It's that time again. Time for football. Can you believe it? When last season concluded, it didn't feel like there would be football again in forever.
"Free agency will never get here!"; and then it did.
"The draft will never get here!"; and then it did.
"Terrell Owens will never get here!"; and then he did, one guy out there that might have been crossing his fingers for Terrell Owens all offseason long.
Eventually all of those things came and passed and now we are here at this moment. Eventually, we'll be at the end of the 2012 season. Eventually, we'll be at the beginning of the 2015 season. Eventually we will have gone so far into the future that Danny Kelly and I will have grandchildren (together, unless Chic-Fil-A has something to say about it.) Time comes and time goes. It's fascinating to think about time and how it might have had a beginning and if it will ever have an end. The only thing we know about the beginning of time is that Brandon Weeden was there. The only thing that we know about the end of time is that it's controlled by Brett Favre, and that fucker will hold onto it for a lot longer than it deserves.
Of course, who am I to talk? I've already given the preseason longer of an article that it deserves. The preseason of football is sort of like spring training in baseball, exhibition games in college sports, or the regular season of the NBA; it doesn't really matter.
The stats are basically meaningless because of the competition you're facing and the unbalanced playing time as teams try and find out what their depth is and not usually who their starters are. The results are meaningless because of what I just said. And coverage by NBC is meaningless because Al Michaels has been dead for eight years and Faith Hill is now controlling him through radio waves.
Still, it's a precursor to the regular season, and damn it I love me some regular season football. We are four fake games away from real games. And four fake games away from real weekly previews and such. So let's get on with the first 8 Simple Things of the 2012 Seattle Seahawks season.
Here are eight things you may or may not care about in regards to preseason football and Saturday's game against the Titans...
Matt Flynn Will Start and Play the 1st Half, Russell Wilson Will Play the 2nd, Tarvaris Will Play Madden 2013
A deal has been made about the news of who the starter of the game is and that Wilson will get to start the second, with the likelihood that Tarvaris Jackson will play no halves. I wouldn't say that it's a "big" deal but to some it is. To me, it is not.
Flynn needs to get more time in against guys that start in the NFL, of which the Titans will have a few. It makes sense that he should start this game, because it will give him the opportunity to get more experience against NFL players after having made just two starts in four seasons. This is what he needs.
Wilson needs to get time, period. He needs to play against starters, backup, third-stringers, the FOX robot, it doesn't matter. Russell Wilson is a rookie that has only played against a handful of NFL-caliber defensive players in his life and now he'll get real time in a fake NFL game against guys that have advanced past college football. It will also give him the opportunity to apply all of the stuff he's learned in the offseason into game action. This is a practice game, but it is also a game against an NFL team and is much different than just playing in practice. This is exactly what Wilson needs, just like starting is exactly what Flynn needs.
When they say that Jackson simply doesn't need the time right now, they mean it. What benefit does it give to the competition at quarterback to find out what Jackson can do against the Titans in a preseason game? It hardly gives the coaches any insight. There also seems to be a foregone conclusion that this spells the end for Jackson simply because they're starting Flynn and playing Wilson, but that hypothesis also concludes that Flynn and Wilson will play well.
What if they don't?
Jackson is actually getting an opportunity by not playing, because if either Flynn or Wilson look flat out bad, it should give more life to Tarvaris, if only for another week.
I gotta say that I'm excited to finally see what Flynn and Wilson can do against another NFL team in a game, but this is the scenario we should have been expecting and it hardly says much that we didn't already know about Jackson.
Win or Lose, We Still Booze
Everybody wants to get a win, because winning is neat and losing is less neat, but the final result won't matter as these things: Escaping injury, seeing the system bought into and the players are fitting in with the scheme, watching the rookies and lesser-known players making good plays and not looking stupid out there, what is Erin Andrews wearing if Erin Andrews is in the building, how rusty do some of the players look after the offseason, perhaps if they are coming off injury, and where does babby come from?
Do you remember who won the NFC West in the preseason last year? Yep, the Rams went 4-0. They had twice as many wins, and scored almost twice as many points per game, in the preseason as they did in the regular season.
The Bengals were maybe the worst team of the preseason, going 1-3 while being outscored 47-91 and then went to the playoffs.
You can look great out there in the preseason and be terrible. You can look terrible and be great.
I think we can all agree that we want to win on Saturday, but I think we can also agree that it's okay if we lose. We can lose 21-0 and it still might not have any indication on the Seahawks regular season, but even if we do lose 21-0, that's why we have Tarvaris. We probably got shutout because we didn't play Tarvaris.
/looks to Titans sideline. "Hey! I know those guys!"
After the 2010 season, a lot of people in Seattle would have loved to see a Matt Hasselbeck versus Jake Locker competition on the Seahawks. That was mucked up mostly by the fact that Seattle won the division and got out of position to draft Locker, and then cut Hasselbeck. So Tennessee took on our timeline.
Wait, there are multiple timelines?
Matt, 37 next month, made his first start for any team besides Seattle last year and went 9-7 on the Titans, far better than I had expected them to do. He completed 61.6% of his passes (highest since 2005), threw 18 TD (highest since 2007, first time he had started 16 games since 2007), 14 INT, and 6.9 yards per attempt, also his highest since 2007.
