Thursday, July 28, 2005

Seahawks Need Love Too

Where is the love? All off-season, indeed from the very moment that Bobby Engram dropped a game-tying touchdown pass in the final seconds of a Seahawks' playoff loss, I have had to endure a litany of reasons for why the Seahawks are done. I have read the list of free agents they had to sign. I have heard the impossibility of replacing such fantastic Defensive Ends as Chike Okeafor. I have been repeatedly reminded of the lack of cap-space for the signing of the Quarterback, the Offensive Line, the Running Back, Draft Choices, and indeed, the badly needed Free Agent Defensive Specialists. Now that the Seahawks have answered these questions, I would like to know where the sanctimonious story about this Northwest Miracle is? Where is the gushing John Clayton article describing the great achievements this off-season by the Seahawks? Apparently lost forever under the pile of Ricky Williams tabloid material…

All winter the Seahawks were under the weight of 16 free agents. The very number itself seemed to doom the club, with theories of Alexander going to Miami, Walter Jones going back to the buffet line, and Hasselbeck going to Green bay to finally take over for Favre. So what happened?

Resigned with the Seahawks

Shaun Alexander RB

Walter Jones LT

Matt Hasselbeck QB

Floyd ‘Pork Chop’ Womack OL

Robbie Tobeck C

Itula Mili TE

Chris Gray RG

Alex Bannister WR

Moving On…

Ken Lucas CB Car

Brandon Mitchell DE Atl

Orlando Huff LB Atl

Chike Okeafor DE Atl

Brock Huard QB

Jerry Rice WR Den

Heath Evans FB Mia

Tom Rouen P Car

Looking at this list, we can see the Seahawks kept out of the 16 unrestrictive free agents 6 starters, 4 pro-bowl players, and no defensive players. Considering the defense was rated 26th in the NFL last year, not keeping the guys who weren’t earning their lunch money doesn’t sound like too bad an idea. Those moving on as free agents include; one poor guy who isn’t listed with a team right now, 4 starters (one of whom is a punter), an over 40 hall-of-fame candidate who asked for his release, and a fullback with a loud mouth that couldn’t replace an undrafted veteran of 13 years. As an aside to the uninitiated, 34 year-old fullbacks aren’t common. It has something to do with slamming yourself headfirst into 300+ pound defensive linemen 30 times a day on Sundays during the fall and winter. Why a young stud couldn't replace him is beyond me, except that just maybe, his butt can't cash the checks his mouth was writing. To say that the Seahawks kept the wheat and dropped the chaff this year really goes without saying. But the spring-cleaning didn’t end there…

Don’t let the door hit you on your way out…

Anthony Simmons LB

Chad Brown LB NE

Damien Robinson S

Koren Robinson WR

Bobby Taylor CB

Of this group of non-hackers, we find only Chad Brown could find a job thus far, and the Patriots better get the leg specialists ready for this oft-injured former pro-bowler. Really, Chad is the only player I miss from the team, and unfortunately, I missed him for the bulk of he last two seasons. He simply couldn’t seem to stay healthy, and seeing him play without concern for himself it is easy to see why. His recklessness made him great, but his inability to play for an entire season made him a luxury the team simply couldn’t afford. Not when they were 26th in the NFL on defense. By the way, that would be worse in the Division that they won. Yes, Worst Defense in the NFC West. That’s really saying something…

Attention NFL fans, Koren Robinson may be driving to your hometown, which should be a warning to keep your children off the streets, as he is undoubtedly driving there drunk. For whomever signs this guy, be wary, and DON’T BUY HIM A DRINK!!! He has enough Seahawks bucks to drink himself to an early grave as it is…

Newbies

Joe Tafoya DE from Atl

Kelly Herndon CB from Den

Joe Jurevicious WR from TB

Jerome Paython WR

Jamie Sharper LB from HOU

Bryce Fisher DE from StL

Kevin Bentley LB from CLE

Andre Dyson CB from TEN

Looks like we brought in some Wide Receivers, who can hopefully catch the ball, and a bunch of Defensive specialists. I think I have heard that mentioned as a need somewhere, but where? We now have both of the Rams’ Defensive Ends from two years ago, and keeping one's fingers crossed, they will remain healthy this season. Most of the players on this list are the ‘Blue Collar’ level of NFL players. They don’t have car dealerships or major media deals selling McDonalds or shoes. These guys have to work hard to collect paychecks. They are precisely the type of players the Seahawks have needed.

In short, the Seahawks have replaced a roster full of no-loads with hard workers, kept the pro-bowl offense that was good enough to overcome a horrible defense and win the division last season, and they've added new talent through the draft. All of this occurred during an off-season that also saw the long awaited firing of Bob Whitsitt as President of Football Operations, and the departure of the VP to Green Bay. While the media was pulling out their hair and screaming in insanity about the eminent doom of the Seahawks, the organization calmly hired a new Boss, resigned all of their most important free agents, avoided a training camp holdout by their ‘superstar’ RB, and also showed wisdom enough to avoid signing a bunch of losers to overvalued contracts. They didn’t even cave and give a 29 year old running back a 7-year deal they would regret.

It is time for ESPN and the world to wake up and smell the coffee. This isn’t going to be ‘that Division’ again this year. It isn’t going to come down to the last week of the year. This year, the Seahawks will dominate those lesser teams (whose Quarterbacks have either seen too many winters, or too few) and be the run-away Division Champs with an 11-5 record.

Offense: WR improved, all other positions the same as last year.

Defense: Can’t get much worse, large-scale changes at most positions.

While I recognize I am a suspected kool-aid drinker, I will remind you, it isn’t like there is a cacophony of voices proclaiming what I have written here, and without good reason. While it might not make Front Page news to proclaim the steady leadership and wise off-season of a franchise that has been mostly laughed at, it does make one a great writer to notice it. It is also better than blathering on about a lying Wide Receiver’s contract holdout or a Pot Smoking Running Back’s punching of a million dollar time clock.

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