Updated Nov 4, 2013 - 4:10 pm
Wyman, Mike & Moore on 710 ESPN Seattle
Saturday, November 16, 2013 @ 9:33am
By Jim Moore
This is the Seahawks' fifth home game. They won and covered the spread in their first two games at CenturyLink Field against San Francisco and Jacksonville.
They won but did not cover the spread in their last two games against Tennessee and Tampa Bay.
They've won 13 games in a row at home, and Russell Wilson has never lost here.
For the fourth straight home game, the Seahawks are double-digit favorites, this time at 11.5 over Minnesota.
I'm trying to find reasons why the 2-7 Vikings will be competitive and maybe even win the game. Here's what I've come up with:
• Any team with Adrian Peterson – one of the best running backs of all time – has a chance, particularly since he ran for 182 yards last year in a 30-20 Minnesota loss at CenturyLink Field. If the Seahawks can give up 158 rushing yards to Tampa Bay's Mike James, they can certainly cough up 182 again to Peterson.
Even though the Seahawks are heavily favored, you can never count out the Vikings with reigning MVP Adrian Peterson on their side, as Jim Moore writes. (AP)
• The Vikings have played better in their last two games, losing in the final minute at Dallas 27-23 two weeks ago and beating Washington 34-27 in a Thursday night game.
• Since they played on Thursday, that gave them 10 days to prepare for the Seahawks. This is a reach of a reason to think that this will make them more competitive.
• It's the NFL, and on any given day, the worst team in the league can win – as Jacksonville proved in Tennessee last Sunday – and double-digit underdogs can win, too – as St. Louis proved in Indianapolis last Sunday.
• Jared Allen and Kevin Williams are pass rushers who could give Wilson problems in the pocket.
• They have the NFL's No. 1 kickoff and punt returners in Cordarrelle Patterson and Marcus Sherels. Patterson averages 35.2 yards on kickoff returns, and Sherels averages 16.3 yards on punt returns.
But that's where the reasons end. There must be others, but I can't think of any that outweigh the reasons why the Seahawks will throttle the Vikings.
Minnesota is equally terrible on both sides of the ball, ranking 28th in total offense and 30th in total defense. They allow 114 rushing yards, 286 passing yards and 31 points a game.
When you look at those numbers, you'd guess that Marshawn Lynch will run for more than 100 yards for the third game in a row – he needs 129 to get to 1,000 for the season.
You'd also like to think that Wilson might throw for 300 yards for the second time this year and third time in his career.
He should have more time to throw with the return of starting tackles Breno Giacomini and Russell Okung.
Plus the Seahawks should be more explosive than ever with Percy Harvin making his Seattle debut against his former team. Though most think Harvin will be eased into the offense in his first game of the season, I'm guessing he'll do something so spectacular to warrant headlines Monday morning.
Defensively, the Seahawks should have their way with an erratic Christian Ponder, who is playing after separating his left shoulder against the Redskins.
And I'm thinking it's a good thing that Adrian Peterson is Adrian Peterson and not Mike James or Zac Stacy, the Rams' tailback who ran all over the Seahawks a few Monday nights ago.
When you're Adrian Peterson, you get the full attention of an opponent. The Seahawks will be completely geared up to stop him.
I took the Titans and the points against the Seahawks and the Bucs and the points, but I can't make a good case for taking the Vikings this week. The Seahawks should roll into their bye week at 10-1.
Prediction: Seahawks 31, Vikings 13.
Season record against the spread: 6-4.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, and kitsapsun.com. You can reach him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.
Thursday, November 14, 2013 @ 4:20pm
By Jim Moore
A weird stretch to Washington State's schedule ends on Saturday when the Cougars finally play a football game again.
I can't recall a time when Washington State played only one game in almost a month. Mike Leach's team faced Oregon on Oct. 19, Arizona State on Halloween, and now this game against Arizona on Nov. 16.
Washington State allowed an average of 56 points per game in losses to Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona State. (AP)
As you know, we were awful that night. No amount of stealing candy from my kids' trick-of-treat bags made that one tolerable. The Sun Devils beat us 55-21, and let's be honest, they could have scored 80 points if they'd wanted to.
What the heck has happened to our defense? I didn't think it was as good as the nationally-ranked defense that stifled USC, Southern Utah and Idaho, but I didn't think it was as bad as the one that has allowed 169 points the last three games. That's an average of 56 points a game against Oregon State, Oregon and Arizona State.
