The preseason is mercifully over and the Seahawks have released their final 53 man roster as the 2016 campaign begins in earnest this week. However I should add that the roster is always subject to tweaking with Pete Carroll and John Schneider at the helm.
Here are my ten observations about the roster as it sits today:
1. Looks like the team will bank on Russell Wilson staying healthy for a 5th consecutive season.
With the predictable release of camp arm, Jake Heaps the two remaining QB’s on the roster are Russell Wilson and Trevone Boykin. Boykin has shown some flashes enough to where I think he could be groomed in to a serviceable back up. On the flip side, the rookie has also looked as if he’s never played the position before. And Thursday nights preseason finale wasn’t exactly a confidence booster for Boykin or the coaching staff.
There is a possibility the team will bring in another QB, but i think they like what Boykin is capable of when he’s focused and playing smart football. Again, I like Boykin, but if Wilson goes down the chances of a Super Bowl run will take a significant hit. All I can say is hopefully Russell keeps his recovery water handy this season.
2. Defensive backs reign supreme.
There are twelve defensive backs on the roster right now. Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Jeremy Lane, DeShawn Shead, Tharold Simon, DeAndre Elliot, Tyvis Powell, Kelcie McCray, Steven Terrell, LJ McCray (though he failed his physical), and Dewie McDonald. Nearly half of the Seahawks defensive roster spots are occupied by a single position group. That’s insane!
Yet there are a couple reasons as to why this actually might make sense heading in to 2016. The first and easiest answer is that there is a lot of talent in the secondary. Let’s face the defense is Pete’s baby and there is no mistaking that he takes special pride in assembling uniquely talented secondaries.
Well turns out they’ve stockpiled quite a bit of depth in the last several years, and they simply can’t stomach letting some of these guys get away. A more practical reason for DB’s abound? In todays NFL more than ever you need guys who can cover. To counter pass happy four and five wide receiver sets, defenses are going more nickel and it’s nice to have the bodes for it.
Another factor is that most of these guys will make a sizable contribution on special teams. Seattle doesn’t skimp on this phase of the game. Make no bones about it some of these twelve are only the roster because of their special teams value.
Note- According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, LJ McCray has failed his physical and will return to the 49ers.
3. Tanner McEvoy defies the odds.
The receivers are set and it all pretty much shook out as I expected heading in to camp. Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson, and Tanner McEvoy make up Seattle’s 2016 five man receiving corps. So yes, it all went according to plan.
Except for the fact that I didn’t know who Tanner McEvoy was at the beginning of training camp! The 6-6 230lb rookie out of Wisconsin made the most of his opportunities to impress by showing off his playmaking ability and versatility throughout the preseason.
The Seahawks originally wanted to move McEvoy to safety, but realized his gifted frame might better serve the team on the offensive side of the ball. McEvoy showed he belongs on the roster by becoming a jack of all trades type of asset.
Aside from playing receiver McEvoy also lined up a tight end and showed value on special teams. The more you can do, the better your chances of sticking on this roster. Turns Tanner can do a lot. And who knows? Maybe will see him at safety before it’s all said and done. If I’m Pete Carroll and the game comes down to a Hail Mary attempt (no matter if we are on offense or defense) I’m putting McEvoy in the game.
4. Mike Morgan will finally get his shot.
The linebackers are all familiar faces as Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright, Mike Morgan, Brock Coyle and Kevin Pierre-Lewis all return. My biggest take away from this is that steady veteran Mike Morgan will finally get his chance to start at strong side linebacker. Morgan has been a steady special teams contributor and back up linebacker for the better part of six seasons in Seattle.
With the departure of linebacker Bruce Irvin in the offseason, the Seahawks suddenly needed to fill the vacancy on the strong side. The battle was primarily between Morgan and Eric Pinkins. Pinkins went down with an injury and was added to the waived/injured list. Morgan has shown enough over his tenure in Seattle to instill belief in his coaches that he can fill the role.
Next: Observations 5-10 are on page 2