Monday, November 30, 2009
The ALMOST All-Time Seattle Seahawks Offense
REMEMBER : This is a continuing series paying tribute to NFL legends who are not, and perhaps never will be, members of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
Quarterback : Dave Krieg
Kreig was an undrafted free agent rookie the Seahawks signed in 1980. He is the second and last player in the NFL to play college football at the now defunct Milton college. The first player was defensive end Dave Kraayeveld, who played with Seattle for 12 games in 1978.
Krieg spent the first four years of his career as a reserve, though he began to get more starts in 1983 when he started half of the season. He led the NFL with a touchdowns percentage of 7.4. With him at the helm, Seattle reached the AFC Championship after winning the first two playoff games ever in franchise history.
He was named the full time starter the next season, and he responded with his first Pro Bowl season. He tossed a career best 3,671 yards and 34 touchdowns. He also led the NFL with a career high 24 interceptions. Seattle won 12 games that year, a franchise record that stood until 2005.
Seattle won just eight games in 1985, and Krieg was sacked 52 times. The 455 yards he lost off of those sacks led the NFL. It was an NFL record then, and is still the fourth most yards lost ever.
He led the NFL in touchdowns percentage in 1987 and 1988. Though he missed seven games in 1988, he was named to the Pro Bowl. He would attain that Pro Bowl honor for the final time of his career in 1989.
Krieg threw more interceptions than touchdowns over the next two years, though he did lead the NFL with a career best 65.6 completion percentage. In 1990, he was sacked by Hall Of Famer Derrick Thomas a record seven times in one game. Seattle decided not to renew Krieg's contract when it expired at the end of the 1991 season.
He joined the Kansas City Chiefs in 1992, and started the whole season. He led the Chiefs to ten wins, but they lost in the first round of the playoffs. The Chiefs then brought n Hall Of Fame quarterback Joe Montana for the 1993 season, relegating Krieg to backup status. Montana was injured often that year, and Krieg started six games. He also had to come off the bench in each playoff game that Kansas City played, throwing a touchdown each time.
Krieg then joined the Detroit Lions for one year in 1994. He started in the last seven games of the year, and set Lions franchise records with a quarterback rating of 101.7, which was a career best, and throwing just three interceptions all year. He led the team to a playoff birth, but they lost in the first round.
Detroit would not commit to his being named starter, so Krieg joined the Arizona Cardinals for the 1995 season. The team struggled to only four wins, and Krieg led the NFL with 53 sacks for minus 380 yards. He left Arizona at the end of the year, then joined the Chicago Bears for the 1996 season. He started 12 games for the Bears, winning six.
He then joined the Tennessee Oilers to back up Steve McNair in 1997. He did not play much that year, attempting two passes. He attempted just 21 the next season, but did lead the Oilers to a comeback win after McNair was hurt in one game. He retired after the year was completed.
Dave Kreig is not only all over the Seahawks record books, he is all over the NFL record books. He ranks 12th all-time in NFL history in passing attempts, completions, and passing yards. He is tenth all-time is passing touchdowns.
He also has the most yards lost from sacks in NFL history, and was sacked the second most ever in league history. Krieg is also third all-time with the most fumbles ever, and second in fumble recoveries.
No other Seahawk quarterback has thrown for more yards, touchdowns, interceptions, or won more games than Dave Krieg, though Matt Hasselbeck may soon to surpass the passing yardage mark.
Jim Zorn deserves mention.
Fullback : John L. Williams
Williams was a first round draft pick of the Seahawks in 1986, and was the 15th player chosen overall. Though the Seattle offense featured Pro Bowl running back Curt Warner, Williams offered them a versatile dimension the team was lacking.
He was starting right away, running for 538 yards and catching 33 passes in his rookie year. It was the only season of his career that he failed to score. He piled up 500 yards the next year, despite missing four games due to injury. He had career longs on a 48 yard run and 75 yards reception.
