NFC West: Kennard Cox

Brock Huard, Mike Salk and I spent 13-14 minutes Thursday discussing where the Seattle Seahawks stand heading toward the 2012 NFL draft.

One question: Should the team focus on adding a front-line receiver to help new quarterback Matt Flynn, or should finding pass-rush help (and possibly linebacker help) stand as top priority?

I lean toward making pass-rush help a higher priority while the team finds out whether Flynn has the ability to maximize the existing weapons and make full use of additional ones.

The chart shows which players accounted for the Seahawks' 33 sacks last season.

Five of the players with at least 3.0 sacks are unsigned and/or will not return.

Anthony Hargrove has agreed to terms with Green Bay, Leroy Hill is unsigned and Raheem Brock is not expected back. Jason Jones, signed from Tennessee, should help pump up the numbers to a degree. But there's definitely room for another contributor.

Audio here.

NFC West injury situations that matter

December, 28, 2011
Arizona: It's looking like John Skelton will remain the Cardinals' starting quarterback while Kevin Kolb continues to work through concussion-related symptoms. Kolb is practicing on a limited basis. Skelton was the player Cardinals officials made available to Seattle reporters on a conference call Wednesday. Patrick Peterson's injured Achilles' tendon will not require surgery, but his availability for Sunday remains in question. Peterson, right tackle Brandon Keith and free safety Kerry Rhodes missed practice Wednesday. Playing without Peterson on Sunday would affect the Cardinals significantly in the return game and on defense. Running back Beanie Wells was limited. His knee injury remains a factor. Wells has not exceeded 15 carries in any of the Cardinals' past three games. He has had no runs longer than 9 yards in the four games since setting a franchise record with 228 yards against St. Louis.

St. Louis: Kellen Clemens appears likely to finish the season as the Rams' starting quarterback while starter Sam Bradford (ankle) and backup A.J. Feeley (thumb) remain sidelined. The Rams, having already placed 10 cornerbacks on injured reserve this season, lost another one when learning Justin King's shoulder injury would require surgery. An abdominal injury continues to limit another cornerback, Josh Gordy, although he has picked off passes in consecutive games. Defensive tackle Fred Robbins and linebacker Brady Poppinga have been ill this week. Expect defensive end Chris Long to continue playing through an ankle injury. He has 13 sacks and had two against San Francisco when the teams met previously this season.

San Francisco: The 49ers need to beat the Rams to ensure themselves a first-round playoff bye, but they also need to guard against aggravating existing injuries. Linebacker Patrick Willis, sidelined by a hamstring injury suffered against the Rams in Week 13, returned to practice this week. Receivers Ted Ginn Jr. (ankle) and Kyle Williams (concussion) are not practicing. The team will likely sign Joe Hastings or John Matthews from the practice squad. Both are receivers. One could get playing time against the Rams. San Francisco's offense faces a transition while tight end Delanie Walker recovers from a broken jaw.

Seattle: The Seahawks, like the Rams, have a long list of players on injured reserve. Unlike the Rams, their 53 active players are relatively healthy, and they have developed young depth throughout the roster. Linebacker David Hawthorne and receiver Ben Obomanu missed practice Wednesday. Both have knee injuries. Depth at receiver is a concern for the Seahawks now that Sidney Rice and Mike Williams are on injured reserve. The team expects to have Obomanu against Arizona on Sunday. Linebacker Malcolm Smith (concussion), defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (concussion), quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral) and defensive back Kennard Cox (hamstring) practiced fully.
SEATTLE — The San Francisco 49ers will play it safe with Patrick Willis for at least another week.

The team listed its Pro Bowl linebacker as inactive against the Seattle Seahawks. That is no surprise after Willis practiced on only a limited basis while recovering from a hamstring injury. The team needs him for the playoffs.

Receiver Braylon Edwards, inactive for the 49ers against Pittsburgh last week, is active and starting.

Return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. is also inactive for the 49ers. Ginn scored twice on return touchdowns against Seattle in Week 1. He has helped the 49ers lead the NFL in average starting field position this season. His absence leaves the team less experienced and less dynamic in the return game.

For the Seahawks, receiver Doug Baldwin is active despite an ankle injury, consistent with what coach Pete Carroll said he expected. Baldwin injured the ankle in practice Wednesday. He's the best receiver on the active roster and a player the Seahawks rely upon during critical situations, including third down. Having him active was especially important with Sidney Rice and Mike Williams on injured reserve.

Inactive for the 49ers: Willis, nose tackle Ian Williams, guard Mike Person, guard Daniel Kilgore, cornerback Tramaine Brock, Ginn and quarterback Scott Tolzien.

Inactive for Seattle: quarterback Josh Portis, safety Jeron Johnson, cornerback Kennard Cox, linebacker Malcolm Smith, guard Paul Fanaika, defensvie tackle Clinton McDonald and tackle Jarriel King.

