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Wali Rainier is a free agent veteran linebacker and a special teams standout. Wali could be outside the focal lengths of NFL GMs. He had missed all of last year having broken his ankle in training camp and placed on IR by the Texans prior to the beginning of the season.
Rainier offers some versatility having played all of the linebacker positions and has accumulated 66 game starts in 8 years. Primarily a starter MLB and strong side LB in his first 4 years. His strength lies in that he is a very physical player and sure tackler. However he also possesses good zone coverage skills for a linebacker. Just don't ask him to play man to man.
Wali grew up in a very rough neighborhood in North Carolina where gunshots drugs and violence was rampant. His father also taught him where to take out his aggression. When Wali was 8 or 9 years old, his father told him to clobber other people in the one place where assault charges would not be filed: the football field. "It’s one part of life I can take my aggression out, and it’s legal," Wali Rainer says. "That’s all he used to tell me at a young age, and it still sticks with me now."
This is the background that inspired Wali to treat every play as if it were his last. He led his team in tackles in 3 of his first 4 seasons. As a rookie for the Browns he had 136 tackles. The past 3 seasons he has played as a member of a rotation playing linebacker. Very tough and gritty. A big hitter when he steps up to stop the run. Smart and decisive. Compensates for his speed by getting a good jump on the play. Rainier is difficult to block on special teams due in a large part to his characteristic "high speed wiggle" move that enables him to squeeze past blockers.
In an interview with Scout.com's Ed Thompson Rainier disclosed, "I'm one of those guys who loves contact and playing on special teams. I'm going to give 100 percent. When I was on the Lions special teams, I tried to be on every tackle and physically try to punish the ball carrier."
His emotional intensity is infectious to his teammates in the locker room as well as in the field. His character is un-questioned. He earned NFL Man of the Year in 2001. He could be a valuable depth player and a force on special teams. He's Kacyvenski without the Benedict Arnold. Sign him up!
By The Watchdog
When you see sights like Bill Belichick sporting turkey pale legs on national television and players sweating and laughing in the blazing sun, all in the middle of February, you know your watching NFL Hawaii - more namely, the Pro-Bowl.
For those of us who were yearning for one last glimpse of our team's representatives, it was kind of a bittersweet, love-hate performance all around. You want to see an all-out ass busting, high scoring affair much like you would expect when you put this many play makers on the same field together, but instead what I saw looked more like a frat party scrimmage at times.
Oh, I know that it's a just for fun game, but c'mon.
When Carson Palmer reared back and threw that beautiful 42 yard touchdown bomb to Chad Johnson in the third quarter, there was no coverage within ten yards of him. Okay, that happens. But on the very next play when the Chargers Kaeding kicked the extra point, I literally saw three of the linemen simply come out of their stance and stand straight up, arms at their side relaxed while the kick sailed through.
Maybe I expect too much, but this is an all-star game right? Don't the NFC players care that the AFC kicks their ass in just about everything they do regarding football?
There were some really cool plays made from our own players in the West. Frank Gore took a hand-off from Marc Bulger and ran it in to tie the score at 14 just before halftime. And later in the fourth quarter Steven Jackson showed why he was there with a nifty duck and dodge run for an 11-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to begin the late NFC rally which came up three points short.
It's not like Steven Jackson hasn't seen that scenario play out a few too many times.
But all in all, it was fun to see the stars come out one more time even if it was just an exhibition.
But it would have been nice to see the NFC win something on their way out the door.
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There are usually just a few moments in a person's life that change everything. High school graduation. Getting married. The birth of your first child. Landing that first job that gives you disposable income and a future.
These moments are marked and obvious. Sometimes there is ceremony, sometimes cards and gifts, sometimes partying, sometimes all of the above. All of them are precious, memorable and significant to your life, and and everybody knows it.
Then there are the little unheralded moments in your life that change it all the same, but without pomp and circumstance. Your first kiss. The first conversation you had with your best friend. The moment you stepped out of the DoL with your license in hand. The sudden realization that she is "the one." The embrace you share when she walks into the room with an EPT. These moments are not so ceremonial, but nonetheless, after them--you are never the same.
