Monday, September 27, 2010

Thanks, Leon

Who knew? Kansas City ‘s victory over San Diego in Week One really did provide the blueprint for Seattle’s victory over the Chargers yesterday: Get outplayed by your opponent, but then win anyway by returning kickoffs for touchdowns..
It is not normal for a return man to take over a game the way Leon Washington did yesterday.
His first kickoff return TD—the one that went for 101 yards—was a total team effort. His blockers executed perfectly, and the ex-Jet’s speed and agility did the rest.
Washington benefited from good blocking on the second return, too, but he made the difference with an astonishing individual effort. A normal returner would have been down around the 20-yard line, where Jacob Hester got a piece of his leg. Or at the 25, where the hole momentarily closed, and Washington—still off-balance—stumbled into one teammate, then pinballed off another, but nevertheless managed to keep his feet with an improbable combination of iron determination and freakish coordination. From there, it looked relatively easy for him to torch the placekicker and outrun the rest of the Chargers for a 99-yard score.
The little man simply refused to be tackled.
Our defense showed similar determination, hitting hard, forcing fumbles, and shutting down San Diego’s vaunted offense. Until an injury sidelined Marcus Trufant. At that point, Phillip Rivers started shredding our secondary. Once again, the loss of Josh Wilson appears to have hurt the Seahawks.
For the second consecutive week, the weakest link was our offense, which managed only one touchdown. When the Seattle defense handed them five Chargers turnovers, our offense failed to capitalize, scoring only three points from those five bonus possessions. After a decent first half, our offense virtually disappeared: in the second half, we gained only one first down, held the ball for a mere eight minutes, and surrendered a safety.
After Washington restored our lead, Earl Thomas saved the day with his last-minute interception.
Still, we got away with one yesterday.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Recipe for Beating San Diego

Did San Diego’s Week One Monday night loss on the road in Kansas City offer any insights as to how Seattle can beat the Chargers today in Seahawks Stadium?
 Not really. That game was an ugly win, a case of hare beats tortoise. San Diego generally outplayed Kansas City, but the Chiefs made a few big plays that swung the contest their way, with a big assist from the weather.
The Chiefs struggled to pressure Philip Rivers. Despite a driving rainstorm, Rivers threw for nearly 300 yards and two touchdowns. Kansas City sacked him only once, and forced one fumble. San Diego’s ground game performed respectably, gaining about 100 yards.
Yet, the Chiefs’ D stopped the Chargers when it counted, shutting them down in the red zone at the end of the game to avert overtime.
Kansas City’s offense ran well (about 140 rushing yards, 1 TD), but Matt Cassell threw for a mere 68 yards and one score.
Both teams struggled to sustain drives. San Diego punted eight times; while Kansas City ceded possession nine times on fourth down.
Chiefs wideout Dexter McCluster’s 94-yard punt return provided the margin of victory.
None of this amounts to a recipe for victory today. We can’t rely on rain to work as an equalizer, nor can we count on big plays to save us from sloppy defense or anemic offense.
Last week’s pitiless evisceration of Jacksonville shows what the Chargers can do when they’re firing on all cylinders.
On offense, the Seahawks need to establish the run, sustain drives, avoid turnovers, score, drain the clock, and stick with a balanced attack.
Seattle’s run defense has looked impressive so far this year, but San Diego’s ground attack is fierce. If we can hold the line of scrimmage against their tough O-line, and shut down Mike Tolbert and Darren Sproles, we could justifiably boast one of the league’s best run defenses.
Last week, we let Kyle Orton look like Kurt Warner. Seattle can’t afford to let Rivers operate with similar impunity. Our defense needs some innovative blitz packages to pressure the passer, punish him physically, and force him to make mistakes.
To put it quite bluntly, San Diego is a better team with more talented athletes and wiser coaches. Winning today will require a truly inspired performance from every Seahawk, including the 12th Man.

