Seahawks Insider Blog

Mora says running game just ‘OK’

Well, as I stated in an earlier report, Seattle Seahawks head coach Jim Mora did not address the speculation that free agent running back Edgerrin James is headed to Seattle. is reporting that James reportedly agreed to a one-year, $2 million deal to join the team. However, James is not at the facility and has not been seen around VMAC today. For what it’s worth, James’ agent is Drew Rosenhaus.

While not specifically addressing the James situation, Mora did say he’s not pleased with the running game, and described the plays of his running backs on Saturday as “OK.”

If the team does bring James in, they will have to release a player. And that player does not necessarily have to be a running back. Maybe they bring Edge in for a test run to see how he fits in with the zone blocking scheme, and then they make a move before the first cut on Sept. 1.

For what it’s worth, I thought Edge ran the ball pretty well during the Super Bowl game last season. He didn’t play a whole lot in 2008, and at 31-years-old he’s not as long in the tooth as you would think. Maybe he still has some gas left in the tank. Edge also could be a short yardage guy if they wanted to use him in that capacity and release T.J. Duckett.

Again, Mora described the running back play, in which we saw a heavy dose of Duckett, as just 'OK.'

Julius Jones, who missed Saturday’s game with a thigh bruise, is expected to practice on Tuesday, along with Aaron Curry (groin), Nate Burleson (hamstring), Grey Ruegamer (elbow) and Lawrence Jackson (leg).

Defensive lineman Craig Terrell suffered a back contusion and is questionable for practice on Tuesday.

Mora confirmed that center Chris Spencer suffered a slight quadriceps tear and likely will miss the team’s regular-season opener on Sept. 13. With Spencer injured, the Seahawks are now missing three-fifths of the projected starting lineup for 2009, with left guard Mike Wahle failing his physical and retiring, and Walter Jones recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his surgically repaired left knee.

Mora on Spencer: “I don’t want to put a timetable on it, but he won’t be back soon. Hopefully sooner rather than later, but it’s not going to be two weeks. It’s going to be into the season.”

Mora said the team will decide on whether to go with Max Unger or Steve Vallos at center, and that they are leaning with going with Vallos at center and allowing Unger and Mansfield Wrotto to compete at right guard.

Speaking of Walter Jones, Mora said that he’s in good spirits and that according to a conversation with him his knee is feeling well.

Mora also would not rule out the possibility of picking up another body on the offensive line, stating the team had a personnel meeting to discuss that topic, but nothing has been decided.

That fact that the team will likely have to save a spot for Walter Jones and Chris Spencer on the roster could mean that the Seahawks will have to let a couple good players go when they get down to the final, 53-man roster, Mora said.

Mora said after watching the film he felt a little better about the defense’s effort against Denver than he expressed after the game on Saturday. Asked on Saturday if he thought he could attribute the defense’s sluggishness to dead legs, Mora said he didn’t want to give them that excuse.

But Mora softened on those remarks this afternoon, acknowledging that he’s been working the team hard during training camp, including a rare conditioning session last week.

Mora said he started rookie Deon Butler instead because they wanted T.J. Houshmandzadeh to work at flanker, where he likely will see most of his action when the regular season begins. Houshmanzadeh can play both split end and flanker, but is seen as more of a flanker. Butler is seen as a split end and Deion Branch is considered more of a flanker.

Flankers work the middle of the field more and a better at reading the soft spots in zone, while split ends are considered speedier and used to stretch the field.

Mora said had it been the regular season they would have switched Housh to split end and started Branch at flanker. He also said the team will work to Branch the ball more against Kansas City.

The Seahawks will treat the Kansas City game like a regular season game, putting together a full game plan for the Chiefs. That should help ignite the team’s running game. The Seahawks will face a 3-4, defensive front for the third time during the preseason, so they should be used to it now. Mora said that’s been part of the issue with the team’s struggles in getting the running game going.

Coach Mora gave props to punter Jon Ryan, who had three punts inside the 20-yard-line against the Broncos. They’ve liked his ability to help change field position.

Butler will get another opportunity to return punts. The team hasn’t decided who will return punts yet during the regular season. Mora said the Hawks will use Nate Burleson at times during the year, but not all the time. He also said Josh Wilson is one of the best kick returners in the game, and the team will continue to use him back there.

Part of the issue with Butler’s kick returns, Mora said, is the new rules on wedge blocking that only allow for a two-man wedge, so guys are coming through clean on the kick returns. And Mora also acknowledged that Butler is hitting the wedge tentatively.

That’s all for now.