The Stark Truth

Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
Subscribe to RSS
Back to The Stark Truth

Archive for the ‘Richard Sherman’ Category

Links: NFL arrogance, ‘The Daily Show’; Sherman, Anthony Kim (remember him?) & more

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

What I’m reading and watching online:

MAYBE MAARK CUBAN  was right when he talked about the NFL being to arrogant and big for its own britches. Cuban’s comments were made six months ago. Don Banks of mmqb.si.com writes this:

A longtime and well-respected agent I know told me the NFL’s initial tone-deaf response to Rice’s domestic violence incident brought to mind the saying, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” In other words, people or leagues that hold too much power often succumb to arrogance, and arrogance leads them in a lot of directions, most of them bad. Imbued with the kind of endless big money that often taints everything it touches, they start to believe their judgments are always correct, their wisdom infallible; they become immune to the correcting forces of competition. They live and act as if they are unchallenged, and that never ends well.

***

JON STEWART of “The Daily Show” was in rare form Wednesday night, taking the NFL and Adrian Peterson to task.

On the committee of four women appointed to shape domestic abuse policies, Stewart said: “You know your business model is in rough shape when you need to appoint your own in-house Special Victims Unit.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED ITGregg Doyel of CBSSports.com took Richard Sherman to task for not talking to the media following Sunday’s loss in San Diego. Doyel writes:

“… he’s front and center when he wins, hides when he loses; case closed …”

Sherman denied that he ducked the media, and takes a shot at “two little Chargers,” who called him out.

***

WHATEVER HAPPENED to Anthony Kim? Kim, who showed off his immense talent during the 2006 US Public Links Amateur at Gold Mountain, has become a man of mystery. Sports Illustrated Allen Shipnuck has done some digging and it was suggested by one source that Kim would have to give up a lucrative disability settlement if he returns to the PGA Tour. It’s a fascinating story.

Shipnuck writes this about the guy who was once considered the face of U.S. golf:

No IMG staffer would comment for this story, but the party line is that Kim is still injured and expected to return to the Tour someday. This is refuted by a close friend of Kim’s in Dallas who watched him hit balls recently. (Kim declined numerous interview requests from SI, and his comrade would speak only anonymously, saying, “He’d be f—— livid if he knew I was talking to you.”) “AK’s not injured,” says the friend. “He can play, he can walk. His swing looks good, the strike sounds solid, his ball flight is good. His physical health is not the issue.”

***

SI.COM PUT TOGETHER  a list of the Top 100 players in the NBA. Tacoma native and former Washington star Isaiah Thomas checks in at No. 90 after averaging 20.3 points and 6.3 assists in his third NBA season with Sacramento. Thomas is now with the Phoenix Suns. Check out the complete list here. Nos. 20-11 will be released Thursday and Nos. 10-1 on Friday.

 

***

TONY STEWART’S CASE involving the tragic accident that took the life of a fellow sprint car driver is headed to a grand jury. Stewart faces the possibility of being indicted and charged in his role in the death of driver Kevin Ward Jr.

***

MLB.COM BREAKS down the postseason playoff picture. They do it daily, so if you want to stay posted on the latest standings and magic numbers, this is a good place to visit while you’re sipping on our morning Joe.


Morning reading after a pretty impressive Week 1 Seahawks’ victory

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Earl Thomas needs to call some fair catches.

If that’s the biggest criticism of the Seattle Seahawks following Thursday night’s 36-16 victory over Green Bay — and Peter King of mmqb.si.com writes that it is — then it’s safe to say that this is going to be another fun season for the 12s. He also writes about that read-option pass play where Russell Wilson pulled the ball out of Marshawn Lynch’s belly and instead of running it, he threw a quick pass to Ricardo Lockette for a 33-yard touchdown. The story details how the Seahawks came by the play, which was used by Auburn and other college programs. Look for it at the high-school level, too. When I talked to Bremerton coach Nate Gillam about his team a couple weeks ago, he said they were installing the same play. The Knights got it from UCLA.

Before I get to the links, Zach Miller gets my vote for most underrated Seahawk. He’s the perfect fit for their offense. Here’s another look at that catch he made against the Packers.

