Tag:Seattle Seahawks
Posted on: January 9, 2011 12:07 pm
 

SEA win should (but won't) quiet playoff re-seeds

As the only sub-.500 division winner in NFL history, the Seattle Seahawks entered the playoffs largely as a joke, at least to many.

The idea that they'd be rewarded for their 7-9 regular season record with a home playoff game rankled some. Critics pointed to Seattle as a primary example of why the NFL should consider re-seeding the playoffs based in wins, rather than division titles.

One might argue, as I, Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter (and many others) did on Twitter yesterday that the Seahawks' victory over the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints would end the discussion. By convincingly winning a game in which many of the national experts predicted Seattle would be slaughtered, it would serve to reason that the NFL's policy of rewarding division winners with a home playoff game, is indeed, working.

Critics maintain, however, that Seattle's win over New Orleans, could, in fact, have the opposite effect. They argue that New Orleans, due to their significantly better record (11-5) while playing in the more competitive NFC South division deserved the right to host the game. That Seattle, essentially, got an unfair advantage and if Saturday's divisional playoff game would have ended quite differently had the game been played in New Orleans.

There are elements to their argument that I understand. The Saints' regular season was unquestionably more deserving of recognition than the Seahawks'. Critics who feel that the NFL should consider re-seeding can point to Seattle, the 10-6 Kansas City Chiefs (who host the 12-4 Baltimore Ravens today) and countless other teams in history as "proof" that the NFL's playoff system needs fixing.

However, if the Seahawks' win Saturday doesn't convince critics that the NFL is right to continue their playoff system, I don't know what would. I don't believe anything would.

Isn't it obvious that if Seattle had been throttled by the Saints Saturday (as so many expected) that playoff critics would have pointed to the lopsided score as evidence the Seahawks didn't deserve to be in the playoffs, much less host a game? Hell, even if Seattle had lost despite giving a "surprisingly" competitive effort, that those same critics would give a collective, "See, we told you so."

And now, because Seattle did win the game, they still don't deserve it?

Pick a side. You can't have it both ways. 

There remains a lot that needs fixing in the NFL -- the rookie wage scale, the miniscule pension provided to retired players, and the ridiculously long review policy among them.

The NFL playoff seeding is one of the league's longest standing traditions. The system makes divisional games mean more than others, creating and maintaining natural rivalries that are good for the competitiveness of the game.  To change the seeding based on the NFC West winner's 7-9 record is a bad idea.

To change it now, after Seattle (like many other division winners in the past) took advantage of the spoils of their title and beat a wildcard team, would be a slap in the face to the traditions and competitiveness that makes the NFL the world's greatest sporting league.

Posted on: November 24, 2010 5:03 pm
 

Ivory, Ward again winners for Rookie of the Week

Reviewing film from each NFL game, as well as talking to pro personnel scouts, I'm usually able to compile a fairly strong list of rookies to highlight in this space. It has led to my acknowledging the strong play of various players in this extraordinary rookie class.

A few players are making it difficult to highlight other rookie performances, however, as they week in and week out are proving that their respective teams can rely on them.

Entering this week's games only two players had earned Prospect of the Week more than once -- the Detroit Lion's defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Cleveland Browns' safety T.J. Ward .

With another strong performance in Cleveland's 24-20 loss to Jacksonville, Ward now has earned the Defensive Rookie of the Week three times, including twice in a row. He was featured last week in this space after expanding upon his rookie tackle lead with eight stops, including two passes broken up. That gave him 75 tackles, a full third more than any other rookie in the league regardless of position.

Against the Jags, Ward was even better recording five tackles and the first two interceptions of his pro career. Ward's two picks -- both of which came off of deflections -- gave the Browns six turnovers on the day.

The Saints' rookie running back Chris Ivory , not to be out-done, earned the Offensive Rookie of the Week award for his 99 rushing yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks. Ivory, who played three seasons at Washington State before transferring to Tiffin University, ran like a man who wanted the residents of Washington state to remember what might have been. Ivory was arguably the difference in a surprisingly competitive game between the Saints and Seahawks that featured some beautiful passing by Drew Brees and Matt Hasselbeck. Ivory expoded to and through the hole on various interior power plays for the Saints, dragging or stiff-arming his way through the Seattle defense.

