Monday, 15 February 2010

Hate mail

By Rob Staton
One of the main reasons I started Seahawks Draft Blog was to interact with fellow Seahawks fans and have a forum where the draft can be debated, reviewed, dissected and discussed. Disagreement is a part of life and I'm not beyond criticism, so I wanted to publish an email I received today:

"Did you personally pick Clausen and a DE?

If so you're a complete idiot and you belong in the Ruskell era.

Not only was Matt killed this year by the pass rush, but our running game sucked and Jones announced his retirement. If you don't think they are taking an O Lineman with one of those top 2 picks, you are beyond lost.

I would strongly consider taking two O lineman if I was Schneider. Thats how important O line is. You get a decent O line, and suddenly Forsett and Matt are total studs, and the whole defense is better because the offense doesnt 3 and out 50% of the time leaving the D breathless.

You don't deserve to have your own Seahawks mock draft blog page. Thats the problem with the internet. Any idiot can post whateevr unsubstantiated claim they want. I just didnt think my Seahawks brothers were part of the problem. Move to San Fran, we don't want you."


I think it's a valid point that clearly the Seahawks offensive line has been a cause for concern ever since the Super Bowl run. Losing the best interior lineman in the NFL in such unusual circumstances was never forgotten during the Ruskell era. More to the point, Hutchinson was never truly replaced. The move from Robbie Tobeck to Chris Spencer has been difficult, largely due to injuries to Spencer but also inconsistent play. This led to the team drafting Max Unger last year and eventually starting him at center.

Replacing Walter Jones was always a pressing concern that became closer with every passing year. That has become a reality now. Sean Locklear has not convinced anyone he deserves to be a permanent feature at left tackle and has missed games through injury himself.

In 2007, Matt Hasselbeck carried the line and the stagnant running game on his back with the best season statistically of his career. In 2008 and 2009, injuries to Hasselbeck and a loss of playmaking options exposed the frailties of the line. One of the first things Pete Carroll did upon accepting the gig in Seattle was to approach Alex Gibbs to be part of his coaching staff - a noticeable appreciation of the situation.

Because of this, as the emailer correctly points out the opportunity to draft an offensive tackle in round one must be considered. However, allow me to point out why this may not be the case also. The first issue is the fact this isn't a great draft for offensive tackles. There are some that will go in round one and some that will go earlier than perhaps they should. Such is the modern NFL and the premium upon the position. What it does mean though is that the quicker tackles leave the board, the greater the possibility the Seahawks end up over drafting. That may be necessary. At the same time, it could be true that 1-2 tackles have left the board before the 6th overall pick and 3-4 by the #14 selection. Do you ignore greater talent elsewhere on a roster with many holes just to fill one specific area?

Secondly, Alex Gibbs-coached teams traditionally haven't drafted lineman early. Houston taking Duane Brown in 2008 is more of an exception than the norm. The need in Seattle might be greater than previous situations Gibbs has faced. What hasn't changed however is his philosophy which favors agile, smaller lineman who can work in a zone blocking scheme. Unfortunately, this isn't a draft filled with that type of offensive tackle.

Anthony Davis isn't an obvious fit for the zone scheme, as I suggested in a scouting report on the Rutgers left tackle back in November. Russell Okung (OT, Oklahoma State) is a more suitable candidate, but I tend to agree with resident scout Kyle Rota's synopsis on the Cowboys lineman. Bryan Bulaga played in a variation of the zone scheme in Iowa. I do believe though that his greatest value at the next level will be as a right tackle. He can play the blind side, but he will be a significantly better pro when he hasn't got to deal with elite edge rushers (he can struggle against speed) and can get some tight end support in the running game. Trent Williams (OT, Oklahoma) is strictly a right tackle and Bruce Campbell (OT, Maryland) owns immense physical qualities - but also a poor injury record.

