5 takes: Time recognizes Richard Sherman’s influence
By Michael Grey
Five thoughts on the week that was in Seattle sports and beyond:
The Sherman Effect
Richard Sherman was recognized by Time Magazine in the Top 100 Most Influential People issue this week. Ordinarily I am loathe to bring up top-whatever lists, but when the Seahawks’ starting corner finds himself listed alongside Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, Edward Snowden, Pope Francis and Miley Cyrus, among others, you have to take notice. Sherman is polarizing, of that there can be no doubt, but I have come to truly appreciate the depth that he possesses. It’s rare that one guy can both exemplify and contradict so many of the alpha male pro athlete cliches that exist today. At one moment he can be a brash, trash-talking menace, and another a cerebral, introspective, self-proclaimed nerd. Oh, and he’s the best cornerback in the NFL too. You don’t have to like Richard Sherman, and many don’t, but I believe you have to respect him.
The NFL schedule was released
If anything better illustrates the dominance of the NFL than the announcement of the announcement of the NFL schedule, I don’t know what it is. It’s April and fans sit with bated breath to find out what order that games will be played between September and January. The sports world stops talking about the other three big leagues (two of which are in the midst of their playoffs) to guess at the results of a regular season without so much as a training camp under way. Who will open the season? How many cold weather games are there? Please just give us something – anything – from Planet Pigskin to think about! It’s Goodell’s World and we’re all just living in it. To the answers! Now we know that the Seahawks will open against Packers, get a chance to make a Thanksgiving meal of Colin Kaepernick and the Niners, play in four primetime games, and the last six weeks of the season shape up to be a Grindhouse. Now we can all get back to normal — and by normal I mean tuning up a new version of our seven-round mock drafts.
Speaking of the Seahawks
No move that Seahawks make should really be considered surprising anymore but, with that said, the trade with Oakland for quarterback Terrelle Pryor on Tuesday raised a few eyebrows. The Hawks currently sit with four QBs, which led to immediate speculation about how The New Guy might be deployed with his combination of size (6-foot-4, 235 pounds) and speed (4.38 40-yard dash). Could he be moved to tight end? Maybe Pryor is the “big bodied” receiver so many assume Pete Carroll covets? Could he be a special backfield/H-Back/hybrid weapon in the run game? He has the longest run for a QB in history so he must be a future punt returner right? As fun as it would be to go down the rabbit hole on these theories (and they’re not out of the question), I tend to adhere to Occam’s Razor when it comes to questions like these – the fewer assumptions the better. Pryor is far more likely an elite athlete that will have an opportunity to compete for a backup QB job like any one of a number of players brought to VMAC with little warning or fanfare. Adding real competition at every level of the roster is how Carroll & Schneider built this team & how it will be maintained. The more things change the more they stay the same.
How low can they go?
The Mariners put together one of the lousiest stretches of baseball in recent memory with an eight-game losing streak and a 7-13 start. It’s only April and all the cliches about a long season apply here, but this team has dug itself a hole that would make Big Bertha envious (of course, at this point a kid with a garden trowel could dig a hole that would make Big Bertha envious). Everything about the last week was bad. The bullpen lost a game for Felix, Felix struggled in another, the offense was anemic, there were defensive lapses, the patchwork rotation was unable to find its footing, and on and on. With such a comprehensive list of shortcomings it’s impossible to focus on much, but what can be said is that this new managerial staff has their hands full trying to get this team back on track. For those wondering what Lloyd McClendon & Co. are all about, you’re about to find out. With any luck, and some sweet new retro beard hats tonight at the park, the M’s can build on their lone win in the last nine and get back on the right side of the win-loss column.
Bring it on home
The Sounders managed a third straight come-from-behind road victory against Chivas USA last week and hope some of that mojo comes home with them for their match against Colorado. Once again the red-hot tandem of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins did the late offensive damage and now they have an opportunity to atone for uncharacteristic losses at The Clink in their last 2 tries. With an aggressive offensive identity and the ECS eager for a home match it promises to be an electric afternoon in Seattle on Saturday. I know that I have said this before but it bears repeating — if you haven’t been to a Sounders FC match you are truly missing out on one of the most unique environments in all of pro sports. Scarves Up!
Thanks for reading, enjoy your weekend and if you feel the need to know more stuff that I think about stuff please follow me on Twitter @TheMichaelGrey