Mike Evans, future Seahawk?
I’m pretty sure Pete Carroll watched this game. Probably while playing acoustic guitar on a baseball bat.
If he was watching, then he was probably drooling over Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans.
Carroll loves big receivers. This team has been searching for a reliable big man since day one. It started with the courting of Brandon Marshall, developed into the Mike Williams project, became the Kris Durham experiment and after flirting with Braylon Edwards, Stephen Williams gets his shot.
Seattle lacks a great possession target with size who can be a difference maker in the red zone. We saw in the Pro Bowl this year how attractive that kind of receiver can be for Russell Wilson (courtesy of Vincent Jackson and Larry Fitzgerald).
But it’s not just about red zone targets. Carroll likes a guy who can win jumps balls and make plays downfield.
Mike Evans put on a master class tonight.
Time after time Johnny Manziel tossed floaty passes in the general direction of Evans. And pretty much every time he jumped into the air in tight coverage and made a play. His final stat line was an eye-popping seven grabs for 279 yards.
Evans also flashed his athleticism in a 95-yard catch and run for a touchdown (although Alabama’s defensive call on that play was astonishing).
Sure hands. Great body control. High pointing the football. This was a superb performance, defining what teams are looking for in a big receiver.
I half expect Pete and John to be talking about this guy right now.
Evans is 6-5 and 225lbs with a basketball background. If he plays many more games like this he won’t be available to Seattle in the back end of round one. In three games this year he already has 518 yards and three touchdowns.
He has to be a firm focus on our Seahawks radar the rest of the way.
Quarterback talking points
Johnny Manziel is great fun. Things happen when he’s on the field.
There were times today, particularly when A&M jumped to a 14-0 lead, that you imagined him in the NFL pulling off all these magic tricks.
Unfortunately, there were also some things that made you counter that enthusiasm.
The two interceptions he threw were a portrait of his limitations. He’s essentially a gun slinging play maker without the big arm. He’s a chancer. That can be great when it comes off. But in the NFL, Mike Evans isn’t going to make you look this good nearly every time you throw a 50-50 jump ball.
The two picks were ill-advised throws into tight windows. Poor decision making first off, and he hasn’t got the arm strength to really arrow the ball into a tight window on the intermediate level. He can chuck it high downfield and throw a catchable ball. But in the NFL you have to be able to make throws over the middle into tight spots, anticipating a route and guiding your receiver. You also need to be able to throw a big downfield ball on play action (eg Russell Wilson vs New England) with perfect velocity.
I’m not convinced Manziel can do either of those things. A lot of throws have to be to open guys or it’s a 50-50 dice roll.
He’s a hell of a playmaker and I wouldn’t bet against him having some kind of NFL future. But it’ll always be feast or famine. It has to be with him. You can’t put a lid on the playmaking, so you have to accept the consequences. He’s like a gambler playing with someone else’s money. It’s both exciting and potentially infuriating.
A.J. McCarron on the other hand is a consistent, intelligent passer without much wow-factor.
I think he’s better than a lot of people give him credit for. You can see tangible physical improvements over the last two years and he has the frame to keep getting stronger. He’s in control, he’s assured. He has a terrific supporting cast but knows how to get the best out of them.
Most importantly he makes good decisions. He has a great feel for pressure and knows when to live another down. He’s not a hopeless athlete and can buy time with his legs. For the most part he’s pretty accurate and he shows good touch.
It’s just whether, like Manziel, he can fit those passes into tight windows with an average arm and launch the ball downfield on the home run throw. Again, I’m sceptical.
If Andy Dalton is worth a high second round pick, I think McCarron could be too. Put him on a team that isn’t in total rebuild mode and has at least one solid target and he can make you competitive. I think he’d be ideal for a team like Minnesota, who probably don’t want to burn another first round pick replacing flop Christian Ponder.
Give McCarron Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph, Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson — plus a decent offensive line — and he’ll get the ball out quickly to the playmakers and make you competitive. Put him on Oakland’s current roster and it’ll be messy.
But I guess that goes for most quarterbacks entering the league.
Maybe good teams get penalised?
We’ve talked a lot about how often Seattle is flagged and how much of an issue it’s been. Well, Alabama had 12 penalties for 104 yards today — much more than A&M. In the NFL, the best teams generally get penalised more too.
Is it more than a coincidence? Perhaps.
Stuff like this kind of makes me feel better about how many times the Seahawks get flagged. Although the game finished 49-42, you always felt Alabama were in control despite the penalties.
– It was a better day today for Alabama left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio. It’s going to be another stellar year for offensive tackles in 2014.
– C.J. Mosley was barely noticeable today. Not because he had a bad game, for whatever reason the ball kind of just avoided him somehow.
– I’d hate to be an Alabama defensive back in meetings this week. Nick Saban’s hair looked angry today. And when Nick’s hair is all over the place, you’re in trouble.
– On a side note, I watched the game with my dad and at one point he questioned whether Saban wears a rug. I found that amusing.