One Burning Question for Every Member of the Seattle Seahawks' Roster
What once seemed like a quiet training camp that would mostly focus on the 'Hawks QB competition will now likely take on a circus atmosphere with head coach Pete Carroll as ringmaster.
Yet even before this move, fans had questions to be answered either in training camp or by the end of the regular season for just about everyone on the roster.
At the same time if you ever get the chance to make it out to Renton this time of year, you're more than likely going to be asking yourself...
"Who is that guy?"
"Will he make the roster?"
"Is that dude taking reps from (starter XYZ)?"
Therefore while I'd love to ask questions of everybody, understand that if I missed anybody its probably that he likely fits within at least one of the aforementioned questions.
So without further ado here are the burning questions I'd like to ask just about every member of the Seahawks roster and my best guess for an answer.
Is he a legitimate franchise quarterback?
No, but he could help this team win 10 games if he can do the job required of him.
In 2012 Flynn simply needs to keep the chains moving by staying out of trouble and getting the ball to the right people.
In theory this seems to oversimplify the entire process, but a good field general can make the difference between making the playoffs versus watching them. Right now that's what I'd wager Pete Carroll is looking for, but then again...who knows?
Is he going to get a fair chance in this QB derby?
For now it would appear as such, yet you'd have to imagine that T-Jack is somewhat dealing with a disadvantage over the other contestants given his performance from last year.
There are no mysteries with Jackson and unless he does something completely out of character before the end of camp he probably won't be able to change anybody's opinion of him.
Does he have anything to lose in the QB derby?
Assuming that Matt Flynn gets the No. 1 spot, I think Wilson has the least to lose and the most to gain. If he looks good, he should get the No. 3 gig over Josh Portis; if he looks great, he gets the No. 2 spot in place of Jackson.
Meanwhile if he looks otherworldly, he could send Jackson packing.
Will he even make the team?
50/50. It's too early to tell, but what happens to T-Jack will likely determine whether Portis stays or goes. Right now I'm not sure he makes it.
Is Lynch capable of duplicating or building upon last year?
It's a question that could either make or break the Seahawks in 2012, especially in the early going as the quarterback situation gets sorted.
Lynch is the kind of guy that you're never sure what you're going to get. The new contract could either fuel his drive for greatness or perhaps have the opposite effect.
Ideally Lynch should be motivated to build upon last year as he single-handedly took control of the 'Hawks offense during the second half of the season, but then again there is the nagging doubt that last year's push was all for a new contract. Factor in his recent DUI charge and I'm left feeling a bit skeptical of whether "Beast" is fully vested in the 'Hawks.
At the end of the day I hope he is as I can see how his performance on the field will dictate the ebb and flow of the season. If the team gets off to a solid start and looks like a contender, expect Lynch to be a big part of it. However if the team stumbles out of the blocks, things could turn ugly.
Is he capable of carrying the load if necessary?
Let's hope so.
With the potential results of Marshawn Lynch's DUI charge still outstanding, Turbin may be called upon to spell "Beast" on more than a few plays here and there in 2012. Yes, Kregg Lumpkin and Leon Washington are waiting in the wings, but if the 'Hawks intend to keep Lynch fresh or have someone fill his shoes this year or down the road, Turbin will need to step up.
This year I'm not 100% sold he can do it for more than a game or two during the season if anything should happen to Lynch, yet I still think he can be the team's offensive rookie of the year if his footwork is quick enough to make people miss.
Is he more than a kick returner?
As much as I'd like to say yes, the real answer is no. He's a solid return man without a doubt, but simply hasn't showed the ability through several years in the league now to be the man week in, week out.
Can he do even more after last year's Pro Bowl nod?
I'd like to see it, but sadly the fullback role in today's NFL is code for "extra blocker." It's a shame as I think Robinson is the kind of player who has made the most of his opportunity, yet probably feels a bit pigeon-holed by the limitations of the position.
Can he stay healthy this season?
It would appear that Rice has bulked up this offseason and very much wants to put his doubters to shame.
I want to believe he can stay healthy, yet I just can't see Rice playing any more than 10-12 games given his history of concussions and physical injuries.
Perhaps it's one of the many reasons the 'Hawks are bringing everyone short of Steve Largent these days to try out?
Can he duplicate or build upon last year?
Maybe, but it depends on how the depth chart comes together. In the slot I think Baldwin can take on a Wes Welker role for the 'Hawks; however at the No. 2 spot I'm not sure he can succeed.
Is this the year he finally busts out?
Yeah. In fact I can see him being the team's most improved player offensively.
Will he be the team's #2 receiver?
By the end of the season he might be, but for now he will need to compete alongside quite a few players to even make the roster. For those of you keeping score at home, the names of Ricardo Lockette and Deon Butler could also apply here as well.
Will he stick around?
In the early going yes, but I wouldn't count on him becoming a permanent fixture.
I hope to come back with a clearer answer within the next few days...
Will he actually do more than block this year?
Provided the offensive line is healthy, I'd hope so.
When you line up all of the 'Hawks free agent signees from last summer, it's hard to say who was the most disappointing.
This year I'm hoping that the excuse of having to help block is now officially gone and Miller can actually go about his business catching passes and perhaps form the best tight end combo in the division.
Will he help form a dynamic duo with Miller?
Another big IF, but if he can stay healthy I'd like to think that Winslow is the type of player that Pete Carroll can get through to. Until now Winslow has produced as many headaches as highlights in his career; however this move could be the one that gets him to finally focus on his career.
Anthony McCoy & Cameron Morrah
Will either of them do anything meaningful this year?
I feel we could ask this question every year as the answer never changes from...NO.
Will he finally make the leap?
It would be nice. Okung isn't quite a bust yet, but this year will determine whether fans will start to either love or loathe this pick.
Last year he finally looked like he had things working for him until the Eagles' Trent Cole decided to take his frustrations out on Okung after the whistle had blown in early December.
This year I think Okung stays healthy for the majority of the year, but still doesn't quite reach a Pro-Bowl level unless the 'Hawks offense really takes off.
Will he finally become a legitimate starter?
Yes, he's not flashy, but he'll get the job done in the right tackle spot.
Will Seattle help breathe life into his career?
Perhaps, but not sure he will challenge for a starting role.
Will he be able to improve upon his up and down rookie campaign?
The 'Hawks sure could use him on the right side to help Breno Giacomini, but he could, if not should, be challenged in camp. Stay tuned...
Can he finally legitimize his role as a starter?
Yes, much like Giacomini, he's a grinder and will establish himself at the guard spot.
Can he grab a starting role?
Depends on Moffitt and his maturity, but if not Lutui could be nice to have around.
Will he be able to make the switch from defense to offense?
He might, but it could take time.
Will he be able to anchor the line for this year and for those to come?
His new contract through 2016 should help.
Will we ever hear from him again?
Will he produce even bigger numbers with a bigger contract?
He should be happy with his new deal, but I'm thinking we've seen what Clemons is capable of with nearly identical stats across two seasons in Seattle.
His numbers should be good this year given the extra support, but I'm not sure we're going to see any improvement given he is getting up in years and will be tasked with teaching his understudy the tricks of the trade.
Will he produce big numbers for a bigger contract?
The motivation should be there, that's for certain. Nor will it be terribly hard to top his previous career high of five sacks back in his rookie year in 2008. What is hard to gauge is whether he will excel at the end or tackle spot to get enough sacks needed for a big pay day.
Will he continue to be the heart and soul of this group?
Yeah, I like to think that Red will continue to embrace the role even if his numbers don't jump off the charts like those of his teammates. What he brings is hard to measure, but the 'Hawks knew enough to make sure he didn't leave during free agency this past offseason.
Can he possibly live up to the hype?
No, at least not this year. From the time the Seahawks selected him, the bullseye was painted squarely on his back.
Anything short of double digits in sacks and people outside of Seattle will begin to question him and Pete Carroll for drafting him, especially if one of the other pass rushers selected after him in the draft has a breakthrough year.
It's almost unfair to Irvin, he didn't choose the situation, it chose him. All we can hope for beyond his talent is that he has a thick enough skin to survive this first season as he will be scrutinized endlessly by writers, fans and opponents from coast to coast.
If he does break through it will make Pete Carroll and by extension John Schneider look like geniuses for having the "vision" to take a chance on Irvin earlier than the experts anticipated.
Will he be able to make a name for himself this year?
Last year Mebane turned in another solid, yet perhaps quiet year along the defensive line for the 'Hawks. With all of the attention this year focused on Irvin, Clemons and Jason Jones chasing quarterbacks, I can actually picture Mebane once again taking a back seat and simply doing his job holding the line.
Can he be another mid-round steal by John Schneider?
Perhaps, but it will come down to whether his body and mind are in tune to what the 'Hawks need him to do. Each of the past two years we've seen mid-rounders worked into the team's defense and seen them succeed, especially last year with rookies Richard Sherman and KJ Wright.
What does he bring to the table exactly?
Perhaps it's a strange question to ask, but I still think this was a desperation signing by the 'Hawks.
Hill, now almost 30 years old, still might have another year left in the tank as he managed to piece together a decent season last year by playing in all 16 games while posting 89 tackles and four sacks.
Not the kind of play anyone will get overly excited about, but serviceable. Unfortunately, serviceable this year could prove problematic if no one else in this unit steps up assuming that Hill will even play the full season.
While everyone gets all in a lather (and rightfully so) about the quarterback, wide receiver, and pass-rush situations, this unit has quietly slipped through the cracks, but could be a major liability if no one exceeds expectations at some point.
Does he have anything left in the tank?
Much like Leroy Hill, Ruud could be running on fumes. However if he can play more than 12 games this year at a level on par with past performance the 'Hawks might have found a gem.
Time will tell with both of them...
Will he manage to take control of the middle?
Can he build upon his rookie year?
It's kind of hard to tell if Wright is special because there really isn't anyone in my opinion on the roster capable of challenging him.
With that said, I do think he can build upon last season's campaign in regards to his stats and establish himself within the linebacking corp as a leader, yet I'm not sure he'll ever be a Pro Bowl caliber player.
Could he be this year's KJ Wright?
Sure, there is plenty of room for opportunity, yet if both Ruud and Wagner look good early on it might be tough for Toomer to get a shot at decent playing time at the middle linebacker spot.
Is he ready to make the leap to All-Pro?
Can he play clean and healthy?
In a day and age where concerns about health and safety are finally starting to become a hot-button issue in football, Kam Chancellor continues to play the game with reckless abandon.
It's a worry for just about every player, but Chancellor seemed to have a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time last year and while it may have helped earn him a Pro-Bowl nod, could he be a danger to himself as well as the players he tackles?
Asking Chancellor to dial his game down a notch might be a difficult if not unpopular view, but here's hoping that he can find a way to make plays without hurting anyone or gaining a reputation as a dirty player.
Was last year a fluke?
At the beginning of last season Brandon Browner looked more like a liability than an asset, but over the course of the season he managed to piece together a Pro-Bowl season.
Sure it seems like anyone can get an invite to the Pro-Bowl given the number of players each year who bail, but for Browner it had to be especially special having made the squad in his first year in the NFL after having moved from the CFL.
Yet as much as I'd like to say Browner will build upon last season, I keep wondering if we've already seen his best?
I don't think last year was a fluke, but I'm not sure he's even the team's best corner...
Will he be able to build upon his rookie year?
Opposite Browner, is a guy that could do great things if given the chance at cornerback.
From a technical standpoint, Sherman should improve with another year under his belt, but I question whether he has the maturity to contain the fire in his soul. Last season Sherman had a knack for living dangerously on the field exhibiting both brilliance and bone-headedness by letting his passion consume him.
This season if he can put it all together over a full schedule a trip to the Pro-Bowl should be a lock.
Can he help make this secondary elite?
Sadly when it came to predicting the Seahawks draft choices for this April, I didn't get a single selection correct with the exception of one guy.
Does he have anything left in the tank?
For sentimental reasons I think a lot of us would hope so, but it's probably best to keep expectations to a minimum given Trufant's recent injury history.
If he can lend a hand in nickel packages and come off the bench when needed, it could make a lot of people happy throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Steven Hauschka & Jon Ryan
Can both make the necessary clutch kicks that winning teams need?
Ryan yes, Hauschka...I hope so.
You never really want your kicker deciding games, but Hauschka could get the job done if necessary.
Meanwhile...did I forget anyone that you really thought I should have included or perhaps a question that is a bit more burning?
If so, feel free to submit your questions through the comments section and I will do my best to respond as soon as I get the chance.