I plan on rolling out my offseason checklist sometime next week. To repeat myself from last season "I prefer this to a "plan" because it accepts that I, as a blogger, do not know all the factors in play, and therefore can not endorse a team signing nor chide a team for not signing a specific player." In other words, I could say "cut this guy and this guy and this guy and throw so much damn money at Albert Haynesworth he breaks into money-seizures and begins vomiting Krugerrands!" But there's a legitimate chance Haynesworth isn't interested in playing for Seattle at any price.
Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to audit last season's offseason checklist a little over a year after writing it. In the spirit of seeing if I knew what the hell I was talking about then and if it looks silly or spot-on in retrospect. Let's tackle the "priorities" today, the "to do" tomorrow and the "considerations" on Friday.
Draft a Long Term Replacement for Walter Jones
For most priorities I do not define exactly how the team should fill a need, but left tackle is an obvious exception. Top left tackles rarely see free agency, and when they do, are frightfully expensive. Further, this is a gangbusters draft for offensive tackle talent. If Seattle does not acquire a young offensive tackle this offseason, it will be hard to rate this offseason as anything but a failure.
I'm full of bluster, aren't I? Well Seattle didn't draft a left tackle and by season's end was dependent on something called a "Na'Shan Goddard" to prevent its quarterback from being blindsided into dust. To Tim Ruskell's credit, the best tackles went very fast. Before Seattle's 28th overall pick, Jake Long, Ryan Clady, Chris Williams, Gosder Cherilus, Jeff Otah, Sam Baker and Duane Brown were drafted. That's a lot of top talent and at least one Gosder Cherilus. Seattle traded up to select John Carlson, expending their third round pick in the process and so doing lost out on another tackle I was pretty gaga over: Anthony Collins. Following, Seattle could have selected Breno Giacomini, Barry Richardson, Geoff Schwartz or Kirk Barton, but the opportunity to pick a "long term replacement" for Walter Jones was pretty much past.
In retrospect, I think I was right about tackle being a paramount need, but I also think Seattle failed to draft a tackle mostly because it refused to reach on an inferior talent. Sometimes, it would seem, things just fall apart without anyone to blame.
Re-sign or Franchise Marcus Trufant
Tru is among the very best talents on this roster, add to that his age, his progression and the time it takes to develop a young corner, and this is a slamdunk no-brainer. The team needs to retain Trufant or suffer an extreme drop-off at both corner positions.
Done. I think most fans will agree Trufant had another strong season on a Seattle pass defense with the rollover potential of a Suzuki Samurai.
Draft, Sign, Develop or Trade For a Starting Left Guard
This is not a key -> keyhole situation. Seattle has a definite need, but no one way of filling it. If 2007 draftee Mansfield Wrotto has shown enough on the practice squad, then Seattle may only be thinking depth. Wrotto certainly has the tools, but late as the 2007 NFL draft, none of the polish. If Seattle wishes to draft a left guard, Duke Robinson is one of the better guard talents to come around in a number of years. Behind him is a deep class, with some top-tier talent. It would not be inconceivable, nor inadvisable, for Seattle to draft two offensive linemen in the first 3 rounds.
Seattle didn't just sign a guard, they signed the left guard I commanded they sign. That's pretty cool, and yet...Eventually Mike Wahle was IRed due to injury, and though he was an awesome run blocker, he didn't always seem a great fit in Mike Solari's zone blocking system. His pass blocking was problematic. His injury is career threatening. Ruskell wants to assemble an offensive line out of well-coached spare parts, but that's typically a pretty poor way to create a power run game. I hear there's this guy named Duke Robinson. Four year starter in the Big 12. Atlanta native. Crafted in the zone blocking dream factory. Seems his stock is foolishly depressed. And Seattle with an early second round pick.
Ensure Stability at Head Coach
I'm not going to participate further in the speculation of whether Holmgren will retire or not. I've picked my horse, made it clear months back that I thought that this was Holmgren's last season with the team, and am not going to junior psycho-analyze his recent press conference. Be it Holmgren, Jim Mora Jr, Jon Gruden or Coach X, the Seattle Seahawks are a veteran club that needs stability in its coaching staff. All things considered, Mora would likely be preferable. One thing I definitely wish to avoid is Holmgren coaching one more season, and therefore being the proverbial "lame duck". If Holmgren wishes to stick around, I hope he signs an extension and recommits himself to the craft. When Holmgren says that Stump Mitchell is making the decision as to which running back receives carries, I question his commitment to fielding a winning team.