Now comes the tough part.
In the wake of altering the roster to the maximum of 75 players on Tuesday, the Seahawks must slice the roster to 53 on Saturday, and then can bring back eight players for the practice squad on Sunday. Actually, they are at 76, including Samuel Gutekunst, the German offensive lineman representing the NFL's international program.
Released on Tuesday were former University of Washington cornerback Omare Lowe, and wide receiver Joel Filani. Placed on the physical unable to perform list was second-year linebacker Will Herring, while rookie tackle Will Robinson and rookie snapper Tyler Schmitt are on injured reserve for the season.
That's sets up the final preseason game Friday night with the Oakland Raiders as the final showdown for a number of roster spots that have yet to be decided. The toughest ones will come at wide receiver, running back and at defensive line.
Generally speaking coach Mike Holmgren likes to keep a combination of 11 between the offensive backfield and wide receiver. But with wide receivers Deion Branch and Doug Baldwin expected back no later than early October, that will most likely take up two of the roster spots, and leaves the staff with the dilemma of deciding between Ben Obomanu, Courtney Taylor, Logan Payne, Michael Bumpus, and rapidly developing Jordan Kent, who has put up the most impressive numbers of all during the preseason.
In the backfield, Mo Morris, Julius Jones and fullback Leonard Weaver, are flanked by T.J. Duckett - coming off an impressive stint late in Monday's 18-17 loss at San Diego - fullbacks Owen Schmitt and David Kirtman, plus tough rookie running back Justin Forsett. Special teams play will be significant factor for Schmitt and Forsett.
On the defensive line, starting at tackle, there are starters Rocky Bernard and Brandon Mebane, with rookie Red Bryant, and veterans Craig Terrill, Howard Green and Larry Tripplett, who has been injured much of the preseason. The defensive ends are Patrick Kerney, Darryl Tapp and top draft choice Lawrence Jackson, while a great battle has taken shape between 2007 fourth-round pick Baraka Atkins and veteran Jason Babin.
There are other mini-battles that are still playing out, and generally speaking one game isn't the difference. But Friday night against the Raiders, with starters expected to play sparingly if at all, very well could be the difference between making the team and seeking employment Monday morning.
I realize that Julius Jones was brought to Seattle to likely start at tailback and of course Mo Morris certainly has earned his chance to be the guy. And has looked very good this preseason. However Justin Forsett has shown some really special ability and excited the crowd in the first two preseason games. What are the chances of him surprising everyone and sneaking in at that starting tailback spot? He has appeared to bring a special toughness, quickness and outright speed to the position that it makes you wonder what kind of running game we would have with him back there?
Just about everything you suggested in the beginning of the e-mail is right on the money. Jones was brought here to prove he can be an every-down back. Morris performed well last season and has been the given the opportunity to prove he's the guy. But coach Mike Holmgren has said time and again, they will share the duties so both of them will be fresh throughout the games and presumably the season.
Forsett, the 5-8, 195-pound seventh round draft choice from Cal, has been the hit of training camp with his toughness and performance. And he is leading the team in rushing by a lot going into the third game. But what has to be taken into consideration is that he has been playing running back in the second half of games. It doesn't minimize what he's accomplished as much as force everybody to maintain some perspective. Down the road, he could very well prove to be an exceptional running back. Right now, his ticket to making the team will be on special teams. Thanks for writing.
Yours in sport,
Aside from all of the injuries, I'm more concerned with how our special teams have played in the first two preseason games. Our coverage has been lackluster at best. With the key losses of Niko Koutouvides and Kevin Bentley in the offseason, do you think our special teams are in for a long season? I sure hope they improve in the coming weeks. What is your take? Thanks.
My perspective has always been the same about the preseason in professional sports, whether we're talking about football, basketball, baseball or hockey - all that really matters are the injuries and the surprise player or two who comes out of nowhere to earn a spot on the roster. That's exactly how I feel about what's been going on with special teams in the first two games with the Seahawks.
They need to get everybody healthy, which also has a dramatic effect on who will be playing special teams during the preseason. This is the most difficult time of the year for coach Bruce DeHaven. Not only does he have to deal with replacing injured players who will be on special teams, he has to gauge what the chances are of certain guys making the team or not as he's assembling his units. You hope there aren't holes, but it isn't likely the special teams will settle down for good until the regular season gets going. Thanks for writing.
Yours in sport,
Anquan Boldin has stated his desire to leave Arizona and be traded if possible. Any chance Seattle could pick him up? I think he'd have a great rapport with Matt Hasselbeck. With Bobby Engram, Deion Branch, and Nate Burleson it'd be a crazy wide receiver corps. Do the Seahawks have a chance of obtaining him? How well do you think he'd jell with the Seahawk's offensive style if they could acquire him in a trade? Thanks.
Normally I don't answer questions about potential trades because one little whisper or rumor gets taken completely out of context and discussions take place all the time with nothing happening. But so many different people asked the same question, so I'll address it.
A major deal like that just doesn't happen because it makes sense for one team, and Boldin is locked into his contract whether he likes it or not. The Seahawks really like their young receiving crew of Courtney Taylor, Ben Obomanu, Logan Payne and Jordan Kent, and you can add Michael Bumpus to that list too. It's why they didn't draft a receiver in April. Is Boldin more accomplished than them? Of course he is, but are the Seahawks going to trade a No. 1 pick as has been suggested or more? Is that enough from the Cardinals perspective? Seahawks president Tim Ruskell is as ready and willing to deal as any executive in the league when it comes to improve the team - he proved that dealing a No. 1 pick for Branch two years ago. But he also is loath to give up top draft choices. No deal is impossible, but highly improbable is where this rumor is and will probably remain. Meanwhile, the youngsters will sort themselves out Engram and Branch will continue to get healthy in the weeks to come. Thanks for writing.
