12 thoughts with a week to go before Seahawks training camp starts

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

A collection of FTR thoughts that weren’t turned into their own articles …

About a year before Mookie approached me about writing for Field Gulls, I considered creating my own blog.

The blog was not going to be topic-specific; I have far too many interests for that. Instead, it would have simply been “an unfettered extension of my unique perspective”; a way for me to share my thoughts with those that cared to read them.

I expected to eventually have an audience of …

Maybe a few dozen people.

Then Mookie sent me an email and the idea of creating my own blog got shelved.

For now.

The name of that (potential) blog lives on though, here on Field Gulls.

Obviously I tweaked the color-scheme to rep’ our beloved Seahawks: College Navy (0,34,68), Action Green (105,190,40), and Wolf Gray (165,172,175) for the border.

What do y’all think?

Want to know what I think? You’re in the right place.

Thought #1

There may be a debate about who the “greatest” player in franchise history is, but the title of “Most Entertaining Seahawk” could really only be bestowed upon one player … Marshawn Lynch.

Name another Seahawk who got trademark approval for something he said on the game’s biggest stage – over and over and over again … 29 times, to be exact – the league counted … and posted the video with a running count in the corner.

Gotta love him.

This though … THIS is the one that does it for me from a pure-entertainment standpoint; Marshawn Lynch describing Beast Quake in his own words.

NFL Films presents “Little baby stiff arm”

Lynch is truly one-of-a-kind.

Which made him an easy choice for Thought #1.

Thought #2

It has been a crazy couple of years in the NFC West.

Midway through the 2019 season, our rivals in L.A. made a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars to acquire Jalen Ramsey.

Almost exactly one year ago, the Seahawks made a move of their own, acquiring Jamal Adams from the New York Jets just before veteran players were due to report to training camp.

In January, the Rams made another trade, this time with the Detroit Lions, to acquire Matthew Stafford and his cannon of an arm.

A couple months later, the 49ers joined the party via a trade with the Miami Dolphins, moving up from #12 to #3 so they could select Trey Lance in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Add it up and that is a total of EIGHT first round picks (and “more”) that were shipped out of the division in a span of about 17-1/2 months (October 15th, 2019 through March 26th, 2021).

Want to know the last time a division has sacrificed that many first round picks in less than 2 years?

Yeah, me too.

As far as I can tell, it has never happened in the history of the NFL.

Thought #3

With the league expanding to 17 games this season, there has been a lot of speculation about which NFL records will be the first to fall and who it will be that breaks them.

My money is on Jason Myers.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

For those that aren’t aware, Mr. Myers hasn’t missed a field goal in over a year and is currently sitting on an active streak of 37-straight, including the playoffs.

Mixed into that streak is a career-best and franchise-record 61-yard field goal that split the uprights against the Rams last season.

Adam Vinatieri is the current record-holder, having connected on 44 straight a few years back. Myers needs 7 to tie the record; 8 to break it.

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Want an even bolder prediction?

I will make a prediction as to when this particular record will fall: October 25th, Saints at Seahawks, Monday Night Football … in front of roughly 68,000 screamin’ 12s and a nationwide audience.

After all, the Seahawks do love primetime games!

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Note: The Hawks are currently 33-7-1 in primetime games under Pete Carroll; they were 29-6-1 at the start of last season then added four wins in five 2020 primetime games (stupid OT loss to the Cardinals!). The Hawks are looking to go 5-for-5 this year to push that record to 38-7-1.

Thought #4

I stumbled across a pair of articles recently that listed all of the current Head Coaches and current General Managers and when each joined their current teams.

Among the things I found interesting (although not that surprising):

NFL teams have A LOT of turnover.

7 GMs and 7 HCs were hired in January. In theory, that means that almost 1/4 of the teams turned over those positions, but it’s actually more than that …

4 teams hired a new GM and a new HC (Atlanta, Detroit, Houston and Jacksonville).

6 teams hired one or the other (Carolina, Denver, and Washington have new GMs; the Chargers, Jets, and Eagles have new Head Coaches).

That’s 10 teams in all with turnover at either one or both positions.

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Longevity is more likely for GMs than for Head Coaches.

22 of the league’s 32 head coaches have been hired in the last 3-1/2 years which means only 10 have been with their current team for at least 4 seasons.

Note: 3 of those 10 are in the NFC West; Kliff Kingsbury is the only “newbie”.