Looking back at this forum after one year, I can't help but wonder how many of our members have had one of these moments, right here, in this virtual meeting place. It's easy to dismiss the notion, especially if we're fairly new to the forum. But when I look back at some of the things that have taken place, it is without a doubt that permanent, lasting relationships have been forged, and people have been personally touched, their souls edified, and have grown socially, even spiritually.
I have seen tremendous acts of charity. I have seen sorrowful souls enter, but leave elated, thanks to a gang of luminous dolts. I have seen pairs of friends linger and bond in conversation for hours, as though nothing existed but each other's company. I have seen conflagrations of temper resolve into spit-handshakes of sweet harmony. I have seen the shy wallflower gradually converted to a social butterfly. I have seen the comfort and strength of attentive friendship sustain persons who have lost loved ones in death. I have seen circles of celebration over the good things shared from each other's lives. I've seen everything that should happen with dear friends, happen here.
For many of us, this has become much more than a pleasant diversion from the rigors of life. It has wonderfully enriched it.
Thank you, friends. Happy birthday, SeahawkBlue.
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When you were a child, what would it mean to you to meet one of your heroes? What if you were sick, or were fighting a daily battle of hope, health and existence?
Even as adults, we get a shot in the arm, our day is brightened, when we even observe them from a distance. Which is why I find reports like these touching.
Walter Jones took time yesterday to visit the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu, to encourage patients and spread good cheer. If you visit Seahawks.com, you can see some shots of Big Walt, sharing his muscular, southern grin with some kids that could use a boost.
But I didn't bring this up just for fluff. In all reality, much of this sort of thing happens from day to day with sports stars and organizations, but is often little more than PR. For example, a ten minute photo opportunity of famous athletes unloading emergency supplies for New Orleans disaster relief does just a little for the recipient, but a lot for the image of the donor.
This is not--AT ALL--to say that Jones is insincere in this effort to help sick kids. Far from it, I applaud him. What I am trying to say is that you don't have to be famous to really help some one. You can brighten someones day, encourage them, provide practical assistance, no matter what your walk of life. It doesn't have to involve cameras or celebrities. Anyone can load supplies, provide meals, share an engaging smile and conversation. The press is completely unnecessary to accomplish this.
If you already play some active part in a volunteer organization or activity, my hat is off to you. If you have thought about it, stop thinking and do it, get involved, share in the joy of helping others that have real needs. It can bring joy and purpose to your life like you'd never expect.
Have you participated in volunteer activities? What kind? How did you feel? Would you recommend it to others? Not to toot your own horn, but to encourage others to do the same...
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By The Watchdog
You know them. We all know them, at least by their faces.
At this point it's pretty safe to say that there isn't a real football fan in the entire country who hasn't seen their painted up face a hundred times.
It's Mr. and Mrs. Seahawk of course, who are more properly known in real life as Jeff and DeDe Schumaier, but more famously in Seahawk Nation as the fan-face of an entire Northwestern phenomenon the likes of which is rarely seen anywhere in sports. What I'm referring to of course is the legendary 12th man.
While this wonderful couple is not the only force that represents what drives the unprecedented dizziness that comes from even a simple opposition's false-start, they certainly have furthermore staked thier claim not only to their lifelong love of the Seahawks, but to each other, and did it long before the legendary and often second-guessed Qwest Field auditory oddity was ever born.
Mr. and Mrs Seahawk we wed in true blue fashion at the fifty-yard line of a Seahawks home game ... at the Kingdome.
Still, even with such nostalgia, there is an emptiness this year that comes with being forced to sit on the sidelines-so to speak- and watch another NFC team play the part in what they are convinced is still the Seahawks show.
"There's an emptiness now," Schumaier said. "Once you go there you get this hunger and you think you can get there every year."
One thing that is for sure, even in the big city is that there is no shortage of small town love growing within the confines of the concrete and steel boundries of the big city. But old love is good love if you ask Jeff and DeDe.
And their love for each other will never fade.
Just like their love for the Seahawks.
Raise a toast for the founders of the 12th man.
