Seattle Seahawks: 5 Players Who Benefit from the NFL Lockout
As much as we commend overachievers and value a strong work ethic—don't act like you've never said, "My biggest flaw? Sometimes I work too hard," in a job interview—nobody complains about a few days off from the office. The same goes for those who hold jobs the rest of us envy—including players involved in the ongoing NFL lockout.
Pro football players face an extended summer vacation as the NFL's labor dispute drags on. For a lot of them, e.g. rookies and unsigned free agents, the time off is not welcome: They're losing crucial time that could be spent securing jobs or working with coaches during organized team workouts.
But for some NFL players, the lockout isn't the worst thing in the world. Here are five Seattle Seahawks who could benefit from a lengthy break.
Marcus Trufant, CB
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Injuries have hastened Trufant's regression from a Pro Bowl corner to a man barely hanging on to his starting job. Trufant missed six games in 2009, and while he didn't miss a start in 2010, lingering back and ankle injuries slowed him down before a concussion knocked him out of Seattle's second-round playoff loss to Chicago.
With three years and $22 million left on his contract, he could become a financial casualty as the Seahawks look to rebuild their defense.
Seattle finished 27th in the NFL in pass defense last season, giving up over 249 yards per game, including 31 touchdowns through the air (30th in the league). The team addressed the issue by taking three defensive backs in the draft and importing Canadian Football League All-Star DB Brandon Browner.
Trufant will be challenged by the youngsters on the roster, but the longer the lockout lasts, their learning curve will get steeper, and his experience advantage will grow larger.
Stacy Andrews, OL
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Andrews is another veteran who stands to gain an edge on those trying to take his job. He started 12 games at right guard last season but ultimately lost his starting spot to Mike Gibson.
The additions of rookies James Carpenter and John Moffitt make Andrews and his $5.2 million salary even more expendable going into next season, so like Trufant, an extended work stoppage works in his favor.
But that's not the main reason why big No. 77 is on this list.
Packing 340 pounds onto his 6'7" frame, Andrews is the largest man on the Seahawks roster. Although last season was his first with the team, he is a seven-year NFL vet who isn't new to the game. Training camp and two-a-days aren't absolutely crucial for him from a development standpoint, and some extra time off only eases the pressure on joints that carry a lot of weight.
Marshawn Lynch, RB
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As the featured ball-carrier behind a young offensive line on a team that wants to establish more of a power running game next season, Lynch will take a pounding once the real games get going.
Lynch is only 25 years old, yet he's already logged 852 carries as a pro. That's far more mileage than Shaun Alexander, Chris Warren or Curt Warner had on their bodies by the same age—and there's a reason running backs have a notoriously short career span.
Like most NFL teams these days, Seattle will try to preserve its best RB by spreading out the workload, but Lynch is still the anchor designated to make things happen between the tackles. Fewer games means fewer 300-pound defensive linemen jumping on his back and fewer heat-seeking linebackers coming for his head.
Leon Washington, RB/KR
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On one hand, a longer lockout means more unpolished, late-round draftees nervous about making the team, therefore trying to get noticed by blowing somebody up on special teams. As the Seahawks' primary kick returner, that's not great for Washington.
On the other hand, one of the issues on the table during this labor dispute is player safety and health care. Once the NFL gets back to work, there could be more rules in place to protect guys like Washington, who has one of the most dangerous jobs in the sport.
Or at least this renewed sense of unity among players could prevent would-be specials teams maniacs from actually trying to kill their NFLPA brethren.
Charlie Whitehurst, QB
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Until the NFL's labor issues are resolved, teams cannot make trades or sign free agents. Thus, with every passing day where the Seahawks can't acquire another quarterback, Whitehurst's chances of being the 2011 starter improve.
Whitehurst fell somewhere between decent and serviceable last season, his signature performance being the 192-yard, one-touchdown exercise in "game management" during Seattle's Week 17 win over St. Louis that earned the team a playoff berth.
Right now he's the only QB under contract, poised to take over if Matt Hasselbeck isn't re-signed and the 'Hawks don't bring in somebody like Carson Palmer or Matt Leinart as a presumed starter.
Even if the team does get a quality quarterback after the lockout, Whitehurst has the advantage of extra time working with Seattle's receivers during recent player-organized unofficial workouts.