Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Crushed Optimists: Crushed.....

Wow. It's been a ridiculous amount of time since anyone but Nate posted on this blog, which basically means that no one of importance has posted on this blog for awhile.

You might be wondering why that is (was), and you deserve an explanation. However, to get to that explanation, I have to go back to the beginning of this blog.

Two years ago, a few weeks before the Seahawks lost yet another close playoff game to the Rams on account of yet another dropped ball in the end zone, we had a tragedy in our family, when a family member was hit by a car and killed.

Obviously that event was a tremendous blow for our family, one that was at the same time surreal and crushingly realistic. We all walked about in a daze for several months. Some might say that I still walk around in a daze, but those people are jerks, like Nate.

Suffice it to say, we needed a distraction from the grief and pain. Enter this blog, started in that February (or March?). Both Gavin and I poured ourselves into a positive outlet that had nothing whatsoever to do with anything life-threatening or incredibly serious. We could laugh at what each other had written. We could return to a happier style of writing, making fun of each other, various Petey's, and the Seattle sports scene. It was a welcome break from the difficult circumstances, and we relished the opportunity to write down our generally lame thoughts on the Seahawks, Mariners, and Sonics.

Now, two years later, much has changed. The pain has lessened with time, both Gavin and I are moving forward with our respective careers, and the pressing need to blog has faded. We are able to find laughter in all aspects of life now, and no longer need to flee to sports, though we still remain (and will for the rest of our lives) diehard Seattle sports fans.

That is probably what you have noticed over the past several months. Where once there were several posts a day, now there are only about five or six a week. Where once there were numerous posts on the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies, now this blog basically examines the pitiful remains of the Seattle Seahawks. Where once we demanded more out of this blog and of ourselves, now we are comfortable with using this blog more as a mechanism for links than as an actual writing enterprise.

"Crushed Optimists" has served its purpose, and we thank all of you for taking the time to read us at some point during the last few years. This is the end of us being the type of blog that posts several times a week. Now, we still might post every now and then, when something strikes our fancy or Steve Kelley writes something particularly inane. This holds especially true if the Hawks make it to the Super Bowl (extremely unlikely).

We look forward to the new and fresh blogs that pop up every year, like "Field Gulls" this year for the Hawks, as they continue to write excellent material on the teams that we unfortunately love, even when they stupidly trade Chris Snelling for a Tootsie Roll and three copies of "She's All That" (Bill Bavasi REALLY like Freddie Prinze Jr.). To our best friend, Jimmy McWhiskers, shine on, you crazy diamond.

This is the staff of Crushed Optimists, signing off (for now)........

posted by colin_hesse @ 4:30 PM  3 comments

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Dangers of Attaching Your Ego to a Professional Sports Team From Seattle

Delta Marine Industries' consensus:
  1. Shawn Alexander is playing football like a little girl.
  2. Jose Vidro is old.
  3. The Sonics still can't play D.
  4. Husky basketball = eh.
  5. Taco trucks sustain life.

Also, there used to be a blog here.

posted by nach @ 9:06 PM  0 comments

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Suck-hawks Football

I've been thinking the Seahawks are just about to shift from 3rd into 4th and finally accelerate and hit 5th in the post season. We've got Matt and Shawn back, Stevens is healthy and allegedly an asset, Jackson and the rest of the recievers are having a great season and Spencer was back at center today... all signs pointing to today being a great day on the football field.

Instead, the 'Hawks shifted from third to reverse as the were merging into the passing lane causing the engine to leap out of the hood in an ugly mess. HGTTG readers know what I'm getting at.

Who lets the Cardinals force FOUR fumbles?

Who gets shown up by the Cardinals offensive line?

Who lets them convert a bazillion (roughly) third downs?

Who goes three and out in the clutch?

Who came up a yard short... TWICE?!

