Tag Archives: Seattle Seahawks

Remembering Steve Smith Getting Smashed

NFL free agency is in full turmoil. In its first 24 hours, over $1 billion in contracts were handed out, with plenty more to come in the couple of days after that. The strange and often entertaining aspect of NFL free agency, as opposed to other leagues, is teams drop players while signing others, keeping the market engaging even after the initial top names are gone.  The salary cap and non-guaranteed contracts are often confusing and frustrating for fans, but they sure add excitement to this time of year.

One big money veteran who felt victim to the salary cap is wide receiver Steve Smith.  The cap room-starved Carolina Panthers asked the long time face of their franchise and one of the most exciting players in the league to renegotiate his contract. He didn’t appreciate the request and instead asked to be released.  He just signed a new deal with Baltimore.

I don’t really care about Steve Smith, but seeing his name brought back one of my favorite Seahawk memories, from their 2005 Super Bowl run. That team was quite good, but for whatever reason, I never felt completely confident in them.  I remember them being a really good all-around team, without being dominant anywhere except for the Walter Jones-Steve Hutchinson duo.  I could be remembering wrong.  I’m sure a large part of the concern was just wondering if it were even possible for a Seattle team to make a championship game.  Whatever the case, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the conference championship game.

The opponent in that game? Steve Smith and his Carolina Panthers.  Smith was in his prime and one of the best offensive players in the league.  He brought tremendous danger with each touch of the football.  In the regular season, he’d gone for over 100 catches and more than 1,500 receiving yards and was coming off a huge game.  All I remember hearing in the week before the game was about the bubble screens to Steve Smith, and how he was nearly impossible to tackle once he had the ball and a block in front of him.

I don’t really remember the specifics of the game.  I couldn’t come close to giving a play-by-play, but I remember one play that summed up the game.  It was early in the game, probably the Panthers’ first offensive series, I’m guessing.  Jake Delhomme dropped back to pass, and it was clear immediately he was throwing the vaunted screen to Steve Smith on the left sideline. I held my breath. Smith was a truly dangerous guy with the football. The term gets overused, but some players are capable of scoring every time they touched the ball. Smith was exactly that.

Delhomme’s quick pass went left, nearly parallel to the line of scrimmage. Smith was waiting, but he never had a chance. Any attempted blocks failed utterly, and a full speed Seahawk defender reached Smith just as the ball did.  Smith got blown up and the ball bounced to the ground.  In that instant, I knew the Seahawks were going to the Super Bowl. The Panthers didn’t have a lot on offense besides Smith, and in that one play, the Seahawks showed they had the game plan, athleticism and execution to stop him.  It was much like Kam Chancellor’s early leveling of Julius Thomas in the Super Bowl.  The tone was set, and the rout was on.

Smith would eventually score the Panthers’ only points of the game on a punt return for a touchdown. The Seahawks won 34-7, in a game I don’t remember even being that close.  The Super Bowl didn’t go well, of course, but the run to get there was great. It’s funny the way one play sticks in the mind. Steve Smith has been one of the best receivers in the NFL throughout his career, but I’ll always remember him on his back beneath a Seahawk, the ball lying a few feet away, sending us to the Super Bowl.

-Matthew

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Seattle’s Day

On Wednesday, February 10th, the city of Seattle gathered together to celebrate their first major professional sports championship in 35 years.  The championship was long overdue, as the 700,000 people who gathered would all tell you.  Everywhere you went there were chants of “SEA!” followed by echoes of “Hawks!”  Once the parade started, the Seahawks chants persisted but were joined by cheers of “Pete! Pete! Pete!” and “L-O-B!”

It was unlike anything I’ve ever been at.  The streets of Seattle were shut down in 25 degree weather.  I wish you all could have been there.  If you’re a Seattle sports fan though, you were there regardless if it was physically you or not.  It felt like Griffey, Edgar, and The Bone were there celebrating.  Payton and Kemp could have been standing beside me.  Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselback would have blended right in with all of the fans that were wearing their jerseys.  Ichiro and Bret Boone could have been watching from Safeco’s roof.  February 10th was a celebration for all of Seattle.  It was a celebration of all the teams that couldn’t quite make it happen before our Hawks did and it was a celebration of all the fans that were patient and supportive in the past 35 years.  Of course, it was a celebration of a team that embodied Seattle more than any team ever has.  Our 2014 Super Bowl Champions were home and Seattle was ready to party.