And here’s what Vic Ketchman, editor of Packer.com had to say about the Seahawks in a Q&A column with Green Bay fans:

” You can run any scheme you want if you have the talent to run it well. That’s a college offense: Bootlegs, spread-option fakes, jet sweeps. They made it work, though, didn’t they? On defense, the Seahawks were pure vanilla. The Seahawks are a breath of fresh air. That’s not a Madden team, that’s an old-fashioned, line up and knock your block off team.”

OK, here we go. Here’s what some others are saying about the Hawks:

Mike Silver of NFL.com wrote this about Marshawn Lynch:

The question I asked was this: After all the talk coming out of Seattle over the offseason, and particularly during his short-lived training camp holdout, that the Seahawks were preparing for life without the eighth-year runner, that he’d be splitting carries with young understudies Christine Michael and Robert Turbin, that he plays a position that simply isn’t that valuable, was Thursday night’s performance a de facto rebuttal?

“Well, you know … people say stuff,” Lynch said, shaking his head before offering up an abiding smile. “(Screw) ‘em.”

You’ve got to admit, the Beast looked really good. Maybe better than ever. He was hitting the hole fast, reading his blocks, cutting when he needed to and dragging people all over the field.

Speaking of offensive weapons, how about Percy Harvin? That “jet sweep” was pretty effective, huh? Here’s what Terry Blount of ESPN.com wrote about Harvin.

Art Thiel of Sportspress.nw.com writes: ” … No Golden Tate, No Breno Giacomini, no Red Bryant . . . nobody noticed.” No hangover for the Seahawks was the theme of his column.

The Packers didn’t test Richard Sherman. No once. They never threw at him. Kevin Petra of NFL.com addresses that angle.

Here’s another story that I came across later in the day. Andrew Sharp of Grantland.com writes about Marshawn and Percy and how they’re proving some skeptics wrong.

 


Tuesday links: World Cup, Raul, Sherm and The Jet

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Here’s some reading material before you settle in for the U.S.-Belgium World Cup match (1 p.m., ESPN):

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports upset the Belgians with this column about why the U.S. can’t lose to Belgium.

He writes:

Belgium has just 11 million people, which is like, what, a Dakota and a half? (Not certain since I was too lazy and distracted to look it up. You want worker productivity? Go hire a Belgian.)

These guys are Canada-Lite, one of these perfect, nice, polite, pretty countries that take pride in the fact they all ride bikes and recycle and don’t unilaterally invade other sovereign nations.

There is no place for someone like this on the global stage of the World Cup, where each match is life and death … literally in some places if you blow a critical assignment.

Jason Whitlock of ESPN.com writes about World Cup fever and the lessons our pro leagues can learn from it.

He writes:

Again, the point of a season-end revival is to showcase a sport as the best. The World Cup, the Super Bowl and the Final Four are primarily gigantic marketing events. They entice fans and media to come and worship for a month, a week and three days, respectively. These events are impossible to ignore. They help grow and maintain soccer, football and college basketball congregations.

It’s puzzling, and counterproductive, that the NBA and MLB haven’t constructed a season-end revival. Eight years ago it was still fashionable to laugh at and ridicule soccer in this country. And now the World Cup is drawing NFL-size television ratings and a lifelong football groupie is analogizing Cristiano Ronaldo to Joe Montana.

 

Joe Posnanski writes about Raul Ibanez, who is back in Kansas City with the Royals.

Posnanski writes this about the 42-year-old ex-Mariner:

There are a million Ibañez numbers I could throw at you to blow your mind — here’s just one: He hit 276 of his 303 career home runs after age 30. That’s 91% of his home runs. That is BY FAR the highest percentage among the 137 players in baseball history who hit 300 home runs.

He hit as many home runs after age 30 as Harmon Killebrew, more (at this moment) than David Ortiz, more than Yaz or Frank Thomas or (how about this one?) A-Rod.

Or this stat: Ibañez is one of only 15 players in baseball history to have more than 1,000 RBIs after age 30. With one more RBI for Kansas City, he will tie a pretty good player named Willie Mays with 1,091 RBIs after 30.

Or this stat: Ibañez has scored almost as many runs after age 30 (945) as Derek Jeter (977).

Or this stat: Ibañez has hit more doubles after age 30 than Stan Musial did. Or George Brett. Or Wade Boggs. Or Barry Bonds.

