The Brock and Danny Show on 710 ESPN Seattle
Friday, May 17, 2013 @ 1:50pm
By Danny O'Neil
Training camp is more than two months away, but the Seahawks suffered their first loss of the season.
Bruce Irvin will be suspended for the first four games of the season, the NFL announced Friday, for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
That's the cue to begin the hand-wringing, whether it's about depth at Seattle's pass-rushing defensive end or the fact that Irvin becomes the fifth Seahawk in three years to be suspended for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
"I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and Seahawks fans for making a mistake," Irvin said in a statement released by the Seahawks. "I took a substance that is prohibited in the NFL without a medical exemption. I am extremely disappointed in the poor judgment I showed and take full responsibility for my actions."
He was not suspended under the league's policy for substance abuse, which generally requires multiple violations. He was suspended under the policy for a performance-enhancing substance, which is triggered by a single violation.
Irvin's explanation points to Adderall, an amphetamine that can be prescribed for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. A player will be suspended for testing positive for amphetamines unless he has applied for – and received – a medical-use exemption from the league.
That explanation does not minimize the impact of his suspension nor does it excuse Irvin's oversight that led to it, especially on a team that became a focal point for the discussion of Adderall when cornerback Richard Sherman had a four-game suspension overturned last season because the testing procedure was not followed.
There is no way to minimize the impact of the suspension either in terms of the loss of Irvin, a player Seattle chose as the first defensive end off the board in 2012, or the misjudgment that led to the suspension.
Irvin's suspension is a reality check after an offseason of unchecked optimism and acquisition, a reminder of just how fragile a formula for success can be.
Before the news of Irvin's suspension, the Seahawks had so much depth at defensive end that they were working Irvin at strongside linebacker to see how if it was possible to get him on the field at the same time as returning starter Chris Clemons or Cliff Avril, the defensive end Seattle signed in free agency.
Now, Avril is the only pass-rushing end Seattle can be certain will be available for the season-opener as Clemons is coming off knee surgery to repair a torn ligament suffered in January.
Not only that, but running back Marshawn Lynch has a court hearing in the Bay Area next week on a motion to dismiss a DUI charge he faces there. If that motion is denied, Lynch could face a trial this summer and were he to be convicted, he could face league discipline as well.
None of this news undermines Seattle's hopes for this season, but it serves as a reminder that 2013 isn't going to be a parade either. There is going to be adversity. There will be mistakes, and some of those mistakes – like Irvin's suspension – are going to be maddeningly self-inflicted.
Friday, May 17, 2013 @ 8:41am
So David Stern's kind of a jerk?
You don't say.
This is not exactly some sort of revelation, yet that didn't stop people across Seattle from spending a full day piling up adjectives to describe just how classless the NBA commissioner was toward Seattle in the wake of the league's decision Wednesday to deny a bid for relocation by the Sacramento Kings.
In case you missed it, after a 22-8 vote, Stern stepped to the podium for what he said would be a brief press conference.
David Stern's reference to the Oklahoma City Thunder was classless and unnecessary, but it wasn't surprising. (AP)
Yep, it was as tacky as it sounds, and whether it was deliberate or not, that reference to the franchise formerly known as the Sonics understandably added insult to Seattle's injury when it learned Chris Hansen's bid to buy and move the Kings was being turned down.
It's understandable Stern would become a target for our city's animosity, but it's also pretty pointless because it's focused on a man who was not only already disliked in Seattle, but now will officially have nothing to do with the NBA's future here.
Did this change your opinion of Stern? It might have inflamed your dislike of him. Maybe it even enraged you. But when you get down to it, after the past month in which Stern clearly shepherded Sacramento's attempts to keep the team, what exactly surprised you about Stern coming off as Seattle's antagonist?
Yet the opening of his press conference has been treated as some sort of unmasking where Stern revealed his true intentions. A veritable Scooby-Doo moment where the monster's mask is pulled off to show the old caretaker Mr. Stern, who would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those darn kids.
This isn't to excuse Stern's behavior, and it's certainly not to apologize for it. He is exactly who I thought he was. Rude. Condescending. Hypocritical. After all, he advocated for Sacramento's right as an incumbent in a way he never did for Seattle five years ago.
But did any of that really change your opinion of him? Instead, his actions and the words "Oklahoma City" combined to create a race to pile up as many derogatory adjectives as possible to detail just how loathsome the commissioner was.
The trouble is that dialogue is pretty limited.
It doesn't answer the best path to follow in putting an NBA team back in the market or even whether that's a plan the city and its prospective ownership group want to pursue.
