Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Where Do Real Offenses Come From?

We Seahawks fans are a unique breed. We're still riding high on the memory of 2005's Super Bowl offense, that unstoppable smashmouth machine. The reliable running game that defensive coordinators feared, the sharpness and zip of Matt Hasselbeck's play as he threw without duress, the favorable job the defense enjoyed of merely keeping opponents from outracing Seattle's points total. All enabled by a once-in-a-decade peak of skill and chemistry along the offensive line, complemented by an elite runner and a 6th-round quarterback obtained in trade. The Seahawks were catapulted to the top of the conference on the backs of that historic line, giving the team an aura of invincibility and the 12th Man the first taste of nation-wide respect they'd experienced in twenty years.

So why would we desire anything else? Why would we care how other teams get along? A lot of us honestly don't even watch non-Seahawks football. I hadn't until 2009, when I started suspecting that Seattle's QB issues were independent of the other problems on offense. I started researching the history of playoff teams, especially those who repeat. I learned a lot from draftniks who observe the draft tendencies and priorities of teams that succeed (and those that don't). I built a picture of which positions build off each other and which ones feed into which. And I came away with an inescapable conclusion.

Seattle's 2005 offense is a weird outlier. It's an exception to the rule. Most playoff offenses don't hinge on the offensive line nearly to the degree that the Seahawks' did that year. Some Super Bowl offensive lines have even been downright mediocre. But almost every single one of them is led by a great, and usually first-round, quarterback.

Which has no small amount of pertinence to how Seattle goes about rebuilding. Quarterback first, or everything else? Draft a QB early or later? If there's a debate raging stronger than Matt Hasselbeck, this is probably it.

The Meat of the Issue

For years since 2005, the Seattle sports media talked about little but the decline of the offensive line. They ruminate on how the team "hasn't been the same" after the line started breaking down. Hasselbeck struggling? Probably bad protection. Running backs not getting it done? Probably aren't any holes for them to run through. Defense sucks? Worn out by the offense being unable to stay on the field, see previous items. I'm surprised they didn't blame Steve Hutchinson for the eroding of the ozone layer.

To put it simply, we Seahawks fans have become conditioned to thinking of the offensive line as the singular source and conduit of football success, and the quarterback and the running back as mere beneficiaries (or victims) of their play. Fix the line, it's said, and everything is golden. You certainly don't need to spend big bucks on first-round QB's and the bust-story baggage that their kind carries; humble, hardworking, cheap 6th-round QB's are where it's at. Lightning can totally strike twice.

It's a sensible conclusion if every team was like the 2005 Seahawks. We've since found out the hard way that Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander were system players who relied on their surrounding talent. But not every team is like that.

Here's a chart that lists the Football Outsiders rankings of the offensive line, run game, and defense of every playoff team for the last three years.

Offensive LineDefense
YearTeamPass ProRB YardsRushingPassRushQB
2010New England61215236th-round
New Orleans5525991st-round
NY Jets835721st-round
Green Bay2123111161st-round
Kansas City186918267th-round
New Orleans4219291st-round
San Diego5183221231st-round
Green Bay3082451st-round
New England25916126th-round
NY Jets23911181st-round
NY Giants104311121st-round
San Diego17181819191st-round
* Drew Brees and Brett Favre were technically 2nd-rounders; I mark them as 1st because they went high enough in the second round to make the distinction arbitrary.

** The chart's a bit unbalanced for using round of selection rather than QB performance stats, but the generalization is still useful.

These playoff teams are all over the place in terms of offensive line, running game, and defense. The very best units are present for each category, you see teams using different combinations of defense and good lines, but some of the most mediocre and some plain horawful units are also in there. It's hard to draw a logical connection between any of those units and playoff contention. This list just defies most attempts at correlation.

What does show up in the overwhelming majority of playoff teams is first-round QB's, most playing for their original team. The fact that some are listed multiple times only strengthens the evidence of their worth. The Andy Daltons, Christian Ponders, Colin Kaepernicks, and other second-tier developmental "project" QB's aren't showing up in this list at all. The one that did is a notorious example of a strong team not being able to help its QB - an army of lions led by a deer.

