Seahawks Insider

Monday practice report: Evaluation time

Post by Eric Williams on Aug. 31, 2009 at 6:54 pm with 51 Comments »
August 31, 2009 7:16 pm

The Seahwks went shells and shorts this afternoon, practicing for about an hour and a half.

Head coach Jim Mora said Seattle will go over the Raiders game plan on Tuesday, have a walkthrough on Wednesday and then get ready to play Oakland on Thursday.

Marcus Trufant (back), Walter Jones (knee), Chris Spencer (quad), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (soreness), Logan Payne (knee), Seneca Wallace (groin) and C.J. Wallace (ribs) sat out of this afternoon’s practice

Payne, Houshmandzadeh, Seneca Wallace and C.J. Wallace were on the sidelines during practice.

Also absent was cornerback Travis Fisher (hamstring) and offensive tackle Will Robinson (unspecified).

Mora said this week’s game will serve as a final opportunity to evaluate guys on the bubble, with the first unit likely seeing limited time.

“I always think it’s an exciting preseason game to go to because in that second half you’re seeing some guys that are just playing for their livelihood,” Mora said about the final preseason game. “I mean just scratching to make the team, and that passion comes out and there’s some great energy on the field.”

As far as the kicking competition between Olindo Mare and Brandon Coutu, Mora rolled out the clichés again on Monday.

“It’s very close,” he said. “I mean it’s neck and neck, how about that? Instead of very close I’ll give you neck and neck.”

Mora did say that we might see veteran Edgerrin James play a few plays on Thursday, depending on if James wants to play. James saw a little more action during team drills this afternoon and was moving well.

One person that is expected to play a couple series is rookie linebacker Aaron Curry. The Wake Forest product missed the second preseason game because of a slight groin strain, so Mora would like to see him get some reps on Thursday before playing in his first regular-season game.

“I thought he played well,” Mora said about Curry’s effort against Kansas City last week. “He plays fast. He plays physical. He’s very smart. He learns quickly. He’ll get some reps Thursday night because he needs it.”

Trufant was not at practice today, and Mora said the decision on whether or not to keep him on the PUP list for the first six weeks of the season will likely come down to the final cut day on Saturday.

If Trufant ends up on the PUP then his spot does not count against the 53-man roster.

“It’s a tough decision with a lot of things that go into it,” Mora said about whether or not to put Trufant on the active roster. “Is he going to be ready for the second game and not the first, or the third and not the first or second? How do you do that? So we’re going to have to think long and hard about that one as a staff.”

Kelly Jennings continued his good play from over the weekend, finishing with back-to-back interceptions during two-minute drill at the end of practice. Both were against receiver Mike Hass.

Notes from practice
Leave a comment Comments → 51
  1. Which QB threw the INTs to Jennings?

  2. Pabuwal: Hasselbeck threw the first one, Teel the final one.

  3. I really get the feeling that Hass, and Bumpus are gone –

    To me there are really only a couple of intriguing decisions to make.

    I am curious on the DE situation with Nick Reed- If they don’t keep him how do they justify it. (or will they even address it)

    Kent vs Taylor – my gut tells me that they will keep one of them but not both.

    and I really don’t know why it has taken this long for the Mare- Coutu thing to work it’s way out – my vote= Mare. With only a 2 man wedge – depth on kicks could be killer!!

  4. The Mare kick-offs are important. It’s nice to have a little extra time for the ST to get down there if there’s no touchback (and we know there’s no touchbacks with Coutu).

  5. Dukeshire says:

    xcman – In an effort to promote conversation: I think the wedge situation actually works in Coutu’s favor. It’s more difficult to break returns now, so touchbacks are not as vital. And for what it’s worth, he booted a 52 yarder against Denver so it would appear there’s little drop off there. I think Ruskell wants to keep Coutu, for good or ill.

    Nick Reed has to be apart of the 53. They’ll find a way to make room for him, he’s earned it. In addition, I don’t think he’d make it back to them to sign to the PS. If a guy like that doesn’t make it, what’s the point in drafting into the 7th round?

    Courtney Taylor is in, Kent, Hass and Bump are out, IMO.

    Like I said, I offer only to promote conversation.

  6. My 53:

    QB: (3) Hass, Seneca, Teel
    RB: (3) Jones, Force, James
    FB: (2) Schmidt, Griffith
    TE: (3) Carlson, Owens, Newton
    WR: (6) TJ, Nate, Branch, Butler, Kent, Obo (I’d be fine with either Payne or Taylor here)
    OL: (9) Locklear, Sims, Vallos, Unger, Willis, Wrotto, Williams, Jones, Spencer (Williams could be swapped for the best OT that gets cut from another team)

    DE: (5) Redding, Kerney, Tapp, Jackson, Reed
    DT: (5) Cole, Mebane, Bryant, Terrill, Bennett
    LB: (7) Hill, Tatupu, Curry, Lewis, Hawthorne, Herring, Laury ( LB”s are the gladiators of special teams. Thus, 7 LB’s)
    CB: (3) Lucas, Wilson, Jennings (Is there a fourth CB worth keeping?)
    S: (4) Grant, Russel, Babs, Wallace

    ST: (3) Mare, Houser, Ryan

    PUP: Trufant (Cut Bennett, Laury, or Obo when Tru comes back, based on positional need)

    Practice Squad: Moore, Morrah, Adams, De La Puente, Payne, Best OT available, best CB available

  7. raymaines says:

    Dukeshire says: Courtney Taylor is in, Kent, Hass and Bump are out, IMO.

    I hope your wrong. I really like Jorden Kent because he’s fast and tall, and my wife thinks he’s cute, so I hope he stays. No more logic than that. My wife thinks he cute. What more reason do I need?

  8. Dukeshire says:

    Lol. Happy wife = happy home.

  9. I tend to agree about the kickoffs duke – just hadn’t thought about it until you brought it up.

    Personally I like Kent a little better than Payne – don’t know why – I think when I am watching I have seen more plays on special teams by Kent than Payne, although both have contributed!.

    Also, Reddings versitlity might just make a spot for Reed, on DE.

  10. hawkdawg206 says:

    It makes sense to keep 5 WRs just for the fact that we don’t need as much WRs in Knapp’s offense. John Carlson warrants as the 2nd option after Housh. What we need is a plethora of Dlinemen in the rotation to keep them fresh. Tru not be on the PUP list. A lot depends on the news we get about Big Walt. If he’s not available for the first 2 weeks, I see Tauscher or Levi brought in with Laury out. Obo hasn’t been healthy and is worthless in special teams as returner or gunner. I can’t stand Taylor – too inconsistent. I’d rather have Kent on our team that helps us on ST as well as giving him more reps as a WR.

    My Projected 53 man Roster:

    QB (3): Hasselbeck, Wallace, Teel
    RB (3): Jones, James, Forsett
    FB (2): Griffith, Schmitt
    WR (5): Housh, Burleson, Branch, Butler, Kent
    TE (3): Carlson, Owens, Newton
    OT (4): Jones, Locklear, Willis, Williams
    OG (3): Sims, Wrotto, Unger
    OC (2): Spencer, Vallos
    DT (5): Mebane, Cole, Bryant, Terrill, Bennett
    DE (5): Kerney, Redding, Tapp, Jackson, Reed
    LB (7): Tatupu, Hill, Curry, Lewis, Herring, Hawthorne, Laury
    CB (4): Trufant, Lucas, Wilson, Jennings
    S (4): Grant, Russell, Babineaux, Wallace
    ST (3): Ryan, Coutu, Houser
    PS: Rowe QB, Adams S, Payne WR, Morrah TE, Moore RB

  11. That looks about right to me, Dirk.

    I would think one WR will be subracted to make room for Trufant. I’m not so sure that Kent will stick. Has he caught a pass in preseason?

    I know Payne is PS eligible, but if waived I’m not sure if he will clear waivers. I know I’d sign him if I were a team in need of WR depth. I’ll hate to lose him.

    Bennett could end up on Practice Squad to bulk up for a year. If so, Atkins could stay on the roster.

