December 27, 2009

Blow. It. Up.

The last three weeks have been traumatic for me, and I'm sure for most of you readers as well. Since Olindo Mare's game-winning kick sailed through the uprights against the Niners, the Seahawks have plummeted from the down side of mediocrity to shameful, historic failure/incompetence.

They've been outscored 106-24 over these terrible 180 minutes, and as Mark Tye Turner pointed out over on his twitter feed, the 2009 Seahawks have suffered more losses of 17 points or more than any other squad in franchise history. Matt Hasselbeck has morphed into Stan Gelbaugh before our eyes, and ceded any rational claim that he should be allowed to play quarterback for the Seahawks ever again. Sentimentality might dictate that he starts in his final home game next week, but all the arguments that he should be back in 2010 as anything but a back-up have been obliterated by two particularly awful performances. Unless your name is Mark Sanchez or Jay Cutler, no NFL QB should commit 9 turnovers in two games.

Beyond that, Beck's overall decline, that I tried to deny and wish away until very recently, couldn't be more obvious now. Over his last 20 starts, the Seahawks are 6-14. Beck has thrown 20 TDs, but also 26 picks. His QB rating? 69.6. That's comparable to the career numbers of Joey Harrington and Rex Grossman. Ewwww.

I might not think he's a good quarterback anymore, but I still love Hasselbeck. He's a warrior, and what he's accomplished as a Seahawk can never be denied or taken away. However, I have nothing but contempt for Jim Mora, whose inability to inspire, prepare or motivate this team is the main reason Seattle has become the worst team in the NFL at the moment.

The talent gap between NFL teams is, by design, never THAT wide. Hell, just today Tampa Bay beat the playoff-bound Saints after falling behind 17-0, and Carolina laid a 41-9 lead-pipe beatdown on a Giants team playing at home and needing a win to boost their wild card hopes. Yes, you need good players, and the Seahawks need a LOT more of those, but just as importantly, you need an emotional and mental edge when you take the field. You also need coaches with strong strategic and tactical skills, and excellent aptitude at interpersonal relations and dealing with the media.

Jim Mora would get a failing grade from me in ALL of these areas. You could see it today in the way the Seahawks WILTED after Hasselbeck's first interception. It was if the attitude was "well, we made a big mistake... might as well pack it in, because we are fucked."

No one in the organization should be safe from the scrutiny of the new GM. His first act should be Mora's firing, followed by a brutally honest assessment of the roster. High-priced veterans should be cut or traded (Hasselbeck, Big Walt, Kerney, and Branch are obvious candidates for outright release). Younger players should be made available for the right bounty of draft picks. In free agency, get players who have experience in successful organizations and can show the young guys what it takes to win in the NFL. Only by getting younger, cheaper and nastier will this organization have a chance to return quickly to contention.

Right now, the Seahawks are the worst team playing in the NFL. Despite their 5 wins, they might be the worst squad in team history. In some sense, the good news is that we've hit rock bottom. With the right (albeit painful) moves in the coming months, we can climb out of hell.


Bernzilla said...

Johnny, you're usually one of the more level-headed twelves after a disappointing loss or frustrating losing streak. I'm surprised to hear you throwing Matt under the bus like this. Outright release? We both know Matt is a mental mastermind on the football field, and that doesn't just disappear after a few games, or even after a few rough seasons. We need Matt, even if it's to play QB #2 and be a mentor for a rookie QB. However, I still think Matt will prove himself in training camp next year and be the starter yet again.

Also, using the last two seasons to make any kind of claim about Matt's abilities as a quarterback is flawed. We all know what went down last season. Matt was playing with an insane cast of characters. This season, his only "sure things" are (the unfortunately underutilized) #89 and #20.

There are a ton of players and coaches to throw under the bus right now, but Matt Hasselbeck isn't among them.

DKSB said...

I would LOVE to keep Hasselbeck as a mentor to the QB of the future, but would he accept that role? Or the massive pay cut that would come with it? I doubt it.

Beck is my favorite player, but he simply isn't playing at the level we need from a QB to be competitive. He's making poor decisions and taking a beating behind our bedraggled O-line. The new GM also will have nothing invested in him. A high draft pick will be spent on a QB, or someone like Jason Campbell will be brought in as a free agent.

I don't see a scenario where he is the starter in 2010 at his current salary. If he took a hugely reduced salary, and we had no better options at QB, he could still be the guy... But I see that as very unlikely.

Like many players, he'll probably have to leave the town where he made his name if he wants to keep playing. Back-up roles in Cleveland or New England seem to make the most sense if he doesn't stay in Seattle.

Then, in a couple years he'll get put in the Ring of Honor, and I'll be there in my #8 jersey screaming my head off.

Hawkgirl said...

