New Field Gulls podcast

I was invited onto the Field Gulls podcast this week. Check it out. Kenny and I talk about a number of topics including the NFC West outlook and the top-10 in the draft.

I also tried to argue, once again, that running backs are people too. And that the running game actually matters. So if you’re part of the cult on Seahawks Twitter, here’s your trigger warning.


  1. Georgia Hawk

    Rob, you are doing “triggered. wrong” You aren’t supposed to warn them. You blind side them with relevant, up to date, RB knowledge bombs, throw a little gas on the fire in the form of an opinion or two, then sit back and watch the world burn. Its WAAAAYYYYYY more entertaining for those of us watching.

    I for one agree 1000%, we have to take one of the premier backs with our first pick, wherever that may fall. Too much talent available early to sit back and take a chance on a 5-7th round guy. Hedge your bets and take the best talent available if fixing the run game truly is pri #1 for this offseason.

    • Rob Staton

      Haha 😂

      I’ll know for next time!

      • Georgia Hawk

        Thank you, Sir! 😀

  2. drewdawg11

    Wow, Kenneth… Fournette didn’t really have that big of an impact on the Jags? Those backups were terrible in comparison to what he provided. I don’t know how to explain it to people who are trapped in that anti-RB thinking. Would the Rams have been nearly as good without Gurley? Nope. Cardinals without David Johnson struggled mightily. The Hawks with a guy like Barkley would be a different offense as well, even with the current roster makeup at OL. Sometimes a player is special. Haha, Cowboys sure missed Zeke for that month last year.

    • peter

      One last thing in my coffee induced rant. I love how seahwk s Twitter thinks of themselves as some sort of moneyball practicing junior economists but while everyone is online arguing the merits of late running backs and trading wilson no one is smart enough or can be bothered to simply type:

      Does money ball produce winning teams? Into their browser. And the answer if you like me consider winning meaning a championship is simply no. One baseball team since the term became common, the mets, has one the world series since the book “money ball,” was published. the rest of the teams in baseball that win have big old contracts with stars.

      I wish seahwk s Twitter would stop ruminating on 2013 and play more “first pick,” it would probably more accurate for them.

      • Del tre

        +1 you made a bunch of good points.
        I especially agree about runningback, if we get a game changer like Gurley or Zeke, Russell is a top 5 qb our tram will win plenty of games

        • 503Hawk

          Just like it was when Marshawn was here (and playing)

      • C-Dog


      • Ishmael

        Love it. The problem with Seahawks Twitter – and you see this with almost all fanbases of successful teams regardless of the sport, New Zealand rugby fans are a unique breed of awful – is that everything becomes self-fulfilling. People are naturally biased towards their own team, so they lean towards them when they’re predicting wins, making player comparisons etc. And if you’ve got a winning team, they tend to confirm your takes – even if they are homertastic. Take say… Doug Baldwin. Everyone in Seattle knew he was good and was banging on about it for years before the national media caught on. They eventually did, and now everyone who was saying he was elite two years earlier gives themselves a pat on the back for their uniquely keen and penetrating insight. That’s fine, but the problem is that down the line that turns into ‘I think Ifedi sucks and I knew Baldwin was good so I must be right about Ifedi’

        And also spot on drew. Anyone who actually watched the game could see the impact Fournette had on that team, what he was able to do against 8 and 9 man boxes was seriously impressive. The problem with the Twitter analytics crew is that they go to the numbers first, and then watch highlights with that preconceived idea. So they say Fournette only averaged 4 YPC and blah blah blah.

        It’s become one of Kenneth Arthur’s obsessions at this point – like his Andrew Luck actually sucks, Bortles is a better passer than Newton takes. He’s fixated on it and nothing will change his mind. That’s just how he rolls.

        • Mark Souza

          “Only averages 4 yards per carry?” WTF – that’s a dream. It means if you hand him the ball 3 times, you have a first down. It means on average, you are looking at 3rd and 2. Where do I sign up for that? Perhaps they’re so into numbers that they don’t understand the game. Controlling the ball, keeping it out of your opponents hands while running down the clock and scoring is what it’s all about.

        • GerryG

          Kenny makes a very valid argument re the cap savings, and the value of the top 10 or top 5 RB pick.

          Once outside of the top 5 or 10 the value starts to come into play. That said if you can get generational talent, and you have a QB and solid DL I have zero issues drafting a RB.

  3. peter

    the problem with the running back argument is that it seems to me just looking at some rough roster breakdowns a case “could,” be made that maybe a smart team doesn’t need to draft anyone earlier than the third round. Or thereabouts and always keep everyone in single contracts.

    basically Seahawks Twitter is wondering why seattle and the other 30/teams aren’t the patriots.

    I mean the patriots have Brady on a goofy contract and honestly don’t have a premier anything on that roster.

    I mean if you wanted to really get down a wormhole when has a great wr helped a team win enough games to matter? Jerry rice 25 years ago. A great o line men? Probably irrelevant if you are honest with yourself. I think Ogden was the last first ballot hall of fame tackle who won a title. Tight end? Jimmy Graham was picked after the saints won so he was a pointless pick for the saints.

    • peter

      and you could seriously do this forever with all positions d tackle, end ,corner, safety, etc. Until you come out the other side and realize that the only data that matters to Seattle is that they have been to three super bowls under two regimes and all three times got there with great running games from first round picks and the only one they one was with a great defense and a first round pick running back.

      that’s it Seahawks Twitter that’s the only data set you need.

    • AlaskaHawks

      The last time the Patriots won the super bowl they were rotating three backs. All three looked good at their skills. Blount was available for 2 million a year and moved over to the Eagles on the off season to help them win a Super Bowl.

