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A closer look at the Seahawks’ 53-man roster

Posted Aug 31, 2013

The Seahawks reached the league-mandated roster limit of 53 players, plus one, on Saturday by making 22 moves. They also made a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars to acquire defensive tackle D’Anthony Smith.


Here’s a look at the roster after the Seahawks made 23 moves, including a trade, on Saturday to reach the league-mandated limit of 53 players. They actually have 54 players, because defensive end/linebacker Bruce Irvin will begin serving a four-game suspension on Monday:

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks (2)

Starter: Russell Wilson
Backup: Tarvaris Jackson
Terminated contract: Brady Quinn
Summary: After Jackson was re-signed following his one-season hiatus in Buffalo, it quickly became apparent that the only way Quinn also would make it is if the team retained three quarterbacks. After watching Jackson during the preseason, when he had a passer rating of 131.4 by completing 72 percent of his passes for 357 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, it became clear that he would be more than able to step into a game if needed and lead a team to victory, which is exactly what you want from a backup quarterback.

Running backs (5)

Starter: Marshawn Lynch
Backups: Robert Turbin, Christine Michael, Spencer Ware, Derrick Coleman
Terminated contract: Michael Robinson
Summary: With Lynch limited to five carries, the preseason was all about incumbent Turbin (24 carries for 86 yards) vs. rookie Michael (40 for 201) for the No. 2 spot. But now that the regular season is here, Turbin and Michael will have to settle for what Lynch doesn’t get. The question, of course, is how well the Beast Mode back continues to function without Robinson, who played in the Pro Bowl after the 2011 season and was an alternate last season. But the coaches like what they saw from Coleman and Ware while playing fullback during the preseason.

Wide receivers (5)

Starters: Golden Tate, Sidney Rice
Backups: Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Stephen Williams
Waived: Phil Bates, Arceto Clark, Chris Harper, Bryan Walters
Summary: With Percy Harvin going on PUP on the cut to 75 after his recent hip surgery, nothing changes among the top three with Tate as the split end, Rice as the flanker and Baldwin as the slot receiver. But Kearse has shown he deserves a bigger role than he had last season by averaging 17 yards on his six receptions during the preseason, while the 6-foot-5 Williams was a big-play machine with his five receptions of at least 38 yards and TD catches of 42, 42 and 38 yards.

Tight ends (2)

Starter: Zach Miller
Backup: Luke Willson
Waived: Sean McGrath, Cooper Helfet, Darren Fells
Summary: Getting Miller back on the field in the preseason finale against the Oakland Raiders was a big – and needed – step in getting everything he provides back in the offense for next Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Panthers in Carolina. In his absence, Willson got invaluable time working with the starters and showed the defense-stretching speed that prompted the Seahawks to select him in the fifth round of April’s NFL Draft. Parting with McGrath leaves only two tight ends, but backup tackle Mike Person worked as a blocking tight end during the preseason.

Offensive line (10)

Starters: LT Russell Okung, LG Paul McQuistan, C Max Unger, RG J.R. Sweezy, RT Breno Giacomini
Backups: OG James Carpenter, C/OG Lemuel Jeanpierre, OT Mike Person, OT/OG Michael Bowie, OT/OG Alvin Bailey
Waived: OG Ryan Seymour, OG Rishaw Johnson, C Jared Smith
Summary: Now that Carpenter has played in a game, even if it was only the preseason finale, the question of when he might return switches to: When can he step in and become the road-grader of a blocker at left guard that the coaches envisioned? The strength of this line remains Unger, the All-Pro in the middle; Okung, the Pro Bowl protector of Wilson’s blindside; and the versatility of McQuistan, who line coach Tom Cable calls “the glue” of the unit. Bowie and Bailey were pleasant surprises this summer, while playing tackle and guard.

DEFENSE

Line (11)

Starters: DE Red Bryant, NT Brandon Mebane
Backups: DE Chris Clemons, DE/LB O’Brien Schofield, DE/DT Michael Bennett, DE Cliff Avril, DT Jordan Hill, DT Tony McDaniel, DE Benson Mayowa, DE/LB Bruce Irvin
Acquired in a trade: DT D’Anthony Smith
Terminated contract: DT Clinton McDonald
Waived: DT Jaye Howard, ST Sealver Siliga, DT Michael Brooks, DT Dewaye Cherrington, DE Ty Powell
Summary: No, the Seahawks aren’t switching to a two-man line, but the rash of injuries that plagued this unit all summer has made determining who starts at the three-technique tackle and Leo end spots a matter of who’s healthy this week. Schofield, a strong-side linebacker with the Arizona Cardinals last season, has been starting at Leo. Clemons is close enough to returning from his January knee surgery that the club will carry him as an inactive player on gameday until he’s ready to return as the Leo end. Injuries to Avril (hamstring), Bennett (toe), McDaniel (groin) and Hill (bicep) clouded the evaluation process and prevented them from playing as much as needed during the preseason. But it also gave Mayowa a chance to show that he deserved a roster spot, and allowed the rookie free agent’s unlikely path to the NFL to continue. Irvin, who also worked at strong-side linebacker this offseason, will begin his four-game suspension on Monday.

Linebackers (7)

Starters: OLB K.J. Wright, MLB Bobby Wagner, OLB Malcolm Smith
Backups: OLB Mike Morgan, MLB Heath Farwell, MLB Allen Bradford, OLB John Lotulelei
Summary: Wagner and Wright, who finished 1-2 in tackles on the NFL’s No. 4-ranked defense last season, remain your every-down players here – with Wright moving to the weak side after playing on the strong side last year. Smith has faced challenges from Irvin and Schofield on the strong side. But with Irvin serving a suspension for the first four games and Schofield stepping in at Leo end because of the injuries to Clemons, Avril and Bennett, Smith continues to work with the starters. Farwell’s real value is on special teams, but he showed this summer that he can step in and contribute in the middle if needed. Rather than deciding between Bradford, who is celebrating his birthday today, and Lotulelei, the coaches kept both. And each can help on special teams.

Secondary (9)

Starters: RCB Brandon Browner, LCB Richard Sherman, SS Kam Chancellor, FS Earl Thomas
Backups: CB Walter Thurmond, CB Jeremy Lane, CB Byron Maxwell, FS Chris Maragos, SS Jeron Johnson
Contract terminated: Antoine Winfield
Waived: CB Ron Parker, SS Winston Guy, FS/CB DeShawn Shead
Summary: The strength of the deepest unit on the team remains those four starters, who emerged from the tunnel one by one during the pregame introductions on Thursday night but then ran through the gauntlet of teammates as a one. Thurmond’s ability to stay healthy all summer allowed him to remind everyone just how versatile and talented he is, and made Winfield expendable after being signed in free agency to fill the nickel back spot. The 36-year-old Winfield announced his retirement following the termination of his contract.

Special teams (3)

Starters: P Jon Ryan, K Steven Hauschka, Snapper Clint Gresham
Summary: No surprises here, as Ryan and Hauschka were even better during the preseason than they were last season – and that is saying something. Gresham’s steady-as-he-snaps efforts go unnoticed, and that’s exactly what you want from your deep snapper