As the season comes to an end, it comes time to reflect on not only what happened in 2012 but Seattle’s outlook for the future. I suppose I could save you and I some time and say that the outlook is “bright” and/or “good” but I tend to be a more thorough person than that. When looking into the crystal ball at a team’s future you have to evaluate their “core”. If the core is too old or too flawed then the team is likely to struggle down the road, unless it can find new core players, probably in the draft, to build around.
When we talk about the core and core players it’s hard to know exactly what it is we are talking about. Usually a core player is someone worth building around; someone you know is going to stick around for a while. As is always the case, the contract is almost as important as the talent level. It’s hard to think of someone as part of the core of your team if they have an expiring contract, unless the plan is to franchise tag them every year like the Seahawks did with Walter Jones for a time. To summarize, the two major criteria for a core player are talent and a contract.
That being said it has always been a bit of a feel thing for me. Similar to how some players feel like Hall of Famers and some don’t even when their objective differences might be slight. That ambiguity is why I’ve developed a mental exercise to determine who the core of this team is. I simply ask myself, “would I consider buying that X player’s jersey?” and if the answer is yes they are probably a core piece. This is particularly pertinent to my life at the moment as my most up-to-date Seahawks jerseys are a Ken Hamlin jersey and a Shaun Alexander jersey. I understand that everyone has their own thoughts on jerseys and some people just buy their favorite player’s jersey but considering the expense, and my desire for the jersey to remain current for as long as possible, I’ve always considered it a big commitment/something worth putting a lot of thought into. In the case of Ken Hamlin I gambled and lost (largely due to very unfortunate circumstances) in 2005, thinking he was a core Seahawk coming out of his 2nd year on the way up. I don’t want to get burned again.
As a result this article can either be seen as identifying/evaluating the Seahawks’ core or a column on jersey buying advice. Whatever floats your boat….. We’ll start on offense.
Firstly, I’d put a disclaimer that I haven’t included o-lineman here, mainly because very few people seem to buy those jerseys. That being said Okung and Unger are both absolutely jersey worthy core players but if I had to choose I’d go with Unger because of his less scary injury history.
Russell Wilson: Wilson was the 4th ranked passer in the NFL as a rookie. He also was ranked 4th in the all-important yards per attempt statistic. He tied the rookie record for TD passes, without setting any records for interceptions like a certain Peyton Manning did. Wilson was also a fantastic runner which opened up some deadly read-option looks for this offense. His game isn’t perfect and he may suffer through some struggles down the road and a little bit of regression to the mean but I can’t conceive of a single reason not to not only consider him part of Seattle’s core but its most important part and to be very happy about this fact. Gushing over. Verdict: I would be proud to don his jersey.Wilson is the present and future.
Marshawn Lynch- To put it succinctly Lynch is a definite yes. Even so, running backs break down like it’s nobody’s business and Lynch does take a pounding so it’s not as much of a slam dunk as you might think. The thing is his accomplishments with the Seahawks so far and his superstar Beast Quake moment are already so legendary that his jersey would be a credible one to own 20 years from now even if he had a career ending injury tomorrow. In terms of his real life value to the Seahawks, he is under contract from three more years and is still in his prime (26) so he’s very much a core piece. Verdict: Yup.
Sidney Rice- Now we are out of the obvious candidates things get a little bit tricky. Rice is 26, he’s under contract for 3 more years, he’s Seattle’s #1 receiver and he’s good so all signs point to a yes here. The problem is twofold. Firstly, Rice has been immensely injury prone and that could severely alter his career path making your Rice jersey look foolish in the years ahead. Secondly, wide receiver is a position group that the Seahawks are trying to improve, probably fairly aggressive and possibly with the addition of another big-ticket free agent acquisition like Dwayne Bowe. It’s not so much that Rice is likely to be displaced or dislodged as there is a risk his importance diminishes over time. The development of Golden Tate could also be a factor. Verdict: Rice is a great receiver, but I can’t bring myself to confidently identify him as a core player for the Seahawks or purchase his jersey. Which hurts because I really like Rice.