      The biggest lesson from Patriots is coaching. You need great coaches for consistent wins. They choose the players, they train them , they prepare them, and they call the plays.

      • Trevor

        I agree coaching and scheme are ultra important. No chance the Eagles win the SB without Doug Petersen. He was the anti Dan Quinn / Kyle Shanahan who lost game for Falcons the year before.

        • Mark Souza

          Coaching and the premier QB in the league. See where coaching aloone gets you if your quarterback is Johnny Manziel, or DeShone Kizer.

          And characterizing NE as having no studs and just middle-of-the-road players is inaccurate. They have had arguably the best tight end in the league for a while, some of the best slot receivers, and decent O-lines, and a few studs on D peppered in there as well – Willie McGinist, Tedy Bruschi, and Vince Wilfork come to mind.

  4. Kenny Sloth

    I wonder how the teams under us are planning to pick.

    Cowboys could go a couple directions, Lions too under Patricia.

    Those two teams and their strategies will define the availability of a decent trade down

    • Kenny Sloth

      Maybe if someone wants Leighton Vander-Esch over the Cowboys?

      • C-Dog

        Atlanta supposedly covets DT, and I could see Dallas go there, although WR seems to be the popular belief as to their main target.

      • Trevor

        I think LVE, Mcglinchey, Davenport, Miller, Hurst and Sutton are all guys teams could trade up in front o Dal / Det/ Cincy to pick.

  5. drewdawg11

    I always cringe at the idea that somehow having a high number of third round picks is somehow better than getting the right player in the top 45, and we keep saying hat there is tremendous value in the second round. However, I worry that sometimes teams get too cute and try to look like master wheelers and dealers when taking a guy earlier is someone’s the best option. Hey, we don’t have a third round pick. Well, last year we took Darboh probably a round or two early. Malik was a high second… oops. You have to simply pick a player who will actually turn into a player. Now yes, IRS too early to judge that class. Still, guys they passed on had much better impacts on their respective teams and I don’t think we are drafting at an elite level in recent years. We do okay. So, if the player you know is perfect for you is sitting right there, and he’s not a compromise of what you want in that position, take him. If they traded down as they would in Rob’s scenario and all they got was Saeat, I would be physically ill because the second round pick is a mediocre football player. Period. He is. Hey, we want a running back but there’s like 2-4 guys we like and we can get cute and move down 12 spots and take who is left… then we see a run on running backs and then what? Stuck with option 4? All so we have a shot at an extra third round pick who may redshirt like Darboh did last year? Yes, we got a steal in Griffin. The rest of that draft is so unknown at this point. First pick was awful, second is still developing, Darboh is soooo impressive that we are signing cheaper veteran receivers or trying to recruit more because they must think so much of him. Sorry for the rant, but unless we trade Earl, keep the damn pick and take the best player on your board.

    • Rob Staton

      You’re making the mistake though of assuming that every class is equal. If the options were great at #18 and not particularly strong in round two this year, we wouldn’t be talking the way we have been for the last few weeks.

      I’ve argued quite aggressively against moving down in the past. Last year I think they should’ve moved up if possible. In 2014 I thought they should’ve taken Joel Bitonio not traded down.

      But this year the options at #18 look really, really weak. The second round value looks like it’ll be TERRIFIC. It’d be madness to just stay at #18 this year because some previous picks in round two haven’t worked.

      Plus they only pick once at #18 and then not again until #120. They need picks.

    • AlaskaHawks

      The other advantage to first round picks is the extra year under rookie contract.

      • drewdawg11

        I’m not making a mistake at all and that further drives my point that if the class is weaker, draft closer to the top and get someone who might become a really good player instead of a bunch of bodies. I don’t want a bunch of third round picks who are mediocre at the expense of taking a guy who has a better chance to be a player. If we pass on say Jones or Chubb and have to settle for someone who isn’t that good. Was that really a better draft if we get 2 extra players who aren’t as good as either of them? I don’t think that’s true value. If you could stay with your current girl and she’s really great, but you think you can hook up with these two girls you know but they can’t hold a candle to her, you lost the best one for you because you chose quantity over quality. I wouldn’t want to sacrifice the chance at a star for a couple of jags. Sweat is a jag. Guice isn’t Chubb it Jones, and Freeman isn’t either. I guess I’m sick of John thinking he’s smarter than the room. He’s proven that he’s not as smart as he believes.

        • Rob Staton

          The class isn’t weaker Drewdawg.

          It’s weak for legit first round prospects. There’s about 10. Maybe 12. Some will say 15.

          It’s very STRONG in the round two area.

          It’s nothing to do with coveting extra picks just because. It’s an accurate review of this draft class.

          • Mark Souza

            And to add to what Rob is saying, this class in the first round is not deep. In the second half of Round 1 you’d be selecting players that aren’t appreciably better than the players in Round 2, especially for the positions we are looking for. So it makes sense this year to drop back into Round 2 to get what we want at a lower price and pick up extra selections along the way.

            So who would be interested in trading up for our pick if the second half of Round 1 is so poor? A team looking for a position that is very thin this year and the best option available is in the second half of Rd 1, like Tackle, or the last of the highly rated QBs (Lamar Jackson) or DE, or the top receiver in a thin class.

          • DCD2

            There’s also no guarantee that just because a guy is a 1st rounder, that he will be a success. Look at how many 2013 1st rounders are on our team right now.

            If there are 50 good players and the hit rate is just about as good, wouldn’t we want two picks in that range? Who’s to say RoJo or Chubb will be stars? They could get hurt, do drugs, get in trouble with the law, drive their ATV into a tree…

            2013 had: Joeckel (2), Dion Jordan (3), Mingo (6), Fluker (11)… all Hawks now, and cut by former teams. Not to mention Eric Reid (18) who we could have if we offered him a job.

