Tag Archives: Richard Sherman

Seattle Seahawks – Offensive Line Has To Play Better

Seahawk Shining

There is a saying about the three most important things when you want to open a business:  Location, location, location.

Pretty much the same thing can be said if an NFL football team needs to be successful:  O-Line, O-Line, O-Line.

I watched the Seattle Seahawk-Arizona Cardinal game Saturday and I was amazed at just how the Cardinal defense dominated the Hawks offensive line in the first half:  QB Russell Wilson sacked 5 times and under constant pressure.  34 plays run by the Seahawks in the first half and of those, 19 of them resulted in no gain, yards lost or a turnover.  One yard of offense in the first quarter and a total of just 94 yards for the first half.  A total of seven plays run inside Arizona’s 10-yard line and failed to punch it in and having to settle for a field goal.

While everything appeared to improve in the second half, I still am having a hard time as to why the O-Line has been so inconsistent.  How can they look so pitiful as they did in the first half and then seem to become above average as they did in the second half?

The play of the Seahawks offensive line is what will determine how well they will do in the playoffs.  And since we don’t know which O-Line will show up, us Seahawk fans are going to be sitting on pins and needles when the playoffs start.

It was evident what the Cardinals wanted to do with Russell Wilson.  Keep him in the pocket and do not allow him to extend plays.  You could see the Cardinal defense swing out wide when rushing the QB, daring him to run up the middle.  On most of Wilson’s sacks, at least two of the offensive linemen had blown their assignments.

I understand that Seattle GM John Schneider had to make a decision when building this team that somewhere on this team, money just could not be spent.  As of right now, the Seahawks have the lowest salary cap for the offensive line at $6, 259,177.  That’s nearly $7 million dollars less than the next lowest team, the New York Giants.

Tom Cable may be just about the best offensive line coach in the NFL.  But as with any profession, you are only as good as the ingredients you are given.

Let’s start with left tackle George Fant.  Amazing potential and has indeed come a long way this year.  But understand you are protecting your most valuable asset with a guy that didn’t start in a football game since his 8th grade elementary season.  He focused on basketball in his high-school days and had a decent collegiate season for Western Kentucky.  He was finally convinced to try football as he had a wife and child to consider.  He was either going to play basketball in Poland or hopefully play in the NFL.  He had no tape, barley any game footage but during a workout with the Seahawks, Cable saw him as a “long-armed athlete” and was convinced he would be a great prospect.

I am amazed at Fant’s production and improvement and I think he will be an excellent left-tackle.  What I fear is that with all that Cable is teaching him, when it comes time for a new contract, he’ll be gone since the Hawks won’t want to spend the money.

Center Justin Britt seems to have found a place that he can succeed at.  He was drafted by the Hawks in the 6th round of the 2014 draft.  He was a starter the last two years at Missouri playing  both left and right tackle.  Seahawks love versatility and saw Britt as a possible right tackle and was the starter there for the Hawks in 2014.  Despite being ranked as one of the worst rookie pass blocking tackles, Britt started all 16 games at right tackle and the divisional playoff game against the Carolina Panthers before suffering an injury.

After a poor showing in the 2015 season at right tackle, Hawks moved him to left guard.  Britt improved a bit, starting all 16 games at left guard but still was ranked as one of the least effective pass blockers in the NFL.  In 2016, Britt was moved to center and his game improved dramatically…so much that he was elected as a Pro-Bowl alternate for 2016.  Pete Carroll stated that center is what they had in mind for Britt when they drafted him 2 years prior.  My question is why the heck did they want so damn long?  Max Unger was at center in 2014, Britt’s first year.  Why didn’t they have him back up Unger the first year, get him to learn all the tricks of the trade from him and then have him start at center in 2015 and just leave him there?

The Seahawk offensive line is young with an average age of 24.2 years old.  I don’t have issues with the age factor but I do have an issue with the talent level.  Seahawks have been known to find some gold at other positions.  Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Richard Sherman and Tyler Lockett are proof of that.