And just because y’all can’t get enough of Richard Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks, here’s where you can check out Sherman columns for Sport Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback (mmqb.si.com).

In his love letter to coach Pete Carroll, Sherm wrote:

I can’t imagine what life in the NFL would be like for me if he hadn’t used a third-day pick on a still-raw cornerback. I get texts from guys across the league which remind me how good we’ve got it in Seattle. They ask, “Is he really as cool as he seems?” and “I hear you guys have fun at practice?” Yes and yes. All he asks is that we be ourselves and protect the team’s reputation by not saying anything controversial.

In case you missed it, here’s Todd Dybas’ story on Mariners’ rookie James (The Jet) Jones. Don’t know if the nickname’s catching on, but don’t you think it should? Jones is now up to 17 steals after pilfering three on Monday night in Houston, when he went 4-for-5 at the plate.


It’s Sherman’s world and he’s getting the respect he deserves

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Guess who is back in the news?

Yep, Richard Sherman of your Seattle Seahawks.

Time Magazine named the brash Seahawks’ cornerback one of the 100 most influential people.

“Sherman’s rant solidified his reputation as one of the brashest and most candid players in the buttoned-up NFL,” writes Time’s Sean Gregory. “More important, it sparked a national conversation about race, stereotyping and sportsmanship. When critics labeled the dreadlocked defensive star a ‘thug,’ Sherman, a Compton, Calif.–raised Stanford graduate, engaged the debate, asking if the term was today’s way of calling him the N word? In a heartbeat, Sherman altered the discourse and emerged as the smartest voice in the room.”

On Wednesday, Sherman and NFL players Larry Fitzgerald and Arian Foster discussed race during a couple of standing-room only sessions at Harvard. SI.com was there to cover the story.

Three months after Sherman was called a “thug” after his animated on-field interview with Fox’s Erin Andrews following the NFC Championship game, he’s being praised for getting the conversation started with regards to race.

“The lashing we’ve taken isn’t that crazy,” Sherman said in that SI.com story. “You see us still walking, talking, moving, grooving. I think the fear of the backlash and the media perception and the judgment and the criticism is starting to get tempered. How much bad can you talk about a person? How much negativity can you bring a person? … The criticism eventually stops. It eventually turns around and turns positive.”

In related news, Sherman’s expected to become the highest paid cornerback in the NFL before the season starts.

He’s been an All-Pro two of his first three years in the league, the fifth-round draft pick from Stanford will reportedly receive a long-term contract extension from the Seahawks.

“Whatever they feel I am due, I will take it as respect,” Sherman told NFL Media’s Albert Breer on Wednesday. “It’s all about respect in this game, and the only way people respect is the dollars.”

Art Thiel of Sportspress Northwest was right on with this tweet:

“Apparently, it’s #Seahawks Richard Sherman’s world, and we’re just renting”

By the way, Sherman’s world includes 916 thousand followers on his Twitter account: @RSherman_25

 


Baseball, father-sons & other Thursday stuff

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Attended the Mariners’ home opener on Tuesday with my dad and son. Something about baseball and dads and sons that’s special. Mix in my best friend, who is like a brother to me, another son to my dad and another dad to my son and it was a really special day.

But back to that original thought about baseball and dads and sons. Baseball’s different than any other sport and it all starts, I think, with playing catch.  No words are necessary. There’s just something magical about it and the sound of the ball popping in the leather glove.

My dad, now 89, would probably have a tough time playing catch today, mostly because he blew out his arm while throwing so much batting practice pitches to me and my friends while growing up.

Some quick thoughts on the Mariners:

You can’t help but be impressed with the easy-going, relaxed way Robinson Cano plays the game. He oozes confidence and that’s going to rub off on some of his teammates. I think it already has.

It’s so early, but manager Lloyd McClendon seems to be making all of the right moves. We’ll see, but he seems to have a good eye for talent. I like that he settled on Abraham Almonte as his center fielder and leadoff hitter early on. I rolled my eyes at first when he handed the first base job to Justin Smoak, but it retrospect that was a good, confidence-building move. If guys don’t produce, I think McClendon has a deep enough bench and enough talent at Tacoma — Nick Franklin, Endy Chavez, Cole Gillespie — that he won’t hesitate to make a move. He’s already rotating Michael Saunders, Logan Morrison and Stefen Romero in right field.

