Tuesday, May 21, 2013 @ 9:45pm
Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin are each entering contract years amid questions about whether the Seahawks will re-sign both after spending big money this offseason on another wide receiver, Percy Harvin.
Considering the stakes, it's notable that each drew strong reviews from a pair of former NFL players for how they looked during the Seahawks' first organized team activity on Monday.
Steve Raible, a Seahawks receiver for six seasons before becoming the team's play-by-play voice, watched Monday's session with a close eye on Seattle's wideouts. He was particularly impressed with Tate and Baldwin.
"The first thing that I saw ... was how really quick and precise and strong and effective Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate looked yesterday," Raible told "Brock and Danny" on Monday. "They looked like they've been at this a long time. Now granted, they're veterans, but it's not like they've been in the league 15 years; these guys are young. But they were so precise in their routes, they looked so smooth in running those routes and so explosive coming out of their breaks."
Tate, by his own admission, was slow to grasp the nuances of route running earlier in his career. He said Monday that improving his releases has been a point of emphasis this offseason.
Brock Huard also saw good things from Tate and Baldwin on Monday. He mentioned them in his latest column and elaborates in the video below.
You can listen to Tuesday's show here.
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 9:12pm
Ten observations from the Seahawks' first OTA practice on Monday that only a backup, middle child, left-handed quarterback can provide. Here goes ...
10. I appreciated coach Pete Carroll's impassioned comments about the number of image hits his organization has taken with five suspensions resulting from violations of the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. I can't help but wonder if there is a correlation between amphetamines and the pace and energy with which some of the younger players practice.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he's about five pounds heavier having focused on improving his lower-body strength during the offseason. (AP)
8. Christine Michael has to stay on the field and avoid the ice packs on the hamstrings. This roster and offense will be so challenged to spread the ball around and distribute touches, and if Michael can't stay healthy in practice, his looks will be minimal and opportunities scarce.
7. On a day like today with the sun shining, the grass freshly clipped and the boats anchored nearby, I'm reminded there is no facility in the NFL like the palace that Paul Allen built. It goes a long way towards creating the other rare NFL work environment – fostering a culture where guys don't want to go home and play video games, but would rather stay at the office.
6. Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin were not only sharp in their routes and execution, but it was obvious they are fighting for touches and their reputations. This isn't phase three for Baldwin and Tate; their offseason work and commitment with their quarterback has them in regular-season form.
5. Brady Quinn is no Kam Chancellor in terms of physique.
4. It is mind boggling how enormous the Legion of Boom is at field level, even in shorts and helmets. I remember Kelly Jennings, Fred Thomas, Marcus Trufant and the litany of diminutive corners the Seahawks ran out for years, and to see Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner close down angles and throwing lanes is a thing of beauty.
3. Find me a better offensive-line coach than Tom Cable. Try it.
2. There was a reason Indianapolis won 12 games a year for a decade. Peyton Manning set the tone, but Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison didn't miss minicamps or OTAs. When an organization's best and most talented players invest more than anyone else, results tend to follow.
1. Russell Wilson is really good. I chatted with Brady Quinn after practice, and let's just say he was blown away by the kid's arsenal and talent. On top of that, Wilson's makeup and demeanor are unwavering, and as Quinn alluded to, now it will be up to the rest of the team to keep up with him. Not bad for a second-year player.
I think I could keep going, but that is what the radio airwaves are for. You ready for football season to start? I am.
Sunday, May 19, 2013 @ 3:02pm
Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma has been one of baseball's best pitchers in 2013, a surprise considering the Japanese export was relegated to the bullpen for the start of his MLB career in 2012. He's been so surprising heading into Monday's start against Cleveland that the right-hander not only ranks in the top three in the American League in ERA (1.62), WHIP (0.78) and batting average-against (.183), but he ranks ahead of Mariners ace and former Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez in each category.
Hisashi Iwakuma ranks in the top three in the A.L. in ERA and WHIP, and could be a valuable trade piece this summer. (AP)
While Iwakuma's been blowing away hitters, the Mariners' offense is clearly in need of more run producers – something that could be acquired by trading away Iwakuma.
Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner told "Brock and Danny" last week that the Mariners will have to at least explore the option of trading the 32-year-old "Kuma" this season to bolster their offense for the future.
"If the Mariners decide that they are not ready to ... take over Texas and make a playoff run, I think there is an argument that can be made that in two months Iwakuma might be one of the most valuable trade chips you can possibly have on the market because no one is selling pitching this year," Cameron said. "In a couple of months, it is going to be an interesting decision whether or not the Mariners keep Hisashi Iwakuma or trade him for younger players."
