The formatting on the Web got screwed up on Frank’s midseason grade report, so I cleaned it up and posted it here.
RENTON – Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren on Monday afternoon was asked if there were any positives he could pull from the first half of this NFL season that has seen the Seahawks, decimated by injuries, fall to 2-6 and most likely out of the race for a playoff berth for the first time in six years.
Holmgren sat thinking for more than 10 seconds, unable to really pinpoint anything that through eight games has made his final season a success.
It’s hard to disagree. Here’s a look at our grades for the Seahawks’ season of misery:
Before he was sidelined with a bulging disk in his back, Matt Hasselbeck was having the worst statistical season of his career, crafting a 57.7 passer rating.
Charlie Frye passed for just 83 yards in his one start. And Seneca Wallace followed up that performance with 73 yards. Wallace is 1-2 as a starter, but he has been unable to offer the offense any semblance of consistent productivity.
Through the first four games, the running attack was the strength of the team and carried the offense, with Julius Jones momentarily among the league leaders in rushing. But the lack of a passing attack has allowed opponents to key on the backs, limiting them to 115 total yards the past two games.
This grade is a bit unfair because the unit has been most affected by injuries. Bobby Engram, Deion Branch, Nate Burleson, Ben Obomanu, Logan Payne, Billy McMullen and Koren Robinson all missed playing time. But the fact is the passing game is last in the league, averaging a paltry 141.2 yards a game.
Rookie John Carlson appears to be worth the draft pick Tim Ruskell gave up in order to move up and acquire the former Notre Dame star. He leads the team in receiving and has given the Seahawks a gifted blocker who helps the run game. He had a costly drop in the loss to Philadelphia but that was his biggest mistake all year. Jeb Putzier has been serviceable as a backup.
Walter Jones has been good, as usual, and Floyd Womack has been surprisingly effective while remaining healthy. But Mike Wahle has had two very costly holding penalties that have nullified big plays; Sean Locklear has been lackluster in recovering from a knee sprain; and center Chris Spencer has not improved over last year. Ray Willis has shown promise.
The defensive front has done a good job holding down Frank Gore, Steven Jackson, Ryan Grant, Earnest Graham and Brian Westbrook. It is tied for ninth in the league with 20 sacks. Brandon Mebane has become a bona fide defensive tackle, and Craig Terrill has done a nice job backing him up. The unit is sure to take a big hit, however, if Patrick Kerney is lost for an extended period.
Leroy Hill, in his contract year, has been exceptional. Julian Peterson has been average, though he has three forced fumbles and four sacks. And Lofa Tatupu has been injured for much of the season, suffering a knee injury, a concussion and a groin pull.
Kelly Jennings has been burned so badly he lost his starting job. The safeties have given up 23 plays longer than 20 yards, including three plays longer than 40. They are next to last in yards relinquished, giving up 258 yards a game. And they have failed to get to the quarterback on numerous blitz packages, leaving teammates exposed.
Olindo Mare has been well worth the investment, connecting on 13 of 14 attempts and all 16 of his extra points. Also, he regularly puts the ball in the end zone on kickoffs.
Ryan Plackemeier was cut after one game. The team opted to sign Jon Ryan, who has been less than impressive. He cannot seem to get a ball downed inside the 20.
Where Seattle ranks among 32 NFL teams:
Total offense per game (255.5/ 31st); Yards per play (4.5/ 31st; First downs per game (14.9/29th); Third-down conversions (30.4 pct./29th); Yards allowed per game (373.5/27th); Points differential (-59/27th); Points scored per game (18.9/26th); Points allowed per game (26.3/26th).