History Of The Kicker Position For The Seattle Seahawks

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#26 – Steven Hauschka

To see the full list of the 30 most important Seahawks in 2012, click here.

Kicker?  Punter?  Who’s coming up with this list???

Well, you know what?  Just look at last season:  there were five games where the difference was 3 points or less.  And the Seahawks were 1-4 in those games.

Hell, look at any team’s schedule and you’re going to see a bunch of games where the difference was 3 points or less.  Kickers are important!  Winning those close games could be the difference between making the playoffs and finishing 7-9!

Now, I’m not necessarily as jazzed about our kicker as I am about our punter.  I think Hauschka is average at best and I think he’s still got a lot to prove.  He was 25 for 30 on field goals last year, which is okay I guess.  But, I don’t remember him ever hitting a “big” field goal.  A game-on-the-line, high-pressure field goal.  I think, as far as seasons go, 2011 for him was a pretty soft landing.

I don’t necessarily judge kickers on their field goal percentage (unless it’s something crazy like Olindo Mare’s 2009 when he went 24 of 26); I judge them more on how they handle the big moments.  Hauschka (annoying spelling of his last name and all) has yet to really shine in a big moment.  Of course, that’s not really his fault.  That kick in that Atlanta game last season was ridiculous; I don’t think you can expect him to make a 60-something yard field goal in Qwest Field like that.  But still.  Josh Brown is the last bigtime kicker this team had.  It would be nice to know that Hauschka is on that level.

The other things kickers are for?  Touchbacks.  Hauschka was 23rd in the NFL last year.  Percentagewise, just under 35% of his kickoffs were touchbacks.  That’s … obviously not great.  It’s especially not-great considering the best guys are up in the 60+ percent range.  I could let Hauschka’s average-ness in the field goal department slide a little bit if he was more of a weapon in the kickoff department.

And, considering his touchbacks are so low, that obviously means he’s giving up more returns than he should.  Where does that hurt us?  Well, even though he’s not kicking the ball as far, he’s still giving up one of the higher average returns in the NFL at 26 yards per return.  Among regular kickers, that was 5th-most in the NFL last season.  That’s pathetic.

So, Hauschka, get a stronger leg.  Or the Seahawks need to seriously start thinking about upgrading.  This isn’t rocket science.  Kick the ball far and we’ll like you.  Give us some memorable last-second wins and we’ll like you even more.

Seahawks Pay Beastmode, Hope For Red Byrant Discount

I don’t think very many Seahawks fans were worried about losing Marshawn Lynch.  If I had to put numbers on my thoughts on the matter, I was 60% positive we’d get a contract extension, 30% positive we’d get a Franchise Tag on him, 8% positive the Seahawks might risk a Transition Tag, and about 2% positive we’d lose him outright.  I suppose there were other alternatives in the Beastmode Situation (an unlikely, diabetes-related death from a Skittles overdose, for instance), but suffice it to say I was pretty damn sure of myself that he would be in a Seahawks uniform at some point in the 2012 season.

Red Bryant … ehh, now I’m not so sure.

Without really knowing these two gentlemen personally, if I had to guess I would’ve said that Red Bryant would have been an easy sign, while Marshawn Lynch would have been a protracted battle.  I don’t exactly know how wrong I am in this case, because you’ve got other circumstances clouding things.  Like, for instance, how much more effort did the Seahawks put into the Lynch negotiations vs. the Bryant negotiations?  Maybe the Seahawks – much like myself – were worried that appeasing Lynch would be a problem, so they made him Priority #1 to ensure that we’d be able to re-sign him without using the Franchise Tag (which most players despise on principle).  Maybe they felt (and still feel) that they could hold off on the tough negotiations with Bryant because they felt (and still feel) that they can get him signed before next week (when other teams would be able to talk to him freely).

I hope they’re right, because it looks like the Seahawks have opted to use the Franchise Tag on exactly nobody.

It’s a gamble, that’s for sure.  It might not be as crazy of a gamble as using the Transition Tag on Steve Hutchinson (whose departure initiated the immediate downfall of our offensive line), but it’s certainly closer to that than, say, letting Olindo Mare go without a tag, where he was free to sign the richest contract in NFL kicker history.  I don’t think Red Bryant is worth the type of money a Top 5 Defensive End would earn, but I do think he’s in that next tier down.  And, who’s to say a team with a 3-4 defense and a bundle of free cash floating around won’t pony up the kind of payday to make a reality all of Bryant’s wildest dreams?

As it is with any gamble, you have to consider the option that you may lose.  The Seahawks gambled previously with the likes of Brandon Mebane and ended up winning.  Evidently, Mebane was not able to get the kind of deal to persuade him to leave this organization.  Red Bryant, on the other hand, very well might.  He’s versatile, able to play both end and tackle.  He’s a monster on special teams with his kick-blocking ability.  He’s a good clubhouse guy and a consummate team player.  There’s a lot to like about Red Bryant.  He’s certainly opened up some eyes around the league with his play the past two seasons.

