Wednesday, May 22, 2013 @ 3:47pm
Bruce Irvin's suspension, Josh Portis' arrest and Cliff Avril's injury overshadowed what likely would have otherwise been the leading story from the Seahawks' first OTA on Monday.
That marked the first time media members got to see a practice featuring Percy Harvin, the headliner of Seattle's offseason additions.
Harvin's unique athletic ability was a main reason the Seahawks paid through the nose to acquire him, first in draft-pick compensation and then with a hefty new contract. According to Dave Boling of The News Tribune, Harvin appeared as advertised on Monday.
"He has a turbo gear. He pushes that button and it's warp speed," Boling told "Bob and Groz" on Wednesday.
"A couple of times he just blew past people or then in small space executed a move that just left Byron Maxwell just like, 'Where is he?' – grabbing air," he added.
That conversation shifted to the players who will be most impacted now that Harvin is on board. Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby share their thoughts in the video below.
You can listen to Wednesday's show here.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 @ 1:51pm
The start of organized team activities on Monday included some unwanted storylines for the Seahawks.
Not practicing was Cliff Avril, who was forced to watch from the sideline because of a plantar-fascia foot injury.
And not present was Marshawn Lynch, the only non-injured player on Seattle's roster who was a no-show at the voluntary OTA.
"We miss him. We'd like him to be here," coach Pete Carroll said. "This is a lot of fun. There's a lot of good stuff happening here."
Lynch also skipped the start of the Seahawks' offseason program in mid-April. Carroll said his absence from Monday's OTA wasn't injury-related.
"He's in very good shape. He came in 10 days ago and was in really good shape," Carroll said. "He's working on a really intense program in his area and he's benefiting from it. We'd love to see everybody here."
So would Brock Huard. In the video below, he explains why he has a problem with Lynch's absence.
You can listen to Wednesday's show here.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 @ 9:44am
Editor's note: This column was written on the wrong side of 2 a.m. by a host who is currently on a beach in Southeast Asia suffering from severe jet lag and under the influence of copious amounts of fruit juice, everything from mango to young coconut.
That was one description of a condition currently afflicting the Seahawks. A spate was another term for the run of players on this team who have violated the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances going back to 2011.
A glut was another term that someone used to evoke the feeling that this team that has made so much progress under coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider is suffering from – well – an enhanced number of players getting popped by the NFL for taking a substance banned by the league because it's deemed to aid performance.
Now, there are a lot of reasons to be troubled by the fact that defensive end Bruce Irvin is the fifth Seahawk on the active roster in three years to be suspended for a violation of that policy.
It means that players are failing to understand either what they are putting in their bodies or what they are allowed to put in their bodies. It also means they are not listening to their coaches and other support staff about what they are allowed to use.
What it doesn't mean, though, is that the Seahawks are a team seeking to contend through chemistry as so many have implied. Anyone who thinks so is advised to consider this simple fact: You don't have to beat a drug test to take a performance-enhancing substance in the NFL. At least not until the league and its players association reach an agreement on a test for human-growth hormone (HGH). Major League Baseball tests for it. So does the Olympics.
Defensive end Bruce Irvin is the fifth Seahawk since 2011 to be suspended for violating the NFL's policy on PEDs. (AP)
A player can't test positive for HGH in the NFL because the league doesn't have an agreement in place to test for it, the most commonly cited excuse being that a blood test is required. Consider that next time someone says Seattle's list of suspensions is some sort of indication that this team is taking an illicit chemical route to fulfilling last year's mantra of "Bigger, Faster, Stronger."
That's not to say Seattle's players are blameless in this. No, there's plenty of blame to go around, especially considering the prevalence of one specific drug among the Seahawks' suspensions.
That drug is Adderall, which is the only type of amphetamine that can be legally prescribed. It can be used for the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the NFL permits a player to use it only if he applies for – and receives – a therapeutic-use exemption.
There have been five Seahawks on the active roster suspended for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. The number climbs to six if you include Vai Taua, a practice-squad running back who was previously suspended.
Three of those Seahawk suspensions have been linked – either directly or indirectly – to Adderall.
