The Seahawks defense was good, it’s linebacking corps as a whole was not. That’s my take on it at least and the stats back up that conclusion, but it seems to be a very unpopular opinion.
Leroy Hill is a wildly overrated player. The Seahawks ranked dead last in the league against running backs in the passing game. Covering the RB is the responsibility of the weak side (WILL) linebacker that Hill plays. Hill also missed a number a tackles, and struggled at times against the run. Until their injuries landed them on IR, backups David Voroba and Matt McCoy both saw time at Hill’s WILL LB position. Hill is a FA and I don’t expect him back as a starter next season.
David Hawthorne is a very popular player, and a one of the best MLBs against the run in the NFC. He’s also undersized and gets banged up quite a bit. Like Hill, Hawthorne also struggles in pass coverage, but not nearly to same degree as Hill does. Hawthorne made his original impact on the Seahawks at the WILL LB spot, and seems better suited for that roll than MLB.
KJ Wright was a very solid strong side (SAM) linebacker. He made a few rookie mistakes, but overall he’s clearly a piece of the puzzle on the Seahawks. The only problem I see is that he’s playing out of position. He appears to be a middle (MIKE) linebacker, and Pete Carroll has said he like’s Wright’s ability to play both positions.
If you read the last 2 paragraphs, it would make sense to re-sign Hawthorne to play WILL, move Wright to MIKE and draft or sign a new SAM. The problem is that Carroll said he doesn’t want to move Hawthorne outside to move Wright inside, so that scenario seems unlikely.
But when listening to Carroll talk about the situation, I was left thinking that perhaps Hawthorne was being left out in the cold there. Carroll was perhaps saying that Hawthorne was simply replaceable by moving Wright inside. Carroll also said that bringing back Hawthorne was a priority, but the entire exchange left me wondering if it’s really that big of a deal in the team’s eyes. Perhaps he was just setting up some negotiation leverage that can be used in the coming weeks.
I guess we’ll all have to wait and see.