Posts tagged Lofa Tatupu

Seahawks 2012 Draft Class, not liked in April

Talking heads rolled their eyes at the 2012 Seahawks draft class

The 2012 Seattle Seahawks Draft Class produced a 1st-round pick that scouts called a reach for the pick.

Rookie Bruce Irvin, the look says it all. Photo by Brett Bivens

Bruce Irvin may have been a reach in late April, but now that it is early January 2013 he’s far from a reach.  Having played in all 16-games for the Seahawks this year Irvin has flown under the radar, but don’t let that effect the way you view him. In those 16-games he’s piled up 8 sacks, which is a team record for a rookie defensive player in the category, and forced one fumble.

I’ll be the first to admit when I’m wrong, and I was wrong on Draft night in April. When the pick of Irvin flashed my initial reaction was “WHAT?!” I wanted a guy by the name of Chandler Jones.  Someone I had watched over the past 3-years in college and knew his potential, but I didn’t factor in the truth and that’s Irvin fits Seattle’s defensive scheme, Jones on the other hand wouldn’t have. I was wrong to have second guessed Pete Carroll and John Schneider and that’s the reason I’m a member of the 12th Man and not the Front Office.

The 2nd-round selection in Bobby Wagner reminded me of another MLB selected by the Seahawks a few years back-Lofa Tatupu a small guy, but has the ability to guide his teammates and contribute to their success. He’s proven his case with 140 tackles, 2 sacks and 3 interceptions as well as his name being thrown around as a candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Hopefully unlike Tatupu his success in Seattle lasts longer than his six-years with the team in which he appeared in three Pro Bowls-all in his first three-years in the league.

Just like Lofa, Wagner has a young core of Linebackers near him in KJ Wright, Malcolm Smith and Mike Morgan. Tatupu came in with one of Wagner’s teammates in 2005-Leroy Hill.

The Seahawks 3rd-round pick was a Quarterback by the name of Russell Wilson, a QB that scouts called “too small to be able to start in the NFL.”

Wilson can’t hide his 5’11 frame, but he hasn’t let it get to him. To open the season Wilson was named starting QB for the Seahawks over free-agent signee Matt Flynn. Jon Gruden compared him to Drew Brees and stated throughout the pick if he was still a head coach he would have been selected way before his selection in the 3rd-round.

The Jaguars, Bills and Chiefs all passed on Wilson as the Jaguars selected a Punter with their pick in the 3rd-round and since then Wilson has started every game for the Seahawks completing 64% of his passes for 3,118-yards and 26 Touchdowns-tying the NFL Rookie Record for touchdown passes by a quarterback by the name of Peyton Manning. He’s led the Seahawks to an 11-5 record and four game-winning drives (defeated the Chicago Bears in OT). Did I mention he can scramble as well? Wilson rushed for 489-yards and scored on the ground four times for the Seahawks.

His selection in the 3rd-round is the reason he’s being overlooked by some as a Rookie of the Year underdog behind his opponent he’ll take on Sunday in Washington-Robert Griffin III.

Wilson has shown he will be playing for years to come as a starting QB in the NFL and hopefully will be a cornerstone for the Seahawks as they continue their success with such a young team in the NFL.

Robert Turbin was selected in the 4th-round and viewed as a workhorse that down the road should be able to lessen the load on Marshawn Lynch in the backfield and he’s proven just that. In 16-games he rushed for 354-yards averaging 4.4 per carry, while also having 181-yards receiving. He’s shown at times his hands aren’t the best when he’s receiving, but through the season has shown he’s improving in that category and will be a vital part as teams try to wear out Lynch in the playoffs-something easier said than done.

Breno Giocomini teaches rookie JR Sweezy during training camp. Photo by Brett Bivens

The Seahawks final six-picks in rounds 4-7 have all contributed in role situations, but each one has shown he has potential to develop. CB Jeremy Lane (6th-round pick) and OG JR Sweezy (7th-round pick) have each started 3 games apiece and appeared in 13-games with the Seahawks.