The most likely candidate for the Gibbs zone blocking scheme would appear to be Charles Brown (my report here) - a prospect familiar to Carroll as he played his college ball at USC. He has the right kind of size (290lbs) and above average ability as a converted tight end. He's a smart player (important in the ZBS) with plenty of starting experience. He has a good hand punch and is a capable pass protector. His size won't interest most teams unless he can get up to the 310lbs range for the combine next week. This could push him into the second round where I projected he would be taken by the Seahawks in my last mock draft.

There are other possibilities too. A prospect like Jason Fox (OT, Miami) would fit the Gibbs mantra and likely be available later on. Selvish Capers (OT, West Virginia) is another name to monitor. Clearly there are options for the new regime if they did want to take advantage of a strong defensive line class in round one or draft the teams future franchise quarterback.

I also believe - and this is merely my own personal opinion - that an offensive line containing first round picks is not a necessity for success. You only have to look at the Super Bowl - two teams that didn't own a cluster of early round picks on their offensive line and both sporting dominant passing attacks. I've voiced many times that whilst the offensive line could do with some investment, an expensive rookie will struggle to block two guys off the edge as much as Sean Locklear. Too often in the last two years a lack of threat at running back, receiver and yes - quarterback - has allowed teams to blitz heavily against the pass and stack the box against the run. They've dared Seattle to beat them and they haven't been able to. At least not against any team not based in St. Louis.

Until Seattle's offense demands respect, it won't receive any. For me, investing in a better offensive line will only lead to long term success if it coincides with better playmakers being brought in at running back and receiver - with a legitimate long term plan at quarterback. That's how you keep a defense honest. For those reasons I think it's unlikely the Seahawks will spend both first round picks on offensive lineman. But I'm not ignorant to the fact it's also a vital need and even despite the appointment of a legendary line coach - one high pick on a future left tackle is absolutely plausible.

42 comments:

Vince Mulcahy said...

Rob - You are a very patient man my friend. And how do deal with some moron's hate mail? By backing up your mock (at least one version of it) with great insight!

I'm sure you already know this, but someone who has to go as low as using insults on a mock draft (which is entirely opinion, and no one person's is more valuable than the next) is usually that of a very low intelligence. Argue any point you will in a well thought-out, respectful manner and that is how you can change other's opinions. Hats off to the SDB crew for excellent posts as well as the best response out of any site.

Matthew Baldwin said...

My hat's off to you Rob for posting the brash email and disecting the thesis despite the waters being muddied with epithets. You have thicker skin than me.

I get the ZBS, Gibbs and guys not fitting the scheme, but it does seem that the farther we get from the 2009 season that the farther we get away from remembering just how bad the o-line was/is.

What do you think about Vladimir Ducasse the Div II kid, Jared Veldheer?

Doesn't Jason Fox have a heart condition in addition to coming off microfracture surgery?

Hawktastic said...

I must agree with Vince. What saddens me is not Hawk fans that want to explore possibilities in discussion, but Hawk fans that resort to name calling because they can't express their opinions in any beneficial manner.

I think it would be a miracle to find two 0-linemen worthy of 6 and 14 in this draft. If that is the primary concern of the staff, they are going to need to find a way to trade down and maybe gain a 3rd rounder again, or more 1st/2nd picks. So with what we know, 6, 14, and 40 are our picks.

With those I'm hoping Dez isn't 6 with so many excellent defensive talents on the board. 14 is difficult to gauge, however. And Brown at 40 would be a steal!

Here's to hoping this emailer is the one sent to San Fransisco. Thanks for the blog Rob! I know it takes tons of time for you and the other contributors. I enjoy it every day.

Rob Staton said...

I'm not aware of the Fox/heart condition - something I need to research. The surgery will drop him a bit, could be there in round four. Could also be a steal.

Ducasse is very raw. I think he'll end up being an interior lineman, just a hunch. Right tackle mainly. Only seen bits at the Senior Bowl (work outs/game) and there's something there, but I think expectations were tempered in Mobile. Leverage is the key with him I think.