What follows are some of my favorite pictures that I got from that day.  They are mostly of the parade and I’m just going to put them in chronological order.  Wordpress isn’t the best site for pictures but we’ll make do.  I’m not going to add any writing to these.  If you have any questions or want to see all of my pictures, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.  I hope you’re able to soak these in, get a feel for what it was like there and realize that, even if you weren’t there, you were represented well by the best city in the world.  Go Hawks.

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– Andrew

 

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Let The Good Times Roll!

I don’t have long here but I wanted to throw up a post really quickly to give you a few details of what’s going on.

Today, Budda Baker committed to the University of Washington to play football.  He was the top rated player in the state, a free safety who may play some offense, and has been a fantastic player for Bellevue High School in the last few years.

On Monday, Kaleb McGary committed to the University of Washington to play football.  He was the second highest rated player in the state and will play defensive end to start but may be on the offensive line by the end of his college career.  He’s a huge 17-year-old who has all kinds of potential.

Needless to say, things are going well in Seattle.  The Good Guys will have more on these players in the coming days.  Tomorrow is Nationals Signing Day and, as usual, I’ll have a running blog.  I plan to start at about 6:30 in the morning and go up until 8:30.  I’m going to the parade, so I’ll take a long break and come back tomorrow evening with some closing thoughts and recapping any surprises.  If you’re a loyal reader of the blog you know that this is one of my favorite sports days of the year but nothing would stop me from this parade.

In the days following signing day, Matthew and I will have posts recapping the players the Huskies signed.  So, check back in the following days if you’re out all day tomorrow.  I hope you all get to experience tomorrow but if you don’t I plan to take lots of pictures and put them up in a post here.

This is truly an amazing time to be a Seattle sports fan.  Maybe the best it’s ever been.  We hope you feel the magic and we hope to share it with you if you can’t be here!  I’ll be back tomorrow morning bright and early!  Go Hawks, go Dawgs, and go Seattle!

Andrew

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A Q&A At A Square Table

After last weekend’s heartbreaking affairs, the Good Guys felt it was time to gather together and face the hard questions.  Okay, they aren’t really hard questions but there are some answers to a few questions.  Enjoy everybody!

After Saturday’s game, do you think Stanford is a top-5 team?  Does that mean the Huskies are a top-10 team based on their performance?

Dan:  I’m not sure if Stanford is a top 5 team because the offense and defense both seem good but not great. Top 5 teams have an elite “something” and I don’t see it’d on Stanford. I think both UW and Stanford are in the 7-10 range. Look, if your only loss is by 3 points on the road to the #5 team, and you outplay them in nearly all facets, you belong in the top 10.

Joe:  I agree with Dan that Stanford is a top 10 team, and that UW could be a top 10.  The problem I have is Stanford hasn’t been tested on the road yet, with two home games vs ranked teams, and in both cases, ASU and UW moved the ball just fine on their defense, out gaining Stanford in both games.  But I understand a win is a win, so I’ll let that sleeping dog lie.  I think Stanford is a very good football team, very well-disciplined, they just don’t beat themselves, and that’s why they are undefeated right now.
Matthew: I think Stanford is capable of beating anyone in the country, but I don’t think they’re good enough to go undefeated and win the championship.  I don’t know if that puts them in the top five or not, but I imagine they’ll hang in that range most of the year.  I see them losing to Oregon and maybe one more team. I would have the Huskies in the 10-15 range right now.  If they keep playing like they have been, however, I don’t see them losing many more games.  They could easily be a a top 10 team, and I think they’re playing like it right now.  It’s just a matter of keeping it up.
Andrew:  It appears that I’m in the minority here but I do believe Stanford is a top-5 team.  Outside of Alabama, I’m not sure that anyone has a better resume than Stanford right now.  I think their front 7 is elite and is probably the best in the country.  As for the Huskies, they really do look like a top-10 team to me.  I think they can play with anyone because of the weapons on their team and because of the growth on the coaching staff.  This weekend will go a long ways in showing whether the Huskies are or not.
What was your favorite play from Saturday’s game?