Lane has piled up 15 tackles and Sweezy has shown he has done a nice job of transitioning from defensive line in college to the offensive line in the pro’s.

Jaye Howard watching Clinton McDonald during drills at training camp. Photo by Brett Bivens

DT Jaye Howard (4th-round pick) has appeared in two-games for the Seahawks-not accumulating any stats.

LB Korey Toomer (5th-round pick) is currently on the Practice Squad/Injury designation and hasn’t played a game for the Seahawks.

SS Winston Guy (6th-round pick) appeared in two-games for the Seahawks and recently just got activated after being suspended four-games for violating the NFL Substance Policy.

DE Greg Scruggs (7th-round pick) has played in 11-games for the Seahawks piling up 6 total tackles-5 of them himself as well as 2 sacks and a pass deflection for the Seahawks. He’s shown he can get involved in a core that already consists of Chris Clemons, Red Bryant and Irvin.

After the NFL Draft the Seahawks were awarded many negative reviews, some even called them the loser of the Draft, but as the Seahawks suit up Sunday in Washington it’s easy to argue that they’re far from the losers of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Very few teams have their top picks contribute right off the bat let alone throughout their career, but the Seahawks have found players that fill roles and blossom off of them. To have only 1 player not appear in a single game for the team that drafted them their rookie year is something you don’t see often and if you do it’s unusual to see a successful team.

That’s not the case with the Seahawks and if these players keep progressing as they have through their rookie year who knows where they will end up once their careers dwindle down. For the Seahawks however they’ve proven to have been more successful than a majority of the teams in the 2012 Draft and each one of their selections has shown they will contribute.

They’ve also shown that I shouldn’t question Carroll and Schneider’s decisions in the future as well as the rest of the world.

Written by Zach Bellerdine

Seattle Fans And Love Affairs

We have all seen it. Most of us have felt it. But why is it?
The Seattle sports fan has a knack for falling in love with players and then overvaluing them. Im not going to go back very far but Lets look at a couple.
Darrell Jackson, he had a pretty good career in Seattle and gained the support of fans. To us he was a great receiver and when he was sent to the division rival 49ers it For a 4th rd pick the team used to draft Mansfield Wrotto fans were unhappy and thought it would come back to bite us. The truth was that his career had been over for two years before he was traded. After being leaving Seattle he had 58 reception and 4 TD’s and only one of the years was spent with the 49ers.
Next case in point Shaun Alexander. I cannot begin to tell you how many disagreements I had about giving him that fat new contract he was seeking however I understood where everyone was coming from. The guy had just been MVP of the league and on the cover of Madden. These are things that just don’t happen in Seattle and are the reason (I believe) that former GM Tim Ruskell gave him his big contract. After signing that deal he was not the same there were injuries and the loss of Steve Hutchinson, Robbie Tobeck and Chris Gray. The fans were still enamored with the broken down running back they thought he was finally healthy and would set the world on fire and even to this day there are a large group who believe he should have his number retired and be in the Hall of Fame. The truth was the regardless of the other factors he had lost a step and defenders could close in and touch him (which was all it took to tackle him). After he left Seattle he had 11 rushes and one reception after sitting in Free Agency for a long while. He was then released by Washington never to be signed by a team again.
Currently there are two such former Seahawks out there.
Matt Hasslebeck is one of those. Don’t get me wrong he has done a lot for the Seahawks and deserves to be in the ring of honor but he does not deserve to have his number retired and he is not the QB he once was. The player that turned down the 2 year 13 million dollar deal with the Seahawks and took a 3 year 21 million dollar deal with the Titans is not the same gut who took Seattle to the Superbowl. I hear “but his line” “no running game” all the time and to be honest they are very fair arguments. Matt never had a strong arm but recently he has lost some of the arm strength. This has caused him to have to try to throw the ball harder thus causing his accuracy to decrease. He has an amazing competitive fire inside him and that is a great thing but it no longer helps him win more than he loses. He has always had a tendency to make bad decisions when under pressure but they were overwhelmed by the great plays he could make. This isn’t the case anymore and we will see it in Tennessee.
Lofa Tatupu oh how I have heard about his leadership. Argued several times about his underperformance on the field last year but some fans love him for what he did in 2005 and can’t look past that to see that he has broken down as well. Yes he’s a great Leader but I don’t believe he’s a better leader than Pete Carroll and you don’t see him play Corner. Leadership on the field only works if your physically an addition as well. Others will step up and fill the leadership void he left behind and David Hawthorne is a much better LB physically at this point. Still some fans think letting him go was a big mistake because he is so good. He is so good? So good that teams have had almost a week to sign him yet he’s still on the FA market while many others have been signed? It’s not his fault he just broke down.
This was titled “Seattle Sports Fans” and I only gave examples of Seahawks but that is because the Mariners Organization always holds the players past the fans breaking point, the sounders haven’t been around long enough and the NBA turned it’s back on us and I have turned my back on it.
We are all guilty of falling in love with these guys and not seeing them for the current player they are. We get blinded by the player they were and that’s not how you win Championships. I have been trying to use logic not love while evaluating the players and I’m sure glad Pete Carroll does the same thing because he’s making this a stronger team for years to come.

