One thing is for sure, and that is in the NFL, anything can happen. Something new to me, lately, in reading football blogs is that in writing about the NFL, almost assuredly anyone can write anything. Good teams get slammed, and bad teams get praised. People form opinions about everything, generally conflicting with facts or made with little facts.
We are pretty lucky here at Field Gulls for several reasons. The first is that for the most part even when we disagree, its pretty civil. Most people make conflicting opinions on different points of view more than stubbornness, or ignorance. Occasionally people even admit they are wrong.
We also have the pleasure of having a great host of informed writers, who are passionate about the Seahawks. From this point, I personally garner a lot of satisfaction reading the articles they post, even when they vary in opinion.
I can also understand the writer's point of view and sometimes as a whole a possible need to keep things balanced. Too high of highs come crashing down hard, and too low of lows just makes people frustrated.
A prime example of that was the first Seahawks game I ever watched. The game was preluded by a dreadful ride to a family friends house. I hated going there because they had no entertainment, save for an old dog out door dog who looked like he never had a hair cut. He didnt like to play fetch or even move, he just sat there.
To my pleasant surprise when we got there, they had a TV in their living room. There was chips and dip and the dread of boredom was gone. Fifteen minutes later i was sitting on a coach and watching the Seahawks. I had no clue what was happening, but every one was jumping and cheering all game long. I remember hearing the same names over and over again. Nash and Green, for years they were my favorite players depsite superstarts like Largent and Kreig.
For a week, I remember my Dad and his friends talking about how great the Hawks were after beating the Raiders in that play off game. That all stopped the next week as this guy Marino made us lose. It would be years before i realized Marino wasnt a bad person, just a good football player.
For the whole next week, I heard how much the Seahawks suck. It never made sense to me then. How one week a person could have one opinion of a team and the next a compeltely different opinion. So I made up my mind that the Seahawks were my team good or bad. Ah the determination of an eight year-old.
Im sure as with most Seahawks fans, 2005 was an epic thrill ride taht ended with a seriously sour taste in my mouth. I seriously think the refs played a big role in that loss. I also realized our prolific offense was stiffled. It was a good defensive performance by the Steelers, but more than that, I felt we gave the game away.
A few years later the team had deteriorated into a shell of a team. Even the mighty Holmgren couldnt stop the bleeding and so retired with a losing season of 4-12.
A new coach, same lack of talent. The Coach couldnt compensate and the team turned on him, mostly cause he was calling the team out every week in the media. He called for Dirt bags, but really he just wanted some talent. they went 5-11, and I dont know how they won that many games.
Pete Carroll and John Schneider came in and changed things around, had some good drafts and found some hidden gems. Unbelievably they backed into the play offs, with a 7-9 record. Then they won an epic game against the defending Super Bowl champions. A game the pundits said we had no chance of winning. We caused an earthquake, and hope was truely born.
Well atleast until the off season. A lock out and uncertainty suddenly made this feel good story sour to a bitter bitter taste. Pundits, fans, even the neighborhood dog, they all thought the seahawks were going to be so terrible this year they would be in the running for the Luck sweepstakes.
After a brutal schedule, and a 2-6 record, the Seahawks had lost heart breakers to Atlanta and Cleveland. With the exception of one blow out, the seahawks were in every game. They even came away with a win against the NYG, a 3-1 team that was being penciled into the play offs. That win gave a spark of hope, but it wasnt enough to counter the two heart breaksers, that in forsight could easily be the difference between fighting for the play offs and winning the division.
Then Marshawn taught the whole team how to go Beast Mode. Call it weaker competition, call it using outdated offensive philosophies, or call it luck, the fact is the seahawks won 5 of their last 6 and beat a very good Baltimore team to stay in play off contention.
I hate when people say things like the seahawks are terrible or a more polite or politically correct wording, like not a good team, when it isnt accurate. By record they are average, atleast. The defense is above average at least, the offense not so good.
This is life as a sports fan, but seems even more for the average Hawks fan, as most people in the country forget we even exist. Its even worse is when a player comes into the franchise and they are immediately labeled. Its amazing to what extremes some players have to go to get over a reputation, earned or not.
Ill give a prime example. Charlie Whitehurse vs Jackson. Charlie came into the team with very little reputation, but a few comments about his high end ability was enough to float him along. Jackson on the other hand came into the team with a reputation for crapping and dazzling. Despite throwing a 94 QBR and 113.4 QBR in 2008 and 2009 respectively. The latter was mostly in a back up role as he sat behind Bret Favre.
Charlie's play behind hasslebeck, overall was terrible, but we was semi effective in the game against the Rams that clinched the play offs. with 2 bad games and 1 good one, people were cheering for charlie to replace TJ. Granted as a back up play can be erratic. 65.5 QBR, 57.6%, 5.1 Y/A, 2 TD 3 INT. Then he was effective in relief in the Giants game this year. People clamored that with a full week of practice he should claim the job right off the bat. It took Charlie making the offense look completely inept for that nonesense to go away. It was so bad that he started the game against Cincinnati, but mid second quarter, the coaches thought an injured TJ was a vast improvement.
