Thursday, November 14, 2013 @ 3:46pm
From Christian Ponder to Matt Cassel to Josh Freeman, the Vikings have had all kinds of trouble staying healthy and finding consistent production at quarterback. But while that has grabbed most of the attention during the Vikings' 2-7 start, their problems are not limited to who is taking the snaps.
The Vikings' defense is ranked 29th in the NFL against the pass this year. (AP)
Vikings color commentator Pete Bercich joined "The Huddle" on 710 ESPN Seattle on Wednesday, and he explained that as Minnesota prepares to face the 9-1 Seahawks on Sunday, its struggles mainly stem from ineffective defensive play.
"The underlying issue, despite the carousel at quarterback, has been our defense," said Bercich, a Vikings linebacker from 1995 through 2000. "We lost Harrison Smith, one of our safeties. We've been without (safety) Jamarca Sanford. So we have not been able to stop too many teams, and we're last in the league on third-down conversions. We're giving up somewhere near 400 yards a game."
Minnesota has been prone to being burned through the air, as it has allowed 285.7 passing yards per game in 2013, 29th in the NFL. But even with former Vikings receiver Percy Harvin possibly returning from injury to make his debut for Seattle on Sunday, it's the Seahawks' running game that has Bercich concerned.
It's a valid concern. Though the Vikings rank near the middle of the league in run defense (113.7 yards per game), they were ripped for 191 yards on the ground last week against Washington, and Green Bay rushed for 182 against them two games before that. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are the league's best running team, as the combo of running back Marshawn Lynch (871 yards) and quarterback Russell Wilson (395) has lead them to an average of 153.4 rushing yards per game.
"The defense has really been the issue, and Marshawn Lynch and the rest of your squad, Russell Wilson, present plenty of problems for this defense," Bercich said. "That's gonna be the big question – can we hold up against the run? Can we stop Russell from running, as well?"
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 @ 3:55pm
By Brady Henderson
Somewhere between the beginning of his second season in Seattle and his brief stint in Denver, John Moffitt came to the realization that football was no longer fun.
More than anything, he says, that was the reason he decided to walk away from the NFL at the age of 27 and just two and a half years into his career.
"It was a whole gamut of things, but the first thing was really that I lost my passion. I wasn't happy. I was not happy at all," the former Seahawks guard told "Bob and Groz" on 710 ESPN Seattle. "And I was like, 'How long are you going to not be happy for? Are you going to play for four more years in the league and just be miserable?' "
Moffitt informed the Broncos early last week that he would not return to the team following its bye. So ended a career that began in 2011 when the Seahawks drafted him in the third round out of Wisconsin. Moffitt played two seasons in Seattle – one that was cut short by a knee injury and another he spent in and out of the starting lineup – before his trade to the Broncos.
"I was not happy at all," said former Seahawks guard John Moffitt, who retired from the NFL after two spending years in Seattle and a half a season in Denver. (AP)
Moffitt's decision to retire meant leaving about $1 million on the table – including the remainder of this year's salary and what he was scheduled to make in 2014, the final year of his rookie contract.
"The money and all that stuff, it really stopped mattering ... because I wasn't happy regardless," he said. "I was never happy when I had money. I didn't even care about stuff. Nothing really meant as much because everything was easier to get. I feel like you enjoy stuff a little bit more when it's a little bit more difficult. You can't always get everything you want. I think that's what makes life so enjoyable."
Seattle traded Moffitt in August after he lost out in a competition with J.R. Sweezy to be the team's starting right guard. Moffitt was a backup in Denver, appearing in two games with no starts before retiring. While his loss of passion for the game was the primary reason he called it quits, he said it might not have come to that had things worked out in Seattle.
"Everything that happened to me was probably part of the decision. I could easily say that if things went differently, maybe I would still be playing football right now," he said. "... If I was starting right now for the Seahawks, I might still be playing football, honestly. But that wasn't the case, and I was where I was and I just wanted to change things."
A bone to pick
The trade to Denver came only after Seattle's deal with Cleveland fell through due to what the Browns said was a failed physical, something that still sticks in Moffitt's craw.
"I haven't said this publicly – they suck. Cleveland sucks," he said of the Browns. "They are so terrible and the way that they did me in that front office is so dirty. They failed me on a b.s. physical."
The trade to Cleveland was contingent upon Moffitt passing a team-administered physical. Not long after he underwent and MRI and was told by a doctor that there was nothing wrong with his knee, Moffitt said, the Browns asked him to take a paycut, which he wasn't willing to do.
