Tag Archives: Kevin Smith

Seahawks/Ravens Preview

12 Dec
ravens preview 2015

Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

Matchup: Seattle Seahawks at Baltimore Ravens

Site: M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, Maryland)

Kickoff: 10:00am

Before the regular season started I picked the Baltimore Ravens to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 50. With this game originally scheduled for Sunday Night Football many people including me thought this game could shape the postseason picture for both teams. As it turns out only the Seahawks are vying for playoff position heading into this week. Seattle heads to Baltimore for the first time since 2003 to take on the Ravens. After a 38-7 thrashing of the Minnesota Vikings last week the Seahawks are 7-5 and are in prime position to make a serious push for the #5 seed in the NFC. The Ravens however struggled out of the gate and never recovered. Poor play and a wide array of injuries to key players have put the Ravens at 4-8 on the season. The all-time series between these teams is tied 2-2 with Seattle taking the last two meetings. These two teams last met in Seattle in 2011 where the Seahawks upset the Ravens 22-17. Here is what I will be watching out for in this game.

The main offensive key for the Seahawks this week is to remain consistent in order to carry over the success from last week. In the games we have won in recent weeks the running game led by Thomas Rawls has been superb. The Seahawks will likely establish the run again but it is only a matter of time before Rawls has an off game. Could this week could be that game? Baltimore ranks 10th in run defense allowing only 97.5 rushing yards per game. This may be a game where Russell Wilson has to do more through the air to score points instead of relying on Rawls for big pickups. With the emergence of wide receiver Doug Baldwin as Wilson’s go-to target over the past two weeks it would not surprise me to see Baldwin receive extra coverage from the Ravens secondary. This should open up looks for our other receivers. With the Ravens only allowing 39 yards receiving to tight ends per game look for Jermaine Kearse to make a significant impact in the passing game.

This could be a fairly easy day for the Seattle defense. We will not be facing regular Ravens starters Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett, and Steve Smith. There are two keys to victory on defense I will be focusing on. The first will be to put pressure on whichever Ravens quarterback starts. I believe the slightest bit of pressure will throw either Matt Schaub or Jimmy Clausen off and he could be more prone to forcing the ball and throwing bad passes. The second key is to make sure we tackle well and do not give up yards after contact. With a backup quarterback comes the very high probability of them throwing a lot of high percentage passes. High percentage passes means the ball carrier or receiver will have space to make big plays potentially happen. Look for linebackers K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner to make a huge impact in the middle of the field.

Like I previously mentioned the Baltimore Ravens have one of the more depleted offenses in the league. On the offensive side of the ball running back Javorius “Buck” Allen will have to have a big game to take the pressure off of either Matt Schaub or Jimmy Clausen in the passing game. If Baltimore has any shot to win this week it will come on the shoulders of an extremely impressive defensive performance. Similarly to the Pittsburgh Steelers a couple weeks ago, the Ravens have lost dynamic leaders on the defensive side of the ball over the past few years. Future hall of famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are gone. All-Pro linebacker Terrell Suggs is also injured and out for the season. Defensive end Elvis Dumervil leads all Ravens defenders in sacks with 6 but my focus will be on the second level of their defense. There are two guys I will have my eye on in particular and they are both responsible for defending the middle of the field. My X-Factor Players to Watch are inside linebackers Daryl Smith and C.J. Mosley. Smith is in his 12th NFL season and is on pace for the best statistical season of his career. Mosley is in his second season after being drafted in the first round by the Ravens last season. These two guys have combined for 174 tackles so far this season which is good for nearly one quarter of the Ravens total tackles. They can also get to the quarterback and drop into coverage. They each have 3 sacks this season while Mosley has dropped back to record 5 passes defensed. Watch out for how these two players attack Russell Wilson, Thomas Rawls, Luke Willson, and all the Seahawks receivers on short crossing routs to the middle of the field.

