Maybe you do this too. When watching NBA games these days, I picture some of these guys on the football field. Kevin Durant, while a spectacular athlete, is designed solely for scoring points in basketball. But LeBron James, Russell Westbrook … or in the old days, Karl Malone? Oh, man. Westbrook, with amazing quicks and hops at 6-3, 190, could be a spectacular cornerback. But is LeBron a tight end or pass-rush end? Or, heck, maybe even a quarterback in the Cam Newton mold – except even more physically imposing.
The relevance of this preamble in a Seahawks blog? Well, the process might work in reverse -- that some of these football guys have similar athleticism as the star hoopers, but the game doesn’t showcase it as easily. What triggered the thought was when the Game 4 telecast mentioned James’ 40-inch vertical leap. Pretty impressive, right? It means his feet are 40 inches off the floor when he jumps from a standing start.
Well, Seahawk rookie linebackers Korey Toomer of Idaho and Bobby Wagner of Utah State had verticals measured at 42 and 39 ½, respectively. And, remember, these guys are linebackers. And receiver Ricardo Lockette was one of the fastest track guys in the country while in college. Sidney Rice was the South Carolina prep basketball Player of the Year.
None of that means they could play in the NBA, or that James and Westbrook could necessarily have the wherewithal to play football. It just shows that some of the guys the Hawks are pulling in these days are certifiably elite athletes.
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Brian Billick, on NFL.com, addresses the Seahawks’ offense. He sees no real upgrade except at quarterback. He questions: If Flynn isn’t the clear starter, how much better can the offense be? The longer the issue remains unsolved the more problematic it will be, he said. One objection to the analysis: As a base line for discussion, they were going off the offense’s averages for the season rather than recognizing the production during the much-improved second half.
Pro Football Weekly is having discussions and holding a fan vote regarding various elements of the NFL. In this one, they pit the Houston Texans vs. the Seahawks in the bracket for the NFL’s best defense. Mostly what you see is an appreciation for the young Hawk defense, particularly the secondary. It's absolutely fair they should be considered given they were No. 9 last season and return 10 starters.
Confession: I don’t participate in fantasy football leagues. I gave up on that sort of thing long ago when I got beaten to an embarrassing degree in the office NCAA Tournament basketball pool by a secretary who picked teams on the basis of their nicknames. Here’s a bit of local commentary, though, from Yahoo!Sports which lists five NFL quarterbacks most likely to have breakout fantasy seasons. One of their fantasy experts lists Jake Locker as No. 1 and Matt Flynn No. 4. Another has Locker and Flynn 1-2.
The Sporting News Bleacher report, lists seven encouraging things heading into the 2012 Seahawks season. I’d go along with most of them, except I wouldn’t yet say they’d found their quarterback “solution.” That’s a little premature. And I would say that being “buzz worthy” will have much to do with the on-field product. Still, all fair discussion.
In his NFC West blog, ESPN.com’s Mike Sando recaps a list put together by Matt Williamson regarding the top 15 young offensive linemen. Although the Seahawks have used a number of high draft picks in recent seasons on the O-line, including first-rounders on Russell Okung and James Carpenter, no Seahawks are on the list. Injuries have certainly played a role in Okung’s career thus far, and Carpenter and John Moffitt dealt with injuries in their rookie season. Max Unger has not only missed a season with an injury, but also has changed positions from guard to center. Depending on the success of their rehabs, this season should be a fresh start for those young guys up front. Besides, the most important thing about an offensive line is how it performs as a unit.