If the Seahawks do lose Bryant, it won’t be the end of the world.  But, it could be a severe setback in the short term.  I don’t know if the Seahawks have the kind of guy with his size and athleticism on the roster right now.  My hunch is they don’t, but they’ll try with someone.

Then again, it’s not like the Seahawks HAVE to be married to the way they’ve played defense the past two seasons.  It’s not healthy to put so much importance on just one guy to make your defense go.  Because we all saw what happened in 2010 when Bryant was injured; our defense went to shit.  Maybe, in lieu of re-signing Bryant, the Seahawks re-double their efforts to court Mario Williams.  Maybe we start both Williams and Clemons at the same time, on opposite ends, and just start going to town on opposing quarterbacks.  MAYBE our rush defense takes a back seat a little bit, but our pass defense soars to the top of the league thanks to our pass-rush and our rough-neck secondary.

Or, you know, maybe the Seahawks do the greatest thing I’ve ever seen and sign both Bryant AND Williams and I watch them play defense next season with a constant boner.  That would be good too.

Suck For Luck Impotence Rankings Vol. VII

And then there were two.  Two totally-defeated teams in the NFL. And since they don’t play each other, these two teams could conceivably BOTH end up 0-16.  I’m not gonna lie to you, I might need to start boning up on tie-breakers.

  1. Indianapolis (0-8) – One of these weeks, the Colts are going to have a BYE week.  SURELY they won’t be able to lose during the BYE week!
  2. Miami (0-7) – These frisky fishes almost accomplished the thinkable last weekend in their narrow defeat to the Giants.  God Eli Manning is single-handedly ruining my life and I don’t know why!
  3. Arizona (1-6) – Just in case anyone tabbed Baltimore as a serious contender for the Super Bowl, you can forget that shit!  On the flipside, HUGE game this week with the Rams and Cards.  Rumors are swirling that Kevin Kolb might be sat for injury concerns.  If that’s the case, let’s just go ahead and cement Arizona’s status as Tankers Extraordinaire.  The loser of this game is going to have quite the inside track to be the worst team in the NFC.
  4. Jacksonville (2-6) – So they beat Baltimore, big fuckin’ deal!  Who COULDN’T beat Baltimore at this point?  Put them up against the Vikings right now and I guarantee the Vikings come away with the victory!
  5. Minnesota (2-6) – Yeah, they won because Olindo Mare missed a gimme, but they also looked fairly decent against the Packers the week before.  “Addition By Subtraction Of McNabb” is, I believe, what the mathematical theorem is called.  So dubbed by genius thinker of our times Rush Limbaugh.
  6. Denver (2-5) – Tebow!  TEEEEE-BOOOWWWWWWWW!
  7. Seattle (2-5) – I feel like when the Seahawks were 2-3 heading into the BYE, that’s the scene in Rocky after his first fight when he’s all cocky, saying things like, “Yo, I gots!” and not really training or fighting all that tenaciously.  Then he gets his clocked cleaned, Mickey says things like, “You’re a bum, ya bum!” and Rocky goes into dark seclusion to contemplate the meaning of life and whether it’s all worth it anymore.  Followed by Rocky regaining his focus ten times over, driving out to some mountain in the Alps, and training like he’s never trained before.  The Seahawks are currently in that training montage portion of their season.  They got cocky, thinking to themselves, “Andrew Luck is as good as ours!” and then they were knocked down a peg by winning games against Arizona and the Giants.  However, two straight losses against two kinda sucky teams they probably should’ve beaten leaves us here.  On the comeback trail!  With “You’re The Worst … AROUND” playing in the background as the montage of punts, fumbles, and kick returns against us plays for anxious fans in the Seattle area.  Will the Seahawks succeed against all odds???  Not if the evil Colts (Clubber Lang) and Dolphins (Russian Guy) have anything to say about it.
  8. St. Louis (1-6) – Because they’re just better than all of these 2-win teams.  Because they have the most impressive win of all of these teams.  And because they did it with A.J. Feeley!  They can lose in Arizona this weekend and STILL be considered the least likely of the bunch to win the Suck For Luck Sweepstakes!  I just gotta keep ’em on here until they get to within, like, AH win of the Washington Redskins, who so desperately deserve to be on this list it’s not even funny.

Media Creating The News About Effects of NFL Lockout

There’s little I find more annoying than media types making assumptions and reporting those assumptions as “news”.  They expect all of these things to happen in the coming weeks and months, and when those things happen they can turn around and say, “See, we told ya so!”  It’s all so stupid and immature; lazy writing.

