I have decided to begin a series chronicling several Seattle Seahawks before the start of training camp. My series begins by looking at the importance of Patrick Kerney’s return to the Seahawks defense.
Patrick Kerney came to the Seattle Seahawks in 2007 after spending his entire career with the Atlanta Falcons. Kerney was drafted 30th overall by the Falcons in the 1999 NFL Draft out of the University of Virginia.
His three year college career as a Cavalier saw Kerney earn All-ACC honors in 1998, as well as All-America honors.
Kerney then signed a five-year $5.6 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons. In his first two years, Kerney recorded only five sacks.
However, 2001 was a breakout year for Kerney, as he tallied 12 sacks and two forced fumbles. Kerney then became a staple of Atlanta’s defensive line, recording 42 sacks from 2001-2004, and making the Pro Bowl in ’04 after racking up 13 sacks.
In 2006, Kerney tore his pectoral muscle nine games into the season, requiring season-ending surgery.
Kerney then decided to opt out of his final two years of his contract, and signed with the Seattle Seahawks for six-years and $39.5 million.
Kerney did not disappoint in his first year in Seattle, racking up 14.5 sacks and earning NFC Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Unfortunately, Kerney was lost seven games into a dismal 2008 season, as he hurt his shoulder that he had surgery on in the offseason. Kearney would have a second surgery, ending his season.
As we near training camp, Kerney’s return to the defensive line has not been discussed at length, but could be one of the biggest moves in the NFC West this season.
Kerney gives the Seahawks many options on the defensive line. Kerney takes pressure of Cory Redding, who could have a break out year for the Seahawks. Kerney’s presence should also take pressure off the right side of the defensive line.
Kerney also allows for more blitzes by the linebackers. A healthy Kerney usually demands double teams, allowing for free roaming linebackers to be left one on one with either a running back or full back. This could lead to a Pro Bowl season for Leroy Hill.
Kerney also brings solid leadership to this team. His intensity, high motor, and refusal to quit resonate through the entire defense.
If Kerney can return to his 2007 form in ’09, the additions of Curry, Redding, Cole, or Lucas will not be the story of the defense this season.
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