Until Sunday, I thought the Seahawks would be just fine tinkering with their roster and attempting to patch holes in places of need. Then I looked at our players, and realized there are so many holes that we would need a band-aid the size of Star Jones (pre-stomach stapling Star Jones) in order to patch up this team. Which is why I’ve changed my stance on the Hawks and now believe it’s time to overhaul everything.
Let’s think about this together, for a minute. Carefully examine the Seahawks’ roster. Is there anyone — on offense, defense, special teams, anyone at all — who is a bona fide superstar in this league? No. No Adrian Peterson, no Ray Lewis, no Peyton Manning, no Larry Fitzgerald, no Champ Bailey. No one like that at all. No difference-maker. The only player remotely close to that caliber at this point in his career is Lofa Tatupu, a guy who barely saw the field in 2009. You could also argue for Leroy Hill and John Carlson, but it would be a tough fight.
Now I realize that guys like Matt Hasselbeck, Walter Jones, Patrick Kerney, and Marcus Trufant have all played in Pro Bowls in recent years, but come on. They’re all second-tier players at this stage in their careers.
Hasselbeck is barely worthy of any distinction anymore, and is headed down a Jake Delhomme path if he can’t stop throwing picks and start finding open receivers. (And for the record, the free pass expired on Sunday afternoon as soon as the clock read all zeroes. No excuses for this guy in 2010.)
Walter Jones is likely headed for retirement, though he may be able to eke out one more year on his rapidly-decaying legs.
Patrick Kerney has sucked ever since he hooked up with Lisa Gangel.
And Trufant is starting to resemble Shaun Alexander — he signed the big contract and now wants little to do with working hard. Oh yeah, and he’s been “injured.” Just like Shaun was always “injured.”
On the flip side, the Hawks have a handful of younger players that have potential, but are nowhere near maximizing that potential just yet. You could make a case for Aaron Curry, Max Unger, Justin Forsett, David Hawthorne, Josh Wilson, Lawrence Jackson, Brandon Mebane, and maybe Owen Schmitt (though that’s equivalent to saying that Willie Bloomquist had All-Star potential as a youngster; it’s more for sentimentality than anything else).
Of that group, Curry clearly holds the most promise. He has the largest contract, the most athletic potential, and could really turn into something special if the defensive scheme was switched to a 3-4. God forbid the Hawks waste his talent by shoving the 4-3 down his throat for all eternity.
Similarly, Hawthorne has the makings of a starting linebacker in this league, but interestingly enough might not have a role with this team if a) Lofa Tatupu returns healthy and b) the scheme remains as a 4-3. Just another reason to switch to a 3-4.
The rest of the youngsters are good, but might never be great. Forsett can be a starter in this league, and might just assume that role for the Hawks in ’10 if they make all the right moves in the draft (meaning, don’t waste a draft pick on a tailback when you have so many needs elsewhere, especially both sides of the line). Unger is arguably the most fundamentally sound player on the list, Wilson has improved from his first two years in the league, Jackson made strides in ’09, and Mebane and Schmitt are battling the clock at this point.
Finally, you have the enigmas. Players who should be good, or have a reputation that precedes them, but for some reason suck (or, in Nate Burleson’s case, have put just one good year together). You can basically put the entire receiving corps on this list, namely T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Burleson, and Deion Branch. Additionally, Darryl Tapp, Sean Locklear, Julius Jones, and Kelly Jennings all warrant consideration.
These are players who you could essentially take or leave. In nearly every case, they have a large impact on the salary cap and a much lesser impact on the actual team. Yes, in some ways they help your club. But in many ways, they could easily be replaced by a younger, cheaper version who would perform as good or better than they already do. Increasingly, it seems, more players are being added to this list with each passing day.
When you take into account all the players that have been listed in this article so far, how many of them are actually worth building your franchise around? Few, if any.
The problem is that Tim Ruskell and the Seahawks front office have attempted to build around the wrong guys for the past two seasons, ultimately leading to Ruskell’s ouster, and a sad state of repair for the team. The veterans are now past their primes, and the younger guys haven’t reached their potential. Combine that with a handful of overpaid underwhelmers, and you have a recipe for disaster.
If anything, with new management coming in in the offseason, the state of the organization should encourage any good general manager to tear this team apart and start from the ground up. The Denver Broncos did it with relative success in the ’09 offseason, and based on the parity in the NFL, it shouldn’t take too long to complete if the right man is hired to run the team.
Earlier this season, a complete revamping seemed like overkill. Killing a fly with an uzi, essentially. Now, though, after the team’s continued demise in 2009, it only seems like a fitting strategy for a ballclub lacking any real talent. Without a doubt, it is time to blow up the Seahawks.