I have to agree with Johnny on this one. I think his decline is a combination of things. People like to point to the rib injury but I think it's more related to the back injury. If you've ever hurt your back you know it effects everything. I've hurt mine and I still have flare ups. The arm strength thing? I think it's related to the back, + the rib injury, and you're just screwed. In addition to this, the guy is running for his life. Once you get scared back there, I don't think it's something you mentally get over quickly. You think poorly on your feet when you're in escape mode and we've seen how this turns out: not well.

I love the guy but I think he's gone.

Bernzilla said...

Sure he'll take on the role as mentor, since he'll likely be starting again. Even if we draft a new QB in the first round this spring, starting him immediately seems ill-conceived to me. Matt can finish one more season, the rookie can come in if he gets hurt, or best case scenario, learn as much as he can from Matt over the course of 2010 and get ready to start in 2011.

Your sentence "He's making poor decisions and taking a beating behind our bedraggled O-line" would be better-sequenced as "He's taking a beating behind our bedraggled O-line and making poor decisions." Matt is the kind of QB that needs time to read his progressions and find the open guy. He simply hasn't had the time to do it this year (or last year). This is a symptom of a larger problem with the lack of a consistent rushing attack and a weak offensive line. Give the guy the kind of time that Roethlisberger had against the Packers last weekend and he'll pick apart anybody.

I'll be the first to admit Matt is getting older, but I'm just not convinced he's done. Behind a solid offensive line, he's got the mental edge that most quarterbacks just don't have - and it gives him the leg up in exploiting the weaknesses in just about any defense.

The main reason I hope I'm right, though, is that bringing in a Jason Campbell or starting a rookie QB next year makes me feel like 2010 will be more like 2008-2009 than 2005.

John said...

Do you want more interesting?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not contacted former NFL Draft coach Bill Cowher about possibly coaching the team in 2010, according to a source close to the team's owners.
An NFL report said team officials contacted Cowher.
"That's not true," a source with knowledge of the Glazer family's intentions told the Tampa Tribune. "That's just people speculating."
According to a story by An NFL reporter Jason La Canfora, Bucs officials reached out to Cowher to gauge his interest in possibly coaching the team in 2010. The story cited "a source with knowledge of the situation."

Tim said...

Matt Hasselbeck is the greatest quarterback this team has ever had, and probably one of the top 5 greatest players in franchise history along with Largent, Walt and Tez.

That said, he's 34, he's not getting any younger, and he's not getting any healthier. Clinging to the halcyon days of 2003-2005 Hasselbeck is not going to make this team any better, much less competitive in the division, still less competitive in the league as a whole.

The Seahawks today are a disaster; one could argue they're playing the worst football in the league right now. How many times has this team fallen into a 14-0 hole this season? How many times have they taken shots downfield and connected? How many short fields have we given our opposition because of interceptions and 3-&-outs?

Granted, Matt is not the only person to blame for all this. But to say that Matt is the sole innocent party to this utter shipwreck that the last 1/4 of the season has become is borderline delusional. I put much more of the blame on our coaching staff, who seem incapable of putting together a gameplan that allows the team to play a full 60 minutes of good football (even in our two shutout wins, we were terrible in the first quarter).

Matt Hasselbeck should be thanked for all his contributions to the team the past 8 years, and given a hero's farewell in the offseason. Mora and his henchmen need to be ditched ASAP, because I don't want to see them steer a promising young team into another '90s-esque swoon.

AJ said...

As a Falcons fan who lived through a Mora led stretch of teams, you hit the nail on the head with him. Never understood why any team took a chance on him after Atlanta. Hopefully you will be free of him soon.

bleedshawkblue said...

It looks like Matt has the dreaded disease that ended Zorn's illustrious career: He's taken so many hits because of crappy blocking and dumb schemes that he's shell shocked and can no longer make good decisions. And doesn't have much in the way of a supporting cast to help bail him out.

There's nothing wrong with him that couldn't be fixed by the presence of Mack Strong and the '05 line...but all that was FOUR SEASONS AGO!!! And most all of his supporting cast from that year was either cut or retired within 2 years. So there you have your dropoff. Hope he can do what Zorn did and provide good mentorship and reliable backup. I'd pay him his full salary to do that for a young guy. If he can get Jason Campbell to settle in and get his head right, it would be well worth paying him starter money to hold a clipboard here instead of watching him earn a ring playing with a better supporting in New England.

And bruised bones in his throwing shoulder? Bones have twice the number of pain receptors as muscles do, so good luck putting zip on a throw with that. I think he's still in there because we've seen what Seneca can do in this system.

One and done would be alright with me for this staff.

moraisadouchebag said...

Jim Mora is a douchebag!!!

Its a good thing for him Holmgren wasnt here or he woulda fired his ass right there on the Green Bay sideline.

That wold have been AWESOME to see Holmgren walk up and bitchslap Knappp and grab Moras clipboard and take over the team right then and there.