Five Plays with Edgerrin James

Seattle cut Justin Forsett September 9, 2008. He was signed by Indianapolis but later cut and re-signed by Seattle. Cutting Justin Forsett was a mistake. He was an average to above average punter returner. The best punt returner on the 2008 squad. Seattle is counting on him to return punts and kicks in 2009. It is also expecting him to contribute as a running back.

What is frustrating about the impending release of T.J. Duckett is not just the loss of Duckett, it is that the move validates my fear that Tim Ruskell is an impulsive often reactive general manager. The Seahawks signed Duckett to a five-year, $13 million contract. Much of the money was tied up in bonuses. As Mike Sando points out, cutting Duckett only saves Seattle $100,000 against the cap. Seattle did not add or, to my knowledge, even pursue another running back in the offseason. Duckett was in their plans. So what could have Duckett possibly done to warrant his release? He was Seattle's most productive rusher against Denver. It's a trace advantage. Duckett struggled as much as Justin Forsett and Devin Moore. All three struggled behind a line that couldn't execute or sustain its blocks.

But here we are. The Seattle Seahawks are yet another team that has flirted with Duckett but passed. The Seattle Seahawks are the next stop for potential Hall of Fame bound rusher Edgerrin James. How good is James? He was league average according to DVOA: 0.0%. That doesn't tell us much. James ran over Seattle for 100 yards in 14 carries. I planned on breaking down all fifteen touches, but within the first five a solid patter was formed. James is quick to the hole, quick through the hole, sets up his blockers and falls forward. He makes small cuts that are effective and undemanding of the offensive line. Like Duckett, his low yards per carry mask his effectiveness. His third gear is gone, but his first and second seem very intact. He gets through the hole and he gains positive yardage.

Apart from the poor planning and loss of Duckett without hardly a tryout, I am happy for the addition of James. He might be a better rusher than Julius Jones.

1. Arizona was down 7-0 after Duckett punched in a touchdown from the one.

Az: 2 WR(right), 2 TE (left), RB

Sea: 4-3

Outside tight end Ben Patrick motions right. Josh Wilson blitzes from the defensive right. Kurt Warner hands to James and James slices off tackle, rushing past Wilson and into the hole. Right guard Deuce Lutui pulls in front. James bursts into the second level and powers into first Deon Grant, then Julian Peterson and finally Wilson and Brian Russell.

2. Next play, now second and one.

Az: WR (left), TE (right), TE (left), I

Sea: 4-3

Reggie Wells pulls. James is quick to Warner and quicker through the hole. He slashes off left tackle and is met by Grant just short of the first down marker. Grant hits him low and with authority, but James bounces off and recovers to edge his way over the marker.

3. Next drive. Seattle still up by seven.

Az: 2WR (right), WR (left), TE (right), RB

Sea: 4-3 over

James is quick to the hole, quick through the hole and falls forward. Julian Peterson tackles, but as with most James runs, Peterson looks the bearer of the brunt.

One in pictorial form:

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And the 35 yard rush. The longest rush James has had in nearly four and a half years.

Az: 2 WR (right), 2 TE (left), RB

Sea: 4-3

Outside tight end Ben Patrick motions right. This the exact same opening as James' first rush. This time, it's a stretch right. Ready for this? James is quick to the edge, very quick, he hits the edge and enters the second level untouched. Levi Brown blocks Darryl Tapp, but it's not Brown but Edge's quickness that frees him into the second level. From there, it's all downhill. He rushes straight and past several Seahawks. Finally, Grant collides with him, but James separates with a stiff arm and is able to drag Grant an additional seven yards. Tapp arrives from the line of scrimmage and finishes the tackle.

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