The following issues are already stories I’m tired of hearing about, and they’ve yet to really even take hold:

  • The lockout will result in a ton of injuries
  • The lockout will lead to an increase in penalties, turnovers, & sloppy all-around play
  • Rules changes will lead to nonstop touchbacks on kickoffs

First, yes, there will be injuries.  There will be injuries because there are ALWAYS injuries.  Some hotshot quarterback like Peyton Manning or Drew Brees will break his leg and be lost for the season in week 2 and they’ll all say, “Look at THIS!  See, we told you, injuries!  Bad lockout, BAD!”  It’s going to happen, because it always happens.  But, I bet when we get to season’s end, if you added up every single injury that kept a guy out of part or all of a ballgame, this season will be no different than any other season in the last 20 years.

Second, with the whole sloppy play thing, how much can you REALLY blame a lockout for that?  Penalties – especially the false start/holding/offsides variety – are merely a matter of concentration and they’re going to fluctuate randomly.  Some teams will be better, some teams will be God-awful; some teams will have a lot early and some teams will have a lot at the end of the season.  Let’s not get carried away.

Yes, teams are a bit hamstrung by the fact that they haven’t had a proper training camp to install their playbooks (especially for teams with new coaches & coordinators), but they still have a full 4-week preseason to work out the kinks.  And I’m convinced you’re not going to get anywhere as a football team unless you’re playing other football teams.  All preseason, all I ever read about is how the Seahawks’ defense is dominating the offense.  All preseason, every preseason, it’s all I read about:  this cornerback snagged a beautiful interception, that safety returned a pick for a touchdown, this linebacker forced a fumble, etc. etc.  You know why the Seahawks’ defense is out-performing the offense?  Because they see the same damn plays and the same damn players every damn day!  How hard is it to dominate a side of the football when all you do is play against them?

In spite of what people like to say about the preseason being too long, I think it’s perfect.  Yeah, it sucks dick that season ticket-holders have to pay full price for pretend football; but you’re not going to learn diddley squat about your team as a head coach until you see them playing other teams.  The fact that the games don’t count in the standings is irrelevant; they count for much more than anyone gives them credit for.

And finally, can we PLEASE get off of the whole kickoffs/returns issue?  WHO CARES?  The NFL is trying something new, so right there that’s exciting.  Love it or hate it, something different is always interesting, at least for a little while.  Also, everyone is making this thing out to be the death knell of kickoff returns.  Really?  Because all kickers were doing such a good job of kicking balls to the goalline, this extra five yards is going to be the difference between returns and touchbacks?  Are you kidding me?

Kickers suck at kicking!  Except for Olindo Mare and a few others around the league, most kickers have trouble getting the ball inside the 5!  The returns are going to be fine.  Yes, touchbacks will increase a little bit, and I for one think that’s a good thing.  I think teams should be rewarded for having strong-legged kickers.  I think the Seahawks will rue the day they didn’t franchise Mare.  But, even though Mare was one of the better kickers in the NFL at touchbacks last year, that doesn’t mean his rate was all that high!

The five-yard change isn’t going to make all that much of a difference for most kickers; but for guys like Mare it could be a drastic increase in the number of touchbacks he sees.  I don’t know what that’s going to translate to on the scoreboard, though.  The “Field Position Game” is only as good as the defense behind it.  But, I gotta think a guy like Mare, booming those kickoffs through the endzone, is going to do nothing but help.

As for everyone else, let’s calm down a little bit and take these things rationally.  Just because the media is expecting what it wants to see and reporting about it accordingly doesn’t mean we have to take what they say at face value.

Take what I say at face value.  I would never steer you wrong.  I love you, so much!

The Seahawks Are Getting The Job Done In Free Agency

Look, I’m not going to be all doom and gloom on the quarterback thing ALL the time.  Aside from that, there is a TON to like about what the Seahawks have done.

This team, going into and coming out of last year had just about as many holes as a team can have.  Offensive line, defensive line, defensive backfield, wide receiver, quarterback.  Say what you want about whomever, the Seahawks are showing that they’re up to the task of improving this team at all facets of the game (obviously, aside from cornerback, but there’s still time).

Quarterback – even though I may disagree with the route they’ve chosen, they’ve nevertheless addressed it.  Whether or not they’ve addressed it well is a matter to be determined on September 11th.  At least they didn’t neglect it completely.  Tarvaris Jackson might not be my cup of tea, but in all likelihood (in some capacity), he will be better than nothing.  Grade:  D-

Offensive Line – I love this more than anything they’ve done.  Four tremendous young talents who can grow and meld together over what are hopefully four long careers.  Sure, they’re probably going to struggle THIS year, but what would you expect?  In time, probably within 1-2 years, they’re going to gel and they’re going to be fantastic.  And yeah, while they’ll be on the bad side this year, they’re not going to be COMPLETE trainwrecks!  They’ll be like any group of young athletes: they’ll show flashes of brilliance and they’ll have moments where you say, “What the hell was THAT?”  Robert Gallery will help, hopefully, give us more moments of brilliance.  Grade:  A