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

This is why I'm confused by comments such as the one recently passed on to me by Steve Middleton of Seahawk Addicts:
"Seattle Using their 1st rd pick on a QB would be like installing a new top of the line stereo in a 10 year old Camry"

I'm not even sure what this is supposed to mean. Is he saying that you can usually get away with a late-round quarterback to find success? That's untrue and makes me wonder if he's watched other teams lately. Or is he saying that QB's are about as relevant to football teams as stereos are to cars? That's both untrue and a bad analogy. I'm not sure how anyone could miss seeing the constant media slobbering over star quarterbacks. It's there for a reason.

I've seen it said that first-round QB's have only a 40% success rate. My response:

Last Twelve Years of Drafted QB's
RoundSuccess Rate
Early First43%
Late First42%

We could haggle on a couple of guys from each class, we could drop back another year to include Hasselbeck amongst the sixth-rounders, but none of that will impact the trend that we see here.

I've seen it said that QB's taken in the late first round have only a 40% success rate. My response: so do QB's from the early first.

I've seen it said that the third or fourth QB taken has a lower success rate than the rest. My response: that's because many such third- or fourth-taken QB's go in the second or third round, see the above list.

I've seen it said that guys like Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett would be second- or third-round picks in a normal draft. My response: Finally, we're asking the right questions. It all comes back to talent evaluation. How do you rate these prospects? Do they have what it takes to play at the NFL level? Let's talk about that. Much more fun.

Go over this list of every quarterback drafted in the last ten years (and beyond). Most of the guys after the first round are names you've long forgotten. The fact that you wish you could forget some of the first-round names too...well, that still doesn't change where the success is coming from.

C'mon, folks - you can't wring your hands over how risky a first-round QB is without starting to wonder, "Well, where do good QB's come from?" It's irresponsible to pose a problem without looking for a solution. Figure out the most proven formula for success, even if there's still risk, and take the plunge. Trying to get something for nothing isn't inherently bad, but we're talking competitive sports and deadlines here. A GM's job is to win; he will not keep his job by avoiding proven avenues of success and justifying it by saying "at least we're losing for cheaper".

A Bad Taste in the Mouth

Why are some Seahawks fans so utterly terrified of first-round QB's? Part of it is Rick Mirer and Dan McGwire. Despite the fact that these notorious Seahawks first-round busts have nothing to do with the present front office, they've made some older fans gun-shy. And to be sure, the Seahawks have a uniquely poor history of drafting quarterbacks. No arguing that.

Everyone else is still just cocky that Mike Holmgren beat tremendous odds by turning a sixth-rounder into a Pro Bowler. When you beat the odds, it's easy to believe you can do it again. That's how casinos make their money. 

The mistake is to assume that either of these phenomena apply to the present Seahawks, much less to the rest of the league. Some people do so, and it's just plain irrational. Poke your head out once in a while and see what other teams are doing. Despite all the South Alaska comments, the Seahawks do not exist in some isolated pocket universe where the normal rules don't apply. We didn't stumble upon some secret winning QB formula that the other neanderthal GMs are missing. We just got lucky with Matt Hasselbeck, and probably won't do so again. Talk about first-round bust rates all you want, but it's still the likeliest place to find talent. We're seven times as likely to nab a franchise QB from the first round than from any of the rest.

Unless you turn to free agency, of course. The Seahawks have not been shy about that, either in the past or the present. We've courted Trent Edwards, Kevin Kolb, and depending on the rumors you believe, Carson Palmer. And Pete Carroll has his "Veteran Recovery Program" that made a legit offensive weapon out of Mike Williams for peanuts. If a QB can be signed and tried out for the veteran minimum, that's a low-risk move that nobody could fault him for. But you have to consider the potential return as well. These guys bust for a reason. How lucky was Mike Williams? How lucky was Lendale White? Is Carroll's success with Williams repeatable? We don't know yet.