Conversely, 19 of the league’s 32 GMs have at least 4 seasons with their current team and 8 have been with their current team for 10 years or more.

Note: The NFC West’s GMs were hired in 2010 (SEA), 2012 (LAR), 2013 (AZ), and 2017 (SF).

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Love him or hate him, Bill Belichick is one of a kind.

The only name on both the Head Coach and the General Manager list is Bill Belichick, and he was hired for both roles from the outset … 21-1/2 years ago; on January 27th, 2000.

Note: Although others have held both roles, including Mike Holmgren in Seattle, Belichick doing so for 20+ years is … something.

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Here is where this thought is headed though …

Pete Carroll and John Schneider.

Pete has the 5th-longest tenure among the head coaches (hired 1-9-2010); John is #7 among the GMs (hired 1-19-2010).

The combination of the two though …

John and Pete have the 4th-longest GM-HC relationship in the league.

Topped only by the combinations of GM Kevin Colbert and HC Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh (together since 2007); GM Mickey Loomis and HC Sean Payton in New Orleans (together since 2006); and, of course, Bill Belichick and “The Hoodie“ in New England.

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Given the nature of the NFL beast, I think the longevity of John and Pete – and the culture they’ve created here in Seattle – is an impressive feat.

Thought #5

Lost in the malaise that was the Seahawks offense over the back half of last season is the fact that when the Seahawks went no-huddle in 2020, Russell Wilson led the league with a passer rating of 123.8.

That stat is courtesy of PFF’s Fantasy Football Preview which, overall, doesn’t have a very favorable view of the Seahawks heading into the 2021 season. They do seem to be enamored with what Shane Waldron brings to the table though, as well as what his presence means for our “uber-efficient” quarterback.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Thought #6

From the same PFF Fantasy Football Preview comes this little nugget:

Lockett reportedly sprained his knee before the team’s Week (11) game — which also happens to coincide exactly with when the Seattle offense went from MasterChef to EZ Bake Oven.

Interestingly, I remember Lockett popping up on the injury report a few days before we hosted Arizona on Thursday Night Football.

However, I had not made the connection between that “blip” on the radar and the death of LRC because (a) Lockett didn’t miss any time; and (b) he actually led the team in receiving that week with 9 receptions on 9 targets for 67 yards and 1 TD.

And yet, the overall stats support PFF’s conclusion that Seattle’s offense took a steep dive over the final 7 games of the regular season.

Weeks 1-10

Gross passing yards per game: 309.9

Net (after subtracting sacks): 289.4

Rushing yards per game: 116.4

Total yards per game: 405.9

Weeks 11-17

Gross passing yards per game: 203.3 (minus 106.6)

Net (after subtracting sacks): 186.6 (minus 102.8)

Rushing yards per game: 131.9 (plus 15.5)

Total yards per game: 318.4 (minus 87.5)

Passing touchdowns

Weeks 1-10: 28 (3.1 per game)
Weeks 11-17: 12 (1.7 per game)

Scoring

Weeks 1-10: 290 points (32.2 per game)
Weeks 11-17: 169 points (24.1 per game)

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Personally, I’m not convinced that Lockett’s injury was a significant factor in the offensive decline – i.e. correlation isn’t (necessarily) causation.

Here’s why:

Google says a grade 1 or grade 2 knee sprain takes 2-4 weeks to heal. And sure, Lockett had a season-low 23 yards in one of the 4 games after he showed up on the injury report. But the other 3 games, despite all being in the 60-69 yards range, were in the top half of his 2020 performances.

And Lockett’s 23-yard game was the same game where DK Metcalf went off for a career-high 177 yards after some poor sap Jim Schwartz tried to pay him a compliment.

Still …

It is an interesting observation and the timing does line up.

Thought #7

I have not been shy about my crush on UDFA Cade Johnson.

About a week ago, I was having a, shall we say, “passionate discussion” with a friend about whether Cade Johnson reminded us more of Tyler Lockett or Doug Baldwin.

For me, it’s Doug Baldwin.

And, yes, a part of that (perhaps a LARGE part of that) is because ADB was a UDFA.

This thought isn’t really about Cade Johnson though.

You see, during the “passionate discussion”, my friend dropped 12 words on me that … well, let’s just say that we both forgot about Cade Johnson for the next half hour and reminisced about Doug Baldwin instead.

