Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Link to the article...
This seems like a good time to say...
Let me start by saying this: From the franchise to the coaching staff to the players, I admire the Steelers. If they were playing anybody else in the NFC for the Lombardi trophy, I would probably be rooting for them. But, as we know, they're playing the Seahawks, and thus fall into taunting territory. It's my way of coping with the innate terror of rooting for the Seahawks in a big game. As such, what follows is my breakdown of the game's biggest (non-Berman) nicknames.
Starting Running Backs
Pittsburgh: Gosh, that Willie Parker sure is fast. If only he had a nickname describing how fast he is... I'm sorry, what's that? He already has a nickname? Fast Willie Parker? You're kidding, right?
Objectively, this might be the most boring, unoriginal nickname in the history of sports. There's really not much else to say about it.
Seattle: MVP Shaun Alexander. Not too many points for originality, but you have to admit, it's a pretty sweet handle.
Players Named "Big"
Pittsburgh: Ben Roethliberger, aka Big Ben. Okay, whoever is responsible for nicknames in Pittsburgh is fired. Did the Rooneys hire Lenny from Of Mice and Men to think of this stuff? "Okay, Lenny, just watch the game tape and get back to us, okay?" (Three hours pass.) "All right, we now have Catchy Hines Ward, Hairy Troy Polamalu, Tall Heath Miller, and Fat Jerome Bettis. Write up the press release."
Objectively, I'll concede that I understand the double-entendre with the London landmark. Ben's an ascendant star in the NFL, and he is, indeed, bigger than the average quarteback. But compare that to...
Seattle: Walter Jones. Big Walt is not only much, much bigger than Big Ben, but he's also light years better at his position than, oh, anybody else on the planet.
Notable Backup Players with Terrific Nicknames
Pittsburgh: None. No wait, lemme think... Nope. I'll check the roster one more time for any high-profile players who don't start... Oh. Apparently Bettis has something going on -- well, that's silly. He's fat and doesn't resemble a greyhound at all.
Seattle: Floyd "Pork Chop" Womack. A benchmark for separating a great nickname from an average one is how readily it replaces an athlete's first name. Answer me this: do you call him Floyd or Pork Chop? That's what I thought. A hundred years from now, sports-nickname historians will consider this one of the all-time greats, along the lines of Oil Can Boyd, Three-Finger Brown, Catfish Hunter, Night Train Lane, and Crazy Legs Hirsch. (Not making the cut: the Steelers' Mean Joe Greene. Seriously, Lenny, you're fired. Clean out your desk and go home.)
Monday, January 30, 2006
I never faulted Hasselbeck for his impromptu remark after the overtime coin toss in Green Bay (and I'm still uncertain whether Alex Bannister was supposed to break off his route on the play). Looking back on it now (after-the-fact rationalization though this may be) it seems like that moment was necessary for Hasselbeck and the team to grow.
Nothing teaches you about the perils of taking things for granted like being humbled in front of everyone. But gaining the maturity to fight back and finally play to your potential; that's what ultimately breaks the curse (or lifts the fog in Seattle's case). Fighting through the Green Bay disappointment, the three gut-punch losses to St. Louis and Mike Holmgren's almost sanctimonious declaration that "one day this team is going to win one of these games," Seattle has managed to do just that.
Along the way they learned the most valuable lesson of all.
The difference between winning and "almost winning" is not all about doing something great. It's about being great at what you do; executing each assignment as well as it can be executed.
Note how Seattle's receivers are now making the routine catch, and how as a consequence Seattle leads the NFL in long drives. Scroll down in this very blog to the still shots of Walter Jones's "Escalade" block on Mike Rucker in the NFC title game. (Jones pushed the all-pro end down the field like he used to push his Escalade during the offseasons he spent holding out. But it was Ryan Hannem, the backup tight end rather than the all-universe left tackle, who turned in the first playoff Escalade block on Mack Strong's 32-yard skamper a week earlier in the divisional round.)
The Seahawks will have few plays make any top-10 lists this season (Alexander's 88 yard run vs. Arizona made Chris Berman's list on ESPN). Yet the Seahawks have been great this year because everyone has made the plays they are supposed to make. Now they are one step away from reaching the pinnacle of the football world.
