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Balmer rarely showed overwhelming power in 2010.
Releasing Balmer would appear to be a less than prudent decision for Seattle, as the Seahawks have five free agents at the position—potentially six if Brandon Mebane eventually leaves as a “restricted” free agent.
However, Balmer is another player I previously highlighted as one I believe may struggle to remain on the roster through opening day.
He has historically been inconsistent, dating back to his college days at North Carolina. A first-round pick in 2008 for the 49ers, Balmer played two seasons, went “AWOL” and was shipped to Seattle—reunited with former 49ers GM Scot McCloughan.
He had a career year in Seattle, registering 43 tackles in 16 games after only 19 tackles his first two seasons in the league. However, he looked tentative and overmatched at times in 2010. Even when he was around the ball, he was inconsistent at making a decisive, one-on-one play.
Balmer may have potential, but he needs to work hard off the field. Balmer’s weight has not changed much since coming into the league; various listings average out to approximately 305 in college, 298 at the 2008 combine and listed at 315 in the pros. One of his “red flags” was that he needed to add strength to be a true tackle or slim down and add explosiveness to move to end. Neither appears to be the case to this point.
Given the fact that he plays multiple roles on the line, the lack of a true offseason boosts the possibility he stays with the team. If he works hard this offseason, competes in camp and shows a solid understanding of his role in the defense, he should stay on the team for the remaining year of his contract.
However, the lockout brings unique circumstances, as some players are working out alone, without the motivation of teammates and the scrutiny of coaches.
Balmer needs to prove his history of work ethic issues is unwarranted and that he is willing to buy in to strength coach Chris Carlisle’s program as soon as he is allowed to be at team facilities.
Unfortunately for Balmer, he came into the league with the expectations that come with being a first-round pick; he was reportedly unhappy with his playing time in San Francisco before leaving camp last preseason.
If he is unwilling to shed those personal expectations and proves to have lacked urgency and a training ethic during the 2011 offseason, as he is not expected to be a starter, I expect the Seahawks to find a player that is willing to compete with a sense of urgency to simply make the roster.