The 1988 season may have been his best. He gained a career high 877 yards rushing at a 4.6 yards per carry average, and had 651 yards on 58 receptions. His 1,528 yards from scrimmage that year was a career high total, as was the seven touchdowns he scored that year.
He scored seven times again the next year, and he also a career high 76 receptions. He had 71 catches the next year, gaining a career high 699 yards. He also rushed for 714 yards, and was given his first Pro Bowl nod.
The 1991 season was his second and last Pro Bowl season. He gained 741 yards and had 61 receptions. He was never the same running threat again after that year, but maintained his excellence in the passing attack.
After 132 receptions and six touchdowns over the next two years, he joined the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 1994 season. He was used mainly as a pass receiver by the Steelers in his two years, catching 51 balls his first year with the team. He showed signs of slowing down in 1995, having career lows of 24 receptions and 110 rushing yards.
The Steelers made it to Super Bowl XXX that year. Williams had scored on a run in their first round playoff victory over the Buffalo Bills. Pittsburgh lost in the Super Bowl, and Williams retired at the conclusion of the game.
He leads all Seahawks running backs with 471 receptions for 4,151 yards receptions and also 123 games played. His 76 catches in 1989 is the most ever by a Seattle running back, and he owns the top three slots for receiving years by a running back. His six touchdown reception in 1989 is the most ever by a Seahawks running back.
He currently ranks third on the franchise list in receptions, fourth in rushing yards, and sixth in receiving yards.
John L. Williams is not only the best pass catching back in Seahawks history, he may be the most complete running back who ever played for them. He easily is the best fullback they ever had.
Mack Strong, Dan Doornink and David Sims all deserve mention.
Halfback : Shaun Alexander
Alexander was the Seahawks first round draft pick in 2000, and he was the 19th player chosen overall. He sat on the bench most of his rookie year, gaining 313 rushing yards.
He was eventually anointed the starter the next year, and he led the NFL with 14 rushing touchdowns. He also ran for 1,318 yards and caught 44 balls. One run went for a career long 88 yards. He scored 18 times total the next year, including having a career high 59 receptions for 460 yards.
He was awarded his first Pro Bowl honor in 2003 after gaining 1,435 rushing yards and scoring 16 times. He went back to the Pro Bowl the next year after running for 1,696 yards and leading the NFL with 20 total touchdowns.
The best year of his career was in 2005. He led the NFL with a career high 370 carries for 1,880 yards and 27 rushing touchdowns. His 28 total touchdowns led the league, and did his 117.5 rushing yards per game. He also averaged a career best 5.1 yards per carry.
He led the Seahawks into Super Bowl XL by running for 132 yards and two touchdowns in the NFC Championship Game against the Carolina Panthers. Seattle lost in the Super Bowl, even though Alexander gained 95 yards on 20 carries.
He was named Most Valuable Player of the NFL that year, and he is the only Seahawk to have ever won the award.
Seattle then signed him to the biggest contract in team history before the 2006 season. He was guaranteed $15.1 million on a eight year contract worth $62 million.He was injured that year and missed six games. He was still able to gain 896 yards in that short time. He was injured the next year again, and missed three games. Seattle, sensing he was done, then released him.
He signed with the Washington Redskins for four games in 2008, and ran for a career low 24 yards on 11 carries. Washington then cut him. Though Alexander has not officially retired, in hopes of latching on with another team, his football career appears over.
He is the franchise leader with 9,429 rushing yards, 2,176 carries, 100 rushing scores, longest run from scrimmage, rushing yards per game, total touchdowns in a career and season, rushing touchdowns in a season, rushing attempts in a season, and rushing yards in a season.
Shaun Alexander is perhaps the best running back the Seahawks ever employed.
Curt Warner, Chris Warren, Sherman Smith, and Ricky Watters deserve mention.