Honorable Mention: Golden Tate- Although Tate is two years younger than Rice and seemingly on the way up you are banking heavily on a fair amount of additional development by calling him a core player. Also he hasn’t signed a contract extension and has yet to reach the level of value to the team wherein said extension is an inevitability.
Richard Sherman- There is a strong argument to be made that Richard Sherman is the best player on the Seahawks and at 24 he’s clearly a core piece for the future. My only concern is that he is only under contract for two more years but he’s a player that I’d seriously consider extending this off-season even though the first team all-pro has so much leverage coming off a great year. I think a deal gets done; I’m not suuuure I’d buy the jersey until it does but that’s probably overly cautious on my part. Verdict: Love Sherman, he’s incredibly important to the club and his jersey is a must-own.
Earl Thomas- Everything that I just said about Sherman applies to Thomas. Thomas is actually younger at 23 even though he has played an additional year in the NFL. He is a two time Pro Bowler at 23 and despite being posterized by Jacquizz Rodgers last week is an essential core piece. Same contract situation as Sherman although his lofty draft status has him far better compensated at this moment, likely making an extension less of a priority. Verdict: Earl Thomas is a fantastic player and wearing his name on your back will only make you a better person by extension.
Bobby Wagner- He’s already a great anchor for this defense and there is no reason why he shouldn’t get better and better with experience. An underrated find by Pete Carroll and Co. Absolutely a core player and not a free agent until 2016. One of the best players on arguably the best defense in the league already. Verdict: Buy the damn jersey
Brandon Browner: Although controversial in his playing style Browner has been undeniably effective since making the leap from the CFL to the NFL. He does play second fiddle to Sherman to an extent but is a Pro Bowl corner in his own right coming out of only his second year. This all sounds promising but there are two issues. One is that Browner turns 29 this year playing a position at which it is difficult to age gracefully. The second is that his contract only takes him through 2013 (to be fair he’ll be an RFA after).Browner is going to command big money, money that the Seahawks may well be saving for Richard Sherman. I can’t say with a great deal of confidence that Browner will be in Seattle in 3 years and even if he is he will be 31 and likely not quite what he once was. Great player, not a core player. Verdict: I’d steer clear of a Browner jersey, though you could do a lot worse.
Kam Chancellor: My personal favorite Seahawk. This one hurts. Chancellor is only 24 and has a Pro Bowl berth to his name in 2011. The problem is he’s only signed through 2013 (followed by UFA unlike Browner), I’m inclined to think that he’ll get an extension but unfortunately that isn’t the only problem. At this point I’m not exactly sure how good Kam Chancellor is. Aside from a couple of highlight reel hits he wasn’t a big factor in 2012. Chancellor did very little in coverage this year with his INT’s falling from 4 in 2011 to 0 in 2012 and his PD’s dropping from 12 to 4. He wasn’t a liability he just wasn’t a game changer. Verdict: My heart says, “yes, yes, yes, yes, yes” and my head says, “no”. Regardless if I see someone in a Chancellor jersey my going in assumption is that we will be best friends.
Honorable Mentions: Basically every starter on defense was considered here but most had enough red flags to not be worth delving too far into. Here’s a quick summary.
Chris Clemons- too old, current nasty injury
Red Bryant- not a game changer this year, not convinced they won’t dump his hefty contract at some point
K.J Wright & Brandon Mebane- check all the boxes in theory but neither are quiteee good enough. As I said this is a bit of a feel thing.
Bruce Irvin- too large a range of outcomes for his career, still a complementary player
Overall there are a lot more options on defense than offense which really shouldn’t come at a surprise given the way this team is designed. At the end of the day we wind up with a “core” of Wilson, Lynch, Wagner, Sherman and Thomas, to which you can add Unger and Okung. None of these players are above the age of 26 and 5 of the 7 have made Pro Bowls. That sounds like a pretty impressive core not only for 2013 but for many many more years as well. Not only are these players in their prime but they are also still developing and getting better. I’m not sure if you guys know this but this Seahawks team is really good, and it’s going to be really good for a while. Having done all this I don’t know which jersey I would buy, but that’s sort of a first world problem. The fact there are too many great players on my favorite team is something I can live with.
