Beast Mode gets a Bye (Bye?)


Dr. D did an awesome piece last week, in which he found that Marshawn Lynch is one of the best Seahawks.  

The most likely reason for this is that other players can't tackle Lynch, despite an Arizona fan who blogged (yes, he did) that "any decent high school player" could have brought down Lynch on the sideline of Quake v2.0.  Any decent high school player who ever lived, as we know, would have been airlifted by chopper to see if they could get him to the hospital in time.

The Think Tank bubbled, percolated, and agreed unanimously that Lynch is indeed good, and that the Seahawks would find a way to surf this beastly wave until it hit the beach.  SSI Resolution 1306 allowed us to return to not talking about the Mariners very much.


But then Dr. D listened to a John Clayton podcast.  A disc jockey asked Clayton how the Seahawks would keep the circle closed on their toughness.  The Professor floored us by saying that what Lynch has earned is --- > the right to be back in 2015, for $6M, if Lynch deigns to return.  He said this exactly in the same tone and demeanor as if he had said that Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll have earned the right to coach their teams for one more year.  Wait a minute.



Clayton's idea was that a Shaun Alexander situation is much more bad than Beast Mode is good.   Here, let's diagram this:

Item Fun Factor
Beastquake Super Bowls +7, scale of 1-10
Shaun Alexander Dead Money -9, scale of 1-10


With this diagram in mind, we know how to solve a great many life problems.  When in doubt, lock the door and pull the window shades down.  The Professor shrugged and flatly told us that the Seahawks will tell Lynch, "If you want to play one more year, we'd love to have you."   Dr. D fears that The Professor has a better feel for NFL decisionmaking than Dr. D has.

Meanwhile, Marshawn Lynch posts five to six all-time legendary NFL rushes per ballgame, and reads in the paper about two more Seahawks each week who have signed for a higher salary than he pulls down.


Teams who have owned football during any given individual decade -- 3 or more ticker tape showers -- being

Decade Team Personalities
60s Green Bay Lombardi, Starr, O-Line
70s Pittsburgh Bradshaw, Swann, Greene, Lambert, Steel Curtain
80s San Francisco Walsh, Montana, Rice, etc
90s Cowboys Aikman, Irvin, Emmitt Smith
00s Patriots Belichick, Brady, McGinest
10s Seahawks? Hopefully not John Clayton

Reviewing the above table carefully, it occurs to Dr. D that historically-great football teams had historically-great players.  Admittedly, historically-great sports sections also had imposing personnel of their own.


The Seahawks have a real chance to become what the 116-win Mariners were not -- a gasp-inducing advertising campaign that then delivered the pizza.  Marshawn Lynch will, 40 years from now, star on grainy high-def videos the way that Joe Greene now stars on documentaries of the Steelers.

John Clayton was one of my fave writers ever, even back in the 1980's when he was the Geoff Baker of the Seattle sports scene.  But we sure hope he's out to Lynch on this one.


Life lesson:  painful mistakes (like the Shaun Alexander flub) hurt more, today, than smart moves feel good, today.  But a shot at glory is forever.  

It is 10 years on when the good things will outweigh the bad things.  In a weekend Swiss, if Matt or I win one tourney chess game and lose one, that night the loss feels ten times as bad as the win feels good.  Funny thing, though:  twenty years on, the five games I remember in life were the five memorable victories.  

So should you retire, or enter this weekend's tournament?  Hm.  Bobby Fischer had the same philosophy that Clayton espoused:  better to have lived and not lost, than ever to have loved at all.


I don't know.  This may have some application to Mariners spending and mission statements, but it's late and Dr. D is having trouble connecting dots.  Arte Moreno has always been Beast Mode, and Lou Piniella always was, and Billy Beane certainly is, but around here?  We might win, but it will be in modes other than Beast ...

Well, whatever else has gone on around him, Felix has always been the baseball interpretation of beast mode.  Let there be yellow.

Speaking of symmetrical numbers, there is a 5.7 WAR outfielder, making $7.5M, available in trade.  Also available, sez Morosi, are Josh Hamilton :- ) Andre Ethier and Carlos Gonzalez.  





I love Lynch but he's starting to hit the age-wall. His back is about shot and once it goes, it'll go bad. NFL teams absolutely cannot afford to have big, dead contracts on the books the way MLB teams can. Just ask the Bears. I don't think I would extend him.


