People ridiculed Oakland's selection of Darrius Heyward-Bey because though Bey is big and fast, he is not a skilled receiver. Big and fast are the opposite of market inefficiencies, and a general manager who stubbornly targets big and fast players is likely to be burned.
- At 71, Dick Lebeau was the defensive coordinator of the NFL best 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers defense. That's uncommon. Lebeau is uncommon. Alex Gibbs is uncommon. Gibbs is 69. A lot of the talk about how Seattle could have or should have anticipated Gibbs retiring, or that Seattle is off the hook for Gibbs suddenly retiring because Gibbs is old and old people struggle with health, whiffs of ageism. Right now, the sum of Gibbs' health problems is that he's "worn out." That's pretty nebulous. Keep in mind, Gibbs has "retired" before. Maybe there is more that we're not being told, but until otherwise informed, I will consider Gibbs' early retirement just as I would any other coach's retirement on the eve of the regular season: curious, unexpected, concerning and presumably caused by something neither Gibbs nor the Seahawks is eager to talk about.
Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings are free agents in 2011. Under the since dissolved 2006-2012 collective bargaining agreement, Wilson would have become a restricted free agent and Jennings an unrestricted free agent. Walter Thurmond did not make Josh Wilson expendable. Seattle did not need to chose between Wilson or Thurmond. It could have, if it was so inclined, kept Jennings, Thurmond, Wilson and Marcus Trufant. Thurmond did not force Wilson out. John Schneider thought trading Wilson for a conditional fifth round pick was a good deal. Assuming Trufant and Thurmond were off limits, Schneider thought Jennings in 2010 plus the pick acquired for trading Wilson was more valuable than Wilson and Jennings in 2010, or Wilson in 2010 and whatever if anything Jennings could have fetched in 2010.
- Seattle retained Mike Williams, Deion Branch, Golden Tate, Deon Butler and Ben Obomanu. It ditched T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Among players Seattle could have cut in place of Housh: Kennard Cox, Kevin Ellison, Jordan Babineaux, Roy Lewis, Matt McCoy, Craig Terrill, E.J. Wilson, Chester Pitts, Steve Vallos and Julius Jones. That isn't to say those players are bad, though you might disagree about a few. It's to say Houshmandzadeh was not the 54th best player on this team.
- Not one of Williams, Branch, Tate, Butler or Obomanu is anything like a proven, stable, reliable receiver. Williams has previously flamed out (though, admittedly, I am a big supporter of Williams.) Branch is an injury risk. Tate has looked shaky and green. Butler has yet to prove himself in regular season action. Obomanu is mostly a special teams contributor. Seattle didn't cut its worst player. It didn't cut from a position of strength. It is in fact quite publicly courting Vincent Jackson. It cut a good, necessary player for no apparent reason.
- The Housh release feels like a botched trade attempt. That's my opinion, speculation if you will. I think Seattle attempted to trade Housh, told him, he shot his mouth off as he's wont to do, and knowing that he would be released, the market died. Unfortunately, the damage was done and the team had to drop him. I am high on Williams, a long-time defender of Branch, think Tate has huge potential, am lukewarm on Butler but was impressed with his preseason and am a big supporter of Obomanu. This team is worse without T.J.
- Is it fair to say Schneider has a pretty ardent size bias? Or is it Carroll? Whoever it is, I used to talk about how to identify a potential Tim Ruskell pick, and after an offseason with Schneider, I feel like I can comfortably pencil in under preferences "big and tall".
- What made the team draft Earl Thomas who is every bit as short for a safety as Wilson is short for a corner? That still confuses me.
- Pissing contests about size or intensity of fandom are stupid. Particularly frustrating though is the argument that good fans do not criticize, or good fans have been through worse and so know better than to be alarmed by questionable moves. That to me is like saying a good citizen shouldn't vote or a good spouse shouldn't confront a loved one that suffers an addiction or a good home owner shouldn't fire the groundskeeper that took a crap in their azaleas. Caring means having opinions. There is no accurate black or white description of John Schneider and Pete Carroll's performance, but if you do not think the Seahawks have done anything wrong, anything, anything, anything wrong, I have a hard time believing you actually give a crap about this team.
- I would contend, in fact, and this is an opinion I have considered since sanctions came down on USC and Seahawks fans appeared out of the woodwork to defend Carroll, that many of the unblinking supporters of Schneider and Carroll do it because they want the Seahawks to win, and any criticism of Schneider and Carroll is classified as a threat to that possibility. See, and we all know this, wins will ultimately decide the two's fate. And wins will ultimately decide how people perceive the two. And so, in a twist of logic but one that makes a certain amount of intuitive sense, if Schneider and Carroll did not make mistakes, then Carroll and Schneider are good, and the Seahawks will win.
- I do not think that Schneider is purposely moving out Ruskell-era players. Red Bryant was found a new position. The linebackers are intact. Kelly Jennings in many ways beat out Wilson for a roster spot. Chris Spencer is here. Sean Locklear is here. Max Unger is here. I can think of more. It's not about Ruskell. It's about a different standard for talent evaluation.
- That different standard seems to be bigger, taller and faster.
- Which is maybe what I am most bothered by. Ruskell had his failings, for sure, but many of his less traditional picks were his best. Lofa Tatupu was too small and slow. John Carlson was too slow. Josh Wilson was too short. Justin Forsett was too small and slow. Darryl Tapp was too short and slow.
- Targeting big, fast players is going into the teeth of the market. Everyone gets that if a player is big and fast, that's good. A successful general manager finds those elusive qualities that make a player successful.