Tag Archives: NFC West

Seattle Seahawks – Stubborn and Predictable

why

The Seattle Seahawks, picked by many this year to return to the Super Bowl, are in danger of falling short of those expectations.

One issue that can be stated very clearly is that the defense is still one of the best in the NFL and if not for them, this Seahawk team wouldn’t be much to talk about.

There are three areas on offense that I believe are the issues that are preventing the Seahawks to be great instead of just barley good.

  • Offensive Line

By now, everyone must realize just how special of a running back that Marshawn Lynch really was.  His running style hid many deficiencies the offensive line had in the past.  Because of his retirement, it shows just how bad of a decision it is that John Schneider and  Pete Carroll have made to not properly invest in the one area that is critical for all plays to succeed:  The offensive line.

The starting offensive line accounts for a mere 7% of the Seahawks salary cap.  At $10.2 million, it is the lowest in the league.  My question is that why would you go on the cheap in the one spot where any offensive play has any chance of succeeding?

The Seahawks have not, in the past three to five years, made the offensive line a priority.  It is confusing as to why Pete Carroll, whose philosophy is to run the ball, eat up the clock and play great defense.  It worked just fine when Marshawn Lynch was the running back as he gave you the luxury of having an inadequate line with his running style.

Also, because of Lynch, the passing game was successful because defenses would stack the line but would freeze on play-action passing plays which led to some big plays downfield.

Tom Cable, the offensive line coach of the Hawks, stated back I August that he feels this is one of his favorite lines he’s coached.  That they have some good players that have a chance to develop and be good NFL linemen.

That’s just great…meantime, after 7 games, the offense is averaging an anemic 81.4 yards per game, 28th in the NFL, and have had only 2 rushes longer than 20 yards.

They are better in the passing game, ranked 14th in the NFL at 258.4 yards per game but that’s only because they can’t run the ball.

And they cannot get the ball into the end zone where they are 29th in the NFL at 18.7 points per game.

  • Jimmy Graham

We gave up a very good center in Max Unger to get Jimmy Graham and yet the Seahawks have not found a way to use him.  In his 5 years with the New Orleans Saints, Graham averaged 77.2 receptions per year, 950.4 yards per year, 12.2 yards per catch and 10.2 touchdowns per season while playing an average of 15.6 games each year.

In comparison to his 1-1/2 years in Seattle, he has averaged 39 catches per year, 532 yards per year, 13.7 yards per catch and a measly 1.5 touchdowns per year.  It is inconceivable to me that the Seahawks, who brought Graham in to be more of a red zone threat, don’t throw to him more often.

A friend of mine wants some reporter to ask Pete Carroll in one of the press conferences he uses is why can’t you use Jimmy Graham correctly?  If Pete can’t answer the question, then we should trade Graham to get either multiple picks to use on the offensive line or for a good left tackle.

Which brings into light Russell Wilson.  While Wilson has made some great plays, he doesn’t appear to have the ability to throw receivers open and does not have the confidence in his arm to throw into traffic.  Drew Brees utilized Graham’s 6-7, 265 lbs. body perfectly, throwing to areas that only Graham could get to using his basketball skills.

Case in point, during the last game against the Saints and the last drive of the game, Graham was thrown a pass from Wilson that was at his waist.  Graham made the catch but had to slow down to adjust for it and was tackled when he could have made it into the end zone.  Brees would have thrown that pass above Graham’s head and in stride to allow Graham to walk into the end zone.

My suggestion on how to get Graham more involved?  That leads to the third area:

  • The Play Calling of Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell

When Marshawn Lynch was here, Bevell’s job was much easier as was Tom Cable’s.

But Lynch is gone and now the limitations of Bevell’s play calling is evident.  His refusal (or is it Pete Carroll’s refusal?) to take shots downfield and rely on an anemic running game is becoming laughable.

My suggestion to Bevell and to Pete Carroll is to move Jimmy Graham out to wide receiver and with Luke Willson injured, start either Nick Vannett or Brandon Williams at TE.  This will give the Seahawks a big bodied receiver on the outside who can run a 4.5 forty up against smaller cornerbacks and safeties.

