Tag:needle news
Posted on: September 8, 2009 12:55 am

Needle News: Football, football, and football.

SEATTLE -- Yep, it's that time of year again. Time to get your buddies together in a basement and put some names together. Time to claim that the Seahawks will go 16 and 0 this year. Time to hope the Huskies and Cougars aren't the bottom dwellers they were last year.


First up, the Seahawks season preview. The Seahawks gained quite a few names this offseason, including WR TJ Houshmandzadeh (that's Whoosh-manned-zah-dah) and rookie LB Aaron Curry, but they lost Bobby Engram, Maurice Morris, and, already, have lost Marcus Trufant and Walter Jones to injury.

On the offensive side of the ball, Matt Hasslebeck will, once again, will be carrying the weight of the entire team on his back. Here's the simple equation: Healthy offense = A winning season. If Matt and his receivers can stay healthy, our passing game will work. The problem is, last year we lost not one of those groups, but both Matt AND several receivers spent some quality time with the team doctors last year. Our running game also broke quickly because our offensive line got broke as well. However, this year Matt has a great go-to option in the fresh face of TJ Houshmandzadeh, as well as other options like Deion Branch and Nate Burleson. The running game will be the weakness of this offense, with a frequently broken offensive line and a not-too-powerful Julius Jones baked up by Edgerrin James. Bottom line: The offense this year looks to be pass-heavy, but could put some points on the scoreboard if the line holds up.

Moving to defense, the Seahawks set themselves up with one of the best trios of linebackers in the NFL while ignoring the DB position. With Leroy Hill, Lofa Tatupu, and Aaron Curry starting behind the linesmen, the running games of opposing offenses should be less than phenomenal while the pass rush will get a boost when the 'Hawks blitz one of the LBs. The line itself, though, is less than stellar, with no big names or young talent that jumps out. Still, the Seahawks got 12 sacks in the preseason. The big gaping hole will be the defensive backs. With Trufant out until at least Week 8, the backfield of the defense will have to step it up if they want to keep offenses from passing all over the field. Bottom line: The defense will stop the run fairly well, but will have some trouble stopping opponent's passing game.

Overall, the Seahawks are looking to be pretty average in the NFL this year, and since this is the NFC West they play in, who knows, they could make the playoffs this year.

Moving on to the college teams. While I'm not going to be capable of providing the kind of analysis I did for the Seahawks since college football is not my strong point, I will make some predictions on what the teams will do this year, starting with the Huskies.

The Huskies are coming off of what might be remembered as one of the worst coaching eras in their history. Steve Sarkisian, the offensive coordinator out of USC, has taken over as head coach and, based on the LSU game, turned things around very quickly. While, yes, it was a loss on the record, it was a few crucial UW turnovers that gave the game to the Tigers, and the Huskies played 'em close the entire game. While, yes, we know that the score was only 31-23 because of a touchdown scored by the Huskies with 0:00 on the clock, it wasn't like the Tigers were leading by two touchdowns the entire game. The Huskies did something not a lot of people thought they would do, keep it close. And that might be a foreshadowing to the rest of the season. This was easily their toughest non-conference game (which isn't saying much, since they only have two OOC games this year), and in the top 3 of the hardest games this season. It's not too far out of the realm of possibility that they will get to a bowl game this year, and they probably will be the victors in the Apple Cup (even though the logo in the slot for my college football team has a Cougars logo, I don't really have a bias between the two, I usually root for the one with the best chance at getting into a better bowl game than the other).

On the eastern side of the mountains, we have the Cougars. Ah, the Cougars. Unlike the Huskies, the issue for them doesn't appear to be coaching, it appears to be a lack of recruiting. Not a lot of talent heading into Pullman right now. While the team probably will grow and improve this season, it's really hard to get a favorable record when you play in the Pac-10. They should at least beat SMU, but that may be it. Give them two or three years and they could pick themselves up, or just stay down. Who knows. I think they'll get that one win I mentioned and go 1 for 11.

Category: General
Posted on: April 27, 2009 1:01 am
Edited on: May 13, 2009 11:33 pm

Needle News: Draft Weekend Ends

SEATTLE, WA -- The Seahawks spent their weekend in Detroit, and the Mariners spent it in Anaheim. Not too shabby, but did they win?

Pretty much, yeah.

Needle News for 4/26/09:

The thing that has all the sports pundits abuzz this weekend is the draft. The Seahawks had the embarassing/exciting fourth overall pick, and with it, selected Aaron Curry. Exclamation marks!!! To put this pick into "your wife can understand this" terms, the Seahawks decided to go with a very talented linebacker, who probably will give the Seahawks one of the best combinations of linebackers seen in the league. Problem with that is, they let Leroy Hill dip his toe in the water.

That's right, fans, OLB Leroy Hill is currently not a Seahawk. The team lifted their franchise tag on him, and now he's free to roam the world of offers. Odds are he'll come back, but until then, offseason suspense!

