Here's a game to play while you're waiting for the Seahawks, see how many players you can spot that got their first start because an inferior player was injured. I'm watching Mewelde Moore as I type this. It's an underreported phenomenon in the NFL. Football coaches are treated with such reverence, fans take for granted that they make the right personnel decisions. If only.
In 2007, Seattle's season was rescued by two such fortuitous injuries. Losing Chuck Darby halfway through week 6 allowed Brandon Mebane to start at RDT. The front seven took off. Seattle lost Shaun Alexander weeks 10-12. It rolled over the hapless 49ers, but won its next two contests, Chicago and at Saint Louis, by a combined 11 points. The swing between Morris and Alexander was enough to decide either contest--or both.
Tonight, Seattle is rescued from two struggling starters. One because eminent suckiness. Like Morris and Alexander, the upgrade from Lawrence Jackson to Darryl Tapp is one part Tapp, an above average defensive end, and two parts Jackson, currently a nothing as a pass rusher. The other because of injury. Like Morris and Alexander, there's no doubt that at his best Matt Hasselbeck is a better quarterback than Seneca Wallace, but bulging disc Beck is anything but at his best. In fact, I haven't seen a less steady Hasselbeck since 2001 and never has he suffered a weaker arm.
Let's hope the mix of injury and benching helps Seattle play like a contender. Advanced NFL Stats projects Tampa Bay with an 86% chance of winning. Winning today is about overcoming odds and about proving Seattle is capable of overcoming odds.
It's been awhile, but it's due: