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!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Scientific Method: Week 11

Come, talk a walk with me for four frigging awesome pieces by one Steve Kelley, working from the most recent to one done two weeks ago. Can you tell the differences? Let's see.....

Steve Kelley, November 22

(Coach Holmgren, I) believe that, more than any time since you arrived in Seattle in 1999, this season is on you.

That's right. It's your pudgy fault that Hasselbeck, Alexander, Engram, etc., all got injured. It's YOUR fault that our run defense has suffered, even though you have little control over the defense. It's YOUR fault that I currently have gas.

Something is wrong. Some kind of electrical current that relentlessly ran through this team last season is missing.

Some kind of electrical current? What?

But after your guys were humbled in Chicago, you gave the team the bye week off. That was a mistake. Midseason vacations should be earned, and that one wasn't.

That's right. Those guys lost the will to win because of that week off. If only you had given them more practices, we might have beaten the Chiefs with Seneca Wallace at quarterback!

And I think these "Victory Mondays," when you give them an off day after a win, are wrong. This team hasn't played well enough, even in its wins, to earn time off.

Yeah! And these "Taco Tuesdays" are a blatant pander to the Hispanic population. You have to beat someone by AT LEAST twenty points to get Monday off. Seriously.

I know this can't happen, but you should practice old-school this week, with tackling dummies for a defense that has forgotten how to tackle and blocking sleds for an offensive line that isn't opening holes.

I know this can't happen, but it's still your fault. Never forget.

After his six-game layoff, Alexander wasn't ready to carry the ball 17 times against the Niners. Morris should have gotten the bulk of the carries.

Yes, by all means, Morris was the correct running back against the 49ers. Again, basically you feel that the reason we are losing is because of a lack of energy and desire. Great.

Steve Kelley, November 20

But these Seahawks aren't those 2005 Seahawks. This team is missing something that last season's Seahawks had in spades. This team is softer than last season's team. It doesn't do the basics well, like blocking and tackling.

There is too much ho-hum on this team.

Last season, there wasn't one instance where the opposition appeared to want the game more. This season there has been Chicago, Minnesota, Kansas City and San Francisco.

In a freak coincidence, those are the same teams that we have lost to. Fortunately, there were five teams that didn't appear to want the game more. Those teams included Detroit, Arizona, NY Giants, St. Louis, and Oakland. Here's hoping that Green Bay doesn't want the game more, or we're screwed. By the way, I know what this team is missing. An electrical current running through them.

But they don't play defense. They didn't allow 416 offensive yards to the San Francisco 49ers. And nothing that happened at Monster Park should make us think the return to health of these five starters will staunch the here-today-gone-next-Sunday inconsistency of these Seahawks.

Nothing? Really? You don't think that the third interception by Seneca Wallace was a throw that Hasselbeck would also throw?

The Hawks committed five turnovers, something Super Bowl teams don't do.

The Chicago Bears, by far the best team in the NFC, have commited five turnovers in several games this season.

But something is missing this season. The Seahawks are losing games that Super Bowl teams should never lose.

It's 2004 all over again.

Because of their lack of heart. And missed tackles. And turnovers. OK.

Steve Kelley, November 19

Now, in his sixth season in the NFL, Ashworth says he has found another winner, another team with the same set of undefinable, undeniable intangibles as those Super Bowl-winning Patriot teams.

Whoa. The Hawks have a set of undefinable, undeniable intangibles? Do they, per chance, have a electrical current?

They have kept the Seahawks' solvent through the season's midsection, when the one-two punch, injuries to starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and running back Shaun Alexander, could have ruined a championship run.

But there have been more injuries and illnesses to this offense this season. More bad luck and bad news, the Seahawks have had to overcome. And more supporting players asked to do what Wallace and Morris have done.

Hmmmm. Injuries. Illnesses. Bad luck. Bad news. Really. Could those have potentially played an impact this season?

"On this level, good teams have to have guys who can go in and play and produce like the starters," said Spencer, a natural center who also has started games at guard this season. "It's not an excuse to have guys go in there and say they're young or this and that. You've just got to go in there and play. That's why you're on the team."

This team has persevered.

Again, he wrote this like THREE days before he completely blasted the team for its lack of perserverence.

But there is no doubting this team's resolve. And no denying the quality of its depth — quality of the players and quality of the people.

Wow. Do you think Steve Kelley reads his own columns before he writes his later columns. I say that because he is writing contradictory statements in the span of a week. Recall that "Victory Monday" and the week off after the Bears loss had completely taken the will to win out of the team (not out of San Francisco, however, though I blame that kicking Reebok suit and clip-on tie for that).

They don't find the camera lights. They don't fill up a reporter's notebook with inflammatory quotes. They go about their business quietly and professionally.

Ashworth, Spencer and Hackett. Every championship team has players just like them.

Except this isn't a championship team. This team is just like 2004.

Steve Kelley, November 13

This season, they're going to muck their way into the playoffs. Winning games on one or two game-changing plays. Winning with resilience and timeliness and luck.

Resilience. A hallmark of a "current of energy" lacking team. Again, what is this?

Ned Macey (Football Outsiders, November 21)

But the truth is that the two best teams in the NFC West are among the worst teams in football.

Wow. You're actually going to say that the Seattle Seahawks are among the worst teams in football. You believe that to be the case. The Seattle Seahawks.

