It's not easy replacing a legend. The legend is a known quantity, something the audience can always count on. A constant in your life that you trust will always be there for you. The replacement is not so known, and therefore not so trusted. Can we count on this new guy to be there for us? Can we count on him to live up to the legend?
The replacement lives under the shadow of his predecessor, always scrutinized, always doubted. It's not until the replacement creates his own shadow that he can truly be accepted. And how does a replacement create his own shadow, while still managing to retain the spirit of what made the legend legendary?
I'm not John Morgan. I have not, and will not pretend to be John Morgan. I don't have nearly the amount of scouting acumen or writing flair that he had. What I do have, though, is love. A love for the game, a love for the Seahawks, and a love for a better understanding of the game. And also a love of dry wit, but people who followed me in the comments already knew that. Time will tell if I can create my own shadow, but for now my main interest is keeping the audience engaged and entertained. If I can keep the spirit of Field Gulls alive while holding my own style, I will die happy.
I present my analysis of Aaron Curry through the first four games of 2010 in the best way I know I can: with honest eyes and some deadpan snarking.
I'm greatly looking forward to this new era of Field Gulls. And if I ever become a Replacement Scrappy, feel free to punch me in the junk.
Week 1-versus 49ers
(6:08) F.Gore right tackle to SF 30 for 1 yard (A.Curry).
Red Bryant seals up the blocking lane, and Curry waltzes through the subsequent hole to stuff Gore for a measly 1-yard gain.
(12:11) A.Smith sacked at SEA 44 for -7 yards (R.Bryant). FUMBLES (R.Bryant) [R.Bryant], recovered by SF-A.Davis at SEA 41. A.Davis to SEA 41 for no gain (L.Tatupu).
Curry is lined up in a down position, and shoves Vernon Davis into next week. Now Davis isn't known for his pass-blocking prowess, and Curry really didn't factor into the sack and fumble, but getting in Alex Smith's face had to have helped the cause.
(1:19) (Shotgun) F.Gore up the middle to SF 11 for 1 yard (A.Curry).
Curry blows through his block and stops Gore before he can get started.
(13:53) A.Smith pass incomplete deep right to M.Crabtree [A.Curry].
Curry breaks through the line, and chases Smith towards the sideline, forcing him into a face-saving throw-away pass. The QB Sack stat is nice and all, but plays like this are still valuable.
(2:14) F.Gore left tackle to SEA 29 for 6 yards (C.Cole).
Curry is lined up on the outer shoulder of the LT. Had he held position, he would've been waiting to tackle Gore easily. But he inexplicably rushes towards the pile in the middle of the LOS, while Gore jogs through the spot he just abandonded for an easy 6 yards.
(10:44) (Shotgun) PENALTY on SEA, Neutral Zone Infraction, 5 yards, enforced at SEA 38 - No Play.
Ah, the famed Curry jump. He wasn't alone in this, as Tats and Herring also joined in the fun, but the ref singled him out, so he gets the blame.
(8:34) A.Smith pass short right to Del.Walker to SEA 3 for 6 yards (L.Tatupu).
Curry briefly follows Walker in what appears to be man coverage, then stops for a second, no doubt confused by Walker making a simple cut to the middle. This was all the time Smith needed to hit him.
(13:40) (Shotgun) PENALTY on SEA-A.Curry, Neutral Zone Infraction, 5 yards, enforced at SF 18 - No Play.
No commentary needed. If you want to split hairs, you could probably pin this on Smith playing with the play clock. But Curry still has the happy trigger.
--On the TD pass to Josh Morgan that was later overturned on a challenge, Curry is lined up on the far side alone. The Niners bunched up 3 WRs to the right, and Trufant is standing about 10 yards back in a zone, leaving Curry all alone and forced to decide between covering Morgan on a corner route or Delanie Walker in the flat. He chose the latter. Understandable choice, had Trufant chose to cover Morgan, rather than wandering towards the middle of the endzone and only sprinting for the ball when it was too late.
This is why I hate zone coverage in the red zone.
--Curry manages to do more exciting things lining up in a down technique than his normal position. But he also tends to over-pursue on these plays, resulting in getting blocked out of the pocket.
--Speaking of over-pursuing, on 2nd and 5 in the 3rd, Curry rushes Smith un-touched. He whiffs badly. Clemons gets the hit on the QB to force an incomplete.
--The Niners burned their last timeout with 9:26 to go in the 2nd quarter. At 6:26 they get a delay of game penalty thanks to having no timeouts. Part of me wishes Mike Singletary was still coaching the team.