Wide Receiver – The last time we had a blazing talent at this position was when Joey Galloway was catching bombs from Jon Kitna and taking punts back to the house.  Ever since, it’s been one fill-in guy after another.  We’ve been a team full of 2’s and 3’s since the end of the 90s.  So, I’m excited we have Sidney Rice.  If he’s truly back from his injury, he’ll be the first bonafide Number 1 starter we’ve had since the Dennis Erickson era.  Teams will have to shift their coverages towards him, leaving guys like Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu with more favorable matchups to exploit.  Now, if only they had a professional quarterback to throw them the balls.  Grade:  B+

Running Back – Pretty much, the Seahawks did nothing here.  Well, that’s not technically accurate, they DID re-sign Leon Washington; though, I’m still skeptical that he’s going to get the kinds of offensive touches he deserves.  Nevertheless, while we may not have an Adrian Peterson type at this position, we’ve got the best of all worlds.  Marshawn the Thunder and Forsett the Lightning.  Tack on the re-signing of fullback Michael Robinson and I’m quite pleased with this group.  Grade:  B

Defensive Line – Today, it’s official, Brandon Mebane is coming back.  Like I said yesterday, this is completely and totally awesome.  We’ve also signed a guy named Alan Branch away from the Cardinals to be our backup 5-technique defensive end behind Red Bryant, so there’s some MORE depth.  I have a feeling we’re not done here, as it would be nice to either see Raheem Brock come back or maybe find another low-cost defensive end to play the Leo position.  Of course, we’ve always got Aaron Curry, if we haven’t completely given up on him yet … Grade:  B

Linebacker – Today (or was it yesterday) also brings the news that Leroy Hill is coming back.  THAT is probably the most shocking turn of events I’ve heard in this abbreviated off-season of free agent activity.  My assumption is he’s coming in cheap and, if he’s lost it or causes trouble, he’ll be easily gotten rid of for little-to-no cost.  I’m not against this decision, but I am skeptical that he’ll return to any kind of form.  Of course, you have to wonder … is Lofa Tatupu on the chopping block?  David Hawthorne COULD slide over into the middle linebacker spot.  Is Aaron Curry on his way out?  Seems like a quick hook for a guy drafted so high; but then again, this regime didn’t pick him.  Could be some MAJOR shakeups afoot in the linebacking corps.  Grade:  C-

Secondary – So far, the Seahawks have done squat after the draft to bolster this group, but like I said earlier, there’s still time.  I’m tempted to give the secondary a passing grade on the Addition By Subtraction Rule thanks to ridding ourselves of Kelly Jennings, but he remains unsigned.  Until I know I’m in the clear, I can’t possibly have a definitive opinion on these guys.  In listening to John Schneider on the radio a little bit ago, he said he’s not concerned and made overtures that the group we have in camp now could be the group we go to the grave with.  I still think there are moves on the horizon, and I’m on record as saying that I think we should bring back Big Play Babs.  Grade:  F

I didn’t come into this post with an eye towards grading the positions.  To be clear, though, the grades aren’t on the positions themselves, but they’re the grades on what Pete & John have done in free agency to improve these positions.  I decided to not include Special Teams because I frankly don’t give a shit right now.  Olindo Mare got a shit-ton of money to go to Carolina because they’re idiots who over-pay for kickers.  They’re like that guy in every fantasy league who drafts a kicker in the 7th round because he wants to have the “best” kicker.  Or that guy in the bar who hits on the most reasonable-looking fat chick because he’s desperate to go home with someone.

This post just got a little misogynistic right out of nowhere, so with that I’m going to say my good nights.

The Seahawks Say GTFO To Some More Guys

On the plus side, the Seahawks have also said Get The Fuck In to some guys guy too.

GONE is Matt Leinart.  Of course, since he was never here to begin with, this makes no sense.  Still, he’s decided to stay in Houston, presumably because he’s decided it’s better to go full retard than to go to a team with your former head coach and no defined starter at his very position of employment.  What does that say about a guy’s heart?  I mean, assuming these rumors were true and the Seahawks were truly trying to sign this guy, where are your nuts at, guy?

Matt Schaub is the man in Houston.  He’s proven himself and they’ve proven they’re married to him by way of what it took to get him there in the first place.  The Seahawks, meanwhile, have two suck-asses at quarterback.  Regardless of the fact that we’ve invested draft picks and millions into Whitehurst, regardless of the fact that we hired Jackson’s offensive coordinator (i.e. regardless of the fact that it appears both have a leg up over a theoretical Matt Leinart), neither of those guys have established themselves as starting quarterbacks in this league.  Therefore, you’re looking at a strict 3-way competition with the best of the worst earning that starting job come September.

Leinart just chose an automatic 2nd string quarterback job over the potential for a 1st string job.  Somebody get that guy a tampon, stat.  For his vagina!  Because he a little girl!  Ho-ho!