Tags: Bobby Wagner, brandon browner, Earl Thomas, featured, football, Golden Tate, K.J. Wright, Kam Chancellor, Marshawn Lynch, Max Unger, nfl, Popular, Red Bryant, Russell Wilson, Seahawks, sidney rice
We are still a couple days away from the first game that counts in the Seahawk’s season. One of the things I’m planning on doing each week, just for fun, is to let Madden 13 predict the outcome by simulating the game at least 20 times. I’ll also “watch” one game (I wont be controlling either team) and detailing out how the game unfolds. This week, lets start with the game description.
Before I started the game, I had to make a couple changes to the rosters. For starters, I had to change the team’s starting QBs to Russell Wilson and John Skelton. I also buried Terrell Owens on the depth chart enough that he wouldn’t play, since he’s no longer with the Seahawks.
And now, on to the game:
The Cardinals kicked off, and Seahawks started off pounding the ball with 6 straight runs for 2 first downs before Wilson’s first pass, and it’s a play action pass complete to Edwards for 5 yards. The drive finally bogs down when Lynch gets spelled and Leon Washington can’t pick up a 3rd and 3 at the 8 yard line, but Hauschka hits a short field goal to make it 3-0 Seahawks.
The Cardinals first drive ends with a 3 and out. After 2 runs for a total of 4 yards, Skelton throws wide of his target on 3rd down and the Cards punt, giving the Seahawks decent field position for their 2nd drive.
The Seahawks 2nd drive, with Washington still in at RB, can’t get a first down and the Seahawks punt the ball right back. Skelton only completes one pass on their drive, and the ball goes back to Seahawks.
The Seahawks and the Cards continue trading punts in this fashion after this as neither team is capable of getting a first down. The Seahawks defense is dominating, and the Cardinals are stacking the line to stop the run and the Seahawks passing game can’t take advantage.
The punt trading was finally ends when Wilson throws an interception at the Seahawk’s 28 yard line. Luckily for Seattle, the Cardinals can’t get the ball into the endzone, and the game is tied up at 3-3.
After trading punts yet again, Leon Washington take a quick toss around the left side 53 yards to the endzone. 10-3 Seahawks with the first half almost over.
The Cardinals pound the ball into the line twice and it’s halftime with the Seahawks leading 10-3.
The beginning of the 2nd half looks much like the first half, with neither team able to get a first down and trading punts back and forth for most of the 3rd quarter. The first drive not to end in a punt in the 2nd half ends with a Robert Turbin fumble at the Cardinal 45 yard line with just 24 seconds on the clock, ending the Seahawk’s best looking drive of the half.
Again the Cardinals go 3 and out and have to punt, but with the good field position the Cards had, the Seahawks are backed up deep. Luckily, Doug Baldwin finally gets involved in the offense, and the Seahawks are able to string together a few first downs on passes to Baldwin and end up getting a 47 yard FG by Hauschka for a 13-3 lead with 8 minutes to go in the game.
The Cardinals answer with 12 play drive that finally dies at the 15 yard line, and a J. Feely FG cuts the lead to 13-6, but there’s just 2:11 on the clock.
The Cardinals elect to kick the ball deep and not try for the onsides kick, hoping to use their time outs and the 2 minute warning to get get the ball back. It doesn’t work. 3 straight play action passes burn the Cardinals who have everyone at the line to stop the run, and then the Seahawks are able to run out the clock.
In the end, it’s a very ugly football game, but the Seahawks win 13-6.
Statistically, the game was as ugly as they come. Wilson’s passing numbers end up as 12/21 for just 98 yards and an interception. That’s 49.3 QB rating. Skelton’s numbers were only slightly better at 13/25 for 132 yards and a 67.4 rating.
The Cardinals, despite 33 rushing attempts, managed just 86 yards on the ground against the Seahawks defense. The Seahawks faired slightly better, with 167 yards on 45 attempts, though 53 of those came on the Leon Washington TD run.