The Seahawks currently rank 25th with a DVOA of -15.1%. Both the rank and the DVOA rating itself are the lowest of any Super Bowl Loser since 1999 except for the 2003 Raiders.

Well, since DVOA says that they are the 25th rated team, I withdraw my objection. Certainly a fine statistical projection like DVOA has been able to understand and control for the massive injuries that have crippled the Hawks offense. Anybody who has ever taken a statistics course knows that the worst sin of a statistician is to dramatically overpromote your findings. Unfortunately, and this is the curse of a 16 game season, a few terrible games can drastically lower a team's profile according to the markers of team DVOA. Also, unfortunately, this statistic can not understand how important a quarterback is to not only an offense, but to a team as well. A good quarterback both means points up on the board, but he also means a longer time of possession, which helps the defense, as they have to defend fewer possessions as well as have better field postion with which to defend.

The Seahawks are not a good team, and they will be lucky to finish 9-7. Sadly, that is likely good enough for them to win their division.

Enough of this. This is what I'm hearing across newspapers and message boards.

The Hawks just aren't a good team. This is 2004 all over again. The Hawks just don't have any heart. They just don't care. We might struggle to win 10 games this season.

To the Steve Kelleys of the world, who write glowing reviews of the team after they luck into a win (St. Louis) and write inflammatory pieces after they lose a game they should have won (San Francisco), I salute you for your horrible analysis and lack of actual insight as to the state of the team. It is easy to simply roll on a emotional roller coaster during the course of an NFL season, as each game means a great deal to the playoff implications. However, it is harder to try and stay the course, teasing out the real conclusions to be reached out of every win and loss.

For example, while I was ecstatic about the St. Louis win, I understood (as hopefully most of you did), that Seneca Wallace did everything in his power to lose us that ballgame. What did most of America see? That Seneca Wallace was a more than capable backup who had the necessary spark to catapult us towards the playoffs. This is why I was worried about the San Francisco game. Did I think we would win? Absolutely. Give us the same situation, even with Wallace starting, and I would pick us to win again. But when you have a quarterback like him starting, you can potentially win every game, and you can potentially lose every game.

Personally, after the first few runs by Gore, I was impressed by our defense. There was the tough stop towards the end of the half (when, by the way, they had been out there ALL HALF). There was the field goal black, where they definitely displayed some intensity and heart. There was the strip by Lofa after all hope seemed lost. Seriously, they SHUT OUT the 49ers in the second half. You give Matt Hasselbeck SEVERAL chances to get a game-winning touchdown, and I put serious money on us winning that ballgame.

Are there problems with this team? Absolutely. It appears that our defense can either struggle against the pass or struggle against the run. There is no dominance to be seen so far. It also appears that Mack Strong is on his way out of the NFL, as he is playing at a horrendous level.

Is this a championship caliber team right now? I don't know. I honestly don't know. This is what I do know. We have six games left in the regular season. At this point LAST season, everyone had counted the Pittsburgh Steelers out. Everyone had counted the Washington Redskins out. Those two teams became the hottest teams heading into the postseason, and it took a horrible injury to Clinton Portis to ground the 'Skins. I can tell you that I am very interested in what transpires the next two weeks, with Hasselbeck back in the lineup. This is where conclusions can be made.

Seriously, people, calm down. Take a deep breath. Enjoy a good football team, and pray that they gel into a great football team in time for the postseason.

By the way, the Scientific Method is off to a 3-0 start, and will seek to carry that momentum into Sunday. The picks!

Sunday:
Arizona at Minnesota
Wow. Two terrible teams, but I still like that Minny defense.
Scientific Pick: Minnesota

Carolina at Washington
Again, I shy away from Jason Campbell, though he had a good first start. Carolina is starting to play well.
Scientific Pick: Carolina

Cincinnati at Cleveland
It appears to finally be time for Cincy to get into high gear. They get another nice win on the road.
Scientific Pick: Cincinnati

Houston at NY Jets
I have no idea about either of these squads. I always pick both of them wrong.
Scientific Pick: NY Jets

Jacksonville at Buffalo
I like that Jaguars defense going against JP Losman.
Scientific Pick: Jacksonville

New Orleans at Atlanta
Two teams seriously on the skids, though New Orleans, at least, has an offense.
Scientific Pick: New Orleans

Pittsburgh at Baltimore
The roll continues for Pittsburgh, who is quite simply one of the best teams in the NFL, record notwithstanding.
Scientific Pick: Pittsburgh

San Francisco at St. Louis
San Fran does play great at home, but continues to struggle on the road against anyone not named Detroit.
Scientific Pick: St. Louis

Oakland at San Diego
I've racked my brain, and can't come up with a scenario where Oakland wins.
Scientific Pick: San Diego

Chicago at New England
The safe pick here would be Tom Brady and New England, but a fast defense has been known to rattle the Golden Boy, like Denver.
Scientific Pick: Chicago

NY Giants at Tennessee
Another team needing a win finally comes through, as Tiki Barber has a huge day.
Scientific Pick: NY Giants

Philadelphia at Indianapolis
Peyton Manning versus Jeff Garcia
Scientific Pick: Peyton Manning

Monday
Green Bay at Seattle
Yeah, an upset is not happening here.
Scientific Pick: Seattle

posted by colin_hesse @ 4:03 PM  0 comments

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