  12. Soggybuc says:

    Mare is a proven commodity but Coutu has the upside of bieng young enough to improve his leg strength and get better on kickoffs. if the FO is not keeping an eye out for the future and looking to lock that spot down for the next 5 years or more i’d be disappointed.
    Had to be something funky with the Arrowhead field last saturday for that many misses on both sides.

    I’m thinking the team will only keep 5 WR 3 TE since both the TE’s and RB’s will be much more active in the pass game than years past.
    Holmgren loved that 4 wide set were the back was in only as an Opps blocker and Matt’s oh crap i’m gonna die last resort outlet.

  13. I’d like to weigh in on the kicker conversation. I think the concept of the touchback being better is a false concept-why? Because on a touchback there is no possibility for a fumble.

    I also think that Coutu is the better field goal kicker, and that Mare is basically garbage at 50+, his past numbers I think bear that out.

  14. They have been very quiet on Trufant, it makes me nervous. My alleged hatred of Kelly Jennings is greatly over rated. Jennings can run, his issue has been the moment of truth, when the ball arrives. He has not reacted well to the ball at it’s highest point, until now. Kelly Jennings looked like a changed man to me, if he can play the ball at it’s highest point, we could have ourselves a player. I hope it isn’t a mirage.

  15. bleedshawkblue says:

    Jennings is recovered from a rib injury tat kept him from raising his arms or wrapping up tackles last year. Plus, as those who have had rib injuries can verify, it only hurts to breathe…

  16. nightwulf says:

    Only hurts to breathe, lift your arms, move, twist, ya know, all that stuff that a CB never does…

  17. nighthawk2 says:

    I’m concerned the team is drinking the Courtney Taylor kool-aid. Every year this guy looks good in pre-season. But when he got into real games and had to step up, he’s done squat. Jennings? 1st round draft picks are supposed to be starters, when he’s started other quarterbacks always throw to his area with success. We brought in a 30 year old free agent to start opposite Trufant this off season, and now that Trufant is hurt, a 2nd round pick is starting ahead of Jennings. What does that say about this guy, now entering his fourth year of a five year contract? Ok, he’s healthier this year, what was his excuse the previous two years? Is he going to be able to stop the receivers, especially the bigger receivers, any better when the ball gets there? That’s what’s been his problem. Is he any bigger? I suspect Trufant will be on the PUP list unlike week 8, since the bye is week 7. That’s when we’ll know for sure whether he plays or goes on IR.

  18. Give Jennings a break……remember that it took Lucas till his 4th year(free agent year) to step it up.

  19. hawks44 says:

    After 14 years, Mare is still one of the most complete and productive placekicker in NFL in fg %, tb’s and field position. With the exception of one year with the Saints, when he was injured most of the year, Mare has consistently been one of the most productive kickers in the NFL (look at last year stats at The difference has always been in the numbers of fg and ko taken. Last year for example, Chis Loyd led the NFL in tb, but he had 17 more ko than Mare. Coutu may be a good fg kicker in preseason, but he is a liabilty on ko and field position. In two years of competition with Mare, he is not even close to match mare in hangtime and distance. Unfortunately, this is something that practice, excercise, training, tutoring, mentoring does not help. Where is his improvement after spending the year with Morten. If they keep Coutu, they better start looking for a ko guy soon. He cannot improve what he doesn’t have.

  20. bird_spit says:

    I have Jennings slated to be our interception leader by mid-season, assuming he stays healthy. That assumes Nick Reed isnt in every D passing down.

  21. chuck_easton says:

    Sando thinks (and so do I) that the team still has to cut one more player today to get to the league requirement of only 75 players.

    If Trufant stays on PUP for the final roster he doesn’t count against the 53 man regular season roster, but he does count against the 80 man (now 75 as of today) man training camp roster.

    So, who will be the guy that gets cut today? Or is there some bad news coming about Tru or Walt?

  22. hawks44 says:

    Last year in preseason, Coutu had 10 ko, 0 tb with an avg field position of 30.7; Mare had 14 ko, 7 tb with field position of 22.6.

  23. azhawkman says:

    This looks like a great roster hawkdawg! I like 5 WR too since Carlson provides a sure-handed threat. Also noted is that Kent should get that last spot. Obo has so much potential but drops too many passes. As someone else mentioned, Taylor always looks good in preseason and then chokes in the regular season. Reed and Bennett have shown they deserve spots on this roster and can make an impact.

    QB (3): Hasselbeck, Wallace, Teel
    RB (3): Jones, James, Forsett
    FB (2): Griffith, Schmitt
    WR (5): Housh, Burleson, Branch, Butler, Kent
    TE (3): Carlson, Owens, Newton
    OT (4): Jones, Locklear, Willis, Williams
    OG (3): Sims, Wrotto, Unger
    OC (2): Spencer, Vallos
    DT (5): Mebane, Cole, Bryant, Terrill, Bennett
    DE (5): Kerney, Redding, Tapp, Jackson, Reed
    LB (7): Tatupu, Hill, Curry, Lewis, Herring, Hawthorne, Laury
    CB (4): Trufant, Lucas, Wilson, Jennings
    S (4): Grant, Russell, Babineaux, Wallace
    ST (3): Ryan, Coutu, Houser

  24. Dukeshire says:

    Yes, the longer that there is no news regarding the final cut today, the more concerned I become about Walt or Tru. Call it a ’08 hangover.

    Preaching to the choir hawks44. I think we’d all keep a healthy Mare over Coutu, but I will not be surprised if they keep Coutu, merely disappointed. Ruskell after all, values him to the point where he thought he would have trade value.

  25. I get tired of hearing statements like “1st round draft picks are supposed to be starters, so [Jennings or whomever] sucks”.

    This is a distortion of reality. Don’t buy into it. 1st round draft picks are simply the guys whom pro scouts thought appeared the most NFL-ready as compared to their peers during their final year of college. That’s all. Scouting is full of educated guesses and gambles. Its not a guy’s fault if he is picked in the 1st round and – like other players – takes a few years to develop NFL-caliber skills.

    Fans love to hype the guys who were not drafted high and then succeed, but those guys also take a few years to develop their skills, and that’s ok with us. But if the guy happened to get drafted high, the same young and developing player is suddenly a bum.

    I’m not just defending Jennings here, and I would agree that Kelly failed to make plays last year. But for CBs it often takes about three years in the NFL to learn the job. Kelly played his third year with cracked ribs and wasn’t able to show too much. That said, he looks ready to start this year if needed. Compare this to Ken Lucas, who didn’t break out as a quality starter until his fourth season and everyone seems fine with that. Jennings gets a lot of grief because he was picked at #21, while Lucas was given time to develop since he was picked at #40?

    That really makes no sense. Patrick Kerney was drafted at #30 and didn’t break out as a sack specialist until his third year. Some are beginning to call Leroy Hill the best all-around LB on our team. But if he was drafted in the 1st round would he have been called an underachiever for the past four years?

    Kelly Jennings is just now arriving as the player who was drafted to be developed into a starter. If, in the meantime, someone else succeeds in out-competing him for the job, good. That’s how it is supposed to work. Ok, I’m done with this.

  26. Audible says:

    Great post Stevos…

    Ya know, I think our impatience is partly due to the fact that some first rounders turn into superstars overnight, and knowing that, we’re all hopeful that will be the case with our own picks. Our expectations for later round picks are more realistic.

    When 1st rounders from other teams take off quickly, and especially players we could have drafted, it’s natural to be a little disgruntled about our own choices…it’s like buyer’s remorse sets in when you realize you could have gotten a much better deal elsewhere.

  27. Mike Hass, Logan Payne and michael Bumpus are practice squad eligible. Ben Obomanu, Courtney Taylor and Jordan kent aren’t. Seattle will keep the four killer B’s (Burleson, Branch, Butler, Bushmanzadeh) and one of Obo, Taylor, Kent. They will place two on the practice squad.

  28. Why does everyone think that Bumpus will be on the PS? Has he even played this year? I have heard NOTHING about him in practice, games, special teams. I love the kid, I just don’t think that Knapp has any plans to use him for anything!!

  29. If there’s a touchback, then there’s also no chance them having a 35 yard return or a TD return. I’ll take a touchback any day over a bad kick-off.

