Keep or Kick, Vol. 5 - Josh Scobey

Through the month of February, Seahawks.NET will be taking an in-depth look at the future prospects of every 2006 Seahawks player who currently enjoys Restricted or Unrestricted Free Agent status. In our fifth installment of "Keep or Kick?", guest contributor David Bourque explores the case for and against running back/special teamer Josh Scobey.

Josh Scobey
RB/Special Teams – 6’0”, 220 pounds
2007 Status: Unrestricted Free Agent
2007 Age: 26
2007 Service: 5 years

In August of 2005, Josh Scobey was acquired off the waiver wire by the Seahawks. Scobey was selected in the sixth round of the 2002 Draft out of Kansas State by the Arizona Cardinals where he was primarily used as a kick returner. Over the past two seasons, he has proven to be an outstanding special teams player for the Seahawks. Although originally drafted as a running back, he has never really been utilized in that aspect for the Cardinals or the Seahawks.

SEATTLE - NOVEMBER 12: Running back Josh Scobey #33 of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball during the NFL game against the St. Louis Rams at Qwest Field on November 12, 2006 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won 24-22. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

His biggest year as a running back was in 2004 when he carried the ball 27 times for only 89 yards. In 2005 Scobey was mainly used as a kick off return specialist in which he returned 59 kicks for a net yardage of 1326 or a 22 yd avg. In 2006 Scobey lost his kick off return job to Willie Ponder, and later Nate Burleson, but remained a force at the gunner position on special teams.

The Case For: Josh Scobey is one of the more prominent figures on Seattle’s special teams. Countless times he is double and tripled teamed as he fights his way to the opponent’s return man. His speed and tackling ability provides an effective counterbalance to whoever is back returning punts or kickoffs for the opposing team. He is a vital piece of the Seahawks special teams coverage. This was never more evident then when Scobey was placed on IR back in December. Seattle’s special teams took a hit, and took a turn for the worse, and were never the same throughout the rest of the regular season. In the two playoff games Seattle played in, Dallas returned a kickoff 93 yards for a TD and Chicago returned a punt for a TD (which eventually was called back) but it showed that a guy with Scobey’s tenacity was missed.

The Case Against: Who can forget opening day 2005, Jacksonville, Florida, beautiful cloudless sky, football atmosphere is in the air and everyone is all geared up and hopeful for the start of the new season. Seattle wins the toss, Jacksonville kicks to Scobey, Scobey sprints down the right sideline, making tacklers miss, and then it happens, WHAM!!!. Ball comes flying out and the Seahawks turn it over. Right then and there, as a fan, I never wanted Scobey to return another kick in a Hawk uniform and in 2006 I got that wish. Willie Ponder was signed as the kickoff and punt returner and brought much needed life at that position that Scobey just couldn’t muster. Ponder was eventually released and instead of giving Scobey the return duties again, in steps Nate Burleson who electrified the crowds with his returns - and thus Scobey’s days of returning for the Hawks were done.

Keep or Kick: Keep. Scobey is ferocious on kickoff and punt coverage and is a big piece of the puzzle in the Seahawks special teams. The team should put a contract together befitting that sub-starter status.


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