Key Additions Look To Bring The Seahawks Back To Prominence
There was a point during the 2008 season when it seemed that nothing worked for the Seahawks. That goes for both the offense and the defense. Injuries plagued the offensive line, eliminating any thoughts of a running game. The defense took a huge step back as several stars under performed and failed to create turnovers.
The result was a 4-12 record and a complete make over to the team personnel.
The most noticeable change was at head coach, where Jim Mora Jr. has taken over for Mike Holmgren. Mora will look to reincorporate the running game that was a staple in the Northwest for so many years. Greg Knapp, the offensive coordinator from Atlanta joined Seattle at the same position, and reunited with his former head coach.
Knapp will further cement the idea that the running game will be the focus as he will implement the zone blocking scheme, one that has worked so well for the Falcons over the years.
Julius Jones will remain the starting tailback with the loss of Maurice Morris to free agency. T.J. Duckett will carry the load on short yardage and goal line plays much like he did last season. Another running back that will be looking to get some increased touches will be Justin Forsett. Forsett is a shifty tailback that could provide a great change of pace to the offense.
With the backfield seemingly set, the offensive line should enter the year at full strength. The addition of Max Unger in the second round of the draft will be crucial to the zone blocking. Unger is a versatile player that can contribute at either the center or guard position, much like he did at Oregon.
The passing game should see drastic improvements due in large part to the health of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck as well as the receivers. The addition of T.J. Houshmandzadeh will add great experience and talent to the west coast offense. T.J. will provide the Seahawks with a deep threat, one they have not had in quite some time.
John Carlson, the lone bright spot on offense last season will see more touches across the middle of the field thanks to the free agent signing, as well as the return of Deon Branch and Nate Burleson. Third round pick Deon Butler out of Penn State will bring added depth and speed to the slot and the return game.
Defensively, the Seahawks could not find ways to get off of the field. They lacked the ability to pressure the quarterback and force turnovers. The changes began in the front seven.
Rocky Bernard left the team via free agency, leaving the team with limited depth on the interior. Seattle then traded away Pro Bowl linebacker Julian Peterson to Detroit for defensive tackle Cory Redding. Colin Cole was another piece added through free agency which should shore up some of the run stopping issues.
Without Julian Peterson, the Seahawks went into the draft and added arguably the best player in the draft in Aaron Curry. Curry will complete a dynamic trio of linebackers with Lofa Tatupu and recently signed Leroy Hill.
The additions to the front four will allow for more one on one opportunities for both Patrick Kerney and Darryl Tapp. With multiple blockers being used on the tackles inside, expect an increase in blitzes and pressure in the opposing backfield.
The secondary was a glaring problem, with several broken coverages and few interceptions. Marcus Trufant will now be coupled with Ken Lucas at the other corner. This should provide a great tandem for man coverage and allow corners Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings to move to more comfortable roles in the nickel and dime packages. Both Grant and Russell will now be able to roam the field during passing downs and play much more aggressively towards the run.
Several changes took place in the offseason for the Seahawks, all of which should catapult the team back to its prominent days at the top of the division and league.
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