Here's a dirty copy of the Boling column for Saturday morning looking at the roster issues. Note, the game isn't over so we have no final score.
Okay, now that the jayvee game is finished – Seattle's reserves beat Oakland's reserves ?-? – we can get to the real issue: Who's going to be on the Seahawk roster when they land in Buffalo for next week's regular-season opener?
This won't be easy. But that's a good thing.
Maybe it's irrelevant to how a team will fare in the long run, but it seems that one measure of the strength of a team's roster is the quality of the players who can't make it.
It's fair to expect that some good players aren't going to be around after today's final cut.
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There have been times when the Seahawks have had to grumble about the guys they had to keep rather than the ones they needed to discard.
A couple players helped them out Friday night, though.
One of the most intriguing prospects early in the preseason was running back Justin Forsett, a 5-foot-8 hard-shelled peanut who ran tough from scrimmage and was exciting in the kicking game.
As the roster calculus came together, it seemed that Forsett and T.J. Duckett were on opposite sides of the equation … if one were to be kept, the other had to go. Forsett had a huge game against Chicago, looking like a game-breaker on returns as well as in the rushing game.
Since then, it's been all Duckett. Friday, he proved he can run tough, can catch the ball, and has at least a hint of nifty in the open field.
Forsett lost a muffed punt return in the first quarter against Oakland.
Solution? Duckett stays, Forsett lands on the practice squad. He's got potential, but I'll wager he will make it through waivers and the Hawks can let him ripen on the practice squad until they need him.
Injuries to Bobby Engram and Deion Branch, combined with the a log-jam of young receivers with similar promise, create further numbers issues on offense.
What to do? Keep 'em all, or at least most of them. You'll need them until Branch and Engram return. Pencil in Nate Burleson, Ben Obomanu, Jordan Kent, Courtney Taylor and Logan Payne. Payne has not been as impressive catching the ball since cracking his ribs in the first scrimmage, but he's a good blocker and solid on special teams.
Placekicker has been another point of contention, as veteran Olindo Mare and rookie Brandon Coutu have gone toe-to-toe most of the season. Mare missed a 50-yarder into a breeze at San Diego on Monday, but his kickoffs have been clearly longer than Coutu.
I'd keep Mare in a close call.
The issues at receiver could cause a crunch on the defensive side, and could force a tough cut. The starters are set, of course, but the emergence of Jason Babin at defensive end could make second-year end Baraka Atkins (a fourth-round pick last year) expendable.
Atkins has been reasonably strong at the point of attack, but Babin seems a superior pass rusher. Babin made a perfect play against the rush in the fourth quarter, standing up a tackle, shucking him, and nailing a ballcarrier for no gain. That's how you win a job.
As for young guys on defense, linebacker David Hawthorne looks like a keeper, even if they decide to go with only six at that position.
Safety Jamar Adams, though, could be targeted for the practice squad if they end up carrying only eight in the secondary.
Here's how it adds up:
--Three quarterbacks (you know them).
--Five running backs (Mo Morris, Leonard Weaver, Julius Jones, T.J. Duckett and rookie Owen Schmitt).
--Seven receivers (see above).
--Three tight ends (John Carlson, Will Heller, Jeb Putzier).
--Three specialists: (Ryan Plackemeier, Mare, Jeff Robinson).
--Nine offensive linemen (The five expected starters with Pork Chop Womack, Steve Vallos, Ray Willis, Mansfield Wrotto).
--Nine defensive linemen (ends Patrick Kerney, Lawrence Johnson, Darryl Tapp, Babin; tackles Brandon Mebane, Rocky Bernard, Craig Terrill, Howard Green and Red Bryant).
--Six linebackers (Lofa Tatupu, Julian Peterson, Leroy Hill, Hawthorne, Lance Laury and D.D. Lewis).
--Eight defensive backs (Marcus Trufant, Kelly Jennings, Deon Grant, Brian Russell, Kevin Hobbs, Josh Wilson, Jordan Babineaux and C.J. Wallace).
That should add up to 53, with only a few surprises and a minimum of broken hearts.
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440