So how can they take the final step?
When Seattle has the ball it will take not only a great game plan but the right mix of bravado and humility to move the ball and score; because in case you were unaware gentle reader, this Pittsburgh defense is pretty damn good. As always, it starts with the front seven (and oftentimes eight).
Though many analysts begin discussion of Pittsburgh's defense with its blitz happy linebackers and safety the key to it all is its round mound of shut-down nosetackle, Casey Hampton. His main tasks are to shut down the inside run and keep offensive lineman away from Messrs. James Farrior and Larry Foote, the inside linebackers. He excels at both.
To wit, according to defensive line rankings at Football Outsiders.com the Steelers are fourth in defensive adjusted line yards (ALY) for the regular season (ALY is average yards yielded on running plays attributable to the defensive line, adjusted for a number of factors). Further, the Steelers are particularly stingy with rushing yards between the tackles…
But wait! There's more!
The Steelers are even tougher on the run in the guard/center gaps. Well, that thar's Casey Hampton territory folks. In fact, for all the talk of Pittsburgh's sideline to sideline speed they were decidedly middle-of-the-pack in defending runs around either edge during the season. You may be thinking, like I was, that this may be because they give up an occasional average-inflating big play on an end around, or got caught with an off-tackle run in a blitz. Well, you'd be as wrong as I was.
The Steelers were good in all facets of run defense, but best (5th) at preventing long runs (10+ yards). Incidentally, they were 6th at shutting down short yardage/goal line runs, and 6th> at stuffing the run on first and second down. So the Steelers are very good in all facets of run defense; all except on runs aimed at the edges. That appears to be a legitimate weakness. My suspicion is that Pittsburgh's outstanding tandem of outside linebackers, Clark Hagans and Joey Porter, are asked to do a lot, and taking on tackles at the line of scrimmage is the one part of their game that is less than outstanding.
So how can the Seahawks take the ball and score in this game?
Well, in many ways the Dallas game is instructive but not as the cautionary tale it's been portrayed to be in the press. Against Dallas, knowing that Hasselbeck simply could not be in synch on blitz reads without starters Darryl Jackson and Bobby Engram, Holmgren kept his offensive game plan plain vanilla, in a cup, no sprinkles, no swirl. Yet he managed to maintain real balance in his play calling. What I mean by balance here goes beyond simple run-pass ratios. It's more akin to a pitcher in baseball who knows he doesn't have his best stuff that day but who is still willing to throw any pitch on any count to keep the batter offstride.
Bill Parcells tried like heck to entice Holmgren to abandon his balanced approach, daring him to force the ball deep by stacking nine in the box. Yet Holmgren stayed balanced, stuck with the run and the short/intermediate passing game, and eventually wore the Cowboys defense down. That's when he attacked them deep, marching down the field for the game tying score.
Now that Jackson and Engram are healthy Holmgren must avoid the same enticement to abandon his balance, taking shot after shot downfield--in short, he must avoid the Peyton Manning Fallacy. That may involve taking some three and outs. Taking a sack but avoiding the costly mistake. That's the humility part. Now for the bravado.
Many have focused on the Monday night matchup in Indianapolis as a case study in beating Dick LeBeau's defense. I disagree. That game, to use a basketball analogy, was mostly a case of Indy just getting hot from 3pt range early. Indy actually did little damage after their first quarter outburst. Rather, the most instructive games for scoring on Pittsburgh's defense were its regular season matchups against the Bengals.
In both games the Bengals moved the ball and were able to consistently put together long drives. In the first game Pittsburgh forced turnovers. The Steelers intercepted Carson Palmer in consecutive 2nd half possessions, and turned those into points, in what was Palmer's worst game of the year. Yet despite dominating 2nd half time of possession (the world's most misused "stat") Pittsburgh outgained Cincinnati by a mere two net yards (304 to 302) and both teams had an identical 20 first downs.
