Have the Seahawks done a poor job of building a roster around Russell Wilson?
15 ways to improve your Twitter arguments by examining the responses to a "hot take" by ESPN's Dan Orlovsky
This is not a post that seeks to defend or attack Orlovsky’s take on Monday. If you’re here for that, you will be left a little disappointed. I am not picking a side here. I will tell you what Orlovsky gets right and what he gets wrong. But the point of today’s article is to examine the reaction to a “viral hot take” and to get to the truth, not only as it pertains to the Seattle Seahawks and how well they’ve done in the last five years to build around Russell Wilson; also to breakdown and understand what a good reply is (usually about 1-2 percent of tweets) and what a bad reply is (the rest).
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As an NFL player, Dan Orlovsky can only ever be remembered for two things and neither of them sound particularly kind to Dan Orlovsky. We don’t worry about how things sound around here though, only about what they actually are.
He started seven games at quarterback for the Detroit Lions during their history 0-16 season in 2008. He helped usher Peyton Manning into free agency in 2012 by starting five games for the 2-14 Indianapolis Colts in 2011. This is not a diss, it’s a fact. And facts are what I focus on at Seaside Joe, because all too often we ignore them at the request of someone’s feelings.
This isn’t to say that Orlovsky is unaware or in denial of the fact that he’s known for being on these two historically bad teams —in 11 total campaigns, 2008 and 2011 are the only times Orlovsky even started a game— and he may completely embrace that he wasn’t built to be an NFL starting quarterback. I don’t think his feelings would be hurt by me noting what he’s known for as a football player. After all, he’s now spent the last six years chasing a different dream as an NFL analyst, and he’s been far more successful in the media than he was under center.
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In January, 2018, Dan Orlovsky had 13,333 followers on Twitter. It had been a couple of years since he had left the NFL behind (as a success, by the way… a former UConn quarterback who managed to make millions of dollars as a career backup with double-digit years spent in NFL locker rooms) and he was only just beginning his career as an analyst.
Keep in mind that while it might seem “easy” for a former pro football player to transition into media if he wants to, the reality is that retirement gigs at ESPN are more competitive than fighting for a spot on a 53-man roster or a practice squad. Yes, former NFL players have advantages that make them candidates for these jobs, where you can never get that job, but every year there are hundreds of new “former” players and many of them want to be on TV in the “after-life.”
As far as players who are TV analysts, I’m a much bigger fan of former Lions running back and one-time Orlovsky teammate Joique Bell. And yet Bell wallows away at Woodward Sports, a relatively small media company in Michigan that covers Detroit sports and also employs Braylon Edwards.
But these former players, and many others like them, did not focus on creating social media content like Orlovsky has over the last few years and they didn’t have the benefit of companies like ESPN and professional colleagues like Mina Kimes pumping them up on Twitter in that time.
By the end of 2018, Orlovsky had increased his total number of followers from 13,000 to over 50,000.
From January to December of 2019, Orlovsky went from 55,000 followers on Twitter to 105,000.
From January to December of 2020, Orlovsky went from 126,000 followers to 205,000 followers.
From January to December of 2021, Orlovsky went from 223,000 followers to 339,000 followers. As I write this on March 8, 2022, Dan Orlovsky has 409,000 followers on Twitter, an increase of 70,000 in less than three months.
No matter the reasons for his dramatic spike in followership at what feels like a time that should be the tail end of Twitter’s lifespan as a company (though in reality, it probably isn’t), we shouldn’t have to question that having a half-million followers —as he’s likely to hit by the middle of this year— is a measure of success in this particular industry.
Orlovsky works at ESPN with people like Marcus Spears and Ryan Clark and neither of them have hit 300,000 yet.
Even Eli Manning, a two-time Super Bowl winner with the last name of a great quarterback and a person who has also pushed hard to be more recognizable in retirement than he was as a football player, only has 38,000 more followers than Orlovsky.
I don’t personally put any stake into a person’s follower count because I’ve seen all the evidence I need to see that “more popular” does not equal “better”, however this is not a matter of Kenneth Arthur’s social media tastes; I don’t follow Orlovsky because I like his takes, I follow him because I think Twitter is a circus and I’d rather watch “The Room” than “Room” if you catch my drift.
This is only a matter of whether or not Orlovsky has achieved success as a “football take-giver” and to be able to put yourself into the lexicon at such a late stage of media/celebrity, it is impressive. It also implies that like Skip Bayless or Colin Cowherd or Stephen A. Smith, Orlovsky has had to embrace being the heel way more often than he’s been able to enjoy being the hero.