It also helps improve the offensive line with a better blocking tight end, more chances for Doug Baldwin in the slot and you can either place Jerome Kearse, another big receiver or Tyler Lockett as a burner down the field.

This would also help the running game as linebackers would need to drop back into more coverage and not allow defenses to stack the line to stop the run.  And both Williams and Vannett can be used on TE screens just to make it that much more difficult for defenses to know what the Hawks are going to do.

I think that Bevell can be the right play caller for the Hawks.  But he needs to convince Carroll, if they are going to continue down this path of spending the least amount of money on the offensive line, then they need to give that line all the help they can.

The Seahawks need to do something.  Relying on the defense to keep them in and hope the offense to pull some miracle each game is no way to run a football team.

Beer Thinker NFL Predictions – Who Is Going to Finish Where

I have been writing a lot about politics and civil issues and the more I write about it, the more angry I get.  So I decided to get back to why I really created this site for…to write about sports.  And what better subject than predicting how each team in their respective division will finish.

AFC East:

  1. New England Patriots
  2. Buffalo Bills
  3. New York Jets
  4. Miami Dolphins

So now that Tom Brady has decided not to further challenge is part in “Deflategate,” he will accept the 4-game suspension.  How will this affect the Patriots?  Not too much.  Jimmy Garoppolo will take the snaps for these first four games.  Patriots start the season on the road against the Arizona Cardinals then the next three at home against the Dolphins, Texans and Bills.  Worst case scenario, I see the Pats going 2-2 but being undefeated in their own division with wins over the Dolphins and Bills.  Realistically, they go 3-1 with the sole loss at Arizona.

AFC North

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. Cincinnati Bengals
  3. Baltimore Ravens
  4. Cleveland Browns

The Bengals took the AFC North last year with a 12-4 record.  They actually beat the Steelers 16-10 in Pittsburgh in November but faltered at home in December losing at home 33-20 and folding again against the Steelers in the Wild Card game 18-16.  Granted the Bengals didn’t have Andy Dalton but I am not sure that would have helped.  Until the Bengals can prove they can perform under pressure, the Steelers are going to be the big kid in the sandbox.

AFC West

  1. Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Oakland Raiders
  3. San Diego Chargers
  4. Denver Broncos

Despite the fact Kansas City finished last year at 11-5, they went 1-1 in the playoffs, routing the Texans 30-0 but losing the Divisional game against the Patriots, 27-20.  Andy Reid has a great regular season record going 161-110 over the past 17 years.  However, he has gone 11-11 in that same time frame but never being able to win the big games.  2016 could see the Chiefs in the Super Bowl but can Reid show he can win it?  Denver will finish no better than.500…and yes, I may have picked them last just because I have an intense dislike for them.  Still, too many questions on offense and I see a 7-9 season despite that great defense.

AFC South

  1. Houston Texans
  2. Indianapolis Colts
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars
  4. Tennessee Titans

Texans are favored this year with the signing of QB Brock Osweiler to win the division though it is doubtful the Texans will get past the Divisional playoffs.  Colts will have a healthy Andrew Luck back in the mix but if the offensive line play doesn’t improve, it could be hard going.  Jacksonville will surprise a lot of teams and might sneak in the playoffs.  Long shot will be the Titans but with the addition of DeMarco Murray will make them competitive.

NFC East

  1. New York Giants
  2. Dallas Cowboys
  3. Washington Redskins
  4. Philadelphia Eagles

The NFC East is competitive again.  The Redskins won the East last year with a 9-7 record but I don’t think that will cut it this year.  The Giants will be with a rookie head coach in Ben McAdoo and have the inside track after spending big on free agents.  General Manager used more than $10 million to bolster the defense on Janoris Jenkins, Damon Harrison and Oliver Vernon.  Despite going 4-12 last year, the Cowboys are right behind the Giants to win the East.  Tony Romo and Dez Bryant are coming back healthy and adding running back Alfred Morris gives them a shot.  And while the Redskins did win the division last year, the other rival teams did better in the offseason.  Sam Bradford is back with the Eagles but defense still has major holes.