Those 12 words?

Cade Johnson won’t lead the team in receiving yards his rookie season.

No, my friend, he won’t.

ADB was truly special and we were fortunate to have him on our team for eight wonderful years.

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

For those that are wondering, the picture is from the 2011 season opener (aka Doug Baldwin’s first game).

How did Baldwin do in his first game?

He led the team with 4 receptions on 6 targets, had 83 of Seattle’s 197 receiving yards and … he scored a 4th quarter touchdown to keep the Hawks in it with under 4 minutes to play.

Unfortunately, it did not end the way he (and we) would have liked.

Both that game … and his career.

We miss ya, Doug!

Thought #8

An angry man carrying a boulder and a Communications Major with a megaphone and a social media account walk into a bar …

Yeah, I know, it’s too soon to be joking about what happened last week. However, it’s difficult to think about Doug Baldwin right now without also thinking about his former teammate.

I don’t want to talk about what happened with Richard Sherman though.

Instead, I would like to use this thought to talk about the bond that those 2 men share.

Some would call it friendship.

I call it family.

For those that don’t know the story, Doug Baldwin and Richard Sherman met at Stanford.

Sherman had been there a year when Baldwin arrived on campus. Both played wide receiver (at the time) and both are uber-competitive.

And yet, they became the very best of friends.

So much so that when Doug Baldwin went undrafted in 2011, it was his college teammate that called him first … before the Seahawks did … to console him, and to recruit him to Seattle.

We all know what happened next …

Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

As details were emerging about what happened in Redmond, I found myself re-reading this Seattle Times article from 2015: Seahawks’ Richard Sherman, Doug Baldwin bound by friendship.

Among the parts that stand out, for me:

Sherman had been selected by the Seahawks in the fifth round earlier that day, and now he played pitchman. The Seahawks wanted Baldwin as an undrafted free agent, and so did Sherman.

They had known each other when they were poor and the possibilities of the NFL seemed like a moon dream. And now, on the phone that April day, they were preparing to leave that old world for an exotic new one.

“They’re going to call you,” Sherman told Baldwin. “I want you to be here.”

During their rookie season in Seattle, Baldwin and Sherman “carpooled to work” — Baldwin’s words — when an argument broke out driving home. The contents of that argument are lost to time, but what’s remembered is Sherman looking over at Baldwin mid-argument.

“Let’s fight,” he said.

“Pull over, then,” Baldwin shouted back.

So Sherman pulled over, right there on the side of the highway, with cars whizzing by, and the two nearly got out and came to blows before cooler heads prevailed.

“We’re too similar,” Sherman says.

“He’s not always right,” Baldwin often jokes, “but he’s never wrong.”

“A lot of people look at him as a selfish guy because of the things he does on the field — or says off the field,” Baldwin says. “But he’s genuinely a big teddy bear. He’s a child at heart, and he cares about people.

The article talks about their friendship; I call it family.

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I sincerely hope that things work out in a positive way for Richard Sherman (and all involved); that he’s able to move past this, that the furor fades, and that the root cause gets addressed.

I also hope that he turns to the family he’s chosen, starting with Doug Baldwin, to help him along the way.

Because, among other things, I think Sherm’ could use a hug.

Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

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I’ll close this thought with a quote from an unexpected source … Oprah Winfrey.

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.

If Sherman is on a bus, I’m certain that Doug is sitting beside him.

Thought #9

This one is partially tongue-in-cheek, but …

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch took control of the San Francisco 49ers in 2017. In their 4 years together, they have a compiled a record of 29-35. That’s a winning percentage of .453 over a 4-year period.

The QB that they’re so eager to move on from, Jimmy Garoppolo, has a career winning percentage of .750.

Now, to be fair, the fact that Jimmy G only has 30 starts over his 4 seasons in the Bay Area is the primary reason John and Kyle are looking to move on.

However, the fact that J/K knew Jimmy was a china doll early on and didn’t add “quality” backups at any point along the way means that their .206 winning percentage without him isn’t something they can hide from.

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Now let’s compare the first four years of the J/K regime to the first 4 years of the marriage of Les Snead and Sean McVay in L.A. That duo produced a 43-21 record from 2017-2020. That’s a winning percentage of .667.

And they did it with Jared Goff as their starting QB which kinda-sorta makes me want to give them bonus points.

