I've Moved

For those of you that follow this blog: you should now check in regularly at FieldGulls.com because I will now be leading a team of really great writers over there. I figure I can reach a larger audience and get better support from SBNation than I could get doing everything myself here. Hope to see you over there and make sure and contribute and comment as much as you want, I welcome discussion on everything.

Also, I've taken over the twitter handle Fieldgulls so check me out on the twitterverse.


Thank God it's TGIF

I've taken a few days off from posting but plan on picking it back up again in force next week. I don't have any original content for you today but I'll hook you up with a few good links.

Seattle was one of two teams to attend Montana State's pro day, where they took a look at OL Michael Person. A little bit about the 6'5, 299 lb (likely Guard) player, from his NFL Combine page:
Person is prospect from the FCS ranks with the intangibles, work-ethic and football smarts to become a backup offensive lineman. However, lacks the foot quickness and body control necessary to start or protect the blind side. While he did not allow a sack during his senior year and shows the ability to thwart the bull rush, should have problems dealing with speed rushers. Doesn't play with great pad level or blow defenders off the ball but does a good job getting into position as a run blocker. Consistently recognized for his leadership and effort in college. Person could hear his named called late on Day 3.
Person has the mentality you look for. Capable of anchoring and holding up against the bull rush. Gets off the ball, establishes good initial position, and locks on when run blocking. Takes direct routes to targets at the second level. Has good football IQ and a lot of starting experience.
Lacks bulk for the NFL. Does not possess the athleticism to stick with edge rushers. Hat and hand placement need to improve. Leans and lunges on occasion. Doesn't get much movement off the ball when run blocking. Must adjust to a steep incline in competition level from the FCS level.
A few more visits are expected/have happened:

Tony Pauline reports that the Hawks will work out Boise State (backup) QB Mike Coughlin. He didn't get much playing time in his college career behind Kellen Moore. This does not bode well - but there is precedent for this - Matt Cassel was a backup to Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart his entire college career and has had a measure of success in the NFL.

Lehigh Guard Will Rackey - The Hawks (Tom Cable according to this article) recently attended the pro day for the probable 3rd round pick. This isn't really new news, but the Hawks most definitely have interest.

More on Rackey from the NFL Combine Page:
Rackley's a small-school tackle who projects well as a guard in the NFL. He's above-average in pass protection and as a run blocker and has the mentality necessary to become a starter. Does a good job against power pass rushers but may have some difficulty against defensive linemen with great agility. Fires off the ball, wins the position battle, and is very capable moving to the second level but does not possess the leg drive to move defenders off the ball. Shows average awareness but will may need some time to adjust to the complexity of the NFL. Rackley's a Day 2 prospect.
Hampton DT Kenrick Ellis.  According to Adam Wright's twitter account, the Hawks worked out the big defensive tackle on Wednesday.  He projects as a probable 5-tech for the Hawks.  Here's what his NFL Combine Page has to say:
Ellis is an intriguing prospect who could develop into a complete starting defensive tackle capable of clogging up the middle, making plays in the backfield off penetration, and collapsing the pocket. Has a pretty rare combination of size and explosiveness. Can be disruptive with his power or quickness. Counters and the screen game can be used to beat him at times. Plays with some fire and has a solid motor. Teams will need to further investigate his dismissal from South Carolina.
Ellis is blessed with NFL-ideal height and weight at defensive tackle. Holds up really well at the point of attack and can take on the double team and eat up space inside. Does a very good job pushing the pocket with his bull rush and uses a few hand moves to get off blocks. Excellent burst for a big man.
Has character flags after being suspended and later dismissed by South Carolina. Needs to do a better job of watching his pad level at times. Can be fooled by crisp ball-handling and ball-fakes. Can be neutralized by trap blocks he fails to recognize. There are some concerns about his conditioning level.

Apparently the Hawks are not the team that has put in a first round draft pick offer for Kevin Kolb, according to Peter King.  This comes a day or two after Pete Carroll didn't deny that they were in fact the team to do so.  Of course Pete is going to be playing coy and possibly even using smokescreens at this point about which direction the Hawks will be going. At least, I hope he is, because I would love to see them use a little tact this time around so they don't have to give up an arm and a leg to get their target QB.

(Like they did last year with Whitehurst - it seems like the offer the Chargers presented to the Hawks was a pretty much their first offer, and evidently they expected some haggling... but the Hawks accepted.  "oh - geez! Yeah if you're take that offer? Sweet! (chuckle chuckle).  Actually the real quote was "We presented them a deal we thought was good for us, and we are thrilled it was accepted.” - translation - SUCKERS). Damn it just get the stupid CBA done so we can all stop speculating on the QB situation.