Seahawks Castoff Menu

Like last week, today’s early games offer good opportunities to catch ex-Seahawks in action.
Jake Delhomme’s lingering injury gives Seneca Wallace another chance to make a more compelling case for himself as Cleveland’s starting quarterback. He’s got his work cut out for him, playing on the road in Baltimore. Wallace will need fellow Seattle alumnus Pork Chop Womack and the rest of his O-line to protect him from Ray Lewis, ex-Seahawk Cory Redding, and rest of the Ravens defense. Will backup corner Josh Wilson’s familiarity with Wallace help him make a play in the secondary? Grabbing a turnover on defense is likely the only way for the diminutive DB will get his hands on the ball this week. Although Wilson boasts the best average kickoff return yardage in Seahawks history, the Ravens depth chart does not even list him as a possibility on kick returns.
On the other side of the ball, will Joe Flacco even bother to throw at TJ Houshmandzadeh after the Seattle castoff dropped three and caught none of the six balls hurled his way last week?
Meanwhile, in a showdown of the winless, the Detroit Sea Lions travel to Minnesota to face Steve Hutchinson and the Vikings. While Hutch is guaranteed to obliterate whoever lines up in front of him, it will be interesting to see whether Rob Sims can handle Jared Allen and the Williams Wall. Will Nate Burleson show up as Recepticon, or as Receptican't?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The ex-Seahawk report