I was the guy who predicted the M’s would win the AL West. That was mostly predicated on the rest of the division slipping back some, and the M’s strong starting pitching. If it stays healthy, I think Seattle stays in the race all the way. James Paxton’s visit to the DL for a strained lat doesn’t seem serious, but he’s a key element to the rotation. I think the big lefty is just as good as Taijuan Walker, who is working his way back from injury, as is Hisashi Iwakuma. If they stay healthy, I’m sticking to my pick.

Corey Hart gave us a glimpse of what he could do for the M’s on Tuesday. I wasn’t impressed with his first two swings as he fell in an 0-2 hole against Angels starter Hector Santiago. I turned to my son and said, “Is this guy going to be the next Richie Sexson?” A couple seconds later he Hart crushed a pitch for a three-run moonshot home run to left. He lined a ball over the dead center-field fence for a homer in his next at bat. It got out about thisquick. If he stays healthy, Hart could be a steal at $6 million plus incentives.

One more M’s thought: Felix Hernandez is among a lot of MLB players who wear their baseball hats a little crooked, but new closer Fernando Rodney takes that look to a new level. His hat is practically sideways. How does it stay on his head?

More stuff

South Kitsap grad and Chicago Cubs’ starter Jason Hammel got his second win and had a little fun with first baseman Anthony Rizzo after the game.

North Mason grad and Central Washington infielder Kasey Bielec is third in batting (.398) in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Bielec, a junior, has five home runs and 28 RBI for the Wildcats (18-13, 11-9 GNAC). He was 4-for-6 on Sunday in a split with Western Oregon.

North Kitsap grad and former Kitsap BlueJacket Dan Jewitt of the Omaha Mavericks was the Summit League Player of the Week last week. The junior outfielder hit .526 (10-for-19) with six RBI and two doubles. Jewitt’s hitting a team-high .400 for the Mavericks (14-12, 3-3 Summit), starting 15 of the 18 games he’s played.

Drew Vettleson’s still looking for his first hit at Double-A Harrisburg. The Senators outfielder is hitless in 16 at bats. The former Central Kitsap star  was traded to the Washington Nationals by the Tampa Bay Rays organization prior to the start of spring training.

Jason Day and Steve Stricker. If I was in a Masters’ pool, I wish I had one of those guys. Wonder how long Fred Couples will contend? You know he will. He’s always on the top of the leaderboard for a couple days, then he fades. Maybe this is the year he hangs tough?

Richard Sherman’s second annual celebrity softball game will be July 20 at Safeco Field. More information here.

Don’t forget, Willie Bloomquist and Bree Schaaf will be at Port Orchard’s McCormick Woods on Thursday night, helping the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable raise money for the Elton Goodwin scoreboard and Elton Goodwin Foundation. Starts at 6 p.m. Everyone’s welcome. Lots of silent auction items available: Robinson Cano signed jersey and bat, Felix Hernandez signed jersey and ball, Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners tickets etc…


All Seahawks: Jersey No. 12 cracks NFL’s Top-10 list

Friday, March 7th, 2014

The No. 12 jersey of the Seattle Seahawks, which honors its fans, is now the No. 10 selling jersey in the NFL. Russell Wilson’s No. 3 is No. 1, Marshawn’s Lynch’s No. 24 is No. 5 and Richard Sherman’s No. 25 comes in at No. 6.

Michael Bennett had a helluva year for the Seahawks and he’s going to test the free-agent market. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. Just gotta ask, how many of you knew who Bennett was prior to the start of the 2013 season?

The 10-best NFL free-agent bargains? This story by Chris Wesseling at NFL.com rates Golden Tate No. 1 and Walter Thurmond No. 3.

Here’s ESPN’s primer on free agency as it pertains to the Seahawks.

The New York Daily News takes a look a the top 20 free agents and predicts that Bennett will wind up in … Seattle. The paper says Golden Tate will sign with the Jets.

Quarterback Russell Wilson worked out with the Texas Rangers earlier this week. Wilson played a season of Class A ball before, and he enjoyed the day. The Rangers also enjoyed having Wilson around. “He can teach kids about attitude and commitment and work ethic and application and I think that’s what life is about. Period,” said Texas manager Ron Washington.

