Oh Well, There is Always Next Year

My mantra this year was “Oh well, there is always next year.” From my Seahawks (4-12), to the Seattle Mariners (61-101), down to the University of Washington Huskies (0-12) all of my teams that I love and follow have had inexplicably bad seasons. I could almost call it a curse. Perpetuated by whom, you ask? My theory is the ownership group that bought out the Seattle Supersonics, only to move them to Oklahoma, and call them the Thunder. Needless to say it has been a terrible year for said teams, and I have been shouting “Oh well, there is always next year” to whomever mentions to words Seahawks, Mariners, or Huskies.

That being said, today marked the end of the 2008 season for the Seattle Seahawks. I had fearlessly predicted a 12-4 season for this team at the beginning of the year, based on the last few years performance, a weak NFC West, and this being Coach Mike Holmgren’s last season at the helm.

The NFC West was as weak as predicted, especially judging from the sniveling from the New England area about the possibility of an Arizona Cardinals team possibly being 8-8 heading into the playoffs, while their team may have had to hit the golf courses early with an 11-5 record.

The Seahawks failed to send Mike Holmgren into (semi) retirement on a winning note, falling to the aforementioned Arizona Cardinals by a score of 34-21. He can however ride into the sunset on that brand new Harley, that the team chipped in for as his going away present, with his head held high.  He turned around a franchise languishing in sub-mediocrity, and produced teams that consistently won the division, and produced all-pro caliber players from the roster. A taste of the Super Bowl for us long-suffering Seahawks fans was sweet indeed,(I will not go into my rant about black and gold striped officials costing us that game) and for that alone he will be remembered most fondly.

I look forward to a very productive off-season for the Seattle Seahawks. With new Head Coach Jim Mora Jr. acclimated to the climate of the franchise, and a working knowledge of all of the players, this should be a fairly easy transition for him. A good chance in the draft to pick up some fresh talent, and an owner in Paul Allen who is sign checks big enough to entice good free agents to Seattle, makes me look forward to the coming months.

This season definitely did not turn out as anyone had expected, be they fan, or a member of the organization. Some depth flaws were exposed, some up and coming players were able to get much needed experience. The injury bug hit often and hard with this squad as well, something that played a huge factor in the final record for sure. Here are a few players that I recognized as keys to the season, both good and bad. I can’t think up a catchy name for my awards at the moment…Oh well, there is always next year.

2008 Seattle Seahawks

Offensive Player of the Year:

QB Seneca Wallace 141-242 1532 yds 11 TD, 3 INT

Filled in for an injured QB Matt Hasselbeck for most of the year. His Offensive Line was completely decimated by injuries, yet was able to be a fairly efficient QB. Heading into the final game against Arizona, Wallace had completed 183 straight passes without an interception. (He threw one on his second attempt)

Defensive Player of the Year:

CB Josh Wilson 76 Tackles, 1 sack, 4 INT (135yds, 1 TD)

2008 was the year that I had thought CB Kelly Jennings would rise up to the challenge of making opposing QB pay for throwing away from All-Pro CB Marcus Trufant. A disappointing year by Jennings however, led to the emergence of CB Josh Wilson as the #2 Corner on the team. With a team high 4 interceptions, and a dazzling season as the teams Kick Returner, Wilson has shown that next year he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Special Teams Player of the Year:

K Olindo Mare 24/27 FG, 30/30 XP, 3rd in the NFL in Touchbacks

It would have been easy to name CB Josh Wilson in this slot as well, but the consistency that Mare provided to the Special Teams unit with K Josh Brown leaving for free agency was crucial this year.

The lack of strength on defense wasted a lot of the benefit that Mare provided with his booming kick-offs. It will be interesting to see what develops next year between him, and K Brandon Coutu, whom they spent a draft pick on in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Rookie of the Year:

TE John Carlson 55 Catches, 627 yds, 5TD

Very pleasant surprise this year coming out of Notre Dame. Led the Rookie TE class in catches, yards, and touchdowns.

Most Disappointing Player of the Year:

DE Lawrence Jackson 29 Tackles, 2 Sacks

Decided not to pick on the players that had disappointing seasons primarily due to injury…that list would be long indeed. Jackson was the Seahawks 1st round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, and had all of the measurables (inherent size, speed, skill) that lent him to start ahead of DE Darryl Tapp. With the season ending injury to DE Patrick Kerney, by all rights Jackson should have been more productive this season with as much opportunity as he was given.

As the off-season progresses I will update you all on the happenings with the Seattle Seahawks. It has been my pleasure to write a column for www.nfldraftdog.com these last few weeks. I look forward to contributing more for your reading pleasure this off-season, and the upcoming year(s). Good luck to those of you who have teams heading to the playoffs, and for the rest of you…Oh well, there is always next year!!!