Grading Every Seattle Seahawks Starter's 2013 Regular Season
Overall it was an outstanding regular season for Seattle. It tied a franchise record with 13 wins and broke a franchise record by winning six road games. The Seahawks also led the NFL in many defensive categories, including scoring defense, total defense, passing defense and interceptions.
The great performance by the team was generated by plenty of great individual performances by the players. This led to six Seahawks getting named to the Pro Bowl, with three additional players being named as alternates.
Now it is time to look back over the entire 2013 regular season and grade the performances of each of Seattle's starters.
- A's are reserved for individual players who dominated the opposition.
- B's are for players who played well but didn't dominate.
- C's are given to players who struggled for most of the game.
- D's are for players who truly struggled and were occasionally dominated by the opposition.
- F grades are rare and reserved only for players who were completely dominated by the other team on almost every play.
- Plus and minus modifiers bridge the gaps inside those definitions.
Russell Wilson: B+
Russell Wilson has been prone to slow starts all season, struggled with fumbles at times and has recently begun making some questionable decisions on third downs that have hurt his team. It will be a shame if those three things come to define Wilson's season.
Wilson has played brilliantly for most of the year. He has done so without much blocking by the offensive line, without the team's two most talented wide receivers and without an effective running attack for much of the season.
Wilson finished the year with 26 touchdowns to just nine interceptions and with a 101.2 passer rating.
Marshawn Lynch: B+
Marshawn Lynch's production was down this year from his 2012 season. This includes fewer yards per carry, fewer explosive plays and more runs being stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage. Much of the drop-off can be attributed to playing behind the atrocious Seattle offensive line. Lynch ran hard and actually finished the year with more broken tackles than he did a year ago.
Lynch finished the year with 1,257 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The two players who should be listed here, Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin, have both been injured for much of the year and haven't been able to contribute to the success of the Seahawks this season.
Golden Tate: B
Golden Tate had an up-and-down year. He had some good games and others where he failed to make an impact. The Seahawks also forced the ball to Tate with bubble screens at times early in the season, inflating his stats. Overall Tate failed to take full advantage of the opportunity created by the injuries to the team's top receivers until the final game in the season. Tate set career highs with 64 receptions and 898 yards.
Doug Baldwin: B+
Doug Baldwin was able to put up similar numbers to Tate until being shut out in the team's final game, and did so with considerably fewer snaps. Baldwin was the only Seattle receiver to regularly get separation from defenders, and thus was the teams most consistent wide receiver throughout the season. Baldwin finished the season with 50 receptions for 778 yards.
Zach Miller: B+
Zach Miller had a career-high five touchdowns even though he missed two games midseason to an injury. Miller also spent much of the season essentially playing offensive tackle, since the Seahawks used him as a blocker far more than as a receiver.
Miller's 33 catches and 387 yards might not be impressive from a fantasy football perspective, but they are very good numbers given his role within the offense.
Russell Okung: B
Seattle's big left tackle missed eight games to a turf toe injury, and his absence demonstrated his importance to Seattle's offense. Okung was the team's best pass-blocker in 2013 by a wide margin.
James Carpenter: C-
When given the chance to play full time, James Carpenter proved to be a powerful run-blocker, though he has yet to develop into a reliable pass-blocker. Unfortunately, the Seahawks decided to have Carpenter split time with Paul McQuistan in recent weeks, and it hurt Carpenter's effectiveness even more.
The Seahawks now face a difficult decision on whether or not to trust Carpenter at left guard next season, or if they need to try to find a replacement.
Max Unger: C+
Center Max Unger rode his reputation as a great run-blocker to a 2013 Pro Bowl selection, but this hasn't been a typical season for Unger. Unger regularly missed blocks and was arguably outplayed by his backup at times.
J.R. Sweezy: D
The offensive lineman who played the most snaps for the Seahawks this season was the worst-performing of the five starters. J.R. Sweezy looked every bit like a former defensive lineman for much of the season. Sweezy struggled both as a pass-blocker and as a run-blocker, and was never able to show any sort of consistent success. The Seahawks have to be disappointed that Sweezy showed so little development in his second year as an offensive player.
Breno Giacomini: C-
Right tackle Breno Giacomini failed to live up to his reputation as a strong run-blocker this season. Giacomini did show some improvement as a pass-blocker this season, but that has been overshadowed by the regression of his run-blocking skills. Giacomini missed seven games to injury, and his backup outplayed him for much that time.
Chris Clemons: B-
Chris Clemons returned from an ACL injury suffered in the playoffs last season and made an immediate impact for Seattle's defensive line. Unfortunately, he couldn't sustain that level of play after a couple of weeks. Clemons no longer has the burst to regularly beat left tackles around the corner and get to the quarterback.
