Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hawks replace Brown with AARP spokesman

I only have one thing to say:

Olindo Mare 50+ yards in last three seasons: 3-13
Josh Brown 50+ yards in last three seasons: 11-18

Boo.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Can't Hackett

Just read that DJ Hackett is off to greener pastures. I'm sorry to see him go as he had grown into one of the most reliable on-field performers in the offense. I was hoping his injury issues would allow us to resign him on the cheap, but the Panthers wisely saw through the noise and added a guy who has Pro Bowl potential. I doubt he'll be a Pro Bowler for the Panthers with a guy like Steve Smith around, but it is not for lack of talent or production.

It is amazing to see our WR group evaporate. Branch is injured and can't be counted on to return as a real contributor. As much as I love Burleson, he's not a go-to guy. Bobby can't be counted on for 90 catches each year. Courtney Taylor, Ben Obamanu, Logan Payne, Jordan Kent and whoever else comes along will have to make major strides to allow us to even consider 5 WR sets next year. Imagine what last year would have been if we didn't have the WRs we did.

We couldn't run. If we couldn't pass prolifically, we'd have been meat. We now have reason to doubt whether we can pass at that same level again, and have only modestly raised expectations for the running game.

Ruskell is making a big bet that our young WRs are good enough to make that big step forward. If the do not, we will have a difficult time maintaining our offensive performance last year, let alone improving on it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Reggie Bush to the Seahawks



Nothing like a baseless rumor to stir the blogging juices. I was listening to KJR on the way into work today as they interviewed a guy out of New Orleans about Mark Brunell signing there as a backup. It was unbearably boring (largely because Mitch Levy's backup is a dud), and I started daydreaming, while driving, about what I would give up to get Reggie Bush on the Hawks.

Here's a guy that is clearly scuffling and performing well below expectations, but still has Hall of Fame potential if he finds his niche. Would I surrender our first round pick for him? Maybe.

I would rather have Jonathan Stewart, but he won't be available at 25, where the Hawks pick. Would I give up a second round pick? Absolutely. The Saints are not as likely to accept that, but who knows with the depth of RB in this draft and the pressure they have to make something of Bush.

I think Bush could add an interesting dimension to our offense, and be what Mo Morris never could be as a receiver. Teaming him with Leonard Weaver would be very interesting. Lots of versatility and difficult to gameplan for.

Creativity has not been Ruskell's strength, so I won't be holding my breath.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Why isn't he our QB coach, again?

The ideal QB coach replacement for the Hawks just became available. It's a shame, he won't be on our staff. Adding someone like Dilfer makes Hass better. Anytime you make your best player better, it's a very good thing.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Mo Morris...meet your Seahawk twin, Julius Jones

John Clayton is reporting that Julius Jones has signed a $3M/year deal with the Hawks. We now have a guy who seems like a total clone of Maurice Morris in terms of running ability, but can't catch a pass to save his life and is a lesser blocker on passing downs. Check out his stats during his best season. This is a guy who runs out of gas after 15 carries, has injury issues and fumbles.

Both players were 2nd round selections in their drafts, and both are most effective running draws and sweeps.

I see zero upside to spending money on Jones. Ruskell has now signed a less talented version of Leonard Weaver (Duckett can't catch and is not the runner Weaver is) and a lesser talented version of Mo Morris. I would have never guessed that we could do worse than Mo Morris as our starter, but that's where things stand right now.

I wish I could draw more positive conclusions, but they would not be sincere.

From bad to worse

I hate the signing of TJ Duckett. Hate it. Tell me what he brings to our team the Leonard Weaver doesn't, other than less cap space to sign players we need. Julius Jones is now said to be visiting for a couple of days. The same Julius Jones who can't play more than two games in a row without getting injured. The same Julius Jones who may be Shaun's equal when it comes to catching the ball out of the backfield. He has never caught more than 35 balls, and has caught 23 and 9 the past two years. The 9 came in a year when he started the whole season, and he has never caught a TD pass.

Did someone forget how effective we became when we started passing out of the backfield last season? We don't need a pure receiver like a Kevin Faulk, but we certainly need some balance and neither Duckett nor Jones will provide it. In fact, assuming Morris will be gone, we'll have less balance in that regard.

We also need blocking from that position. Let's assume they are thinking Duckett could provide that. That doesn't really hold water because he's a short yardage back, and so it would be a dead giveaway that it was a pass if he was in on 3rd and 4 or more, and it would also be certain that he was staying into block instead of going out in a pattern.

Ruskell is repeating history again. It's frustratingly obvious. "I had Dunn and Duckett in Atlanta compliment each other. I'm going to do that again because it always pays off to do the same thing over and over and never innovate or adjust." I still believe we'd be better off with Dunn who is cheaper, a better leader, more durable, a better runner and a Hall of Fame class receiver out of the backfield.

Don't forget, we should expect to get a quality runner in the draft. This is not the position we should be blowing our cap space on.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Expect A Tight End In Round One

Alge moves on. Look for a TE early in the draft, and I'm not sure that's the worst thing.

He's going where? Ruskell said what? They got *him* for that?

The free agency period is certainly less fun when your team doesn't have the cap room to participate, especially when I've heard John Clayton repeatedly say that the cap is so high that no team should be at risk of letting their own guys walk.

You may want to check those Hall of Fame credentials again, Mr. Clayton. By now, you should all know that Josh Brown has left to join arguably our greatest rival since we moved to the NFC West. DJ Hackett is on his way out the door. And even Leonard Weaver is drawing some interest, despite being tendered at the 2nd round level.

Thankfully, we've retained Sean Locklear and Marcus Trufant. The Trufant deal has greatly impacted our ability to make the moves needed to be a genuine contender next season. Rumors continue to swirl that Alge Crumpler will make his decision on Monday, but that he was there for the Hawks' taking if they had any real money to offer. Instead, he's left for Buffalo in hopes of finding something more to his liking.

The Falcons just signed RB Michael Turner to a big deal, making it even more likely that Warrick Dunn will be released and become a possible target of the Hawks.

I must admit that I am beginning to have reservations about our GM. I've detailed his horrible track record on adding offensive players, but I have sensed an arrogance in his dealings that concerns me as well.

The Hutchinson move was the first real sign of this. Coming out and publicly discussing his belief that Tru is the best of second tier of CBs is just dumb. What does he hope to gain out of saying his Franchise Tag'd player is second rate? Furthermore, why is it that every former Bucs and Falcons player that comes available becomes someone of interest to Ruskell? If his formula for success and scouting is so great, why isn't he finding a Ryan Grant somewhere? To be clear, I'm not expecting him to find Pro Bowlers-to-be sitting on practice squads all the time. I do expect someone who constantly revels in his "against-the-grain" scouting style (e.g., Lofa in the 2nd rd) to more regularly find people that others have missed with their more typical scouting.

This gets even more frustrating when I keep hearing that Ruskell doesn't want the "big run stuffer" DT, and I see game changers like Marcus Stroud, Shaun Rogers and Kris Jenkins change teams for 3rd and 5th round draft picks. Plug any one of those guys into our line and we might become the best defense in the NFL next season. Instead, we're stuck with a guy who doesn't value that type of player on the line, but hasn't shown a consistent alternative for how to stop the run.

Part of me thinks that we'll never know how important Holmgren was until he is gone and Ruskell builds a hopelessly unbalanced team.

As it stands, we're heading into next season with some serious questions at WR, DT, OG, RB and K. Let's see what happens from here.