MNF inactives: Rams without Fred Robbins

December, 12, 2011
SEATTLE -- The St. Louis Rams' inactive list could favor the Seattle Seahawks' run defense.

The Rams will be without veteran defensive tackle Fred Robbins, who was questionable on the injury report and did not practice during the week. Robbins' absence means more playing time for Darell Scott and Gary Gibson.

Also inactive for the Rams: quarterback A.J. Feeley, quarterback Tom Brandstater, running back Quinn Porter, fullback Brit Miller, linebacker Justin Cole and guard Kevin Hughes. Kellen Clemens will serve as the backup quarterback to Sam Bradford.

For Seattle, linebacker David Hawthorne is active. The Seahawks' inactive list features quarterback Josh Portis, safety Jeron Johnson, cornerback Kennard Cox, linebacker Adrian Moten, guard Mike Gibson, guard Paul Fanaika and defensive tackle Pep Levingston.

Silver linings: Seahawks at Cowboys

November, 7, 2011
The facts: The Seattle Seahawks fell to 2-6 with a 23-13 road defeat to the Dallas Cowboys.

The upside: Even the worst defeats tend to feature a bright spot or two.
  • Marshawn Lynch rushed for 135 yards, his highest total since Seattle acquired him last season. Lynch scored a rushing touchdown in the fourth consecutive game he has played, becoming the first Seattle player to accomplish that feat since Shaun Alexander in 2005.
  • The Seahawks allowed no sacks to the Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware, who entered the game with 12 sacks this season, including four a week earlier.
  • Kennard Cox's tackle during a Cowboys punt return forced Dallas to begin its second drive at its own 2-yard line.
  • The Seahawks did not fumble.
  • Seattle's league-leading goal-to-go defense allowed no touchdowns in two such situations Sunday. Brandon Mebane blew up one running play. Atari Bigby nearly sacked Tony Romo on another, forcing an incomplete pass.
  • The Seahawks won time of possession.
  • Free safety Earl Thomas and linebacker David Hawthorne had tackles for loss.
  • Strong safety Kam Chancellor continued delivering huge hits, including one that rocked DeMarco Murray at the line of scrimmage on a second-and-4 play in the second quarter. On-field microphones picked up the jarring sound from the collision, followed by crowd reaction.
  • Cornerback Richard Sherman forced Dez Bryant to fumble with a big hit near the goal line. Roy Lewis recovered for Seattle.
Looking ahead: The Seahawks return home to face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 10.

2011 Week 7: NFC West game changers

October, 24, 2011
A disputed penalty prevented the Seattle Seahawks' Leon Washington from topping our Week 7 chart for most pivotal play in the NFC West.

Washington's 81-yard punt return would have given the Seahawks a 7-3 lead in a game they lost, 6-3. A penalty against Kennard Cox for an illegal block in the back wiped out the touchdown, creating a huge momentum swing and inviting ridicule.

This was a bad call, replays showed, but Mike Pereira, the NFL's former officiating czar, makes a good point in his column for Fox. What looked like a bad call on replay looked very much like an illegal block in the back when watched at live speed.

Had the return stood, the Seahawks' win probability for the game would have jumped from 37.7 percent to 63.1 percent, according to Alok Pattani of ESPN's analytics team. That 25.4-point difference would have topped our win probability chart. It does not because the official play-by-play sheet counts the penalty as part of the play. There are not separate calculations for penalties. It's assumed the rules violation enabled the play.

That left LaRod Stephens-Howling's 73-yard touchdown reception from Kevin Kolb atop the list this week. The play improved the Arizona Cardinals' win probability from 15.4 percent to 37.6 percent, based on how similar plays have affected outcomes in similar situations previously.

The most pivotal play for any NFL team: D.J. Williams' strip-sack of Miami's Matt Moore for Denver in overtime, which changed the Dolphins' win probability from 75.8 to 23.8.

I asked about the penalty against Seattle's Red Bryant for head-butting the Cleveland Browns' Alex Smith. That one affected win probability less than I would have anticipated. The Browns were already at 98.3 percent before that play.


Around the NFC West: A Seahawks first

October, 24, 2011
Before Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks had been 42-0 when holding an opponent to six or fewer points in a regular-season game.

That should only make their 6-3 defeat to the Cleveland Browns in Week 7 additionally frustrating.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says injuries and questionable officiating also made this a tough one for Seattle. Walter Thurmond suffered a broken fibula and will be lost for the season. Running back Marshawn Lynch's back never loosened up enough for him to play. Williams: "The officials had about as good as day as the Seahawks, with several questionable calls. Two of the most blatant were a phantom block in the back called on defensive back Kennard Cox that erased an 81-yard punt return for touchdown by Leon Washington in the third quarter, and an unnecessary roughness call on Kam Chancellor’s sack of Colt McCoy, which gave Cleveland a new set of downs in the first half." Noted: I could see why officials called Chancellor for ducking his head and striking Colt McCoy in the back with it, albeit on a grazing blow. But the penalty against Cox during the kickoff return seemed marginal at best, and definitely inconsistent with how the same crew officiated last week.