Ivory had previously been recognized for his performance a month ago after a breakout performance Week Six against the Bucs. Ivory led all NFL backs with 158 rushing yards that week. 
Posted on: October 21, 2010 9:04 am
 

Super Bowl teams boast Rookies of the Week

Considering that the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts are the reigning NFL and AFC champions, it might come as a surprise that they had enough holes for rookies to make big splashes already this season.

That said, anyone who watched their victories this past Sunday over the Tampa Bucs and Washington Redskins, respectively know the impacts that running back Chris Ivory and middle linebacker Pat Angerer had on their games.

As a way of keeping up with the collegiate prospects I scouted last year, I recognize an offensive and defensive NFL rookie of the week after each weekend's games. There was significant competition this week, but Ivory and Angerer's performances were just too productive to really look anywhere else.

Ivory, an undrafted free agent out of Tiffin University, exploded for 158 rushing yards against the Bucs. He did his damage on only 15 carries, meaning he averaged 10.5 yards per attempt. He was even more effective as a receiver, catching one pass for 17 yards. Ivory led all NFL running backs in rushing yardage in Week Six.

Angerer, a second round pick out of Iowa, continued the Colts' trend of drafting undersized, instinctive linebackers and simply plugging them in. Leading the Colts with 11 tackles against Washington, Angerer also posted a sack and broke up two passes.

Among the offensive rookies I also considered were Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy (who showed surprising poise in a loss to the Steelers), Seattle offensive tackle Russell Okung (who limited Julius Peppers to only one tackle in the Seahawks' surprising win over the Bears) and a couple of wideouts -- St. Louis' Danario Alexander and Dallas' Dez Bryant -- who each caught their first NFL touchdowns this week.

On the defensive side of the ball, Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was a strong candidate, considering his three tackles and 1.5 sacks against the Giants. Suh leads all rookies in sacks with 4.5, as well as all interior defensive linemen in the NFL. The Patriots' Jermaine Cunningham was also a consideration, as his six tackles, one sack and one forced fumble helped the Patriots come back to beat the Ravens in one of the week's best games.

 

Posted on: October 14, 2010 1:49 pm
 

Notre Dame TE Kyle Rudolph to undergo surgery Fri

Notre Dame junior tight end Kyle Rudolph will undergo season-ending surgery Friday to repair his hamstring.

The surgery is a significant one. Rudolph, who had been gutting it out by playing through a pulled hamstring originally injured over the summer, had the tendons in his right leg snap, separating the muscle from the bone against Pittsburgh, Saturday.

Though only a junior, Rudolph is widely considered to be among the top eligible tight end prospect in the country. The injury and resulting surgery, however, could put a damper on any plans that the 6-6, 260 pounder had on entering the NFL draft after this season. Rudolph's rehabilitation is expected to last six months, meaning that he may not be able to fully workout for scouts prior to the draft.

As alarming as that might be for scouts, Rudolph's ability to impact the game stands out on film. It should also be noted that the two tight ends selected highest in last year's draft -- Jermaine Gresham and Rob Gronkowski -- each missed the entire 2009 season prior to being selected with the No. 21 and No. 42 overall picks of last April's draft, by the Bengals and Patriots, respectively.

Should he elect to leave school early for the draft, scouts have plenty of film on Rudolph. A standout since taking over for John Carlson (now a starter for the Seattle Seahawks), was on pace to shatter his previous career highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.
Through six games this year, Rudolph had caught 28 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns.

He has caught 90 passes for 1,032 yards and eight touchdowns for his career.


Posted on: October 6, 2010 1:54 pm
 

Viks, 'Hawks win now, but Pats, Bills better off

In our rush to judge the "winners" and "losers" in the trading of former Pro Bowlers Randy Moss and Marshawn Lynch, it is important to realize the impact they'd had so far for the Vikings and Bills, respectively.

Through four games with the Patriots, Randy Moss had continued the big play ways that will one day send him to the Hall of Fame, catching three touchdowns, but those scores came amidst shockingly poor numbers, overall: nine catches for 139 yards.

Through four games with the Bills, Marshawn Lynch had rushed for 164 yards on 34 attempts and caught one pass for seven yards. He had one fumble and zero touchdowns.

This isn't to suggest that Moss and Lynch won't make immediate impacts for their new clubs. There is no denying that the pieces are in place for Moss and Lynch to each make immediate impacts for the Vikings and Seahawks.