They need to find the same gold for the offensive line coming up in next years draft.  I’m willing to keep Fant as left tackle as I believe he will become one of the best in the game.  I also will concede the center spot to Britt.  Anyone who can improve to Pro-Bowl caliber is just fine in my book.  But that leaves the 2 guard spots and the right tackle.  Starter left guard Mark Glowinski, starter right guard German Ifedie with back up at both spots of Rees Odhiambo don’t give me a feeling of security, especially when playing against huge defensive lines such as the Cardinals.  Right tackle starter Bradley Sowell and back-up Garry Gilliam are at best a couple of back-ups on other teams.

Release or trade guards Glowinski and Ifedie as well as right tackle Sowell and keep Odhiambo and Gilliam for back-up spots on the line.

Then I would go after these players in the draft:

For right tackle:  Julie’n Davenport, Bucknell.  Another player with a background in basketball, Davenport is 6-7 and 315 lbs.  He has the tools to be a solid left tackle and would be able to develop his skills on the right side.  Good versatility as both he and Fant could play either tackle spot.

Left guard:  Kareem Are, Florida State.  This is a big man.  Listed at 6-6 and 334 pounds, Are would be just the road grader needed to jump start the Hawks running game.  He is an excellent power blocker at the point of attack and with Cable coaching, he will only improve on his pass blocking.

Right guard:  Taylor Moton, Central Michigan.  Another big presence inside.  Coming in at 6-5 and 326 pounds, he would help solidify the inside running game the Hawks so desperately need.  He is versatile enough to be able to play right tackle as well.

Remember the three things needed to be a successful NFL team:  O-Line, O-Line, O-Line!

Seattle Seahawks – Against Atlanta, They Got Lucky & They Know It

luck-seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks beat the Atlanta Falcons 26-24 yesterday…and they were darn lucky to walk away with that win.

Tried as they did to give it away, it was the will of Richard Sherman who appeared very angry at one point in the second half.  And there was good reason for him to be so ticked off after the Legion of Boom allowed Julio Jones to break free for a 36-yard touchdown.

It was a lack of communication.  Those happen a lot in the NFL and in this case, safety Kelcie McCray, subbing for injured Kam Chancellor, blew the assignment and allowed Jones to break free for the score.

This proves how much of a leader that Richard Sherman is.  He expects a lot of himself and expects a lot of his teammates.  I don’t blame him one bit for getting as upset as he did.  The Legion of Boom is way better than they played yesterday.

But not all of the fault can be placed on the defense.  The offense has issues they need to correct.

First and foremost, Russell Wilson needs to go back to doing what he does best…when the situation calls for it.  I agree, from a health standpoint, that being more of a pocket-passer will mitigate injury issues.  But there were at least five instances where his running abilities would have put pressure on the Atlanta defense to stop him.

One instance that stands out was in the 4th quarter.  Seahawks were on the Atlanta 10 yard line with a 3rd and goal.  Wilson stepped up in the pocket when he felt pressure behind him no one was in front of him.  He had a clear path to the end zone.  Instead, a stopped and attempted a pass to Jerome Kearse that was incomplete.

To put more salt on the wound, the normally reliable Steven Hauschka missed a 29 -yard field goal that went left.

I get the fact they want to protect Wilson but he is a weapon that needs to be utilized.

Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell needs to start becoming more imaginative with his play calling.  He doesn’t have the luxury of calling Marshawn Lynch plays anymore and needs to trust Wilson and the Seahawk receiving corps and take more shots downfield.  The 15-20 yard throws work when you have Beast Mode but he’s gone now.  And Christine Michael, while doing an admirable job, is no Marshawn Lynch.

Defenses have figured out Bevell’s offense and see that Wilson is reluctant to run.  So they stack the box because they have no fear of Wilson going deep and they throw more bodies at the running game.

The use of Jimmy Graham is ludicrous.  Yes, he had six catches for 89 yards.  But during crunch time, they went away from Graham.  For crying out loud, the man is 6-7, has an 82″ wingspan and can run the 40 yard dash in 4.5 seconds.

The Seahawks need to look at all the tape when Graham was with the New Orleans Saints and see how Drew Brees used Graham…up high, triple-covered and as an outside receiver.  C’mon man, line up a 6-7, 265 lbs. receiver against a 5-11, 193 lbs. cornerback (the average height and weight of an NFL cornerback.)  I’ll take that match-up all day!

