Seahawks Players On The Hot Seat

Defensive backs take part of their traditional pregame huddle before taking the field for warmups.
Pete Carroll and John Schneider have made a habit of parting ways with players every year that played large roles for the team the previous season. It started with names like T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch, and continued with Matt Hasselbeck and Lofa Tatupu. Who will be out of job this season? Here are some names to keep an eye on:

Tarvaris Jackson
Breaking news, I know. This has everything to do with how Russell Wilson performs, and far less to do with how Jackson does. Much has been made about Wilson vying for the starting job, but take a step back and consider the logic. Jackson is already competing for the starting job. How could Wilson compete for the back-up job with Jackson without competing for the starting job? There is an argument to be made that Wilson is better off with Flynn winning the starting role out of the gates since almost every rookie quarterback struggles, even Drew Brees. Fans will be much more patient if they have already seen what Flynn is capable of.

Leon Washington
Washington is a fantastic person and an electrifying player. The new kickoff rules have diminished his value some. He is 29, and was having trouble getting snaps at running back with Justin Forsett on the roster. Robert Turbin is faster than Washington and bigger. Undrafted rookie Phil Bates could be an electric return man. Golden Tate, Turbin, Doug Baldwin and others could take over return duties. The Seahawks brass may prefer to hold onto a young player like Vai Taua (a sleeper pick). They also signed Kregg Lumpkin, who is a great receiver and third-down pass protector.

Mike Williams
Williams started last season, but was a non-factor. He had a significant injury late in the season that he has not recovered from yet. He faces competition from a host of receivers. Making the roster will require getting healthy, getting in top shape, and outplaying guys like Ricardo Lockette, Kris Durham and even Baldwin.

Clinton McDonald
McDonald came over in the Kelly Jennings trade last season, and made some nice contributions against the run. He is a high motor guy that gives everything he has on every snap. The question is whether he makes a unique enough impact to hold off players with higher upside. Guys like Pep Levingston, Jaye Howard, Jason Jones could all steal snaps depending on how Gus Bradley wants to run the rotation. McDonald does not have as much pass rush potential as the others, but is better against the run.

Marcus Trufant
Trufant’s name was nearly on the list of former Seahawks last season before he accepted a restructured contract. He came back with the expectation of fighting for the slot corner position. His shoulder and back problems theoretically should be less of a problem in that spot as there will be less run support required. The bigger issue is the glut of talent piling up to compete for that slot job. There are at least four other guys, including Jeremy Lane, Roy Lewis, Byron Maxwell, and rookie camp standout Donny Lisowski. That’s not even including Walter Thurmond III, who could come off the PUP list mid-season. Healthy, age, competition, and a new position make this a tough road for Tru.

Barrett Ruud
Ruud is the Tarvaris Jackson of linebackers on this roster. Coaches know what they can expect from him, but they’d prefer to see someone else win the starting role. There are a ton of young, fast, linebackers for roster spots that Ruud needs to beat out. Most assume he will be on the roster since he just signed a free agent deal. Carroll and Schneider can afford to pay Ruud not to play for them if it means a guy like Mike Morgan, Korey Toomer, Bobby Wagner, or Allen Bradford step up and earn playing time. Matt McCoy represents veteran insurance at middle linebacker, and the team would opt to keep a young outside linebacker with potential over more veteran insurance in the middle.