            1st round “talent” doesn’t equal Pro-Bowler. Go back another year to 2012: Kuechly at 9 (I guess Luck at #1)… rest of the top 10 is average to trash.

            3 of the top 5 picks aren’t even in the league anymore.

            • Mark Souza


  6. Kenny Sloth

    If I didnt want to hear what Rob was saying so bad I’d have shut it off after KA’s running back tirade.

    Straight up blasphemy. Thats just not heeding true value

    You draft for culture as much as pragmatism

    • Rob Staton

      I’m staggered that there are Seahawks fans and writers out there that don’t appreciate how Marshawn Lynch shaped the culture on this team. It’s as clear as saying the sky is blue or water is wet.

      But hey, I’m also constantly shocked there are people on the internet trying to play down the impact of a good running game or a great running back having witnessed the Seahawks at their best. It’s, for want of a more polite expression, bat s**t crazy.

      • Georgia Hawk

        We have some pretty creative expressions down here in GA if you ever need one, Rob!

        • Rob Staton

          Please do pass them on to me! 🙂

          • Georgia Hawk

            In this particular example I would say KA is about as confused as a fart in a fan factory!

          • Georgia Hawk


            He’s so far off he could throw himself on the ground and miss!

      • Del tre

        I find this to be especially funny considering both top 10 RBs taken in the past few years have completely changed their team, while on the other hand the Chiefs got a late rounder in hunt. Who while leading the league in yards was also wildly inconsistent.

      • Ukhawk

        Bennett said as much about Marshawn and he’s absolutely right.

        With that in mind, I believe we go for Chubb. In any other draft, he is the SPARQ outlier and goes much higher. Our hawks take advantage of the fact Barkley goes high to snag a near comparable athlete at a much lower pick. Pre-injury Chubb #s matched Barkley and he is still recovering…

        • McZ

          Pre-injury Chubb had two seasons to recover. There are still a lot of questions regarding his durability, and behind an OL having lots of hope, but until then no viable run protection, this is a lot to ask. He is no allround back and certainly no Marshawn. has him as a late R3. Walterfootball values him much higher, but with an if-tag.

          If the Seahawks want a Marshawn-like workhorse, they have to go all-in with Derrius Guice. Ronald Jones would also work, but would need a little more time to adapt.

          After them, there is a cliff. Lots of solid comittee backs and questionmarks.

          Bottom line, the choice is basically pulling the trigger at #18 (because Indy and Detroit will most certainly be into RB, too), or trade down. If they trade down, there invariably will come compromise. The debate rages on, what they can or will afford this year.

      • Kenny Sloth

        I will say that was fantastic media!

        I’ve never heard a sports podcast get so diametrically opposed in philosophy

        Even some philosophy podcasts don’t have as much dissenting opinion

        • Kenny Sloth

          In that same spirit!!!

          When was the last time a first round (will also hear arguments for early second round) running back helped his team to a superbowl win?

          • Ishmael

            Marshawn Lynch

            • Mark Souza

              In the last 5 Super Bowls, how many winning quarterbacks were drafted in the first round?

              • Logan Lynch


              • Frank

                What percentage of starting QB are taken in the first or 2nd round? Pretty close to every team has a first round or top of 2nd round pick at QB. QB are so over valued on draft day most back up QBs where 1st round picks nowadays lol.

              • Mark Souza

                The last 5 winning Super Bowl QBs were

                Foles Rd 3
                Brady Rd 6
                Manning Rd 1
                Brady Rd 6
                Wilson Rd 3

                Does that mean you shouldn’t look for QBs in the first round? No. It shows how information can be twisted. It also shows how often teams get it wrong. Many 1st rounders are busts. And I would go further and say even NE and SEA got it wrong when they drafted Brady and Wilson. If you knew Brady was a Hall of Famer, would you allow the rest of the league 5 or 6 shots to take him off the board ahead of you. Hell no. The thought they were getting a possible back-up, who if he failed, cost the team almost nothing.

                The same can be said of running games. Do you absolutely need a potent running game to win a Super Bowl? No. But do you greatly improve your odds? Yes. And do you need a 1st round RB to man that running game? No, but if you don’t, you’d better have a great line. And what’s even better is having a top line and a top tier running back.

                Imagine what Wilson could do if defenses had to deploy more resources to the run and the play called is actually a play action pass.

      • 503Hawk

        Rob, I can’t agree with you enough! Russ may have been the face of the club but Marshawn was the soul, the spirit! Beast Quake I & II, the other TD run against the Saints where the DB lets up, same thing against the Giants where the DB’s wanted no part of the Beast, the walk-in TD where he stands at the goal line against the hated 49ers, the stiff arm against the Falcons, etc, etc, etc…

        Man! I’m getting pumped just writing this! What a joy it was to watch a generational talent lick him.

        I want Chubb!

        • 503Hawk


          • Logan Lynch

            To be fair, we don’t know what happens in the bottom of the pile, so he Marshawn could very well have been licked by a generational talent.

            • Caroberto

              I have imagined 🙂

  7. Jordan

    In a hypothetical scenario, Kenneth mentioned all the top young RBs (Gurley, Barkely, Fournette, Elliot) being in the same draft. Curious Rob as to what order you would rank them if they were. Curious as to how others would rank them as well.


    • Alex6674

      Fournette, Barkley, Elliott, Gurley. But then I love me some physical RB! It’s about the culture aspect as outlined above. Remember when Fournette pointed at the spot he wanted to meet the defender and took it to him?! Man I love that. Procise did something similar season before last at home v (Eagles I think). Ran down the sideline but instead of going out lowered the boom on the defender. Maybe he shouldn’t be doing that given his fragile state! But that’s what you want.