Seattle Fans And Love Affairs

We have all seen it. Most of us have felt it. But why is it?
The Seattle sports fan has a knack for falling in love with players and then overvaluing them. Im not going to go back very far but Lets look at a couple.
Darrell Jackson, he had a pretty good career in Seattle and gained the support of fans. To us he was a great receiver and when he was sent to the division rival 49ers it For a 4th rd pick the team used to draft Mansfield Wrotto fans were unhappy and thought it would come back to bite us. The truth was that his career had been over for two years before he was traded. After being leaving Seattle he had 58 reception and 4 TD’s and only one of the years was spent with the 49ers.
Next case in point Shaun Alexander. I cannot begin to tell you how many disagreements I had about giving him that fat new contract he was seeking however I understood where everyone was coming from. The guy had just been MVP of the league and on the cover of Madden. These are things that just don’t happen in Seattle and are the reason (I believe) that former GM Tim Ruskell gave him his big contract. After signing that deal he was not the same there were injuries and the loss of Steve Hutchinson, Robbie Tobeck and Chris Gray. The fans were still enamored with the broken down running back they thought he was finally healthy and would set the world on fire and even to this day there are a large group who believe he should have his number retired and be in the Hall of Fame. The truth was the regardless of the other factors he had lost a step and defenders could close in and touch him (which was all it took to tackle him). After he left Seattle he had 11 rushes and one reception after sitting in Free Agency for a long while. He was then released by Washington never to be signed by a team again.
Currently there are two such former Seahawks out there.
Matt Hasslebeck is one of those. Don’t get me wrong he has done a lot for the Seahawks and deserves to be in the ring of honor but he does not deserve to have his number retired and he is not the QB he once was. The player that turned down the 2 year 13 million dollar deal with the Seahawks and took a 3 year 21 million dollar deal with the Titans is not the same gut who took Seattle to the Superbowl. I hear “but his line” “no running game” all the time and to be honest they are very fair arguments. Matt never had a strong arm but recently he has lost some of the arm strength. This has caused him to have to try to throw the ball harder thus causing his accuracy to decrease. He has an amazing competitive fire inside him and that is a great thing but it no longer helps him win more than he loses. He has always had a tendency to make bad decisions when under pressure but they were overwhelmed by the great plays he could make. This isn’t the case anymore and we will see it in Tennessee.
Lofa Tatupu oh how I have heard about his leadership. Argued several times about his underperformance on the field last year but some fans love him for what he did in 2005 and can’t look past that to see that he has broken down as well. Yes he’s a great Leader but I don’t believe he’s a better leader than Pete Carroll and you don’t see him play Corner. Leadership on the field only works if your physically an addition as well. Others will step up and fill the leadership void he left behind and David Hawthorne is a much better LB physically at this point. Still some fans think letting him go was a big mistake because he is so good. He is so good? So good that teams have had almost a week to sign him yet he’s still on the FA market while many others have been signed? It’s not his fault he just broke down.
This was titled “Seattle Sports Fans” and I only gave examples of Seahawks but that is because the Mariners Organization always holds the players past the fans breaking point, the sounders haven’t been around long enough and the NBA turned it’s back on us and I have turned my back on it.
We are all guilty of falling in love with these guys and not seeing them for the current player they are. We get blinded by the player they were and that’s not how you win Championships. I have been trying to use logic not love while evaluating the players and I’m sure glad Pete Carroll does the same thing because he’s making this a stronger team for years to come.

