It’s already mid-season in the NFL, and the Seahawks are struggling despite a fairly optimistic start. One moment, the Seahawks are 2-3 after beating the New York Giants with a glimmer of playoff hope; but next thing you know, the Hawks are sliding down a slippery slope and into the NFL cellar.
Nonetheless, it’s time to give out midseason grades. In other words, let’s attempt to find a few bright spots on this team.
Most Valuable Player: Chris Clemons
The team’s “Leo” end has five of the Seahawks’ 13 sacks and also leads in a very important unofficial category that speaks to his disruptiveness: Plays forced that lead to tackles by his teammates. Even at 253 lbs, Clemons has elite pass-rush skills that allow him to run around offensive tackles that outweigh him by 50-80 lbs.
Another underrated aspect of Clemons’ game is his ability to play the run well. At least from my perspective, Chris is always great at staying low. By staying low, Clemons has good leverage against usually bigger OT’s which allows him to blow them back.
Honorable mention: Earl Thomas, Red Bryant
See player winners for best offensive and defensive players, along with the Seahawks' biggest surprise, most disappointing and most exciting players after the jump.
Best Offensive Player: Russell Okung
After starting slow this season due to an ankle injury, the franchise left tackle has picked it up. Okung has been the most consistent player on an otherwise inconsistent offensive unit. He’s been the only positive on an offensive line that is second in the NFL in sacks given up with 29.
His best performance this season, by far, is the couple one on one situation he had with Demarcus Ware. Big Russ handled him like his Seahawk predecessor, Walter Jones. Things are finally looking up for this young O-line. The running game had a breakthrough performance against the Cowboys, with Marshawn Lynch gaining 135 of the team’s season-best 162 rushing yards.
Honorable mention: Marshawn Lynch
Biggest Surprise: Doug Baldwin
In a receiving corps that includes wide receiver Sidney Rice and tight end Zach Miller —both free-agent additions who were Pro Bowl pass-catchers with their previous teams—and Mike Williams, the Seahawks leading receiver last season, Doug Baldwin, a rookie free agent from Stanford, has been the best performer. He has a team-high 28 receptions, shares the lead in TD catches (two) and has accumulated 434 reception yards.
The 5-10, 189 slot receiver has in essence become Tarvaris Jackson’s security blanket, always being in the right place at the right time to catch the ball. Basically, he’s a faster, younger Brandon Stockley that could be the Seahawks’ next Bobby Engram.
Honorable mention: Brandon Browner, K.J. Wright
Biggest Disappointment: Zach Miller
As you might know, the Seahawks offensive line has been terrible.
As a result of the offensive line being so bad, former Pro bowl tight end Zach Miller has had to stay in and pass block, instead of actually going out and catching the ball. Keeping him in on the line blocking takes away a reliable pair of hands away from Tarvaris Jackson, who has had to resort to throwing to brick hands like Anthony McCoy and Cameron Morrah.
Zach Miller only catching 11 balls this year for 99 yards isn’t his fault, but it’s still disappointing nonetheless.
Honorable mention: Mike Williams
Most Exciting Player: Kam Chancellor
Last season, safety Kam Chancellor learned the safety position from former Pro Bowler, Lawyer Milloy. But when the Seahawks decided not to bring Milloy back, people were skeptical on whether Chancellor could come in and take Lawyer’s spot successfully.
He’s done that and more.
In the first eight games of this season, Kam has absolutely wiped out some fools (i.e. Todd Heap) and made them eat the turf after punishing blows. Sure, he occasionally messes up in pass coverage, but Chancellor is largely one of the reasons why the Seahawks are ranked second in run defense, only giving up 3.4 yards per carry. He and Earl Thomas could be an elite duo in the VERY near future.
Honorable mention: Earl Thomas, Chris Clemons
--Nathan Parsons (@nathanparsons98)