Clemons was still effective setting the edge against the run, but he simply wasn't the same dominant pass-rusher he had been in the past for the Seahawks.
Red Bryant: B+
Seattle's big run-stuffer had an outstanding year. Red Bryant's ability to dominate defensive tackles from his 5-technique spot was a huge reason why the Seahawks were so dominant on defense. Bryant will never be a pass-rusher, but against the run there might not have been a better 4-3 defensive end in the NFL.
Michael Bennett: A
Michael Bennett technically isn't a starter, but he's played more snaps than either of the players listed above. He's also been the best player on Seattle's defensive line this season at rushing the passer. Bennett has been dominant as an inside pass-rusher and will leave a huge hole to fill if he leaves in free agency this spring.
Brandon Mebane: A
Nose tackle Brandon Mebane had his best season as a professional. He was as dominant as ever and was able to avoid wearing down late in the year like in past seasons. Mebane makes everything the Seahawks do with their front seven work because of his ability to control two gaps against the run. He might be the most underappreciated player on Seattle's roster.
Tony McDaniel: B-
The Seahawks have certainly managed to get more out their low-cost, late-in-free-agency signing than they could have hoped for. Tony McDaniel has provide a physical presence at the 3-technique position and has played a big role in Seattle's rush defense. While McDaniel hasn't been consistent, he has been good enough that he's likely to get a nice raise in the offseason.
Bobby Wagner: B
Wagner started the season looking just like he did last year: fast, instinctive and powerful. Then he hurt his ankle against Indianapolis and missed two games. Wagner struggled after returning, including a three-game stretch where he looked rather ordinary.
Since then Wagner has been back to his typically dominant form and was able to string together some impressive games down the stretch for the Seahawks.
Wagner finished the year with 120 tackles, which leads the team by a wide margin.
K.J. Wright: B
K.J. Wright's season started slowly as he adjusted to his shift across to the other side of the formation. Wright's season seemed to take off when Wagner was injured and Wright was able to move inside to middle linebacker. Wright played outstanding in the middle, and when he moved back outside he continued to be dominant right up until he broke a bone in his foot in Week 13.
Bruce Irvin: B-
Bruce Irvin had an up-and-down season after returning from his suspension after Week 4. The former first-round pick struggled at times as he adjusted to his new position. Irvin had instances of brilliant play, but overall was inconsistent. Irvin did show enough this season for the Seahawks to think that Irvin could be very good in the future.
Richard Sherman: A
This season, Richard Sherman's backed up his offseason claims of being the best cornerback in the league. He was the NFL's least-targeted starting cornerback and also led the league in interceptions. Sherman may be a big talker, but he more than backed it up with his play on the field.
Brandon Browner: C-
Browner missed the start of the season with an injury and missed the end of the season after being suspended for a year for violating the league's substance abuse policy. In between he played poorly enough to get benched for part of a game before finally stringing together a few good games. Byron Maxwell has since taken over the job, and performed better than Browner did at any point in the season.
Earl Thomas: A
Seattle's free safety put together an impressive season. He finished second on the team with 105 tackles and five interceptions. Teams began scheming to keep the ball away from Thomas to the point where the Seahawks started calling the center of the field "area 29." He probably won't win the award, but Thomas played his way into the Defensive Player of the Year conversation this season.
Kam Chancellor: A-
The Seahawks gave strong safety Kam Chancellor a large contract extension before the season, and he rewarded them with a fantastic performance. Chancellor was able to turn what was previously his weakness, his cover skills, into a major strength this year. Chancellor's season might not have included many of his signature big hits, but it was still his best year in Seattle.
Steven Hauschka: A-
Steven Hauschka missed just two kicks all year, and one of those was blocked. That is a good season for any kicker, and it is a good reason why he is an alternate for the Pro Bowl this year. The only concern was that his kickoffs seemed to get shorter as the year progressed, but even that is a minor criticism.
Jon Ryan: B-
Jon Ryan and the punt coverage team was close to setting the NFL record this season for fewest punt return yards allowed. They had given up just 15 punt return yards in the team's first 14 games, though the record attempt fell apart in the team's final two games.
The record attempt was fun, but it also became a major problem. Ryan's punts got progressively shorter as the year went on as he went for the record. Ryan finished in the bottom third in the league in both punting average and net average.
Jeremy Lane: A
Jeremy Lane isn't technically a starter, but he's a special teams ace who deserves inclusion here. He's had an amazing year and was arguably the best player in the NFL on punt coverage.
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