Wilson was asked how much he wished he could have got in the spring game for an inning.

“How much did I want to play an inning? How much did I want to play the whole game is the question,” he said.

Cornerback Brandon Browner has been reinstated by the NFL and will face a four-game suspension, but somebody’s going to sign the free agent. According to this Bleacher Report, the onus is on Browner to prove that he is worthy of a multi-year contract.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Richard Sherman, Richard Sherman, Richard Sherman …

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Everybody’s got an opinion about Richard Sherman, who has become the face, ah, make that the voice, of the Seattle Seahawks. The Internet is full of Sherman stories. Before we get to some of them, here’s my quick thought on what transpired at the end of Sunday’s game at CenturyLink:

It’s an emotional game, and Sherman clearly got caught up in the excitement and energy of making a game-saving play in the biggest game of his life, but he’s apologized for taking the attention away from his teammates. I didn’t mind the post-game rant, I rather enjoyed it and I’m a card-carrying AARP-member. I didn’t like the choke sign. That was bush-league. Can he tone it down? Sure, but this is a supremely confident athlete. He’s a smack-talker, but he’s not a thug. He wears his bravado on his sleeve like Muhammad Ali. He’s the mouth that roars, and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the bright lights of Super Bowl media week in New York. You’re not going to get a lot of boring, cliche-like answers from him, but I don’t think he’ll give Peyton Manning and the Broncos any bulletin board material either. Richard Sherman’s too smart for that, and I think he’ll learn from how he reacted following the Seahawks’ NFC Championship game.

The most disturbing part of the Richard Sherman saga? Reading some of the ignorant and racially-implied online comments directed toward Sherman on the Internet. That tells me more about their character than his.

He talks about that and more in this revealing interview with Rachel Nichols of CNN.com.

Love him or hate him, Peter King of mmqbSI.com says everybody is fascinated about the Seahawks’ cornerback.

“I think this story has really caught on because everyone loves a villain,’’ said Dr. Annemarie Farrell, a professor of sports management and media at Ithaca College. She is an expert in fan behavior. “There’s not a ton of villains on either of these teams that people can talk about. We can’t all talk about Peyton Manning every day all the time. That’s boring. Sherman, on the other hand, put himself out there, and America really latched on. That’s why it became a bigger story than the game.

“There’s a lot of different storylines with Richard and reasons for why this blew up, but I think a really important one here is race. This seethes into this narrative of race in America and race logic. Think about who Richard Sherman is. He’s a kid from Compton who graduated second in his class and went to Stanford to earn a degree in Communications. He’s at a critical point in his football career, makes a huge play, then a reporter sticks a mike in his face. What does he do? He not only speaks, he shouts. And now you have an angry, almost violent black man, in a very passionate moment, yelling on national television.’’

Stanford coach David Shaw was the defensive coordinator when Sherman played for the Cardinal. Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News asked him about Sherman.

“Bill Walsh said you want guys with high character who are great players and great people,” Shaw said.  “But every once in a while, you have to line up and defend Jerry Rice. And the guy who does that has to be on the edge. That’s where Richard is.”

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports writes:

There is nothing wrong with not liking Sherman. As sure as he is free to act as he chooses, fans are free to judge him on that and react accordingly. That’s part of the deal. The only mistake is to assume that everyone in the NFL should act the same way – or more specifically act like you think you would act if it were you who was playing the game.

Jamie Fritz, who manages Sherman’s marketing deals, told ESPN.com: “We live in a world where so many are politically correct, so many are all about media training. There’s one thing that you can count on from Richard, and that is that he’s always going to speak his mind.”

Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times defends Sherman. He writes:

“… he is the example of everything that is wrong with some modern professional football fans. A guy fights for three hours and winds up throwing the punch of his life in the most important professional moment of his life, and America expects him to immediately start blowing kisses?”

Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune is among those who finds Sherman refreshing:

“You want classy? Go to the opera. Sherman sounded like football. Good for him. Good for our entertainment.

“Admit it, you loved it, too. Stop lying to yourselves. It’s a bad habit, it’s patently phony, and people are already pointing at you and talking about you.

