Two weeks and two days until the Seattle Seahawks open training camp on July 25th. In order to help this slowest of slow times in the NFL news cycle go by, I’ll be counting down until then day by day and looking at each of the team’s 2018 games in reverse order. So far I’ve looked at how the Dallas Cowboys slowed down the Seattle ground attack, how the Arizona Cardinals exploited third down predictability and how Brian Schottenheimer needed a big play on second and long against the Kansas City Chiefs, he called on Russell Wilson to hit Tyler Lockett with a moonshot.
Unfortunately that means that now it’s time to turn our attention to the Week 15 letdown against the San Francisco 49ers, a game the Hawks dropped 26-23 in overtime. However, the game only went to overtime in part due to the fact that the Niners caught an eight point swing early in the game. Sebastian Janikowski first missed a point after following a five yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Doug Baldwin and then failed to make a tackle on a kickoff return for a touchdown by rookie Richie James.
RICHIE JAMES JR KICKOFF RETURN TOUCHDOWN pic.twitter.com/Z8CrLWLHI3— FanDuel (@FanDuel) December 16, 2018
Some fans and observers had fun at Janikowki’s expense, joking about how little effort he put into tackling James.
Seabass’ jog to the bench was interrupted by Richie James’ kickoff return touchdown.— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) December 16, 2018
However, the key question is whether such a situation could have been foreseen. Here’s a look at how many tackles Janikowski has made by season since Pete Carroll took over as head coach of the Seahawks in 2010.
Sebastian Janikowski tackles by season
|Did Not Play
Now, no one expects any kicker to be a tackling machine, and not every kicker can be Matt Bosher.
KICKER MATT BOSHER WITH THE HUGE TACKLE pic.twitter.com/LAkJ1rQ14X— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) December 23, 2018
So, as Seattle gets set to roll into 2018 with Jason Myers manning the kicking position, it’s at least worthy of noting that Myers was with the Seahawks at this time last year. However, in spite of going 2 for 2 on field goals for the Hawks during the preseason, Myers was waived following the second preseason game. At that point, he was claimed off waivers by the New York Jets, where he, of course, went on to have a Pro Bowl season.
As part of that Pro Bowl season he converted a higher percentage of his field goal attempts, as well as had a higher percentage of kickoffs which went for touchbacks. In addition, when J’Mon Moore of the Green Bay Packers threatened to break a kickoff return, Myers was there to square up and make the tackle.
In any case, whether having Myers instead of Janikowski during 2018 would have changed anything is irrelevant at this point. Janikowski is retired and Myers has a top ten contract for his position, while Seahawks fans simply hope that he can repeat on his Pro Bowl performance from last season. Except for the PATs he missed against the Houston Texans in Week 15 after Pro Bowl voting had already closed, as we can live without any missed PATs against playoff teams.