Clare Farnsworth of says Red Bryant played a great game for Seattle until losing his cool and getting ejected near the end. Bryant: "I lost my composure. I push a guy [tight end Alex Smith] and get kicked out of the game. You never know what’s going to happen if we give the ball back to our offense. It was just a dumb move on my part. I take full responsibility for it. ... He was talking [trash] the whole game. He was taking cheap shots at me. That’s what guys do when they can’t block you. He did a great job of getting in my head. I should play smarter than that."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Charlie Whitehurst suffered through a rough outing in a game that was, to a degree, a referendum on his worthiness as a starter. Noted: According to Pro Football Reference, Whitehurst joins Stan Gelbaugh as the only Seahawks quarterback to attempt at least 30 passes in a game without exceeding 97 yards. Gelbaugh completed 9 0f 31 passes for 66 yards during the 1992 season, when Seattle fielded one of the worst offenses in NFL history.
Matt Maiocco of says 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh wasn't the only NFL person taking a conservative approach at the combine. Maiocco: "These were different days at the scouting combine with the lockout looming. Typically, free agency is right around the corner. When all the team executives and agents gathered in one place, downtown Indianapolis turned into ground zero for tampering. Illegal free-agency deals were not always struck at the combine, but agents would know which teams were the serious players for the top free agents. This year, there was little of that going on, one agent said. Teams were ultra-cautious about discussing players who are set to become free agents. There will not be free agency this year until the owners and the union agree on a new collective bargaining agreement."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Texas A&M pass-rusher Von Miller might not be available when the 49ers select at No. 7 overall. Barrows: "Von Miller is turning heads at the combine the way that Aaron Curry did two years ago. Curry was picked fourth overall by the Seahawks in 2009 even though he wasn't known as a sack master. Miller is, which makes you figure he could go at least as high. Miller proved today the extra nine pounds he gained in February wouldn't slow him down. He's still fast -- he ran an official 4.51-second 40 -- and fluid enough to play all over the field. Another thing that scouts like about him: arm length. They measured 34 inches, which, to put it in perspective, is a half inch longer than Cal's Cameron Jordan, who is two inches taller and 40 pounds heavier."

Jerry McDonald of the San Jose Mercury News says former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci has the team selecting LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson first overall.

Clare Farnsworth of says the team has re-signed cornerback Kennard Cox, a contributor on special teams. Farnsworth: "Cox played in 11 games and his highlight play was blocking a punt in the Week 12 game against the Kansas City Chiefs that rookie Earl Thomas returned for a touchdown."

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune points to offensive line and quarterback as areas the Seahawks could address in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft. Williams: "Still a little early to pin down, but OL still is a glaring weakness, and I like Mike Pouncey because he can play both guard and center. And he will make an impact right away. But don't discount the fact they might take a QB there."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with former Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who had little choice but to move past the team's 16-6 defeat at Seattle in Week 17. Thomas: "Shurmur was part of a rebuilding process in St. Louis, helping the Rams crawl out of a 1-15 hole in 2009 to a 7-9 finish last season. He'll face a similar task in Cleveland, where the Browns have had only one winning season since 2002. In St. Louis, Shurmur played a major role in the development of quarterback Sam Bradford and spent tons of time with him over the past year. But things materialized so quickly with the Browns and have been so hectic since, that Shurmur never had a chance for much of a goodbye with Bradford."

ESPN's Adam Schefter says via ESPN Insider that the Cardinals quietly extended a restricted free-agent tender to wide receiver Steve Breaston. Breaston has played four seasons. He could qualify as an unrestricted free agent under a new labor deal, if and when one is reached. Breaston's totals for receptions have fallen from 77 to 55 to 47 over the past three seasons. He remains valuable to the team as a receiver and as a leader by example. The game-saving tackle and forced fumble he made at St. Louis in the 2010 regular-season opener symbolized that value. Knee problems stand as the only significant long-term concern for Breaston, whose role has changed since the team traded Anquan Boldin to Baltimore. Larry Fitzgerald's potential free agency following the 2011 season could heighten the importance of keeping Breaston.

Silver linings: Seahawks vs. Chiefs

November, 29, 2010
The facts: The Seahawks fell to 5-6 with a 42-24 home defeat against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 12.

The upside: Even the worst defeats tend to feature a bright spot or two.
  • Seattle remains tied atop the NFC West at 5-6 with a chance to take back the tiebreaker from St. Louis in Week 17.
  • Veteran defensive lineman Craig Terrill blocked a field goal try for the seventh time in his career, drawing within one of Joe Nash's team record.
  • Kennard Cox blocked a Chiefs punt.
  • Rookie Earl Thomas returned the blocked punt for a touchdown.
  • Seattle trailed by only four points entering the fourth quarter despite struggling on both sides of the ball.
  • Receiver Ben Obomanu caught passes for 87 and 52 yards, building on recent strong performances.
  • Tight end Chris Baker caught a touchdown pass for the first time as a Seahawk.
Looking ahead: The Seahawks face the Carolina Panthers at Qwest Field in Week 13.

