Revising My All-Time Seahawks Greats

The last time I did something like this, we were in the middle of the offseason in 2011.  In all likelihood, I was looking for some way to fill space in the dreadful month of March when all the other local sports are effectively shut down and you can only say so much about Spring Training.

You may recall at the time that we were just coming off Pete Carroll’s first year with the team.  We made the playoffs at 7-9 and upset the reigning champion Saints in the Beastquake Game.  It was all very fun, but built on a house of cards.  The roster was aging, as leftovers from the Holmgren Era clung for dear life.  We drafted some promising rookies before the 2010 season – including Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, Golden Tate, Walter Thurmond, and Kam Chancellor – which may go down as the all-time greatest draft class in franchise history (and, indeed, probably ranks pretty high in NFL history as well).

To be fair, my list of the greatest Seahawks of all time was pretty solid for what it was.  But, it’s CLEARLY out of date now.  So, I thought I’d go back and compare what my list would be today vs. what it was nearly four full years ago.  Let’s go to town:

Quarterback

2011:  Matt Hasselbeck, Dave Krieg, Jim Zorn
2014:  Russell Wilson, Matt Hasselbeck, Dave Krieg

You’re going to see a pattern here as we go forward:  better players from the current era will be pushing down players from previous eras.  It’s difficult to compare someone like Wilson – who is working on his third year in the pros – against someone like Hasselbeck who played for us for so much longer.  But, in this case, I’m going to keep it nice and simple:  Russell Wilson led us to three playoff appearances, two division titles, two #1 seeds, and one Super Bowl title (pending what happens in this year’s playoffs).  Wilson is a winner, and he’s the guy who’s starting for me in my hypothetical Greatest Seahawks Team Of All Time.

Running Back

2011:  Shaun Alexander, Curt Warner, Ricky Watters
2014:  Marshawn Lynch, Shaun Alexander, Curt Warner

I opted to throw out the numbers here.  If I went strictly by numbers, Shaun Alexander would still be the clear starter for this team.  9,429 yards and 100 TDs with the Seahawks for Alexander against 5,930 yards and 54 TDs with the Seahawks for Lynch.  The numbers say it’s a no-brainer.  But, I’m going with my heart on this one, and my heart says BEASTMODE!

Wide Receiver

2011:  Steve Largent, Brian Blades, Bobby Engram, Darrell Jackson, Joey Galloway, Paul Skansi
2014:  Steve Largent, Brian Blades, Bobby Engram, Darrell Jackson, Joey Galloway, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin

So, the thing is, it’s going to be VERY difficult to overtake the top three (and damn near impossible to overtake the top receiver on my list, because Largent is my favorite), what with how this offense is constructed and executed.  Furthermore, I realize Skansi was a reach, but I’m not sure I had a whole lot to work with.  Also, with Golden Tate playing for the Lions now, he’s obviously stuck where he is, with no chance for advancement unless he – by some miracle – returns to the Seahawks.  Doug Baldwin, on the other hand, if he sticks it out long term, could be a quick riser.  We’ll see where we are in another 3-4 years.  I could see someone like Baldwin topping out in the top 2 or 3.

Tight End

2011:  Itula Mili, John Carlson, Christian Fauria
2014:  Zach Miller, Itula Mili, John Carlson

The tight end position for the Seahawks throughout history is a vast wasteland of sadness.  Numbers might say that Jerramy Stevens deserves to be in the top 3, but numbers can suck my dick because Jerramy Stevens can suck my dick.  Zach Miller is a lynchpin for this offense who’s equal parts offensive lineman and soft-hands-pass-catcher.  He’s adorbs and I hope he gets well soon and sticks around another couple years.  I also hope someone like Luke Willson improves his catching ability, because I could see him being a fast riser here too.  It’s pretty sad that someone like Carlson is still hanging around on this list, what with how short his time was with us.

Fullback

2011:  Mack Strong, John L. Williams
2014:  Mack Strong, John L. Williams

While the fullback position is going the way of the dodo bird, I still got love!  And, while I think the world of Michael Robinson as a leader, a special teams stalwart, and a powerful lead blocker for Beastmode in previous seasons (before being forced into retirement and a new career in the media), there’s just no way his impact surpassed what Mack Strong and John L. Williams were able to do.  And, not for nothing, but I think those two names are going to be 1 & 2 on this fullback list for the duration of my lifetime.

Offensive Line

2011:  Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson, Robbie Tobeck, Bryan Millard, Howard Ballard
2014:  Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson, Robbie Tobeck, Bryan Millard, Howard Ballard

So, the thing here is:  I’ve made a conscious decision to list a man for every spot along the line (as opposed to, say, listing the five best linemen regardless of where they played along the line).  That having been said, if I felt like cheating (or, if I had the power of some sort of god), I’d probably look to put Russell Okung in at right tackle (because, let’s face it, he nor anyone else will be supplanting hall of famer Walter Jones).  Max Unger is a curious omission, but quite frankly, he’s been too injured in his stint as this team’s starting center to get serious consideration.  An interesting case will be J.R. Sweezy.  If he sticks around and continues his trajectory of improvement, we could be looking at a switch at right guard.  But, for now, Sweezy’s a little too loose in pass protection to take over that spot.

