When Riley asked me to write an article naming the Seahawks’ defensive MVP, the first thought that popped into my head was, “What did I do?!” I saw he had the courage to name an offensive MVP (Hasselbeck, Riley?! Really?!), so I figured this was the least I could do.
I gave it some thought, and realized what a daunting task this is. It’s like choosing the Academy Award for Best Picture when all the nominees are Ashton Kutcher movies. Still, someone has to be it, so here goes.
On the defensive line, no one in particular stood out. If I had to nominate a defensive lineman for MVP, it would have to be Red Bryant, since the run defense was stout while he was in the lineup, then completely fell apart after his season-ending injury. However, the title should go to someone who actually played every week.
Chris Clemons and Raheem Brock had significantly better than expected performances, yet neither was a consistent, dangerous threat. Brandon Mebane and Colin Cole both missed significant time with injuries. No one else made truly meaningful contributions.
Of the linebackers, only David Hawthorne even deserves mention for MVP. However, he didn’t have nearly the impact that he did the previous season. I believe a move to inside /middle linebacker is something that should be seriously considered. Lofa Tatupu had another subpar season, and Aaron Curry is coming perilously close to being one of the biggest busts in franchise history (and that’s saying something!). Will Herring proved to be a capable backup, but hardly worthy of being MVP.
In the secondary, Earl Thomas deserves some consideration. He had an outstanding first half of the season, but had some extremely poor games down the stretch. To his credit, he usually played much better in games after a subpar performance. None of the veterans in this unit (Marcus Trufant, Kelly Jennings and Lawyer Milloy) had remarkable seasons. One of the things I’m most looking forward to seeing next season is the progress made by the young players in the defensive backfield, such as Walter Thurmond and Kam Chancellor.
So who is the MVP? My choice is someone who the coaching staff relied on heavily and had immense confidence in. The person who made the defense’s job a lot easier by giving the Seahawks a field position advantage in almost every game. One of only two Seahawks who had a Pro Bowl caliber season. My choice for defensive MVP goes to punter Jon Ryan.
Ryan’s solid, steady punting all season allowed the Seahawks to stay in games by making it more difficult for opposing offenses to score by giving them a long field. The Seahawks had chances to win games they had no business being close in because of Ryan. A less efficient punter would have led to more and larger blowouts than the team suffered last season. That’s a pretty scary thought, but it’s true.
Next, I’ll give my choice for offensive MVP. Here’s a hint – it’s the other player who had a Pro Bowl caliber season.