Mebane, Pitts inactive for Seahawks

October, 17, 2010
CHICAGO -- The Seattle Seahawks' list of inactive players Sunday includes starting defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and veteran guard Chester Pitts.

Mebane has been recovering from a calf injury. Pitts is attempting to come back from microfracture knee surgery; he has not yet played this season.

Mebane is one of the Seahawks' better defensive players. Junior Siavii will start in his place. Update: Kentwan Balmer starts in Mebane's place. My bad.

Also inactive for Seattle: defensive back Nate Ness, cornerback Kennard Cox, offensive lineman Allen Barbre, tackle Breno Giacomini, tight end Anthony McCoy and defensive end E.J. Wilson.

Definitive look at NFC West turnover

September, 8, 2010
Roster turnover is a leading topic for discussion in Seattle following the release of T.J. Houshmandzadeh in particular.

I've addressed the subject in depth across the division -- first May 26 and again July 30 -- and it's worth another look now that teams have reduced to 53 players for the regular season.

This time, I'm going to break down the changes by position, listing players no longer on the active roster at each main position group (with new players in parenthesis). Departures outnumber replacements because some players finished last season on injured reserve, meaning they were not part of the 53-man roster.

Some players no longer on the active roster remain with the team (they could be suspended, deemed physically unable to perform or part of the practice squad).

St. Louis Rams (34 off roster)

Defensive back: Eric Bassey, Quincy Butler, Danny Gorrer, Clinton Hart, Cordelius Parks, David Roach, Jonathan Wade (added Kevin Dockery, Jerome Murphy, Darian Stewart)

Defensive line: Victor Adeyanju, Adam Carriker, Leger Douzable, Leonard Little, LaJuan Ramsey, James Wyche (added Jermelle Cudjo, Fred Robbins, George Selvie, Eugene Sims)

Linebacker: K.C. Asiodu, Paris Lenon (added Na'il Diggs, Josh Hull)

Offensive line: Roger Allen, Alex Barron, Ryan McKee, Mark Setterstrom, Phillip Trautwein, Eric Young (added Renardo Foster, Hank Fraley, Rodger Saffold)

Quarterback: Kyle Boller, Marc Bulger, Keith Null, Mike Reilly (added Sam Bradford, A.J. Feeley, Thaddeus Lewis)

Running back: Samkon Gado, Chris Ogbonnaya (added Keith Toston)

Special teams: Ryan Neill

Tight end: Randy McMichael (added Mike Hoomanawanui, Fendi Onobun)

Wide receiver: Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton, Brooks Foster, Jordan Kent, Ruvell Martin (added Mark Clayton, Dominique Curry, Mardy Gilyard)

Seattle Seahawks (33 off roster)

Defensive back: Jamar Adams, Deon Grant, Ken Lucas, Josh Wilson (added Kam Chancellor, Kennard Cox, Nate Ness, Earl Thomas, Walter Thurmond)

Defensive line: Lawrence Jackson, Patrick Kerney, Cory Redding, Nick Reed, Darryl Tapp, Craig Terrill (added Kentwan Balmer, Raheem Brock, Chris Clemons, Dexter Davis, Junior Siavii, E.J. Wilson)

Linebacker: Leroy Hill, Lance Laury, D.D. Lewis (added Matt McCoy; note that Hill is suspended for the first regular-season game)

Offensive line: Trevor Canfield, Brandon Frye, Walter Jones, Damion McIntosh, Rob Sims, Steve Vallos, Ray Willis, Mansfield Wrotto (added Stacy Andrews, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Ben Hamilton, Russell Okung, Chester Pitts, Tyler Polumbus)

Quarterback: Mike Teel, Seneca Wallace (added Charlie Whitehurst)

Running back: Justin Griffith, Louis Rankin, Tyler Roehl, Owen Schmitt (added Quinton Ganther, Michael Robinson, Leon Washington)

Special teams: Kevin Houser, Jeff Robinson (added Clint Gresham)

Tight end: John Owens (added Chris Baker, Anthony McCoy)

Wide receiver: Nate Burleson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh (added Golden Tate, Mike Williams)

Arizona Cardinals (24 off roster)

Defensive backs: Ralph Brown, Bryant McFadden, Antrel Rolle (added A.J. Jefferson, Trumaine McBride, Brandon McDonald, Kerry Rhodes)

Defensive line: Jason Banks (added Dan Williams)

Linebacker: Monty Beisel, Bertrand Berry, Cody Brown, Karlos Dansby, Gerald Hayes, Chike Okeafor, Pago Togafau (added Paris Lenon, Cyril Obiozor, Joey Porter, Daryl Washington; Hayes can return from the physically unable to perform list after six games)

Offensive line: Mike Gandy, Herman Johnson, Reggie Wells (added Alan Faneca, Rex Hadnot)

