San Fransisco is undefeated in five trips to the Super Bowl, and Baltimore has won one Super Bowl, and holds the best post season record of any team in history at .650. Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco also has the most wins away from home of any quarterback in history at six.
San Francisco’s last Super Bowl victory was in 1988. Baltimore’s was in 2000. Because the 49ers history is much older than the Ravens’, I don’t see that playing any part in predicting this game. While they still have the mystique of being the 49ers, they are only three years removed from being one of the most underachieving teams in football. At the same time, the Ravens have been in the thick of the hunt for the better part of the past fourteen seasons.
In the previous round, both teams beat pass-first teams to get to the game, so it’s hard to tell how either will react to each other’s run-first attacks. But, it might be fair to say that the game will go to which ever team manages to pull off the first big pass plays, and if it comes down to that, my money is on Joe Flacco.
Being that both teams dodged bullets to get to the super bowl. The Ravens had a miraculous comeback against the Broncos, and the 49ers mounted an impressive come back against the Falcons. That should indicate that this game will be competitive until the end, even if one team gets off to a quick start.
On the line, the edge should go to San Francisco’s defense vs. Baltimore’s offense. Running the ball will be a challenge. So, I expect Baltimore to pass early to set up the run. Don’t be surprised if they take a shot at the endzone on first or second down of their first drive if they are not trailing.
San Francisco, on the other hand, has to hope that their read option offense has enough spark to confuse a veteran Ravens defense led by Ray Lewis who may have lost a step in terms of speed, but still reads an offense as well as anybody in history. I expect the Ravens to minimize Kaepernick’s rushing attack forcing Frank Gore to provide the bulk of the ground yards. Meanwhile, Kaepernick will have to rely on his arm, the major factor that set him apart from his teammate Alex Smith. Expect Gore to have a big game, and expect Kaepernick to air it out.
In the end, I believe that the Ravens’ experience, will outmatch the youth of the 49ers. The Ravens have spent years deliberatley improving their offense. The plan was to balance out their great defense to have a shot to win a super bowl. Now that they have made it back to the dance, I expect them to show up with their laces tied tight, and ready to rumble.
Ravens: 24 49ers: 17
Tags: afc, Alex Smith, Anquan Boldin, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Colin Kaepernick, David Akers, Dennis Pitta, featured, football, Frank Gore, Joe Flacco, Justin Tucker, Michael Crabtree, NFC, nfl, Popular, Previews, Randy Moss, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, San Francisco 49ers, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLVII, Torrey Smith, Vernon Davis
Yesterday, the Seattle Seahawks traded wide receiver Deion Branch to the New England Patriots for a fourth-round pick. Not a conditional late-round pick or garbage compensation, but a fourth-round pick.
What a coup for General Manager John Schneider and Seattle’s front office.
When the Deion Branch-to-New England rumors first started, it was assumed Seattle would receive no more than a late-round pick in any trade. Considering Randy Moss was just acquired by the Minnesota Vikings for a third-round pick, anything more than a sixth- or seventh-round pick would be ludicrous; Moss dwarves Branch in career accomplishments, late-career potential, physical size, overall skills.
Seattle’s incentive to trade Branch was to get the younger receivers more opportunity to play. Branch hasn’t been dominating or overly effective, so his exit only means players like Deon Butler and Golden Tate will receive additional opportunities on the field.
Like Houshmandzadeh’s departure, this deal is like addition by subtraction for the Seahawks.
In any trade for Deion Branch, it was obvious Seattle was going to try and recoup third- and fourth-round picks lost when the team acquired Charlie Whitehurst and Marshawn Lynch in separate deals.
When the rumors first started, a fourth-round pick or higher seemed ridiculous. The best the team could possibly hope for would be a conditional late-round pick that could become a fourth- or fifth-round pick based on player performance.
To obtain a fourth-round pick, it was assumed the Seahawks would undoubtedly need to include one of their own late-round picks with Deion Branch to make any deal attractive.
Instead, Seattle waited for a deal they wanted, in no rush to move Deion Branch without adequate compensation. When New England cooled on Branch, it was reported that the Seahawks were reaching out to other potential trading partners.
The Seattle Seahawks and John Schneider played this scenario like a genius.
The fourth-round pick won’t compensate for the first-round pick lost several years ago when Seattle acquired Branch, but these are separate deals. They cannot be compared with each other; Seattle probably overpaid to add a proven receiver to a competing playoff team, and New England slightly overpaid for much-needed veteran leadership and depth at the position.
I wish Deion Branch the best of luck in New England. In Seattle, he was often the recipient of harsh criticism – some warranted, some not.
In Seattle, he rarely impressed in the box score and never dominated opposing players, but Branch had never done that in his career prior to arriving in the Northwest.
In New England, he never started sixteen games in one season or compiled 1,000 receiving yards. He never caught double-digit touchdowns or over 100 passes in a single season. But he was a proven winner, excelled when games mattered most, and was a decent acquisition for the Seahawks when they were a real competitor in the NFC every season.
Markets change. Value changes. Players depreciate as they get older, just like any other asset. Seattle wasn’t going to get a first-round pick or anything close in return for Deion Branch. They did get a fourth-round pick, however, and kudos to John Schneider and the front office for pulling off such a magnificent deal for a franchise desperately needing draft stock.
Even though they’re separate deals, I suppose one could say the Seahawks swapped Deion Branch in exchange for running back Marshawn Lynch (both acquired for fourth-round picks). Lynch is only 24 years old and a former first-round pick – drafted the same year Branch was traded to Seattle.
Of course, you should never compare separate deals. But if wounds from 2007 have yet to heal, feel free to pretend the Seahawks never acquired Deion Branch and drafted Marshawn Lynch.
Tags: Deion Branch, Deon Butler, football, Golden Tate, John Schneider, Marshawn Lynch, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, nfl, NFL Draft, Opinion, Randy Moss, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, trade, wide receiver