NFL Round Up: Observations from Week 3 AKA Referee Apocolypse

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After the insanity that was the end of the Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks, there really is nothing else to discuss from Week 3 in the National Football League. Instead of rehashing what everyone saw or said, I decided to post three of my favorite reads that summarized the game and reaction.

1. Sports Illustrated writer Peter King did a great job of summarizing the process the referees used in making the call and the mistakes that were made.

2. Bill Barnwell from Grantland, who was a defender of replacement referees, put together a great opinion piece that isn’t overly long or reckless.

3. Mallary Jean Tenore at Poynter.org talks to Otto Greule, the photographer who captured the iconic photo of the officials who made conflicting calls on the game’s final play.

Superbowl Sleeper: Seattle Seahawks Reviesed

Russell Wilson beat out high priced veteran Matt Flynn for the starting QB job.( Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Sunday hit “publish” on a post about the Seahawks chances to reach the Superbowl. Matt Flynn was the headline picture. Oops. Turns out rookie Russell Wilson will be the Seahawks quarterback.

The Russell Wilson Effect
I give Pete Carrol credit, this took guts. Usually, when a team signs a quarterback to a 3 year, 26 million dollar contract, he is the starter by default. Carrol is taking a bit of a gamble by going with the player with less experience. With that said, by going with Wilson, the Seahawks playoff chances take a major hit. Regardless of his college pedigree and preseason success, facing the 49ers defense twice as well as Rob and Rex Ryan’s 46 defenses, will be a challenge for Wilson. Expect the Seahawks to be competitive but fall short of the playoffs, just like 2011.

Superbowl Sleeper: Seattle Seahawks

Matt Flynn must bring balance to the Seattle offense. (Photo Credit: UPI/Landov )

The Superbowl Sleeper series is a look at five teams that finished below .500 in 2011 — the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, and the Buffalo Bills– and what it would take for each team to get to the Superbowl in 2012.

What happened in 2011?

The Seahawks were surprisingly good on defense, ranking seventh in points allowed despite a lack of household names on that side of the ball.  Unfortunately, the passing game held them back as Seattle quarterbacks combined for only 14 touchdowns, leading to a 7-9 record.

The Good

Seattle boasts one of the best secondaries in the NFL, anchored by safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.  The front seven is strong in the trenches and Marshawn Lynch is a battering ram of at running back.

The Bad

The Tarvaris Jackson led passing game held them back from being a playoff team. The front office attempted to upgrading the quarterback position by adding Matt Flynn in free agency and drafting Russell Wilson.  Flynn, while showing flashes of brilliance, is still an unknown and the wide receivers are a developing group.   Defensive end Chris Clemons is the entire pass rush.

Blueprint to get to the Superbowl

Seattle’s defense continues to develop as first round pick Bruce Irvin pressures the quarterback on passing downs.  Matt Flynn leads an efficient aerial attack, bringing balance to the Seahawks offense.

Outlook

The Seahawks have the talent to win the NFC West.  They possess a power running game, an emerging defense and a legitimate homefield advantage.  Although Flynn lacks experience, he is still better than Tarvaris Jackson.  Look for Seattle to make noise in the playoffs.

Analysis from Round 1 of the 2012 NFL Draft

  • The Jacksonville Jaguars might have saved the St. Louis Rams from themselves when the Jaguars traded up and selected WR Will Blackmon ahead of the Rams. Although the Rams missed out on one of the elite players in the draft, by trading back and acquiring more picks, the Rams have a chance to add more depth and competition to their team overall.
  • In the wake of their selection of Brandon Weeden, the Browns are considering trading Colt McCoy. McCoy would be a good fit for the Houston Texans. Incumbent starter Matt Schaub is often injured and aging. The Texans’ short passing attack, plays to McCoy’s strengths.
  • Remember when Alshon Jefferey was the second or third best WR in the draft and a first round prospect?
  • The most interesting pick in the first round was Seattle Seahawks selection of OLB Bruce Irvin.  Mel Kiper Jr. called the pick “mind-boggling” and the consensus is that because of Irvin’s checkered past, he is big risk.  Learning more about Irvin, the optimist in me says Irvin is a self-made man and will appreciate his opportunity.  At the same time, I recognize how risky it is to invest  first-round money into a player with character concerns.  Either way,  Bruce Irvin’s career will be interesting.
  • Great job by the NFL speeding up the first round of the draft.   In the past the commissioner would announce the trade of the pick, then state the new team is on the clock.  This year they announced everything at once and in general had a better tempo than in past years.