Something Great is Brewing (and it’s not Coffee)

Pete Carroll at practice

Pete Carroll stresses that the playoffs mean one and done. Play hard, boys. (Brian Pan, Seahawks.com)

The Seahawks are in about as good as position to upset the Saints, short of Drew Brees coming down with avian flu or something and missing the game. But honestly, I’d rather Brees play. I know it sounds crazy, but I want the Seahawks to defeat an elite quarterback in a playoff game. That’ll feel damned good.

Now, on to the good stuff. I’ve been seeing a LOT of articles written recently about this upcoming matchup. And I’ve decided to make a list of factors that are in the Seahawks favor. Surprisingly, there’s a lot of them. So without further adieu: Continue reading

Advertisements
Posted in Seahawks Analysis | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Note About Using Twitter

Twitter Logo

Albeit a bit nerdy, Twitter is a great way to stay up on Seahawks news, coverage and conversations.

I know, I know. Twitter is nerdy. “What the hell is a tweet? That sounds so [insert predictable, low-brow homosexuality slur here].” Many find the things people share on Twitter worthless and asinine (comic contains a little bit of salty language, but is hilarious). “I don’t want to hear about a friend that’s going to the store. I don’t care.”

There are plenty of reasons not to like Twitter, I agree. It took me years to finally embrace Twitter and more importantly: find its value to ME, Nick Andron – Seahawks fanatic and blogger. Because I also don’t care about someone’s visit to the grocery store or if they ‘checked in’ at work. I’ve found a pipeline of Seahawks gold (and to a lesser extent, the NFL in general) within Twitter and I’d be mighty despressed (and uninformed) without it.

Currently, I follow (I see people’s updates) and am followed (people see my updates) by approximately 150 people. More than half are either: Seahawks fans, Seahawks bloggers, professional sports writers / columnists and Seahawks players. I’ve had some awesome discussions with fellow fans on Twitter, and the best part is: since Twitter is kinda the “nerdy” social network, you don’t run into a lot of idiots like you do on the ESPN blogs, etc. Most Seahawks Twitter followers are reasonable, intelligent folks that are just as passionate about the Seahawks as you and I.

Other reasons to use Twitter, other than conversing with fellow Seahawks fans:

  • Get the inside track on breaking Seahawks or NFL news – It’s often reported on Twitter first, believe it or not. Follow guys like Adam Schefter, Jason La Canfora, or any of the ESPN bloggers, like Mike Sando for this kind of info.
  • Get in tune with other kickass Seahawks blogs out there – Guys like Rob Stanton, Brian McIntyre, HawkBlogger, Jonny Peel, John Morgan and others write amazing blogs. You can find links to those sites under “Other Seahawks Fanatic Sites”.
  • Converse with Seahawks players on Twitter – many often don’t respond back (they’re often flooded with tweets), but occasionally they will. And it’s pretty cool when they do. Hell, Aaron Curry just “followed” me not too long ago. I did a jig. Some Seahawks players active on Twitter: Mike Williams (@BigMikeWill17), Aaron Curry (@Seahawk59), Lofa Tatupu (@LofaTatupu), Colin Cole (@cacole90), Russell Okung (@BDR76), Matt Hasselbeck (@hasselbeck), Earl Thomas (@Earl_Thomas), Justin Forsett (@JForsett), Golden Tate (@ShowTimeTate), Raheem Brock (@RaheemBrock), Walter Jones (@BJRTH), Will Herring (wherring54).

Give it a shot. And I’ll even help with the legwork so you don’t have to go out and find every Seahawks account worth following. I’ve put together a “list” on Twitter that anyone can follow. A “list” is simply a list of people on Twitter. You can follow a list, and see everyone’s tweets within it. Here is the URL for the list (you don’t even need a Twitter account to view it): http://twitter.com/#!/nandron/a-list-for-seahawks-fanatics.

Sign up for Twitter and “follow” the list. That’ll be the first step. Then simply keep www.twitter.com open on that list and watch it during the day. It updates every few moments (the list follows mostly Seahawks fans, bloggers and beat writers, players, but also a few high level NFL guys that often break news). Just do that. And if you like what you see, start following some of the individual people and conversing with them.

I’d be happy to answer any questions you got about Twitter. Simply write a tweet including “@nandron” (this may be familiar – Facebook copied this functionality so users could ‘mention’ another Facebook user within a status update) and I’ll see it and get right back to you.

