Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Did Duckett Do His Job?

by: William P. Tomisser

There was a lot of controversy last pre-season over the signing of T. J. Duckett. It appeared that the signing was done on Tim Ruskell's authority alone when Mike Holmgren said in one of his pre-season interviews that he didn't really know how he was going to use him, as if Duckett was thrust upon him and he was struggling to find a place to use him.

There was a lot of speculation that he would be cut in favor of retaining the exciting rookie Justin Forsett, so there was certainly trepidation going into the season when Duckett was retained and Forsett was cut and subsequently signed by the Colts.

From day one, most observers thought that the signing was purely to give the Seahawks a short yardage specialist and was a direct response by Ruskell to address the terrible 3rd down and short yardage conversion percentage that the 2007 Seahawks earned when they finished at the bottom of the league in 2007. That statistic was brought up time and time again after watching the team's inability to convert 3rd and one and then 4th and inches many times over the course of the 2007 season.

Even Hugh Millen, whom I greatly respect as an analyst, called Duckett a one trick pony during his Hardcore Football segments last spring and summer. During an interview on KJR Monday, Millen said he was wrong about Duckett and referenced his one trick pony comment by saying that, although he was dead right about that, where he erred is in not realizing just how good that one trick was.

The Seattle Seahawks were the number one team in the league in 2008 in short yardage conversion percentage according to Millen; therefore, if we conclude that Duckett was brought in to address just that situation, Duckett apparently did his job and did it very well. It also would appear that Tim Ruskell addressed a deficiency of the Seahawks and fixed the problem despite at least the appearance of being at odds with the head coach over the solution.

What do you Addicts think about the Duckett signing in retrospect and in light of the fact that he accomplished what he was brought in to do? Lots of comments were made recently that suggested that Weaver and Schmitt could have handled the job and we could get by without Duckett's spot on the roster. Did Duckett earn that spot on the roster as a one trick pony, albeit a pony that mastered his one trick?