Seattle Seahawks Face Questions Surrounding Receivers and Running Backs

Chris CluffCorrespondent IIMay 1, 2010

SEATTLE - AUGUST 22:  Wide receiver Deon Butler #11 of the Seattle Seahawks halls in a touchdown catch against Andre Goodman #21 of the Denver Broncos on August 22, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

For some reason, there are people who think Deon Butler might not have a future in Seattle.


A crazy thought considering he is a second-year player with major potential.


Mike Sando of ESPN has mentioned that “Butler’s future with the team appears clouded” because the Seahawks have been adding receivers―Ruvell Martin, Reggie Williams, Mike Williams, Golden Tate.


There’s no way Butler’s future should be in question.


While he didn’t play a lot his rookie season (only 15 catches), in the time he was on the field it was quite apparent that he has the makings of being a very good pro receiver.


When he came out last year, he was described as a faster version of Bobby Engram, a fellow Penn State product who put together an excellent career in Seattle by running great routes and catching almost everything thrown his way.


The best receivers are the ones who attack the ball and catch it with their hands. Butler does that very well.


Just because Butler is under 6 feet is no reason to dismiss him, especially when the Seahawks are, ahem, short on quality receivers as it is.


The top four are T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch, Butler, and Tate. With Houshmandzadeh and Branch coming off surgeries , this minicamp is a perfect time for Butler to get some work with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.


Butler and Tate ought to be the future of the position for Seattle.


Houshmandzadeh should last two or three more years with the Hawks, but the injury-prone Branch will be lucky to make it one more—it’s stunning he’s still on the team, especially at his salary.


If coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates don’t like Butler, it would be hard to understand why.


And after what the Seahawks gave up to get Butler in the 2009 draft (a 2009 fifth and seventh, plus a 2010 third), they had better get him on the field a lot this year.


They surely won’t be disappointed.




Leon's Leg


Running back Leon Washington, a potential playmaker extraordinaire, should be able to come back 100 percent healthy from the compound fracture to his right leg, according to Stephania Bell, ESPN's injury expert.


“Based on what he is doing right now, it looks pretty promising,” Bell told Mike Sando . “His injury was a terrible injury, a compound fracture with lots of blood, very messy, gruesome and a tough injury to come back from. He has continued progress to make, but where he is at in this time frame bodes well. He is doing straight-line running already. Plus, he is relatively young (28).


“Once it heals, it’s pretty solid,” she added. “It was nasty and horrible to go through, but once it heals, it should be a one-and-done type injury. It all depends on the healing. If someone heals well from this, they can do really well.”


In an online chat through the Seattle Times on Thursday, general manager John Schneider said not to expect Washington to see any action until training camp in July.



What About Justin and Julius?


In the wake of the trades that brought Washington and a very fit LenDale White to Seattle, Schneider was asked in the Times chat about both Justin Forsett and Julius Jones, Schneider sounded more optimistic about Forsett’s chances of sticking around. 


On Forsett, Schneider wrote: “First off I love him because he is about my height! Always rooting for undersized runners! We really think this guy is a great player. All of our runners have unique qualities about them, and he is an intense competitor!”


As for Jones, the GM wrote: “The basis for our program is compete, compete, compete! JJ is a competitor.”


Carroll and Schneider obviously will favor White and Washington because they handpicked them.


Carroll told USA Today that White will “fit perfectly. He’s an aggressive runner, and a crucial element to winning is an aggressive rushing attack.”


Forsett is an aggressive runner, too, but he isn’t as big as White or as fast as Washington, which would lead one to believe he might be destined for the bench as White takes over the main running duties and short yardage and Washington plays in most passing situations.


Curry's Not the Elephant Man


Despite all of the talk about linebacker Aaron Curry being groomed to play the stand-up pass-rushing role known as the Elephant (or Leo, as the Seahawks call it), defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said Curry will remain at outside linebacker for now.


Chris Clemons leads a bunch of undersized rushers in the competition to be the Elephant Man. Clemons will battle Nick Reed, Ricky Foley, and rookie Dexter Davis for roster spots/playing time.


Bradley described the Seahawks’ Elephant position to the News Tribune: “It gives you some flexibility. Sometimes you can use an elephant, and he has the ability where maybe you can go a little lighter type defensive lineman, because he’s usually away from the tight end and it gives him a little more ability to pass rush. It’s a fun spot for those guys.”


Of course, this is still one of the biggest question marks on the team, as Carroll lamented after an otherwise fortuitous draft: “I wish we could’ve found a pass rusher.”



No More Old Guys


Guard Alan Faneca and linebacker Adalius Thomas were two veterans who were released in the wake of the draft, and some thought the Seahawks should be interested. But both are over-30 vets who would not add much.


Faneca might still be productive, but the Hawks are set with their starting five linemen for 2010. Faneca, who signed with Arizona, would not have wanted to back up Ben Hamilton or Max Unger.


Thomas had his best days in Baltimore, and now he is a declining pass rusher who wouldn’t bring any more to Seattle than the younger guys the Seahawks already have.


Bottom line: There was no reason to pursue either of those players.


Guard Chester Pitts is still unsigned as he recovers from microfracture knee surgery, but it’s doubtful the Hawks will add him because they have their starters and he has options to start elsewhere. 


Schneider said the Seahawks are still not pleased with the depth on their offensive line, but there seems little they can do to improve it at this point.



Schneider On Whitehurst Trade: "You Are Not Going To Win All of Them"


Schneider made the first comments from Seattle’s perspective on the perceived high price the Seahawks paid—a 2011 third-round pick in addition to dropping 20 spots in the second round this year—to get quarterback Charlie Whitehurst from the San Diego Chargers.


“We had several different trade scenarios that we went through with them,” Schneider said in the Times chat. “As in any negotiation, there is always some give and take. You are not going to win all of them. Ever buy a car?”



Hawks Did Not Want Clausen


In an interview with Sirius Radio after the draft, Carroll was asked if the Hawks would have taken quarterback Jimmy Clausen at No. 60: “Sure, that’s real possible.  Yeah, we liked him that much.  We thought he was a good player and that he was going to be solid as a rock and it wasn’t going to be a big transition for him and all that kind of stuff.”


But in the Times chat, a fan asked Schneider, “Had Earl Thomas been drafted earlier, is it true you would've moved down and drafted Clausen?”


Schneider’s answer: “It would be safe to assume that we would have moved down and [we] actually had a deal in place, but I can’t answer the Clausen portion of the question.”


Our take: As with Taylor Mays, the Seahawks had no intention of drafting Clausen. Carroll is just too nice to say so.



Walter Jones Day


The great Walter Jones officially announced his retirement Thursday and talked about it yesterday on Washington state’s officially decreed Walter Jones Day.


In addition to this collection of tributes and retrospectives, here is a recap of his comments from yesterday and also a quick look at many of the key moments in Jones’ career .