Give it a shot. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Why the Seahawks Should Start Matt Hasselbeck

Pete Carroll, Matt Hasselbeck

Pete Carroll is a very outwardly bubbly coach, almost to a fault, but rare public facial expressions like these proves the guy means business. You hear that Matt? It's do or die. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

I’ll save you the “Matt’s a veteran” and “he’s been in the playoffs before” arguments. Matt’s performance of the previous three seasons nullifies the first argument, and the second is just idiotic. Show me proof that players “with playoff experience” perform better than players that don’t. You’ll have a better shot justifying that lottery tickets are worth the investment.

No, I think Matt should start as the Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback in the NFC West wild card matchup for three reasons:

1. Matt’s rapport with Mike Williams. In the three games in which Charlie Whitehurst played significant time under center (vs. Giants, Buccaneers, and Rams), Mike Williams recorded a total of 7 receptions for 56 yards. Compare that to 58 receptions for 695 yards in ten games with Matt under center. And when the Seahawks played the Saints during the regular season, Williams caught 6 catches for 109 yards playing on the foot he injured in the first quarter. I can only imagine what he would have done sans injury.

The Seahawks need that kind of production again if they have any chance, offensively, against the Saints. Mike Williams will be one of the few mismatches in favor of the Seahawks on Saturday, and he needs to be targeted and targeted a lot. Although three games is a tiny sample size, I’m not convinced anything will have dramatically changed in one week of practice that will suddenly spark a bond of trust between Charlie Whitehurst and Mike Williams.

2. Matt is poised and goes through his progressions. What worried me about Charlie Whitehurst in Sunday’s victory over the Rams was his unwillingness to go through his progressions and throw the ball. On far too many occasions, he’d make a read or two, feel (or imagine) pressure, ditch his progressions and just tuck the ball and run. Granted, he made a few good plays with his feet, but those kind of plays won’t win against a Saints team that will likely score 25+ points against the Seahawks defense.

The Seahawks QB that plays on Saturday will have to throw, and throw it a lot to move the chains, control time of possession and most importantly: score touchdowns. The Seahawks won’t be “holding on” like they were with the Rams; they will need to keep up with the Saints’ offense. Three field goals and a touchdown ain’t gonna cut it. Not unless the Seahawks defense suddenly becomes superhuman, somehow, and hold the Saints to 6 points, too. Don’t hold your breath.

3. Matt’s hungry. Very hungry. OK, OK. I have no idea what Matt Hasselbeck is other than he’s: a human being, a bald male, and one of the best Seahawks players of all time. But I’d bet everything I own, however, that he’s pissed off that he’s been benched in favor of an overpaid Jesus lookalike that can barely play quarterback. Harsh? Yes. But come on – Charlie looks downright lost most of the time and that won’t change any time this season. I bet Matt is damned hungry to get in there and prove to the world (and himself) that’s he’s got something left. Hell, being at the end of a contract probably helps, too. If healthy and starting, I think we’ll see Matt give his all against the Saints. And all of what Matt Hasselbeck has is far more likely to be more than what Charlie Whitehurst has right now.

This isn’t a post meant to trash Charlie Whitehurst. Come on, he is a Jesus lookalike. I want Charlie Whitehurst to succeed under center, and become the answer to the Seahawks fanchise’s biggest question mark. But all of the inexperience, mistakes, and deer-in-the-headlight looks will not have disappeared in the week between the Rams and Saints games. Hell, they may not disappear in an entire offseason of work as the established #1 QB. Winning against the Rams is one thing. Winning against the reigning Super Bowl champs is a whole another.

GOD I’m excited for Saturday. Aren’t you!?

Posted in Seahawks Analysis | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Where the Seahawks Could Land in the 2011 NFL Draft, Part 1

Stephen Jackson stuffed by Seahawks

There is no bigger match-up than this one that will determine where the Seahawks draft in 2011.

I thought about delaying this post until next week. I mean hell, the work of determining and guessing the different draft scenarios will be rendered moot once the standings are final come Sunday evening. But hey, it’s a good opportunity to test my abilities of prediction. And to give those watching this Sunday’s epic matchup against the Rams an additional layer of context.

A quick note before we move on: some of the language in the post may suggest that I’m for the Seahawks losing out and getting a better pick. As I stated in my previous post, I’m not. The language is strictly related to draft position. So when I say “best case scenario” – I mean the best possible draft position the Seahawks could get. That’s all. Onward.

