Thursday, September 1, 2011
Intelligence report: Seattle Seahawks
By Mike Sando
Five things to know about the Seattle Seahawks, straight from our newly published 2011 preview:
1. Tarvaris Jackson is the answer: Just make sure you're asking the right question. Jackson was convenient and available to Seattle once the team decided against re-signing Matt Hasselbeck for legitimate starter money. The Seahawks aren't banking on Jackson as their long-term starter. They're buying time to build up the rest of the roster before going after a quarterback next offseason. Sure, there's a chance Jackson or Charlie Whitehurst could surprise them. It's an outside chance. Using a 2012 first-round pick on a quarterback seems more likely.
2. Youth is served: The Seahawks went through training camp and the exhibition season with the NFL's youngest projected starters for 2011. Marcus Trufant and Robert Gallery were the only ones in their 30s. Gallery was the oldest, and he turned 31 only recently. Teams talk about getting younger. Few have the daring to go with so many younger starters when more established options were readily available. The Seahawks replaced longtime starters such as Hasselbeck, Lofa Tatupu, Lawyer Milloy, Sean Locklear and Chris Spencer with younger alternatives. Coach Pete Carroll's recent history in the college game has made him more comfortable going young than most NFL coaches would be.
3. Size matters in the secondary: Starting strong safety Kam Chancellor towers over most NFL defensive backs at 6-foot-3. He wasn't even as tall as the Seahawks' tallest cornerback -- that's right, cornerback -- through training camp and preseason. Brandon Browner, all 6-4 of him, was one of the more impressive cornerbacks in camp. The team used a fifth-round pick for cornerback Richard Sherman, who stands 6-3. Every defensive back on the roster is at least 5-10. Seven of 13 on the roster heading into the final preseason game are at least 6-0. Carroll wants big, rangy cover corners.
4. Leroy Hill lives: A year or two ago, it would have been unthinkable to hold up Hill as the Seattle linebacker whose future with the team appeared brighter than the futures of Tatupu or Aaron Curry. Tatupu had been to three Pro Bowls. Curry was the fourth player chosen in the 2009 draft. Hill was coming off a serious injury and multiple off-field incidents. Tatupu is gone. A restructuring for Curry chopped off two years from his rookie deal and made 2011 quite possibly his final one with the team. Hill, meanwhile, has recaptured the aggressive, borderline violent form that made him a potential rising star a few years ago.
5. The OL looks good on paper: Left tackle Russell Okung's recurring ankle problems aren't the only concern on an offensive line the Seahawks have worked hard to upgrade. Gallery represents an upgrade over his 2010 predecessors at left guard, but he has appeared a bit sluggish. Center Max Unger has yet to flourish since returning from a toe injury. Right guard John Moffitt and right tackle James Carpenter are suffering through typical rookie struggles. The Seahawks are counting on line coach Tom Cable to get the most from this mostly young group.