Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ruskell Breakdown

by: Michael Steffes

The beat reporters were treated to 45 minutes with GM Tim Ruskell today. Eric Williams has a great breakdown of it here. I will go through some of the points and add my take to them so that you get a different perspective if you want.

To Continue....

"Ruskell said keeping Leroy Hill is a high priority, and will consider all options in keeping the free agent linebacker, including the franchise tag."

Great to hear. I was a bit worried that they though Hill was replaceable, but in the end I am sure it is tough for Ruskell to let one of his better draft picks walk. If Bradley does come in at DC, expect the linebackers to improve from their disappointing year last year.

"Ruskell characterized the transition from last season to next season as more of a tweaking than an overhaul, and believes Seattle has the majority of the talent in place to compete for an NFL title."

I tend to agree, the transition started last year, so they aren't doing it all at once.

"Matt Hasselbeck is the team's quarterback, and they are not considering trading him."

Good! Lets put that to bed. Hass will finish out his deal here, through 2010, and then the team will make a decision on him. Lots of old QBs are doing well this year.

"Olindo Mare will be back in 2009. But Brandon Coutu may be as well. Ruskell said they kept Coutu around as security because of how well he performed during the preseason and because of Mare's recent injury history. But they were more than happy with Mare's performance. However, they wanted to protect their draft pick in Coutu."

Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Two kickers again? A kicker is a kicker right? How hard would it really be to replace Coutu with a 7th round kicker in any given year. If they like Mare's kickoffs so much, then set Coutu free.

"Offensive line coach Mike Solari will be back"

We kinda knew this, but it is nice it is confirmed. He earned his money last year for sure.

"On his strategy, he said all options are open for the No. 4 pick, but that he doesn't necessarily like drafting offensive lineman that early because he believes he can get a talented guy later in the draft and the success of an offensive line has more to do with the cohesion of the entire group."

Well, judging by his past, he means this when he says it. Holmgren valued the o line a lot more than Ruskell. Just because he isn't investing a top 5 pick in it doesn't mean it won't improve. Hopefully, he finds a keeper later in the draft. They will probably get at least one center because Spencer is a free agent after this year.

"Ruskell said he believes the team has above-average talent at offensive line and good depth after watching the backup perform admirably at the end of the season"

Above average talent... NO. Good depth, maybe. Another year where the line will be a big question mark heading into the season. Yippeeee! (sarcasm off)

"However, he believes if the Seahawks want to they can get back another pick for the 5th rounder they lost in the trade to Denver, and that second-day picks are easier to make deals for."

Very true. Especially if we get compensation picks, which can't be traded, but make it more palatable to trade your own picks. A 5th rounder is fine, glad it isn't the fourth. Just don't draft a guy like Colbert for heavens sake. Everybody thought he was going to be good? No heart I guess.

"Ruskell also said he believes Seattle is in a good position financially, and will not be handcuffed to make the moves they want to, both in free agency and the draft, to improve the team during the offseason."

They made sure of this by taking Shaun's hit in its entirety last season, along with some others. The fourth pick, Leroy Hill, 1 quality free agent, and some fill ins seems very doable.