Seahawks president Tim Ruskell has no plans for overhaul
The Seahawks' offseason blueprints include the addition of at least one high-end draft pick, a few free agents and an overhauled staff under...
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Seahawks' offseason blueprints include the addition of at least one high-end draft pick, a few free agents and an overhauled staff under new coach Jim Mora.
But as far as construction projects go, it will be more of a remodeling project than a rebuilding effort according to the architect ultimately in charge of the roster.
"You're not going to see a major overhaul," team president Tim Ruskell said.
Ruskell on Thursday conducted his first interview since Seattle concluded its 4-12 season, missing the playoffs for the first time since the franchise hired him in 2005. In his postmortem of the season, he concluded it wasn't the parts that were the problem so much as their performance.
"Guys that we counted on, and count on to play well for us, didn't have great years," he said.
Injuries explained a large of chunk of Seattle's failure, but not all of it, and the biggest shortcoming of Seattle's defense was more than a matter of size in the eyes of Ruskell.
"I'm not a believer in the size," he said. "We have some small players, but do we get rid of Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill? That's not it.
"It's the coordination, the synchronization of the defense."
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck missed nine games because of a back injury, but he's expected back for next season.
"Matt's our quarterback," Ruskell said. "We're very happy that he is."
How about re-signing linebacker Hill?
"He's an absolute priority," Ruskell said.
And wide receiver Bobby Engram, who didn't get the contract extension he sought last year and is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent?
"He wants to be here, and who wouldn't want him to be a part of it?" Ruskell said. "What I told Bobby was, let's get the staff together and just see where the fit is for him and for us."
So, what's going to be different?
"We have to have a total recommitment and dedication from everybody in this building," Ruskell said. "It does not happen just because we show up and everybody's healthy."
Seattle has taken the first steps toward restructuring its coaching staff under Mora with the addition of offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.
The next step will be resuscitating a defense that was supposed to be a real strength for Seattle this season and turned out to be an unambiguous disappointment.
"Our [pass] rush was just never consistent all year long," Ruskell said. "Whether it was from the four-man [front] or in the blitz packages. We were not getting to the quarterback, and quarterbacks were having way too much time and were way too comfortable running their pass offense."
Losing defensive end Patrick Kerney to a season-ending shoulder injury took away Seattle's top pass rusher, but his absence alone doesn't excuse the Seahawks' inability to pressure the quarterback.
John Marshall called Seattle's defensive plays the past four seasons. While he has not been told he will be fired, if he does come back it appears it will be in a different role. The Seahawks interviewed Casey Bradley for the defensive coordinator job on Wednesday, had another unknown candidate in on Thursday and are expected to meet with Browns defensive coordinator Mel Tucker perhaps as early as today.
The defense will ultimately bear the fingerprints of Mora, who is known for applying pressure to opponents.
"That is his M.O.," Ruskell said.
The Seahawks are hoping that attitude will boost the performance of the team, because Ruskell indicated Thursday that the roster is not going to be overhauled.
• The Seahawks announced the signing of eight players to futures contracts, which can be offered to players who were not on 53-man rosters at the end of 2008. Seattle signed WR Mike Hass, WR Michael Bumpus, DT Kevin Brown, CB Marquis Floyd, WR Billy McMullen, TE Joe Newton, LS Ryan Senser and TE John Tereshinski.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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