The 6 highest paid safeties in the NFL are Ed Reed, Deon Grant, Michael Lewis, Roy Williams, Bob Sanders and Troy Polamalu. Of those, Reed and Polamalu are better than Grant, Sanders is more valuable to his team, but oft injured, and Roy Williams and (snicker) Michael Lewis are run stuffers that offer little in the way of coverage. When Grant was signed I, and imagine many people, thought his salary looked a little nuts. It didn't help that Grant was a year younger than the age DBs generally decline. I endorsed resigning Ken Hamlin, sticking him at SS, and finding a better cover safety through the draft or free agency. I still believe this team would be better with Grant at FS and Hamlin at SS. In retrospect, Hamlin getting his brains beat out after a night on the town likely preemptively ended his stay in Seattle. He's not a Tim Ruskell guy - if you enjoy understatement. Grant seemed like a costly move and perhaps a sign that Ruskell was buying into his own shit a bit too much. Demanding quality character is one thing, but refusing to sign someone because of their character and then signing someone to a huge contract instead seemed like a questionable decision. Well...
Grant has been excellent this season. That, despite playing out of position. I find his reputation as a run stuffer dubious, but he's generally held his own, and has shown marked improvement as the season progressed. The best indication of his play, though, may be how dominant Seattle has become against top wideouts. Much of that is that Seattle just doesn't get beat deep anymore. That's a testament to Grant and Brian Russell. What separates the two, in my eyes, is that Russell is credited mostly because of reputation, while you need only to watch the game to see Grant getting it done. Grant is excellent at breaking on the ball at just the right time. Something we may reflexively credit to his brains or savvy, but has a lot to do with his acceleration. One looks a lot smarter when they can get where their mind wants them, you know. Whether he will retain that ability, or lose a crucial step, will have a lot to do with how his contract is evaluated over the long haul. For now, he's another FA success story. A player bought not developed, who has helped turn the Hawks into a defensive force. If I were a Niners or Cards or Rams fans, I'd hate Tim Ruskell's goddamn guts. Thankfully, I'm not so blighted.
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That's it for this series. Posting might be a little light tomorrow. I'm spending the night getting plowed w/ an old buddy while watching the Pats make history. Monday we'll rip into the playoff coverage. Until then, Go Hawks!!