Seattle Seahawks

Marquise Blair bashes his way from Wooster to the Seattle Seahawks

Marquise Blair bashes his way from Wooster to the Seattle Seahawks

RENTON, Wash. - Seattle rookie safety Marquise Blair simply doesn't have much to say. Not to the media. Not to his teammates. Not to his coaches. Not to pretty much anybody. It's nothing personal. He's simply a man of few words. 

"That's just me," Blair said with a smile while standing before about 25 media members following the first day of Seattle's rookie minicamp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

That reality will certainly be a departure from the defensive backs that roamed Seattle's secondary during the recent glory years when the boisterous Legion of Boom operated at full force. But, like that group, Blair certainly enjoys bringing the boom if not also the noise after the fact. He is a true hitter in every sense of the word. He thirsts for contact, so much so that all of his coaches along the way from Wooster High School through Dodge City Community College and at Utah marveled at his ability to deliver blows that helped wreck opposing offenses. 

“The first thing that stands out is his smile,” Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley said when asked of what he will remember most about Blair's days at Utah. “The next thing would be how that smile was so deceiving because he will kill you dead on the field.”

Now he brings that tenacity to a team that could use a little attitude on the back end after the loss of Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas over the past couple of years.

What the Seahawks are getting in Blair is a hungry player that came from humble beginnings and ended up a second-round pick in the NFL. 

"It changed my life," Blair said of being selected. "I'm happy to be here."

How he arrived here was somewhat unconventional. 

--- A career that almost never was

Blair had to be convinced to play football as a 175-pound sophomore in 2012 at Wooster High in Wooster, Ohio, population 27,000. He didn't enjoy his freshman season and saw himself more as a basketball player. First-year Wooster football coach Doug Haas didn't give up on Blair, and with the help of his mother, Tonya Boykins, convinced him to join the team once school began. By that point, Blair had already missed three weeks of practices. Haas wasn't about to allow Blair to see varsity game action right away. Haas made Blair play junior varsity for three weeks to match the three weeks of practices he had missed. 

Because learning the safety position in just a week proved troublesome, Blair played his first junior varsity game at standup defensive end. 

"He had seven sacks and recovered an onside kick," Haas said. "He was just a terror. My J.V. staff came back and said, 'well, that's the last we'll see of him.'"

A couple of weeks later, Blair moved up to varsity and played cornerback where his man-to-man skills shined. Haas recalled a play when the opposing team ran a reverse to the wide side of the field directly at Blair, all alone in open space. 

"He cuts this kid down in the backfield," Haas said. "And I go, 'okay, this guy is pretty special. He's going to be playing on Saturdays.'"

The following season, Blair moved to safety. The defense struggled early on before Blair texted Haas asking to move to linebacker in order to be closer to the action. The team ran a 4-2-5 defense that used a hybrid safety/linebacker position. Blair flourished in that spot and the team's season turned around. Blair, however, still though basketball might be his best sport. But Haas informed him that there wasn't much of a demand for a 6-foot-2, left-handed guard with a weak jump shot. However, fast, physical safeties that loved contact were always in demand. That description certainly fit Blair. 

"I've never seen anybody as physical as he is in terms of just the ability to have blatant disregard for your body and just explode into people," Haas said, "and then straighten up your helmet, pop up, get right back and get the play call and move on. That's what so separated him from everybody else."

Blair's toughness could be traced to having grown with five siblings, including four brothers, two that were older. 

"We always played backyard football so I feel that's where that really came from," Blair said. 

The older brothers would rough up Blair from time to time. 

"A little bit. Not no more, though," Blair said with a smile. 

NFL Films also influenced Blair's mindset on the field. 

"When I was little I'd watch highlights," he said. "Hard-hitting highlights."

On most plays, there is going to be some hard-hitting contact so Blair's philosophy is simple. 

"I'd just rather it be you (who gets hit hard) than me," he said. 

Interest in Blair as a potential college football player took shape soon after his junior season when he received his first scholarship offer in early 2014. Rated as a three-star recruit by 247sports.com and Rivals.com, Blair received offers from Minnesota, Purdue, Kent State, Toledo and Syracuse. That summer, he took an unofficial visit to Syracuse, connected with the players and coaches there and committed that June. 