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I spent much of Sunday morning monitoring the play of ex-Seahawks in the early games.
Seneca Wallace did not play well enough to spark a quarterback controversy in Cleveland. His stats were almost identical to Delhomme’s from the previous week: roughly 50 completion percentage, about 230 yards passing, and one touchdown pass, comprising half of the 14 points the offense scored. Delhomme threw two picks in Week One, while Wallace threw only one last Sunday, though it was a pick six. The Chiefs sacked Seneca once, but the Bucs never got to Delhomme. (Nice work in both games, Chop!) Neither quarterback rushed for significant yardage. The Browns narrowly lost both contests. Poor Cleveland. For their sake, I hope the Holmgren magic doesn’t take as long to work there as it did in Seattle.
The biggest surprise among the many ex-Seahawks who play for the Lions was the performance by Rob Sims. Since he failed to impress in Seattle, I did not expect to see Sims starting at left guard. Detroit’s depth chart had him listed as a reserve. But there he was, pulling nimbly and blasting open holes for Jahvid Best, who racked up 78 yards and scored two touchdowns. Detroit had managed only 20 yards on the ground against Chicago in Week One, so gaining more than 100 rushing yards on Sunday was a real achievement.
Detroit largely abandoned the run and threw a lot in an effort to catch up to Philadelphia, but the Eagles secondary essentially erased Nate “Recepticon“ Burleson, limiting him to one catch for a gain of 4 yards. Perhaps he should change his nickname to “Receptinot.” To be fair, Philadelphia also contained Calvin “Megatron” Johnson (4 catches, 50 yards, 1 TD); Detroit gained more than 300 yards through the air, but most of that total came from underneath passes to Pettigrew, the tight end, and Jahvid Best, the tailback. Mo Morris did little, carrying three times for only 8 yards.
Julian Peterson appears to have lost a step. He made only one tackle. One thing that doesn’t show up in the box score: In the first quarter, while rushing Mike Vick, Peterson batted at a ball and—on his follow-through—accidentally whacked the helmet of the former dog killer. For this, Peterson drew a penalty for an illegal blow to the head.
On the other side of the ball, former Seattle fullback Owen Schmitt caught a couple of passes in his Eagles debut. Schmitt—picked up by Philadelphia to replace the injured Leonard Weaver, also an ex-Seahawk—saw limited action at fullback, as the Eagles employed a spread formation with multiple wide receivers for most of the game. Still he threw a few nice blocks and helped LeSean McCoy earn some of his yards in a breakout game.
I didn’t see the Ravens-Bengals contest, but I have read about it. Somehow, TJ Houshmandzadeh managed to have a worse game than Mike Williams. By his own account, Housh singlehandedly lost the game for the Ravens. TJ quoth, "We lost, but in my opinion, I recall three plays that I should have made…,If I just make a couple of those, we win. So I would say it's my fault."  Indeed, Flacco targeted Housh six times; the receiver dropped three of those balls, and caught none of them, and the Ravens loss to the Bengals was close enough that a couple of plays might have made the difference.
Josh Wilson neither returned a kick nor registered any defensive statistic for the Ravens.
It is too early to tell whether the modest production of ex-Seahawks confirms the decisions to release these players. This is particularly true with Schmitt, Housh and Wilson, who need time to acclimate to their new teams.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Yesterday’s loss hurt so much that I needed to take some time before I could write about it.
Getting blown out on the road felt eerily familiar. It seemed like just last year, because it *was* just like last year. Like when we followed a Week Four fortyburger blowout of Jacksonville with a steaming pile of futility in the form of a 27-3 home loss to the Cards.
Before the game, though, I flashed even farther back. Seeing the hideous grin of John Elway on the field evoked vivid and visceral memories of how intensely we once hated the Broncos. I wish Joe Nash had been on hand to maul him, for old time’s sake.
As for the game itself, it confirmed a few of my previous doom and gloom prophecies regarding personnel.
Josh Wilson sure would have come in handy yesterday. Kyle Orton relentlessly attacked our secondary on a brutally hot day (over 100 degrees on the field) at Denver’s famously mile-high elevation. If nothing else, Wilson could have spelled our fatigued starting cornerbacks: Denver scored one of their easier touchdowns when Kelly Jennings simply fell down, perhaps due to exhaustion.
On the whole, the offensive line played remarkably well, given the whiplash of recent personnel and coaching changes. Seattle established a respectable running game early on, and they protected Hasselbeck reasonably well. Stacy Andrews, our new right guard, is a gargantuan beast. Unfortunately, being new, he still struggles with our snap count, and was responsible for two false start penalties. Sean Locklear reminded us of Super Bowl XL by getting a holding penalty that nullified a touchdown and prompted Hasselbeck to throw an interception.
Of course, the game made me miss Housh and Burleson. Yesterday, facing Denver’s excellent secondary, our receivers struggled to get open, forcing Hasselbeck to force far too many balls. Some of those throws were clearly ill-advised; others were close enough and should have been caught by skilled professional receivers.
Mike Williams, despite being on the field on almost every offensive snap, caught only one ball. He is far too big a man to disappear so completely during a big game. Despite his impressive size and decent speed, Williams has simply not shown himself to be a clutch possession receiver like Housh. Moreover, none of our wideouts has displayed the chemistry with Hasselbeck that Burleson managed to develop over the last few years.
Coaching miscues exacerbated our personnel problems. When Denver jumped to a sizable early lead, our coaches apparently panicked. Sometime in the second quarter, we abandoned the run and put the entire game on Hasselbeck’s shoulders. While that worked well last week at home against the 49ers, it proved a foolish gamble against Denver’s formidable defensive backfield. Hasselbeck could have played better, but no team can expect any quarterback to carry their offense singlehandedly every week.
By eschewing the ground game, Carroll helped Denver’s defense shut down our offense. Coaching 101: If the other team knows what you’re going to do, it’s easier for them to stop you. Unless your personnel is much better than theirs. And our receivers are nowhere near as good as the Bronco secondary.
Had Seattle stuck to the run, we likely could have sustained more drives, scored more points, and kept our defense off the field.
Instead, we threw on almost every down. Sitting on a fat lead, Denver’s DBs smothered our receivers, waited for the nigh-inevitable interceptions, and repeatedly forced us to punt. Unable to get traction on offense, we let the Broncos hog time of possession by a two to one margin. The only surprise was that our enervated defense did not surrender even more points.
Worse, Carroll left points on the field: Down by 17 points late in the second quarter, our offense went for it on 4th and 2, rather than letting Olindo Mare nail an easy field goal and narrow our deficit to two scores.
After making several big plays last week, our defense couldn’t come up with any in Denver. (When will Aaron Curry learn to watch the ball and stay out of the neutral zone?)
On offense, some play calls were simply incomprehensible:
Why let rookie Walter Thurmond field his first NFL punt in a regular season game deep in our own territory? (He muffed the ball; Denver recovered.)
Then, on that 4th and 2 play, we tried a deep pass to Deion Branch in the end zone. According to Carroll, this was an improvisation: the original call was a screen pass to Julius Jones. You read that right: our coaches felt that our best bet for a first down on 4th and short was putting the pigskin in the hands of Julius Jones, the perennial underachiever who took a pay cut to avoid a roster cut. And the checkdown was a deep pass to a diminutive, marginal receiver covered by All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey.
Coaching 102: It’s OK to take a low-percentage shot on 2nd and short or 3rd and short, because you can always go for the first down on the next play. But if you roll the dice on 4th and short, you’re probably not going to score any points.
If Carroll had wanted to be constructively daring, he could have run a play at the end of the first half, instead of having Hasselbeck take a knee. (Yes, I know, Dallas lost in Week One doing just that. But imagine the potential for surprising a defense with a trick play out of the “take a knee” formation, a la Dan Marino.)
Fortunately, Golden Tate’s performance offered something in the way of a silver lining.
Life won’t get any easier next week when the San Diego Chargers invade Seahawks Stadium. Seattle will need all of Tate’s talents, plus saner coaching, stronger defense, better play from Hasselbeck, and a pro-level performance by Mike Williams and the rest of our receiving corps.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Catching up with Seneca and the Sea Lions