Defensive End

2011:  Jacob Green, Michael Sinclair / Jeff Bryant, Phillip Daniels
2014:  Jacob Green, Michael Sinclair / Jeff Bryant, Michael Bennett

Chris Clemons gets an honorable mention here.  I’ve split these up by first and second team.  Green & Sinclair are the clear 1 & 2 in Seahawks history and will be for the foreseeable future.  Michael Bennett jumps up into the second team because he’s been a force since his return and can pretty much do it all.  I opted to put him in with the ends because, to be honest, there are too many good defensive tackles, which you will see shortly.

Defensive Tackle

2011:  Cortez Kennedy, Joe Nash / Rocky Bernard, Sam Adams, John Randle
2014:  Cortez Kennedy, Brandon Mebane / Joe Nash, Rocky Bernard

The only reason Mebane was left off of my 2011 list is because he hadn’t quite played long enough, and because there was a question about whether he’d be sticking around long term.  Luckily for us, Carroll & Schneider saw fit to extend him, which has been a boon to our line.  You get a great sense of his value with him out of the lineup, as there are many things we just can’t do without him.  It has taken a rotation of 3-4 guys to try to make up for Mebane’s absence, which is about as impressive as it gets.

Also, can you IMAGINE what a defensive line would look like with a healthy Mebane in at nose tackle and an in-his-prime Cortez playing right alongside him?  Partner those two up with literally any of the defensive ends I’ve listed above and you’re talking about a powerhouse line on par with some of the best in the history of the NFL!

And, for the record, I understand going with a 3-man second team in 2011 was a total cop out.  Glad Mebane is here on this list to clean up my mess.

Linebacker

2011:  Chad Brown, Lofa Tutupu, Rufus Porter
2014:  Chad Brown, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright

So, yeah.  In my hypothetical defense here, I’m sticking with just the lone middle linebacker, but I’ve opted to essentially interchange who plays at outside linebacker.  In other words, I haven’t differentiated between strongside and weakside.  K.J. Wright’s primary position is weakside, but I THINK that’s where Brown played as well.  What puts Wright ahead of most other linebackers in Seahawks history is his versatility.  He can play all three spots, he’s been a stud since he joined the team, and he was just extended long term.  For the record, if I was picking linebackers regardless of position, Lofa certainly makes this list.  But, Bobby Wagner is lethal and should be for many more years than Tatupu.

Cornerback

2011:  Dave Brown, Marcus Trufant, Shawn Springs
2014:  Richard Sherman, Dave Brown, Marcus Trufant

This one is kind of irritating.  Right off the bat, Richard Sherman is the greatest cornerback we’ve ever had, full stop.  Dave Brown is a Ring Of Honor member and a VERY good corner in his own right.  Before Sherm came along, it was Dave Brown and everyone else a distant second.  Now, if I’m going by any cornerback who has ever put on a Seahawks uniform, then I’m looking at either Brandon Browner or Byron Maxwell over Trufant in a heartbeat (gun to my head:  I probably pick Maxwell because he can play inside and outside corner spots).  BUT, Trufant had a Ring Of Honor career in his own right, and Maxwell will only have a year and change as a starter before he moves on to another team (as the Seahawks surely won’t be able to afford to extend him).  And, not for nothing, but Trufant in his prime was as good as any other corner, so I don’t feel SO bad putting him third on this list.  Nevertheless, if the Seahawks do somehow find a way to squeeze blood from a stone and extend Maxwell, I’m coming back to this page and revising it immediately!

Safety

2011:  Kenny Easley, Eugene Robinson
2014:  Earl Thomas, Kenny Easley, Kam Chancellor

If I’m being 100% honest, I’m probably not splitting up Earl & Kam if I’m starting up this team.  But, I know I’m not the only one who wonders just what it would look like if Earl played alongside Kenny in his prime.  SICK!

Special Teams

2011:  Norm Johnson (Kicker), Rick Tuten (Punter), Steve Broussard (KR), Nate Burleson (PR)
2014:  Steven Hauschka (Kicker), Jon Ryan (Punter), Leon Washington (KR), Nate Burlson (PR)

I hope I’m not totally jinxing things, but I’m taking Hauschka as my all-time kicker.  Jon Ryan is sort of a no-brainer (he is, after all, the MVP of our hearts).  Leon Washington, while short in his time with us, made a HUGE impact (plus, let’s face it, the Seahawks don’t have a long and storied history with kickoff returners; also, Percy Harvin can suck it).  And the challengers to Nate Burleson’s throne never quite did enough (in this case, Joey Galloway – who didn’t last long as a return man – and Golden Tate – who was awesome, but is no longer with us, and wasn’t quite as dynamic).

