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Seahawks go heavy at wide receiver on roster cut to 53 players

Posted Aug 30, 2014

A closer look at the Seahawks’ 53-man roster, which includes seven wide receivers, a rookie starter at right tackle, a rookie free agent as the backup middle linebacker and a just-acquired cornerback.

When it came time for a show of hands in cutting their roster from 75 to 53 players on Saturday, the Seahawks ended up keeping seven wide receivers.

The one- or two-more-than-usual move was not surprising, because the group had been one of the best and most competitive during training camp and the preseason. So there are the obvious three – Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, who are featured in the three-receiver sets the Seahawks use so often. There also are two draft choices – draft choices Paul Richardson (second round) and Kevin Norwood (fourth round). And there are both Ricardo Lockette and Phil Bates, two of the most-improved players on the team.

“It’s a really good group of guys. Everyone has their strengths and qualities we like,” coach Pete Carroll said this week when asked about the wide receivers. “It’s a really cool group. These guys have grown up with us and they’ve really developed.”

As he does so often, Carroll gave credit where it is due: receivers coach Kippy Brown.

“Kippy has done a great job bringing those guys along,” Carroll said. “They all now really have obvious strengths.”

It’s premature to call the Seahawks’ 53-man roster the final 53, because general manager John Schneider is always looking to upgrade with players from other teams. In fact, the Seahawks worked a trade on Saturday, acquiring cornerback Marcus Burley from the Indianapolis Colts for an undisclosed pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

And there is still the 10-man practice squad that can be compiled on Sunday after those players jettisoned Saturday clear waivers – and several of the players waived by the Seahawks could return.

Three other members of the team’s 2014 Draft class are on the 53-man roster – second-round pick Justin Britt, who has won the starting right tackle job that was vacated when Breno Giacomini jumped to the New York Jets in free agency; rush-end Cassius Marsh, a fourth-rounder who had two sacks during the preseason to share the team lead; and linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, also a fourth-rounder who had two solo tackles in Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Raiders in Oakland.

Carroll said after the 41-31 loss to the Raiders that he is pleased with the players the defending Super Bowl champions have heading into the regular season – which begins Thursday night in a nationally televised matchup with the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field.

“All in all, I think we’re ready to go,” he said. “We’re healthy enough to really field a good-looking group on both sides of the ball.

“We’ve got the guys who are going to play for us and we’re ready to go.”    

Here’s a closer look at the Seahawks’ 53-man roster:

Quarterbacks (2)

  • Russell Wilson
  • Tarvaris Jackson


Waived:
Terrelle Pryor, B.J. Daniels

Made a statement: Wilson. The third-year QB was downright boisterous with his performance this summer, as he flirted with perfection while generating production. The offense scored on 11 of its 13 possessions under Wilson – nine touchdowns and two field goals, including four TD drives of 80-plus yards. Wilson fashioned the NFL’s top passer rating (133.8) while completing 78.6 percent of his passes (33 of 42) for 437 yards, with three TD passes and no interceptions. He also ran for three scores. 

Running backs (4)

  • RB Marshawn Lynch
  • RB Robert Turbin
  • RB Christine Michael
  • FB Derrick Coleman


Waived:
RB Spencer Ware, FB Kiero Small, RB Demitrius Bronson

Made a statement: Turbin and Michael. With Lynch a late arrival to training camp and then limited to three carries during the preseason, it gave Michael the opportunity to show that he has improved from his rookie season and Turbin the chance to show he was up to the challenge of remaining Lynch’s primary backup and the third-down back.

Wide receivers (7)

  • Percy Harvin
  • Doug Baldwin
  • Jermaine Kearse
  • Paul Richardson
  • Ricardo Lockette
  • Kevin Norwood
  • Phil Bates


Released:
Bryan Walters, Arceto Clark, Chris Matthews.  

Made a statement: Harvin. Despite not playing in Thursday night’s finale, Harvin had seven receptions to share the preseason lead with Richardson and Michael. Then there was his 46-yarder on his only kickoff return. But the real statement Harvin made was being there, practice after practice, and displaying his explosive quickness after getting only a handful of plays last season following hip surgery at the start of training camp.  

