Seahawks Should Make the Playoffs

English: Picture of the 12th Man Flag at Centu...

 

We’re half way through the 2012 NFL season and my pre-season prediction for my Seattle Seahawks to finish 9-7 is looking pretty safe in spite of their middling 4-4 record and two game losing streak. In fact I’m willing to bump my prediction to 10-6 and possibly 11-5.

 

When I wrote The Seahawks WILL Win before the season’s first game I was still pretty pissed that Coach Pete Carroll had decided to start rookie Russell Wilson ahead of free agent acquisition Matt Flynn.  I’m still not sure Flynn wouldn’t have done better (who is?); but at this point Wilson has shown improvement and is a huge leap ahead compared to Tavaris Jackson one year ago. If he continues to improve he could be something pretty special by the end of the year; and Seattle’s offense could be considerably more formidable than it is now. If Seattle hopes to make any noise in the playoffs the offense better improve. And the defense, which has been mostly good, has an annoying habit of not getting of the field soon enough. They have one of the worst 3rd down conversion percentages in the league. But hey, Seattle’s defense has faced Dallas, Green Bay, Detroit, New England and arrives at the halfway point fifth in the league in yards allowed and sixth in points allowed. And they’ve done it with five road games out of eight.

 

All in all their record is pretty much what I expected. They had losses I thought would be wins- Arizona, St. Louis; and wins I thought would be losses- Green Bay, New England.

 

Going forward the Hawks have five home games and a history under Carroll of playing best in the second half of the season.

 

I count four of the five home games as locks 4-3 Minnesota, 3-5 New York Jets, 4-4 Arizona, and 3-5 St Louis. Toss-up games would be the December 23rd home game with 6-2 San Francisco and road games at 4-3 Miami and 3-4 Buffalo. The only automatic loss I put on the Seahawks record is their December 2 game on the road against a 6-1 Chicago team that extremely potent in the last two years whenever Jake Cutler plays. And right now he’s playing.

 

So by my reckoning the worst Hawk fans can expect is a one game improvement over the past two years to 8-8, which won’t get them to the playoffs.

 

The best the team can expect is 11-5 which would almost definitely get them to the playoffs. I think its more likely to expect them to drop one of those toss-up games and finish 10-6.  Currently six NFC teams have winning records and I suspect Minnesota is a paper lion and will be proven so this Sunday at CenturyLink Field. Aside from the current division leaders in the NFC East, South and West we need not worry about the rest. Seattle will be battling for a wild card spot at the end of the season with Detroit, who just narrowly beat them; and with Green Bay who Seattle narrowly beat thanks to a controversial touchdown call on the last play of the game. How ironic. I see two losses left on the Packers schedule so in all likelihood they’ll have the first wildcard. The Lions have a touch remaining schedule that will probably not see them finish any better than 9-7.

 

Seattle’s running game is so good, even if Marshawn Lynch were to be injured Robert Turbin and Leon Washingtonhave shown themselves to be adequate.

 

English: Red Bryant, a player on the Seattle S...

Red Bryant, Seahawk Defensive End

 

The defense at times has been amazing. And since they seem intent on correcting a really bad trend in allowing a nearly 40% 3rd down conversion rate for their opponents, and the fact that their remaining opponent don’t come close in terms of offensive fire power as their early season opponents; we can expect something pretty special by the end of the season.

 

The Seahawks have been in every game they’ve played. They literally could be undefeated. They could also be 2-6. I intend to enjoy what comes, and enjoy the playoffs. After all…no matter what…its not 2008.

 

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

 

 

 

Seattle Sports Doldrums. Time to get Mad.

 

 

 

English: The top of the Space Needle in Seattl...

 

 

 

A weekend of ineptitude from the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Mariners has me frustrated and wanting to take a pound of flesh from some of the teams administrators.

 

 

 

The Seattle Mariners wrap up another losing season in the next three days with a young team that has some promise, but none of it in the vicinity of an acceptable Major League offense. Our swabbies were swept in Oakland the past three games by an equally young Athletics team. The Athletics youth is just about the only resemblance they bear to our Northwest 9. Oakland will play in the American league playoffs, probably as a Wildcard entrant. But given they possess the best record in baseball since the start of June they can be counted on to make some noise.

