Does anyone remember seeing that episode of the Simpsons where Homer coaches Bart and Lisa’s football team? And after the first practice he stoically cuts about half the team. I can’t get the image out of my head of Coach Carroll going down the list of players he’s cutting, and then continuing on past the deadline to reach to 53-man limit (just like Homer cut each name that popped up as the credits were rolling).
Well, the cuts mean that preseason is over, and the Seahawks have managed to cut their roster down to the 53-player limit. For those who may not have been following the news minute-to-minute, it may be a surprise to learn that guys like TJ Houshmandzadeh and Josh Wilson are no longer with the team.
As the leading receiver for the team last year, TJ will be a difficult guy to replace. What the team may gain from the move is better team chemistry, and because that is a difficult thing to translate to fans, there will likely be a large group who isn’t happy about the move. Certainly the guy played with passion. He wanted to win every week and he wore that fact on his sleeve.
For some, that same passion may have come across as a prima donna attitude, and those are the ones that aren’t upset that he’s on his way out. Personally, I’m happy to see “Housh” go, and that mostly revolves around the fact that I won’t have to try and spell check his name every week.
But with both moves, many of us fans are left wondering why the Seahawks couldn’t have gotten more in return. Wilson went to Baltimore for a 5th round pick just a couple years after Seattle picked him in the 2nd round, and some thought he should be starting at corner instead of Kelly Jennings. Housh was cut outright from the team, although multiple teams had reportedly offered to make a trade.
The speculation is that he will land in Washington or end up in Oakland. This alone is how we know that the move was a good one to make, because nobody chooses to go to the Raiders any more. It’s now a place that players go when there is nowhere else. Either that or you’re Nnamdi Asomugha and you just get way more money than you can possibly pass up.
For Seattle, it’s clear that the roster will likely to continue to change in the week leading up to the home opener. J.P. Losman was cut, leaving the Seahawks to search the waiver wire for a third-string quarterback. Patrick Ramsey, who was cut by the Saints, may be at the top of the list. Also on the list might be Matt Leinart, who was cut by the Cardinals after being expected to be the guy who would take over for Kurt Warner.
Maybe Coach Carroll takes a chance on his former guy, but one can’t help but worry about a guy who has been waiting in the wings only to lose the job to Derek Anderson. The same Derek Anderson who only completed more than a dozen passes in one of the eight games he played last season for the Browns. For some reason, I also don’t see Leinart coming to Seattle just to be reunited with his old coach so he can hold a clipboard. Now the latest reports say that Houston has interest, and Seattle does not.
As surprising as a couple of the cuts and trades may have been to get the team down to 53, it appeared that the team wasn’t about to stop. Reports came in on into Sunday evening that Julius Jones, Jordan Babineaux, Steve Vallos and Mansfield Wrotto are all on their way out among a number of others. Less than half of the 5-11 team from last year will be returning with the team for 2010. It’s hard to consider that a bad thing especially if it’s all part of a bigger plan by GM John Schneider and Coach Carroll.
A fan favorite who is no longer on the team is Nick Reed, who was originally thought to only have a minor injury. But it turns out that may not have been the case. It’s alo reported that Owen Schmitt has been cut. As long as the team doesn’t go below about 24-25 players, they should be okay, right? Any lower than that, then guys are going to start having to play both sides of the ball!
Speaking of playing on both sides of the ball, did anyone catch rookie safety Earl Thomas on his interception return against the Vikings? That guy has some amazing speed! After seeing him take that pick off Favre to the house, there had to have been a lot of folks wondering how that guy can get his hands on the ball more often.
So I’d love to continue on and break down the preseason and tell you what kind of chances the Seahawks have this year based on their preseason play, but I really don’t have a clue after watching these first four games. For one, a lot of these guys aren’t even on the team any more. I thought Wrotto would be a good option for filling in while Russell Okung recovers from his high ankle sprain, considering the guy seemed to keep Jared Allen in check during the Vikings game. Now I’m not even sure who is filling that spot on opening day.
I do know that it’s great to see guys like Hasselbeck, Branch, Trufant and Tatupu out on the field. And I’ll stick to the thought that the team’s chances rest on Matt staying healthy this season. And I’m not worried that just because last year’s top receiver was cut that he won’t have other great options. TJ was cut for a reason, and that reason is former USC-standout Mike Williams having played well enough to pull that starting role. Now if we can only get that guy a real NFL wideout number. Warren Moon is the only guy for the Hawks that I knew who could pull off wearing #1.
Since I can’t make any predictions myself based from what I’ve seen, I’ll just say that ever major prediction I’ve seen on the NFC West has the 49ers first, followed by the Cardinals, Seahawks and Rams. I think we’re going to have a much better idea of what this Seahawks team will do after the first four games and into the bye week. If they’re not 2-2 (or better) at their break, I’m going to guess we might be in for another season similar to last year.
But even if things start looking down as we move through the season, I think there is a lot of reason for optimism. Where there are a lot of cuts like there were these last couple days, it should tell us one of two things. Either the organization really has a clear plan of where they want to go and there’s no better time to start moving forward than right now, or they’re like Homer and really seem to like cutting guys.
Finally, I’ll just say that it’s too bad the grass in my back yard doesn’t play for Coach Carroll, because it probably would have had a better chance at getting cut this weekend. HEY-O!