Veldheer is very tall (6'8"). I need to be convinced he can get leverage advantages that high up, he might struggle. Some teams will love his size. I've read reports that say he could be a second round pick and his stock is rising. Chad Reuter was impressed in the Texas v Nation work outs/game. Not someone I'm overly familiar with in all honesty - Hillsdale tape is hard to find.

The offensive line was bad in 2009, it's been bad since 2006. It needs investment, they need to find solutions at both tackle and among the interior. But it needs to go hand in hand with investment in better, younger wide outs, running backs and a solution at QB. The best young offensive line in the NFL didn't do much for Cleveland last year.

Paul said...

My glass of potent dark ale is raised to you Mr. Staton. It's a pity that this so called uneducated, inept, low-class individual is so uneducated, inept, and ridiculously low of all classes. To write something so stereo typical Beavis and Butthead is absolutely embarrassing. What a MORON!I hope he is reading this. Maybe he'll go hide under a rock and never come out. Thanks Rob for this site!

ChavaC said...

There are a lot of things I like about this site, but I think this post sums up my favorite aspect pretty well. Unlike a lot of other WA sports blogs (Field Gulls, USSMariner come to mind) the guys in charge here are always respectful of other's opinions and will discuss them with an open mind. They might not always agree, but courtesy and respect always seem to reign supreme. Keep up the good work!

jww said...

Rob,

You are a stronger man than I am! I have been a faithful reader for quite a while and I know how much time and thought you put into this site. I appreciate everything you guys do!

Anonymous said...

From texashawk,

Rob,

Idiots like that are the true problem. He has an opinion therefore anyone who does not agree with him is stupid. I just goes to show this persons intellegence level.

Rob you do a great job of stating your opinion and backing it up with sound arguments and sometimes facts. Does that mean you will be exactly right? No. But you are FAR from an idiot.

Please do not let someone like that get to you. I for one check your site about every day. Together with Seahawkaddicts.com you are my gospel reading on a daily basis. Keep up the good work and keep your head. Thanks for taking the time out of your everyday life to allow us fans some real reading in the off season.

Paul said...

Props to Texas hawk! Yes, you guys and Seahawk Addicts are the real deal! I wish you guys would combine your blogs into one major Seahawk blog. I'm not a big fan of field gulls, Seahawks.net, etc, but that's my opinion. Here's another glass raising of (dark roasted malts, sensational, tasty hops, and chocolate to top it off) oops... dark ale!

JP said...

Rob,
You handled the situation the way I would hope to, but probably wouldn't.

Posters/bloggers engage with anti-social communication because they can hide in the anonymity of a computer screen. I have seen this on several boards and, while it is a norm on the net, I still have hope that manners will become more prevelant.

Disagreement is a great part of our societal fabric if handled respectfully.

My glass of pinot is tilted to you as well.

JP

michael said...

dear rob i live in wilmette illinois and i am a huge seahawks fan that guy has no idea what he is talking about an d u could own him in any sport trvia game and he thinks he so smart when u have hundreds of ppl coming to ur web site so dnt even listen 2 tht guy cuz he has no idea what he is talking about

Ben said...

Getting hate mail is sign that you're saying something interesting and that people are noticing. I've learned a lot from this site and thankful for the thoughtful analysis.

Anonymous said...

Great response. You touched on every point I would have made.
A+

Anonymous said...

love the blog.
love draft time.
So many possibilities. I am actually warming to the idea (which I have only seen on this site)of Bryant @6 and JPP, Morgan, Haden, Okung or Bradford @ 14.
Our O-line needs consistancy, depth, and youth(in that order). I would love J.best or Brown @ 40.
Thank you for your commitment and insight.

Bruce M. said...

The number 1 rule of good drafting: DON'T FORCE THE BOARD.

It doesn't matter whether we need an OT badly. If we don't have #6 talent available to us in an OT when our pick comes, we pick a player that does have that kind of talent. It's not like we don't have any other needs.

Picking a guy in the first does not confer first round talent on him. Wishing doesn't make it so. Stick to your evaluations. Nothing will screw up a team in the long run better than early round reaches to fill needs. If you must reach, reach with gambles or "need" picks that are cheap, in the last couple of rounds.

ivotuk said...

