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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

September 5, 2009 at 8:51 PM

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Counting up surprises on Seahawks' 53-man roster

Posted by Danny O'Neil

1The sun rose in the east
2Mike Holmgren called a fullback draw on third-and-long
3A seventh-round pick made the roster
4Tireless Jim Mora caught yawning
5ESPN leads SportsCenter with Seahawks highlights
6Seahawks drafted a corner who could be described as big or tall
7No one rockets a punt off that target of a scoreboard in Dallas
8Mike Holmgren volunteers to work as Tim Ruskell's assistant GM
9Matt Hasselbeck seen using a comb
10Adrian Peterson cut, Seattle only team to claim him (in other words, brush your teeth and tie your shoes, the apocalypse is upon us).

It was a surprise the Seahawks terminated the contract of safety Brian Russell. There wasn't much warning that drastic a solution was being considered.

But how surprising was it? More surprising than the decision to release D.D. Lewis, who was the team's No. 4 linebacker as recently as 9 months ago? Less surprising than the decision to include two undrafted rookie free agents on the Seattle's 53-man roster?

In an effort to answer those pretty much unanswerable questions, I have compiled a totally unscientific surprise indicator that ranges from 1 (totally not a surprise) all the way up to 10 (so surprising that you've got a bruise from your jaw dropping all the way to the floor).

You can see that surprise index off to the right, and then judging just how surprising some of the exclusions and inclusions on the 53-man roster were:

FS Brian Russell had his contract terminatedSurprise index: 5
It's not a shock that Seattle made a change to the secondary that allowed more passing yards than any other team in the NFL last season. The surprise is that there weren't more indications. President Tim Ruskell said on Aug. 30 that competition at free safety had been opened up. Russell played with the first-unit defense throughout training camp and all the exhibition games, but Seattle decided that it would prefer to have Lawyer Milloy at about half the salary Russell was scheduled to earn.
LB D.D. Lewis had his contract terminatedSurprise index: 6
When Seattle re-signed Lewis last year, he was considered Seattle's top reserve linebacker, someone capable of playing all three spots among the linebackers. He started for Lofa Tatupu at middle linebacker for a game and later replaced Leroy Hill at the weakside linebacker after Hill was injured. The decision to let Lewis go reflects on the development of Will Herring and David Hawthorne, but Herring specifically. Lance Laury is the sixth linebacker, but he's a special-teams mainstay.
WR Ben Obomanu as Seattle's No. 5 receiver.Surprise index: 3
The writing was on the wall. First, Seattle needs a punt returner since Mora has said that Nate Burleson will fill that role only in certain situations. Obomanu caught six punts in exhibition games, most of any Seahawk. He could have made the roster last year were it not for breaking his collarbone in the exhibition finale. This year he caught a TD pass in the exhibition finale and he also made a great play as a punt-coverage gunner to beat out Courtney Taylor and Jordan Kent for that final receiver spot.
DE Nick Reed makes the team as 7th-round choiceSurprise index: 3
He led Seattle with 4.5 sacks, forced a couple of fumbles and deflected a punt. If he didn't make the team, it would be hard for a coach to say with a straight face that exhibition games mean all that much of anything.
DT Michael Bennett is No. 5 defensive tackleSurprise index: 4
Bennett was a defensive end in college, who played so well in the offseason minicamps that Seattle decided to use him some as a three-technique defensive tackle. He has a quick first step, which helped him compensate for the fact he's not as big as you'd expect from a tackle.
DE Derek Walker, undrafted rookie, is No. 6 defensive endSurprise index: 4
Mostly because 11 defensive linemen is a lot to keep for any team. Not only that, but Walker was the second undrafted rookie free agent to make the team this year. Just serves more proof that Seattle's coaches gave its players a chance to play their way onto the roster, which Walker did ... for now.


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