Updated Feb 25, 2014 - 9:41 am
The Bob and Groz Show on 710 ESPN Seattle
Thursday, April 3, 2014 @ 12:50pm
For most Super Bowl MVPs, the award marks the latest and often greatest accomplishment in a career that has already had many. Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith, though, is just hoping it helps him earn a starting job.
Smith was a part-time starter last season, and his role in 2014 isn't set in stone. As strange as that sounds, it's reality given how Seattle has only three starting spots for four linebackers who are all capable of starting.
Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith, the MVP of Super Bowl XLVIII, will have to compete for a starting role in 2014. (AP)
It wasn't as if Smith came out of nowhere when he was named the MVP of Super Bowl XLVIII after returning an interception for a touchdown, recovering a fumble and recording 10 tackles.
He was the one who caught the pass that was deflected by Richard Sherman in the NFC title game, the other half of the decisive play that punched Seattle's ticket to the Super Bowl. In Week 17, Smith returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown to help Seattle beat St. Louis and claim both the NFC West title and the conference's No. 1 seed. He made eight starts during the regular season, all of them coming when Seattle's normal starting linebackers – Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright – were either suspended or injured.
If he's going to be a full-time starter in 2014, Smith will have to break through a linebacker logjam.
Here's what we know: Wagner's spot in the middle is almost certainly secure, not only because of how well he played after returning from a midseason ankle injury but because Smith has only played on the outside during his three NFL seasons. Wright also entered the league in 2011 and has been a starter ever since, first on the strong side before moving over to the weak side last season. And Irvin likely isn't moving back to defensive end. That was the word from defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who told 710 ESPN Seattle that Irvin is "really in the right spot" at outside linebacker.
"I want to start, obviously," Smith said.
Here's more from Smith's appearance on "Bob and Groz":
Life as an MVP. Winning the Super Bowl MVP has meant newfound attention and some nice perks for Smith. He won a new Chevrolet truck, which he's giving to his mother. He's made the media rounds, including appearances on "SportsCenter" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live". There was also the trip to Walt Disney World. He flew there on a private plane and was given his own parade. "A lot of little kids thought I was pretty cool for being next to Mickey Mouse," he said.
No more dunking. Smith will go down as the last player to legally dunk a ball over the crossbar now that the NFL has disallowed the celebration. That's how he punctuated his pick-six in the Super Bowl – sort of. Understandably gassed after his 69-yard return, it was more like a layup. He'll need a new celebration now that it's no longer legal. "I should have had a new one before I did that one," he joked.
In the community. Smith was among the members of the Seahawks and Sounders who visited victims of the Oso mudslide last week. "It was a sad experience," he said, "but at the same time it's one of the most important things I've done in my entire life, being able to kind of just give a distraction to those people and kind of talk to them about what they've been going through." Smith has also worked with Food Lifeline to help launch "The Great American Milk Drive", an effort to provide food banks with milk for those in need. More information can be found here.
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.
Friday, March 28, 2014 @ 5:11pm
By Brent Stecker
Just like that, Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson is no longer with the Philadelphia Eagles. And just like that, speculation about the Seahawks' interest in him is rampant.
The Eagles parted ways with Jackson Friday, with the widespread belief being that coach Chip Kelly just doesn't see him as a fit in his system. Rumors of a gang affiliation certainly didn't help matters, either.
The Seahawks, however, just may have a spot for the controversial star, especially considering they lost Golden Tate to the Detroit Lions early on in the free-agent signing period.
Is Jackson's reputation too much of an issue for the Seahawks to pursue him? Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of 710 ESPN Seattle get to the bottom of it in the video above.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 @ 7:14pm
By Brady Henderson
Not since the 2004 Patriots has an NFL team repeated its Super Bowl championship. It's happened only three other times in the last 25 years, a rarity that speaks to how increasingly difficult it has become to sustain that level of success in the salary-cap era of the NFL.
That was among the evidence cited by Jeffri Chadiha in his latest column on ESPN.com in which he writes that talk of a Seahawks dynasty is premature. A more appropriate conversation, Chadiha believes, is how hard it could be for the Seahawks to repeat. His stated reasons include the players they've already lost, a roster that is about to become significantly more expensive, the complacency that tends to creep in following success, the increasingly strong competition they'll face in the NFC and the difficulty of continuing to find gems in the later rounds of the draft.
Chadiha joined 710 ESPN Seattle's "Brock and Danny" Tuesday to elaborate.