2011 Seattle Seahawks: Expectations for Free Agency and the NFL Entry Draft

Originally posted on Bleacher Report on February 14, 2011
Written by Darin Pike

Pete Carroll inherited a difficult task when he returned to the NFL to become head coach and executive VP of football operations for the Seattle Seahawks. Make that two difficult tasks, actually.

Executive VP of Football Operations
He joined forces with John Schneider to overhaul depleted talent following several years of poor drafting and a rash of injury woes. They utilized aggressive roster moves before, during and after training camp to upgrade talent and trim some excess fat in player and salary ranks.

If not for the uncapped year, the 300 roster moves would not have been possible, and Seattle wouldn’t be in the situation it is now…able to continue a roster overhaul during the 2011 offseason.

Head Coach
The Seahawks were led by coaching legend Mike Holmgren for a decade. In one short year, it became evident what he meant to his former team. During the 2009 season, players and coaches were seldom on the same page. Jim Mora routinely questioned player performance in the public eye. Rather than take responsibility for his shortcomings, he passed blame to those under him.

The team needed a leader on the sidelines they could trust; that is exactly what they received with Carroll.

The return to the playoffs (and notching a win in front of the home crowd) was a solid first step. They have something to build on and significant salary room to do so.

Seahawk fans should have immense optimism heading into free agency and the draft, provided the NFL can get a labor agreement in place. Over the coming weeks I’ll be writing a series of articles on the following position groups, detailing what Seahawk fans should anticipate from their team.

Editor’s Note: Since published, the NFL has endured two extensions and no labor agreement.  Seattle will likely head into the NFL Draft without having the opportunity to solidify several key needs due to their Free Agents: Quarterback, Offensive Line, and Defensive Line.

 

Offensive Line: Let the Controversy Begin

I figured my initial piece should cover the issue that has plagued the Seahawks for the past four seasons. This article is mostly finished and should be hitting Bleacher Report on Tuesday. Editor’s Note: Article has already been published.

I’ll summarize the actions (or lack thereof) taken by former GM Tim Ruskell. I also offer some perspective on the direction a good GM would have gone and talk about what Seattle needs to do to blow open some running lanes and protect whomever happens to be parked under center for the 2011 season.

Spoiler alert: The solution does not involve a Round 1 draft pick for the offensive line. Fans and analysts have mocked Seattle using first and/or second-round picks to shore up line issues; I have a little different perspective that I believe will make the team better now and in the future.

Those of you envisioning a Mike Pouncey or Derek Sherrod being announced at pick 25 can get ready to tear my piece apart, but please keep an open mind until after you read what I have to say.

 

Quarterback: Is the Future Already Here?

I have to think that most fans that follow the Seattle Seahawks would answer this question, “Heck no”…or perhaps with a little more graphic modifier.

I believe Charlie Whitehurst does have a future in Seattle. That job is likely as a career backup, but an important role all the same. I’ll be looking one step down the depth chart and discussing Nate Davis and how he could figure into Seattle’s long-term QB plans.  Editor’s Note: Since publishing, Nate Davis has been released.

The next step must include some discussion on the NFL draft, versions 2011 and 2012.

As for the present…we have to figure that No. 8 is the best option the team has to win in 2011. I won’t do a complete rehash on why Kevin Kolb isn’t worth two first round picks, but I have begun some comments on what Seattle fans should expect in the short term. The labor discussions do play a role here, as they impact the team’s ability to implement a new signal caller.

