In the quiet blogging period (read: Christmas) I had a lot of conversations with a lot of people, and probably 70% of them revolved around the Seahawks. Here are some things I came away from all those conversations with (there might be a few general NFL ones tossed in for good measure).
- Jim Mora will almost certainly be Seattle's 2010 Head Coach. I don't personally think he should be, but I understand the need for giving a head coach more than one year. The reasons I don't think he deserves a second year are many, chief among them is that I think he has lost the team. When Tim Ruskell resigned, he spoke to the players and told them to win for him against San Francisco. They responded. Since that game, they have been subject to two of the worst beatings I can recall, including the most embarrassing loss I may have ever seen last week. Mora has not been able to get his players up to play, and has appeared to have the opposite affect on them -- Be a dirtbag! "Uh, yeah, so, no, no I don't think I'm going to be." Fail.
- The GM search will be a joke if the Seahawks force Mora upon the candidates. The joke is two-fold: either you get someone who is willing to work with someone that is almost universally considered a poor NFL coach (outside of Seattle, anyway), or you get someone who isn't but says he is and Jim Mora becomes a lame duck coach. The only answer that makes a lot of sense within this framework is Ruston Webster, and that is going to make this "process" look like a total cop out. More likely is you bring in someone who is decent, and let Mora coach an extra year on principle. Either way, I don't like where this is headed.
- The Seahawks are closer than they look. Say what you will about Tim Ruskell, but he was good at finding talent. He wasn't great, he was good. This Seahawks team has a very talented defense that lacks execution almost from top to bottom. Not a single player on this defense is playing at the level they need to, though Josh Wilson and Brandon Mebane are close, though Mebane has taken a step back this year. He's still easily the best person on our D-Line. The offense will require a rebuild, including a new LT, RG and RT, running back, quarterback, and a reconfiguration of the WR spot. In other words, John Carlson and Max Unger are the key cogs on this offense moving forward.
- Every Single Coordinator Must Go. This isn't new, but it doesn't stop at Greg Knapp. Knapp must go, he is the most crucial, but Bruce DeHaven must follow, and Gus Bradley needs to be demoted. Who takes Knapp's spot? No clue, because Mora is so committed to Knapp's crap, but someone must take over. Jim Zorn will be available, but that doesn't exactly inspire me. Dan Quinn (D-Line Coach) is the obvious option to take over as coordinator, despite the D-Line's poor performance this year. I chock that up to much more to an utter lack of pass rush talent. Remember, the Seahawks have been good against the run this year, save for Gore's two huge runs.
- The Bengals have all the makings of a Super Season. When you watch those NFL films things, there are like three key components to a super season that are necessary (but not sufficient). First, they've got to be underdogs (they weren't expected to win more than 5 or 6 games); second, they have to have a good offense with a good defense (the Colts, for example, always have a great offense, but they fail in the playoffs because the defense can't pull their weight); finally, there must be a tragedy to overcome, which is where the Bengals are loaded up. The death of Chris Henry is obvious and tragic, but prior to that they also had the unexpected death of Zimmerman's wife, and the fact that this team is built from the bottom-up with discarded players: Cedric Benson and Larry Johnson are the most recent and obvious, but Chris Henry was another and the list is as long as their collected rap-sheets. I don't know that they will win the Super Bowl, but I think they are playing for more than anyone else in the league.
- Matt Hasselbeck is not long for this team. That doesn't mean he's not going to succeed elsewhere in the league, but I have to believe that if this is not Hasselbeck's last year in Seattle, next year will and should be. The more I watch Hasselbeck, the more I realize that he is just lost in this system. Yes, he's getting slammed on every other play, but he just doesn't have the arm strength needed right now. Maybe that's because of getting slammed, maybe not, but his outside throws lack zip and his decision making has suffered. It's unfortunate, and we all love Matt, but you can only ride a horse so long. I don't like the idea of trading Matt for Brady Quinn. Even if Quinn was going to be good, he isn't now. He was destroyed in the same way that David Carr was destroyed. Quinn makes awful choices and has a bad arm and worse accuracy. He also has one of the best LTs in football, so you can't purely blame his line (though the rest of it is pretty mediocre -- sorry Porkchop!).
- TJ Houshmandzadeh will be Ruskell's Legacy. We all knew he was getting paid too much, but if he was going to come in and add "swagger" to the team and be a number one receiver. He has done none of those things. Instead, he came in making too much to be a mediocre number two receiver with an almost complete inability to get any YAC. He has appeared to be a festering wound in the locker room and has bullied the offense to be based around him despite the fact that he does not have the talent to be a key player. He is arrogant, he is average, and he is the opposite of what Ruskell would be drafting for, but he signed the biggest fish in a very small pond.
- Brett Favre is obnoxious. I don't think this is news to anyone, but it is true.