Imagine yourself at a Seahawks home game, early in the season. The Seahawks are driving for a go-ahead score with minutes left in the game. The hand off goes to Marshawn Lynch at the opponent’s 40 yard line. He tries the middle, bounces to the outside, and breaks loose in the defensive backfield. He’s at the 30, the 20…cuts back inside….he’s at the 10 yard line. Finally, a linebacker, a safety and a corner converge on him at the 8 yard line. But Lynch smells the end zone and gives it that “Marshawn Lean” to try and knock that safety out of his path. Marshawn puts his head down, destroys the safety and rolls into the end zone carrying 2 guys on his back. “TOUCHDOWN SEAHAWKS!!!”, shouts Steve Raible at the top of his lungs. The crowd jumps to it’s collective feet cheering wildly! Then Raible says; “Hold on a minute, there’s a flag down on the field at the 10 yard line…Oh boy…it looks like this one is coming back…”.
This could be a common occurrence with the Seahawks this season, maybe more so than with other teams, if NFL owners vote in a new “head lowering” penalty for running backs . Pete Carroll has already said the Seahawks are going to remain a “run first” offense. He may want to change his mind on that one after the first few games if things go the way I’m thinking they could go with this new running back “head lowering” rule. If you haven’t heard, Roger Goodell proposed a new rule in which running backs will be flagged if they lower their head to use the crown of the helmet like a battering ram. This essentially means running backs will have to take on hits standing up or risk a penalty.
I was listening to the “Mike & Mike” show this morning on the way in to work, and they had former Dallas Cowboys Great Emmett Smith on the show to give his “NFL Hall of Fame running back” perspective on the new rule. He brashly said it will make it impossible to play the position of running back. He claimed there is no way a runner who sees he’s about to have a collision is NOT going to instinctively lower his helmet and his whole body to protect himself. Smith added, when you are punished for hitting tacklers with your helmet the end result is you’re going to see a lot of guys just step out of bounds rather than try to get more yards. He thinks it will eventually turn the NFL in to something that resembles “touch football”. Will this still be “football”? I say “no”. Running backs will more resemble quarterbacks at the end of a play, taking a slide to avoid a stand-up hit or meekly squirting out of bounds before the big hits we all know and love.
Now, to be fair, an NFL team of experts, coaches, & former players looked at all the film from last year and only found five instances of this helmet lowering that would have been called under the new rule. So, while there might be a lot of latitude a referee can give backs on this rule, or there might not be. The panel admitted it could be very difficult for a referee to fairly call this kind of thing in the heat of a game. This rule is made for inconsistency in how it’s called, and could be affected by the referee’s angle to the play, his view of the play through other players, the weather, how the other player reacts, and a million other variables. If NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell decides to push this rule hard, it could really put a crimp on the running styles of the hard-nosed, punishing running backs like Lynch. A quick review of some “Beast Mode” highlights reveals Lynch does often use his helmet and shoulders and a healthy forward lean to blast people out of his way. Is this going to make him a magnate for yellow flags? How could it not? You could even say Lynch is the kind of runner this rule is designed to punish…errrr…protect. If there is one rule they could have come up with (other than making the QB scramble illegal) that could put the brakes on a potential Seahawks championship season, this is it!
For other teams with finesse style runners this probably wouldn’t be an issue. Teams with backs that run in a style more like Walter Payton, Eric Dickerson, or Barry Sanders will get a break because that style runner very rarely takes on a defensive back. Teams with backs like Earl Campbell, Jerome Bettis, and yes, Marshawn Lynch could potentially lose some important plays, first downs, or critical scores. Remember the Seahawks were a HALF GAME away from winning the NFC West title. One bad call can make that difference. This WILL affect coaching strategies. Worse case; I think it’s possible that coaches will get tired of all the laundry thrown at their running backs and probably will move away from the running game as an important force in their offenses. The NFL will evolve into something like the Canadian Football League, where passing becomes the dominant type of play. That will be too bad. I think it will wreck the game as it has come to be known and loved. The diversity of schemes that combine running and passing is what makes the NFL interesting to watch.