"And then my agent finally did some work and figured out that per the CBA you can't do that on a trade," he said. "So now they just call me up to [their] office and say, 'We're going to fail you on your physical.' I went in with the GM, talked to him, and they tried to get the head trainer to tell me that my knee wasn't right and they ... were basically trying to lie to me. I was like, 'That's great. Thanks. You guys really set me up here because you failed me on a physical [and] the whole league's going to know.' "
The trade became void and Seattle dealt Moffitt to Denver a day later.
For Moffitt, there's still love for the game he's leaving and his former teammates in Seattle. He said he watched the Seahawks' win over Atlanta on Sunday and has seen some of his friends on the team since he's been back in town.
"I will always be a football fan," he said. "I love football. I just – I don't want to play it."
What he wants to do instead is start podcast that he hopes will launch him into a radio career. He's setting up a studio in his house that will be complete with cameras and a bar.
"I'm really excited about it," he said.
The podcast won't revolve around sports, though. When asked for some potential topics of discussion, Moffitt mentioned the NSA, spirituality and psychedelic drugs.
"[The plan is to] just have people over and just talk," he said, "keep it quick, keep it fun."
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 @ 10:31am
By Brady Henderson
Golden Tate's one-handed touchdown catch was the most outstanding play made by a Seahawks receiver Sunday against Atlanta.
It wasn't the only one, though. Far from it.
"There were really, really tough plays that they made," coach Pete Carroll told 710 ESPN Seattle's "Brock and Danny" Monday.
There were a pair of receptions covering more than 30 yards by Tate, who finished with a career-high 106 yards. Jermaine Kearse had two long catches himself, one coming on the double-pass touchdown and another he hauled in with one and while a defender was draped all over him. Doug Baldwin added 76 yards on five catches, one of his most productive games of the season.
"It was a great game for the receivers," Carroll said.
Not bad for a group that two weeks earlier lost its No. 1 target in Sidney Rice to a season-ending knee injury.
Oh yeah, and it's about to add Percy Harvin, who was activated off the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday and is eligible to make his Seahawks debut Sunday against Minnesota.
Sunday, November 10, 2013 @ 1:32pm
By Brent Stecker
Even in just his first few days on the job, new Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon has shown that he's a no-nonsense authority figure who commands respect. Just ask the reporters whose questions were summarily dismissed at his introductory press conference Thursday because he felt they didn't necessitate an answer.
To his credit, McClendon knows his reputation precedes him, and he has a sense of humor about it.
"We'll just take up a collection basket for me so I can pay some of those fines," he joked with 710 ESPN Seattle's "Bob and Groz" on Friday. "That base in Pittsburgh, it cost me a lot of money. I was broke, but I got a lot of mileage out of it."
It's pretty easy to see where McClendon's tough-as-nails demeanor comes from with a quick look at his upbringing. He grew up in the 1960s and 70s in Gary, Ind., a steel mill town only 30 minutes outside Chicago. He is one of 13 children and the youngest of nine boys.
"I got my ass kicked every day," he said Thursday in reference to being the youngest brother.
Growing up tough helped McClendon become an eight-year MLB veteran and manager Jim Leyland's right-hand man as a coach for eight years with the Tigers. It also helped him stay focused on landing a second chance as a big-league manager despite years of being passed over by teams, including the Mariners when they hired Eric Wedge three years ago.
"I'm the type of the guy that, look, I'll get up off the mat. You knock me down, I'll get up," McClendon said. "I'll charge over the hill, and maybe charge over the hill and maybe not know what's coming. But in the end, you gotta believe in what you believe in."
And now that he's here, he has clear-cut expectations for the Mariners.
"My expectations for my club are simple. I would hope that they take on my personality. Their work ethic, their character and their intensity would be a reflection of me. I don't ever ask a club to go out and win on any particular night, but I do ask them to prepare to win every night," he said. "We'll be ready from a mental and physical standpoint to go out and do battle. I don't fear any club. Bring them all on."
Friday, November 8, 2013 @ 12:37pm
Here are the rules for the "Bob and Groz" drinking game*.
Each of the following words/phrases is good for one drink.
When Bob says: "Alright" or "Exactly right" or "How 'bout that?" or when he references the video stream.
When Groz says: "Uhhh" or "supposebly"
When John Clayton says: "Let's put it this way" or "But also, too"
Today's additional words: "Line."
