Updated Apr 11, 2013 - 4:32 pm
The Go 2 Guy on 710 ESPN Seattle
Tuesday, April 9, 2013 @ 2:18pm
Special to 710Sports.com
The Seahawks clearly have a flare for the dramatics. Trading for Percy Harvin, signing Cliff Avril and dropping Matt Flynn are evidence enough.
But despite all the offseason activity, the brain trust that is Pete Carroll and John Schneider still look to have a few tricks up their sleeves -- one being the possible acquisition of veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield.
CB Antoine Winfield, 35, has remained productive despite his age. (AP)
Despite being three years older than Trufant, Winfield, 35, has lost little in the realm of on-the field-production after recording 100 tackles, 12 pass deflections and three interceptions last year.
John Clayton, while on "Afternoons with the Go 2 Guy" on Monday, discussed the possibility of Winfield joining Seattle in a role similar to what Trufant's was last season.
"He understands (his) speed has gone away from him," Clayton said of the aging cornerback's current skill set. "He's going to rely more on his head, his experience and more on how he reads the quarterback."
The three-time Pro Bowl selection has been a constant on the field throughout his career, playing in 13 or more games in 10 of his 14 NFL season. He also has a reputation as a solid-tackling cornerback, recording 85 or more tackles in seven seasons.
In typical Carroll-Schneider fashion, the Seahawks seem more than willing to at least entertain bringing in an outside source to compete for the nickelback position, but Seattle does have options from within. Third-year Oregon product Walter Thurmond, 25, is presumably the clubhouse favorite.
"He's going to have every chance. If you look at the resume he has, and the fact that he has been on the team, he would have the best candidacy to be the slot guy," Clayton said. "... But the injuries have plagued him."
To call Thurmond injury prone is obvious; in three years as a Seahawk, Thurmond has missed 29 of 51 games. The injuries have varied from ligament tears is his knee while in college to a broken leg, and most recently hamstring woes that landed him on the season-ending injured reserve for the second consecutive season.
"In the back of your mind, you have to worry," Clayton said of Thurmond's injury-prone history. "It's like, how many years can you have injuries and not be able to shred them?"
If he does have a chance at competing for the nickelback position, it would likely be because he returns to his 2010 self when he record career-highs in games played (14), tackles (37) and pass deflections (7).
But the worry persists of his ability to make it through a full 16-game season.
If Carroll stays true to his competition-on-all-fronts mentality, then Byron Maxwell, 25, and Jeremy Lane, 22, should have opportunities in the preseason to win the nickelback position.
Clayton believes Seattle may take the stance of waiting until after the draft to make a decision on bringing someone like Winfield in to compete for the nickelback position assuming the dynamic duo isn't sold on anyone in the draft or on their current roster.
Sunday, April 7, 2013 @ 6:38pm
If you're like me, you stop everything that you're doing when Michael Morse is in the batter's box.
I was on my way upstairs to talk to one of my bosses last Friday but had to stop to watch Morse on the flat screen in the lobby. He struck out in a 10-pitch at-bat, which made me a few minutes late to see my boss, but I think he understood.
It's been awhile since the Mariners have had a hitter like Morse, who arrives for Monday night's home opener against Houston with five home runs during the seven-game season-opening road trip.
Through seven games, Michael Morse leads the American League in home runs with five. (AP)
His latest homer was a screamer to left that left U.S. Cellular Field in a hurry, giving the M's a 2-0 lead in the top of the first Sunday in Chicago.
Seattle's marine layer would not have bothered Morse last year. And this year, even when the layer is at its thickest, Morse will drive balls through it and over the moved-in fences at Safeco Field. He didn't need help from construction workers. As he said when the Mariners traded for him in the offseason, Morse feels like he can hit balls out of the Grand Canyon.
This is what we were hoping for when the Mariners traded John Jaso to Oakland in a three-team deal that brought Morse to Seattle from the Nationals.
M's fans would love to see Morse hit 30 homers this year, and now it appears he will if he stays healthy.
Morse also figures to hit for average, which isn't typical for sluggers. In 2011, an injury-free season, Morse averaged .303 with 31 home runs and 95 RBIs. Even last year when an injury caused him to miss 64 games, Morse still hit .289 with 15 home runs and 41 RBIs.
In addition, he's a better defensive player than I was led to believe. I thought every fly ball would be an adventure for him, but only a few have been so far. He has yet to commit an error. He doesn't look like Milton Bradley out there. He looks like he knows what he's doing, whether in right or left field.
When Danny O'Neill, Dave Wyman and I talked to him a week and a half ago, Morse said he doesn't know where this talk of him being a defensive liability comes from. He thinks on a scale of 1 to 10, he's a 9.5 as an outfielder.
