by: Chris Sullivan
Well, I was definitely planning to wait until the actual end of the year, but since the Rams and 49ers already pushed out their end-o'-year awards, I figured I'd toss these out now. Without further ado, here are mine (Parker might throw up something similar at some point):
- Most unexpected impact: Josh Wilson, CB. Wilson was never pegged as a starter especially after Jennings' strong sophomore effort in 2007. In his second year, however, he has stepped up to the plate in a big way leading the secondary in tackles and interceptions (tied with Deon Grant with 2). Wilson returned one of those for a big touchdown, and the week prior he would have had another touchdown on a fumble return had it not been blown dead inexplicably. Wilson's explosive kickoff returns have provided a near-majority of the Seahawks' few sparks this year.
- Most disappointing performance: Matt Hasselbeck, QB. In Matt's 7 games he averaged 174 yards per game and threw 5 TDs to his 10 Interceptions and had one of the worst QB Ratings of any starter in the league at 57.8, well below his career average of 84.5. Plagued with nagging injuries and different recieving crew just about every week (including many he'd never played with before), Matt's poor year should not be indicative of how he will play next year, but it is a cause for concern and certainly disappointing considering it was his mentor Holmgren's final year.
- Worst Contract Year: Bobby Engram, WR. This was a bit of a toss-up between him and Rocky, but while Rocky Bernard seems to have stepped up in recent weeks with a few big plays, Bobby has simply disappeared further into oblivion. In 11 games (16 games in 2007), Engram has 35 (94) receptions, 374 (1147) yards, 19 (63) first downs, and 0 (6) touchdowns. As you can see, a very big drop off since last year, arguably adding some validity to Ruskell's reluctance to extend his contract earlier in the year.
- Defensive Player of the Year: Brandon Mebane, DT. Mebane has been solid all year long, providing a lot of help in the run stopping game (the one bright spot of this often dismal defense) and in recent weeks has been providing increased pressure in passing situations. Mebane had an excellent rookie year, and had the Seahawks been a more dominant team this year I imagine Brandon's efforts might have gone a bit more noticed by Pro Bowl voters. Look for Brandon to show up in Honolulu come 2010.
- Offensive Player of the Year: John Carlson, TE. Believe me, I tried very hard to justify giving this to someone else, since obviously J.C. is going to be winning another award down the list a bit here, but honestly, I had no choice. Carlson came into a very difficult offense in a very poor offensive year and became the only reliable target for the floundering quarterbacks. Over the season, Carlson improved his blocking substantially and set team records for receptions and yards, with the touchdown record potentially forthcoming. The runner up goes to Walter Jones for the simple reason that he is Walter Friggin' Jones.
- Rookie of the Year: John Carlson, TE. What else to say?
- Rookie Flop of the Year: Tyler Schmitt, LS. Remember him? Well, his wittle back was hurting him so wittle Tywer couwdn't pway. Nothing good about an injury, but when he was added to the IR it sounded as though this was a nagging injury that Schmitt intentionally covered up.
- Most Valuable Player: Olindo Mare, PK. Well, there's definitely a case to be made for Carlson here, but Mare came on and had an excellent year despite knowing that there was no long term future for him here (since Ruskell kept two kickers on the squad for every game!). Mare was the worst kicker in the league in 2007 with a 59% FG percentage, so many Hawk fans were concerned to see him as our guy. Well, his 92% on FGs and 100% on PATs has sure made us feel better, huh? Recall, the "Best Free Agent" of 2008, Josh Brown, is a career 80% kicker who hit above 85% just once, in 2004. Here's to you, Mr. Mare!