Well, maybe the Seahawks will finally wake up and play like they can. Maybe. I've got a ton of reasons to be optimistic, but I'm getting tired of waiting for them to freakin' win the games they're supposed to. Instead of clinching the division and building some momentum towards the end of the season, we lay the biggest turd I've every seen.
We don't deserve the 2nd seed.
We don't deserve any respect untill we play like the defending NFC champs.

posted by nach @ 6:55 PM  1 comments

Friday, December 08, 2006

Why I Hate Baseball (Right Now)

I feel like I'm the last baseball fan on Earth sometimes. Over the years, you hear it all. "Basketball has cooler stars, football is more exciting and competitive, hockey has fights, soccer is the beautiful world-unifying game, curling is cool... " I'd always dismiss it and go back to my Mariners. I'd argue with the guys that said baseball is boring and outdated because I really believed baseball was a great sport. A great sport with more history, class, drama, excitement and skill than any other sport I'd experienced. (I've yet to see goat pulling first hand in Uzbekistan, however.)

Now?

What can I do with Gil Meche, Ted Lilly and JD Drew all nabbing RIDICULOUS contracts (assuming one doesn't already generally think paying an entertainer millions of dollars is ridiculous) but get a little cynical? 5 years, $55 million for Meche? 4 years, $40 million for Lilly? 5 years, $70 million for Drew? Are you unprintable swear-ing kidding me? This is killing my love for baseball. A part of my baseball love died in '94 with the strike. Another bit died knowing Bonds, Big Mac and obvious others were juiced during the climax of their careers.

The Mariners have done their darnedest to kill my love for baseball as well--most recently trading a good reliever for a bad starter. How does that make sense? I could go out there and suck throwing left-handed too. I just wouldn't get paid 10 million a year to do it. Should've stuck with it. I guess that's what really makes me mad.

At least I have a few memories to tide me over 'till the insanity ends. Or maybe I'll remember the Seahawks are 8 and 4 and football the superior sport. Or maybe sports aren't everything, especially on a day like today...

posted by nach @ 5:07 PM  3 comments

The (Once Again Lame) Scientific Method: Week 14

Finals are over on Wednesday. You know what that means.

Sunday:
Atlanta at Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay, seriously, might be one of the worst teams I have ever seen. Honestly, the Raiders are better than they are, because they, at least, have a great defense.
Scientific Pick: Atlanta

Baltimore at Kansas City
What, you mean the Ravens offense might suck?
Scientific Pick: Kansas City

Indianapolis at Jacksonville
Amazing how mortal Indy looks right now, but, c'mon....
Scientific Pick: Indy

Minnesota at Detroit
Again, the only unit on the field I trust is the Minny defense.
Scientific Pick: Minnesota

New England at Miami
This is Tom Brady's personal house of horrors.
Scientific Pick: New England

NY Giants at Carolina
The Giants have to win a game at some point, while I'm done with Carolina
Scientific Pick: NY Giants

Oakland at Cincinnati
Another win here, and Cincy is solidly in the playoff race, especially with Cutler in Denver
Scientific Pick: Cincy

Philadelphia at Washington
Washington is another of those teams that I flee
Scientific Pick: Philly

Tennessee at Houston
What about those Titans? I pick them to win, finally.
Scientific Pick: Tennessee

Green Bay at San Francisco
Crap versus Crapola.
Scientific Pick: San Francisco

Seattle at Arizona
Gavin and I will be loud and proud in the stands for this one.
Scientific Pick: Seattle

Buffalo at NY Jets
Man, can the Jets actually do this?
Scientific Pick: NY Jets

Denver at San Diego
So...... can Jake Plummer still play quarterback? Mulligan?
Scientific Pick: San Diego

New Orleans at Dallas
A nice story coming out of New Orleans. But, no.
Scientific Pick: Dallas

Monday:
Chicago at St. Louis
I love it when the Rams suck. And they do. They suck.
Scientific Pick: Chicago

posted by colin_hesse @ 2:49 PM  0 comments

Jeremy Green is a qualified moron

Anyone remember our good buddy Jeremy Green? As part of ESPN's Scouts Inc, Green wrote a rambling bit of insanity last week about how Jay Cutler was the greatest move for the Broncos in, well, ever.