Clearly, the stars of this game were the 2 defenses. The Cardinal’s defense was led by Daryl Washington, who had 13 tackles and one of the team’s 2 sacks.
The Seahawks were led by defensive end Red Bryant, who finished the game with 11 tackles, including 3 sacks and 2 more tackles for loss. The Seahawks ended the game with 5 sacks on Skelton, though they didn’t manage to force any turnovers.
This game ended up pretty represent of all 20 that were simulated.
As you can see, none of the games were really an offensive shootout. Madden 13 clearly expects the defenses to dominate this game, and it also expects the Seahawks to win.
The final preseason game is usually merely a final tune-up, most important to players desperately clinging to the bottom of the roster. With the quarterback competition all wrapped up this game feels fairly anti-climactic but there are some interesting roster battles to observe. It’s also our last chance to see the Seahawks before they take the regular season plunge and our last to chance to not care if they lose. Despite that fact, losing to the Raiders just feels wrong. Without further ado, here is this week’s edition of Matchups of the Game.
Matchup #1: Richard Sherman vs. Darrius Heyward-Bey
The disadvantage of the big corners that Pete Carroll prefers is the ever present risk of getting beat down the field by receivers with elite speed. If there is anything Heyward-Bey has it’s elite speed. Many laughed at Oakland when they selected Heyward-Bey 7th overall in the 2009 draft, believing that he was a late first round value at best. To his credit, he developed into a very productive receiver last year with 975 yards despite missing two games. Heyward-Bey’s calling card is his world-class 4.25 speed which easily trumps Sherman’s 4.54 mark. That gap in raw speed makes me nervous, but luckily for Sherman there is more to football than running extremely fast. Sherman has the ability to dominate receivers with his physicality and Heyward-Bey is not very large or particularly strong. It is the sort of scenario where Sherman could bully Heyward-Bey all game at the line of scrimmage, but if Heyward-Bey blows by him just once it will be considered a rough game for Sherman. Considering neither of them will play all game it’s probably most likely that Sherman holds his man in check for a couple of series.
Matchup #2: Braylon Edwards vs. Ron Bartell
This is a battle of two players trying to re-establish their value in the latter portion of their careers. Bartell is 30 and trying to rebound from a gruesome neck injury. Edwards, 29, is attempting to bounce back from an off-year and some questions about his character. Bartell was a very effective corner with St.Louis and has the size, at 6-1, to compete with Edwards on balls in the air. Since the departure of T.O Edwards looks fairly likely to make the team but having a good game today certainly wouldn’t do him any harm. He has made some big catches so far this preseason but producing against a quality corner with size will help prove Edwards is more than just a big target. Receiver reclamation projects are something of a specialty of Pete Carroll and Edwards can help continue that tradition with a good performance today.
Matchup # 3: Breno Giacomini vs. Lamarr Houston
Giacomini has come into his own over the last few years, perhaps due to the fact he is a converted tight-end who didn’t play offensive tackle until his senior year of college at Louisville. He started 8 games for the Seahawks last year and looked competent doing so. His opposition is Lamarr Houston, a well thought of DT coming out of college that Oakland converted to a big DE, sort of in the mold of Red Bryant. Houston made an encouraging debut in 2010 but regressed last year. Apparently he has lost a lot of weight in hopes of putting the production levels of his “sophomore slump” in the past. Giacomini is probably quicker on his feet but Houston could likely have some success with the bull rush against the 6-7 Giacomini. Houston is a talented and unusual DE who will be a nice last challenge for the Seahawk OT before we start with the games that matter.
This game is more important to the guys fighting for their livelihoods rather than the established players that figure to play the biggest role with this year’s Seahawks. That being said, depth is exceedingly important in a game as violent as football, and while some of last roster spots may seem inconsequential now, the players at the bottom of the roster may well be playing big roles by the end of the year. So when you are watching this game don’t complain about watching all the backups because these guys are a play or two for starting for your 2012 Seattle Seahawks. Every player on the 53-man roster is important and as a result so too is this game.
