During bye week, Seattle still changes its roster

BY foxsports • October 16, 2011

Even bye weeks aren't immune from the constant player change taking place in Seattle.

The nearly two full years of roster roulette within Seattle's locker room since Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over in the winter of 2010 has created almost a complete makeover from what the Seahawks were and what they are now.

Yet another step in that change took place earlier this week with the departure of former No. 4 overall pick Aaron Curry. He was traded to Oakland after 2 1/2 underachieving seasons.

Curry was the last remaining top selection taken while Tim Ruskell was in charge as general manager, with the other four - three first-rounders and one second-round pick - already sent packing since Carroll and Schneider arrived.

But it's not just top picks being shipped out from the previous regime in remodeling the Seahawks into a 2-3 squad showing promise after a 35-26 win over the New York Giants last weekend.

Of the roster inherited after Seattle's 2009 season, nine players remain on the active roster today. Each play key roles and are standouts at their various positions. Six of them are starters, including defensive linemen Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant and center Max Unger. Their importance and ability to work in Carroll's system are the reasons they are still around.

But if it wasn't already obvious how drastic the changes the Seahawks have made in the last two seasons, the decision to part with Curry - while not entirely surprising considering his lackluster play and recent demotion - provided an exclamation point.

''I will never know the pressure of being a top 10 pick you know and I can imagine just the pressure of coming in and knowing everyone is expecting you to produce right off the top. You're still a rookie and I think it was just extra expectations for him,'' said linebacker Leroy Hill, one of those nine holdovers. ''I think the first year was sort of slow and then the second year was just a little slower than everybody wanted and I think that weight just started bearing on him.''

That weight of expectations Curry felt was placed there when he was the highest linebacker selected in nearly a decade. But he was drafted by a different front office and a different coaching staff.

Flushing out the old has been the mantra since Carroll and Schneider arrived. While last year was about making roster moves in quantity - nearly 300 transactions - the moves this year were more specific and about the transition to being a younger, bigger team. Gone are former leaders like Matt Hasselbeck, Lofa Tatupu and Lawyer Milloy, with the Seahawks counting on the youngsters they envision building around in the coming years being asked to take on even more responsibility.

''By no means do these guys just go along for the ride because they're young,'' Carroll said. ''These guys are being brought up with leadership that's calling on them to bring their best and they're learning how to. We are very fortunate that we're still improving.''

The trade of Curry quickly overshadowed a week where the Seahawks were gaining headlines after going into New York as double-digit underdogs and shocking the Giants, picking up their first win on the East Coast in nearly four years.

It also put on the back burner, at least for a few days, the lingering questions about the health of a battered team.

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson did nothing in the two days of practice before the Seahawks took the weekend off as he rested a high-grade strained right pectoral muscle suffered in the third quarter of Seattle win over the Giants. Backup Charlie Whitehurst took over and played well enough - including the go-ahead 27-yard TD pass to Doug Baldwin with 2:37 left to give Seattle the lead - that the debate on who should be the Seahawks starter on Oct. 23 at Cleveland was rekindled.

But Carroll was quick to halt any QB controversy from brewing.

''Well, is it controversial that you have two quarterbacks that can play? I think it's great that we do,'' Carroll said. ''Fortunately we're in that situation where if Tarvaris can't go, then Charlie will play. But we're going to hold off and Tarvaris will have a chance to get back, we'll just have to see how the rehab goes.''

Seattle's injury concerns go beyond Jackson and when he'll be back to run an offense that found its stride in the past six quarters going with an up-tempo, no-huddle approach. Since trailing 24-7 at halftime against Atlanta in Week 4, the Seahawks have outscored their opponents 56-31. Seattle scored a total of 30 points the first three weeks combined.

Running back Marshawn Lynch, along with Unger, were both nursing ankle and foot injuries. Tight end Zach Miller suffered a head and neck injury when he took a wicked hit from Giants safety Kenny Phillips, and starting cornerback Marcus Trufant couldn't even get his shoes tied last Sunday morning and was inactive with a lower back injury.

The bye might not have come at the right time from a momentum standpoint, but it also gives players time to recover from injuries.Even assistant coach Tom Cable is on the mend after needing back surgery less than three weeks ago.

''I'm glad we won and we're feeling pretty good about that,'' Carroll said. ''We need the break right now. We have a bunch of guys that need this rest, coaches included. If they want to throw another one in there about six weeks from now, it'd be a good thing.''


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