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Bruce Irvin's misstep changes Seahawks' outlook

By Jim Moore

I don't know if you've heard about the sports-radio host who predicted that the Mariners would hit 200 homers or the Seahawks would go 19-0 this year.

He's the same one who predicted that Chris Hansen would come home with the promise of an expansion team at the NBA owners' meeting last week.

Hansen returned to Seattle with nothing. After smacking three homers in Monday's 10-8 loss to Cleveland, the Mariners are on a pace for 190. The Seahawks are still unbeaten, but it's only May, three and a half months from the season opener at Carolina on Sept. 8.

I thought they had a shot at an undefeated season after acquiring Percy Harvin in a trade and Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in free agency. Then throw in what they picked up in the draft, particularly Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams on the defensive line. They went 12-6 last year without those players and keep in mind that they dropped those six games by a combined 26 points.

But Bruce Irvin's four-game suspension is making me waffle a bit. When you make a 19-0 prediction, you don't need guys to violate the NFL's performance-enhancing substances policy.

You don't want to see the Seahawks take on Carolina, San Francisco, Jacksonville and Houston without Irvin. Sure, they'll probably beat the Jaguars without him, but what about the other three opponents?

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The Seahawks will be without Bruce Irvin for their first four games, including a Week 2 meeting with the 49ers. (AP)
They nearly lost to Carolina last year, but Irvin made a fumble-forcing sack on Cam Newton, preserving a 16-12 win.

The 49ers? You don't want to face the NFC champs, even at home, without all hands on board.

The Jaguars? No problem there.

And the Texans? The Seahawks are one-point favorites to win at Houston, but that's certainly a losable game with or without Irvin.

You can justifiably argue that Irvin didn't make that much of a difference in many games last year. He was a situational player, primarily used to rush the quarterback. He was also a rookie, adjusting to the NFL like all first-year players.

Much more is expected from the former first-round choice this year. Or much more was expected.

I'm still mystified as to why Irvin would take Adderall in the offseason. From what I understand, it fires you up and helps you focus. What's the point of that in the offseason before you're even required to show up for practice? Which leads me to believe he didn't take Adderall but actually took something else.

I guess that part of it doesn't matter. Since we're in Seattle and since he's young, I get the feeling that we cut him more slack than we would if we were somewhere else and if Irvin were 29 instead of 25 years old.

If we were somewhere else, we'd be ripping and mocking the Seahawks for having five players who have been suspended for violating the NFL's PED policy in the last two years. We'd be calling them the Seadderall Seahawks.

We'd be criticizing Irvin's public apology, saying that what he's most sorry about is getting caught. We'd be playing the air violin after seeing him tweet that he's been depressed for weeks and experiencing sleepless nights.

Maybe he'll come back for the game at Indianapolis on a natural high, more focused and fired up than ever, seeking redemption.

Until then, Irvin's suspension will be a distraction because it's the latest in a series of PED screw-ups by the Seahawks. National media types were coming to Seattle anyway to write about the Seahawks' Super Bowl potential. Now they'll have different story angles in mind.

You know what else caught me off-guard? The news from Monday that Avril is dealing with a plantar fasciitis issue. Pete Carroll said it's minor. Avril said it's minor. But it bears watching. Remember how it affected Red Bryant last year?

Unless I'm mistaken, the Seahawks in their first four games will have only one true pass-rushing defensive end in the currently sore-footed Avril. After tearing his ACL in the playoff game at Washington, Chris Clemons likely won't be available. Neither will Greg Scruggs, who recently tore his ACL.

Maybe Bennett, the hybrid defensive tackle/end, can fill in. Maybe converted linebackers Malcolm Smith and Mike Morgan can, too.

But these are red flags. Forget about an unbeaten season; what about overtaking the 49ers in the NFC West?

For that to happen, the margin of error is slim, and Irvin's mistake doesn't help matters at all.

The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, www.jimmoorethego2guy.com; www.seattlepi.com; and www.kitsapsun.com. You can reach him at jimmoorethego2guy@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo. Jim appears weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. on "Wyman, Mike and Moore".

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