Guard John Moffitt was suspended in 2011, which he attributed to Adderall. Moffitt said last year that while he once had a prescription for the drug, it was old, and in any case, he was not aware it was banned because he wasn't in training camp the day it was discussed. Cornerback Brandon Browner reportedly tested positive for amphetamines last year, serving a four-game suspension. Now comes defensive end Bruce Irvin, whose statement released by the team clearly implied that Adderall was the drug he used by stating it was "prohibited without a medical exemption."
Plenty of people have implied the drug is some sort of smokescreen, which is understandable. One of the biggest flaws of the league's drug-testing policy is that it does not specify what banned substance a player tested positive for. Adderall has come to be characterized as a convenient excuse for a player who wants to avoid the stigma generally associated with a positive test. After all, it is legal with a prescription and it is an amphetamine as opposed to an anabolic steroid. Adderall doesn't really fit our preconceptions about a performance-enhancing drug. It wouldn't seem to help you get stronger or faster.
That doesn't mean it's OK or it's harmless. Plenty of drugs available by prescription are performance-enhancers, and who's to say the properties of speed are any less a performance-enhancer than a drug that helps you recover faster from a workout, building more muscle?
The Seahawks do have a problem they need to address: Players continue to test positive for banned substances, showing that either they don't know the guidelines from the league, aren't diligent about following them or are outright disregarding them.
To imply that this run of positive drug tests implies the Seahawks have a roster full of players seeking a chemical advantage who simply point to Adderall when they're caught is inherently misguided, though, because it fails to consider that the league isn't even testing for one of the most obvious chemical advantages a player could seek out.
If you really were a player seeking some sort of pharmaceutical edge, why wait to get suspended so you can blame it on Adderall when you can take a substance that the league isn't currently testing for?
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 @ 9:45pm
Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin are each entering contract years amid questions about whether the Seahawks will re-sign both after spending big money this offseason on another wide receiver, Percy Harvin.
Considering the stakes, it's notable that each drew strong reviews from a pair of former NFL players for how they looked during the Seahawks' first organized team activity on Monday.
Steve Raible, a Seahawks receiver for six seasons before becoming the team's play-by-play voice, watched Monday's session with a close eye on Seattle's wideouts. He was particularly impressed with Tate and Baldwin.
"The first thing that I saw ... was how really quick and precise and strong and effective Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate looked yesterday," Raible told "Brock and Danny" on Monday. "They looked like they've been at this a long time. Now granted, they're veterans, but it's not like they've been in the league 15 years; these guys are young. But they were so precise in their routes, they looked so smooth in running those routes and so explosive coming out of their breaks."
Tate, by his own admission, was slow to grasp the nuances of route running earlier in his career. He said Monday that improving his releases has been a point of emphasis this offseason.
Brock Huard also saw good things from Tate and Baldwin on Monday. He mentioned them in his latest column and elaborates in the video below.
You can listen to Tuesday's show here.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 @ 1:23pm
I don't know if you've heard about the sports-radio host who predicted that the Mariners would hit 200 homers or the Seahawks would go 19-0 this year.
He's the same one who predicted that Chris Hansen would come home with the promise of an expansion team at the NBA owners' meeting last week.
Hansen returned to Seattle with nothing. After smacking three homers in Monday's 10-8 loss to Cleveland, the Mariners are on a pace for 190. The Seahawks are still unbeaten, but it's only May, three and a half months from the season opener at Carolina on Sept. 8.
I thought they had a shot at an undefeated season after acquiring Percy Harvin in a trade and Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in free agency. Then throw in what they picked up in the draft, particularly Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams on the defensive line. They went 12-6 last year without those players and keep in mind that they dropped those six games by a combined 26 points.
But Bruce Irvin's four-game suspension is making me waffle a bit. When you make a 19-0 prediction, you don't need guys to violate the NFL's performance-enhancing substances policy.
You don't want to see the Seahawks take on Carolina, San Francisco, Jacksonville and Houston without Irvin. Sure, they'll probably beat the Jaguars without him, but what about the other three opponents?
The Seahawks will be without Bruce Irvin for their first four games, including a Week 2 meeting with the 49ers. (AP)
The 49ers? You don't want to face the NFC champs, even at home, without all hands on board.
The Jaguars? No problem there.
