Three Prime Concerns

Well boys and girls, the first pre-season game is in the books and now after the furor has died down from that monumental first game under Mora, there are some things that need to be looked at. Here’s three things that have crossed my mind in the last couple of days that need to have some answers forthcoming sooner rather than later.

Walter Jones

My good friend Phil N. DeBlanc from up Canada way has been saying for almost a year now that Walt won’t be able to play a full season and in any case not up to the old standard that he set for so many years here. I’m beginning to worry that he may be right. While no one wants to think about that possibility, what if it’s true? We only have two starting caliber tackles on the roster besides Jones and neither has played much at left tackle especiallyin regular season games. Many analysts have quietly expressed concern that if Jones can’t go, we’re in trouble with Locklear as our left tackle because he can’t handle speed rushers off the edge. His footwork is just too slow according to some. What are we going to do if Jones is out for an extended period of time or even worse, hangs up the cleats? Do we bring in someone like Levi Jones who is also injury prone and getting up there in age or what? Maybe we should have done more to insure that we had adequate backup at the position when there were some better options available. What do you Addicts think? What happens if Jones can’t play anymore? Do we go with the plan of Locklear at left tackle and Willis at right tackle and no qualified backups? Do we shop for the best option available out on the very slim market for left tackles? Do we engineer a trade for a quality guy using one of our first round picks from next season?

Aaron Curry

Curry had a less than stellar debut in the game at San Diego presumably because his holdout put him behind the rest of the defense in getting up to speed on the new package. While the team and coaches have downplayed the disparity, Mora said some things about the holdout just a couple of days before he signed which I transcribed from his interview with Elise on KJR on the Friday before he signed. Here’s what Mora said:

“He’s going to be behind no matter when he gets here and has a lot of catch up work to do. It puts a burden on the coaches, on him but he’s a conscientious young man and he’ll do what it takes and the position coach (Derrick Rollins) will do whatever it takes time wise to get him up to speed. He’s got the playbooks and I’m sure he’s staying up on it but it’s never the same as sitting in a meeting, watching yourself on film and listening to the coaching points, watching other guys on film. You just can’t duplicate that and the repetitions you miss in practice. All the different looks, all the different adjustments you have to make, all the different calls you hear. When you miss eleven practices, that could be in the hundreds of plays that you miss that you just never get back.”  

Remember that Mora said this when he had no idea when Curry would sign so it was an honest appraisal of the situation at the time. The question is how farbehind is Curry and will his holdout continue to hurt his progress into the regular season? Like Mora said, he’ll never get those practices back where he could have learned that material alongside his peers and formed bonds based on working out together with the other linebackers and defensive linemen and backs. Now he’s catching up that material on his own but without the opportunity to work it out with the other members of the defense. So, Addicts, what do you think about the situation with Curry? Will he get caught up and will the defense be just as together and well versed as they would have been if Curry had been there from the first day? Or, will his holdout keep him from being as big a force as a multi-dimensional linebacker who can rush from the defensive end position, drop back into coverage, and generally become the all world linebacker we thought he would be from the first day of the regular season? I have no doubt that he’ll eventually get there but the question in my mind is how long does it take with him missing all that foundation work? He has to continue to assimilate what’s being put out there at practice and catch up on the material from those hundreds of plays he missed in addition to his normal workload. That’s a lot of material to assimilate, digest, and be able to call up and use on demand. Can Curry do it? To continue reading this article, press Read more… below.

 Marcus Trufant

How serious do you guys really think Trufant’s back problem is? Mora is keeping pretty mum on the situation and we all saw where the biggest weakness in our defense seems to be right now. Can you imagine going into the season with Wilson and Lucas starting and then choosing from Jennings, Hobbs, or Fisher to play the nickle back? Of course we could always bring Babs back to the cornerback position but he was the one we were counting on to unseat Russell and that would put us short at safety. Also with Trufant gone, we have no real depth at cornerback and we’re one injury away from watching Hobbs and Jennings surrender those big down field plays all game long. Now that we’re just three weeks and a couple of days away from the season opener , I think the answer to the Trufant situation becomes much more critical. Even if and when he does return, this is a new defense we’re implementing this season and even a veteran like Trufant needs some reps in order to be able to play efficiently and in tandem with the rest of the defense. What do you Addicts think about our cornerback situation? Fisher looks like he could be helpful with his veteran experience but if we have to think about not having Trufant, do we need to find another cornerback who can play?

While we think that the Seahawks have been free from any major injury this season, are we sure that’s true? If Jones and Trufant can’t start the season we’re missing two of our top impact players from day one. Poor play from the left tackle can put our quarterback in jeopardy and having to rely on cornerbacks who are getting eaten alive by receivers down field negates the benefits of a great pass rush when the quarterback can always find a safety valve to get the ball to and it absolutely kills us when it’s down field. I don’t think that we’re in a panic situation yet but with the season opener just three weeks away, you have to realize that we will be practicing for a real game in just two weeks now. If we don’t have Jones and Trufant in the lineup at that point, I would think it will be time to have some concerns about our injuries. Let’s hope that Curry is every bit the quick learner they say he is and can not only learn quickly but put it to good use quickly also. I’ll be watching Curry this weekend to see if he is making progress in leaps and bounds or if he still looks like he’s behind the eight ball.

I can see a couple of possible season starts. One is that Jones and Trufant get back and are ready to go and Curry pretty much catches up on his role in the defense making that squad as dangerous and effective as everyone thought they would be. We hit the ground running and never look back. The other one is much uglier. Jones and Trufant can’t make the opening bell. Locklear can’t handle the elite defensive ends and Hass has to run for his life. Also, we’re weak at right guard. There’s a reason that either Locklear or Willis are being considered as our starting right guard. They are playing better than our real guards are. If  Locklear’s at left tackle and Willis at right tackle, our right guard is the best of the rest. We could have offensive line problems, quarterback protection problems, and most likely won’t be able to run effectively if our passing game is crippled. The defense missing Trufant leaves an open sieve in the backfield and if Curry still isn’t integrated 100% into the defense, we get off to another slow start as we adjust to not having our superstar impact players on the field or up to snuff.

What about it Addicts? Is it too soon to be concerned about Jones and Trufant. Will Curry be just fine at getting up to speed? Are there other concerns that we should be thinking about in addition to these? Will the Seahawks come out playing like a team with a huge chip on it’s shoulder or one that is missing some important cogs in it’s wheel? Speak up Addicts. Don’t leave me out on this limb of speculation alone. Jump right in.