You remember; quit playin’! Freezing cold Wild Card game in Minnesota, Seahawks trailing 9-0 until the fourth quarter when they put up 10 to take the lead, albeit with too much time left on the clock, allowing the Vikings to drive down to the 9 yard line. The snap, the hold, the kick, yanked hard left, no good from 27 yards away, and the Miracle Seahawks find a way to advance.
Blair Walsh was the guy! He was also the guy who hit on 92% of his field goals as a rookie in 2012 (including an insane 10/10 from 50+), making the Pro Bowl and landing on the All Pro team. He was on track for what appeared to be a long and successful career. Then, he missed that kick against the Seahawks, spent the offseason with everyone feeling sorry for him, and entered 2016 hoping to turn the page forever. Instead, he was only able to connect on 75% of his field goals, while missing 4 extra points, across 9 games before the Vikings let him go.
And, uhh, yeah. Now he’s here. In Seattle. On a team with their own kicking issues, to be true, as Hauschka had a hand in costing us both Arizona games, among other notable knob jobs. Hauschka’s troubles stem not from one paralyzing, historic gaffe, but a seeming mental block he’s been unable to get over (I blame the longer extra points throwing him off).
I see this as the Seahawks covering their asses a little bit. I don’t think the job has been handed to Walsh; he’ll still have to go out there this offseason & pre-season and earn the thing. Counter to prior Seahawks teams under Carroll & Schneider, I think we’re going to see a real, bona fide kicking competition. What does that mean?
It’s possible we haven’t seen the last of Hauschka. I can’t imagine Walsh is commanding anything more than the veteran minimum – who’s going to get in a bidding war for a guy with the yips for Christ’s sake? – he’s lucky to even get a shot at a job. We could bring Hauschka back on a similar deal – no guaranteed money – and let them duke it out. The rub here is, it’s possible Hauschka’s market is a little more costly than anticipated. If there are teams out there willing to give Hauschka a multi-year deal, or lots of guaranteed money, then Walsh is our backup and we look elsewhere in the competition forum.
Could that mean drafting a kicker? Tough to say. I have no idea who’s coming out of college this year. My hunch is the Seahawks WON’T blow a draft pick – even a 6th or 7th rounder – but will much more likely pick up an undrafted guy and invite him to camp.
If they don’t, and they don’t go after Hauschka or another unsigned veteran, and they simply bank on Walsh turning his career around in 2017, I REALLY have to question this move more than I already do. I mean, when have you ever heard of a Kicker Redemption Story? All you ever hear about is a kicker missing a huge kick and never being heard from again; I’ve literally never heard of someone missing a life-changing kick, then coming back to future glory. If this is the first, then God bless him, but I’ll be over here betting the ol’ Taylor Family Farm on him continuing to suck all ass around town.