TOP OF THE TOWN – Most so-called experts will make excuses for a team going bad. The favorite excuse is too many injuries. Or there is bad chemistry. But the truth is plainer. You are what you are. I covered the Seattle Mariners for nearly 30 years and I was always amused during the dark early years of the franchise when they traded for a pitcher it would be said they have seen something in his mechanics that once fixed will make him a much better pitcher. That line of baloney never worked. That pitcher was what his statistics said he was. If he walked too many batters, or give up to many hits, and his ERA was high, that is who he was and no monkeying around with his mechanics was going to change him. Now fans are faced with a Seattle Seahawk team that has underperformed and stands with a 3-8 record, which is the second worse in the NFL only ahead of the Detroit Lions who are 0-10-1. No matter what you think, the Hawks’ record stands for itself. It reflects what kind of team Seattle is. A bad one. The question that needs an answer is how a Seahawk team that went 12-4 last season has fallen so quickly from grace. It’s complicated. But in the long run the franchise has not gotten with the times. The NFL game is constantly changing and a team can’t sit still and watch it pass by without also changing. Most teams have an explosive running back, maybe even two, and an offense that attacks all over the field with schemes that make it tough to shut down by defenses. Trips, swing passes to those explosive  running backs and offensive lineman leading a back around end like the old Green Bay Packer Lombardi Sweep featuring Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung following the blocking of future Hall of Famer Jerry Kramer and Fred “Fuzzy” Thurston, and young and talented quarterbacks like Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Mac Jones and Jalen Hurts plus guys like Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan and Matt Stafford, Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes and offensive coordinators who are inventing new ways to make more explosive plays are transforming the way the game is being played. Seattle, on the other hand, is stuck in neutral, showing up for games with a roster devoid of super new talent because of a failure of draft picks in four of  last five years, an offense that shows little imagination, a quarterback who has suddenly lost his magic and a coach that is now 70 and stubbornly holds on to his past and refuses to change. It doesn’t take a defensive genius to plot against the Hawks. Without running back Chris Carson, out for the season with a neck injury, the Hawks’ running game has come to a standstill. Yet coach still insists on running the ball, which means defenses don’t have to pay special attention to it. So most defensive attention goes to the Hawks’ wide receivers. For the most part, they had been shut down.  Topping off the Hawks’ slide to irreverence is the play of its quarterback. A broken finger kept Russell Wilson out three weeks and since his return his passing has become erratic, He’s suddenly overthrowing receivers or not reading his options properly and leaving wide open receivers to throw up their hands in disgust when he throws and misses elsewhere. Wilson has lost the confidence that made him the magic man and he is hesitant to make throws he normally would. It’s sad to witness what is a decline in ability. So with a season in disarray what is going to happen in the off-season? The bet here is the 33-year-old Wilson will ask to be traded so he can finish his career out with another crack at a Super Bowl. He won’t find it in Seattle. It’s going to take some time to convince coach Pete Carroll he needs to join the modern world and upgrade the offense to match what has been a good defense. That might not happen without Wilson or a suitable quarterback who can put points on the board. So there are a lot of unanswered questions for 2022. A proud franchise needs to get its mojo back, and back quickly, or risk losing its super fan base. No matter how it’s sliced, the off-season is going to be interesting. That’s it for today. Stay safe.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

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