When it comes to sports teams, we always seem to talk about the "core" or the "nucleus" of the team that makes the team be what it be and do what it do. So with our team, who is the "core" of the team that will carry us through the next 6-8 years?
In no particular order, MY core is...
Russell Wilson (d'uh). He's like the core of the core. The nucleus's nucleus. He's like the God particle. He's be be all to end all. He is our savior and will take us to the promised land. Can I get an amen?
Russell Okung - Gotta protect the God particle. LT's this good don't come around very often.
Max Unger - 27 and possibly the best center in the league. I'll take another 6 years of that please.
Golden Tate - He's a difference maker, a TD maker and Russell's favorite target. Love him or hate him, I don't see him going anywhere.
*Percy Harvin - * because he hasn't played a down as a Hawk yet, but I think he's going to be kinda important
Bobby Wagner - heady Mike with excellent range and great fundamentals. He'll be the man in the middle for the next decade.
Earl Thomas - He's the key that makes the entire secondary defense work. 2nd most important piece behind Russell Wilson.
Kam Chancellor - Sets the tone for our physical defense and is the leader of the LOB.
Richard Sherman - Best corner in the game. Nuff said.
If we can keep THIS group together and surround them with a cost effective supporting cast comprised of rookies with something to prove on their way into the league and vets with a little bit left to give on their way out of it, we should be competing for titles for the next 6 - 8 years IMO.
Guys on the fringe of the core:
Sidney Rice - it's an age thing. Like Unger he'll be 27 this year but unlike C's, WR's decline rather quickly north of 30. He's super important to us in the short term, but I don't really expect to see him here 6 years from now.
Bruce Irvin - He hasn't shown it yet. He's young and has all the physical tools (my god does he ever) but hasn't shown he's capable of being on the field for all 3 downs. If he does though...
Zack Miller - again an age thing. He is SO important to what we do now just as a blocker, but the fact he runs great routes and has great hands makes him even more important. I hope we find a way to make the $'s work and keep him around because I don't see his skillset being easily replaced...
Brandon Browner - The man is a BEAST! but I don't nessessarily know if he's in the long term plans. He doesn't have a lot of NFL miles on him, but he's still 27 years old and has played a lot of football in his life. The difference between an elite CB and a regular CB isn't much and I could see him decline down to "average" rather quickly. He'll be expensive to re-up and I'm not sure if there'll be room for him. Given the road he travelled to get here, I'd love to see him get his payday... I just don't think it's going to be here.
KJ Wright - A strong Sam with great length. Helps set the end against the run and is pretty good against the pass too. I had him in "the core" originally, but... I dunno. Something about a SAM just feels pedestrian to me and not worthy of "core" status. Tell me why I'm wrong...
You're not the core:
Antoine Winfield - He's an ageless wonder true, but he's not here in 6 years. Right now, he is like a wonderful seasoning that makes the steak all that much better; but even with out it, you're still eating a steak. We'll still do what we do without him, but we'll just do it so much better with him.
Marshawn Lynch - Lynch is a fricken PHENOM... right now. The way he runs, while incredibly effective, doesn't make for all that much longevity. Given he already has well documented back problems, I don't see him making it that far past 30. We have 2 other backs in house who should be able to shoulder the same load in a balanced offense. THis is the big money year for Lynch and I think this is as long as they realistically expected to keep him here; everything else is gravy. I love Marshawn to death though and would love to be proven wrong though...
Red Bryant - He has a very special skillset and plays a very specific role in our defense, but for some reason I just don't see him being here for the long haul. Red will contribute in the short term, but I can see us getting younger and cheaper at the position in a few years when the big money years of his contract kick in.
Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett - We have to see how they fit into the system first. These are 2 27 year old guys on "show me" contracts, so they have to show me something. Bennett in particular could be a huge difference maker if he can provide that much needed pennetration from the 3-tech spot.
Christine Michael - He's so young, so strong, so fast and so talented. From what I've seen of him, he has Adrian Peterson like tools. If he gets an opportunity to show what he can do, he just might make Marshawn expendable (and I fricken LOVE Marshawn).
So what do y'all think? Is the core actually bigger? Is it smaller? Is it totally different? Let's talk about the core.....