Here it is, and there you have it. After a loss to the Vikings, the team is 3-7 and appears to be heading nowhere. Or at least exactly where we were before the season started. Allow me refresh your memory..
The situation, Seattle was coming off 12 loss season and looking to rebound. With the 4th overall pick in the draft it would seem that they could find a cornerstone player to build the franchise around for years to come. I'm sorry to say, but they did not find that player!!
Although this seems startling, it makes sense if you take into account the downsides / drawbacks in Curry's game preventing him from becoming a pro-bowl calibur OLB. He has slow hips in zone coverage ... he isn't much of a playmaker (in fact more of a liability) against the pass ... has questionable ability to change directions ... can occasionally get too high when taking on blockers ... hip fluidity is mediocre ... and lacks the ability to play the Tampa 2 WILL. He is, however, a high character player and a 4yr starter coming out of a top school. The prototype draft pick for Tim Ruskell.
So.. Tim Ruskell, why is this your prototype? Quite simply, because its safe. This has, however, produced a number of 1st round duds (save Lo Jack and Curry, both of whom are on the fence) So maybe "safe" is not the operative word, perhaps "lousy" is better. At least it seems to fit better.
1. So, lets consider the kind of numbers Curry has put up so far this season and compare them to another Seahawk linebacker by the name of David Hawthorne.
After starting 10 games, Aaron Curry has.. 49 tackles. 2 sacks. 3 deflected passes. and 2 forced fumbles. these numbers are certainly not bad, but compare them with this..
After logging only 5 starts, David Hawthorne has 71 tackles. 3 sacks. 5 deflected passes. 3 interceptions. and 2 forced fumbles.
I know what your thinking, Curry plays OLB and Hawthorne plays ILB. This may be the reason why Hawthorne out preformed him.. right? This hold no bearing on stats, (and althought stats aren't always reliable) and this kind of outproduction, of Curry, by Hawthorne, with 5 less starts overall does mean something.. that Hawthorne is flat out outplaying Curry.
While they do play different positions, I'm sure Hawthorne could potentially move to OLB to accomodate Lofa Totupu when he returns from injury next season. This may seem like a major glitch, but it is a possibility (or it might've been if Curry hadn't been drafted). At the very least it could (as a hypothetical) most certainly work.
2. Next, consider who is currently playing LB for Seattle. They (Hawthorne, Tatupu, and Hill) and about the same size.. Hawthorne is 6'0'' 240lb. Tatupu is 6'0'' 242lb. and Hill is 6'1'' 239lb. So, they are fairly uniform. Then we have Aaron Curry, who is 6'2'' 252. Our LB's are slightly undersized, but more than compensate (multiple pro-bowls confirm that) by playing smart football and having nice range (speed). Curry does not fit this mold, and is not this kind of player. He relies on his athleticism to compensate for that. Therefore, Curry does not fit well with our current cops at LB.
3. Consider the team needs at this point in the season, and our needs during the draft. Not much has changed.
The prospects on the board for us to take were..
LT Eugene Monroe: Who has a great frame with long arms, lower body strength, and room to add bulk ... highly athletic ... he displays great footwork in pass protection ... quick kick step; gets set quickly ... shows good posture in pass protection ... knows how to counter pass rush moves; good hands ... explosive athleticism to recover when beat ... nice mobility to get to the second level ... displays good (enough) awareness of stunts and blitzes ... very high upside and could start at left tackle immediately.
Imagine how the season might be going if we had taken Monroe.. our OL might be preforming better and therefore our offense might be more consistent. Also, with a player like Hawthore, I see no dropoff in LB production (except with the Tatupu injury). In fact, a possible increase in LB play. So, this alternate future looks nice.
QB Mark Sanchez: Is a raw player, with a tremendous amount of talent (think Aaron Rogers). He has good height and adequate bulk ... a high level of production (if only for one season) ... extremely fluid athlete ... above average mobility ... great pocket awareness, knows how to step up into and around the pocket to get the ball off ... has the sixth sense for the pass rush ... strong arm and can make all the NFL throws, but it isn't elite ... consistent accuracy ... very quick release ... great footwork ... throws a sweet deep ball ... highly intelligent ... spent four years at USC around a traditional West Coast playbook ... reportedly great work ethic ... extremely high upside.
I know, Matt Hasselbeck still has a few years in him at this point (perhaps more if we had taken Monroe), but Sanchez as a prospect this year has a better skill (and in all likelihood will be a better player long-term) than Jimmy Clausen. Given two years behind Matt, this guy could have been our next great superstar... the kind that lives up to the hype and can flat out play.
This alternate future also looks much nicer than the present.
There are reasons why we took Curry, like his elite size and strength, his in line speed, his alma mater, his aggressiveness, his great tackling form, etc... however I think hindsight shows that we made the wrong decision. And yeah, I know, hindsight is a b*tch.
I believe that we ought to remove Tim Ruskell. I know, it sounds extreme. However, this team will only continue to get top 5 - top 10 picks as long as he continues to botch them.. and I'm sure that others would agree with that statement.
This is not a one time offense, this is a pattern. Again and again.. Tim Ruskell, with his SAFE prototype has, quite simply, made some BAD decisions in the 1st round. This influx of 1st round duds (save Lo Jack, who is still on the fence) coupled with injuries (also a consequence of our drafting.. see Chris Spencer) has kept our team out of serious contention for long enough.
Although we will not trade Curry (it has happened before with first round players who bordered on busting) I'm not advocating that. I think it is just unrealistic, although depending on what we could get might not be a bad option.
Although things aren't working out this season for Curry, the least we can do is aviod making the mistake of allowing Tim Ruskell to make another mistake.. I have a two word alternaitve to Ruskell.. and its not a definite proposition.. but.. Mike Shanahan.
Now that I've gone and said that.. I'll leave you to post angry comments about Mike Shanahan..