In the second game it was Pittsburgh committing rather than forcing the drive killing turnovers, though otherwise their offense was scary good. Still, Cincinnati's offensive output was remarkably consistent with the first game (324 net yards, 21 first downs). Their second half long scoring drives included nine plays for 51 yards (FG) and six plays for 49 yards (TD), with another short TD following a long kickoff return. They stayed balanced and they stretched Pittsburgh's defense up, down, and across the field. No Bengals player had more than 5 catches and only Houshmenzadeh had an especially long reception (43 yards). Rudi Johnson had 98 yards on 21 carries, many of which were accumulated in the fourth quarter.
Interestingly, in an early season loss to New England the same pattern was evident. The Patriots were exceptionally balanced, moving the ball at will almost. It was three turnovers (a pick and two fumbles as I recall) that kept Pittsburgh in the game.
The drive stats at Football Outsiders make it pretty clear that putting together successful drives (i.e., percent of series with first downs and/or touchdowns) is Seattle's specialty; they were second only to Indy while Cincinnati was a close third. Pittsburgh's defense is very good—but not fantastic as shutting down drives. Pittsburgh is exceptional at keeping offenses out of the end zone (5th) and at forcing fumbles (9th). But, Cincinnati and New England showed that a team with balance can move the ball on Pittsburgh consistently and score if they can avoid the killer turnover.
Those teams, unlike Indy on that Monday night, did it largely with balance, patience, and without the superhuman highlight play. The key appears to be making Pittsburgh defend the entire field.
Up next: Seattle's defense and special teams
Sunday, January 29, 2006
The moment is captured in 15 still vidcaps in my sub-blog.
Click here to see the show...
Welcome to the first annual 12 Seahawks Street Superbowl Pool!
All the squares have been claimed so I randomly filled in the numbers for each axis and the pool is set and ready to go.
Click on the image or the title of this post for a full size version of the grid. I will be sending both the JPG and PDF versions to each of the entrants that I have an email address for. If you would like a copy sent to you, email me at email@example.com.
Winners will be drawn at the end of the first, second and third quarters, and then for the FINAL SCORE. The Final Score winner will claim bragging rights to the blog, and some other fabulous prize yet to be determined!
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Which makes the postseason rampage of the 'Blitz-burgh' defense so extraordinary. The Steelers have taken the top-knotch protection packages of these three very worthy opponents and turned them to ham-on-swiss, minus the ham, at the rate of 4.0 sacks per game during the playoff stretch.
How bad is that? Well, if you hypothetically transferred this rate to the regular season, they would have been worsted by only the pathetic, record setting Houston Texans at 4.25 sacks per game.
But as we say--stats, schmats. It's all about the matchups.
(Click here to see the article continued...)
Thursday, January 26, 2006
So, my challenge today is to first find a player considered to be obscure on the team that is the #1 seed in the NFC, with the league MVP on its roster, and the one who is making its first Super Bowl appearance in its 30 year history.
Obviously, from that last sentence, the entire TEAM could be considered for this award, for the Seattle Seahawks have shed EVERY monkey off its organizational back this season, and can no longer be considered one of the "also rans" of the league.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
What else can be said? Not a whole lot, but I add my two cents as well as hand out the second most important trophy from Sunday's game.
Also in this edition we discuss bedding, and the proper way to scare a cat.
For all that and more...READ ON.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
This week I will not go that route at all, because I refuse to talk ANY trash about the Pittsburgh Steelers. I refuse, because they are NOT the Panthers, they are NOT a media creation, one trick pony like the Panthers; they are a balanced team which can beat you by throwing or running the ball, and plays defense as well as any team in the league, with their unique 3-4 scheme which was originally designed to beat Bill Walsh's west coast offense.
I will, however, point out a few misconceptions about the Seahawks that Steelers fans seem to have, I will save that for the end of this long post, however, so that those Seahawks fans who like to skim don't have to read it.
Steelers fans, who want to really know the truth about the team they are facing, would be well advised to read it.
This is a truly terrific TEAM all around, that the Seahawks will face on February 5th, so I will not be debating who should be favored, (though of course I think the Hawks should), and I will not be getting into the "who's the better QB debate (though of course I think that clearly Hasselbeck is), I will stick to analysis, and you will not be cheated this week, because I get angry and write a rant.
This one is too important, against too good an opponent for that silliness, so I will get right into my points.
Read the rest
As most fans know, this year was the first year of Hall of Fame eligibility for former Seahawks Warren Moon and Cortez Kennedy, with Warren Moon making it to the final ballot.
