Read the article before I went to sleep last night.. read it again now. Last night, I was a bit angry at the authors. Today, Im not angry but I think they have to do a better job of actual reporting, Not just quoting. Journalism isnt merely reporting what people say, but also the information surrounding it so that readers can make a real opinion of what to take away from it. This article is full of opinions by players , current and former, that are either irrational, misinformed, or even delusional. The article sometimes points things out, but too subtly for my taste.. the reporters still wanting to stay in good graces with sources I assume.
Just as one example before I go into more general thoughts. Apparently many players were outraged when McEvoy was kept last year over Kasem Williams. And I get it. As a receiver, he couldnt do much more in the preseason. And players are just people and often dont see the big picture any more than anyone else does, really. McEvoy is a standout on special teams.. and SOMETHING about Williams wasnt giving much credence to the plays he was making. Players are outraged, this means there isnt a real competition. But here are the facts: Williams signed with a super WR needy Brown team, couldnt make even 10 catches, couldnt average 10 yards a catch, and couldnt stick with that team, couldnt stick with a team this year and is now out of football. Tanner McEvoy was cut by Seattle this year.. but was promptly signed by Miami. So, obviously thinking Williams being cut meant there was no competition is really more of players acting like average fans because front offices are NOT seeking him out, but McEvoy got a new job immediately.
My other thoughts..
My BIG PICTURE thought: some of this I reflects the frustration of the modern defensive player. They take it out on Russ, but its probably about the fact that the game emphasizes offense..touchdowns, passing these days. Superficially perhaps so..though it was the old game that was able to bring the NFL to where it is now.. and Id argue that trying to emphasize and isolate what you think was good about it is dangerous. But the point is, defenders get paid less in general, get fined more, and feel underappreciated. It frustrates me to see, I cant imagine how they must feel.. being an elite defense, once in a generation.. and to this day people dont really seem to recognize it. They were BETTER than the 1986 Bears and did it longer. But they are not really talked about in the same way. So there is that FEELING..
and so the rest is just an attempt to justify that feeling being targetted. Because much of the articles quotes and examples are absolute garbage.
The 2014 NFC Championship Game.. "Wilson threw 4 INTs! How can he be on the platform?" Really? Come on, now. These players were AT THE GAME. Those picks were on Kearse. 3 were OFF HIS HANDS. If you actually GET what PC is talking about.. what he MEANS by UPLIFT, by what he really means by COMPETE.. that game was Wilsons best ever. Before overtime starts, Russel finding Kearse on the sideline.. Kearse whod messed up and caused the 4 INTs.. Russel finds him and says "Hey, Im going back to you." And he DOES. And it wins the game. If he doesnt, how does Kearse feel? Russel gave the goat of the game not only the opportunity to redeem himself, but the confidence to do it. And what does the defense see? "why not me?" You know what? Youre the elite defense..but when you need stops, you sometime seem to not get them. Despite his picks, even before Kearse redemption..people forget.. SEATTLE HAD THE LEAD in the 4th quarter. That wasnt Wilson who couldnt stop them then. And in the Interception Super Bowl.. that wasnt Wilson who gave up a 10 point 4th quarter lead there EITHER.
Moving on.. Bennet's quote "if you think about it, everyone who left was a Pro Bowler". No. Not even close. TWO Pro Bowlers have gone.. Bennett and Sherman. Avril and Kam CANT PLAY. They didnt leave. Other players mentioned..they werent Pro Bowlers.
DeShawn Shead is mentioned. You know what? Like Kasem Williams, hes not on an NFL roster today. CUT. Sheldon Robinson is somehow mentioned..he was on the team one year, and that was the year they DIDNT MAKE THE PLAYOFFS.
The whole "competition is gone" thing is garbage. These players want it to mean one specific thing: the best player, right now, and the most obvious things has to be given the job, in a vacuum". But that isnt what competition means in the NFL in general, not for John Schneider and certainly not for Pete Carroll. What does it mean for the Seattle Seahawks? It means, inside the Blue Print they have for long term success..which sets the parameters for how the salary cap can be spent and how they will constantly prepare for the next generation of players to be prepared, they want the best fits on their roster for their prescribed job. As a player, more than anything it means being the best YOU can be on any given day at ALL the of the aspects of your job.
