The following is a Guest Editorial by Joe Okabe
Statistics can be deceiving, especially in football. For instance, Marshawn Lynch’s stats against the Chicago Bears (17 carries, 44 yards, 1 TD) seem unimpressive. Having seen the game in person at Soldier Field, it was apparent that Lynch had a huge impact for the Seahawks’ offense. Yet one wouldn’t think so judging by his statistics. However, seeing Aaron Curry’s line in last Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals (8 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble) was a very welcome sight. It begs the question, “Was this the ‘breakout game’ Seahawks fans have been waiting a season and a half for?!”
At the time, the so-called experts ranked Curry as one of the elite players in the ’09 NFL draft. Many called him the safest player in the draft, meaning that if you drafted him, you knew you were going to get a great player regardless. It hasn’t worked out that way. Curry has struggled. Some have said that Lofa Tatupu’s season-ending injury last year had an adverse effect on Curry’s development. I think that’s a load of crap. Great players make plays no matter who they’re playing with. The only times I’ve truly noticed when Curry is on the field is when he’s been flagged for a penalty. Otherwise, he seems almost invisible.
The player I will always compare Curry to is Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers. I am in no way suggesting that the Seahawks should have taken Matthews instead of Curry. Curry was a consensus top five pick, and Matthews was passed over until pick #26. LOTS of people underestimated Matthews’ ability. Yet Matthews is the player I and many others hoped Curry would be.
Statistically, Curry compares favorably with Matthews in every category except one. Like I said earlier, deceiving. Matthews leads the NFL with 10.5 sacks while Curry has 3, but it is not just the number of sacks that differentiate the two. Matthews is a force, a presence that the opposing QB must account for on every snap. Whenever Matthews is playing, he attracts everyone’s attention, both on the field and in the stands. Curry does not. Yet.
I don’t expect Curry to put up numbers like the Cardinals game every week, but I do expect Curry to become more of a consistent presence. If he does, it bodes well for both the Seahawks’ defense and the team’s future in general. It’s ironic that Curry now plays for the man who was Matthews’ collegiate mentor, Pete Carroll, not to mention the same position coach in Ken Norton, Jr. If they can evolve Curry’s game into one similar to Matthews’, all of Curry’s struggles will be forgotten and I will be a very happy man.