The Seahawks have three centers on the squad (at least, three who matter): Chris Spencer, Max Unger and Steve Vallos. All three of these guys can play guard as well, which should help keep them on the team, but the question remains: who is going to play center in 2009? Click "read more" to find out!no comments
When I think about the Seahawks’ 2008 season, the first word that comes to mind is something I’m not allowed to print here.
2008 was the year that injuries plagued a freakishly high number of players; mainly those in the receiving corps. Nate Burleson, Logan Payne and Ben Obomanu were all lost by Week 2 with season-ending injuries, while other offensive pillars like Deion Branch and Bobby Engram missed time with various ailments themselves. Soon after this, Seattle fans started hearing names like Billy McMullen, Michael Bumpus and Keary Colbert in the starting lineup at receiver.
It seemed like the team just couldn’t catch a break; and the remaining receivers couldn’t catch anything in general.
But 2009 is a new era, and the battle for who gets the starting nod at receiver begins a week from today at training camp.
Currently, the Seahawks have 11 receivers on the roster: Deion Branch, Michael Bumpus, Nate Burleson, Deon Butler, Mike Hass, TJ Houshmandzadeh, Jordan Kent, Billy McMullen, Ben Obomanu, Logan Payne and Courtney Taylor. Of those, Housh is the expected starter in the slot, Burleson at split end, and Branch at flanker. Those jobs are basically theirs to lose, and in all likelihood, these names won’t change. That means the remaining eight guys are looking at a fierce battle for a roster spot come August... click "read more" to continue.no comments
Well, we reported that it was about to happen last week and now it has: Roger Goodell has conditionally reinstated Michael Vick, who will be allowed to participate in Training Camp immediately, will miss the first two games of Preseason and the first five weeks (which could be four games, mind) of the regular season.
I would have to say that the chances of the Seahawks being at all interested in Vick approach zero. Mora and Knapp were handcuffed by Vick before and, while they may like the guy, there is no role on this team for him. Seneca is probably one of the most serviceable backups in the league, Hasselbeck is the starter, and Rowe/Teel is our developmental guy.
Your thoughts go below, as you probably already know.no comments
Peter King catches up with Matt Hasselbeck in his latest MMQB column. The news is good: pretty much everyone is saying that there's nothing wrong with Matt's back and, in reality, he's in better condition than he's been in for at least the last four years. He's slimmed down, muscled up, and been a bit of a weightroom warrior. The long offseason (read: no playoffs) has helped as well, it would appear. Hasselbeck says:
"The only thing my back cannot do is sit in a three-hour run-game-install meeting without getting up and moving around. Of the things I'm worried about -- new coach, new offense, some new teammates -- I can promise you that health is not one of them.''
Despite not being invited to the NFL Combine or being drafted, University of Wyoming running back Devin Moore kicks off our "Players to Watch in Training Camp" segment that'll be running all this week. Moore is 5'10" and 187 lbs, not great size for a feature back, but a little bigger than Justin Forsett. He does, however, have just about all the measurables one would hope to see in a running back -- blistering speed (4.34 official at his pro-day, though Ruskell clocked him in the 4.2x range), he's got hops (35 inch vertical leap), and he almost hit 11 feet on the broad jump. Oh, and he benched 225 lbs twenty-eight times, one of the top numbers for RBs this year. Though undrafted, NFL Draft Scout had him ranked as a middle-round draft pick and 17th best among RBs in this draft class. (Anecdote: I met him at a signing and he seemed like one of the most down to earth guys; he was also the only one sporting a Seahawks shirt, which endeared him to the crowd.)
Where would Moore fit in? Well, if Moore is to win a roster spot on the team, he would be taking the roster spot of Justin Forsett (barring injuries to the top two RBs, that is, but even then the Seahawks would likely seek out a veteran back such as Warrick Dunn to start). Moore has a lot of the same qualities as Forsett -- speed, agility, strength -- but he tends to come in just a hair better in each of those places. He comes from a small school though, and is not used to facing real stiff competition. Greg Knapp has already made it fairly clear that he believes a team should carry five backs, two of which will be fullbacks.