I guess, technically, we've still got a shot at making it to a bowl game, but who in his right mind thinks that will happen after what we've seen in the last month.
We have to win two of our last three against Arizona, Utah and Washington. We're 12.5-point underdogs against the Wildcats. I'm guessing that Utah will be a slight favorite over the Cougs in our last home game Nov. 23. The Dawgs will probably be 17-point favorites in the Apple Cup.The defense might be able to slow down the Utes, but the Wildcats and Huskies? Not so much.
Which means quarterback Connor Halliday will have to be lights out for us to have a shot in the other two games, starting Saturday in Tucson.
Quarterback B.J. Denker has been more of a throwing threat of late for Arizona, but the Wildcats will still rely on running back Ka'Deem Carey, the second-best rusher in the country, averaging 152 yards a game.
After watching us in the last three games, I'm more cynical than optimistic but hoping that it's just a reflection of the opponents we've been playing than regression on our part. Then again, it's not like the Beavers are any great shakes, and they still blew us out in the fourth quarter.
Wish I felt differently, but I can't see us beating Arizona. What makes anyone think that Halliday will magically transform himself and have a no-interception day? What makes anyone think the Cougs will stop Carey?
If the game were at Martin Stadium, we'd have a chance to win. But it's not so we don't.
Pessimism reigns until the Cougs show glimmers of hope that we haven't seen for 60 minutes since the Cal game.
Prediction: Arizona 41, Washington State 23.
Season record against the spread: 5-4.
Monday, November 11, 2013 @ 12:02pm
By Michael Grey
Well, now what?
For the last two weeks, criticism from the fans and media (myself included) flowed in about the Seahawks' porous run defense, offensive line woes, pressure on Russell Wilson, offensive play-calling, choice in uniform combinations, etc.
Mind you, those critiques followed back-to-back victories in the midst of the best start in franchise history.
After all the talk of benchings, lineup changes and play-calling adjustments, all the Seahawks did was put together the best effort of the regular season in every measurable fashion.
Tightening up execution in the run defense? Check. Atlanta's 32nd-ranked rushing attack was held to 64 yards on 16 carries.
Trouble with the offensive line and those three replacement players? Check. Wilson was sacked only once, threw no interceptions, had lots of time in the pocket and finished with a 134.6 quarterback rating.
Run-pass balance in the offensive play-calling? Check. Seattle rolled up 211 yards on 42 rushes and 279 yards on a 19-for-26 day from Wilson.
Even the uniform choice (white tops, navy pants) is the best in the road arsenal, in my humble opinion.
Oh, and the Niners were beaten on their home field by the suddenly-stout Panthers. How much better can a Sunday get for the 12th Man?
So now what?
After a lifetime of watching football (most of it mediocre to horrible) my advice would be to step outside, take a deep breath of Pacific Northwest air and enjoy it. Expectations for the Seahawks were sky-high when the year began, but that should not in any way sully the fact that this team is putting together and incredibly special season.
The win total alone tells you that you're in rarefied air. But upon a closer look, the injuries at key positions, daunting road schedule, complete lack of that Percy Harvin guy and the reliance on a second-year quarterback should soften even the toughest critic. I have never been accused of pumping sunshine but I believe in giving credit where credit is due, and this year's Seahawks are in the midst of an amazing season.
Enjoy it. At least for one week.
Saturday, November 9, 2013 @ 3:20pm
By Jim Moore
After taking the Buccaneers and the points last Sunday, I'm at 5-4 against the spread in Seahawks games this year.
I've taken the Seahawks' opponent in the last four games, feeling like the points that Vegas offered with the underdogs were too good to pass up. In three games I was right – Tennessee, St. Louis and Tampa Bay – and in one game I was wrong – Arizona.
Amazingly, the Seahawks have been favored in every game this year. The only time they won't be is on Dec. 8 when they play at San Francisco. This week as I write this, they're favored by 5 over the Falcons. That's down from 6.5 earlier this week.
Six reasons to take the Falcons and the points:
• They're a desperate team at 2-6. They have to win to still have a chance to make the playoffs.
The Seahawks beat the Bucaneers in overtime on Steven Hauschka's field goal last Sunday, marking the third time in four games they won but didn't cover the spread. (AP)
• Matt Ryan plays better at home. He's completed 73 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and only one interception in four games at the Georgia Dome.
• The Falcons are better at home, beating the Rams and the Bucs while losing close games to the Patriots and Jets.
• Roddy White returns, giving Ryan another downfield weapon to go with Tony Gonzalez.