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Labels: NFC West Doghouse
By The Watchdog
Normally winning seven games in a season is not cause for celebration. But a simple visit to a San Francisco 49er website would have one believe that not only are the skies opening up to reveal the long promised saviour is finally returning, but is also sporting a San Francisco home jersey labeled "Heaven in '07."
But between the blubbery folds of the myopic being of destiny which has descended upon the good people of San Francisco, eeks a certain sweaty sense of unrest my friends. Oh yes, and the sinister evil which most have opted to ignore like a new lower body odor is real, and getting funkier by the minute.
Case in point:
You would think that Frank Gore would be a happy man. After all, he just finished his breakout season in only his second year, gaining roughly a thousand more rushing yards than he did in '05. At the same time he laid claim to the third best rushing total in the NFL with just under 1,700 yards. With one year left on his contract, it's not a stretch to assume he will be in quite the bargaining postition for a new and very lucrative contract.
But word has it that he's not interested in waiting that long. In fact chances are very good that when training camp opens up, his bright shiny face may be not available for a photo opportunity but instead listed as the biggest-name hold-out of the new season. Reports indicate that he is already pushing for a re-negotiation of his contract to the tune of ten million dollars.
Good luck with that brother.
Norv Turner, along with the rest of the 49er nation are no doubt eagerly awaiting the next move by Jerry Jones and the rest of the crackwagon organization in regards to his highly publicized lead candidacy for the next head clown with "America's team."
What Norv and the rest of the sports world are not so readily divulging is the fact that now that Ron Rivera is officially available to be tampered with, there will be a decisively cruel swap in bent-knee worship that favors the flavor of Chicago hot dogs over the former Raider flounderer.
Look for Ron Rivera to be the next Head Coach of the Cowboys.
So though things may surely be looking up in the gay bay as far as optimism, there is plenty of reality to keep the stories in context. Besides, keeping Norv Turner in the NFC West isn't so bad.
He is the utter definition of parity.
I swear I wrote this two years ago...
According to Adam Schefter on NFL.com, Mack Strong concluded Pro Bowl practice today with the confirmation that he is indeed returning to add one more fabled season to his chronologically-defiant career.
What gets into this guy? After 12 years of pounding linebackers into submission, he makes it to Hawaii. After 13 years, he thinks he's Superman, flies over defenders in a single bound, and does it again. What will he do for this, his 14th year? Burn through safeties with his laser beam eyes?
He will always be one one of my heroes, for his workmanlike approach, his humble team spirit, and his balls-out toughness. At his core, he is a lot of what this team is all about.
On a more realistic note, Strong did struggle at times last season. In fact, he may have gone to the Pro Bowl by reputation and default. Partly due to injury, mostly due to being friggin' older than Methusaleh, he will need to share some of his playing time if he's going to make it through a season without becoming a handicap.
But in any case, Mack Strong, I celebrate your career, even before it is done.
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By The Watchdog
by The Watchdog
Anyone who doubts the NFC West will be a force to be reckoned with, effective immediately need not look any further than what’s happening down in the land of the aborted Pink Taco for justification.
The Cards recent introduction of Ken Whisenhunt as their new Head Coach lends new and immediate credibility to what they have been trying to do in the desert since pink tacos were introduced to the lonely pioneers of the west – namely, build a team worth a grain of that professionally and rightfully slandered sun-beat sand.
But much like Jack Bauer, this years front page somehow trumps last years storyline going into free agency and the draft. Getting rid of Denny’s (Green) all night rectal-vision coaching platform was certainly a step in the right direction for the long beleaguered franchise of failure. But adding a coaching prodigy with the pedigree of Whisenhunt certainly solidifies their application for the NFL’s sexy pick of the year. Too bad that much like Jack Bauer and the crew, you can only blow up the white house so many times and still have a mostly separated nation pretend to gasp for losing their Bush.
But what does all this mean to the rest of the division – well, this is where it does turn the corner and get a bit interesting.
Whisenhunt and his new coaching staff are nothing if they are not subscribers to the age old Steeler tradition of smash-mouth football. But to do this they will need an offensive line that can actually be offensive to the other team rather than to the good people of Arizona. They already have a very good running back in Edgerrin James, who somehow and with nearly no blocking, still managed to gain 1159 yards last season. What is scary to think of is what could happen if a good coach put this team together in old-school fundamental style.