Am I being too critical?  Darn right I am.  The Seahawks had no business winning this game.  And the last pass attempt by Matt Ryan, the officials gave the game to the Seahawks because that was pass interference.  I’ve seen a lot less contact and the flag was thrown.

The next three games are going to be critical for the Hawks.  The travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals.  Carson Palmer has been cleared to play and will tune-up against the New York Jets tonight.  Cardinals with Palmer have played the Seahawks very tough.

Next-up is the resurgent New Orleans Saints.  Drew Brees lit up the Carolina Panthers for 465 yards and 4 touchdowns and built a 31-17 lead in the third quarter.  They won the game 41-38 despite allowing the Panthers to score 21 points in the 4th quarter.

After that comes the surprising Buffalo Bills.  This isn’t going to be the team the Seahawks played in 2012 when they lit them up in Buffalo for 50 points.  This version of the Bills have a very strong running game with LeSean McCoy who lit up the San Francisco 49rs with 140 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns.  This team also shut out the New England Patriots.  Yes, I know, they didn’t have Tom Brady but the Pats are still a formidable team without him and weren’t able to score against the Bills defense.

Speaking of New England, that is the Seahawks opponent after the Bills.  And they have Brady back who in the last two games has thrown for 782 yards with six touchdowns and zero interceptions.

So the road back to the Super Bowl is going to be a tough one.  And if they played like they did against the Atlanta Falcons, they aren’t going to make it.

Teams will score.  It’s what the NFL wants to keep fans interested.  But the Seahawks need to become more imaginative on offense and corral the other teams big-name players and limit the amount of scoring.

Let’s hope the Falcon game serves as a wake-up call and gets these Hawks back on the right track.

Seahawks vs. Vikings – No Lynch? No Problem, Hawks Win 24-13

Hawks Vikings

I woke up this morning and grabbed the Seattle Times off the front porch, made coffee and amid the headlines about the Seattle Mariners retiring Ken Griffey Jr.’s number, my eyes drifted toward a small blurb about Marshawn Lynch not playing in tomorrow’s playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings.

To be honest, I don’t think this will be a determent to the Seahawks.  Yes, it would have been nice to have Beast Mode behind Russell Wilson, with all of his playoff experience and his ability to rise to the occasion when needed.

But consider just how well the Seahawks have played (except for the Rams game) over the second half of the season without him and Jimmy Graham.  All they did was set franchise records for most yards in a season (6,058) and for the fourth time in team history, finished among the top four in total offense in the NFL.

The Seahawks have ridden Lynch to two Super Bowl appearances, winning one of them.   And while I appreciate the talent and drive that Lynch has on the field, I think the true identity of this team has come out in Russell Wilson.

Wilson went nuts in the second half of 2015.  Much of that came after the bye when the team made adjustments to the passing game in getting the ball out quicker from Wilson.  The result of that, Wilson was sacked only 15 times in the second half after getting dropped 33 times in the first.

Benefitting from Wilson’s excellent second half has been Doug Baldwin who has really come into his own, setting team record for most receiving TD’s in a season (14) and achieving 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career.

Let’s not forget about Tyler Lockett who was drafted to upgrade the return game.  Not only has he done that but he also finished with 51 catches for 664 yards and six TD’s.  The Seahawks may have found the deep threat they have been seeking in this kid.  He has the talent to become one of the best receivers in the game.

Jermaine Kearse also has had a solid season with 49 catches for 685 yards and 5 TD’s.  But he also does the little things that allows other players to shine.  On crossing routes, he often frees up the other receiver in ways that he doesn’t get flagged for picking the defender.  He blocks well and has made some of the most clutch catches to keep drives alive.

The combined stats for the trio of Baldwin, Locket and Kearse is 178 catches for 2,418 yards and 25 TD’s.  I’m pretty sure that any team in the NFL would love that production from their wide receiving corps.

And it’s not like the rushing game was tossed out the window after Lynch went down and later when Thomas Rawls got injured.  In stepped cast-off Christine Michael and Bryce Brown along with Fred Jackson who has been good as a third down back.  And let’s not forget fullbacks Derrick Coleman and Will Tukuafu who get the calls to either block on short yardage situations or leak out pass the defensive line to gain critical yardage in screen pass situations.