    • Rob Staton

      I think it’d be very difficult to separate the four. All fantastic running backs. Three of the four have completely lifted the teams that drafted them. I’m confident Saquon will do the same.

    • Patrick Toler

      It would depend on the situation they go to. Fournette’s value rises a system where he gets downhill running behind a fullback. Barkley’s value rises in a situation where he gets the ball a lot on the edge and in space – if he has to run behind center 15 to 20 times a game I’m less confident. Elliot and Gurley are probably the most versatile, in terms of fit.

      Situation agnostic, I’d rank them:

      For the Seahawks, Fournette might be higher, given the points Rob made on the podcast. And I actually think Chubb is a sleeper to be in that mix. I think he has incredible potential. People are sleeping on him a bit due to his injury/recovery.

      • Mark Souza

        I’d rank them

        The only reason Barkley is so low on that list is he hasn’t played a down in the NFL so I don’t know what he’ll look.

        The rest are ranked by physicality and what they bring to the table. Elliot is on top because I remember what he did to Kam in that preseason game. Not many have put Kam on the ground and kept running, and he did it more than once.

        • Michigan 12th

          +1 on Elliot
          You guys are crazy if you think the others are as good as he was coming out of college. He ran for three straight 200 yard games against Wisconsin, Big Ten championship game, Alabama, playoff game, and then Oregon, National tile game. He was as a complete a back as you could be coming out of college.

          But now I can’t stand him or root for him because he is a Cowboy, and I can’t stand the Cowboys.

        • Jordan

          I love how there is no consensus here. They are all fantastic and I truly don’t know how I would rank them.

          What Elliot did to Kam as a rookie was burned into my brain. That’s a bad bad man.

  8. EP

    Feel like people just pass over the advantages of having a great running game because some teams do well without it. RB value tends to be based on production when it is in fact so much more than that. Same way a CB might have 1 interception in a season but completely shut down the receivers they face. Marshawn scared teams. Run it in your face constantly with a guy like that and a team gets tired. They stack the box, obviously this opens up the passing game. And as has been said it’s about culture as well. You can’t be a nasty bully of a team if the man to lead that attack is a QB, it’s not gonnae happen. Feel as if the numbers game etc is just bogging us down. Picking a certain player at a certain place has a higher probability of them justifying their value at that position. Give it a rest. Not everything is quantifiable. Saquon Barkley is a game changer. In retrospect would you refuse to take Barry Sanders, Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch etc because they are not valuable enough to pick early on. You’d be mad not to. A running back can define your team. Simple.

    • RealRhino2

      And others feel like people who can’t show their argument in any quantifiable, provable way will just fall back on arguments like “culture” and preconceived notions that can’t be proved. Please don’t take offense, but that’s all we’re doing here. You might say Marshawn made us tough, whereas I would say it was more that Jimmy made us un-tough. He was the soft, marshmallowy brick in the wall that caused the whole thing to come crumbling down.

      The beautiful thing about football is the complexity that makes for so much uncertainty. Did Gurley “elevate” the Rams? Well, I saw him in 2016: he sucked, and they sucked. But they brought in new weapons and a new coach, and he looked great. Did he elevate them, or did McVey and Goff elevate them? Or all together? Same with Jacksonville: Fournette, who by numbers doesn’t look great, or was it the influence of Tom Coughlin, Calais Campbell and their young defensive stars taking the next step? And the Cowboys got a very good young QB at the same time they got Elliott. It’s just hard to split these things up.

      To me it’s less about “Is a great RB worth it?” than it is about team-specific goals. Pete and the Hawks want to win a certain way. To play that way, they have certain player needs, and one of them is a good, reliable, physical running back. So we need to make sure we get one. I’m not saying that’s the best way to win, but it’s our way.

      • Rob Staton

        Come on Rhino. It’s undisputed that Marshawn helped set the culture and helped great a high level of toughness. Whatever your view on the Graham trade, it hardly fell apart just because he was playing tight end.

        • Trevor

          *1 Beastmode was the Hawks identity and the tie between the offense and defense. The defense loved Marshawn and the toughness he brought. They almost seemed resentful of Russ when Pete sort of turned the offense over to Russ and that is a big reason for all this off season change.

          • Mark Souza

            And I would say Dak Prescott might have looked a lot better than he was because of Elliot. When a defense has to devote heavy resources to stopping the run as they did with Elliot, then the passing game opens up. Prescott didn’t look so hot when Elliot had to serve his supension.

        • RealRhino2

          I do believe Marshawn helped set the tone. But I also believe that culture is a lot easier to tear down than build up. You can live without one special person always going the extra mile. What you can’t live with is that one person who is always slacking with the manager’s knowledge and without repercussions. That’s why I think that losing Marshawn or having Marshawn had less impact than adding Graham. Graham personified the opposite of just about everything that Pete preached regarding culture. They wanted toughness, he wasn’t tough. They wanted effort, he gave little effort. They wanted competitiveness, he didn’t strive to make himself better.

          But, as I said earlier, I do think Pete wants a tone-setting RB to help get that culture back, so whether it’s “worth it” from an efficiency standpoint is rendered a bit moot. Most of our moves this offseason have been about reclaiming that culture, IMO, and a stud RB will be a part of that.

          • Rob Staton

            Graham’s effort was not a problem at all.

            They tried too hard to make him something he wasn’t.

            • Mark Souza

              I don’t agree with that. He was big enough and strong enough to make an effort to block, he just didn’t want to. The only time he got physical was bodying up in the end zone, blocking out like a big forward going for a rebound. He had no problem getting physical if it meant the ball and subsequent TD was going to him. Not so interested if the ball was going to someone else.