The same type of moniker sticking would be Red Bryant. Its clear this year, that losing him last year was pivitol to our run defense crumbling. Because he had not been succesful playing DT, people caleld him a bust. Hard to believe this physical freak of nature could be considered a bust. Even though he was dominating before his injury, people were still loath to give him his due.
Chris Clemons was pegged as a career back up, who only flashed potential, but was both physically too small and too inconsistent to put that to use. Carroll took that weapon and put it to good use. I remember pundits worried about his size against the run. Teams still think they can run on his size, but Clemons is strong. Tapp had the reputation for getting pressure on a team that had 28 total sacks, Tapp has 2.5. This year seattle has 29, with two games to go. Clemons has 11.
Im not sure if this is being cautious, pesimism or some other reason, but it seems its something I have a hard time accepting. I realistic enough to think that there are problems with our offense ,this year, or last year our defense. Though im a complete homer, im not blinded by it.
I copmpletely agree that this seahawks team is not a finished work, that it doesnt have the pieces it needs for multiple superbowl championships, but I dont think we are too far off. Now before you go off posting a reponse, hear me out.
I see what Carroll is doing. He is taking pressure off the young guys with his over the top optimism. That leaves them to learning their craft, and you know what? They are learning! I liken the Seahawks into a weapons manufacturing plant. John Schneider goes out and gets rare ores and minerals, or rocks that have a high chance for turning into gems. He is also a refinery, getting rid of the dirt and excess rock, and not quite so valuable gems. He trades them for more ore, minerals and rocks. Carroll has three parts as well. Advertising, his perpetual optimism is compelling. Secondly he molds those gems and precious metals into certified weapons. Lastly he is general, deploying those resources in the way that will make them most useful.
Because of this constant churn of the refinery, sometimes old fan favorites get traded or released. We saw this with pro-bowlers Hasslebeck, Tatupu, Tapp, Curry. Now the roster has names like Sherman, Clemons, Rice, and Lynch.
The biggest surprise is our secondary. PCJS were the first people in 6 years to finally get rid of Kelly jennings, Churn. In return we got an undersized, under performing DT, Clint McDonald. There were no expectations on McDonald, but he makes it into several top 10 lists for stats, Gem.
To the fan base, elimination of Jennings alone made our secondary way better, and that would be hard to argue against. They also got rid of Wilson, a person I thought would develop into a very good CB, Churn.
Replacing those two are Sherman and Browner. One a fith round pick, the other a player off the streets. They join another 5th rounder in the secondary in Kam Chancellor, and Earl Thomas. What is remarkable, is that now the hawks have depth. Where before if Trufaunt got hurt, everyone would have packed up the season, now we have young talent waiting to step in. Is that to say losing trufaunt, or another young talent in Thurmond is inconsequential? No it means for the first time we have depth.
In this case the depth may have turned out to be good enough to suplant the incumbent. You want that to happen becaquse the younger talent is very good, not because the incumbent is very bad. Trufaunt, while not being the Elite CB he used to be, he was still playing at an NFL cb level, just not a #1 CB level.
Another issue is depth on the offensive line. Let me ask you this, would you want an offensive line that read like this on your team? Damion Macintosh LT, Mike Gibson- LG, Chris Spencer-C, Max Unger- RG, Mansfield Wrotto- RT. That is the line up we most likely would have seen. Makes me wanna buy an insurance policy on every seahawks QB.
Depth again is paramount when we lost all four tall recievers, all 6-4 or taller to injury. Carlson, Rice, Durham, and Williams. Even with those injuries we still have very talented receivers. Our offense is definately different with Rice and Carlson out.
That being said there are definately spots that can be improved. Lewis has been abused at the nickle spot, Cox, Maragos, adams are 4th stringers forced into 3rd string.
As for scheme, I believe the league is cyclical. It will get pass happy, then it will get run happy. For the teams that go against the grain, you can usually end up with some serious talent.
Elite players are elite players, everyone wants them, but you might get some cheaper if you are shopping for different needs than eveyone else. Take for instance Clemons, he is undersized because 4-3 teams want a 285 lbs DE, 295 for 3-4 teams.
We needed to get back to basics before we can become great. It is not helping that we are missing our two rookies on the Oline or Okung. Moffit looked like he was just starting to get it when he went down. Carpenter wasnt screwing up so much either, so he might have been near his "ah ha!" moment.In the end, this team wasnt a few players away from greatness in 2009, they barely had any talent at all, and in two years we have won a play off game, and atleast matched the win total and are in another play off hunt, so please, dont tell me this is a bad team. Its average and getting better, thank you very much.