No Jimmy Graham or Luke Willson?  In steps Cooper Helfet and Chase Hoffman, both of whom had some clutch catches in the Arizona game.

So we don’t have Lynch…that’s OK, we have everyone else that will keep it going until Lynch is ready to play.

Let’s not forget that defense which for the fourth year in a row finished in the top five in the NFL.  They were second in total defense, giving up 291.8 yards a game, second in passing defense, allowing 210.2 yards per game and first in the NFL against the run, allowing a mere 81.5 yards per game.

The key to this game will be the same as it was when the Hawks beat the Vikings 38-7 in week 13.  Mitigate yards gained by Adrian Peterson and dare QB Teddy Bridgewater to beat them with his arm.

And all Bridgewater has to do is throw into the teeth of the Legion of Boom of Richard Sherman, Deshawn Shead, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas.  That is if he has enough time avoiding the rush of Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Brandon Mebane and Bruce Irvin.

The weather isn’t going to factor into this game.  It will affect both teams the same.  What it will boil down to is overall talent between the two teams.  And while the Vikings defense is ranked 13th overall, the way the Seahawks offense has been clicking, they will wear them down with the run game and the short passing game.

I’m not afraid of the Vikings offense which finished 29th overall in 2015.  While they are ranked 4th in rushing (I mean come on, it is Adrian Peterson) they are ranked 31st in passing and 31st in receiving.

So what’s the focus going to be?  On Peterson, put at least two spies on him and try to create turnovers.  Peterson has fumbled 7 times this year, losing 3 of them.

I’d put Bobby Wagner on him first and second down and have Bruce Irvin cover him on third down if he comes out of the backfield.  Wagner is a sure tackler and Irvin has the speed to stay with Peterson and isn’t bad in coverage.

That is if Peterson can get past the road block of Brandon Mebane or Aythyba Rubin up the middle or if he can get around the corner and avoid Bennett and Avril.

Looking forward to this game as the Seahawks will beat the Vikings 23-13.

GO HAWKS!

12th man flag

 

Seattle Seahawks – Team of Destiny? I’m In!

Seahawk Im In

From the few who’ve read articles I’ve written on Beer Thinker Sports, it’s a known fact that I am an unabashed Detroit Lions fan. And make no mistake, this article is me jumping on the Seahawk bandwagon…I admit it freely.

While most of my articles have been about the Lions, I’ve also written about my second hometown team, the Seahawks. Let me tell you that the Hawks recent success has buffered the pain and agony of being a Lions fan.

This season though, had me worried of being a fan of both teams. Lions started out the season 1-7 despite having success of an 11-5 season last year. Seahawks weren’t much better over the first 8 games going 4-4, including a game saving win by Kam Chancellor over the Lions in week 4.

If you look at both teams, on paper, one could say that they are pretty evenly matched. But the one distinct advantage the Hawks have over the Lions: Heart.

The 2015 Seahawks may be the most exciting team Pete Carroll and company have put together yet. He continues to stick to his guns and play rookies and undrafted free agents that have a quality that he looks for. Again, heart.

And just what is the definition in this respect? In my opinion, it’s the player that won’t give up, isn’t afraid to make a mistake but learns from them as to not repeat them and will give his all until the final second ticks off the clock.

Perfect example is that victory over the Lions in week 4. Lions had the perfect play drawn up against a tired Seahawk defense when Lions QB Matthew Stafford found Calvin Johnson at the 8-yard line with an open lane to the end zone with about 1:45 left on the clock.

Trust me here when I say I was on my feet yelling “Yes!” at the top of my lungs when the play developed. Johnson was hit at about the one but leaning forward over the goal line when it happened.

Kam Chancellor, in only his second week, clinging to Johnson punched the ball from his grasp…and sealed the victory for the Seahawks.

I was devastated. But had to admire Kam’s heart. He never gave up, never stopped and found a way to make a play.

I figured that if the Lions had scored on that play, they were going to win the game. After all, the Lions defense had harassed Russell Wilson all day and sacked him 6 times. And after giving up only a field goal in the second half, the defense was primed to give the Lions a rare West Coast road win.

But the collective heart of the Seahawks, as well as Kam’s ability to dig deep, denied the win.