Why won't he make the team? With Justin Forsett stepping in as a punt returner most of last year, Forsett is no longer eligible for the practice squad and, after being fairly successful in the PR role, would not necessarily clear waivers if we cut him. Moore will of course be eligible for the PS, and would likely clear waivers, barring some hardcore performances in the pre-season games. Despite his speed, the kick and punt returns will likely be handed over to fellow rookie Deon Butler. The best chance for Moore would rest in him upstaging Forsett in such a manner that losing Forsett for good would be worth keeping Moore on the team. It's not a likely scenario, but it is possible.
Upside: Moore makes the rest of the RBs look like fools in the pre-season and plays well enough to get into the rotation prior to the second half. He shines against first-team players and fields a couple of kicks/punts with pizazz. Forsett stumbles out of the gate and can't quite catch up with his height-challenged buddy. Moore makes the team and sees about 50-75 carries during the season, while helping out on special teams with his speed and strength.
Downside: Moore plays like an undrafted free agent running back is expected to play. He flashes some speed, but lacks the skills to cut it in the NFL, at least in his first year. He is cut outright or potentially makes it to the practice squad if Knapp and Mora feel like we need a pair of fresh legs out there.
Probably no other starting offensive lineman for the Seattle Seahawks has the question marks from the 12th man as well as the need to show coaches substantial improvement as does Rob Sims. Still penciled in as the starting right guard, by most accounts, he hasn't developed nearly as fast as his impressive rookie season would have suggested. Excelling at pass coverage, his talents initially fit right into Holmgren's offensive forte and Seattle's anemic running game deemphasized his deficiency at run blocking. He impressed coaches and fans alike in his rookie year replacing Chris Gray and starting the last three games of the season and one playoff game with good results.
Everything looked like we had found a real bargain in the 2006 draft until the 2007 season arrived. After moving to right guard, Sims struggled as did Seattle’s running game. In the first game of 2008, he was injured and sat out the remainder of the season on IR. Now entering his 4th year, he has 22 career starts including playoffs. He is scheduled to be a free agent in 2010 unless the year is declared uncapped in which case he will be a restricted free agent.
Rob Sims was Seattle's 4th round choice in the 2006 draft picked 31st in the 4th round (#128). From Ohio State, Sims played both tackle and guard logging more time at the tackle spot. He was considered a steal at the place he was picked and many analysts thought that having played tackle in college, Sims would excel at the guard position in the NFL which is a less demanding position.
Sims played in 14 games as a rookie in 2006 starting 3 plus started one playoff game that season. He was considered a bright spot on the offensive line and showed himself to be an outstanding technical pass blocker which worked well in Holmgren's pass oriented system. He allowed zero sacks in his first season and the future looked bright.
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I got a request on Facebook to take a look at how coaches do in their first year with a new team. This is a decidedly diferent question than "How do first-time coaches do with their team?" An experienced coach is somewhat handicapped -- he doesn't have the same element of surprise as some new coaches might have, and he has a reputation to live up to (or to disprove).
So, how do coaches do in their first year with a team, regardless of whether they are a new coach or seasoned vet like Parcells or Gibbs? I'm so glad you asked. First of all, they tend to do a bit better than their successor. On average, a team with a new coach will add 1.34 wins the following season. Since 2000, teams with new coaches (TWNC) have kept the same win percentage only twice (2000 Bengals under Dick LeBeau and 2001 Redskins under Marty Schottenheimer). Check the chart for more detail:
Teams that have gone 4-12 in previous years have generally added 2.7 wins to their season. That would lead one to expect the Seahawks to go 7-9 last year, based only on that fact. That, of course, would make no sense, but hey, whatevah. When Jim L. Mora took over the helm for the Falcons in 2004, he added 6 wins from the prior year. In 2003, the Falcons had a lot of injuries including missing their quarterback for more than half the season. That sounds oddly familiar...
Still, facts are facts, and the greatest single season turnaround since 2000 is 11 games (Tony Sparano in 2008 with the Dolphins), which didn't make it ot the chart above because its kind of an outlier and I screwed up, haha. The next highest is +7 games, which has been done three times (Mike Smith with the Falcons last year, Sean Payton with the Saints in 2006, and Jim Haslett with the Saints in 2000). Most often, a new coach adds 2 wins to their teams totals, with crappy teams (6 - 10 or worse) fairing better than average. This has plenty of other correlative factors -- higher draft picks, a full "regime change" that allows the new coach to bring in some of his people to make his system work better, and just playing the odds. (Last year's 4-12 record for the Hawks was a combination of playing terribly and massive injury troubles -- odds are, the injuries won't come back this year.)