• If the Rams' Zac Stacy and the Bucs' Mike James can run for more than 100 yards against the Seahawks, Steven Jackson can, too.
• Without Max Unger, the Seahawks will be playing without three starting offensive linemen, which suggests that Russell Wilson will struggle to find time to throw again.
Six reasons to take the Seahawks and give the points:
• Redemption. The Seahawks will want to atone for the 30-28 loss to Atlanta in the playoffs last year.
• Ryan himself. I know the Falcons' quarterback is listed in the reasons why you should like Atlanta and the points, but I also think the Seahawks' secondary will be fully engaged this week. I'm guessing that it was hard for them to get up for the quarterbacks they faced the last two weeks in Kellen Clemens and Mike Glennon.
• Seattle's improved run defense. Also guessing that we won't see the Falcons go over 200 rushing yards like the Rams and Bucs did. Why? Because we're led to believe that Bobby Wagner will be on the field for fewer snaps, yielding to better run defenders K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith. Plus, the Falcons have the worst rushing offense in the league, averaging 64.4 yards a game.
• Thanks to the 49ers, who have won five in a row, the Seahawks will have plenty of incentive to keep winning themselves. They have a one-game lead in the loss column and need to stay in front of San Francisco to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
• The Falcons aren't the team they were last year. It's hard to get that out of my head, but teams change from year to year, and this is not the same quality team that played in the NFC championship game. They allow 27.3 points a game, and they're not as dynamic on offense without Julio Jones. When you're 2-6, you find ways to lose.
• And the best reason why the Seahawks will beat the Falcons and cover the five-point spread – they're the vastly superior team.
Prediction: Seahawks 34, Falcons 20.
Season record against the spread: 5-4.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, and kitsapsun.com every Monday. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.
Friday, November 8, 2013 @ 5:57pm
With the experiences that Seahawks running back Robert Turbin has lived through, he never has a problem keeping everything in perspective.
Turbin may only be 23, but he's been through a lifetime of tragedies and hard situations. His older sister, Trina, died at 21 from multiple sclerosis. An older brother, Lonnie, had a history of drug problems and was shot to death at 35. Another sister, Tiffany, has been afflicted with cerebal palsy since he was born. His mother has battled with drug abuse and has never been a big part of his life.
Seahawks running back Robert Turbin is only 23, but he's lived through the deaths of a brother and a sister. (AP)
That's why Turbin, despite having shown flashes of brilliance in his two seasons with the Seahawks, doesn't dwell on being a second-string player for Seattle.
"I just try to handle great situations and bad situations as best I can. I never get too low or get too high. I try to stay even keel with everything that's going on," Turbin said on 710 ESPN Seattle's "Wyman, Mike and Moore" on Friday. "That's why I don't get overly upset about still being the back-up running back and stuff like that. My time will come. It's all about just having patience and just keeping working. No matter what it is that you're doing, whether you're playing ball or something else."
Even though his family life was full of instability, Turbin did have his father, Ronald, a retired truck mechanic and assistant church pastor, to lean on.
"I'm very proud of the way my father raised me and grown me into the kind of man I am today," he said. "Everybody's got their own story, and everybody's lifestyle is different, and I'm proud of the way I grew up."
Now, Turbin, who followed his father's example and went above and beyond to take care of his sisters growing up, is looking out for another family member.
"My little brother, he actually lives with me now. He wanted to play basketball and stuff like that, so he's playing basketball for the Bellevue junior college team, and I'm just here to support him and help him any way that I can to achieve his goals and dreams, which is to be an NBA basketball player," Turbin said. "He was in Fresno, Calif., playing basketball out there for a little bit. It wasn't working out, so I just decided to kinda take him under my wing and try to guide him to how I was able to get here as a professional football player.
"Any way I can help, I will, and that's for him and anybody else in my family."
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 @ 4:09pm
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik joined 710 ESPN Seattle's "Wyman Mike and Moore" Wednesday afternoon and gave insight into why he chose former Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon as his next manager before giving some quick thoughts on a number of free agents Seattle might pursue.
McClendon, who will be introduced to the media Thursday afternoon, was a finalist for the Mariners job in 2010 when Eric Wedge was hired. Why now and not then, Zduriencik was asked?
"He's a tough guy, he's a quiet guy," M's general manager Jack Zduriencik said of new skipper Lloyd McClendon. (AP)
Zduriencik admitted that McClendon's managerial experience was a factor in his selection but revealed that he wasn't the only candidate who had managed at the big-league level.