 

 

 

The Mariner’s too have had a better second-half of the season than they had in the first half. Since July 5 Seattle actually has a winning record at 38-37; compared to a miserable 35-49 in the first half. But as reporter Geoff Baker writes in this morning’s Seattle Times the league worst offense has only gotten worse, scoring just 3.63 runs per game compared to 3.87. It’s a familiar story too many Northwest baseball fans have become used to. Seattle has been at the bottom of the Major League offensive categories for 4 straight years. Their losing record reflecting accordingly.

 

 

 

What’s sad is during this time they’ve possessed arguably the best pitcher in the American League in Felix Hernandez. During this time Hernandez has won a Cy Young Award, finished second in the voting another year, and is likely to be among the top 5 vote getters again this year. Seattle’s other pitching has been less impressive but good enough were the offense not so completely inadequate.

 

 

 

First Baseman Justin Smoak is an unquestioned failure. He has blown up his batting average over the past two weeks with some solid hitting; but for the season that’s only lifted his average to a woeful .214 with 19 home runs and 50-something RBI (no I’m not looking up the exact number. What’s the difference between 51 and 59?). My only hesitation in making this proclamation is that outfielder Michael Saunders has rectified his carrier with a .250 average and 19 homers this season. I would have written him off before the season after he’d managed more yawns than thrills during parts of four seasons with the Mariner’s prior to this season. But seriously, how excited should we be about a fourth year player who’s best season is .250 with 19 home runs? At best he’s a fourth outfielder on a good team.

 

 

 

The number of disappointing Mariners doesn’t stop with Smoak and Saunders. Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp, Franklin Gutierrez, Casper Wells, Brendan Ryan, and Miguel Olivo arte all hitting what used to be considered pathetic offensive numbers. Seattle not only doesn’t have a .300 hitter this season. They don’t have a .290 or .280 hitter. They have catcher John Jaso as a part-time player hitting .277 as the only representative north of .260.

 

 

 

As we watch the playoffs this October with young American League teams like the A’s and Orioles competing for a championship, devoid of a Seattle representative for an 11th consecutive year, let’s forget the pathetic cliche` “wait until next year”. Next year won’t be any better if Mariner management doesn’t get its act together and throw out some of the young experiments that didn’t work. Specifically any of Seattle’s outfielders could be a solid forth outfielder. The rest can be discarded. We need a whole new outfield. One that can hit. Smoak should also be shown the door in favor of a 1st baseman that can hit for power and at-least a respectable average.

 

 

 

Safeco Field in Seattle.

Safeco Field in Seattle.

 

And Mariner management needs to do three more things unrelated to on field personnel. Chuck Armstrong needs to go as Mariner President. Outfield fences need to be moved in. And a policy to keep the Safeco Field roof closed unless it’s sunny and 60+ degrees needs to be established. Everyone from Ken Griffey Junior to Jesus Montero knows the ball carries better with the roof closed. And it’s warmer, for better fan comfort.

 

 

 

Speaking of missed opportunities. We’re watching a big one with the Seattle Seahawks this season. The Seahawks possess a championship-caliber defense, running game and special teams. All three of those areas of the team have performed spectacularly in the teams first four games. And yet all the team could manage was a 2-2 record that’s one controversial call away from being 1-3.

 

 

 

An active volcano, Mount Rainier is one of thr...

 

It was acknowledged by everyone that the choice to go with Russell Wilson at quarterback to start the year would require some sacrifice while the young player grows into an NFL caliber QB. Coach Pete Carroll was and is enthralled with the potential of his 5′ 10″ third round draft choice. But here is one thing Carroll seems to have ignored, Matt Flynn is young and loaded with potential too. But Flynn has something Wilson doesn’t…four years in the NFL. Flynn also has a Super Bowl ring, and an NCAA National Championship. Put those two together, along with some other factors, and what do you have? A WINNER. Matt Flynn is a proven winner. Having him stand on the sidelines while Wilson slowly learns his craft is a waste of the other very talented aspects of this Seahawk team.