GONE is Will Herring.  He’s signing with New Orleans.  I lamented this for about 10 seconds until I realized that backup linebackers are a dime a dozen and we drafted a couple more a few months ago.  Herring was good, worthy of being a starter SOMEWHERE, and he was aces as a special teams coverage man.  I hope the Saints let him start because I have a feeling he’ll dominate for many years to come.

GONE is Olindo Mare.  He goes to Carolina.  What is it with Carolina stealing all our fucking kickers?  I didn’t even know John Kasay had retired … and apparently he didn’t know that either.  That’s too bad, I guess.  Since I no longer have any delusions of competing for even a crappy NFC West, I’m not going to sweat this Olindo Mare move.  We should just sign the best undrafted free agent kicker out there and give him a shot for a year; what harm could it do?  Better than picking up some old fuck off the scrap heap.

GONE is Brandon Stokley.  Again, another move I’m not going to sweat.  It’s not like we’ll have Hasselbeck around; buying a possession receiver for the likes of Jackson or Whitehurst just seems like a waste of funds.  Unless the possession receiver has Go-Go Gadget arms to reach all the overthrown balls tossed in their general vicinity, I don’t see the point.

HERE is Robert Gallery!  This is pretty exciting.  The lone bright spot in this whole week of disappointment, we’ve got our O-Line set for at least the next 3 seasons.  What ISN’T there to like?  He’s experienced, he’s good, he’s familiar with Tom Cable’s system, he’s a veteran presence for these young guys on the line to grow up around, AND it’s only a 3-year deal.  Not that teams are necessarily bound by contract years, this is still a good thing all around.  I’ll probably have more good things to say about this as the season approaches, but it’s new and fresh now so I thought I’d mention it.

So, what’s next?

Part of me thinks it’s ominous that we don’t have Brandon Mebane signed yet, but I just need to calm down a bit.  He’s GOING to test free agency, that’s just something I’m gonna have to get used to.  Doesn’t mean he’s going to sign elsewhere, but it does mean his price will go up accordingly.  He’s one of the better, younger D-linemen out there on the market; he deserves to get his money now.  I just hope Schneider is a little flexible with his negotiating.  I have a feeling he’s got a firm offer on the table and it’s going to be dwarfed by the open market.  I guess we’ll see.

Also, still no word on a cornerback.  It’s still early, none of the big studs have found a home yet (in other words, the market won’t be set until Nnamdi Asomugha signs), and who knows?  The Seahawks could very well be comfortable going with Trufant, Thurmond, and the rookies.  At the very least, though, I wish they’d get Big Play Babs back in here (if, indeed, they’re not going to make a bigger splash in the cornerback market).

Man, can’t wait for Day 3.  At this rate, I’m going to be writing one of these recaps every day through the weekend!

To Contend Or Not To Contend

I’m torn.

The rabid, brain-dead fan in me sees an opportunity.  This division is still for the taking!  Sam Bradford’s by no means an All Pro in only his second season.  The 49ers are breaking in a rookie.  And the Cards will either be going with a young guy or Kevin Kolb; either way, they’re going to have some growing pains.  If we re-sign Hasselbeck, shore up our defense with some key free agents, and find a capable veteran offensive guard who HASN’T had a million surgeries on his knees, we could be division champs once again!

Of course, the rabid, brain-dead fan in me knows that’s a lot of ifs.  IF we fail in achieving any one of those ifs, then I would abort the whole fuckin’ thing, because it just might not be worth it.

I’m not COMPLETELY stupid.  I know this was a pretty mediocre team last year.  Hasselbeck alone won’t make the difference.  But, Hasselbeck, + Robert Gallery, + a starting corner, + another defensive lineman or two just might = Super Bowl Contender.  I mean, no one said you have to rebuild by hitting rock bottom first.  Not all rebuilding projects are the Seattle Mariners!

I said earlier that I’m torn, and it’s true.  Because while part of me wants to try to shoot the moon, the other part of me wouldn’t TOTALLY mind it if we just tanked the whole damn thing away and got Andrew Luck in next year’s draft.  THAT is enticing.  In this scenario, we let Hasselbeck walk, we sort of neglect the defense a little bit – going after mid-range guys on short-term deals, and maybe we take a shot at one of those aging reclamation projects on the offensive line.  And then pay $30 million to Olindo Mare to make sure we’re above the minimum salary requirement for 2011.

While Hasselbeck, as I said before, won’t make the difference all by himself; all of this actually hinges on whether or not he re-signs.  Because we didn’t go after any quarterbacks in this year’s draft, it hasn’t been determined yet if we’re going to go full rebuild or if we’re still going to try to take a shot at the playoffs.  Hasselbeck makes us a playoff contender; he might not guarantee our making the playoffs, but he still makes us a contender.

No Hasselbeck makes us a total and complete bottom-feeder.

I’m so confused, I don’t know what I want!

