Seattle Seahawks 2009 Team Preview

Nathan MarraContributor IJuly 22, 2009

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 19: Assistant head coach Jm Mora of the Seattle Seahawks during warmups against  the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 19, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks of 2009 will have a new look. It all starts with new head coach Jim Mora Jr., who takes over for longtime coach Mike Holmgren. Mora also brings in several new positional coaches, including defensive back Coach Tim Lewis, defensive line coach Dan Quinn, and wide receiver coach Robert Prince. He also brings in a pair of new coordinators in offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, formerly of the Raiders, and former Bucs linebcker coach Gus Bradley as the Defensive Coordinator.

Mora and Knapp will go back to traditional football and implement a rushing attack that should open it up in the passing game. However, fresh off a 4-12 season, any sort of new look is probably positive for the Seahawks.

The team begins and ends with Matt Hasselbeck. The unspoken leader of the team, Hasselbeck was injured with a bulging disk in his back for much of 2009, leaving backup Seneca Wallace to carry the reins. However, Hasselbeck is 100 percent and should be on the field when the team opens the '09 season. Hasselbeck can't do it alone, however. And despite the optimism on offense, there are still a lot of question marks. Is the running back duo of Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett going to be effective enough to at least keep defenses honest? Is Walter Jones, fresh off microfracture surgery on his knee, ready to go? These are the questions Seattle has to resolve come training camp. To help out the receiving core, the team signed big name free agent T.J. Houshmandzadeh from Cincinnati.

The Defense, depsite finishing 30th in total defense last year, should be much improved. They get a healthy Patrick Kerney back on the defensive line, and they signed Ken Lucas from Carolina to help out in the secondary, which was atrocious last year.

Defenisve tackle will be an upgraded position, as the team signed Colin Cole and traded for Cory Redding, and they still have a young promising player in Brandon Mebane, who produced 6.5 sacks last year. The linebacker core will be strong as usual, with premier starter sin Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill. The team traded Julian Peterson to Detroit, but replaced him with Aaron Curry in the draft. Curry should be a top Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate in 2009.

The secondary is a bit of a question mark. They have a solid starting cornerback in Marcus Trufant, but Lucas and Josh Wilson will platoon at corner and one or the other will play in the nickel. The safety position is unsettled. Brian Russell was atrocious in pass coverage last year, partially because of former defensive coordinator John Marshall's awful schemes. Russell also prevents natural free safety Deon Grant from playing his natural position, and his unfamiliarity with his spot showed. Safety is no question Seattle's biggest need on defense, something they could address in the 2010 NFL Draft, with premier safeties in Eric Berry and Taylor Mays.

Special teams will be solid. Kicker Olindo mare was very solid in place of struggling rookie Brandon Coutu, and punter Jon Ryan did solid. Long snapper will be improved with new snapper Bryan Pittman, and will provide stability with the snapping situation.

Final Analysis:

The Seahawks were unlucky in '08, due to a massive amount of injuries. However, the players are back, and this team should be in the running for the NFC West Crown. With teams like Arizona and San Francisco pretty equal to Seattle's talent, it'll be a close race. Nevertheless, Seattle will be a sleeper team in the NFC next year.

Record: 9-7, 2nd in NFC West, Wildcard.