Teams that go 6-10 or worse in one year, add, on average, 3.0 wins the following year. That doesn't sound like a ton, but remember: that's equivalent to an MLB team winning an extra 30 games. Three games is huge in football, and with a couple of extra breaks, it can be gigantic (see: 2008 Falcons).
How will Mora do? Who knows! But if history is any precedent, it seems very likely that it will be better than 4-12. Only three (9%) "bad teams" had 1st Year Coaches who had more losses than the year prior -- Cam Cameron (Dolphins 2007, 5 fewer wins), Rod Marinelli (Lions 2006, 2 fewer wins), and Jack Del Rio (Jaguars 2003, 1 fewer win).
Danny O'Neil confirms that Andy Ross, Aaron Curry's agent extraordinate, has confirmed the Seahawks and Curry will begin negotiations on Monday. This is good news, and hopefully they can work out a deal. In general, the two biggest factors are a) what did last year's #4 pick make? and b) what did the guy in front of and behind you make?
Last year, Darren McFadden (#4 pick) signed a 6 year, $60 million contract with $28 million guaranteed. However, Mark Sanchez (#5 pick this year) just signed a contract earlier in the offseason for 5-years, $50.5 million with $28 million guaranteed. I would say the odds are that Curry will sign a contract with about $29-30 million guaranteed that averages a hair over $10 million per year. Remember though, that will include incentives, escalators, bonuses, et cetera that will likely never be seen (at least, in theory).
Whatever happens, Aaron Curry is days away from being one of the richest men in the country before he ever plays a snap in the NFL. Here's hoping we can get a favorable contract and he can live up to, or exceed, expectations. Rookie of the year? MVP? Dreamboat captain? Time will tell!
Who is Jim Mora?
We all know the answer to a degree: He's the Seahawks coach, he says stupid things sometimes (quit the Falcons job in the playoffs to coach at UW?), he's been too close to his players before, and he has more energy than most meth heads. Danny O'Neil has a great feature article on Jim Mora on the front page of the Seattle Times today (and, lucky for you, online as well). Check it out here.
The article is very interesting throughout, and has some insights that a lot of us may have forgotten -- Mora turned down a job to be the Giants defensive coordinator to work in Seattle, for example. It basically goes through his maturation from coach's son to second-time head coach, and it's interesting throughout. There's not a whole lot of "new" in the piece, but its worth reading. My favorite part:
"Under no circumstances do I believe I'm allowed to fail. I'm not a mercenary in this city. There's nothing else for me." -Mora
Are you guys ready for the James L. Mora era to begin in earnest? (Get it? His dad's name was James Ernest... Mora...... okay sorry.) Rookies report on Thursday!
Matt Maiocco discusses a looming stalemate between Michael Crabtree and the oh-so-lucky 49ers (or so we've been told). While Maiocco notes that its still too early for there to be legitimate expectations of Crabtree holding out, there is plenty of potential out there. Maiocco:
If history tells us anything it's that Crabtree's agent, Eugene Parker, does not mind engaging in holdout tactics... At least four of Parker's clients had contract issues last season. Bills tackle Jason Peters skipped 43 days and missed the season opener. Rams running back Steven Jackson held out for 27 days before signing a new contract. Bears return man Devin Hester did not report for the first two days of camp before signing a new deal. And Cardinals rookie cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie missed two practices before signing his contract.
Okay, so, nothing too substantial there. I'm sure Parker has plenty of players that have never had a holdout. The clouds are just beginning to form though, my friends. Reportedly, Parker and Crabtree want a "blockbuster" contract, with some people even claiming that he wants Top 5 money, because he "should have been a top 5 pick." That's absurd, of course, and I can't imagine it plays much into this, but who knows.
What do you guys think? Is this just a bunch of speculation? Are the Crabtree heads out there still wishing he was our guy, or have you moved over to Curry yet?