Flabbergasted by this ignorance, I took some time to point out some mistakes in this post.

Then Sunday came, Cutler threw up all over the field, and I felt justified. However, all the talking heads are refusing to acknowledge their own foolishness and are starting to criticize Shanahan's decision to go with Cutler over Jake Plummer OR are resorting to the "he'll be better later" excuse. Both of these are ridiculous. Has no one ever heard of saying that they were wrong?

Take me, for example. I thought Bill Bavasi deserved another offseason. Then this past week happened. I was wrong. He deserves our scorn.

This goes full circle back to Jeremy Green, who revisits Denver's quarterback situation in this blog post.

We are all going to have to be patient with Jay Cutler.

After one start? This sounds a little bit like a lot of people were expecting him to be amazing and then he wasn't... kind of like Jeremy Green. Perhaps this sentence could have been written... "Don't think I'm not an expert. Just be patient with Jay Cutler."

He made some rookie mistakes in his first start, but was that not to be expected?

Yes. I expected it. You? Not so much. If I might quote your last article on this subject, Cutler was going to "spark the offense". That would seem to avoid "rookie mistakes".

He also made some nice throws and showed the arm that will eventually make Denver fans forget about the QB controversy they are experiencing right now.

This is just plain irresponsible. Cutler threw some passes that were complete. Great for him. He also played overall an awful game. Pointing out a couple of good throws is a cop-out, Jeremy Green. David Carr makes nice throws all the time... and then loses.

Cutler is going to be an excellent quarterback at some point, just not this season.

Ummm... then why would he have been able to "spark the offense"? Why was it a great decision for Denver to go to Cutler as of ONE WEEK AGO, Jeremy Green?

The Broncos put Cutler at a disadvantage because this is way too late to go to a rookie. When you go to a rookie in December, it should be because of injury or because you are out of the playoff race. To put the weight of the season on a rookie is asking way too much. Cutler should be trying to develop into a solid future starting QB, not worrying about the fact that the season is essentially riding on whether or not he plays well. That is asking to much of any rookie player at any position, but the fact that he is a QB only magnifies that statement even more.

You know what? Green is totally right here. If he had written that one week ago I wouldn't be upset. Also, I know this is anal, but there is "to" and "too", and Green could use some lessons in appropriately using them.

That said, in looking at the film from Cutler's start and some of Jake Plummer's recent starts, there were a lot of similarities. While it would be very easy to blame the Denver QB woes on Plummer, the former starter, or Cutler, there is more going on then meets the eye here. Plummer struggled for much of the three quarters of the season. Cutler entered last week and had the same issues.

This would be the exact argument I made last week. The offense being poor wasn't Jake Plummer's fault. As well, don't you hate it when "experts" talk about "looking at the film" when that probably means "rewinding the TIVO"? Perhaps the offensive struggles didn't necessarily have to do with "the players losing faith in Plummer" as Green argued last week?

When I looked at the tape of Cutler's start, the offense looked exactly the same. The play calling was similar. The plays called were similar. In talking with people in their organization, I was led to believe that the offense would change significantly with Cutler under center. Now comes word that head coach Mike Shanahan feels that some of Cutler's problems this past week can be attributed to them having too much in the playbook for the Seattle game. If they gave the young QB too much, then we sure didn't see it. What we saw was the same exact offense that had been rolled out onto the field in the previous 11 games.

Oh, and this is too rich (notice too, not to). Let's quote from one week ago. Jay Cutler would "open up the playbook". I couldn't believe at the time that Green would make that claim about a rookie quarterback, and I can't believe he doesn't apologize now for being a total idiot. Of course Shanahan now feels that there was too much in the playbook... Cutler is a freaking rookie! This isn't difficult to understand! I'm not sure why so many people missed the boat on Denver's panic attack.

Here's where we stand now...

