Friday, May 24, 2013 @ 4:05pm
Russell Wilson finished third behind fellow quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in voting for the NFL's offensive rookie of the year.
It appears he'll finish behind those two in the NFL Network's countdown of the top-100 players as well after checking in at No. 51 on Thursday.
Brock Huard shares his disagreement with that ranking in the video below.
You can listen to Friday's show here.
Thursday, May 23, 2013 @ 12:48pm
This time last year, Russell Wilson was a rookie quarterback trying to learn a new offense while splitting reps with Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson.
A year later, teammate Richard Sherman says his development is particularly evident in one area.
"He's grown miles and miles from where he was last year in terms of how confident he is in his reads, how quickly he makes his reads, how quickly he moves from No. 1 to No. 2 to No. 3," Sherman told "Brock and Danny" Thursday.
"His decision making is much quicker than it was last year, and I think that comes from all the work he puts in. He stays in the film room as much as, shoot, as much as the clickers do. He's in the film room like it's his second home, and I think it's showing."
Brock Huard noticed the same thing while watching Monday's OTA practice. He shares more thoughts on this in the video below.
You can listen to Thursday's podcast 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.
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.
Sunday, May 19, 2013 @ 3:02pm
Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma has been one of baseball's best pitchers in 2013, a surprise considering the Japanese export was relegated to the bullpen for the start of his MLB career in 2012. He's been so surprising heading into Monday's start against Cleveland that the right-hander not only ranks in the top three in the American League in ERA (1.62), WHIP (0.78) and batting average-against (.183), but he ranks ahead of Mariners ace and former Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez in each category.
Hisashi Iwakuma ranks in the top three in the A.L. in ERA and WHIP, and could be a valuable trade piece this summer. (AP)
While Iwakuma's been blowing away hitters, the Mariners' offense is clearly in need of more run producers – something that could be acquired by trading away Iwakuma.
Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner told "Brock and Danny" last week that the Mariners will have to at least explore the option of trading the 32-year-old "Kuma" this season to bolster their offense for the future.
"If the Mariners decide that they are not ready to ... take over Texas and make a playoff run, I think there is an argument that can be made that in two months Iwakuma might be one of the most valuable trade chips you can possibly have on the market because no one is selling pitching this year," Cameron said. "In a couple of months, it is going to be an interesting decision whether or not the Mariners keep Hisashi Iwakuma or trade him for younger players."
ESPN baseball analyst and ex-MLB general manager Jim Bowden echoed those sentiments on "Bob and Groz."
"Yeah, I think you have to consider (trading Iwakuma)," he said. "I wouldn't want to. I think you've a got a nice two- or three-year run with him, and I'd love to see him and Felix and (prospects Taijuan) Walker and (Danny) Hultzen all in the same rotation, but I think you always have to listen."
Should the Mariners pull the trigger on a swap involving Iwakuma, it likely won't come until much closer to the July 31 trade deadline, when the team will have a better idea of its postseason chances.
"I think you have to see where the Mariners are at the end of July," Bowden said. "Iwakuma's gonna give you a better shot to win than anything you're going to be able to get back in return, at least for the next couple of years. Keep an open mind, but I also think Iwakuma can be a very helpful part of this team making the playoffs over the next couple of years."
Bowden is justifiably impressed with what Iwakuma has done over the last year.
"He's a 1 starter. I watched him some last year. I've seen seven of the eight (starts in 2013). This guy is a 1," Bowden said. "He pounds the zone, doesn't miss in the middle. It's just incredible to watch him. He's a strikeout-per-inning kind of guy. I just love the fact that he pounds the zone, doesn't walk anybody, he uses both sides of the plate, he changes eye level, he changes planes – He is a 1."
If the Mariners hang on to Iwakuma through the end of his contract (he's signed through 2014, though the team has a $7 million option for 2015), he could be in line for a free-agent deal similar to Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, 38, who signed a one-year, $15 million deal after going 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA in 2012. A contract like that, coupled with Hernandez's seven-year, $175 million deal, and the expected arrivals of Walker, Hultzen and fellow top prospect James Paxton to the majors, could very well push the team to pursue a trade.
