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“Hopeless in Seattle”…not this year!

OK.  2008 didnt see the Football Huskies tally another National Championship, nor did it showcase the Mariners coming back from 2 games to none to send the Yankees home from the playoffs, or did the Seahawks go undefeated at home en route to another Super Bowl shot….but, what it did provide was a miserable, cellar-dweller, across the board, display of mediocrity from the entire line of Seattle based sports teams.  But!  I have also spent the last 8 years watching a certain President drive our economy into the ground, pick fights with every country but Canada, and pile-drive the morale of American citizens.  And what happened next?  HOPE.  Yes, hope…as in Barack Obama…as in no more Bush….as in better and more opportunity.

The pieces are in place for the city of Seattle to rise up and bring respectability back to a city of higher standards.  Like the Huskies football team, the Seattle Supersonics (remember them), and the Seattle Storm* of the WNBA, we will look at how and why each franchise/college team has a shot at bringing home the gold.

(* means “nobody cares”)

Seattle Mariners:

Let’s not forget that the Mariners were fighting for the AL West title just 2 years ago.  The only true losses from that team are Raul Ibanez and Jose Guillen, but the youth and the addition of Erik Bedard make this team as talented if not more than ’07.  Seattle has the best leadoff man in baseball, has the $$$ to sign Griffey as the DH, an onslaught of talented young catchers and pitchers, highly touted infielders Yuniesky Betancourt and Jose Lopez, a charismatic young GM and a new Manager that brings winning experience by way of Oakland and Anaheim (I refuse to play the “Los Angeles of “game).  Prediction: 84-78 record, Jeff Clement, Brandon Morrow and Felix Hernandez become All-Stars and the AL West was in reach until Bedard got hurt.

Seattle Seahawks:

In 3 seasons with Atlanta, Jim Mora Jr. was 26-22 building around the anti-christ to animal rights activists, Vick, and establishing a top running game.  Why is this relevant?  Mora not only has Hasselback at QB, but has the speedy and creative Seneca Wallace to work with.  Seattle also has an army of “C” class RB’s to work, similar to what Mora had in Atlanta, but made successful.  The defense boasts Pro Bowlers Patrick Kerney, Marcus Trufant, Lofa Tatupu, and Julian Peterson and have all intentions to add a high-profile free agent, probably a safety (Jermaine Phillips, Kerry Rhodes) or DT (Albert haynesworth, Tommie Harris)…, OR, how about bolstering the offense (Fred Jackson, Derrick Ward or maybe T.J Houshmandzadeh)???

The Seahawks boast arguably the best OT in the history of football (Walter Jones) and have a decent rest of O-line, when healthy.  The receiving corps clearly needs an upgrade, even without the injuries, fortunately, Seattle has the 5th overall pick…Michael Crabtree!  If we cant sign Jackson or Ward as free-agent RB’s, I have no problem with taking Chris Brown of Oklahoma with the 5th pick in the 2nd round.  The talent is there, Paul Allen has the money, and the Seattle fans believe…it is all up to Mora to put it all together.  Projection: 12-4, loss in the NFC Championship.  Seriously.

Washington Huskies – football:

Jake Locker has the running ability, energy and potential leadership ability of Tim Tebow…unfortunately has the passing ability mostly likened to Garo Yepremian.  But wait, in comes Steve Sarkisian, the former offensive coordinator and QB coach at USC, having developed Carson Palmer, Matt Leinert, Matt Cassel, John David Booty and Mark Sanchez.  Couple this dynamic with WR D’Andre Goodwin, OLB Donald Butler, DT Alameda Ta’amu and a solid Offensive Line, and the Huskies could turn in and 5 to 6 win season.

Washington Huskies – basketball:

As of this moment, the Huskies are 12-3, 2-0 in the Pac-10 and undefeated in 2009.  Jon Brockman is a beast down low, and the trio of Isiah Thomas, Justin Dentmon, and Quincy Poindexter get shots up.  There is no reason that the Huskies cant make a serious run at the Tournament this year.  Projection: 22-9 in regular season (12-6 vs Pac-10), should win 2 games in the Pac-10 tournament (24-10), that is worthy of a 8-11 seed in the NCAA 64.  I’ll take it!

All in all, this is a good year.  Each team has a reasonable shot to bring home a crown, although my personal projections dont allow any of them to deliver this year…but in 2010, it will happen!

January 9, 2009 Posted by | College Basketball, College Football, General, Major League Baseball, NBA, NFL | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Future of Matt Cassel

What will happen to Matt Cassel next year? He’s an unrestricted free agent as soon as the curtain falls on the 2008. When you Google “Matt Cassel 2009” you can find articles and forum posts titled “Could Matt Cassel [wind up with (insert team here)]?”

Does Matt Cassel become a viable fantasy starter in 2009? With 21 TDs and 3,600 yards it’s understandable why he’s a hot commodity as an unrestricted free agent. But consider the surrounding talent in New England – a great head coach, a veteran offensive line, the best deep threat in the history of the NFL, and a terrific underneath receiver with skills after the catch. How many teams have this combination of talent? None.
Still there are teams that could provide him elements of the Pats environment that helped him become a highly successful first-year starter.

Here is a quick look around the map at where he could potentially fit in:

Detroit: Placing Jon Kitna on IR against his will told us long ago that they’re in the hunt for a new QB. Calvin Johnson has a chance to be a better deep threat than Moss, but beyond Megatron, there’s not much else here. Kevin Smith has been playing very well without a dominant offensive line in front of him, but beyond these two players there’s no stability for the offense system unless the same coaching staff remains in place. If the Ford family retains Rod Marinelli, this will be a run-oriented offense that will want to go deep off the play action pass.

Chicago: The problem here is Cassel would have to work with young receivers with little to zero experience. At the same time, he’s pretty good in a short passing attack and he’s developing into an effective cold weather player. I’m convinced that Chicago isn’t satisified with either Orton or Grossman as their future quarterback and will be, at least, taking a look at the free agent market or, more likely, targeting young talent in the draft.

New York: If Brett Farve retires, the Jets will be left with Kellen Clemens and a cast of young quarterbacks with intriguing, but not blue chip, futures.  Even though Mangini is gone, I could see the Jets going after Cassel to put the middle finger in the (rival) Patriots face.

San Francisco: Cassel could be the type of guy the Niners would try to build around. The surrounding talent is young, but more experienced than Chicago. The issue will be the offensive coordinator/system San Francisco adopts. Shaun Hill has done enough to keep my attention as an option, but the 49ers have to be done with giving Alex Smith “the potential” label.  Could Shaun Hill have passed for 3,000 plus yards behind a New England line with weapons like Moss and Welker? Perhaps. Arizona is eventually going to build around Leinhart, and when they do, a guy like Warner could be viable working with Hill.

Minnesota: Strong running game? Check. Solid offensive mind? Check. Quality deep threat? Check. Compatible offensive matt casselsystem? Big question mark. It seems to me if Minnesota decides to pursue a quarterback they are going after McNabb, who has worked with Childress and won’t need any development.

St. Louis: Marc Bulger is a fine passer when he has time, but he’s frail and gets hit a lot. A recipe for disaster and this team is ripe for an offensive overhaul.

Early Verdict: I’m betting on San Francisco or Detroit. If Cassel winds up in either destination, I think 3600 yards and 20 scores would be a huge year for him. I don’t expect him to retain starter status numbers in 2009. If you do, I think he’ll disappoint.

And that’s what the StatDragon is breathing fire about!

January 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment