Bye Week Ramblings: No, on Grady Jackson, Yes, On a Second Day Tailback

I have to get out of the house right quick today, and not much is happening, so I thought I'd weigh in briefly on what seems to be two of the hotter subjects in Seahawks land recently: Grady Jackson and the eventual replacement for Shaun Alexander.

Since we tend to notice images before text, you likely already noticed my little graphic. That's my hint to the illiterate or lazy that I am not on the Jackson bandwagon. I haven't time to mince words or be cute, so here's a brief numbered list in descending order of importance of why I don't think the Hawks should bother signing Jackson.

  1. He's 34 nearing 35.
  2. His agent is Drew Rosenhaus, so he's not going to sign cheap. Seattle has roughly ten million in cap room, would you rather that be spent on resigning Tru and/or Lock next offseason or on Jackson and whoever else we can then afford?
  3. Jackson becomes redundant the second Tubbs returns.
  4. Brandon Mebane has earned the chance to start; Jackson isn't going to accept playing only sporadically behind the rookie.
  5. The Falcons defense has been no better at stuffing short yardage than Seattle. That's especially important to note because the Falcons defensive line is very similar to Seattle's. With a one a gap, penetrator at left defensive tackle, and a pair of well rounded ends. Seattle has allowed 73% of power runs to be successful, Atlanta has allowed 73% of power runs to be successful.
  6. Seattle is very good at stopping runs up the middle and behind left tackle: 8th and 5th respectively. Atlanta is 14th and 21st.
  7. Jackson has limited pass rush ability, making him a poor fit for the system.
  8. Jackson is about as popular as the plague. Why bring a question mark into a team that has extraordinary chemistry?
  9. Grady Jackson is not the difference between Seattle winning the Super Bowl or not.

Anyway, I notice a lot of people around Seahawks Insider go nuts whenever a huge defensive tackle is available, and one with a decent reputation like Jackson seemed to create quite a buzz when he was cut. Perhaps I'm in the minority, not evaluating players based on weight and reputation, but I can't see what all the hubbub is about. It's dumbfounding to me that so many people think that Marcus Tubbs' value is vested in his size. Tubbs is a three technique defensive tackle, with the size to play nose and the speed to be a threat in passing downs. In 2005 he record 5.5 sacks--his potential is nothing short of pre-injury Kris Jenkins. Jackson isn't going to replace Tubbs' productions just because he happens to be pushing four-bills. The Hawks shouldn't and won't sign Jackson.

Onto replacing Alexander long term. I'm not going to delve into particular player evaluations, other than to say that I absolutely do not like Tashard Choice (who seems like that disastrous mix of slow and boom and bust), think Felix Jones is a fine talent who may need to be paired with a short yardage back, like any rational man, love Jonathan Stewart's rushing ability (though he has an otherworldly line to run behind) but wish he had better skills as a receiver, am high on Yvenson Bernard but worry about his heavy usage, same story, Mike Hart, and wonder with a loaded draft, a continued de-emphasis on premier backs in the NFL, what team is going to kill their budget to sign Michael Turner. Turner was a fifth round choice, he's not an ordinary fifth round choice for sure, but much of what he's done, like much of Marion Barber has done, or Maurice Jones-Drew has done, is a matter of being spelled regularly and playing behind a great run-blocking line. Still, teams don't learn.

The Hawks desperately need some young blood at running back, but they don't need a superstar to replace Alexander. They need a back who can catch, block and split carries with Maurice Morris. I'd much rather see the Hawks spend their first three picks on a tackle, quarterback and guard then a highly touted rusher. If the Hawks could swing a draft that went something like this: Gosder Cherilus, Colt Brennan, Jeremy Perry and then an Yvenson Bernard or Arian Foster in the fourth, I'd be thrilled. That might be asking a bit too much, but the point is, Seattle shouldn't make it a top priority to sign a running back just because Alexander is so bad. If Seattle could find a coach savvy and modern enough to truly believe in a committee, a superstar rusher is not only not needed, but a waste of a pick that could be put to better use.

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