Instead, the day after the decision was spent on a city-wide diatribe against a commissioner who will be gone next February. That's not to say the hostility isn't understandable or perhaps even warranted, but what purpose is it serving other than to vilify a man who's already vilified?
There were already plenty of reasons for Seattle to dislike Stern before he stepped to a podium to announce our city's latest NBA setback and began by referencing its former franchise.
Maybe he did so that his successor, Adam Silver, can look good in comparison. Maybe he did it without thinking out how the reference to Oklahoma City would be perceived in Seattle. And maybe he did it because he wanted one last final needle to the city his league has forsaken once again.
Ultimately, what do his motivations matter going forward? He'll be out before Seattle is back in the NBA, and while anger is one of the seven stages of grief, it's not exactly the best way to make progress.
Thursday, May 16, 2013 @ 1:16pm
We're four months away from the Seahawks and 49ers beginning to settle the matter during a Week 2 meeting at CenturyLink Field.
In the meantime, we'll have to settle for debate among scouts, analysts and talk-show hosts about which NFC West rival has assembled the best team. That's what "Brock and Danny" did Thursday when they were joined by Mike Sando of ESPN.com for a position-by-position look at each roster.
The 49ers' Aldon Smith was second in the NFL last season with 19.5 sacks. (AP)
First, a disclaimer: It's not an apples-to-apples comparison as the teams have different defensive fronts. Aldon Smith is an outside linebacker but sometimes plays with his hand in the dirt in San Francisco's 3-4 defense, so he's considered a defensive lineman for the purposes of this conversation.
Aldon Smith and Justin Smith have wreaked havoc while working in tandem along San Francisco's defensive line, but a triceps injury limited Justin Smith late last season and even kept him out of a Week 16 loss to Seattle. The 49ers used a second-round pick on Tank Carradine after adding Glenn Dorsey in free agency, moves that Sando thinks could reflect a desire to mix more players into their defensive-line rotation after relying on a smaller number of players in recent years, possibly causing them to wear down as the season progressed.
Justin Smith will be 34 next season. Sando thinks his health is one of the only question marks with San Francisco's defensive line.
"If Justin Smith's healthy going into camp, I may give the 49ers an edge as far as what we know it's going to be," he said.
The Seahawks added to their defensive line through free agency and the draft to a much greater extent, addressing a position that struggled last season to generate a consistent pass rush and at times had trouble stopping the run. Seattle signed Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel before drafting Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams.
While Sando likes those additions, he expressed some uncertainty about Red Bryant returning to form following a foot injury and whether any of Seattle's options at defensive tackle can replace Alan Branch without significant dropoff.
"I think you could make the case for the overall depth and rotation and flexibility and versatility of the Seahawks," Sando said, "but you could make a case then that when you line up on any one given play that the 49ers may be as good or better."
Brock Huard and Danny O'Neil share their thoughts in the video below.
You can listen to Thursday's show here.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 @ 3:47pm
Danny O'Neil hosted another edition of "Hawk Talk" Wednesday. The full transcript can be found here. Highlights are below.
page asked for the odds that sixth-round pick Spencer Ware makes the team.
Danny O'Neil: Pretty good, I'd say. The fact that Ware carried the ball so often in minicamp made me think that while he's competing for a spot at fullback, he might have a different niche in terms of the offense than Michael Robinson.
Steven Hauschka was 1-of-4 on attempts 50 yards or longer last season. (AP)
Danny O'Neil: Yes, the 49ers have. They've stayed in Youngstown in fact, but to answer your question, I don't think Seattle will choose that option. Pete Carroll is pretty concerned with habits and routines, and I don't see him disrupting the schedule like that.
Adam isn't sold on kicker Steven Hauschka's leg strength and wondered if he might lose his job to Carson Wiggs, who was with Seattle in training camp last year and was signed as a free agent in March.
Danny O'Neil: I'll tell you what: Keep an eye on the kicker out of Portland State, Zachary Brown. He goes by Ramirez now, and he's got a boot. Certainly going to be a competition.
Patrick asked about the outlook for Benson Mayowa, the defensive end Seattle signed after he impressed the team during a tryout at last weekend's rookie minicamp.
Danny O'Neil: He was explosive, and showed enough promise to be signed to the regular roster, but I think he's more a practice-squad candidate.
Sekolah asked about expectations for Seahawks safety Winston Guy, a sixth-round pick in 2012.
Danny O'Neil: We'll see. The team tried to give him a role last year as that designated pass rusher in the bandit package, and he was in over is head.
An anonymous guest asked whether Carroll or general manager John Schneider has final say in personnel decisions and how the two settle disagreements.
