Monday, February 28, 2011

Seahawks Off-Season Strategy Unveiled

If you have not already taken a spin through my seven-part positional analysis of the Seahawks, I recommend taking a moment to read those as the content will help you absorb the information in this post. This article will focus less on specific players, and more on matching up Seahawk needs with potential places to address them. For example, the Seahawks need a starting quarterback. Should they get him through free agency or the draft (or both)? Because of the funky way this off-season will unfold, the draft will likely happen before free agency. That means that the draft will have a significant impact on which positions the team decides to go after in free agency. That is the reverse of how things usually work, and will put more strain on the team to consider drafting for need instead of value. Here's to hoping the Schneider/Carroll duo resists that urge. The Seahawks need another major influx of talent at multiple positions, so drafting for need would be a serious mistake.

Take a look at this overview of the team needs. Red means the Seahawks don't have a viable player to fill that role, yellow means they either have a mediocre player or lack critical depth, and green means the position is relatively strong. Some will quibble with the grades given here. So be it.

The team has needs all over the place. Most pressing is at QB, OL, DL and WR. CB belongs in the conversation as well, but comes in a notch below WR since Walter Thurmond is farther along than a guy like Golden Tate, and Deon Butler's return from injury is undetermined. So what do you do with all these needs? Where do you spend your precious cash, and where do you use a valuable draft pick? The table below breaks out the position by free agent class and draft class. Green means it's a good crop, red is bad, and yellow is so-so. A Seahawks helmet in the cell means the Seahawks should consider going that route to address a need. A helmet in both the free agent and draft cells means the team should explore both options. Note that I include QBs available via trade in the free agent row, which is why it's green.

Positions like QB, and OL absolutely should add more than one player, and should utilize both routes to address needs. As I discussed in the QB analysis, the free agency route could be technically used to add two QBs, re-signing Hasselbeck and adding a veteran backup with more potential than Whitehurst. None of those moves should preclude the team adding a future prospect via the draft. It would allow them more flexibility in the first round to select for value if a terrific OL or DL falls to them, which is quite likely. If the QB they like falls to them in the 1st, that trumps all, and should be pounced on.

Offensive line, particularly guard is deep both in free agency and the draft. Pete Carroll says he likes some of the guys the team added during the season. It would be better to add a guy like Robert Gallery and draft a young hog to create a pile. The goal is not just to field a decent line. The goal is to build a dominant line for years to come. Don't be afraid to create a strength by stockpiling talent at one positional group, particularly the lines. Defensive line starts with re-signing Brandon Mebane and rehabilitating Red Bryant. Neither of those things can be counted on, and the free agency market is thin, so drafting a DL is a near certainty. A 5-technique that can rotate with Bryant or a NT that can rotate with Colin Cole are crucial additions. Based on team need, weakness in free agency compared to OL and QB, and a good crop of DL, using the 1st round pick on D-lineman is probably the best bet. There are enough good offensive lineman who will be available in later rounds that the team can presumably wait. Again, though, if the team has the choice between a Pro Bowl guard in round one or near-Pro Bowl D-lineman, they need to go with the best value.

Wide receiver is one that will be determined by how things fall in the draft. The team might be able to add what they are looking for in rounds four or later. However, if they don't find the guy they love, there are enough free agent possibilities that the team can roll the dice there. They also have their starting duo from last season returning, should be able to re-sign Stokley, and hope to develop Tate. That's all without Deon Butler recovering. Best guess is a drafted addition here, but the team may choose to spend its big bucks on a proven veteran.

Cornerback is another good position in this draft. The available free agents are top-heavy. There are some great ones, but they will break the bank. The team would prefer to add via the draft here, but may look at a second-tier corner that would be an upgrade over Kelly Jennings if they find better value at other positions in the draft.

Lofa Tatupu's understudy needs to be added. The team has so many needs elsewhere, that they could be forgiven for letting this slide one more year, but that could prove disastrous if there is another injury. Will Herring is a free agent, so depth at this position is thin. Drafting a linebacker is a near certainty.

Without knowing how the free agency rules will work, it's impossible to predict how many free agents the team may add. They have the roster flexibility to be very aggressive, and I could see as many as four or five significant additions (including re-signing Hasselbeck and Mebane). When all is said and done, look for new starters at Center, Right Tackle, Left and/or Right Guard, and Cornerback. Important players will be added at QB (more than one), Nose Tackle, DE, and Wide Receiver.