But Hasselbeck, from what the numbers say and what my eyes told me, is not nearly as good as he was in 2007. I saw Nate Washington and Jared Cook with some huge gains on short throws and I saw a lot of ducks fly out of Matt's arm on any attempt over 15 yards. I stand by the notion that Seattle did the right thing by letting him go, though he performed much better than I thought he would. This season might not go as well and we would have to believe that even if he wins the starting job for week one, his margin of error is razor thin. If the Titans fall a couple of games back in the division, they're going to have to go for broke with Locker because it seems doubtful that Matt has a future in Tennessee beyond this year.
No word yet on whether or not Jake Locker is actually the answer, however.
In a very limited sample size last season, Locker did impressive things. He threw 4 touchdowns, 0 interceptions and 8.2 yards per attempt with 8 rushes for 56 yards and a touchdown. In a game against the Saints, he nearly led the Titans to a come-from-behind victory against an NFC favorite by throwing for 282 yards and a touchdown with another score on the ground, but that's where the "Double Edged" side of Jake Locker comes into play. Poor decision making on when to run cost the Titans a chance at one more play to try and win the game. Locker could be as exciting as Steve Young, or as frustrating as Tim Tebow, as evidenced by his 51.5% completion percentage in 2011.
Even if that number came on just 66 pass attempts, it wouldn't be surprising to see him complete 50% of his passes during an entire season. The inaccuracy is still showing on some days in training camp (this CBS Sports article from August 6th actually has some tallies: Hasselbeck: 99-137, 5 TDs, 7 INTs; Locker: 102-156, 3 TDs, 3 INTs) but on pretty much every day, Locker will still impress you with his athleticism.
To get back to Steve Young for a second, few quarterbacks were warranted the time and opportunity that Young was blessed with. Drafted first overall by the Bucs in the 1984 supplemental draft, and starting his career in the USFL, Young started 19 games for the Bucs from 1985-1986. He completed 53.3% of his passes for 3,217 yards, 11 TD and 21 INT. An inaccurate, albeit mobile, quarterback that was on his way to being a bust. If Robert Griffin III puts up those kinds of numbers over the next two years, we will already be moving on from him in the same way that we quickly moved on from Alex Smith, JaMarcus Russell, or any other highly rated quarterback prospect that sucks to start their career.
For the Bucs, they said "This guy is as bad as Jake Locker or Tim Tebow!" (to which others in the room said, "Who?") and drafted Vinny Testaverde, trading Young to San Francisco for 2nd and 4th round picks. So Young, poor guy, had to sit behind and learn from Joe Montana. Yuck. He had to be coached by Bill Walsh. Gross! And his quarterbacks coach was Mike Holmgren. Aww man, cooties!!
Young played the part of backup for four seasons, starting ten games, but the lessons he learned and the opportunity to get better in practice and hone his athleticism, was invaluable. The inaccurate Young from Tampa Bay completed 66.7% of his passes from 1991-1998 and led the league in completion percentage five times. Few quarterbacks have ever been better, but it's possible he would have never gotten here if he had been asked to start in Tampa, or anywhere else, for a longer period of time before he was ready.
Jake Locker might not be ready. The time he could spend learning, even if it was for four years, could be invaluable. That's probably why guys that are so athletic but incredibly raw, should actually be drafted in like the fourth round (Hi again, Tebow) but we salivate over what they can do on the field, even if they couldn't accurately throw it to the person right in front of him.
In conclusion: ummm... I look forward to seeing these two play for the job this preseason!
The Wide Receivers Go So Long, They Won't Be There
The potential starting three for Seattle this season might just be: Sidney Rice, Terrell Owens, and Doug Baldwin. Well, Rice is still in a red jersey, Owens won't be up to speed (figuratively speaking) to play Saturday, and Baldwin is still healing.
It's possible that Flynn will be throwing to the backups to start his Seahawks career and not the guys that will actually be starting this season. Not unexpected for a preseason game, but probably not ideal.
It will however give the team more time to look at Kris Durham, Ricardo Lockette, Golden Tate, Phil Bates, Deon Butler, and the rest. I'd prefer to see at least one series where Flynn is working with the ones, but you work with what you've got and for the game against the Titans, the icing has been taken off of the cake.
Of course, Braylon Edwards is still here and that will give some stability for Flynn to work with an experienced veteran, as long as Edwards didn't eat Paula Deen's biscuits before the game and forget to wash his hands again.
It's crazy to think just how deep this core of wide receivers is and yet how unsettled. We are left with a lot of questions at the position that need to be answered, but we'll be getting to know more about our depth than how our starters are clicking with Flynn, unless of course Edwards, Tate, Durham or someone else just seem to click really well with the guy that I presume will win the starting job. It's a huge opportunity for a guy like Tate to prove that he's starting to put his athleticism into action consistently. A bad drop or a bad route though, and we'll be left wondering if he's back to square one.
I'm also going out on a limb over T.O.-mania to suggest that he might be a starter, let alone make the 53, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't giddy over the positive reports from former teammates, the 40 time, and just the excitement around Seattle over his arrival. Even as he approaches 40 without having played in a year, Owens is still one of the biggest draws in the NFL.
