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Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
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Archive for the ‘Russell Wilson’ Category

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.

 


Hawks’ Wilson still proving doubters wrong; Is there a ’95 run in these M’s?

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Back from Cabo and my mind’s still a little mushy, but these thoughts have been rattling around my brain:

Russell Wilson: The Seattle Seahawks’ QB hasn’t won everybody over. Ron Jaworski at ESPN ranks Wilson the ninth-best QB in the NFL. This Buck Stanton guy at cover32.com., wrote last month that Wilson is the most overrated player in the NFL. Here’s what he had to say:

Yep, he’s 24-8 during his first two NFL seasons. And there’s no taking away his Super Bowl ring. All of that makes Wilson’s résumé look great. But in reality, there are a ton of quarterbacks – many of whom are much-maligned – who could have won a title with the Seahawks last year. For now, he’s a modern-day Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer. He can’t carry a team.

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless of ESPN’s First Take aren’t sold on Wilson either. Here’s what they had to say the day after Seattle’s Super Bowl victory.

Me? I’m sold. He’s not the prototypical QB like Andrew Luck, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t an elite quarterback. He’s got a ring and his numbers do not lie. As Warren Moon put it, maybe the game is evolving in a new direction? Maybe Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger — traditional pocket passers — will fade away. Maybe mobile, athletic guys like Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III will become the prototypical quarterbacks of the future.

Refuse to lose: I’ve been thinking a lot about the Seattle Mariners’ run in 1995 when they came from waaaaay back to win the AL West. They were 11.5 games behind the Angels on Aug. 23. When I looked Saturday, they were seven back. The Angels just lost their best starting pitcher, Garrett Anderson, for the season, and the Oakland A’s are scuffling. Seattle entered Sunday with a 1-game lead over Detroit in the race of race for the AL’s No. 2 wild-card spot. Yeah, I was the guy who picked the M’s to win the AL West at the start of the season. People thought I was crazy. Well, I still think they have a chance. They’re playing with a lot of confidence, and that’s huge. Here’s what a few of those players on the 1995 Mariners said about their magical late-season surge:

LEE ELIA, BATTING COACH: “We get hot, they (Angels) get cold, and all of a sudden, we cut the gap pretty good. I can remember walking out when the other team was taking BP, and I came back into the coaches’ room and said, ‘Is this a special night, bat night or something?’ They said, ‘Why.’ I said, ‘There’s 35,000 people out there.’ The juice the people brought to the park, that kicked us. That got us going.”

MIKE BLOWERS: “Junior missed a ton of time, and when he came back, we were playing real good baseball. One of his first games back, he ended up hitting a home run off John Wetteland, upper deck, to win a game. We all looked around. If this guy is healthy and ready to go, we had a chance to do something special. His injury had been so serious, we didn’t know what we’d get. He comes right back and turns a 96-mph fastball right around. We all smiled and said, ‘Here we go.’ ”

JAY BUHNER, RIGHT FIELDER: “I think that’s when everyone kind of said, ‘Hey, something really special is happening.’ We got on a roll, and we had an unbelievable amount of confidence. We had the mentality we could beat anyone. Anyone could be the hero. People were contributing in every way, from top to bottom. The few games we did lose, we thought we just ran out of outs.”

Yankee numbers: I was a big-time Yankee fan growing up, then went through a period where I fell off the bandwagon. Then, I jumped back on, mostly because of Joe Torre. Liked him as a player, and he always struck me as a classy guy when he became the manager of the Yanks. And then I had the opportunity to cover the 2000 Subway World Series when I was working for CBS Sportsline, and I learned to respect Torre even more. The Yankees were an easy team to pull for. Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Paul O’Neill, Don Zimmer, Torre.

Anyway, I think it’s pretty cool that the Yankees are going to retire Torre’s No. 6. When Jeter’s No. 2 is retired, and they might as well do it on the final home game of the season instead of delaying the inevitable, every Yankees number form 1 to 10 will be retired. Thurman Munson (No. 15) and White Ford (No. 16) also had their jerseys retired.

No. 1 Billy Martin

No. 2 Derek Jeter

No. 3 Babe Ruth

No. 4 Lou Gehrig

No. 5 Joe DiMaggio

No. 6: Joe Torre

No. 7: Mickey Mantle

No. 8: Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey

No. 9: Roger Maris

No. 10: Phil Rizzuto

Fantasy football: My league drafts tomorrow. Let the trash talkin’ begin.