ESPN baseball analyst and ex-MLB general manager Jim Bowden echoed those sentiments on "Bob and Groz."
"Yeah, I think you have to consider (trading Iwakuma)," he said. "I wouldn't want to. I think you've a got a nice two- or three-year run with him, and I'd love to see him and Felix and (prospects Taijuan) Walker and (Danny) Hultzen all in the same rotation, but I think you always have to listen."
Should the Mariners pull the trigger on a swap involving Iwakuma, it likely won't come until much closer to the July 31 trade deadline, when the team will have a better idea of its postseason chances.
"I think you have to see where the Mariners are at the end of July," Bowden said. "Iwakuma's gonna give you a better shot to win than anything you're going to be able to get back in return, at least for the next couple of years. Keep an open mind, but I also think Iwakuma can be a very helpful part of this team making the playoffs over the next couple of years."
Bowden is justifiably impressed with what Iwakuma has done over the last year.
"He's a 1 starter. I watched him some last year. I've seen seven of the eight (starts in 2013). This guy is a 1," Bowden said. "He pounds the zone, doesn't miss in the middle. It's just incredible to watch him. He's a strikeout-per-inning kind of guy. I just love the fact that he pounds the zone, doesn't walk anybody, he uses both sides of the plate, he changes eye level, he changes planes – He is a 1."
If the Mariners hang on to Iwakuma through the end of his contract (he's signed through 2014, though the team has a $7 million option for 2015), he could be in line for a free-agent deal similar to Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, 38, who signed a one-year, $15 million deal after going 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA in 2012. A contract like that, coupled with Hernandez's seven-year, $175 million deal, and the expected arrivals of Walker, Hultzen and fellow top prospect James Paxton to the majors, could very well push the team to pursue a trade.
"I don't know if I see the organization wanting to give Iwakuma the kind of money he is going to get in a couple of years," Cameron said. "Are the Mariners going to want to be in a position where they are signing Iwakuma to a long-term deal with the young pitching coming?"
Saturday, May 18, 2013 @ 3:58pm
The Mariners shook off a slow start to 2013 and moved into a tie for second place in the American League West this week, getting within a game of the .500 mark at one point. But even though it's been a little more feast than famine for the Mariners, the continued struggles of high-profile young players like catcher Jesus Montero (.206 batting average, .257 on-base percentage, .330 slugging percentage) and second baseman Dustin Ackley (.234/.286/.285) show that it's not all rosy in Seattle, as ESPN baseball analyst Jayson Stark explained on "Brock and Danny."
The Mariners have turned their slow start to 2013 around, but Dustin Ackley is still sporting a sub-.400 slugging percentage. (AP)
"In the big picture, it's a real concern that Montero and Ackley in particular have not taken steps forward, have not been the offensive forces we thought they'd be," Stark said. "That's a big worry."
The Mariners had won five of their last six series heading into their current set at Cleveland, but the offensive players the team is counting on to show improvement haven't had much to do the with the hot streak. Instead it's been veterans like outfielders Raul Ibanez and Michael Morse that have provided a boost for the strong pitching staff.
"If you're looking at this year, I do think that this is at least a hang-around kind of offense," Stark said. "It's hard to justify saying that when we're talking about a team that's next-to-last in the league in runs scored, but you have more threats I think up and down the lineup than the Mariners have had in a long time. That's the difference for me."
With the pressure building on general manager Jack Zduriencik and manager Eric Wedge, Stark said the current pattern of occasional big games from veterans and little production from Ackley and Montero won't do them any favors.
"I think (player development) ultimately is the way that everybody will be judged. It's about whether Montero and Ackley and (third baseman Kyle) Seager and (outfielder Michael) Saunders ... become the building blocks for a better era. We know there's plenty of pitching in the system, but over the long haul these are the guys who have to make it happen," he said.
"Getting a big game from Raul Ibanez is a lot of fun, but that doesn't do it. If we're still sitting here in September and Montero and Ackley in particular have slugging percentages where they are now, under .350, under .400, that's trouble. I think that's big trouble. I don't know how many times we can say it or how many different ways we can say it, but somebody has to figure out how these guys make adjustments to react to how the league has adjusted to pitching to them."
Hisashi Iwakuma's emergence as one of the best No. 2 pitchers in baseball has been a big reason for the Mariners' improvement, as has solid bullpen performance. Unfortunately for the Mariners, they aren't the only American League team with a surprising pitching staff.
"If you look at the numbers now, there are a lot of teams that can pitch. What separates the good teams is that they can score off of good pitching, and I think that's one thing we still don't know about the Mariners," Stark said. "Again, a lot of it hinges on the kind of progress these guys make. There are a lot of eyes on that particular aspect of that team.