Quarterback: Matt Leinart, Brian St. Pierre, Kurt Warner (added Derek Anderson, Max Hall, John Skelton)

Running back: Justin Green, Dan Kreider (added Jerome Johnson)

Special teams: Neil Rackers (added Jay Feely)

Tight end: Anthony Becht (added Jim Dray)

Wide receiver: Anquan Boldin, Sean Morey, Jerheme Urban (added Andre Roberts, Stephen Williams)

San Francisco 49ers (24 off roster)

Defensive backs: Dre' Bly, Walt Harris, Marcus Hudson, Mark Roman (added Phillip Adams, Tramaine Brock, William James, Taylor Mays)

Defensive line: Kentwan Balmer, Derek Walker

Linebacker: Scott McKillop, Jeff Ulbrich, Matt Wilhelm (added NaVorro Bowman, Travis LaBoy)

Offensive line: Tony Pashos, Chris Patrick, Cody Wallace (added Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati)

Quarterback: Nate Davis, Shaun Hill (added David Carr, Troy Smith)

Running back: Thomas Clayton, Glen Coffee, Brit Miller, Michael Robinson (added Anthony Dixon, Brian Westbrook)

Special teams: Shane Andrus, Ricky Schmitt

Wide receiver: Arnaz Battle, Isaac Bruce, Jason Hill, Brandon Jones (added Ted Ginn Jr., Kyle Williams, Dominique Zeigler)

The first chart shows how many players are back -- at least for now -- from Week 17 rosters and injured reserve lists. Seattle has the fewest number back with 26.

The second chart shows how many players each team has shed since Week 17 last season. This counts players who were on injured reserve. Teams with lots of players on injured reserve had more players to lose.

San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Leonard Little, Jerheme Urban, Dre' Bly, Isaac bruce, Owen Schmitt, Josh Wilson, Mike Teel, Justin Green, Derek Anderson, Walt Harris, Tony Pashos, Brian St.Pierre, Darryl Tapp, Sam Bradford, Mark Roman, Dan Kreider, Steve Vallos, David Carr, Randy McMIchael, Ralph Brown, Lawrence Jackson, Charlie Whitehurst, Shaun HIll, Leroy HIll, Chris Patrick, Matt Leinart, Chike Okeafor, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Brian Westbrook, Bertrand Berry, Dominique Zeigler, Ricky Schmitt, Eric Bassey, Eric Young, D.D. Lewis, Nick Reed, Nate Burleson, Alex Barron, Samkon Gado, Kyle Boller, Brit Miller, Patrick Kerney, Quincy Butler, Michael Robinson, Arnaz Battle, Ray Willis, Jerome Johnson, Derek Walker, Glen Coffee, Brooks Foster, Monty Beisel, Renardo Foster, Mansfield Wrotto, Ken Lucas, Seneca Wallace, Donnie Avery, Karlos Dansby, Alex Boone, Marcus Hudson, Adam Carriker, Cody Brown, Kurt Warner, Cordelius Parks, Jeff Ulbrich, Chris Ogbonnaya, Neil Rackers, Pago Togafau, Scott McKillop, Kentwan Balmer, Lance Laury, Sean Morey, Mike Gandy, Mike Reilly, Anquan Boldin, Trevor Canfield, Marc Bulger, Mike Hass, Nate Davis, Cory Redding, Antrel Rolle, Matt McCoy, Brandon Jones, Alan Faneca, Anthony Davis, Keenan Burton, Jason HIll, Joey Porter, David Roach, Phillip Trautwein, Tyler Roehl, Taylor Mays, Mark Setterstrom, Travis LaBoy, A.J. Feeley, Craig Terrill, Keith Null, Jay Feely, Cody Wallace, K.C. Asiodu, Jordan Kent, Kyle Williams, Stacy Andrews, James Wyche, Reggie Wells, Victor Adeyanju, Jonathan Wade, Thomas Clayton, Deon Grant, LaJuan Ramsey, John Owens, Bryant McFadden, Matt Wilhelm, Gerald Hayes, Jeff Robinson, Herman Johnson, Walter Jones, Mike Williams, Justin Griffith, Jason Banks, Rob Sims, Jamar Adams, Kevin Houser, Anthony Becht, Damion McIntosh, Nate Ness, Louis Rankin, Brandon Frye, Ruvell Martin, Paris Lenon, Leger Douzable, Ryan Neill, Danny Gorrer, Russell Okung, Anthony McCoy, Clinton Hart, Earl Thomas, Leon Washington, Andre Roberts, Chester Pitts, Dan Williams, Mike Iupati, Ben Hamilton, Ryan McKee, Kennard Cox, Kerry Rhodes, Fred Robbins, Chris Baker, William James, Rex Hadnot, Hank Fraley, Mark Clayton, Quinton Ganther, Na'il Diggs, Chris Clemons, John Skelton, Mardy Gilyard, Rodger Saffold, Daryl Washington, Golden Tate, Jerome Murphy, Navorro Bowman, Walter Thurmond, E.J. Wilson, Mike Hoomanawanui, Nate Byham, Fendi Onobun, George Selvie, Thaddeus Lewis, Max Hall, Stephen Williams, A.J. Jefferson, Anthony Dixon, Max Komar, Eugene Sims, Kam Chancellor, Dexter Davis, Jermelle Cudjo, Darian Stewart, Keith Toston, Tramaine Brock, Jim Dray, Dominique Curry, Josh Hull, Phillip Adams, Trumaine McBride, Kevin Dockery, Shane Andrus, Tyler Polumbus, Clint Gresham, Roger III Allen, Cyril Obiozor, Brandon McDonald, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Junior Siavii, Troy Smith, Ted Jr. Ginn, Raheem Brock

