Making the Cut: Breaking Down the Seahawks 2010 Offense

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Making the Cut: Breaking Down the Seahawks 2010 Offense
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Despite the fact Uncle Pete has made sure this roster is identical to that of a revolving door at a store holding a 99 percent of sale; the top of the roster has seen the usual turnoverdness one should expect in an off season.

Of the 22 week one starters from 2009, 16 remain; with Deon Grant, Patrick Kerney, Nate Burleson, Walter Jones, Rob Sims, and Cory Redding having departed.

Ken Lucas, a starter for six games in 2009, also remains a free agent.

The status quo for a team coming off a 9-23 record the past two seasons; with 6 of those wins coming against teams with losing records, is unacceptable. No one should have any qualms about the 60+ transactions the new regime has made thus far.

Here’s a breakdown of where I think the new and old pieces of the Seahawks rebuilding puzzle will fall and my analysis.

(Offense)

Quarterback:

Starter: Matt Hasselbeck

Second String: Charlie Whitehurst

Third String: JP Losman

Not a ton of analysis needed for the first guy on this list, having been the lock at quarterback since 2002 and showing he is clearly superior to Whitehurst in off-season practice; barring injury in the pre season, Hasselbeck is a lock at the top of the depth chart.

Considering Whitehurst was supposed to push Hasselbeck and has instead been getting pushed by JP Losman, this raises a cause of concern from an already skeptical fan base.

The battle is much tighter for the 2nd and 3rd spots in the pecking order. Even though Losman has performed better in practices so far; Whitehurst will get the nod as backup based on the heavy investment Pete Carroll staked in what he envisions as his future franchise quarterback.

When (I mean if), Hasselbeck goes down with an injury, we’re going to get our chance to see if the investment that cost us Brandon Marshall (and probably Marshawn Lynch/Albert Haynesworth too), can be the 2008 version of Matt Cassel.

Upgrade from 2009?

Yes

Running Back

Starter One: Justin Forsett

Starter Two: Julius Jones

Third Down: Leon Washington

Roster Scraps: Quinton Ganther, Louis Rankin

Unfortunately the Seahawks will enter the 2010 season with the status quo at running back that rushed to a 25th placed ranking in 2009. With Forsett having gained only 43 yards less on 63 less attempts then Jones’ in 2009; one can only hope Pete Carroll will not be as stubborn in realizing who deserves the majority of the load.

Leon Washington is the best running back on the roster. But coming off of the well-documented compound fracture, there is nothing to expect until we see him in pads getting hit.

Look for him to be Carroll’s best attempt at cloning the Reggie Bush esque “weapon” role; don’t be surprised to see him lead all running backs on this roster in receptions.

With the status quo, Ganther looks to be the primary short yardage ram; and the former Husky Louis Rankin will round off this depth chart.

Upgrade from 2009?

Slight

Fullback

Starter: Owen Schmitt,

Roster Scrap: Ryan Powdrell

The man I am sure wouldn’t mind getting fined to attend Ozzfest is a virtual lock as the starting fullback. Powdrell has ridiculously long odds of making the final roster.

The only way I see the status quo changing from this is if Quinton Ganther tears it up in training camp and they decide to convert him to fullback.

Upgrade:

No

Wide Receiver

Split End: Deion Branch

Flanker: TJ Houshmandzadeh

3, 4, and 5: Golden Tate, Mike Williams, Deon Butler

Roster Hopefuls: Ben Obomanu, Isaiah Stanback, Ruvell Martin,

Roster Scraps: Mike Hass, Kole Heckendorf, Marcus Maxwell

As far as roles are concerned, this is subject to change based on the formation used.

Pete Carroll has spoken glowingly about Deion Branch and all indications are that he will likely have the slight edge over Golden Tate (for now) based on his experience.

Don’t let the fact he will be lining up in the slot on numerous occasions fool you; no one is going to steal Houshmandzadehs thunder as the No. 1 target in the aerial attack.

I would also find it highly improbable that the Hawks cut ties with last years third round pick Deon Butler.

Mike Williams will finagle his way ahead of Butler on the depth chart based on his 6”5 frame and the fact the Seahawks have two smallerish receivers very similar to Butler already locks to make the roster, (Branch and Maple).

As far as the bottom feeders go, Obomanu is the longest tenured Seahawk out of the bunch, and Ruvell Martin has the most experience. Isaiah Stanback is the best pure athlete of the scraps and offers the Seahawks a wildcat option.

Sean Morey’s status as a receiver is moot because he is guaranteed a roster spot because of his Special Teams pedigree.

Mike Hass always seems to just miss the cut.

Maxwell and Heckendorf are prime candidates to be shown the door during the first round of roster cuts with the glut at wide receiver.

Upgrade from 2009?

Slight

Tight End

Starter: John Carlson

Second String: Chris Baker

Third String: Anthony McCoy

Roster Hopefuls: Cameron Morrah, Jameson Konz

Chris Bakers addition is key in allowing Carlson to flex his pass catching muscles. Getting a steal of a sixth round pick in well regarded tight end Anthony McCoy (whose only fault is he likes to get baked), also allows the Seahawks to use two tight end sets where they can move Carlson to receiver in certain packages.

Cameron Morrah and Jameson Konz are a pair of raw athletic talents that make coaches salivate at their potential.

Konz is not likely going to make the roster as a tight end, because of his freakish athleticism, he is a strong candidate to be groomed on the practice squad.

Because of the frequency in which Jeremy Bates likes to employ the two tight end set, it could be possible the Seahawks decide to keep four tight ends on the roster.

At the very least, expect three to make the final cut, with McCoy slightly edging Morrah, and Morrah being placed on the practice squad.

Upgrade from 2009?

Yes

Tackle

Left Tackle: Russell Okung

Right Tackle: Sean Locklear

Second String: Ray Willis

Roster Scraps: Joe Toledo, Jacob Phillips

For a unit that has endured problems in both health and pedigree the past couple seasons the depth here gives cause for concern.

The top two are locks for the foreseeable future, Okung is charged with the impossible task of replacing a future Hall of Famer, while Locklear returns to his regular duties at right tackle.

Reviews on Okung from practices are that he displays limitless potential but is hindered by continual mental lapses. The concencus is if he can get his head in the game he could become a perennial pro bowl caliber player immediately (the optimism is always high for top ten picks before the pads come on).

With his starting experience Ray Willis is a lock to be the key backup at both tackle positions.

As the roster stands (and as far as backups go, a seismic shift could come as soon as I publish this knowing Carroll), expect all of these guys to make the final roster.

Upgrade from 2009?

Yes

Interior Offensive Line

Left Guard: Ben Hamilton

Center: Chris Spencer

Right Guard: Max Unger

Second String: Mansfield Wrotto, Steve Vallos, Mike Gibson

Free agent import Ben Hamilton lends familiarity to Alex Gibbs well-regarded zone blocking scheme.

Disappointing center Chris Spencer somehow retains his starting job despite being arguably the worst starting center in the league; if Alex Gibbs can turn him into something even marginal, I’ll be more shocked than when the Hawks released White

Promising guard Max Unger drew praise in his rookie season and was the bright spot on this porous unit in 2009.

Unless an injury occurs, this is the undisputed front five the Seahawks will trot out.

The Seahawks are going to be in attendance of free agent Chester Pitts workout on July 15th (errr, whenever it happens). If they deem him to be fully recovered from his leg injury, he would definitely be someone worth taking a shot at and would provide them with an upgrade over Chris Spencer.

Upgrade from 2009?

Yes

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