"The level of offense that people in Seattle have witnessed in the last few years is just about unprecedented. It's obvious to how the way the game is evolving. Basically we've rolled the clock back to 1992. ... Of the eight teams that were still left when we got to the (2012) division series, six of them were in the top 10 in baseball in OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage), so you've got to find ways to generate offense somehow. Pitching doesn't do it alone anymore."
Friday, May 17, 2013 @ 3:53pm
Earl Thomas had a three-letter reaction when he learned of his ranking on the NFL Network's list of the league's top-100 players.
"Lol," the Seahawks' All-Pro safety tweeted after checking in at No. 66 Thursday.
Thomas took it as a slight that he was ranked 66th for the second straight year despite being a first-team All-Pro selection and a Pro Bowl starter in 2012.
In the video below, Brock Huard and Danny O'Neil assess Thomas' 2012 season and discuss what he can do to take the next step in 2013.
You can listen to Friday's show here.
Friday, May 17, 2013 @ 1:50pm
By Danny O'Neil
Training camp is more than two months away, but the Seahawks suffered their first loss of the season.
Bruce Irvin will be suspended for the first four games of the season, the NFL announced Friday, for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
That's the cue to begin the hand-wringing, whether it's about depth at Seattle's pass-rushing defensive end or the fact that Irvin becomes the fifth Seahawk in three years to be suspended for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
"I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and Seahawks fans for making a mistake," Irvin said in a statement released by the Seahawks. "I took a substance that is prohibited in the NFL without a medical exemption. I am extremely disappointed in the poor judgment I showed and take full responsibility for my actions."
He was not suspended under the league's policy for substance abuse, which generally requires multiple violations. He was suspended under the policy for a performance-enhancing substance, which is triggered by a single violation.
Irvin's explanation points to Adderall, an amphetamine that can be prescribed for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. A player will be suspended for testing positive for amphetamines unless he has applied for – and received – a medical-use exemption from the league.
That explanation does not minimize the impact of his suspension nor does it excuse Irvin's oversight that led to it, especially on a team that became a focal point for the discussion of Adderall when cornerback Richard Sherman had a four-game suspension overturned last season because the testing procedure was not followed.
There is no way to minimize the impact of the suspension either in terms of the loss of Irvin, a player Seattle chose as the first defensive end off the board in 2012, or the misjudgment that led to the suspension.
Irvin's suspension is a reality check after an offseason of unchecked optimism and acquisition, a reminder of just how fragile a formula for success can be.
Before the news of Irvin's suspension, the Seahawks had so much depth at defensive end that they were working Irvin at strongside linebacker to see how if it was possible to get him on the field at the same time as returning starter Chris Clemons or Cliff Avril, the defensive end Seattle signed in free agency.
Now, Avril is the only pass-rushing end Seattle can be certain will be available for the season-opener as Clemons is coming off knee surgery to repair a torn ligament suffered in January.
Not only that, but running back Marshawn Lynch has a court hearing in the Bay Area next week on a motion to dismiss a DUI charge he faces there. If that motion is denied, Lynch could face a trial this summer and were he to be convicted, he could face league discipline as well.
None of this news undermines Seattle's hopes for this season, but it serves as a reminder that 2013 isn't going to be a parade either. There is going to be adversity. There will be mistakes, and some of those mistakes – like Irvin's suspension – are going to be maddeningly self-inflicted.
Friday, May 17, 2013 @ 8:41am
So David Stern's kind of a jerk?
You don't say.
This is not exactly some sort of revelation, yet that didn't stop people across Seattle from spending a full day piling up adjectives to describe just how classless the NBA commissioner was toward Seattle in the wake of the league's decision Wednesday to deny a bid for relocation by the Sacramento Kings.
In case you missed it, after a 22-8 vote, Stern stepped to the podium for what he said would be a brief press conference.
David Stern's reference to the Oklahoma City Thunder was classless and unnecessary, but it wasn't surprising. (AP)
Yep, it was as tacky as it sounds, and whether it was deliberate or not, that reference to the franchise formerly known as the Sonics understandably added insult to Seattle's injury when it learned Chris Hansen's bid to buy and move the Kings was being turned down.
It's understandable Stern would become a target for our city's animosity, but it's also pretty pointless because it's focused on a man who was not only already disliked in Seattle, but now will officially have nothing to do with the NBA's future here.
Did this change your opinion of Stern? It might have inflamed your dislike of him. Maybe it even enraged you. But when you get down to it, after the past month in which Stern clearly shepherded Sacramento's attempts to keep the team, what exactly surprised you about Stern coming off as Seattle's antagonist?