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


49ers-Seahawks: Greatest rivalry in sports?

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Seahawks vs. 49ers: The Trilogy.

That’s what some are calling Sunday’s NFC Championship game (3:30 p.m., FOX). Granted, it’s the third meeting between the Hawks and Niners this season, but this rivalry goes back to 2007, when Pete Carroll was coaching at USC and Jim Harbaugh was coaching Stanford. Stanford upset the Trojans that day, and two years later the Cardinal did it again. The 2009 game featured the now-famous post-game meeting when Carroll, apparently upset that Harbaugh attempted a two-point conversation late in the game with a healthy lead.

Carroll asked Harbaugh: “What’s your deal?”

Harbaugh came back with: “What’s your deal?”

Here’s the deal. These coaches, and these teams,  don’t like each other.

There are those who believe that Manning vs. Brady is the greatest rivalry in the NFL. It dates back to when Peyton Manning was slinging passes for the Indianapolis Colts and Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were the toast of football. Manning, now with the Broncos, will take another shot at Brady and the Patriots in the AFC Championship game on Sunday (noon, CBS). By the way, Brady’s won 10 of 14 career meetings against Manning.

I think the Seahawks-49ers rivalry has eclipsed the Manning-Brady rivalry. Maybe it’s just because we’re so close to it, but these two West Coast rivals have forged perhaps the greatest rivalry in all of professional sports. The survivor of this game will be a lot like the cowboy who manages to hang on for eight seconds against the biggest, toughest, most physical bull in the world.

The teams are similar in makeup, featuring the most complete and feared defenses in football. The Seahawks have the best defensive backfield, and they’re deep and talented in the other spots, too. The Niners are loaded along the defensive line, and like Seattle, don’t have any weaknesses on that side of the ball.

Knowing the defenses are so sound, the offenses don’t ask a lot out of young quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, although both have been electrifying at times.

The Seahawks ram Marshawn Lynch behind a pretty good offensive line; the 49ers have Frank Gore, and perhaps the best offensive line in football.

The Seahawks have Percy Harvin, providing he’s cleared after sustaining a concussion late in the first half of the win over the Saints on Saturday. We’ve only seem a glimpse of the guy, but it’s pretty clear that Harvin is a rare talent, and opens things up for the Seahawks on offense. The rest of the receivers are sure-handed and have shown an ability to make big plays when they get open,. The 49ers have Anquan Boldin, who is as clutch as they come, Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis. As good as Seattle’s secondary is, these receivers will be tough to stop.

It’ll be interesting if any bulletin board material shows up during the week.

Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, who played for Harbaugh at Stanford, called his ex-coach a bully and said he was part of the reason why he dropped to the fifth-round in the NFL draft. Cornerback Brandon Browner said he wanted to “put his hands around Harbaugh’s neck.”

San Francisco running back Anthony Dixon, in a tweet before the Week 2 game, which turned out to be a 29-3 Seattle victory, tweeted: “Extra weight on the racks all week getting less sleep preparing for these She-Hawks,” he wrote. “I love hostile environments Imma feel right at home.”

Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright responded: “lol the she hawks!! I’ll be sure relay the message to the fellas. Its gone be a long night for you and the forty whiners.”

Dixon and Wright both deleted their tweets.

After San Francisco beat Carolina 23-10 to earn a shot at the Seahawks, Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin tweeted: “Wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Pete Carroll talked about the game on his ESPN 710 Seattle radio show Monday morning.

“I think it’s the matchup that everybody wanted like to see,” Carroll said. “We don’t mind it one bit and they don’t mind it, either. It’ll be a great one.

“These are the two teams everyone was talking about early in the year, so it’s interesting how accurate all the (soothsayers) were. There’s not a better matchup you could find right now in the NFC. We’re thrilled about it.”

The 49ers are peaking. They’ll bring an eight-game winning streak to CenturyLink. One of those wins was a 19-17 victory over the Hawks last month in San Francisco.

Nevada oddsmakers favor the Seahawks by three points. In other words, the bookies give Seattle the edge because of the home-field environment. As electric as the 12s have been in the past, you know it’ll be even louder and more boisterous on Sunday. That’s going to be tough for the 49ers to overcome.

This game might come down to the team that can control its emotions and be the most disciplined. Leave the smack-talk in the locker room. Now’s not the time to go all Jimmy Graham on the opposition. Keep your mouth shut and play. I don’t see the Seahawks or 49ers losing sight of that, not with what’s at stake.

