by: Michael Steffes
I have mostly stayed away from this series of articles because I strongly discount the source, but as part of the ESPN Scouts Inc rankings, the Seahawks have been given the 8th best special teams units.
This seems to be securely on the back of Nate as a returner, and the article states...
Nate Burleson is one of the most explosive return men in the league, with the instincts to let his blockers set up, then the ability to burst through the seam and pick up a big gain. Burleson handles the punt and kick return duties and is dangerous on both. Losing consistent kicker Josh Brown in the offseason and replacing him with struggling veteran Olindo Mare will likely hinder the kicking phase, and punter Ryan Plackemeier is inconsistent with his hang time and distance. The coverage units have been solid in keeping opposing returners in check.This is a fair assessment. I think that in the end the team will be forced to leave Nate as a returner. This team has searched for a dynamic return game since I have been following them, and now that they have one it would be a mistake to let it go to waste. As for the kicking, Mare/Coutu defintely have different strengths than Josh Brown did, but if the Pats can survive the loss of Adam Viniteri, I think the drop off will be manageable. The changes in the coverage teams will be the story to watch, but hopefully having strong legged kickoffs will neutralize that change. I think the goal for special teams should be solid, not spectacular, with some Nate magic sprinkled in. ~END~