Like any hardcore football fan, I’ll be watching the early games while waiting for today’s showdown with the Broncos. Of course, I like to monitor the performances of the players on my fantasy football team, but I also enjoy following the progress of former Seahawks.
The Chiefs-Browns contest will be in heavy rotation, because Seneca Wallace will likely start at quarterback, giving us a chance to see what we lost when we traded him away.
I still regret Seattle’s decision to part with Wallace, a dependable backup QB with tragically underutilized potential as a receiver and kick returner.  Like many Seahawks fans, I continue to rue the team’s failure fully to exploit his freakish speed and athleticism in those roles. Last year’s coaches had installed some Wildcat packages for Wallace—the “Senecat” offense—though it was seldom used and seldom successful. (Our offense couldn’t block anyone last year, and no scheme is sound when you can’t protect the quarterback or open holes for your runners.)
The Seahawks essentially gave away Wallace, getting only a 6th round pick in return for him. It seems extremely unlikely that the team will recoup Seneca’s lost value from that draft slot. The decision to drop Wallace seemed to be predicated upon the assumption that Wallace would never supplant Hasselbeck as a starter, whereas Whitehurst (the new backup) might be able to do so sooner or later. Of course, the argument is pointless, because Hasselbeck will not cede the starting role anytime soon. The team would have been wiser to re-sign Wallace and use the cash lavished on Whitehurst to address more pressing team needs, like the offensive line.
When Wallace went to Cleveland, I expected him to compete for a starting role. However, Jake Delhomme outperformed him in the preseason. (I’ve always liked Delhomme. He reminds me of Dave Krieg:  the regular guy vibe, coupled with the propensity to play better than anyone expects most of the time, but then melt down and have terrible games every once in a while. Delhomme even wears the same number Krieg wore: #17.)
Seneca’s opportunity today comes as a result of an injury to Delhomme, who played poorly last week. If Wallace can win, a quarterback controversy could emerge in Cleveland.
The Browns game today also offers an opportunity to catch up with Floyd “Pork Chop” Womack, another former Seahawk. I’ve always liked Chop. Back in the ‘90s, I saw him play prep ball, manhandling my school’s athletes. Chop boasts one of the best nicknames in modern football. During his tenure in Seattle, Womack (when healthy) served as a versatile reserve, and occasionally broke into the starting lineup. Most of that was back when we had a good offensive line.
Losing Chop in free agency was bad for the Seahawks, but it has been good for the player and for his new team. Womack, who hails from Cleveland, Mississippi, has thrived in Cleveland, Ohio. Since signing with the Browns, Womack has started at guard. Last year, I sometimes tuned in to Cleveland’s games just to watch Chop play. This year, I get to see Floyd Womack (whose middle name is Seneca) block for a quarterback who also shares a name with Roman scholars and an Indian nation. Go, Brownhawks!
While Cleveland has only a pair of ex-Seahawks, Detroit’s roster is studded with so many exiles from Seattle that they should be dubbed the Sea Lions. Former Seahawks on Detroit’s roster include two starters: former Pro Bowl linebacker Julian Peterson and wideout/punt returner Nate Burleson. Both are very much missed.
Playing opposite Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, Burleson has given himself a Transformer name: “Recepticon.” I have already expressed my disapproval of the decision to let Burleson get away, but I will take this opportunity to explain how we blew it when we lost Peterson. During the 2009 offseason, Ruskell regarded Peterson as expendable due to our embarrassment of riches at linebacker (Tatupu, Hill, Hawthorne, etc.). This reflected a failure of the imagination on the part of Ruskell and Mora. Instead of dealing Peterson because we had “too many” good linebackers to field, why not adopt a 3-4 defense so we could put those studs in play every down? We received poor value in return for Peterson, trading away a Pro Bowl linebacker for Cory Redding, a pedestrian defensive tackle who now plays for Baltimore.
In a similarly incomprehensible move, the Seahawks decided to keep Julius Jones and let Maurice Morris get away to Detroit. He is now their #2 running back. I hope to see him today. The Detroit Sea Lions also include tight end Will Heller and guard Rob Sims.
The Lions host the Eagles today. Detroit’s starting quarterback is injured, so backup Shaun Hill will be responsible for feeding the ball to “Recepticon” Burleson and Mo Morris. Hopefully, Julian Peterson will find some opportunities to inflict some karmic retribution upon Mike Vick on behalf of the world’s dogs.
Finally, of course, I’ll drop in on the Bengals-Ravens game to see how my man T.J. Houshmandzadeh is doing, and to watch $6 million of Paul Allen’s money helping Baltimore win. The Ravens already had two good receivers in Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason, but their coaches possess the unique insight to understand that having three starting-caliber receivers is, to put it in abstruse technical terms, totally badass.