So, there you have it.  A blog post for Thursday.  Giddyup.

An Appreciation of Sidney Rice

There are rumblings that Sidney Rice will be waived very soon.  This comes as zero surprise.  There’s a $7.3 million boost to the salary cap that comes with this move.  To show you how not-surprising this move is, literally every single time I’ve ever sat down to write about the Seahawks’ impending salary cap situation for 2014 and beyond, the very first thing I’ve done every time is go to Google and type “Sidney Rice overthecap” and hit “I’m Feeling Lucky”.

Ever wondered who uses the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button?  I’m your man!

I have a difficult time bad-mouthing anything the Seahawks have ever done in the Pete Carroll/John Schneider regime, since they went and won us a championship and everything.  But, I have a feeling that people are going to look at the career of Sidney Rice in a Seahawks’ uniform and say, “Well, that was a move that totally backfired!”

The Seahawks signed Sidney Rice coming into the 2011 season.  We were coming off of a 7-9 campaign that resulted in a division championship, a wild playoff victory over the Saints, and a predictable playoff defeat against the Bears.  He signed for 5 years and $41 million, with a $6 million signing bonus.  In his three years with the Seahawks, Sidney Rice earned $23.5 million of his $41 million deal; not too shabby for three years’ work.

The 2010 Seahawks were led in receptions and yards by Big Mike Williams (65 for 751 and 2 TDs), followed by Deon Butler, Ben Obomanu, John Carlson, and Brandon Stokley (all ranging between 30-36 receptions and 318-494 yards).  Suffice it to say, the Seahawks could use some help in their receiving corps.  Golden Tate was on the roster, but he was still a rookie in 2010, and two years away from starting to break out.

There were plenty of holes on that Seahawks team, and thanks to an unlikely Divisional Round playoff appearance, we were rewarded with a low first round draft pick.  Not only that, but the 2011 season came on the heels of the Lockout, so the time to sign players and get them ready for the season was ridiculously short.

And, I don’t know if you remember anything about the free agents in 2011, but here’s a smattering of names that were available:  Mike Sims-Walker, Antwaan Randle-El, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Torry Holt, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Chris Chambers, Plaxico Burress, and Steve Breaston (and those are just the names I recognize).  We had our pick of a bunch of nobodies, and a bunch of those aforementioned, over-the-hill losers.

Truth be told, Sidney Rice was the pick of the litter.  Granted, they probably should have just drowned that litter and started over, but that’s neither here nor there.

An interesting name being floated around at the time was Vincent Jackson.  He was franchised by the Chargers in 2011 and was looking to get the hell out of there.  He was a disgruntled, super-talented receiver looking for greener grass, and the Seahawks had their eyes on him.  Of course, he would have cost us a buttload of draft picks on top of what would eventually be a 5-year $55 million deal (that he would go on to sign in Tampa the very next year), and at that point it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for that Seahawks team (with that many holes they needed to fill through the draft) to give up draft capital just to bring in a superstar receiver.

So, the Seahawks got Sidney Rice.  And they got Zach Miller.  And those two moves sort of paid dividends, except Rice was injured through most of his first year here and ended up only playing in 9 games.  I would argue that his full participation in 2011 wouldn’t have made much of a difference, because we still weren’t that great of a football team, so I’m willing to overlook all of that.

Rice came back in 2012 and played in all 16 games, leading the team in receptions and yards.  Granted, they weren’t the greatest numbers in the world (50 for 748 and 7 TDs), but on that team, with how much we wanted to run the ball, those were indeed #1 receiver numbers.  I’d say in 2012 we got our money’s worth.

2013 was, once again, a disappointment, as Rice was only able to play in 8 games before tearing his ACL and losing out on our Super Bowl run.  Even in those 8 games, it’s hard to say he was living up to what was expected, as his numbers were WAY down compared to 2012.  That’s essentially while he was playing with the same receiving corps (Harvin and Rice never once played a down together at the same time last season).

If I’m sitting here objectively, looking at his totals over the last three seasons (97 receptions, 1,463 yards, 12 TDs, 33 of a possible 48 regular season games played), then no, there’s no way that type of production was worth $23.5 million.  97/1,463/12 are the type of numbers you’d expect out of a legitimate #1 receiver in a single season, not spread out over three.  And make no mistake, Sidney Rice was getting paid #1 receiver money.

But, here’s the thing:  what else were the Seahawks supposed to do?  Sidney Rice was the best-available option in a free agent class that could best be described as “slim pickin’s”.  We needed offensive firepower, because the previous regime left this team bereft.  And yes, Sidney Rice had injury concerns coming in (which turned out to be valid, given the number of games he missed with the Seahawks), but you have to figure that’s the cost of doing business.

