Archive | April, 2013

Thoughts on the Rookie Class of 2013

28 Apr
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Seahawks RB Christine Michael

The 2013 NFL Draft is in the books. After making two trades during the draft, the Seahawks selected 11 players and added 9 undrafted free agents to the roster, which make up the Seahawks 2013 rookie class. Here are some thoughts about a few of the players the Seahawks drafted and what I think about our picks.

If there’s one thing myself and other Seahawks fans have learned over the past three years it’s this; do not doubt head coach Pete Carroll and DEFINITELY do not doubt general manager John Schneider. Having said this, I am a little flustered about our first selection. The Seahawks selected Texas A&M running back Christine Michael with the last pick of round 2 (pick #62). With a backfield that already includes pro bowler Marshawn Lynch and second-year power back Robert Turbin, I felt there were bigger positional needs to be addressed at the point in the draft especially given the talent that was still on the board at the end of the second round. Michael reminds me of Falcons running back Steven Jackson. After watching film I noted that Michael is a physical running back who is really hard to tackle. He bounces off tackles and has excellent breakaway speed. The one thing I didn’t like while watching Michael’s film is his footwook. He didn’t show his ability to juke defenders and make cuts for extra yards. One other puzzling note is the fact that Michael was not a part of the return game at Texas A&M. With Leon Washington gone and the draft of Michael, it still looks as though Percy Harvin and Golden Tate will be used on kickoff and punt returns this season.

Every year after the draft I like to pick one guy, usually from the later rounds of the draft, who I think could have a major impact with the Seahawks in his rookie season and beyond. Two years ago I picked Richard Sherman and I could not have been more right. I think the reason why I like Sherman so much is he made me look very intelligent. Last year however I picked defensive tackle Jaye Howard, who did not see much playing time on defense last season. This season my impact rookie prediction is defensive tackle Jesse Williams from the University of Alabama. Williams was taken with our first 5th round pick (#137 overall). Williams was projected to be a 3rd round pick but slipped all the way to the 5th round. The Seahawks traded up with the Detroit Lions to snag him. Williams is a 6-3, 325 pound defensive tackle who I feel resembles Alan Branch the most. Williams may be called upon early and often on running downs to plug the holes vacated by Branch.

Coming into the draft, I felt that the two most important positions to fill were outside linebacker and offensive line. The Seahawks did not draft any true linebackers in 2013 and the first offensive lineman drafted came in round 7. The Seahawks already have one of the best offensive lines in the league but the foundation of any offense is the offensive line and it never hurts to add depth. The Seahawks took three offensive linemen in the final round of the draft, selecting Ryan Seymour of Vanderbilt, Jared Smith of New Hampshire, and Michael Bowie of Northeast Oklahoma State. These guys probably won’t see any playing time on offense this season but they could have an impact on special teams. I like Seymour the most out of these three picks because he is a hybrid lineman who has spent the most time playing guard, which in my opinion is our weakest spot along the offensive line.

Going into the final day of the draft there were still 30 players on my “big board” who I thought could fit well with what the Seahawks do. The Seahawks only took one of my highlighted players; defensive end/linebacker Ty Powell from Harding. I noted Powell after the Scouting Combine in February because he ran a fast 40-yard dash and also did 28 bench press reps. His combination of speed and strength caught my eye and after watching game film of Powell I was further impressed. Although he played against weak competition at Harding, I liked how Powell played both defensive end and outside linebacker and he did an excellent job penetrating the line and also dropping into coverage on passing plays. He also recorded 8.5 sacks and 40 tackles during the 2012 season. He could also play a big role on special teams with the Seahawks in 2013.

Prior to the draft it was believed that the Seahawks already had a roster that could compete for a championship. After drafting 11 players and adding 9 undrafted rookie free agents, it must be preached that it is going to be extremely difficult for these 20 players to make the 2013 53-man roster. I would not be surprised to see all of our undrafted rookies and over half of our draft picks get cut before the end of the preseason. Although this possibility does not favor these players, it is a situation that Pete Carroll and John Schneider strived for when they arrived in Seattle; to build the roster that includes so much talent that a good number of rookie draft picks are in jeopardy of even making the team.