With Moon's stats, and his success in Canada and Houston, he's got the best chance of the two. Cortez was the heart and soul of an overacheiving defense that unfortunately got no help from some pretty pathetic offensives, which will probably hurt his chances.
However, now that Seattle has FINALLY wrestled the attention of the entire NFL with their first Superbowl berth in their 30 year history, I'm wondering if there could be some residual "halo effect" on these guys, whose accomplishments as Seahawks is probably not well known outside the 206 area code.
With two weeks of hype to fill leading up to the Seahawks, there will undoubtedly be a lot of coverage surrounding the long suffering history of the franchise, including the contributions made by these guys and our other former greats.
Warren will also get additional exposure being the play-by-play guy for the team, so the HOF voters will have a lot of fresh images and information when it comes time to cast their ballots.
So while we're all excited for the current roster of players and coaches for acheiving what no other Seahawks team has ever done in the past, they may have also unknowingly given a little boost to those former greats who were never able to bring a championship to this organization.
For the sake of Warren Moon and Cortez Kennedy, I hope I'm right.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Thats right people...the Seattle Seahawks whipped the Panthers 34-14 despite the refs pracitcally giving them the 14 points...this was domination...at least the Seahawks in year 30...have done it!
This is the obligatory celebration thread!
Maybe, just maybe...the team of destiny was under our nose the whole time...
Sunday, January 22, 2006
As this day begins, Seahawks fans from all over the world are waking up to the most anticipated gameday in franchise history. The team has never been in a better position to win it all. They have has shaken every monkey from their backs, and have even earned some measurable respect on the national scene.
Now the privilege is ours to see our lifelong favorite team take the final step to the Super Bowl, and share in watching what is considered the best played football NFL season, the Conference Championships.
Please join us today in LIVE GAMEDAY CHAT - Conference Championship Edition by clicking on the #12 jersey below! Feel free to join anytime, we'll be in there scouting our next opponent in the Broncos/Steelers matchup in the early game as well.
See you in chat -- all Seahawks fans are welcome, no membership, no registration.
While you're waiting for gametime, stop in at our Gameday Art Gallery!
Saturday, January 21, 2006
by David Crockett
Like Facing Mike Martz... with Common Sense
So much good stuff has appeared on the 'net about this matchup in the past few days that I wasn't going to write anything for this game. But, I was recently struck by a mini-epiphany. One little piece of insight has made me feel a lot less anxious about this matchup despite Steve Smith going all Vince Young on Chicago last week. An interesting irony, which could only be meaningful to true Seattle fans, is that Carolina's offense shares some pretty intriguing similarities to St. Louis's.
I am well aware that you wouldn't normally put Dan Henning's run-oriented offense in the same room with the current incarnation of "The Greatest Show on Turf," but they do actually share some basic principles in the passing game. I've seen a lot of Panther football this season and I'm telling you the offenses share a lot in common—dammit. Of course it's much easier to spot their differences. St. Louis has more depth at receiver (e.g., Holt, Bruce, Curtis, and McDonald) while Carolina has Steve Smith and a bunch of guys from the UNC-Charlotte intramural flag football championship team. Carolina is committed philosophically to the run while St. Louis avoids it like the plague. But, the Panthers don't run the ball very well so they end up throwing it a lot anyway. So let's concentrate on similarities in their respective passing games.
Offensive coordinator Dan Henning, like Mike Martz, loves to soften up an aggressive defense with quick throws using a wide variety of screens to receivers, backs, and even tight ends. When looking for big chunks of yards Henning and Martz share an affinity for the deep crossing route. What's more they love to throw downfield out of max protection blocking schemes that utilize a tight end as an extra tackle (John Mangum and Brandon Manumaleuna) and out of two receiver formations (Tory Holt plays an almost identical role to Steve Smith in this regard but Carolina lacks a player the caliber of Isaac Bruce to play opposite). Even further, Carolina and St. Louis ask mediocre offensive lines to hold blocks so that their quarterback can throw downfield. Consequently, both offenses play in peaks and valleys with huge swings in performance—sometimes even from one quarter to the next.
On the season the two offenses were quite similar using Football Outsider's defense adjusted value over average (DVOA) statistic. Carolina was slightly better (17th) than St. Louis (20th) overall and in the passing game (11th vs. 19th). However, given that St. Louis actually had the better rushing offense it's reasonable to attribute a good chunk of the overall difference in offense between the two teams to the passing game (i.e., Steve Smith). So even though this only reinforces Smith's importance in this matchup (like we haven't heard enough of that already) we know we have the pieces defensively to limit this offense.
How do we know this? Two things became clear in week 10 that finally allowed Seattle to get over the St. Louis hump, and both are relevant to this game. (Remember, we could always score on St. Louis; we could never get the big stop.) First, we developed a consistent pass rush with the front four, which provided some help for the cornerbacks and allowed us to save the blitz for use in key situations. Second, importing more athletic LBs allowed them to take deeper drops on the crossing routes making them more difficult throws. What's more, the LBs and defensive linemen also recover well when the ball is dumped underneath. The athleticism on defense really shows versus years past. St. Louis still has some success with the deep crossing route but they used to be able to get that play absolutely any time they wanted. Now, they can't make a living off it. They may hit one but they may well give up a sack, even in max protection because our guys really get off the ball. What we found out that day is that we're better in the trenches, where the game is won, on both sides of the ball.
Of course on Sunday Seattle will be playing against Carolina's offensive line, not St. Louis's. Still, I like our chances. Football Outsiders ranks Carolina's line 11th in adjusted sack rate, almost statistically identical to Seattle's (9th). But that's where having seen Carolina really helps. Seattle may leave in a back to help on the blitz but otherwise the offensive line gets little help. Dan Henning, like Martz, helps his tackles with backs, tight ends, rollouts, and quick throws. If you really look closely, and ignore the macho bluster uttered by TV analysts, you'll see a good bit of Mike Martz on that opposing sideline (only with more common sense). I expect Henning to look to put points on the board via the passing game and play from out front rather than run clock. He will look to run the ball in specific situations; draws and reverses to keep the defense honest and power runs in short yardage or to sit on a lead.
I fully anticipate a high scoring game. But as it plays on, much like we found out in week 10, we'll see that we're better up front on both side of the ball. That, I believe, will be the difference.
What I want to do with this thread, is give people a chance to predict what story will come out of this game that will have the media talking.
Be creative, witty, clever, or just plain funny, I don't care...just have a take and don't suck. If you think that they will be talking about Jerramy Stevens, (because he blew up against the Panthers, having a huge game) then tell me that.
If you think the big story will be the number of turnovers we forced against the Panthers then tell me that, etc...
Just to give this thing a jump start, here are the two things I think are most likely to be talked about next week, and one story that (may be a bit of a stretch), but would be very cool and could happen, you never know.
Here is the story I think is most likely to happen, the media will be forced to talk about the maturation of Hasselbeck into one of the leagues elite quarterbacks, after he throws for nearly 300 yards and two touchdowns, with no picks.
I think the second to most likely story will be how the Seahawks defense, led by the smartest MLBer in football, completely dominated the Panthers, taking away any pretense at a running attack and severely limiting Steve Smith, to under 100 yards and no touchdowns.
This is my, "hey it could happen", storyline. Next week the media will be talking about how Mike Holmgren is a genius for making the switch to Peter Warrick in the punt return game, after Peter Warrick returns a punt for a touchdown and has two others that almost go for touchdowns giving us terrific field position all game.
They will be talking about why he wasn't used as a punt returner earlier (a question I myself would like an answer to and have complained about for a long, long time).
They will be talking about what the AFC team (I picked Denver) will have to do to stop Peter Warrick, even going so far as to say that they just need to kick away from him, not letting him get a chance to get his hands on the ball.
So what do you guys think? What will "they" be talking about next week?
This post will serve as our official 12 Seahawks Street NFC Championship game predictions thread.
Here's mine, Seahawks 27 Panthers 19
The panthers will have to settle for four field goals and only one T.D. and in the end just will not have enough offensive weapons to keep up with the Seahawks.
Now you try it, the guy who gets closest to the correct final score will win...ummm...the right to brag about how you are a genius.
The end is in sight. The light has only brightened. The path to accomplishment was 30 years long.
We're almost 24 hours away from the NFC Championship game between the Carolina Panthers, and the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle.
Time to get pumped. Its quiet. Too quiet. Like a boat in the middle of an ocean...alone. Wake up. Land is in the distance. Its Skull Island...wait, its Detroit! Its the land of the immortal. The land of destiny. The land of freedom. Freedom from those ghosts and demons that have haunted this franchise for three decades.
The chains have been broken. Its time to run...you've made it this far, its time to escape the prison of short comings. Don't get caught. Don't get trapped. Starting over would only hurt more, to of made it this far...and to go home, the only home we knew---mediocrity.
Its there, in front of our eyes, alive and waiting. Calling our names...we're so close...one more step...and we'll be free.
But there is something in the way...
Friday, January 20, 2006
We all know how potent Seattles offense is. Nobody has successfully contained us all year. But did we know how weak Carolina's offense has been? Steve Smith is a game breaker, and I love to watch the guy play, but at this point he is all they have. Please consult the offensive statistical rankings comparison shown. These categories are, as I believe the most significant stats used to judge offenses, and as you can see, Seattles offense ranks out much higher all accross the board than Carolinas.
Now please take a moment to view the defensive comparison shown. As you can see the 'Hawks defense is much closer to Carolinas in the statistical categories that I deem most significant. I must note, though, that the passing yardage, a glaring difference to be sure, is a blatantly misleading stat since Seattle has lead for the bulk of their 13 regular season victories, and have played content at allowing short passes that eat up the clock as well as the field.
My point seems obvious, Seattle is an elite offense, and their defense isn't just good, it's good enough.
If anybody sees a flaw in this, please voice your opinion, even Carolina fans, I will not degrade anybody that makes attempts at serious discussion, but if you retort with words like "poopy" and "sea-chickens" you will feel my considerable wrath. There are many people that will vouch for me when I say you don't want me to make you a target.
The latest Page 2 piece by Skip Bayless is so egregious that we must post the link to it here, and then urge not only Seahawks fans, but all football fans, to write this dork and let him know that he's a waste of the earth's oxygen supply.
It's one thing to take pot shots at Seattle's history. It's been grim.
But to fly in the face of the most balanced team still in the playoffs, the best offensive line, the hottest QB, the MVP, a HOF coach and most improved unit in the league is unconscionable.
Read this drivel, click the link at the end, and then let him know how you feel. Be brief, as I had to cut my response into 3 parts just to get the Submit button to work. But most of all, be literate and avoid insults and vulgarity, so your opinions are not written off as hot-headed homerism.
Before submitting your reply, copy and paste it into the Comment section here.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
For now, the success of the moment appears to be wishful thinking, head burying, and definitely temporary.
While none of the current players are under suspension for for banned substances, Dr. James Shortt, the alleged banned substance supplier of at least nine current or former members of the team, will be under trial beginning in March 2006. He is up for 43 counts of alleged steroid distribution. We'll likely find out then if this team is legit, or if we should start naming certain players to the All-Steroid Team. Or for you Carolina folks, the All Cobag Team.
Are there some recent headlines I am missing? Why hasn't there been any more noise or questions on the topic? Should the Panthers' success to this point be considered tainted?
If any of you have any current or pertinent information, please post in the comments.
Panthers fans, rub it in our faces that no Sea Gal has EVER been arrested for hitting a woman for interrupting a drunken cheerleader-on-cheerleader bar-bathroom liaison. The NFL's best O this season didn't come out of Seattle at the hands of Matt Hasselbeck, but from a Florida bar at the hands of Angela on Renee (of course, I'm filling in some details with my imagination, but who's going to disagree?). You hit us Seahawks fans with that tidbit of awesome amazingness, and I have no retort but a tip of my 1980s "trident" Mariners cap.
Yes, I know, this is the low road. It's not analysis. But your slurring, sapphic TopCats are the best NFL story of the year, and we as Seahawks fans need to acknowledge where Carolina has the advantage.
Angie, Renee, if you're reading this, you can watch the game with me. I'll bring the Jager.
