#22 – James Carpenter

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I think I’ve brought this up before, but it bears repeating:  on paper, the Seahawks have the best team in football.  From A to Z, if you took the best possible 53 guys currently on the Seahawks’ roster and pitted them against every other team’s best possible 53 guys, I’m telling you right now that the Seahawks would win that Paper Super Bowl.

The harsh reality is, of course, that Shit Happens.  Guys inevitably get injured.  Injuries range from guys being lost for the season before the season has even started, all the way down to Zach Miller’s foot (or, in other words, a nagging piece of shit injury that probably won’t cause him to miss any time, but will overall hamper his ability to play at an elite level all day every day).  Somewhere in the middle, we have James “Pancakes” Carpenter.

On paper, Pancakes is the guy you want in that left guard position.  Even though he started out Training Camp in the backup spot behind Paul McQuistan, you could tell that Pancakes had the inside track on this race, and it was only a matter of time before he supplanted the veteran.  Because this is a running team, and Pancakes is the team’s best run blocking offensive lineman … when he’s healthy.

And, since Shit Happens, OF COURSE Pancakes developed a foot injury prior to the first pre-season game.  This not only puts his starting job in jeopardy, but it puts his whole season in jeopardy!

There are various types of busts in sports.  There is the veteran free agent signing who comes to a new team and immediately falls off the cliff (or, the “Chone Figgins”); there is the highly-drafted sure-thing who waltzes into a starting job only to turn out to be terrible (or, the “Aaron Curry”); there is the pretty-good draft pick who may not be terrible, but whose entire career with that team is defined by the super-amazing stud the very same team passed on (or, the “Brandon Morrow”); and there is the guy you bring in who is legitimately talented and who legitimately makes your team better, but for whatever reason can’t stay on the field and whose career is over in 5 years or less (or, the “Marcus Tubbs”).  I think you know where Pancakes is slotted right now in the Periodic Table of the Bust Elements (Bustements), and I think it’s a damn shame.

Regardless of how this whole foot thing turns out, I think we can all agree that Pancakes’ football career biological clock is on its final ovarian eggs.  I mean, you can’t fuck with an offensive lineman’s knees!  Once they go, it’s only a matter of time before you’re fitting him for a microphone and a sports anchor gig (or, in this case, it’s more likely to be a video camera and a Northwest Motorsport commercial).  At this point, you don’t even hope to get a full season out of the guy.  Best-case scenario:  he’s healthy for the run-up to the playoffs and the entirety of our Super Bowl run.

If you ask me, I say don’t even bother trying to bring him back to start the regular season.  Let him rest that foot until it’s brand new.  Put him on the PUP list if you have to!  It’s not like you don’t have options.  At this point, the safest job on the entire team is Paul McQuistan:  Left Guard.  No one on Earth is supplanting this guy, so why fuck around with Carpenter at a time like this?  So he can be anywhere from 50-80% of his full abilities for most of a season before he’s shut down?  Fuck that.  Rest him, bring him in fresh.  In any given season, his shelf-life is 7 games max.  Would you rather those 7 games come at the beginning or at the end of a season?

If we can get Pancakes back for a stretch run, there’s no telling what this offense is capable of.  He makes the best rushing offense even better, and that’s just for starters.  I’d go on, but I’m getting tired just THINKING about all the pancakes we’re going to get out of this guy in the playoffs.

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