Tight ends (3)

  • Zach Miller
  • Luke Willson
  • Cooper Helfet


Waived:
RaShaun Allen, Morrell Presley

Made a statement: The entire group. Miller proved once again how good an all-around player he is. Willson displayed improvement from his rookie season. And Helfet showed, when healthy, that he can ease the loss of Anthony McCoy to a season-ending injury.

Offensive linemen (9)

  • LT Russell Okung
  • LG James Carpenter
  • C Max Unger
  • RG J.R. Sweezy
  • RT Justin Britt
  • C-OG Lemuel Jeanpierre
  • OT Alvin Bailey
  • OT Garry Gilliam
  • OG-C Stephen Schilling


Terminated contract:
OT Eric Winston

Waived: OG Caylin Hauptmann, OT Nate Isles, C Patrick Lewis

Made a statement: Britt, of course, as he came in and proved what the coaches thought when they selected him in the second round of May’s NFL Draft – that he has what it takes to not only start as a rookie, but be the long-term answer at right tackle. But also Sweezy and Carpenter, who improved their games. Sweezy is no longer a former college defensive tackle making the transition to NFL guard; he is an NFL guard who used to play defensive tackle in college. In his fourth season, Carpenter is in the best sharp of his career and the former first-round draft choice looks to be what the team envisioned – a road-grader of a blocker at left guard, between the Pro Bowl duo of Unger and Okung.

Defensive linemen (9)

  • DE Michael Bennett
  • NT Brandon Mebane
  • DT Kevin Williams
  • DE Cliff Avril
  • DT Tony McDaniel
  • DE O'Brien Schofield
  • DE Cassius Marsh
  • DT Jordan Hill
  • DE Greg Scruggs


Placed on injured reserve:
DT D’Anthony Smith

Waived: DE Benson Mayowa, DT Jimmy Staten, DT Andru Pulu

Made a statement: Schofield. He signed with the New York Giants in free agency, only to have the deal voided when he failed his physical. That’s how he got back to the Seahawks, who used him primarily as a rush-end this summer after Schofield also played outside linebacker last season. He led the defense with seven QB hits and had two sacks to share the preseason lead with Marsh. And, Schofield also can help on special teams. But also Hill, a third-round draft choice last year who needed to get stronger and did. He had a sack off a spin move among his five tackles in the finale against the Raiders.

Linebackers (7)

  • OLB K.J. Wright
  • MLB Bobby Wagner
  • OLB Malcolm Smith
  • OLB Bruce Irvin
  • OLB Mike Morgan
  • MLB Brock Coyle
  • OLB Kevin Pierre-Louis


Released:
OLB Korey Toomer

Made a statement: Coyle. The rookie free agent stepped in when Wagner went down during the first week of camp with a hamstring injury and ended up leading the team with 22 tackles in the preseason. With Wagner back, Coyle will now need to be as productive on special teams.

Defensive backs (9)

  • RCB Byron Maxwell
  • LCB Richard Sherman
  • SS Kam Chancellor
  • FS Earl Thomas
  • CB Jeremy Lane
  • S Jeron Johnson
  • S-CB DeShawn Shead
  • CB Tharold Simon
  • CB Marcus Burley


Terminated contract:
CB Phillip Adams

Waived: CB Akeem Auguste, S Steven Terrelle, S Terrance Parks

Made a statement: Johnson. After missing half of last season because of hamstring issues, Johnson stepped in as the starter at strong safety when training camp opened because Chancellor was completing his rehab from offseason surgery. Now that Chancellor is back, Johnson can play as the third safety in a situational package and also help fill the void created on special teams when Heath Farwell was placed on injured reserve on the roster cut to 75 players. And don’t forget about the versatile Shead, who returned an interception 54 yards for a TD against the Raiders to again show that he can play cornerback as well as safety and also help on special teams.

Special teams (3)

  • K Steven Hauschka
  • P Jon Ryan
  • Snapper Clint Gresham


Made a statement:
Hauschka, of course. He made eight of his nine field-goal attempts, including a 59-yarder, and each of his 14 PATs – whatever the distance. But also Johnson, Shead and Lockette when it came to kickoff and punt coverage.