The big story of the Seahawks third preseason game will be Russell Wilson’s performance. It’s that simple. In fact in the mind of most Seahawks fans it will be the only story. However, we should not forget that there are plenty of interesting matchups in this game that don’t involve Mr. Wilson. These matchups will help determine outcome of this meaningless game and more importantly show how ready some key players are for the 2012 season. Without further stalling designed solely to make an introductory paragraph of a credible length, here is Preseason Week 3’s Matchups of the Game:
Matchup #1: Brandon Browner vs. Jon Baldwin
I think this matchup is intriguing because the players share such similar physical profiles but contrasting career paths. Browner stands at 6-4 and weighs in at 221 lbs, while Baldwin is 6-4 230. They are both sophomores but how they reached this point could not be more different. Browner is a CFL veteran who made the leap to the NFL at age 27 and excelled, whereas Baldwin was a highly-touted first round pick who failed to produce in his first year. In his second year Browner looks to keep up the good work while improving on the nuances of his game, nuances such as not taking so many damn penalties. Baldwin on the other hand is looking to make good on his potential and establish himself as a starting receiver in the NFL. I like Browner in this match-up because his greatest strength is the way he disrupts receivers at the line and beating the jam is something young wide-outs often struggle with, and something that was specifically a concern for Baldwin coming out of college. Also Baldwin lacks the pure speed to burn Browner severely down the field, enabling Browner to be even more aggressive at the line of scrimmage. Look for the more experienced sophomore to win out here, but expect an interesting battle of two players who have elite size and strength at their respective positions.
Matchup #2: Red Bryant vs. Eric Winston
I cannot really explain why, but Eric Winston is a player I’ve always liked. I thought the Seahawks should have drafted him when he fell to the 3rd round in 2006 and I thought they should have signed him when he became available on the free agent market this off-season. Alas it was not to be. Instead we will get to see our favorite massive human being, Mr. Red Bryant, against the underrated tackle. The reason I find this matchup noteworthy is that I think that Bryant may have a good opportunity to dominate with his raw power which is something that simply makes for good television. Winston is a fantastic tackle; however I think he might be ill equipped to handle Bryant. Standing at 6 foot 7 and weighing in at a lean (remember that this is all relative) 302 pounds, Winston is a nimble pass blocker that lacks bulk by the standards of an NFL O-Lineman. Normally, facing DE’s in the 260-280 pound range and 3-4 outside linebackers at 240-260 pounds, Winston’s size is not an issue. Facing the colossus that is Red Bryant, all of the sudden Winston finds himself undersized. Bryant is listed at 6-4 323 but unless I’m missing something he carries quite a bit more weight than that. In this game I’d like to see him leverage that size into results against a taller, lighter tackle that he should be able to get under and push back. It’s always fun to see Red at work and I think this is a game where he can make his presence known and impact the running game of the Chiefs in a big way.
Matchup #3: Sidney Rice vs. Stanford Routt
This is a matchup that Sidney Rice wins merely by stepping on the field and surviving. By participating in this game and coming out unscathed Rice can create significant optimism about the Seahawks’ offensive potential this year. Rice can be the legitimate #1 receiver that any offense needs to be potent and strike fear into the hearts of opponents. Stanford Routt is an insanely good athlete, much like many Oakland draft picks under Al Davis, with excellent length (6-2) and speed (4.27 40 yard dash time). He received a rich extension from Oakland that he may not have deserved but he has been better in recent years, recording a career high 4 INT’s last year. Despite this Routt has never been able to come close to fulfilling his athletic promise. If Rice was 100% you could envision him having his way with Routt but I would settle for a couple of catches, maybe a touchdown, and a graceful exit. This game is also Rice’s first chance to establish any chemistry with Wilson, which may or may not be incredibly important depending on how Wilson does today.
Regardless of anything I’ve written here I know that today is about Russell Wilson and Russell Wilson alone. When the game starts his performance will keep your eyes glued to the TV screen not Red Bryant’s. I know this because I am at least as guilty as you if not more so. We are all suckers for a QB controversy, especially one involving a promising rookie. That being said, if you manage to snap out of your Russell Wilson trance at some point today enjoy the matchups I’ve outlined here because I think they’ll show the Seahawks have far more than one player worth watching.
Yesterday was a very busy day in the NFL, and most of the happenings seem to be working against the Seahawks.
- Seahawks re-signed Red Bryant. Very good move.
- Seahwks also re-signed Heath Farwell, who plays mostly on special … [visit site to read more]
Finally! In a move that was much needed much overdue, the Seahawks re-signed defensive end Red Bryant.
I thought it would be fun this offseason to keep an up to date depth chart of players who are currently under contract. Since the draft is still 2 month away, and the Seahawks have yet to re-sign most of their own free agents, the depth chart is … [visit site to read more]
Over the past couple weeks, I’ve systematically looked over the entire roster. Position by position, from pro-bowlers to those on the practice squad. The goal was to evaluate who is here, and try and get a better feel for what the Seahawks have and … [visit site to read more]
Predictions are always fun. Especially when well known bloggers make them and they end up being wrong. That’s always fun, because then everyone gets to throw them back into my face later. Ahhh… good times…
1) At least one of the … [visit site to read more]
Tags: alan branch, brandon browner, David Hawthorne, featured, football, John Carlson, Marcus Trufant, Mario Williams, Marshawn Lynch, Michael Robinson, nfl, Red Bryant, robert gallery, Roster Moves, Seahawks, Sydney Rice, Wish List, Zach Miller
One thing that I take very seriously in evaluating a team is leadership. This is one reason I always doubted Tarvaris Jackson. In all of his press conferences this year he looked scared and confused, as well as mumbling every word he spoke. It was almost like he didn’t really want to be our starting quarterback, as if his mom was forcing him to go out for the team.
All year long I have been trying to decipher who our leaders are. With the absence of Marcus Trufant, Lawyer Milloy, Lofa Tatupu, and Matt Hasselbeck it has been difficult for the Seahawks. We are definitely a young team in transition waiting for leaders to emerge. So with this article I am going to do my best to evaluate which leadership roles have been filled as well as try and spotlight roles where leadership is still needed.
I’m going to start with the two emotional leaders of the team since they are definitely the most fun to watch (as well as being my favorite players). Our two emotional leaders are unquestionably Marshawn Lynch on offense and BIG Red Bryant on defense. The emotional leader on an offense or a defense is the guy that thrusts energy into the heart of every player before kick-off as well as being the one to keep that energy pulsating as the game wears on. They also help pick the team up in situations when they are down, whether with a play on the field or through encouragement on the sideline. Richard Sherman is a player to watch in this regard, for he is too emotional not to become a leader.
Tags: 12th Man, Earl Thomas, Ed Reed, football, Lawyer Milloy, Lofa Tatupu, Marcus Trufant, Marshawn Lynch, Matt Hasselbeck, nfl, Pete Carroll, Ray Lewis, Red Bryant, Richard Sherman, rookie, Seahawks, Seattle, Seattle Seahawks, tarvaris jackson, Troy Polamalu
Today is the day where almost everyone in America celebrates an ancient feast by watching football and gorging themselves until they lapse into a tryptophan induced coma, only to wake up later for pie and more football. So today, once you’ve reached that point where you’re so stuffed it hurts to move, please take a moment and remember that there is a lot to be thankful for as a Seahawks fan.
Here’s my top 10 reasons for Seahawks fans to be thankful on this Thanksgiving:
10. Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor – It’s been since 2007 since the Seahawks have had a corner who could single handedly shut down one of the league’s top receivers. Making it even more remarkable is that Sherman wasn’t even supposed to be playing at this point. His development is clearly well ahead of schedule. Add to that the fact that the Seahawks have the best duo of safeties in the league, and that they’re both in just their second year. These three kids will only get better over the next few seasons.
9. Beast Mode – Marshawn Lynch might not have been able break out his beast mode persona very often this year, but when he does it’s still a thing of beauty. … [visit site to read more]
Something to chew on during the game.
Most people don’t associate the 2010 Seahawks with being a good defensive team, but at the beginning of the year they really were just that. After 6 weeks, the Seahawks help the #2 rush defense, and was a top … [visit site to read more]