2009 Season Retrospective: Chris Spencer

Chris Spencer

2008

2007

Highlights

Bears at Seahawks

The single most impressive pull of the quarter was by Chris Spencer on this play:

1-10-SEA 15 (5:27) 22-J.Jones up the middle to SEA 31 for 16 yards (38-D.Manning)

Spencer snapped and then fluidly pulled into the second level without delay. He engaged Hunter Hillenmeyer and took him out of the play.

Seahawks at Cowboys

Spencer shoves out nose tackle Junior Siavii and then flops, cutting inside linebacker Bradie James.

...

It was another opportunity lost and led to yet another lost opportunity. Strike three stopped the drive. Dallas blitzed six out of a 3-3 nickel formation. Hasselbeck sagged and sagged, drawing the defenders in. At the last moment he jumped and threw across his body. The pass was flat and slapped away by Stephen Bowen. Justin Forsett dropped his shoulders, Chris Spencer to his front, Max Unger and Rob Sims at either side; not a defender between him and the first.

...

It's third and three and Seattle is down by four.

Seattle runs an inside draw. It gets good push from Chris Spencer and Rob Sims. Forsett slips through a seam and streams out the other side behind the pulling Spencer. He has the first.

...

Spencer got revenge. He forced back Ratliff and turned him allowing Julius Jones to cutback left and rush for six.

Seahawks at Cardinals

Justin Forsett attacked the middle on a simple run up the gut. Chris Spencer turned his man and from there it was Force against the second level. He ran for fourteen. It was the single longest play of the drive.

Julius Jones cashed in on an inside draw. Max Unger was run through and Jones had to bull and spin through a tackle in his own backfield. Spencer and Rob Sims had fought back the defensive right and Jones cut left and into space for the touchdown.

49ers at Seahawks

For most of the season, Chris Spencer protected Unger. If a man was aligned over Unger, Spencer would typically turn right and double the defender. Rob Sims was the reliable guard. He was left to fend for himself. Unger proved capable of controlling his man and that allowed Spencer to read and react. It proved critical.

Lock was badly beat around the end by Manny Lawson. Sims controlled his man and Spencer stood free in his center zone. Spencer turned that freedom into a crucial freeing block. He doubled Sims man and the two dominated him so completely that Sims was able to pull free and pick up Locklear's blown assignment. What looked like a sack turned into a fifteen yard completion.

...

Chris Spencer teamed with Unger to blow back McDonald three yards and allow Spencer to pull and pop the next man in his way. It was a ripping hole that vanished. Jones missed the cutback lane, the cutback lane closed an instant later, and Jones sunk his shoulders and smashed into the pile as he's wont.

...

Spencer pointed left, identifying the blitzer. Then Hasselbeck looked like he was audibling and Forsett shifted from left to right.

...

Forsett curled, caught and unwound towards the end zone to score six and give Seattle the lead. He was in before a defender could touch him. Spencer pulled out immediately and wormed into Willis' body. Last season, Spencer slammed Willis but Willis slammed back, separating and tackling Jones after eight. This time, Spencer stayed with Willis, not attempting the knockdown block, but keeping on him, staying square and jogging the All Pro into the end zone. Sims pulled late but cut Mark Roman on a crucial backside block. Unger pulled cleanly, found Dre Bly and threw a schoolyard beatdown on the former Pro Bowler. He squared, coiled and blocked Bly into the air and onto his back. Touchdown.

Lowlights

Bears at Seahawks

11. Chris Spencer blew a block on a sloppy screen pass attempt.

Seahawks at Cowboys

Chris Spencer was blown back and dropped by Jay Ratliff and Ratliff virtually stood atop Spencer when he tackled Julius Jones for a loss of one. It was a worrying start for Seattle's offense compounded by miserable field position.

Bucs at Seahawks

Jim Lawrence Mora officially tips the scales against Tim Ruskell. He is among the most incompetent leaders I have ever studied. He is considered like Caligula, fair like Stalin, confident like Marat and smart like a donut. This week, in order, he swapped his right guard and center after shaming and questioning the toughness of said center: Chris Spencer; He revealed that other teams perceive the Seahawks as soft and tacitly expressed his agreement; Voiced his thinking that for Seattle to be better, it needs more "dirtbags"; Led those dirtbags, through alternating three-man rushes and six-man blitzes, to its nadir as a modern franchise.

Outlook: Interesting thought: It was a bad season for Chris Spencer. He started the season injured and ended the season benched. He was publically called out by his head coach, and not for poor effort or play, but toughness. All told, he missed two games because of a torn quad, was rotated at right guard in two games to end the season and started 12 games at center.

And he tore it up. Turning nose tackles, protecting Max Unger, identifying blitzes, pulling, squaring in space, orchestrating screen passes and generally fulfilling the potential he has long teased but never consistently played with. Spencer was a better run blocker than Rob Sims and a better pass blocker than anyone but Rob Sims. It was his second straight season of growth as a player. Spencer has as much talent as anyone on the line other than Russell Okung. He is squatty, but quick and agile. His footwork has improved. Spencer has always been a powerhouse.

It was a bad season for Spencer but he showed growth as a player. The overall talent on the line is better and that could help reveal just how good Spencer is becoming. I think this is a big season for Chris. He is playing for his future, with the Seahawks and in the NFL. He has a coaching staff that believes in him. He has reinforcements to his left. Unger should suck less. Sean Locklear should cut off backside pursuit. Justin Forsett and Leon Washington should exploit seams and solid second-level blocks and power a solid rushing attack. It was a bad season for Chris Spencer, but it might be the last time for a long time that I write that.

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