Seahawks’ Stevens returns to form

By Michael Murillo  |   Thursday, November 23, 2006  |  Comments( 1 )

Seattle Seahawks
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If every starter's return mirrors that of Jerramy Stevens, Seattle fans will be very happy.

It's not that Stevens has been such a consistent performer since returning from knee surgery. Quite the contrary, in fact. Stevens has been up (a touchdown in two games) and down (no catches against Oakland and a fumble last week against San Francisco) in the games since he rejoined the starting lineup.

But, as 'Hawks fans know, that's Stevens in a nutshell. He can be a potent part of the offense, or he can melt down at the most inopportune time--like the Super Bowl. You don't always know what he's going to deliver, and fans still can't be sure what he'll contribute each week. So Stevens is just picking up where he left off.

If Shaun Alexander, Matt Hasselbeck and Bobby Engram can do the same, fans will be cheering the team back to the playoffs. Because for those guys, "picking up where they left off" means solid play and helping the team win. Sure, they've had their struggles in 2006 but a healthy offense will be able to compete with the remaining teams on the schedule.

Stevens still has an important role to play in the lineup, and the tight end position is naturally an inconsistent one. And it's not like Stevens will be needed to catch 10 passes or reach 100 yards every game. The passing attack has Darrell Jackson, Deion Branch, Nate Burleson and (soon) Engram. The team simply needs Stevens to either block or become another option in a talented corps of receivers, and that's exactly what he's cut out to be.

What Stevens has done is show that a player can return from an injury and fit back into Mike Holmgren's system. He can fill the role he needs to fill immediately. When the team has holes in its starting lineup, it doesn't look like much of a contribution. But Stevens has also shown the ability to make his playing time count late in the year. Not counting a meaningless game against the Packers to close out the 2005 season, Stevens scored in the Seahawks' last three regular-season contests.

Stevens had no less than three receptions in every game last December, and that would be welcome production this year. At 6-4, the Seahawks have a tough road ahead. If they don't win the division, even a wild-card spot isn't a guarantee. The team will need production from its healthy starters--including Stevens--to defend its conference championship successfully.
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