Chris Borland’s sudden retirement has caused a big stir among NFL observers, with some declaring this is a harbinger of the end of the game as we know it, forecasting a future mass exodus by players.
Others say Borland is an outlier who does not represent the future of the league. Many have supported his decision; some have criticized it.
In the end, it’s his decision — neither right nor wrong, just a personal choice he is entitled to make. (Although, if he always planned to play just one season and did not tell the 49ers or anyone else, that clearly was a selfish move and the 49ers certainly should make him repay the rest of his signing bonus.)
But the league is not ending any time soon. There will be no rush to the doors by all of the league’s current and future players. One man’s decision — certainly not the first or last such premature retirement — won’t change the game in some major way.
But it might change how teams evaluate players.
The Seahawks are already ahead of the curve on that one. They have made a point to focus as much on the psychological profiles of players as on talent.
Continue reading Hawks already try to identify Borlands
As the New Orleans Saints continued to revamp their roster Friday with yet another trade, the Seahawks — still basking in the glow of the deal that brought tight end Jimmy Graham from the Saints — simply looked within.
The news that impacted them was of players signing elsewhere, but they don’t care. No one will miss Bryan “Wave It Off” Walters, who signed with Jacksonville, and the Hawks didn’t need Shelley Smith, who got $5.65 million over two years from Denver or Stefen Wisniewski, who is a possibility but not a pressing need.
Pete Carroll has said several times this week, including on KJR Radio on Friday, that the Seahawks feel comfortable with some of their young linemen (Alvin Bailey, Patrick Lewis, Garry Gilliam, Keavon Milton, et al.) and think the draft is full of good linemen. Expect the Hawks to use at least two of their 11 picks on big guys.
They can only hope to come up with another J.R. Sweezy, the 2012 seventh-rounder who has played so much that he received $260,000 in performance bonuses from 2014 and got a CBA-mandated bump to a $1.54 million salary this year (as did Russell Wilson).
Continue reading Carroll discusses his roster & Hawks watch comp picks add up
Without a doubt, the worst part of the Seahawks last season was the return game — which is why many fans are taking notice every time a team cuts a return specialist these days.
In the last few days, Ted Ginn Jr., Jacoby Jones and Reggie Bush have been cut, but Seattle fans shouldn’t get too excited about any of them. The Hawks can do better.
They certainly need to.
In 2014, they ranked 30th in kickoff returns, at just 21 yards per attempt. And they were 25th on punts, at seven yards.
It was the most pathetic combined return performance by a Seattle team since the 2005 unit, which averaged 27.8 total yards behind kick returner Josh Scobey and punt returner Jimmy Williams and coincidentally also lost the Super Bowl.
You know you are horrible when (a) Bryan “Wave It Off” Walters is your best return guy, (b) it’s a victory just to hold on to the ball and (c) a touchback is typically your best kick return.
Continue reading The return games were pathetic, but free agents aren’t the answer
If the Seahawks don’t go with big men with their first two draft picks, we have a good idea who their other top candidates will be — now that the Combine is finished.
The Seahawks love speed in the first two rounds. In 2010, it was Earl Thomas (4.43 in the 40) in the first round and Golden Tate (4.42) in the second. In 2012, they picked Bruce Irvin (4.50) in the first and Bobby Wagner (4.45) in the second. In 2013, they traded their first-rounder for Percy Harvin (4.41) and picked Christine Michael (4.43) in the second. And last year they traded out of the first and grabbed Paul Richardson (4.33) in the second.
The only non-speedsters the Hawks have taken in the first two rounds have been left tackle Russell Okung (first round, 2010), left guard James Carpenter (first, 2011) and right tackle Justin Britt (second, 2014).
You get the idea where the Hawks are looking with their top two picks: If it’s not an offensive (or perhaps defensive) lineman, it’s going to be a guy with wheels (i.e., sub-4.5 speed).
Continue reading Hawks love speed in first two rounds, so who are their top options?
The Seahawks have played — and won — more games than any team in the NFL the past three seasons.
By the time they reached Super Bowl XLIX, their defense was a shadow of itself — six key defenders on injured reserve or out of the game by the end and the Legion of Boom fighting through major injuries. Those issues played no small part in their 28-24 loss to the Patriots.
The Seahawks put 17 players on IR — fourth most in the NFL. John Schneider did a great job making moves to keep the Hawks in the hunt, but the injuries on both lines, in the secondary and at tight end affected Seattle throughout the season.
So, as Seattle coaches and personnel people arrive in Indianapolis for the Combine this week, their major goal clearly is to find players who could improve the team’s depth across the board, with an eye to replacing future free agents as well.
Continue reading Seahawks’ needs haven’t changed in a year
A major myth has been propagated across the Pacific Northwest and the NFL in recent months. You know, the one that says the Seahawks need Marshawn Lynch in order to win a Super Bowl.
(This is completely separate from the idea that the Seahawks would have won Super Bowl XLIX if they had run Lynch one last time.)
The Hawks have been partly guilty themselves of spreading the nasty rumor, with Pete Carroll and John Schneider talking him up as a core player. They consider him such a key piece that they have offered the soon-to-be 29-year-old a pay raise and extension.
There is nothing wrong with that — they can fit it under the cap nicely and not lose much even if he does walk away after 2015 — but the fact is the Hawks don’t really need Lynch.
Continue reading Lynch is a study in sentimentality: Hawks don’t really need him
We’ve already looked at what the Seahawks need to do on offense — from their shaky situation at wide receiver to an “out of the box” option for Russell Wilson’s contract to the need to determine the future of the unit this offseason.
The defense does not need nearly as many major renovations, but they certainly have some work to do on that side of the ball. Here’s a look:
Continue reading Not as many decisions to make on defense