Excellent post Rob! I think hate mail has it's value if the person it is directed at is willing to read it with an open mind, something you obviously did.

Any time anyone puts themselves out there, someone is going to come along and rip on them and their opinions, it doesn't matter who it is or what it is about. Many of them won't even hold water but that usually doesn't matter to the poster.

It takes a lot of courage to put your hard work out there for public review and it only gets harder as you gain more exposure.

Keep up the good work as you have a lot of fans here. And kudos for printing that email, it demonstrates confidence in what you are doing. Without criticism we never strive to improve, or to prove someone wrong.

ivotuk said...

BTW, I watched some of Veldheer in the Texas vs Nation, not impressed. The guy is a 4th or 5th round talent.

c-hawker said...

Sounds like someone's got a screw loose, Rob...
Keep up the good work, you guy's do a great job.
I Understand and appreciate what your doing,obviously someone else doesn't. Envy maybe? that will just eat people up....

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great blog Rob.

Anonymous said...

Rob, I've been critical of some of your work in the past, but that email sender should have had the courage to respectfully disagree without making a personal attack.

One thing that drives me crazy is a person who posts without truly understanding what and why they are taking a side. That emailer obviously was taking their pent up frustrations out on you. And that's not fair because this is your blog and you have the right to post your opinions. He doesn't have to come here and read them - that's his choice.

As for the response, I'd admit, I was a little torn. On .net, as of a couple of weeks ago you'd posted for a long time that Davis was the only top LT you'd take. Touting him as this year's Ryan Clady. So... I get the link to the old scouting report, but putting the two together just seemed to "over all bases - just in case". I took a lot more out of it but I'm not going to comment.

As for the tackles available later in the draft, we will probably be forced to trade down with one of the 1st in order to get a 2/3/4 to get one after the 1st. Capers sucks and Fox's medical has been taked about enough already. Go watch some tape of Ed Wang, I think he's got a chance to be a Hawk.

One thing Rob, I'd like to see you dig deeper in the search for prospects, and not just the mainstream prospects. I know tape is harder to find, but it would totally add to your credibility.

Anyways, keep up the good work.

nwHawk

Anonymous said...

Anyone know what happened to seahawks.net?

Anonymous said...

Never mind...

Grant said...

I'm not one to post and talk a lot but as an avid Seahawks fan I want to let you know that this site is one of the first I check up on every day(along with Seahawkaddicts). I value what you have to say even though sometime I don't agree. It's always good to have a variety of views when forming an opinion. And to the anonymous guy who sent the letter whining like a little girl: GET A LIFE DUDE!!! Or at least take your computer outside, because it sounds like you havent seen the light of day in YEARS.

Rob Staton said...

nwhawk - The reference to Clady is that I think Davis is comparable in some aspects of his physique and pass protection. Clady wasn't the obvious ZBS fit but did a fine job in the system in Denver (although they appear set to move to a man blocking scheme in 2010). Whether Davis will transfer to the scheme as well as Clady I'm not sure, but they have comparable skill sets. I think Clady is a better student, that probably had something to do with it. Davis doesn't come accross the most mature individual and has had trouble with his attitude.

I did a scouting write up on Ed Wang earlier in the 2009 season:

http://seahawksdraft.blogspot.com/2009/10/some-thoughts-on-ed-wang.html

I'm tied by what tape I can get and for smaller schools it can be almost impossible. Essentially I record everything off ESPN during the season and stash it on my system. Sometimes you get a chance to watch a Bowling Green vs Idaho, but mainly you're stuck with Florida/Texas/Alabama a lot of the time. I do my best to try and broaden my horizons, but based on getting tape it can be difficult. I plan to travel to Alabama for the Senior Bowl next year and possibly also the scouting combine.

Nano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nano said...