Dan:  I thought the 3rd and 1 stop with 2 mins left was amazing. Peters was off-balance and Hogan appeared to have an easy path to getting a yard or 2 outside, but Marcus recovered and made a phenomenal play that only elite D’s pull off.

Joe:  Any play that involved Bishop Sankey doing something awesome, and then seeing Grandpa Sankey go nuts.
Matthew: I’ll second both of those.  Grandpa Sankey was great, but that third down stop by Peters was incredible.  I’ve been raving about it ever since.  It came out of the same formation as Stanford scored (I think) their last touchdown: 8 lineman, shotgun, two backs beside the quarterback.  It’s very symmetrical and looks like a goal line offense.  Because of that, UW got sucked into the middle on the touchdown, and Tyler Gaffney was untouched going off-tackle to the right.  There are so many different plays that can be run out of that alignment. They can hand off either direction, go right up the gut, slip the tight end or a back out for a pass.  This time Hogan kept it, Peters mostly stayed home and then closed and made a difficult tackle.  Given the circumstances and level of difficulty, that was one of the better defensive plays we’ll see all year.
Andrew:  I can’t disagree with the Peters play.  It would have been my favorite UW play, maybe ever, if the Dawgs had pulled the game out.

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Seattle Seahawks Pre-Season Game 2 – Thoughts and Observations

Russell Wilson (photo credit: Seattle Seahawks – Rod Mar)

Seattle Seahawks Pre-Season Game 2 – Thoughts and Observations

The Seahawks traveled to Denver for week 2 of the pre-season, and here are my observations:

Matt Flynn – It’s easy to look at the 6 for 13, 31 yards and scoff. But if you do that please add a completion for 46 yards and a TD, because it wasn’t Flynn’s fault T.O. dropped a gorgeous sure fire TD pass (too much butter on Terrell’s popcorn?). Owens was targeted 5 times by Flynn, none were completions, and I’ll leave it to the coaches to decide whose fault it was. My guess it was on T.O., since Flynn knows this offense like second nature. So if you add this all up, it’s hard for me to be down on Flynn when it was obvious Pete was trying to work T.O. into the passing game, maybe against the better wishes of Flynn. Overall I though Flynn looked fine, running the offense without problem. I think Flynn should start next week and start week 1 at Arizona.

Russell Wilson – Wilson, for the second week in a row, played outstanding. He made all the passes, and even scrambled 5 times for 33 yards, averaging 6.6 yards a rush. Add to this his 9.1 yard average per completion, and it’s easy to see Wilson has no trouble running an NFL offense, albeit against Denver’s second string defense. Wilson is supremely confident, and his leadership is apparent. The current debate is whether Wilson should play next week against Kansas City’s number one defense so we can see what he can do verses a solid defensive scheme. I understand the sentiment, and in a perfect world, yes, play him verses KC. But this is not a perfect world. Sept 9 is just around the corner, and Flynn needs all the reps he can get with the ones to build timing. I think the Hawks have a great problem on their hands, both Wilson and Flynn can play, and play well. It’s a far cry from Jackson and Whitehurst. Let’s hope Seahawks fans don’t forget that.

Marshawn Lynch – Lynch played a couple series and looked great. Beast Mode is back. 6 carries for 37 yards for a 6.2 YPC average. The offensive line opened up some nice holes. It is extremely clear the Seahawks love to run the ball. It’s their bread and butter. The ease at which they run left, or run right is fun to watch. The great thing about a solid running game is it translates. Road, away, good weather, bad weather, no matter, just hand off the ball, get chunks of yards and move the chains.

Special Teams – Steve Hauschka was automatic. The Hawks punt protection though? Horrible, two blocked punts by the Broncos. Gotta tighten that up.

Defense – Mixed bag here. The Hawks got very little pressure on Manning, which allowed him to dink and dunk the Hawks to death on a couple drives. The flip side of the coin though was the three turnovers forced. I think this could be the story of this defense all year. Big plays, turnovers, stopping the run, but giving up a few drives here and there. Overall I was pleased with the turnovers.

Breno Giacomini – The dude has a serious mean streak, which I love, but multiple personal foul penalties is just stupid. Those kinds of brain dead moves could cost this team a win in the regular season. I love his passion but he’s got to control it, because we all know defensive linemen across the league will try and bait him.