  30. chuck_easton says:


    The reason people are mentioning Bumpus for the PS is that the team usually keeps 2 to three WR’s on the PS. If they indeed cut Hass, Payne, and Bumpus those are the only three WR’s that have any PS eligibility (not including Bulter who is almost GUARANTEED to be on the 53 man roster but could go to PS).

    If Taylor, Kent, or Obomanu are cut they are gone as they have no eligibility for PS at all.

  31. chuck_easton says:

    So I’m sitting here at my desk during my lunch break and I’m thinking Seahawks rather than my Turkey sandwhich.

    One thing comes to mind. Is there a player or players on this years squad that the team really has no room for on the 53 man roster that they are concerned will not make it through waivers? I know it never really happens (nudge, nudge, wink wink) but who are the possible candidates for the phantom season ending hang nail that will majically put them on IR thus protecting them from exposure to other teams while not having them make the squad?

    I’m thinking Reed, Bennett, Moore, one of the kicking twins…

    Not saying this will happen, but something to look out for this week.

  32. Mr Williams:
    Are there any likely players currently on other teams’ rosters that the Hawk’s pro personnel guys might be looking at if they go on waivers next week?

    Also, who gets cut today ng the Hawks roster number to 75?

  33. Dukeshire says:

    Not sure who the kicking twins are but I think Bennett and Moore should both clear if they were to be cut. (Moore certainly will be cut) I don’t think Reed would make it, considering all that he has shown this preseason. (Another reason they’ll make room for him.)

  34. Dukeshire says:

    I suspect they will not make an announcement about who they cut until after practice. Someone will not be there and it will be speculation until a reporter asks about it afterward.

  35. chuck_easton says:


    Mare and Coutu are the kicking twins. Hey, if Coutu comes down with a nasty inner ear infection that effects his balance then bingo!, he’s on IR, Mare kicks for the season, we don’t have to worry about things until next year and Coutu doesn’t go elsewhere.

    I’d also be looking at WR as a possibility as it gets the team through this season when it’s almost a certainty that Branch will not be back next year and Burleson is in a contract year.

  36. In retrospect I really wish they would have traded or released Branch & kept Engram. My vote is for Coutu at kicker; Mare was just dead on last year but I have a feeling that he’s an injury waiting to happen. They have to find a spot for Reed, perhaps a trade to get rid of Jackson?

  37. chuck_easton says:


    Nobody is likely going to be willing to trade for Branch given he’s due 4.95 million this season. Also there is no cap break by cutting him this year so the team might as well keep him and try to get something for the money.

    As for Engram, I know he’s a fan favorite and he’s a great guy, but he’s sitting as the #6 WR on a BAD Kansas City team right now. He just doesn’t seem to have ‘it’ anymore.

  38. Dukeshire says:

    Chuck – Gotcha, I’m at work too and have to read and type between watchful eyes so I sometimes miss things. In any case, I’d be very surprised if they hung on to two kickers, in any shape.

    Moo – I loved Engram too, but I’d much rather have Branch. He’s just so much more dynamic in every way. In fact, there is talk on various Chiefs sites that Engram may not make the team, if you can believe that.

  39. nightwulf says:

    Just a question for those of you ragging on Jennings: Would you rather have Kelly Jennings or Tye Hill? In all the pre draft analysis, Hill was regarded as the biggest stud CB in the draft…Jennings, not so much…This year, Jennings is looking pretty decent, and Hill (picked #15, Jennings #31) just got traded to the Falcons for a 7th rounder…And remember, at the time CB was a NEED for the team…and for comparison, here’s the rest of the CB picks that year, through the second round: A. Cromartie 19 (stud) Johnathan Joseph 24(better than Jennings? I dunno) Jimmy Williams 37 (problem child) Cedric Griffin 48 (who?)
    Devin Hester 57 (great punt returner, never played as CB) Richard Marshall 58 (who?) Tim Jennings 62 (again, who?)
    So, what this breaks down to is, there were 3 CB’s picked in round 1, and Jennings was the last picked, but the second best…there were 5 CB’s picked in the 2nd, and none of them are better than Jennings…Seeing as how Cromartie was off the boards by the time we picked, Ruskell managed to land the best corner available…while filling a position of need for the team.
    (note, I looked through the rest of the draft, and didn’t recognize any of the other corners picked either…)