              He reminded me of Shawn Alexander, could move the Earth when he was within sniffing distance of the end zone, but would lay down behind the line if there was no hole and it meant putting his shoulder into someone for a paltry gain, even if that paltry gain might have meant a first down and a potential playoff win in Green Bay.

              • Rob Staton

                But why were they asking Graham to inline block in the first place?

                It’s never been his game.

                • Hawk Eye

                  I think it is both,
                  you are right, they tried to turn him into a blocker instead of using him as a 6 ft 7 WR.
                  But he did lack effort at times and had some bad body language.
                  I do not consider it a lack of toughness, just a different type of toughness. Watch a football game and they are all tough. He is tough, but nowhere near Marshawn tough. Graham can take a hit, Marshawn enjoys it.

  9. Ed

    Saw a mock where Hawks trade down with Vikings then Browns, so completely out of 1st. I was good with that until they picked a CB then OT with other players still on the board (Hurst/Settle/Chubb/Jones II).

  10. cha

    Sneak peek into Solari’s OL training video.

    Excellent demonstration of hand-fighting. Keep your hands inside the man!

    • Gohawks5151

      Haha. I got your back on this one.

  11. Trevor

    The RB arguement is an interesting one which can easily be debated on either side. Clearly a uniquely talented RB like Marshawn, AP in his prime etc can completely fix a run game on his own. Those type of guys though are generational talents. Barkley may well be one this year.

    In the last 10-15 years how many teams have had good to great run games without good to great OL play? I cannot think of many. Scheme and the OL are every bit as important to the run game as the actual RB IMO.

    Todd Gurley and the Rams are the perfect example to illustrate this point. An incredibly talented top 15 RB. Was labeled a bust and awful in 2016 behind a bad Rams OL and poor offensive scheme. All you heard was what is wrong with Gurley.

    Enter Mcvay with new scheme. New veteran LT and C which vastly improved the OL and all of a sudden Gurley is a star and MVP canditate. This is not rocket science it does not matter how good an RB is if the scheme and OL don’t give him some run lanes. The difference is when you have an elite RB they take a 5 Td run and make it a 15 Td run or take it to the house. If they are getting hit in the backfield or running into a wall like the Rams in 2016 or the Hawks the last two years even Beastmode would have looked average.

    The run game is all 3 scheme, OL and RB. If you have all 3 clicking then you have a great run game. 2/3 average run game. 1/3 or 0/3 like Hawks last year and your top rusher has 300 yds and you have 1 rush TD.

    • Rob Staton

      Nobody was calling Todd Gurley a bust Trevor. He was rookie of the year in 2015, second team All-pro and made the pro-bowl! He averaged 4.8 YPC.

      The Rams were an abject mess in 2016. Not even Aaron Donald lifted them out of that. He had the lowest sack number of his career in 2016. They finished 4-12.

      This is the kind of goal-post shifting the anti-running game crew pull off. They try and make it seem like Gurley is just the fortunate benefactor of everything around him coming together. Not true. He was a second team all-pro without McVay, the LT, the quarterback, the scheme etc etc.

      Balance is great but you don’t need to be great in the OL and QB to have a great running game. Not at all.

      • Trevor

        Rob I could send you a ton of media clips from 2016 about Gurley and questioning him. I am not talking about his rookie year. I am talking about his second year.

        • Rob Staton

          I did note about 2016 though. Donald also had his weakest year and they went 4-12. They were a mess. The year before he was an all pro.

      • Trevor

        You are missing the whole point of what I posted Rob. I am not devaluing the RB at all. I am saying you need all 2 parts to have a good run game. RB, scheme and OL. No part in and of itself is the solution. That is my point. I am not saying an RB is not important or not worth a high pick.

        I would argue the Hawks don’t go to 2 SB without Marshawn and that he was the teams heart and soul. I completely understand the value of that type RB.

        This year the only two special RB I see are Barkley and Rojo. If the Hawks can get one of those guys great.

        • Trevor

          3 parts not 2 parts. Sorry for typo.

        • Rob Staton

          I understood. I just don’t think a strong running game requires balance. It really helps but is not a requisite.

  12. EP

    Russell working out with Barkley. Damn!!! If only it was training camp…

    • Trevor

      How sweet would that be!

  13. C-Dog

    Holy moly. Trying to have an civilized discussion about drafting RB with Kenneth Arthur is like trying to have a civil discussion with Rain Man on steroids when he’s worked into a lather. Nuts, but kinda entertaining at the same time.

    Go Hawks

  14. Logan Lynch

    This may have been covered previously, so I apologize if I missed it, but what would DJ Fluker’s TEF score have been?

    I thought it was interesting listening to JS’ interview with Clayton yesterday when he mentioned how Fluker wouldn’t have fit with the prior scheme. Now, he was brought in because “he just mauls people”. That could be a position-specific trait for RG and not necessarily true for the OL as a whole under Solari.

    Like I mentioned in the thread yesterday, I’m very curious to see how the influence of the new coaches changes the types of players that are brought in. They’re clearly looking for “all ball” football players and WR that are over 6′ who run in the mid to high 4.3’s is another example of specific types they’re targeting. JS made a point to mention the height and speed of both Jaron Brown and Marcus Johnson in that same interview.

    • Michigan 12th

      It’s a good sign that the scheme is going to change at least a bit. I hope Solari let’s the big dogs do what they are good at, and that is knock the person in front of you on their back. I think that is the only thing that will help Ifedi at this point. Just let him focus on the guy coming straight at him. No spot to get to, no pulling, just move the man in front of you, or block whatever is appropriate.

