Seahawks Insider

Mora says running game just ‘OK’

Post by Eric Williams on Aug. 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm with 29 Comments »
August 24, 2009 6:01 pm

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.

Leave a comment Comments → 29
  1. ratman44 says:

    Eric, how many 3-4 Defenses will the hawks face duing the regular season?

    The 3-4 seems to be the “in” thing these days. With all the coaching changes, I am not sure who plays what every year.

  2. Good stuff. Thanks. I hope they go with Unger at C though and leave him there for 12 years.

    I’m glad they are seeing another 3-4 front. It can’t hurt when they see the 4-3 in practice everyday. Historically, it seems we struggle with the 3-4.

    Looking forward to the game. Does anyone know if it’s on NFLN live again? I know they play replays, but I’d like to watch it live. I’m going to watch the game Charger game again tonight on NFLN and maybe some other stuff will pop up after watching it again. I’m going to really watch Unger in the running game and Vallos/Wrotto.

  3. Speaking of kick returns, Obo has looked awful returning a few too.
    And believe it or not, Courtney Taylor has been catching the ball.
    CT might be in and Obo out on the final roster.. trying to figure out who to keep is gonna be tough..nate, branch, TJ, butler & ?

    haas hass

  4. Duckett is slower than Bettis.

  5. Seahawks2620 says:

    Either Hass or Taylor

  6. The KC game is NOT live on NFLN, but the 4th game vs Oakland is slated to be. I’d imagine NFLN will replay the Seahawks/KC at some point during the week though, if they are consistent with what they’ve done this week; although there is no telling what time, you may have to tivo it.

  7. nighthawk2 says:

    ratman44, it looks like at least 4 games vs. 3-4 defensive teams. I believe the 49ers use that scheme, so there’s two games, also Dallas and Green Bay. Our next pre-season game is against KC, and they’ve also gone to that scheme if I remember correctly.

    Didn’t take Spencer long to get his annual injury. Figured it would be a shoulder again. Releasing Duckett to retain James seems like a waste of money from a purely financial standpoint. Duckett was paid a $2 million bonus this year (and last) but has a $2.5 mil salary this year, from Sando’s figures. If James signs or has signed for the reported $2 million this year, that’s $4 million they’ll have paid out for a RB this year, even if releasing Duckett frees them from having to pay his salary this year (and I don’t know if it does or how that works). Duckett’s role last year was the big back to pick up 3rd down conversions and short yardage TD’s, while only averaging 2.7 ypc. Can James assume that role, and if not, will it be assigned to Griffith or Schmitt, and could they fulfill it? Why is Rob Sims a lock at LG? I would hope that if Vallos is going to play center then Wrotto should be allowed to compete with Sims for the left guard spot, as Unger is better than either and should be starting at one of the interior spots. Sims is no world beater. I’m going to make a guess here that Deion Branch won’t be on the 53 man roster on opening day if Butler continues to impress. Either a trade or a release (I thought he was a $5 mil cap hit this year but I saw on Sando’s NFC West blog a figure of $7.5 million). I hope that Nick Reed and Michael Bennett are not of, or both of, the good players that Mora let’s go mentioned in the article above.

  8. There aren’t any free agent O linemen left who are worth signing. Seattle needs to make a trade using a draft pick or player.

    Kelly Jennings? Julius Jones? Ben Obomanu? Lawrence Jackson?

    Seattle sinks unless they shore up the O line.