1. Jay Cutler is a rookie
2. Denver will miss the playoffs
3. Jeremy Green is a two-faced liar

I'd brag more about being proven right here, but it's like arguing about the earth being round.

posted by Gavin @ 2:07 PM  0 comments

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I Hate Finals Week

Steelers over Browns, though I won't watch it.

I have to study such awesome terms as deconstruction, constitutive metamodel, fabula, heuristics, post-positivism, ideology, and distorted communication.

Yes, academics do live in another dimension.

Question: When Gil Meche gets $50 million for his ability to throw a baseball, isn't that the strongest arguement yet for baseball to adopt a salary cap a la the NFL?

posted by colin_hesse @ 2:36 PM  0 comments

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Playoff Picture: Week 14... plus more!

I like how an inordinate amount of our posts generally consist of apologizing for them not being insanely long pieces of brilliance... as if there are actually many readers out there who are like, "What? The Scientific Method was only 400 words? Woe is life! I will eat my Easy Mac while sobbing desperately!"

Anyways, no such apologies from me. I already know most of my posts are lame. Like this one.

Speaking of which, how about the Mariners? It would be more interesting if some of these rumors actually happened. I think all of us as M's fans are far more used to trade possibilities never happening (see: entire Stand Pat regime), but it seems like some of these actually make sense.

For example, take that Manny for Putz/Jones rumor. Boston gets a terrific young prospect and one of the best closers in baseball. We get an aging slugging superstar. To me, it's an example of a win/win. Now, throwing in Clement would be stupid, and if we gave Boston Jason Varitek AND Jeff Clement I would start hurting small defenseless animals out of rage.

I'm not entirely sure why San Francisco is so into Richie Sexson that they would consider giving up Noah Lowry, but I'm not going to complain if it's legit.

I do apologize to Dr. D, USSM, and LL for the refreshes yesterday and today. It's habit... and I'm bored.

Ok. Back to football and a big week for the Scientific Method.

Week 13 Results:
Scientific Method: 12-4 (would have been 13-3 if he'd listened to me about Arizona over St Louis)
Petey Prisco: 9-7
Bill Simmons: 10-6

Season Standings:
Scientific Method: 121-71
Petey Prisco: 120-72
Bill Simmons: 104-88

And the Scientific Method jumps back into the lead... this is going to be as exciting as any of the playoff hunts. In my opinion, the "Scientific Method" at this point should just be mimicking Petey's picks to solidify the victory, but I'm sure Colin wants to "earn" it, like there's a prize for winning other than not having me make fun of you.

The playoff picture itself? Getting odder by the second. The number of teams who are absolutely blowing games is a bit frustrating for many fans, I'm sure. I have to say I like it. Parity might equal mediocrity, but with the number of flat out awful teams from last season I don't mind the change.

AFC

1. Indianapolis (10-2... 7-1 conference record)
2. San Diego (10-2... 8-2 conference record)
3. Baltimore (9-3... 6-2 conference record)
4. New England (9-3... 5-3 conference record)
5. Cincinnati (7-5)
6. NY Jets (7-5)

Ok. Here's the deal. There are five 7-5 teams. Denver (7-3 conf), Kansas City (3-5), Jacksonville (4-4), NY Jets (5-4), and Cincinnati (5-3). Tiebreaker rules state that when there is a tie, first you select the highest team in one division.

That would be Denver and Kansas City, who split the head-head. The #2 tiebreaker is games played within the division. Denver has a 3-2 AFC West record, KC is at 3-1. So KC gets the nod. Now, against everyone else the head-head sweep doesn't mean much. Next is conference record. To me, that means Cincinnati gets the first wild card.

For WC #2, again KC gets the seed over Denver. That means the NY Jets have the edge... and as of right now my prediction regarding the Broncos is right on.

And Kansas City? Man, way to blow it. Both Denver and KC were in the playoffs as of last week...

As for the division leaders, the Colts still have the edge with their schedule, but that run defense... woof. San Diego also is starting to be fairly Indy-esque in only squeaking out wins against bad teams.