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Seahawks 2013 Schedule: The Good and the Bad

19 Apr
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The Seahawks play the Carolina Panthers on Kickoff Weekend

The Seahawks 2013 regular season schedule was released Thursday night. The NFL scheduled the Seahawks in primetime four times and overall I like our schedule. The pros definitely out-weigh the cons. Here are some things I took out of the Seahawks 2013 schedule.

THE GOOD

I correctly predicted the Seahawks primetime games at home. The Seahawks will face the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers in our home opener September 15th on Sunday Night Football. That game will surely be the biggest game in a very young season at that point. If the Seahawks can beat Carolina in week 1 and San Francisco loses to Green Bay in week 1, there is a very real possibility the Seahawks will have a two-game lead over the 49ers after the first two weeks of the season. The other primetime home game is against the New Orleans Saints December 2nd on Monday Night Football. If the Saints bounce back from a disappointing 2012 campaign, this game could have serious playoff implications which will be fun.

Last Season the Seahawks had three of their last four games at home; all against NFC West opponents. This year is a similar setup. The final two games of the 2013 season are at home against division rivals Arizona and St. Louis. No one knows how good these two teams will be next season but if 2013 plays our similarly to 2012, these two games could give the Seahawks a serious momentum boost heading into the NFL Playoffs.

The Seahawks drew a well spread out schedule. The Seahawks face only 3 playoff teams from last season in their first 8 games. Our matchups with the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts are our only road games against playoff qualifiers from last season in the first half of the season. The tougher road games such as Atlanta, San Francisco, and the New York Giants all take place when the teams have established themselves as contenders or pretenders. The toughest stretch comes in November and December when the Seahawks face the Atlanta Falcons on the road and the Minnesota Vikings at home before the bye week and then New Orleans, San Francisco on the road, and New York on the road in the three weeks following the bye.

I prefer a later bye than an earlier bye. My ideal bye week is week 9 so the season is split evenly. This year the Seahawks have latest bye week in team history (week 12). Hopefully we won’t be worn out too badly in the games right before the bye week.

The Seahawks will play primetime games on the road in consecutive weeks in October. The Seahawks head to the desert to face the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football in week 7 and then play the St. Louis Rams on Monday Night Football in week 8. The Seahawks will have 11 days to prepare for the Rams which will be nice. The Seahawks will play the Cardinals on a short week but Arizona does not offer up as big of a challenge as last season when the Seahawks had to play the 49ers on 4 days rest after playing the New England Patriots.

THE BAD

The Seahawks play 5 road games that start at 10:00am Pacific Time this season. These early kickoffs have been a problem for the Seahawks historically. The first 10:00am win the Seahawks earned last season was against Chicago in week 13. Since Pete Carroll took over as head coach of the Seahawks in 2010, the Seahawks are 4-9 (including playoffs) when kickoff is scheduled for 10:00am. These games are very hard to win especially since they are usually in the Eastern Time zone and if weather comes into play.

The biggest disadvantage I see is weeks 13 and 14. The Seahawks will play New Orleans on Monday Night Football and then face the San Francisco 49ers on the road once again on a short week. The Seahawks will have one less day to prepare than the 49ers do which could have an effect on the outcome of the game.

Seahawks 2013 Primetime Outlook

14 Apr

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This week, the National Football League will release the 2013 regular season schedule. The dates, times, and television broadcasts will be revealed to the nation. As a die-hard fan and season ticket holder this is the most exciting day of the offseason for me. I get very excited to see where and when we play our opponents and to scope out scheduling patterns to get an early look at how our schedule and season will play out. However the most exciting thing most fans get excited about when the schedule comes out is who we play on national television.

Starting last season every team played at least one game in primetime. Bad teams from the previous season only got the bare minimum of one primetime game while super bowl contending teams played in primetime more often, with a couple of teams pushing the maximum of 6 primetime games. Last season the Seahawks had three primetime games coming off a 7-9 campaign in 2011. In 2012, the Seahawks went 11-5, made it to the NFC Divisional playoffs, and they currently feature some of the most exciting players in the league. In my opinion I think the Seahawks will have at least four or five primetime games scheduled in 2013. In this post I have tiered our matchups to separate which games I believe have primetime appeal and which games I think probably will not be scheduled on national television.