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby weigh in on the matter in the video above.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 @ 4:46pm
Nick Franklin is well aware of the speculation that he could be traded, and it's reached a point where the Mariners' infielder has come up with a stock answer to the daily questions about all the rumors.
What might happen is a trade that sends Franklin to one of the multiple teams who are reportedly interested. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Orioles, Mets and Rays have talked to the Mariners about acquiring Franklin. Heyman ranked him fourth in his list of the players who are most likely to be dealt during spring training.
Franklin, a first-round pick by Seattle in 2009, has been competing with Brad Miller to be the team's shortstop. With Robinson Cano locked in at second base, the assumption has been that Franklin would be the odd-man-out if he doesn't beat out Miller.
While general manager Jack Zduriencik acknowledged that there is interest in both players, he said there is no urgency to make a move with either.
"We're not forced to do anything," he told "Bob and Groz" on Wednesday. "I like both players a lot. You never know what could happen. All of the sudden someone twists an ankle, someone pulls a muscle – to have depth is good. But like any general manager your ears are wide open, so if someone comes talking and they talk to you about a proposal that makes a ton of sense then I think you have to listen.
"But we're not shopping either player. I don't have intentions of trading either guy, but part of my job is to listen to what people have to say when they call and I do that."
In the meantime, the speculation will continue and Franklin will do his best to ignore it.
"More importantly is just how I can handle it and what I can do to block it out," he said. "All I can do is play, and at the end of the day whatever happens happens because I can't control that."
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 @ 2:43pm
Kendrys Morales remains unsigned while the Mariners' lineup remains in need of another right-handed bat, but is it out of the question now that opening day is less than two weeks away?
Morales led the Mariners with a .277 average and 80 RBIs last season, his first in Seattle after he was acquired in an offseason trade. The two sides have reportedly been in communication but have not been close in negotiations, and Zduriencik's comments on Wednesday indicated as much.
Shannon Drayer explored this topic last week, noting that Morales does not appear to have much of a market outside of Seattle and that according to his agent, Scott Boras, he's prepared to wait until after the June draft to sign with a team.
Zduriencik indicated he's prepared to wait as well.
"I've been through these on many occasions," he said. "At the beginning, some of these players that signed this year, they were asking for $100 million contracts. They got a complete awakening as things went forward ... . There were players who got their money, there were other players who had to settle for different types of deals, and we'll see what happens with this player."
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 @ 1:50pm
By Brady Henderson
As much as Golden Tate wanted to stay in Seattle, he says the offer he received from the Seahawks gave him no choice but to leave.
That was the point Tate tried to get across during a candid interview in which he expressed some lingering displeasure over the lack of effort he says Seattle made to re-sign him and responded to the criticism of those who have failed to realize that's the reason he's no longer a Seahawk.
"I really had no choice. I tried. I tried. I did my very best to stay in Seattle, and I hope you guys believe what I'm saying," he told 710 ESPN Seattle's "Bob and Groz" on Tuesday. "I tried. I came out to the public and said I will take a discount, people – I didn't say I was going to take 40-50 percent off – but I will take a discount. And it still wasn't enough."
"I think the world of the 12s and I always will, but there's a large group of 12s who have quickly ... turned on me," Golden Tate told 710 ESPN Seattle, "and it's kind of bothered me because I honestly felt like I did give everything I possibly could to the city of Seattle. (AP)
"I'm just appalled at the attitudes I've received on Twitter from the people who I thought were Golden Tate fans and really thought highly of the Seahawks," he said, "but people are starting to show their true colors and that's something that I just really don't appreciate because I gave everything to Seattle that I possible could."
Tate's contract with the Lions includes a reported $13.25 million guaranteed. While he didn't mention specific numbers, he said Seattle made two offers that were not only significantly less than what he's making in Detroit but "laughable" considering what he felt he deserved.
Tate thought he had positioned himself well for a much bigger deal, citing the positive influence he had in the locker room and the community in addition to what he did on the field. He described a sense of disbelief at how differently the Seahawks saw it.
"I did everything right, and the offer that they offered, it was like, 'Is this serious?' " he said. "But the organization is offering guys from other places almost three times what they even offered me. And I was kind of like, 'Are you serious? I've given literally everything and this is what you give me.' "
"When you win championships, other teams want those guys and other teams are willing to pay a lot more to get those guys. I get it," he said. "But I felt like I was undervalued a little bit when it came to the numbers considering what all I had done."
Despite that, Tate left Seattle on good terms with the Seahawks. He said the moment he signed his contract with Detroit he was inundated for the remainder of the day with calls from throughout the Seahawks organization, including teammates, trainers, coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider.