That got me thinking about my favorite team, and how other than Mike Tice, Jim Zorn and Dave Brown (RIP) I can't think any other former Seahawks who is coaching in the league. There is also a drought of former Seahawks in the media, although Brock Huard is writing for The New Tribune, and Trent Dilfer seems to be a natural on camera with the NFL Network.
So I have two questions for the audience, as we wait 4 more days until gametime:
1) which FORMER Seahawk is most likely to be named the newt Head Coach of a franchise one day?
2) which CURRENT Seahawk is most likely to be named the new Head Coach of a franchise one day?
Remember that when you look at the players-turned-coaches donning the headsets, most were backups or role players, so I think we need to look past our superstars.
I'll provide my own opinions in the comments along with everyone else.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Based on Holms referring to him as "one of my favorites" and alluding to breakdowns in protection in the Redskin game, I believe Jimmy Williams will be returning punts for us on Sunday.
That being said, I believe he'll be on a short leash, and the first questionable decision or mistake will land him on the bench. If that happens, who are they going to use instead.
Conventional wisdom says Bobby Engram, since he's got experience doing it. However, given his early season rib injury, do we want him taking those extra hits and risk losing him from the offensive game plan?
Peter Warrick is another obvious choice, but he wasn't even active for the Redskin game, so that may mean his injury is still nagging, he's fallen out of favor, or we need the roster spots for other key players.
I've long felt that Josh Scobey should do double duty, given his aggressive straight-ahead running style. However, I'll admit I don't know what qualifications are needed between a KR and PR, and Scubes hasn't been as sure handed as many would like.
That all being said, I wonder if the Seahawks have tested D.J. Hackett as a PR? He's on the active roster but seldom used, so there's no risk to the base offensive gameplan. He's got great hands and as they say in Bahstin, "he's wicked fast"!
What do you think?
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
All week long now I have heard the question posed over and over again, "How are the Seahawks going to stop Steve Smith?"
I have heard so many times, that the key to beating the Panthers is to stop Steve Smith, that I am sick to death of hearing it!
The ONLY thing that everyone seems to be in agreement about is that, stopping Steve Smith is the key to the game.
READ THE REST
Julius Peppers, even with a detached shoulder, is a certified playmaker. Nick Goings, however, sucks balls.
The hottest trend for some in the media (who are thrilled that their preseason NFC pick is finally showing life after being erratic most of the season) following Deshaun Foster's broken ankle is the justification of Nick Goings as a replacement not to be overlooked. He filled in as a starter in 2004 and gained over 800 yards as the Panthers went 6-2 to salvage a crappy season. He got 12 carries for 63 yards against the Giants two weekends ago, and gained 34 more with 10 carries against the brutish Bears.
These facts are even more impressive when you take into account that Nick Goings sucks. I didn't check the injury report, but I think Deshaun Foster was missing his foot for the last two games and John Fox still started him. Goings backed up Stephen Davis when Davis showed all the explosiveness of Eddie George circa 2001. Goings backed up Tshimanga Binaca... Bianca... Biakabututu? Ah, Biakabutuka! (who rushed for all of 718 yards one season) Oh, and that gaudy yards per rush against the Giants? Please. Did you see the Giants' linebackers? Carl Banks and Pepper Johnson screened calls from Tom Coughlin the week before that game, and LT showed up on the sideline but couldn't be activated in time.
Can the 'Hawks totally discount ze Panzers' running game? Yes. Wait, I mean no. Their O-Line is formidable, and an argument can be made that Goings with the Carolina line isn't much of a step back from MoMo with Big Walt, the Strangler, & Co. However, I will not make that argument. My argument has been made: Nick Goings is going to suck on Sunday.
Monday, January 16, 2006
1. There is a blog we can pick on.
2. Charlotte is either a good name for an ugly little dog or the ugly girl with glasses that you knew in school that picks her boogers.
3. They think they will thrive in the noise of Qwest Field, because the hostile Giants crowd actually motivated them.
4. They have smart fans that really know how to break a team down and analyze.
5. These fans really know how to estimate talent.
6. Carolina Sucks.
That's all for now.
Mike Sando confirms the rumor that Seahawks right tackle Sean Locklear is in King County's Seattle Correctional Facility on a domestic-violence assault charge. He was booked at 3:03 am Sunday.
