Fear and Loathing in Cheney

The wonder that is "life" offers up very few certainties. There are taxes, personal highs and lows, hospital visits, and eventually, death. Within the context of that depressing blueprint, there are other calendar-driven certainties.

October, for example, signals for all of us that the Holiday Season is near. It demands attention, with the planning and plotting of how many current or former stepparents you’ll visit. April and May will remind and delight us that summer’s that much closer. And then there’s August. August brings us two things every year: an Oscar-starved actor/actress that will play either mentally handicapped or homosexual to garner a nomination, and the Seahawks and NFL beginning their training camps.

As I type this, our Mighty Birds are currently running lappers, digesting new roles, adjusting to new schemes, and testing their mental and physical strength. Mike Holmgren has shed the persona and vocabulary of Eddie Haskell, unleashing his disciplinary, profanity laced tirades in the name of teaching. The pinnacle of such haranguing will be tonight, when a sobbing David Greene enjoys a jelly doughnut atop his footlocker, while his teammates do push-ups.

The opening of Seahawks and NFL training camps, are unmatched in their releasing of cumulated adrenaline. It offers all but one set of fans, each year, a chance to forget the ills of last year and glow with optimism. It reminds us of how we cope with the rainy autumns. To quote the greatly under-appreciated Greg Renick, “It’s Time!”, kids.

It also forces us to face doubt, however. Even though, on paper, the Seattle Seahawks, have more talent than MTV’s Spring Break party, some questions remain. Below are a few questions I have going into the 2006 season - questions that may or may not be answered by the end of Training Camp.

Playing Yahtzee with the Offensive Line

Holmgren already completed his first roll, with only two sure-fire keepers: Walter Jones and Sean Locklear. Now with the leather-bound, velvet-lined, dice-filled tumbler in his hand, Holmgren’s ready for roll two.

Any number of combinations could tumble out to occupy the remaining three spots. Will it be Chris Gray, Robbie Tobeck, and Floyd Womack to hit the table? Are Womack, Chris Spencer, and Gray going to net The Walrus the best score? Where does Rob Sims fit in? Does Tom Ashworth’s free-agent origin and resume dictate his participation? Will Ray Willis’ nasty streak see the field in 2006?

Can Holmgren Continue to Motivate?

We all remember the tales of toughness and perseverance passed onto us by our mother or father. These stories were used as motivational tools in the face of youthful resignation. It could’ve been the standard, “I walked to school two miles, every day”, “when I was your age, 11, I already had a job and my first house”, or my favorite “when I was 16 I already had two marriages under my belt, what are you doing?” All such stories evoke their intended inspiration the first hundred times or so, but what happens after that?

Do we, as adults, succumb to adolescently rolling our eyes upon hearing a speech, saying, or trite expression after a few hundred times? Have the players, as an audience, begun to tune out or overlook the psychological dialogue from their coach? Especially in light of last years winning circumstances?

Is Ruskell a One-Year Wonder, or a True Genius?

Heading into last years training camp, the Seattle Seahawks had more question marks than N’ Sync’s sexuality. Those questions quickly turned into answers, through the work of Tim Ruskell, aka King Midas.

In a series of moves, still awaiting miracle classification from the Vatican, Ruskell turned the Seahawks’ only weaknesses into strengths. King Midas transformed the Seahawks once aluminum defensive front-seven, into a gold model for the entire league to follow.

Were those moves a sign of genius? Can we expect similar results from this year’s Ruskell-picked crop?

Or did Seattle catch lightning in a bottle last year? Is Ruskell to the Seahawks what I am to my parents; “the lucky little accident”?

How Will the New Show, “Little Cornerback’s Big World”, fare this year?

Not since Frodo and Sam hit the big-screen, with their “odd” relationship, have we witnessed a more intriguing pair of little people than Kelly Herndon and newcomer Kelly Jennings.

Each of them possesses enough skill and surrounding talent that their size will not be an issue. Which of the two will be anointed opening day starter? Which “Gulliver” wide receiver will be the first to be taken down collectively by them?

May the best and smallest man win.

Who Will Win the Inaugural “Lofa Tatupu Award”, Given for Ambushed Excellence?

The only thing more surprising than Lofa Tatupu’s dominance last season, is someone requesting me to share my deranged drivel in an article format. “The Little Linebacker That Could” was playing as well as anyone, defensively, by the end of last season. Taking Seahawk fans, draft experts, NFL commentators, and even Billy Squier by surprise.

Who will come out of the blue this year, wreaking havoc onto opponents? Kelly Jennings? Darryl Tapp? Peter Warrick? Russell Davis? Or maybe, just maybe, the sexy and talented Pork Chop (not Floyd) Womack is the one?

Can Holmgren Play Seven-card Stud, with one Ace of Spades and Six Wild-Cards?

All any of us know, going into the upcoming season, is Darrell Jackson’s so money, even he knows it. And he could use some push-off pointers from Michael Irvin.

But what do we make of the others? Is this the year Bobby Engram drops off? Will Warrick recapture his magic? Can we stop speculating about Hacketts’ potential, now? Will the real Nate Burleson please stand up…please stand up? Can Seneca come out and play?

Who will be the Seahawks’ Surprise Pick-up this Year?

Can the Seahawks find a veteran QB, without a DWI, to add to the mix, allowing Seneca to make plays. Will they be able to locate another CB to contribute? Is an insurance-policy tight end conceivable?

Camp has begun, and the answers will follow.

Known very well to friend and foe as "pehawk" in our fan forums, Ryan Davis will be providing a fresh voice on the Seahawks, Seattle sports in general, and life in a nutshell. Feel free to send your thoughts, recriminations and mule sniffs to Ryan here.

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