Ok, on to the good news: Compensatory draft picks will be announced today. Hopefully we get two or three more first rounders. That would be great. But it's most likely going to be a 4th and a 6th (or a 5th and 7th according to some). Brandon Adams breaks it down...


Throwing Some Stats Around

Think the Seahawks shocking the world had any bearing on the perception of them nationwide?  According to ColdHardFootballFacts.com, uhhhh, no. In their latest offseason power rankings, they had the Hawks at #24 in the league (yes, only 8 teams are worse than the Hawks). Above them? Try San Francisco and St. Louis.  Also, the Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, and even the Minnesota Vikings.  Ouch.

While I can't really dispute this all that much based on the Hawks' situation at QB and the fact that they had a near league-worst defense last year, it still goes to show that the Hawks get no love despite the fact that they beat the defending champion Saints in the playoffs and challenged Chicago enough to ignite a glimmer of hope they'd be playing in the NFC Championship game. Oh well, being an underdog is not necessarily a bad thing.

This quasi-arbitrary (once past the top 10 or so) ranking system aside, Cold Hard Football Facts does have some great metrics to take a look at and I did so in relation to the Hawks.  First off, their Bendability Index is a system of trying to measure the effectiveness of the "bend but don't break" concept on defense - this is exactly what Pete Carroll's defensive philosophy is all about - and offers some insight into the direction the Hawks are going:


The Blame Game

Check out a piece I wrote over at Seahawks Addicts about the recently released lists of Best and Worst Cornerbacks in the NFL, compiled by Football Outsiders.

HawkLinks for Sunday

In case you haven't see it yet, the NFL has proposed rule changes meant to diminish injuries to players on what is the most injury inducing play in the league, kickoffs. These rule changes propose that the kickoff line be moved to the 35 yard line (instead of the 30) so there will be more touchbacks and theoretically less room to get a running start for the return man. Obviously, with the Seahawks ranked so highly in special teams, I'm against these rule changes. Leon Washington proved to be the man on kickoff returns and proved himself invaluable in the field position game. If the changes are enacted, it could potentially be detrimental to the Hawks.

For an idea of the type of change you're looking at, in 1993, the last year that kickoffs were taken from the 35 yard line, there were 57 kickoff returns of 40+ yards and 4 touchdown returns. In 1992, there were 6 return TDs. In 2010, Leon Washington had 3 himself (and should have been 4 except for a early celebration), and there were 113 40+ yard returns and 23 touchdowns. Player safety would most likely be improved though so it may be enacted. Personally, I'm not against player safety, but it seems like it would make kickoffs very dull. Check out the links above for a more in-depth look at the rule changes and their potential ramifications.

Kevin Kolb might be on the move, and Andy Reid has stated that he'll be listening to offers during the offseason. Check out a couple of stories from NFL.com on a potential trade for Kolb - one that looks at the risk involved and one that looks at potential suitors and the odds it will happen.

Speaking of quarterback acquisitions, I guess it has recently come out that the Hawks originally wanted to trade for then-Buffalo QB Trent Edwards before getting rebuffed and instead traded for Charlie Whitehurst. Not that it really matters now, but it kind of makes you wonder about Whitehurst considering he was a backup option to a guy that got released from the Bills after two games in 2010.  After he was released, it was again rumored the Hawks may try to pick him up but he was claimed by the Jaguars instead.  The Hawks instead settled on another former Bill as their third-stringer, JP Losman.

Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle takes a look at Georgia C Clint Boling, a potential target for the Hawks in round 2 of the draft.

Looking Forward: Wide Receivers, Part II

Golden Tate had a very hit and miss rookie season. He ended up catching 21 passes for 221 yards - which is not especially impressive. He did however have some very impressive catches in those 21, which gives me hope as a fan that his sophomore campaign will be his breakout year.

First off, why did he struggle in his first year? He has the tools - he's got great hands, can break tackles, and is an exciting runner after the catch. He was the toast of training camp and preseason - wowing all the reporters at camp with his incredible acrobatic plays we'd hear about daily. He made some amazing catches in his few game opportunities but those opportunities were scarce because of his issues running routes and making mistakes.


