Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Battles Worth Watching



Every news outlet that covers the Seahawks spends time playing up every position battle in camp because it's interesting to fans. Most folks would rather hear about a newcomer like Justin Forsett or David Hawthorne than about players they already know. I fall for it to. Then I started thinking about which of these bubble battles for roster spots *really* matter. Which battles will actually impact wins and losses this year?

1. Olindo Mare vs. Brandon Coutu

This may be the most boring position to follow, but the decision here will impact wins and losses this year more than any other roster choice. Mare would be the safer choice, but Coutu could be the answers for a number of years if he works out. The Hawks have been extremely fortunate with drafted kickers over the years. We've enjoyed Norm Johnson, John Kasay, Ryan Lindell (not as much), and Josh Brown to name a few. Coutu appears to be at least a Lindell. If the Hawks gamble and are wrong, it could cost them in a significant way. Besides placekicking, the depth of kickoffs has a large impact on games. I know we'd all love to see more of those touchbacks we saw Mare booting the other night.

2. Obamanu vs. Payne vs. Kent

Courtney Taylor gets a free pass since I've heard Holmgren state that he is the starting flanker. We run a boatload of three receiver sets, and with Branch and Bobby out, one of these guys will either step up or we're going to see a ton of TE routes and screen passes. The outcome of this battle will have a major ripple effect. It's not enough for a guy to be the best of the three. If the "winner" doesn't contribute, entire sections of the playbook change or get thrown out until Bobby returns.

3. Ryan Plackemeier vs. Reggie Hodges

Okay, maybe this is the most boring battle. I think we all assume Plack gets the nod, but he struggled mightily during large portions of last season and has been injured all pre-season. Bad or good punting will absolutely have more of an impact on our season than our third-string running back or backup middle linebacker.

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