Will we ever get a full season out of Leroy Hill?
All signs point to No, chickenfuckers!
Whenever you hear anything about the Seahawks, specifically related to their defense, you’ll hear people say, “Well, it’s not very good,” or, “Well, it’s shakey at best,” but they’ll always throw in, “except for linebacker. They’re SET at linebacker.” That dates back to the Julian Peterson heyday where it was him, Lofa, and Leroy Hill.
Now, it’s interesting, because they still say that. They still say we’re all set at linebacker; that’s just something this team doesn’t have to worry about. In fact, we’ve paid big money to ensure that we will BE set at linebacker for a good long while. Instead of Julian, we’ve got Aaron Curry, but the credo is still the same.
And while Lofa’s a 3-time Pro Bowler, and while Peterson had his share of accolades, and while Aaron Curry was the highest-touted linebacker coming out of college in last year’s draft, I feel that whenever anyone praises the Seahawks and their linebacking corps, it has everything to do with Leroy Hill. Not because he’s a Pro Bowler (he’s never been), not because his stats are all that amazing (they’re really not; his high water mark in sacks of 7.5 in his rookie year have dwindled every year since), but because he’s widely believed to be the team’s hardest hitter (at least, in Training Camp, that’s all I ever read about).
You take a hard-hitting badass, combine him with an athletically gifted outside linebacker (Peterson/Curry) and a smart, tactical leader in the middle (Lofa), and you’ve got the potential for havoc to be wreaked. Except …
Well, that really hasn’t been the case. Because we can never seem to get all three to be healthy at the same time. And even when they are, when you’re not getting good play from your D-line, and your secondary is in shambles, how much impact can you really expect from stud linebackers?
The bottom line is: the results aren’t there. You could call it scheme, injuries, bad luck, or lack of talent around them, but overpaying for awesome linebackers doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. Especially when you consider last year’s most productive guy was David Hawthorne, who certainly deserves more playing time and it looks like he’ll get it.
I know Leroy’s in a bit of hot water with the law. I know he’s already been suspended for the first game this year and that might extend depending on what happens with this domestic assault case. I know he’s also got this knee injury that’s going to prevent him from even practicing before the regular season. But, if we want to have an identity on defense this year, we’re going to need Leroy’s presence out there, putting the fear of God into anyone foolish enough to run in the middle of the field.
Let’s hope everything works out. Of course, if it doesn’t, how will it be any different than any of the last few seasons?