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 …
Continue reading K.J. Wright: An unsung hero who was all class
The Seahawks have been fighting in a dark alley so far this season — feeling their way against unfamiliar foes.
First it was new Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor, who brought schemes Pete Carroll and his staff were not ready for and nearly beat the Hawks with them. Then it was Mason Rudolph, who replaced injured Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh and almost rallied the Steelers. Last week, it was Teddy Bridgewater replacing injured Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara breaking tackles and leading the Saints to a surprisingly easy win.
Now Seattle faces another unfamiliar coach and QB as the Hawks head to dreaded Glendale to take on Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray’s AIR-izona Raid offense.
Carroll knows plenty about the Air Raid, though — since it is just an offshoot of the old run-n-shoot. The difference is the mobile young quarterback running it, and the Hawks need to join the other defenses that have made it hard on this year’s No. 1 draft pick.
Continue reading More unfamiliar faces, but Carroll knows this AIR-izona offense
Now that John Schneider has repeated his 2013 defensive line coup, the question becomes: How long will it take Pete Carroll, Ken Norton and company to get this collection of linemen playing to its best capabilities?
Schneider told 710 ESPN that Seattle’s front seven, including a trio of “phenomenal blitzers” at linebacker, is “a really cool group. (Coaches are) putting it together right now: How do we work these guys together?”
For a sampling, we merely need go back to 2013, the last time Schneider brought in two impact pass rushers at the same time.
Continue reading ‘How do we work these guys together?’
In May, we said the Seahawks needed to replicate their 2013 moves and find a way to add a couple of impact veteran pass rushers.
Four months later, they have achieved that goal — in spades (Jadeveon Clowney trumps Nick Perry).
John Schneider getting Clowney and Ziggy Ansah for a grand total of no more than $21.25 million is akin to his 2013 coup of signing Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril for $18 million (Avril signed for two years). And, if Clowney and Ansah play like Bennett and Avril did that year, the Hawks could be looking at their second Lombardi Trophy.
Continue reading Hawks have replicated 2013 moves on D-line
What if we told you the Seahawks could have had Frank Clark, Ziggy Ansah and pretty much all of the same draft picks (just a different pass rusher) and still have room for more, like they do now?
A lot of people are buying Seattle’s claim that the Clark trade to Kansas City enabled Seattle to turn four picks into 11, in what looks to some like an ingenious draft for the ages. Pete Carroll called the trade “the key to kick-start this thing.” And John Schneider said, “That draft choice with Frank definitely helped us.”
But the reality is: Clark became L.J. Collier, and Schneider did what he always planned to do with pick No. 21 — flipping it over and over until it became a six-player pancake. One had nothing to do with the other. And, as much as we love to see an aggressive move from Schneider, he didn’t have to trade Clark to do anything he has done since that deal.
Continue reading Hawks could have had Clark and Ansah, plus basically the same draft
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.
Continue reading Wright’s back, but Legion of Boom can take a bow
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.
Continue reading This Detroit game has a very familiar look
It looks like the Seahawks could have two contract holdouts when they convene for their mandatory minicamp in mid-June — and, worst case, even for training camp in July.
Everyone knows Earl Thomas is sitting out OTAs because John Schneider seemingly is not interested in paying him top dollar, but Frank Clark apparently is staging his own financial protest.
“I think he’s showing he wants to get paid, as he should be,” former teammate Cliff Avril said on KJR. “But I’m not even sure that works anymore.”
Continue reading Has Clark joined Thomas in holdout? If so, why?
Pete Carroll lost his team in 2015 and finally decided to take it back this year. Will that be enough to get the Hawks back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the debacle that cost Carroll control of his club?
Yeah, yeah, the Seahawks made the playoffs in 2015 and 2016, at one point each season looking capable of winning it all. But they admittedly weren’t really motivated to do it.
Cliff Avril was the latest to corroborate that, saying Carroll’s decision to throw at the goal line in Super Bowl XLIX resulted in a lot of players tuning him out over the ensuing seasons. Michael Bennett, Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Warren Moon and former RBs coach Sherman Smith all have said the XLIX loss affected the team in 2015 and 2016, and malcontents Bennett and Sherman admitted they had stopped listening to the coach long before they were both let go this year.
Continue reading After losing his team in 2015, Carroll has taken it back this year
This day was destined to come, but it doesn’t make it any less sad to see a stellar player’s career end (at least in Seattle) due to injury.
If you measure the best by (1) how they played and (2) how they comported themselves on and off the field, Cliff Avril goes down as one of the best Seahawks ever. He was pure class as a player and remains so as a person. (Just check out his Players’ Tribune tribute to Seattle.)
As Pete Carroll said after rookie minicamp Friday: “He has been a great leader and a bit of a statesman for us. He always says the right thing and stands for the right stuff and he has been a really high-character guy who you can just always count on. He has been a great competitor in the program, and I love him, and we’d like to keep him connected with our club as long as we can, because he’s just exactly what you’d hope to represent you.”
Continue reading Cliff Avril: A great leader and ‘statesman’