Seahawks Off-Season Analysis Part VII: Quarterbacks

The seventh, and final, installment of this series on off-season positional analysis will look at the most important position on the field, quarterback. 

No decisions will get more scrutiny, or hear more second-guessing than the ones made by the Seahawks front office regarding the QB position. The team's first, and arguably worst, personnel move last year was to trade the house for a third-string QB that had never taken a regular season snap. Charlie Whitehurst was the source of controversy from the moment he was acquired. The controversy continued all the way through the first round of the playoffs when a loud minority of fans called for him to start over a healthy Matt Hasselbeck, largely due to his "good enough" performance in the play-in game versus the Rams. Thankfully, Pete Carroll was smart enough to stick with his more talented and more experienced QB who then rewarded him with the best game a Seahawks QB has ever played in the playoffs. Hasselbeck had an uneven season. Most people focus on his meltdown games @SF and ATL as proof that he was done. They became Whitehurst fans more because he represented "Not Matt" than because there was any reason to really believe in Whitehurst. What those fans chose to ignore was that Hasselbeck also had his best stretch of football statistically since 2002 @ARZ @NO. He showed that was not a fluke with virtuoso performances against the Saints and Bears in the playoffs. Hasselbeck made some terrible decisions during the season. He made plays your starting QB just cannot make, and should be held accountable for it. That said, he was more than capable of leading the team to the playoffs if given any kind of stability in the offensive line and receiving corps. The trio of Ben Obamanu, Mike Williams and Brandon Stokley played less than five healthy games together all year, including the playoffs. Hasselbeck was also learning his third offensive system and coordinator in three years. Continuity is key for a passing game where level of precision determines the difference between completion, incompletion and interception. 

Whitehurst played enough to prove that he will never be the answer as the future franchise quarterback. If at 29 he still has not learned how to look off a safety, step up in the pocket, or avoid throwing off his back foot, he never will. 

2011 Seahawks Free Agents: QB:
  • QB Matt Hasselbeck
  • QB JP Losman
Seahawks QB Under Contract:
  • QB Charlie Whitehurst
The Seahawks would be wise to dump Whitehurst this off-season since he has no guaranteed money, and re-load with someone who at least has the potential to replace Hasselbeck. The front office should feel somewhat validated that Whitehurst came in and won the division in the last game of the season. That means he was not a total bust, but keeping him any longer would be more about ego than about valid talent evaluation. 

Re-signing Hasselbeck makes a lot of sense. He wants to be here. He's a leader on the team. He started to develop chemistry with the receivers. And he proved he can still be a winning playoff QB. Hasselbeck represents a bridge to the future. He is not likely to ever lead the team back to the Super Bowl, but he can play with any QB in the weak NFC West to keep the Seahawks in playoff contention until the next guy is ready. There are fans who will forever now be off his bandwagon, and that's a shame. The guy has done everything you could ever ask for in a franchise player both on and off the field. 

There are a number of QB options that are worth looking at. Not all of them are free agents. A detailed breakdown can be found in this older post. There are a few I want to highlight again:

QB Kevin Kolb
Kolb is likely to be traded by the Eagles instead of leaving a year later for nothing while sitting behind Michael Vick this season. He will come at a hefty price, possibly even two first-round picks. He becomes an option if the Seahawks don't re-sign Hasselbeck, but this team has so many holes, they would be ill-advised to give up that many high picks. I wrote a whole bit on him here.

QB Matt Leinart
Many people will wince when they see this name. I think Leinart is exactly the type of player the team should be looking to sign as Hasselbeck's backup. He is better than Whitehurst, will be affordable, and has at least some potential to be future starting QB. I would not sign him to be my starter, but he's an ideal backup.

QB Carson Palmer
Palmer continues to get press regarding his willingness to retire before playing for the Bengals again. His USC ties will always bring up Carroll as a potential match, but don't fall for it. Palmer is a fine alternative to Hasselbeck if he can't be re-signed, but is certainly no better. He has played in one system with one coordinator since he got to the NFL, and never recovered from his last injury. He would be a step backward from Hasselbeck.

