Is Peterson Seattle's best free agent signing ever
Injuries and inconsistent play have done their best to dethrone Seattle from its lofty perch as the NFC West’s alpha-dog in 2006. Even with their team struggling, four Seahawks were recognized by fans and their peers as deserving of Pro Bowl honors and they’ll have the enviable task of representing their conference in Hawaii the second weekend of February.
In year two of what promises to be a solid NFL career, LB Lofa Tatupu, passed over for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2005, received enough votes to be voted in as the second-best middle linebacker in the NFC today.
Chicago’s Brian Urlacher will be the starter with Tatupu backing him up.
In his sophomore campaign, Tatupu has helped hold together a defense that has struggled at times to put together two consistent quarters. He leads Seattle with 104 tackles, has 3.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and an interception as well.
He’s at his best getting his defensive mates into position and rarely, if ever, gets fooled on a particular play.
In the first 21 years of their existence, Seattle never put an offensive lineman into the Pro Bowl. Since he came to the team in 1997, LT Walter Jones has been there seven times and 2006 makes it six years in a row.
Jones been better than most left tackles in the league this year, but he’s still had a down year by his standards. He’s given up more sacks this year than the previous three combined, but has played through an ankle injury without missing a start.
Jones is the anchor to Seattle’s line and he’ll be the starting left tackle for the NFC this year.
FB Mack Strong had to wait 12 years for his first Pro Bowl berth in 2005 and now he’s made it two years in a row.
He doesn’t have flashy numbers and he’s struggled with some injuries, but he’s still one of the best lead blockers in the league at 35.
In 2006, Strong has rushed for 147 yards on 32 carries with one going for a touchdown and has hauled in 28 receptions for 152 yards as well.
He hasn’t been the devastating lead-blocker that fans have become accustomed to, but he’s the best of the bunch in the NFC.
Seattle has struggled some in the free agency department over the years. They’ve signed their fair share of busts since the league went to the Free Agency system in the mid-90’s, but LB Julian Peterson may have erased many of those bad memories.
Peterson leads the Seahawks with nine sacks and has also posted 79 tackles, one forced fumble and an interception. He’s been excellent in coverage and has generally been a player that offenses have had to game-plan for during his first season in Seattle.
Two players who have been relative mainstays in Hawaii the past five years are QB Matt Hasselbeck and RB Shaun Alexander, but both missed several games with injuries and their stats and productivity suffered.
A mild surprise was that K Josh Brown, who has kicked four game-winning field goals, was passed over by the voters. However, it’s hard to argue with Chicago’s second-year K Robbie Gould and his 128 points getting the nod.
Seattle will begin practicing this week for their game on Christmas Eve against the San Diego Chargers at Qwest Field.