Here’s something to chew on: The home team has won four straight int his series.

Here’s something else to chew on. Since Carroll and Harbaugh have been in the NFL, Harbaugh and the 49ers are 4-2 against the Seahawks, but they’ve been outscored 71-16 in their last games, both losses, at the Clink.

So here’s the deal: If you’re going to the game, bring some sani-wipes because this is going to be like sitting ringside at a  classic heavyweight championship  fight. Snot and sweat and blood are going to be flying.

And when Harbaugh and Carroll shake hands after the game, the winner, no doubt, will be tempted to say: “Hey, you know what the deal is? We’re going to the Super Bowl and you’re going home.”

Some links

Here’s another look at the Seahawks-49ers rivalry.

As I type this, 63% percent of the fans in this ESPN poll feel the Seahawks will beat the 49ers.

Are Seahawks trying to keep 49ers’ fans from buying tickets to Sunday’s championship game?

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that no team has an emotional leader like Jim Harbaugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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?

 


Thursday links: Lupoi, Seahawks & more

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Linking it up on a Thursday morning:

Tosh Lupoi, the Washington Husky footbal assistant accused of violating NCAA rules, will stay on the UW staff for now.

Remember the Seahawks 58-0 blowout over the Cardinals on Dec. 9 of last year? Arizona returns to CenturyLink on Sunday with a chance to avenge that embarrassment as well as end Seattle’s 14-game home winning streak. This could be the Hawks toughest test at the Clink in a while. The Cardinals (9-5) are on a pretty good roll and playing much better than they did earlier this year with Seattle won 34-22 in Arizona. Coach Bruce Arians has created a new era in Arizona.

Byron Maxwell, who has three interceptions in his last two games, is just trying to take advantage of his opportunities. Seahawks secondary coach Kris Richard said this to Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com: “I’m going to tell you something about Byron, he’s very humble, he’s diligent and I don’t think what’s happening to him could happen to a better person. He’s fantastic to be around, and he has been for years. So he’s kind just been sitting back in the wings and waiting for his turn. And here it is.”

 

Farnesworth also writes about Russell Wilson’s search for consistency.

“I think the No. 1 thing is, first of all, talking it – talking and believing it,” Wilson said. “When I say ‘ignore the noise,’ I really try to just block it all out. I believe in what I say, in terms of just trying to stay focused on the moment, trying to stay focused on the now.

In Joe Posnanski’s mind, before Jackie Robinson, graceful first baseman Buck Leonard was the right man to break the color line in baseball.

Posnanski compared Leonard to Lou Gehrig:

… They shared a certain aura as well as a style of play. Leonard readily admits he tried to copy Gehrig’s style when he became a professional — who better to copy? Gehrig hit with more power, surely, and Leonard was reportedly slicker defensively, but their similarities ran much deeper than their playing styles. They were both steady men without flash, without noticeable egos, with a driving consistency and certain quiet resolve that people around them could not help but admire. Everyone thought the world of Buck Leonard.

Michael Thomas’ story might be the best of the NFL season. A practice squad player with the 49ers, he was sleeping in late after the Niners beat the Seahawks a couple weeks ago and almost slept through a chance to become an active player with the Miami Dolphins. He woke up in time, signed a contract, flew to Miami and ended up making the game-saving interception in the end zone against the Patriots.

 

Kobe Bryant’s comeback didn’t last long.


Is there a ‘Super Bowl Shuffle’ in the Seahawks’ future?

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Someone on the NFL Network pre-game show, and I can’t remember who it was, compared the Seahawks’ defense to the defense that carried the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl victory in 1985. He talked about the secondary, and the overall quickness and aggressiveness of the unit.

That’s some pretty high praise.

Da Bears finished 15-1 in ’85 and punished New England 48-10 in SB XX in New Orleans.

Seattle’s currently 6-1 and 15-1 seems possible at this stage of the season — only two of their final nine opponents, New Orleans and the 49ers, are currently over .50o — if the defense keeps playing at its current level. If you had to vote for postseason honors right now, Seattle safety Earl Thomas would get a lot of votes for Defensive Player of the Year. The guy — pardon me Marshawn — is a beast. He’s got 43 solo tackles (six more assists), four interceptions and he’s forced two fumbles.