QB Kyle Orton
Orton should be available at a low price with Tebow taking center stage. Orton would be my #1 choice as an alternative starter if Hasselbeck cannot be re-signed. He's smart, efficient, and familiar with West Coast-style offenses. 

The draft features at least a half-dozen potential franchise QBs, including local hero Jake Locker. In the ideal scenario, the Seahawks re-sign Hasselbeck, release Whitehurst, sign a veteran backup, and draft a guy to sit for at least 1-2 seasons. That sort of plan gives the team the most chances of hitting on QB.NEXT. Maybe the backup veteran, who should only be 27-28, takes the next step and becomes a legit franchise QB. Maybe the youngster grows up and takes over a few years from now. The point is that holding onto dead weight like Whitehurst takes up a valuable roster spot with a player who has no future value. This team needs to be developing two QBs until they find the replacement. It is not easy to find a franchise quarterback, so give yourself the best chance by re-loading both the #2 and #3 roles. If Hasselbeck does not re-sign, then the team would need to go after a veteran starter like Orton, and draft a rookie. That's the one scenario where keeping Whitehurst makes sense. Changing over all three QB positions would be too costly and unruly. His contract would undoubtedly be re-worked if that were to happen. 

The three rookie QBs that could legitimately be available to the Seahawks, and would have high enough ceilings to get excited about are Jake Locker, Colin Kaepernick, and Christian Ponder. Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert will be long gone. Andy Dalton does not do a ton for me. Ricky Stanzi and Pat Devlin are not future Top 10 NFL QBs. Make no mistake about it, finding an NFL starter is not the goal. If you want to win the Super Bowl, your team needs to be after at least a Top 10 NFL QB, if not a Top 5. Shoot for high ceilings. 

What John Schneider and Pete Carroll do at this position this off-season will define their legacy with the Seahawks. Seem too dramatic? It's not. If they choose the wrong horse to hitch their wagon to, there is very little that can be done to overcome it. Their first maneuver at this position was a bust, and costly one. They cannot afford any more missteps.  

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Seahawks Off-Season Analysis Part VI: Running Backs & Fullbacks

Part six of this series looks at the backfield. The seventh, and final, off-season positional analysis will be on the QBs. I will then roll it all up into an overall off-season plan that takes into account team need, available free agents by position, and draft depth by position. There are really only a few different ways this plays out. I hope to get to that this week, but that's probably a little optimistic. For now, back to the running backs and fullbacks.

Seattle dramatically improved the running back position in 2010 by removing Julius Jones from the roster. He is the worst kind of running back: old, no upside, and unproductive. Justin Forsett was given the chance to be the full-time starter, but it became clear to Pete Carroll that he was not going to be able to carry the load. The trade for Marshawn Lynch felt like a turning point for the offense, but he was mostly ineffective. Forsett shined as a change-of-pace back, and the two appear to be the perfect compliment to one another, on and off the field. Leon Washington was an instant team leader and difference maker on special teams. He was rarely used on offense, but did good things when he got the chance. Most fans will remember Lynch for his Beast Quake run against the Saints, and for good reason. It was possibly the best run in the history of the NFL playoffs. He averaged a scant 3.5 YPC while in Seattle, and did not post a 100-yard game until he played the Saints at Qwest. His running style is kind of a violent waddle, shifting weight back-and-forth from one side to the other. It keeps him from hitting the hole straight ahead at times, and becomes a problem when he is forced to the outside where hard upfield cuts are necessary. Despite some legitimate questions about his long-term viability as a featured back, he will get the chance to run behind a line that is certain to get a ton of attention in the off-season. He and Tom Cable might just be a match made in heaven.

The front office took a chance on the FB spot by releasing Owen Schmitt, who played well for the Eagles. Michael Robinson was a college QB who became a special teams standout as a backup RB, and converted to a FB for the Hawks last year. He's a willing blocker, and made a difference when he was healthy for Lynch. Forsett often runs without a FB, and Jeremy Bates preferred two TE sets. It will be interesting to see whether the team tries to get by with Robinson again, or fill a roster spot with a true FB. Tom Cable didn't carry a FB on the active roster last season, so that's at least one indication the team could go another direction.

2011 Seahawks Free Agents: RB, FB:
  • FB Michael Robinson
  • RB Leon Washington
Seahawks RB, FB Under Contract:
  • RB Justin Forsett
  • RB Marshawn Lynch
Leon Washington could be somewhat of a controversial figure in the Seahawks off-season. He was a key part of the team's surprising division title run last year, is a terrific person, and would be a big loss if he went elsewhere. On the other hand, the team has far more pressing needs with OL, DL, CB, WR, QB, and LB. Signing Washington to a big deal early on could preclude the team from addressing more important areas. The   team will likely have to torment fans by letting Washington test the market (assuming there is one), while they add talent elsewhere. If the Seahawks can meet their goals and still have money to throw at Washington, I'm sure they'd do it. Unless he decides to sign for a significant discount in the next week, there is probably less than a 50/50 shot that he will wear Seahawk Blue again. Take heart, though, since very few Super Bowl teams have ever featured a star returner. It would also open a roster spot to take a young runner or receiver who could double as a returner. Lastly, Golden Tate, Forsett and Ben Obamanu can all handle return duties.

The free agent market for running backs is terrible, and spending free agent money on a position that is so age-sensitive is foolish. Just ask Tim Ruskell. Players like Michael Bush, DeAngelo Williams and Darren Sproles are interesting, but not enough to spend the money they'll demand. 

Expect the Seahawks to largely stand pat in the backfield. They can probably afford to let Washington and Robinson dangle until after the draft to see if they can find younger, cheaper replacements. Odds are that a player like Robinson will be back due his low price tag, value on special teams, and effectiveness with Lynch. It would be a mild surprise to see Washington back. Look for the team to spend at least one draft pick on a running back, or bring in a few undrafted free agents. With Lynch in the last year of his deal, the team would be smart to hedge their bets with a potential future replacement.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Seahawks Off-Season Analysis Part V: Wide Receivers & Tight Ends

The Tight Ends did their thing at the combine today, so let's kick off part five of this series focusing on the receiving corps, including tight ends.

Brandon Marshall was the talk of the early off-season last year as the Seahawks looked for that classic #1 receiver who could challenge defenses. Vincent Jackson became a focal point once he held out in San Diego. TJ Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch were kicked to the curb, and players like Mike Williams, Deon Butler and Ben Obamanu were all given new chances that each took advantage of to varying degrees. Brandon Stokley became a great compliment to Williams in the slot. Stokley, Obamanu and Williams played only a handful of healthy snaps together all season. They formed a solid, if not spectacular, unit when they were all there. Butler was an unheralded part of the mix that gave a much-needed vertical stretch. This group could come back untouched and be among the strongest on the team, but it is one game-breaker away from being a team strength. That's an amazing turnaround in one season. 

The Tight Ends were another story. John Carlson entered the 2010 season as a player expected to benefit from Jeremy Bates tight end friendly system and Matt Hasselbeck's return to health. Instead, Carlson was possibly the biggest disappointment on the team. He's never been a good blocker, but was horrible even by his low standards. Route running, catching, in-route adjustments and chemistry with Hasselbeck also fell far short of expectations. He had a great playoff game against the Saints, but it did little to erase 16 games of futility. Pete Carroll and John Schneider had drafted a promising young talent in Anthony McCoy, but he was placed on injured reserve midway through the season. Chris Baker did what he was supposed to do as a veteran blocking TE that could make a catch on occasion. The pleasant surprise of the group was second year Cal product Cameron Morrah. Morrah has elite speed for the position, but looks more like a WR than a TE. He is a try-hard blocker, who will never overpower someone, but he looks like Walter Jones compared to Carlson. Look for this to be an open competition heading into training camp, with Carlson having to earn his starting spot far more than he did last year. 

2011 Seahawks Free Agents: WR, TE:
  • WR Brandon Stokley
  • WR Ruvell Martin
  • WR Isaiah Stanback (re-signed)
Seahawks WR, TE Under Contract:
  • TE John Carlson
  • TE Chris Baker
  • TE Cameron Morrah
  • TE Anthony McCoy
  • WR Mike Williams
  • WR Ben Obamanu
  • WR Deon Butler
  • WR Golden Tate
The Seahawks should bring back Stokley if he's interested. He formed a good bond with Hasselbeck, and was a valuable asset for what should be a low price. Martin was a fine fill-in, but is exactly the kind of player the team needs to avoid. He's got a low ceiling, and is not getting any younger. Those roster spots should be used on young prospects that can be groomed. The only thing saving Golden Tate from massive criticism is the fact that receivers rarely emerge in their rookie years. His donut caper made for good reading, but was just the first indication that the kid is not taking his job seriously enough. The evidence was clear in how Hasselbeck talked about him, and most importantly, how the coaches used him. Tate is not a breakaway speed kind of player, but could be a valuable part of the mix if he works his tail off. 