"I'm a Detroit Lion, but the first team I was drafted by was Seattle and I had a great time and as a city we all accomplished a lot," Tate said. "That's something I will never, ever forget. We accomplished a lot for the first time. We won the first ever Super Bowl, so Seattle still has a place in my heart no matter how much they bad-mouthed me or how much they [offered] me. I love Seattle.
"For the fans who are loyal Golden Tate fans and loyal Seahawks fans who can put their feet in other people's shoes, I appreciate it. I appreciate it and I always will."
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 @ 12:05pm
By Brady Henderson
When last we heard about Jermichael Finley, the free-agent tight end had concluded a visit with the Seahawks. There was mutual interest, according to a report that charactered a deal as likely should Finley be medically cleared following neck surgery.
This was last week, several days before starting tight end Zach Miller agreed to a pay cut that ends any speculation about his spot on Seattle's roster. Miller was considered a candidate to be released because of his $7 million cap figure in 2014, which was reduced with his restructured contract.
One question remains, though, which is what that means for Finley, who remains unsigned.
Let's consider the two possibilities:
Seattle is still interested. The Seahawks ranked 27th in terms of receptions from tight ends last season with the trio of Miller, Luke Willson and Kellen Davis. Could they still view Finley as someone who could be primarily a receiving threat – assuming he receives medical clearance – while Miller remains the starter? Willson was Seattle's No. 2 tight end last season, and the Seahawks also re-signed Anthony McCoy last week.
Seattle is no longer interested. Was Finley a Plan B in case Miller balked at a pay cut? Seattle would need some sort of fallback option if Miller was released, and Finley was a starter with Green Bay. The one problem there, though, is that he has been known more for his skills as a receiver than a blocker, and Seattle's run-first offense would require a starter with the latter. That makes it hard to imagine that the Seahawks viewed Finley as a replacement for Miller if they were to part ways.
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby share their thoughts on Miller, Finley and the Seahawks in the video above.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 @ 9:06am
T.J. Houshmandzadeh hasn't been in the NFL since the 2011 season, but that doesn't mean the former Seahawks wide receiver has lost his swagger.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh caught 79 passes for 911 yards and three touchdowns in 2009, his lone season with Seattle. (AP)
"I would disagree with that very strongly," Houshmandzadeh said. "I was a route runner. That's what I do is run routes and get open in one-on-one."
He didn't back down from his statements when he joined 710 ESPN Seattle's "Bob and Groz" on Monday. Here's what Houshmandzadeh said about Sherman, as well as what he thought of Seattle's Super Bowl run and what he's up to these days.
Why he could beat Richard Sherman in coverage: "The only reason I got a chance to play in the NFL was because my ability to get open one-on-one. That's just what I did. I was smart. I knew where the weakness was in the defense. If you know what coverage they're playing, you know what they're gonna try to take away and you know what they're gonna give up. As a student of the game, me knowing that, I know what I can do and what I can't do in certain situations. ... I'm more than confident I would have done well."
On whether Richard Sherman is the best cornerback in the NFL: "That's a very subjective question. It's almost like 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder.' It depends. He's one of the best, but to say that one person is the best, you don't know what one is asked to do in certain situations or responsibilities, where their help is at. And the smart guys like Richard Sherman is, they're gonna play to their help. The better players are the smarter players."
On the Seahawks' defense: "Football is the ultimate team game. They have a hell of a pass rush getting after you. They have the two best safeties on the same team. What (coach Pete Carroll) has done up there with that defense is wild. It's unbelievable, man, how they're able to just stack up so many good players after good player after good player."
Thoughts on safety Earl Thomas: "The first day Earl got there he came up to me to talk smack. He said, 'I know who you are.' His dad was talking trash to me. Earl Thomas' daddy was talking trash to me. 'Boy, my son will tear you up, boy.' "
On the Seahawks' championship run: "It's not a surprise. Honestly, I did not think they'd win the Super Bowl because I just didn't think they'd be able to slow Denver down. ... I wouldn't say I was shocked, but boy, I was way off of that estimate."
What he's up to these days: "My kids pretty much occupy my time. My daughters play softball. ... They're just doing really well in softball, so that's pretty much what I do. I watch ESPN, NFL Network about football, and then I get on the computer and learn softball. It's no different, man. I want my kids to be the best so I want to learn as much as I can about the sport so that any information I give them, I'm not giving them any bad information."
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