NFC North

  1. Green Bay Panthers
  2. Detroit Lions
  3. Minnesota Vikings
  4. Chicago Bears

I really hope the Lions prove me wrong and run away with the North.  They have lost Calvin Johnson but Golden Tate is poised to step in as the number one receiver and the addition of Marvin Jones, still have a credible deep threat.  If Matthew Stafford can come close to how he played in the 2nd half of last year, the Lions are a legitimate threat.  Theo Riddick will play a huge part in that success.  Packers are always going to be in contention as long as Aaron Rogers stays healthy.  The Vikings are a team on the rise as Teddy Bridgewater continues to mature as an NFL quarterback.  Adrian Peterson will still need to carry the team.  I picked the Bears last because, well, they are the Bears.

AFC West

  1. Seattle Seahawks
  2. Arizona Cardinals
  3. Los Angles Rams
  4. San Francisco 49ers

The Seahawks may have lost Marshawn Lynch to retirement but they do have three running backs that will be very, very hard to stop.  Thomas Rawls will take the place of Lynch as the bruiser to wear down defenses and is a threat to break off long gains.   Alex Collins will be used to push Rawls and will get a lot of carries.  C.J. Prosise is a former wide receiver and will be a huge 3rd down threat out of the back field and can flat out fly.  As for receivers, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Tyler Locket will drive defenses nuts.  On the defensive side, strong as ever despite the loss of Bruce Irvin.  Cardinals are pretty much the same team as they were last year.  But defenses are going to do whatever they can to get to Carson Palmer because as goes Palmer goes the Cardinals.  Rookie QB Todd Gurley will make rookie mistakes but for the most part, if he can be protected and the defense stays strong, the Rams could contend.  49ers have a lot of work to do to become contenders again and Chip Kelly will need at least a couple of years to bring them up.

NFC South

  1. Carolina Panthers
  2. Atlanta Falcons
  3. New Orleans Saints
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Panthers have mostly kept their roster intact from their 15-1 2015 season and should be in good shape to take their 2nd straight division title.  I am not a fan of Cam Newton but I cannot deny that he has done some good things with the Panthers.  Defense is still strong and will keep them in games.  The Falcons made some good moves in free agency, the best pick-up being WR Mohamed Sanu to take pressure off Julius Jones.    Running back Doug Martin stayed with the Bucs and the Saints picked up Nick Fairley and Coby Fleener.  But the Saints are getting old and Drew Brees and the Saints will more than likely not make the playoffs.

 

 

 

 

It Ain’t Easy Being a Detroit Lions Fan

The title of this article says it all:  It ain’t easy being a Lions fan.

After Monday night’s game, where yet the Lions snatched victory from the jaws of defeat yet again, I questioned my own sanity as to why I am so loyal this this team.

Can’t be because of the four NFL Championship games they won, they all occurred before I was a twinkle in my Daddy’s eye.

Prior to the game, I was pondering which jersey to wear.  Should I honor my hometown team and wear my number 15 Golden Tate III or should I wear my number 31 Kam Chancellor to honor the team I have watched since I moved here in 1989.

The pull was to great, I wore the Golden Tate III jersey.  Because I wanted to see my Lions come to Seattle, the league’s loudest stadium with the most loyal fans and do something great.

The Seahawks were plumb for the taking, having started out with road losses against the St. Louis Rams and the Green Bay Packers.  The game against the Chicago Bears was a great effort by the Seahawks and as much as I love the Lions is about as much as I dislike the Bears.  After the 26-0 shutout, I felt that it couldn’t have happen to a better team.

But being a Lions fan is to suffer strange losses and heartbreak.  The loss to the Seahawks wasn’t the strangest…forget the batted ball rule…Kam Chancellor made one helluva play to knock that ball lose.  And Calvin Johnson himself said that “bottom line, I have got to hang on to the ball.”

As for the no call on KJ Wright for batting the ball out of bounds, it really is a non-issue…if Johnson had hung on to the ball, the defense, which really played great in this game, would have had to stop the Hawks with 1:51 left in the game.

Now despite the Lions recovering three fumbles and sacking Seattle’s Russell Wilson 6 times, the Lions were still having a very hard time containing him.  There were scrambles that Wilson made that looked like he was coached by Twyla Tharp.

