We continue our rundown of the 2017 Seahawks Dozen here with the man at number 9. With C.J Prosise at 12, Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson at 11 with the Rookie crop at 10. The names open for #9 are wide, but we go with a new Seahawk and one who has a slump to work past in 2017.
The 2017 list for Seahawks Dozen was compiled by myself, Adam Nathan and Ross Bell. Us three on the UK Seahawkers podcast ‘The Pedestrian Podcast’ spent a recent episode putting the list together. A link to that episode is at the bottom of this article.
But without further delay. The man at 9.
The Seahawks Dozen…..No.9
Blair Walsh- Kicker
In 2016 the Seahawks special teams had a year in flux. Health negated the return game a little, Jon Ryan was steady if unspectacular and the long-snapper was as talked about as it ever was.
But the main point of contention was the struggle from kicker Stephen Hauschka. After a seemingly peerless run of a few years in Seattle, Hauschka started to falter.
A year of 33/37 with field goals was about the league-standard in 2016. But the 29 of 35 conversion on extra points was a worrying anomaly for a player who was a free agent at season’s end.
Whether it was technique, leg power or a combination of all the ills above combined. Hauschka’s standing had slipped in Seattle. After a- let’s be honest- shanked field goal miss against Arizona saw the franchise’s first ever tie. The straw that broke the back was identified. It picked up towards the end of the year but was not as automatic as ‘Hausch-Money’ had been before.
The struggles and thought of paying him a chunk of change in the spring was quickly put to bed. With a move to add a player who had struggled early in 2016 and then watched the rest of the year from his couch.
Blair Walsh signed a one-year deal in February and immediately pointed to the end of the road for Hauschka in Seattle. With money due to Hauschka expected to be higher, Walsh was a reclamation project worth the lower cost.
Hauschka did leave- for Buffalo. Walsh stayed and with very little competition coming appears entrenched as the 2017 Seahawks kicker.
How Walsh Got Here
The Walsh and Seattle story started a year before he signed. The blizzard-cold playoff game in Minnesota was still fresh in the memories for all parties. What Hauschka did in the desert, Walsh did it with a heftier weight around him.
In Minnesota, Walsh had begun to slide. After two years of 92 and 86% kicking, it had not been so automatic.
After the play-off miss in 2015’s playoff loss. The 2016 season didn’t help him or the team move past the rough moment. In the 9 games he played for Minnesota in 2016 he missed four extra points and four field goals.
He was cut and unsigned.
So why is he on this list
Walsh in 2017
The kicking game is an important aspect of any team. In Seattle, a team which seems to thrive in the close-game situations, that is highlighted so much more.
That, matched with the peerless path he has had to the starting role, shows that he holds an importance to resolving the 2016 issues for him and the kicking game in Seattle.
On the podcast, it was left to Ross to make the deciding argument, rather concisely.
“I’m going for Blair Walsh here. People weren’t happy with the kicking game in 2016, let’s see how happy they are with him here.”
Early signs from camp appear to be settling down people’s pre-conceived notions on the Blair Walsh signing. He is going to need a strong start to quieten the discontent and ‘jokes’ about his most famous miss.
The belief in him is there. Also, the ability to build a rapport is too.
At snapper and holder it is a set duo- Jon Ryan and Tyler Ott. The team made a move last week to allow Ott to have every snap to build that rapport with Walsh in what is as much about routine as any aspect of the game.
If the Seahawks continue their close-game way, Walsh returning to the pre-2015 ‘near automatic’ conversion rate will prove the Seahawks right in the move they made last February.
It will also be another ‘cap move’ which reaps the benefits for Seattle and GM John Schneider.
To listen to the list and all of our reasonings for the 2017 Dozen. You can go to iTunes or Podbean and search for ‘The Pedestrian Podcast’ there. We are also on Facebook under ‘The Pedestrian Podcast’
With Walsh at 9, we move onto the 8 spot. Which is…