However, give the Patriots and Bills credit for recognizing that these two players were not significantly impacting their win totals this season and were not part of either teams' long-term plans. Rather than allow the situation to spiral out of control (like the Chargers have done with WR Vincent Jackson or the 49ers did with S Michael Lewis), each team got valuable draft picks in return.

Some will argue that the Patriots must be looking to the future by trading such a valuable deep threat as Randy Moss. Clearly the team doesn't expect to win now. I'd argue that with slot receivers Wes Welker and Julian Edelman and rookie tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski controlling the middle, Tom Brady at the helm and the big play potential of Brandon Tate outside, the Patriots' passing offense will be just fine this season.

Brandon Tate isn't just guy who is good at returning kicks. Remember, this is the receiver who started over Hakeem Nicks and Greg Little (who I believe is the most physically gifted senior WR in the country) at North Carolina.

And with the third round pick they got from the Vikings, the Patriots now have two picks in the first, second, third and fourth rounds of the 2011 draft. Doesn't it seem like New England has multiple Top 100 picks every year? And, as such, they're always reloading and never rebuilding? Exactly.

And the Bills, having used their 2010 first round pick on C.J. Spiller, clearly have other concerns than running back. Considering that they might be the least talented football team in the NFL, acquiring extra picks makes sense -- especially if they scratch out a few wins and have to potentially package them in order to move up to draft their quarterback of the future.

I expect the Vikings and Seahawks to enjoy the spoils of their trades early on. But the NFL isn't just about winning now. It is about winning long term. The Patriots have done that better than any team in the league. The Bills are wise to begin practicing some of the same strategies.




Posted on: October 5, 2010 1:29 pm
 

QB Bradford, S Mays earn Rookie of the Week

I was among the biggest critics of the St. Louis Rams' decision to draft quarterback Sam Bradford over the player I believed was the best and surest thing in the 2010 draft -- defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

My argument was simple. Suh was the better player and didn't have Bradford's durability questions. The counter to my argument, of course, was that Bradford played the game's most important position -- and when healthy -- he showed the accuracy of an All-Pro. I didn't disagree with this argument, only that I questioned if Bradford was and could remain healthy.

The question of Bradford's durability will remain, but there is no denying his talent -- which he put on display Sunday in the Rams' second consecutive win. With the win over division rival Seattle, the Bradford-led Rams are now tied atop the NFC West division at 2-2.

Bradford's numbers against the Seahawks (23 of 41 for 289 yards, two touchdowns and one interception) were impressive. However, they don't do him justice. Competing against a former Pro Bowl quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck who guided te Seahawks to the Super Bowl in 2005, Bradford was the more poised and accurate passer. He faced pressure, but calmly stepped up in the pocket and consistently placed the ball where only his receivers could catch it. Bradford exhibited the type of accuracy and ability to step up his play in a critical situation that so impressed me when I scouted his Pro Day workout in person.

There were several impressive performances by rookies on the offensive side of the ball last week, but none came close to that of Bradford, in my opinion.

The decision was a little tougher on the defensive side of the ball -- though one sparkling special teams' play tipped the balance in favor of San Francisco safety Taylor Mays .

Tennessee rookie cornerback Alterraun Verner enjoyed a solid game (11 tackles, three PBUs) against the Broncos and Philadelphia free safety Nate Allen recorded his fourth interception of the year in the Eagles' close loss to Donovan McNabb and the Redskins. 

Like Verner, Mays recorded 11 tackles Sunday. His performance was even more impressive considering that Sunday's game against the Falcons was his first career start. Mays gave the 49ers a different degree of physicality in the backhalf of their defense, pairing with another big hitter (Dashon Goldson) to limit the explosive Falcons offense to only 16 points at home. The Falcons had scored 41 points in their last home game against the Cardinals.

You've probably seen the special teams play that turned into the deciding factor in Mays' earning Defensive Rookie of the Week honors. The 49ers' Delanie Walker and Dominique Zeigler broke through the Atlanta line to block a Michael Koenen punt. Mays, showing better ball skills than he's generally been credited with, leapt high into the air, tracked the ball over his shoulder, caught it securely and pointed his toes to get both feet in bounds for the dazzling touchdown "catch."
 


Posted on: September 28, 2010 2:07 pm
 

Bills' Spiller, Hawks' Thomas Rookies of the Week

Each Tuesday I'll list two first year players -- one on offense, one from the defense -- as my official NFLDraftScout.com's Rookies of the Week.