But here’s the thing:  The Detroit Lions did play a very good defensive game.  Despite the fact the Seahawks didn’t have Marshawn Lynch, they contained that offense pretty well…and to hold a team that had averaged 24 points a game over the last three games to only 13 is saying something.

But now we get to the crux of the issue, the Detroit Lions offense.  After dropping 21 points in the first half on the San Diego Chargers in the opening game of the season, the Lions became predictable.  Golden Tate came out and said that opposing teams knew what was coming.

And watching the game against the Seahawks, in the first three quarters, I was about 75% correct on what they were going to do…and I’m no expert at reading offenses.

But in the fourth quarter, the Lions offense suddenly came awake.  With 6:24 left in the game, the Lions put together a masterful 91-yard drive that could have driven the Seahawks into panic mode until the fumble in the end zone.

During that drive, the Seahawks didn’t know what hit them.  Stafford was masterful with pin-point precision, hitting four different receivers driving them to the 11 yard line, setting up the fateful play.

And it’s at this time you want to go to your best players.  Stafford drifted back, looked for the best wide receiver on the planet and connected.  And Calvin did what every bone in his body said to do:  Fight to get over the goal line…and a special play by a special player in Kam Chancellor put the Lions at 0-4.

Here’s what gets me about Matthew Stafford.  During that drive, he got what Golden Tate called “that look in his eye” that would give him the focus to put the Lions on his back and drive them to victory.  It’s one of the reasons Tate said he wanted to come to the Lions.

If there is any hope for this season, Matt Stafford has to get that “look in his eye” from the opening kick-off until the final gun.  It’s his team, he needs to own it.

And Joe Lombardi, quit being an old lady and take the shackles off.  Convince Jim Caldwell that the current ball-control offense isn’t working and start taking some chances early in the game instead of always in desperation mode.

It’s time to awaken the Lion.

Awake The Lion

Kam Chancellor – C’mon Man!

The Heart of The Legion of Boom
The Heart of The Legion of Boom

This isn’t going to be an article slamming Kam Chancellor or a plea to have the Seahawks give in and pay him what he wants.

To clear up any misconceptions on how I feel about Kam, let me say this:  He is my favorite player on the Seattle Seahawks.  I’m not one that would normally buy a player’s jersey…but before last year’s Super Bowl, I purchased #31’s off NFL.com and have no regrets.

In 2013, Kam signed a 4 year deal worth over $28M dollars with a $5M signing bonus which, at that time, made him one of the highest-paid free safeties in the NFL.  I was happy the Seahawks locked up one of the best defensive backs to play the game and is a huge fan favorite.

He is average salary is about $7M per year and is guaranteed $7.8M of the contract.  When Earl Thomas signed his $40M contract, he became the highest paid in the NFL…and with other signings, Kam is now the 8th highest paid.

The crux of the dispute is mostly based on Chancellor’s style of play.  We’ve all cheered his sacrifice of his body on some of the most devastating (and clean) hits he’s made on various players.  Vernon Davis is still hearing bells after Kam’s hit on him in the 2014 NFC Championship Game.

Birth of the Legion of Boom
Birth of the Legion of Boom

I agree that Kam deserves to be paid more…but a contract was signed and he still has 3 years left on that contract.  Did he expect that no other players would get higher salaries in the coming years?

Just because he feels the Seahawks can pay him more since the team doled out big contracts to Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and brought in Jimmy Graham?  Is it all about him feeling that he’s been shafted?

Sorry Kam, for the dude who has the biggest pair on the field, in this case, I’m going to have to say “grow a pair” and get your butt back on the field.  The team needs you…it needs your leadership and skills to stay as one of the elite defenses in the NFL.

Both you and Michael Bennett signed contracts that at the time, you both were very happy.  But now because some of your teammates got more later, your pissed because you both feel you’ve been taken advantage of?

Damn, I wish I could be taken advantage of at $7M per year.

Dude, think about this:  At the end of this contract, you will be 30 years old.  I’m pretty sure that with this contract, you and your family are going to be fairly secure.  I don’t see your name in the media breaking any laws nor have I ever heard your name for lavish spending…so I have to assume you are being smart with your money.