All Time Seahawks Greats Part II

Again, for your information, I’m robbing this idea from Seahawks.com.  I thought a fan-voted poll was interesting and was curious how spot-on they were.  I also wanted to see if I could pick a Blue & Green Dream Second Team … but eventually lost interest in trying to find the NEXT five best offensive linemen.

Also, for your information, I’m getting all forthcoming stats and information from this site.  Right or wrong, LEROY JENKINS!

The fans certainly got our Devensive Ends correct.  Jacob Green had 97.5 official sacks (though, unofficially he had well over 100, since sacks weren’t an official stat until 1982).  Michael Sinclair is Number 2 on our list with 73.5 sacks.  Sinclair played for some tremendous defenses who racked up an ungodly amount of pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

After those two, if I were putting together a Second team, long-time Jacob Green teammate Jeff Bryant would be first on my list.  He had 63 sacks, good for #3 on the list.  After that, I’d have to bypass all the DTs and OLBs on our total sacks list.  I’d also bypass the HELL out of Patrick Kerney and probably go with Sinclair teammate Phillip Daniels.  He was here for a brief period (not NEARLY as brief and injury-plagued as Kerney), but he was a beast opposite Sinclair.  Mostly, he was a casualty of the salary cap; he got a better deal from the Chicago Bears and continued with a solid NFL career.

Defensive Tackle is probably our best overall position on the team.  Should-be Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy (and reason why our defense changed from the 3-4 we had throughout the 80s to the 4-3 we’ve employed to this day) is paired up with longtime fan-favorite (and ultimate field goal blocking specialist) Joe Nash.  I can’t say ENOUGH good things about these two guys.  If Largent is my favorite all-time football player, then Cortez is my favorite all-time defensive player.  I’ve loved that guy since the moment he joined this team; cemented by his Defensive Player Of The Year Award in 1992 (the only bright spot in our very worst season as a franchise).  Tez ended up 4th on our all-time sacks list with 58, in SPITE of constant double and sometimes triple-teams!  If he played anywhere else, he’d be in the Hall of Fame by now.  Since he played for the Seahawks (and since we were so bad in that stretch from 1990 to 2000), he’s finding it a struggle.  The NFL should be ashamed if this class act doesn’t get in, that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Not for nothin’, but Joe Nash is 6th on our sacks list.  He played from 1982 thru 1996 and somewhere in that stretch he had the team record for consecutive games played (since broken by steady offensive lineman Chris Gray).

As for the Second Team, I couldn’t have more quality guys to choose from.  Don’t forget who drafted Sam Adams before he went on to glory in Baltimore.  Don’t forget John Randle made an immediate impact in his brief stint with the team.  Don’t forget about Rocky Bernard, who was absolutely INTEGRAL in our Super Bowl run!  And I know it’s early, but if Mebane re-signs, we’re likely to see him as well climb this ladder of elite DTs.  I know I have to choose two here, and I’m telling you right now, Rocky Bernard IS one of them!  That brings us to Adams and Randle.  I know we had Randle at the tail-end of his Hall of Fame career, but he was still playing at a very high level.  Then again, Sam Adams would REALLY be the stout, run-stuffing nose tackle type my Second Team would need.  Fuck, this is hard.  And, I’m not gonna lie to you, it’s kinda bullshit!  I mean, hell, what NFL team doesn’t have at LEAST a 3-man Defensive Tackle rotation?  I’ll keep Adams and Bernard in there on 1st down; then swap out Adams for Randle on 3rd down when we need QB pressure!  Done and done.

OK, so Linebacker is where things are getting a little hairy.  The Website picked 4 linebackers, I guess a nod to the 3-4 defense we used to play.  If I were going to pick just 3 linebackers, then I’d have to say the fans are right on with their choices of Lofa Tatupu, Chad Brown, and Rufus Porter.  Lofa’s a born leader and a destructive influence in the middle for other teams.  Rufus, remember, was a sack master coming off the edge for us.  And Chad Brown, surprise surprise, is our leading overall tackler at the position.*

* I should point out here that Pro Football Reference for some reason didn’t keep good track of tackle numbers.  For instance, the 4th linebacker fans chose – Fredd Young, who played with us from ’84 – ’87 – doesn’t have ANY tackles.  I find that hard to believe.

Look, I don’t remember much, if anything, of Fredd Young’s Seahawks career.  I remember his 1988 Topps football card, and I remember him going to the Indianapolis Colts that very same year.  Apparently, he was a Pro Bowler; I dunno.  He IS a name I recognize, which is more than I can say for the slim pickin’s I have for Second Team Linebacker.