  15. GerryG

    A few years back Danny Kelly had a fantastic article on FG regarding the entire Carroll/Seahawks philosophy was around the run game, controlling time of possession, and limiting the number of opponents possessions which thereby decreased their likelihood of scoring. Backed up with a ton of data

    Everything started with the run.

    I am so excited to have an impact RB again. This will make the entire team better again.

    • Mark Souza

      Yup, add to that when you”re winning or dominating the time of possession battle, every time the opponent takes the field, they are facing defenders that are fresh. That’s not the case when the other team is dominating time of possession. Case in point, look what happened to us in Tennessee last year.

    • Logan Lynch

      This is not meant to be an indictment of FG at all, but I really miss Danny’s content. His articles were always so well written and informative. There’s a reason he’s writing for The Ringer now.

      I saw Seattle is getting their version of The Athletic now…hey Danny, why don’t you come back???

      Or get Sheil back. He was good too.

      • GerryG

        Danny is top notch, I remember Peter King giving him props

    • Rowlandice

      Gerry, I was trying to think of a way to articulate this and your comment helped. If you think back to 13 and 14, Our offense and defense “fed” off each each other. The defense would force a 3 and out and the offense would pound it with Marshawn. More often it seemed we’d have a 12-3 or 10-0 lead into the 3rd quarter. Then the opposing defense would get tired trying to stop Marshawn but eventually we’d keep pounding and he’d have a great 2nd half and we’d win games by double digits. The defense would get to finish by rushing the passer and let the LOB do their thing. Pete Carroll football at it’s finest. THIS is why we need a great RB and to “be the bully” again. Look at J’ville last season. Seems like they copied the formula for sure.

      • GerryG

        I wish I knew how to find that article it was great

      • 80SLargent

        A great defense like what Seattle had consistently kept the score down, which kept the running game in play and gave it a chance to work.
        It seems like the last 2+ seasons, Seattle has played a lot more from behind, which means more passing, not as many opportunities to get the run game going, etc. The statistics bear that out.
        Now, it seems more like they’re trying to build around Wilson and the offense, and maybe even more so than in the past, use the offense/run game to take pressure off the defense. While I’d fully expect a Pete Carroll coached team to have a good defense, they’ll never again be as great as the run of defense we’ve witnessed. However, if the offense can take a step forward, the defense won’t have to great in order to be a “championship caliber” team.

  16. Lil'stink

    There’s no question that the running game matters, especially for this team. I think there is some debate about what was the main reason for our complete lack of a run game last year. How much is the OL to blame? How much is on the RB’s? The coaches? How well whould Ronald Jones have done behind that OL last year? Would Zeke Elliott live up to being the 4th overall pick running behind the line we had last year?

    I think the value of the RB is a topic worthy of discussions. RB’s aren’t a dime a dozen, but how big of a dropoff is it from blue chip guys like Gurley, Elliott, etc. to RB’s taken in the 3rd round or later? Seems like the odds of getting a pro-bowl level RB in the 3rd round or later are better than getting a pro-bowl quality OL that late.

    Unless you have the opportunity to draft a Saquon Barkley, Adrian Peterson, or Marshawn Lynch I think the running game should be built from the trenches out. So I guess the question for me is this – how much do the additions of Solari and Fluker improve the run blocking? Enough so that taking a RB with our first pick is a better move than a player like Wynn, Hernandez, or Price? We have a lot of draft capital invested in the OL, but if you’re not spending it wisely there’s always room for improvement.

  17. Tecmo Bowl

    Recent history of top 10 RB’s Gurley, Zeke and Fournette has clearly shown how a RB can lift an entire offense and franchise. It is baffling that people continue to make Mel Kiper Jr.’s arguement, that you never draft a RB early. Yes RB has a short shelf life. Yes their rookie contract is inflated in regards to other top RB’s, would you rather spend $20m for Sam Bradford? Ryan Tannehill? Yes a top 10 RB can instantly change the culture of a franchise from a 4 win team to a 13 win team.

  18. jdk

    False dichotomy.

    Believing that drafting a running back high is a mistake is not synonymous with being anti-running game. I believe scheme is more important than the running back. Seattle has the pieces to get significant, consistent yardage on the ground, unless you believe that Brown, Fluker, Britt, Pocic, and Ifedi are just incompetent. I don’t. Alex Collins was 27 yards shy of 1000 yards last season, but couldn’t even make the Seattle team? I don’t think the problem was personnel. Fortunately for the run game, there are some fresh minds at work next season.

    Elite feature running backs are the least consistent path to a championship. The fact that Lynch won a Super Bowl does not refute that. It is anecdotal and ignores the fact that Seattle had an elite QB and elite defense, both of which are more highly correlated with modern championship success than having an elite back.

    Only 4 times since 1999 has an elite back (or a back having an elite season in the case of Dillon) won the Super Bowl (Faulk, Dillon, Bettis, Lynch). All of them played with very good to historically great defenses and QBs that are in, will be in, or are currently projected to find their way into the Hall of Fame, so it is kind of hard to definitively state they were ‘the’ reason for their team’s success.

    Yet great defenses and, even more so, elite quarterbacks keep ringing the championship bell, with or without good running games. The devaluing of the individual running back is on firm analytical ground, even if the value of the running game in general is making a comeback (with variance leading the statistical charge). I have yet to see any evidence beyond ‘Lynch was the heart and soul of that Seattle team’ to suggest otherwise (an aside: I may be bats**t crazy, but I believe Lynch’s contribution to be greatly exaggerated–it is a disservice to how good both the defense and Wilson were/are to give Lynch that much credit).

    I don’t Twitter.

    • Alex6674

      I’d be delighted if you could expand on ‘with variance leading the statistical change’ please? No need to do so in your professor speak either. It, like your comment, would be more understandable if you didn’t 🙂

      • jdk

        Apologies. That’s just how I speak/write/think. I am not in academia. It drives my kids crazy too.

