clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Cools and Fools from the Seahawks 34-6 win over the Bears: Earl Thomas should return punts, Terrelle Pryor should update his resume

New, comments

There was a lot to like and very little to be concerned about after the easy win at home, but still a few players should be concerned about upcoming cuts.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

You've heard of "Winners and Losers" but have you ever heard of "Cools and Fools"?!?! Well, if you read my advanced stats updates last year, then the answer should be YES! YES! OH GOD, YES!!!

If you didn't, then you should be saying "I'll have what she's having" and get yourself some candy.

The Seahawks dominated the Bears on Friday night and whether you believe in preseason results or not, the facts we can count on are that both teams played their starters for a half or so, both teams wanted to do better than the other, and only one of those teams got taken out for ice cream afterwards.

Seattle, like every other NFL team, has to start making some tough cuts over the next few days and then eventually down to 53 about a week from now. Here are some players feeling good and some feeling bad after Friday's glimpse into the oblivion.

Cools

Russell Wilson - 15-of-20, 202 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, four rushes for 23 yards and one touchdown

Wilson is like the Google of the NFL.

I love him, I need him, I root for his continued success in changing the world. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't god damn terrified of what the future holds if he continues to get exponentially better day by day. Two years ago, right down to the week (Wilson was named the starter after three preseason games in 2012), I said this very sentence:

I, for one, welcome our new QB overlord

We've seen a lot of quarterbacks start hot and then cool down for a very solid career. What if what we've seen from Wilson, the two-time Pro Bowl QB with a Super Bowl ring and a world of adoring fans, is only the beginning?

He seems more comfortable in the preseason this year than he ever has before. Wilson had a QB rating of 88 in the preseason last year, and he currently stands at 121.7 this year with three rushing touchdowns. He completed 15 of 20 passes last night with two throwaways and one drop.

Percy Harvin - three catches for 61 yards, one kickoff return for 46 yards

With every new preseason game it becomes increasingly apparent that the addition of Harvin to the Seahawks is absolutely stupid. It's so stupid that it's doopid.

I feel like a parent needs to go to the other NFC West teams and say, "Well, life isn't fair!"

Without Harvin, I still think that Seattle is the best team in the NFL and would have the highest probability of winning the Super Bowl. With him, arguably the most talented player on the most talented team, and it's like adding the corpse of John Wayne to The Expendables 3. Not like a dead corpse or like a Weekand at Bernie's lifeless corpse, but like a stronger-than-ever zombified corpse that's ready and willing to eat the brains of the best defenders in the NFC.

We can never run out of great hyperbole for what Harvin is.

Earl Thomas - All-Pro defense, 59-yard punt return

Golden Tate was Seattle's punt returner last season. He returned 51 or 52 punts (Richard Sherman returned the other for negative six yards) and was never injured. Nor close to it, that I can recall.

The year before, Leon Washington returned 41 of 42 punts (the other was Brandon Browner, for negative one yard) and never injured.

Washington returned 41 of 42 punts in 2011, with Tate returning the other for no yards.

Tate and Washington split time at the position in 2010.

The point is that in four seasons under Carroll, on like 170 punt returns, I can't recall a single injury to the returner. Compare that to the 1,000 defensive snaps per season that a starter plays, and the dozens of special teams snaps that Thomas and Sherman already engage in as tacklers, and it's absurd to wonder if it's smart to let Thomas return punts.

Can he get injured on a punt return? Yes. Can he get injured on a defensive play? Yes, and it's much more likely than as a punt returner. Can he return a punt for a touchdown? Yep, that was apparent on Friday night.

I go to the grocery store about 250 times per year and it's possible that one of those times, I'll find a future girlfriend in the produce section. But it's not very likely, and I still need to eat.

If Carroll feels that Thomas on punt returner gives them the best chance of winning football games, then that's what he's going to do. On the off-chance that he gets hurt on a punt return, don't even think about picking up your pitch forks. He's out there for the same reason he's the starter at free safety:

Because he's really fucking good.

Jermaine Kearse - four catches for 63 yards and one touchdown

I said it three or four times on Twitter on Friday, but Kearse could be in line for a breakout season. The kind of season in which people outside of the Northwest find out who he is, which is no small fete. Kearse was understatedly (it's cool how I can invent words because I'm a writer and such) good last season, and his 22 catches for 346 yards probably could've doubled in a higher-volume offense, but the most important thing of all is that Wilson obviously trusts him.

If Kearse averages 50 yards per game this year, he'd more than double his yardage total from a year ago, and he'd end up with 800 yards. Does that seem so crazy? He reminds me of Jerricho Cotchery, who has had some very productive seasons throughout his long career.

Fools

Terrelle Pryor - 0-for-2 with an interception

It's not really a great indicator of anything when your number three quarterback plays poorly in a substantially small sample size, but Pryor didn't do anything on Friday to help his case for the final roster. Everyone is well aware of his unique talents, but it appears that Pryor is a case of quality versus quantity:

He's a quality quarterback at times, but those times are few and far between. Even after an impressive touchdown run in preseason week 2, it seems like Pryor is giving the coaches little reason to consider keeping three quarterbacks or release the experienced Tarvaris Jackson.

Arceto Clark and Paul Richardson - Both had one catch on three targets with a drop

The locks at receiver appear to be Harvin, Doug Baldwin, Kearse, and Richardson. Though the rookie didn't have his best game last night, the Seahawks have seen plenty enough to remain excited about the young man. He's played 77 offensive snaps in the preseason, most of any receiver on the team, but his 9.8 yards per catch (on five receptions) is lowest on the team. He has just seven total yards after the catch thus far.

But that's not nearly as disappointing as Clark.

On 55 snaps, Clark has one catch on four targets with two drops, per ProFootballFocus. Another pass that was thrown in his direction was picked off by the defense. Phil Bates hasn't done much better, but it would be hard to do any worse. So who will end up being the fifth receiver on the team?

It seems like that could come down to Bates, Ricardo Lockette, or possibly Bryan Walters or Chris Matthews. None of these players have looked that impressive on offense, but at least Lockette and Walters have solid reputations on special teams. The preseason finale could end up being a life-changing moment for one or two of these players.

The rest of the NFL

It's honestly hard for me to not just continue to heap praise on this roster. Anything can happen in the postseason, but if the Seahawks don't win the number one seed in the NFC, it will be really disappointing.

Look at the defensive line, where the regular starters were great, but O'Brien Schofield, Cassius Marsh, and Benson Mayowa were also impressive. Or the secondary, where Jeremy Lane and Tharold Simon have both had impressive interceptions over the last two weeks. (False flags be damned.)

I don't know if I have a lot of great things to say about the offensive line, though the inside lineman seem to be much stronger than they were last year, but I'm not especially worried about it either. I think the o-line has improved, and the o-line was the weakest unit in 2013 on the best team in the NFL. A team that steamrolled the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.

And continue to steamroll first team offenses and defenses and special teams on their way to 10 preseason wins in their last 11 tries.

When kickoff happens against the Green Bay Packers on September 4, take a close look at the team on the other sideline. The 2010 Packers won the Super Bowl, but the 2011 Packers were as far ahead of the rest of the league then as HBO is ahead of the rest of dramatic television now. That team didn't win the Super Bowl, but they did go 15-1 and roll over almost all of their opponents.

That's what I am expecting of the Seahawks this year. You can't predict any one game and so it's hard to feel as confident in a repeat championship, but Seattle has improved since last season. It's obvious.

They might be ready to make the rest of the league look very foolish.