In probably the oddest NFL occurrence in decades, the 6-9 Seahawks are fighting for a playoff berth. So instead of three possible draft scenarios (best case, worst case, most likely case), there are four scenarios (best, worst, playoffs, most likely). I’ve got a pretty complicated draft spreadsheet, but I’ll save you a set of glazed-over eyes. The four scenarios are as follows:

1. Best case scenario: 6th overall.

For this scenario to occur, the Seahawks lose to the Rams, miss the playoffs, and every team that’s currently 5-10 or 6-9 will win. A 6-9 team that wins will end the season at 7-9, and automatically draft below the 6-10 Seahawks. A 5-10 team winning would put them in a tie with the 6-10 Seahawks. But since the Seahawks had the third easiest “Strength of Schedule” this season, they’ll win in a tiebreaker with nearly every team in the NFL. The only current 5-10 team the Seahawks will not beat in a 6-10 tie is the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals will draft above the Seahawks in every scenario.

This scenario is possible, but highly unlikely to happen. CLE would have to beat PIT, MIN would have to beat both PHI (in week 16, Tuesday night) and DET, HOU would have to beat JAX, DAL would have to beat PHI, etc. Yeah, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Regardless, the best draft position the Seahawks will achieve if they miss the playoffs is 6th overall.

2. Worst case scenario: 11th overall.

This scenario is similar to the above, with the exception that each team the Seahawks are competing with for draft position will instead lose. Pretty simple. The worst draft position the Seahawks will achieve if they miss the playoffs is 11th overall.

3. Seahawks make the playoffs: 22st overall or worse.

The Seahawks beat the Rams, establish a playoff berth, and by NFL rules are automatically slotted below every NFL team that does not achieve a playoff berth. The best possible outcome, in terms of draft position, would be a loss in the first round, which would award the Seahawks with the 22nd overall pick. If the Seahawks win, the pick would only fall. Hurray, playoffs!

4. Most likely scenario: 9th overall.

This is the one you’ve been waiting for. To put it simply, I don’t think the Seahawks are beating the Rams in week 17. I haven’t written a post about the Buccaneers beat down. It was painful to watch, and I’m sure even more painful to analyze and write up.  The Seahawks are regressing pretty heavily on both sides of the ball (for various reason), and a turnaround big enough to beat the Rams would be nothing short of miraculous. If Matt Hasselbeck was guaranteed healthy, I’d say it’s a 50/50 shot. But Carroll said after the game that he would not practice all week, and is questionnable for Sunday. I doubt he’ll play. And Charlie won’t put up enough points to account for the points the Seahawks defense will likely give up.

So, with that said, I looked at each of the other teams’ week 17 match-up and made a best guess at who’d win, and what the final standings would be. There are four key week 17 match-ups that will determine where the Seahawks will draft:

  • Dallas loses to Philadelphia and drafts above the Seahawks (so pray for a Dallas win)
  • Cleveland loses to Pittsburgh and drafts above the Seahawks (so pray for a Cleveland win)
  • San Fransisco wins with Arizona and drafts below the Seahawks (I know it’ll be tough, but pray for SF in this scenario)
  • Houston wins with Jacksonville and drafts below the Seahawks (so pray for a Houston win)

There is a fifth matchup (Lions and Vikings), but it’s likely meaningless. Minnesota will likely lose to Philadelphia on Tuesday, putting them at 5-10. In week 17, the outcome of Detroit at Minnesota will only determine which of the two teams pick above the Seahawks (because the loser will end season at 5-11). The only scenario that benefits the Seahawks would be Minnesota beating Philly on Tuesday, and then losing to the Lions in week 17. That’d put both teams at 6-10, but drafting below the Seahawks due to strength of schedule. I wouldn’t hold your breath for this one.

Conclusion

In regards to draft position, there is no bigger match-up than the Rams at Seahawks. A win over the Rams would be devastating to the Seahawks’ draft position, but as I stated before, a playoff berth is likely more valuable than a loss and a high draft pick, from the position of the franchise. Part two of this post will be a shot in the dark at players the Seahawks may target at 6th overall, 9th overall, 12th overall and 22nd overall. Stay tuned!

Until then, what do you think?

Posted in Seahawks Analysis | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Why Root for the Seattle Seahawks to Win?

Tony Romo fumble

Hey, it could happen again. Who knows?

