Aaron Curry was supposedly the "safest" pick in the 2009 NFL draft.
The safest summation of Curry's rookie season with the Seattle Seahawks would be that it was a disappointment. Even to him. Especially to him.
"Unacceptable," Curry told 101ESPN Seattle during a recent radio interview. "Just plain and simple, I did not play to the standards that I did all of my life."
Curry spoke of starting quickly, then falling off dramatically, letting down himself and many others along the way. He also suggested the Seahawks' new defensive scheme would make life easier for him by simplifying his role. That might be true. It probably is true. But it's also what players tend to say when a new staff takes over. Everything in the past was suddenly a colossal failure, even though players had projected optimism at the time.
"Hands down this is the easiest thing I’ve ever done," Curry told 710ESPN. "Last year, I was required to do a lot of thinking. At the linebacker (position), you should just be playing. The less thinking you are doing, the harder you are playing. In this scheme now, that's what we are being granted to do, just play hard. We need to anticipate some things, but it’s about playing hard. Play hard. Hit hard."
In Curry's case, the Seahawks were ambitious with him last season, particularly early. They were so excited to get him on the field. Here's what then-coach Jim Mora said following Curry's first exhibition game:
"We moved Aaron around a little bit. He did a lot of things, especially for his first week, only being here for a week. He played the SAM linebacker in our base, he played the dime position in our nickel defense, and then we got him seven rushes at right end in our nickel and dime packages as well, and that’s without having taken any snaps out here in pass-rush. Now, he’d taken pass-rush against running backs, but not against the offensive line. You saw an athletic, powerful, smart football player, who still has a lot to learn, and a lot of work to do. He'll do that work."
This one will merit revisiting during the season. Curry likely would have improved anyway from his first to second seasons. Reasons for his dropoff last season went beyond his role and included Lofa Tatupu's season-ending injury against Arizona. It will be convenient to attribute the improvement to the coaching change even though other factors will also come into play.