Posts tagged NFL

Week 17: Rams vs Seahawks Gameday Weather

The End is Near!

 

overcast… and that is all we need to know! Seahawks will END the Rams year with a win, 2014 is near meaning 2013 comes to an end, Seahawks will win a NFC first place seed and end everyone else’s day when they realize they have to come to CLink through out the playoffs… yes indeed… the end is near!

 

But the fog is not! Today we will see fog turning to overcast with temps hovering between 40-44 degrees with no sun in sight… nor is there any precip in sight. Not that we care, the Seahawks will win in any type of weather and we will show up no matter what is forecasted!

 

So, dress warm (unless you carry around 2-5 cans of body paint… ahem 12th Hulk) and be ready to be as loud as the 12thman can be! See you in 2014!

 

Go Hawks!

Seahawks 35

Rams 14

seahawks santa profile

 

 

 

Who is the Best Seahawks Team?

Greatest Seahawks team

 

By Carl Hoglin

 

The 2013 Seahawks team has managed a franchise best record at 9-1, but are they the best Seahawks team?

The Seahawks have been to one Super Bowl, and they are the only team in the NFL to attend both the AFC and NFC Championship games.

Lately the question has been that, “Are we witnessing the greatest Seahawks team?”

Statistically we can compare two different teams and make our own judgement.  But let’s throw a little wrench into this, and compare three different teams.

As mentioned before, the Seahawks are the only team to have attended both AFC and NFC championship games.  The 2005 Seahawks as we all know went to the Super Bowl.  The 1983 Seahawks team managed to get to the AFC Championship game.  Therefore both of these teams are viable in contrast as the Greatest Seahawks team.  Comparing these three teams should be a lot of fun!  All of these stats will be compared through the first ten games of the season regardless of the bye week.  The 1983 team didn’t have a bye week, and the 2005 Seahawks had their bye week in week 8.  The current team the bye week is week 12.

                                 2013                                       2005                                         1983

Total Record               9-1                                           8-2                                            6-4

(Home Wins)               4-0                                           5-0                                            3-2

(Away Wins)                5-1                                           3-2                                            3-2

Points For                   265                                           272                                           246

Points Against             159                                           187                                           225

Total Offense            3,620                                        3,892                                        3,071

Total Defense            2,890                                        3,158                                        3,744

Total Sacks                  30                                              34                                            27

Interceptions               13                                                9                                             20

 

Surprised at how close they are?  It’s actually very interesting data.

There really isn’t a clear cut greatest team off these statistics.  Three different teams, three different coaches, not a single player that played on two of these teams.  We can delve deeper into the depths of these statistics and get a little bit more personal.  If all of these stats are fairly close, we can break down a few key positions to see if there is any big difference.

Quarterbacks

  •   Russell Wilson                      163/257(63%)     2,132 yards    17 TD 6 INT
  •   Matt Hasselbeck                   200/316(63%)     2,357 yards    12 TD 7 INT
  •   Jim Zorn*                              103/205(50%)     1,166 yards     7 TD 7 INT

*These comparisons were through the first ten games of the season.  However Jim Zorn only started 8 games in the 1983 season.

Running Backs

  • Marshawn Lynch                    191 carries          871 yards          7 TD
  • Shaun Alexander                   232  carries         1229 yards       19 TD
  • Curt Warner                          198 carries          889 yards          8 TD

Wide Receivers

  • Golden Tate                           41 catches           574 yards          4 TD
  • Joe Jurevicius**                      36 catches           421 yards          5 TD
  • Steve Largent                         38 catches           547 yards          6 TD

** Jurevicius was chosen because Darrell Jackson only played 6 games that year and didn’t meet the minimum requirement of 10 games.

While the argument can be made that the current team we are watching is the greatest Seahawks team ever,

Bruce Irvin, the look says it all.  Photo by Brett Bivens

Bruce Irvin, the look says it all. Photo by Brett Bivens

the stats are really similar to the other two great Seahawks teams.  Each team has its strengths and weaknesses.  Chuck Knox, Mike Holmgren, and Pete Carroll all have run  unique football teams that had great players in key positions.

Maybe it is too early to compare these three great teams to decide which one is the greatest.

At the end of the season we can again look at these stats and re-visit the argument as to which Seahawks team should be crowned the greatest Seahawks team?

SeaHou

Seahawks at Texans Preview

 A defensive battle

 

Written by: Carl Hoglin

This Sunday, the 3-0 Seattle Seahawks roll into Houston to battle the 2-1 Texans.

Two unrelenting defenses taking it out on opposing offenses, which one will stand the beating?  Which team has enough depth to outlast the struggle that will ensue on Sunday?  Will Seattle remain undefeated, or will Houston add another notch to the win column?

Houston and Seattle have only played twice after the Oilers left and the Texans were formed.  Each team has managed to best the other on their home fields respectively.  Seattle trounced Houston 42-10 in a 2005 meeting between the teams.  Houston bludgeoned Seattle 34-7 in the latest meeting in 2009.

Kam Chancellor forced a Frank Gore fumble, somehow the Seahawks didn't come up with the ball.

2012 Kam Chancellor forced a Frank Gore fumble, somehow the Seahawks didn’t come up with the ball. Photo by Brett Bivens

The last meeting in 2009 featured some of the key players that Houston has managed to build a team around.  The only players still playing for the Seahawks since then are: Brandon Mebane, Max Unger, Red Bryant, and Jon Ryan.

This will be a huge struggle between two powerhouse defenses.  In three games for both defenses, Seattle ranks first in yards per game, while Houston ranks second.  The Seahawks have managed to only surrender 27 total points on defense, while 17 of those came while the second team was on the field versus Jacksonville.  Seattle gave up 7 points to Carolina, and 3 points to San Francisco.

Houston has given up 82 points.  28 to San Diego, 24 to Tennessee, and 30 to Baltimore.

Seattle is allowing only 146.7 passing yards per game (1st), while Houston is allowing 157.7 (2nd).  Houston is averaging only 91.3 rushing yards on defense (9th), whereas Seattle is allowing 95 (12th).  Both Seattle and Houston have managed to pile up 8 sacks already this season.  Seattle has managed to pick off opposing QB’s 5 different times, while Houston has only managed 1 pick so far this season.

Both Seattle and Houston will have problems moving the ball against these stout defenses.

Marshawn Lynch went "Beastmode" for 124-yards Sunday.  Photo by Brett Bivens

Marshawn Lynch . Photo by Brett Bivens

Leading their respective offenses, Russell Wilson, and Matt Schaub will have to both be on their games in order to succeed.  Wilson is 47/73 for 664 yards with 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.  Schaub is 85/128 for 838 yards with 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.  Both teams have amazing backs in Marshawn Lynch and Arian Foster.  Lynch has rumbled 210 yards on 62 carries, and Foster has steamrolled 190 yards on 49 carries.

Seattle is managing 28.7 points per game putting up an average of 379 yards per game (247 passing, 132 rushing).  Houston is averaging 388 yards per game(259 passing, 128 rushing).

Both teams have outstanding receivers, the Texans in Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, while the Seahawks have Sidney Rice and Golden Tate.

Any one of these players, on any given Sunday, can make or break a game.

Gary Kubiak and Pete Carroll have built highly respectable teams.

  • Time managing Quarterbacks with powerhouses at Running Back.
  • Big sure-handed receivers that can fly down the field.
  • Complete total offenses that can light up any defense not full in tune.
  • Strong, unrelenting defenses that can play lights out against any offense, any given game.

Either side of the ball for either team can take control and tilt the tables for their respected team.  This game will boil down to who was better on the field, who wins each battle will win the final battle.

Are Houston’s receivers bigger than Seattle’s cornerbacks?  Can Seattle’s defensive line hold Arian Foster?  Can Russell Wilson escape JJ Watt and his teammates on the defense?

New NFL Kickoff Rule: Labor Bargaining Chip Hurts Seahawks, No Improved Safety

The Seattle Seahawks entered the 2011 Free Agency period with many needs.  Unfortunately for Seattle, the only free agents they’ve had an opportunity to negotiate with have been their own.

Seattle did re-sign a few of their players, squeezing them in just under the wire before the labor issues began to be felt in earnest.  The biggest move was giving return specialist and backup RB Leon Washington a new four-year deal.

Washington is slated to earn $12.5 million over the term of the contract, and could reach $16 million if he hit undisclosed incentives.  The all-important guaranteed money is $3.5 million.

To be fair, when the deal was inked the last thing either side was concerned with was the guaranteed part of the contract.  Washington is second only to Devin Hester as a kick returner, and offers some value as a change of pace RB.

But today the NFL owners approved a rule change that calls the value of Washington’s contract into question.  The NFL will move kickoffs back up to the 35 Yard Line, following 15 years of being placed at the 30.

Washington might have just become a very expensive kickoff shag man, and Seattle fans might have reasons to wonder why Pete Carroll and John Schneider inked this kind of a deal for a return man with the rule changes that were on the table.  To be fair, the recommendation wasn’t made until after Washington’s contract was signed, but there were signs that the NFL would make another change to kickoff rules (they adjusted what was a legal “wedge” on kick returns during the 2010 offseason).

The owners’ vote was 26-6 in favor of the change.  Coaches didn’t seem to echo their employers’ feelings, and some players are very upset.  While the owners do respect that there could be a change to the game (there will be), they claim they were more concerned with improving player safety (it WON’T be).  Both of those assertions validate analysis, but this review won’t be discussing the impact on special teams in fantasy football leagues.

Changes in the Game
The NFL moved kicks from the 35 to the 30 in 1994 to liven up the game.  Touchbacks were on the rise, and return yards were decreasing.  The change worked.  Touchbacks dropped, and average return yards and TDs both increased.

Most everyone agreed the change improved the game—kick returns are very exciting and can change momentum.  Whereas touchbacks…they’re just boring.

As kickers became stronger, touchback percentages started to rise.  In fact, they have increased each of the last 6 years—from 9.1% in 2005 to 16.4% in 2010.  Billy Cundiff (K, Baltimore Ravens) punched over 70% of his kicks into the end zone in 2010, with 40 of 79 (52.6%) being downed for a touchback.  With the move to the 35 his new goal may be to just split the uprights.

Not surprisingly, several return specialists and their coaches are speaking out against the change.

Bottom of Form

“I don’t like the rule,” Washington said on the Brock & Salk Show (710 ESPN Seattle). “And I’m sure Brad Smith and Devin Hester and Joshua Cribbs and the rest of the guys that do a really good job of returning the ball don’t like the rule.”

Washington continued “It’s a part of the game that’s really exciting. I think fans look forward to it because it’s an instant momentum-changer.”  Washington proved that time and again for Seattle in 2010, including two TDs vs. the Chargers that led to Seattle’s victory.

Cribbs didn’t let Washington down, stating via Twitter: “Essentially taking returners out of the game…injuries will still take place, then what move it up again, or eliminate it all together.”

Devin Hester’s coach also sounded off.  Before the rule was passed, Lovie Smith said “You just wonder how did we get to this point?  First off, I can’t believe we’re really talking about it, the most exciting play in football.  You would think we would want to keep that in.

“We would work as hard as we could to try to make it safer, but to eliminate that to me is just kind of tearing up the fiber of the game a little bit. Yeah, we have a great returner. But that’s a big part of the game. Our fans are probably more interested in coming there to see Devin Hester running a ball back as opposed to seeing a kicker kick it out of the end zone with no action.”

Improvement to Player Safety
Concerns over player safety on kickoffs are important to consider, and is what reportedly prompted the change.

Bottom of Form

When asked about the six no votes, Atlanta Falcon’s president and competition committee chairman Rich McKay said: “The objections were, ’Hey, you’re affecting my team.’ Clearly, some teams have good kick returners and they said, ’What if there’s 10 percent less returns?’

However, some of those comments also stated that the change won’t improve safety.  Aforementioned Chicago Bear head coach Lovie Smith noted that in two year, they have only seen one injury in the kicking game…a twisted ankle that would have happened anyway.

While anecdotal information is only a small part of the story, coaches had solid rationale that this is not a safety issue.  When pushed on this point McKay added “We have no answer, but player safety will always trump any other consideration.”

When making a rule change such as this, it would seem prudent to have a better feel for what the current impact is.  The NFL has speculation, and some data to support that kickoffs hold some added risk.  However, they lack conviction on if the change will actually meet the desired end.  It is almost as if there is something else at play (more on that in a moment).

One point the competition committee may have failed to give adequate consideration to is that player safety could actually be sacrificed with this change.

Kickers are more adept at reaching the end zone than they were in 1994, and members of the kicking team are certainly faster.  Yes, the new rule requires them to be within five yards of the ball, but this will not make them any slower at the point of impact, and will only save a half-stride in them getting down the field.

Bottom of Form

Some kickers, such as Jay Feely of the Arizona Cardinals, thrive on obtaining hang time and dropping the ball in front of the goal line.  Pay attention during the summer exhibition games, as kickers will be experimenting with dropping the ball inside the 10 and giving gunners an opportunity to stop returners in their tracks.

The ongoing labor issues can’t be ignored as this issue is discussed.  The owners claim to be taking a stance in favor of player safety, and undoubtedly will use this in their bargaining positions.  One thing that likely won’t get mentioned, though, is they just reduced a chunk of their payroll.  There is no reason to pay a return man Washington’s money, and Hester’s current deal (worth between $5 and $10 million a year over four years) certainly wouldn’t have been signed.

This vote is quite likely all about the owners and labor negotiations.  Once again, fans of the NFL are an afterthought and the players are being used as pawns.

 

On another note, a rule was also passed prohibiting teams from changing the color of their grass.  McKay noted with a smile, “We don’t want any red fields like at Eastern Washington.”  To that end, anyone associated with the Falcons has little room to talk about the aesthetic qualities of a football team.  It should be noted…the Eagles won the FCS championship and are likely not at all concerned with McKay casting aspersions.

 

2011 Seattle Seahawks: Expectations for Free Agency and the NFL Entry Draft

Originally posted on Bleacher Report on February 14, 2011
Written by Darin Pike

Pete Carroll inherited a difficult task when he returned to the NFL to become head coach and executive VP of football operations for the Seattle Seahawks. Make that two difficult tasks, actually.

Executive VP of Football Operations
He joined forces with John Schneider to overhaul depleted talent following several years of poor drafting and a rash of injury woes. They utilized aggressive roster moves before, during and after training camp to upgrade talent and trim some excess fat in player and salary ranks.

If not for the uncapped year, the 300 roster moves would not have been possible, and Seattle wouldn’t be in the situation it is now…able to continue a roster overhaul during the 2011 offseason.

Head Coach
The Seahawks were led by coaching legend Mike Holmgren for a decade. In one short year, it became evident what he meant to his former team. During the 2009 season, players and coaches were seldom on the same page. Jim Mora routinely questioned player performance in the public eye. Rather than take responsibility for his shortcomings, he passed blame to those under him.

The team needed a leader on the sidelines they could trust; that is exactly what they received with Carroll.

The return to the playoffs (and notching a win in front of the home crowd) was a solid first step. They have something to build on and significant salary room to do so.

Seahawk fans should have immense optimism heading into free agency and the draft, provided the NFL can get a labor agreement in place. Over the coming weeks I’ll be writing a series of articles on the following position groups, detailing what Seahawk fans should anticipate from their team.

Editor’s Note: Since published, the NFL has endured two extensions and no labor agreement.  Seattle will likely head into the NFL Draft without having the opportunity to solidify several key needs due to their Free Agents: Quarterback, Offensive Line, and Defensive Line.

 

Offensive Line: Let the Controversy Begin

I figured my initial piece should cover the issue that has plagued the Seahawks for the past four seasons. This article is mostly finished and should be hitting Bleacher Report on Tuesday. Editor’s Note: Article has already been published.

I’ll summarize the actions (or lack thereof) taken by former GM Tim Ruskell. I also offer some perspective on the direction a good GM would have gone and talk about what Seattle needs to do to blow open some running lanes and protect whomever happens to be parked under center for the 2011 season.

Spoiler alert: The solution does not involve a Round 1 draft pick for the offensive line. Fans and analysts have mocked Seattle using first and/or second-round picks to shore up line issues; I have a little different perspective that I believe will make the team better now and in the future.

Those of you envisioning a Mike Pouncey or Derek Sherrod being announced at pick 25 can get ready to tear my piece apart, but please keep an open mind until after you read what I have to say.

 

Quarterback: Is the Future Already Here?

I have to think that most fans that follow the Seattle Seahawks would answer this question, “Heck no”…or perhaps with a little more graphic modifier.

I believe Charlie Whitehurst does have a future in Seattle. That job is likely as a career backup, but an important role all the same. I’ll be looking one step down the depth chart and discussing Nate Davis and how he could figure into Seattle’s long-term QB plans.  Editor’s Note: Since publishing, Nate Davis has been released.

The next step must include some discussion on the NFL draft, versions 2011 and 2012.

As for the present…we have to figure that No. 8 is the best option the team has to win in 2011. I won’t do a complete rehash on why Kevin Kolb isn’t worth two first round picks, but I have begun some comments on what Seattle fans should expect in the short term. The labor discussions do play a role here, as they impact the team’s ability to implement a new signal caller.

Regardless of the direction Seattle takes, the QB position will likely be somewhat unsettled for the next few years. As Seattle upgrades talent on the offensive, anything that can be done to create stability under center will be critical.

 

Shutting Down Opposing Passing Attacks: Role of the DBs

I listed the quarterback quandary before our cornerback issues because the QB is the most important position on the field. However, Seattle has a very pressing need to address the CB and SS positions this offseason.

Steps have already been taken along this path with the addition of Brandon Browner from the CFL, but will that be enough?

Marcus Trufant has put together some very solid performances for the Seahawks. Pete Carroll looked forward to seeing the former Pro Bowl CB during the 2010 season, and at times he did. Slowed by injuries and pain, we also saw a man on the field that was frustrated with a body that didn’t respond as it once did.

Walter Thurmond most certainly figures into Seattle’s plans going forward. Kelly Jennings hasn’t endeared himself to the fanbase, but the same may not be true with the coaching staff. I’ll offer some additional comments on his performance and the backfield as a whole.

 

Shutting Down Opposing Passing Attacks: Generating a Consistent Pass Rush

One pleasant surprise for the Seahawks was Pete Carroll and Gus Bradley’s ability to scheme their way into a pass rush.

At times they frustrated opposing offensive linemen, QBs and offensive coordinators. The sack attack they threw out against the Chicago Bears early in the season was a prime example of generating suffocating pressure off the ends.

To be successful during the 2011 season, Seattle needs to also apply some pressure up the middle. The team as a whole logged a respectable 37 sacks, but a grand total of two came from the nose tackle positions. Two…as in one for Brandon Mebane and one for Colin Cole. While these two were solid against the run, they seemed to do little more than take up space and act as decoys on passing downs.

Seattle needs to re-sign Mebane and look to find a NT that can offer depth and be useful on passing downs. I’ll also discuss the rushing defense and what we can expect from the Seahawks to regain the early success from the 2010 season.

 

Linebackers: The Not-So-Pleasant Surprise of the 2011 Defense

When analysts were attempting to dissect the 2010 Seattle Seahawk defense during training camp, one group that seemed solid was the linebacker corps.

The promise of having Lofa Tatupu, Aaron Curry and Leroy Hill on the field together was inspiring. David Hawthorne provided a solid insurance policy, as he played very well when he had to replace Tatupu during the 2009 season.

Times have changed. The physical phenom in 59, Aaranimal, played with intensity but without focus. Tatupu played hurt most of the season, slowed by knee injuries. Hill…well, at least Seattle was able to renegotiate his contract so it didn’t cost them $5 million for him to sit out another year.

While Seattle seemed to struggle across the board in their passing defense, they were particularly susceptible to being burned by screens and short passes to RBs, along with giving up long gains to opposing tight ends. Some of that falls to the safety positions, but by and large the LB crew was not able to fill holes in pass defense.

Seattle needs to take a strong look at this group and find ways to upgrade talent or improve performance. Carroll has his guy coordinating the unit from the MLB position but won’t hesitate to pull the plug on Lofa if his injury issues aren’t resolved.

 

2011 Offensive Weapons: What to Expect from the RB, WR and TE Positions

Following the three aspects of the defense, I’ll wrap back around to the offensive side of the ball for a conversation on the skill positions. While Seattle lacks elite talent in these areas, they do have solid playmakers at every position.

Given distinct issues at other positions, I would not anticipate significant movement on draft weekend in these areas.

Now…I type that knowing full well it is impossible to predict what Pete Carroll will do or find on draft day. Should elite talent be unexpectedly available, you can be sure he won’t let the player slide past his grip.

I’ll look forward to comments and discussion on pending personnel moves as I release each individual article. I’ll particularly be interested in thoughts on the QB position, be it now or after that piece is published. I’m not overly comfortable with any of the first round QB prospects in this draft. I’ll just say there is a lot of potential there—potential for greatness and potential to bust. Big time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Show Boating In The NFL

You have seen it time and time again the WR makes a touchdown and then he starts in on a “Celebration”. Here in Seattle DT Rocky Bernard would do the “Sugar Bear Shake” after sacking the oppositions QB.

How do you feel about it? There seems to be two camps. Those who like it and say it’s just them having fun and then there are those who feel that it is classless and is an example of the player trying to make the game about him and is nothing more then “Show Boating”.

Do you feel it’s different depending on the player or the celebration? For example was Terrell Owens pulling out a Sharpie as bad as Chad Ochocinco putting on a mock Hall of Fame jacket?or does it matter what the player has done and how he celebrates?

Personally I like to see the players having fun until it is an attempt to show up the other team. T.O. Dancing on the Dallas Star should have got him suspended. Joe Horns Cell phone incident was fine in my opinion. Celebrating when you make a first down drives my nuts! It’s you job, if you don’t do that your services won’t be required for long.

I am interested to hear what you think.

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