Not that they need them; .667 is insanely good!

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It’s too soon to compare the desert duo of Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury since they’ve only been together 2 years. But their 13-18-1 record over that span is ahead of the J/K pace (10-22 after 2 seasons in SF).

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This is a Seahawks site though so, of course, Seattle is where this thought is headed with the dynamic duo of John Schneider and Pete Carroll.

First 4 years (2010-2013): 38-26; .594 winning percentage
Worst 4 years, consecutive: same … 38-26; .594 (2010-2013) … but the stretch from 2015-2018 was a close second (39-24-1; .619)
Worst 4 years, non-consecutive: 2010 (7-9), 2011 (7-9), 2017 (9-7), any 1 of the 3 years we went 10-6 … combined record of 33-31; .516 winning percentage

How about a couple more?

2017-2020 – i.e. the same 4-year span we’re using for the Niners and the Rams: 42-22; .656

The complete 11-year run of JS/PC (2010-2020): 112-63-1; .640 winning percentage

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Bottom line: No matter how you cut it, the duo in San Francisco ain’t cutting it; not so far anyway.

Thought #10

Let’s stick with percentages for this next thought.

As part of an article where he made six against-the-grain NFL predictions for 2021, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell threw out some interesting red-zone information.

Part One of that information:

Last season, the Packers converted 80% of their trips inside the 20-yard line into touchdowns. Red zone success rates don’t normally start with an “8.” ESPN has red zone data going back through the 2001 season, and no other offense has turned 80% of its red zone possessions into touchdowns before last year’s Packers. Given how offenses are generally more efficient now than they were before 2001, there’s a decent chance that the 2020 Packers were the best red zone offense in the history of the NFL.

Part Two:

While 12 teams topped 70% between 2001 and 2019, six different teams scored touchdowns more than 70% of the time in the red zone last season alone. The Packers, Titans (75%), Browns (73.6%), Seahawks (73.2%), Saints (72.1%) and Vikings (71.2%) all scored at rates we don’t typically see inside the 20. Four of these six offenses operate out of the same Kubiak/Shanahan-style attack, and the Seahawks are joining them in 2021, with former Rams assistant Shane Waldron taking over as offensive coordinator.

Now, remember the PFF conclusion that I wrote about in Thought #6? The one that said the Seahawks offense took a deep dive after Tyler Lockett popped up on the injury report following their Week 10 game with the Rams?

Let’s tie that (the dive related to Lockett’s injury) to Bill Barnwell’s observations about red zone efficiency.

Through the first Rams game (Week 10, Game 9), Seattle had scored 26 touchdowns on 32 trips into the red zone for a conversion rate of 81.3%.

Their per-game red zone conversion rates prior to the first Rams game were 100%, 100%, 100%, 67%, 100%, 67%, 100%, and 75% with them going 4/4, 2/2, 3/3, 4/6, 3/3, 2/3, 4/4, and 3/4 in those games, respectively.

They were 1-for-3 in the red zone in L.A. (33%).

Over their last 7 games, their per-game conversion rates in the red zone were 50% (2/4), 50% (2/4), 0% (0/1), 83% (5/6), 100% (1/1), 67% (2/3), and 60% (3/5).

Add it up and they converted at a rate of 62.5% in the red zone after Lockett appeared on the injury report.

That’s a drop of 18.8%.

Ouch! (literally)

Thought #11

Amusingly, until just recently, I had never clicked on the “Teams” tab on the Pro Football Reference website. I had always just used the search box.

Turns out the team “index” page is actually pretty cool and it has LOTS of interesting “high level” information.

For example:

Did you know that the Cleveland Brown have 8 championships but zero Super Bowl trophies? (No appearances either, per Google.)

Or how about the fact that the Giants and Steelers are tied for the most division titles with 26 apiece? The Bears and the Cowboys are right on their heels though with 25 each.

Note: Seattle has won 12 division titles in 45 years. The Niners have won 22 in 75 years. The Rams have won 21 in 84 years. The Cardinals have won 9 in 101 years.

Anyone else surprised to learn that the Cardinals are a centenarian?

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The thing that I found most interesting though was the “Top Performers.”