You will have at least one more big contract in your NFL career…it may be with the Seahawks or it may be with some other team but you will get paid…and probably way more that what you are asking for now.

End this dispute and honor the contract…get back on the field where you belong.  Set aside your stubborn pride and show the Seahawks and your team just what kind of player you are…and what kind of man you are:  I honor what I sign and what I say.

This doesn’t mean you’ve given in…it means that you came to the realization that this isn’t the time to do this.  The Hawks have the upper hand Kam.  They are ready and willing to move on without you.  Are you ready to move on without them?

You understand that if you decide to sit the season, it means you could be sitting out for 3 years since the Hawks hold you under contract.  Do you think after that any team would come near you?  Out of football for 3 years and expect a huge contract?  I don’t think so.

Coming back isn’t going to cause your teammates to lose their respect of you.  You have earned that 10 time over just by your play and the type of man you are.  You certainly won’t lose the respect of the fans…they want you back.

Kam, at this point, you are only hurting yourself.

 

Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson – Get The Deal Done!

All he does is win games.
All he does is win games.

I’m not so sure what the hold up is on either end of the negotiations between the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson.

Wilson, who has done everything that has been asked of him by the Seahawks, is looking to be paid as an elite status quarterback.  To be honest, I do believe that he has a very strong case.

I understand that he doesn’t have a lot of 300 yard games and isn’t your prototypical NFL quarterback.  But all he does when he’s in the game is win them.

Since he has been the starter, he has gone 36-12 in the regular season, taken the team to the playoffs three straight years, the Super Bowl two years in a row, winning one of them.  The Hawks are 6-2 in playoff appearances in that time.

There has been a speculation that the reason for Wilson’s success is due to having a premiere running back in Marshawn Lynch as well as a top 5 defense during those seasons.  And I agree with that speculation because it’s true.

Why?  Because football is a team sport…and it takes a team of very talented players to get to a Super Bowl let alone win one.  And a great leader at QB to guide them.

Let’s take a look at a football quarterback the complete opposite of Russell Wilson.  This guy is a former player and during his playing days, he was 6’4″ and weighed 240lbs.  Many consider him to be one of the greatest passers to ever play the game, including myself.

I am talking about Dan Marino who played for the Miami Dolphins for 16 years.  And despite all the accolades heaped upon Marino, despite all of the passing yards and 300 yard and 400 yard games, Marino played in only one Super Bowl in 1984, his second season.  The Dolphins lost that game to the San Francisco 49’rs who had another QB that wasn’t your prototypical QB in Joe Montana.

Why didn’t Marino win any rings?  He didn’t ever have a running back to speak of and he had to outscore the other team because many of his defenses were ranked in the lower half of the defensive rankings.  And yet, he is lauded as one of the all-time greats to ever play the game.

Wilson has talent but also knows that he is an integral part of Pete Carroll’s offense that relies on a power running game and a staunch defense.

It’s not that Wilson can’t throw the ball.  He has three 300 yard passing games in his career and is the only player ever to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in the same game.

But what’s most important is Wilson’s ability to focus…focus on what needs to be done, focus his teammates into reaching for more and an unwavering belief that his team always has a chance to win.

He has 10 fourth quarter comebacks to go along with 15 game winning drives in three years.  He is cool and calm under pressure, takes care of the ball and doesn’t commit many turnovers.  What else do you want your QB to do?

Can anyone tell me how the Seahawks might have done if Tavaris Jackson would have started over the past three years?  Never better than .500 I would guess.

Or perhaps if Wilson hadn’t beaten out Matt Flynn who I believe was an overrated quarterback and would have turned into a turnover machine…and not at all a good fit for Pete Carroll’s offense.

Your quarterback is the team leader.  He is your field captain and he is the only player on the field who handles every single snap on offense.  He’s the one that all the plays funnel through.

So I ask, who else do you want as your NFL QB for the Seattle Seahawks?  I trust Wilson…he makes great decisions on the field and takes care of the ball to give the Seahawks a chance to win every game.

