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2009 Season Retrospective: Leroy Hill

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Leroy Hill






Seahawks at Cowboys

Seattle started the game sloppy. Josh Wilson covered Miles Austin on his 10 yard completion. Wilson backed off before the snap and Austin shook coverage with his cut. Austin curled back and Wilson bit deep, allowing Austin an easy reception in the right flat. On the next play, David Hawthorne read Marion Barber's rush and shot through the right ‘A' gap, but fell off the tackle and allowed Barber to break right and into the second level. Leroy Hill broke contain. Ken Lucas tackled him after 16, but Hawthorne had a chance to tackle Barber for a loss and Hawthorne's penetration gave Hill an easy cleanup tackle off right end. Hill chased the inside movement and was easily blocked out attempting to reset on the right.

Outlook: It took a few years, but everyone is finally starting to spell Leroy Hill's name correctly: Big "L" little "r." I don't know why that bothered me so much. Maybe it's just a matter of knowing something is true, but facing frequent correction anyway. Regardless, it took years but now Hill's name is widely spelled correctly. Just in time for him to be on the verge of irrelevance.

Hill can still be a good linebacker, but it's hardly a premium position, his legal troubles are mounting, he is now quite expensive, the injuries that have plagued his career have worsened and Seattle discovered a more than adequate replacement in David Hawthorne. At his best, Hill surges downhill, gets good pop and good wrap, and because of that skill set is a high value tackler and contributor on blitzes. Even those skills abandoned Hill in 2009. He had only one sack and one quarterback hit, both career lows. He recorded the second-lowest success rate of his career and did not force any fumbles. Hill is hopeless in coverage and without his run-stopping and pass-rushing skills, just isn't a very valuable linebacker.

Seattle can opt out of Hill's contract after this season. It should. Until then, Hill can maybe win back some trade value in whatever handful of games he plays, but I wouldn't count on it. I am not sure Hill is broken. I think he could play inside linebacker somewhere. But there was a time and a place for Hill in Seattle, and oh it was a glorious time, but that time has passed and Hill is no longer a valuable part of the Seahawks future.