Other parts to the rumor, but not substantiated, are that the alleged incident occoured in Pioneer Square, to which Holmgren expressly approved "antiquing" trips.
"I think common sense plays a role," Holmgren said, as stated in an article in the Seattle Times. "You shouldn't be down there after a certain time at night. To go down there at 4 in the afternoon and look at antiques, I'm not talking about that."
With a certainty, if the alleged location of the incident is true, Locklear is in violation of team directive. If he is guilty of the alleged crime, he is in violation of law, conscience, and the respect of legions of Seahawks fans.
This is bad news. The team is flying high, and is building a different team image and substance based on character. In my opinion, the team has little choice but to discipline Locklear, if it is indeed found that he is guilty of domestic assault and/or piss-poor judgement.
More Details: According to the Seattle Times, a team spokesman said that police were called regarding an incident in which Locklear and an unnamed woman were shouting at each other in a Seattle restraunt.
"Police responded and in accordance with domestic abuse laws, Locklear had to be taken into custody even though the woman asked police not to arrest Locklear, the spokesman said.
Locklear must see a judge for a bail hearing before he can be released, and since it is a holiday, no judge can hear the case today. A bail hearing is expected for Tuesday, and the team said it expects Locklear back for practice on Wednesday."
This may just be very embarassing. Please post more details to this topic as you see fit.
So, for the playoffs, the Moonlight Graham award will go to the player who most STEPS UP his game, whether or not obscurity has anything to do with it.
Now, that doesn't mean that I'm gonna start doling these things out to Matt Hasselbeck, and Grant Wistrom, and Lofa Tatupu and the offensive line. Granted, all these guys stepped up HUGE, but we have to remain somewhat true to the roots of this award.
Extremely Corny Bronze Racecar: PLAYOFF STYLE!
While most of us are still giddy over the playoff win, there's still awards to be handed out.
A quick sidestory: I flew out of Seattle on Sunday (didn't go to the game). There were a lot of Redskins fans in the airport. And let me tell you, it was really hard not to say stuff like, "I wasn't even alive the last time the Seahawks won in the playoffs." I ended up sitting next to two of them on the flight. They said Washington, "needed more offense."
In this edition we talk about curses, discuss quantum physics, suggest another MVP for the game, and of course hand out the most coveted trophy in all of footbll...except for maybe this one. But trust me, its up there.
This and more all await you at...Alan's Drive of the Game.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
When Shaun Alexander fumbled it seemed like a portent of doom. When the league's Most Valuable Pepsquadmember left the game the panorama looked even bleaker. However, an Artist was ready to step in with watercolors a-blazin'. He painted a perfect 29-yard strike to Darrel Jackson for a score. He saw a gap in the defensive coverage, and splashed some Seahawk blue into the dank green of the end zone. His abortive preliminary first-quarter sketches lay the groundwork for a masterwork of profound proportions in the end. That artist: Joe Tafoya.
I mean Matt Hasselbeck, obviously. His strokes were measured, his paints responsive and brilliant, his palette varied enough for any possible conditions. But did Matthew do enough to win the Award? (and how far can Citizen K carry this artist metaphor?) Read more at my awards blog
Click the picture above to see exactly who he is standing with as he celebrates this victory!
Honorable mention to NYHawkFreak who put up a valiant effort, but did not have the right point total to score the knock out.
The award given to the offensive and defensive players who best slip up the opposition.
Everyone say it with me now...THE SEAHAWKS ARE IN THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!!! It really doesn't get much better than this...but wait...it will!
Had I said to Seahawks fans before the game started, that the Seahawks would lose Shaun Alexander to a concussion in the first quarter, and that the Seahawks would give up three turnovers and get none against the stingy Redskins defense, those Seahawks fans would all groan and say "oh man, here we go again, why can't we win a playoff game?"
Well, it's true...all that did happen, the turnovers the loss of the leagues MVP, and the Seahawks STILL won! My Banana Peel Awards, will explain why.
read the rest
Next Sunday Seattle will play Carolina for the rights to represent the NFC in the Superbowl. With the way both teams played today, I don't see them coming into Seattle and coming out with a win.
Let the analysis begin!