But 2006 was different.
From the onset of the 2006
campaign, the Seahawks were ravaged by injuries at key positions.
The offensive line stumbled
out of the gate, due in part to the loss of Steve Hutchinson, obviously, but
also the nagging injuries that beset Pork Chop Womack and Robbie Tobeck.
The injuries and scramble to replace the All-Pro Hutch,
left the line in shambles throughout the entire season.
In week three, the Seahawks
were dealt another blow, via the non-miraculous broken bone in reigning MVP
Shaun Alexander’s left foot. Alexander’s injury, combined with the aforementioned
folderol overtaking the offensive line, left 2005’s best rushing team unable
to establish a ground game in 2006.
Four weeks after that, the
leader and heart of the team, Matt Hasselbeck, went down for a month. And
while Seneca Wallace played well considering his experience, neither the Seahawks
offense nor Hasselbeck ever seemed to get into a rhythm the entire year.
Defensively, the loss of
Marcus Tubbs left the Seahawks without their only big-bodied, run-stuffer.
His absence, coupled with the lack of a running game, left the undersized
Seahawks defensive unit on the field too long. By the second half of any
contest, the Seahawks defense was easier to step on than a “bindle” personally
delivered by Pablo Escobar.
And by the end of the year,
the Seahawks were so desperately thin in the secondary, they were signing “Joe Lunchpails”
off the street to suit up.
Yet, in the face of all
that adversity, and some I’ve overlooked, the 2006 Seahawks continued to “pound
that rock” like Jon Gruden would say. Unlike any Seahawks team I can recall,
the 2006 squad kept fighting, scratching and clawing their way to the playoffs.
Being a long-time Seahawks
fan, the injuries last year’s team faced were nothing extraordinary. The
Seahawks seemingly lead the league in injuries throughout the 90’s. But,
unlike those teams, the 2006 squad didn’t fold like Paul Sorvino’s
Too many times during my
31 years on the planet, I’ve been subjected to mentally weak Seahawks squads
buckling at the first breeze of adversity or twisted ankle. Up until last
year, I had zero faith in my Seahawks ability to get tough when the going
Yes, the 2005 SB “runner-up”
squad showed heart, but they showed more dominance. That 2005 team, because
healthy and with Hutch, was just better than any squad in the league. They
rarely, if ever, had to rely on their heart.
The 2006 team and staff
was the guttiest, scrappiest and most tenacious
Seahawks team I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness.
That’s why it’s little surprise,
at least to this biased hack, that the Seahawks hit the ground running in
their opener, dismantling the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 2.5 quarters.
The determination and guile
our mighty Hawks learned last year, carried over.
While the offense seemed
a bit out of rhythm to start, that’s to be expected with a timing-based passing
attack. I’m not worried – in the slightest.
On the other hand, the defense,
channeled demons from the Old Testament, unleashing pain and carnage upon
any Buccaneer caught in their wake. The Hawks defense looked more like a
typical Buccaneer defense, than the Buccaneer’s did.
It’ll be interesting to
see how opposing offenses fare the week after playing the Seahawks. Something
tells me they may be a bit sore and lethargic.
Meet Marcus Trufant,
the Second-Best Corner on His Own Team
I cant recall whether it was the first, second, or third play
the Buccaneers threw at the Seahawks defense…the long completion to fan favorite,
Joey Galloway. But on that play, even though it was a completion, it cemented
in my mind that Kelly Jennings IS the best corner back currently on the Seahawks
Say what you will about
Galloway – but until the Buckeye-mandated week four hamstring
pull occurs – he’s one of the fastest and most physically gifted receivers
in the NFL. Yet, Jennings stayed
with him step for step. Eventually, forcing Joey to leap and make a miraculous
catch. The kind of brilliant catch you only see coupled with picture-perfect
And that’s not all. Jennings also made at least two open field tackles that I can recall.
No, they weren’t the types of bone-jarring hits we saw from Kelly Herndon
last year. But, they were effective.
But finally, the most important
thing I’ve noticed with Jennings is the next time he’s caught in a situation similar to the
one past Sunday – the ball will either be deflected or intercepted. He doesn’t
appear to repeat mistakes.
It maybe a little premature
to talk about it, but with this being Trufant’s contract year, I cant
help but wonder if he’ll go the way of Ken Lucas. With Tim Ruskell letting
another team pay #1 corner money, to the second best corner on the squad.
Hawks D Laying Lumber
As I alluded to above, the
Seahawks defensive performance Sunday was as much an exercise in execution
as it was clubbing violence. Every play, Seahawks defenders seemingly transformed
into instruments of destruction, unleashing snot-bubbling hits and bone-snapping
trauma. The defenses looked so physical, I couldn’t
help but hearken back to the last time I saw a defense that imposing.
That being 1992.
Of course, I’m not going
to say that this defense will even come close enough to orbit around that
great squad of yesteryear. But, that’s the last time I can remember a squad
demonstrating demoralizing physicality.
More Mo, Please
As one of the last believers in Maurice Morris (aka. The Only Good Thing to Come out of
Oregon), I was overjoyed with his big play on Sunday.
Morris doesn’t have what
he takes to be any teams number one back. But he
sure does have more than enough to be a change of pace, third down, or flanker
type weapon. And it’s time he sees a little more time.
There’s a reason why Shaun
Alexander was the best player on the field in the playoffs last year, in the
Hawks two games. He was fresh because of his injury. Morris is more than
qualified to shoulder 25% of Alexander’s load this season. Enough to insure
a fresh SA come January.
- Something tells me Thursday’s
Drew Brees performance is truer to his ability than all of last year.
- Can the Seahawks please hire Brock
Huard? In his first ever game, Huard shined brightly during Saturday’s
Husky television broadcast. I actually learned something – imagine that.
- Welcome to Erickson ball, Sun
Devils fans! I only watched bits and pieces of the game, but in that time
I saw ASU penalties on virtually e very special teams play, personal fouls,
and the Sun Devils spotting their opposition two touchdowns. But unlike
in the pros, all Erickson college teams end up fighting back, most of the
time coming back to win comfortably, just like Saturday.
- Marshawn Lynch is way better than I thought
he’d ever be in the pros. Yes, even after one week. He was a beast this
past week. So much for the Cal RB stigma.
- As much as it bothers me to admit
– I cant help but envy the Denver Broncos and their
fans. Mike Shanahan, while a cheater, is genius with his play-calling.
First play from scrimmage is an option, from their own
two, you kidding me? And Jay Cutler is the real deal.
- Welcome back, Randy Moss! I missed
seeing your on-field artistry, but missed your soundbites
- Bob Costas has the comedic timing
of a cadaver. Enough with your obscure references, stupid. You’re not
Dennis Miller or even Keith Olbermann.
- Tiki Barber reminds me of the
friend we all have in our lives, that dumps his current girlfriend, to play
the field. Only to find that their not that appealing to begin with – and
their old girlfriend was the best they could do. Enough Tiki – it’s obvious
you view the Giants and Tom Coughlin like an ex does their former lover.
- Anyone notice that Jason Campbell’s
Hail Mary, to end the Skins-Dolphins game, was a 73 yard laser? The scary
part is it didn’t seem like he put his all into it.
- Big “ups” to my boy Chad Johnson
for his sideline HOF jacket gimmick.
I don’t care if it’s self-promoting and unsportsmanlike. It was entertaining,
creative, and funny.
- Does Tom Coughlin have any expressions
other than this one?
Ryan Davis is an armchair quarterback
with a vibrating recliner. Feel free to e-mail him here.