I love that he loves being here. Morse could have been upset, going from a World Series contender in Washington to a team that might contend but probably won't this year. But he's excited to be back as a Mariner.
As good as he was in the first inning with the two-run homer Sunday, Morse struck out in his next four at-bats. On two occasions, he whiffed with two runners on base, once after the White Sox intentionally walked Kendrys Morales to get to him.
I thought sure he'd make them pay for that, but he fanned on an outside fastball in the 10th inning. Give him a golden sombrero if you want; he gets a full season of slack from me for finally turning on the power in Seattle.
Morse will come through more often than not. In Washington, he was known as "The Beast." His Twitter handle is @SEA_Beast38. Marshawn Lynch is the beast around here. But the way that Morse has been swinging the bat, there's room in town for another.
Friday, April 5, 2013 @ 4:31pm
The Seahawks have made a habit out of surprising the NFL with their moves this offseason. So with defensive end Dwight Freeney and defensive back Charles Woodson still available as free agents, could there be more surprises up the sleeves of Seattle general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll?
ESPN football analyst John Clayton said on "Cold Hard Facts" on "Afternoons with the Go 2 Guy" Friday that adding either or both players is still a possibility for the Seahawks -- as long as the price is right.
Charles Woodson's age (36) has kept him from being signed by a team. (AP)
The Denver Broncos have been linked to the 33-year-old Freeney throughout the offseason, but that doesn't mean the Seahawks can be ruled out.
"If Freeney wants to come (to Seattle) and add one more pass rusher, you can always take another pass rusher on as long as the cost is right," Clayton said. "But I can't imagine that there's going to be an offer from Seattle that's going to be better from Denver."
Freeney is coming off a five-sack season (his lowest since 2007), and the Broncos appear to be waiting for him to lower his asking price -- which could help the Seahawks.
"Denver's waiting it out trying to get him to at least come off the clouds and think he's going to get a big contract. Denver has more urgency than Seattle, but it wouldn't be out of the question if the right price is there, Seattle could sign him."
Woodson is regarded as one of the best secondary players in NFL players, but at 36, the former Heisman Trophy winner isn't receiving contract offers anywhere near his previous $11 million salary. He admitted as much on the NFL Network this week.
"I'm 36, so of course I'm considered ancient in the game right now, and teams are looking for younger players and trying to make their rosters younger," Woodson said. "If you're an older guy, they kind of push you to the side, and they'll maybe look at you much later on down the road, when I guess they figure they can get you much cheaper."
There is still interest around Woodson, who had 38 tackles in 2012 for Green Bay, but he's in a situation similar to Jerry Rice's final years, when the Hall of Fame wide receiver took a pay cut to be a role player for the Raiders and Seahawks.
"You're a veteran, you're 36 years old ... everybody kind of waits you out," Clayton said. "Are you ready to come into the locker and play close to the minimum salary? That's a big problem for a player that's been as proud of him and as good as him, and not a lot of players want to do it. It's just a waiting game. He's already had interest from Seattle, San Francisco's brought him in for at least a visit, and now it's a matter of trying to see if he can fit in somebody's team."
Friday, April 5, 2013 @ 8:29am
When we talk about the Seahawks' backup quarterback situation on 710 ESPN Seattle, we're usually mentioning Tyler Thigpen as the primary candidate or maybe even Matt Leinart.
But officially or unofficially at this point, Josh Portis is the second-string quarterback after signing a two-year contract to return to the team last week.
ESPN's John Clayton said he'd be OK with Portis as the backup entering the season, but it didn't sound like a huge endorsement based on the tone of The Professor's voice.
The Seahawks don't need the distractions that would come with Tim Tebow. (AP)
The Seahawks might have all kinds of faith in him, very little faith or something in between. I'm guessing it's somewhere in between, which leads you to believe that they will sign Thigpen or another veteran and take a rookie in the NFL draft, which is now less than three weeks away.
If you're not going to have a competition for the starting spot, might as well have a spirited one for the backup among Portis, another veteran and a rookie.
Or there could be yet another option. A controversial option. Danny O'Neil mentioned it on the show yesterday. He likes the thought of bringing in Tim Tebow.
The Professor, as you know, likes Tebow as a person but can't stand him as a player. When Danny presented the thought to Clayton, I wish I could've seen John's face.
"I don't hate the idea of him coming here," O'Neil said.
"He can't play quarterback," Clayton argued. "He can't throw the football."
O'Neil countered by saying that you'd run a college-style offense if Tebow were forced to play in Russell Wilson's absence. You could keep the read-option stuff and streamline the offense to use shorter throws to take advantage of Tebow's strengths.
There are rumors that the Seahawks might actually be interested in taking a look at Tebow if the Jets cut him, which Clayton thinks will happen soon.
For sports-talk radio purposes, it would be a terrific move. The guy's a bona fide lightning rod.
