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Sunday, September 1, 2013
Analyzing Seattle's 53-man roster

By Terry Blount

Here’s a look at the 53-man roster for the Seattle Seahawks and some thoughts at each position:


Quarterbacks: Russell Wilson and Tarvaris Jackson.

It was obvious early on in training camp that Jackson was way ahead of Brady Quinn for the backup job. Jackson knew the offense because of his previous time in Seattle and he was able to make some big plays in preseason and lead the offense on several long drives. Going with only two quarterbacks was the right decision, but the Seahawks waived the man who was their emergency quarterback -- fullback Michael Robinson, who played quarterback at Penn State.

If the Seahawks reach that point, they’re in big trouble. Wilson is the key to this team’s success and everyone knows it. He is an exceptional talent and a remarkable young man who impresses almost everyone who comes in contact with him. Wilson is one of those once-in-a-generation guys who you look at and say: “This man is headed for big things in life.”

Russell Wilson
After a breakout 2012, Russell Wilson, No. 3, and Marshawn Lynch are looking to lead Seattle to a Super Bowl.
Running backs: Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin and Christine Michael.

No surprises here. Some people thought Michael, the rookie from Texas A&M, might beat out Turbin for the backup spot behind Lynch, but Turbin is the better blocker for now and has a better grasp of the offense.

Fullbacks: Derrick Coleman and Spencer Ware.

Releasing Robinson was a bit of a surprise. He is an outstanding lead blocker for Lynch and a team leader. But this was a financial move. Robinson was scheduled to make $2.5 million this season.

Coleman showed a lot of improvement in the preseason as a second-year player from UCLA. The coaches and the players love him as an extremely hard worker who has overcome his disability of being almost completely deaf. Ware, a rookie from LSU, can play fullback or tailback. He has looked good at catching balls out of the backfield.

Wide receivers: Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Stephen Williams.

This could be the team's most unpredictable spot. Percy Harvin, the big-play man the Seahawks committed $67 million to acquire, won’t be around for at least the first two months of the season and maybe longer after undergoing hip surgery for a torn labrum.

Rice didn’t play a down in preseason and didn’t practice much after going to Switzerland for a procedure on this knee, but says he’s ready to go for the opener. Williams, the surprise of the preseason on offense with his ability to make big plays on deep throws, has a concussion and may not be ready for the opener.

That leaves a lot in the hands of Tate, Baldwin and Kearse, but those appear to be in capable hands. Tate had a solid preseason and Baldwin is a reliable slot receiver. Kearse is the wild card, but may be ready to blossom. The second-year player from Washington was sensational in the preseason. Wilson loves his toughness and sees major improvement, maybe because Kearse can see. He had Lasik surgery in the offseason to improve his vision.

Tight ends: Zach Miller, Luke Willson.

It was a surprise to see the Seahawks cut Sean McGrath, who had a strong preseason, and go with only two tight ends. But Willson, a rookie from Rice, has great speed and good hands. Miller missed most of the preseason with a foot injury, but returned last week and looked good.

The Seahawks use a lot to two-tight ends sets, so both these guys will play a lot. And Seattle will line up Miller at fullback on occasion.

Offensive line: Russell Okung, Paul McQuistan, Max Unger, Breno Giacomini, J.R. Sweezy, Lemuel Jeanpierre, James Carpenter, Mike Person, Michael Bowie, Alvin Bailey.

This group didn’t have a good preseason, with way too many penalties and too many breakdowns on pass blocking. The Seahawks traded guard John Moffitt to Denver for a player they ended up cutting -- defensive tackle Sealver Siliga.

But the Seattle coaches are high on two rookie draft picks -- Bowie and Bailey. Bowie suffered a shoulder injury in the final preseason game and left the locker room wearing a sling. The good news last week was the return of Carpenter, the former first-round draft choice from Alabama. He played well in the preseason game against the Oakland Raiders. Carpenter gives the Seahawks some options at guard. He could move to the starting spot at left guard and have McQuistan move to right guard in place of Sweezy.


Defensive line: Chris Clemons, Brandon Mebane, Tony McDaniel, Red Bryant, Cliff Avril, O’Brien Schofield, D’Anthony Smith, Benson Mayowa, Jordan Hill, Michael Bennett.

The best news Saturday was moving Clemons to the 53-man roster, which means the Seahawks expect him to return sooner rather than later. Clemons, the team’s leading pass-rusher last season with 11.5 sacks, had offseason ACL surgery and hasn’t taken a snap this summer in practice. However, coach Pete Carroll said last week he thinks Clemons is close to getting back on the field.

Cliff Avril, Seattle’s top offseason acquisition on the defense as a pass-rusher, didn’t play in the preseason, but appears close to returning from a strained hamstring.
The Seahawks surprisingly cut five defensive tackles Saturday, which must mean they are confident Mebane and McDaniel (both with groin injuries) could be ready to go for the opener. However, Seattle added some insurance Saturday by making a trade to acquire Smith (a 6-foot-2, 300-pound tackle) from Jacksonville for a provisional draft pick.

The biggest "wow" guy on defense this preseason was Mayowa, an undrafted rookie defensive end from Idaho. He had 3.5 sacks in the four games and showed great quickness coming off the edge.

Linebackers: K.J. Wright, Bobby Wagner, Mike Morgan, Heath Farwell, Malcolm Smith, Allen Bradford, John Lotulelei.

This isn’t a flashy group but they get the job done and don’t make many mistakes. Wagner, starting his second season from Utah State, is on his way to becoming one of the best middle linebackers in the game. Wright is a force outside at 6-4 and Smith is underrated.

Morgan is strong in the hybrid Leo spot, an outside linebacker at times and a down defensive end at others. Morgan needs to help out here until Bruce Irvin returns from his four-week suspension for PEDs. Irvin still is learning his new duties in pass coverage as a linebacker, but they need his pass-rushing abilities.

The surprise keeper of the bunch is undrafted rookie Lotulelei, a little short at 5-11, but he has a bit of a mean streak as an aggressive hitter.

Defensive backs: Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell, Jeron Johnson, Jeremy Lane, and Chris Maragos.

The best secondary in the NFL, hands down. The group is so talented that the Seahawks opted to release veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield, who elected to retire at age 36. Backup corners Thurmond and Lane would start for many NFL teams, and both players also can return kicks.

Special teams: K Steven Hauschka, P Jon Ryan and LS Clint Gresham.

No worries here. Hauschka has one of the strongest legs in the NFL. He kicked three field goals of more than 50 yards in the final preseason game, and most of his kickoffs are touchbacks. Ryan, also the holder on field goals, is a booming punter who gets excellent hang time on his boots. And the Seahawks thought enough of Gresham as the long snapper to sign him to a two-year contract extension last week worth $1.6 million.

The kick-return duties also look good with Kearse (who had a 107-yard kickoff return for a TD in the preseason) on kickoffs and Tate or Thurmond on punt returns. Lane, one of the fastest players on the team, also can returns kicks, as can Michael.

But it still isn’t what Seattle had last year with Leon Washington returning kicks. Washington was let go when the Seahawks signed Harvin, believing Harvin could handle some of the kick-return duties.

Injured reserve list: DT Jesse Williams, CB Chandler Fenner, TE Anthony McCoy and DE Kenneth Boatright.

Suspended list: LB Bruce Irvin

PUP list/non-football injury list: WR Percy Harvin, DL Greg Scruggs, CB Tharold Simon and LB Korey Toomer.