Besides, free agency is not available right now and probably won't be before the draft. Which means you're asking John Schneider to bypass the best source of QB talent, the draft, in favor of the second-best source in the hope that it becomes available before the season and that we're able to work out the rumored trades - which, by the way, may also cost us a first-round pick. How unstable a gamble is that?

Where the Bread is Buttered

I hope I'm not coming across as a jerk here. I do sympathize with some of the reasons that people prefer to use that #25 on a position of need besides QB. But the numbers suggest a different strategy. I'm just trying to effectively explain why I will not budge from my belief that Seattle needs to very, very seriously consider a top QB as long as they don't consider all of them irrecoverable busts. (More on that later.)

We have to let go of the traditional Seattle paradigm that the offensive line is the be-all. This is a quarterback's league now. Shaun Alexander and LaDainian Tomlinson were the last vestiges of a dying approach to football. This is the 21st century, and in the 21st century, the quarterback is king.

Why? Well, have you ever complained like I have about NFL rules becoming stricter and stricter about contact on quarterbacks? Have you ever said something like, "the QB might as well wear the red practice jerseys on gameday" or "Sheesh, linebackers aren't allowed to do anything now except gently lower QB's to the ground and then shake their hand" or "At this rate, it'll be touch football in no time"? That's part of it. The Tuck Rule and inconsistent pass interference rules are other signs of the trend. For whatever reason, probably to increase scoring, the league has shifted rules around to favor the QB in the last ten years, protecting his game and making his influence on the field stronger.

Besides, in general, the QB already has more control over the football than anyone else, when you think about it. He's the one calling plays, which alone makes him more powerful than any other player. He's reading coverages, audibling out of (or into) run plays. His passes change the location of the football far quicker than a running back does. He's the one calling the snap counts and pushing the tempo of the game. Cushioned by the rules and given the keys to the offense, it's really no wonder that the QB is the most important position. The shape of the modern offense is that it runs through one man, the QB.

Eggs in a Basket

Now here, the reaction of many people - and it's a very common-sensical reaction - is one of nervousness. "Going through one man? Great. One stray hit on the QB, one broken bone, and your offense is done. Talk about an unstable setup." And to an extent, they're right. This is a logical construct that appears to make sense - basically, "don't put all your eggs in one basket" - and it prompts fans to veer away from rookie QB's that won't enjoy good protection from their lines. Why blow money on a rookie if he's so exposed? Build the line first, they say, and then get a QB. Otherwise, you're not setting your QB up to succeed.

But if that's the case, every other QB should also be at risk to some degree. Rookie or not, every QB is one man and every QB gets sacked, hit, and knocked around. So how do Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, the Manning brothers, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, and Matt Ryan keep showing up season after season, despite some poor offensive lines and crazily up-and-down years from everyone else on the team?

Refer back to Figure 1. Pittsburgh and Arizona reached Super Bowl XLIII with two of the league's very worst lines. Green Bay was notorious for its bad line last year - Rodgers was sacked 51 times and overcame it. The Colts' #1 rating in pass protection has little to do with the offensive line, which has been average for years. Peyton Manning's fast reads and urgency in getting the ball out - the system built around him - plays a huge role in limiting sack opportunities for Manning's pursuers. Read this piece on their recent decline - most Seahawks fans would reflexively blame the line for Manning's recent struggles, but notice how the Colts' sports media doesn't really go there. They mostly put it on Manning. They know where the success comes from on this offense.

Have you ever wondered why Matt Hasselbeck faces so much more pressure from defenses than other QB's do? Have you ever even noticed that? Teams stack the line and blitz more often because Hasselbeck's arm (and oftentimes, his WR corps) can't punish them for it. Peyton Manning's system, on the other hand, is designed specifically to defeat modern pressure concepts like the blitz by throwing quick darts to playmaking pass-catchers. They want you to blitz. And every QB has the option of calling three-step drops, which don't demand as much from the offensive line.

