When new coaches take over, they often turn over a roster to make sure they have their own guys. Some players will survive the purge, but that usually means that either the coach thinks they can fit in the new system or the coach can’t get rid of them. Somehow, it appears as if Josh Wilson does not fit into Pete Carroll’s new system.
How else do you explain the trade of one of the Seahawks’ most productive defensive players from last season?
Wilson is undersized and might not have the greatest cover skills in the league. But he always seems to find a way to be around the ball. And when he gets ahold of it, he knows how to take it the other way in a hurry. Twice last year he was able to return interceptions for touchdowns. The Seahawks secondary may be better this season thanks to the addition of Earl Thomas, the departure of Deon Grant, the improved health of Marcus Trufant and the increased playing time for Lawyer Milloy. But as Wilson battled Kelly Jennings for the second corner spot, I would have thought the player with the better ball skills and play making potential would have been the winner.
The Seahawks plan to play more press coverage this year, meaning their cornerbacks will start closer to the line of scrimmage and bump the receivers off the line. That requires a slightly different skill set from the schemes they’ve used the past few years. To play press, a corner must be physical enough to bother the receiver, but fast enough to turn and run with him. Jennings is fast whereas Wilson is more instinctual and plays better in space. By that description, Jennings is a better fit. But we’ve also seen what happens when Jennings finds himself in those “moment of truth” situations where the ball is in the air and he and the receiver each have a shot at it. Too often, he has failed to get his hands on the ball. Too often he has lost those toss-up battles. And in today’s NFL, getting your hand on the ball is imperative. Turnovers win ballgames.
I have reservations about this deal. The Hawks gave away a productive player for a late round pick. In effect, they didn’t get much more back for Wilson than they gave up earlier in the day when they acquired tackle Tyler Polumbus who they could have had for free less than a week ago when he was on waivers! (It’s been pointed out to me that the Hawks couldn’t get Polumbus off waivers because Detroit had the first shot at him) And not only does Wilson seem to be worth more than that, he also seemed to be a more productive player than the one they’ve chosen to replace him.