It's been hard to focus on anything other than Russell Wilson during the offseason. What with his many appearances at all kinds of events, from major happenings like the Entourage movie, to minor things, like Super Bowl 48, Russ has apparently been "Multiplicitied" because there's no way he can be in this many places at once. And that's probably why 95-percent of my articles since February have been a lot like a tea party on the desert island in Castaway:
No other guests besides Wilson.
But now that the season is starting to swing like a Reel Big Fish concert (now known as "Bill and Helen's wedding") it's a reminder that there are some other good players on this team. Some damn good other players. One of those players was probably robbed of a Super Bowl MVP award (or not, Malcolm Smith didn't do anything to not deserve the award in that one game) and was definitely the best player on the Seahawks during the 2014 playoffs. Playing "second safety" to Earl Thomas throughout his four-year career, it's possible that Kam Chancellor can now take a step forward into his own spotlight.
Four years ago he was interesting. Three years ago he was great. Two years ago he was fine. But last year, Chancellor wasn't just a mean hitter that benefited by playing next to the best free safety and best cornerback in the game, able to roam freely to be the bringer of death to all things Vernon Davis. In his own right, Chancellor may now be the best strong safety in the NFL.
During the playoffs, Chancellor led all safeties (source: ProFootballFocus) in interceptions (2) and passes defensed (3) and tackles (21) and assisted tackles (8) and stops (10) and throwing in his direction was extremely stupid (passer rating of 26.0) but Drew Brees did it seven times, and Colin Kaepernick did it six times, and Peyton Manning did it seven times, and none of them were even close to successful when they did.
Chancellor, 26, now enters the fifth year of his career. Several times so far he has had to make steps up to prove that nothing that he had ever done was simply a fluke and that he was more than just a hard hitter. He is not Ken Hamlin. Right now he seems to be a mix of Hamlin, and Michael Boulware, and Lofa Tatupu, but hopefully with none of the longevity, or more appropriately, lack of.
A few years ago I wrote an article on Field Gulls titled "I Love You Always Forever: Kam Chancellor" that was supposed to be a series of over-the-top love and admiration stories for only the very best Seahawks. (You have to remember that at the time, there weren't very many good players on the team, so it's sort of like having pizza and then showing favoritism to your favorite kids so that they can get the pizza they want and as much as they need. Now that the Seahawks have won the Super Bowl, that pizza party is like the McCallister's home before they leave for Paris and some kids are running around asking for "cheese only" and winding up s.o.l.
Golden Tate is what the French would call, "les incompentents.")
But then I got owned on Twitter when Chancellor subtweeted me that "some people just try too hard smh." Hopefully in that time I've grown as a writer, because I know that Chancellor has grown as a player. He's not just laying people out, but I believe this season quarterbacks will realize that they can no longer throw in his direction after they see Sherman and Thomas. It's just another All-Pro brick in the wall. The secondary should be even better, and Chancellor is a big reason why.
And I meant what I said about "always and forever."