Will Bobby Wagner Get a "Ruud" Awakening or Will Barrett Ruud Get "Bobbying" for Apples And Other Crappy Puns
The defense was great last year with David Hawthorne at MIKE and I don't think that Hawthorne is as good as some people might think. The front office has not shown any fear in locking up the players they like long term, and so I think that's as telling as anything with respect to Hawthorne. No disrespect to Hawthorne, who stepped up and played a level far higher than anyone expected, but he's replaceable. The question now is, "With who?" Or it is "With Whom?" but what am I, a writer?
Wagner is the 2nd round rookie that we want to win the job, but reports I've heard in camp is that he's great in coverage but a tackling liability.
Ruud is a veteran that has been injured and ineffective recently, but should be fine with tackling and is a liability in coverage.
So Saturdays game will be our first chance to see which player performs better in their first opportunity with the Seahawks and grabs the lead in the race to be the starting middle linebacker. We want Wagner to win the job because of his draft position and the expectations we have set for rookie linebackers since Lofa Tatupu came in here and stole our hearts. But the reports in camp so far haven't quite been positive enough for me to feel comfortable in saying that he'll win the job or be ready for game action by week one. These kinds of things can change when the whistle blows. (Are you havin' a laugh?)
The defense was great with a liability at MIKE. Finding an upgrade at this position is one key to making it elite.
No Pics or GTFO
So its year two of Eight Simple Things and there will be one very important change. Year one included many pictures. These were often pictures that I found around the "inter-net" but the times, they are a-changin'. SOPA scared the CRAPA out of SBNation and so now we can either only use pictures that are already paid for by SBN or that are our own.
Well, I'm not sure how many real pictures I'll be taking that are Seahawks-relevant this year, so that means that there will be: A) A lot less pictures and B) Perhaps a little bit more paint.
I used to love drawing as a young lad, even though I was terrible at it. But I'd spend all day in class doodling and scribbling and not paying attention to the word learns that teech gave us. Army men shooting monsters. Half-man/half-animals fighting half-man/half-women. It was a grand old time. I need my Eight Simple Things to break up the monotony of "facts" and "statistics" sometimes, so there could be some drawin's.
Here's drawing one for 2012:
Winner of this results in your own personal picture of half-animal vs half-gender.
Other Close Tie(tan)s
Sorry 'bout that. You'll forgive me by week one, I know it.
Besides Hasselbeck and Locker, there are other familiar faces and names on the Titans, and by that I mean Steve Hutchinson, Jordan Babineaux, and some front office people that don't have familiar faces. They are more like faces that you went to 3rd grade with and then they moved away to Prosser. Unless you're from Prosser, and then maybe they moved to Kent. No, not really that either because I have no idea what Lake Dawson's face looks like. I'm picturing Blair Underwood though.
Wow, preseason, am I right?
Besides Hutch and Babs, the other ties include: Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray, who was with Seattle in 2010 as defensive backs coach. Senior executive VP and COO Mike Reinfeldt, who was Seahawks senior VP from 99-03 and VP of football operations from 05-06. GM Ruston Webster was the Hawks VP of player personnel from 06-09. Dawson's Lake was Seattle's pro personnel assistant from 01-04 and assistant director of pro personnel from 05-06 and is now VP of player personnel in Tennessee. And you guessed it, Tim Ruskell is a Titans scout.
They say that the easiest way to find a job is to ask a friend. Well, maybe "they" don't say it, but I certainly say it. Seems like every job I've ever gotten started with a recommendation from a friend. You fill out 250 applications when you're unemployed and get zero callbacks but you have one friend hand in your resume for you and BOOM! Interview. I guess you can't get any callbacks on any of those other applications or resumes because they all hired someone's friend or nephew. How the hell does Monster.com stay afloat? I'm going to start a website called HeyYouGuysHiring.com because every new job starts with you asking a friend, "Hey, you guys hiring?"
Then there's always that awkward time when a friend asks you that and you're like, "uhh.... nooooo." but you know that you are, however this isn't the guy that you're putting your reputation on the line for.
Well, I guess the NFL works like that too.
Ruskell: Hey Mike, it's Tim.
Reinfeldt: puts phone to shoulder
Reinfeldt: Hey Tim!
Ruskell: Hey, you guys hiring?
Reinfeldt: uhh... well...
Ruskell: SCOUT?! SURE! I'LL TAKE IT!
8. The Videos
I'm not saying that every Eight Simple Things is going to have a video, but this one sure is!
I know not everyone is a fan of the video content as of yet, and I understand that. But as long as SBNation tells me to keep doing them, I'm going to keep doing them. Hopefully as the season kicks off, I can start catching back up to the other NFL blogs, as they are doing more views than me so far. Aww nuts! But I'll just focus on the content for now. That's why I tried to make one good video to help make up for the second one :)
Terrell Owens is a Seahawk
I've Got a Secret
Follow Me on Twitter because when the season hits, we're going to have a lot of fun on tweet-ter.
Foot-ball Sea-hawks Lets-GO!