Was it a turning point for the Hawks? I’m not sure. While the win evened their record at 2-2, they did lose the next two games to be at 2-4. There was the epic meltdown against the Bengals, blowing a 17 point lead in the fourth quarter as well as the 15 point lead against the Carolina Panthers at home.

The Seattle press wasn’t really lambasting the Seahawks but were beginning to question Pete Carroll’s coaching decisions. Allowing the offensive line to be in rebuild mode, with several players that were being defensive linemen converting to offensive line which resulted in an alarming rate of sacks on Russell Wilson. At one point, with the rate of sacks being allowed, the Seahawks were on target to give up over 65 sacks over the season.

Where I think the turning point for this season was the home loss against the Arizona Cardinals in week 10. The Cardinals came out hot in the first half, building a 22-7 lead. But the Seahawks made some adjustments and starting to peck away at the Cardinal lead. At the end of the third quarter, it was 25-17 as the Hawks gave up only a field goal in the third.

And in the fourth quarter, Marshawn Lynch scored on a 3 yard run and Bobby Wagner recovered a fumble and ran it back for another TD. Both 2 point conversions failed but the Hawks were right back in it, leading 29-25.

But Carson Palmer playing out of his mind this year, tossed a 4th quarter TD and Andre Ellington busted a 48 yard TD run to re-take control of the game.

But the heart of the team became evident in this game…and I think it brought them together to reel off 4 straight wins and all in pretty convincing fashion. Hawks averaged just over 35 points a game over the stretch of the 4 games and the defense allowed just 14 points a game.
The offensive line has finally come together and Wilson has only been sacked 10 times in that 4 game stretch. With the line playing as it is, it has allowed Wilson to show just how talented he is. He’s thrown for 16 TD’s and no interceptions over the last 4 games. That puts him with only 2 other quarterbacks in NFL history to accomplish that feat, those being Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Not bad company to be in.

He is the first Seahawk quarterback to have two 5 touchdown games in a season. He is also the first Seahawk QB to have at least three touchdown passes in four straight games. He is the only quarterback in NFL history to have four straight games with at least 3 touchdown passes, no interceptions and a 70% completion rating.

Wilson isn’t the only Seahawk to play at a historic pace. WR Doug Baldwin, an undrafted free-agent who came to the Seahawks in 2011, put up some fantastic numbers over the last 3 games: 17 catches for 321 yards and eight touchdowns. He is on pace to be the first 1,000 yard receiver for the Seahawks since Bobby Engram accomplished that feat in 2007.

And the defense, the Legion of Boom, is back. Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin are getting after QB’s. Along with rookie Frank Clark, the rest of this season is going to be very tough on opposing quarterbacks. Kam, Bobby Wagner, Richard Sherman and Deshawn Shead have brought back the attitude of the Legion, that nothing is going to get by them and no team is going to score on them. And if they do, they will pay for it.

And the dismantling of the Cleveland Browns on Sunday just clarifies each point. Russell Wilson added to historic pace with 3 more TD’s with Doug Baldwin catching two of them. Jermain Kearse made some very clutch catches and caught 7 passes for 110 yards.

And what about Christine Michael? Coming off the scrap heap for a second chance with the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2013 draft? Once a promising RB with comparisons to Adrian Peterson, he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys as the Seahawks felt, and rightly so, that Thomas Rawls beat him out as back-up to Marshawn Lynch.  He played sparingly with Dallas before being released in November. He signed with Washington as a practice squad player but was released November 17th, his career seemingly over at age 25.

The Seahawks and Pete Carroll are all about giving players another chance.  And Michael responded well to this opportunity, heeding safety Earl Thomas’ advice to reel it back and play without pointing fingers at himself for doing well. The result was 16 carries for 84 yards and a repentant Michael gave credit not to himself, but to the offensive line for his success.

Perhaps this will be the window of opportunity for Michael to have a successful career in the NFL.

Who knows, right? I don’t see Lynch coming back in 2016 as he is breaking down. I think the smart thing for him would be to retire now while most people can remember just what a remarkable running back he was.  With a tandem of Thomas Rawls and this version of Christine Michael, the running game would be in good hands.

The Hawks are 9-5 right now. If they can win out, that will put them at 11-5 which most likely will put them as the number 2 as a wild card. They will most likely travel to the NFC East division champion, most likely the team from Washington which I see them as winning.