Even last year it often struck me, and this past off season especially.. how much Sherman especially didnt seem to "get" that. He takes the vacuum approach.. he wants to keep EVERYONE if they are better. But there is that salary cap thing. And he wants to keep everyone on the field, and never develop anyone behind them. The defense formed a sort of clique a few years ago..that was obvious. And so they become unreasonable and unrealistic. Some of the names they dropped.. Red Bryant..Brandon Mebame.. Tony McDaniel.. There were clear reasons from a business situation they had to go. Bryant honestly couldnt play anymore AND the Seahawks had switched philosphies and didnt need that type of player. Mebame failed in the very important "available" category of evaluation. Tony McDaniel talks about an 8 tackle game and getting benched. Do you know the Defensive Tackle was getting 8 tackles? Almost unheard of? Because hed been IDed as the weak link and people were running right at him. Malcolm Smith was a good player? But coming off his playoff performance, especially Super Bowl..he was for sure going to parlay that into a starting job. But he WASNT better than the player in front of him, and if he was it was MARGINALY. You dont pay 5 million for a 7.7 , you pay 500k for a 7.2 most of the time. And these players dont seem to see that. Sherman in particular . ANd its odd because hes VERY smart. And he is a business man (how ironic to see them go after Wilson for his business interests while Sherman spend arguably more time on lower level business -- hawking T shirts on Facebook and what not).
Now, the other side.. if Carroll really did call together team leaders and say "Take it easy on Russ".. that was a mistake. A huge mistake. He did Russ a HUGE disservice. Because more than most QBs because of his character, he DID need to go through the sort of "hazing" and rough treatment by the D. Because he is ..different. It would be a whole other longer post to talk about group identity and ethnic studies and all the politics that goes into this.. but ..yea.. probably wanted Russ to show that even if he was never going to be a rough and tumble , "nasty boy".. he could at least take it. But honestly..even then..if the Defense wasnt poisoned against him..they would have seen it. 2 years ago he played through amazing injuries that I dont think anyone else would have. AND didnt talk about it. Compare that to Rodgers or (the worst ) Big Ben ("I died for like..3 minutes when I stubbed my toe..but..no..Im gonna play. **limps off on wrong foot).
I used to think some day some of these players would wake up..but I dont really think so anymore.
Which Seahawk cast off actually went off and set the world on fire? Is Bruce Irvin now a consisten all pro with 12 sacks a year? Did Malcolm Smith leave and become a pro bowler? Even Golden Tate.. he catches tons of balls in a heavy air attack..but did he develop into a dominant WR? How many players , not with numbers but with real play.. have actually played better when they left? Or did PC put them in the best position theyve EVER been in to succeed? Theres going to be ONE.. Jimmy Graham. And yea..that was just never a good fit.
Byron Maxwell..failed in 2 cities. Had to come back.
DeShawn Shead.. nearly a Pro Bowler with Seattle.. couldnt make the Lions team.
Kasem Williams.. not on a roster.
Mebane .. just a guy for the Chargers now.
Tony McDaniel.. after being let go, didnt make the the Saints team.. got picked up by the 49ers mid season last year, then let go a few weeks later.. then signed with the Saints.. and eventually released.
So..who is it that they are blowing it on by not competing?
Did Ifedi get too many chances.. ? Maybe. But I mean, jeez..you do have to give a guy some time.. and he does seem to be getting it.. and there is a certain amount of money ball going on..they did try other things at the position and even let Fant start competing for the job.
I also doubted some of the "compete" mantra..probably from frustration. But this past offseason showed me again its alive and well, if occasionally imperfect.
Last year the front office cost us 3 games. I dont say Blair Walsh. He didnt. Blair Walsh was Blair Walsh. JS hired him. You dont blame a cat for being a cat, right? If you hire Blair Walsh you know hes going to miss pressure kicks and that he still has the yips. Still finished 9-7.
The Dynasty that never was.. Hmm. I guess you have to win multiple super bowls to be a dynasty..but I dont think that run was bad at all. The thing with Always Compete is..the other teams are competing too.
I know defense gets jobbed.. and I know the Super Bowl loss left a bad taste in everyones mouth that they will never totally get over. But Im glad we have mostly moved on from these players who are irrational in their reactions to it and in their targetting Russ for their ire.