Wide Receiver : Brian Blades
Blades was second round draft pick by Seattle in 1988, and he was the 49th player chosen overall. He started seven games that year, but did catch a career best eight touchdowns on 40 receptions. He averaged a career high 17.1 yards per reception as well.
He started all but two games the next year, and caught 77 balls for 1,063 yards and five scores. He was given his only Pro Bowl nod that year as well.
After catching 119 balls over the next two years, he was injured in 1992 and was only able to play six games. He rebounded in 1993 by setting a then-team record of 80 receptions. He broke that record the next year with 81, as well as gaining a career best 1,086 yards. After getting 77 balls for 1,001 yards in 1995, his production began to drop off.
His next two years were bereft with injuries, and he missed five games in each year. He caught 73 balls over that time. One reception went for a career long 80 yards. He then caught a career low 15 passes the next year. It was also the only year he failed to reach the end zone. Seattle then cut him before the start of the 1999 season.
The 581 receptions for 7,620 yards that he had with Seattle is the second most ever in franchise history. His 34 receiving touchdowns ranks fifth best.
Brian Blades was a terrific possession receiver that several Seattle quarterbacks relied on yearly. After Hall Of Famer Steve Largent, he is the best receiver in Seahawks history.
Wide Receiver : Darrell Jackson
Jackson was drafted in the third round of the 2000 draft by Seattle, and was the 80th player picked overall. He ended up starting ten games that season, and caught 53 balls and six touchdowns.
Now firmly entrenched in the starting lineup, he caught 70 balls for 1,081 yards and eight scores. He had 62 catches the next year, then snagged 68 balls for 1,137 yards and nine scores in 2003. He also averaged a career best 16.7 yards per catch that year, which included a career long 80 yard catch.
His best season was in 2004. He set a team record with 87 receptions, which has now been surpassed, for a career best 1,199 yards. He also scored seven times. Jackson then got hurt in 2005, and was never quite the same again.
He caught 38 balls in the six games he played, helping Seattle reach Super Bowl XL. He tied a Super Bowl record with five receptions in the first quarter, but most Seahawks fans recall a suspect pass interference call on him in the end zone in the quarter that negated a score.
He missed three games the next year, but managed to catch a career high ten touchdown passed on 63 receptions. Seatle then traded him to the San Francisco 49ers for the 2007 season. He had 46 receptions for the 49ers that year, then was released. He signed on with the Denver Broncos 2008 season, and had a career low 12 receptions. He was released after the season, and is currently a free agent.
His 441 receptions as a Seahawk is the fourth most in team history. His 6,445 receiving yards is the third most, and his 47 touchdown receptions are the second most.
Though Seattle has had quite a few excellent receivers in their history, no one can dismiss Darrell Jackson's very productive seven years with the team. He is surely one of the best receivers to have played in Seattle.
Sam McCullum, Daryl Turner, Koren Robinson, Joey Galloway, and Bobby Engram deserve mention. Alex Bannister made the Pro Bowl as a special teams star in 2003.
Tight End : Itula Mili
Mili was drafted in the seventh round by Seattle in 1997, and he was the 174th player chosen overall. He played just seven games that year, but did manage a 20 yard reception.
Over the next three years, he was primarily a reserve. He had 41 receptions and six touchdowns over that time. He became more of a starter in 2002, when he started 12 games and had 43 receptions for a career best 508 yards. He started 12 games again the next year, and had a career best 46 receptions and four touchdowns.
He went back to being a reserve in 2004, but did start four games and have 23 receptions. He was hurt the next year, and recorded no statistics for the only time in his career. After playing ten games in 2006, catching ten balls, he was released by Seattle.
Mili's 1,743 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns are the most by any tight end in Seattle history. His 164 receptions is just two behind Christian Fauria as the most ever by a Seahawk tight end. His 46 receptions in 2003 was a team record for tight ends until it was surpassed by John Carlson in the 2008 season by nine. His four touchdown receptions in 2003 equaled a team record for tight ends set by Mike Tice in 1991 until it was surpassed by Jerramy Stephens five in 2005.
