Weak Opponent, Two

Nothing, and I mean nothing, says rivalry like Arizona Cardinals week in Seattle. The Seahawks' most hated rival, the one team that's consistently been a thorn in all of our sides. They annoy and irritate us with their rare wins, even rarer covering of the point spread, and thieving of our cast-off defensive players – specifically, linebackers.

Yeah, not really.

It was Déjà vu week two of the season, as again the media darling Cardinals traveled to Seattle to give our beloved Birds supposed fits. I heard offensively they’re better, good enough to come into Seattle and win. I heard defensively they were on par with the Hawks – surely good enough to quiet the team that could only score three field goals against the Lions.

A lot of NFL media and pundits went “all in” with the Cardinals; only to have the Seahawks, again, leave them broke, with their pockets exposed and turned out. They left the game and the metaphorical poker table, with egg on their face and excuses racing across their minds.

The definition of insanity is repeating the same actions over and over again, expecting different results. And there in lies the fundamental problem with the Arizona Cardinals. They keep trotting out the same offensive and defensive lineless teams, week after week, year after year, expecting different results. But, it’ll never happen. You just can’t win in the NFL without controlling at least one of the lines of scrimmage.

Until the Cardinals realize what it takes to build a good, or even respectable team, they don’t even deserve proper taunting from us fans. I mean, what is there to really harp on besides the obvious “Thank you, Jesus!” and Paris Hilton comments? Really?

So, I took a different approach. Scolding the Cardinals fans that their most notable player, Marc McGwire, cheated. That the days of Jim Plunkett, John Elway, and “Touchdown” Tommy Vardell, were over. Reminding them that Tony LaRussa was more overrated than Carmen Electra’s looks, Ozzie Smith couldn’t hit, Josh Childress plays for the Atlanta Hawks, and just like Genesis - Marc “Mad Dog” Madsen can’t dance.

Even I, have a heart however. So all of those vicious and deadly shots were followed with a friendly reminder that the Cardinals had at least beaten the Miami Hurricanes the day before, and Pitino would have them in the “Big Dance” once again.

Just like last week, I’ll save the real analysis for those better suited and less arrogant. But, here are a few observations from section 305, row II:

  • Maybe it was the 6 Bloody Marys and the smattering of beers, but I don’t recall hearing the anthem for suicidal teens everywhere, “Bittersweet Symphony” during the pre-game introductions.
  • Darrell Jackson somberly walked out of the tunnel. He also seemed less than enthused on the handful of big plays and TDs he brilliantly executed throughout the game. You can read this two ways: either he’s latched on to the ideal “act like you’ve been there before”, or there’s a chip on his shoulder with the arrival of Deion Branch. Either way, the fans and the team win.
  • Kelly Jennings is a player, a real player. The only reason he’s not starting is because someone kidnapped Kelly Herndon, without the coaching staff realizing it, and is bringing back honor to #31 of the Seahawks. Oh, and I’m not alone in my adoration of Jennings. Even Antrel Rolle’s father, whom I met at Fox Sports Grill after the game, said “well, I came to watch Kelly too, and he had a good game” in response to my reminder that his son got abused by the abovementioned Jackson.
  • As much as it pains me to say it, the injury to the sexy and talented Pork Chop Womack may very well be a blessing in disguise. In speaking to our own Editor Doub about Chris Spencer, Womack’s replacement, “Spencer seems to be more agile, and might allow the kind of flexibility the Seahawks haven't seen from the left guard position this season. This isn't a "read-and-go" running system like Denver's, and that's what it's seemed like so far in 2006. Traditionally, it's more like, "wait for the hole to blow open and go" or "wait for the defender to overpursue and time the cutback". For those who don’t know, Doub became an expert on offensive linemen not due to his love of the game, rather his love of large men. But, that shouldn’t take away from his analysis.
  • It’s looking more and more like the addition of Branch might have something to do with Burleson, and not Jackson. All day long, Burleson got less separation from the Cardinal defenders than Notorious BIG did from Puff Daddy, back in the day. Even when he found daylight, Burleson bobbled incoming passes reminiscent of another #81 from Seahawks lore.
  • The offense is beginning to warm up and will continue to improve across the board week after week. Familiar to those of you who followed the team last year.

The Leiweke Code

A minor murmur could be heard across the Seahawk nation this week, as Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke, sent out a letter reminding, reinforcing, and introducing new rules and regulations for Seahawks Game Day behavior. The brilliant timing of the letter, a few days prior to the season opener, made comedians across the country jealous. The original letter can be found here - http://www.seahawks.com/conduct/?SecID=336.

While the letter covered most bases, there are a few points and rules Mr. Leiweke’s transcriber must’ve over looked. So, I’ve taken it upon myself to add a few things. Here’s my “Fan Code of Conduct”.

  • An increased presence of the alcohol monitor staff will be patrolling all the games. But, that staff will not be looking violation of public drunkenness statutes or underage drinking. Rather, the staff’s focus will be escorting out any males within the stadium found consuming hard ciders, lemonades, or any other non-beer based “fuel”. Flasks will be okay, as long as said flask doesn’t include any mixer and does not contain Bailey's and/or Stoli’s.
  • Fans abusing other Seahawks fans or using vulgar language towards other Seahawks fans, will be swiftly escorted out of the stadium. Abuse towards fans of opposing teams will be tolerated and in the Hawks Nest, required.
  • Season ticket holders will be responsible for guests who use their tickets. If a guest is a fan from an opposing team, the season ticket holder of record may lose their season ticket privileges. And in the Hawks Nest, this rule will be enforced harshly with the punishment swift and without mercy.

Obviously, the above is my ridiculous, poorly written and executed satire on Mr. Leiweke’s benign pleas to all of us to act and behave responsibly. But, in all seriousness, there’s one thing the great Leiweke left out; the responsibility of fans who are offended by excessive drinking, vulgar language, and “dangerous situation” to be cognizant of their surroundings.

Every Sunday, NFL stadiums across the country are filled with mostly testosterone and beer. It’s a harsh place. They are places where men live out their most primal aggressions vicariously through the actions of the gladiators on the field. That’s neither wrong nor right, its just reality. Asking the masses to curtail their behavior for you or your child’s sake is selfish and unrealistic.

Both sides, the Goofus’ and the Gallant’s, need to use common sense.

Quick Hits

  • Did anyone bother to inform Jon Gruden that Chris Simms was such a head case in the collegiate ranks, that he’s the first QB, on any level, to require a “closer”? While at the University of Texas Chris Simms would routinely QB his team to large leads, only to watch them evaporate with his boneheaded play. Requiring the Head Coach to summon Major Applewhite to finish the game. Advice to Mr. Gruden, sign Applewhite now, to avoid more Simms losses. It worked well at UT, another good professional team.
  • Through two games, Houston Texans waste of a #1 pick DE Mario Williams has 4 tackles, 1 assist, and no sacks. While Reggie Bush has 250 all-purpose yards.
  • One of life’s simple pleasures is watching anything Daniel Snyder does fail. And fail is exactly what the Redskins offense, and highly overpaid Al Saunders, is doing right now. It’s so bad in the nation’s capitol, I actually heard a rumor the Skins offense is thinking of reverting to single-bar facemasks to match their archaic offensive outputs.
  • I may have been barking up the wrong tree when I assumed the Dolphins would be the team to surpass the Patriots in the AFC “Big” East. What I meant to say is Buffalo. I think that team’s a lot better than anyone realizes. Kudos to two time coaching retread Dick Jauron for quite possibly turning it around.

Mule Sniff

On two separate occasions, the 300 level on the east side of Qwest Stadium stood in unison booing two Steelers paraphernalia-wearing fans up and down the steps on their individual trips to concessions, restrooms, wherever. While that kind of conduct may have cost the whole level season tickets, per the new guidelines, it made my heart swell with pride and earned a savory sniff from yours truly.

Known very well to friend and foe as "pehawk" in our fan forums, Ryan Davis provides 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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