Another factor, which every Seahawks fan should remember from 2010, is the QB holding onto the ball too long. Hasselbeck adjusted some of his pocket tendencies in 2010, but a consequence of his play under Jeremy Bates was to hold onto the ball forever and invite sacks. Even Aaron Rodgers got some flak for this in 2009, from another local media who understands the game. You have to either find a receiver or throw the ball away, which brings decision-making into the equation. Keep the ball forever and any offensive line will look bad. Assuming that you judge an O-line by sack totals alone, which you shouldn't be.

A good QB can determine the play of the O-line, not just the other way around. He can force defenses into eight-man coverage with the threat of his arm, opening room for the running game and lightening the line's responsibilities. He can make wide receivers better. He can make life easy for his defense by dictating the pace of the other offense. The Colts' defense has never been consistent, but its opponents are trying so hard to keep up with Peyton Manning that that they become predictable and thus defeatable. A good QB has a trickle-down effect on the rest of the team. Drafting one can theoretically fill three or four other holes as surely as a draft pick could.

Great, Now I'm Hungry

We've really had the wool pulled over our eyes on this one. Elite quarterbacks shape teams, and they shape the yearly playoff picture. We need one. We need one bad. Yes, a high QB is a pricey risk, but it is a necessary pricey risk. The Rams spent years drafting high on the offensive line; it didn't help Marc Bulger and the resulting losing seasons got GM Billy Devaney fired. Sam Bradford now has the team headed in the right direction, despite a questionable line.

QB's surrounded by a crummy team won't fix everything, no. But conversely, good teams without good QB's get about as far as the 2008 Vikings and Jets, or the 2010 49ers - a wild-card playoff loss, if they make the playoffs at all. Then they fall apart because players start leaving in free agency or dropping from injury. The race to contention isn't just a race against other teams; it's a race against time and a team's own attrition. A quarterback speeds up the pace and gives you a blueprint to build off, much like Josh Freeman joined a young team with a brand-new scheme and was given weapons to fit him, not the other way around.

Seahawks fans who are scarred for life over the horror stories of first-round busts like Rick Mirer and Dan McGwire need to just get over it. That was twenty years and three front offices ago, people. First-round quarterbacks are sometimes mousetraps waiting to be triggered, sure. They are also the driving force that takes teams to the Super Bowl. If you're just too risk-averse to appreciate that, then I guess there's nothing I can say to convince you, Tim Ruskell. You'll keep zooming in on the Matt Staffords and other disaster stories and keep trying to find another magic bullet. But I've never seen a Super Bowl team that got there by playing it safe. Sure have seen some GM's fired for it, though.


  1. Great article Brandon. We all know that Seattle needs a qb, but like you have said, it needs to be a top caliber, dyed in the wool first rounder. We are both high on Mallett, and if he is there, i think our F.O. will definitely take a shot... and a shot it will be. He is very reminscent of the last two first rounders our beloved team selected. However, Mallet has too much upside to pass on.

    Now about the rest of the prospects that may fall to us at 25. Are you suggesting we reach for Kap, Ponder, or Dalton? Maybe we trade wayyyyy up to insure we get Locker before he comes off (which i am highly against). Also, i don't think any of these guys qualify as tier 1 or even tier 2 talent. This year we may have to upgrade our Camry to a Lexus (take a G, DT, CB) and then put in the Alpine next year.

  2. I believe in first-round QB's, but if you're gonna reach for one, he'd better be a surefire prospect. I'd hesitate to say that any of the QB's in this class, even Mallett, would be worth a large tradeup. Kap, Ponder, and Dalton are the second tier in this class, and a #25 for any of them would be a reach difficult to justify.

  3. Drew Brees was a 2nd round pick!

  4. Like my footnote said, he was right at the top of the 2nd round, where the distinction between first-round and second-round is barely relevant. He's not in the same tier of talent as the QB's who will be pushed to the early second by this weird draft.