Next up are the St. Louis Rams, a proverbial thorn in the Seahawks side if there ever was one…if they can win that game, I believe there will be a re-match with the Patriots and this time, the outcome will be very different.

I’m in!

GO HAWKS!

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.

 

Welcome to Seattle Mr. Graham!

 

Here's to points in the Red Zone!
Here’s to points in the Red Zone!

You have to admire the Seahawks.

Like a quarterback that just threw a pick-six interception, in football deals, you have to have a short memory.

One of the main things Jimmy Graham will bring to the table is the ability to score in the dreaded red zone.  The last nine times Graham was targeted on plays starting from the opponents 1-yard line, eight of those completions were for touchdowns.

I don’t point that out because of the failure to make that catch in the Super Bowl.  I point that out because the Seahawks needed a proven player they can count on to make that catch.

As for the issues with Bruce Irvin and Michael Bennett, water under the bridge.  In fact, I kind of liked that Irvin and Bennett did what they did…needle an opposing player.

But that was years ago and I’m pretty sure that Irvin and Bennett knows what Graham brings to the table.

The team, as a whole, continues to evolve and it must in order to maintain a high level of excellence.  Sure, Seattle has lost some very good players to other teams.  But the core players on defense, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Michael Bennett are pretty much locked up for the foreseeable future.

But outside of Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson, what is the core of the Seattle offense?  The Hawks have needed receiver help for a long time and Jimmy Graham will go a long way to help out with that.  But the Hawks can’t make the same mistake they did with Percy Harvin and try to make the offense run through Graham.

Opposing teams figured that out pretty quickly with Harvin and the true nature of the team was out of balance.  Hawks need to stay with the philosophy that got them to the Super Bowl the last two years.  Run the ball with one of the best running backs in the NFL, Beast Mode.

But like I said before, the Seahawks need to keep evolving to stay successful…and that means opening the playbook for Russell to have better targets downfield.  I like Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse as receivers but I don’t see them in the same class of receiver that Jimmy Graham is in.

Hawks are only going to have seven picks in this years draft, none in the first round.  The top team needs are wide receiver, defensive tackle, offensive guard and cornerback.

Here is my wish list:

Round 2, 64th Pick:  Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida.  Last name sound familiar?  It should.  Breshad is the son of former WR Brett Perriman who played in the league for 10 years and was a very productive pass-catcher.  His son is listed at 6-2, 212 lbs. and posts a 4.55 40.  He has nice size and speed and has the ability to take a short slant play and turn it into big yardage.  With him, Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham on the field, opposing defense have to respect the receivers which gives Lynch even more of an opportunity to run wild.

Round 3, 95th Pick:  Unless the Seahawks do something to get back up to the first round, I don’t see them getting University of Washington’s Danny Shelton this late.  Defensive tackles are the rage and there are a lot of teams that want to find the next Ndamukong Suh.  I think that Shelton can be that type of player but there is no hope the Hawks will get him this late.

But they do need a defensive tackle as Kevin Williams is on the downside of his career.  Hawks could take a shot at Carl Davis out of Iowa.  He’s 6-4, 321 lbs. mountain of a man that can stuff runs and bull rush his way to the pocket.  Granted, this would be a “chance” pick as during his team interviews at the senior bowl, he came off as lazy and arrogant.  If the Seahawks can get his head screwed on straight he could be a dominant inside player the Hawks thrive on.

Round 4, 136th Pick:  Seahawks have had a lot of success with cornerbacks picked in the late rounds.  I still can’t get over how good Richard Sherman has become but was picked in the 5th round.

Seahawks could have the same success and not look any further than there own backyard.  Marcus Peters out of the University of Washington is tall and rangy in the mold the Seahawks like.  At 6-0 and 190 lbs. he has the physical aspects to take on physical wide receivers.

But there is a question of his maturity.  He had several run-ins with new Washington head coach Chris Peters that eventually led to Peters being dismissed from the team.

But I would imagine that being around Sherman, Thomas and Chancellor, they could turn this kid around and make him a strong member with the Legion of Boom.

Seahawks don’t need much…after all, just how much is needed to improve for a team that went to the Super Bowl the last two years in a row.  But I will keep pounding that the Hawks do need to continue to evolve and get the talent on offense that will make Russell Wilson even more successful on the field.