Post-camp roster analysis: Seahawks

August, 30, 2010
NFL teams have until Saturday to reduce their rosters to 53-man limits, with the 75-man deadline passing Tuesday.

I've been putting together roster breakdowns similar to this one for roughly 10 years. They're a quick read and worthwhile exercise because they require thinking through each position. The numbers in parentheses shows how many players the team has on its roster. The average number kept since 2003 reflects Week 1 counts by position.

In some cases I've used the "looking safe" category for players that could qualify as "keepers" (the term "locks" is one I used previously). The Seattle Seahawks remain somewhat unsettled at quite a few positions and they could be active in claiming players off waivers. Some players looking safe one day could become expendable quickly. The same could be said for some keepers.

Here's what I'm thinking Monday:

Quarterbacks (3)

Average number kept since 2003: 2.9

Keepers: Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Whitehurst

Looking safe: J.P. Losman

Comment: Some teams keep only two quarterbacks when other positions demand special considerations. Seattle could have some interest in Matt Leinart if the Arizona Cardinals released him. I wouldn't expect the Seahawks to invest anything trade-wise, however.

Running backs (6)

Average number kept since 2003: 5.3

Keepers: Justin Forsett, Leon Washington, Julius Jones, Quinton Ganther

On the bubble: Owen Schmitt

Also: Louis Rankin

Comment: Schmitt isn't a top special-teams player and he isn't versatile enough to carry the ball. Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates says he has room for traditional fullbacks on his roster. We'll see if that's enough to spare Schmitt. I don't think the team would release Jones even though Forsett and Washington have sometimes looked better.

Wide receivers (9)

Average number kept since 2003: 5.3

Keepers: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch, Mike Williams, Golden Tate

Looking safe: Deon Butler

On the bubble: Ben Obomanu, Brandon Jones

Also: Ruvell Martin, Kole Heckendorf

Comment: Jones probably needs to make an impact over the next week, including during the final exhibition game, to prove he's worth a roster spot. Obomanu can play multiple positions, he's good on special teams and he's caught the ball when given chances. Jones has shown more during past regular seasons and he can also provide special-teams value. Butler's strong offseason should be enough. Houshmandzadeh seems to be gaining momentum following an injury-affected offseason.

Tight ends (5)

Average number kept since 2003: 3.1

Keepers: John Carlson, Chris Baker

On the bubble: Anthony McCoy, Cameron Morrah

Also: Nick Tow-Arnett

Comment: McCoy has dropped too many passes, but he's a draft choice and he also scored a touchdown during the preseason. It's possible the Seahawks could keep four tight ends. They'll use more double-tight personnel groupings this season, most likely. Carlson and Baker are clearly the top two. I'm not sure McCoy or Morrah would rank among the 53 best players overall.

Offensive linemen (15)

Average number kept since 2003: 8.9

Keepers: Russell Okung, Sean Locklear, Chris Spencer, Max Unger, Mansfield Wrotto, Mike Gibson, Ray Willis, Chester Pitts

Not sure what to think: Steve Vallos, Ben Hamilton

Also: Mitch Erickson, Jeff Byers, Joe Toledo, Gregg Peat, Jacob Phillips

Comment: This position is difficult to figure. The Seahawks expect Willis back at some point early in the season. If that holds true, the team wouldn't want to place him on injured reserve. Pitts falls into the keeper category if his knee holds up (reserve/PUP is not an option for him after Pitts passed a physical). Spencer and Unger can both play center, and Gibson could start at guard, making me wonder if there's a spot for Vallos. Hamilton entered camp as a starter. Line coach Alex Gibbs values him as a mentor for Okung. But with Gibson overtaking Hamilton recently and with Pitts getting medical clearance, Hamilton appears less valuable. Seattle might want to keep 10 while the injury situation settles out. Expect the Seahawks to check out the waiver wire, too.

Defensive line (15)

Average number kept since 2003: 9.6

Keepers: Chris Clemons, Brandon Mebane, Red Bryant, Colin Cole, Kevin Vickerson, Nick Reed, Kentwan Balmer, E.J. Wilson, Dexter Davis

Looking safe: Quinn Pitcock

On the bubble: Craig Terrill

Also: Ricky Foley, Rob Rose, Amon Gordon, Jonathan Lewis

Comment: Clemons suddenly rivals Okung as the non-quarterback Seattle could least afford to lose. This reflects Clemons' strong play during preseason and the lack of attractive alternatives. Pitcock's youth and third-round potential could give him an edge over Terrill, at least in my view. Terrill has fought through knee trouble to remain in the mix.