The Mariners went down to Anaheim to take on the Angels in a series that saw Carlos Silva get his first win and Jarrod Washburn his first loss. Before anyone says anything about today's game showing our lack of offense, consider how offense would've helped us beat a team that scores nine runs. I'm more concerned about our arms then our bats. Fortunately, Carlos Silva surprised me Saturday by somehow going five innings on a stiff muscle and nabbing his first win of the season, which was good.

We won the series, 2-1. The problem is, can we do this against out-of-division teams? I'm concerned about our play against the Twins and the Tigers. Those are two teams not doing so well against their divisions, yet we lost a series to them. The Mariners need to find some ways to win outside their division, and we'll find out if they can when they take on the White Sox this week.

Finally, in a game I was on-location for, the Sounders beat the San Jose Earthquakes 2-0. Steve Zakuani scored a goal in the first half off of a cross by Tyrone Marshall and Brad Evans scored early in the second.

In other Northwest news, the Vancouver Canucks swept St Louis to get into the second round of the NHL playoffs. Wish them luck, since they are our closest hockey team.

Category: General
Tags: needle news
Posted on: April 14, 2009 2:18 pm

Needle News: Opening Day for Safeco

SEATTLE, WA -- Alright, Seattleites, it's time for my post-college basketball hiatus to end and baseball season to get in full swing.

Nobody really expects the Mariners to do much this season, and that is reflected by their record of... wait, what? Five and two? With a sweep of the A's? Dang, nevermind, then.

Current record aside, though, the season is still young. The Mariners will be taking on a favorited Angels team for their home opener, which starts at 3:40 this afternoon. Don't expect any miracles.

The Mariners are currently in the bottom half of their starting rotation, which should be acknowleged as their worse half. Carlos Silva has yet to show us anything, Ryan Rowland-Smith had a horrible day against the Twins last week, and those two are you starting pitchers today and tomorrow, unless I am mistaken.

Silva could surprise us, or the bullpen could save us, but I just don't see the Mariners pitching winning this one. The key will be the bats. If the M's come out swinging, they could outdo the Angels in an offensive battle.

In other related news, Safeco Field will be bringing back my favorite ballpark service, the Nintendo Fan Network. Not only that, but last year's fees associated with this service are gone. There will be 150 DS consoles for the first people who ask for them, provided you have a credit card, and they are free as long as you return them. The software that you can download for your own DS no longer costs 5 bucks, but is freely availible to download at certain stations in the stadium. You can use the software to order food right from your seat and have it delivered to you, watch live video feeds from the nosebleed seats, and view closed-captions for the public service announcements. They can also be used as a radio if you have a pair of headphones. I'm really excited about this service, unlike most of the Mariners-related news. If you're heading out to the ballpark today, I recommend getting there early and grabbing yourself a loaner DS.

Moving on to basketball. The Oklahoma City Thunder (a name usually banned from this blog) played the Trailblazers last night. The 'Blazers dominated throughout the whole game and won, 113-83. That's a 30 point margin, folks. You don't see this everyday in professional basketball. Oh, wait, you do, because of the Thunder. That team is horrible. I'm almost glad we kicked them out before they gave us another stinker of a season.

So there's what you need to know for Tuesday. I hope you all have your tickets for today's game. I don't, since they sold out a while ago, but I'll be at the park in spirit.

Posted on: March 20, 2009 1:43 pm

It's a New Day for Seattle

SEATTLE, WA -- Well, Seattle, things might not be so bad after all.

After what most would call the worst year for a single city in sports period, things are starting to look up for us Seattleites. And here's how:

The Seattle Sounders FC won their regular-season debut against the New York Red Bulls in impressive 3-0 fashion. Fredy Montero, a name many soccer fans will be hearing quite often this season, scored two goals and gave an assist for the third one scored by the Sounders. He left in the game's waning minutes to a standing ovation, although everyone was already standing.

The Washington Huskies beat Mississippi State convincingly, never trailing after the first six minutes. Quincy Pondexter scored 23 points and Jon Brockman got another double-double to lead Washington to a 58-71 victory.

Ken Griffey Jr. played in his first Cactus League game since coming back to the Mariners. They won, 10-8, but that's the more pressing story. He went hitless and caught two flies in left field.

We could be in for a decent 2009.


Category: General
Tags: needle news
Posted on: February 19, 2009 1:17 am

Griffey Comes Home, Dawgs Stare Down Bruins


Ken Griffey Jr, formerly of the Atlanta Braves, will come back to the Seattle Mariners for the 2009 season. The Mariners will have their first full-team workout on February 18.

The University of Washington Huskies are looking to prove themselves against the University of California-Los Angeles Bruins. The Huskies currently have a 1.5 game lead over the Bruins in the Pac-10 standings, and have already defeated them this season at Hec-Ed. The game starts at 8:00 PM and will be televised on FSN Northwest and in other regions.

The Washington State University Cougars look to improve their Pac-10 record against University of Southern California Trojans tomorrow. That game begins at 7:30 PM and will be on the radio in some regions of Washington. Check the Seattle Times or Seattle P-I for details.

The Gonzaga University Bulldogs are playing Loyola-Marymount tomorrow at 6:00. That game may or may not be on FSN Northwest. Check your local listings.

Category: General
Tags: needle news
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com