Week 2-Versus Broncos
(5:19) (Shotgun) K.Orton pass incomplete short left to J.Gaffney.
The Broncos run a play-fake stretch, pulling their entire O-line to the right side. Curry is rushing on the left, un-blocked and with a free route to the QB. Kyle Orton sells the play-action and turns around to see Curry in his face. He forces the throw and it barely misses Gaffney's outstretched hands.
(10:38) K.Orton pass incomplete short right to D.Graham.
Curry is covering Graham, and stays with his man long enough that the throw was a questionable decision by Orton.
(3:57) K.Orton pass short left to D.Graham to DEN 13 for -4 yards (A.Curry).
Now this is the kind of badassery I hope to see more often. Curry lines up at the LOS. After the snap, he destroys the poor soul assigned to block him, and nearly disrupts the play fake. Orton backs away from the pressure and dumps off to Graham in the backfield on the left hashmark.
But Curry is not having any of that. After receiving the ball, Graham is greeted by Raheem Brock, Colin Cole and Heater, and attempts to cut back inside. Curry, after being foiled on the play fake, adjusts on a dime and runs from the right hashmark to the left hashmark to smash Graham to the turf for four lesser yards..
It is the kind of "sideline-to-sideline" play we expect out of our elite LBs, and for 5 glorious seconds, Curry showed us what one looked like. More of those, please.
(2:07) (Shotgun) K.Orton pass short left to D.Thomas to DEN 17 for -3 yards (A.Curry).
Broncos line up 3 WRs on the left side. Curry is on pass coverage duty. After the snap, he reads the QB, jumps on the route, and nails Thomas before he can do anything with the ball.
(12:03) K.Orton pass short left to E.Royal pushed ob at SEA 1 for 34 yards (L.Milloy). Seattle challenged the runner was down by contact ruling, and the play was Upheld. (Timeout #2.)
This was a lowlight for most of the defense, caught with their pants down on a flea flicker. Curry pursues Moreno off the weakside, and is frozen stupid when he tosses the ball back to Orton. The rest of the defense is equally puzzled as he throws to a wide-open Royal.
I like how the broadcasters praised Royal's speed, while Old Man Lawyer catches up to him (after initially blowing the coverage) and makes a shoelace tackle to save the TD.
(:47) (Shotgun) PENALTY on SEA-A.Curry, Neutral Zone Infraction, 5 yards, enforced at DEN 20 - No Play.
Take a sip in your Aaron Curry Drinking Game.
--(15:00) K.Orton pass deep left to B.Lloyd ran ob at DEN 48 for 25 yards.
(9:17) (Shotgun) K.Orton pass deep left to D.Thomas for 21 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
Kelly Jennings, ladies and gentlemen!
--During the 2nd quarter, FOX whips out a "Crank it up!" graphic to illustrate the crowd noise. Meanwhile, most of the crowd shots are of people sitting down and clapping politely. You're no Qwest Field, Mile High.
--Aaron Curry's pass-rushing strategy seems to be little more than "rawr push guy hard rawr". He has no technique or finesse to his rush moves, and skilled lineman can easily box him away from the QB.
--Golden Tate's 63-yard punt return in the 3rd is still the goofiest-looking athletic play I've ever seen.
Week 3-Versus Chargers
(14:54) (Shotgun) D.Sproles right guard to SD 35 for 16 yards (M.Trufant, E.Thomas).
Curry is on outside contain duty. Afer the snap, he wanders to his left, taps Antonio Gates and abandons his post to...do something. Darren Sproles takes the handoff, moves left, cuts back to the right, and wouldn't you know, there's a gaping hole on the outside where Curry used to be. Marcus Trufant cleans up this defensive failure.
(8:26) P.Rivers pass deep right to L.Naanee to 50 for 16 yards (M.Trufant).
On a blitz, Curry bursts through the line untouched and is poised to take off Phillp Rivers' head, only to be stopped by the physical, intimidating beast known as.....Darren Sproles.
That's right, Curry The Lion, The Unstoppable Force, gets easily blocked out by Tiny Darren.
--(8:38) M.Scifres punts 46 yards to SEA 14, Center-R.Neill. G.Tate to SEA 14 for no gain (Claude Spillman).
Golden Tate is so dumb, yet so adorable. This is about the 5th time I've seen this play and I'm still in stiches. He doesn't really try to catch the ball, but once it bounces on the ground he leaps up for it like a happy dog chasing a Frisbee.
--For some reason, I can never remember whether his name is Mike Tolbert or Matt Tolbert.