Sidney Rice was never a bona fide #1 receiver for the Seahawks, but he was incredibly valuable in that 2012 run.  Likewise, once we lost him in 2013, our offense suffered tremendously.  Had the Seahawks lost in the playoffs, instead of all this joy in my heart, I would have written endlessly about how losing Sidney Rice was an underrated aspect in this past season falling apart.  Sidney Rice might have never been a true #1, but he made some catches that left my jaw on the floor.  And without him, I don’t think we would have seen near the progress in this offense from Russell Wilson’s first snaps onward.

It all boils down to football being a business.  Some fans feel a little jaded because this team paid all this money to a guy who did relatively little, but as I said before, it’s the price of doing business.  When you’re a bad team looking for a quick fix via free agency, that’s the price you have to pay to bring in talent.  Conversely, some players get upset because teams never honor their contracts.  The price of doing business:  if you’re over-compensated, you’re going to get the ax when your contract becomes too prohibitive.  Had Sidney Rice lived up to his #1 billing, then paying him a little under $20 million for the next two years would have been a relative bargain (or, at least commensurate to what he’s capable of producing).  Since he didn’t live up to his end, he’s gone.  So it goes.

Sidney Rice won’t go down as one of the greatest Seahawks wide receivers of all time, but that’s okay, because in the end we got our championship.  While he didn’t catch any game-winning touchdowns down the stretch, he was still a part of this team.  He was a part of turning around a franchise, from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs.  For that, he’ll always be remembered fondly, at least in my book.

And, with this cap savings, you could say Sidney Rice is the gift that keeps on giving.  With this $7.3 million (not to mention the base salary of $9 million we won’t have to pay next year), we’ll be able to re-sign Michael Bennett.  Or extend Earl Thomas or Richard Sherman.  His sacrifice enables our greater good.  So, don’t kick the man on his way out of town.  Thank him for his hard work and wish him well in his next endeavor.  There’s no sense in being resentful when your team is getting fitted for championship rings as we speak.

#16 – Zach Miller

To see the full list of the 20 best Seahawks in 2012, click here.

Since arriving on that big 5-year, $34 million free agent deal, Seahawks fans have been desperately yearning for something they’ve never had:  a tight end who would be a force on offense.  I mean, Itula Mili was great and all, but when you’re pointing to that guy and saying, “There goes the greatest Seahawks tight end in team history,” you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.  Obviously, Mike Holmgren and Company thought John Carlson would be that guy when they traded up to draft him.  But, injury concerns (most recently the concussion he suffered in that playoff game against the Bears) forced the Seahawks to let the young man walk (where he went to the Vikings and caught 8 balls in 14 games in 2012 after not playing at all in 2011).

It’s putting it mildly that Seahawks fans have been desperate for a tight end they can count on.  Not just a guy who sticks around forever, catching a ball here and there.  A guy who other teams have to game-plan for!  A guy who, even though other teams game-plan for him, he STILL manages to make a positive impact!

I don’t think anyone expected Miller to be the next Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski (if they were even a thing back in the summer of 2011, I don’t even know if they were in the league yet).  But, I think it was safe to say they expected someone in the second or third tier.  Maybe not Tony Gonzalez exactly, but at 6’5, 255 lbs, not too far from Tony Gonzalez either.

What we got was 25 receptions for 233 yards and 0 touchdowns in 2011.  Was it his fault that the Seahawks were breaking in an all-new offensive line (including two rookies)?  Not at all.  He was required to stay in and block, helping everyone who’d be learning Tom Cable’s zone blocking system.  It took that team at least half the season before they started clicking with the run game, but for the most part, pass protection suffered throughout the entirety of the season.  That left Miller to mostly double-team on the right side of the line.

Also, not for nothing, but that was the year we had the Tarvar Experiment.  Was it his fault his quarterback was kind of a dud?  Again, not at all.

Yet, Seahawks fans – as impatient as they come, apparently – were livid.  Every time Miller caught a ball, you’d read snark after endless snark on Twitter.  He came back in 2012 to catch 38 balls for 396 yards and 3 TDs.  Not an insane amount of improvement, but improvement nonetheless.  In December, Miller caught two of those TDs, so I guess you could make the argument that the offense got better as the season went along when it comes to targeting its primary tight end.

What leaves me with a lot of hope is how he performed in the playoffs.  With all the marbles on the line, Miller caught 12 balls (on 15 targets) for 190 yards and a touchdown in two games.  That’s incredible!  We all know Russell Wilson’s game improved dramatically as the season wore on, but until the playoffs, we didn’t really have a good sense of how he would gel with Miller going into next year.  As it turns out, Wilson finally figured out how to use one of his primary weapons:  seam routes down the middle of the field.

This is going to open things up that much more in 2013.  Yes, the play-action passing game will always be there to stretch the field.  But, if Wilson can work on his rhythm passing game, and start nailing those intermediate routes to guys like Miller, you’re looking at one killer offense.