One fatal flaw stood in the way; his grade-point average. 

"Marquises will be the first to tell you that he was young and immature as a freshman and didn't think about the repercussions of not performing well in the classroom," Haas said. 

Blair began to play catch-up in the classroom while continuing to make opponents pay for allowing him to catch them on the field. Blair would go on to be named first-team Division II all-state as a senior and was named the 2014 Ohio Cardinal Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He led the team with 75 tackles and on offense caught 35 passes for 724 yards and 11 touchdowns. In a playoff game, Blair scored four touchdowns on offense and one on defense to lead the team to a 35-7 win. 

According to Haas, Blair finally realized that football would be his "meal ticket" and gave up basketball his senior season in order to focus on his studies and training for college. But could he become eligible to play at an FBS program?

Blair did all that he could, including taking online classes during the summer after graduating in order to become eligible. Syracuse helped with the process. All signs appeared positive until the 11th hour. In late July, the NCAA determined that it would not approve Blair's transcript making him ineligible to play major college football.

"There was a culpability there," Haas said. "He learned the error of his ways." 

Scramble mode ensued. Blair and his coaches had little time to find an alternative plan at a junior college where he could play and work on his associate's degree in order to later transfer to a four-year institution. With few options to choose from, Blair selected Dodge City Community College in Dodge City, Kansas.

Blair applied online, received a football scholarship, packed his bags, got a ride to Cleveland an hour away and then took his first plane ride just under 1,000 miles west to attend school in a city he had never visited to play for people had had never met in person. 

--- Dodge City Destroyer

At the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport in Wichita, Kan., to pick up Blair in late summer of 2015 was linebackers coach Michael Starkey, now at Defiance College in Ohio. Blair had gotten everything all squared away late in the process and missed a few days of fall camp before his arrival. So, Starkey brought along a note pad, handed it to Blair in the car at the airport and during the 2 1/2 hour drive to Dodge City held a one-on-one defensive playbook cram session. 

Dodge City, like Wooster High, used essentially a 4-2-5 defense with heavy man defense that Blair took to quite easily. He once again played a hybrid linebacker/safety role and once again flew around with reckless abandon creating havoc. But he did so while playing within the structure of the defense, which required him to play a lot of man-to-man coverage on slot receivers.

"You could just tell the first day of practice that he understood things," Starkey said. "He just understood football. He understood concepts, he understood the schemes and he took coaching very well. He just applied what he saw and what we were trying to do on the field better than anyone I've ever coached."

That combination of football IQ and tenacity made Blair a menace. His Dodge City highlight video is filled with clips of Blair making early recognition of a play, blowing past blockers and delivering a big hit. 

"He's a violent striker," Starkey said. "He can uncoil his hips whether it was destroying a blocker or making a tackle...That's one thing that immediately caught our eyes on his high school film just how violent he was as a 17-year-old high school senior. He was just violent in everything he did."

Blair's impact was instant and continued for two years. As a senior, Blair had 99 tackles, four interceptions, three sacks and forced four fumbles. 

"Everybody on our coaching staff and a lot of guys on our team they saw very quickly that he was just different," Starkey said. "He could do a myriad of different things that just made him elite at that level, for sure."

Starkey said that Blair didn't instantly become enamored with Dodge City but the coach told him that after one year there, when he went home for the summer, he would dream about coming back to be with his teammates. 

"When I picked him up for his sophomore year he was like, 'damn coach, I couldn't wait to get back,'" Starkey said. 

Blair did the work in the classroom and made the plays in games that allowed him to stand out. 

"He took coaching very well," Starkey said. "Better than anyone I've ever coached."

And just like at Wooster, Blair created a highlight reel of vicious hits. 

-- Utah hunts for a linebacker, finds a safety

In 2017, Utah had graduated two senior linebackers and needed help at the position. That sent defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley to Dodge City to recruit Blair, who stood out on game video with his speed and tenacity. A three-star recruit yet again, Blair would receive offers from Nebraska, Louisville, Michigan State, Iowa State and others. 

When Scalley met Blair, the coach did a double take. Blair, then about 187 pounds, didn't resemble the player Scalley had seen on video. 

"He looked big (in action)," Scalley said. "Maybe because he just played big. They'd blitz him off the edge and he'd take on pullers. "

Scalley said that Blair's junior college film was one of the most impressive physical displays he'd ever seen. So while Blair was not the guy Utah thought he was, "it didn't change that we loved him," Scalley said.  

Utah recruited Blair to play safety. 

“He could flat out move and was so physical,” Scalley said. “He was worth taking, regardless of position he was going to play.”

The challenge would be to get Blair’s footwork down at the safety position. That directive proved to not be a problem.

“It was very natural for him," Scalley said. "He’s such an athlete.”

Once again, Blair took well to coaching. Different staff. Same results. He bought into the program and Utah bought into him.

Blair needed exactly one play to announce his presence at Utah with a thud. It happened during his debut in the 2017 opener at home against North Dakota. 

“We put him in and he's lined up on the wrong side,” Scalley described, "and I'm screaming at him to run to the other side. He runs over and he's got the tight end in coverage."

The tight end blocked down on a run play to the right that involved a 310-pound guard pulling toward Blair.

"I'm thinking to myself, 'oh crap,'" Scalley said.

His concern proved unwarranted. Blair got low and thrust his legs up sending his shoulder pads into the lineman’s right shoulder. 

“He lights this guard up as if the kid were a little league football player,” Scalley said. "Just ruined him..."The entire stadium just goes, "ooh. That was our first taste of Marquise Blair at the University of Utah."

Back in Dodge City, Starkey watched the game with his girlfriend, who reacted excitedly when Blair made that big hit. Starkey, however, didn't blink. 

"I just kind of looked at her like, 'yeah, that's what he does,'" Starkey said. "That's the lion being a lion."

Blair went on to have a great Utah career that ended with him being named second-team all-Pac-12 as a senior. Remember those academic problems that dogged him in high school? Blair was named to the conference's honorable mention all-academic team. 

Scalley said he believes that Blair is only scratching the surface of what he can do at the safety position because he's only played it for two years. But, he continued, that Blair must continue to work on his man-to-man coverage skills at the next level. Scalley doesn't expect that Blair will ever lose focus and not be able to adjust to new challenges. 

“He hates to lose,” Scalley said. “He hates to lose a rep.”

Plus, Blair is all about team accomplishment and wants to be a key part of that success. 

“He’s not a me-guy," Scalley said. "He doesn’t even have a Twitter account right now...He’s not the guy that you're going to want to interview after the games. He’s not the guy that's going to give you complete sentences but he is a guy that lights up a room with his smile."

--- Seahawks see a fit

On the second night of the NFL Draft, Seattle general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll zeroed in on Blair despite safety not being a huge need with starters Bradley McDougald and Tedric Thompson returning. They were seduced by Blair's physicality and athleticism. 

"We worked him out at the Combine and we thought this guy could play corner," Schneider said. "He’s just that kind of athlete. Really intense tempo-setter. Tough, tough dude.”

Carroll said he could see Blair, who became the father of a son last summer, playing Nickel right away because he is athletic enough to do so. But the primary objective is to groom him as a strong safety. 

"We really like him attacking the line of scrimmage..." Carroll said. "It’s his toughness that we’re really excited about.”

Blair is joined in Seattle by former Utah teammate, linebacker Cody Barton, selected in the third round.  

Barton said Blair's personalities on and off the field are polar opposite. 

"He doesn’t talk much, but he’s a very mellow, cool guy and then all of a sudden he puts the helmet on and he’s a wild man," Barton said. "He just wants to kill people. But great player, super smart on the field, has great range. Playing with him coming from Utah, I know how he plays and he’s going to do great things here."

Barton said the biggest hit he's ever seen Blair deliver came against Arizona when he smacked the Wildcats quarterback. However, Blair was called for targeting, a frequent occurrence during his career and something he said he needs to work on. 

"I've just got to lower my target," he said. 

Seattle also drafted Oregon safety Ugo Amadi in the fourth round to play free safety opposite Blair in the second unit. The two didn't know much about each other until they met at the NFL Scouting Combine. This weekend, they were roommates. 

And, according to Amadi, Blair actually speaks and has done so quite often.

"Yes, he definitely talks to me," Amadi said with a laugh. "We always talk...I don't know if ya'll have something going on, but for me, good vibes over there."

What's clear is that even without much to say, Blair connects with those closest to him off the field. 

"He's a great kid," Scalley said. "He has a great heart. I just loved his personality. You've gotta earn his trust, but once you do that dude will do anything for ya.”

Haas listened to Blair's draft teleconference and the short sentences he delivered and could only laugh. Those who have helped Blair reach this point find his budgeting of words endearing because they know who the person is behind the quiet demeanor. Haas, Starkey and Scalley have helped groom someone that Seattle is hoping will deliver loudly on the field where it matters the most and where he will always speak the loudest. 

"He is a man of very few words," Haas said. "He's very comfortable with silence." 

Unless, of course, Blair is creating the crashing sound of pad-on-pad violence. 

Quinton Dunbar's lawyer denies claim that he paid witnesses

Quinton Dunbar's lawyer denies claim that he paid witnesses

The Quinton Dunbar era as a Seattle Seahawk has been quite the rollercoaster and he has yet to even suit up for the team.

Now, it's looking increasingly unlikely that ever happens.

Dunbar is currently facing charges for armed robbery from an event on May 13 in Miramar, Fla. The Miramar Police had one witness and four victims sign sworn statements saying that Dunbar, as well as Giants corner DeAndre Baker, led an armed robbery at a party. However, when those five individuals later recanted their entire story and signed sworn affidavits with Dunbar's attorney Michael Grieco stating that Dunbar had no involvement in the incident, it appeared like Dunbar would be cleared.

Then came Friday's news where the New York Daily News presented evidence, in the form of video footage and Instagram direct messages, that Dunbar and Baker paid off those five people to switch their story. A search warrant suggests the witnesses were paid $55,000.

[RELATED]: Report: Seahawks CB Quinton Dunbar paid witnesses to change their story

Now, one day later, Michael Grieco issued a statement to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times denying the claim that the players paid the witnesses to change their stories.

“Law enforcement, both local and federal, was advised from day one and beyond that the alleged ‘victims’ in this case were actively extorting Baker and Dunbar,” said Grieco. “These men fabricated a robbery story after waiting an hour to call police and then immediately began contacting the players demanding money.

“My office obtained accurate and truthful affidavits consistent with the independent witness and my client’s account. These ‘victims’ are seasoned career criminals who have been arrested and/or convicted of crimes ranging from conspiracy to commit murder, to human trafficking, to filing a false police report. Mr. Dunbar took and passed a polygraph confirming that he did not participate or witness any robbery.”

If the report from the New York Daily News is true, then Grieco faces potential criminal jeopardy along with possible disciplinary action from the bar association of the states in which he’s licensed to practice law. Video evidence reportedly shows the witnesses in Grieco’s office with him present when the payments allegedly were made.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and special guest Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times].

Over the last three days, Dunbar hired Michael D. Weinstein as co-council, but NBC Sports Northwest was told that hire wasn't any indication that this was going to trial. On Friday morning, Dunbar was granted permission to travel to Seattle later this month when the Seahawks open training camp on July 28. Whether or not the prosecution will take this to trial or drop charges remains to be seen, however, it would be shocking if this doesn't go to trial now. 

Seattle traded a fifth-round pick for Dunbar this offseason as the corner was expected to beat out Tre Flowers to start opposite Shaquill Griffin.

Report: Seahawks CB Quinton Dunbar paid witnesses to change their story

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Report: Seahawks CB Quinton Dunbar paid witnesses to change their story

All of a sudden Quinton Dunbar's future in the NFL has become much more uncertain.

Dunbar is currently facing charges for armed robbery from an event on May 13 in Miramar, Fla. The Miramar Police had one witness and four victims sign sworn statements saying that Dunbar, as well as Giants corner DeAndre Baker, led an armed robbery at a party. Those five individuals later recanted their entire story and signed sworn affidavits with Dunbar's attorney Michael Grieco stating that Dunbar had no involvement in the incident.

Now, in a report put out by the New York Daily news, there is evidence that Dunbar and Baker paid off those five people to switch their story. The evidence includes video footage and instagram direct messages.

Witness Dominic Johnson oversaw the payoff that allegedly took place at Grieco's office on May 15.

Over the last two days, Dunbar hired Michael D. Weinstein as co-council, but NBC Sports Northwest was told that hire wasn't any indication that this was going to trial. On Friday morning, Dunbar was granted permission to travel to Seattle later this month when the Seahawks open training camp on July 28. Everyone is still waiting to find out whether or not the prosecution will take this to trial or drop charges. At one point it seemed like Dunbar was likely to be in the clear. Now it would be shocking if this didn't go to trial.

If there is any truth to the NYDN's report, Dunbar's NFL career will be the least of his worries. A trial, and potentially significant jail time, will feel like a certainty at that point.

Seattle traded a fifth-round pick for Dunbar this offseason as the corner was expected to beat out Tre Flowers to start opposite Shaquill Griffin.

Colin Cowherd blasts Seahawks for not supporting Russell Wilson like they should

Colin Cowherd blasts Seahawks for not supporting Russell Wilson like they should

Recently, ESPN polled more than NFL 50 executives – general managers, coaches and scouts, to put together player rankings of 11 different NFL positions. 

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes landed ahead of Seahawks QB Russell Wilson in the top spot. Wilson, however, remained right behind him at No. 2 overall.

This week on his show, ‘The Herd’ on Fox Sports Radio, Colin Cowherd gave his thoughts on the NFL Executive QB poll. He discussed both Wilson and Mahomes and explained why he thinks the Kansas City Chiefs have set up Mahomes in a much better way to succeed than the Seattle Seahawks have done for Wilson.

“Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson are one and two -- that’s the good news, they got that right,” Cowherd stated.

But, the marketing, the promotion, the support, and the Seahawks offensive line are not adding up to put Wilson in the best situation possible, according to Cowherd.

If you don’t get support in any business, it doesn’t matter how great you are, you could be a great surgeon, you need a good Chief of Staff, you need good equipment, you need good nurses, you need good support –financial support… The difference from Mahomes and Wilson, and they are the two best quarterbacks, is one guys is being supported philosophically with weapons, with coaching, and schemes every day – the other guy is saving a deteriorating franchise.   -- Colin Cowherd on The Herd

Seattle certainly values Wilson though. The Seahawks made him the league’s richest player at the time back in April of last year.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and special guest Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times].

[RELATED]: Colin Cowherd’s take on Seahawks fearing 49ers is bogus  

Cowherd as a Grayland, Washington native, Eastern Washington alum and former Portland KGW sports anchor, has presented his case several times that he believes Seattle doesn’t show the same kind of respect toward their franchise quarterback that other teams have shown to their star QBs.

[RELATED]: Is Russell Wilson sending subliminal message to Seahawks with Antonio Brown? 

[RELATED]: Why the NFL should give the players a chance to opt out of 2020 season

Why the NFL should give the players a chance to opt out of 2020 season

Why the NFL should give the players a chance to opt out of 2020 season

Seems like each day is a new adjustment trying to bring back sports with the coronavirus pandemic still calling the shots.

The NFL cancelled weeks 1 and 4 of the preseason (but talks of cancelling all of preseason are still on the table).

The Big Ten Conference cancelled all non-conference games impacting all of collegiate football.

Minor league baseball has officially cancelled its season.

It is a domino effect.

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin, who is back with the Seahawks after agreeing to a one-year deal, posed an interesting question on July 8:

Irvin is not the first player, and likely won’t be the last, to question the legitimacy of full-contact sports amidst the coronavirus pandemic. It’s not like football is a non-contact or individual sport either. It’s exactly the opposite. 

The NBA gave the players the right to sit out of the resumption of the season in Orlando, Florida at the end of this month, so the NFL should offer that same right to its players.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and special guest Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times].