Yours in sport,
It looks like Charlie Frye needs to work more on his pocket presence. While watching him play It seemed he was sliding the wrong way to avoid the pressure and still be able to look for the receiver. Maybe he just needs to play more in this system, but he still can't be making forced throws out of the end zone to the other team like he did. He does throw a nice deep ball.
It was in an interesting debut by Frye, and he will continue to get time in the final preseason game. He was erratic for a lot of reasons. It was his first full game in a year, in a system he has had to learn without playing in games. Keep in mind it was a preseason game with an inordinate amount players being shuttled in and out. That meant pass protection was a particularly difficult issue, and timing with receivers varied with so many different guys in and out.
Those are excuses, just reasons for the uneven performance. He has worked hard on his release and gaining a comfort zone in the offense with quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor. The most important thing we have to watch for is improvement each week and the mistakes being minimized. He's without question an NFL quarterback, and now he has to prove he's capable of being solid enough to allow the staff to utilize Seneca Wallace's versatility on the field without fear of losing a very strong backup quarterback. Thanks for writing. Yours in sport,
I know everyone says they are excited about our young receivers, but what are the chances we pick up another proven receiver? I saw that Joe Horn got released by the Falcons, Is there a chance we might go after someone like that?
It's never out of the question, but you have to keep in mind this is a very difficult offensive system to learn. Horn is 36 years old and would be starting from scratch. Meanwhile, all of these young receivers are competing and nobody has played out of contention for a roster spot. That's not to say they wouldn't consider Horn, don't ever rule anything out.
But in the big picture, he wouldn't be comfortable or effective until Branch and Engram return, so that makes it a difficult move to justify with finals cuts coming in a week. Thanks for writing.
Yours in sport,
If we fans get a say so on whom the Seahawk keep my vote is for Justin Forsett and David Hawthorne. Both of those guys got SMACKS! Who says you have to get high draft choices to get quality players, we'll take the ones with HEART!
No doubt, their 'smacks' and 'heart,' as you put it, have everything to do with why the Seahawks nailed these guys down in the first place. Not coincidentally, they were both overlooked because of their measurables, also known as size and speed (among other physical attributes) for their respective positions. The Seahawks obviously use those variables to a certain extent.
More importantly, they emphasize how they look on film, in person and their character traits on and off the field. That's the kind of scouting work that allows them to get free agents like those two this year or others like Leonard Weaver, C.J. Wallace and Logan Payne as free agent rookies. That will make a big difference in the long-term future of this organization. Thanks for writing.
Yours in sport,
I grew up just outside of Seattle and I'm an avid Seahawks fan, but I now live in West Virginia and proudly cheer on the Mountaineers! My favorite Mountaineer is, was and always will be Owen Schmitt so you can understand my overwhelming joy and elation to see that the Seahawks drafted and signed him. There was a phrase here in WV that we heard a lot last season and that was "Schmitt Happens." His work ethic, dedication and pure love of the game is second to none!
Let me just say first hand to those who might not have seen much Mountaineer football, it doesn't matter if you put him on offense, defense or special teams Schmitt can get the job done! He will make a great asset to the Seahawks for years to come! I'm so excited for this season I can't stand it! Go Hawks!
All of those factors you mentioned are precisely why the Seahawks drafted Schmitt. His toughness and versatility have shown much more during training camp and the preseason than during minicamp when every practice was in shorts with no pads. He's clearly a "gamer," and the kind of player coaches adore because he brings the same approach
every time he steps on the field. Some of the more physically gifted players in this league have bad games and they don't contribute.
Schmitt is the kind of guy who will always make an impact because it isn't about his natural tools which may not be sharp on a particular day. It's all about leaving it out on the field. Thanks for writing.
Yours in sport,
Many thanks to Seahawks.com - it's a great way to keep up on the inside news for us that have had to move away from our hometown team. I would like to say that this year's team shows the more potential than any I think I have seen and I have been a fan since the initial season. Justin Forsett has made a big impression along with "The Heater" (David Hawthorne) and the young receivers. I don't envy the coaching staff any of the decisions they will have to make regarding cuts, but if you have to be in a pickle this is not a bad one to be in. Thanks again and keep the news coming.
This has been a very special process to watch up close and the consistent improvement of the players, the focus of the coaches toward development and the personnel department for their decision-making on players at both the collegiate and professional level. It's all about the consistency of approach that starts at the top of the organization and trickles down.
This is the Seahawks family, and it always includes the fan, which may be the No. 1 thing that will Mike Holmgren will take away in his last season as coach - his role in rekindling the love affair between the Seahawks and their fans. Thanks for writing.
Yours in sport,
I am very happy with the acquisitions of Mike Solari and Mike DeBord. They've done a fantastic job with our line. My question is how long do you expect them to remain with the Seahawks? Do assistant coaches sign contracts? These are great assistants and I would like them to remain with the Seahawks for as long as possible.
It's great to hear from fans who have already noticed the difference already because all it takes is one day of watching practice to grasp how much teaching is going on, and that's not taking into account what the players are getting out of films and in their meetings. Some people may call it cliché when coaches talk about being teachers. But that's how teams attain their potential.
To be sure, it's always up to the players to perform in the end. But is also comes down to the coaches providing clarity and motivation to the players. Once that is attained, it allows the players to reach their peak performance level. Because of what Solari and DeBord have brought to the table, the line is certainly headed in that direction. And if they can stay healthy, it will make the entire team better. It allows the offense to be more versatile - establishing the running game to augment the passing game and control the clock. That, in turn, allows the defense to stay fresh, and consistency on both sides of the football that produce more wins home and away. Thanks for writing.
Yours in sport,