Just a point of clarification: the title of the post isn’t at all sarcastic in nature. I think that now is a great time to remind a good number of Seahawks fans why they should root for their team to win. And yes, I do think it’s sad that fans need a reminder why winning is positive, even if it feels like its detrimental to the future of the team.

You really want Andrew Luck so badly that it hurts the core of you. That’s your argument. Do you realize that Andrew Luck and Ryan Leaf have more in common than just a four-letter last name that starts with “L”? The draft is a crapshoot, and there’s more to losing than the benefit of a good draft pick. Hell, I’ll admit, that realist inside me quietly whispers “losing out sucks now, but will pay off in the future.”

“Dude,” he says, “You know who was drafted around 10 last year? Michael freakin’ Crabtree, man. Don’t you want equivalent talent like Michael Crabtree in green and blue for 4+ years?! And come on, be real. If the Seahawks make the playoffs this year, they’re going to get CRUSHED. You know it. It’s likely they’ll draw the Saints or the Giants. They both CRUSHED the Seahawks this year!” The realist side of me is a real asshole.

The big question being kicked around right now is this: are the Seahawks better off not making the playoffs? The realist is probably right; if the Seahawks do make the playoffs, they’ll likely get crushed. Despite six to seven wins, most advanced statistics place them in the bottom of the league in nearly every offensive and defensive category. Let’s be really clear: the Seahawks are not a good team, and the chances of being competitive in the playoffs are about zilch. But does it matter?

Does the division championship banner that’ll hang from Qwest Field’s rafters have our record on it? Will it mention that we were subsequently crushed? No and no. I think it’s important to understand the implicit benefits of being a ‘playoff team’, despite being in a position that affords almost zero chance of being competitive:

1. Attracting and retaining talent on the field. This is always a critical topic, but it’s especially critical this year for the Seattle Seahawks. A number of impactful Seahawks players are free agents after this season (Chris Clemons, Brandon Mebane, Chris Spencer, Mike Williams, Leon Washington, etc), and if many do not return, only more holes will open up on a roster that already resembles a block of Swiss cheese that’s still somehow lingering from 2005.

Making the playoffs creates a very impactful story to our free agents: “The Seahawks are a team in need of your talents; although the Seahawks may not be on par with some of the best teams in the league, it’s getting better and it plays in a weak division. It affords you the chance to consistently reach the playoffs. And you know how it goes: any given Sunday.” That’s a powerful message. Let’s take the Buccaneers for example: they’re a better team than the Seahawks, but what chance do they have of ever leapfrogging both Atlanta and New Orleans for either the division crown or even a wild card seed? Not likely.

In addition to a number of players the Seahawks must focus on retaining, there are a number of impending free agents around the league that would significantly help the Seahawks become a much better team. I’m a firm believer that making the playoffs and emphasizing the huge opportunity within the Seahawks organization will contribute to drawing high-profile free agents.

2. Attracting and retaining coaching and front-office staff. The Seahawks are a team that can only go up, and playing in a weak division can put some major wins under a coach’s belt, feathers in their cap, or whatever lame metaphor you’d like to use. Brian Schneider made a rag-tag group of guys into arguably the best and most consistent special teams unit in the NFL. You can bet your ass that he’ll be heavily sought after by better teams in the league. Hell, San Diego is arguably an elite-special teams away from being a Super Bowl contender. Seattle’s special teams torched San Diego this year and arguably was the deciding factor in the game. You think they won’t come knocking on Schneider’s door?

3. Keeping fans interested and fanatical. Qwest Field consistently sells out. I can’t remember the last time a game was blacked out. Fans love the Seahawks, and despite their recent struggles, they continue to show up every Sunday and scream their lungs bloody. Oh, and they buy tons of Seahawks gear, jerseys, concessions, and other things that leads to money in the pocket of Seahawks players and the organization.

4. It’s the playoffs! Despite our slim chances, it’ll be SO AWESOME to play more than one game in January. I mean, when’s the last time that’s happened? Too long ago, that’s how long.

Forget the team building and future planning. That’s John Schneider and Pete Carroll’s job. Not every elite team in the NFL is built on consecutive years’ worth of high first round draft picks. For now, root for your Seahawks to win today, win next week, and attain its first playoff birth in a few seasons. That’s my job and yours, a 12’s job.

Posted in Seahawks Analysis | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Why Matt Hasselbeck is Still the Starter

Carroll is sticking with Matt. And Matt is sticking it to Carroll. (ha! ha!) (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

I flip-flopped quite a bit on the title of this article and finally settled on the positioning of ‘is’ after ‘Matt Hasselbeck’ and not before it. I’m in a declarative mood, I guess.