But back to the team. On the road, against a decent but not great Arizona Cardinals team, the Seahawks  had their way . They allowed just 30 rushing yards, had seven sacks and two interceptions, one by Thomas and another that should have been returned for a touchdown but cornerback Brandon Browner was tripped up by Casper (the friendly ghost) before he got to the end zone.

Seattle ranks No. 5 in points allowed (16.6), No. 2 in total yards allowed (282.1), No. 3 in passing yards allowed (190.6) and No. 5 (91.6) in rushing yards allowed. They are first in interceptions with 11, first in forced fumbles with 10, and first in recovered fumbles (8). They have the best secondary in the league, led by Thomas and Richard Sherman. Browner raised his level against the Cardinals after a so-so start. Cam Chancellor remains one of the hardest-hitting strong safeties in the game and you just don’t see him making mistakes.

The Hawks are also as deep as anyone in the league along the defensive front. It doesn’t seem to matter who ‘s in the game — Bruce Irvin, Michael Bennett, Chris Clemons, Cliff Avril are getting things done from the outside and Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane, Clinton McDonald and Tony McDaniel are getting it done inside. If Seattle duplicates the rush it had against the Cardinals’ Carson Palmer, he won’t be the last quarterback who is going to have a miserable day against the Seahawks.

When Chicago was wreaking havoc, the Bears weren’t facing the kind of high-powered offenses that now exist in the NFL. But I can’t remember a defense that was more intimidating, or dominating. Coached by Buddy Ryan, they used an innovative attacking “46 zone” defense that allowed the fewest points (196), total yards (4,135) and few rushing yards (1,319) that year. They also led in interceptions (34) and were third in sacks (64). Middle linebacker Mike Singletary was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, and the award could easily have gone to teammate and future Hall of Famer Richard Dent, who had 17 sacks. Another Hall of Famer, Dan Hampton, was also part of the defensive line.

Da Bears, under head coach Mike Ditka, were also pretty good on offense. Led by His Sweetness, Walter Payton, and quarterback Jim McMahon, Chicago outscored opponents 456-198. Payton was the NFL’s all-time leading rusher at the time and he danced and pounded for 1,551 yards and caught 49 passes for another 485 yards.

Seattle’s offense, considering all of the injuries to the offensive line, has been pretty good. The Seahawks have been successful ramming Marshawn Lynch at opponents and quarterback Russell Wilson, just seven games into his second pro season, is the best at extending plays and keeping opponents guessing.  McMahon spread the ball around to his receivers — speedster Willie Gault (33 catches, 704 yards) was the deep threat, Dennis McKinnon (31-555-7 TDs) had his best season and tight end Emery Moorhead was clutch (35-481) was clutch. It’s similar to how the Seahawks are getting it done. There’s probably not anybody you want on our fantasy team, but Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Zach Miller and Jermaine Kearse have all demonstrated they can make big plays. And the offense should get better. Receiver/returner Percy Harvin has yet to play, but is getting close to being game ready and he is one of the best offensive weapons in the league. Plus, they’ve been without starting tackles Russell Okung (foot) and Breno Giacomini (knee).

One more comparison. The Bears were led by Ditka, who was as fiery as they come during his day. He was never afraid to speak his mind and remains a beloved figure in the Windy City. Enthusiastic Pete Carroll does it with a different style in Seattle, and the outgoing coach has captured the 12s, as well as the team, while turning the Seahawks into legit Super Bowl contenders.

The only thing missing?

The Bears recorded the “Super Bowl Shuffle” and released it to rave reviews three months prior to the Super Bowl. I remember it as being a bit corny, but after some extensive reasearch (thank you, Google), I discovered that it sold more than a half million records, hit No. 41 on the Billboard charts and was even nominated for a Grammy.

I’m sure the Seahawks could get a little help from one of their biggest fans, Macklemore, if they wanted some help on recording their own rap video. The “Super Bowl Shuffle, Seattle-Style” just might be in order.

 

 


Seahawks thoughts

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Letdown? Were you thinking letdown?

Letdown? Were you afraid that the Seahawks, favored by 19.5 points to beat the Jaguars, might not bring it on Sunday?

As it turned out, there was no need to worry. The Seahawks blew out the Jags, 45-17, and after three weeks, they’ve given us all a lot of reasons to believe that they are the class of the NFL.

In case you’ve lost count, the Seahawks have now won eight straight regular-season games and 10 straight home games. Average score over the last five games at the Clink: 38.5 to 10. Seattle’s last home loss? San Francisco beat the Hawks 19-17 on Dec. 24, 2011.

Yeah, the Seahawks are pretty damn good. There are so many things to like about this team, and I keep going back to their depth.

Where did defensive tackle Clinton McDonald come from? Dude had 1.5 sacks and seemed to be everywhere against the Jaguars.

And how many teams in the league would like to have Tarvaris Jackson starting at QB right now? He was 7 of 8 for 129 yards and a TD. T-Jack wasn’t healthy during his first stint with the Seahawks, but still managed to throw for 3,091 yards and 14 TDs. Because of his familiarity with the system and his relationships with the players, he’s the perfect backup for Seattle. If QB Russell Wilson goes down, there’s would be no reason to panic.

And as good as offensive tackle Russell Okung is, the Seahawks didn’t really skip a beat up front on Sunday. Journeyman Paul McQuiston started in Okung’s place and the Hawks averaged a season 4.3-yards per rushing play.

Strange stat of the day: 2 catches, 5 yards, 2 TDs. Yep, that was the line for tight end Zach Miller. He had a 1-yard grab for the game’s first score and Wilson found him for a 4-yard TD that made it 14-0 early in the second quarter.

On his first TD, Miller was all by himself. He faked a block in a tight formation at the goalline, dropping to the turf before getting up and waltzing by himself into the end zone.  “It was wide open. Worked even better than it did in practice,” Miller told reporters after the game.

Catch of the day: That diving 35-yard TD catch by Doug Baldwin was ridiculous. Golden Tate (10 catches, 158 yards, 0 TDs), Baldwin (9, 177, 1 TD) and Sidney Rice (8, 127, 2 TDs) are legit and Jermaine Kearse (3, 66, 1), who tweaked an ankle on Sunday, fits the mold. They’re all athletic and aggressive to the ball. And Seattle will add Percy Harvin later in the year. Like I said, depth is not a problem.

Leon Who?: I thought the Hawks would miss Leon Washington, the electrifying kickoff and punt returner, and maybe they will but Tate’s looked good returning punts (10 for an 11.2 average). They’ve only returned three kickoffs, so it’s too soon to tell on that one. Kearse (23 yards), Jeremy Lane (22 yards) and Tate (24 yards) have all returned one.

No luck for Niners: While the Seahawks were taking care of business, the 49ers were not.  They were 10-point favorites to beat Indianapolis at home, but the Andrew Luck and the Colts, missing six starters, crushed the Niners 27-7. Coming off a 29-3 loss to Seattle at the Clink, the 49ers have to be doing some soul-searching. QB Colin Kaepernink (13 of 27 for 150 yards with an interception and 0 TDs) looked lost at times.

This could be a long year for the Niners if they don’t get healthy. Top receivers Michael Crabtree (Achilles) and Mario Manningham (knee) are out and tight end Vernon Davis (hamstring) missed the game against Indianapolis and might not be ready for this week’s Thursday game at St. Louis. In addition, All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis (groin) left Sunday’s game in the third quarter, nose tackle Ian Williams suffered a broken ankle against the Seahawks and they will be without All-Pro defensive end Aldon Smith indefinitely.  He was arrested on charges of drunk driving and marijuana possession on Friday (his second arrest since he’s been in the league) and while he played on Sunday, several sources reported that he would enter a treatment center this week.  You wonder why they played Smith at all. All in all, it adds up to a troubling start for the 49ers.

Two-game lead: So three weeks into the season, the Seahawks (3-0) have a two-game lead over the 49ers (1-2), Rams (1-2) and Cardinals (1-2) in the NFC West.

This is the sixth time in franchise history that Seattle has gotten off to a 3-0 start. They’ve never been 4-0.

Sikma sighting: Jack Sikma, a fan favorite in Seattle when he played for the SuperSonics,  raised the 12th Man Flag before the game. The center who helped the Sonics win an NBA title had his jersey No. 43 raised to the rafters at KeyArena. Sikma was a seven-time All-Star  is currently an assistant coach with the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.

While on the subject of the 12th Man Flag, I speculated that former Seattle guard Gary Payton, recently inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, might be asked to raise the flag for the Seahawks-49ers game. I later was told that Payton, an Oakland native, is a big 49ers fan.

Texans next: Early odds for next Sunday’s game at Houston: Seattle’s favored by three. The over-under is 43.5. For what it’s worth, I predicted Seattle would beat Houston in the Super Bowl. The Texans pulled out a couple late wins and lost at Baltimore on Sunday. There’s no shame in losing to the Ravens, but the Texans, unlike the Seahawks, aren’t exactly playing like a Super Bowl contender at this juncture.