A year ago, Orlovsky endured probably the toughest stretch of his media career when he reported on The Pat McAfee Show that he was told by someone else that Justin Fields was a “last guy in, first guy out” type of player. On one hand, Orlovsky only shared this piece of information because he believed that it would be a great pull quote that would be shared by hundreds of thousands of people.
On the other hand, he was wholly unprepared for the immediate backlash that not only caused him to apologize (for someone else’s comment), he even vaulted Fields to practically the top of his QB rankings in the aftermath and then went on a fierce campaign to get Matt Nagy fired for “mishandling Justin Fields”.
Whether you were Fields believer or a Fields hater, you probably disliked Dan Orlovsky more after that two-week stretch of his career. This did not slump Orlovksy though—it supercharged him and he gained 10,000 followers last April.
So for all of the people out there who use “Skip Bayless” and “Stephen A” as an insult, and perhaps one day “Orlovsky” could fall into the same category, remember that it is better to be hated than to be irrelevant. At least in their industry. I never want to work at ESPN and I don’t have any desire to be “the most popular” as that is the worst kind of motivation for a person to have, but it’s not like anybody knows the name “Kenneth Arthur” and I’ve been actively writing football articles on the internet since 2003. Whoops.
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Now finally we can get into the prompt for today’s post, which is a tweet by Dan Orlvosky on Monday that got the exact reaction he was hoping for when he hit “Send tweet.” The summation: “The Seahawks don’t draft well, the roster has underachieved, and Russell Wilson should want to be traded.”
This is simply an opinion, one that I find to be rather mundane and ordinary, but for some reason it has sparked a reaction by Seattle’s fans that only really proves one thing: not even a decade of success does anything to make a fanbase less sensitive to any form of criticism.
In today’s episode of Seaside Joe: A Daily Seahawks Newsletter (sign up for a new post every 24 hours, and I promise the majority won’t take this long to read) I examine not only the content of Orlovsky’s tweet— which again, I find quite plain and lacking any reason for a Seattle backlash —but more importantly, the reactions to it so that we can finally breakdown where online decorum, originality, sophistication, and reason has suffered its ultimate break down.
Now that we know what Orlovsky said about the Seahawks, here’s what Seahawks fans said about Dan Orlovsky. When did they get it right, when did they lose focus of what’s really important? Here are some tips on how you can clean up your acts on Twitter and start contributing to a better discourse.
“Guy wants clicks”
Right off the top, we have to come together as a people and retire the cope that somebody is only saying or doing something “for clicks.” Maybe 12 years ago you could claim to be ignorant of the fact that everybody in the “internet business” wants clicks, but it’s not okay in 2022.
There are also far too many people left out there who misunderstand and misuse the term “clickbait.” The only applicable definition of the term “clickbait” in cases similar to the usage here is when a headline completely misrepresents the content, if not all of reality:
No, that’s not an ad, that’s from me. And yes, Sly is still alive. It’s Hollywood that’s dead.
In reference to Orlovsky’s tweet though it seems the “wants clicks” (for a tweet?) is being used in the manner of it being a hot take, but that’s clearly not a fair label for what Orlovsky tweeted and yet “This guy just wants clicks” was something DOZENS of people responded with.
The only thing Orlovsky said that’s even debatable is that Seattle has the fourth-best roster in the division. The first two lines are straight facts, the third line is a defensible opinion (Jordyn Brooks has miles left to go). His take is that he believes that Wilson should want a new team. Even if a lot of people disagree with him, a lot of people also agree with him.
Probably more agree with him than disagree, simply by deduction of “31 teams aren’t the Seahawks.” By definition then, it’s not a hot take.
LISTEN #1: Ignore copes like “hot take” and “this is for clicks.” It’s unproductive!
When you’re in the middle of a good point and then you go too far and start arguing for the other side
I’ve made comments and arguments like this one^^^way too many times to count. Enough times to never do it again. I mean no offense to @hawknado for the following counterpoint, it’s just that I went down that road so many times and like with the last comment, it isn’t productive. If anything, it weakens your argument.
The online discourse for these cases goes like this:
“Disagree with your opinion. List of anything I can think of to counter your opinion.”
The emphasis is really on anything. Except that the problem with throwing the kitchen sink is that you expose your dirty spoons, your rusty crab claw, and your onion peels. To the point where you’ve actually made your oppositions argument for them. I know some Seahawks fans will read that and go, “I actually agree more with Dan now.”
LISTEN #2: Follow this newsletter on Twitter to see new posts on social media.
Let me repeat the tweet (bold is me):
2015 Frank Clark(Starter) Lockett Glow (Starter) Clark, Glowinski play where?
2016 Ifedi (Starter) Reed (Starter) QJeff (Starter) Where do these players play?
2017 McDowell (started this year) Pocic (Starter) GRiff (Starter) Carson How many of these players are on the 2022 Seahawks?