For the second straight week, I am very pleased with what I saw. The running game was powerful and consistent; the passing game was extremely conservative, but not terrible, while the defense made big plays. Areas to improve, again, are the pass rush which could be a major Achilles heel all year, and punt coverage. Expect the starters to play 3 quarters this week in KC. Much more can be concluded after the next game.

-Joe-

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Seattle Seahawks Pre-Season Game 1 – Thoughts and Observations

Richard Sherman (Seattle Seahawks – Rod Mar)

Here are my thoughts and observations from the first pre season game of the 2012 Seahawks season.

The uniforms are sharp, I love them. The blue is vastly better than the multiple blue tones they’ve had for more than a decade. The gray and green ascents really popped well on TV. I love the fact the Hawks really took a chance with the uniforms, it gives them a unique identity that fits well with the whole 12th Man motif.

The starting defense looked tremendous. The eleven that started will (Lord willing) be the eleven who start in Arizona on September 9th. Outside of the obvious pick six by Browner, I was immediately impressed with Red Bryant who just seemed to be everywhere, and that’s impressive for a guy who’s 6’4′ 330 lbs. He swatted a pass down and got in a few good licks, all the while giving the Titans o-linemen and earful. Jason Jones made his presence felt, getting decent pressure on the QB. Bruce Irvin was boom or bust, but when he boomed, it was fun to watch. The stunts the Hawks ran were successful and caused Hasselbeck to be flustered when he threw. No sacks were recorded but there was pressure. Baby steps. I liked what I saw from rookie Bobby Wagner, he looked comfortable and ok with being a leader in the linebacking corps. Only time will tell how he grows into the role. On a very good note, I was glad to see Marcus Trufant running with the second team and embracing the role, looking fresh and excited to play. I think it’s vital Tru hangs around, he’s a great leader and could be a very nice nickel back.

You can probably tell I love what the Hawks are doing on defense. This crew has all the makings to be a top five defense. Teams will simply not be able to run the ball, forcing them into the pass, which will play into the hands of an extremely aggressive and confident secondary. Will those guys make mistakes at times? You bet, but they don’t string them together, and recover quickly with big play ability. Pre season games are traditionally marked by defenses who are way ahead of offenses, and that was on display Saturday night. But even in light of that reality, the Hawks looked ready to rock. I only see upside with this crew. They are the foundation Pete and Co. are building upon.

On the offensive side of the ball, I literary had no idea what to expect. Unlike most folks, all I cared about seeing Saturday was the defense because, well, I love defense, so when the offense finally took the field, I just tried to keep an open mind. Matt Flynn had a very thin wide receiving corps running routes, and no Beast Mode behind him, so what conclusions can we draw? He had one terrible pass (the INT to the LB), and a bad sack, but over all he looked solid. He got the ball out and on time to the receivers. He seemed comfortable running the offense. His best play was the roll out completion to Zach Miller, (who then promptly got blown up and received a concussion, not good). I was pleased with what I saw. Regarding Russell Wilson, I was equally impressed. Being a rookie, you simply take the good with the bad and roll with it. His athletic ability was apparent from the start. Bevell rolled Wilson out A LOT, which I think was designed to ease Wilson into his first pro game. He ran a lot of roll outs at Wisconsin, so it was only natural to keep him in that comfort zone. His arm strength was solid. His speed was great. His worst play was the red zone INT, which to my eye looked like jitters and nerves. His best play could have been the TD pass to Edwards or the TD run, but for me I can’t really grade at this point. Just seeing him out there looking comfortable was enough.

I was impressed with the starting offensive line’s run blocking. Washington and Turbin (The Turbinator was putting on a gun show, I’m pretty certain he lifts weights…) had gaping holes to run through, and Flynn had time to pass. Good to see considering the plethora of injuries that unit has seen the past two years. Michael Robinson was dominant run blocking, no surprise there. I wish I could say the same for the second unit offensive line. The Hawks don’t have any depth up front, so if further injuries rear their ugly head, they could be in a world of hurt.

Overall, it was a great night of football. There is a lot to be excited about with this team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. If they can identify a clear starting QB and develop some semblance of an aggressive passing game before week 1, I like their chances to get off to a good start in the division and then make a playoff push. But if a passing game is not developed, the upside this team could achieve will be stunted. The next three weeks are vital.

-Joe-

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My Favorite Seahawk

I’ve never been a big Seahawks’ fan.  I grew up in the state of Washington and never liked a team more than the Seahawks but I had a sense of apathy when it came to watching NFL games on Sunday.  After long Autumn Saturdays, in which I’d travel with my dad and sister across Snoqualmie Pass to Seattle, watch the Huskies (probably lose), and then drive back home, I didn’t have enough in me to passionately care about the Seahawks like I do with the Huskies or the Mariners.

I would always know their record and place in the standings.  I would always cheer for them if I was watching.  Knowing these things were more a product of being an avid sports fan instead of a Seahawks’ fan though.  Of course, I was sad when the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl, but I wasn’t heart-broken like some of my fellow Good Guys.  The NFL game just didn’t draw me in like the college game, it still doesn’t, and I would often opt for a Sunday afternoon nap instead of watching a football game on the edge of my seat.

Today was different though.  I tuned into the Seahawks game this afternoon in my dorm room, expecting nothing.  Maybe the game would be competitive, maybe not, but it would be a little break from playing Assassin’s Creed.

The game started how I expected.  The Hawks looked like they were going to get manhandled.  Facing an early 10-0 deficit, Seattle made an impressive drive and there was little bit of hope.  In fact, that was the spark in what turned out to be one of the most entertaining first halves I’d seen in an NFL game.  Forget the underdog aspect, this was just a fun game.

As I made a quick Wendy’s run at halftime, I couldn’t help but think, “If Seahawks games were always like this, I would be passionate about this team.”  Still, I almost missed the Seahawks first touchdown of the second half because I was listening to Lorenzo Romar’s pre-game interview on KJR.  Needless to say, I wasn’t completely drawn in.

The second half was just as entertaining as the first though.  The Seahawks went up by 14 and the Saints came roaring back, looking like the defending Super Bowl Champs that they were.  I was stunned when the Saints were held to a field goal in the 4th quarter, when a touchdown would have tied it up.  Still, they had lots of time to win the game, which was exactly what I expected to happen.

I’m a Young Life leader at Mercer Island and a about a month ago we had the opportunity to have a meeting at the Seahawks training facility.  As if that wasn’t enough, Marshawn Lynch had agreed to speak to our high school students.

That night, I watched a man who I was taller than, speak to high schoolers about how everyone told him that he was too small.  His high school coach asked him to change positions because he was too small.  He signed a couple of months after Letter of Intent day because schools wouldn’t offer him a scholarship because of his size and lack of breakaway speed.

He spoke softly, but with the confidence of a man who had proven many people wrong.  He thanked God for getting him as far as he said he worked harder than any of his teammates.  As I saw him stand at the same height of high school freshmen, as he posed for pictures, it was easy to believe him.  That night I gained a great deal of respect for the Seahawks running back and decided I would follow him no matter where his career would take him.

That brings us back to the game.  Seattle was trying to run the clock out.  If they had gotten a first down the game would be close to over.  Lynch decided to do something even better.  On a second down play, Lynch broke 2 tackles at the line of scrimmage and then dodged one in the secondary.  Still it looked like he would be brought down, he didn’t have the breakaway speed.  Lynch broke another tackle.  As he bolted down the sideline, another Saints defender looked like he would bring him down.  But, Lynch then gave the best stiff arm I’d ever seen.  He literally threw a guy out-of-bounds with this move.  Then, there was one more guy to break through to get to the end zone.  Sure enough, he did.  Too slow?  Nope.  Too small?  Nope.

The Seahawks would hold on to win the game.  And that play was the icing on top of it.  No, Lynch wasn’t the reason Seattle won, Hasselback played out of his mind and it was a team effort.

Marshawn Lynch didn’t become one of the Seahawk greats this afternoon, but he did become my favorite Seahawk.  The announcer called his run “the greatest efforts he’d ever seen by a running back.”  In what was one of the greatest runs in Seahawk history, Lynch showed us that effort sometimes outweighs the intangibles.  In some people’s eyes, Lynch is too slow and too small to be a good running back in the NFL, but the greatest upset in NFL playoff history proves that they’re wrong.

Andrew

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