Danny O'Neil: Well, personnel acquisitions are John Schneider's decision, and the idea of final say would only come up if they were at an impasse. The reality is that they've worked very well together. I know everyone wants to know what happens when they disagree, and who would win a power struggle, but the reality is that Pete is pretty open-minded and excited about what John finds, and John doesn't want to force players on a coach who didn't want a guy. In terms of chain of command: John Schneider reports up to the president, Peter McLoughlin, who reports up to the owner.
Dan asked whether defensive tackle Clinton McDonald will be on the roster in Week 1.
Danny O'Neil: He's going to be playing for is job, but after the injury to Greg Scruggs, it would surprise me if McDonald wasn't on the team. Very capable of backup who was always active last season.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 @ 12:32pm
A pair of injury-plagued seasons hasn't validated the Seahawks' decision to draft James Carpenter with the 25th pick in the 2011 draft, a move that was widely panned at the time.
Carpenter has missed 16 games because of a pair of knee injuries, changed positions, and will be competing for a starting spot at guard in his third NFL season. That's not what a team envisions when drafting a player in the first round.
But that selection doesn't look as bad considering that Gabe Carimi, the offensive lineman taken one pick after Carpenter, is by most accounts fighting for a roster spot with the Bears.
In the video below, Brock Huard and Danny O'Neil revisit those picks and discuss whether Carimi could be an option for the Seahawks as a backup if he's released.
You can listen to Wednesday's show here.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 @ 5:32pm
Brock Huard and Danny O'Neil discuss a creative way the Seahawks have evaluated young players and the approach they take to developing them.
You can listen to Tuesday's show here.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 @ 4:16pm
Another edition of "Hawk Talk" with Danny O'Neil is scheduled for Wednesday at 12:30. In the meantinme, feel free to pose questions or suggest topics of conversation in the comments section below.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 @ 11:36am
By Brady Henderson
Michael Robinson has been an adept lead blocker, a special teams captain and a vocal presence for the Seahawks, but his future in Seattle became less certain when the team drafted an alternative in Spencer Ware.
That was among the subjects discussed when Mike Sando of ESPN.com and Eric Williams of The News Tribune joined "Brock and Danny" on Monday to wrap up the Seahawks' rookie minicamp.
Robinson has done it all as Seattle's Swiss Army Knife since the team signed him at the end of the 2010 training camp. But he's 30 years old, has a salary that is scheduled to count $2.5 million against the 2013 cap and plays a position that requires him to run headlong into opposing linebackers, naturally raising questions about longevity.
NFL teams are constantly looking for younger and cheaper alternatives, and that's what Ware represents. As a sixth-round pick, Ware's salary is slotted at roughly $400,000 for his rookie season, significantly less than Robinson's. He was primarily a halfback at LSU, but the Seahawks' plan is to convert him to fullback and occasionally take advantage of his ability to carry the ball.
Coach Pete Carroll conceded that it will be tough to keep two fullbacks on the roster, especially if Ware doesn't demonstrate an ability to play special teams.
|Height/Weight:||5-10, 229 lbs.|
|Drafted:||Round 6, 194 overall|
|Notable:||Played OF on LSU's baseball team for part of the 2011 season.|
O'Neil noted that Seattle has an open role in the backfield after releasing Leon Washington, who saw some time as the third-down back last season. While Christine Michael showed good hands during Seattle's rookie minicamp, Carroll has said the second-round pick needs to improve his pass-blocking, an deficiency that could preclude him from a third-down role. That would leave Ware and Robert Turbin as the most viable options.
The Seahawks are also experimenting with defensive ends Bruce Irvin and Cliff Avril at outside linebacker, and Sando wondered whether the flexibility in their front seven would allow them to keep one fewer player at either of those positions. That would create an extra roster spot, potentially allowing Seattle to keep two fullbacks who have different body types and perhaps could be used in different ways.
If not, it would create a difficult decision assuming Ware shows he's worth keeping around.
"Would you be willing as a coaching staff to move on from a guy who really is important to the team?" Sando said of Robinson. "I think he's a good player and a good leader, has a good rapport with (Marshawn) Lynch. It's just a really interesting pick that way. I'm not sure if he's (Ware) exclusive to Robinson, but it kind of feels like he is."
Williams doesn't disagree with that either-or premise, but he doesn't see Robinson being the odd-man-out.
"What he does with his ability to read the opening of the holes as a fullback, his ability to play special teams and his ability as one of the vocal leaders on this team, I don't think that can really be replaced by a sixth-round draft pick who hasn't played fullback since his freshman year," Williams said." So I think we really have to kind of pump our brakes on Spencer Ware being able to replace Michael Robinson at this point."
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