There were a couple of major injuries (as well as a lot of – hopefully – minor injuries) in last week’s Thursday Night game. At the top of the heap is Richard Sherman, who was placed on IR this week, and is definitively finished for the 2017 season. What that means for his future in a Seahawks uniform is a conversation for another day (I, for one, hope he comes back and plays his entire career in a Seahawks uniform). What we know right now is that the L.O.B. took a major hit, and the Seahawks are a worse football team for it.
In his place, Byron Maxwell was signed to a minimum deal. You remember Byron Maxwell! He started his career in Seattle! In his first two years (2011-2012), when he was healthy, he played mostly special teams. He ended up taking over for Brandon Browner in 2013 and had a brilliant finish to the season, culminating (obviously) in a Super Bowl victory. He entered the 2014 season as the starter opposite Richard Sherman and had another fine year. So fine a year, in fact, that the Eagles signed him to a 6-year, $63 million deal.
We all know how that turned out. He played one year in Philadelphia, earned a little over $13 million, then was traded to the Dolphins where he played a season and change, earned $17 million, before being released on October 24th of this year. In his time away from Seattle, he didn’t play well. You could argue that he wasn’t in the right scheme, and maybe that he was counted upon to be someone that he’s not, but there’s a reason why he’s been on the open market for three full weeks.
Now, he’s still only 29 years old, and just three years ago he was good enough to start opposite the best cornerback in the game, so I have to believe he can be a useful piece for Seattle. We have the same coaches, we have a lot of the same pieces on defense, we’re more or less running the same scheme, so he should fit right in! The question that remains is: will he be effective?
There’s a major issue here that I’m not hearing a lot of talk about, and that’s the fact that not only are we replacing a legend, but we’re replacing someone who consistently – and almost exclusively – played on the right side of the field (from the offense’s perspective). Every guy we’ve run out there at cornerback has been put on the left side for the most part. How much of a change will it be for someone like Jeremy Lane – who looks to get the start opposite Shaq Griffin, who they apparently would like to keep on the left side of the field for now? And, if Lane doesn’t work out, how will Griffin or Maxwell fare on the right side? These are questions we just don’t know the answer to, because Richard Sherman never took a game off! He rarely took any PLAYS off! When you double-down on the fact that most right handed quarterbacks (and most quarterbacks ARE right handed) prefer to throw to their right, and it could be a long day (and a long rest of the season) for whoever they put over there.
And, don’t forget the lack of a vote of confidence in DeShawn Shead’s recovery process. Pete Carroll noted on the radio that he’d hit a plateau, which CAN’T be good, considering the Seahawks have to make a decision on him by early next week, to either bring him back to the active roster (in hopes that he’ll get over the hump and back onto the playing field at some point this season) or put him on IR and crush all the hopes and dreams of Seahawks fans everywhere who’d been counting on his return.
It’s going to be vital for Shaq Griffin to take another big step forward in his progression, as I feel like Earl Thomas is going to have to live on the opposite side of the field the rest of the way.
Also, not for nothing, but assuming we ever play another game again this year where all three of our safeties are healthy, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more 3-safety looks, perhaps with Earl taking over coverage duties against the other team’s best wide receiver. Probably more likely that we’d see McDougald in that type of role, but I bet in big moments we see Earl take over. Boy, I hope he’s fully healthy this week.
Moving on, the Seahawks have put down C.J. Prosise, much to everyone’s relief. Fans are obviously frustrated with him, because he was a high draft pick, because he’s CONSTANTLY injured and taking up a valuable roster spot, and because he’s so talented that we KNOW he’d be a game-changer for this offense if he could just stop getting nicked up every time he steps onto the field.
It’s been endless since he entered the league. Not for nothing, but this was also a problem for him in college – to a lesser degree – but the Seahawks rolled the dice on him anyway. He was injured in (or before?) training camp as a rookie. He ended up playing in 6 games last year, having a positive impact in three of them. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this team was playing at its very best in 2016 when Prosise was healthy and commanding his share of the touches:
- @ New England, won 31-24, 17 rushes for 66 yards & 7 receptions for 87 yards
- vs. Philadelphia, won 26-15, 4 rushes for 76 yards and a TD, & 2 receptions for 5 yards
He was shut down after that Philly game, and the Seahawks immediately lost to the Bucs. They beat the Panthers, but lost Earl Thomas, and the rest was history.
This year, he played in 5 games, having a positive impact in just one of them (a loss on the road to Tennessee, he caught 3 balls for 65 yards while rushing 4 times for 9 yards). Hell, in the Giants game, he was injured on the first play while trying to make a block! With him having spent more time on the rehab table than on the field, it’s been an endless cycle of doing everything in his power to get back to football, then immediately getting hurt again. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: he needs to take some time away from the game, get right, get STRONGER, and hopefully come back to a healthy and lucrative career in 2018.
If he’s not spending his entire offseason at the squat rack, I’m going to be VERY upset with him.
In his place, Mike Davis gets called up from the practice squad. I don’t know HOW he’s lasted on the Seahawks’ practice squad all year, but the Seahawks are very fortunate to have him now. He spent his first two years in the league as a backup in San Francisco, not really doing a whole lot. We claimed him off waivers back in May and he had a nice run in the pre-season, playing in all four games. Honestly, I thought he deserved a roster spot, but the team had Thomas Rawls, they’d just signed Eddie Lacy to be their big bruising back, they had C.J. Prosise, they had J.D. McKissic as C.J. Prosise insurance, they had Tre Madden as a fullback, and they drafted Chris Carson who looked like the Running Back Of The Future for this team. In a numbers game, the Seahawks ended up releasing both Davis and Alex Collins (who has gone on to great success in Baltimore, much to Seahawks fans’ chagrin). But, with Carson and Prosise on IR, and with Lacy nursing an injury, it’s Rawls and Davis, with McKissic as your third down back. And, considering Rawls’ injury history, I think it’s only a matter of time before Mike Davis is the starter.
There’s a reason why Mike Davis was on the practice squad all this time. One could argue that the rest of the league didn’t think he was worth the roster spot, which is fair. But, on the flipside, the Seahawks churn through their practice squad as much as any team, but it doesn’t seem like they ever even flirted with getting rid of Davis (not that their running game should’ve inspired enough confidence to do so, but still). I think they like him a lot. And, for what it’s worth, so do I.
I don’t think Davis is elite in any areas, but I think he’s solid in every area. He’s what I would describe as a running back’s running back. Sure-handed, blocks well, will hit the correct hole more often than not, can catch a pass out of the backfield, I think he can do everything you’d ever ask of a running back. He may not have elite speed or power, but he’s good enough in those areas. On top of that, he MUST have better patience and vision than someone like Rawls, who gets the ball and turns into that old Warner Bros. Tasmanian Devil cartoon.
Mike Davis probably isn’t someone you’d want to build your offense around, but I believe he’s the best early-down back this team’s got at the moment, and he could be a fine #2 going forward behind someone like Chris Carson.