But, this isn’t about 2013.  This is about 2012.  And Miller is on this list because he’s good, regardless of the crap you hear from most Seahawks fans.  He’s an elite blocker for a tight end, and he’s starting to come into his own with this offense.  This isn’t an offense that’s going to have huge numbers from its receivers.  Miller won’t catch 100 balls in a season as a Seahawk.  But, I’ll tell you this much:  we wouldn’t have been in a position to win that game in Atlanta if we didn’t have Zach Miller.

I’m really looking forward to him breaking out in 2013.  I would expect upwards of 8 or 9 touchdowns if he plays his cards right and manages to stay healthy.

2008: A Seattle Sports Apocalypse

Editor’s Note:  To read this blog post, click HERE.  It is one of Seattle Sports Hell’s “Featured Articles”.

Marcus Trufant Is Released As The Great Purge Continues

The following are the players currently under contract who played under Mike Holmgren (who, again, left the team after the 2008 season):

  • Ben Obomanu
  • Brandon Mebane
  • Jon Ryan

For the record, Red Bryant was drafted in Holmgren’s final season, but he isn’t currently under contract.  Ditto John Carlson, who I believe will sign elsewhere.  Ditto Justin Forsett, ditto he’s as good as gone.  Other free agents who once played for Holmgren and are likely gone include:  David Hawthorne and Leroy Hill.

When all is said and done and Red Bryant re-signs, there will be a total of 4 players on this team who were on the team back in 2008.  That’s because Marcus Trufant was released today.

Trufant has played 9 seasons in the NFL after being drafted 11th overall in the 2003 NFL Draft.  We passed on such guys as Troy Polamalu, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Charles Tillman, which doesn’t even mention Dallas Clark, who sure could’ve solved our tight end woes in Super Bowl XL.  But, that’s neither here nor there.  We took Marcus Trufant, and I don’t think that was such a bad thing.

He always got a bad rap for being injured and for not generating turnovers.  Neither one of those accusations I find fair or legitimate.  Yes, it was unfortunate he was injured for the playoffs in the 2006 season, but I would hardly place all the blame on him for us getting beat by the Bears (safety play was abysmal in that game, a testament to the overtime bomb Grossman threw to get in field goal range).  Trufant only really missed significant time in 2009 and 2011, when you could argue his body started breaking down due to wear & tear.

And, as for the turnovers, it’s kinda hard to make much of an impact when quarterbacks rarely make an effort to throw in your direction.  He still managed 7 picks in the 2007 season, when he earned his first and only Pro Bowl selection.

Trufant wasn’t the greatest cornerback ever, which might make it seem like a disappointment what with him being an 11th overall draft pick, but going into 9 straight seasons, you knew exactly what you had with Trufant.  You could write him in as a starting cornerback and you didn’t have to worry about whether he could hold his own or not.  He just balled.

The question now is:  Does Marcus Trufant Belong In The Ring Of Honor?

I say yes.  He’s without a doubt the best cornerback that’s ever played for the Seahawks.  He’s a local product and a fan favorite.  And in spite of the fact that he’s being released, he’s still got some gas left in the tank.  I think the Seahawks will do the right thing eventually.  He’ll just have to wait in line behind guys like Walter Jones, Shaun Alexander, and Matt Hasselbeck.

Huskies Have Inside Track For First Place

Well, it took a while, but the Dawgs are in sole possession of first place with two games to go.  Both on the road, both down in Los Angeles.  USC is the worst team in the Pac-12 (which would place them high in the runnin’ for worst team in all of college basketball), so they should be pushovers.  That just leaves our contest on March 3rd at … 11am?!  Ye gods!

Of course, Cal could do us a big favor by losing on March 4th in Stanford, but I don’t think anyone believes that’ll happen.

How did we get here?  Wouldn’t you know it, I missed watching this game too (I was at a charity pub golf match … won myself a signed Seahawks football which includes names such as John Moffit, Mike Williams, Walter Thurmond, Roy Lewis, James “Pancakes” Carpenter, Marcus Trufant, John Carlson, Ben Obomanu, and others), but from the highlights I saw, it looked like quite the back-and-forth.

In short, the Cougs Coug’d it.  Need I really say more?

I don’t, but I will anyway because it rolls off the tongue so delectably.  The Huskies were down 13 with something like 11 minutes to go in the game.  We proceeded to walk them down thanks to some fine defense and some less-than-fine production at the free throw line by the losers (17 of 32 … at home!).

This was, like most of our victories, a game where you come out of it saying, “How in the hell did we just win?”  Hell if I know!  Tony Wroten was his usual great self, but Terrence Ross was saddled with foul trouble and we got our usual nothing from our big men.  I thank my lucky stars every day that Wilcox’s injury wasn’t worse than it was.

This is exciting, isn’t it?  By all rights, we have no business being in this position with the way we looked early in the season.  And yet, here we are, two games to go and a chance to control our destiny.  Fuck it, let’s win ’em both and then go win the Pac-12 Tournament as well.  I don’t want to give those fucks down at the league office a chance to shut us out of March Madness!