Linebackers (8)

Average number kept since 2003: 6.9

Keepers: Lofa Tatupu, Aaron Curry, David Hawthorne

Looking safe: Matt McCoy, Tyjuan Hagler, Will Herring

Also: Joe Pawelek

Comment: Leroy Hill will open the regular season on the reserve/suspended list. He'll join the keepers once eligible. Hill, Curry and Tatupu have never played a full game together during the 2009 regular season or the 2010 exhibition season.

Defensive backs (15)

Average number kept since 2003: 7.9

Keepers: Marcus Trufant, Earl Thomas, Josh Wilson, Lawyer Milloy, Walter Thurmond, Kam Chancellor

Looking safe: Kelly Jennings, Jordan Babineaux

On the bubble: Kevin Ellison, Jamar Adams, Roy Lewis

Also: Cordelius Parks, Kennard Cox, Josh Pinkard, Marcus Brown

Comment: Trufant's return to form stands out as one of the most welcome developments for Seattle this summer. Thomas upgrades the coverage and playmaking ability of the secondary. The more Milloy plays, the more he looks like an enforcer type. Thurmond's return from knee surgery qualifies as the most pleasant surprise for Seattle in the secondary. Jennings' durability could be a concern. Babineaux's versatility makes him valuable even though it's looking as though the team doesn't have significant long-term plans for him.

Specialists (4)

Average number kept since 2003: 3.1

Keepers: Olindo Mare, Jon Ryan, Clint Gresham

Also: Clint Stitser

Comment: Mare missed from 43 yards against Minnesota on a strange night for kickers in the NFC West. Joe Nedney and Shane Adrus missed for the San Francisco 49ers.
RENTON, Wash. -- News and notes following the first training camp practice of the Pete Carroll era in Seattle:
  • Receiver Mike Williams checked in at 233 pounds and passed a conditioning test requiring receivers to run 20 sprints of 60 yards in 8 seconds apiece. Williams' body fat is also down. This is a big deal for Seattle because Williams is so obviously talented -- if only he could stay in shape. He's stayed in shape to this point and made an impact in practice. Seattle fans used to seeing undersized corner Kelly Jennings bounce off Larry Fitzgerald of the division-rival Arizona Cardinals instead saw Jennings bounce off the 6-foot-5 Williams, who snatched the ball cleanly and didn't seem to notice Jennings.
  • Williams appeared to be in an affable mood. After spotting rookie receiver Golden Tate speaking with reporters, Williams broke into the conversation and jokingly asked Tate to carry his shoulder pads. Everyone got a laugh out of it.
  • One-on-one pass-rush drills are a staple of NFL training camps and one of the more entertaining and instructive drills. I did not see the Seahawks hold any Saturday and it's looking like line coach Alex Gibbs prefers to have the line work together -- exactly as they'll need to do when running his zone scheme. The scheme depends on all five players working together, so there's less emphasis on individual matchups.
  • Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates has no reservations about Matt Hasselbeck's ability to run bootlegs, which are a staple of the new offense. I'll develop this angle later in camp, but it's important for Hasselbeck to move well -- and Bates thinks it's a non-issue based on what he's seen.
  • Deion Branch made a few impact plays, including when he stayed with a deflected ball, made the grab and turned upfield. It's good news for Seattle that the oft-injured Branch is practicing to open camp, but we'll want to see how his surgically repaired knee holds up over multiple practices.
  • Players wore shoulder pads and shorts with helmets. Some wore full-sized pads, not the lighter "shells" players often wear with shorts. There was a fair amount of hitting, particularly with running backs. Quinton Ganther ran over one defensive back whose jersey number was tough to see.
  • Leon Washington participated in individual drills and was limited the rest of the time. He did not run with the ball during team drills. Washington said the plan is to ease back into a full workload. Coaches are monitoring his participation.
  • Rookie Walter Thurmond participated wearing a brace on his right knee. I didn't see him do much, but he was out there and in pads. Thurmond is coming off serious knee surgery. Fullback Owen Schmitt, cornerback Josh Pinkard (knee) and newly signed offensive lineman Chester Pitts (knee) opened camp on the physically unable to perform list. They count against the 80-man limit but cannot practice without first passing a physical examination. Schmitt had his left elbow wrapped.
  • Linebacker David Hawthorne, the NFL's last unsigned exclusive-rights free agent, signed in time to practice.
  • Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck described the atmosphere under Carroll as "fun, fresh" and invigorating. At one point this offseason, Carroll asked Hasselbeck and No. 2 quarterback Charlie Whitehurst to find a receiver so they could work on various throws. The receivers had just finished running, however, so Hasselbeck didn't ask one of them to participate. The 58-year-old Carroll wound up running routes for both quarterbacks despite a bad knee. Hasselbeck said he sensed Carroll was trying to throw the balls back to the quarterbacks with more velocity than Hasselbeck or Whitehurst had shown -- an example of the coach's competitiveness.
  • Hasselbeck also described an "old-school, new-school" feel. On the old-school side, linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. told the team Friday night that curfew was at 11 p.m. and the hotel where the team was staying would be turning off the in-room phones at that time. The 34-year-old Hasselbeck said he took the information in stride, but some younger players weren't sure what Norton was talking about. They had grown up with cell phones and had no use for hotel phones, anyway.
  • Temperatures were in the 50s at practice and breezes off nearby Lake Washington added a chill to the air. Players said they were hoping for warmer weather this afternoon.
  • Thomas and fellow first-round choice Russell Okung remained unsigned. Okung's absence made it tough to evaluate combinations on the offensive line. Ray Willis worked at left tackle with the starters. Mansfield Wrotto worked at left tackle with the second unit. They need Okung, in other words. They might also need Pitts, who is recovering from microfracture knee surgery.
  • About 1,500 fans watched practice from a hill adjacent to the practice field.
  • The Seahawks' roster lists Hill at 238 pounds and Lofa Tatupu at 250 pounds. Those are not official. Tatupu appeared trimmer to me. Hill appeared heavier.
  • Cornerback Kennard Cox put a big hit on receiver Ben Obomanu.
  • Defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, acquired from the Tennessee Titans, certainly looks the part. Seattle lists him at 6-5 and 320 pounds. Note: He left practice with a wrap on his left knee at one point. Not sure of the severity.

