Archive for the ‘Front Page News’ Category
Former Bills QB Tarvaris Jackson expected to sign a one-year deal with Seattle, where he once was Seahawks’ captain.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 12, 2013
We love a good backup quarterback debate in Seattle…
It’s round about this time of year you formulate a man crush. Not that you can’t move on to others. This isn’t a marriage. No commitment. Merely a crush. Things can change during the season. But for now, you just want to see more.
Having successfully negotiated the whole ‘franchise quarterback’ problem, 2013 was a fairly pleasant draft to follow for Seahawks fans. No needlessly heated debates. For whatever reason, quarterback conversations don’t tend to be civil among fans. I’ve never quite worked out why.
2014 will hopefully be a similarly pleasant journey. And it’s a journey that starts with a pair of tight ends from the PNW.
Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Oregon’s Colt Lyerla are intriguing for a number of reasons. They’re big, unnaturally athletic players. They’ve both played other positions for a few snaps. And they both have some baggage.
While the NFL media fawns over the read option and whether it’s just a fad, the reality is guys like ASJ and Lyerla are the ones changing the game. They take bigger, faster, stronger to a whole new level. These types of players are just as important as the #1 receiver these days. It’s why we’re starting to see more and more tight ends appearing among the leading receivers in the league.
The Seahawks don’t really have a guy like that. Zach Miller is one of the best tight ends in the NFL and showed that in the second half of last season. Yet he’s slightly more orthodox. He’s a classical type who blocks well and offers a solid target for the quarterback. He’s not the Gronk, though. Or Jimmy Graham. Or Antonio Gates. Or Vernon Davis. You get the picture.
Seattle doesn’t necessarily need a player like that, but they’re in a position where they can get picky about which luxuries they want to invest in. So who knows, maybe they’ll be in the market for a nice complimentary target to their current group next April?
My interest peaked with ASJ and Lyerla when I saw them playing different positions. Seferian-Jenkins lined up at defensive end and didn’t look out of his depth. Lyerla took some snaps at running back and appeared surprisingly smooth and productive. I mean, when have you see a tight end run the ball, let alone run the ball well? We’re talking about explosive, difference making athletes here. The type you have to game plan for. And that’s exciting.
But then there’s the baggage. Seferian-Jenkins was cited for a DUI earlier this year, while Lyerla went on a bizarre Twitter rant about conspiracy theories regarding the Sandy Hook tragedy. Clearly in both cases, that’s some bad decision making. Neither comes off particularly poorly in interviews. It could be a case of ‘lesson learned’ and move on. Yet you feel obliged to remember this when reviewing both players ahead of possible entry into the NFL.
Both should get the chance to produce within a wide open PAC-12. The Oregon offense shouldn’t miss too many steps minus Chip Kelly, while Washington will hope to take a leap forward in 2013. When football returns in September, these are two players to keep an eye on. But you knew that already.
Seahawks have signed all their draft picks wp.me/p14QSB-957W
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) May 30, 2013
It’s not such big news these days. In the past a player or two might hold out into camp. Not in the new CBA era, which is refreshing. Guys who haven’t proven anything in the league shouldn’t be battling over money. One of the major positives of the new system is the ability to get young draftees signed up quickly. Now it’s up to the 2013 class to help push this team onto another level.
One of the more interesting things to emerge this week is an apparent leak of the Cowboys 2013 draft board. If you allow camera’s into a draft room, there’s always a chance you’ll see the board. And that’s what’s happened here.
Personally, I don’t see what the fuss is. Who cares if we know the Cowboys had a fourth round grade on E.J. Manuel? Will the world stop turning if it proves to be a mistake? Will it make any difference what so ever to Manuel’s chances of succeeding in Buffalo? Of course not.
I’m not sure why there’s a wall of secrecy post-draft. Teams might argue they don’t want to get shown up. Well, that can happen anyway. The only way to avoid embarrassment completely is to not take part in the draft at all. Sit it out. The fact is you’re just as likely to be praised or criticised for the decisions you make publicly (who you draft, who you pass on). So what’s the big deal?
It irked me a little bit that nobody asked Pete Carroll or John Schneider about San Francisco trading right in front of them to draft Vance McDonald. I guess those in a position to ask assumed they would get short shrift. But it’s a legitimate line of questioning and I want to know whether the Seahawks were considering taking McDonald before that trade. Were they usurped by a divisional rival? I also wanted to know if Seattle was thinking running back in 2010 before both Houston and Cleveland moved above them to grab Ben Tate and Montario Hardesty respectively. These are not unfair questions.
Essentially, the Seahawks didn’t do anything wrong in sitting tight. It’s not like they can be criticised. They have no control over who moves above them. Yet we’re none the wiser on what exactly happened there. Perhaps a member of the San Francisco media could’ve asked why the 49ers felt obliged to move above Seattle? Perhaps someone did ask and I just missed it? However, I think teams could be more open post-draft. Let’s learn more about the process. Why not?
