Sherman, Baldwin rip Lynch fine with parody Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and receiver Doug Baldwin did a parody in front of reporters Tuesday, making a point of criticizing the NFL over fining teammate Marshawn Lynch $100,000 for not talking to the media.
As is the case in Major League Baseball, an NFL defense must be strong up the middle to be successful. If that old adage is true, the Seahawks and Saints can have all the big-name skill players they want on offense, but they must answer questions in the middle of their respective defenses before they can be considered legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
Fresh off their first 10-win season since 1986, the Seahawks enter 2004 with the bar set high. The offense, which ranked sixth in the NFL last season, returns intact and the defense should be improved in its second season under coordinator Ray Rhodes and with the additions of RDE Grant Wistrom and DC Bobby Taylor, and rookies Marcus Tubbs (DT) and Michael Boulware (SS).
However, the big question mark surrounding this team is whether it is strong enough up the middle on defense to make it even further into the playoffs or to have a legitimate shot at getting to the Super Bowl? Sunday's matchup against the RB Deuce McAllister and the Saints will help to shed some light on the subject.
Three years ago Jim Haslett was considered one of the bright young head coaches in the profession after leading the Saints to a NFC West title and the franchises first playoff win. Now, after coming up aggravatingly short of the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, Haslett's job is on the line. The Saints are looking to build on what was a strong 5-3 finish to an overall disappointing 8-8 2003 season. Much like the Seahawks, the middle of the Saints' defense, which includes DT Johnathan Sullivan, who underachieved as a rookie first-round pick last season, and Courtney Watson, a rookie second-round pick, will set out to prove it is capable against one of the game's elite running backs in Seattle's Shaun Alexander.