The cat is finally out of the bag, ladies and gentlemen!
Or more poignantly, the cat is finally out of Cincy and in a Seahawks uniform, when just five days into free agency highly touted free agent WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh agreed to terms on a reported five year/$40M contract with the Seattle Seahawks.
This deal is a great first step for the Seahawks in remodeling the shattered receiving corps that plagued them all last year.
But more is needed! So in the words of Chris Berman, "C'mon Seattle!" Keep it coming.
Now, what does this mean for the 'Hawks and the NFC West? Let's take a closer look.
Signing Housh puts the Seahawks back in definite contention for best in the West, as if the recent obliteration of the Arizona Cardinals wasn't reason enough, but it especially bodes well for Matt Hasselbeck as he bounces back from an injury-riddled season.
Having Housh to throw to provides wonderful impetus for Matt to crank up the voltage on the rehab in preparation for this '09 campaign.
We all saw late in the season, especially against the Patriots, what a fully healthy Deion Branch can do for this team, and coupled with Houshmandzadeh, the Seahawks finally have a pair of respectable WRs playing opposite each other. Housh put up stellar numbers in Cincy including a 112 rec./1143 yd. season in 2007.
Last year he still impressed with 92 receptions in 15 games. There's production that the Seahawks need. Houshmanzadeh is surely one huge piece to the receiving puzzle that is set.
Then there's the question of Nate Burleson. The kid's explosive. He's become a big play-maker for the Seahawks the past two seasons, but depending on how he recovers from his torn ACL will determine how much he contributes. The feeling here is that it will take some time before he is back to old form.
Last year's lone bright spot, better known as TE John Carlson, will continue to shine brightly as one of Hasselbeck's newly brandished repertoire of weapons. Then there's the possibility of retaining Koren Robinson and Bobby Engram, who provide familiarity with Hasselbeck but will probably not be around.
So that's five potential WRs to round out the Seahawks receiving corps, with T.J. anchoring that group. Yet there's still the feeling that something is missing.
You get the feeling that one more bonafide No. 1 receiver will bust this thing wide open.
Now that the Seahawks have landed Housh, fans and media sources have backed out on the Seahawks possibly drafting Michael Crabtree, but wouldn't Housh, Crab, and Branch make the ultimate trifecta for Matt Hasselbeck?
Although Housh put up great numbers, he is a prototypical No. 2 guy that plays best when teamed with someone who draws attention as Chad Ocho Cinco did in Cincinnati. Crabtree would be the perfect guy for this; while Branch provides the safety blanket. Perfect scenario for Matt and the offense.
Realistically, this probably won't happen and hopefully the 'Hawks do the right thing and go B.J. Raji with the fourth pick, but Seattle needs to add one more receiver to this already promising duo if the offensive fireworks are to come to fruition.
Albeit, what great news for Matt Hasselbeck as Seattle desperately needed help at the wideout position.
And what...well...not-so-great news for the rest of the NFC West.
For Hasselbeck, he now has the luxury of a tough reliable guy like Houshmandzadeh to throw to, along with Branch and Burleson, maybe. Hasselbeck's biggest hurdle thus far remains getting back healthy, in fact, the team's biggest hurdle is getting back healthy, especially All-Pro tackle Walter Jones.
After one vastly disappointing season last year, expect a healthy Matt Hasselbeck to return this team to contention and respectability in 2009. When healthy Hasselbeck is a top 10 All-Pro quarterback.
No one should doubt his ability to get the ball out to Housh, remember this is the same guy who exceeded the challenge in 2007 when coach Mike Holmgren vowed to scrap the team's running game in favor of a pass-heavy attack.
Matt exceeded that challenge and led the Seahawks to the Divisional Championship game with lesser known guys to throw to. Just imagine what he can do now with Houshmandzadeh!
Outside of the bright flicker that was once Koren Robinson early in his career, Matt Hasselbeck has never really had a solid No. 1 receiver to throw to as a Seahawk.
He has always been the sole beneficiary of an efficient Mike Holmgren west coast system and a very productive Shaun Alexander that allowed lesser known guys like Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram to effectively get the job done, so with a top caliber receiver like T.J. at his disposal, we all should assume the sky is the limit for Hasselbeck and the Seahawks.
Matt has gotten it done with those second tier guys all of his career so why assume anything different from a star like T.J.?
More of a concern however is how he will grasp offensive coordinator Greg Knapp's new system. There was no better understudy to Mike Holmgren than Hasselbeck these past 10 years and how Matt transitions to Knapp's system is key. It helps that Knapp runs a version of the west coast offense but mastering the new terminology will be the trick.
But the funny thing is that even before the signing of Housh the Seahawks weren't far off from returning to greatness. Everyone seemed to conveniently write them off after last season's debacle.
They still have good players in tact in some of the key positions. Holmgren's old coaching staff have been replaced with fresh, new blood, along with a youthful, energetic new head coach.
The players will respond to this shot of adrenaline. And T.J. just makes them that much better. Arizona, St. Louis, nor San Fran just don't look as viable threats to the NFC West crown.
So, the question remains, Housh the Best in the West?
I think we all now know the answer to this...
The Seattle Seahawks!!
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