“Sherman was himself. He was a thing, and it was hysterical. He was funny, colorful, entertaining. This is not a G-8 meeting, people. It’s entertainment.

“It’s entertainment that includes a guy suffering a torn ACL for our pleasure.

“It’s entertainment that includes players welcoming the early stages of brain damage for our pleasure.

“Wise up, folks. When you’re asking people to bring on early dementia and early death, yeah, there’s a chance they’ll be geeked up.

“And when a player makes the key play in a conference championship game and has a live mic stuck in front of him, then yeah, there’s a chance he’ll still be geeked up.”

Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News writes that Sherman has made it all about himself.

“Richard Sherman may make you root against him, against his team, root even harder for Peyton Manning to come win the big game in Eli’s house. But Sherman’s face was as much the face of his sport as Peyton’s was on championship Sunday. His voice, like it or not, drowned out everything else, even all that noise in Seattle.

“He hits town in a week. It is more likely Richard Sherman runs out of saliva before he runs out of material. Peyton may light him up in the game, it’s happened to loudmouth defensive backs in Super Bowls before. Until then, Sherman will think all the bright lights of the big city are about him.”

ALSO: According to vegasinsider.com, the favorite is just 1-5 in the last six Super Bowls and 3-9 in the last 12 against the spread. Several Vegas bookies had the Seahawks as early favorites, but the line moved in Denver’s favor and the Broncos are now 2-point favorites. That line, of course, could move as we get closer to the game.


Blue Friday links

Friday, January 17th, 2014

You might have heard about the football game that’s going to be played on Sunday in Seattle: Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers (3:30 p.m. FOX) for the right to advance to the Super Bowl.

I’m working on a story about Poulsbo’s Patrick Seahawk Duncan (yes, he changed in middle name to Seahawk). In the meantime,  here’s a few samples of what people are writing about the game. No, wait, I mean THE game:

Gonna start with this piece about the culture of the 12th Man as witnessed by an outsider. Really captures the passion of the Seahawks’ fans, and includes a video of the Seahawks anthem, or at least one of the anthems that’s been recorded by local artists.

Pete Carroll or Jim  Harbaugh? Who’s the better man? Who’s the better coach? Rick Reilly tackles those questions in this column on ESPN.com.

John Clayton, ESPN.com’s professor of football, calls the Seahawks-49ers rivalry one of the best in the NFL since he started covering the league in the early 1970s. He rates the top five rivalries in that time.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com studies the tapes of the first two meetings between the Seahawks and 49ers and he has some interesting thoughts on the matchup.

“I don’t know if there’s going to be handshakes after this one,” says Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman.

Sherman praises fellow cornerback Byron Maxwell in his MMQB.com column. He writes: “At this point, he’s well-prepared, and he’s playing as well as any corner in the NFL …”

Who has the edge? NFL.com experts break it down position-by-position.

This Associated Press story deals with how the 49ers are going to try and handle the noise-factor at CenturyLink.

And this Associated Press story addresses the noise issue from a Seahawks’ defensive standpoint.

Want stats? Here’s AP’s capsule look at the 49ers and Hawks.

The year’s Final Four — Seahawks vs. 49ers in the NFC, and Broncos vs. the Patriots in the AFC — doesn’t get much better. Check out CBS.com’s rundown of the two games.

Writers — one who covers the Seahawks and one who covers the Niners — break it all down.

And a late story: Brendon Mebane, the unsung hero on Seattle’s defensive line, a story by Doug Farrar for SI.com’s MMQB.


Key matchup: Hawks’ Okung vs. Rams’ mighty Quinn

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

Sure, it’s possible for the Seattle Seahawks to win the Super Bowl as a No. 5 seed.

But nobody, especially the Seahawks, wants to go down that road. Seattle would have to win three road playoff games in order to secure a spot in the Super Bowl.

The path, at least on paper, would be much easier if the Seahawks (12-3) beat the St. Louis Rams (7-8) and lock up the No. 1 seed and home field playoff advantage. They’d get a bye, and you can’t overstate how important that would be. A week of rest at this point of the season would be huge. Then, they’d get a home playoff game, and another one if they won.