Random Thoughts: The Seahawks will wear white jerseys and college navy pants. No word on what color jerseys the Ravens will wear but there is this stat: The Ravens have only worn their black alternate jerseys once this season. With three home games remaining including this week and one more eligible opportunity to wear their alternates, there is a 33 percent chance the Ravens will sport black in this game… Thom Brennaman and Charles Davis have the call for FOX with Tony Siragusa commentating from the sidelines. Many complain about other announcers such as Joe Buck and Chris Myers but I think Seahawks fans will be really annoyed with the broadcast this week. Why? Siragusa is a former Raven who could have a biased loyalty towards the home team. If you watch this game and get frustrated because the commentators are not giving the Seahawks proper credit this is probably why… Walt Coleman is the referee for this week’s game… It looks like it will be another abnormally warm week weather wise. The game-time temperature is slated to be in the low to mid 60’s and cloudy. It’s funny because that is pretty much the same weather the Seahawks had in Washington D.C. for a game in early OCTOBER last season… Quite frankly I am glad this game got flexed out of Sunday Night Football and the reason I am glad is because of the players. A primetime game on the east coast starts at 8:30pm which means the game won’t end until close to midnight. After meeting with the media, driving to the airport, and a cross-country flight, the Seahawks likely would not land back in Seattle until about 5:00am pacific time. This would make for an epically cruel and tiring Monday. Having the game start at 10:00am pushes that itinerary back. Now the Seahawks will likely land back in Seattle around the same time Sunday Night Football ends, which is about an 8 hour difference… Fantasy playoffs start this week and I made it to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Shoutout to my starting lineup: Aaron Rodgers, Amari Cooper, Marvin Jones, Jonathan Stewart, T.J. Yeldon, Thomas Rawls, Gary Barnidge, Graham Gano, and the Carolina Panthers defense.

Seahawks Playoff Outlook: With a win the Seahawks take control of the #5 seed in the NFC. If the Seahawks lose they will still hold the #6 seed if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers also lose. The Seahawks fall out of the playoff picture if they lose and the Buccaneers win. Here are other games this week with playoff significance. Teams to note are bolded.

New Orleans (4-8) at Tampa Bay (6-6)

Atlanta (6-6) at Carolina (12-0)

Prediction: This game will not be as close as the score indicates. Both Husky receivers Jermaine Kearse and Kevin Smith will catch touchdown passes from Russell Wilson, Smith’s being the first of his career. Thomas Rawls will also gallop for a 52-yard touchdown in the second quarter. The Ravens will score two garbage time touchdowns but the Seahawks will have the game wrapped up. The Seahawks will head home 8-5 with two straight home games on deck in the middle of the holiday season.

Seahawks 30, Ravens 17

Review: Seahawks 31, Raiders 21

4 Sep
Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

After one of the shakiest preseasons I can remember, it seemed like the Seahawks finally put it together with some consistency in their final preseason outing Thursday night. The Seahawks defeated the Oakland Raiders 31-21 to finish the preseason with a 2-2 record. Before we move on to meaningful games here are just a couple of offensive thoughts I took out of this week’s game.

Starting Offense Eases Worries: The one thing I wanted to see, if Russell Wilson and the starting offense took the field to start the game, was to put together a touchdown drive to assure the 12’s that we can be efficient. Check. It only took two plays but I got what I wanted. After Christine Michael was stuffed for no gain on our first offensive play, Wilson dropped back and hit a streaking Tyler Lockett down the left sideline for a 63-yard touchdown. It was a beautiful rainbow pass and Raiders cornerback Keith McGill had no chance keeping up with Lockett. To be honest I was not sure how the Seahawks were going to use Lockett on offense this season but after that play it is now a little bit clearer to me. I would not be surprised if Lockett sees more time on the outside than Doug Baldwin but he will likely be used similarly to how we used Golden Tate on offense two seasons ago.

Archer on the Way Out?: I held the belief that R.J. Archer would play the rest of the game after Wilson’s first quarter departure. Archer played rest of the first half and the first drive of the second half but then former quarterback-turned-wide receiver B.J. Daniels took over for the rest of the game. To be honest, Daniels played a much better game than Archer did. On Archer’s four drives, the Seahawks kicked one field goal and punted three times. Archer played conservatively and he did not look any better than he did in San Diego last week. Daniels on the other hand moved the ball extremely well. His legs allowed the Seahawks to use read option and along with the solid play of backup running back Thomas Rawls, Seattle put together two touchdown drives under Daniels’s command. The quarterback play of B.J. Daniels Thursday night gives the Seahawks coaching staff a very difficult decision. I believe Daniels performance suddenly makes R.J. Archer expendable. If the Seahawks want to keep Daniels on as a practice squad emergency quarterback, that may better the possibility of a guy like Kevin Smith or Kasen Williams making the team as a wide receiver. It will be very interesting to see how the Seahawks tackle this as we get ready to trim our roster down to 53 players.