You can already see Turban and Michael do beast mode impersonations. There are times when Turban is out there that I am tricked into thinking it's Lynch. It also appears to this eye that Lynch is not slowing down, his reflexes are as sharp as I recall. Now, the kids aren't going to want to wait forever for their chances, but it's nice getting Super Bowl rings. It's something you carry around all your life. I had a pastor in Everett, Steve Thompson, who walked around with one of those from the 1969 Namath Super Bowl (backup linebacker, if memory serves) - a godly and humble man, by the way. The kinda man you would want wearing a ring like that. Anyway, there will be cheaper replacements inspired to carry on should the Hawks wisely keep him and treat him with the respect he's earned.
The Hawks are entering the playoffs #1 in the league in rushing, and #1 in defense. Sounds like a heavy Super Bowl favorite, does it not?
Shaun was a mistake, but according to Holmgren, they had their big tackle Hutchison ready to sign until Minnesota inserted the poison pill that is now NFL illegal. Hutch would have extended Shaun's productive career a tad longer. Lynch, or course, does most of that on his own.
I think reports of Marshawn's demise are premature. Randy had a bad back too. But with Marshawn, we don't get compensated for letting him go. We only lose the toughest out in football.


Problem being the salary cap. You have to make "this or that" trade offs in the NFL. Once Wilson's new deal is struck, the team will have a LOT of core players inked for the next 3-4 years at fairly high$$$. So, if the choice is Lynch or Bobby Wagner, you sticking with the 29 year old RB with a bad back or the best LB on the best defense in the NFL?
They are almost certainly going to lose Byron Maxwell, Malcolm Smith and Kevin Williams to FA in the off season due to cap issues. Probably no upgrades on offense, save what they can do in the draft... The NFL ain't MLB. The cap is real and it forces rough choices to be made. Get nostalgic and pay a guy for what he's done in the past and ignore the age arc and you get to 8-8 in a hurry.


I will not be too surprised to hear that Russell signs a VERY team friendly contract that enables the Seahawks to keep Lynch and others to help keep this core together


Russell Wilson reminds me of a young Tom Brady, and the Hawks remind me of the 2000's Patriots. What the media, and most NFL fans miss, is the fact the defenses have carried these teams to success. I love Marshawn Lynch, think he adds a lot to the offense and fights his way to far more yards than his line creates for him. But the offense of the Seahawks is powered by Russell Wilson's superior decision making which gives the D a breather. The Hawks have gone 36-12 in the regular season since Wilson got here.
The salary cap, combined with the need to pay some of the defensive stars more, makes Marshawn a luxury. Do you keep Marshawn Lynch at the expense of Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, or Russell Okung? Especially with Turbin and Michael as competent but uninspiring backups? It would be nice to get another year out of Lynch, but I'd rather get rid of him a year early... as opposed to holding onto him for one too many years.


What I had in mind was, a 2016 contract at a $4M buyout and $10M salary.  This would give him a well-deserved raise for next year, and an Earl Thomas salary for 2016.  If his back goes out during 2015, you've got one year in which Lynch's money costs you one star for one year.  
Or, the Seahawks win four Super Bowls in a row :- )


Lessee, he gave up $8M per year of his $18M guarantee, is that right?  Nice precedent for Wilson ...
Here's my question.  Can the owner wink, smile, and say "you're going to get that money"?  Or does the NFL lower the invisible hammer on that kind of arrangement?


Brady never really had a running back who would make the cover of Madden, but then again, he's had some relatively lean years since 2004 ...
I saw one 49'er fan put it just as you did.  That Wilson is the only 21st-century QB who "runs like a RB and throws like Brady."  You can also compare Drew Brees, obviously, who was just getting into rhythm at Wilson's age now.