 

English: Green Bay Packers back-up quarterback...

Quarterback Matt Flynn 

 

The argument that Wilson gives Seattle a better chance to win in the long run is simply stupid since Flynn too possesses plenty of attributes that would lead a reasonable football fans to conclude his growth is currently ahead of Wilson’s and could potentially be great too.

 

 

 

There is no question Wilson is an outstanding young man worthy of respect and praise. But with the worst passing attack in the NFL, a-quarter of the season is long enough to determine that the Seahawks need better play at quarterback right now or they could blow a season the is rife with promise and potential. Flynn is just as capable of handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch as Wilson, he can see and read the field better, and he CAN throw the ball extremely accurately according to most observers.

 

 

 

Please Pete Carroll; make the change. Install Flynn as the starter this week against Carolina. A trip all the way across the U.S. is tough enough. Tougher still, when you’re a rookie. It’s time to see Matt Flynn.

 

 

 

Thanks. I had to get that off my chest.

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

 

 

 

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Seahawks need to Sign Some Free Agents

Seattle Seahawks logo

At 1pm today the NFL opens its free agency season. When they do some rumors have it that the Seattle Seahawks will be very involved in early activity. It’s a good thing. With San Francisco having won 13-games and missing the Super Bowl by a fumbled punt; the St. Louis Rams having landed a plethora of draft picks by trading the number-two overall, and rumor that Arizona is Peyton Manning‘s first choice

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; the Seahawks suddenly look like the fourth best team in the four team NFC West. To be clear, they are already the third best team having lost the regular season finale to the Cardinals and closing the 2011 season with a 7-9 record for the second straight year. Without a good draft next month along with the signing of some key free agents Seattle is doomed to mediocrity at best. And I wonder if Pete Carroll can survive a third straight losing season.

The Seahawks have one glaring need in order to assure their rapid improvement. A blind man without a stick or a dog could see it. They need a good quarterback. They haven’t had one in at least three years. Matt Hassellback’s injury filled last two years don’t count as Seattle having a good quarterback. And Tarvaris Jackson just plain sucks and cannot be an option going forward. To be fair to Jackson he played to his statistics, posting a 79-passer rating compared to a 77 career passer rating. His problem, in my opinion is that he is the worst 2-minute drill quarterback I have ever seen. Not just at the end of the game, but at the end of the first half time and again this past season he showed himself completely incapable of managing a team or completing passes when it was most urgent to do so.

Wide spread speculation has Seattle making a play for Green Bay backup Matt Flynn. Quick…answer this question: Who holds the Green Bay Packers record for most touchdowns and most passing yards in a game?:

A. Brett Favre

English: Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett F...

B. Aaron RogersAaron Rogers

C. Bart Starr

D. None of the above.

 

 

 

Remarkably the answer is “D”. Matt Flynn has started two regular season NFL games in his career. Given that he backs up last season’s league MVP that can’t be too much of a surprise. But in one of those two games last season against the playoff bound Detroit Lions Flynn led his team to a win while throwing 6 touchdowns, and nearly 500 yards…in Green Bay…in January. His resume is more substantial than just one game. Flynn was a 7th round draft pick out of Louisiana State in 2008. He led the Bayou Bengals to a National Championship in his one season as a starter. This guy is a winner. Sign him Seahawks.

If the Hawks don’t sign Flynn Arizona’s possible signing of Peyton Manning would free-up Kevin Kolb for the 2nd straight season. He would be an improvement over Jackson. Possibly a big improvement.

Seattle also has a need to improve its pass rush which was amazingly weak for such a strong defense. Imagine how much better our strong young secondary will look when quarterbacks have 1-2 fewer seconds to hold the ball and wait for receivers to come open. We placed two defensive backs on the NFC Pro Bowl team while having only 33 sacks on the year compared to 50 allowed to the opponents.