Yet the opening of his press conference has been treated as some sort of unmasking where Stern revealed his true intentions. A veritable Scooby-Doo moment where the monster's mask is pulled off to show the old caretaker Mr. Stern, who would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those darn kids.
This isn't to excuse Stern's behavior, and it's certainly not to apologize for it. He is exactly who I thought he was. Rude. Condescending. Hypocritical. After all, he advocated for Sacramento's right as an incumbent in a way he never did for Seattle five years ago.
But did any of that really change your opinion of him? Instead, his actions and the words "Oklahoma City" combined to create a race to pile up as many derogatory adjectives as possible to detail just how loathsome the commissioner was.
The trouble is that dialogue is pretty limited.
It doesn't answer the best path to follow in putting an NBA team back in the market or even whether that's a plan the city and its prospective ownership group want to pursue.
Instead, the day after the decision was spent on a city-wide diatribe against a commissioner who will be gone next February. That's not to say the hostility isn't understandable or perhaps even warranted, but what purpose is it serving other than to vilify a man who's already vilified?
There were already plenty of reasons for Seattle to dislike Stern before he stepped to a podium to announce our city's latest NBA setback and began by referencing its former franchise.
Maybe he did so that his successor, Adam Silver, can look good in comparison. Maybe he did it without thinking out how the reference to Oklahoma City would be perceived in Seattle. And maybe he did it because he wanted one last final needle to the city his league has forsaken once again.
Ultimately, what do his motivations matter going forward? He'll be out before Seattle is back in the NBA, and while anger is one of the seven stages of grief, it's not exactly the best way to make progress.
Thursday, May 16, 2013 @ 1:16pm
We're four months away from the Seahawks and 49ers beginning to settle the matter during a Week 2 meeting at CenturyLink Field.
In the meantime, we'll have to settle for debate among scouts, analysts and talk-show hosts about which NFC West rival has assembled the best team. That's what "Brock and Danny" did Thursday when they were joined by Mike Sando of ESPN.com for a position-by-position look at each roster.
The 49ers' Aldon Smith was second in the NFL last season with 19.5 sacks. (AP)
First, a disclaimer: It's not an apples-to-apples comparison as the teams have different defensive fronts. Aldon Smith is an outside linebacker but sometimes plays with his hand in the dirt in San Francisco's 3-4 defense, so he's considered a defensive lineman for the purposes of this conversation.
Aldon Smith and Justin Smith have wreaked havoc while working in tandem along San Francisco's defensive line, but a triceps injury limited Justin Smith late last season and even kept him out of a Week 16 loss to Seattle. The 49ers used a second-round pick on Tank Carradine after adding Glenn Dorsey in free agency, moves that Sando thinks could reflect a desire to mix more players into their defensive-line rotation after relying on a smaller number of players in recent years, possibly causing them to wear down as the season progressed.
Justin Smith will be 34 next season. Sando thinks his health is one of the only question marks with San Francisco's defensive line.
"If Justin Smith's healthy going into camp, I may give the 49ers an edge as far as what we know it's going to be," he said.
The Seahawks added to their defensive line through free agency and the draft to a much greater extent, addressing a position that struggled last season to generate a consistent pass rush and at times had trouble stopping the run. Seattle signed Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel before drafting Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams.
While Sando likes those additions, he expressed some uncertainty about Red Bryant returning to form following a foot injury and whether any of Seattle's options at defensive tackle can replace Alan Branch without significant dropoff.
"I think you could make the case for the overall depth and rotation and flexibility and versatility of the Seahawks," Sando said, "but you could make a case then that when you line up on any one given play that the 49ers may be as good or better."
Brock Huard and Danny O'Neil share their thoughts in the video below.
You can listen to Thursday's show here.
- May 21, 2013 - Hour: 1With Danny overseas Brock is joined by Eric Williams from the Tacoma News Tribune. The guys spend th
- May 21, 2013 - Hour: 2With Danny overseas, Eric Williams from the Tacoma News Tribune sits in with Brock. Your voice of th
- May 21, 2013 - Hour: 3Brock and Eric tackle who should be on the Seahawks Mount Rushmore and more in a game of "No-Huddle
- May 17, 2013 - Hour: 1Brock and Danny have a Mariners conversation and look at whether they are better than they were a ye
- May 17, 2013 - Hour: 2Ryan Divish, of the Tacoma News Tribune, joins the show to continue the Mariners conversation. He ta
- May 17, 2013 - Hour: 3Brock and Danny kick start their Seahawks conversation by looking at Pete Carroll, the 'Hawks depth