There aren’t many games the Seahawks have been blown out of with Wilson at the helm.  Yes, a lot of that is attributed to the fantastic defense the Hawks have.  But a lot of it can also be attributed to Wilson’s style of play.

So what are the measurable to justify the salary that Wilson could get?  Is it based on passing yards and touchdowns or is it based on wins?  I’ll take the winner thank you very much.

I’m not sure why the Seahawks even want to mess with that.

New England Wins Super Bowl 28-24: Should Thank Seahawks

Kinda makes you just a little bit sick, right?
Kinda makes you just a little bit sick, right?

This was not the picture I wanted to see.  I wanted Tom Brady to be sullen and morose because the Seahawks took away his bid to win four Super Bowls.

Instead, the Seahawks did something that just defies any kind of logic known to man.  With 20 seconds left, poised to go into the end zone for the win, with a timeout still in the bank, they elected to pass.

It was a gimme interception that Patriots rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler will remember for the rest of his life.

Pete Carroll fell on the sword for the Seahawks saying the decision to throw was his.  Darrell Bevel indicated that he made the call and said that Butler made a great play on the ball.  Russell Wilson said it was on him for not making the play.

The thing is, when you have a 5’11” 215 pound freak of nature named Marshawn Lynch, why in the hell would you even think about throwing?

Thing of it is, that one mistake wiped out all the good things that occurred in that game.

Anyone going to be talking about Chris Matthews with his 4 incredible catches for 109 yards with a touchdown?  We going to be talking about how well Lynch ran going for 102 yards and a score?  Will Jermaine Kearse improbable laying on the back catch be mentioned?

Not too much because of what many people are calling the “worst coaching decision” in the history of the game.  I think this even beats Marty Mornhinweg’s coin toss debacle and rationalized it as “we wanted the wind” when he was head coach of the Detroit Lions.

This one hurt.  But the Seahawks and the 12th Nation will be OK.  I am 90% sure when the Hawks come home, there will be a welcoming committee for them with chants of “We’ll get em next year!” and I don’t think they will be off the mark.

Seattle is still going to be the team to beat in the NFC next year.  And I would think they need just a few tweaks to maintain their level of excellence.  Love to see them get a big-bodied and fast wide-receiver to give them yet an even better passing game.  Perhaps Chris Matthews will fill that role if his performance in Super Bowl 49 wasn’t a fluke.

Some additional help on the offensive line should be a priority as well.  Need to cut down the number of sacks that Russell Wilson takes.  Keep him clean and he will be even better.

While this Super Bowl loss hurt, because of the way the Seahawks are built, they will use this game as a huge motivator for the 2015 season.  This will be a huge chip on their collective shoulders and I actually feel just a little bit sorry for the teams they face next season…well, almost.

And despite the fact that the Patriots should thank the Seahawks for their Super Bowl win, they played a hell of a game as well…just too bad that it had to end the way that it did.

Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks for an outstanding season!

Seahawk Shining

Seahawks vs Rams – Time for Payback!

 

It's Payback Time!
It’s Payback Time!

With all due respect to my good friends Rick and Bonnie, long time Rams fans, I have a sneaking suspicion that the Hawks aren’t going to be fooled this time around.

The last time these teams met was back on October 19th in St. Louis where the Rams prevailed 28-26.

If you look at this game on paper, you would have sworn the Hawks had this game…and you would have been right if it not for 3 very big plays by the savvy Rams.

C’mon now, we must give the Rams their due.  They have played all year long with a dub-par offensive team but an outstanding defense along with some very good special teams.  Granted, I’m sure many a Seahawk fan felt the Rams stole this game.  Again, you would be right but all is fair in love and war…and NFL football.

The first play involved the Rams making it appear one player was going to get a punt when in reality, it was another player on the opposite side of the field.  Stedman Baily took that punt 90 yards for a score.  Tavon Austin should be nominated for an Oscar for his depiction of staggering under the kick if he were going to receive it.

Another Rams score was set up by Benny Cunningham who took a  squib kick out of the end zone for a 75 yard return that set up another Rams score.

And of course, the play that stunned almost everyone except the  Rams themselves.  The fake punt that had punter Johnny Hekker completing an 18 yard pass on 4th and 3 to keep their drive alive.