How This Could Be Our Year

Today’s game will tell us a lot about whether the Seahawks are for real this year.
I would like to think that last week’s annihilation of the 49ers in Seattle represented a sign of things to come. However, I am forced to recall last year’s home drubbing of Jacksonville in Week Four. At the time, I (and many others) imagined that we might see that same level of play later in the season, but we were bitterly disappointed. We mistook the triumph over the Jaguars as a sign of life when in fact it was a heroic last gasp from a doomed team.
The Seahawks have never been a great road team, and Denver is a tough venue. Losing Max Unger to injury for the rest of the season throws yet another wrench into our elusive quest for chemistry and competence on the O-Line, and poses yet another challenge for our sudden replacement offensive line coach, Mr. Not Alex Gibbs. If he can find a way to establish the run with our makeshift O-line, then I’ll have to learn his name.
If Coach Carroll can continue to maintain the team’s momentum, this year’s schedule gives the Seahawks a good chance to make the playoffs. First, as a reward for losing last season, we have one of the softest schedules in the league: only two teams play weaker opponents than we do. This effect is amplified by playing in the NFC Worst in a year when the reigning champion Cardinals are reeling from the loss of Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, and other veterans. Our interconference opponents offer yet another advantage: The AFC West is also a weak division, and playing so many western teams means we have only three games in the Eastern Time zone this year.
The schedule favors the Seahawks, if our coaches and players can rise to the occasion, one game at a time. Breaking the Broncos today represents the next step on the road back to respectability.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Despite an extremely inauspicious start to today's game, Seattle rallied to defeat, dominate and humiliate San Francisco.

It represented the most satisfying possible beginning for the new season.

The Seahawks outcoached and outplayed the 49ers.

Given the doubts I expressed in my most recent post, I hereby consume a moderate portion of crow:

The defensive line exceeded expectations by shutting down Frank Gore and putting consistent pressure upon Alex Smith. Kudos to Schneider and Carroll for seeing that Chris Clemons--a perennial backup throughout his career--deserved a chance to start.