2018 Penny Green Diss Dickson A punter and how many starters for the 2022 Seahawks?
2019 DK Blair Barton How many starters here?
2020 basically the whole draft are contributors... “Contributors” sounds like a swear word when used in this context
No Seahawks writer has spent more time defending Seattle’s drafts over the last 12 years than I have, but I thought by now that we had ALL sort of agreed that the team has failed to rebuild a great roster through the draft. I still praise the Seahawks’ process to a large degree, and most people do underrate the quality picks made by Pete and John over the last eight or nine years—we have to avoid letting our personal biases muddy a rational argument though.
The idea that Seattle has botched their last eight or nine classes was something that most Seahawks writers and fans had given into long ago. We can’t ignore this because it becomes convenient at a moment when you want to argue for the retention of Wilson as the quarterback.
The draft classes have objectively disappointed and underperformed relative to the majority of NFL teams over this period of time. It doesn’t serve anyone to pretend like this isn’t true. The last player who the Seahawks drafted and the team felt he deserved a contract extension prior to free agency was Tyler Lockett in 2015. This will certainly change in 2022 with DK Metcalf up for re-election, but he is the only 2019 draft class member to even garner an extension conversation this year—and not only did the Seahawks pick 11 players, Metcalf went after two of them.
The problem I see with making lists like hawknado’s is that it bends reality to fit a narrative and ends up spreading fabricated histories to fans who will fail to see the whole picture. And the whole picture is more like this:
2015: The Seahawks had an incredible day two with Clark and Lockett, but by now all of the day three credit that Pete and John had earned in the beginning with Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman has practically vanished. From 2012-2015, the Seahawks made 29 day three draft picks and not a single one of them became a long-term starter. Most never even made one start.
Here is every player that the Seahawks drafted on Day Three from 2012-2015. Brace yourself for names you’ve forgotten, names you wished you could forget, and not a single second contract in Seattle unless it came after a temporary split.
The numbers on the right are overall pick and the most recent year they were active:
The closest thing to a long-term starter out of 29 players is J.R. Sweezy, who was let go by the team as a 2016 free agent, then returned for one year in 2018. Luke Willson also had a second life with Seattle, but was also short-lived and forgettable.
There are two important cores to any roster: the superstars and everyone else. Most of the “everyone else” is supposed to be made up of day three picks and undrafted free agents. No team can afford to make 29 day three draft picks over four years and wind up with zero players worthy of a second contract. This didn’t stop in 2015.
Seattle wouldn’t find one again until Michael Dickson in 2018.
To this day, the Seahawks haven’t had a day three position player get a contract extension since Richard Sherman in 2011.
The closest case was Chris Carson and 2017 is another problem area for me in the tweet. Because 2017 was a class of 11 prospects, including six on day two, and it appears that Seattle’s final haul from that draft will soon be: nobody. That was less than five years ago. To make it seem like 2017 had “four good picks” is ridiculously unfair to what a draft with four good picks actually looks like. Soon it seems Carson, Pocic will be the last to leave.
Earlier, I asked what it mattered that the Seahawks had picked a few players in the past who are helping other teams, because that’s actually kind of arguing for the person you’re arguing against: Should Wilson want to go some some other team too?
LISTEN #3: There should not be a Seattle Seahawks fan in the world who doesn’t agree that the Seahawks have had poor drafts since 2013. Why would you think otherwise? That’s factually inaccurate.
Same point, different tweet
Again, when you use the kitchen sink argument, you only make it more clear that you’ve got few tools to stand on. Lots of narrative spin in in here. Ignoring that the players acquired for traded first round picks were all disappointing. Citing a “career yards per carry average” as a case for Rashaad Penny as a good first round draft pick. Saying that first round picks who weren’t worthy of second contracts were “good long-term starters.”
A LOT of people responded to Orlovsky by mentioning Penny. I have written about Rashaad Penny for four years and he was probably the name mentioned most often when fans grew increasingly frustrated with the team and the drafts. Do fans REALLY want me to pull receipts on what was being said about Penny prior to last December?
The intention with these replies is to apply rose-colored glasses to every name and to highlight one great thing about them, but you can’t actually believe that I’m supposed to forget how the careers of Penny, Germain Ifedi, James Carpenter, and Bruce Irvin went in Seattle. Not only how they went, but how they were spoken about.
LISTEN #4: We can be honest and be right at the same time. We can only guarantee we’re right when we’re being honest. You can argue against Dan Orlovsky here without having to create a fake reality that ignores Seattle’s struggles.