Not that the Seahawks didn’t have their opportunities…and cashed in on most of them.  They came storming back and as I indicated above, statistically, out performed the Rams.  They gained 462 total yards against the Rams 275 yards.

Russell Wilson had 313 yards passing with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions along with 106 yards on the ground with one TD.

But the Rams did better than the Hawks in the most important statistic:  They put more points on the board than the Hawks.

So what’s the key to this game?  Watch for the Rams trickery.  While they may be out of the playoffs and the Hawks are in, the Rams would like nothing more that to make the Hawks playoff run as difficult as possible.

It will be another close one but Hawks will come out on top, 30-28.

Seahawks at Cardinals: Hawks Win 10-7

Steven Hauschka will be everyone's favorite Seahawk after Sunday's Win!
Steven Hauschka will be everyone’s favorite Seahawk after Sunday’s Win!

The man in the picture above doesn’t seem like hero material, does he.  I mean, he’s not what the typical hero should look like.  Someone who is at least 6’5″ and 240 pounds with a stare that could cut granite.

Believe it or not, Steven Hauschka is 6’4″ but comes in at 220 lbs. with a stare that could make people laugh.  But don’t let that demeanor fool you.  He has ice in his veins and has come through in many, many clutch situations.

While he may be a well-traveled kicker (the Hawks are his sixth NFL team, plus he had a season kicking for the UFL’s Las Vegas Locomotives), since 2011, Hauschka has found a home with Seattle.

As for the game this Sunday, I have a gut feeling that this is going to be a classic throwback defensive struggle.  Points are going to be at a premium with both teams scoring only one touchdown.

And it’s all going to come down to Hauschka’s right foot with less than 30 seconds to play…and he will come through with a 48 yard field goal to win it.

He may be the hero of the moment but the hero of the game is going to be that Seattle defense.  They will harass and  annoy the Cardinal’s third string QB Ryan Lindley, causing him to rush his throws and keep him off his game.

The secondary will clamp down on the Cardinal receivers.  Not sure if they will get any picks but for the most part, a lot of broken up passes and sure handed tackling as to mitigate any big plays.

I guess that would be one of the keys to the game.  If the defense can force the Cardinals into 3rd and long situations and get Lindley to throw downfield, opportunities for turnovers will increase.  I am fairly confident that Cardinals coaching staff will have Lindley on a short leash throwing a lot of screen passes and short passes over the middle to tight-ends and running backs.

And that just plays into perhaps the strongest part of the Seattle defense, the linebacker corps.  Bobby Wagner and Malcolm Smith need to key in on those screens and passes over the middle.  If there are going to be any picks in this game, I predict they will come from the linebackers.

But the game will come down to Hauschka’s foot…and it will be one of the sweetest wins for the Seahawks this season!

Go Hawks!

Titus Young – From The Penthouse to The Outhouse

titus young

When the Detroit Lions drafted Titus Young in the second round of the 2011 draft, I thought the Lions finally found a wide receiver that could complement All-World Calvin Johnson.

But now, at age 25, he was arrested for the third time on five counts of battery…how far and how fast Young fell from grace is astounding.

Were there warning signs of trouble?  Or was Young just another player that coaches looked the other way because of his talent?

To say that Young was a game changer may have been an understatement.  His high school stats are impressive.  While at University High School in Los Angeles, he amassed 1,879 in 92 catches averaging 20.4 yards per catch in his 3 years as a varsity player.

At Boise State, he continued his dominance posting 3,063 yards over 204 receptions while scoring 25 TD’s, including a career high 83 yard touchdown score.  He was considered by many a top-flight receiver but trouble was brewing for Mr. Young.

Young was in trouble frequently while at Boise State.  Missing workouts, arguing with coaches and being generally a disruption to the team.  Regardless of how talented a player you are, being disruptive causes teams to lose cohesion and trust in one another is lost.

Discipline seemed to have little effect on him.  Then coach Chris Petersen sat him the first quarter of the 2007 Hawaii Bowl for violating team rules.  In 2008, Petersen suspended him for three games, again for violating team rules.  Two weeks later, Petersen extend the suspension indefinitely saying the team and Young “needed a break” from each other.