The secondary did not need Josh Wilson today. Marcus Trufant, Kelly Jennings, and Big Play Babs repeatedly came through in the clutch.

Earl Thomas continues to impress, and it appears that the new regime has found a role that suits Aaron Curry.

And, at least for today, our receiving corps appeared to be as good as last year's, though the two drops by Mike Williams were rather worrisome.

However, some of the concerns I have expressed remain relevant.

Seattle still has no ground game. San Francisco's defensive front manhandled our O-Line, forcing the Hawks to abandon the run and become one-dimensional. Fortunately, the offensive line can apparently pass block reasonably well, and Hasselbeck rose to the occasion, expertly dissecting the 49er secondary. Only at the end of the game, while sitting on a fat lead, was Seattle able to make some headway on the ground.

Moreover, the Seahawks cannot count on the large dose of luck that came our way in the first quarter. Most coaches will not pull a Mike Singletary and repeatedly go for it on 4th down, forgoing automatic points in the form of chip shot field goals. And few NFL quarterbacks would pull an Alex Smith and botch a sure touchdown by overthrowing a preposterously wide open receiver.

Still, congratulations are due to Coach Carroll, to GM John Schneider, to every Seahawk player, and to the fans who brought the noise. This is the right way to start a season. Let's keep it rolling next week in Denver.

Does Carroll want to win?

Never in this century have I had more mixed feelings on a Seahawks opening day

The season's beginning offers a good opportunity to evaluate the "Great Collaboration" between head coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider.

Analysts in the press and on the web have debated whether Seattle is rebuilding; Carroll and Schneider hotly deny this, insisting that the goal is to win now.

Looking at the personnel changes they have made, the question is whether they ever want to win.

What were they thinking when they looked at last year's roster and decided that the team's weakness was its receiving corps?

In Nate Burleson, John Carlson, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, the team already had an above-average trio of starting pass catchers.

Why not just re-sign Burleson, a talented receiver, a dangerous returner, and a hometown kid with a great attitude?

Is the new starting tandem of Mike Williams and Deion Branch an upgrade over last year's wideout duo of Burleson and Houshmandzadeh?

Do the Seahawks get better value and production from paying Housh $7 million to play for the Seahawks, or by paying him nearly $6 million to start for the Ravens?

Why bring in so many athletes to compete to play wideout? This is not the NCAA, where a good receiver can dominate a game by virtue of freakish speed and size, compared to the college norm. In the NFL, every player is an athletic freak of nature, so the large talent disparities seen in college ball simply do not exist.

Instead of wasting so much time and effort failing to upgrade the receiving corps, why not address the real root of the offense's underproduction: our weak line?
As a result of Carroll and Schneider's relative neglect of the O-Line, the Seahawks once again begin the season with an unsettled and thus far unimpressive front five.

Similarly, the Great Collaborators have apparently failed to upgrade our feeble defensive line.

Worst of all, the team traded away cornerback Josh Wilson for a 5th-round pick. Wilson had been battling Kelly Jennings for a starting spot. Even if Jennings had the edge this year, why not keep Wilson as a hedge against injury, as a quality nickelback with demonstrated big play (pick six!) potential, and as a deadly kick returner?

The team explained that they got good value for Wilson because the Patriots got Randy Moss for a 4th-round pick a few years ago. Nonsense. At the time, Moss was in his 30s and in the midst of a career slump with the hapless Raiders; no one knew if he could return to form. Wilson, by contrast, is only 25 and in the prime of his career.

Schneider's personnel philosophy dictates an emphasis on youth, but a season without a salary cap offers an exceptional opportunity to upgrade the roster through short-term investments in veteran talent. This raises the question of whether Paul Allen wants to win. He is the richest owner in the NFL, which means for this one season, the Seahawks could have been the Yankees of the NFL, using a fat payroll to buy a championship. Was there no place on our weak offensive line for a Pro Bowler like Kevin Mawae?