"Experience as a manager helped but we had many discussions with guys who had managerial experience before that," Zduriencik said. "At the end this was the group of five that we thought were the best fit for us."
Part of the vetting process included talking to numerous players who had played for McClendon. Zduriencik liked what he heard.
"To a man, even the players in Detroit right now had great things to say about his demeanor," Zduriencik said. "He's a tough guy, he's a quiet guy, very humble. It's not out there, it's not in-your-face personality but it is a very confident inner quietness about him, but his players play hard for him and they respect him."
Most view McClendon as an "old-school" type of manager much like the man he coached under for the past eight years, Jim Leyland. The Mariners, however, have been moving toward using numbers more, and utilize an entire analytics department in baseball operations. According to Zduriencik, this is something McClendon is ready and willing to work with.
"We went over a lot of the things that we are doing – some of the stuff we view that we are going to do in the future – presented it to him, and Lloyd's response was, 'This is great. I am all in on everything. Anything that is going help us get better, give us an advantage, I am going to be wide open to. I am looking forward to sitting down with all your baseball ops guys and hear their contributions as well as the old-school baseball guys and kind of put the whole package together and make decisions and move forward with that thought process.' "
With the manager search behind him, it is now time for Zduriencik to turn his focus to the roster. Jim Moore went rapid fire with his question for Zduriencik and got the following responses:
Moore: "Will you be pursuing Jacoby Ellsbury?"
Zduriencik: "Good call."
Moore: "Shin-Soo Choo?"
Zduriencik: "Good call."
Moore: "Masahiro Tanaka?"
Zduriencik: "Outstanding talent."
The closest Zduriencik came to actually answering a question about pursuing a free agent was when he was asked if Seattle would bring back Raul Ibanez.
"Raul was a integral part of what we have been done and certainly we are going to have discussions with Raul, no question," Zduriencik answered.
Finally, Zduriencik addressed the question of what he personally could do through player acquisition to help interest the fanbase again. He pointed out that in addition to having "a lot" of payroll flexibility this year he believed that the young players would take another step forward with another year under their belts and that there should be excitement for what we saw from the young pitching in September.
Despite the positives he sees, he understands that at this point of the year it is nothing but talk.
"I realize that the proof is in the pudding," Zduriencik said. "You have to prove it on the field. I am not going to make great promises right now. We have to do it in spring training and when the season starts, but I can tell you we have worked hard for five years to get us to a point where we have young talent. We have that and I think if we are able to augment it this winter, it is going to be good times moving forward. And we have paid the price.
"Trust me, I understand where the fanbase is, I understand the apathy that is out there."
Saturday, November 2, 2013 @ 12:21pm
By Jim Moore
It's hard to picture a scenario in which Tampa Bay beats the Seahawks on Sunday.
Then again, it was hard to picture the Titans beating the Seahawks last month, and they were ahead at halftime before losing 20-13.
Same goes for the Rams last Monday, three feet from winning before losing 14-9.
The Seahawks have a habit of playing down to their competition or sputtering on offense because of injuries on the line.
Russell Wilson has been able to stay healthy despite taking a lot of punishment this season, but as Jim Moore writes, he won't stay that way at the rate he's been taking hits. (AP)
It could catch up to them at some point but shouldn't this week against a Bucs team with a coach on the hot seat.
I don't like taking teams with coaches on the hot seat. You wonder if you're getting a full effort from players who aren't completely behind their coach.
John Clayton says that Greg Schiano will likely be fired by Thanksgiving. That's what happens to winless coaches.
Even without that huge intangible, the Bucs don't have the horses on offense to cope with a Seattle defense that is at its best at home. Opponents have averaged 11 points at CenturyLink Field this year.
The Bucs are 31st in the league in total offense with 297.7 yards a game and are also 31st in scoring at 14.3 points a game.
In two words, they're terrible. On top of that, they have a rookie quarterback, Mike Glennon, who is bound to be rattled by the 12th man.
It's pretty much guaranteed that the Bucs won't score very often, and when they do, it's more likely to come via the field goal than the touchdown.
Which is fine by me because it will be good to see Rian Lindell again -- the former Cougar and Seahawk kicker is now with Tampa Bay.
But what about the Seahawks' offense? Will Russell Wilson get time to throw? Will Darrell Bevell call more running plays for Marshawn Lynch? Will the offensive line block well enough to sustain drives? Will the receivers step up in the absence of Sidney Rice?