Regardless of the direction Seattle takes, the QB position will likely be somewhat unsettled for the next few years. As Seattle upgrades talent on the offensive, anything that can be done to create stability under center will be critical.

 

Shutting Down Opposing Passing Attacks: Role of the DBs

I listed the quarterback quandary before our cornerback issues because the QB is the most important position on the field. However, Seattle has a very pressing need to address the CB and SS positions this offseason.

Steps have already been taken along this path with the addition of Brandon Browner from the CFL, but will that be enough?

Marcus Trufant has put together some very solid performances for the Seahawks. Pete Carroll looked forward to seeing the former Pro Bowl CB during the 2010 season, and at times he did. Slowed by injuries and pain, we also saw a man on the field that was frustrated with a body that didn’t respond as it once did.

Walter Thurmond most certainly figures into Seattle’s plans going forward. Kelly Jennings hasn’t endeared himself to the fanbase, but the same may not be true with the coaching staff. I’ll offer some additional comments on his performance and the backfield as a whole.

 

Shutting Down Opposing Passing Attacks: Generating a Consistent Pass Rush

One pleasant surprise for the Seahawks was Pete Carroll and Gus Bradley’s ability to scheme their way into a pass rush.

At times they frustrated opposing offensive linemen, QBs and offensive coordinators. The sack attack they threw out against the Chicago Bears early in the season was a prime example of generating suffocating pressure off the ends.

To be successful during the 2011 season, Seattle needs to also apply some pressure up the middle. The team as a whole logged a respectable 37 sacks, but a grand total of two came from the nose tackle positions. Two…as in one for Brandon Mebane and one for Colin Cole. While these two were solid against the run, they seemed to do little more than take up space and act as decoys on passing downs.

Seattle needs to re-sign Mebane and look to find a NT that can offer depth and be useful on passing downs. I’ll also discuss the rushing defense and what we can expect from the Seahawks to regain the early success from the 2010 season.

 

Linebackers: The Not-So-Pleasant Surprise of the 2011 Defense

When analysts were attempting to dissect the 2010 Seattle Seahawk defense during training camp, one group that seemed solid was the linebacker corps.

The promise of having Lofa Tatupu, Aaron Curry and Leroy Hill on the field together was inspiring. David Hawthorne provided a solid insurance policy, as he played very well when he had to replace Tatupu during the 2009 season.

Times have changed. The physical phenom in 59, Aaranimal, played with intensity but without focus. Tatupu played hurt most of the season, slowed by knee injuries. Hill…well, at least Seattle was able to renegotiate his contract so it didn’t cost them $5 million for him to sit out another year.

While Seattle seemed to struggle across the board in their passing defense, they were particularly susceptible to being burned by screens and short passes to RBs, along with giving up long gains to opposing tight ends. Some of that falls to the safety positions, but by and large the LB crew was not able to fill holes in pass defense.

Seattle needs to take a strong look at this group and find ways to upgrade talent or improve performance. Carroll has his guy coordinating the unit from the MLB position but won’t hesitate to pull the plug on Lofa if his injury issues aren’t resolved.

 

2011 Offensive Weapons: What to Expect from the RB, WR and TE Positions

Following the three aspects of the defense, I’ll wrap back around to the offensive side of the ball for a conversation on the skill positions. While Seattle lacks elite talent in these areas, they do have solid playmakers at every position.

Given distinct issues at other positions, I would not anticipate significant movement on draft weekend in these areas.

Now…I type that knowing full well it is impossible to predict what Pete Carroll will do or find on draft day. Should elite talent be unexpectedly available, you can be sure he won’t let the player slide past his grip.

I’ll look forward to comments and discussion on pending personnel moves as I release each individual article. I’ll particularly be interested in thoughts on the QB position, be it now or after that piece is published. I’m not overly comfortable with any of the first round QB prospects in this draft. I’ll just say there is a lot of potential there—potential for greatness and potential to bust. Big time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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