Rob: I'm sorry you have to deal with such malcontents. Some people just can't "argue" in the rational sense. Here's to hoping people like this do not reproduce. *glasses chink*

Great response, too. Although I think there will be a tackle on the board worth #14, your rationale is completely true. You absolutely can't go into a draft with a tractor beam set on a position, especially with picks in the top half of the first round.

In all likelihood, I'll be happy with our draft in the first round. There's only a few guys I absolutely don't want to touch, and the only one I'm worried might happen is Taylor Mays @ 14. I'm hoping he gets a 2 on the wonderlic and doesn't run as well as he's expected to, so it becomes less likely we'd use an early pick on him.

Anonymous said...

Rob, regarding the Clady/Davis comparison, I think Clady was a better fit coming out of college for the ZBS because he was about 315, and he's gain some weight since then. Davis's weight will probably never let him be a good long term prospect for the ZBS. He's had to work hard to get and stay at 330. That's one of the reason I've criticized some of your earlier posts. But we both agree on his attitude and maturity level.

-Cheers nwHawk

fountaindale said...

Rob... There are many who could learn from your patient, classy response. Thank you.

You referenced Cleveland's young offensive line. How long does a line need to be together to be effective? I think I read that the Colts offensive line and coach have been in place for about ten years. If a mature, cohesive group is more effective than a young talented line, is it possible to successfully draft for adequate athleticism and maximum durability?

Kip Earlywine said...

Wow Rob. If John Morgan had fielded an email like that he would have just ripped the poor guy a new asshole. I like how you took an ugly email like that and transformed it into a very thought provoking post. Well done.

JohnnyB said...

The specific difference between Rob Staton and Field Gulls moron, Morgan, is the exact same difference between free societies and dictatorships:

Free societies *want* the truth to prosper. Mechanism are built into the system to allow the winning ideas of arguments to prosper. The better the ideas created, the better for everyone. Rob just gave great arguments that devastated those of the idiot who emailed him.

Dictatorships *have to* silence free speech because they don't want the truth to prosper. Morgan wants to be viewed as a football expert and the only way he can maintain that lie is by creating a little island where he can silence those who points out his numerous mistakes and fallacies. If he didn't silence his detractors, they would show him for what he is, a blustering buffoon who is constantly making a big fool of himself by thinking he knows more than he really does.

Rob Staton said...

fountaindale - that's a very interesting question. In all honesty, I think every case is different. One of the things about Cleveland is I think they have the talent, but does the scheme truly exist? I just wonder what a proper offensive game plan, specific to that line, could achieve?

Having said that, they're an example of something I've suggested a lot on this blog - that a good line has to coincide with sufficient potency at the skill positions. No teams are scared of Brady Quinn or the wide outs/running backs on that roster. They struggled to protect Quinn early in the year when I watched the Browns twice, but we were seeing similar blitz packages that teams used against Seattle.

Going back to the line though - I think having a scheme that everyone buys into, consistency amongst personnel and familiarity is more important than anything else. Cleveland have talent, but they need to maintain it and they need to get a scheme/identity and work on it. As the Seahawks rebuild their line - they have the ideal mentor and scheme with Alex Gibbs. I think we'll see them maintain most of the personnel - which will upset some but for me is important right now - and build from that platform.

G'd Up said...

I know Field Gulls isn't for everyone, but I've never felt like I wasn't entitled to my opinion on the blog, or to question anything I disagreed with. Just one man's opinion.

That said, I'm a big fan of SDB as well. Kudos to Rob for a well reasoned counter-argument (I would not have kept my cool).

Kip Earlywine said...

-Wow JohnnyB, that's a brutal assessment. Although I tend to agree- having experienced that first hand. In Morgan's defense I do think he's extremely intelligent and intellectually, he's a good example for the blogosphere similar to USSM. I think what really holds him back is some of the stuff you talked about. He thinks he has to be perfect or else it destroys his credibility, and that has made him unnecessarily insecure.

-Regarding Ed Wang, I'm not his biggest fan so far, but how cool would it be to own and wear a "Wang" Seahawks jersey?