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told 710 ESPN radio in Seattle on Friday morning that he would be in favor of pushing back the start of training camps if necessary.

The NFL and NFLPA are continuously negotiating on what training camps will look like: will there be fans and how many? What specific drills will teams be allowed to run? There is talk of no scrimmaging or 11-on-11 drills. What?

On Thursday, the NFL announced that even jersey-swapping following games will be forbidden.

This begs the question, what quality of product will the NFL produce with these limitations? Is it worth it to push through it all and still play the game? Or should the season just be pushed back all together with an attempt to make it a full product when the time is right?

What do you think?

Listen to the full Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast here.

The Seattle Seahawks have inquired about Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams

The Seattle Seahawks have inquired about Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams

Will Jamal Adams trade in his emerald green New York Jets jersey for a chance to play with the Seattle Seahawks in the Emerald City?

The Pro Bowl safety requested a trade from the Jets back in June and listed his preferred destinations: Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks.

According to reports, the Seahawks are interested too.

A league source confirmed the reports to Jake Heaps, a head coach of Russell Wilson’s QB academy as well as 710 ESPN radio host and Sports Illustrated’s Corbin Smith, that the Seahawks have indeed inquired about the availability of Adams.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and special guest Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times].

Russell Wilson did say he wanted more superstars and a defensive stud would most definitely fit his wishes.

Our Seahawks Insider Joe Fann said this back in June:

“A trade for Adams wouldn’t come cheap. In just three seasons (he was drafted sixth overall in 2017), Adams has made two Pro Bowls and was named All-Pro in 2019. He has 12 career sacks, 28 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles.”

And posted this poll on Twitter to Seahawks fans:

Fann added, “The Seahawks have more than enough cap space to acquire Adams. They have about $14 million in the bank with Adams carrying a $7 million cap number in 2020. There’s a chance that Adams would want a new contract immediately, but Seattle could potentially convince him to play out this season on his current deal and promise a lucrative extension next offseason. Either way, that should be a deterrent in Seattle’s interest in Adams as Shaquill Griffin is the likely lone big contract on the franchise's horizon.”

[RELATED]: Trading for Jamal Adams would give Seahawks potential Legion of Boom 2.0

Seattle rookie Darrell Taylor, who was selected by the Seahawks in the second round (No. 48 overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft, is also trying to bring Adams to the Emerald City.

There are a few ‘superstar’ names in the NFL being thrown around the Seahawks organization. Seattle and free agent Jadeveon Clowney have yet to reach an agreement if they plan to do so; Russell Wilson has been seen working out with Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown; and then there is Adams.

The watch continues…

Listen to the full Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast here.

Quinton Dunbar cleared to report for Seahawks training camp

Quinton Dunbar cleared to report for Seahawks training camp

In light of all the events surrounding corner Quinton Dunbar, news relating to football was announced on Friday morning.

According to reports, Dunbar has been cleared to report for Seahawks training camp starting on July 28.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and special guest Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times].

Here is the full statement from Daniel Wallach, a gaming attorney and sports betting legal expert.

Mr. Dunbar is currently a member of the Seattle Seahawks football organization and is required to attend training camp in the state of Washington, as he and his teammates are preparing for the upcoming 2020 NFL season. In-person camp is set to commence in the last week of July. As a contracted professional football player, Mr. Dunbar is required to attend training camp and all OTA’s (Organized Training Activities). Th Seahawks training facility is located as the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC) in Renton, Washington, a suburb of Seattle.

This doesn’t mean that Dunbar’s case has been cleared. The prosecution is still deciding whether or not to take it to trial. The latest update on Dunbar’s case is that he added a second attorney to his legal team on Wednesday.

Hypothetically speaking, should Dunbar’s case and charges be cleared, here’s what Seattle’s secondary could look like in the future:
CB Dunbar, CB Shaquill Griffin, safety Quandre Diggs and free safety Bradley McDougald. Not to forget the depth behind them: Tre Flowers, Neiko Thorpe, Ugo Amadi, and Marquise Blair.