misterjonez's picture

of guaranteed money, due to his age, but I could see the Seahawks giving him a $2-4mil guarantee on a two year extension worth between $8-10mil/year overall. That wouldn't kill the team in any way, shape, or form, if he implodes in training camp.
Wilson's contract is coming, and when it arrives the team is going to lose this ridiculous payroll advantage he's provided them since stepping onto the field. But the cap is only going to go up from here on out, the team is flush with ripe, young, productive talent (as opposed to prospective talent) and much of that core talent is already locked up.
Signing Lynch is a good idea, but the guaranteed money can't be too high. If he keeps playing like the league's best RB, pay him like the league's best RB. He's only got, at most, another 2-3 years in him so make it a deal that pays him what he provides on the field. At this point, I would much rather have Lynch than Okung. I would much rather have Lynch, for one year, than Dez Bryant via FA this offseason. I would much rather have Lynch than just about anybody, including a fully-functional Percy Harvin.
So pay the man, work out the kinks in the contract the best you can, and keep the band together until the bus gets a flat tire that actually needs to be changed. Because right now, there's still a bit of tread left on Lynch, and the team needs him more than most of us fans likely realize. The Seahawks Hangover is a real thing, and Beast Mode is at the heart of it all.  Pete Carroll frequently cites how Lynch's physical style of play is a tone-setter for the entire team - note how he never seems to say 'for the offense,' but rather for the entire team - and this team will most assuredly be different when he's gone...and I doubt in a good way.

misterjonez's picture

I don't know how deep it delves into the more arcane aspects of cap rules, but if you've got the time to peruse the information there you can triangulate the data pretty close. It's pretty convoluted at first glance, but if you look at a few dozen player contracts, you can probably figure things out from there. I honestly don't know if they have a comprehensive breakdown on-site, though.

misterjonez's picture

of when he first suited up with Marshawn. Basically, he starts to ask Marshawn how Beast Modes wants him to block, and Lynch scoffs, "Man, we're just gonna race to the hole and see who hits the other guy first." Tukuafu was like, "...I can do that ;)"


I wanted better than Seth Smith and I don't think much of walker compared to Paxton so would have been willing to give him up to get an impact bat. But this Smith plan is ok

Auto5guy's picture

Corey Dillon's 1600+ yards in 2004 surpasses anything the Beast has done to date. I find it fascinating that his falling off a cliff in 05 corresponds to the beginning of the lean years you reference. To me this speaks of the importance both of that monster RB "luxury" and the risk of paying at the edge of the cliff. Tough choices for sure...
I too wonder if we couldn't do a wink and nod and promise him 2 years for $5 million per as a part time team spokesman. Yeeaaahhhh... Heh!

bsr's picture

Brady is prototype QB build, supremely talented, psycho level competitive, and harder working/preparing/conditioning than anyone else. Brady is like a Tim Duncan who anchors a great team for two decades. I see Russell as more of the Tony Parker. Definitely top 10 at his position, good enough to win titles with him running the team, versatile, dependable, always underrated by media/unwashed masses. But I don't see all universe like Brady. Young Wilson needs a great RB as a running game force multiplier, it is the combination that is so deadly.
I think we will have a relatively easy time attracting strong RB's, since they have such a starring glory role in the Carroll offensive philosophy. The opposite of WR's. And RB's aren't very expensive these days. That said, if we repeat SB win this year, and it's possible to keep Marshawn for 2015-16 w/o sacrificing MAJOR long term pieces, I think we have to do it.
Great piece on Tom Brady if you missed it:

misterjonez's picture

in a way no player has done since Montana. Of course, he could flame out, blow a knee, get horribly concussed, or something else horribly tragic could befall him that might sap his ability. But until that happens, I just don't see an argument that has *any* current QB, now or during their prime, as '>>>' than Russell Wilson. A few things that need to be considered when gauging where RW3 ranks on the QB spectrum:
1. He has, this year, almost zero O-line protection. There are games here and there where he isn't running for his life on half the passing downs, but the norm for this guy is to scramble outside the pocket and literally make something happen that wasn't part of the pre-snap script. No QB is as good at this as RW3, past or present, with only Tarkenton drawing reasonable comparisons regarding scrambling-to-complete-the-pass. I genuinely don't think there is a strong argument against this statement.
2. Russell Wilson finished 16th in the NFL this year with 849 rushing yards - among ALL players. He also finished tied for 16th for rushing 1st Downs, nabbing 45 of them on 118 attempts, good for a 38.14% 1st Down/Rushing Attempt rate. Two out of five times when Russell was forced to scramble, he ended up getting the first down with his legs.(edit to add: Wilson also finished tied for 17th with 6 rushing TD's. The guy was LITERALLY more productive, with his legs, than HALF of the NFL's starting RB's!)
3. He has set multiple records for QB's at the beginning of their careers, including (I believe) the aforementioned rushing production, TD's, Interceptions (as in: fewest), and QB rating. Many of those records are not just for his rookie campaign, but are also for his two- and three-year periods to begin his career, as well.
4. If he didn't have a bellcow back like Lynch playing with him, he would most definitely have a Dez Bryant-type WR to throw to. That type of player would make Russell far more dangerous through the air, because he could hit him for quick hitters over the middle when the pressure gets too high in the backfield. The supporting cast for Wilson on offense, outside of Lynch, is really pretty weak. Tate was a legitimately high-end WR, but nobody would accuse him of being a prototypical #1 WR in the mold of Rice, Fitzgerald, or Megatron - guys you can lob it up to when under pressure. If Wilson had one of those players to target, his game would be different and, in all likelihood, no worse than what the team ends up with by deploying Marshawn alongside him. I think the *team* would suffer without Marshawn, but I don't think Wilson would.
Brady is a prototypical QB, and he is *probably* every bit as good as his legacy will make him out to be. But he's not as multidimensional as Wilson is, and that does actually have to go onto the ledger in any serious analysis. Sure, Wilson doesn't have the volume passing stats of Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, or even Tom Brady, but none of those players can even hold a candle to Wilson's scramble game - a facet of his abilities that greatly minimizes the need for a $20mil O-line.
In the end, comparing Wilson to ANY other QB (while he still has his wheels) is going to be a pretty sketchy affair. He's just too different. It would be like comparing Ichiro to Vlad Guerrero; sure, they played the same position, and were worth roughly the same overall value during their peaks. But they were in no way, shape, or form similar players. Comparing them will always be difficult, precisely because Ichiro was so unique (corner position player with excellent defense, wheels, and contact-driven OBP without much in the power department - a component which is traditionally demanded of all corner players).
Still, I love the Brady appreciation :-) Here's hoping RW3 can add that particular notch to his belt in the Superb Owl!


The Patriots have been to the Superbowl twice, the conference championship 5 times and have posted the following regular season records in the past 10 years.
2005: 10-6
2006: 12-4
2007: 16-0
2008: 11-5 (only year they missed the playoffs)
2009: 10-6
2010: 14-2
2011: 13-3
2012: 12-4
2013: 12-4
2014: 12-4
If the last decade of Patriots football have been "lean" the Holmgren era of Seahawks football was downright pathetic. Well, I always felt the love for Holmgren in the town was pathetic given his limited success.
1998: 9-7
2000: 6-10
2001: 9-7
2002: 7-9
2003: 10-6
2004: 9-7
2005: 13-3
2006: 9-7
2007: 10-6
2008: 4-12


After 2004, I thought they were going to win like nine Super Bowls :- ) and it's been tough to watch Brady play though his (relative) lack of supporting cast the last few years.
But, I couldn't agree more. The press looks at the 5 losses in the AFC / NFL championships and take them as defeats.  For me, Brady has been to 8 championship games, won more than half, been to 5 Super Bowls, won more than half, and is a great candidate for best player of all time.
Lean relative only to 2001-07.  They were the team of the '00's, but won't be the team of the '10's.


I don't think we will ever see a team do what the Patriots have done in the salary cap era.
Since 1996 the Pats have:
Won 3 Superbowl
Appeared in 6 Superbowl
Appeared in 9 AFC Championship games
Appeared in the Playoffs 15 times
Have a 33-31 record in seasons when they didn't make the playoffs.
This is a Yankees or a Bill Russell Celtics level of dominance and they are doing it without early first round picks in a sport requiring more players and with the highest amount of injuries of any sport.
I love the Hawks, think they are the most fun to root for of any team I've ever supported, but I don't think we'll come close to the run the Patriots are on.


"Ninety percent of the NFL is scared to tackle," Bennett said. "There is only a small 10 percent of players that really want contact in the NFL. We have a lot of our guys in that 10 percent."
Hard to believe the literal truth of this quote, but there is a significant kernel of truth here, and it helps explain the significant advantage the Seahawks have. If these guys don't like to tackle, they sure don't like to tackle Lynch - and he loves to hit. And that Seahawk hangover effect is still in play - what, 9 games now?

IcebreakerX's picture

Danny Kelly tweeted it, I think.
Arizona got their butt kicked by the playing-for-nothing SF49ers that weren't playing particularly amazing.

IcebreakerX's picture

They're probably the stick you have to measure success against, but I think there's potential here.
We'll just have to check in 10 years, eh?

Add comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.


  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.