On Monday, Pete Carroll announced that Matt would remain the starting QB going into week 16 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, despite a three-turnover third quarter against the Falcons. I was about as surprised as a KFC employee selling a bucket of fried chicken to a poorly-disguised Oprah Winfrey. Listen, this is easy. It’s not rocket science. If you step back, all the way back, Pete Carroll has two goals as the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks: to win games and keep his job. And playing Matt Hasselbeck, regardless of outcome, will likely contribute to both. Let me explain with two very plausable scenarios:

1. Matt Hasselbeck plays the final two games of the season and the Seahawks miss the playoffs. An old adage states we begin our lives in diapers and we see the end of our days in diapers; I wonder if there’s an equivalent for the professional life of a NFL Quarterback. Some kind of inverted bell curve, perhaps. Because Matt Hasselbeck is doing a marvelous job playing like a rookie: he’s getting easily spooked, he’s making boneheaded throws and he doesn’t appear to be adept at reading defenses as he once was. He continues to cough up the ball at a terrifying pace (I have a theory about this: when preparing for Jeremy Bates’ offensive scheme, I think he mistakenly studied Jay Cutler’s 2009 game tape instead of 2008’s. Simple, yet critical mistake). Yet Seattle’s backup QB, Charlie Whitehurst, has only taken the field for one quarter this year due to Hasselbeck’s poor play. In the wise words of the Keenan’s famous character on SNL: “What’s up with that?”

After this theoretical week 17 loss and official elimination from a playoff berth, Pete Carroll will confidently look into the camera and say: “Matt Hasselbeck was our guy, we were confident in his abilities, and that I, along with the rest of the coaching staff, didn’t feel that Charlie Whitehurst was prepared to start and win games for the Seahawks.” It’s a simple, plausible and believable explanation. And completely defensible. No one knows Charlie Whitehurst’s abilities better than Carroll and the coaching staff. Who’s going to argue with him? The great unwashed (read: me, you, and every other fan) has seen Charlie play all but a few mostly meaningless quarters both in pre-season and the regular season. And his performances weren’t exactly cause for salivation. In this scenario, Carroll knew his quarterbacks best and sticks by his decision to to play the veteran over the rookie (close enough). It’s the defensible position.

Scenario 2: Charlie Whitehurst plays the final two games and the Seahawks miss the playoffs. Carroll is sitting on a comfy seat. In just the first year of his tenure as coach, he’s drafted or signed a high number of players that are (in theory) slotted as talented, effective starters for the coming few seasons. The team has already won more games than the previous two seasons and the Seahawks are in the thick of a playoff run. Fast forward to the theoretical now: Whitehurst blew it. Carroll’s gamble backfired and now that nice comfy seat is suddenly feeling hot. Here’s the question Carroll will undoubtedly receive during the post game-press conference:

“Coach Carroll, why did you decide to play Charlie Whitehurst, a young, inexperienced quarterback that hasn’t had much of any positive impact in his time in the NFL over the experienced veteran Matt Hasselbeck?” Continue reading

Posted in Seahawks Analysis | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Nine to Ten, Give or Take

Russell Okung

The Seahawks may find themselves drafting in single digit position in 2011. How depressing.

On Sunday evening, I found myself zoned out mindlessy browsing the internet. With a slight shake of the head, I snapped out of it and my eyes focused on the web page that brightly lit the screen of my MacBook Pro. Shit, not again. For a 3rd straight season, I’ve found myself staring at the previous season’s final standings to approximate where the Seahawks may pick in the next draft. Before the season is even over. Ugh. The fat lady hasn’t even cleared her throat, yet.

The Seahawks were blown out of the Bay in what was probably the most embarrassing loss of the season. The defense continues to look exhausted, sloppy. And I was half right in my previous post: the Seahawks’ offense was anemic. It wasn’t surprising, especially with Williams and Obomanu both inactive. What I didn’t take into account, however, was how poorly Hasselbeck would play and how easily and often Hasselbeck would cough up the ball. Or should I have? His stat line against the 49ers:

Matt Hasselbeck – 27/42 – 285 yards – 2 TD – 4 INT – 1 LOST FUM

Almost exactly this time last season, against the Bucs: Continue reading

Posted in Seahawks Analysis | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment