So, we have on our panel today:
- Matt Ufford (aka Captain Caveman) of Kissing Suzy Kolber, With Leather; you'll see his name peppered on other sites as he condescends to contribute to them.
- AlbaNYhawker (aka AlbaNYhawker, HHDreamyLoveSlave) of 12 Seahawks Street (please tell me you've heard of it.)
- John Morgan (aka Panamanian Flüeger Toff) of Field Gulls, making way too much sense for me. Analysis for kings, I say.
- Citizen K (aka Citizen K) of SeahawkBlue, bringing feindinsh anagrams and pop culture reference to the Seahawks masses, and personally responsible for making it stylish again to refer to oneself in the third person.
Now, be entertained....
After game one, Shaun Alexander received a game ball. In game two, he struggled. What are the Seahawks going to get from him this season, realistically?
MU: Two things: Jack and shit. I hate to say it, but SA has gotten slooooooow.
AH: A refund? Seriously though, I hate it when the blowhards in the mainstream media hammer on a point until it comes true, but it does appear that the over-30 Alexander is more susceptible to nagging injuries. I'm hoping that Jon Kitna stops hogging the hotline to God and shares the phone with Shaun so he can quickly shed the Cast of Righteousness. (insert TM symbol here with a hat tip to CitK) My gut feeling is that Shaun loves to prove people wrong, so even if he needs to do it on his knees with one arm, he's going to return to his 2005 form.
JM: People need to get over Shaun Alexander's past. Try this analogy: Sports fans are like Hugh Hefner, fresh talent is always coming in. Now it might not seem like not too long ago that Pamela Anderson was the hottest woman you'd ever seen, but age and overuse have left her a grotesque remnant of what she once was. All the nostalgia and collagen in the world aren't going to resurrect Pam circa `92. Meanwhile, the current crop of bunnies might not be knocking your socks off, but their younger and there's three of `em. Alexander still smells pay dirt like few in the NFL, but he shouldn't be getting carries just because you once soiled yer trousers watching him. Pick the field.
CK: Like ending A.C. Green’s virginal status, predicting Shaun Alexander’s performance is virtually impossible. However, there are a several events that will inevitably occur this season:
- Sep. 23, Seattle: Frustrated by gaining only 20 yards in 15 carries, Shaun prays for Divine assistance. God hears and responds, adding 21 points to Seattle’s scoreboard tally, topping off every beverage container in the stadium, and replacing fans’ memories of Shaun dropping like Mel Gibson’s film career with a peppy musical montage featuring his best runs from 2002-2005.
- Oct. 7, Pittsburgh: Shaun plays through the nagging throb of a butterfly bite which causes him to fumble twice in the first half, ending the day by romping 19 yards for the winning score. Later, he claims he was inspired to perform this feat by the sight of a mysterious small child smiling at him from the bench. Subsequent investigation reveals this “child” to have been Josh Wilson.
- Nov. 25, St. Louis: Instead of heading out of bounds when faced with an onrushing defender, Shaun cuts back, traverses the field, and sprints 40 yards down the opposite sideline for the score. As he celebrates with teammates, his cleat clips a stray fleck of paint on the field, aggravating his still-healing foot. Writhing in pain, he seethes, “I knew I should have gone out of bounds!”
- Dec. 30, Atlanta: The Seahawks rest their starters, having clinched their division and playoff position. The Falcons, secure in having earned the league’s worst record, do the same. Shaun, perceiving a potential stat bounty, begs his way into the game. Though the average Atlanta defensive lineman is roughly the size of the Jimmy Kimmel, Shaun—though rarely hit—repeatedly stumbles while crossing the line of scrimmage, ending the first half averaging 1.6 yards per carry. In the second half he manages to break a couple 20 yarders and score twice, but Seahawk fans still wonder what they’re going to get from him in the playoffs…
Imagine for a moment--you are a defensive back with the Seattle Seahawks. On Sunday, you will be covering Chad Johnson. Tell me how it's going to go.
MU: Look at me, I'm Marcus Trufant!
AH: It'll be fine because I got a shipment from Balco and have spent all this week rubbing a clear substance on Patrick Kerney while he was sleeping (just ask that chick who was his house guest...that dude can sleep through ANYTHING!) and have replaced Lofa's tub of macadamia nut butter with 'the cream.' With the 'enhanced' pressure being applied by the two stars of the front seven, Carson Palmer shouldn't have time to find his favorite targets down field. Just for safety sake though, I've rubbed a little BenGay on my neck so as not to strain it whipping around to watch those guys catch the long ball.
JM: Like a trip to the bar with Ray Lewis: Long, deadly and ending in an acquittal. Seriously though, it's more about the pass rush. Marcus Trufant and Kelly Jennings aren't bad DBs, per se, but no one can cover the clown prince of the NFL forever, given time he can burn about anyone. The Hawks can't double him with a safety because then Jennings will get steamrolled by T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Simply, Seattle needs to get men in the Bengals' backfield. Turn Palmer's pocket into Fire Island and you won't have to worry about Chad Johnson.
CK: “Steady, stay with him. Here comes the pass—high, gotta hop for it, and—ooff, he kneed me in the kidney!”
“He’s mine this time… OK, I’m next to him, hands up, eyes on the ball, I’ll just jump and—ugggh, cleat to the clavicle!”
That last one was wack; he’s going down… Side by side, zig left, zag right—yeah, I’m still here—OK, ball’s in the air…timing my leap, and—holy crap, his toes cleared my noggin by a good nine centimeters!”