Here are Seattle’s:

AV: Russell Wilson (148)

Passer: Russell Wilson (33,946 yards)

Rusher: Shaun Alexander (9,429 yards)

Receiver: Steve Largent (13,089 yards)

Coach: Pete Carroll (124 Wins)

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Here are who they list for our division rivals:

49ers: Jerry Rice (216 AV); Joe Montana (35,124 passing yards); Frank Gore (11,073 rushing yards); Jerry Rice (19,247 receiving yards); George Seifert (98 wins)

Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald (138 AV); Jim Hart (34,639 passing yards); Otis Anderson (7,999 rushing yards); Larry Fitzgerald (17,492 receiving yards); Bruce Arians (49 wins)

Rams: Merlin Olsen (167 AV); Jim Everett (23,738 passing yards); Steven Jackson (10,138 rushing yards); Isaac Bruce (14,109 receiving yards); John Robinson (75 wins)

Man, that is some history there!

Thought #12

Y’all may have noticed that I have an appreciation of history and like to remember former Seattle players.

A few weeks back I wrote a “flashback” piece about Dave Krieg and his amazing grit.

The first thought in today’s piece was about Marshawn Lynch.

Thought #7 was about Angry Doug Baldwin.

Y’all may have also noticed that I have a soft spot for undrafted free agents.

I mean, 2 of the 3 players I just mentioned were UDFAs.

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Today’s final thought is about another former-Seahawk, who was also an undrafted free agent:

Thomas Rawls

Photo by GENNA MARTIN/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

For a variety of reasons, Rawls has been mentioned in a handful of threads recently.

So I decided to “give him some love” with Thought #12.

It seemed appropriate.

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Thomas Rawls was considered something of a longshot to make the team when he showed up at training camp in 2015.

Marshawn Lynch was the Alpha dog and both Robert Turbin and Christine Michael were considered by many to be “locks” for the roster when training camp started.

Before the season started though, Seattle shipped Christine Michael to the Cowboys … and Robert Turbin was injured and subsequently waived, leaving only Lynch and Rawls on the roster.

How confident were the Hawks in their rookie back?

Fred Jackson was brought in less than a week before the season opener to be the Robin to Lynch’s Batman.

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Week 1, at L.A., Rawls had 2 carries for 5 yards.

Week 2, at Green Bay, Rawls didn’t touch the ball.

Week 3, Seattle’s first home game …

Lynch went down in the first quarter and Thomas Rawls … well, Thomas Rawls made a name for himself.

16 carries for 104 yards.

Not bad for a rookie who was suddenly the Next Man Up in front of more than 69,000 rabid 12s.

Said Pete Carroll, in his postgame press conference:

“That’s a fantastic day for this kid, and the guys were really fired up for him,”

“He’s a fantastic competitor, tough guy and everybody loves everything about him. He got his chance and he came through.”

Rawls averaged 5.646 yards a carry his rookie season (2015).

That’s a franchise-record for a rookie.

Thomas Rawls set some other records while he was here as well … we’ll get to a couple of them in a minute.

And then …

After 3 years in Seattle’s backfield, he was …

GONE

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Rawls showed up on the Jets’ offseason roster in 2018 but was didn’t make their active roster at the end of training camp.

He saw action in one game with the Bengals that year, taking 2 snaps on special teams in a Week 5 win over the Dolphins.

He signed a “futures” contract with the Jaguars on January 9th, 2019 but, as with the Jets, he failed to make the roster coming out of training camp.

At this point, Thomas Rawls’ Wikipedia page refers to him as “a former American football running back.”

At the end of the day, other than the two special teams snaps for Cincinnati, every one of his recorded stats are as a Seahawk.

34 career games, 17 starts, 314 carries, 1,336 rushing yards, 65 first downs, 31 receptions (on 41 targets), 266 receiving yards, 8 total touchdowns (7 rushing, 1 receiving).

And …

A pair of unforgettable performances.

Note: There are links in the dates that will take you to the Seahawks website for the video highlights of these record-setting games.

November 22nd, 2015: Seattle’s rookie back has a career day with 255 scrimmage yards (209 rushing) and a pair of touchdowns versus the 49ers.

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Note: Rawls was the first player in NFL history to record 250+ scrimmage yards with at least 1 rushing touchdown and 1 receiving touchdown in the same game. As far as I can tell, he’s still the only one to do that.

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January 7th, 2017: Thomas Rawls sets a team record with 161 yards in a playoff win over the Lions.

Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Thanks for the memories!

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Go Hawks!

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