--O.Mare kicks 72 yards from SEA 30 to SD -2. D.Sproles to SD 22 for 24 yards (K.Chancellor). The Replay Assistant challenged the fumble ruling, and the play was REVERSED. O.Mare kicks 72 yards from SEA 30 to SD -2. D.Sproles to SD 22 for 24 yards (K.Chancellor). FUMBLES (K.Chancellor), RECOVERED by SEA-D.Davis at SD 24. D.Davis to SD 24 for no gain (Claude Spillman).
The original ruling was that Sproles was down on the contact. The Qwest crowd goes berserk when they see the replay on the Jumbotron. When the ref comes out to announce the play is being reviewed, he is visibly terrified for his life.
--The horrific clock management at the end of the first half was straight out of the Andy Reid playbook.
--Curry left in the 2nd quarter with a hamstring injury, in case you're wondering why this commentary has more general notes than Curry-related notes.
--Some people have been clamoring for Will Herring to get a starting gig. After watching some of his feeble attempts at pass coverage, I'm not too sure.
--Norv Turner's face would make an excellent cheese grater.
Week 4-Versus Rams
(9:25) S.Bradford pass short right to D.Fells to SL 18 for 6 yards (A.Curry).
Seahawks are in a base 4-3. Curry lined up on the near side. Daniel Fells motions from left to right, but nobody reacts to it. After the snap, Curry drops back in a zone between the hashmarks, and Fells is all alone in the flat. Easy throw for Sam Bradford. Good hustle by Curry to close in on Fells and prevent further damage. Also good awareness to sniff out the screen play.
(7:31) S.Bradford sacked at SL 44 for -6 yards (L.Milloy).
Lawyer Milloy sneaks up on a well-timed safety blitz, shoots through the open B gap, and hits Bradford's legs. He doesn't actually bring down Bradford, but does buy enough time for Curry to come off the edge and clean up. Curry celebrates, the broadcasters give him the credit, but this was mostly Lawyer's play. I still appreciate how Curry pulled off a pass rush without being swallowed up or pushed out of the pocket. Good hustle.
(14:45) S.Jackson up the middle to SEA 48 for 6 yards (D.Davis).
Dexter Davis got credit for the tackle, but it was Curry who sealed the cutback lane and got the initial hit on Jackson. Upon further review, I don't even see Dexter Davis involved in that play.
As if you needed further proof to how stupid the tackle stat is.
(1:23) S.Jackson right tackle to SEA 7 for -2 yards (A.Curry).
Even in garbage time, Curry is still giving effort. He brushes off his block like shoulder dandruff and tackles Jackson for a loss. Apparantely, Jackson's hurt groin didn't help him on that play.
(11:48) S.Bradford pass short right to S.Jackson to SEA 21 for 49 yards (M.Trufant).
Seahawks lined up in a base 4-3. During the snap, Curry runs forward as if rushing the QB, but drops back in a zone on the far-side hashmark. Steven Jackson takes the pass in the backfield on a simple zone. Curry over-pursues into screen blockers, and Jackson blows through the hole the #4 pick just made. The zone call was fine, but Curry's big mistake was abandoning his post too soon after the catch.
Perhaps an appropriate nickname for Curry would be "TK-421"
--If I took a drink for every time the broadcasters mentioned Steven Jackson's groin in this game, I'd be passed out by halftime.
--(13:11) M.Hasselbeck sacked at SEA 34 for -7 yards (D.Vobora).
As awesome as Russell Okung has been in 2010, he showed his rookie chops in this game. Vobora is lined up close to the LOS, clearly in a blitzing position. After the snap, Okung hops and looks around for someone to block, not noticing Vobora running right past him. With Forsett moving to the right side, there's no blitz pickup for Vobora, who brings down Matt without being touched. I'll forgive you, Russell.
--(:34) (Shotgun) S.Bradford pass deep right to B.Gibson to SEA 21 for 23 yards (K.Jennings).
Marcus Trufant is in a zone coverage. Gibson catches the ball in his general vicinity, and Tru stumbles around like an epiliptic patient trying to tackle him. He fails, of course. Marcus Trufant is not the same, but you already knew that.
--I like Roy Lewis, but he really should be limited to special teams and dime packages.
--(5:28) S.Jackson right tackle to SEA 44 for -4 yards (J.Siavii). PENALTY on SEA-J.Siavii, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 15 yards, enforced at SEA 44.
Junior Siavii gets flagged for briefly taking off his helmet after the tackle, then putting it back on. Siavii was wearing a hot pink headband. Maybe he just really cared about breast cancer awareness, and his limited talents meant this was one of the few opportunities for him to show how much he cares.