The Hawks, at best, will have Lynch for another two years.  That’s the time table they have to get Wilson to the next level of quarterback play.

Go Seahawks!

Seattle Seahawks and “The Call”

Sad Seahawk

It has been five days since the 12th Man was stunned by the Seahawks loss to the New England Patriots.  Not sure how anyone else felt but for me, it was a blow to the stomach and I had all the air knocked out of me.

I haven’t looked at a sports page, listened to very little sports talk radio and have avoided the NFL Network and ESPN altogether.  Because I just can’t stand how the last call of the game has been diagnosed to the Nth degree.

I allowed myself some time to get through this.  This loss was more difficult to process mainly because of the suddenness of it.  We were right there at the one yard line, Russell Wilson calmly at the line and then New England rookie Malcom Butler drove the stake into the heart with an amazing play.

A lot of things have been said about “The Call.”  Some have indicated it was the worst call in Super Bowl history.  Others have wondered long and hard that why, with 26 seconds on the clock and with the freak of nature running Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, would you even consider throwing a pass.

Here is what I know:

  • I am not the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks with 80,000 screaming fans yelling, all kinds of traffic coming in on the headset, trying to make a decision in 45 seconds.
  • I am not the quarterback who has such a belief in the system he plays in, that he never considered questioning the call.
  • I am not the wide receiver who was assigned to bump the corner back.
  • I am not the receiver who was supposed to make the move to the ball.

We can all sit back, with the help of instant replay, stop action and slow motion in high-definition media, tear apart the play frame by frame.  We can drag a play that took all of four seconds to execute, into a full 10 minute dissertation on every single thing that supposedly went wrong.

When the play occurred, there wasn’t a Seahawk fan that didn’t think the Seahawks weren’t going to score and be the first repeat champions since the New England Patriots.

But it wasn’t just that play that got us.  The spectacular interception by Jeremy Lane in the first quarter and in instant later, after being tackled, he is out of the game with a severe broken wrist.

Earl Thomas, who stated that if the Super Bowl had been played the previous week, he would not have been able to play with that injured shoulder.

Richard Sherman was not near 100% with a rotator cuff injury he sustained while playing in the NFC Championship.

Kam Chancellor wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to play due to a knee injury sustained at the Friday before Super Bowl practice.  Through what Pete Carroll calls a superhuman effort, Chancellor strapped on a speed brace and gutted it out.

Cliff Avril, so key all year long on the defensive line, went out in the third quarter with a concussion.

And even with all the injuries, the Seahawks were right there, poised to win the game with yet another spectacular comeback.

But we just didn’t quite make it…and we are all trying to find a place to place the blame.  You know what?  There is no one to blame.  The play was called, the players actually executed the play fairly well and Malcom Butler just made a great play.

There is one last thing I can say about this:  It’s over, it happened and we still have one helluva football team to cheer for.

The Seahawks will learn from this…they will use it to come back stronger and hungrier than before and be one of the rare teams to make a Super Bowl appearance three years straight.

It’s just gonna seem like one helluva long wait!

Go Seahawks!

 

Kam Chancellor – The “Boom” in The Legion of Boom

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

We have all heard about “The Legion of Boom” right?  We know that Earl Thomas is the will of the Legion and that Richard Sherman is the mouthpiece.

But when you want to talk about the heart of this unit, you point no further than Kam Chancellor.

Here is a link to a video of Chancellors top hits:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-unD33mV8Os

One of the most memorable hits that I can recall was against San Francisco’s tight end Vernon Davis.  It had to be one of the most pure hits I’ve ever seen.  And regardless of the fact that Kam was flagged for the hit, it was, according to Chris Collinsworth, an “outstanding defensive play.”

Regardless of what anyone says, if it was a clean hit or not, at that very moment, the Legion of Boom made it’s presence known and Kam “Bam, Bam” Chancellor made a game changing hit.

In fact, since that time, Vernon Davis has caught the dreaded short-arm disease whenever he plays against the Seahawks.  He hears Chancellor coming…Kam is in his head.

Kam also set the tone early in last year’s Super Bowl against the vaunted Denver Bronco’s offense.  At 9:46 in the first quarter, Seattle up 5-0, Denver has the ball.