The Seahawks have mostly used the tight end as just a blocker in their 33 years of play, but no one has yet to surpass the numbers that Itula Mili put up for them.
Charle Young, Jerramy Stevens, Mike Tice, and Christian Fauria deserve mention.
Tackle : Steve August
August was the Seahawks first round draft pick in 1977, and he was the 14th player chosen overall. He spent his rookie year on the bench, seeing action in just six games.
He was named the teams starting right tackle in 1978, an honor he would hold onto the rest of his Seahawks career. He was responsible for protecting left handed quarterback Jim Zorn's blind side until 1981, and for most of 1982 and 1983.
One of the highlights of his career occurred in 1981. He caught a tipped pass and rambled nine yards before being tackles. Another highlight for him was the 1983 season, where he missed one game. The Seahawks won their first ever playoff game that year and reached the AFC Championship before losing to eventual NFL Champion Los Angeles Raiders.
After starting the first six games of 1984 for Seattle, he joined the Pittsburgh Steelers. He started one of the five games he suited up for the team. He then retired from the game.
Offensive linemen often get overlooked by fans, but their contributions are the primary reason offenses are successful. Seattle had an offense led by star running back Curt Warner and Hall Of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent, but it was because of men like Steve August that they were successful.
Tackle : Ron Essink
Essink was drafted in the tenth round of the 1980 draft, the 265th player chosen overall. He had went to college at Grand Valley State, where he was the first player from the school to be drafted and to play in the NFL.
He spent his rookie year primarily as a reserve, but he did start three times. He also caught a three yard pass for a touchdown on a tackle eligible play.
He was named a starter at left tackle the next year, and he would start in every game he played until he retired. During his time with Seattle, he helped the team win their first three playoff games. He was also an integral part of their 1984 team that won 12 games, which was the most wins in team history until they won 13 in 2005.
He was responsible for protecting right handed quarterback Dave Kreig's blindside for parts of 1980 to 1983, and in Kreig's Pro Bowl year in 1984. Essink played 12 games in 1985, but then got hurt and missed the rest of the year. He then retired from the game.
Ron Essink may be the second best left tackle in Seahawks history behind future Hall Of Famer Walter Jones.
Howard Ballard deserves mention.
Guard : Edwin Bailey
Edwin and wife Cherise pose for a calender fundraiser
Bailey was a fifth round draft pick of the Seahawks in 1981, and he was the 114th player chosen overall. He earned a starting job right away with the team and held it until the 1983 season.
That year saw newly hired Seattle head coach Chuck Knox bring in Reggie McKenzie with him. McKenzie, a famed member of the Buffalo Bills "Electric Company", had played five years under Knox in Buffalo up until 1982.
McKenzie took over Bailey's left guard spot in 1983, but Edwin did start two games that year. Seattle ended up winning their first ever playoff games before losing in the AFC Championship to eventual NFL Champion Los Angeles Raiders.
Bailey played 12 games the next year, and started in eight. Seattle won 12 games that year, a franchise record until 2005, and won a playoff game before their season ended. McKenzie retired after that year, so Bailey was back in the starting lineup for good.
He started in every game that he played until he retired with Seattle. In 1986 he ran a ball for three yards. He ended up getting injured in 1990, and missed five games. After starting the first three games of 1991, he was injured again and missed the rest of the year. He then retired.
Edwin Bailey was a long time stalwart of the Seahawks for 11 seasons. He was a solid technician who helped lead running back Curt Warner have his best years. He is surely one of the best guards in the teams history.
Guard : Chris Gray
Gray was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the fifth round of the 1993 draft by the Miami Dolphins. He was the 132nd player chosen overall.
He got on the field for just five games as a rookie, but started in two of the 16 games he played the next year. He earned the starting job at right guard, but missed 11 games over two years. He then joined the Chicago Bears in 1997 for eight games.