Tight end is largely addressed with four players under contract. It's always possible the team will add a player in the draft if there is a solid value pick after the fifth round, but the team has many larger needs to address.

Adding a wide receiver in free agency is expensive, and there are many good prospects in the draft. Let's look at some top free agents wide receivers in 2011:

WR Santonio Holmes
Supposedly a top priority for the Jets to re-sign. Would be a great fit opposite BMW.

WR Santana Moss
His yards-per-catch has dropped the last few years, and he is getting up there in age, but could be a great addition at the right price.

WR Sidney Rice
Brett Favre's big-play guy. A little higher risk given injuries and the chance that he was lifted by Favre's best statistical season.

WR Plaxico Burress
Burress will be an intriguing option for some team coming after his year in prison. 

There are some good wide receivers on the free agent market. There are also a pretty deep group of quality wideouts in the draft. The Seahawks will add talent to that part of the team. Whether they go big-name free agent or draft a prospect will depend on what falls to them for offensive line, defensive line and quarterback. Those areas have to get addressed first. How hard the team goes after a receiver in free agency will tell you a little about their confidence in Tate's development as well. 

Seahawks Off-Season Analysis Part IV: Linebackers

Part four of this series will focus on the linebackers. Let's take a look at where we are, and where we might be after the off-season.

Most casual observers would rank linebacker as an area of strength for the Seahawks. After all, Lofa Tatupu is Pro Bowler multiple times over, Aaron Curry was the #4 pick in the draft just two years ago, and David Hawthorne ranks among the best in the NFL according to some advanced statistics for LBs. The reality, unfortunately, is not so rosy. Tatupu has not played like a Pro Bowler for a few years, and shows no signs of regaining that form. Curry made modest improvements last season, but is yet to look worthy of his his draft status. Hawthorne is the real deal, but is below average in coverage. The cupboard is pretty bare behind those three. This is a unit that needs more depth and more top-line talent. 

2011 Seahawks Free Agents: LB:
  • LB Will Herring
  • LB Will McCoy
  • LB LeRoy Hill
Seahawks LB Under Contract:
  • LB Lofa Tatupu
  • LB David Hawthorne
  • LB Aaron Curry
  • LB Joe Pawelek
The upside of this group is limited as long as Tatupu remains the starting middle linebacker. He's a great leader, and a plus coverage 'backer, but is physically inferior to almost every other linebacker. Even before his injuries, Tatupu was physically challenged. The years have pounding have taken their toll, and the Seahawks would be wise to find his successor this off-season. Moving Hawthorne back to MLB is an option as it can be easier to find an impact OLB. Hawthorne is weak in coverage, though. Curry is not going anywhere for the foreseeable future, and he's at least serviceable as a run stuffer and occasional pass rusher. The goal for the off-season should be to find the most talented linebackers possible for a place on special teams and the ability to share time a la Kam Chancellor. 

The Seahawks would be foolish to go after starting caliber free agent linebackers, so it's not worth the time to explore the options there. There may be some prospect-level free agents the team adds, as you can expect to see Herring move on for a chance to get more PT. The draft has some decent MLB prospects that can be added in later rounds. Overall, though, the draft is thin on impact linebackers. This may be a position that has to hold together for another season before getting real attention. After all, we'll know for sure what Tatupu's future and Curry's ceiling will be by the time 2012 rolls around.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Seahawks Off-Season Analysis Part III: Secondary

A rare day back home, and the scent of the NFL Combine has brought me out of my Winter hibernation for the next in a series of off-season positional analysis. Part three of this series will focus on the secondary. Let's take a look at where we are, and where we might be after the off-season.

