Great news from Renton: Walter Jones was out on the practice field today. Thanks to Sue for pointing it out, and the people in the comments.
Sorry, I've been pretty swamped at work lately and don't always have a chance to get a post out. Always appreciate the heads up though!
It's time to get annoying and have a bit of fun doing it, so without further ado, here are my fairly meaningless first week of the season power rankings:
The Bottom Dwellers
32. Cleveland Browns - They appear to be this year's Detroit Lions. They've got just about nothing going for them and cleared out a lot of talent. I liked their draft, but how many WRs do you need? It looks like 2007 was the fluke a lot of us thought it was.
31. Denver Broncos - Consider this low ranking a mix of hope and astonishment at the idiocy of McDaniels. You take a bad, but competitive, team and alienate the most important part of that team before sending him away for a terrible quarterback. The Broncos had a surreal draft and their defensive needs were not addressed enough in April or in free agency.
30. Detroit Lions - I like some of their moves in the offseason, but this was among the worst teams the NFL ever fielded last year. Winning four games would be huge, and with Jim Schwartz I think they can potentially do it.
29. Oakland Raiders - The Cryptkeeper appears crazier than ever. Having the best punter and CB in the game is not going to get you into the playoffs. Sorry, Al.
28. St. Louis Rams - They'll be better this year, and I think will surprise some. Their running game will be better, but they aren't going to win with that defense, that QB, or those wide receivers.
27. Kansas City Chiefs - Scott Pioli is a smart man and I think he made some good moves this offseason with the Chiefs, including some that are a little shady with his old team (Cassel and Vrabel for... what, again?). Still, they are switching to a 3-4 without the pieces to do so, relying very heavily on Glenn Dorsey, who was until recently dubbed 'too fat to practice,' and unsigned Tyson Jackson, who does not know the 3-4 system.
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In typical Mike Florio "I don't totally know what I'm talking about but maybe some people will laugh" style, Mr. PFT takes on the Seahawks this morning, specifically TJ Houshmandzadeh. In discussing the potential "nasty green jerseys," Florio decides to attack TJ Houshmandzadeh for absolutely no reason:
Receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who has gone from largely anonymous to primarily insufferable in a matter of months, would be fine with that.
"I haven't really seen a [green] jersey," Houshmandzadeh said, "but if you got style, then you can rock anything. I think I got style, so I'm going to be just fine."
He probably was kidding. Even if he was, we think the equipment guy in Seattle should replace the first "H" on that green jersey (and the other two) with a "D".
So... Florio, he with literally no experience actually playing football OR making/understanding jokes, is suddenly calling Houshmandzadeh "Doushmandzadeh"? Really? I would suggest we all go over there and give him a piece of your mind, but he has no interest and never pays any attention to what his readers write him. Sound off below!
Word from today's training camp is largely good, or at least, it's good news about one large dude: Chris Spencer was back in practice today, though Steve Vallos continued working with the first team.
- Eric Williams wrote a bit more on the Green Jersey issue (come onnn alternate jersey!). Houshmandzadeh was asked about it: “If you’ve got style you can rock anything, and I think I’ve got style, so I’m going to be just fine.”
- The Defense had three picks in practice today, which Mora loved. Deon Grant, Ken Lucas and Dave Philistin pulled the picks in.
- Max Unger was taking first-unit reps at right guard after Mansfield Wrotto was out today with practice. His injury has not been disclosed yet, but the last thing we need is more in the way of offensive line injuries.
- Mike Solari discussed the importance of cut blocking in the zone blocking system, which Eric Williams covered pretty well.
Here's the third installment of last weeks radio interviews covering last Thursday (08/06) and Friday (08/07). These are the last of the interviews that were made on KJR prior to the Curry signing so once again the comments were made by individuals who didn't know when Curry would sign and were giving opinions of what the holdout was costing Curry and the team at that point.
Once again I've included the date of the interview, the name of the interviewer and interviewee, and a link to the interview so you can go listen yourself. You can alternately go to the KJR Website and under "Audio" drop down the menu and find the interviewer. That will bring up a window with all his interviews and you can find the one you want to listen to from there. Here we go again sports fans. Enjoy.
08/06 Mitch Interviews Deon Butler Link To Interview
Deon was a forensic Science Major in college and did an internship with the Philadelphia Homicide Investigation Unit where he was on the scene for real murder investigations complete with bodies, blood, and grieving families. His partner in the program quit halfway through the internship deciding that this wasn't what she wanted to do after all. There was a 50% dropout rate in the internship. Deon said he was OK with it all and was able to take it just fine. He particularly enjoyed solving the crime.
He said it was harder figuring out his playbook than a crime scene because of the speed in which he had to learn the playbook. A crime scene just sits there and you can take whatever time you need to thoroughly document it but the playbook needs to be assimilated quickly and put into practice.
He said he came in and watched Housh and Nate run routes and said to himself "I can do this". He then went out and tried to run the same routes as he'd seen the veterans run and it turned out totally different. The veterans make it look easy but it was anything but easy.
Deon broke all of Bobby Engram's records at Penn State. Bobby mentored him and told him to take care of his body as his top piece of advice. Butler is practicing returns with Josh Wilson and Justin Forsett although the coaches have yet to tell him where he figures to fit in. At this point it's all open competition.
Asked if all 80 guys lined up in camp and ran 50 yards who does he think would finish first. He said the top three would be Kent, Wilson and himself. Pushed to declare who would finish first, he said that Kent would be last because of his long stride. After a little hemming and hawing around, he said he would come in first.
