As the 2008 off season moves forward, how the Seahawks answer some of the tough questions facing the team will go along way towards determining their fate in 2008 and beyond.
The good news is that the first question was answered quickly and effectively. This would be the Mike Holmgren Question. I am soooooooooooo glad The Big Show is back. At the same time, I am glad he is only back for 1 year. This guy is the REAL face of the franchise. He has brought this franchise from sustained mediocrity to expectations so high the fans boo possible Hall of Famers. Because of Mike Holmgren, this franchise is on its way to being one of the top 2 or 3 franchises in the league. Yet, with his constant thought of retirement, now was the time to make the transition to the next coach, not after a 6-10 season. Can the Hawks "win one for Big Show"? I hope so, it would cap off an incredible run and provide tangible proof to the national pundits who refuse to talk about how successful the team up here in "south Canada" really is.
The second big question of the off season is what the heck do the Hawks do with Shaun Alexander? I guess one could say this spurs a subset of questions like, if our line doesn't improve does it even matter? and How important is running anyway, did you see the Patriots last year? Let me do my best to address the situation by working backwards through these questions. Yes, the Patriots had a high wire areal act and were successful. They had three Pro Bowlers on their line. However, did you see how many times the Giants hit Tom Brady in the Superbowl? That would be Matt Hasslebeck in every game, sans the two against the Rams. (I enjoy the Rams being terrible)
This is why our o-line desperately needs to improve. The first attempt to do this has already taken place. Bob Laveroni was fired and Keith Gilbertson was reassigned to WRs coach. The was followed by the hiring of former KC offensive coordinator Mike Solari. Not a very good O-Coordinatior, but a great line coach. He presided over their line for 10 very successful seasons form 95'-05'. The professor John Clayton even went as far as to suggest this man alone would give the Hawks line an attitude, with out bringing in any free agents. Christ, lets hope so, cause all the optimism about the line after the 06' Bears playoff game disappeared like popcorn fart in the wind last year. I still think that something will be done to bring new life to this position, but more on this later.
So now the big question..... What in the world do we do with Shaun Alexander?
Before I go on, I would like to give the obligatory notice that I think Shaun Alexander WAS a great player and no Seahawk fan should diminish his role in pulling this franchise out of the gutter of mediocrity. That said, he has to go. There is no place for him on the 2008 roster. The only reason I would even consider is if Mike Holmgren was going to throw a hissy fit and tank the season. Here are the three main reasons why Shaun should be searching for work come May:
1) People say that he can still be a productive back with the right line. I agree. He can. He won't win another MVP, but he could have a great year. It is just that it will never happen as a Seattle Seahawk. He is too comfortable here. You can hear it in his interviews. He thinks this city and this franchise owe him something. This is not a recipe for success. Shaun ran his best when needed to prove to people what he was worth. He will probably have a great year next year.... if he is running to prove that the Seahawks were wrong.
2) It has been said that Shaun should mentor the next back, much like Ricky Watters mentored him. Ok. I get the concept, but what can Shaun teach a rookie. How to look like your blocking with out really trying? How to run your routes so that the team avoids throwing to you? Assume that the back comes in knows how to run (kinda a prerequisite right). Then someone needs mentor that person in the importance of an all around game. That person in Mo Morris. Just cause he is an average player doesn't mean he can't be a great teacher. He has certainly been here long enough.
3) Because this organization keeps talking about greatness. Time to play the part. The Colts were in the exact same situation as us after 05'. They let Edge walk and drafted Addai. Why? Cause they weren't gonna pay Edge for what he did in the past and they new his future production wouldn't match the contract. We gave #37 a huge deal to avoid the precieved fan fallout. Guess what? Now the fans are pissed he is here because he is overpaid and under producing. That lasted long. In my opinion, this was the worst mistake Ruskell has made. Yes, worse than Hutch. Guards shouldn't get 50 mil deals, even if everybody else is doing it. Did the Giants have a high paid lineman, no! Paying Shuan for his past production was the big boo boo. Time to put a band aid on it and make him a June 1st cut. That way the Hawks save 4 mil on the cap this year, and pay it as dead money next year, when Wistrom's dead money will be off the books. Hey, at least were not the Redskins!
I sure will miss hearing Sweet Home Alabama though... Bye Shaun, good luck in Cincy!