Seattle Seahawks Free Agents 2012

Here is my source.

I’m just going to talk about the 18 unrestricted free agents.  In this space, I’m going to rank them thusly:  MUST HAVE; Ehh, Either Way; and Throw The Bum Out.  Up first:

MUST HAVE

  1. Red Bryant – This was a close one, but I gotta say that what Red Bryant brings is more important to his position than what Lynch brings to his.  Let’s face it, with Bryant in at defensive end, we are a completely different defense!  We’re able to shut down running games, make other teams one-dimensional, and free up space for guys like Clemons to get in there and sack the quarterback.  It’s hard to double-team someone like Clemons when you’ve got a beast on the other end requiring two guys to stop him.  And, let’s not forget his absolute dominance along the line defending kicks.  Anytime you can retain a guy who – by himself – can take points away from another team, that’s a guy you pay premium dollars to.
  2. Marshawn Lynch – If the Seahawks aren’t going to go out in the draft and do whatever it takes to end up with Chris Polk, then I say we HAVE to get Beastmode back in the fold.  He’s easily the most marketable guy on the team right now, and he’s producing like no one since Shaun Alexander in 2005.  I would fully anticipate – based on how our offensive line improved over the course of this past season – that Lynch will compete for NFL rushing titles in the coming seasons.
  3. David Hawthorne – Now, I wouldn’t go throwing this guy insane gobs of money, but I think it’s super-important to retain The Heater.  First and foremost, he is a leader and a veteran on that defense.  It’s imperative with K.J. Wright on one side, and with whoever may or may not replace Leroy Hill on the other side (if it’s not Hill, then it’s likely another rookie or first-year starter), to have a veteran presence in the middle who is not only a smart defensive player, but still a DYNAMIC power hitter able to induce fear in opposing offenses.
  4. Michael Robinson – I talked about him before, and I still believe he is one of our four MUST HAVE guys.  A good fullback makes for a great running game.  And just look at how bad we’ve been whenever Robinson has been injured!  Fullbacks tend to get better with age (again, see:  Mack Strong).  So, I would make it a priority to not only re-sign Robinson, but to give him a good 3-year contract to keep him in the fold for a while.

Ehh, Either Way

  1. Atari Bigby – He brings depth, veteran leadership, and another hard-hitter to our secondary.  Plus, I like as many guys with dreads as possible on my defense.
  2. Leroy Hill – He played every game this year, he’s still got the hard-hitting ability, he likely won’t cost a whole lot to retain, and he was 4th on the team in tackles in 2011.  Also, not for nothin’, but he was 2nd on the team in sacks with 4.0.  The guy still has it!  Might as well bring him back, I say.
  3. Anthony Hargrove – I don’t remember a whole lot about this reserve defensive end, but I’m pretty sure I witnessed every one of his 3.0 sacks.  Hard to say if this guy made as much of an impact as I remember – seeing as he’s a journeyman who hasn’t stayed in the same city for more than 2 years at a time – but he could be good depth insurance at a position we will eventually need to address in the draft.
  4. Breno Giacomini, Paul McQuistan, Mike Gibson (tie) – Offensive line depth.  I don’t remember Gibson playing all that much (if at all), but I do vaguely remember someone saying that he’s our backup center.  Or something.  I dunno.  That’s why these guys are in this catagory; it wouldn’t kill me either way if they stayed or left.  But, considering the job the first two guys did in the absence of our injured draft picks, it would probably be ideal to keep them aboard for future insurance at a position that ALWAYS seems to be injury-prone for the Seahawks.
  5. John Carlson – Hard to believe, before this season, seeing him ranked so low on my level of favoritism, but I’ve come to the realization that the Seahawks are NEVER going to have a good tight end, so what’s the point in getting all worked up about it?  Besides, it would seem to be impractical to put a ton of money into this position (considering Zach Miller’s salary) when we’re destined to never get much of a return.  If he’s cheap and wants to stay?  Fantastic!  If he gets a better deal or opportunity elsewhere (and turns out to be an All Pro), then so be it.  It’s probably never meant to be here anyway.
  6. David Vobora, Heath Farwell, Matt McCoy (tie) – All depth.  All special teams guys.  All likely WON’T be re-signed.  If I had to put one ahead of the others, I seem to remember Farwell making a bunch of impact tackles on special teams, so let’s make him a priority over the other two.
  7. Raheem Brock – He took a significant step back this year (9 sacks in 2010, 3 sacks in 2011) and I’m pretty sure he was THIS close to not being re-signed anyway.  Throw in his legal troubles, and I would say he’s toast.  But, if he did come back, I guess I wouldn’t throw a tantrum.
  8. Justin Forsett – If he comes cheap, and he’s good for the clubhouse atmosphere, and he will keep Marshawn Lynch happy, then okay.  But, if any of those three things are untrue, then so long!  We can pick up another undersized 7th round running back!
  9. Jimmy Wilkerson – He was injured all year, so he didn’t record any stats.  He’s a 9-year veteran who hasn’t really done all that much in his 9 years (though he had a career-best 6.0 sacks in 2009), but I suppose we signed him before the 2011 season for a reason.  The fact that he doesn’t have any additional wear & tear on his legs is probably a plus.  The fact that that’s because he injured his knee so bad it put him on the IR in the preseason is most definitely a huge minus.  Ehh, either way though.

