The 10 Bright Spots for the 2008 Seattle Seahawks
It's been a bad season for the Seattle Seahawks. The team who won four straight NFC West titles has now seen themselves become one of the league's worst teams. Mounting injuries and underachieving have led to this. However, there are still some bright spots on this team that has gone just 4-11 and featured only one Pro Bowl player.
10. Jon Ryan
After disposing off Ryan Plackemeier as their punter, the Seahawks decided to sign Jon Ryan. Ryan has been a solid punter since then, averaging 45.6 yards per punt, and lodging 22 punts inside the opponents' 20 yard line. Ryan has a bright future in Seattle.
9. LeRoy Hill
Hill has been out the last three games with a neck injury, but when he was on the field, he was the Seattle's best linebacker. With Julian Peterson not pass rushing the way he used to, and Lofa Tatupu in and out of the line-up, Hill established himself as a hard hitter who played from sideline to sideline. LeRoy was on pace to finish the season with a career best 112 tackles. Hill will be a free agent next season, and it seems he will not be re-signed seeing as Tatupu and Peterson both have expensive contracts, so watch for Hill to be a top suitor for NFL teams needing a Pro Bowl caliber linebacker.
8. Olindo Mare
The kicker who was signed from the Saints after a disastrous 2007 season, Mare has exceeded expectations in Seattle. When the Seahawks brought in rookie kicker Brandon Coutu, Mare was thrust into a position battle. However, his strong leg won him the starting job, and he has not looked back since then. Mare has nailed 24 of 26 field goals, along with ranking third in the league with 20 touchbacks, maintaining the opposing team's field position. Mare also kicked the game winning field goal against the division rival St. Louis Rams for the Seattle to sweep them for the 4th straight season.
7. Walter Jones
Big Walt is always a bright spot on the Seahawks. He is out for the remainder of the season, having played through 12 games. Although his last game featured him being beaten for two sacks by NFL sack leader Demarcus Ware, Jones has been elected as a starter to the Pro Bowl. Obviously he will not be playing, but his play has been that good to not get honored. Jones has played on a bad knee the entire season, displaying his toughness, and remains one of the, if not best, tackles to ever play the game of football.
6. Leonard Weaver
Leonard has been voted as an alternate to the Pro Bowl this year due to his all around talent. The versatile fullback has done a solid job blocking, despite Seattle having just the 16th ranked running attack. Most games, Seattle had been playing from behind, which would explain more passing plays than running plays. Leonard has also established himself as a fine receiver over the past two seasons. He had 39 receptions last year, and has caught two touchdowns this season. Weaver is one of the league's premier young fullbacks, and showcases the new image of the fullback position; a position that can be executed through more than just blocking.
5. Brandon Mebane
Despite Seattle's 30th ranked run defense, Mebane has been the bright spot on Seattle's interior front four. In just his second year, Mebane has become as a starter, a strong tackler, and a pass rusher. His 5.5 sacks are first on the team. Mebane's productivity can only improve after Seattle gets past this disastrous season.
4. Mo Morris
Morris found himself on top of the depth chart in the beginning of the season. A poor performance in the opener and a sprained knee let Julius Jones take the reigns, who shined over the next two games. However, Jones has been ineffective lately, and has lost the majority of carries to Morris, who continues to shine. Last week, against Kris Jenkins and the Jets' sixth ranked run defense, Morris piled up 116 yards. Morris has also found the end zone two times catching the ball, establishing himself as a multi-threat.
3. Seneca Wallace
With Matt Hasselbeck sidelined most of the year with back problems, Seneca has had a lot of time to show off his talents. Seattle has started three quarterbacks this year. Wallace has the most wins out of all of them, including Hasselbeck. Wallace is a proven passer, throwing for nine touchdowns to only 1interception in seven starts this season. He has not been able to show off his alarming athleticism because of a calf injury, but has nevertheless been able to use his legs to his advantage. Wallace's play could possibly receive a starting role on a team in the NFL very soon.
2. Josh Wilson
He's the league's leading kick returner. He leads the Seahawks with four interceptions. Do you know his name? Yes, little Josh Wilson, in his second year, has been under the radar this season. When he was thrust into the starting role, opposing quarterbacks would pick on the 5' 9" corner rather than take a chance at Pro Bowl corner Marcus Trufant. Wilson was the weak part of Seattle's secondary, but is the most explosive part. Wilson's ball hawk mentality has him running all over the field. In a game against one of football's greatest quarterbacks, Brett Favre, Wilson totaled 5 tackles, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, and 3 passes defended. Pretty damn good day. Wilson is also an outstanding kick returner, giving his team great field position.
1. John Carlson
Surprised that No. 1 is a rookie. Don't be. Carlson leads the Seahawks with 53 receptions for 613 yards and 5 touchdowns. That also leads all rookie tight ends. Carlson has been the Seahawks primary target amongst all the injuries to the wide receiver position. Carlson is a great athlete who can also block well and help the running game. However, Carlson has been snubbed from the Pro Bowl, not even being named an alternate. Don't expect it to happen again. This guy is the real deal, and will be one the best tight ends in the future of the league.