”Never again, Manute, never again… Whoa, crap, quick slant—stay on your toes, lean forward, good balance, hands ready, reach for him— and ‘GRRRRRRRRRNNNNNNNNN -- RRRRRRRRRNNNNNNMMMM!’”
(“Aaah, my leg!—he’s got a chainsaw!”)
Ok, now you get to play GM. Who would you rather have as your quarterback--Carson Palmer or Matt Hasselbeck?
MU: This might be one of the more retarded questions of all time. Hass is a very good QB, but Palmer's one of the best in the NFL and several years younger. Anyone who doesn't vote for Palmer here is either related to Hass or hates delicious wieners.
AH: With apologies to Matt, I'd take Carson, if for no other reason than the fact that Coach Holmgren sported Sequoia-type wood when discussing the tightness and beauty of Palmer's balls during Monday's press conference.
JM: Well, shoot, Palmer is younger and more talented, but it wouldn't be fun to watch the next two seasons as his psyche is systematically crushed and reformed by the Walrus. I guess you have to figure Hasselbeck gives the Hawks the best chance to win now, so though Beck isn't too far removed from "We want the ball and we're gonna score" I guess I'll stick with the aerodynamic one.
CK: Unfortunately, due to my pathetic ignorance of Carson Palmer’s abilities I’m less qualified to answer this question than Pope Benedict XVI is to write and produce the next Hilary Duff CD. So I will use anagrams to reveal the QBs’ hidden character traits, and thus decide who would be the superior choice to lead my team.
- Carson Palmer: porn caramels, cornmeal raps, Roman scalper, acorn sampler, clam son raper.
- Matthew Hasselbeck: becalms hawks teeth, melts the backwash, eschews bathmat elk, wetbacks leash them, tamest beach whelks.
The NFC West appears to be catching up. Is the window closing on the Seahawks?
AH: You know what they say in Seattle, "when one window closes...it's probably raining on that side of the house!" Even without discussing the improvement (or lack thereof in St. Louis) of the rest of the division, objective Seahawks fans should acknowledge that the window keeps closing as the Big Three of Walt, Matt and Shaun get older. None of these guys have an heir-apparent on the current roster, and if any of them misses significant playing time, our season will be toast. That said, I have faith in the new front office and GM, and don't see the Seahawks falling to the bottom of the division before they're re-tooled to make another championship run.
JM: Two part question. First I don't buy that the NFC West is catching up. Whatever small improvement that has been attained by the Cards and Niners is more than balanced by the suckhole that is the Pace-less Rams. Seriously, what does Alex Smith have to do to convince people he sucks? Fail to palm an Ikea meatball?
The Hawks window for Super Bowl contention is definitely closing. Beyond big Walt and Hasselbeck, the Hawks lack replacements for Rocky Bernard and Julian Peterson, too. I wouldn't sweat it; the Hawks are at least two years from really dropping off and almost every team in the NFL runs a boom and bust cycle. Tim Ruskell is a savvy cap manager and excellent talent scout, he could definitely reload this team before the wheels come off. Wait, that's not funny is it? Uh...Purple Monkey Dishwasher.
CK: The myopic idealist in me believes Seattle’s window is still open wider than Michael Moore’s cummerbund. In reality, however, that window is primarily being propped open by the crumbling cudgels of Walter Jones. When Jones switches to a new career (Announcer: “On MTV’s next episode of ‘Jonz’d!’”... Zach Braff: “Hey, I parked my 1998 Escalade right here—but now it’s on top of Mount St. Helens?!” Walter Jones: “LOL, dude, you’ve been ‘Jonz’d!’”) the Hawks, unless they break out the poison pills, will soon undergo a period of Dave Attell-level mediocrity until they draft, trade for, or clone a replacement for Big Walt.
Prediction time: What is the outcome of Cincinatti vs. Seattle?
MU: I always think the Seahawks will lose every game. It better prepares me for the trauma of losses, and it makes for a lovely surprise if they win.
AH: I predict the Seahawks get off to a quick start and score on their first drive. I predict that Chad Johnson scores at least one touchdown and does a celebration with a specific Seattle flair. I predict that Shaun Alexander breaks the century mark, both in terms of yards gained and career touchdowns as a Seahawk. I predict the home team shall be victorious, by a score of 37 - 31.
JM:This is overly optimistic, but so be it. 31-17 Seattle.
CK: You’re asking me to choose a winner? My pick-em skills are about on par with Steve Irwin’s talent for dodging stingrays. Luckily, I possess the modern version of the Ouija board, my daughter’s Magic 8-ball ripoff, “Pirates of the Caribbean” Magic Skull. Let’s find out what the swashbuckling soothsayer inside this trinket knows about NFL football…
Cap’n Crani’m, will Shaun Alexander, during any carry, propel himself more towards the end zone than the sideline?
--- “Aye, matey!”
Sounds promising! Will the Seahawks’ pass rush actually reach the quarterback?
--- “Arrr, Kerney be me first mate, and Tapp, me booty. Aye, they’ll knock Palmer on his seat so often he’ll wish he had the cushy tush of Kim Kardashian.”
(Don’t we all.) Will the Hawk defense shut down the Bengals’ passing game?
--- “Arrr, not bloody likely!”
Hmmm, well, will Chad Johnson catch any passes?
--- “Be Kelly Jennings in ye lineup?”
Uh, most likely.
--- “Aye then, matey! But only throws higher than six feet in ye air.”
Ouch. How about a final score?
--- “Tharrrrrrty-four to tharrrrrrrrty, Searrrrrrrrrtle.”