Off the bat, my instincts tell me Terry Wooden is a guy I should have.  I remember him as a steady, non-flashy kind of guy who wouldn’t miss many tackles (indeed, he’s #5 on our all-time list).  On the other side, I guess we’d have to look at #6, Tony Woods.  He played fewer seasons, but managed to put up some decent numbers.  And, if I had to go MLB, I guess I’d look at Dave Wyman?  #14 on all-time tackles list, I guess he’s a warm body.  Honorable Mention to Julian Peterson, who was a casualty of a regime change and a first round draft pick.  If memory serves, he was just cut by the Lions, which has to be a slap to the face of a very good career.  But, I wasn’t all that broken up about his leaving in the first place; he did little to really WOW us here.  Few more sacks couldn’t have hurt.

As for the Cornerbacks, I have nothing to add here.  Marcus Trufant and Dave Brown are our starters, with Shawn Springs as a nickel back.  I won’t dignify this position with selecting a second team.

Same kinda goes for Safeties; how am I EVER going to get anywhere NEAR the quality of Strong Safety Kenny Easley and Free Safety Eugene Robinson?  I guess Robert Blackmon should probably get an honorable mention here, but I can’t even remember if he was a Safety or a Corner and I’m too lazy and indifferent to look online and confirm!

Rounding off our All Time Seahawks Team, we have the Special Teams.

Kicker – Norm Johnson, Punter – Rick Tuten, Kick-Off Returner Steve Broussard, Punt Returner Nate Burleson.

Can’t argue with ol’ Norm, so I’ll make my Second Team choice Josh Brown over Todd Peterson.  Brown was Mr. Automatic while he was here, and the only reason we despise him so much for going to a division rival is because he’s the best kicker in the division.

You know what’s cool about the Kicker position, though?  We’ve almost NEVER had a bad kicker in my lifetime.  We had Norm from ’82 thru ’90, then an all-NFL great John Kasay from ’91 thru ’94 (before he decided to play closer to home in Carolina), then Peterson from ’95 thru ’99, then just a bit of a down spell with Rian Lindell from 2000 thru ’02, then back with Josh Brown from ’03 thru ’07 and Olindo Mare’s prowess ever since.  All in all, a very strong position for us.

Rick Bootin’ Tuten is by FAR our best punter, during a period where all we DID was punt!  I’ll take the ageless wonder Jeff Feagles for my Second Team.

Indeed, Steve Broussard DID have the most kickoff return yards in franchise history, but I’m going another direction here altogether:  Leon Washington.  Yes yes, I know, how can I have a problem with John Carlson being the Top Tight End having been here only 3 seasons, while saying Leon is our best kickoff returner after just 1?  Well, I’ll tell ya!  Do you know what our franchise record was for most kickoff returns for a touchdown was before 2010?  1, a record tied by 8 other guys.  INCLUDING Mr. Broussard over his 165 returns in four seasons.  Leon had 3, all in one year!  And, among guys with 50 or more returns, Leon is tops in average yards per return with 25.6 (Broussard, meanwhile, averaged 2 yards fewer per return).

And yes, Nate has our record for most punt return yardage, but there are a couple guys I like more.  Charlie Rogers is #3 on our list, but he had a higher per-return average.  I think, though, if I’m picking MY Second Team, then I’m going with Joey Galloway.  He has our team record of 4 punt return touchdowns and was ALWAYS a huge threat to take it to the house.  Anyone who saw his return against Jacksonville will testify that Galloway was an absolute monster in the open field.

Overall, though, I think the fans did a good job on this list.  11 guys from the New Era of great Seahawks teams in the ’00s, 15 guys from the Golden Age of good Seahawks teams in the ’80s, and 3 guys from our underachieving ’90s teams.

A List Of Current Seahawks Facing Free Agency

We’ve got a lot of decisions to make this year, much like we did last year.  The disadvantage is, of course, the impending lockout (which I’m not going to get into, because what’s the point?  Yeah, I hate the idea of a lockout as I assume every other fan does too; bitching about it will accomplish nothing.  Football WILL be played again eventually, and when it is, you will watch).  The ADvantage, however, is that this coaching staff (or what’s left) and this management has had a year to analyze the players who will potentially be on their way out.  Here’s what I perceive to be the official list, with my thoughts on whether or not we should keep them.

By the by, I’m getting my info from this website.  Took me a while to track down something so simple, so credit where credit is due.  It’s worth a glance as it is a list of EVERY ALMOST EVERY Seahawks player and when they’re up for free agency.

1.  Matt Hasselbeck – I don’t know if I’m on record or not, but I’ll say it again:  I want Matt Hasselbeck back next year.  I WANT him to retire as a Seahawk, but at the very least I want him for a couple more years.  Of course, I also want us to draft someone in this upcoming draft, so he can work behind Hasselbeck, but for now Matt gives us the best chance to repeat as NFC West champs in 2011.  Final Answer:  2-year extension.

2.  Leon Washington – The dude is in his prime, 28 years of age, and he’s one of the best return men in the game.  Of COURSE I want him back.  I’d give him a 2-3 year extension if I had it my way.  Unless he hits the market and gets blown away with an offer.  I love what the guy brings, but let’s get serious, blowing a bunch of money on a running back you never use AS a running back is a bit much.  Final Answer:  2-3 year extension, if the price is right.