  5. I think anyone who suggests we don't need an elite quarterback to win a Super Bowl is insane.However, if Gabbert, Newton, Locker and Mallett are all gone, I think it would be wrong to reach for a developmental prospect at 25 just to fill a need. It has to be the right, but not necessarily perfect prospect. I would love to have Ryan Mallett in Seattle. His arm could really bring out the strength of Butler, Tate and William's game. There's a good chance he could bust, but that is a risk well worth taking in my opinion. For all the criticism we gave Tim Ruskell for making 'safe' picks we still seem to be somewhat conservative fans. Even if Mallett fails, 5 years from now I would still applaud the front office for being aggressive and showing some balls. You have to be willing to fail to succeed

  6. Very fine article. Absolutely right on.

    Its funny, though, how some people jumpt to the idea that if you draft a guy in the 1st (no matter who they are) that somehow makes them a first round caliber QB. That's not how the correlation works, folks; Ponder is Ponder, Dalton is Dalton, no matter what round they are drafted in.

    Up until recently, I didn't believe a first-round caliber QB would be available at 25, but Mallett mey be, and if so, IMO, he rates a first round grade and definitely worth drafting at 25.

    As for Locker, the other guy that might be there at 25 (we hear conflicting reports) I am coming around to the possibility of drafting him at 25, if Mallett is off the board.

    If both of these guys are gone, I do with the best RT available...Sherrod, Carimi being my first choices.

  7. Fully agree with both of you, Dave and 77.

    Except about Sherrod and Carimi. They're good, but I'm not sure they can double as LT like a first-round tackle should be able to. You can get a quality RT lower in the draft, is my feeling.

  8. This is so obvious I have been saying it for years but those that refuse to believe it will continue to ignore all the evidence. Its just their nature. Every intelligent fan knows that getting a franchise QB is the most important thing to do and they also know that it will most likely take a 1st round pick (even Matt cost Seattle 1st round value) to make that happen. Fans that don't understand this are really not worth the time or effort, that is a lesson I took far too long to learn but now I don't even care to debate with those such people, they are simply wrong and will never recognize it.

  9. I've been a staunch "build the lines first" type, but your argument has certainly given me food for thought.

    But it seems to be an argument better suited for a team picking in the top ten than one at #25. The problem for us this year is that, once you get past Gabbert and Newton, there's no consensus on whether any of the remaining QB's are worthy of a first-round pick.

    If a talented QB like Aaron Rodgers inexplicably falls to you at #25, of course you take him. But don't reach for one.

    Or am I missing the point of your argument? Are you suggesting the Seahawks should try to trade up into the top 10 in order to get an elite QB? No matter what it costs?

  10. People use hindsight to say Rodgers "inexplicably" fell to 25 but in reality he fell for the same reason Clausen fell last year, the same reason Quinn fell before that, the same reason Tebow fell last year, and even the same reason Brees fell when he was drafted.

    It was because NFL teams had serious questions about these players, just like teams have serious questions about Locker (who won't fall IMO) and Mallet (who probably will fall). If you as a team need a QB and you are picking at this stage you jump at the guy with questions, its not 'reaching' to do so.

    People are so afraid of it not working but lets say Seattle takes Mallet and he bombs out (for the record I am not a fan of Mallet at all), so what? You draft another one. If it takes a low first and a high first to find a franchise QB I still think you came out a winner.

    Jimmy Johnson spent 2 number 1 picks (top picks in the draft) on QB in 1 year when he got to Seattle (Aikman and Walsh in the Supplemental draft), you do not hear Cowboy fans whining about Walsh being a bust because Johnson recognized that finding a franchise QB was well worth spending 2 first round picks.

    I tend to agree with Jimmy.

    The perfect offseason would be signing T. Jackson and drafting Locker (not going to happen) or Mallet (even though I am not a fan) and letting those 2 and Whitehurst compete for the job, if none of the 3 grab the job and run with it (or at least show significant potential) you go after another QB in 2012.

    QBs are worth it.

  11. And for all the people that complain about the Mirer pick, was it really that bad? Depending on how you look at it that trade netted Seattle either Springs or W. Jones.

