Alright, last year was a disaster, in large part due to the ridiculous volume of injuries, so just before kicking off this year I wanted to share my thoughts on who the most important players will be for the Seahawks in '09.
Matt Hasslebeck - ok so this choice is obvious, but it is also true. If Matt stays healthy the 'Hawks offense will be competitive. He is a true General on the field and looks like his arsenal is fully loaded with receiving talent. Housh, Carlson and Burleson look to be primed for big years and the signing of Edge and the emergence of Forsett as backfield receiving threats makes this years passing offense scary good... on paper. Matt's clearly the key and until proven otherwise, the running game will be merely a distraction and a bonus for our overall offense.
John Carlson - Carlson looks like the best Seahawk's tight end ever. 'Looks like' is the key part of that. He has to prove it this year. If he doesn't then Housh becomes the only true possession receiver for Hass and that can not be a good thing. Carlson also needs to step up and show us that he can be effective in blocking, both run blocks and pass protection. With the O-Line in flagrant rebuilding / re-scheming mode there will be plenty of opportunities for Carlson to shine, or fail.
Lofa Tatupu - Lofa is our QB on Defense, but mroe importantly in '05, '06 and '07 he was a playmaker as well. Remember that hit in the NFC Championship that sent Carolina's last hope of a running game out with a concussion? What about the mulit-pick game against the Eagles? Last year Lofa was forced into a reactionary role, essentially just praying the D-Line and the Secondary didn't mess up another play and hoping to contain the damage. This year Lofa needs to be the leader and playmaker he was. The D-Line play is going to be key and with Big Play Babs behind him he should feel more secure.
Jordan 'Big Play' Babineaux - Jordan finally has his shot to prove his playmaking abilities are not just good timing and good luck. A more sure tackler than Brian Russell, more athletic and better coverage skills make this transition seem like a no brainer, but like Carlson, 'Big Play' has got to prove it. Along with the rest of the secondary, Jordan should have no more excuses with a more aggressive scheme and bigger bodied D-Line in front of them. The free-reign to be aggressive and play the ball should work to Jordan's advantage, but the proof will definitely be in the pudding.