That could be right on the horizon this year, and in full bloom by 2008.
If Whisenhunts game plan plays out, he will be putting his own entry in what is arguably in ’06 and surely in ’07 set to be the best rushing division in the entire NFL. We all are familiar with Shaun Alexanders recently broken touchdown record as well as the 49ers Frank Gore, who finished last year third in the league in rushing followed up by Steven Jackson at number five.
It’s safe to say that this year all eyes will be on the West Coast when the lame-ass monkeys on Sportcenter throw their weekly rushing highlights on the screen. And this year the Cardinals will be trying to shake much more than the stigma of trying to justify why they voted to not name Cardinal Stadium the “Pink Taco.”
Who the hell wouldn’t like a big pink taco oasis in the middle of the most futile desert on the planet?
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No doubt you have seen the recent trend of the past few years of NFL teams stockpiling defensive linemen in an effort to rotate them into games to maintain a premium energy level for the defensive line. Throw in the complexity of today's NFL defenses, disguising coverages, and multiple adjustments on the line of scrimmage by NFL defenders, and then you'll understand why there is such a premium on elite offensive linemen to counter the problems posed by today's NFL defensive linemen.
Skill players are needed – yes, but games are won and lost in the trenches. In 2005, the Seahawks had the best offensive line. Short yardage? Everyone knew Shaun was going to run to the left. Hawks said here it is, just try and stop us. No one could. Hutch was considered best NFL guard behind only Alan Faneca. Even so, you don’t pay $6mil for a guard. Well the landscape has changed. Salary cap has exploded. Top rated guards now earn LT money. We need to build an upper echelon line again. How will that happen?
First, let’s evaluate what we have. We learned you cannot just plug-in a guard? I like Womack and Womack should be re-signed for a backup role. He can play 4 positions. We need that. He knows the west coast offense. He has had many injuries, so why risk him as a starter. Spencer and Sims gained valuable experience and will be the foundation for the future. Sean Locklear must be re-signed. He is being targeted by several teams. We must minimize change on the offensive line to develop continuity. Sean is a good young talent. Ashworth is another valuable backup. He can play RT and RG (only). I watched SB 38 today and Ash played very well at RT lining up opposite of Julius Peppers. Chris Gray is a grisly veteran. What he lacks in physical abilities, he has made up for it by using his experience to outsmart the competition. He is the only veteran equipped with knowledge and ability to make the line calls for blocking. Gray's experience and instincts could teach Spencer and Sims the mental part of the game and shorten their learning curve. He could help Spencer to call out the blocking assignments. He can backup at Center as well as guard. If we can get him at the veteran minimum it would be worthwhile to do so. Ray Willis is on the bubble. I’ve heard good things about him, but in 2 years he has hardly been active on game day. Pat Ross could be a backup center, but having 2 young centers would leave us vulnerable. So where do we go from here?
Typically, your left guard is your quicker, more athletic player. They should be athletic enough to get outside to lead on traps, sweeps, and pulling plays. Whereas running teams prefer bigger, more physical right guards for power blocking on short yardage runs.
With this in mind, if we were able to acquire a 27 year old Derrick Dockery, 6’ 6” 335 pounds, he would be the quintessential right guard and we can retain Sims at LG. Dockery is a great power blocker. Big and tall, the LBs won’t see the RB until it’s too late. When Portis was down, backups continued to rush for 100 yards behind Dockery. You won’t see many DTs bull rush him successfully to get to the QB. Dockery was teammates with Marcus Tubbs and DD Lewis at Texas.
Two other veteran candidates would necessitate having Sims start at RG. Eric Steinbach is 27 years old, 6’ 6” 290 lbs and in the run game he is considered one of the best pulling LGs in the NFL. He has played all positions on the line, but is a natural at LG. Gifted athletically, intelligent and excels at pass blocking. A little light for straight ahead power running game, but with Walter on his right and with Spencer a bigger center than Tobeck on the right, he will do fine.
