As hard as the third and fourth tier players fought in last nights exhibition finale against the hapless Oakland Raiders, the truth of the matter is 22 perspective Seahawks will not have jobs by Saturday night.
The position battles were fierce last night with a few standing out during the challenge.
The Defensive Line has been by far the most fierce battle amongst the positions. While everyone, including myself, tout the obvious hard work and skill of Defensive End Nick Reed, his companion to the inside, Defensive Tackle Michael Bennett has also made a push to earn a roster spot.
Michael Bennett, brother of Dallas Cowboys Tight End Martellus Bennett, has also shown his prowess to get to the passer from the interior and be an effective run defender. I like his physical nature and strong push up the middle of offensive lines. His skills could be put to use immediately on passing downs with him and Cory Redding on the inside and DE's Patrick Kerney and Lawrence Jackson or Darryl Tapp (perhaps even Reed) on the outside.
What I like about Reed is his quickness off the ball. He has two moves he uses consistently and expertly to get to the passer. He uses a low center of gravity swim move underneath tackles utilizing his superior speed to get around the edge. He also uses a bullrush to push back Offensive Tackles following up with a spin move inside. Both equally effective and both mastered by the first-year player.
Reed's intelligence on the field makes him look like a veteran. That is a skill that no coach can teach, and is a rare talent that, when mixed with playing ability, leads to great players. It would be a shame to see Reed let go as his upside is off the charts.
Keeping ten defensive linemen seems a stretch, so who is the unfortunate player that loses his job? Colin Cole and Brandon Mebane are the obvious starters with Red Bryant and Craig Terrill backing them up. Bryant has upside coming into his second year showing improved technique, while Terrill appears to have taken a step backwards.
In camp, Terrill looked as though he had put on some weight, but not in the right places. His stomach now balloons from his frame more than in previous seasons and it has not helped him get upfield. For the preseason, Terrill has just two tackles, both in the Denver game. It may be time for him to pursue his music career full-time.
The Wide Receiver race has everybody's attention. Last night was their night for a three-way battle royale.
Ben Obomanu made the biggest leap yesterday with his two grabs for 58 yard and one touchdown as well as earning the coach's praise for his work on the special teams unit. In my eye, that puts him as the front-runner for that fifth receiver spot.
From their it gets cloudy as its not positive whether the Seahawks will keep five or carry a sixth receiver. If six is the magic number, Jordan Kent and Courtney Taylor pushed hard to make their presences felt.
Kent had proved he had potential on the Special Teams unit as a speedy gunner, which is an ideal trait for someone looking to be sixth on the receiver depth chart. His receiver skills are still very raw though. His route running seems to have improved, but two balls put right on his numbers last night fell out of his hands.
Taylor on the other hand has the better hands of the two and more natural receiver skills, and looks like he might have potential as a return man with a 26-yard kickoff return last night.
Taylor has the edge, though ever so slightly. Both also will be candidates to be brought back on the practice squad.
The kicker fiasco has been a mess the entire preseason as no true winner had yet emerged from the slippery turf of Arrowhead stadium. That dreadful night of kicking is behind us and when its all said and done, Olindo Mare should get the nod.
Mare's ability to kickoff into the endzone is crucial.
The Seahawks have not looked good covering kicks this preseason whatsoever even with the new rules banning the four-man wedge. Additionally he has proven to be an fairly effective field goal kicker for his career, which is extensive.
Carrying two kickers is not an option and would cost someone like Nick Reed or Michael Bennett their roster spot, which would be an astounding disappointment.
The third Tight End spot has been in contention between Cameron Morrah and Joe Newton since the beginning of camp. Morrah, the seventh-round draft pick out of California has flashed brilliance as a pass-catcher, but lacks in blocking situations.
Joe Newton is not as fluid a receiver as Morrah, but his size (6'7" 258 lbs.) has aided him in being a more powerful blocking Tight End, which in the end is likely his most valuable asset for a third TE.
Newton gets the spot in my book, but Morrah is another guy who will be worthy of making the practice squad as well.
The rest of the team seems pretty set at where they are. The backup Linebackers have all played well and are valuable special teams guys so the only cut there should be Dave Phlistin, which shouldn't surprise anyone.
C.J. Wallace will make the team as the fourth option at Safety again as he is a great Special Teams player, with Courtney Greene maybe getting onto the practice squad.
Should Marcus Trufant be put on the Physically Unable to Perform list, than the Seahawks will likely carry Marquis Floyd or Kevin Hobbs until he is available after week six.
The coaches have until the end of the day on Saturday to make these decisions and finalize who will be a member of the 2009 Seattle Seahawks. For 22 players it will mean training, improving their game and waiting for their next chance to get back on the field.
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