Seattle picked him up in 1998, and he started 34 games at center over the next three years. He was then moved to guard for the 2001 season, where he would stay until his retirement.
The Seahawks won a franchise record 13 games in 2005, and captured their only AFC title. Gray was a key member of an offensive line that paved the way to seeing running back Shaun Alexander won the MVP Award that season.
He suffered a back injury in 2007, and decided to retire just before the 2008 season started. He had started in every game but one for Seattle since the 2000 season.
Chris Gray was known for much more than his dependability. He was extremely versatile, and played every position on the offensive line in a Seahawks uniform. His streak of 121consecutive starts at guard/ center is a club record. He certainly is one of the best to have played in Seattle.
Bob Newton, Bryan Millard, and Pete Kendall all deserve mention.
Center : Robbie Tobeck
Tobeck joined the Atlanta Falcons in 1994 as an undrafted free agent rookie. He got on the field for five games that year.
Atlanta started him at guard the next year, a job he would hold the next three years. He did catch two passes in 1996, including one for a 14 yard touchdown. He was moved to center in 1998, where he stayed the rest of his career.
He joined the Seahawks in 2000, but got on the field for just four games. He was inserted into the starting lineup the next season, and remained there the rest of his career.
The best year of his career was in 2005, when he was named to the Pro Bowl. He is the only center in Seahawks history to have achieved this honor. Seattle won a club record 13 games that year, and reached their first Super Bowl game.
After starting the first eight games of the 2006 season, he was injured in the eight game and missed the rest of the year. He then retired as probably the best center in Seattle history.
Blair Bush and John Yarno deserve mention.
Kicker : Norm Johnson
Johnson was signed as a free agent rookie in 1982 by the Seahawks. Though he had just 43 points in the strike shortened season that was nine games long, he did complete the only pass of his career for 27 yards.
After scoring 103 the next season, he had one of the best years of his career in 1984. He scored 110 points and was named First Team All-Pro. He is still the only placekicker in Seahawks history to be named to the Pro Bowl. He, along with cornerback Dave Brown and nose tackle Joe Nash, made the Pro Bowl that year, which was just the third time in team history any player was given this honor.. His two field goals against the Los Angeles Raiders in the AFC Wildcard Game was the difference in Seattle's 13-7 victory. It was the first playoff win in the franchises history.
The 1986 season was his first that he did not miss an extra point attempt, for he had missed once in each of the four years. He also made a career best five field goals of 50 yards or longer that year on seven attempts, which led the NFL. It is also the third most by any player in NFL history.
Though the 1987 season was know for being a strike year for NFL players, Johnson sat out just two games. He then scored 177 points over the next two years, including 105 points scored in 1988.
The 1990 season was his last in Seattle, and the year he would miss an extra point attempt in his career. He made 301 consecutive extra point attempts over the next nine years, which is the third best streak in NFL history. It was also the fifth season he scored over 100 points in his nine years with the team.
He joined the Atlanta Falcons as a free agent in 1991. He scored 95 points, and ounted for the first time in his career with a 27 yard attempt. He had his last career punt attemp the next year, which went 37 yards. He also scored 93 points.
The 1993 year was his best as a Falcon, and it was the last time he would go to the Pro Bowl in his career. Johnson led the NFL in field goal percentage after missing just once in 27 attempts.After a solid 1994 year, he left the Falcons for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The timing of the signing could not have worked out better for Pittsburgh. Johnson led the NFL with 34 field goals on 41 attempts, both of which are career best totals. He also had a career high 141 points that season, which was second behind Dallas Cowboys Hall Of Famer Emmitt Smith's 150 points. His 141 points is ranked 27th as the most points scored in a season in NFL history.
Pittsburgh would go to play in Super Bowl XXX that year, as Johnson made seven field goals in the post-season. The Steelers would lose to the Dallas Cowboys 27-17 in the game.
