Time to get to a few links today. …
— Bovada has its latest odds on who will win the NFL MVP in 2014. At the top is Peyton Manning at 3/1, followed by Drew Brees at 11/2 and Aaron Rodgers at 15/2. The only two Seahawks listed are Russell Wilson, at 25/1, and Marshawn Lynch, at 50/1. Almost seems you could make a better case for Percy Harvin winning it than Lynch if he ends up withe same kind of role, and potential impact, as he did in the Super Bowl.
— Eric Edholm of Yahoo.com takes a somewhat light-hearted look at the odds.
— Speaking of Harvin, Chris Wesseling of NFL.com says the NFL Network might be making a mistake leaving him off its list of the top 100 players. Obviously, his injuries and how little he played last year is why he’s being lightly regarded heading into 2014. But if he stays healthy. … And that’s what the Seahawks are counting on.
— Interesting stuff here from FootballOutsiders, tracking how often defenses had to face either one-back or multi-back sets in 2013. Most interesting from a Seahawks perspective may be that the Seahawks faced the fourth-most snaps of multi-back offenses last year at 51 percent. That makes sense, though, given that teams don’t want to have to depend on the pass to beat the Seahawks, given the strength of Seattle’s secondary. Also, a few teams had success running it on Seattle in 2013, especially at mid-season, and that became thought the best way to beat the Seahawks, even if it obviously rarely worked.
— Also good from an analytic perspective today is this from RotoWorld.com projecting each team’s run/pass ratio in 2014. As the author notes, Seattle didn’t necessarily depend on the run quite as much in 2013 as is sometimes portrayed.
“The Super Bowl champion Seahawks ran the ball slightly more in 2013 than they did in 2012. The key word there is “slightly”, as we barely saw movement in their pass/run rate despite holding a lead on 58 percent of their offensive snaps, compared to 41 percent in 2012. Seattle actually tweaked their 2013 philosophy to lean more on Russell Wilson’s arm in his second season. After calling pass at a rate six percentage points below expected in 2012, Seattle was at three percent in 2013. This is a club that wants to lean on the run, but not as much as the raw numbers indicate. Seattle figures to be among the league’s top teams again this season, but this is a clear indicator that Wilson will be trusted to throw it plenty in competitive games.”
No doubt it will be intriguing to watch this year if the Seahawks lean more on Wilson and the passing game with what figures to also be a deeper receiving corps, assuming Harvin stays healthy and the rookies progress as initial indications showed that they will.
— Also interesting from an analytic standpoint, though sure to elicit much protest from Seahawks fans, is this ESPN Insider Piece from KC Joyner making the case that the Patriots, who added Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis in the off-season, could have the best secondary in the NFL this year. He concludes:
The Seahawks have a collection of secondary stars with a legacy of success, but they also have to battle complacency, the Madden curse and the Plexiglas principle and do so with a number of unproven players.
Those factors are likely to open a door for a competitor to pass them, and New England, with its additions of a likely future Hall of Famer and one of Seattle’s best cornerbacks, is the team likeliest to vault its way to the top. Don’t be surprised if by season’s end we are calling the Patriots’ secondary the best in the NFL.
— Wilson posted this little message about the upcoming season on Instagram last night.
— Pete Carroll will be inducted into USC’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.