The Happiest Man on Earth

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After a terrific victory last Sunday against the Giants in New York, there is no reason for a Conspiracy Corner this week.  The improvement this team has made in such a short time is phenomenal.  Even though the Giants are far from a great football team, it would have been hard to fathom a Seahawks victory under any circumstances even a couple of weeks ago.  The Seahawks almost let the game slip through their fingers, but they persevered and came away with a well-deserved win.

As great as that victory was, it is not the reason I consider myself the happiest man on earth today.  Something happened this week that has made me even more optimistic for the future of this football team.  Somehow, some way, the team has managed to purge itself of one of the biggest mistakes in team history.  The Seahawks traded LB Aaron Curry to the Oakland Raiders.  Hallelujah!!

Curry’s days in Seattle were numbered.  The team restructured his contract before this season to better facilitate his departure.  It was evident that Curry was not part of the Seahawks’ future, and everyone knew it.  However, it seemed unlikely that the team would be able to trade Curry (and his contract) this season. 

I am not a fan of Aaron Curry.  Everyone who knows me knows that I have been one of his biggest detractors for some time, going back to his rookie season.  I tried to give Curry the benefit of the doubt several times, but he never came close to meeting even the modest expectations I had for him.

One play in particular turned me against Curry for good.  It happened last season during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Qwest Field.  The score was tied at 10 with time winding down in the second quarter.  Atlanta was running the two minute drill at the end of the first half.  The Falcons were facing second and 10 at their own 48 yard line.  Falcons QB Matt Ryan went back to pass.  The pocket was collapsing around him.  Suddenly, a hand emerged from the scrum and yanked Ryan’s face mask.  Ryan would be sacked, but it was meaningless as several penalty flags went flying.

Curry got up from the pile celebrating the sack.  Replays showed that it was he who committed the penalty.  Atlanta took advantage of the ensuing first down and scored just before halftime to take a 17-10 lead.  The Falcons went on to an easy 34-18 victory that included a horrible meltdown from Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck in the third quarter.  The catalyst for the Seahawks’ defeat was Atlanta’s touchdown just before the half.  The Seahawks had played very well to that point, perhaps even outplaying the team that was considered the best in the NFC at the time.  Watching Curry strut and preen after an obvious penalty made my blood boil.  My opinion of him wasn’t high to begin with, but after that play, I saw everything he did in a negative light.

Things have happened this season involving Curry that made me extremely angry, but I did not blog about it because I felt I was looking at the situation with a jaundiced eye.  I did not like Curry’s reactions following his demotion from the starting lineup after the Pittsburgh game.  I could understand his frustration and unhappiness, but he needs to keep those emotions to himself and not make it public.  If I had one piece of advice to give Curry going forward, it would be to shut down his Twitter account.

I believe several plays the last couple of weeks sealed Curry’s fate in Seattle.  The first was Falcons RB Michael Turner’s touchdown run early in the second quarter two weeks ago.  Curry’s responsibility on that play was the fullback, and he pursued the fullback into the left flat.  However, the play was a run for Turner off left tackle.  Curry followed the fullback with his back to Turner, who was running free only a few steps behind Curry.  Whether it was obliviousness or indifference, it was unacceptable that Curry didn’t even attempt to make a play on Turner.  I didn’t want to believe what I had seen, but when some people in the media noticed the same thing, I knew I wasn’t simply being biased.

Three plays occurred during the fourth quarter of last week’s game against the Giants that stood out negatively for Curry.  The first was a 32 yard completion to Giants TE Jake Ballard.  Curry was defending against Ballard, if you can call it that.  Curry’s effort looked like that of a 40 year old man playing flag football in the park who was being careful not to trip on any branches.  For Curry to play that halfheartedly in an important game that the Seahawks were leading is shameful.

The second play involved a short pass in the left flat to Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw.  I saw a linebacker approaching with a clear shot on Bradshaw.  The linebacker missed the tackle, and Bradshaw went for a 15 yard gain.  I actually was hoping that it wasn’t Curry who blew the play, but the replay showed it was.  I just groaned.  The final play occurred on the Giants’ last possession.  Giants QB Eli Manning forced a throw into triple coverage to WR Mario Manningham.  The throw went right through Curry’s hands.  Fortunately, SS Kam Chancellor was there to make the interception.

That last play wasn’t vital.  The Seahawks were going to win the game anyway, but it showed the main fault in Curry’s game.  He can’t make plays.  Whether it be an interception, a sack or a tackle, Curry just cannot get the job done far too often.  I am tired of hearing about Curry’s athletic abilities and what a “beast” he is.  He could be the greatest physical specimen in the world, but if he can’t make plays, then he’s useless on the football field.

I was shocked that the Seahawks were able to trade Curry to Oakland.  Curry did have the best game of his career last season against the Raiders, but Oakland won the game in a blowout.  I have to believe the Raiders have not seen recent film of Curry’s play.  If they had, they wouldn’t have made the trade.  Despite injuries to several linebackers, including a season-ending injury to Matt McCoy, it would not have surprised me if Curry were to have been inactive during the Seahawks’ next few games.  David Vobora was already seeing playing time despite rejoining the team a few days earlier.  If they had not made the trade, I believe the Seahawks were likely going to release Curry, and the Raiders could have gotten him for nothing.

The Seahawks may have not seen the last of Aaron Curry.  They play the Raiders every preseason, though they will not face them during the regular season until 2014.  I doubt Curry will still be a Raider by then.  If Curry doesn’t change his attitude and improve his play during the rest of this season, his NFL career will soon be over.  I don’t care how good of an athlete he is.  Look, he may become an All-Pro with the Raiders or another team, but it doesn’t matter.  It was NEVER going to happen in Seattle.  Knowing I’ve seen the last of Curry as a Seahawk has made me the happiest man on earth.  Now, if I could just convince everyone who purchased a Curry jersey not to wear them to the games . . .

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