Random Thoughts: Tat’s Delicatessen before the game was a very below average meal. The Philly cheesesteak was bland and there was not enough meat to go with the excessive amount of peppers and onions. Next time (if there is ever a next time) I’ll be ordering pepper jack cheese instead of American… I got to tailgate in the skies above the stadium for the first time this season. My friend James moved into the apartment complex in the CenturyLink Field parking lot and he was kind enough to invite my friend Josh and I up to the roof before the game. It was great. Hopefully it won’t be the last time I’m up there before a game this season… For only the second time in the Pete Carroll era, the starting special teams unit was introduced during pregame festivities. I gave a huge cheer for my man Clint Gresham but there was no doubt Tyler Lockett received the loudest ovation from the crowd… It was definitely a preseason crowd. NO ONE I sit around was there Thursday night and there were several people who you could tell were basically given tickets. Looking around, a lot of people did not even care about the game. They were just happy to be at a Seahawks game… It sucks we have to wait three weeks until our home opener. I guess it’s a good thing I’m going to Green Bay for Sunday Night Football before our home opener.

What’s Next: The Seahawks are off for 10 days before we open our regular season against the St. Louis Rams. Look for my Rams preview on the blog on Saturday, September 12th!

Raiders/Seahawks Preview

2 Sep
Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

Matchup: Oakland Raiders at Seattle Seahawks

Site: CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Washington)

Kickoff: 7:00pm

We are so close to the season opener in St. Louis. The only thing standing in the Seahawks way is the preseason finale. On Thursday, for the 10th consecutive season, the Seahawks conclude their preseason slate against the Oakland Raiders. This is the final job interview for many players fighting to make our week one roster. The starters may play the first series of the game, if that, and then their nights will be done. The spotlight in the fourth week of the preseason is on the young guys. This week I will be focused on position battles. In this preview, I will gloss over what our opening day starting units may look like while noting which battles may be important to watch this week at each position. Let’s get to it.

Quarterbacks: If Tarvaris Jackson is able to play this week, the plans at the quarterback position will surely be set. If he can play, which to me is unlikely, Jackson may see a little bit of playing time before R.J. Archer takes over. If Jackson cannot go, then Archer will likely play almost the entire game. In the grand scheme of things, if Jackson is healthy enough to play this week that makes R.J. Archer’s performance extremely important. During the Pete Carroll era the Seahawks only carry two active quarterbacks on the roster with a third quarterback on the practice squad. Archer’s performance against the Raiders will be the difference between him making the active roster and him getting cut and re-signed to the practice squad.

Running Backs: If Thomas Rawls has any chance to steal Christine Michael’s or even Robert Turbin’s roster spot he must ball out on Thursday. It may be next to impossible for Rawls to make the team now that we know the Seahawks have interest in signing free agent running back Fred Jackson. Rawls started the preseason strong but has been overshadowed by the strong play of Michael the past two weeks. Michael and Rawls will both see a lot of playing time but I believe that Rawls will have to bust off several huge runs and at least one touchdown to even have a chance at earning a roster spot.

Wide Receivers: The trade of Kevin Norwood to the Carolina Panthers on Monday makes the wide receiver competition something to watch very closely this week. I believe 6 roster spots will go to wide receivers. I believe Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Tyler Lockett, and Ricardo Lockette will all have jobs on this team this year. With Paul Richardson starting the season on the PUP list, that means there are four receivers to watch in this game that are fighting for two spots. What will make the coaches decisions difficult is that they all play special teams. B.J. Daniels and Kevin Smith have seen their share of playing time on punt and kickoff returns while Kasen Williams has made a couple of clutch catches including one which set up Steven Hauschka’s game-winning field goal last week. Chris Matthews showed his potential in Super Bowl XLIX but has been a ghost in relation to these other players so far this preseason. Keep a tab on the number of snaps each of these guys see on offense this week. Their presence on the field alone could be a major indicator of who has the lead on the final wide receiver spots.