-Regarding Veldheer, I'd love to get a tape of him, but I'm pretty skeptical just because he seems way too tall. Being tall can actually be a drawback in a ZBS since its a system that puts a really high emphasis on leverage and cut blocking- which typically become increasingly difficult with increased height. That's probably why ZBS linemen tend to be a little shorter on average.

Anonymous said...

Kip, regarding Wang, you really need to check him out more. Of all the LTs, who do you like?

fountaindale said...

Folks get fixated on getting the special athlete. The offensive line puts a premium on durability. The worst thing that can happen to an offensive line is change. Assemble a group who are consistent over a period of years and execution will produce an effective offense (assuming some decent skill players). So the question is ...can you draft durability? Pain tolerance, frame size, intelligence, forearm length, familial arthritis...what are the variables that result in a long, consistent career for an o-lineman? Was Robbie Tobeck or Chris Gray a prototype? Have any metrics been generated on this question? How many highly paid, special-athlete offensive linemen spend their career on the sideline (Locklear, Spencer) destroying execution for the games they miss and when they return. Sure, everyone wants the next Walter Jones, the best of both worlds. I'd rather have the next Robbie Tobeck and spend my money on the next Peyton Manning.

michael said...

dear rob can i have that mans email

JohnnyB said...

"In Morgan's defense I do think he's extremely intelligent and intellectually, he's a good example for the blogosphere similar to USSM."

No offense, but I think he's a good example of the worst of the blogosphere, where, by careful censorship and logical seeming rationalization, people can create huge cults of falsehood. If he was so smart he wouldn't have to censor anyone, he could just use the truth and good argument like Rob Staton did in this thread.

Morgan's big failing is that he is self educated about football and clueless about major aspects of the game. He reminds me of this self educated nutritionist who bragged about all the thousands of hours of studying he did on his own. His big conclusion? People should drink hydrogen peroxide.

Without a basic, true foundation, great logic can lead to great fallacies.

Let me give you an example of something important Morgan is clueless about. I listened to an interview of the Seahawks new offensive coordinator just prior to the Superbowl. He was asked if he would be stealing any plays from either team as he watched the game. He replied that he couldn't steal plays watching it on TV, because you can't see enough, but with the coach's tape the next day he might. That's a football genius talking.

Meanwhile Morgan thinks he can out coach the coaches just by watching TV replays. He doesn't have a clue how clueless he is. And he can convince whoever chooses to treat him like a guru. He's a joke.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Interesting that this turned into a discussion of Morgan and Fieldgulls. I like most of the detailed breakdown of game tape that Morgan provides (he has much more access and time than I) but I too have been turned off by the huge ego that comes with it. In the end, it is John's little corner of the internet, love it or leave it. I've mostly left, in favor of Addicts and Rob's Draft Blog, and other sites that provide data and smart analysis when I have time. Rob's handling of the e-mail attack speaks volumes. He sets a tone on this blog that is welcoming, not unlike a cozy gathering place. Rob, you are a better man than I. Hat's off to you sir for setting a great example. I don't like bashing Morgan. He and Fieldgulls have their following, but he would have sumarily banned an individual for much, much less written in a blog, let alone sent in an e-mail.

JohnnyB said...

"I like most of the detailed breakdown of game tape that Morgan provides"

The coaches have game tape. Morgan only has games recorded from TV. He probably doesn't even know what real game tape is.

"he would have sumarily banned an individual for much, much less"

Yes, he has to ban whomever shows him to be wrong about anything, even if it's done completely civilly.

Anonymous said...

Johnny, I take it you were banned?

JohnnyB said...

"Johnny, I take it you were banned?" Yep, for writing basically the same way I do here. And the same thing will happen to you or anyone who doesn't grovel.

Try it. Nicely make a good argument against something Morgan says. The sycophants (a few of whom are surely Morgan himself in disguise) will descend on you like the plague. If you back down, you'll be okay, but if you stick up for yourself you'll be warned. If you continue to defend your argument (or do it again with another argument) you'll be banned. It happens there all the time.

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