        Even though passing attempts typically gain roughly 3 more yards per play than rushing attempts, they have higher variance. Passing plays are more likely than rushing plays to go negative or gain nothing. Combine that with the need to get 10 yards every series of downs and rushing gains value because it has lower variance.

    • Tecmo Bowl

      Occam’s razor : the Hawks offensive scheme worked quite well with a prime Marshawn. The same scheme didn’t work well without Marshawn. Major coaching overhaul ensues. Is it possible Marshawn made up for offensive deficiencies? Is it possible that having a dominant running game helped the defence? Open up play action? Was the focal point for an opposing DC to stop?

      Having a stud RB goes way further than numbers can quantify.

      • jdk

        In 2015, Seattle was the most efficient offense in the NFL. Lynch was injured most of the year and had 417 yards. The idea that Seattle’s offense needs an elite feature back is over stated. It just needs a consistent ground game.

        • Volume12

          Balance. Jacksonville found out all too well what happens when you force a ground game.

    • Volume12

      Pretty spot on actually. We might value RBs as Seahawks fans more and the Seahawks themselves as an organization probably do as well, but it’s not crazy or out of the realm to beleive that the majority of the league still sees it as a fungible position.

      • CharlieTheUnicorn

        If you can get a guy in round 1 and he ends up with 1100 yards, but you can get a guy in round 7 and he can get 850…. would the difference in yards gained be worth a pick 6 rounds earlier? (+15 yards more per game)

    • Rob Staton

      Unfortunately there are plenty of ‘anti running game’ people in Seahawks twitter. Not anti running back early — I mean genuinely people who think the running game isn’t important.

      • SeventiesHawksFan

        Very likely a minute and seriously minority a part of the Seahawk fan base. Just also vocal one. Statements made on Twitter are rarely representative of actual consensus. Especially outlandish ones.

  19. jdk

    btw, This is the most intelligent Seahawks’ blog by a large margin and I am a huge fan. I just happen to disagree with the analysis on this particular point. Keep up the good work.

  20. Volume12

    So. Miss HB Ito Smith all 5’9, 195 lbs of him has a visit lined up with the Hawks.

    • Volume12

      * 5’9, 200 lbs.

    • Volume12

      As well as Yale LB Foyesade Oluokon

    • Patrick Toler

      It definitely seems clear that Schottenheimer/Solari are down for smaller backs. Maybe they are just looking for change of pace options, but I wonder if it’s even more likely that Jones and Kelly would be acceptable.

      • Volume12

        Kelly’s really not small though. He’s right in the wheelhouse of Rawls and Mike.

        IMO they want a dynamic, pass catching back. I mentioned this on another post, but Prosise would be such a perfect fit for Schotty if he could stay healthy. McKissic is nice but not special like we know Pete wants. They’ll hedge or outright replace ’em.

        • Patrick Toler

          Yeah you’re right. I mean, he’s under 220, but obviously not the same kind of back as Smith or Wadley. I do think Kelly’s ability in the passing game is being underrated.

        • Kenny Sloth

          He is small.

          Kelly just isn’t light.

          • Patrick Toler

            He measured 5’10” at the combine, per He runs low – which is obviously good.

    • Logan Lynch

      40+ receptions for 3 years in a row. McKissic/Prosise hedge?

      • Volume12

        I think so.

    • Volume12

      Michigan DT Mo Hurst too? Missed that one.

      • Volume12

        Something about that one seems right. A Harbaugh guy, has a medical condition he’s battld through, would replace Sheldon.

        • Ishmael

          They like these kids Harbaugh has coached hey? Know they’ll be able to step on the field and go.

  21. Greg Haugsven

    Interesting trade downs in this two round mock. I dont like there picks though.

    • CharlieTheUnicorn

      I’ll be honest. I do not see 4 QBs going in a row. That NEVER happens. Mayfield at #4…… no way.
      He might go top 12, but not #4. There are too many questions about his off the field character… and maybe his locker-room presence. Adn the Bills trading up to #4 for Mayfield is a head scratcher….. now if Allen were somehow available, then I could see it…. but Mayfield????

      I also think Denver would take Chubb at DE, rather than Barkley. There have been rumbling of moving Von Miller, due to the potential price of his next contract. Hell, I think Chubb might go #2 to the Giants, to replace JPP on the DL.

      • RealRhino2

        This might be the year for the QBs. I can’t remember another year where so many QBs were talked about as potential “franchise” QBs, with supporters of each guy among the draft gurus and NFL people alike, and so many teams convinced they can’t win without that QB. And Buffalo is really the key. Everything they’ve done seems to be based on getting a QB, and there are no guarantees at 12. OTOH, Cleveland finds themselves with a huge hole at LT all of a sudden, and one will be available at 12.

        But you’re right, NYG could throw a wrench in the whole deal. They really could covet Barkley or Chubb soooo much that they refuse to move from 2. That’s really hard to see, though.

    • cha

      Hawks netting 2 second round picks to move from 18 to 35? Sounds like a fantasy scenario.

      Very uninspiring picks mocked to them though.

    • McZ

      Don’t now how to take a mock serious, that keeps giving the Seahawks a CB at first pick.

      If the draft plays out that way, I would comfortably trade further back to #45, take Hayden Hurst or Ronald Jones and just laugh my arse off.

      Interesting, that they also value the Braden Smith/Austin Corbett OG talent equally at late R2. This solidifies Robs stance on this.

  22. CharlieTheUnicorn

    Marshawn Lynch was the right guy in the right place at the right time.

