Saturday, December 26, 2009

2009 Week #16 - Packers v. Seahawks

Seattle is coming off two royal beatings in as many weeks, a 34-7 loss at the Houston Texans on December 13th and a 24-7 loss last week at home to Tampa Bay. Seattle is 1-6 on the record and a huge underdogs. At 5-9, Seattle is already looking towards 2010. If the Packers lose this game they don't deserve to go to the playoffs.

Seattle has been bitten badly by the injury bug. They have played the entire season without the starting left side of their offensive line: left tackle Walter Jones and left guard Mike Wahle (who injured is still more effective than Daryn Colledge). Besides that, Seattle lost their Pro Bowl middle linebacker Lofa Tatufu early in the season. Finally, veteran wide receiver Nate Burleson and promising rookie outside linebacker Aaron Curry are most likely sidelined with injury this week as well.

All five of the players mentioned above would make Seattle's "Top 10 List" if healthy. As a result, some of the names mentioned below are a stretch for inclusion on a "Top 10 List"...

#10 - Max "How Did I Make the List?" Unger (C):
Seattle was forced to move Unger to center because injuries to their regular center Chris Spencer. With all of the "depth" the Packers had on the offensive line to start the season there was some talk of trading Scott Wells to Seattle, good thing that rumor never materialized. Since the beginning of August the Packers have shuffled their offensive line constantly: traded Tony Moll to Baltimore, cut Jamon Meredith (signed to Packers practice squad but later signed to Buffalo's active roster), placed center Jason Spitz on injured reserve and resigned Mark Tauscher. As crazy as it sounds, without Wells the Packers would have been remarkably worse and possibly out of playoff contention.

#9 - T.J. "Way Overpaid" Houshmandzadeh (WR):
Seattle and Minnesota aggressively pursued Houshmandzadeh in the offseason. Would Houshmandzadeh have thrived in Minnesota? May be, but Minnesota would have been much worse off. Houshmandzadeh's presence would have hurt the development of Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice. Minnesota is lucky that Seattle beat out their offer. At 32, Houshmandzadeh is not getting any younger and his 5 year, $40 million contract already looks like a mistake less than a year into it (72 catches, 794 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 fumbles and 1 lost). Houshmandzadeh is a good route runner but lacks speed to stretch the field. At 5 years, $20 million Houshmandzadeh would be overpaid...

#8 - John "Thanks for Nothing Charlie" Carlson (TE):
At 6'5", Carlson gives Matt Hasselbeck options over the middle of the field. Carlson possesses average speed, decent blocking abilities and superb hands. Carlson is in the top three on the team in the major receiving categories: 47 catches (3rd), 536 receiving yards (3rd) and 5 touchdown receptions (1st). Carlson has been a huge upgrade over the psycho that is Jerramy Stevens.

#7 - Jordan "Safeties Should Not have to Make so Many Tackles" Babineaux (FS): Babineaux is second on the team in tackles with 99 (next closest tackler has 64 tackles). Although not the fastest or tallest safety in the NFL, Babineaux gives Seattle a physical presence in the secondary.

#6 - Julius "The Heater" Jones (RB):
Jones might be the only NFL player that smokes cigarettes regularly according to The Sports Guy ("I found out two years ago that he smokes cigarettes and I just can't think rationally about him after that"article). Quick tangent, do you find it odd when you see nurses and doctors smoking in front of a hospital? As I pondered that along with Jones smoking as a professional athlete, I decided I still think it is crazier that Jones smokes. Just so we are not devoid of actual analysis, as a fantasy owner of Jones and his back-up Justin Forsett, the future in Seattle looks to be Forsett. Although not as fast as Jones, Forsett has hit some homeruns this season for Seattle and provides a much bigger upside based on age and production over Jones.

#5 - Jon "Unfortunately no longer a Packer" Ryan (P):
The Packers treated Jon Ryan's family with dignity while he was a member of the team. Just before Ryan's father lost his battle with cancer, the Packers gave Ryan's father the VIP treatment (story). Unfortunately Ted Thompson cut Ryan in favor of Derrick Frost (the man that did not kick well enough this season in the United Football League, you read that correctly United NOT National to last the entire season). After the Packers cut Frost, they turned to the under achieving Jeremy Kapinos. Check the stats for 2008, Ryan has been much more productive than Kapinos:
- Ryan: 4th in average at 47.1 yards and 10th in net average at 39.2 yards.
- Kapinos: 17th in average at 43.8 and 33rd in net average at 34.2 yards.

#4 - Olindo "Fountain of Youth" Mare (K):
Mare has had a renaissance since joining Seattle in 2008. This season Mare has converted over 90% of his field goal opportunities (although his longest is only 47 yards) to go along with his 22 touch backs. I will not list Mason Crosby's might forced me to poke my eye out.

#3 - Josh "Mr. Big Play" Wilson (CB):
Both of Wilson's interceptions this season have been returned over 60 yards for touchdowns. Although Wilson is not your typical shutdown cornerback (only 5'9"), he routinely draws the opposing team's #1 receiver. At 24, Wilson looks to be Seattle's defensive back of the future.

#2 - Matt "I am not getting any younger" Hasselbeck (QB):
After being traded from Green Bay to Seattle in 2001, Hasselbeck has been the face of the franchise. In eight seasons as the starting quarterback, Hasselbeck lead Seattle to five consecutive winning seasons (between 2003 and 2007) and one Super Bowl appearance (lost to the Steelers). Unfortunately for Hasselbeck, he isn't getting any younger. Seattle is in full rebuilding mode after going 4-12 last season, Mike Holmgren moving on as their head coach and only marginally improving this season. Hasselbeck's tenure with the team could end sooner rather than later if Seattle drafts a quarterback in the 2010 NFL Draft (likely a top 10 pick).

#1 - David "Surprising Defensive Leader" Hawthorne (MLB):
Seattle lost Pro Bowl middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu for the season in Week #6 against the Arizona Cardinals. Hawthrone stepped in immediately and has been one of the only bright spots for Seattle this season. Hawthrone leads or is tied for the team lead in almost every defensive category: 103 tackles (1st), 4 sacks (tied for 1st), 7 tackles for a loss (1st), 2 forced fumbles (1st) and 3 interceptions (tied for 1st). Although Seattle would like a full compliment of healthy linebackers, Hawthorne's excellent play has eased the loss of Tatupu.

No comments:

Post a Comment