Here's the counter to the Tim Ruskell sucks argument: Ruskell inherited a franchise with a small handful of top tier talent, virtually no depth, and few players behind that top tier that were even NFL caliber. Want to argue that, look at the roster Ruskell inherited. Many of the problems the current Hawks face started in the final season of GM Mike Holmgren and flourished under the tyranny of "Trader Bob" Whitsitt. The two's sketchy drafts and free agent debacles left Seattle consistently scrapping to assemble a team. The few hits Holmgren/Whitsitt had almost all still play with Seattle: Maurice Morris and Rocky Bernard from 2002; Marcus Trufant and Seneca Wallace from 2003; Sean Locklear and Craig Terrill from 2004. The missing players are: Jerramy Stevens (2002), Ken Hamlin and Josh Brown (2003), DJ Hackett, Donnie Jones and maybe Niko Koutovides (2004) depending on how low you want to set the bar. That's the sum talent of three terrible drafts.
A draft class reaches maturity in three to five years. Four years removed from 2004 and six from 2002, with two first day picks starting for Seattle and three total starting anywhere in the NFL, isn't it time that Whitsitt and Holmgren share the blame?
Scrutinizing Tim Ruskell's moves, it's much harder to affix blame. I think fans fail to see that Tim Ruskell took on a rebuilding project. He's patched holes from the start. This season, the players he patched with aren't instant producers like Lofa Tatupu, Leroy Hill, Julian Peterson, Deon Grant, Patrick Kerney, Brandon Mebane, and Joe Jurevicius. Those cracks in Seattle's foundation finally brought the whole damn team down. Well, those cracks, injuries, bad luck and Arizona finally finding itself. But scrutinize the moves Ruskell made and the mess he was left and it's clear who's most to blame for this awful season.
This week we take an every play look at John Carlson and Josh Wilson. Evaluating receivers and DBs is...not ideal. It's important to watch every play and see a player's impact between targets. We'll do a quarter a day.