Throw The Bum Out

  1. Charlie Whitehurst – Who couldn’t see this ending coming a mile away?  He cost us a couple draft picks, millions of dollars, and all he gave us in return was a victory against St. Louis sandwiched around two abysmal defeats to the Giants (2010) and Browns (2011) where we scored a combined 10 points.  In those other games, where he appeared in reserve roles, he brought nothing to the table.  He was a preseason dandy who reverted to a dud in the regular season.  In a long line of attrocious Seahawks quarterbacks (Kelly Stouffer, Dan McGwire, Stan Gelbaugh, Rick Mirer, John Friesz, Jon Kitna, Trent Dilfer, Seneca Wallace), Charlie Whitehurst might’ve been the very worst.  Then again, Dan McGwire WAS pretty shitty, but did he cost us multiple draft picks and millions of dollars?

Losing John Carlson: It Could Be Worse

This post is going to be really cold and callous, so you’re just going to have to trust me when I think it’s shitty that John Carlson is going to lose out on a full season’s worth of his professional life.  I feel bad for the guy, I wish it didn’t happen; in fact, I wish John Carlson was the greatest Tight End of all time and I didn’t have to write such a cold and callous post.

But, the fact of the matter is:  it COULD be worse.  Look, I’m not saying we’re stacked at tight end, but we’re better at tight end than we’ve ever been EVER.  I’m not a big fan of the tight end position anyway; I think it’s probably one of the most overrated positions in all of football (unless you have someone like Antonio Gates wreaking havoc on opposing defenses).  So, I don’t know a whole lot about Zach Miller.  People tell me he’s good and I believe them because I guess he went to a Pro Bowl or something.  That right there mitigates the overall damage of losing a guy like Carlson (a guy who I feel, when healthy, could be just as good as a guy like Miller; of course it would help if you didn’t use him as a fullback and could actually, you know, send him out on pass-catching routes because your offensive line could handle their business on their own).

Beyond Miller, we’ve also got Anthony McCoy and Dominique Byrd, two guys who’ve shown they’re more than capable of doing good things on a football field.  And, I don’t know about you, but I liked what I saw out of Cameron Morrah last year, especially down the stretch.  I think he’s got great hands and an ability to get open.  If he ever gets healthy, you’ve got yourself quite the logjam at the tight end position.

A position, like I said, that isn’t all that important to begin with.  If I had my choice, and someone on this team HAD to get injured for the season, I’m not gonna lie to you, I’d pick tight end in a heartbeat.  But, ESPECIALLY with the kind of talent we have backing up guys like Carlson and Miller.

Just look at where we’re thin:  it’s pretty much everywhere else besides running back.  If we start losing important starters in the secondary, or on the already-shaky offensive line, or among our defensive ends; we’re sunk!  Losing a starter at tight end:  not so bad.  At least THERE we have enough talent coming through the pike to keep us afloat.  Not so in those other positions.

Again, I wish no ill will towards anyone on this team.  I wish them all health and Pro Bowls for years to come.  But, this is one season-ending injury I’m not going to go cry to mommy about.

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.

All-Time Seahawks Greats Part I

So, 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!

Starting with Quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck is obviously the Number 1 choice.  He’s got Dave Krieg beat in Total Yards, Games Played, Completion Percentage, and Yards Per Game.  Surprisingly, Krieg has 21 more touchdown passes (even more surprisingly when you consider he played under Ground Chuck), but Krieg also has 20 more interceptions, so I guess that somewhat evens out.

Know what’s really sad?  After Hasselbeck, Krieg, and Zorn, you know who our 4th and 5th best all-time quarterbacks were?  Try Jon Kitna and Rick Mirer (in PROBABLY that order, though Mirer did throw about 1,500 more yards while in a Seahawk uni).  Fun fact:  if you went by total yards, Charlie Whitehurst is already our 17th best QB (and a mere 160 yards behind our 16th best QB, Brock Huard).

On to Running Back; again, kind of a no-brainer.  Shaun Alexander was on a Hall of Fame track … then he signed a big contract extension after a Super Bowl season in which he ran for 1,880 yards and a league-record (for 1 season) 27 touchdowns.  From there, he turned 30, developed foot problems, struggled for 2 more years and was forced into early retirement after a brief, non-descript stint with the Washington Redskins.  Still, in his time, he eclipsed the next best rushers by nearly 3,000 yards and 45 touchdowns.

As for my Official Second Team Running Back, I’d have to go with Curt Warner.  Though, did you know that Chris Warren beat Warner by a single yard in total yardage?  When you factor in Warner had 10 more TDs while also playing for vastly superior Seahawk teams, I’m giving him the nod.  Honorable mention goes to Ricky ‘Running’ Watters.  He only played with us for 4 seasons, but was forced into retirement while still running at an elite level (and because Alexander was chomping at the bit to take over the reigns).  There’s a lot to like about Watters’ hard-nosed style, though.

Fun fact #2:  Jim Zorn is our 9th best runner, with 1,491 total yards.  Fun fact #3:  Julius Jones is #10.

At Wide Receiver, we have our consensus #1 overall choice, Hall of Famer Steve Largent.  Just putting it out there:  he’s my favorite football player of all time.  And, I gotta say, he doesn’t get NEARLY the credit he’s due, considering he owned just about every single receiving record by the time he retired after the 1989 season.  13,089 yards, 819 receptions, 100 touchdowns, 16.0 yards per catch.  He was with us from the very beginning, made Dave Krieg look like an elite quarterback at times, and it’s too bad he never got a Super Bowl championship to cap off a wonderful career.

After that, on the list we have Brian Blades and Bobby Engram.  Blades ended his career as our Number 2 receiver, picking up the slack after Largent retired; Engram became our 4th best receiver.  Sandwiched between them, and obviously not getting the respect he’s due, is Darrell Jackson.  Jackson had about 1,600 more yards than Engram and was our only semblance of a Number 1 receiver during his tenure.  I can’t fathom why Engram was picked over Jackson, except that he was more of a fan favorite.  Maybe it was Jackson’s drops early in his career.  Maybe it was his contentious relationship with management that soured him on Seahawks fans.  Or, maybe it was all those clutch 3rd down receptions Engram made to extend drives during our best Seahawks seasons in the ’00s.

My Official Second Team, therefore, will lead off with Jackson.  I’m also going to take Joey Galloway, who would’ve been an absolute SUPERSTAR had he not made beef with Holmgren and forced his own ouster (as a plus, it should be noted that we received two first round draft picks from the Cowboys in exchange for his services; he was helping the Seahawks even when he wasn’t playing for ’em).  It’s that third receiver that’s giving me fits, though.  On our all-time receiving yards list, John L. Williams is #6, but he’s obviously NOT a wide receiver.  Discounting other running backs and tight ends, the stats would tell me to pick Koren Robinson, but I’m most certainly NOT going in that direction.  If I were picking an actual team, then I’d have my speed guy (Galloway), I’d have my Number 2 flanker (Jackson), so I’ll need a slot guy to round out the trio.  Here’s where I throw you my curveball:  Paul Skansi.  He was only #14 on our all-time yardage list, but he had one of the most memorable catches in Seahawks history, and I think he’d be an excellent complement to who I have.

Tight End is probably the most questionable choice the fans made:  John Carlson.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy.  I think, without question, he WILL be our all-time best tight end when all is said and done.  But, he’s only been here for 3 years!  Granted, in terms of all-time Seahawks tight ends, he’s #3 on the list for total yardage, but that just shows how TERRIBLE we’ve been, as a franchise, at the tight end position (see:  Jerramy Stevens).  Right now, I’ll take Itula Mili over both Carlson and Christian Fauria (#2 in total yards).  He was a steady contributer, an excellent run blocker, and an all-around pro’s pro.

At Full Back, who could argue with Mack Strong?  He was, bar none, our greatest asset in the running game when we were at our best.  Shaun Alexander wouldn’t have had NEAR the success he had without Strong clearing the way.  Plus, that NAME!  That’s just an all-time great NFL name no matter WHAT team you’re on!  For my personal Second Team, I’m going the other way with John L. Williams.  I don’t remember what kind of a blocker he was – he seemed more like an oversized running back than a traditional full back – but he was an asset both rushing and receiving.  I mean hell, you heard me mention him earlier:  he’s our #6 all time receiver in yardage!  Helluva guy, very under-appreciated considering he played for some down teams.  Not for nothin’, but he’s also our 4th best rusher in terms of total yards.

At Offensive Line, like I said earlier, I couldn’t possibly pick a Second 5.  Soon-to-be Hall of Famer Walter Jones anchors our left side along with Probable Hall of Famer Steve Hutchinson.  Rounding it out, we’ve got Robbie Tobeck at center (making that 3/5 of our Super Bowl line).  On the right side, we’ve got Bryan Millard and Howard Ballard.  I don’t remember too much about those guys, except I think Ballard was one of the fattest individuals to ever play the position.  Don’t quote me on that.

In Part II, I’ll look at the defensive side of the ball.  I don’t know how much help I’ll be there, but I’ll give it my best shot.