A GRIP ON SPORTS
The Seahawks take to the CenturyLink turf again tonight, the third of four preseason games. As always there is one overarching goal for Pete Carroll and his team: stay healthy. Read on.
• For some reason, the NFL plays exhibition games before the regular season begins. OK, we know the reason. It's money. Four preseason games can mean big bucks, all the while seeing who is best slotted for that open spot on the defensive line. Regular season games are worth more money, of course, and that's why the league would like to add two more, eliminating two of the exhibitions. But the players know playing two more games "for real" would escalate the chance of injury, so they are resisting. After all, enough players get hurt in these "let's-see-who-can-do-what" games anyway. Just think how many more might tear a hamstring or blow out a shoulder if these games – tonight's game for example – counted. Heck, the 49ers just built a multi-million dollar stadium and they couldn't get the grass right. It's already being replaced after the team halted practice the other day when a couple players went down with turf-related injuries. Football, at the NFL level, is a dangerous game. No need to make it any more dangerous.
• If the M's are going to win the American League West, heck if they are going to make the playoffs, they need to get going starting tonight. The two West teams ahead of them, the Angels and A's, are playing each other this weekend. The Mariners are in woeful Boston. Sweep all three games at Fenway and the M's will pick up two games on one of the teams they are chasing for the division title. And the Angels are a bit down right now, after losing their best pitcher, Garrett Richards, to a leg injury (pictured). This is the weekend that could make or break the M's season, so pay attention.
• WSU: We are officially into game week, as the Cougars open 2014 next Thursday at CenturyLink. The crowd numbers are pretty disappointing – the last I saw, only about 25,000 seats had been sold – which might end up being a good thing. How? The end of the Seattle game. With all the bells and whistles added to Martin Stadium the past couple years, traveling across the state for a home game seems a bit outdated anyway. Yes, CenturyLink is a beautiful facility. Yes, Seattle alums make the trek the other way all the time. And yes, it wasn't too long ago Martin Stadium emptied out faster than an office at 5 p.m. on a Friday in the second half of a lot of games. But if only 30,000 or 35,000 folks want to watch the Cougars in Seattle, then keep the game in Pullman. (And yes, I know the rationalizations. It's a Thursday in Seattle and the traffic will be awful. The Hawks are playing at the same time on TV. Rutgers? Where is that located? Jersey?) ... Jacob Thorpe doesn't get caught up in the Seattle talk – in a sense it's a home game for him – but he does have a take on the offensive line today. Some folks think it is the most worrisome position the Cougs have and they might be right. But, young or not, the new starters WSU will be throwing out there are a different looking athlete than the Cougars have seen in years, maybe even back to the day of Mike Utley and that group. Who knows if they will be that successful, but they are that athletic. ... Jacob also has a morning post with links and a practice report from last night, with the news Gabe Marks might redshirt. ... The Cougars don't have the Pac-12's toughest schedule, but it's not the easiest either.
• EWU: Want to know who makes the Eagle's offense go? It's quarterback Vernon Adams, who shakes and shimmies from the time he gets off the bus. Jim Allen has a feature in today's paper on the veteran starter. ... Jim also held a live chat yesterday. You can read it here. And he has a morning post with links. ... Weber State moved quickly to fill its opening on the basketball coaching staff.
• Shock: Terrance Sanders was honored by the AFL last night. Jim Meehan has the particulars in this blog post.
• Chiefs: The Chiefs opened camp yesterday at the Arena and they did so with two veterans they expected back absent. Reid Gow (pictured), last year's captain, and Jeremy McIntosh both opted not to return, both saying they had lost their passion to play. Really? That seems sort of odd. It sure would be interesting to know why and how that happens. Whatever, the 2014-15 Chiefs came together for the first time yesterday and Chris Derrick was there to watch. He has this story and blog post to keep you updated.
• Seahawks: There is a lot to watch tonight when the Hawks face Chicago. There will be some guys out there, including Marshawn Lynch, who haven't seen much time this preseason. The Bennett brothers could be on the field at the same time. And how the Hawks' offensive line comes together. ... All in all, the Seahawks want to display some continuity and they want to stay healthy.
• Sounders: When Obafemi Martins plays well, the Sounders are a better team. It's as simple as that.
• To quote Kenny Loggins, this is it. The last day of 2014 when we can actually say the college football season is in the future, not the present. Brace yourself. By the way, I did all my work using battery power this morning. The thunder and lightning that came through had me worried about power outages. A Spokane tradition since July. Until later ...