Free agency does seem to offer a possible solution for Seattle that the draft is not likely to. Seattle picks 12th in the 1st round of the draft, and historically all the impact pass rushers (and quarterbacks) are long gone by the 12th pick; like former number one draft pick Mario Williams. The Houston Texans All-Pro Defensive End is now a free agent. He could be a big solution for a team not needing too many answers on the defensive side of the ball. You CAN get excited too. ESPN football guru John Clayton says the Seahawks signing Williams is a better than 50% possibility. That’s huge!

If the Seahawks can address their two biggest needs in free agency than their draft next month can go a long way toward filling the need for strong backup performers and building a team that can compete in the increasingly strong NFC West. Call me crazy, but I’m optimistic.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

The Seahawks new QB!

Seattle Seahawks helmet

Seattle needs a quarterback

Lets start this blog with the most obvious statement I have ever typed…the Seahawks need a new quarterback if they are going to ever be a Super Bowl contender. Tarvaris Jackson served as this year’s stop-gap between an aging and increasingly fragile Matt Hasselback and the young untested quarterback the Seahawks will pick in this upcoming NFL Draft. At least that’s what we’ve been led to believe.

The fact that Jackson was a stop-gap is hardly a question. General Manager John Schneider signed Jackson for a fraction of what Hasselback was asking. And the length of the deal is only two years. So what’s the risk?…they asked themselves. They have a 4 year veteran with a moderate career QB rating of 79.1 and they aren’t committing a lot of dough in the process.

What I think is more in debate is where that next quarterback of the future is going to come from. Given that Seattle is so good that they won’t pick any higher than 11th in the coming allocation of college talent all the best quarterbacks that you could possibly bank on may be off the board. Yes, I know Tom Brady was a 7th round draft pick. But I’m talking about someone you can plan to be good nearly from the start. Everyone knows Brady is the exception to the norm.

The 15-1 Green Bay Packers didn’t play this year’s MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers in their last game against the 10-6 playoff bound Detroit Lions. You may have missed this because Green Bay scored 48 points against the Lion’s formidable defense. And Green Bay’s quarterback threw for six touchdowns and 480 yards; both Packer records. And …to repeat…it wasn’t Aaron Rodgers.

English: Green Bay Packers back-up quarterback...

Packer's back up QB Matt Flynn

Talk of Matt Flynn as a quality quarterback existed long before his record day against the Detroit Lions. Someone is going to make this 26-year old a very rich man.  And it’s not as if Flynn has no history of success behind him.

LSU QB Matt Flynn drops back to pass against T...

Flynn won a National Title at LSU

His relative anonymity comes from four years in the NFL as Rodgers backup and only one year as a starter at Louisiana State University where he backed up eventual Number 1 NFL Draft pick JaMarcus Russell. So…what did he do in his one year as a starter at LSU? He led the Bayou Bengals to a National Title, beating Ohio State in the BCS National Title game.

Here is the best news about acquiring Flynn to be next year’s quarterback…he is an unrestricted free agent. So Seattle wouldn’t need to trade anything for him and they wouldn’t need to spend a relatively high draft pick. The only thing that could stand in the way of this free exercise of football capitalism is if the Green Bay Packers tag Flynn with the franchise tag. Doing so would require them to promise a contract to their backup quarterback of $14-million dollars, making trading him very difficult.

Picture of Seahawks Practice Scrimage at Easte...

Mike Holmgren

Plus I like the history. Hasselback was a Green Bay backup to Brett Favre when Mike Holmgren plucked him out of obscurity and turned him into a Pro Bowl quarterback who led Seattle to our only Super Bowl appearance. And they’re both named Matt. And acquiring someone else’s backup as your starter is at least as successful as drafting a quarterback in the first round. Houston’s Matt Schaab, former Husky Mark Brunnel, the aforementioned Favre, Kansas City’s Matt Castel, and Arizona’s Kevin Kolb have all been successful as starters after having apprenticed as an NFL backup to a Pro Bowler. Flynn could be the next guy; the next Matt to be a star quarterback in the NFL.

So scuttle plans to scour over all those useless college statistics for quarterbacks you aren’t going to get anyway. Schneider and Pete Carroll need to fork over the bucks necessary to bring the latest Green Bay Matt to the Puget Sound.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

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