*We are not suggesting any drink in particular.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 @ 2:53pm
By Brady Henderson
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby share their thoughts on the Mariners hiring Lloyd McClendon, who becomes the team's seventh manager since 2007.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 @ 9:58am
By Brent Stecker
There are two sides to having elite players in the NFL. On one hand, they're essential to a team's success. But on the other, when their contracts are up, they will command a substantial raise that could hamstring a team's ability to retain other vital players.
It's a reality that the Seahawks and general manager John Schneider know very well as several young stars approach the end of their rookie contracts.
Cornerback Richard Sherman is one of those players, and he's in line for a huge contract as he approaches the end of the rookie deal he signed in 2011.
All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman will be eligible for a contract extension next offseason, when some of the Seahawks' other young stars will be nearing the ends of their rookie deals as well. (AP)
"I think for Sherman, what is interesting is, what does he want to do? Is it important to him to get a really big, almost over-market deal? Because there's a big gap between what most of the corners make and what Darrelle Revis' average is," Sando said. "If you're Richard Sherman, you might feel like, 'Hey, I'm as good as (Revis) is. I want that type of money,' and that's his prerogative. But that may make it tough – if he's able to get that or wants that – for Seattle to do a deal when you're trying to do other guys' (deals), too."
In addition to Sherman, the Seahawks have quarterback Russell Wilson, safety Earl Thomas, left tackle Russell Okung and cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond all scheduled to hit free agency at some point over the next few seasons, so it's unclear how the team's available money will shake out.
One thing is clear, though – Sherman is about as valuable to the Seahawks as any cornerback is to any NFL team. In his two-plus seasons, he's established himself as one of the most dominant corners in the NFL, and his rise has been a big part of the Seahawks turning into an NFC powerhouse.
"I think Sherman's a great fit in Seattle. He's exactly what they're looking for," Sando said. "On the field he seems to be exactly what they're looking for, in the meeting room, off the field, seems to have everything together."
The Seahawks have an advantage with Sherman in that he has another year before his contract is up, meaning there is plenty of time to strike an extension.
"They have an opportunity here," Sando said. "It's not like he's a free agent after this year. You have next year, and when you are taking care of players that you want to keep, it helps to have that year of leeway because that gives them incentive to take a deal, too. It isn't necessarily the same as it would be if they were an unrestricted free agent right now."
Luckily for Seattle, Revis' contract isn't quite the benchmark, as it's incentive-loaded and not guaranteed. Therefore, his $16 million average is unlikely to be approached by any other cornerback. In actuality, Sherman could be in line for a contract more in the $10-12 million-a-year range.
"It's a totally different situation with Sherman. He's gonna get guaranteed money – that's why he'll want to do a deal. He hasn't had the big deal yet," Sando said. "The guarantee is what you play for and live for in the NFL, when it can end at any time. To me, you're gonna get the guarantee, which means you're probably not gonna get the same average that Revis got. That seems like a trade-off for me."
Saturday, November 2, 2013 @ 8:38am
By Brady Henderson
Sidney Rice's season-ending knee injury means Golden Tate becomes the Seahawks' No. 1 receiver, at least until Percy Harvin begins playing.
It also makes Tate the elder statesman of Seattle's receiver corp, something he acknowledged when he joined "Bob and Groz" on 710 ESPN Seattle earlier this week.
"Obviously, I hate to lose one of my best friends and a leader in our room and on this team, but that just means that I'm the next oldest guy," said the 25-year-old Tate, who's in his fourth season. "It's time for me to step up, take my game to another level. I'm expecting my load to be more, especially until Percy comes back, and I'm ready for it."
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby share additional thoughts on what Rice's injury means for Tate in the video above.
- December 10, 2013 - Hour: 1"Bob and Groz" dig in to the Seattle Times story about the Mariners dysfunctional front office, a
- December 10, 2013 - Hour: 2El Hombre joins "Bob and Groz" for his regular Tuesday visit - what's the national perspective on
- December 10, 2013 - Hour: 3Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times joins the show to discuss his recent story on the dysfunction in th
- December 9, 2013 - Hour: 1"Bob and Groz" react to yesterday's Seahawks loss with tight end Luke Willson. Plus - new UW head
- December 9, 2013 - Hour: 2"Bob and Groz" dive in to the Seahawks 19-17 loss to the Niners. Did the Hawks give the game away?
- December 9, 2013 - Hour: 3ESPN NFL Blogger Mike Sando joins "Bob and Groz" with his take on yesterday's Hawks-Niners game -