But I'm with Clayton on this one.
"Tebow-mania isn't worth it," The Professor said, and he's right. Tebow could be a decent backup quarterback, but the circus that comes with him causes too much racket and not enough upside.
If the Seahawks were a so-so team, I'd entertain the thought of Tebow on the roster. But they're not; they're Super Bowl contenders. Do you need the possible distraction of constant Tebow hoopla?
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 @ 4:26pm
Kyle Seager reached base in each of his five plate appearances out of the No. 2 spot on Tuesday. (AP)
By Brent Stecker
Outfielder Michael Morse's two towering home runs may have taken over the highlights from the Mariners' 7-1 win over the Athletics on Tuesday, but Seattle's eight walks had just as much to do with the victory.
The Mariners have drawn 12 walks in their two games this season, something it took them seven games to accomplish last season. That patience is a continuation of the team's strong spring training, Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs told "Afternoons with the Go 2 Guy" Wednesday.
"We saw that approach at spring training. The one thing about spring training is you can't take the wins and the home runs with you ... (but) the one thing you can take into the regular season is your approach," Rizzs said.
For the Mariners, that approach doesn't involve chasing pitches out of the strike zone very often.
"Eight walks last night – that showed me that these guys were taking what the A's pitchers were gonna give them," Rizzs said. "(Oakland pitcher) Jarrod Parker had a rough time trying to locate his fastball early in the ball game. He was falling behind in the count, the Mariners took advantage of a couple of walks there in the top of the third inning, and then, boom, there comes the home run from Michael Morse and it's no longer a one-run deficit."
The promising thing about the improved patience is how much of it came from the Mariners' younger players. Leadoff man Michael Saunders reached three times. Third baseman Kyle Seager was on base each of his five trips to the plate from the No. 2 spot. Even first baseman Justin Smoak, who was hitless, drew two walks, including one with the bases loaded.
"The top of the order got on eight times, Michael Saunders got on three times, Kyle Seager got on all five times last night," Rizzs said. "When you do that, and when the guys in the middle part of the order do what they're capable of doing, you've got a chance to score some runs, and the Mariners won last night 7-1 by doing that."
Friday, March 29, 2013 @ 6:12pm
If you listen to the afternoon show, you know I'm into odds and pointspreads. It always amazes me how close the guys in Vegas are when they come out with lines and over-unders on games and win totals.
For instance, most of us are optimistic about the Mariners this year. We think they can go from 75-87 last year to 85-77 this year or at least 81-81. But Vegas set the over-under at 77.5 on number of Mariners wins.
That's an official line you can find at most sports books in Nevada. What you won't find are my over-unders on the Mariners, but you'll get them here along with advice on which way to go:
A 20-win season for Felix Hernandez seems realistic now that the Mariners should finally be able to give their ace adequate run support. (AP)
Over-under on number of times grandma brings out the rye bread and mustard this year: 4.5. Take the over. Mariners hit two grand slams last year.
Over-under on Mike Morse and Kendrys Morales homers combined: 63.5. Slight lean to the under. If healthy, they're capable of hitting 35 each.
Over-under on Eric Wedge ejections: 3.5. Take the under. But he was thrown out of a spring-training game last week, so there's hope for over bettors and Lou Piniella fans.
Over-under on number of times you hear Jay Buhner shout: "Trucks, trucks and more trucks!!! on Mariner broadcasts this year: 934.5. Bet with both hands on the over.
Over-under on number of wins for Felix Hernandez now that he has some run support: 18.5. Take the over and hope he finally gets his first 20-win season.
Over-under on number of times you'll miss Ichiro: 2.5. Take the under.
You'll still love him, but the date you get sick of hearing "RAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUL" at Safeco Field: July 7. Slight lean to the over.
Over-under on the date when Jesus Montero legs out a triple like he did at spring training: Aug. 17, 2018. Take the over.
Over-under on the date when Danny Hultzen and Mike Zunino are called up by the Mariners: June 30. A hopeful lean toward the under.
Over-under on number of times Dave Sims tells us on the ROOT Sports broadcast that "It's closing time!" when Tom Wilhelmsen enters the game: 44.5. Take the under.
Over-under on number of times the Go 2 Guy is happy to see the Sleep Country brunette and Angie Mentink on ROOT Sports broadcasts: 138.5. Bet it all on the over.
Over-under on the day you first start to wonder why Wedge has grown a gray beard: April 2, but only if you missed the telecast on April 1. Bet with both hands on the under.
Over-under on number of Mariner Gold Glove winners: 1.5. Bet the over. (Brendan Ryan and Franklin Gutierrez).
Over-under on number of times all of the broadcasters say: "That wouldn't have been a home run at Safeco last year:" 48.5. A nod to the under.