"I don't know if I see the organization wanting to give Iwakuma the kind of money he is going to get in a couple of years," Cameron said. "Are the Mariners going to want to be in a position where they are signing Iwakuma to a long-term deal with the young pitching coming?"
Saturday, May 18, 2013 @ 3:58pm
The Mariners shook off a slow start to 2013 and moved into a tie for second place in the American League West this week, getting within a game of the .500 mark at one point. But even though it's been a little more feast than famine for the Mariners, the continued struggles of high-profile young players like catcher Jesus Montero (.206 batting average, .257 on-base percentage, .330 slugging percentage) and second baseman Dustin Ackley (.234/.286/.285) show that it's not all rosy in Seattle, as ESPN baseball analyst Jayson Stark explained on "Brock and Danny."
The Mariners have turned their slow start to 2013 around, but Dustin Ackley is still sporting a sub-.400 slugging percentage. (AP)
"In the big picture, it's a real concern that Montero and Ackley in particular have not taken steps forward, have not been the offensive forces we thought they'd be," Stark said. "That's a big worry."
The Mariners had won five of their last six series heading into their current set at Cleveland, but the offensive players the team is counting on to show improvement haven't had much to do the with the hot streak. Instead it's been veterans like outfielders Raul Ibanez and Michael Morse that have provided a boost for the strong pitching staff.
"If you're looking at this year, I do think that this is at least a hang-around kind of offense," Stark said. "It's hard to justify saying that when we're talking about a team that's next-to-last in the league in runs scored, but you have more threats I think up and down the lineup than the Mariners have had in a long time. That's the difference for me."
With the pressure building on general manager Jack Zduriencik and manager Eric Wedge, Stark said the current pattern of occasional big games from veterans and little production from Ackley and Montero won't do them any favors.
"I think (player development) ultimately is the way that everybody will be judged. It's about whether Montero and Ackley and (third baseman Kyle) Seager and (outfielder Michael) Saunders ... become the building blocks for a better era. We know there's plenty of pitching in the system, but over the long haul these are the guys who have to make it happen," he said.
"Getting a big game from Raul Ibanez is a lot of fun, but that doesn't do it. If we're still sitting here in September and Montero and Ackley in particular have slugging percentages where they are now, under .350, under .400, that's trouble. I think that's big trouble. I don't know how many times we can say it or how many different ways we can say it, but somebody has to figure out how these guys make adjustments to react to how the league has adjusted to pitching to them."
Hisashi Iwakuma's emergence as one of the best No. 2 pitchers in baseball has been a big reason for the Mariners' improvement, as has solid bullpen performance. Unfortunately for the Mariners, they aren't the only American League team with a surprising pitching staff.
"If you look at the numbers now, there are a lot of teams that can pitch. What separates the good teams is that they can score off of good pitching, and I think that's one thing we still don't know about the Mariners," Stark said. "Again, a lot of it hinges on the kind of progress these guys make. There are a lot of eyes on that particular aspect of that team.
"The level of offense that people in Seattle have witnessed in the last few years is just about unprecedented. It's obvious to how the way the game is evolving. Basically we've rolled the clock back to 1992. ... Of the eight teams that were still left when we got to the (2012) division series, six of them were in the top 10 in baseball in OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage), so you've got to find ways to generate offense somehow. Pitching doesn't do it alone anymore."
- May 24, 2013 - Hour: 1With Danny overseas, KING 5's Chris Egan sits in. Brock and Egan talk Jack-Z, whether he is on the
- May 24, 2013 - Hour: 2Brock and Egan talk hypocrites and excuses during a conversation about the M's and Seahawks schedul
- May 24, 2013 - Hour: 3With M's tickets on the line, the show takes your calls for an epic game of "Finish the Lyrics".
- May 23, 2013 - Hour: 1With Danny overseas, Brock is joined by KING 5's, Chris Egan. The show starts with breaking news as
- May 23, 2013 - Hour: 2Brock and Egan continue their Mariners conversation by talking expectations and debating who to blam
- May 23, 2013 - Hour: 3Brock and Egan are joined by Richard Sherman to talk how close the Seahawks really are, the improvem