Along with Cliff Avril, K.J. Wright was the classiest player of the Pete Carroll era — and also one of the most underrated players in the Seahawks’ 45-year history.
Only 13 players have played more games for Seattle (Russell Wilson is tied with Wright’s 144 games, so he will make it 14 players Sunday). Some of those guys were highly decorated, and then there were players such as Joe Nash, Mack Strong, Chris Gray, Keith Butler and Wright — longtime stalwarts who were the unsung heroes of their playoff teams.
With Wright’s official departure, Bobby Wagner is the only remaining member of the historic Legion of Boom defense. Wright and Avril were the ultimate team players, the best combination of player and teammate that crew produced. Kam Chancellor’s ill-conceived 2015 holdout put a black mark on his career, and the emotional Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett and Earl Thomas all created too much controversy and simply did not have the class of Wright and Avril.
After signing with the Raiders, Wright talked about how he was “pissed off” all offseason that no team wanted him. He had every right to be, especially coming off one of the best seasons of his 10-year career.
But he was typically classy in talking about the Seahawks, and the franchise gave him a proper sendoff Monday …
The spotlight is on Seattle’s GM this week as the Seahawks and Jamal Adams face the Jets and Darrell Taylor’s future remains a mystery.
John Schneider’s job security, quite frankly, should depend on two things: Whether he re-signs Adams and whether Taylor ever plays. If neither happens in 2021, the last year of Schneider’s deal, the GM should not be re-signed.
This is not just about the two big moves to get those guys this year — deals that cost the Seahawks five high draft picks. It’s about a GM who has had a lot more failures than successes over the past seven years, who is still living off his historic 2010-12 drafts, who has whiffed at the top of his last eight drafts way too often, who rarely makes good decisions in free agency, who is not very creative with the salary cap and who for several years has been making it up as he goes, with no long-term plan.
“We’re in pretty good shape. We’re hoping to keep on this edge on staying healthy. It will really make a difference for us.” – Pete Carroll
December is here, and there is one thing the Seahawks need to do above all else: Get and stay healthy.
December has been a bad month for the Seahawks since 2016. They just have not been able to stay healthy, and it has cost them playoff position and wins. In 2017, when the Legion of Boom blew up, they missed the playoffs entirely.
We said it before this season started: Health will be a key factor in whether they win in December and advance far in the playoffs. Carroll knows that’s the key, as he told 710 ESPN on Friday.
As good as Pete Carroll’s Seahawks have been at home in September (15-0 after the ugly win over Cincinnati last week), they have been inversely successful on the road.
They are 3-13 on the road in the first month, 1-11 in the first two weeks and 1-8 in the first road game each season under Carroll.
If the Seahawks are going to end a five-year losing streak in road openers and win for the first time since their championship season, they are going to need to do well early in the 10 a.m. PT start in Pittsburgh.
The departures of Kam Chancellor and Doug Baldwin were expected, but it was nonetheless jarring Thursday to see the line: “The Seahawks parted ways with a pair of franchise icons, terminating the contracts of Doug Baldwin and Kam Chancellor.”
John Schneider said: “These are two of the most iconic players in franchise history, and both were instrumental in establishing our championship culture, great examples of competitiveness and leadership on the field and in the community. These legendary players will always be a part of our Seahawks family.”
The return of K.J. Wright means there will still be two members of Seattle’s famed Legion of Boom defense on the field in 2019. But make no mistake: That unit is now officially gone.
Wright’s re-signing was a pleasant surprise after Earl Thomas’ long, slow goodbye finally ended with him heading to Baltimore for $13.75 million a year.
With Thomas gone, Wright and Bobby Wagner are the only ones who remain from Pete Carroll’s vaunted defense that helped lead the Seahawks to two Super Bowls and put together one of the most spectacular half-decades in league annals.
But the end also is in sight for Wright, who sounds like he’s going to retire after this two-year contract. And there is no guarantee Wagner will be around beyond this year, the final of his deal.
While everyone else marvels over the fact that the Seahawks are over .500 this deep into the season, we’re more concerned about how Seattle’s historically bad run defense might prevent the team from advancing in the playoffs.
We have always projected the Hawks to be above .500 at this point (they actually have underachieved by a game in our eyes), and it speaks well of their developing offense that they have been able to stay in games against high-powered offenses such as the L.A. teams, Green Bay and Carolina — rallying to beat the latter two.
But Seattle’s defensive line has proven to be more of a liability than we thought it would be. No one expected the pass rush to be very good outside Frank Clark — and that largely has proven true (Clark has 10 sacks, Jarran Reed a mildly surprising 5.5 and the rest of the team 12.5). But the run defense has been a major disappointment.
The rally for the playoffs starts now for Seattle, and how apropos that the Seahawks are facing the Green Bay Packers as it begins.
These teams have been intertwined like few others over the past 20 years — both on the field and off. This will be their seventh meeting in seven years, and — like many of these games over the past two decades — there will be some reunions: Jimmy Graham will return to Seattle and Brett Hundley will watch his old Packers teammates from the sideline.
On top of that, this game will be the head-to-head measuring stick for whether Russell Wilson deserves to be paid more than NFL salary leader Aaron Rodgers.
And, bigger than those personnel ties, this game basically will eliminate one team from the playoffs.
K.J. Wright will make his season debut against Sea Lions Golden Tate, Luke Willson and DeShawn Shead, and he’s got big plans for the reunion game.
“I’m going to mess Luke up — no, I’m just (kidding),” Wright said. “I do hope I cover Luke. I want to tackle Golden as well. I talked to Shead earlier this week and I told him I’ve got to exchange jerseys with him. So it feels good seeing those guys.”
This game should look very familiar to the Seahawks — not only because of the Sea Lion reunion but because the Hawks are in almost the same position they were in exactly six years ago when they went to Detroit.