Let’s also not forget that the Seahawks have inquired about Pro-Bowl safety Jamal Adams.

[RELATED]: Trading for Jamal Adams would give Seahawks potential Legion of Boom 2.0

That would be quite the secondary...

Listen to the full Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast here.

Yay or nay: The Seahawks will beat the 49ers twice in 2020

Yay or nay: The Seahawks will beat the 49ers twice in 2020

It’s time for part two of our bold prediction series as we continue to preview the Seahawks 2020 season. Each of the five takes in this series were submitted by fans and provide excellent topics for discussion with training camp approaching.

Part 1: Russell Wilson will win his first MVP award in 2020.

Part 2: The Seahawks will beat the 49ers twice this season.

It’s safe to say that Seahawks-49ers has reemerged as one of the league’s top rivalries. Last year’s bouts featured an overtime thriller in Santa Clara and an NFC West Championship Game that was decided by a literal inch at CenturyLink Field.

Seattle will host San Francisco in Week 8 this season and then travel to Levi’s Stadium to close out the year. Bob Condotta and I discussed whether or not we think the Seahawks have the chance to sweep the 49ers in both of those contests.

Condotta: Nay

“That could be difficult to do. These divisional games are going to be tough. The NFC West is rightly being called the best division in football by a lot of people going into the season. That’s not me saying the 49ers are better than the Seahawks or will finish ahead of the Seahawks, but if I had to take this specific bet, I’d probably say no on that.”

Fann: Nay

When I went through and made a game-by-game prediction earlier this offseason, I had the Seahawks splitting every divisional matchup: winning all three games at home and losing all three games on the road.

Seattle went 3-3 in the division last year, and the division has only gotten better. The Rams still can’t be counted out, and the Cardinals appear to be way ahead of their rebuild timeline. As for San Francisco, it’s really impressive how the 49ers kept the status quo this offseason. They remain a Super Bowl favorite despite having a roster that was getting too expensive. Seamlessly transitioning from DeForest Buckner, Emmanuel Sanders and Joe Staley to Javon Kinlaw, Brandon Aiyuk and Trent Williams is as good as they could have expected.

All eyes remain on the 49ers as to whether they’re able to get a deal done with superstar tight end George Kittle, but once that box is checked, it will have been a very productive offseason in the Bay Area.

Richard Sherman reveals the coaching differences between Pete Carroll and Kyle Shanahan

Richard Sherman reveals the coaching differences between Pete Carroll and Kyle Shanahan

There are many similarities and differences between Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Both currently dominate the NFC West division of the NFL. They both have experience coaching in the Super Bowl (Carroll having won one). One is an offensive mind and the other is a defensive mind. 

But there is one person that ties the two together, and that is cornerback Richard Sherman.

The 32-year-old Pro Bowler and nine-year veteran was drafted by Carroll and the Seahawks in the fifth round (No. 154 overall) in the 2011 NFL Draft. After a successful seven years in Seattle, Sherman negotiated his own contract and signed as a free agent with the 49ers in 2018. 

Both Carroll and Shanahan took Sherman to a Super Bowl.

In an article from Jim Trotter of NFL.com, eight NFL players shared what they think are the most valuable traits of an NFL coach.

Those eight players are: Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff; New York Jets running back Frank Gore; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce; Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Jack Conklin; Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Calais Campbell; New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis; and San Francisco 49ers corner Richard Sherman.

The three qualities Sherman looks for in a head coach are:

1. PHILOSOPHY/HONESTY

(Carroll) has a way of coaching, a way of talking to his coaches, a way of having his coaches talk to his players. They don’t do the whole rah-rah, curse-you-out style. He would never hire a coach like that.  — Richard Sherman on Pete Carroll Sherman

Kyle is similar in that he has a philosophy of the best man plays. He doesn’t care about your draft position or any of that. He’s more of a straight shooter than Pete. Pete has a way of making sure everybody feels good, making sure he pushes buttons with certain players and not pushing buttons on other players. Kyle is different. He’s one size fits all. — Richard Sherman on Kyle Shanahan

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and special guest Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times].

