Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Morning After: Seahawks Show Progress In Key Areas, Beat Chargers 16-15

The Seahawks starting offense has yet to score a touchdown. Pete Carroll admitted his frustration, a rarity, following the game. It would be easy to ring the alarm bells. It would also be misguided. Key parts of the offense showed needed progress, while the defense and special teams demonstrated their ability to win a game without a lot of points from the offense. This is shaping up to be a more complete team than the one that went to the Super Bowl last year.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Seahawks 2013-2015 Draft Classes Battle For Supremecy

John Schneider dominated the NFL from 2010-2012 with shrewd drafting that shaped a championship football team. A draft class that yields three starters is considered a success. Those three drafts met that bar, and raised it with at least one All-Pro player drafted each year. The next two drafts have yet to yield either three starters or even one Pro Bowl player, let alone an All-Pro. Frank Clark and Tyler Lockett bring high ceilings to this years draft class. Tonight, as the Seahawks enter their third preseason game against the Chargers, the performance of those last three drafts will take center stage.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Silent & Weird Seahawks Roster Battle

The competition at the top of any NFL roster is pretty straightforward. Coaches and front offices are looking for the best players at every position. Wide receivers are competing against wide receivers. Defensive tackles compete against defensive tackles. The logic shifts, though, at the back end of the roster. No longer is the decision solely based on which player is best at their given position. Special teams performance becomes a primary factor. This can see receivers battling cornerbacks, running backs battling safeties. It is a mostly silent battle that will be the most fierce over the final two weeks of preseason. Here are your Seahawks combatants.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Garry Gilliam Slays The Ghost of Sean Locklear

Mike Holmgren had seen enough. It was November 2002, and his precision passing offense was getting constantly disrupted due to a porous right side of his line. The Seahawks had struggled to a 4-7 record with Floyd "Porkchop" Womack as the starting right tackle, and Holmgren's job was at risk. Then Seahawks Vice President of Football Operations, Ted Thompson, made a bold move to pick up Chris Terry who had been waived by the Carolina Panthers after he was arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence charges.

Terry was immediately inserted into the starting lineup at right tackle and the Seahawks offense took off. Matt Hasselbeck threw for over 400 yards in two of the five games Terry started. A group that had averaged 20 points per game and 318 yards of offense boosted those averages to 27 ppg and 464 ypg over the final five contests. The Seahawks won three of those games, salvaging Holmgren's job as coach, if not as general manager. Terry never quite played to that level again for Seattle, but he had opened Holmgren's eyes to the difference a quality pass protecting right tackle can make for an offense.

The Morning After: Seahawks Lay New Foundation In 14-13 Loss To Chiefs

Programming note: Thanks for your patience. Just got back from camping today.

Losing has rarely felt so good. Seahawks fans can breathe just a bit easier now after seeing the level of play rise across the board in the 14-13 loss to the Chiefs. There is still plenty of room left to grow, but the pile of boulders blocking the path the team's potential was moved aside as the offensive line played above expectations in their first game together. Seattle is set up well to address the parts of the game that were subpar. Nobody will remember this game a few months from now, but it represented a meaningful mile marker toward reaching a championship level of play this season.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Things That Matter Versus Kansas City Tonight

Rarely has game two of the preseason come with this type of anticipation. Seattle takes on the Kansas City Chiefs, but more than that, they take on the pressing question marks on their roster that have a direct impact on their collective potential.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bullheaded Bevell, Carroll, Fail To Learn From Super Bowl Playcall

Pete Carroll and I were waiting for our cars to be pulled around after a nice dinner in downtown Bellevue. We had been discussing his Win Forever book, and how much of it could be applied to corporate environments. But there was a question that had stuck with me as I read his book that I was eager to hear him answer.

"Your philosophy is all about constant improvement and growth. How do you know when the philosophy itself needs to be revisited and improved?"

The normally quick-witted Carroll paused and pondered the question. His answer was something along the lines of, "We always are tweaking and improving things, but the core philosophy does not change." His exact words did not stay with me, but his reaction to the question did. It was clear that this was not something he had thought about. I was left wondering how Carroll would detect a problem in his core system when core system checks were not part of how it worked.

Losing the Super Bowl the way Seattle did this past February, and facing the overwhelming public scrutiny, was the type of moment that forces any man to revisit his values and beliefs. Carroll, and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, have taken the approach of circling the wagons and insisting they made the right decision. Failure is nature's way of allowing for learning and growth. By not owning and acknowledging failure here, Carroll and Schneider are blocking themselves from an important lesson that could cost them more football games.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Seahawks Training Camp News & Notes for August 19th

Line situation is fragile
As I watched every snap this newly formed offensive line took for the second time this week, and then watched the second string, it became very clear how perilous the state of the Seahawks line is heading into preseason game number two. Justin Britt and Garry Gilliam look fine at their new spots. None of the backups, save maybe Lemuel Jeanpierre, look passable as starters. Seattle needs this current line configuration to work out, and they need these five guys to stay healthy long enough for Tom Cable and John Schneider to develop some better depth.

Mike's Training Camp Notes, August 19: A Veteran's Smooth Landing, Receivers Look Ready, Rookie CB Rises Up

"Look up to the sky," said the DJ as fans were filing in to the VMAC today. "See a blue plane?"

Indeed, at 13,500 feet in the air, a plane was flying overhead, barely visible to the naked eye. I couldn't quite tell when it happened, but a figure jumped out of the plane, free falling towards the ground for 45 seconds until a blue and white parachute was deployed. Slowly, the figure came closer and closer into view, directly above the facility. Then, the DJ came clean: It was Marcus Trufant, skydiving his way to the VMAC field to an enthusiastic applause.

This is Seahawks training camp, I thought to myself as Trufant unhooked himself from his chute and walked alongside the berm, waving at fans. Sometimes, you have no idea what you'll see until you get there.

Updated Seahawks Roster Projections

A lot can change in ten days of training camp. The offensive line shuffle has continued, and we have one preseason game under our belts. Time to take a look at how players are sorting themselves out thus far.