As is often the case, Mike Sando’s probably right (but he’s still bending the narrative to fit his point)
Mike Sando makes a great point by the end of his tweet here, noting that if Wilson “should want out” then why aren’t we talking about every quarterback who “should want out”?
However, I have to again ask to the point that Orlovsky is making, what does a very specific analytical measurement from 2016-2021 have to do with whether or not Russell Wilson should want to play for the Seahawks in 2022?
Sando pulled another trick that I was guilty of in the past. He set a specific time frame and a specific designation of D/ST (leaving out O without explaining why), probably because that time frame was better than it would’ve been since 2015, and at least as good as it was in 2017. Sando also doesn’t reveal who team #29 is.
Just as it is disingenuous to pretend that the Seahawks have been good at drafting over the last decade, it is as deceptive to imply that Seattle has a top-ranked defense. We saw what a top-ranked Seahawks defense looks like. That hasn’t happened in a long time. Seattle’s defense couldn’t get off the field last season and opposing offenses toyed with them because of it. To ignore this, to pretend it’s not true, doesn’t help make good arguments for or against the Seahawks’ chances next season.
LISTEN #5: Cherry-picking only muddles an argument. You leave yourself open for the very fair counter-point of: “You’re cherry-picking, Sando.”
This is exactly right
As I see a lot on Twitter, the best comments are the ones that get left near the bottom. This is all anyone needs to say, because there’s no good answer for it other than “You are right, Steven. There’s nowhere logical for Russell Wilson to go that’s better than this.”
LISTEN #6: There is no causation or correlation between ‘number of followers’ and ‘good points’.
Jordyn Brooks wasn’t in last year’s draft
Last year’s draft had three players in it and so far we can’t be sure if any will have futures on Seattle’s roster. The Jordyn Brooks draft class was eight players, but at this point I can’t be sure if I would expect any of them to be helping the Seahawks on offense next season. Damien Lewis is proof, if anything, that you can never be too sure after one season if a player will be a long-term starter or not.
Orlovsky tweeted that the Seahawks haven’t had a great first round pick since Earl Thomas and the only name that even qualified for a discussion was Jordyn Brooks. Keep in mind that Orlovsky is covering a span here from 2011-2021 and to only have Brooks in the discussion through 11 drafts (noting that Seattle has traded multiple first round picks away, almost exclusively for disappointing veteran acquisitions), that in itself is a point in Orlovsky’s favor.
Now consider that Thomas is a borderline Hall of Fame safety (don’t get mad at “borderline” either; look at safeties who aren’t in the Hall of Fame, then get back to me) and Brooks is an off-ball linebacker who doesn’t rush the passer, struggles in pass coverage, and has received equally low marks in run defense.
Dear Seahawks fans who like Jordyn Brooks: You’re more than allowed to have optimism in a player’s future and to have a rational grasp on his present at the same time. These aren’t mutually exclusive.
How can Seattle be both “the land of analytics” and “cites Pro Bowls and tackles” at the same time though?
LISTEN #7: You don’t have to hype up a player (or tear him down) beyond his actual value in order to make a point. If you go too far in analyzing a player as either “Great” or “Terrible”, you will lose support from every rational person who comes across your argument.
Hate what I’ve had to say so far?
An example of just saying things for the sake of saying things
Not even an attempt at an argument, just a list of teams and an inconsequential factor of having the affliction of an NFL franchise desiring an elite quarterback.
LISTEN #8: If you use the term “hungry” in a figurative manner, you’re beyond saving.
Being a “Seattle fan” is of no matter
LISTEN #9: It shouldn’t matter what team you are a fan of. In fact, bringing it up makes you seem more biased. And yes, fans can be biased against their teams. I’ve been having exchanges with Seahawks fans for 12 years, many fans (of all teams) seem to favor the opportunity to bash the team over the chance to praise them.
“What about Tre Brown?”
I have nothing against Tre Brown. But what a list to be included in.
If you liked this tweet, it’s not too late to take your vote away; stop taking NFL takes so personally
I think the reason this tweet has 114 likes is because fans take parts of this business way too personally.
First of all, I am old enough to remember when Seattle fans complained that the national media “ignored” their teams too much. Most of you reading this are probably old enough for that too, it wasn’t that long ago. Now ESPN, the NFL Network, Mike Florio have been talking about the Seahawks a lot and the BIGGEST reason for that over the last decade is Russell Wilson. It’s been that way since at least when the Legion of Boom members officially all departed.
What do you think the “Russell Wilson story” of 2022 is supposed to be, if not this debate about whether or not the Seahawks could/should/would trade him?
