Three Seahawks concerns that are overblown

Aug 22, 2011, 5:29 PM | Updated: Aug 23, 2011, 8:48 am
Safety Earl Thomas is emerging as a leader in just his second NFL season. (Jane Gershovich/
(Jane Gershovich/

710 ESPN Seattle’s Dave Wyman examines what he feels are the three most overblown Seahawks storylines during training camp.

Lack of leadership. The departures of Matt Hasselbeck, Lofa Tatupu and Lawyer Milloy have caused a lot of hand-wringing over the lack of veteran leadership in the Seahawks’ locker room. True, they are young. At last count, there were only nine players on the roster with seven or more years of NFL tenure. There are a lot of Rs, 1s, 2s and 3s next to the 90 or so names on the roster.

But leadership is developing everyday out at practice, and around the VMAC. The leaders of this team are right in front of us and they’re doing it in their own way. David Hawthorne, Red Bryant and Earl Thomas are all leaders in one way or another. Some of it is quiet leadership by example, and that’s the best kind.

Remember, every guy on that roster was “King of the Hill” at some point along the way, whether it was in college or high school. It’s not as if guys are wandering around the locker room aimlessly waiting for someone to lead them.

Safety Kam Chancellor, who’s entering his second year, has already garnered the respect of his teammates with his work ethic and hustle. He’s just waiting for his opportunity to prove it on the field; he has certainly done so in the preseason.

Size. Brandon Browner, the 6-foot-4 cornerback, has emerged as a very pleasant surprise in this year’s camp, and if Walter Thurmond doesn’t get healthy soon, Browner may be on a path to start Week 1 of the regular season.

I understand the philosophy to get bigger and more physical at corner. It makes sense with monsters like Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson at the receiver position. But I think height is a bit overplayed. There are plenty of good corners under six feet tall. For example, would you take Asante Samuel and Darrelle Revis as your starting corners? Samuel has 42 interceptions over the last eight years and Darrelle Revis is considered one of the best overall football players in the league. Both are 5-foot-10.

My read is that the two best corners available to the Hawks are Marcus Trufant and Thurmond, and both are 5-foot-11. The height is a good thing, but it’s not the only thing. As fellow Seahawks pregame show co-host Sam Adkins put it, “The added height may help, but I don’t think you need to go out of your way to bring in tall corners.”

I could say the same about linebackers. During my playing days, the guy I most admired and enjoyed watching on film was New Orleans Saints linebacker Sam Mills. He made plays all over the field and was a five-time Pro Bowler. He was 5-foot-9 and 230 pounds.

Tragically, Mills passed away in 2005 from intestinal cancer, but his memory lives on in guys like London Fletcher. The Washington Redskins linebacker has well over 1,500 tackles and 16 interceptions and stands 5-foot-10 and 240 pounds. Low man wins! These two also dispel the notion that smaller guys get beat up physically. Mills played for 12 years and Fletcher is entering his 15th season.

When I look at the Seahawks’ depth chart, I have no worries about a 6-foot-tall middle linebacker (Hawthorne) or a 230-pound rookie outside linebacker (Malcolm Smith).

Youth. As mentioned, the Seahawks are extremely young. But let’s face it, in any sport, youth is king. Young guys are healthier, faster, and hungrier. I know I was. Besides, the average life span in the NFL is right around three and a half years.

Furthermore, whether it’s by design or by luck, a look at the Seahawks’ roster reveals a few well-placed veterans at nearly every position:

-Michael Robinson (six years) at running back
-Tarvaris Jackson (six years) at quarterback
-Robert Gallery (eight years) at offensive line
-Ben Obamanu (six years) at wide receiver
-Raheem Brock (10 years) and Jimmy Wilkerson (nine years) at defensive line
-Leroy Hill (seven years) at linebacker
-Marcus Trufant (nine years) at defensive back

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Three Seahawks concerns that are overblown