    Defenses had to honor and respect him every single down he was on the field.
    Once this “threat” was reduced, then it became harder for the offense to function properly.
    Some was play calling and scheme, but the 8 man boxes became 7 and 6 man boxes…..

    Lynch was a the heartbeat of the offense and Chancellor was the heartbeat of the defense.
    The perfect example, which is on display as a recording at the HoF in Canton OH, is the Beastquake. Everything that this team was during 2011-2016 was on display in that single play.

    Even in the twilight of his career in Oakland, Lynch still brings it. His being inducted into the HoF increases with each yard he gains on the ground from here on out. Right now I think he is a 60%+ to get in….

    • Hawk Eye

      I think it is more like 90% now that he gets in.
      Crossing the 10,000 yard mark was very important

      Beastquake, the desert quake and the 2 super bowls added in.
      He was just the toughest player in the league and was dominant on a dominant team

  23. Tecmo Bowl

    Has anyone heard whether JS was at Louisville’s pro day? I watched some of the coverage, but didn’t see him…

    When the nationals talk about Lamar Jackson I never hear how he improved his completion % each season. I hear how he might be a 2nd round pick. Not a finished product. Inconsistent accuracy. Struggles with throws outside the #s. He needs to go to the team who’s the ‘right fit’ Michael Vick comparisons. Not how had a 57-19 td/int ratio last 2 years, which is better than Allen, Darnold and Rosen(Mayfield is historically great 83-14). Guess I just wish I could see a reason, other than race, as to why Jackson is getting the media treatment that he is getting. To my eye he’s a top 10 if not top 5 talent all day. A special player who you build an offense around.

    • CharlieTheUnicorn

      He is a unique talent. He needs the right scheme….. which is why I keep thinking he might end up with the Bills. They have experience and have had success with QBs that others overlooked…. the other team I could see possibly taking a swing on him would be the Saints. Imagine having him back-up Brees for a year or two…. that would be invaluable. The absolute worst situation would be where he got forced into service his rookie year, game #1, if he didn’t look ready for it.

      Ultimately I think after pick #18, he might go to anyone picking (or potentially trading back into the first to grab him). Could the Browns go #1 QB, then circle back late in the first and grab a 2nd QB to develop????? I’m pretty confident he goes in the first however….. which team he lands on is a mystery yet to be determined.

    • Volume12

      According to Mel Kiper completion % doesn’t matter anymore.

    • Ishmael

      There’s no other reason, you just have to look at the Bill Polian drivel. Sport isn’t a meritocracy, players are not treated equally. If you want to see where the NFL is really at, have a look at how many black QB coaches there are – and then have a look at the same number of RB and DB coaches.

  24. Greg Haugsven

    With all the numbers in now these are the cap hits in 2018 for everyone signed:


    Mike Davis $1.25
    Ed Dickson $1.87
    Jaron Brown $1.78
    DJ Fluker $1.4

    Total $6.3


    Justin Coleman $2.9 (RFA Tender)
    Dion Jordan $1.9 (RFA Tender)
    Shamar Stephen $2.1
    Tom Johnson $2.1
    Mo Alexander $720k
    Bradley McD $3.33
    Marcus Smith $1.43
    Barkevious Mingo $2.4

    Total $16.9

    Total Offense and Defense $23.2 between 12 players.

    Now we just need to resign Maxwell!

    • Greg Haugsven

      Could end up being more as most of these guys have per game active roster bonuses, but as far as the top 51 is concerned these are the numbers.

      • Patrick Toler

        Thanks Greg

      • cha

        So where are they at for cap room? About $10m + 7m if/when they cut Avril?

        • Greg Haugsven

          Its hard because you have to piece it together but it looks like around $9.8 million. Then the possibility of Avril and maybe Jon Ryan. Avril $7m and Ryan $2m.

    • CharlieTheUnicorn

      Coleman RFA signing might be one of the most under rated moves this off season.

  25. Frank

    Come on now, Lynch is a first ballot HOF player. I do think teams are only targeting elite RBs with high picks, and every one else gets pushed down the board some because you can find service able players in the 4th and later. Why spend a 2nd round pick on a RB if a 4th offers nearly as much. Rob spoke about tilt the field players in previous years, especially pre Wilson days, Barkley is one of those guys. I love Chubb, he sets a tone, my question is does he “tilt the field”?.

  26. RealRhino2

    We might all disagree on the value of a running game, the value of a great RB to the running game, and where you need to draft a RB to get a great one, but for all of our mental health, can we just agree on one thing? Can we agree to stop using the phrase “generational talent?”

    I swear I’ve read it 100 times this draft season, and it’s driving me crazy. Saquon Barkley is not a “generational talent.” Adrian Peterson started less than a generation ago, you know? Zeke Elliott was drafted just two years ago.

    • cha

      It’s the new “elite QB”.

      • RealRhino2

        Good one! IMO there are three “elite” QBs in the NFL: Brady, Rodgers, Brees. And I wouldn’t put up much of a struggle if you wanted to remove Brees from that list. The rest — e.g., Rivers, Wilson, Stafford, Ryan — are very good. Elite, by definition, is a much smaller group than is usually given the label.

        • lil'stink

          Completely agree about the “elite” label. It’s why I firmly believe Wilson isn’t an elite QB, he’s not in that top 3 of Brady, Brees, and Rogers. 32 starting QB’s in the league. Once you get past the top 3 you’re getting below the 90th percentile. Being in the 80th percentile is good, but it’s nowhere near elite.

          • jdk

            I will continue to use elite for any guy I think has a good chance to make the Hall of Fame. That might be more than 3 guys at any given time.

  27. Jake

    I appreciate Kenny’s passion for the Hawks but…have to say, I’m quite thankful that Rob now appears on a variety of other podcasts and is doing the Google hangouts.

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