More love for the Seahawks

Friday, September 6th, 2013

I went out on a limb earlier this week, predicting that the Seattle Seahawks would live up to the hype and win a Super Bowl.

Bill Simmons of ESPN’s Grantland.com, no doubt, was swayed by my pick because he, too, thinks Pete Carroll and the Seahawks will be hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the end of the Super Bowl.

Simmons can’t wait for those 49ers-Seahawks games. The rivalry, and I agree, has the potential to get downright nasty. He writes:

… remember when we used to make snarky jokes about the NFC West? Suddenly Niners-Seahawks is the NFL’s single-best rivalry — if I could watch only one home-and-home this season, I’d pick the Seattle-S.F. games without blinking. (Runner-up choices: New Orleans–Atlanta, Green Bay–Chicago, Ravens-Bengals and Giants-Cowboys. Finishing last: Oakland–San Diego.) And it’s not going to be a fleeting thing. Thanks to the head coaches (who genuinely dislike each other), the QBs (sharing that same Playmaking Young QB corner), the stadiums/crowds/atmospheres (both enjoyable, especially Seattle) and the blue-chippers on both sides (extensive), Seahawks-Niners has a chance to be a hybrid of everything we enjoyed during the peaks of Patriots-Colts (the star power) and Ravens-Steelers (the bad blood/division rivals thing).

Year after year after year, I can see the Niners and Seahawks measuring themselves against one another, lobbing potshots at each other, making sketchy roster moves clearly intended to piss off the other team (Chris Harper, everybody!), and maybe even getting into one of those postgame pseudo-brawls with 120 players milling around two assistant coaches who are screaming at each other. If it gets REALLY good, once or twice, we’ll see a free agent switch from one side to the other for more money, and we’ll all consider him a massive traitor — like how Red Sox fans felt about Johnny Damon in 2006. I think it’s going to be a blood feud. I think it’s going to be what Rex Ryan always wanted the Jets-Patriots rivalry to be … you know, before the Jets died.

It’s going to be fantastic. I can’t wait. But for 2013? I think it’s Seattle’s year. In Russell Wilson we trust.

You can read Simmons’ entire story here. He’s not too high on the Panthers, Seattle’s Week 1 opponent.

But Carolina’s Cam Newton promises to be a difficult quarterback to slow down. Doug Farrar of SI.com talks to some Seattle defenders and coach Pete Carroll after how to defend the dangerous dual-threat.


Seahawks, Sounders popular in Cabo

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

So I’ve been on a little R&R in Cabo San Lucas, mostly doing nothing but sitting poolside and having an occasional cerveza or whatever the 2-for-1 drink of the day happens to be.

I’ve watched very little television since I’ve been in Cabo, but the Seahawks’ 40-10 beat-down of the Denver Broncos caught my eye. I know, I know, it’s only preseason, but seems like the Hawks have got it going on.

Mike Silver, formerly of Yahoo! Sports and now working for NFL.com, is the latest to jump on the Hawks’ bandwagon. You can read his story here.

And I just read another interesting story about the Hawks. Alyssa Roenigk of ESPN.com writes about how the Seahawks are using meditation and other methods to build a healthier franchise.

When the locals in Cabo find out I’m from the Seattle area, they invariably ask about the rain and the Seahawks, not necessarily in that order.

I ran into a guy at the market yesterday that trailed me around the store for about 30 minutes, asking questions about the team and telling me what he thought. He was a big Seattle fan, knew all about Russell Wilson, the “beeeeg and fast defensive backs” and he loved Pete Carroll. “Players, they respect him, no?”

And when it was time to leave, he wanted to know if I would go to a timeshare presentation. Said he’s throw in a Seahawks’ poncho or blanket.

Sports fans south of the border also know about the Seattle Sounders.  They know that the Sounders fill the stadium, and when I told a young waiter that the Sounders had recently signed Clint Dempsey, his eyes bulged. “Oh, my, Cleeent Demsee! The forward? He’s soooo good.”‘

Muy bueno huh?

“Mexico has nobody like him,” said the waiter. “You are so lucky.”

When I asked him about Mexico’s soccer team, he cringed. “Don’t ask, it makes me crazy. We don’t have any good players. I’d rather cheer for the Sounders.”

 


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