Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Look: The Green Bay Packers


Three of seven NFL experts at CBS Sports picked the Green Bay Packers to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Zero of those seven experts picked the Seahawks. Like it or not, they are far from alone. Green Bay is a chic pick to make a Super Bowl run this year. Any team with Aaron Rodgers at the helm has a shot to go far every year. But the Packers were not good enough to win with him last year, so what has changed? Let's take a look.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hawk Blogger Season Preview Part VI: Division Foes & Predictions


Scouting the NFC West


San Francisco 49ers

No team has had more players arrested or made more conference championships the past three years than the San Francisco 49ers. An immensely talented roster with some seriously questionable character, the 49ers inability to win it all may trace back to leadership. Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke reportedly bicker about a number of things, but both agreed to play Aldon Smith just days after he was found passed out in a wrecked car having driving drunk. Their public comments were to the effect of, "That's not for us to police. The NFL will take care of it." In essence, the two leaders of the organization were stating that they were okay with Smith playing as long as the NFL was. Harbaugh enters what may be the final year of his tenure in San Francisco as the perfect poster boy for the state of this team. Their on-field standards are high, but have yet to be high enough. Their off-field behavior is often reprehensible. With so many quality players either in the final years of their contracts (Michael Crabtree, Mike Iupati), near the end of their careers (Justin Smith, Anquan Boldin) or both (Frank Gore), this has the feel of the last year of this particular championship window. They will not fade away as some younger talent like Eric Reid, Tank Carradine, Carlos Hyde and Quinton Dial step forward, but one does not just replace a player like Smith.

HAWK BLOGGER 2014 SEASON PREVIEW PART V: Breaking Down The Defense & Special Teams

Photo by Jeff Marsh & the Seattle Seahawks

Defense – Starters

Michael Bennett – 5-Technique DE (over TE)
Brandon Mebane – 1-Technique DT
Tony McDaniel – 3-Technique DT
Cliff Avril – LEO
Bruce Irvin/Mike Morgan* – SAM (Strongside Linebacker)
Bobby Wagner – MIKE (Middle Linebacker)
K.J. Wright – WILL (Weakside Linebacker)
Byron Maxwell* – RCB
Kam Chancellor* – SS
Earl Thomas++ – FS
Richard Sherman++ – LCB
Jeremy Lane* - Nickel CB

* New starter or new position
+ Pro Bowl
++ All-Pro

Saturday, August 30, 2014

HAWK BLOGGER 2014 SEASON PREVIEW PART IV: Breaking Down The Offense

Photo by Jeff Marsh & the Seattle Seahawks

Scoring 43 points in a Super Bowl usually shines a light on a team's offense.  Having stars like Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson and Percy Harvin grants most teams the spotlight and respect. Somehow, despite their pedigree, the Seahawks offense remains one of the league's best kept secrets. Many laud the defense, but see the offense as along for the ride. This was a team that was scoring 28+ points per game and had a quarterback with a rating near 110.0 before a late-season slump. Even then, they finished 8th in the NFL in scoring, tied with the almighty Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy and the Green Bay Packers, and more than Drew Brees and the Saints. People know the Lions to be an explosive offense, but they scored less than Seattle and had a lower percentage of explosive pass plays (12.4% vs 9.7%). People look at the Seahawks defense and see Kate Upton, but when they look at the offense, it's as if they have the Shallow Hal syndrome. The league will soon be forced to recognize what could be the most efficient offense in the league.

PODCAST: Guest appearance on Football Sickness

I joined Ryan Burns and his partner Sen on a 60 minutes podcast previewing the Seahawks season. We covered a lot of ground.

Check it out at Football Sickness or...

***DOWNLOAD THE PODCAST***
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Friday, August 29, 2014

Final Roster Projections

It's that time. Here are my final projections of who will makes the 53-man roster this year. There were a number of big surprises last year, including cutting Sean McGrath and going with just two tight ends. John Schneider and Pete Carroll have made a habit of looking for ways to improve their team down to the very last minute. Do not be surprised if we see trades for future picks or even straight player trades where the teams have a surplus at different positions and would rather swap than cut the guy outright. Defensive line is one are we might see that for Seattle, especially if they can find a guy who is stout against the run. A move like that could see Greg Scruggs or maybe Jordan Hill falling off the roster. That may seem crazy, but neither player has really grabbed hold of a roster spot, and defending the run could be a challenge for Seattle, especially if any starters at defensive tackle get injured.

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The Morning After: Seahawks Defense Disappoints In 41-31 loss to the Raiders


The last time the Seahawks lost a game by more than seven points, Marshawn Lynch had exactly one 100-yard rushing game in a Seattle uniform during the regular season. Russell Wilson was leading the Wisconsin Badgers to a Rose Bowl. Bobby Wagner was playing at Utah State. J.R. Sweezy was still a defensive lineman. Pete Carroll was still an NFL punch line. The Seahawks were still irrelevant. Fifty-six games. One-thousand and twenty-six days. It was a run of dominant play that saw the team go 44-12 over that span. The regular and postseason streak lives on, standing at 45 games, but this milestone still matters for a team that prides itself on blind consistency no matter the opponent or situation.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hawk Blogger 2014 Season Preview Part III: Grading The Off-Season

Pete Carroll and his players owned the 2013 season, but it is always worth a bucket of popcorn to sit back and watch John Schneider attack each off-season. Nobody scours the landscape for ways to improve his team more than Schneider. The pressure only increases now as he becomes the victim of his own success and must sign some of his early additions to large deals. That leaves less margin for error when it comes to free agent spending and hitting on draft picks. Not everything fell exactly into place this past off-season, but some important new talent was added to the mix.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hawk Blogger 2014 Season Preview Part II: A Look Back At 2013

The better team does not always win each week. The best team in the league does not always win the Super Bowl. Seattle finished on top of the hardest division in football. They beat Drew Brees and the Saints, and then Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers. They played the most prolific offense in the history of football and a player many would argue is the best quarterback in the history of football on the world's largest stage, and won by a Nintendo score. Your 2013 Seattle Seahawks were indisputably the best team in all the land. This part of the Hawk Blogger season preview will look back at just what made them so special, and jog our memories for clues that could be helpful as we look forward.

Hawk Blogger 2014 Season Preview Part I: The Franchise

HAWK BLOGGER 2014 SEASON PREVIEW PART I: The Franchise

Players are told to approach each game one play at a time and each season one game at a time. Coaches and general managers build up their rosters and teams one season at a time. Fans are different. Seahawks fans have been around long before any current coaches, players, general managers, or even owners, and will be here long after they are gone. Fans endure. Seahawks fans have endured playoff droughts that lasted more than 10 years. They have endured referees that feel so bad about the quality of their championship calls, that they feel compelled to come forward and apologize years later. And now, they have felt the pure elation of winning a Super Bowl for the first time. Being a fan allows for a big picture perspective that nobody else can afford.

Patterns from history often repeat. Even while some teams have broken from their franchise histories in recent years (e.g., Patriots become champions, 49ers become a joke for a decade), much can be learned by exploring the patterns across generations. Before diving into the detail of this 39th season of Seahawks football, take a moment to see where we are in franchise history.