There are 4 tiers:

Tier One: Games I think will (and should) be scheduled in primetime

Tier Two: Games I think could be scheduled in primetime

Tier Three: Games I think could be scheduled in primetime, but not likely

Tier Four: Games I think will not be scheduled in primetime

 

Tier One

Seahawks at 49ers, 49ers at Seahawks, Saints at Seahawks, Seahawks at Falcons, Seahawks at Colts

It is a no-brainer that one of the Seahawks games against the San Francisco 49ers will be scheduled in primetime but both will not. Here’s why. The Sunday afternoon NFC NFL station (FOX) has the right to protect a certain number of games from being scheduled in primetime or being flexed into primetime in the second half of the season. Last season FOX lost out on both Seahawks/49ers games to NFL Network and NBC. To make sure they do not miss out on one of these hot matchups in 2013, I believe they will protect one of these games in 2013. The game that does not get protected will almost certainly be scheduled into primetime and I am very confident that is what will happen. I think Sunday Night Football is the landing spot for the primetime Seahawks/49ers game this season.

This season the Seahawks do not have a particularly attractive slate of home games. Having said this, the NFL likes to schedule Seahawks home games in primetime to show off the best fans and home-field advantage in the league. The only other matchup I think has a great chance to be scheduled in primetime at home is against the New Orleans Saints. The last time these two teams played was in the 2010 Wild-Card playoffs where the Seahawks upset the Saints 41-36. What could be better than putting the rematch on national television? I can definitely see this game being scheduled on Monday Night Football with Marshawn Lynch’s “Beast Quake” run being replayed during the week leading up to the game.

Two other road matchups have strong primetime appeal in my opinion. The Seahawks head to Atlanta in 2013 to play the Falcons in a rematch of last season’s Divisional playoff heartbreaker. Both of these teams figure to contend to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLVIII so it wouldn’t be a surprise if this game is scheduled in primetime. This is a game that I could see on either Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football. The other road game I put in tier one is the Seahawks/Colts matchup. Last year Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck were two rookies who took their respective teams to the postseason. This season they face off for the first time. Two playoff teams from the previous year with two up-and-coming franchise quarterbacks sounds like a primetime matchup to me. This game I think would be perfect for Thursday Night Football.

Tier Two

Vikings at Seahawks, Rams at Seahawks, Seahawks at Texans

The Seahawks host the Minnesota Vikings for the second straight season and there are a couple of reasons why this game could be scheduled in primetime. Both teams made the playoffs in 2012 and the NFL usually likes to schedule primetime games between two teams who made the playoffs the previous season. Perhaps the bigger reason this game could be in primetime is because the Seahawks have become “Vikings West.” The Seahawks have both Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin who went to the NFC Championship game with the Vikings in 2009. The Seahawks also have former Minnesota offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell calling the plays. It would be cool to have Harvin play against his former team in primetime in 2013. This matchup I could see on either Monday Night Football or Thursday Night Football.

The Rams could be a surprise team in 2013. They won 7 games in 2012 and have a very tough defense. Some analysts have already predicted the Rams could challenge for a Wild-Card berth in 2013. This is a rivalry that could be reborn in 2013 and putting one of our games against the Rams in primetime this season is a very real possibility. If this is the case, I think the Rams game in Seattle would be the primetime choice. Thursday Night Football could be the landing spot for this matchup.

The Seahawks and Texans square off in Houston this season. Once again this is a matchup featuring two playoff teams from 2012 which the NFL will smile upon. Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football might take a look at this game for primetime.

Tier Three

Titans at Seahawks, Seahawks at Rams, Seahawks at Giants

The only other home game that could have primetime appeal is our matchup with the Tennessee Titans. The only storyline that would warrant this game to be in primetime is the return of former University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker who will be playing his first regular season game in Seattle since getting drafted.

Just like my reasoning for the Rams game in Seattle, it is possible one of our games against St. Louis could be in primetime. I think it is more likely the matchup in Seattle would be in primetime but since the Rams also have a home slate that is on the weaker side, the matchup against the Seahawks in St. Louis could be in primetime.