And the Texans? The Seahawks are one-point favorites to win at Houston, but that's certainly a losable game with or without Irvin.
You can justifiably argue that Irvin didn't make that much of a difference in many games last year. He was a situational player, primarily used to rush the quarterback. He was also a rookie, adjusting to the NFL like all first-year players.
Much more is expected from the former first-round choice this year. Or much more was expected.
I'm still mystified as to why Irvin would take Adderall in the offseason. From what I understand, it fires you up and helps you focus. What's the point of that in the offseason before you're even required to show up for practice? Which leads me to believe he didn't take Adderall but actually took something else.
I guess that part of it doesn't matter. Since we're in Seattle and since he's young, I get the feeling that we cut him more slack than we would if we were somewhere else and if Irvin were 29 instead of 25 years old.
If we were somewhere else, we'd be ripping and mocking the Seahawks for having five players who have been suspended for violating the NFL's PED policy in the last two years. We'd be calling them the Seadderall Seahawks.
We'd be criticizing Irvin's public apology, saying that what he's most sorry about is getting caught. We'd be playing the air violin after seeing him tweet that he's been depressed for weeks and experiencing sleepless nights.
Maybe he'll come back for the game at Indianapolis on a natural high, more focused and fired up than ever, seeking redemption.
Until then, Irvin's suspension will be a distraction because it's the latest in a series of PED screw-ups by the Seahawks. National media types were coming to Seattle anyway to write about the Seahawks' Super Bowl potential. Now they'll have different story angles in mind.
You know what else caught me off-guard? The news from Monday that Avril is dealing with a plantar fasciitis issue. Pete Carroll said it's minor. Avril said it's minor. But it bears watching. Remember how it affected Red Bryant last year?
Unless I'm mistaken, the Seahawks in their first four games will have only one true pass-rushing defensive end in the currently sore-footed Avril. After tearing his ACL in the playoff game at Washington, Chris Clemons likely won't be available. Neither will Greg Scruggs, who recently tore his ACL.
Maybe Bennett, the hybrid defensive tackle/end, can fill in. Maybe converted linebackers Malcolm Smith and Mike Morgan can, too.
But these are red flags. Forget about an unbeaten season; what about overtaking the 49ers in the NFC West?
For that to happen, the margin of error is slim, and Irvin's mistake doesn't help matters at all.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, www.jimmoorethego2guy.com; www.seattlepi.com; and www.kitsapsun.com. You can reach him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo. Jim appears weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. on "Wyman, Mike and Moore".
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 @ 9:28am
Josh Portis would have had a hard time earning a spot on the Seahawks' roster as their No. 2 quarterback, and his recent arrest likely sealed his fate.
Portis, 25, was competing with Brady Quinn and Jerrod Johnson to be Russell Wilson's backup. He participated in Monday's OTA practice hours after reports surfaced that he had been arrested on May 5 on suspicion of DUI after he was pulled over for driving 80 mph in a 60 mph zone on Interstate 90.
According to a report from the Washington State Patrol, an arresting officer noticed "a strong odor of intoxicants" coming from Portis' vehicle and claimed that Portis performed poorly in field sobriety tests. Portis submitted to a breath test that registered blood-alcohol levels of .092 and .078. The state's legal limit is .08.
Portis will be arraigned on May 28.
Portis was in his second stint with the Seahawks, who signed him as an undrafted free agent out of California University (Pa.) in 2011. Portis spent his rookie season on Seattle's roster as the third quarterback but never saw the field. He spent 12 weeks on the Seahawks' practice squad last year before he was released in November. Seattle re-signed Portis in April shortly after trading Matt Flynn to Oakland.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 9:12pm
Ten observations from the Seahawks' first OTA practice on Monday that only a backup, middle child, left-handed quarterback can provide. Here goes ...
10. I appreciated coach Pete Carroll's impassioned comments about the number of image hits his organization has taken with five suspensions resulting from violations of the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. I can't help but wonder if there is a correlation between amphetamines and the pace and energy with which some of the younger players practice.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he's about five pounds heavier having focused on improving his lower-body strength during the offseason. (AP)
8. Christine Michael has to stay on the field and avoid the ice packs on the hamstrings. This roster and offense will be so challenged to spread the ball around and distribute touches, and if Michael can't stay healthy in practice, his looks will be minimal and opportunities scarce.