    I tend to see it as Jones since that was deal #2 and without the Bears pick they probably just focus on Springs.

    Not so bad when you see it that way.

  12. I can't say that I would sell the whole farm. It's true that a franchise QB validates a lot of otherwise stupid moves. But this is a team with a lot of holes and, honestly, there is no QB in this draft without serious question marks, not even Gabbert or Newton. If you bust on these guys, you're out another high pick that your Swiss cheese of a team badly needed.

    As empty as it might leave us at the QB position in 2011, I'd say Seattle should stay put at #25 and just hope that Locker or Mallett falls that far. You could interpret Seattle's free-agent investigations (Palmer, Kolb, Edwards) as the front office's contingency plans should none of those draft guys reach #25.

  13. "Inexplicably" - I remember watching the draft that year and how everyone in the room seemed to be surprised at how far Rodgers was falling. I don't recall that there were any questions about him of the sort we're hearing about Mallett, Locker, et. al.

    FWIW, I'm OK with either Mallett or Locker at #25. But I don't think either of them will still be on the board when we get there. And any of the other names I've seen mentioned (Ponder, Dalton, Kaepernick) would be a reach, IMO.

    So I'll repeat my question: are we talking about trading up in the first round? If so, what price are you willing to pay?

  14. Ah, I see Brandon was posting a comment while I was typing mine, and he's answered my question.

  15. Rodgers slid for multiple reasons, attitude was a concern, height was a concern (just like Brees), and many teams did not view QB as a need in 2005. My point was not that he could not have gone higher (he could have) but just that it was not inexplicable. It happens to QBs often. Drew Brees and Brady Quinn were both expected to go much higher in most mocks but they fell. Quinn was mocked in the top 5 just like Rodgers. Hell I can remember Charlie Ward being mocked in the 1st round to the Vikings and he went undrafted and played in the NBA instead. Mocks and reality are different. Falls happen, there is almost always a behind the scenes reason we do not know about.

    If Rodgers drop was inexplicable than so was Quinn's.

  16. Had to laugh about Tebow 'falling'. He was never graded as a first rounder, and moving up cost Denver something like 3 picks.


  17. Hawksince,

    You need to understand what I was saying. I don't think any of them 'fell'

    I think all of them went right where the NFL felt they should have gone, they only 'fell' because some draft 'experts' thought they'd go higher. I included Tebow for that reason, he was a placeholder for every QB that went in that area, just because some were expected to go higher does not mean they 'fell'

    That was the point I was making.

    (Also many experts were saying Tebow would go in round 1 even as fans said 'no way' so he is actually a case of the experts getting the NFL right).

  18. Look at any mock draft and then compare it to the real thing and you will find dozens of players that 'fell' or were 'reaches' based on 'experts'

    I just don't buy into it, I tend to think that players go roughly where the majority of NFL teams evaluate them to go (with some exceptions of course)

  19. most of those quarterbacks that were selected in the later 1st round all had an expierenced quarterback to learn from! We have got to be the team with the worst record in history with the #25 pick! My point is I wudnt xactly say our #25 pick is walking into the same situation as others were I think its safe to throw out comparrison to others that were picked there! Those were all teams that had a franchise quarterback already in place that could teach the younger guy and also teams that cud afford a luxury pick withiut the serious needs we have on our team! Not saying they won't be successfull if we do take a chance its just that other quarterbacks taken in that spot or arround there had a lot better of situation then we do and were able to sit and learn sumthin to think about!

  20. QB is the biggest need so this idea that the team can't take a QB because of needs is silly.

    Also, disagree with you on the point about all those teams taking QB as a 'luxury' pick and letting them sit behind another QB. Several QBs have gone late in the 1st round and been asked to take over right away (typically they were taken by a bad team that traded up from a high 2nd round pick not as a luxury by a playoff team with a franchise QB in place). Rodgers fits that description, few others (if any) do. If Locker or Mallet are still on the board and Seattle passes its a huge mistake.

