Sunday, March 15, 2009

Balanced Defense?

by: Michael Steffes

There has been plenty of talk this year about the team finally achieving some balance on the offensive side of the ball. Jerry Brewer has a different look at the exciting events from yesterday. He stakes the claim that trading JP wasn't about production, or about money, but about balancing the defense. I think he might be on to something.

Brewer says,

If the Seahawks had a top-10 defense, you could've made a case for them to keep Peterson, Tatupu and Hill together. But as the league's third-worst defense last season, it's an unnecessary luxury to pay top dollar for three linebackers, perhaps the most easily replaceable position in football, when the rest of the D needs a jolt.
You have to admit, he has a point here. The team tried the stud linebackers approach the last 3 years. What they found was, just like with every position on the defense, they are pretty dependent on other guys. Had Marcus Tubbs every had another healthy season after '05, maybe we would have seen how Ruskell and Co. envisioned this unit. Instead, the front four was annihilated by Frank Gore in '06, needed a rookie to save them in '07, and looked old and tired (aside from said rookie) in '08. Now that this team has some new big boys up front, they can probably survive with less talent at linebacker. In fact, they will probably be starting the same three that took them to the Super Bowl in '05, only a few years older and wiser.

Brewer makes one other interesting point in that linebacker is likely the most easily replaceable position. Consider this: the Hawks had to make career backup Colin Cole a top target in free agency to land him, and other teams were also very interested in him, but on the market still remain quality LBs like Cato June, Freddy Kieaho, and Angelo Crowell, not to mention Derrick Brooks if the team felt he had a year or two left. How about the DT position? Well, Howard Green has already signed. That should tell you something.

Both sides should be happy about this deal. It was a good trade for the Hawks. Everybody loved JP. He was a great Seahawk, who has ignited the 12th man ten Sundays every fall for the last few years. He dominated the Niners, which will save a spot for him in many fans' hearts. But in the end, as it always is in the NFL, teams change. This move appears to be for the better. Only wins will prove it. I will close with something else from Brewers article:
It's quite possible the Seahawks could lose this trade on paper, yet win in reality. Peterson turns 31 in July and probably has two more Pro Bowl seasons in him. But sometimes with linebackers, it's better to give up on them too early than hold on to them too long.