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News » Seattle Seahawks Strategy and Personnel 2009-01-30

Seattle Seahawks Strategy and Personnel 2009-01-30

Seattle Seahawks Strategy and Personnel 2009-01-30
Mora hired five new coaches to join the staff. They include Casey Bradley from Tampa, who will be the defensive coordinator; Dan Quinn from the New York Jets, who will serve as assistant head coach/defensive line coach; Robert Prince from Jacksonville, who will coach receivers; Greg Knapp, who will serve as offensive coordinator; and Tim Lewis, who left the Carolina Panthers to be the secondary coach, the job Mora vacated to become the head coach.

The Seahawks also signed several futures players to the 2009 roster. They include defensive tackle Kevin Brown, receiver Michael Bumpus, cornerback Marquis Floyd, receiver Mike Hass, receiver Billy McMullen, tight end Joe Newton, long snapper Ryan Senser and tight end John Tereshinski.

Brown, Bumpus, Floyd and Joe Newton were members of Seattle practice squad last season. McMullen played four games before breaking a bone in his hand during practice.


QUARTERBACK: Starter -- Matt Hasselbeck. Backups -- Seneca Wallace, Charlie Frye.

Mora indicated in his first press conference with Seattle-area reporters that Matt Hasselbeck is his starting quarterback, even though he struggled through an injury-prone season and finished with the worst passer rating in his career at 57.8. Seneca Wallace played well toward the end of the season. And in end-of-the-season interviews Wallace said he believed he could be a starter in the NFL and is looking for an opportunity to earn a starting job, either in Seattle or elsewhere. Frye showed an ability to manage a game when given an opportunity, but probably is limited to a backup role at this time.

RUNNING BACKS: Starter - RB Maurice Morris, FB Leonard Weaver. Backups -- RB Julius Jones, RB T.J. Duckett, RB Justin Forsett, FB Owen Schmitt.

Jones, a free agent pickup in the offseason, started the season off well, but struggled at times holding onto the ball and eventually lost the starting job to Morris, a favorite of Mike Holmgren. However, Morris is a free agent and may not be back next season. The Seahawks have committed to running the ball more next season, with the possibility of Jones and Duckett sharing the load. Justin Forsett, who looked good in the preseason last year, may get a chance to run the ball as a change-up back. Weaver also is a free agent, but it appears Seattle would like to have him back. Schmitt played well when he got an opportunity in his rookie season, giving the Seahawks depth at fullback.

TIGHT END: Starter -- John Carlson. Backups -- Will Heller, Joe Newton.

Carlson exceeded expectations with his performance in 2008, finally giving Holmgren the weapon at tight end he desired since coming to Seattle. Next season Carlson will have to work to improve his run blocking. Heller is a physical blocker who works well in double tight end sets. And Joe Newton is a good athlete who needs to put on some more weight to be effective at the position.

WIDE RECEIVER: Starters -- Deion Branch, Koren Robinson. Backups -- Bobby Engram, Courtney Taylor, Jordan Kent, Michael Bumpus, Mike Hass, Billy McMullen. Injured reserve -- Nate Burleson, Logan Payne, Ben Obomanu.

The Seahawks were decimated by injuries at wide receiver, which led to struggles in the timing of Holmgren's West Coast offense. Seattle had nine different starting receivers this season, before settling in on Branch and Robinson the last seven games of the year. Engram is a free agent, and Hasselbeck has lobbied to bring the veteran receiver back next season. Robinson played OK in his return to Seattle, showing some maturity after dealing with substance abuse issues the first time he was with Seattle. The Seahawks will have to decide if they want Robinson back. Branch also played well at the end of the season, but will earn $5 million next season.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Starters - LT Walter Jones, C Chris Spencer, LG Floyd Womack, RG Mike Wahle, RT Sean Locklear. Backups - Kyle Williams, Rob Sims, Steve Vallos, Mansfield Wrotto, Ray Willis, NaShan Goodard, Steve McKinney.

The entire starting line besides Womack spent the some portion of the season on injured reserve. Jones, who made another Pro Bowl this year, had microfracture knee surgery and won't be ready until training camp. Chris Spencer still has back issues and may have to have surgery. If he is ready to go by training camp, he'll have some competition in Steve Vallos, who filled in admirably when Spencer was out. The Seahawks also have to figure out if they want to sign free agents Womack and Willis. Womack has value because of his versatility, but Willis may demand more on the market because of his physical blocking ability.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Starters - LE Patrick Kerney, DT Rocky Bernard, DT Brandon Mebane, RE Darryl Tapp. Backups -- Lawrence Jackson, Craig Terrill, Howard Green, Red Bryant, Baraka Atkins, Brandon Miller.

Mora said he wants to get more pressure from the four without having to blitz. A key to that happening will be the return of a healthy Kerney, who again finished the season needing shoulder surgery. Mebane is fast becoming one of the top defensive tackles in the game, and could be Pro Bowl worthy next season.

LINEBACKERS: Starters -- MLB Lofa Tatupu, OLB Leroy Hill, OLB Julian Peterson. Backups -- D.D. Lewis, Will Herring, David Hawthorne, Lance Laury.

The Seahawks have made retaining linebacker Leroy Hill their top priority in free agency. But in order to keep him they might have to slap the franchise tag on the talented linebacker, which would mean paying Hill at least $8 million for his services next season. And Seattle already has a lot of money tied up in Tatupu and Peterson.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters - LCB Marcus Trufant, RCB Josh Wilson. SS, Deon Grant, FS Brian Russell. Backups -- Kelly Jennings, Kevin Hobbs, Jordan Babineaux, C.J. Wallace, Marquis Floyd.

Marcus Trufant fell off a bit after a Pro Bowl season in 2007. However, teams did not throw a lot to Trufant's side, choosing to pick on smaller corners Jennings and Wilson. Wilson earned the starting nod midway through the season and played better the more he was on the field. Grant and Russell are good position guys, but both are closing in on their 30s and could be on the downside of their careers.

SPECIAL TEAMS: K Olindo Mare, P John Ryan, LS Jeff Robinson, KR Josh Wilson, PR Justin Forsett.

Mare only missed three field goals and made all of his extra point attempts, and he finished among the league leaders in touchbacks. Wilson became one of the top returners in the league in terms of average yards for returns. Ryan, whom Seattle picked up early in the season after Green Bay released him, overcame a shaky start and performed well the rest of the season.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 30, 2009

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Will Heller Name: Will Heller
Position: TE
Age: 27
Experience: 6 years
College: Georgia Tech
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