Russell signed a five-year deal with the Seahawks in 2007, but has failed to provide consistency in the Seahawks secondary, leaving scores of Seahawks fans frustrated with his performance.
Milloy spent the last three seasons in Atlanta, amassing 93 tackles in 2008.
Milloy was not re-signed this offseason as Atlanta expressed an interest in pursuing a younger option at safety, subsequently drafting safety William Moore with their second round pick.
Here are my initial reactions:
1. The Seattle Seahawks secondary is thin
The Seahawks 53-man roster includes cornerbacks Ken Lucas, Josh Wilson, Kelly Jennings, and Travis Fisher, along with safeties Deon Grant, Jordan Babineaux, C.J. Wallace, and Lawyer Milloy.
New faces abound, as Lucas, Fisher, and Milloy were not with the club in 2008.
Conversely, familiar faces are absent. Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Trufant was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list this week, making him ineligible to play until week seven.
The Seahawks are praying for Jennings or Wilson to live up to their draft-day potential. Jennings was the Seattle Seahawks first round selection in 2006, while Wilson was selected in the second round in 2007.
It will be interesting to see if the Seahawks rely on their current roster or make a move for additional depth in the near future.
2. Even if it is minimal, Lawyer Milloy is an upgrade from Brian Russell
Sure, Milloy's coverage skills aren't the best, especially considering his date of birth (Milloy turns 36 in November), but think about this argument for a second.
Opponents to the Milloy signing cite his age and coverage abilities as grounds for discontent, yet fail to mention that Brian Russell has similar problems.
The 31-year old Brian Russell has been a detriment to pass coverage since his arrival in Seattle.
Also, consider aspects other than pass coverage.
Milloy is undoubtedly an upgrade at other safety responsibilities, including both tackling and run coverage.
I'm not saying that the upgrade is massive, but look at it this way: Milloy is a clear upgrade from Brian Russell in both tackling and run coverage.
3. Could the team have relied on Jordan Babineaux?
It is assumed that Milloy will need a few weeks before he is ready to contribute in the Seahawks defensive scheme.
In the mean time, Jordan Babineaux will start at strong safety.
That being said, what do the Seahawks do if Babineaux excels in this role?
Babineaux is a pure hitter who, like many Seahawks (see above section), struggles with pass coverage. He is a playmaker, which earned him the nickname "Big Play Babs," and is well liked by his teammates.
If Babineaux performs admirably in the first few weeks of the season, there will surely be grumblings to leave him in the starting role. This could raise the issue of why the Seahawks signed Milloy in the first place.
Then again, if Babineaux struggles with the starting gig, Milloy can step in and provide veteran leadership in a thin Seahawks secondary.
4. Haven't I encountered Lawyer Milloy before?
My knee-jerk reaction to the Milloy signing was "isn't that the guy who I played with on NFL Blitz?"
Short answer: yes.
Anyone who played the game knows that the combination of Bledsoe and Coates crushed on offense and Milloy dominated the defense.
This has no bearing on his actual signing, but damned if I wasn't excited nonetheless.
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