Manning drops back, finds Demaryius Thomas on a short crossing pattern.  Kam came up after Thomas catches the pass and knocks Thomas five yards back.  It was at that point that Kam sent the message to the Denver Bronco’s passing game:  That ain’t gonna happen.

Kam is also the emotional leader of the Legion.  When the Hawks lost to the Kansas City Chiefs to drop to 3-3 on the year, many NFL pundits had written the team off.  There had been much turmoil in the locker room.  The fact of the matter, it was that the team essentially lost it’s identity with a healthy Percy Harvin.

It’s not fair to place the blame solely on Harvin’s shoulders.  But he was the main protagonist.  And I have to applaud the decision by the Seahawks to trade Harvin when it was realized that despite all of his talent on the field, his off the field antics were destroying the chemistry in the locker room.

It was Chancellor who gathered the team together and gave an impassioned speech about playing for each other and to not let down the man next to you both on and off the field.  To trust each other, take care of each other and taking accountability.

Hard to dispute the facts but after that speech, the Seahawks haven’t lost a game since.

It showed up big time in the conference championship against the Green Bay Packers.  While the Seahawks kept getting knocked down, they never were knocked out.  They kept getting back up and just would not give in to defeat.

It shows me that Chancellor has two ways to deliver hits:  Physically and emotionally.

I will be wearing my newly purchased #31 jersey proudly on Super Bowl Sunday.  Bam Bam is going to be a key player against the Patriots and I almost pity Rob Gronkowski when he takes that first hit from him.

Go Seahawks!

 

 

 

Seattle Back In The Super Bowl, Beat Packers 28-22

The Seattle Seahawks pulled off one of the most improbable wins in NFC Championship history.

Before I get to the Seahawks, hats off to a very classy and well-prepared team, the Green Bay Packers.  This team played on helluva game and should be commended for how they came in to Century Link Field and took it to the Seahawks.

Another thing I want to say is that I am so glad that the officiating never played a part in the outcome of this game.  Last thing the NFL needed was yet another week of controversy heading into the Super  Bowl.

All right, on to the Super Bowl bound Seattle Seahawks.

Starting with the defense, while they may have been put back on their heels in the first half and part of the second half, it came down to the defense coming together as a unit.  It wasn’t one player who stepped up, it was eleven.

ShermanChancellorThomas

I will focus in on what I feel are three different players who are the heart and soul of the defense…Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas III.

We all know the game that Chancellor had last week against the Panthers, culminating with the 90 yard pick six he last week.

But this week, it wasn’t about a single individual.  It was about the leaders stepping up their game and getting the defense to quit get pushing them around…I would imagine that Sherman, Chancellor and Thomas all spoke to the defensive unit with the message to play for each other and lay it all out right now.

To set the example, both Thomas and Sherman both were injured during the game but played on, feeding the warrior mentality to the rest of the defense.  Sherman was literally playing with one arm…and yet the Packers still couldn’t beat him.

WilsonKearseLynch

Now on to the offense.  In the first half, lets face it, they absolutely stunk up the place.  Russell Wilson, for the game, threw 4 interceptions.  Doug Baldwin fumbled the first kick-off they received.  They just could not get anything going.

But Russell Wilson being Russell Wilson, didn’t  let any of that get to him.  After their first touchdown, a fake field goal that punter John Ryan threw a TD to Garry Gilliam, Wilson began to play his game.

He stepped up his game to an amazing level at the last part of regulation and then again in OT.

Which ties in nicely to start talking about Jermaine Kearse.  Want to talk about redemption?  Here is a guy that Wilson threw to and 4 of those attempts were interceptions, two of which bounced off Kearse’s hands.  But who catches the game winning touchdown in OT?  Jermaine Kearse on a 35 yard post play.

And what can be said about Marshawn Lynch that hasn’t been said already?  There is no quit in the man.  25 carries for  157 yards and throw in 26 yards receiving, he kept the Seahawks alive when they needed him the most.

Is this a team of destiny?  I’m not sure about that but they are a team to be reckoned with.  Be it the Colts or the Patriots in two weeks, you can damn well be sure this Seahawks team will not be intimidated.

On to the Super Bowl!