There have been some encouraging signs. Despite offering obscene overcompensation to Charlie Whitehurst, Carroll sensibly concluded that Hasselbeck remains the best quarterback on the roster, making Whitehurst one of the league's best-paid clipboard holders. Similarly, Carroll wisely made Justin Forsett our starting running back, recognizing the little man's remarkable tenacity, his shifty running skills, and his automatic command of the zone blocking scheme. The move rightly relegated Julius Jones to third string, while Schneider played hardball to cut the underperforming back's salary down to size.

Of course, I hope I'm wrong. I hope Carroll and Schneider possess superior personnel insights that I cannot fathom, and that the changes they've made have in fact strengthened the team. I hope the coaching staff has schemes up their sleeve to protect Hasselbeck, establish a real running attack, and pressure and sack opposing quarterbacks. I shall be happy to eat some crow if we can beat the 49ers today.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Why this blog?

This is a blog for Seahawks diehards, for complete fanatics who bleed teel blue and neon lime. For maniacs who would rather lose a limb than miss a game. For true devotees who know what it means to make a profound and exclusive lifelong commitment to a team.

To my fellow diehards, I humbly offer analysis and perspectives that I find lacking elsewhere on the web.

What credentials qualify me to write about the team?

I have followed the Seahawks since 1976, their inaugural season, and I have a history of being right about the team.

For example, I knew Dave Krieg was a good quarterback, and that Seattle was foolish to waste valuable draft picks and money on Kelly Stouffer, Dan McGwire and Rick Mirer. If the team had simply kept Krieg and used those resources to shore up other positions, the Seahawks might have avoided the nosedive they entered in the early '90s.

Also, I knew Brian Bosworth was trouble. When the Seahawks "won" the supplemental draft lottery in 1987, I thought they should have traded him for someone who would have fit in with the hard hat ethos of the Chuck Knox era.

I knew that Ken Behring would be a bad owner, though I did not anticipate how cartoonishly inept and sinister his misrule would prove. I knew that Tom Flores was not the answer as GM or coach.

I knew that it was a bad idea to hire a "successful" college coach jumping ship to avoid probation resulting from a multitude of NCAA violations that he had allowed, encouraged, tolerated, and/or ignored. Successful college coaching experience may predict success as an NFL coach, but any such prediction becomes complicated when cheating plays such a large role. This logic holds as true for Pete Carroll as it did for drunk drivin' Dennis Erickson.

Finally, like many Seattlites, I was right about Hutch. When Shaun Alexander and Steve Hutchinson's contracts came up for renewal in 2006, I knew the Seahawks needed to prioritize Hutch, because the team's running success owed more to the prowess of our offensive line than it did to Alexander's running skills. Moreover, I'll take a young All-Pro guard over an aging All-Pro running back any day. I knew that the Seahawks needed to use the franchise tag as leverage to sign Hutch to a long-term deal, and that the team should have let Alexander go rather than cave in to his lavish contract demands. Instead, the team paid through the nose to keep Alexander, while Minnesota stole our best young player and the title of League's Strongest O-Line along with him. Alexander's skills faded even faster than I had feared. Meanwhile, the loss of Hutch destroyed the chemistry of our offensive line, hastened Robbie Tobeck's retirement, and may have shortened the career of Walter Jones, the greatest Seahawk.

Of course, I have been wrong about the team on some occasions. Initially, I did not believe in Dave Krieg or Matt Hasselbeck, preferring Jim Zorn and Trent Dilfer. However, once Krieg and Hasselbeck matured and proved themselves, I quickly changed my mind and have staunchly defended them ever since. I am happy to be proven wrong whenever it contributes to greater success for the Seahawks.

Finally, my coaching and media experience qualify me to blog on the Seahawks. I coached at the middle and high school levels for eight years, served for several seasons as play-by-play announcer for high school football games, and contributed articles to local newspapers on high school football. I wrote most of the Wikipedia article on Dave Krieg, including the team-by-team and season-by-season narrative sections.

Welcome to Seahawks Diehard. Thank you for visiting, and please come back for more.