BY Seth Kolloen 08:00AM 12/02/2010

December 2, 2010: Questioning Tatupu, MBA, Lopez

In today’s Exit 164, Seth Kolloen asks — and answers — what in perdition is going on with Lofa Tatupu, and speculates on whether Matthew Bryan-Amaning is Jerome James, Sene or Shawn Kemp in the making.

Morning! This is meant to be a daily roundup of sports news, so of course we launch the day after there is absolutely no sports played. Guess I should’ve stumbled down to Miller Playfield and reported on some co-ed soccer. Oh well. Instead we will ponder some questions. Be forewarned, I don’t have the answers.

What’s Going On With Lofa Tatupu? He spent more time on his back Sunday against the Chiefs than (insert name of recent celebrity sex tape participant here), and when he wasn’t getting run over, he was diving for ankles. Once a playmaker, he has neither a sack nor an interception in 2010. What is it? Injuries? Scheme? Age? All of the above?

Who or What Is Matthew Bryan-Amaning? Benched for lackadaisical play, MBA came back with a 4-block, 7-7 shooting performance against Long Beach St. To take some former Sonics as reference points, since the Huskies have had so few big men: Is he Jerome James, who’ll show up twice a year and be amazing? Or is he Sene, who’s just not good at basketball? Or is he some sort of budding Shawn Kemp? I mean, he could be all three, right? Here’s hoping for the latter.

Will Jose Lopez Pull a Beltre On Us? Former All-Star Lopez is about to be a free man, according to an insider who spilled the beans. Liberated from the expansive environs of Safeco, will he, like fellow right-handed hitter Adrian Beltre, end up bashing extra-base-hits at some hitter-friendly park next year?

What they’re saying…

“In a few years if there is some interest from Europe, that is a bridge we will cross when we get to it. Right now, I am just going to focus on the MLS and keep playing here.” — Fredy Montero, who the Sounders made the MLS’ youngest designated player.

“I’ll always believe that Jake was about the last of the source of their problems over the last few years.” — Hugh Millen, talking about Jake Locker’s legacy to the Times’ Bob Condotta.

“Only MLS club mentioned by name during US bid presentation: Seattle Sounders. #beatthatPortland” — @RunnerLuis


In other news…

At the 2:00 warning of the first half of Sunday’s Seahawks game vs. Carolina, Walter Jones will have his number retired.

Mike Williams ran around today at Seahawks camp, and Pete Carroll called Williams’ progress “encouraging.”

BaseballReference.com has an interesting note on their blog. Jamie Moyer is two years older than Dwight Gooden. If you fuse Gooden’s pre-age-30 career, and Moyer’s post-age-30 career, you get the 3rd-winningest pitcher of all-time.

The Times’ Mason Kelley tweeted that the Franklin High basketball team will play all road games this season, because of a problem with their gym’s bleachers.

I asked SPNW’s Seahawks guy, Doug Farrar, to weigh in on Tatupu–here’s what he said:

“From a straight skill set perspective, I think there is reason to be concerned about Tatupu’s performance this season. In particular, Football Outsiders’ advanced stats point to a difficulty he’s having in preventing positive plays in the run game. I’m also not seeing the Tatupu of old in pass coverage, though that might be a product of schematic changes from the Tampa-2 defense looks of 2009.

“I’m not generally a big fan of the intangibles argument – that’s how the Mariners have saddled themselves with Willie Bloomquist and all his like-skilled, high-effort zeroes over the last few seasons – but in Tatupu’s case, his intangibles provide extreme value and mitigate (to a degree) what you see on the field. When I talked to David Hawthorne this week about the biggest challenge he faced when replacing Tatupu in 2009 for 11 games, he spoke of Tatupu’s command of the defense and the respect that drew to him. Right now, we are not seeing the Tatupu who once perfectly matched playbook acumen with on-field ability, but as long as he’s that kind of leader, he’ll be tough, tricky, and potentially unwise to replace in the near term.”

In SPNW…

Todd Dybas on C.J. Wilcox’ sweet J.

Doug Farrar on Heater Hawthorne’s contract extension.

John Hickey on who the M’s will replace Lopez with.

In today’s action…

College Football: Arizona St. @ Arizona, 5 p.m., ESPN

NBA: Lebron’s return to Cleveland, 5:15 p.m., TNT

Boxing NFL: Texans @ Eagles, 5:30 p.m., NFL Network

College Hoops: UCLA @ Kansas, 6 p.m., ESPN2


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