Five Seattle Seahawks Who Need To Step It Up: Offense
After missing the postseason for the first time in five years, the Seahawks got smacked in the face with something called reality.
They were not invincible in the NFC West, and they found there was not a typical playoff spot reserved for them.
Injuries played a factor in the 4-12 demise, but plain and simple, they were a bad and ineffective football team.
The key players (QB Matt Hasselbeck, LT Walter Jones, DE Patrick Kerney, etc.) were either hurt or did not play at the high level they are capable of performing at.
The bad taste and the disappointment cannot leave this team, it needs to grow on them, and motivate them to not re-live that awful season.
Here are five Seahawks players on offense who need to either put up or get off the field.
Julius Jones- RB
Coming from Dallas as a free agent in 2008 Jones did not live up to the feature back hype he created for himself.
It was largely out of his control though. Due to the presence of Mike Holmgren and the fact that he fancied RB Maurice Morris more to how he ran things.
Jones was signed with the vision of starting for HC Jim Mora and OC Greg Knapp once Holmgren departed.
Now that both Holmgren and Morris are gone Jones will get a chance to shoulder the majority of the running load in Seattle.
He did post a solid 4.4 YPC in 2008, but only peaked 100 yards rushing twice, (Week 2-3) and scored only 2 TD’s.
Jones has topped 1000 rushing yards only once in his five-year career. Rushing for 1,088 yards, 4.1 YPC average and 4 TD’s in 2006 with the Cowboys.
He looks to benefit from a run first mentality, and a fresh Zone Blocking Scheme in the upcoming season. He he should be able to thrive in this new system, and best that career high number he set in 2006.
He has not received a full vote of confidence amongst the Seattle fan base and should be hungry to prove he can perform at a pro bowl level.
Chris Spencer- C
Spencer was GM Tim Ruskell's first draft pick as head of the Seahawks brain trust. Spencer was heralded as the best OL to come out of the SEC in a decade.
He has yet to live up to that incredible hype.
He has freakish athletic ability for an interior OL and is quick on his feet. Yet he is often blown away by bigger DL and fails to sustain blocks on a consistent basis.
He blows his assignments often and has not shown he can be a competent general of the OL with his calls and adjustments.
A new Zone Blocking Scheme should help cater to his athletic abilities. He is eligible to become a FA after this season.
With his contract up at seasons end this is his last audition to show he is Seattle’s future at C. With the drafting of Oregon C Max Unger in the second round the heat is on and he may not even be the starter at the beginning of 2009.
Sean Locklear- T
Sean Locklear- RT
Sean does not make this list because of lack in productivity. He makes the list because of the potential task that lies ahead for him in the future; Replacing HOF LT Walter Jones.
LT is the most important, lofty position on the OL (if your QB is right handed) they have to anchor the entire unit and keep the QB’s blind side clear of savage DE’s.
There has been no finer T then Walter Jones for the past decade and he has set a gold standard for the entire league.
Locklear will never be able to truly replace Jones, but he needs to step up his play in order to ease his departure.
As it stands, Locklear would be considered only a marginal LT if the conversion was made.
Locklear certainly has the ability to make the switch, he will need to prove he can be the one to replace the lofty LT position in Seattle in the upcoming season.
It would certainly ease the concern of Jones' departure and the potential need to sign a high priced FA to fill the gigantic void that will be left.
Deion Branch- WR
He has been a disappointment ever since the Seahawks coughed up a first round pick and handed him a 6 year, $39 million dollar contract to obtain him in 2006.
The former New England Patriots Superbowl MVP has never lived up to his lofty price tag and the expectations that followed his arrival.
The season before he arrived in Seattle he hauled in 78 catches for 998 yards, posted a12.8 YPC average, and scored 5 TD’s
In his three seasons with Seattle he has averaged 44 catches, a 13.3 YPC average, and has scored 15 TD’s.
The numbers are solid, but they are not $6.5 million per year solid.
As it stands he is slated to battle it out for the No. 2 WR spot along with Nate Burleson but I predict he will land in the No. 3 spot on the depth chart
He is one heck of a No. 3 WR, and he has performed well when he can stay healthy. But the Seahawks cannot afford to be paying a No. 3 WR as much as they are to make 44 catches a year.
I believe this to be his final chance to prove he can stay healthy, and play a vital role in the passing game. He still has three years left on his contract but if he fails to perform I see the Seahawks cutting or trading him after 2009.
Matt Hasselbeck- QB
Matt Hasselbeck- QB
Hasselbeck Is a Pro Bowl QB who has enjoyed a successful NFL career, and has proven he can play at a high level.
The team passing on Jets QB Mark Sanchez in the draft was a supreme vote of confidence in their three time pro bowler.
He did record his worst statistical season of his career in 2008, throwing 1,216 yards 5 TD’s, 10 INT’s, and posting a 57.8 QBR. His back was a huge factor to the Seahawks 2008 demise, missing nine games with a bulging disk.
He makes this list because his health, and performance will make or break this team. With the pieces added in the off-season, Hasselbeck can lead this team to a deep playoff run if he can stay healthy. With a shiny new toy to play with, WR TJ Houshmandzadeh, he should be able to put up good passing numbers and return to elite form.
Without Hasselbeck this team is burnt toast.
That is no knock on quality backup QB Seneca Wallace. Though Wallace is not a Hasselbeck and does not seem have the durability to play all 16 games. He has led the Seahawks to sub .500 records under his play as a starter.
All of the offenses problems in 2008 cannot be purely laid on His-Backs-A-Hassel; The health of the WR’s were a contributing factor.
If Hasselbeck and the WR’s can stay sanely intact, special things will happen