The Cowboys board leaking is interesting because we see they only had 134 players listed. It’s always fun to hear people refer to ‘their” top-300 boards (you know who you are). Teams narrow these things down to the Nth degree. There’s no need to look at every player and create an all-inclusive ranking system. It’s an inaccurate science. One player who fits for team A won’t be a match for team B. It’s way better to pick out certain players who fit scheme and physical characteristics. I think Seahawks fans have a decent grasp on what to look out for after four drafts with this front office.
Jordan Hill is the only player Seattle drafted that is listed on Dallas’ board and he was given a third round grade. There’s some reassurance if you needed it. You shouldn’t need it, because this team drafted Russell Wilson. Amongst others.
Just to go back to Manuel and Dallas’ fourth round grade, it shows how weird the quarterback rankings where this year. Buffalo seemingly was always taking a quarterback. They could’ve easily put Manuel, Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib or Geno Smith at the top of their board. And whoever they passed on was going to sink like a stone. First round or fourth. What a difference. I’d guess a fair amount of teams had Manuel ranked in the fourth. Yet he goes 16th overall.
Dallas had Barkley, Nassib and Smith graded in round two. I’m amazed nobody took Barkley on day two, even just for value. A lack of quarterback need this year hurt him big time. Philly got a steal. Don’t be surprised if he ends up starting for the Eagles, maybe even in 2013. Likewise for Nassib, there was a surprising unwillingness from teams to pull the trigger — especially from those sporting ageing or mediocre starters.
The Cowboys gave Eric Reid a second round grade — the Niners traded up to get him in the late teens. They also had #11 overall pick D.J. Fluker in round two and Atlanta’s #1 pick Desmond Trufant in round three (along with Tank Carradine, Kyle Long and Datone Jones). Christine Michael was not on the board. Neither were any of Seattle’s other picks apart from Hill.
I remember speaking to a coach in another sport about a year ago and we ended up talking about injuries. I asked which was the more serious ‘common’ injury an athlete can get. I thought it was an ACL. He said it used to be. Times have changed though. Now it was the dreaded achilles.
It’s pretty much an injury that never really goes away. It can go again with relative ease. And it hurts like hell. It’s not impossible to make a full recovery — Demaryius Thomas has shown it can be done. But it’s a tricky one.
San Francisco are the definitive division rival, but I don’t want to see the Seahawks win the NFC West because of an injury advantage. That’s how close the teams are these days. An extra injury here or there could be the difference in 2013. And losing Crabtree is a big one.
Back in 2009 I was desperate for Seattle to draft Crabtree with the fourth overall pick. He wasn’t the fastest or the biggest receiver, but he had everything else. Amazing hands, the ability to catch away from his body, incredible control, the tendency to make difficult grabs in coverage and he was the key component in college football’s most exciting finish to a game in 2008 (Texas vs Texas Tech — not RS freshman Earl Thomas’ finest hour). Crabtree was a star in the making. I felt positive about that.
I remember shouting loudly and angrily at the screen when the Seahawks snubbed the best player in the draft for Aaron Curry. It’s easy to sit here and say that now, I guess. Yet it still hurts to this day. I remember getting excited that the reliable Mike Mayock had included Crabtree at #4 in his last gasp mock draft. I remember the split screen of Curry and Crabtree in the green room. I remember the blood curdling shout I made that probably woke the neighbours up when Curry’s name was called. It wasn’t a good day.
(I also just remembered that was a time before Twitter. Remember those days?)
Instead the Seahawks went safe — overpaying for an old veteran (T.J. Houshmandzadeh) at receiver. Crabtree was too risky for Tim Ruskell. He hadn’t worked out due to a metatarsal injury and there were some lingering character issues — although nothing too specific. Forget the fact Seattle was desperate for a dynamic receiver to help the ageing Matt Hasselbeck. Let’s spend over $100m on three linebackers instead.
*Stops rant because we’ve done this a million times already*
I think Crabtree should be a Seahawk right now. I think he’d fit very well as the bigger target in this offense. And I think a coach like Pete Carroll would’ve got the best out of him, much in the way Jim Harbaugh has in San Francisco. It’s no surprise either that when the 49ers had a settled offense and quarterback, Crabtree has played like the top receiver many expected he would be. Crabtree — just like Alex Smith — suffered with the bad leadership and constant change that franchise endured pre-Harbaugh.
Last year he struck up an instant connection with Colin Kaepernick and they threatened to become one of the best — if not the best — QB/WR combo’s in the league. So while it’s obviously good news for the NFC West and NFC in general that Crabtree may miss the season, nobody should take any satisfaction from that. You should want to beat the best to be the best. And that means facing San Francisco with the Kaepernick-to-Crabtree connection.
You build emotional attachment’s to players you respect in the draft process. Crabtree, even as a 49er, has my respect. And hopefully he’ll be back quickly for future battle’s with Richard Sherman and co.
Oh, and by the way, Jesse Williams can jump.
Pete Carroll finally addressed the PED issues today in light of Bruce Irvin’s four-game suspension. He claimed the Seahawks go beyond what the league insists to keep the players on track, to understand their responsibilities. Carroll voiced disappointment and admitted it was serious, but there was no anger in his words. He was philosophical. More like a let-down father than a boss reaching tipping point.