7. On a day like today with the sun shining, the grass freshly clipped and the boats anchored nearby, I'm reminded there is no facility in the NFL like the palace that Paul Allen built. It goes a long way towards creating the other rare NFL work environment – fostering a culture where guys don't want to go home and play video games, but would rather stay at the office.
6. Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin were not only sharp in their routes and execution, but it was obvious they are fighting for touches and their reputations. This isn't phase three for Baldwin and Tate; their offseason work and commitment with their quarterback has them in regular-season form.
5. Brady Quinn is no Kam Chancellor in terms of physique.
4. It is mind boggling how enormous the Legion of Boom is at field level, even in shorts and helmets. I remember Kelly Jennings, Fred Thomas, Marcus Trufant and the litany of diminutive corners the Seahawks ran out for years, and to see Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner close down angles and throwing lanes is a thing of beauty.
3. Find me a better offensive-line coach than Tom Cable. Try it.
2. There was a reason Indianapolis won 12 games a year for a decade. Peyton Manning set the tone, but Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison didn't miss minicamps or OTAs. When an organization's best and most talented players invest more than anyone else, results tend to follow.
1. Russell Wilson is really good. I chatted with Brady Quinn after practice, and let's just say he was blown away by the kid's arsenal and talent. On top of that, Wilson's makeup and demeanor are unwavering, and as Quinn alluded to, now it will be up to the rest of the team to keep up with him. Not bad for a second-year player.
I think I could keep going, but that is what the radio airwaves are for. You ready for football season to start? I am.
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 7:23pm
RENTON – Cliff Avril was a spectator as the Seahawks held their first organized team activity Monday, but he says the plantar fascia foot injury that kept him on the sideline is nothing to be concerned about.
While painful, Avril's injury didn't require surgery, and coach Pete Carroll said he expects the defensive end to be back to full speed in a matter of weeks.
That qualifies as a bit of good news for the Seahawks, who have seen their pass rush take a hit in recent weeks with Avril's foot injury, Greg Scruggs' ACL tear and Bruce Irvin's suspension. When the Seahawks signed Avril and Michael Bennett during the first week of free agency, their additions were seen as a luxury for a team that already had Irvin and at some point would get Chris Clemons back from a knee injury.
The outlook changed Friday when the NFL announced that Irvin will be suspended for the first four games of the season for a violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Irvin waived his right to appeal and acknowledged that he made a mistake by taking a substance that is prohibited without a medical-use exemption. He apologized publicly via a statement released by the team as well as a lengthy message posted on his Twitter account.
Irvin also apologized to his teammates during a team meeting. That impressed Avril, who saw plenty of teammates run afoul of the law and the NFL's policies during his five seasons with the Lions.
"Honestly, it was surprising for a young player like that to want to get in front of the team and apologize and what not. That was great, though, to see that maturity in him," Avril said. "I've only known him for a few weeks now, and to see a young player actually want to go out in front of 50, 60 guys and tell them what's going on and that he's going to miss the first four games of the season, much respect to him."
Irvin, eligible to participate in offseason activities despite his suspension, lined up at both Leo end and outside linebacker Monday. The Seahawks are considering using Irvin and Avril at outside linebacker in certain situations this season as a way of getting as many pass rushers on the field as possible, and Monday's OTA was an indication that they aren't scrapping that experiment because of Irvin's suspension.
Avril, 27, totaled 29 sacks over the last three seasons while mostly playing end in Detroit's 4-3 defense. While any new position requires a significant adjustment, starting in a two-point stance and dropping into coverage aren't completely foreign concepts for Avril, who began his career at Purdue as an outside linebacker. The Seahawks haven't offered many specifics about their plans for Avril and Irvin, but Avril said any action he sees in that role would include him lining up on the line of scrimmage.
"We talked about it during the process while I was signing. It's possible that there may be times where they need me to drop into coverage from time to time, and I do feel like I can do it. Whatever the team needs," he said. "But come passing downs, I truly believe I'll be one of the guys getting after the quarterbacks."