  9. Seahawks2620 says:

    There are so many possible scenarios that could go down over the next week or two. We will just have to wait and see. What I think will happen is Reed and Bennett will make the team (at least Reed)……and we either sign Levi Jones or trade for another solid linemen involving Tapp or Branch. We will see…I can’t wait to see what happens though

  10. If we are talking about putting the best available line together than it should be Vallos at center, he has actually played better there than Unger has so far this preseason – – – but the real reason is that BOTH of those guys have significantly outplayed Wrotto- I just don’t see him as a starter. barring a pick up from from what I have seen so far I would like to see


    then the question is Walt comes back and????? Do we just take Lock out. do we do a total reshuffle and got

    or by then do we expect that one of Willis/lock/sims will be hurt by then anyway??

    on the WR side – Bumpus is done – no action – no talk – cut him now let him try and catch on somewhere. Also Payne/Hass have only played with the 3rd team offense so far. I just don’t see them getting a spot on the roster.
    that leaves us with Obo, Kent, Taylor. I think Payne and Kent have the best ST upside but based on time on field I think Payne/Hass/Bumpus are done as seahawks

  11. dover5005 says:


    i think thats how it goes

  12. nighthawk is back! Where the heck has he been? My money is that he spent some time in the pen for stalking Ruskell.

    Again, if you want to trade for something good — you have to give up something good. What GM in the world would want to trade a good Guard for a bad player? Who?

  13. For those that are into this sort of thing, let me introduce….

    The Brian Russell Drinking Game –
    Everytime Russell dives late into a pile after the play is over, drink a shot. You will be drunk by the second quarter!

  14. If you want to be drunk by the end of the first offensive drive, just take a drink for every bad “block” made by our OL.

  15. Duckett has been released according to PFT.

  16. Good. Duckett is/was a bad overall RB.

    With our OL the way it is, the thing I’m most excited about is that James is one of the best pass blocking RBs in the NFL. The sad thing is, until Walt comes back (*IF), he’s probably our best pass protector at his position at doing what he does.

    Maybe we just go max protection and let Matt air it out all season long. Kind of like 2 years ago when we couldn’t run so Holmy (smartly) quit trying and we threw all the time. You’d think we’d be smart enough to fix it by now, but it’s 2 years later and we still can’t run block.

  17. variable575 says:


    Like I said before, put josh wilson in as FS and he will be the diamond in the rough we’ve all been looking for, nose for the ball, speed, and propensity to be in the right place!

    What about reed? Why does everyone have a love affair for this guy when he hasn’t gone up against the starting unit. As good as he looks there’s a huge difference between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd string. I’d hope the coach starts reed in the last two games just to see what we really have……with yet another midget on our team.

    Hey if we keep ruskell there’s a good chance that most of you midgets could make it as walk-ons!!! That’s for all you milk toast ruskell admirers!!!

  18. variable575 says:

    As far as O-line what about the combo of levi jones and runyan? Is runyan still a free agent? I read someone mentioning us not going after levi becuase of character issues. C’mon, what do you get guys for, to be dominant and then good character! This is a business of winning games-not friends!! I’m getting tired of Ruskell preaching about character, and if that is an excuse not to acquire levi than dump lofa and the runaway beer truck while you’re at it!

    don’t you guys feel the present o-line situation warrents bringing in levi regardless of past off-field issues? and maybe even an aging runyan?

  19. snydro22 says:



  20. snydro22 says:

    Excuse me, that’s PABUWAL!

  21. snydro22 says:

    We need all the help we can get on the interior. Probably in the secondary as well.

    The question is, how confident are we that we could make a run this year? Do we sacrifice young talent to make room for aging veterans? Maybe we sacrifice aging veterans to make room for other aging veterans, but does that make us any better?

    Personally, I say we go for it. Matt isn’t getting any younger, and we brought in TJ and Lucas etc for a reason. That said, I am not one of these guys who thinks Matt is on his last legs. I think he has a few good ones left. We’ll see.

  22. I’m all for bringing in Levi if the staff truly believes that Walt is done. If the medical reports realistically have Walt back by week 2 then I think we’re okay (hold breath, pray, hope) and don’t need him.

    Reed is doing everything that is asked of him. That’s why we like him. We can talk about midgets all we want, but I doubt Bronco fans are complaining about having a midet pass rusher in Elvis Dumervil (5’11, 260lbs). The thing that makes me mad is when we have midgets that suck.

