Position Preview – Linebackers
Holdovers: Lofa Tatupu, Leroy Hill, Aaron Curry, David Hawthorne, Will Herring, Anthony Heygood
Newcomers: Ken Norton (coach), Matt McCoy (free agent), Joe Pawelek
Departures: D.D. Lewis (free agent), Lance Laury (free agent)
Short-Stays: Reggie Carter, Kevin Dixon
Depth Chart Heading Into Training Camp
SLB – Leroy Hill, Will Herring, Anthony Heygood, Dexter Davis
MLB – Lofa Tatupu, David Hawthorne, Joe Pawelek
WLB – Aaron Curry, Matt McCoy
Still the deepest position on the team, when healthy, and not suspended, Tatupu-Hill-Curry form one of the most talented group of 4-3 linebackers in the NFL. Add in quality depth in David Hawthorne and Will Herring, and Seattle's entire corps runs as deep as any in the league.
Seattle will need that depth, with Tatupu coming off two injury-plagued seasons, and Hill facing a one-game suspension—at least—to start the 2010 season.
Hawthorne, who filled in at middle linebacker when Tatupu and posted a team-high 116 tackles, with 3 interceptions and 4 quarterback sacks, will get the first crack to replace Hill in the starting lineup against the San Francisco 49ers on September 12. Will Herring will also be in the mix to fill-in for Hill.
Curry is coming off a disappointing rookie season, due in large part to Tatupu's season-ending injury. A healthy season from Tatupu should help Curry, as will the arrivals of Ken Norton and Pete Carroll, who plan on unleashing the 6-2, 254-pound Curry as a pass-rusher more than the Mora-led defensive staff, who regularly removed Curry on passing downs, did in 2009.
McCoy, Herring, Hawthorne, and Heygood will form the core of Seattle's kick and punt coverage units.