He's gotten to know Hasselbeck and listens to what he has to say. He's been seen around camp carrying Branch's, Nate's, and T.J.'s gear on and off the field as part of the rookie hazing that goes on. He said that Branch makes him carry his gear the most.
He's a friend of Aaron Curry and intimated that Curry's agent was responsible for the holdout. He claimed that Aaron wants to be in camp but players coming out of college and not knowing the world of finance usually lean heavily on their agent to advise them and to protect them from making a major error.
Deon sounds very comfortable and at ease for a first year rookie and it wouldn't surprise me to see him playing a much bigger role in the offense by the second half of the season.To continue reading the interviews, click on the Read more... button below.
Or, you know, lack thereof. Mike Sando has put together another NFC West "roided out roster" piece, and his wrap-up includes a bunch of nice tidbits. Included therein is one that particularly caught my interest:
The Seahawks' starting defensive players average 252 pounds. I haven't updated starting lineups for all teams outside the division. However, that average would be the highest in the league based on my most recent projected starters. It's definitely time to stop talking about Seattle's defense as undersized.
The Hawks clearly have made an effort to get bigger on defense this offseason, which I think we'd all agree is a positive development. It starts on the defensive line, bringing in the 6'4", 292 lb Cory Redding to start at left end and stuffing nose guard Colin Cole in the middle at 330 lbs. Additionally, Darryl Tapp has sized himself up a bit (though Brandon Mebane has lost about 20 lbs to facilitate his move to the three-tech spot).
The linebacking corps has gotten bigger too, retaining Tatupu and Hill and swapping in 255 lb Aaron Curry to replace 230 lb Julian Peterson. Stepping into the secondary, Josh Wilson's starting spot has been taken over by the taller, bigger Ken Lucas.
So, good, we're bigger! If we're not the "lean, mean, blue and green machine" anymore (and no, no one has ever called us that), what should the Hawks' defense be called? The "Puget Pound" has already been claimed by a fan, but let's keep it in the running.
Here we go with some notes from yesterday:
- Julius Jones broke a nice long run, "exploding" through a hole and blowing through the 11-on-11 practically untouched. Gotta like that, eh?
- The Hass to Hass connection is good, with Matt hitting Mike downfield for a 60-yard touchdown pass.
- The team had full-contact goal line drills, and it was nice and physical. John Carlson caught a TD, wahoo!
- Danny O'Neil has some good news: Jordan Babineaux had a great morning practice. He had a couple of interceptions in the morning practice while filling in for the sitting Deon Grant.
- Nate Burleson sat out his first practice to rest his knee, but all indications are that it is not bothering him at all. He has looked great and has certainly cemented himself as the second WR behind Housh.
- O'Neil also has a little write-up on Darryl Tapp and his changing role in Mora's defense:
"We'd like to use him specifically as a third-down pass rusher," Mora said, "and then as a spot guy on first and second down. I think someone made a comment [Monday] that Tapp always looks good in training camp, and then sometimes disappears in the season. "I wouldn't dispute that, but I think this year, it'll be a different story."
With just a few days to go until the Seahawks hit the road for San Diego to face the Chargers for the 2009 preseason opener, Coach Mora is making sure to cover all the bases.
Both of yesterday's sessions was moved to the indoor practice field because of the slippery conditions outside. The coaching staff pumped in crowd noise to simulate an actual game environment. They also worked on helmet communications, which Mora said was beneficial for more than one player. Seahawks.com's Tony Ventrella has a detailed video report on the practice, complete with excerpts from interviews with Jim Mora and Greg Knapp.
"Matt and Seneca have never had Greg (Knapp) in their ear," Mora said. "You know, they've had Coach Holmgren in their ear for most of their careers, Seneca for his entire career, so it's just different. I think they need to get used to it before Saturday night, when it's 'whoa, who's that?' (Laugh). So we did a little of that today, and it worked out well."
Mora also said Aaron Curry is staying mentally sharp and handlling the learning curve exceptionally well. He says Curry is a fast learner and "gets it naturally," whereas some players take a lot longer to diagnose plays.
Jordan Babineaux also broke out his "big play shoes." You know this guy means business when those babies come out.
For more on Curry, the Seattle Times' Steve Kelley writes that the fourth-overall pick had nightmares about missing assignments and blowing coverages during the wait for his contract to be signed.
"I tried to relax, but I was stressing out about what I was missing and I worried about if I was going to get too far behind," Curry said after Tuesday's practice, his third day in camp. "I would have nightmares that I would be blitzing when I wasn't supposed to be blitzing. And that I was giving up touchdowns."
It sounds like Curry's able to sleep a little easier at night now, at least. I'd be sleeping soundly myself if I had just signed a piece of paper that guaranteed me $34 million. Saturday will give us a chance to see how well Curry's instincts translate to the real deal.
Football season is officially upon us, addicts. I feel my sanity slowing starting to return again, but I don't think I'm alone in saying the nightmare of 2008 is still very real until the 2009 Seahawks make a statement right out of the gates.
With practice being closed and the team (and probably beat writers) getting fatigued, there's just not a whole lot to write about today. There might be more news coming out of tonight's closed practice (6:45 - 8:45), but until then, here are some questions for you guys:
- Who are you most excited about thus far in Training Camp?
- Who are you most disappointed about?
- If the Seahawks could acquire any three players in the NFL, who would they be and why?