More than anything else, I'd just like to see Wilson on his feet 99 percent of the time. I'd like to see him handing the ball off to Lynch as frequently as possible. Without getting too technical with football jargon I don't understand, I'd like to see some three-step drops with quick throws if that's what it takes to keep Wilson from being hit so often.
At the rate he's being smacked around, there's no way he'll stay healthy in the second half of the season. He almost seems indestructible, but he's not.
Everyone knows the Seahawks have a great shot at home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and the Super Bowl with him.
Without him, they have a reasonable shot of making the playoffs as a wild-card team and losing in the first round on the road. Big difference.
It's perfect timing to have the Bucs in town. Even not being at full strength, the Seahawks can beat them. This game will buy them time until their starting tackles return, and there's good news on that front -- Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini will practice on Wednesday.
They likely won't play at Atlanta next Sunday but could be ready for the Vikings on Nov. 17.
Additionally, Percy Harvin should super-charge the offense when he makes his debut in the next two weeks.
As for this week's game, the Seahawks are favored by 16 ½ points, but I don't think they'll cover the spread. Their offense has too many concerns, and the Bucs might be 0-7, but they're not as bad as the Jaguars, who were 17-point underdogs when they lost to the Seahawks 45-17.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, Buccaneers 13.
Season record against the spread: 4-4.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website jimmoorethego2guy.com and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.
Friday, November 1, 2013 @ 9:55am
By Jim Moore
The unfiltered version of how I really feel the morning after the Cougars' 55-21 loss to Arizona State on Halloween night in Pullman.
Three things we learned:
1. Overall, we're not as good as I thought we were.
Going into the game, I wasn't sure. Our four losses were against Auburn, Stanford, Oregon State and Oregon, four teams that are either very good or great.
I liked to think that our losses had more to do with the caliber of competition than anything else. What I should have been looking at were our four wins over USC, Southern Utah, Idaho and Cal. We beat the Trojans when they were coached by Lane Kiffin. We beat two bad teams in Southern Utah and Idaho. Ditto for Cal.
2. Defensively, we're not as good as I thought we were.
Did you catch that stat in Bud Withers' story in The Seattle Times Friday morning? In a 10-quarter span against Oregon State, Oregon and Arizona State, the Cougars gave up 1,676 yards. That isn't awful, it's gawd awful.
Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly threw four touchdown passes Thursday night and ran for two scores ... in the first half. Let's be honest, if the Sun Devils had wanted to, they could have scored 80 or 90 points instead of 55.
The Cougs have allowed an average of 56 points in the last three games.
3. Offensively, we're not as good as I thought we were.
Sometimes I watch our offense and it looks like a well-oiled machine. A pass here, a catch there. We cross the yellow line over and over again, picking up first downs on our way to the end zone.
Other times, like Thursday night, I watch the Cougs and think: "Man, I'm sick of this dink and dunk offense." We had too many drops against Arizona State.
And let's be honest again, Connor Halliday is never going to take us to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. I like the kid and know he's trying, and he can be terrific at times, but overall, he's just not very good, and the fact that he leads the country in interceptions is proof.
Three things we're still trying to figure out:
1. Why is Halliday playing the entire game?
Someone explain why Austin Apodaca wasn't in there in the fourth quarter Thursday night and two weeks ago in Eugene. We were already blown out. We had no chance of winning, so why not get some experience for your backup quarterback while resting your starter and reducing the chances of him getting injured?
Am I missing something here? If Halliday does get hurt in a future game, wouldn't you want Apodaca to be better prepared to take over? To be better prepared, don't you need more game reps? I don't get that at all.
2. Can the Cougs still make it to a bowl game?
That certainly seems like a stupid question right now, but it's a possibility given the quality of the next three opponents – Arizona, Utah and Washington. None is an upper-tier Pac-12 team. Problem is, neither is Washington State. Arizona and Washington will be double-digit favorites over the Cougs, and I'm guessing Utah will be a slight favorite in our last home game at Martin Stadium on Nov. 23.
We need to win two of the three, and our best shot is to beat Utah and then hope that we can re-enact the Apple Cup Toni Pole magic that we unleashed on the Dawgs last year. This is wishful thinking that borders on praying.
3. Is Mike Leach worth what we're paying him?
He's making $2.5 million a year. I understand that we're only in the second year of The Mike Leach Era, but did you think we'd look as bad as we did Thursday night in the latter part of his second season? This is a rock-star coach we hired, is it not? I know he's not a miracle worker, but I didn't think we'd be getting our doors blown off like this. I mean, we could lose like this with Paul Wulff making $600,000 as coach.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.
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