Looking Forward: Wide Receivers

In a series of posts I plan to sort of roll out as the offseason goes on, I'll be taking a look at some of the Seahawks positions and trying to assess (as best as a fan can) the Hawks' strengths and needs.  I've started a bit with the Cornerback and Linebacker position, which I'll try to follow up on soon, but I wanted to talk a little bit about Wide Receivers - particularly Deon Butler and Golden Tate.  I'll start with Butler.

First of all, Deon Butler didn't come cheap to the Seahawks - they traded away three picks just to move up in the draft to select him in the third round (any third round pick is pretty valuable in the first place). They gave the Giants their fifth and seventh round choices from '09 and their 3rd round choice from '10.  A little ridiculous in my mind but that is basically the Seahawks drafting tendencies of the past decade or so in a nutshell. So the Hawks gave up a lot to get a receiver that's 5'10, 175 lbs. It's not like that precludes him from being a great receiver, but it definitely comes as a disadvantage. I guess that they drafted him with visions of DeSean Jackson in their minds, because he sort of fits that mold- extremely fast deep threat type receiver. You can't really fault them for that I suppose - Jackson had a ridiculous rookie campaign, leading his team in receptions and racking up almost a thousand yards on 62 catches. Not bad for a skinny little speedster.


HawkLinks for Friday

By now a lot of you have probably already seen this, but Randy Moss mentioned that he'd like to go back and play for the Patriots,... but also would play for the Browns or the Seahawks, if they'd have him. Some people saw this as a slight - like saying, "shoot, I'd even play for the lowly Seahawks or Browns." I'm inclined to just think that he throwing out teams randomly. There's a chance the leadership/coaching of those teams have some draw to him- and I kind of doubt that he was saying it as an insult. (Maybe he liked Darrell Bevell when he was briefly with Minnesota?) I'm not really sure how I feel about this - but I'm wary of adding a guy like Moss and risk negatively affecting the locker room. He is a talent for sure, but if teams like Minnesota or Tennessee couldn't use him at all, I doubt the Hawks could either. My guess is he'll end up with the Pats again.

Since I've lobbied a bit for the Carson Palmer trade, here are a few more links related to the situation that might catch you up a bit on the status of it all and give you more insight into Palmer as a player.

-Clark Judge's opinion is that Mike Brown will not trade Palmer, no matter what. Palmer will have to retire. Essentially, it's up to Marvin Lewis, the Bengals' head coach, to convince Brown otherwise.

-Jordan Palmer, on his brother Carson's toughness:
Carson had several deals going on and not that he - not just because he's my brother but he's probably the toughest player I've every played with and not just in the injuries he plays with but he doesn't say anything to anybody. So I was one of the only guys who really knew all the different things he had going on with his body and yeah, there was a couple games where I took every rep in practice and I'm thinking Saturday morning I'm going to start. The Saturday goes on and he starts feeling better and ends up suiting up and going on...There was a week when we were playing the Jets, we played on a Sunday then we had a Thursday Thanksgiving game. Very quick week, very difficult defense to prepare for. I went into that game really thinking I was going to start.
-Marshall Faulk and Rich Eisen talk about Carson Palmer's situation on NFL Total Access. Marshall Faulk believes Seattle would be a great fit for Palmer, saying, "Carson Palmer, in the NFC West, with his old coach, Pete Carroll: what merger between these two guys. Listen, if you saw what he did with Mike Williams and how Mike Williams played for Pete Carroll, just imagine what a guy who won the Heisman under Pete Carroll would do there."

Finally, as you may or may not know, I believe that the Seahawks need to sign or draft a true fullback to help with their running game this season. I'm not the only one - here's what QB Matt Hasselbeck said after the Hawks beat the Panthers in week 13, where Michael Robinson played a big role:
No one wanted to say it, but (if) you don’t have a fullback on your roster, it makes it a little harder, especially in short yardage and goal-line situations, having (Robinson) back is huge. I think it definitely showed up last week.
I'm not going to say that's insubordination, but the writing is on the wall - the Hawks didn't do themselves any favors by neglecting to have any true fullbacks on the roster for the majority of the season and Hass knew it. The standout fullback in this year's draft class could be Stanford's Owen Marecic. Check out a good profile courtesy of Bigblueview.com.  Marecic is an old-school football player - just a blue collar, do everything for you type of guy and would be a good pickup for the Hawks in the middle rounds if he lasts that long.  Of course, I highly doubt the Hawks will pick up a fullback in the draft, but a guy can dream right? I think it's an important piece of the puzzle that the Hawks will need to pick up in the offseason.