Various rookies enjoyed strong performances in Week Three. On offense, it was tough to look past Sam Bradford's first career win (over the Redskins), the continued stellar play of Kansas City tight end Tony Moeaki (who I've listed as a finalist each of the first three weeks!) and Indianapolis receiver Blair White an undrafted free agent who was signed from the practice squad due to injuries and responded with three catches for 27 yards and his first NFL touchdown.

In the end, however, the versatility and explosiveness of Buffalo rookie C.J. Spiller won out.

Spiller, playing behind veterans Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson, didn't get many carries. In fact, he only rushed four times (for 29 yards) against the Patriots. The versatility he showed while starring at Clemson, however, was very much on display against New England, however, as he caught three passes for 10 yards and a touchdown and returned a kick 95 yards for another score. Spiller's ability to make impact plays were one of the reasons that the Bills were able to remain surprisingly competitive against New England, which won 38-30.

It wasn't a particularly strong week for rookies on the defensive side of the ball. Two defensive backs I had high hopes for entering the week -- Bucs' safety Cody Grimm and Broncos' cornerback Perrish Cox -- were torched for touchdowns. Sean Weatherspoon led the Falcons with seven tackles, but other highly touted 2010 linebackers Brandon Spikes (one tackle) and Rolando McClain (four tackles) weren't as statistically relevant nor able to make any big plays in close games.

Big plays, however, was exactly what Seattle free safety Earl Thomas made for the Seahawks, Sunday afternoon in a 27-20 win over the favored San Diego Chargers.

Thomas recorded six tackles, but it was his two interceptions over Pro Bowler Phillip Rivers that helped prove the difference in this game. Thomas' second interception came with only seconds left on the clock and the Chargers in position to tie the score. Thomas read the eyes of Rivers, cut in front of receiver Legedu Naanee and swiped the ball, putting a disappointing end (for San Diego, at least) to Rivers' career-high 455 yard passing day.

Posted on: September 16, 2010 10:09 pm
 

Surprised by Arian Foster's success? I'm not...

By now, everyone with a fantasy football team knows the name of Houston Texan running back Arian Foster.

Tennessee Volunteer (and other SEC) fans knew his name long before his staggering 231 yard, 3 touchdown performance against the Colts in Week One -- second behind only O.J. Simpson (250 yards in 1973) in the history of the NFL for a season-opening performance. 

After all, for all of the talk of Foster onto the scene for the Texans, he was hardly an unknown coming from out of Tennessee. Foster left the Vols second on their career rushing list with 2,964 yards -- more than Jamal Lewis, Charlie Garner, Cedric Houston and Montario Hardesty. Only Travis Henry, with 3,078 yards, was more successful over his career than Foster.

I -- and more importantly NFL scouts were quite high on Foster early in his career. In fact, he was given a second round grade by the NFL Advisory Committee following his junior season.

Entering the 2009 season, in fact, I characterized him among the elite prospects in the SEC and wrote:

"A standout as a freshman, Foster rebounded from a disappointing sophomore year to enjoy his greatest success to date last season, earning Second Team SEC honors with 1,193 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Only 684 yards behind Travis Henry to be Tennessee's career rushing leader, Foster briefly considered leaving early for the NFL and was given a second-round grade by the NFL Advisory Committee. A strong senior campaign could push Foster to the top of the senior running back class."

Rather than enjoy a "strong senior campaign," however, Foster struggled mightily, fumbling often and losing carries to Hardesty (among others).

Foster initially intrigued me as a strong one-cut runner. Though his stock took a major tumble in 2009, I was nonetheless surprised to see him slip all the way out of the draft. Considering Houston's zone-blocking scheme, Foster was an ideal fit.

I recommended him as a potential late round pick for the Seattle Seahawks -- another team that features a zone-blocking scheme up front.

It will be interesting to see if the struggles with ball security that plagued Foster's late career at Tennessee will again show up with the Texans. Though I believe Foster is very much a starting caliber running back in the NFL in a zone-blocking scheme, don't be surprised if he's never able to match his spectacular Week One performance.

There will be few defenses he'll face this season smaller up front than the Colts. Certainly the Washington Redskins -- Houston's opponent Sunday -- should provide a significantly tougher matchups than the Colts were last weekend.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com