The Seattle Seahawks had quite the productive Labor Day weekend. They made some shrewd 11th hour moves in sifting through a deep preseason roster to get the team down to the mandated 53 players. They also toppled the Oakland Raiders to lock up their first undefeated preseason in franchise history.
The most notable trinket from Thursday's meaningless scrimmage was the play of 6th round pick and new third-string QB Mike Teel. Teel threw for 148 yards and two touchdowns as Seattle's taxi squad outplayed Oakland's 2nd and 3rd stringers to the tune of a 31-21 defeat. Running back Devin Moore showed some moves against the Raiders, rushing for 75 yards and a touchdown. That, however, was not good enough to survive Saturday's cutdown. The team also got a brief look at new running back Edgerinn James, who ran for 11 yards on 2 carries.
Thursday's action was merely a precursor to Saturday's cut fest. The most notable names joining Moore on the unemployment line were veteran safety Brian Russell, defensive end Baraka Atkins, 7th round pick safety Courtney Greene, wide receivers Jordan Kent, Courtney Taylor and Mike Hass, linebacker D.D. Lewis and kicker Brandon Coutu.
The biggest name of the bunch might be Russell, who was serviceable in his two seasons with Seattle, but nothing to write home about. To make up for the loss of Russell, as well as fellow safeties Courtney Greene and Jamar Adams, the team signed veteran safety Lawyer Milloy to a one-year contract. The 35-year old Milloy spent the last three seasons in Atlanta, one of which with current head coach Jim Mora. Milloy will more than likely step into the starting spot alongside fellow safety Deon Grant but, for now, that spot will be manned by Jordan Babineaux.
The overwhelming depth on the defensive line forced the team to part ways with Atkins, who was having a solid preseason himself. With the team keeping 11 defensive linemen, that left less spots for the receiving core. The Seahawks opted to hold on to high-priced, oft-injured third receiver Deion Branch despite his forgettable preseason. That meant having to let go of promising young wideouts like Taylor and Kent(who was hurt in the Oakland game), who clearly outplayed Branch over the last month both on the practice field and in the exhibition games. The team decided to keep only five receivers with rookie Deon Butler and veteran Ben Obamanu holding down the 4th and 5th spots behind T.J. Houshmanzadeh, Nate Burleson and Branch.
The mind-blowing suspense over the kicking competition was finally put to rest as the team chose to go with veteran Olindo Mare over former Georgia Bulldog Brandon Coutu. Mare outperformed(and I use that term loosely) Coutu over the preseason but neither kicker could be confused for the second coming of Nick Lowery.
With the roster finally set, the focus now turns to next Sunday's regular season and home opener against the St. Louis Rams. The Rams will come into that one already without former first round pick defensive end Adam Carriker and could be without top wideout Donnie Avery, who is still nursing a foot injury. That could make this a walk in the park for the Seahawks, who have already been annointed as the NFC West favorites by some prognosticators despite the presence of the defending NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals. We'll see what happens a week from today.
About the Author
Written by Dave Leonardis
Born and raised in New Jersey, I've been writing since I was 10 and blogging since I was 18. I'm a huge sports nerd, following football, baseball and basketball in particular in close detail. My style is very upfront. I don't pull punches and I'm not shy about criticizing anything I feel deserves a proper tongue-lashing. If you're looking for someone who says what he wants, when he wants, then look no further than this guy right here.