Remember the scene from Pinocchio where wooden puppet Pinocchio turns into human Pinocchio and shrieks “I’m a real boy!”? Yeah, neither do I, but I get the gist. I think we can all draw a similar metaphor to the Seattle Seahawks: it has transformed from a wooden, predictable, mostly talentless team into a talented, hungry, unpredictable team that’s starting to grow teeth. It’s starting to feel like a real football team, isn’t it?
After a miserable 2008 and 2009 season, the roster has been sufficiently turned over to make way for playmakers: Marshawn Lynch, Golden Tate, Earl Thomas, Mike Williams, Leon Washington, Raheem Brock and Chris Clemons. Wow. Prior to this season, I didn’t think I’d be using “play maker” and “Chris Clemons” in the same sentence. He’s been quite the nice surprise: 4.5 sacks and 12 quarterback hits in 5 games.
Last I saw, the Seattle Seahawks have made over 220+ personnel changes thus far. That number is unlikely to change a whole lot; the trade deadline has come and gone, and it appears Pete Carroll is happy with the guys he’s got on both sides of the ball, as transactions have tailed off 5 games into the season. But there was controversy. There’s always controversy with a new coach.
One could argue there was a LOT of controversy: shipping out Josh Wilson, Rob Sims and Daryl Tapp (all of them productive, young guys) all for low round picks; the trade for former San Diego 3rd string quarterback Charlie Whitehurst; trading Deion Branch to the Patriots; and who could forget the the cutting of T.J. WhoCaresHowIt’sSpelledHe’sNotAHawkAnymore. (For a complete list of additions and subtractions, check out my Seahawks Roster page. It’s pretty striking.)
As of now, 24 Seahawks players remain from the 2009 squad; out of 53 players, that’s 45% of the roster. It seemed like most of the football world either criticized or ridiculed Pete Carroll’s revolving door roster. Why? The 2008 and 2009 Seahawks teams SUCKED. I’m not sure why cutting dead wood and trying out new players is something to be criticize or ridiculed. I’d have been far more upset if he’d stuck with the roster and simply tried to re-shuffle it to fit his vision. How do you build a house without a full deck of cards? OK, OK. The deck was full; full of cards that were mostly used, wrinkled, bent, and soaked with beer. So 2010 has been interesting.
But what’ll be interesting is what happens after the 2010 season. A number of Seahawks players will be free agents:
- Brandon Mebane – His rookie contract is coming to a frightening end. Normally he’d be a restricted free agent, but with the absence of a collective bargaining agreement in place, he’ll become a free agent outright. That’s a horrifying, horrifying thought. He’s the linchpin of the Seahawks defensive line: without Brandon constantly drawing double teams and often STILL forcing them into the backfield, it’s unlikely the defense gets much pressure on the quarterback. Kentwan Balmer has promise, sure, but I see him as a much-better-version of Craig Terrill: as passing down DT. Brandon is an absolute must re-sign.
- Leon Washington – We didn’t give up much to get Leon, but at the same time he’ll be a free agent at the end of the season. As evidenced by his performance against San Diego, it’s safe to say he’s back to form. Honestly, I’d secretly hoped Seattle would deal him to a team starving for a running back. A 3rd or 4th round pick wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility. Forsett and Lynch are a good duo; the Seahawks have far too many holes to legitimize that much talent at one position.
- Matt Hasselbeck – What an enigma. I’m honestly not excited about the possibility of Matt coming back after 2010. If he plays well through the season, which is entirely possible after the return of Okung and the signing of Marshawn Lynch, will Carroll and Schneider re-sign him? If he wins games and gets the Seahawks get to the post-season, it wouldn’t shock me. It would disappoint me, though.
- Random others – Craig Terrill, Kelly Jennings, Will Herring and Brandon Stokley. The first two I could care less about, honestly. Terrill isn’t NFL talent and Jennings has good cover skills, but NO ball skills. Herring has value as a nickel linebacker and special teams player. Stokely is a veteran, and not getting any younger, but a dependable slot receiver that knows Bates’ offense.
This season’s moves have been fascinating, to say the least. I think next season’s moves good be just as interesting. Hell, the quarterback situation could be polarizing by itself.