Indianapolis - at Jacksonville, vs Cincinnati, at Houston, vs Miami
San Diego - vs Denver, vs Kansas City, at Seattle, vs Arizona
Baltimore - at Kansas City, vs Cleveland, at Pittsburgh, vs Buffalo
New England - at Miami, vs Houston, at Jacksonville, at Tennessee
Cincinnati - vs Oakland, at Indianapolis, at Denver, vs Pittsburgh
NY Jets - vs Buffalo, at Minnesota, at Miami, vs Oakland

Denver - at San Diego, at Arizona, vs Cincinnati, vs San Francisco
Kansas City - vs Baltimore, at San Diego, at Oakland, vs Jacksonville
Jacksonville - vs Indianapolis, at Tennessee, vs New England, at Kansas City

I thought Baltimore would have blown a couple more for the Bengals to grab the division lead, but now Cincy has to really hang on. This home game against Oakland sure better not even be close for them to keep pace. These teams can only afford one loss to stick around.

NFC

1. Chicago (10-2)
2. New Orleans (8-4... 7-1 conference record)
3. Seattle (8-4... 6-3 conf record)
4. Dallas (8-4... 5-3 conf record)
5. NY Giants (6-6)
6. Philadelphia (6-6)

This is getting confusing. Instead of five 7-5 teams, there are four 6-6 teams... NY Giants (5-3 conf), Philly (5-3), Atlanta (4-4) and Carolina (4-5). Now, this is a lot easier, since these four only come from two divisions. The Giants have the head to head win over Philadelphia, and Atlanta over Carolina (both sets have games later in the year). With the Giants also beating Atlanta earlier in the season, the first WC seed is theirs. The second WC then is between Philly and Atlanta, and since they end the season against one another, it comes to conference record and to Philadelphia.

I'm sure there are some rules that will show me I'm wrong, but that's how I see it in both divisions. That also would make it an easy first win for Seattle if it should end up this way, because there's no way I see us losing to Philadelphia in Seattle.

Of course, all eyes here are on next week's showdown between New Orleans and Dallas. Since New Orleans has the tougher schedule, I'll be cheering them on.

Chicago - at St Louis, vs Tampa Bay, at Detroit, vs Green Bay
New Orleans - at Dallas, vs Washington, at NY Giants, vs Carolina
Seattle - at Arizona, vs San Francisco, vs San Diego, at Tampa Bay
Dallas - vs New Orleans, at Atlanta, vs Philadelphia, vs Detroit
NY Giants - at Carolina, vs Philadelphia, vs New Orleans, at Washington
Philadelphia - at Washington, at NY Giants, at Dallas, vs Atlanta

Carolina - vs NY Giants, vs Pittsburgh, at Atlanta, at New Orleans
Atlanta - at Tampa Bay, vs Dallas, vs Carolina, at Philadelphia
San Francisco - vs Green Bay, at Seattle, vs Arizona, at Denver
St Louis - vs Chicago, at Oakland, vs Washington, at Minnesota
Minnesota - at New Orleans, vs NY Jets, at Green Bay, vs St Louis

Which games are on the schedule?

Week 14
Baltimore at Kansas City... the Chiefs after blowing last week need this one
Indianapolis at Jacksonville... can the Jaguars maintain their pace in the WC chase?
NY Giants at Carolina... obviously huge
Denver at San Diego... must win for the Broncos
New Orleans at Dallas... go Saints!

posted by Gavin @ 2:01 PM  2 comments

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Crush of Optimism

Well, I finally found a time to blog. Midnight. It's late enough that I don't trust myself to write a sentence coherent enough to be graded, but I do trust myself enough to write a few words for you losers. Seriously, this semester...... let us just say that I'll be glad when this one is in the history books.