  21. I wud love to know who these several prospects are that were taken in the later 1st round that have had success and I'm talking after the 20 pick still in the 1st round? When I checked only name I saw that caught my eye was rogers?? @ least in the 2000s! Why even go back to the 90s or 80s its a new football now quarterback is different then those days! If mallett or locker fall there yes take a chance if they believe but don't reach based on the fact that well its a 1st round talent they must be good and will win and we need 1 so screw it let's do it! That's what will kill a team we gotta believe and if they do then I have faith in the fo! But 2 say if they pass on them and they are available will hurt this team is a mistake! If they draft a guy they don't want but feel they have to based off needsw we are in big trouble for the next 5 years! Not pains I wanna go thru the next 5 I wud rather suffer a year with charlie and c what happens next year if they aren't confident in sum1! Better 1 year then the next 5 stuck wit a mistake but we needed him so we drafted him! And I still believe in charlie to be a gamer take a shot if they don't fall in love with sum1 in the draft! Wait for free agent vets(tavaris jackson) great pick up! Brings comp to charlie and knows bevells offense already! Idk just an idea if they don't believe in a young guy

  22. Its not like guys like Flacco and Freeman were top 5 picks, sure they went before pick 20 but they were later first round picks (so was Pennington in 2000) who have/are developing into solid NFL QBs. I'd also argue Campbell would have succeeded if his OC didn't change every year but we'll never know.

    Of course you have to believe in the guy, I was simply saying that the idea of "this team has too many needs to take a QB" is nonsense. QB is the biggest need, why would you take less important needs?

  23. Tavaris Jackson? Why? That doesn't make any sense at all...

  24. First, the argument is not that the Oline is the end all be all, it's that the Seahawks Oline has been the weakest link in the offense. They've been much worse than even the Stealers line. Second, you should have been watching one of the best QBs in history fail over and over because the rest of his team wasn't up to the task. Elway. Third, you're leaving out the method the Seahawks are using and the method Holmgren used. Holmgren didn't get lucky with a 6th round QB, he was able to watch the 6th round QB play in the NFL against NFLers, see his character and scout the dickens out of him in the NFL BEFORE he acquired him. This is huge. No luck involved at all. He knew Hasselbeck would be good. It's the same way the current best QB in the NFL, Tom Brady was "discovered." The Patriots dumped their #1 pick for their #199 pick QB when they saw him play in the NFL. I could go on, Drew Brees was acquired the same way, and on and on.

  25. And oh yeah, You left out the third QB bust the Seahawks got with a first round pick, Kelly Stouffer, who the Seahawks gave up the #17 pick for, plus two fifth rounders. So the Seahawks are 0-for-3 in first round QB draft picks.

  26. Out of curiosity would the people on here rather have Aaron Curry (no. 4), Mark Sanchez (no. 5 pick), or Josh Freeman (no. 17)? The guy I would pick has never won a playoff game.

    But he is helping to establish an identity for Tampa Bay. Which brings up the second calculated risk for Tampa Bay, L. Blount. Two major needs filled, one unconventionally, and one through a calculated risk. To get to this point they had to take solid guys that could be pushed over the top.

    Tampa Bay went to the Super Bowl in 2002 and got hamstrung by picking up Gruden in the following drafts. When looking at their drafts from 2006 and on I think you will see a pattern that Seattle is trying to adopt. Several high draft picks on the O-line, then defense, defense, defense. Yes they weren't an exciting team for a couple of years, but their organization, is very healthy right now.

    I could be completely wrong, but I think Tampa Bay is on a faster track to become more relevant than Seattle. I also think Tampa Bay whiffed on a lot of high picks and the Seahawks haven't, hopefully, so far. But who in the past couple of drafts have been worthy of the risk at QB?

    I blame Seattle more for missing out on guys like Blount, Freeman, or the other Mike Williams than anything else.

    So yeah I am pointing to the 2012 draft for when Seattle takes a QB. Then I think a lot of picks will be going to the Defensive Line. But it was necessary to do what Seattle did in the past couple of drafts.