  40. nightwulf says:

    Just for fun, I looked up the CB’s for 2005, and they were: Andre Dyson (signed with NY in ’06, out of football after ’07) Michael Harden (’05 was his only year in the NFL) Kelly Hearndon (out of football after ’07) Tru, and Jimmy Williams (not the one listed above, kept as a punt returner) So, from the looks of things, we were desperate for a CB…and it looks as if we got the second best one in the draft, with the #31 pick…

  41. grizzly1969 says:

    Jennings biggest problem has been his ability to make a play on the ball at the moment of truth. He has improved greatly on this weakness over training camp. He is still going to have problems with Larry Fitzgerald. Of course everyone else in the league will have the same problems as well. We aren’t going to do any better for our third corner.

    I think we will keep 6 WR with the last two being Obo and Kent. Kent is pretty valuable as the gunner on the punt team maybe he can turn into an Alex Bannister type for us.

    We can probably sneak Bennett to the PS. No way Reed makes it. Dirks lineup looks about right.

    Sadly I think there will be an extra spot as I think Walt is done. Sad way to go out.

  42. nightwulf says:

    Further research shows that, in FA, we could’ve picked up Charles Woodson, but we singed Shaun Alexander, Julian Peterson and Nate Burleson instead…

  43. nightwulf, good points and good research.

    I think Cedric Griffin was actually the CB steal of that 2006 draft (he now starts for Minnesota) but everyone missed him, he slid to the second round, and he took a few years to develop. Other than missing him, like everyone else did, I agree that for a team desperate for CBs, the Seahawks made just about the best selection they could with Jennings that year.

  44. IBGoofy says:

    nightwulf… thx for analysis/research….. interesting tidbits….

  45. seahawklovertoo says:

    First, thanks Nightwulf for your input.
    As for the speculation about Walt….I hope not. Maybe he will retire until he’ll be needed back. That way he gets extra rest, we can keep Reed and Ruskell
    can save his face about LoJack. I agree with Chuck about Branch; it is to late to let him go now and get nothing in return.

  46. nightwulf says:

    The next year, when Jennings turned out to not be a stud, we still needed help there…So we picked Wilson at #55…off the board before Wilson: Darrelle Revis 14 (who?) Leon Hall 18 (hasn’t exactly lit up the league) Chris Houston 44 (another “who?”) Eric Wright 53 (oh well, we hadn’t had a chance to pick yet)
    Following Wilson, Usame Young 66(?) Marcus McCauley 72 (?) Jonathan Wade 84, Dante Hughes 95…from the look of things there, we again managed the second best (possibly the best CB in the draft, this time with the #55 pick)
    In FA, wh could’ve picked up Nate Clements, Travis Fisher or Nick Harper…instead we got Patrick Kerney, Deon Grant, Bobby Engram and Brian Russell…Ok, picking up Fisher or Harper would have been a good move, especially exchanging either of those signings for Brian Russell, but that year, we were desperate for S help…
    In the draft, taken before we were up were LaRon Landry 6 Michael Griffin 19, Reggie Nelson 21, Eric Weddle 37. We could have had Gerald Alexander 61, Sabby Piscitelli 64, Aaron Rouse 89 or taken a flyer on Dashon Goldson…
    In FA, our choices were: Mike Adams, Mike Doss, Hammer, Terrence Holt, Todd Johnson, Michael Lewis, Kevin McCardem, Jon McGraw, Omar Stoudimire, or Cameron Worrell…

  47. We should just bring back Patrick Hunter. He had better size.

  48. Seahawksfan57 says:

    for those of you that wanted the hawks to trade for Andre Smith he is out indefinaty with a broken foot suffered in practice today. 26 million for what 3 days of praCtiCe

  49. seahawklovertoo says:

    WOW !!! What a bad luck. That kid had rough 10 months.
    By the way , it was me who suggested we go after him.
    I shouldn’t buy a lottery ticket , ha?

  50. Seahawks2620 says:

    Taylor or Obo

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