Same tune, different season for the Seattle Seahawks.
At least that's what it seems like so far during the 2009 preseason. Last year was a wash out for many Seahawks fans as injuries decimated the majority of the offense.
With one of the teams worst seasons in recent history behind them, Seattle and Coach Mora Jr. are looking to move forward and return to the top of both the division and the conference.
If they are going to do it, they will have to battle through injuries once again. Three key starters have taken to the sidelines due to injuries, with no timetable set for their return.
Starting cornerback Marcus Trufant hardly saw any action during training camp before exiting with pain in his back. Rumor had it that the injury was not too serious, but as days turns into weeks, the diagnoses needed a revaluation.
Turns out the back injury is much more serious then expected, bad enough that Marcus may have to start the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. This will mean that the Pro Bowl corner would not be available until week six of the season.
Without doubt the injury serves as a severe blow to a secondary that was last in the NFL in pass defense.
The addition of Ken Lucas in the offseason proved to be critical as he now will be thrust into the No. 1 spot at corner. Starting opposite of him will be Josh Wilson, who has shown some flashes of decent play but truly lacks in size.
Kelly Jennings continues to be out-muscled in preseason play, making him a non-option to start. He should see time in nickel packages only.
Seattle did switch to more of a cover two look this fall, allowing the safeties to assist on the deep ball, something that burned the secondary on a weekly basis.
Kyle Orton completed 17 of his first 20 passes on the starting defense Saturday night, confirming that the secondary still has work to do.
Before camp began the offensive line took a blow as Mike Wahle was forced into retirement due to an injury that had plagued his shoulder for the latter part of his career.
Much like Trufant, Walter Jones has hardly seen the playing field in camp, as he too is sitting out due to a back injury.
Recently it has also been revealed that Jones has gone under the knife for a second time since December on his knee, raising major concerns as to whether or not the 35-year-old All Pro can still handle the grind of a 16-game season.
Sean Locklear will be responsible for protecting the backside of Matt Hasselbeck in the meantime, something really struggled with against Denver.
Locklear gave up two sacks and his lack of protection forced Matt out of the pocket at times.
Insult to injury came when starting center Chris Spencer went down with an apparent leg injury.
Following tests showed that Spencer had suffered a second degree tear in his left quadriceps muscle. The regular timetable for recovery is anywhere from four to six weeks. This would put Chris out until possibly the second or third week of the regular season.
All of the injuries on the front line have forced rookie Max Unger into a starting role faster then Seattle may have wanted.
Unger may end up filling in at center for Spencer, or the job may go to second team center Steve Vallos.
If Vallos can handle the job at center, that will allow the talented Unger to move a spot and start and guard.
Seattle has remained up beat during the adversity though.
Hasselbeck looked like his old self in the first half against Denver as he went 16 of 23 for 171 yards and two touchdowns.
One of his touchdowns came on the first drive as he threw a beautiful 35-yard pass to rookie speedster Deon Butler.
The receiving corps looks to be in full swing, polar opposite from a year ago. Along with Butler's great play, second year tight end John Carlson is quickly becoming a favorite of Matt's across the middle.
If the makeshift offensive line can hold its own for the first part of the season, Seattle should be able to move the ball effectively against its opponents.
Although the loss to Trufant hurts, the defense has shown they have the ability to get pressure on the quarterback, freeing up guys like Tatupu and Hill to make plays.
For the Seattle faithful, hopefully the injury bug has come and gone. If not, expect to hear many more grumblings out of the Northwest.
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