    I’m all for midgets that are good though. I doubt the Colts are mad that Bob Sanders is 5’8. I’d take Dumervil (5’11 DE), Sanders, or Troy Polamalu (5’10) any day of the week to be a midget on my team. London Fletcher has had a nice career as an ILB even though he’s only 5’10. And there are many more examples. Barry Sanders would certainly fit the criteria as a midget. He was only 5’8. Some people on this blog have pointed out that our average height/weight in the defensive backfield isn’t bigger/smaller than most other teams.

    Some people have knocked our DL for being too big after the Denver game. What gives?

  23. variable575 says:


    I’m all for midgets if they’re worth it! I love the bob sanders reference, and once again, all the reason why i’d like to see (just a glimpse) Josh wilson at FS for a couple pre-season games. Hey, I know there’s a tone of other stuff to worry about but free (safety) up the kid and let him play havoc!!!

    If they don’t start Reed in these last two games then they’re not seeing something in practice and he’s going to the squad-if he clears waivers.

    I heard some knocks about an oversized (slow) line to-what does give!?!?

  24. I hear ya. And I agree. With Trufant being out, I just don’t think they can afford to switch a CB to FS. CB is probably more important than S and I think Wilson is needed at CB at the moment. If Wilson were to play FS, that would leave Jennings to start at CB and that’s scary too. Either way, we’re stuck with someone who isn’t all that great in the DB. Again, I just think a good CB is more important than a good S.

  25. raymaines says:

    variable575 says: Hey… That’s for all you milk toast ruskell admirers!!!

    I’m not a milk toast TR admirer, but I certainly am a second and third round TR admirer. It’s only too bad that he drafts 2nd and 3rd round talent in the first round.

  26. snydro22 says:


    No he doesn’t. That’s just hyperbole, and u know it.


    I see where you’re coming from, but I don’t think you can compare Wilson to Sanders. Sanders lays the wood. He is a little mighty mouse. Built like a 5′ 8 brick sh*thouse. Wilson, well.. Not quite.

    Safeties need to be sure tacklers. Ahem, Brian Russell, ahem.. I don’t think we can label Wilson a sure tackler either though. I don’t think our safety issue will be addressed this season. Jamar Adams isn’t going to be given the chance, and from what I have seen he wouldn’t be able to take advantage if he was. Russell blows. Wallace is a great hitter but always out of position. Babineaux is probably the best suited but lacks the instinct, much like Wallace. Plus we need him for depth at CB. I think the 2010 draft is just a year too late.

  27. nightwulf says:

    Gawd this is funny! I love sitting back and watching all you armchair GM’s freak out when all we’ve seen is a couple PRACTICE games…the first two pre season games are for:
    A) knocking the rust off the starters
    B) letting the newbies strut their stuff
    C) testing out things before the games really count
    The only preseason game that is played at all like a real game it the one next week, and that only for the first half, and a series or two of the second…
    IF we completely suck then, we might have cause to worry…
    Look at it this way: compared to last year, we have ALL of our recievers, plus some, we’re about the same place on the OL, same w/ RB, Matt’s in much better shape, Seneca looks solid as usual, and Teel shows promise…much better than last year’s situation.
    On the other side of the ball, the DL looks much improved on paper, I’ll withhold judgment until after the KC game, we’re OVERloaded at LB…our backups could be decent starters… Tru is hurt, but he was hurt last year too, he just tried to play with a cast on…Wilson is better than he was last year, Lucas is an upgrade, Jennings is healthy, unlike last year…
    Overall, we’re doing much better than last year, so let’s not abandon ship yet…by week four, we’ll know what we’ve got…until then, kick back, have a brewski or two and enjoy the show:)

  28. halfemptyfilms says:

    Variable575 – Nick Reed _did_ play against Denver’s first string. Mora specifically wanted to see how he matched up against them, so when Denver put in their first string offense for the first series of the second half, he threw Reed out there. He was disruptive again and continued to get near the QB. I believe the was the drive he tipped the punt, too.

  29. Jordan Kent gets my vote to take a receiver spot for his ST play. It seems like he is always the first one down the field when we punt and is right at the ball.

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