It was typical Carroll-fare. Not that this is a bad thing 99% of the time. Usually the boyish enthusiasm, positive mental attitude and slogans get me as pumped up as a player waiting to run out at Century Link and beat the 49ers 42-13.
However, I just kind of wanted to see a stronger stance today. I wanted to see actions condemned, warnings made. This is five suspensions in two years. Five. The NFL Network is already talking about ‘asterisks’. There’s been so much good work during the Carroll/Schneider era to turn this team into a contender. Too much good work to let it go to waste. Nobody wants to see those efforts undermined. And I guarantee they will be undermined if any more players are suspended for taking PED’s.
You also better believe the league is taking notice, as evidenced by this Tweet:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 20, 2013
And just when you want to move on and concentrate on football, the news breaks that Josh Portis has been arrested for a DUI offense.
Look, regulars know this isn’t a negative blog. We don’t search out reasons to criticise for the sake of it. I like to think we’re honest and ‘call a spade a spade’. In the last three years there’s not been a great deal to complain about.
However, this isn’t good enough. Too many players are jeopardising their own careers, the success of the collective roster and they are not representing the franchise, the fans and the community in the correct way. Nobody expects to see choir boys. When you put 50-60 guys together on a roster there’s going to be a few issues here and there. Seattle isn’t the only team to experience problems like this. But PED’s and DUI’s are unacceptable and there have simply been too many. When there’s an issue — and there clearly is one here — I want to know there’s a consequence. Stuff like this cannot be taken lightly.
Of course Carroll isn’t totally to blame for a fairly tepid response today. The media didn’t ask one challenging question in the entire press conference. It was an easy ride. I wanted to see a few tough questions thrown in there. Not because I wanted to see Carroll squirm, but because I felt that is what needed to happen. It’s that serious.
- Why do you think so many players on this particular roster been caught taking PED’s?
- Have you upped the stakes in terms of the consequences for the next person who gets caught?
- Have you been disciplined enough with this group? Is that a fair criticism?
- Does there need to be a culture change within certain pockets of the locker room?
In certain situations coaches and GM’s have to be held accountable. We didn’t see that today and it’s disappointing, especially given the wall of silence in the immediate aftermath of the Irvin charge (well summed up by John McGrath at the TNT).
Rest assured there’ll be a lot of tough questions asked from the national guys if the Seahawks win a title and it’s tainted by numerous PED suspensions. As I said a few days ago, zero has to be the maximum number of additional charges going forward — or credibility will begin to be challenged. This has to stop now.
And just when you think it can’t get any worse, there’s talk today they’re going to drag the draft out until May. Meaning longer to wait, longer to dilute the process and more time having to listen to people banging on about whichever quarterback they love/hate on Twitter.
I need to see some Christine Michael and Jordan Hill highlights…
Seattle’s former 1st-round pick Bruce Irvin has suspended without pay for violating NFL policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 17, 2013
Bruce Irvin. Brandon Browner. Winston Guy. John Moffitt. Allen Barbre.
That’s the list of Seahawks players suspended in the last couple of years for taking performance enhancing drugs. Richard Sherman was also charged, but won an appeal against his suspension.
Seattle needs to get a grip on this — and fast.
Everyone needs to take responsibility here. The players need to wise up. Learn what you can and can’t put into your bodies. Engage your brains. The vast majority of NFL players manage to avoid suspension. Why? Because they don’t allow substances like Adderall into their blood stream. It’s not that difficult.
The coaching staff needs to do a better job disciplining the players and making sure they realise the consequences of being suspended. These four-game absences are costly. The Seahawks can’t afford to lose Bruce Irvin with Chris Clemons and Greg Scruggs suffering ACL injuries. Irvin will miss a crucial divisional game against the 49ers. His absence won’t define the contest but you’d rather have him out there on the field instead of sat at home watching on TV. What a waste.
The Seahawks are getting a reputation here that undermines all the positive hype as they grow into a contender in the NFC. The Tweet below is in jest, but it’s the kind of thing you’ll hear more of:
— Os Cruz (@NJBeerNerd) May 17, 2013
Do you want future success to come with a question mark? People talking about asterisks? People wondering if that guy who won that game was cheating? “Oh yeah, the Seahawks won that game… but they’re all on PED’s.”
And yeah, I know that Adderall doesn’t exactly turn you into the Incredible Hulk on the football field. I’m led to believe it helps you concentrate, keeps you alert. Big deal. It’s banned. Therefore you don’t take it. Simple, really.
It’s time to act like professionals. You’re not the only ones getting caught, but is there another team in the league that’s had five players suspended for PED abuse?
It’s all well and good apologising, but it won’t change anything. Irvin posted an apology on his Twitter account. Bruce, seriously, you can’t play the “haters” card today. True, loyal fans aren’t just the blind faith brigade. Sometimes the truth hurts. You made a mistake. Deal with it, move on and please learn from this.
This is a problem. It has to stop NOW. No more suspensions has to be the maximum going forward. Zero. And everyone is responsible for making sure that happens.