The next question is; will the fans revolt? Will the NFL be on a path to a slow death because fans will slowly find other things to do than watch a league full of guys running around trying to avoid getting hit? Will the game become something so foreign to our senses that it becomes a laughing stock? A quick look at the controversy created by the “defenseless receiver” rule should give guidance here. There were a lot of cases where a legitimate hit was flagged and great defensive plays called penalties. The hit Cam Chancellor put on 49ers tight end Vernon Davis comes to mind… That was a great, legal (as it turns out) hit that should have been called an incompletion and brought on the 49ers punting team if memory serve me. The penalty turned it into a 1st and 10 for San Fran. The Hawks ended up losing that game by a touchdown. If victories are seen as not legitimately won, the loss of fan interest could put a serious dent in the NFL’s credibility and viewership. But then the NFL has survived and thrived amid controversial calls for decades, so maybe it’s nothing to worry about.
Last but not least, will this rule, if passed, affect how Pete Carroll and John Schneider evaluate running backs in the upcoming draft? Might they hedge their bets that sending Marshawn Lynch to ballet school won’t turn him into a finesse runner and go after one in the draft? It seems advisable to have a “change-up” back anyway, but maybe this puts a little more urgency into that kind of pick. I’m thinking a running back with lots of speed and not a lot of brawn, and the ability to avoid pursuit may be high on more than a few teams draft boards.
In the end it looks like the NFL is changing so as not to appear unconcerned, and to avoid the avalanche of lawsuits that will surely materialize if they don’t “do something” now that they know there is a serious problem. Here are some things about this rule to consider moving forward: Will it change the game so much that they destroy the game? If they do nothing can the game survive anyway? Will the running back become extinct? Will they have to make more changes to keep the game interesting? Who knows? Finding the answers to these questions may become more interesting to watch than the actual games. One other thing Emmett Smith said is that people who haven’t played running back at a professional level have no idea what they’re talking about. Sorry Emmett, but THAT’S WHAT WE DO HERE!
Rumor has it that Cullen Jenkins will be visiting the Seahawks on Monday. Jenkins met with the Giants last week to possibly fill their need for a Defensive Tackle after cutting Chris Canty recently. Jenkins Signed with the “Dream Team” Eagles after the Lockout two years ago. He became a Cap Casualty when the Eagles decided to go in a younger direction.
This could be a solid replacement for the unrestricted free agent Alan Branch. Jenkins is a good run stuffing Defensive Tackle who had 4 sacks last year. Jenkins was known to be a strong leader in the locker room which any team would desire. Rumor has it that his contract requirements will not be nearly as high as they were two years ago.
Seattle needing a big body run stuffing tackle to create some push on 1st and 2nd downs. Jenkins would be a great addition to an already strong defense. Seattle showed at the combine last week that they will definitely be looking at the defensive line this offseason and Jenkins could be a good fit, if they can sign him at the right price. Seattle has to be planning for long term with all of their contracts these days because they will have to shell out a lot of money in the next few years, due to their draft success the last few years. So depending on the Jenkins financial requirements the Hawks could look to get a cheaper version of Jenkins in the draft.
Jenkins will meet with the Seahawks on Monday and then meet with the 49ers later in the week. There is also talk that he could return to the Packer which he won the Super Bowl with in 2011.
I’ll keep the into short here. Lots of rumors flying around, and I thought I’d pass a few along. Try not to get too worked up about trade rumors though. This is the NFL, not baseball. Mid-season trades just don’t happen very often in football.
Rumors are flying around that the Jets and Patriots and others are trying to acquire cornerback Brandon Browner from the Seahawks. Don’t believe them, they aren’t true. Browner is a key piece of what the Seahawks do on defense, and is irreplaceable at this point. I have no idea where this rumor has come from. There’s just no way this is even being considered.
That doesn’t mean that the Seahawks aren’t shopping a corner. As I suggested earlier today, Marcus Trufant would make sense as a possible trade candidate. But the two starters aren’t going anywhere.
Reports are that the Rams are actively shopping Steven Jackson. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise since considering that he’s already been told that this is his last season in St. Louis. If the Rams can get an extra draft pick for Jackson at this point, they’d be crazy not to make the swap.
The obvious destination for Jackson would be either the Lions or the Packers. The Packers are in desperate need of help at RB, and Jackson would be a good fit there. The Lions have Leshoure, but don’t have any depth behind him and could use help at the position if they’re going to make a run and get back into the playoff picture.
The Dwayne Bowe rumors continue to fly, and the Seahawks are one of the teams that are always attached to the wide receiver. The pairing makes sense. Seattle needs a WR, and Bowe is the best one out there available. I just don’t think it gets done. Kansas City isn’t letting him go, and know that they can use either the franchise tag or transition tag on him in the offseason in order to keep him.
The Chiefs wont be letting Bowe leave cheaply. A 2nd round pick is the compensation I’m hearing that they’re looking for. I just can’t see anyone giving up that much for a half season rental on the wide receiver. I don’t expect Bowe to actually be moved before the deadline.
Jason La Canfora from NFL Insider tweeted last night, “Barring a Seattle QB getting hurt this week, look for Tarvaris Jackson to be shopped. Also wouldn’t rule out Cards adding a QB before season.” This is yet to be verified and still has only rumor status, but it both makes sense and could be a smart move for the Seahawks. Instead of waiting to cut Jackson after the fourth preseason game and getting nothing but some cap-space in return, the Seahawks could also throw in Cameron Morrah, or Anthony McCoy, or any one of our plethora of receivers that are on the bubble and possibly get an upgrade at receiver or tight-end.
Jackson played started 14 games for Seattle last season and finished with a 7-7 record; the same winning percentage he entered with. At the time it seemed like Jackson was brought in largely because of newly signed offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s affection for him along with Sidney Rice. While I have never been a big fan of Jackson, he was serviceable at best, with both Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson looking just as good, there is no reason to not try to obtain something for the final year of Jackson’s contract. I would say Jackson ranks high among backups due to being a veteran and having been a starter. This could prove attractive for some teams.
It will be interesting to see how this develops. Clearly, first-team reps are becoming increasingly scarce and the lion’s share of them have gone to Flynn over the last two weeks. John Schneider has been a shrewd manager and has a lot of connections throughout the league. Teams that I could see showing some interest for a solid backup QB are Kansas City, Oakland, Buffalo, Arizona (although I don’t think Seattle would make this trade), and Atlanta. All in all, there is no harm in shopping Jackson around just to see what interest there is at this point.
As we get closer to the start of the draft, the rumors have begun flying around the NFL. While most of these rumors have no legs whatsoever, a few of them are actually interesting so I thought I’d pass them along. I’ll update this posts with any new … [visit site to read more]
The Seahawks have only 6 picks in this years draft. They’re without their 5th and 7th round picks, though they did get a 7th from the Raiders as a part of the Aaron Curry trade. GM John Scheider has said that he wants to pick 8 or 9 players each … [visit site to read more]
It seems that the NFL might have accidentally leaked their schedule for the upcoming 2012 season. This happened last night, but I hesitated to post anything on this site because I was worried it was a fake. That’s still a possibility, but the story … [visit site to read more]
The Seattle Seahawks are still looking for a new QB, and an interesting option may have just opened up. I must admit that I didn’t see this coming, and need to give credit to the Seahawks blog visit site to read more]
The internet today is going crazy with the rumor that Peyton Manning is going to retire. If true, then this is huge news for the Seahawks and every other team that was hoping he was going to be released soon and then would be available to lead their … [visit site to read more]
Word from the stadium, and this is strictly an unconfirmed rumor, is that Eddie Vedder wil be raising the 12th man flag at some point this year. This was an anonymous tip from a trusted source. I know that Eddie Vedder is originally from San Diego or near that area. He was also recently married last week. I sure hope he proves me right this week, Go Hawks!
Through the offseason and into the regular season, Seattle’s new front office has been quite difficult to figure out, to say the least.
When Tim Ruskell was in town, his moves were sometimes predictable. Predictable isn’t a great trait for a general manager, but Ruskell was egotistical and very disciplined in his philosophy on building a football team.
Ruskell wanted to obtain players who had won before. He wanted determined players with experience against the best competition, a team-first attitude, and a relentless work ethic. Most importantly, the player had to be of high character, a stand-up citizen, and well-behaved off the field.
Ruskell’s philosophy landed players like Deion Branch, Patrick Kerney, and Julius Jones. In the NFL Draft, Ruskell opted for experienced, “safe” picks like Kelly Jennings, Lawrence Jackson, and Aaron Curry.
We knew what to expect when Tim Ruskell was in charge. The new regime, however, is still somewhat mysterious.
We had no idea what to expect in last April’s draft. Some people thought John Schneider would submit to Pete Carroll and favor players from Southern California and the Pac-10 Conference. Others assumed the Seahawks would significantly reach for a quarterback like Jimmy Clausen or Tim Tebow.
Those who were eventually correct with their predictions will tell you even they weren’t certain what was going to happen.
As the offseason progressed and training camp opened, it was obvious the Seahawks were seeking a big-time playmaker at wide receiver. The team pursued Brandon Marshall, but was eventually outbid by the Miami Dolphins.
When the San Diego Chargers began fielding offers for Vincent Jackson, the Seahawks quietly joined several other franchises in pursuit of the disgruntled wide receiver. Jackson was holding out for a new contract and refused to play without one; the assumption was that San Diego would be willing to part with him for adequate compensation. Desperate for a big, physical wide receiver and obvious playmaker, the Seahawks showed serious interest.
The team was given permission by San Diego to discuss contract details with Vincent Jackson and his agents. One would have to assume the Seahawks had at least lightly discussed trade compensation with the Chargers as well.
Landing Jackson, while still possible but quite unlikely, would have been a huge acquisition for Seattle’s new front office. If Tim Ruskell were running the show, however, the Seahawks would have never even considered trading for Jackson.
Though he is a talented player, Jackson has a questionable off-field record. He is already facing a suspension this season for his second DUI, and investing so much in a repeat offender would be a huge gamble.
Schneider and Carroll were apparently willing to take a chance on Jackson. Until, that is, Braylon Edwards was arrested and charged with DUI earlier this week.
According to John Clayton, the Seahawks decided not to pursue Vincent Jackson any further when they found out about Edwards’ DUI. Because of Jackson’s two previous DUI charges, the team apparently decided they’re unwilling to take a chance.
It seems awkward Seattle would become indecisive following the news about Braylon Edwards. Without any additional knowledge of the situation, I have to assume that ownership stepped in and prevented any further pursuit of Vincent Jackson. Acquiring a player like Jackson would be wonderful on Sundays, but could quickly become a public relations nightmare for the franchise.
Seattle’s front office is still unpredictable; without any established patterns or obvious preferences, their next move is a mystery. For now, we can only hope for the best every Sunday.
Just don’t assume the obvious will happen on the following Monday.
Tags: Brandon Marshall, Braylon Edwards, DUI, football, Free agent, John Clayton, John Schneider, nfl, NFL Draft, Paul Allen, Pete Carroll, Rumors, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, Tim Ruskell, trade, vincent jackson, wide receiver
The Seahawks acquired offensive lineman Stacy Andrews from the Philadelphia Eagles over the weekend. Andrews mostly played guard in Philadelphia, but is also capable of playing tackle and could start for the Seahawks in the season opener.
The deal is actually favorable for Seattle; obtaining a capable lineman for a seventh-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft is a steal for a team struggling with depth.
In February of 2009, Andrews signed a six-year, $39.8 million contract with the Eagles following five seasons in Cincinnati. The Bengals originally drafted Andrews in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL Draft.
With the Eagles, Andrews was supposed to be an impact starter on an offensive line that also included his brother, Shawn Andrews. Stacy, however, struggled with a knee injury from the previous season and was replaced by Max Jean-Gilles after only two starts.
In March of this year, Andrews restructured his contract, reducing his base salary. If he can stay healthy, Andrews is likely to start at right tackle for the Seahawks in place of incumbent starter Sean Locklear.
According to ESPN.com’s John Clayton, the Seahawks are looking to trade Locklear:
While it was a nice move to pick up Stacy Andrews from the Eagles for a seventh-round pick, the trade is going to lead to the departure of right tackle Sean Locklear, who, according to multiple sources, is being shopped in a trade and isn’t expected to be around opening day.
The roster shuffling continues…
Tags: Cincinnati Bengals, football, John Clayton, John Schneider, National Football League, News, nfl, NFL Draft, offensive line, Pete Carroll, Philadelphia Eagles, right tackle, Rumors, Seahawks, Sean Locklear, Seattle Seahawks, Stacy Andrews
A trade still seems unlikely, but Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, San Diego Chargers, and Arizona Cardinals have all made offers to acquire T.J. Houshmandzadeh from Seattle.
Regardless of the report, most analysts are still reporting a trade won’t happen; it will be too difficult to move Houshmandzadeh’s $7 million guaranteed salary.
If you’re optimistic, however, it is a good sign that teams have made offers (if the report is accurate). If the Seahawks are truly committed to dumping Housh, trading him would be the best route. By releasing him, the Seahawks are on the hook for millions of dollars and lose their leading receiver from 2009 without compensation.