Monday, February 28, 2011

Seahawks Re-Sign CB Kennard Cox

The Seahawks have re-signed special teams ace CB Kennard Cox, report multiple sources.

You might remember Cox as That Guy with the Long Hair on Special Teams. He totaled ten tackles and two passes defensed in the 11 games he played, but also blocked a punt against Kansas City and recovered a muffed punt against Arizona.

Cox was originally drafted in the seventh round by Buffalo. He isn't too valuable as a starting cornerback - many will remember Cox primarily as the guy whom Atlanta WR Michael Jenkins beat for a long touchdown, for which he may or may not have been 100% culpable. But Cox is mostly a ST gunner, not a starting CB, and this relatively minor signing could actually say quite a bit about the vision of Seattle's front office.

A year ago, as Pete Carroll and John Schneider began their shuffling of fringe players and turned the VMAC into a revolving door, it looked chaotic rather than purposeful. Jokes about how "nobody's job was safe" didn't strike me as funny; I wanted to see a cohesive plan. It was impossible at the time to see a formula through all the movement; it merely looked like Carroll was trying to artificially scare players into performing by putting on a show of cuts.

Now, however, several of those supposed "camp fodder" bodies have been given futures with the team. I'd be worried if the musical chairs were continuing, but first Roy Lewis and Isaiah Stanback, and now Cox, have been kept. This looks purposeful. You could interpret this one of two ways. You could say that Seattle is simply sticking with the devil it knows as we move into a long period of CBA uncertainty, or you could say that Carroll might actually see something he likes in these guys. They might not be merely motivational tokens for bigger players, but fits in an actual scheme.

I'm content even if that scheme involves nothing more than bolstering Seattle's special teams. The Seahawks were ranked 3rd last year by Football Outsiders in the special teams department, and 4th by Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News. Much of this is Leon Washington's excellent contributions, but Leon needs blockers, and there's no way Seattle's ST would rank that high without improved blocking. Carroll's competition mantra seems to have the added benefit of digging up valuable gunners - probably an intentional benefit, since a majority of Carroll's Camp Bodies were defensive backs and wide receivers. Cox was the best in a long parade of experimental cornerbacks.

Ben Obomanu, Michael Robinson, and Cox were part of a ST unit that covers kicks better, tackles harder, and forces more turnovers than most teams. You can directly or partially attribute three of Seattle's wins (and a couple losses) to special teams performance this year. It's hard to expect any contract news for the bigger players at a time like this, but it's great to see Carroll and Schneider busying themselves filling the cracks. These are not insignificant moves, either practically or philosophically.

No comments:

Post a Comment