Kris Dielman is 26 years old, 6’ 4” 310 lbs and is of the perfect size for a LG in Seattle’s line. He is an effective blocker in the running as well as the passing game. Dielman helped LT break Alexander’s record. Dielman offers a little bit of nasty, something that’s been lacking on the field since Hutch’s departure. He’s still going -12 seconds beyond when most of the others have finished a play. Other times, Dielman will simply get in a little extra knock just to let his opponent know he's not going anywhere. "I just like to get in there and get it going," he said. "If you've got to mix it up a little bit, you've got to mix it up."
In the draft, Ben Grubbs, the Auburn guard could slip to the middle of the 2nd round. He 6’ 3” 305 lbs, is very athletic and quick. He is a tremendous lead blocker when out in front. He has a nice ability to pull and trap and getting to the corner as lead blocker on running plays. Grubbs can get to the 2nd level to take on LBs. He gets a solid push on the pile. In the passing game, he has good technique and a decent base to hold up against bull rushers. He also has quick feet to slide to the outside on quicker pass rushers. He can play either guard position.
Josh Beekman, the guard out of Boston College has good size and bulk, 6’ 1” 320 lbs. Has a low base, gets a great push and does well in the running game. Always hustles and plays until the whistle. He is sound fundamentally and a good technician. He is strong and very intelligent. Sets up quickly in pass protection and uses his hands well. Isn't real athletic enough to handle elite pass rushers. He is not superior in any facet, but he is solid in all phases of protection.
Backups Womack Ashworth Gray Willis
Starters Tackles Jones and Locklear, Center Spencer, Guards Sims and pick-em
Preference for other starting guard is 1) Dielman, 2) Steinbach, 3) Dockery, 4) Grubbs, 5) Beekman
Well there you have it, the preferred list of candidates for a new starting guard. Will any of them be available for the taking? I hope so.
By albaNY Hawker
I've got to finish this before midnight, as that's when the statute of limitations runs out on discussing SB XL. However, in watching the game tonight, and the ensuing debate about who should be named the MVP, I got to thinking...who would have been named MVP of SB XL had the Seahawks won?
Matt Hasselbeck probably would have been the safe bet, because these things usually go to the quarterback, especially if the voting is close. Hass was 26 for 49, 273 yards, with 1 touchdown and 1 int. Good numbers to be sure, but that one interception was very ill advised, and actually probably was the play that cost us the game, so that may have worked against him.
The regular season MVP had a good day too, although he didn't break the 100 yard mark on 20 carries.
Darrell Jackson came out of the gates quick, catching five passes in the first quarter, setting a new SB record for most catches in one period, but then he disappeared, not to mention the one TD catch that was nullified by his (questionable) offensive penalty. Bobby Engram had his usual workman day, catching 6 balls for 70 yards. Joe Jurevicius lead the club in yardage with 93 on 5 catches, but a lot of those came in garbage time, with the game clock winding down.
On the defensive side of the ball, Kelly Herndon might have gotten some consideration for his goal-line interception which was returned 90+ yards, setting up the only Seahawk TD in the game.
And who caught that TD?
In the coming weeks, we're going to be hearing a lot about Jerramy Stevens, seeing as he's scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, and his Seahawks career could be graded as an incomplete. There will be those who say the Seahawks should just let him walk, and others who think he's talented enough to warrant the franchise tag.
If only Jerramy had caught a couple more of the balls thrown to him in SB XL, the perspective of the fans as he enters free agency might be different, considering he may have also let a SB MVP slip through his hands on that day.
As it was, he registered 3 catches for 25 yards and one TD. Paltry numbers, but his catches, as well as his non-catches, came at very critical times in the game. Just think if the Locklear hold wasn't called, and J-Steve's catch at the two sets up the Seahawks with the go-ahead TD? Perhaps Stevens even scores it himself on a play-action fake to the tight end, since the Steelers were bottling up the run pretty well most of the day?
I think had the Seahawks won that game, and if that final catch held up, Jerramy Stevens would have been given some MVP considerations in last year's SB.
Just something to consider before vilifying him over the next several weeks.
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