3.  Sean Locklear – Let him go.  He’s a bum and will be due for raises he’s not worth.  Final Answer:  No way; there are other fish in the sea.

4.  Ray Willis – If he can come back healthy, I’d like to get him on the cheap.  A bulldog with size, and at the very least can bring some depth.  Final Answer:  Yes, if healthy.

5.  Tyler Polumbus – Another solid depth guy; he’s young and cheap.  Final Answer:  Yes.

6.  Ben Hamilton & Mansfield Wrotto – I was under the impression that we’d already traded Wrotto away.  And Hamilton, I’m pretty sure, is retiring.  Final Answer:  N/A.

7.  Chris Spencer – I liken centers to defensive ends and quarterbacks:  they generally get better with age and experience.  You rarely see any of those three positions come out of college lighting the world on fire (unlike running backs, linebackers, some offensive tackles and safeties, who tend to rely on their explosive raw talent immediately).  I don’t think Spencer will ever be a Pro Bowler, but I think he can still be a solid center in this league for another 5-8 years if his body holds up.  I think he kinda gets lumped in with the shitstorm that was the 2009 Seahawks offensive line, and I think that’s unfair.  Put some talent around him, and I think Spencer is a guy worth keeping around.  He’s coming into his own now, I’d like to see where that’ll take him going forward.  Final Answer:  Yes, sign to a long-term extension.

8.  Brandon Mebane – This is EASILY the number 1 guy we have to re-sign in whatever free agency period we have this year.  If defensive tackle wasn’t so injury-prone as a position (regardless of the player), I would say we’re stupid for not inking him to a long-term deal BEFORE the offseason.  As it stands, it will weaken our already weak defensive line CONSIDERABLY if we don’t wrap this up.  He’s a run-stuffing machine who can cause a little havoc from time to time; exactly what you want with a D-line that plays 3 tackles with a Leo end as the primary pass rusher.  Final Answer:  Hell Yes!  Long-Term Deal!

9.  LeRoy Hill – We made it through this year without Hill, we specifically voided the remaining years on his deal to GET him to free agency this year, so no, I don’t think we’ll be re-signing LeRoy Hill.  Should we?  That’s up for debate.  His hitting ability is there.  If we got him cheap enough, I’d say that wouldn’t be the worst thing.  But, look, we’ve got Hawthorne entrenched at our other outside linebacker position.  We’ve got cheap, young linebacker depth kicking ass on our special teams.  We don’t NEED LeRoy Hill.  If he came back, he’d have to earn his way onto this team and likely wouldn’t be starting unless someone got injured or we started playing 4 linebacker sets.  With Tatupu’s injury history, it might not be the worst thing in the world.  We can slide Hawthorne into the middle and Hill could reclaim his old position.  Final Answer:  If he’s cheap enough, yes; but I doubt this will even be an issue.

10.  Kelly Jennings – HELL NO!  I’ve been counting the fucking days until this waste of space is out of my life.  He’s too small, he’s too slow, he’s never in a position to make a play, and it forces the safeties to help out on his side too many times, making Marcus Trufant’s life a living hell.  We need to dump the zero and sign a true lockdown corner (ahem, Nnamdi Asomugha), so the safeties can return to helping out Trufant and we can start kicking some tail on the defensive end.  Final Answer:  Are you shitting me?

11.  Lawyer Milloy – This one is about as 50/50 as it gets for me.  He won’t be expensive, he’s a natural leader and a great mentor for Earl Thomas, he knows the system inside and out, he’s a Dawg, and if we don’t re-sign him it’s unlikely he’ll go somewhere else and burn us.  On the downside, he’s pushing 40 (which means he might as well be pushing 70 in football years).  He has a tendency to over-play the run and get beat deep.  We should probably be looking towards the future at this position too.  Final Answer:  1-year extension, draft a safety that he can tutor, and that will be that.

12.  Olindo Mare – Do we dare franchise our kicker two years in a row?  Final Answer:  Hell yes we do!  Franchise the hell out of him until he stops making field goals and then cut him to the dogs!

Interesting fact of note:  Our top receivers and tight ends are signed through at least next season (can’t find word on Stokley though; I’d like to get him back if he wants back).  However, with Deon Butler’s massacre at the end of the season, we’ll likely be looking for more talent in the pass-catching department.

I know for a fact that there are others Seahawks free agents (reserves, special teamers), but I think that’s as good a rundown as we’re going to get.  The only guy who will kill me if he isn’t retained is Mebane.  The only guy who will kill me if he IS retained is Jennings.  Obviously, keeping the team the same is no way to improve (after all, we DID only win 7 games last year; and no way we blame that all on injuries), so I don’t expect all the guys I want back to BE back.  But I think my argument speaks for itself.