Over-under on the first day that Morse butchers a routine play in left field: April 5. Take the under. The sun in Oakland will be a problem on April 4.
Over-under on the day that Gutierrez gets injured again: Aug. 28, and using the power of wishful thinking, I'm taking the over!
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 @ 12:57am
By Jim Moore
If you're Steve Sarkisian, what's the proper punishment for Austin Seferian-Jenkins?
To this point, the Huskies' tight end has been suspended indefinitely by Coach Sark after he was arrested on suspicion of DUI near Ravenna Park on March 9.
Toxicology results are pending. Once revealed, a decision will be made on charges in the case.
Sarkisian told Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times and other reporters: "We will make the decisions necessary based on our team rules and our school policies that are fair to him and fair to us, and we will move forward and we will support him ...
"I do know Austin is in the right frame of mind, that he is going to learn from this, and he will be better for it in the end."
After the incident Seferian-Jenkins said: "Coach Sarkisian holds our team to high standards on and off the field, and I fell short of those standards this weekend. I apologize for letting down my family, my team and the entire University of Washington community. I will take full responsibility for my actions and work to use this as a learning experience."
In a Condotta story, according to the police report, Seferian-Jenkins was found standing outside the vehicle and had the "strong odor of an alcoholic beverage, thick-tongued speech and watery, bloodshot eyes."
If you're Sarkisian, does missing the rest of spring football qualify as proper punishment? Or should he miss fall practice and a game or two as well?
I really don't know what I'd do if I were Coach Sark. Maybe he'll tread lightly, and Seferian-Jenkins will get a slap on the wrist. But if he's too lenient, he'll be roundly criticized.
If he opts for stronger discipline, Seferian-Jenkins could miss the opening game against Boise State. If he really wants to make a statement, he could suspend Seferian-Jenkins for the Boise State game and the Illinois game after the bye week.
But then he'd hear about it from those who think he was too harsh and others who know that Washington's chances of beating Boise State and Illinois are reduced without Seferian-Jenkins.
Those in the leniency camp will say it's his first offense, that he's a good kid, he's learned his lesson and it won't happen again.
Those in the other camp won't tolerate drunken driving no matter the circumstances.
In the past I have occasionally made the mistake of putting myself in the drunken driver's shoes. I wondered about the consequences for him -- jail time, suspended license and costly lawyer fees, fines and insurance costs.
But the victims are the ones I should be thinking about 100 percent of the time.
It's gut-wrenching to read the story about the man who killed two grandparents while critically injuring a mom and her 10-day-old son in an accident in the Wedgwood neighborhood earlier this week. The man has been convicted twice of drunken driving, has two other DUIs pending and was driving on a suspended license. He had a blood-alcohol level of .22.
Twelve years ago, when Jerramy Stevens crashed into a Seattle nursing home and left the scene, coach Rick Neuheisel suspended the Huskies' tight end for the first half of Washington's game against Michigan.
I remember being in disbelief when Neuheisel made the announcement to UW play-by-play announcer Bob Rondeau.
As much as I love Neuheisel, that punishment was far too lenient. If he were making the call on Seferian-Jenkins, I'm guessing he'd allow him to play against Boise State and Illinois and suspend him for the first half of the next game against Idaho State.
Rare are the times that I've wished Coach Sark good luck. In fact, it's so rare it's never happened. Until now.
Whatever he decides with Seferian-Jenkins, it will be too much or not enough.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 @ 10:16am
Junior Connor Halladay is expected to battle with freshman Austin Apodaca for Washington State's starting quarterback job. (AP)
By 710sports.com staff
With Washington State's spring football practice in progress, the program's attention is firmly aimed at battles at the quarterback and offensive line positions.
Cougars coach Mike Leach joined 710 ESPN Seattle's "Afternoons with the Go 2 Guy" Monday and said his staff is focused on creating a culture of competition, which will help at both spots.
Under center, rising junior Connor Halladay is the front-runner after playing in nine of WSU's 12 games in 2012. But don't count out redshirt freshman Austin Apodaca.
"We've got two guys (back) that I think their ability level is similar," Leach said. "Connor's a little more experienced, so i think that he's a little ahead on the mental aspect of things, but Austin Apodaca's been doing some good things as well."
The Cougars will also have four-star recruit Tyler Bruggman incoming as a signal caller.
On the line, depth is a big plus compared to last year for WSU.
"We've got more bodies out there than we've had. I think they do provide some depth, and they also provide some competition," said Leach. "Both are desperately needed as far as improvement goes, and we're a little stronger, which I'm happy about too."
Depth is a point of emphasis for the Cougars in Leach's second year.
"Once a guy's got something wrapped up or it becomes obvious that the only guy that's going to play is him, then maybe there's not the sense of urgency that exists if somebody's breathing down your neck, so we're trying to create that as much as possible," Leach said.
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