Carroll did not address reporters following the morning practice. The team practices again at 7 p.m. ET. I'll be heading to Arizona for a few days at Cardinals training camp beginning Sunday. The plan is to check back at Seahawks camp next week.

Seahawks give Mike Williams a look

April, 12, 2010
Reggie Williams isn't the only high-profile receiver named Williams getting an extended look at Seahawks minicamp this week.

Mike Williams, who played for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll at USC, will also participate on a tryout basis.

It's clear the Seahawks are considering all options at the position. There's no risk in giving either player a look.

Mike Williams, the 10th player chosen in the 2005 draft, flamed out previously with Detroit, Oakland and Tennessee. Size, strength and hands were what made him appealing coming out of USC. But Williams, listed at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, caught only 44 passes for 539 yards and two touchdowns in 30 career regular-season games. His weight reportedly ranged between roughly 240 and 270 pounds.

Williams is only 26 years old. Carroll's ties to Williams could give him an edge in tapping into the receiver's potential, but it's still a long shot. Former USC assistant Norm Chow was with the Titans when Tennessee gave Williams his most recent NFL opportunity.

The Seahawks open their minicamp Tuesday. Free-agent defensive back Kennard Cox, formerly of the Jaguars, will also participate on a tryout basis.

NFC West teams need safety help

March, 6, 2010
The Cardinals lost Antrel Rolle, the Rams could lose Oshiomogho Atogwe and the 49ers might need to replace Michael Lewis. The Cardinals could also lose backup safety Matt Ware, who could draw interest from the Rams.

The Seahawks aren't exactly set for life at safety, either.

What to do?

I've gone through the list of available safeties -- NFC West fan favorites Brian Russell and Mark Roman are out there -- and come up with a few fallback options, listed with their 2009 teams:
  • Ryan Clark, Steelers. The 30-year-old longtime starter couldn't work out a long-term deal with Pittsburgh. The Cardinals are running their defense in the Pittsburgh mold. Clark could fit.
  • Brodney Pool, Browns. Teams generally do not sever ties with productive 25-year-old starters, but the Browns decided against tendering Pool as a restricted free agent after he suffered a series of head injuries last season. Pool picked off four passes in 11 games last season, making 10 starts before his season was ended.
  • Darren Sharper, Saints. The 34-year-old Pro Bowl choice would upgrade every secondary in the NFC West, but at what price? Sharper is probably most valuable to the Saints.
  • Jermaine Phillips, Bucs. Injuries have severely limited Phillips' contributions recently. It's probably not a great sign that Tampa thought about moving him to linebacker. Still, Phillips is 30 years old, hardly ancient by safety standards, and he has 74 starts.

Other safeties who are unrestricted free agents: Ware, Russell, Roman, Nick Ferguson, Sean Jones, Will Allen, Todd Johnson, Clinton Hart, Roy Williams, Vernon Fox, Marquand Manuel, Mike Brown, Tyrone Carter and Lawyer Milloy.

Other safeties who are free agents (but technically not UFAs): John Busing, Hamza Abdullah, Aaron Francisco, Kennard Cox, Eric Bassey, Jamaal Fudge and Quinton Teal.

Also: ESPN's John Clayton notes that Jets safety Kerry Rhodes could be an option for Arizona via trade.