You either get to have the media talking about hypothetical new teams for Wilson (which will only be hypothetical, I don’t think he will be traded as long-time Seaside Joe readers already know) or you don’t get to have the national media talking about the Seahawks at all. What do you expect the stories to be about?
“Russell Wilson worked out today!”
“DK Metcalf got a haircut!”
“Pete Carroll chews gum!”
They’re not going to give time to the Seahawks preparing for the 2022 NFL Draft or free agency because that’s the same as what the other 31 teams are doing too. Therefore, it’s not a story. Trading Wilson may be a farfetched story, but it’s what they’ve got right now.
Second of all, Orlovsky brings up Seattle and the complaint that people like the most is that he … fabricated a general opinion of the Seahawks (why?) because he was “desperate for a story”?
LISTEN #10: This is not personal. I don’t know why any Seahawks fan wouldn’t welcome all points that are about the Seahawks, not just the points that you agree with. Especially since it seems that people so rarely engage with points they agree with, but jump on every opportunity to comment when they think someone is being a clown emoji.
LISTEN #11: Even if you think someone online is being a clown, why not be happy while you’re being entertained? That’s why you went to the circus to begin with.
“ESPN should fire you.”
Stop taking it personally.
LISTEN #12: Also, free agency doesn’t matter that much.
If you’re gonna disagree, disagree like this
Short, simple, to the point.
LISTEN #13: The other way to do a good disagreement is to write a very long substack post about it. But if you don’t have the time for that, just say “This is a bad take.”
I lost it at “Let me sum it up for you like I did for Woody last week…”
First Cal had my attention by being one of the “thirsty for clicks” guys and also by using an old Michael Jordan meme. But then Cal had my curiosity when he revealed that he just did this to “Woody” last week. Now you know you’ve met Twitter royalty.
LISTEN #14: I just found this reply to be funny and as a bonus it encapsulates most of the other points that I’ve made.
Not that hard to believe, but is it believable?
This user mentions a theory that Carroll was more successful in the draft early on because of his decade at USC and scouting reports in those beginning years.
Did Pete Carroll get a head start in Seattle because he was more familiar with the 2010-2012 draft classes? It’s not the most ridiculous theory I’ve ever heard. But let’s not leave out the fact that the Seahawks picked sixth and 14th in 2010—higher than any draft picks they’ve had since. Those picks gave them two of the best draftees on John Schneider’s resume.
Wilson was a combination of luck and having to really convince Pete to draft him.
At best, we’re linking Pete to in-depth knowledge on Richard Sherman, Doug Baldwin, Kam Chancellor, Byron Maxwell, Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner? I mean, Seattle wasn’t the only team that had affiliations with college programs. And every NFL team has rooms of people who obsess over college football, and right down to the high school level.
The Seahawks have often been accused of “reaching” in the draft, a term that I typically hate, but it’s hard to deny that Seattle’s annually surprising strategy isn’t paying off like it used to. It seems maybe people are still using the fact that the 2012 class got terrible draft grades as some evidence that analysts don’t know what they’re talking about when they criticize the Seahawks’ picks in the last nine years.
With hindsight, the criticism on most of those “reach” picks has actually been warranted, and that’s not something I love to admit because I defended them so vehemently for so long. But the first step to correcting your flaws is admitting that you have flaws. I came to accept that I’m not right all the time and now I believe that I’m better at writing and saying things that usually fall into being “objectively true.”
And the truth will set you free.
LISTEN #15: You can disagree with Orlovsky all day long, because all he did was give an opinion of where Russell Wilson should want to be. I disagree with Orlovsky and I don’t have to make up a reality about the Seahawks in order to do it. No matter how fans want to justify the last decade of draft disappointments, you’ll no less be more at peace when you come to accept that it is true and requires no explanation.
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You have to give Pete, Russ, Bobby and others, props for all the wins, despite the horrific draft record. Seattle has had the habit of taking the high ceiling guy rather than the best player available. Eternally hoping they get it right this year. It's a shame, the first time we have a top pick we can't use it. I do believe Seattle needs to solve the defensive pass rush, from the interior: it would be wise to get a center who may beat Pocic for the starting job. I am optimistic this will work. The only acceptable Russ trade "for me" is a 3 way deal for DeShawn Watson. Three way as Russ won't go to Huoston. John Schneider would need to lead Huoston management by the hand, to make it work. The other road block, would Jodie Allen be okay with Watson ? Victoria Chris
Excellent analysis about opinions vs facts, and so many examples to make your points. Also, this article is likely to improve on my own social media posts by posting less often. You just bought me some time and peace of mind. Thank you, Kenneth!