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|Mike Holmgren's Seahawks are focused on winning a fourth straight NFC West title.|
To counter the improvements within the NFC West, general manager Tim Ruskell gave $81 million of contract commitments to defensive end Patrick Kerney and safeties Deon Grant and Brian Russell. If that wasn't enough, the Seahawks brought in former Falcons coach Jim Mora to recharge a porous secondary. The division may be catching up, but the Seahawks didn't stand still. "We needed another guy who can come off the edge and wreak some havoc," Peterson said of the signing of Kerney. "Having Jim Mora back as a defensive back coach is also great. He'll have guys in proper alignments and give us in the front seven extra time to get some pressure on the quarterback. Coach Mora adds enthusiasm and gets the best out of his players." Peterson remembers Mora from their days together in San Francisco, where Mora was the defensive coordinator. Mora was creative and imaginative. He built a young 49ers defense from scratch after a massive salary-cap purge and made it formidable with young players. Peterson was his best athlete. Mora helped to develop Peterson into a Pro Bowl force and one of the better coverage linebackers in football. Though the Seahawks are known for Holmgren's offense, they suddenly have weapons on defense. The front seven has three potential Pro Bowl players -- Kerney, Peterson and middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu. Grant and Russell were brought in to eliminate all the big plays allowed last year by safeties who didn't communicate well and bit on play fakes. Perhaps the most controversial move came on the second day of the draft when Ruskell traded disgruntled wide receiver Jackson to the 49ers. Holmgren didn't like moving one of his best receivers to a division rival. Ruskell felt he had no choice. Jackson had been whining about his contract since he signed it more than three years ago. Though Jackson performed well on the field, he declined to be a regular on the practice field. Instead of cutting Jackson for no value, Ruskell grabbed a fourth-round choice in the trade, even though the deal may end up helping the 49ers. Of course, Jackson's departure clears the way for Deion Branch to be the team's lead receiver. Branch understands what it means to be the hunted. He was part of two Patriots Super Bowl runs. "We have to stay focused on what we are doing," Branch said. "We won the division for the past three years, but some got us picked last in the division. We realize all of our division games are going to be tough. We lost twice to San Francisco last year and Arizona beat us once. We were able to beat St. Louis twice. It's a tough division. We've got to stay healthy, and if we stay healthy, we'll be OK." The footsteps may sound like Bigfoot's, but the Seahawks don't mind. They aren't ready to concede the NFC West yet. John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.