The Seahawks are trying to thread the needle with their secondary. It was the least talented and least productive group in the entire NFL in 2009. Drafting Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Walter Thurmond, moving Lawyer Milloy into the starting lineup, and moving away from smaller cornerbacks like Josh Wilson were all important steps. This was far from a solid unit, though, in 2010. Coverage that was supposed to rely on bump-and-run, single-high safety looks, too often was giving up major chunks of yardage to opposing wideouts. Only the Denver Broncos gave up more plays of 20+ yards last season (71 total). Often, big plays are a result of too much time in the pocket, but the Seahawks are Top 15 team in sacks. Lots of this was just inferior CB play, a safety in Milloy that is more linebacker than safety, and a rookie Thomas that had a ridiculous amount of responsibility to cover everyone else's ass. Upgrading the talent in the secondary, especially at CB, is a major need going into 2011.

2011 Seahawks Free Agents: CB, Safety:
  • S Lawyer Milloy
  • S Jordan Babineaux
  • CB Kennard Cox
  • CB Kelly Jennings (hold back the tears...)
  • CB Roy Lewis (recently re-signed)
Seahawks CB, Safety Under Contract:
  • CB Marcus Trufant
  • CB Marcus Brown
  • CB Josh Pinkard
  • CB Walter Thurmond
  • S Kam Chancellor
  • S Earl Thomas
Bring back Roy Lewis was a wise move. He was the special teams captain, plays with fantastic intensity, and is an almost ideal slot defender. I will admit to some bias, as he became one of my favorite players last pre-season when he displayed the kind of aggression I covet. It seems likely Milloy will come back for one more season. He played at a Pro Bowl level for the first half of the season, but wore down as the defensive line eroded, forcing him to take on much larger players. Kam Chancellor's goal has to be to win the starting safety spot opposite Thomas, but don't count Milloy out. Another factor is that Milloy tried the backup thing in 2009, and vowed to never do it again. It would be interesting to see if Carroll could talk him into splitting time with Chancellor, assuming the kid earns the reps. Marcus Trufant is nothing more than an adequate corner. He's not an embarrassment as a starter, but you have trouble if he's your #1 guy.

There will be a small celebration at Qwest Field when Kelly Jennings leaves the team. Nice guy. Blindingly bad cornerback. It would not shock me to see Big Play Babs back again for the vets minimum as he was a valuable fill-in at a cheap price. If the front office can find a younger, cheaper replacement, so be it. Thurmond was one of the big stories of training camp, after making a rapid recovery from a grisly knee injury. I thought Roy Lewis outplayed him, which worried me. After seeing Thurmond step in during the regular season, I left feeling it would be a mistake to anoint him as the heir apparent at starting CB opposite Trufant. Cornerbacks often make large strides from year one to year two, so there is no reason to write Thurmond off either.

Like most positions, free agent cornerbacks are expensive. The good news is their skill sets are relatively portable, regardless of scheme. Sure, some are better playing off the ball and some are better in press coverage, but a good cover corner can play in any defense. Let's look at some top free agents in the secondary in 2011:

CB Nnamdi Asomugha
Asomugha is the apple of every defensive coordinators eye. He is a legit top-end cover corner who unexpectedly hit the free agent market after triggering certain clauses in his contract. He will cost a ton to sign, and will bring All Pro-level cover skills for at least two seasons. The team that signs him will pay a premium for a guy who has unique talent, but is already 30-years-old. Asomugha is not known for his run support or tackling. He just wipes the opposing #1 off the field. He is a guy who should be the final piece in a Super Bowl run, but he'd be a risky addition to a team like the Seahawks who have so many other needs to fill.

CB Antonio Cromartie
His first team meeting with Matt Hasselbeck would almost be worth the price.

CB Jonathan Joseph
Younger than Asomugha at just 27, Joseph is said to be a guy the Bengals will not let go.

CB Ike Taylor
Taylor was a decent starter for the Steelers.

CB Brent Grimes
Grimes is a top talent, but is a restricted free agent. He's highly unlikely to change teams.

There is a pretty deep crop of rookie CBs coming into the draft that fit the Seahawks mold, tall and physical. A quick scan of the free agent market compared to the team needs would suggest the Seahawks will likely put most of their energy into developing players like Thurmond and Chancellor, while adding more youngsters through the draft. Don't be surprised to see more than one DB drafted. If things fall a certain way, I could see the team going for broke with Asomugha, but only after addressing more pressing needs at QB, DL, and OL. If Milloy does not come back, that leaves a lot on Chancellor's broad shoulders, and creates a gaping hole at backup safety. Keeping Milloy for one more season could be exactly what the team needs to bridge the gap.