2011-2012: Making the grade
Well, before we get too excited lets take a look at the offense and see where the team needs to improve to transform from a 7-9 missing the post season team to a 10-6 division winning team.
1) Russell Okung (B+)
There is not a player on the team I feel more sorry for. He is a great young player who doesn’t get the love he deserves from the fans because he is the guy who replaced legendary Walter Jones (one of the games best offensive lineman of all time and future first ballot hall of famer).
He isn’t Big Walt but he’s a damn good young player and will anchor the left side of the line for years to come with any luck.
2) Max Unger (B)
Max is really coming into his own as a center in the NFL. His progress has been delayed a bit moving him around between guard and center but now that he’s back to his natural position and playing it full time he is starting to excel.
Paul was asked to step into the starting lineup on both sides of the line and filled in admirably. Breno filled in at Right tackle for James Carpenter and the team didn’t miss a beat. He did so well that he was rewarded with a 2 year contract extension that included a $1.5 million dollar signing bonus.
Robert played a bit better in the second half of the season but he was still not the player the Seahawks were hoping they were getting when they signed him in free agency. He made some mistakes that left me scratching me head wondering how a veteran could kill a drive like that.
With that in mind he also showed he can be a very nasty player and when his heads in the game he’s a great run blocker.
6) James Carpenter (C)
James only played in 9 games this season but showed his potential. It will be important for him to keep his weight under control and get back from his ACL tear that he suffered in practice during a blocking drill. I cannot over state the importance of him getting a nutritionist to keep his weight under control or he could become the next Gilbert Brown and eat his way out of the NFL.
7) John Moffitt (C-)
Like James he only played in 9 games after suffering MCL and PCL damage during the first quarter of the Ravens game (Days before James went down in practice). He played at a C to C+ level but I am forced to knock his grade a bit on the basis of his 4 game suspension for violating the leagues performance-enhancing substance abuse policy.
1) Tarvaris Jackson (C+)
We learned a lot about the player that Tarvaris is this season. He is a game manager who has trouble reading the whole field and does not trust his reads. He can be wildly inaccurate at times and barely understands the concept of throwing the ball away. That said, he isn’t going to win many games for you but he wont lose many for you either.
He has the heart of a champion and the toughness the guys in the locker room respect and thus he is a natural leader and his teammates love him.
Jackson threw for 3,091 yards with 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also had 5 fumbles. Clearly he is not the long term answer for a team looking to be successful.
2) Charlie Whitehurst (D+)
Charlie throws a lot of balls that make you wonder what he is thinking. He has proven what he is as a play. Charlie is a decent backup on a team that is sure about its starter. Obviously this is not the case in Seattle and I believe we have seen the last of him. Unfortunately for him there are a lot of backups of his caliber around the league so he isn’t going to be a hot commodity in free agency.
3) Josh Portis (D)
Josh is very green. He’s not game ready yet but he doesn’t need to be as the 3rd string quarterback.
1) Marshawn Lynch (A+)
Lynch goes “Beast Mode” because he is a beast! There are not many guys around the league that look forward to meeting him in the open field while he has a full head of steam behind his pads. He has become so much more than just a power back or as I like to call him the anti-Shawn Alexander.
Marshawn has developed a heck of a juke and when he see’s the defenders setting up for that big collision he just jumps to the side and leaves them tackling air (ask Ray Lewis).
Lynch was the first back to go over 1,000 yards in Seattle since Shawn Alexander did it in his 2005 MVP season. Lynch ran for 1204 yards and scored 12 touchdowns while setting Seattle’s consecutive touchdown record at 10 straight games.
2) Michael Robinson (A-)
One of the biggest surprises for me of the season was Michael. Robinson showed flashed of potential but he had a knack of going for the initial big hit on the man he was blocking and then he would give up on the block allowing the defender to make a play. As the season progressed that was coached out of him and he learned how to sustain his block.
When Michael learned how to run block at an exceptional level Marshawn started having huge games. Robinson becomes a free agent this year and after making the pro bowl he might be a little difficult to re-sign but I would assume the team is looking into this and would love to get a deal done.
3) Leon Washington (B-)
Leon isn’t blowing anyone away while lined up in the backfield but he does create havoc as a return man and teams change their special teams strategies to minimize his effects on the game. Leon did not have any returns for a touchdown this year but he did have several nice returns to set the team up in good field position.
Leon can be a threat if used minimally in the offense as a change of pace back. Anytime this guy touches the ball in open space he can take it the distance. Leon had almost twice as many carries as Justin and averaged 1.4 yards more per carry while averaging 11.3 yards per punt return and 25.2 per kickoff return.
4) Justin Forsett (D+)
He is what he is, a back who can get 5-10 touches a game and maybe break something if the line creates a nice crease. There is nothing wrong with him but with the Seahawks having Leon wrapped up in a contract there is no reason to think that the Seahawks would even consider re-signing this change of pace back.
1) Doug Baldwin (B-)
Doug had a very good rookie season and I am excited to see if he can develop into a high caliber type player. He led the Seahawks in receiving yardage with 788 and had 4 touchdowns this season. Next year I would like to see him catch more than the 51 balls he did in 2011 and see if he can creep a bit closer to the 1,000 yard mark.
2) Sidney Rice (C-)
While playing he did a decent job but nothing like one would hope to get from a player with his contract. He shows flashes of being able to make impressive catches but unfortunately he cannot stay healthy enough to stay on the field. In 9 games Rice caught 32 balls for 484 yards and had 2 touchdowns.
3) Golden Tate (C-)
In the last month of the Season Tate really started to turn it on and became the Seahawks most productive receiver down the stretch. He still has a lot of work to do but seems to be paying closer attention to the little things and that is what it will take for him to be successful in the NFL.
Like many players before him he came into the league relying on his talent and talent alone will get you a buss ticket out of town in the NFL.
It is those talented players who work on the little things that make it. Tate found the end-zone three times this season and they were his first touchdowns as a pro. He added 382 yards on 35 receptions.
4) Ben Obomanu (D+)
He looked like he was going to break out a bit after Mike Williams went down but he was unable to step up his game in greater duty. He has cemented what he is as a player in my book. He’s and end of the roster type player (5th or 6th WR on the depth chart) who will never crack the starting lineup unless a team is devastated at the position.
Ben ended the season with 37 receptions for 436 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 16 games.
4) Mike Williams (D+)
Mike has all kinds of talent but he is a head case. I think in his heart he was happy to have Sidney come to town and thought it would take the pressure off him (seeing less double coverage) but when Doug Baldwin became the fan favorite and proved to be a more reliable target Mike was dropped into relative obscurity. He did not handle his fall very well and breaking his ankle put an end to the season that I believe is the start of the end of his NFL career.
Mike only managed 118 receptions for 236 yards and a touchdown.
5) Deon Butler (D)
Deon was able to come back from his devastating leg injury suffered lest season and caught 6 balls for 51 yards. Not impressive stats but I was surprised we even saw him make it back on the field. It will be interesting to see what he can do next season during training camp and the preseason.
1) Zach Miller (A)
Its easy to look at the numbers, 25 receptions and 233 yards with 0 Td’s, but thats because he was used as a blocker the majority of the time. Yes, there where times where he dropped a very catch-able ball but not many players can be the threat he is running a route yet block the way he can when asked to.
I expect his numbers to double next season.
2) Anthony McCoy (D)
As bad as he started the season he completely faded away during the second half. He had 4 receptions for 51 yards in the second half of the season.
3) Cameron Morrah (F)
He had the kind of season that makes a guy miss Jeremy Stevens and all his drinking problems.
As Brandon said the 2012 Seahawks team’s identity will be its defense, a scary thought for a team with so many young, offensive weapons that were unhealthy in 2011.