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2008 Season Retrospective: Will Herring

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Overview: Will Herring played in 11 games, starting in week 16 and playing the majority of week 17. He mostly participated as a special teams player. He had two tackles and a fumble recovery. As a starter and as a special teams player, Herring ran and ran and ran.

What went right: Herring ran on cover teams. He ran in front of return men. He ran around behind the defensive line and ran around blockers. He ran back twenty yards and ran back to get into the play. That's some good cardio.

Quintessential game: Jets @ Seahawks

Pinball Wizard: Get this kid some Adderall! I've never seen a linebacker so incapable of finishing any one action before beginning another. God put quicksilver in his veins and it's seeped into his brains. Kid's just goofy agile, real quick and goofy frenetic. Jitters aside, Will Herring brings some interesting qualities. First, let's talk Herring the run stuffer. He's not. Herring stays above the scrum so that his tackles tend to come a couples yards too late. He had two to this point, one after seven and one after four. He's a much better pass defender than Leroy Hill. Brett Favre seemed to sense that and twice looked Herring's way before targeting another receiver. He's Slim Jim lean, and looks more safety than linebacker, but you can't discount the potential. He needs another ten+ pounds of bulk, and that's going to bite a little into his speed and agility, but understand he ran a 4.57/40 and 6.56/3 Cone (.31 seconds faster than Marcus Trufant and likely fastest on the roster), so the potential to fill out and retain what makes him is there. Because a little lost frenzy might do Herring some good.

What went wrong: Buried on the depth chart, Herring will again have to contribute as a special teams player. So far he hasn't. I think Herring may be too smart or just not bloodthirsty enough to fulfill the maniac gunner he looks capable of becoming.

Outlook: I will miss the preseason if it goes away or is shortened. I will miss seeing Herring pinballing around looking for action. I will miss the Heater's chance to be the baddest hitter on the field. The Seahawks could platoon the two and have most of the abilities of a an NFL linebacker, if only in waves. Perhaps when Leroy Hill takes his yearly injury hiatus, Seattle will. Gus Bradley seems open to situational positions. Most coaches are against telegraphing their play call and don't, even if running a nickel or dime package seems more transparent that rotating a linebacker.

Herring is very quick and has excellent agility. In clear passing downs, he's almost defensive back good in the short zone. Unlike most bulked up safeties, he's not, never-ever, a big hitter. That limits him a lot as a linebacker, because he just doesn't belong in a scrum. He hasn't really shown it as a pro, but I believe Herring has very good ball skills. Even with a healthy Leroy Hill, Herring deserves looks in nickel downs. Seattle has worked Aaron Curry at end, and should it run a 3-3 with Curry at end or 4-2 with Curry at end, Herring should see some snaps at weakside linebacker.

Not that I expect that to happen.