Enough of my whining. A few of you perhaps noticed that the Seattle Seahawks now stand with a record of 8-4. They are a whopping three games up in the NFC West, and have the #3 seed overall in the NFC. Hasselbeck is back. Alexander is back. Walter Jones does not appear to be injured. Oh. They just won at Denver, perhaps the hardest place to win on the road in all of football (outside of Qwest, of course).

As a long-time Seahawks fan, I should be ecstatic. I should be singing hymns, walking around campus with a ginormous smile plastered all over my face. I should relish the fact that, once again, the Seahawks will make it to the postseason, after so many seasons mired in mediocrity, when hope seemed dim.

Here's the problem (and it is a problem.... my problem).

I was not happy with our victory on Sunday night.

Don't get me wrong. I leaped into the air with joy after the final Denver turnover. I threw my dog up in the air after Josh Brown kicked yet another game-winning field goal.

BUT.....

I entered this season with dreams of grandeur, with as much optimism about a sports team as it is possible to have. I saw our roster as extremely solid (except in the secondary), and a January trip to Miami loomed large. It all seemed doable back in August. The sky was the limit for this Hawks fan.

I just feel that it is time to face facts. This team does not play like a championship team. Hasselbeck is regressing, though one must give him a few breaks, as he has dealt with a grand amount of injuries. Alexander flashed greatness the last two games, but there is still not the consistent pounding presence of the running game in our offense. D-Jack has reverted to drops-ville, as has Stevens, with Burleson completely disappearing as a factor on offense until Sunday night. Mack Strong suddenly appears mortal, with the end in sight. The offensive line, unbeatable for the last few years, looks mediocre. Basically, this offense, this #1 offense of a year ago, just can not seem to find the spark of last year.

I don't know what it is. The loss of Hutchinson can't have hurt this much. Perhaps it is a lack of a consistent lineup, with the laundry list of injuries. Maybe there has been a touch of a Super Bowl hangover. The stats simply do not lie, however. We are on a pace to have our worst offensive performance in five years. I was watching the majority of the game Sunday night with a sinking feeling in my chest, as our offense appeared less potent than Baltimore. Sure, Denver is a good defense, but we made them look like the Chicago Bears, which they are not. Indy destroyed them. Ditto Pittsburgh, who would have beat them if not for a few horrific turnovers by Big Ben. Ditto San Diego. Ditto Kansas City. You get the picture.

This is why I was entirely gloomy on Sunday, even as I watched the Hawks pull a gigantic win out of their collective behinds. But, hey, let's be honest here. The Hawks didn't so much win that game as Mike Shanahan lost it by deciding to start Jay Cutler. C'mon. We lose that game if Jake Plummer starts. Think about it. We scored how many points off Cutler turnovers? Their offense did what in the second half? Sure, Denver's offense wasn't exactly potent with Plummer, but it sure was better than what was on the field Sunday night.

Oh, and Josh Brown with four game-winning field goals? Two conclusions can be reached from that stat. First, our offense does find an on switch with two minutes to go in a ballgame. I like that. Second, our defense consistently can not hold a lead in the 4th quarter. We had a lead against the Lions. Gone. We had leads in both Rams games. One was lost on that ridiculous Tory Holt reception; the other on a Marc Bulger/Stephen Jackson march right down our collective throats. Oh, and the game-tying touchdown on Sunday? Worst bit of tackling I have ever seen. I want to argue for the inclusion of Michael Boulware, but when he pulls a stunt like that in limited playint time, I can't argue any longer.

Listen, I don't mean to pull a Steve Kelley here. Heaven forbid.

It's just that, for the first time in my life, I entered this season thinking that we had a gret shot of winning the Super Bowl. I have spent the first thirteen weeks of this season having my optimism slowly, slowly crushed, as we encountered a siege of injuries and inconsistent play. I am happy that we are on the way to win the NFC West. I am happy that we will be in the postseason once again. That is all fantastic.

I just wish that I could watch the Seattle Seahawks team that I thought I would be watching when the season started.

Oh well.

It could be worse. I could be a Carolina Panthers fan.

posted by colin_hesse @ 10:33 PM  0 comments

 


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