Seahawk's Offseason Review: Ruskell Aggressive To Mend Seattle's Holes

Rob StatonCorrespondent IMay 9, 2009

RENTON, WA - MAY 02:  Wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh #84 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes during minicamp at the Seahawks' training facility on May 2, 2009 in Renton, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Coming off a 4-12 season in 2008, the Seahawks had various holes to fill during the offseason. Tim Ruskell has been busy during free agency and the draft trying to solve Seattle’s problems, so how’s he done?

Need areas coming into the offseason: OL, WR, DL, DB

Offensive Line

The Seahawks re-signed Ray Willis for needed depth at tackle.

Walter Jones is recovering from micro-fracture surgery, and if he suffers a relapse in 2009, Sean Locklear and Willis will start.

Ruskell drafted Max Unger at No. 49 overall to add flexibility to the interior. The former Oregon Duck can play center or guard and could feature as a rookie.

Wide receiver

T.J. Houshmandzadeh was the best available free agent receiver and chose Seattle over Minnesota. Housh’s sure hands and precise routes will replace Matt Hasselbeck’s former Mr. Reliable (Bobby Engram) who departed for Kansas City.

The Seahawks needed some pure speed to stretch the field and drafted Deon Butler in the third round. He ran a 4.38 at the scouting combine.

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Defensive line

Patrick Kerney recorded five sacks in seven starts in 2008, but the Seahawks lost all pressure from the front when Kerney was placed on injured reserve.

Ruskell traded Julian Peterson to sign Cory Redding in what could prove to be an inspired move.

Drafting Aaron Curry compensates the loss of Pro-Bowler Peterson, but Redding has a point to prove and, on a reworked one year deal, has incentives to perform.

Colin Cole joined from Green Bay to add beef at defensive tackle (6’1”, 315 lbs).

Defensive backs

Seattle’s secondary suffered from a lack of pass rush in the trenches but also struggled mightily against the NFL’s best receivers.

Ken Lucas was a wise choice after the draft to add some experience at cornerback, taking the pressure off the younger Josh Wilson.

The Seahawks were unable to upgrade at safety and will continue with Deon Grant and Brian Russell, although they could find a diamond in the rough with seventh round pick Courtney Greene.

During his tenure as GM, Tim Ruskell has consistently shown aggression when attempting to fix weaknesses on the roster.

This year was no different, and the amount of money invested in veterans like Houshmandzadeh (who will be 32 this year) points to a ‘win-now’ mentality.

Some questions do remain. Do the Seahawks have enough weapons on offense?

They’re relying a lot on Matt Hasselbeck to remain healthy after back problems ravaged his ’08 season.

Can Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett provide enough threat in the running game? Will Deion Branch and Nate Burleson return from serious knee injuries?

Can the team generate more pressure on the defensive line to keep blockers away from their expensive linebacker corps?

Patrick Kerney is crucial to the team’s success in 2009, but more is expected from youngsters Lawrence Jackson and Darryl Tapp.

The team finished dead last in passing yards per-game last year, has enough attention been paid to the under performing secondary?

Overall, Ruskell hasn’t sat on his laurels—he’s provided a solid canvas for new head coach Jim Mora to paint a recovery. Staying healthy remains a priority, but the key additions of Houshmandzadeh and Redding could help send Seattle back to the postseason.


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