Tight Ends: Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson are locks to make the team. The final tight end spot will go to either Cooper Helfet or Anthony McCoy. Given that McCoy has battled injuries over the past three seasons, and that Helfet had a solid season in 2014 it would make sense if it is Helfet’s job to lose. It very well may be. McCoy will get the opportunity to prove his worth this week. This is one spot that I think could go to either player.

Offensive Line: The release of Lemuel Jeanpierre affirms our starting offensive line going into the season. From left to right our starting line will be Russell Okung, Justin Britt, Drew Nowak, J.R. Sweezy, and Garry Gilliam. This week will give us a chance to see what our depth looks like along the offensive line. One guy to keep an eye on this week is undrafted rookie Kristjan Sokoli. Sokoli has made fantastic progress during training camp and is a favorite of Coach Carroll and offensive line coach Tom Cable. Unfortunately he is listed as our fourth string left guard, likely because he is still working on converting from defensive tackle to offensive guard (similar to J.R. Sweezy). Due to his standing on the depth chart Sokoli may be destined for a possible practice squad spot. Backup linemen Mark Glowinski and Terry Poole are our drafted rookies who are listed as the backups to Sweezy and Gilliam respectively. Expect to see them on the field a lot.

Defensive Line: The feel-good story of the offseason and training camp was the comeback of defensive tackle Jesse Williams. The third year lineman had a cancerous kidney removed back in May and amazingly has returned to game action this preseason; a remarkable recovery indeed. Unfortunately Williams has a very real chance of not making the team since he is listed as a fourth string defensive tackle. Along the defensive line on Thursday look for Williams, David King and Julius Warmsley. I believe one of these three players will claim one of the Seahawks musical chairs. The others will be left out once the music stops.

Linebackers: I am putting the “you never know” label on the backup middle linebacker job. Brock Coyle won this job last year and he is probably going to earn his job back in 2015. Alex Singleton however refuses to back down without a fight. Singleton has been on the field a lot this preseason, appearing solely in the second half. I get a hunch that our coaching staff likes Singleton a lot but even a great outing on Thursday still makes him a longshot to earn a roster spot but like I said, you never know.

Cornerbacks: I get a weird feeling that surprises are on the horizon in this group. Cary Williams has struggled this preseason and if he did not make so much money I think he would be a serious candidate to be cut. Williams will make the team due to his cap number which puts pressure on our backups. Tharold Simon has played well thus far and Marcus Burley has seen his fair share of playing time with the starters. Two guys to watch are Will Blackmon and Tye Smith. Blackmon is a veteran who has bounced around the league and found himself back with the Seahawks for training camp. Smith is a rookie who was drafted in the 5th round back in May and has impressed me thus far. My guess is that we will keep 5 cornerbacks. One of these guys will make the team and the other will not.

Safeties: The free safety position is settled in my mind. Earl Thomas starts, Steven Terrell backs him up. Strong safety is still up in the air at this point but I believe the breakdown is simple. If Kam Chancellor does not report to the team by the time our roster is trimmed to 53, Dion Bailey will make the team as the presumed backup to starter DeShawn Shead. If Chancellor does report, Bailey will be left out of the picture. This is the only position on the team where the simple presence of one player will likely determine the fate of another player.

Random Thoughts: All College Navy everything for the Seahawks this week. The Raiders will wear white jerseys with silver pants… Curt Menefee and Brock Huard will have the call one last time this preseason. The game will be broadcast on Q13 FOX… Lunch at Tat’s Delicatessen before the game. I’ve never been there but by the looks of the menu I’ll probably enjoy their Philly cheesesteak… Pregame location is to be determined but I wouldn’t be surprised if we make our way to Hawks Nest for the first time this season… Off the top of my head I cannot remember a preseason which included terrible weather for both of our home games. The forecast is calling temperatures in the mid 60’s and a 50/50 chance of rain.

Prediction: The nice way we will be describing this game after the fact is that it will be a “defense battle.” Russell Wilson will fail to lead a scoring drive on his one possession of the game. R.J. Archer will once again struggle to lead touchdown drives but will progress as the game wears on. On defense the Seahawks backups will slightly outplay the Raiders defensive backups which will keep us in the game. The Seahawks will win another close game in the fourth quarter and will finish the preseason 2-2.

Seahawks 16, Raiders 13

Down to 75

30 Aug
Seahawks DE Obum Gwacham (center) Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

Seahawks DE Obum Gwacham (center)
Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

The Seahawks have until 1:00pm on Tuesday to get their roster down to 75 players. This means 15 players will be released in the next couple of days. Here are my predictions for the first round of roster cuts. Look for my thoughts on our roster cuts in “Random Thoughts” in my preview of our preseason finale against the Oakland Raiders.

LB Tyrell Adams

FB Brandon Cottom

OT Jesse Davis

CB George Farmer

WR Deshon Foxx

WR Deontay Greenberry

DE Obum Gwachum

CB Keelan Johnson

SS Keenan Lambert

CB Douglas McNeil III

C Will Pericak

WR Kevin Smith

RB Rod Smith

CB Triston Wade

SS Ty Zimmerman

Down to 75: Revisited

26 Aug
farwell flag

Seahawks LB Heath Farwell (carrying 12th Man Flag), Photo Credit: The Press Enterprise

The Seahawks trimmed their roster to 75 on Tuesday afternoon. Among the 15 players taken off the active roster, 8 players had their contracts terminated, 3 were waived with an injury settlement, 3 were placed on injured reserve, and one was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list. Here is the breakdown of today’s moves.

Contracts Terminated

RB Demitrius Bronson

WR Kevin Smith

OL Cory Brandon

OL Wade Smith

DL Jackson Jeffcoat

DB Mike Dobson

DB Terrell Thomas

DB Thomas Wolfe

Waived: Injury Settlement

WR David Gilreath

DT Michael Brooks

LB Horace Miller

Placed on IR

LB Heath Farwell

OL C.J. Davis

DB A.J. Jefferson

NFI

DB Eric Pinkins

Of the 15 players I predicted would be moved off the active roster, I was correct on 8 of them. Those players are bolded on the list above.

The only slight “surprise” of this roster trim is placing linebacker Heath Farwell on injured reserve with a groin injury that will require surgery. Farwell is the Seahawks special teams captain and one of the anchors of our kickoff coverage unit. Losing Farwell is a blow on special teams but the Seahawks definitely have the depth to replace him. With Farwell headed to IR, expect undrafted rookie linebacker Brock Coyle to make the team as Farwell’s replacement and the backup to starting middle linebacker Bobby Wagner.

The Seahawks have until 1pm Saturday to set their week one active roster. To do so, they must trim their current roster from 75 to 53 players.

Down to 75

24 Aug
Running Back Demitrius Bronson (Left) and Cornerback Michael Dobson (Right) Photo Credit: komonews.com

Running Back Demitrius Bronson (Left) and Cornerback Michael Dobson (Right)
Photo Credit: komonews.com

The Seahawks have until 1pm Tuesday to trim their roster from 90 players to 75 players. Some teams have already started to announce their first round of cuts, wasting no time getting their rosters down to the required number for their fourth preseason game on Thursday. After almost a month of training camp and three preseason games, here are the 15 players I believe will be cut and will not be with the team when we play the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night.

RB Demitrius Bronson

WR David Gilreath

WR Chris Matthews

WR Morrell Presley

WR Kevin Smith

OL Corey Brandon

OL C.J. Davis

OL Nate Isles

DT Dewayne Cherrington

DT Andru Pulu

LB Marcus Dowtin

LB Horace Miller

DB Akeem Auguste

DB Michael Dobson

CB Thomas Wolfe

Once the Seahawks have announced their first round of roster cuts I will hop back on with this very list updated and graded with my accuracy. I will also provide my thoughts on the players that were cut, including reactions to any players that were surprisingly released. Go Hawks!