The return games were pathetic, but free agents aren’t the answer

Bryan WaltersWithout a doubt, the worst part of the Seahawks last season was the return game — which is why many fans are taking notice every time a team cuts a return specialist these days.

In the last few days, Ted Ginn Jr., Jacoby Jones and Reggie Bush have been cut, but Seattle fans shouldn’t get too excited about any of them. The Hawks can do better.

They certainly need to.

In 2014, they ranked 30th in kickoff returns, at just 21 yards per attempt. And they were 25th on punts, at seven yards.

It was the most pathetic combined return performance by a Seattle team since the 2005 unit, which averaged 27.8 total yards behind kick returner Josh Scobey and punt returner Jimmy Williams and coincidentally also lost the Super Bowl.

You know you are horrible when (a) Bryan “Wave It Off” Walters is your best return guy, (b) it’s a victory just to hold on to the ball and (c) a touchback is typically your best kick return.

Return chartThe kick return game has not been the same since Leon Washington was cut after the 2012 season. He and the Hawks were second in the NFL that year, Washington averaging 29 yards, the Hawks 27.1.

Percy Harvin was supposed to replace Washington in 2013, but he barely played for Seattle, which ranked 28th at 21.2 yards with Jermaine Kearse and Robert Turbin running them back.

The Hawks were below average on punt returns in 2012, ranking 23rd at 8.5 yards. They ranked ninth in 2013, when Golden Tate averaged 11.5. And then they sank to 25th last season.

So, yeah, the Hawks need to fix it.

And, no, Ginn, Jones and Bush are not options. Ginn, released by Arizona recently, is still averaging over 10 yards per punt return, but he is already being courted by Cleveland and others.

Jones, cut by Baltimore, had a very good 2014 season — 30.6 yards on kicks and 9.2 on punts. But he’ll be 31 this year, which does not fit the Hawks’ roster MO. Bush will be 30 and has not returned punts since 2011 anyway.

The Hawks obviously don’t think Christine Michael can handle kick returns or they would have put him back there after Harvin was traded last season, so that means they will look at return options in the draft amid their search for receivers and cornerbacks.

Among receivers, Tyler Lockett and Phillip Dorsett seem like good options. Utah’s Kaelin Clay could be a late-round pick, although he wouldn’t add much as a receiver. Missouri running back Marcus Murphy, who had seven return touchdowns, is another Day 3 option. So is cornerback JaCorey Shepherd of Kansas.

The Seahawks will have three comp picks on Day 3, so — if they don’t snag Lockett or Dorsett in the first three rounds — they probably will use one of their comps on a returner.

They had better — because we can’t take another year of “Wave It Off” Walters.

2 thoughts on “The return games were pathetic, but free agents aren’t the answer”

  1. Do you understand how to return a kick? Takes blocking to make a lane you moron.

    No blocks and you have what? No where to run. …get a clue.

    You should not be commenting on football.


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