I am really going out on a limb here, but I think David “The Heater” Hawthorne may turn out to be the best Seahawks linebacker in the upcoming season. I DO NOT think he is the best linebacker on the roster, however, based on outside circumstances such as durability, confidence, legal and contract status, Hawthorne seems to have the most upside right now.
Lofa Tatupu is clearly the best linebacker and maybe the best player on the Seahawks roster… when he’s healthy. Tatupu missed a considerable amount of time last year with a significant injury and is already being bothered by a hamstring. Tatupu has always been known to be a General on the field. He has played with a violent tenacity delivering hits twice his size to opposing defenders on a regular bases throughout his career, however, that style of play tends to catch up to the smaller guys a little bit faster. I would never question his commitment and effort, however, his durability may start to become a concern.
Aaron Curry has already missed more preseason practices this year than last. At the beginning of his 2009 rookie campaign, Curry looked like he was going to have a monster season, but then Tatupu was injured and Curry’s role changed. Curry never had the chance to do what he does best, rush the passer. Instead he was constantly dropping into coverage and losing a little bit more confidence with each week. Curry had had 5 games with 3 or less tackles and only reached double digit tackles in 1 game last year. I expect Pete Carroll has big plans for Curry this year, however, I find that I am only HOPING for a big year from Curry whereas last year I was EXPECTING one.
Leroy Hill has had a rough two years concerning his brushes with the law and pending court date. And let’s not forget how great Tim Ruskell handled his contract negotiations by franchising him during the prime period of free agency only to remove the tag sometime later, and even some more time later sign him to a hefty long term contract. The whole thing looked extremely disorganized and gave the impression that The Seahawks used the, “fly by the seat of your pants” strategy when dealing with their free agents. Don’t believe me…? Steve Hutchinson. My point is that the Seahawks did not exactly roll out the Red Carpet for Hill’s long-term deal like they did for Tatupu. Factor in the public’s reaction to the pot and domestic violence charges, and you have a guy who might be wanting to start over in a new city. What do you think Detroit would give up for Hill? Before all his issues, I remember Hill as a run stopping machine who played mad and embarrassed some of the NFL’s most elite runners in big games. Hill was also capable of shutting down a premier wide receiver in the 2005 NFC Championship game when he was assigned to Steve Smith exclusively and held him to 5 catches for a mere 33 yards. I hope he can comeback, but Leroy has to get himself right before he can help the Seahawks.
David Hawthorne “The Heater” was easily the Seahawks’ best linebacker in 2009. He led the team with 117 total tackles also picking up 4 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles. More than that, Hawthorne became a leader by example on and off the field. The Heater’s first start was week 3, and he responded with 16 total Tackles. and 1 interception. In week 9, The Heater had 2 picks against Detroit. For weeks at a time, The Heater seemed like the only thing keeping the Seahawks defense warm last year. Off the field, Hawthorne is rumored to have spent a great amount of time at Lofa Tatupu’s house going over the Seahawks’ defensive schemes. My favorite thing about Hawthorne is that he is slated to make $391,240 this season and reported to camp on time. This is a “contract” year for Hawthorne, and as much as I hate to say it, IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Especially when a guy is as underpaid as Hawthorne this season. Look for the Heater to turn it up even more in 2010, especially if his peers can stay healthy and out of trouble. More competition and less attention on game day coupled with a “contract” year may be the perfect situation for David Hawthorne to, once again, become the best Seahawks line backer in 2010. It would be best to leave the kitchen now.