Commentary

Burleson, Hill making a splash in camp

It's taken a little while, but Nate Burleson and Leroy Hill are stealing the show in training camp, writes Mike Sando.

Originally Published: August 4, 2007
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Five observations from Seattle Seahawks training camp, gleaned from the team's practices:

1. Needed: Run stuffer

The Seahawks made Marcus Tubbs a first-round pick in 2004 because they wanted a massive defensive tackle to push the pocket and anchor against the run. Tubbs gives them that when he plays, but injuries have prevented him from making an impact consistently. Seattle is undersized on defense by design. Team president Tim Ruskell has favored speed and conditioning over size since his days in Tampa. But at 330 pounds and with good quickness, Tubbs can give the Seahawks what no one else on the roster can provide. Tubbs appears to be in the best shape of his career after an offseason rehabbing from microfracture knee surgery. There are still questions about his ability to return at a high level and stay on the field, so the team is taking a cautious approach. Tubbs probably won't be back on the field before the third exhibition game. How badly does Seattle need Tubbs for the regular season? Opponents averaged 141 yards rushing in the 19 games Tubbs has missed. They averaged 99 yards rushing in the 29 games he played. There were surely other reasons for the 42-yard gap, but none bigger than Tubbs.

2. No more excuses in the secondary

Miscues in the secondary, particularly at safety, have haunted the Seahawks for years. They've given away games each season through inexcusable lapses on the back end. Those problems could subside in 2007. Adding Jim Mora to coach the secondary was a start. Mora immediately moved cornerback Marcus Trufant to the left side and challenged the former first-round pick to become an elite player. The team invested heavily in the safety position, adding Deon Grant from Jacksonville and Brian Russell from Cleveland. They are heady, experienced players and it shows in camp. It's one of the reasons the defense is ahead of the offense so far. Seattle doesn't need anything spectacular from Grant and Russell, just fundamentally sound play. Dallas thinks it found a steadying influence in ex-Hawk Ken Hamlin, but recent Seattle secondaries were never steadier than in 2005, when injuries sidelined Hamlin and the defense made its Super Bowl push. Seattle appears to have found a player in rookie second-round corner Josh Wilson, one more reason the secondary might finally become an asset.

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