Evaluating Bobby Wagner's 2017 season to date
When watching as a fan, it is hard not to see 54 flying around and making plays for this Seahawks defense. Bobby Wagner always seems to be around the ball. This was especially proven by his 2016 performance, totaling 167 tackles which led the NFL. We expect this from him. He has shown that he can put on these performances year in and year out. With all that being said, how is his 2017 season stacking up with his monster 2016 campaign? Let’s take a look.
Wagner is currently tied for 8th in the NFL for tackles, and leading the Seahawks defense with 61 tackles through 7 games. He also has one interception that came against the 49ers in week 2. At this rate, Bobby Wagner is on pace to compete with his 2016 numbers, which would give him close to 800 tackles in his career putting him 200 away from cracking the top 10 all-time tacklers since tackles began being recorded in 1994. Hitting this milestone in only 6 seasons. Coming into this league highly doubted out of Utah State, Bobby continuously proves that the chip on his shoulder is not going anywhere.
He was recently quoted saying “I feel like my route recognition is a lot better; it’s not where I want it to be, but it’s a lot better, it has allowed me to get more tackles because my breaks are cleaner because I know where the routes are coming or I know where to expect the ball to be thrown. It’s something I really worked on.” This is why he is viewed as an all-pro linebacker, and not as a mid-round question mark anymore. One of the reasons he fell to the Seahawks in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft in the first place. Many think that being a linebacker is all about stopping the run, when understanding your zone and man concepts are just as important. These concepts have put Wagner into the position to make plays week in and week out. Run strength as an LB is half of it, but to bring a balanced aspect to your game makes you a prototype that every coach wants to have. This is what is special about Bobby Wagner’s game. Very few LB’s in the league play with his edge and bring an emotional boost to a defense, which you can’t replace. A middle linebacker on any team has got to be that emotional leader, either vocally, or with their play.
You have seen this in examples like Ray Lewis, Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Brooks. With Bobby’s high emotion and high motor, it becomes contagious for the rest of the defense. I expect Bobby to continue to perform the way he has been, and for the defense to continue to step up when needed. He is in the prime of his career, and never has those games where you are like “c’mon man step your game up”. Even when he is lacking tackles, he is always around the ball. Which showed in his week 4 performance against the Colts with only 6 tackles, but a fumble recovery that was returned for a huge momentum swinging touchdown. Pete Carroll was recently quoted saying “He’s a great team member, he’s a tremendous performer, he is just rock solid day-in and day-out, stands up for what we’re all about, and demonstrating it every day forever, and he’s just awesome.” Awesome he is Pete, awesome he is. The guy is irreplaceable, voted co-defensive captain alongside Kam Chancellor for a big reason. Compete, compete, compete, that’s just what Bobby Wagner does. One of the best to do it, and proving that this year is going to be just another great one in the many more years to come as a Seahawk. Go Hawks!