In 2011, Young declared for the NFL Draft…and trouble continued to follow.  One pre-draft training site kicked him out because of his attitude.  All of these warning flags, despite being considered by many draft pundits a considerable talent, caused many teams to bypass Young in the draft.

The Lions took a chance on him.  Desperate for the need to get help for Calvin Johnson, Lions felt the 5’11” 174-pound receiver with 4.39 speed was just the ticket.  And Young seemed to respond to the Lions by working hard.

In his rookie season, Young was used primarily as the 2nd receiver.  He was named the Detroit Sportscasters Association Rookie of the Year.

But a leopard rarely changes spots, right?  And Young was no exception.  Despite his success on the field, his troubles off the field  began to escalate…and even at times leaked between the lines.

He started to become undisciplined on the field.  In a game against the New Orleans Saints, he shoved safety Malcolm Jennings in the face, drawing a 15-yard penalty and was benched the rest of the game.  Other incidents occurred and caused Young’s friends to ask the NFL for help.  Young declined the offer extended from the NFL.

2011 fared no better as Young continued to spiral down.  Young sucker-punched Lions safety Louis Delmas and was suspended for two weeks.  After a game against the Green Bay Packers, the Lions again suspended Young for getting into a verbal confrontation with receivers coach Shawn Jefferson and for deliberately lining up in the wrong position two times during the game.   The Green Bay game was the last game he played for the Lions.  In February of 2014, the Lions released Young.

The St. Louis Rams claimed Young off waivers but then released him a  few days later.  Head coach Jeff Fisher said the reason was because the team wanted to go in a different direction.  However, Sports Illustrated reported the reasons were because the Rams were concerned about his behavior.  He seemed lost in interviews with Fisher and threw a fit when he was barred from boarding a flight to Los Angles after forgetting his ID.

After his release, Young was out of football, considered a pariah because of his behavioral issues.  Teams acknowledged his talent but his disruptive ways more than offset that talent.

What happened to Young isn’t rare.  The only reason his story is so prevalent is because he happened to make it to the NFL.  But no parent, relative, coach or teacher worked hard enough to help him.  Granted, we all know that people need to want to be helped and if Young spurned all the offers of help, there was little that could be done.

However, he went through several systems and became successful in each of them because he was a talented football player.  So who is culpable in all of this?  Certainly, Young has to be held accountable for his actions.  But I also feel that society is accountable as well.

Of all his days playing a game he loves, where was the discipline, the one tough enough to sit him when he acted out?  Not during his college or NFL days, by then, the damage was already done.

But the elementary and high school teams, they needed to start the process then.  Kick him off teams instead of treating him special because of his talent.

I don’t know all of the ins and outs of Young’s life and I don’t purport to being an expert in behavior issues.  But I do recognize that Young was screaming for help for a long time…and was ignored.

So from the penthouse to the outhouse he  goes, probably going to jail and most likely and early ending to a once promising life.

Seahawk,Eagle Predection: Seattle 23, Philly 20 – Hawks Win in OT

Hawks Philly Score

It seems to me that everyone is in awe of Chip Kelly’s fast moving offense.  Sure they can score points at a frantic pace.  Over the last 5 games, they have averaged 34.4 points per game.  But other than the 53-20 loss against the Packers over that span, they haven’t faced a top tier defense during that time.

Right now, the Seahawks are the number one ranked team in the NFL for total defense.  They are allowing 285 yards per game and only giving up only 18.4 points per game.  Defense travels well in the NFL and if the Hawks can stay close until the fourth quarter, they can win it with a 45-yard Steven Hauschka field goal.

Hawks win this game, I can almost feel the momentum build and the Hawks can win out the rest of the season and take the division.  That would guarantee at least one home playoff game and they could possibly play these Eagles at Century Link.  And that’s when the party really begins.

But this game is what they need to focus on.  And if there is one thing this team can do is focus…and Lord help the opposing team that faces a focused Pete Carroll team.

Seattle Seahawks 23, Philadelphia Eagles, 20 OT.