Johnson missed just eleven field goal attempts over the next three years, making 71 of them. Pittsburgh decided to release Johnson after 1998, when they drafted Kris Brown. The Philadelphia Eagles then signed Johnson to a contract for the 1999 season.
He was the placekicking specialist that year, while second year pro David Akers was used as a kickoff specialist. Johnson played in 15 games that year, scoring 79 points, before relinquishing his duties to Akers. He then retired.
The 810 points that Norm Johnson scored with the Seahawks is the most in franchise history. Five of his seasons are amongst the top 18 greatest scoring years in Seattle history, and his 1984 season is still ninth best.
Johnson attempted 477 field goals in his career, which is the 12th most ever in NFL history. His 366 made field goals in the tenth most ever. His 638 extra point conversions are the sixth most ever, as is his 644 extra point attempts. He ranks 21st all-time in extra point percentage, and 48th all-time in field goal percentage. It is easy to see why he was dubbed "Mr. Automatic" by Seahawks fans.
His 1,736 points is still the eight most in NFL history, though John Kasay has a chance to pass his this year. Norm Johnson spent half of his 18 year career as a Seahawk, and is the best placekicker they ever had.
Todd Peterson and Josh Brown deserve mention.
Punt Returner : Joey Galloway
Galloway was the Seahawks first round draft pick in 1995, the eigth player chosen overall that year. They put him to work immediately that year. He caught 67 passes for 1,039 yards and seven touchdowns. He ran the ball 11 times for a career high 154 yards, including a career long 86 yard touchdown run. It was the longest of the 1995 NFL season. He also returned a career high 36 punt returns, including a career long 89 yard touchdown return. It also led the NFL that year.
He carried the ball a career high 15 times the next year, as well as catching 57 balls for seven touchdowns. Galloway also scored on a punt return of 88 yards on just 15 returns. . He did not return punts in 1997, but he found time to catch 72 passes for 1,049 yards and a career high 12 touchdowns.
He had 25 punt returns in 1998, and took two in for touchdowns. This led the league. He also caught 65 balls for 1,047 yards and ten scores. Galloway asked Seattle for a raise, but was refused. He decided to sit out the first eight games of 1999. When he joined the team, he started in just four of the remaining eight games.
Still unhappy with his contract, Galloway was traded to the Dallas Cowboys before the 2000 season for two first round draft picks. In his first game with Dallas, he blew his knee out in the fourth quarter after catching four passes and scoring once. He sat out the rest of the season.
Galloway returned to Dallas in 2001 and stayed with them until 2003. He led the NFL with a 19.8 yards per catch average in that 2003 season. Dallas then traded him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a disgruntled Keyshawn Johnson. The Buccaneers got the better end of the deal, because Galloway's career was revitalized by the trade.
Though he missed six games that year because of an injury, he did catch five touchdown passes and return the last punt for a touchdown in his career. He followed that up with a career best 83 receptions for 1,287 yards. He also scored ten times.After catching 119 passes for 13 touchdowns over the next two years, Galloway spent 2008 most injured. It was the first season in his career he failed to reach the end zone.
Tampa Bay released him after the season, and he was signed by the New England Patriots for the 2009 season. He played in two games and caught seven balls before the Patriots released him. Though he has yet to announce his retirement, it is unlikely the 39 year old Galloway will play again.
Of the 675 career passes he caught, 283 of them came with Seattle. It is the seventh most in team history. His 37 touchdown receptions are the third most in Seahawks history. His four touchdowns off of punt returns is the most in franchise history, and his two punt return touchdowns in 1998 is a team record. His 823 punt return yards with Seattle still ranks fifth best in team history.
Though Joey Galloway wore a Seattle jersey for just five years, there was perhaps no player more exciting than him over that time for the team.
Paul Johns, Nate Burleson, Bobby Engram, Charlie Rogers, and Bobby Joe Edmonds all deserve mention. Edmonds is the only All-Pro return specialist in Seahawks history.