ESPN is at it again. This time, Mike Clay graced us with his own hype for his own ranking, using some unknown criteria and an oddly phrased setup:
1. Dolphins— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) July 22, 2020
We ranked NFL teams from 1 (most improved) to 32 (least improved) during the offseason (via me, @SeifertESPN@DanGrazianoESPN + @JFowlerESPN ) https://t.co/TjPrRT11J1 [+]
It’s been a hard year, so I won’t bury the lede - they put the Seattle Seahawks 30th out of 32 teams.
However, the very first thing to focus on is in the tweet itself. How, in a professional sporting war with 16 verifiable and unchangeable contests with which to judge each team’s effectiveness, can Mike Clay claim they’ve ranked the teams from “most improved” to “least improved?”
You’re telling me that all 32 teams have improved, simply that some have improved less? Awesome. Give it a few more years and we can hand out 16-0 finishes to the whole league. (And you thought John Gilbert’s titles were bad.)
Anyway, assuming what the think tank of football intellect meant is that some teams improved greatly while other teams regressed, the Seahawks would undoubtedly find themselves in the latter by scoring the third-worst offseason.
Here’s the text from the piece:
ESPN left out crucial pieces to Seattle’s offseason that call into question how much research (likely extremely little) went into this piece.
- They’ve listed Cedric Ogbuehi, who’s at best the third strongest lineman added to the team this year. Both B.J. Finney and Brandon Shell are better chances to start, impact, and improve the positions left behind.
- Not signing Antonio Brown should be worth at least five points on this scale, and it’s a pity they left this important factor out.
- This picture of John Ursua is notably absent:
What the hell has gotten into John Ursua?? pic.twitter.com/x5bUdybkSo— Jared Stanger (@JaredStanger) May 4, 2020
That’s a lot of offseason addition if I’ve ever seen it.
- Carlos Hyde? Could be interesting.
What’s Straight Up Wrong
- Quinton Dunbar being arrested is not a fair citing to downgrade the Seahawks offseason, plain and simple. It remains a very net-positive trade in value at the time, and Dunbar is still able to proceed as he’s allowed at training camp. Seattle did not get worse by acquiring Dunbar, yet.
- The key losses are intriguing. Mychal Kendricks is not listed, Jadeveon Clowney is not listed, and dare I say it Josh Gordon is not listed. Instead, OT3/TE17 George Fant and renowned Frank Clark-puncher Germain Ifedi are the massive departures this year? Losing a starting right tackle is absolutely worth considering, except they’ve already replaced him with a guy who looks quite similar on paper with far fewer penalties.
- They like Jarran Reed, so that’s cool I guess.
- Greg Olsen, Bruce Irvin, and Quinton Dunbar probably are the three biggest additions to the team this offseason. Which - and nobody should be hearing this for the first time here - is not great. Many fans would give away most of the team’s 15 offensive linemen for that list to be Jadeveon Clowney, Jamal Adams, and that’s it.
- It’s a pretty bland offseason, so I don’t assume anyone was expecting analysts to give the Seahawks top-10 marks or anything of the sort. Most particularly the team continues to not address the positions of greatest need according to the game-by-game eye test. We’ve already covered how Russell Wilson might be covering even more holes than people realize. Not getting help on both lines is frustrating. That is to say, not doing it in a way that evokes confidence is frustrating; technically signing half the backup offensive linemen in the league is one way of addressing the line.
The Los Angeles Rams were team number glorious 32. The very least improved. Which is still just insanely stupid and I will not forgive ESPN for phrasing it that way. But the Rams, who have now gone from three points in the Super Bowl to a 9-7 record that left them out of the playoffs, have now accomplished the least improvement of all NFL teams.
Maybe they shouldn’t have spent so much energy drawing this yellow croissant and trying to explain why nobody will be at their games:
Rams announce first season at SoFi Stadium will have limited or no fans https://t.co/v2KbFuHZB5 pic.twitter.com/PURyOGIr2q— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) July 21, 2020
Sometimes, it’s the little victories that bring the most pleasure.
Cheers to you, third-least improved Seahawks. Way to not be the Rams.