2. KNOWLEDGE OF THE GAME

Kyle is one of the best offensive minds we’ve ever had in this game. That comes into it. With Pete, it’s the Cover 3 he brought to the league. It seems so simple, but nobody can run it like we ran it. The way both of them implement what they do — they talk to others on a personal level, then have the great coaches around them who believe in their philosophy. — Richard Sherman

It’s been known around the league that Sherman is one of the smartest to play the game. His defensive mind and technique is why quarterbacks rarely throw to the left side of the field. Having a coach that can mirror that only makes Sherman better is why he is still so successful in his ninth year in the league.

Let’s also not forget to mention the Legion of Boom, which will go down as one of the greatest secondaries in NFL history.

3. STAFF ASSEMBLY

Kyle's guys have been with him since he's been an assistant or a graduate assistant. How you pick the staff is a big part of their success. That's what makes the team great. It's not just the head coach; the head coach gets all the credit, but it's the pieces he puts around him because they still have to deliver his message, and they deliver it on a day-to-day basis. We might sit in a meeting with the head coach for 30 minutes a day, but I sit in meetings with the assistants for five to six hours a day. So the staff is critical. — Richard Sherman

Shanahan is in his first stint as a head coach in the NFL after spending the previous two seasons as offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons. Carroll has been the head coach in Seattle since 2010. 

Should the 2020 NFL regular season begin on time, the Seahawks and 49ers are schedule to face off on Sunday, Nov. 1 in Seattle, WA and then again on Sunday, Jan. 3 in Santa Clara, CA.

K.J. Wright says Mississippi 'headed in right direction' after removing state flag

K.J. Wright says Mississippi 'headed in right direction' after removing state flag

When lawmakers in Mississippi voted to remove and replace the state’s flag which features the cross of the Confederate battle flag, K.J. Wright was relieved. 

The Seattle Seahawks linebacker called Mississippi’s decision to surrender the Confederate battle emblem on the state flag a “step in the right direction.”

“My first reaction was, ‘Finally,” Wright said in an interview with Ben Arthur of Seattle PI. “'Thank you for realizing what that flag means to Black people, what that flag means to people like myself, what it stood for.’ I personally thought everybody understood the context behind it, what the flag represented. It represented hatred, it represented supremacy, it represented pro-Slavery. That’s how I interpreted it. And it made a lot of people uncomfortable.”

Mississippi has a 38 percent Black population, yet it took lawmakers more than a century to ditch the Confederate battle flag sympbol after white supremacist legislators adopted the design following the South’s lost in the Civil War. 

It’s a step to making everything better for everyone... My Grandma’s grandma was a slave, and growing up, you hear those stories... My grandma, she went through segregation. She went through the Civil Rights Movement. That was some serious stuff... This stuff isn’t brand new. Like, this stuff just recently happened... So to see simple steps made in the right direction is really big for the state of Mississippi.

Whatever comes out [of this], I’m going to be proud to say I’m from Mississippi. Because right now, it’s kind of been tough. People ask, ‘Where you from?’ And I say, ‘Mississippi.’ And they be like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to go there.’ And it shouldn’t be like that. It shouldn’t be that sad. It shouldn’t be that pitiful. So, we’re definitely headed in the right direction as a state. -- K.J. Wright

 

For Wright, the divisive flag is used as a symbol of white supremacy, the Jim Crow South and racism and violence that Black Americans still face.

Wright recalls seeing the flag while growing up in Olive Branch, Miss., and playing at Mississippi State. It would fly in front of homes or fly on the back of pickup trucks.

"It’s extremely uncomfortable and extremely sad that people would represent that because you know what [the Confederate symbol] means,” Wright explained. “There’s no getting around it. There’s absolutely no getting around it. You’d see Klan members with their white hoodies on waving that flag. You saw the Confederate soldiers had that when they were fighting the Union soldiers for slavery. It’s pretty blatant, and there’s no getting around it. So, it was extremely uncomfortable as a black man [being around that]. When you see that, you definitely steer clear of those people."

Now that Mississippi has moved to remove the controversial flag, hopefully Wright can once again call his home state a place he is “proud” of.