The NFL loves to schedule east coast teams in primetime. The New York Giants are one of the most common teams to play multiple primetime games no matter how good or bad they are. Even though the Giants did not qualify for the playoffs in 2012 they did finish 2nd in the NFC East and could be primed to bounce back and challenge for a playoff spot in 2013. This game’s appeal for primetime is that it is a rematch of the Seahawks 36-25 upset of the Giants at MetLife Stadium in 2011. In addition, the Seahawks will be heading to New York to play the Giants but will make it a statement that they intend to return the New York in February 2014 for the Super Bowl.

Tier Four

Cardinals at Seahawks, Seahawks at Cardinals, Buccaneers at Seahawks, Jaguars at Seahawks, Seahawks at Panthers

I don’t think these matchups have any sort of appeal to be scheduled in primetime in 2013. The scores of most of these games will not be close, which probably won’t attract big audiences. The Buccaneers and Panthers both won only 7 games last season while the Cardinals and Jaguars combined for 7 wins last season. It would be a huge shock to me if any of these matchups are scheduled in primetime this season.

Seahawks Preseason Schedule Thoughts

6 Apr

 

ImageI like to think the release of the NFL preseason schedule is like opening one present on Christmas Eve before opening an entire slate of presents on Christmas morning. Most football fans do not get excited for the release of the preseason schedule, as they are mere practice games. However since I am a season ticket holder I get excited about two extra games against two teams we don’t get to play in the regular season (except for the painful fact that we season ticket holders still have to pay full price for preseason games). The NFL released the 2013 preseason schedule on Thursday. Just like I expected the NFL scheduled preseason games that are more regional, thus avoiding long flights for teams traveling. Here are my thoughts about the matchups featuring the Seahawks. Dates and times will be announced at a later time unless otherwise noted.

Week One: Seattle Seahawks at San Diego Chargers

The Seahawks open up the preseason on the road against the San Diego Chargers for the third time in five seasons. The Seahawks will most likely feature Russell Wilson and the starting offense for one or two series before turning the game over to the back-ups. We will also get our first look at Philip Rivers and Ryan Mathews leading a fresh new offense led by head coach Mike McCoy.

Week Two: Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks

The first game I will attend in 2013 will be against the defending AFC West champion Denver Broncos. I am pretty excited because I will probably get to see Peyton Manning play one offensive series for Denver. The Seahawks will also get their first formal greeting from the 12th Man at CenturyLink Field since the 2012 season ended. I don’t expect to see a lot of playing time for the starting units but I am excited to see how our starting defense featuring new Seahawks Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett plays in the first quarter.

Week Three: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers (Friday, August 23rd, 5:00pm on CBS)

The third game of the preseason is known as the unofficial dress rehearsal for the regular season. The starting units usually play the entire first half and possibly into the second half. The NFL has pinned the rematch of last season’s “Monday Night Miracle” against the Packers into national television. The game will be broadcast nationally by CBS and it will be held at Lambeau Field. Even though it is a preseason game, I imagine there will be a lot of boos and obscenities yelled when the Seahawks run out of the tunnel. I am licking my lips about this matchup.  It is great that the Seahawks get to play a super bowl contender in the one preseason game where the starters get the most playing time. It will be great to see how these two teams stack up against one another for at least an entire half.

Week Four: Oakland Raiders at Seattle Seahawks

For the eighth straight year the Seahawks conclude the preseason against the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders last beat the Seahawks in the preseason in 2010; the only year during this 8-year stretch the game was played in Oakland. Although the starters don’t play, I like this game for two reasons. First, since I am a dedicated Seahawks fanatic, I enjoy watching the players who are fighting for a spot on the 53-man roster; something the common fans think is boring. Second, it has become tradition that I take one of my best friends, Josh, to this game because he is a big Raiders fan. We like to make a small wager on these games and I have yet to lose since I have seen the Seahawks beat the Raiders every year I have been a season ticket holder. Maybe this year is finally the year we bet and Josh wins.

The regular season schedule will be released on Tuesday, April 16th. Check back to my blog in the days leading up to the regular season schedule release for a post looking at which Seahawks games are most likely to be scheduled in primetime!