So there’s a lot at stake today, and even though the Rams are out of the playoff picture, they should make it tough on the Seahawks as they try to finish .500 for the first time i seven years. St. Louis hell the Hawks to 135 yards and seven first downs the first time around, but somehow managed to lose the game 14-9 when Golden Tate got loose for an 80-yard touchdown reception.

Here’s the key matchup: Seattle left tackle Russell Okung vs. Rams’ defense end Robert Quinn, who leads the NFL with 18 sacks and six forced fumbles. Three of those sacks came against Wilson in the first game on Oct. 28. Okung missed that game with a toe injury, and that injury forced him to miss some snaps last week. If Quinn has a quiet day, then the Seahawks should be in pretty good shape. 

Prediction: The Seahawks are favored by 12. If I was betting, I’d take the Rams and the points. This one promises to be close — again. Seattle 19, Rams 17.

Here’s a column I wrote earlier in the week about the Seahawks needing to finish what they started.

 

This is not a do-or-die game, but it might as well be, writes Terry Blount of ESPN.com.

Richard Sherman’s confident the Seahawks will play better than they did in last week’s loss against Arizona.

Important sub-plot to today’s game: Tacoma News Tribune columnist Dave Boling wonders if QB Russell Wilson bounces back after having a bad day last week?

 


Physical O-lines still in vogue; Zags reload; Sherman shares more thoughts

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

How many of you saw this one coming? Stanford, a 10- or 10.5-point underdog on its home turf, beat Oregon 26-20 in the marquee college football game of the week on Thursday night.

The Ducks couldn’t score a touchdown in three quarters. So the Ducks’ national title hopes are gone, and Stanford has the inside track on earning a second straight Rose Bowl bid after upsetting Oregon for the second straight season. Stanford’s time of possession (42:34) told the story in this one, just as it did a year ago when Stanford won 17-14 in Eugene. Oregon ran just 74 players in that one and punted eight times.

And if you’ve seen Oregon QB Marcus Mariota play, you know he wasn’t himself. There were rumors before the game that he wasn’t 100 percent because of a knee injury and he didn’t look to run against Stanford and the Ducks were turned into a one-dimensional offense. The nation’s No. 2 rushing offense ran for just 61 yards.

I find it interesting in this era of high-powered, wide-open spread offenses, that No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Florida State, No. 4  Ohio State and No. 5 Stanford are all getting it done on offense with old-style physical offensive lines. They can protect the quarterback and beat you with a punishing run-game. Stanford pounded Tyler Gaffney at Oregon 45 times for 157 yards.

 

College Basketball

Gonzaga, as always, will be an interesting team to watch. They’ve got a 7-1 center (Przemek Karnowski), an exciting transfer from Providence (Gerard Coleman), and another promising transfer from Louisville (Angel Nunez) to go along with returners Sam Dower, Kevin Pangos and David Stockton. Go ahead and pencil the Zags into the NCAA tournament. They’ve made it 16 straight years and there’s no reason to believe they won’t be there again.

Not that it matters at this stage of the college basketball season, but Gonzaga is projected as a No. 4 seed in Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology listings at ESPN.com. The Washington Huskies are not projected to be one of the 68 teams selected to play in the NCAA tournament

I think the Huskies, picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12, could surprise. Perris Blackwell, a 6-10 transfer from San Francisco,  looks like a legit inside presence on offense, something the Huskies have lacked in recent years. Freshman guard Nigel Williams-Goss might be the real deal and CJ. Wilcox is the real deal. I’ll also be interested to see how the Arizona State Sun Devils fare. I got a chance to see Shaquielle McKissic play in the NWAACC last season when he was with Edmonds CC and the 6-5 transfer, a Kentridge High grad, promises to be one of the most exciting talents in the Pac-12.

If Sherman was the commish ….

What if Richard Sherman was the commissioner of the NFL? He tackles that question in his latest column for Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB) for SI.com. Here’s an exerpt:

“It’s a difficult job, I’m sure, working for the owners while looking out for the welfare of the players. It always seems like a happy balance is being struck in late April, when a parade of draftees crosses the stage at Radio City Music Hall, each one giving Roger Goodell a handshake and a hug after his name is called. But for the rest of the year it’s clear that the interests of the 1,700 players pale in importance to those of the 32 owners.

Read the entire column here.

 

 


Available on Kindle