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

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February 14, 2008 7:40 PM

Wahle's impact

Posted by Jose Romero

Hello blog readers...in lieu of posts I have been posting breaking news on the Times' Web site, so look for news on the site rather than the blog, at least from me.

That said, Danny is on vacation and I haven't posted much, so I'm making an appearance now and will do so as often as I can in the offseason.

The Seahawks landed their whale, er, Wahle, on Thursday. Not saying this guy is overweight, just making a play on words. Wahle is, in fact, a big man who will go into training camp as the starter at left guard barring any injury. And he doesn't have a long history of getting hurt, having started 128 of 142 games played in 10 seasons and started all 16 games for Carolina last season.

Wahle will replace Rob Sims at left guard, freeing up Sims to battle Chris Gray for the right guard spot. For now, this is a win-win situation for the Seahawks. Sims struggled last season but got much-needed experience and Gray is at the end of his long career. A hungrier, nastier Sims will have something to prove after the running game struggled with he and another young guy, Chris Spencer, on the line, and if I know Spencer he will take this challenge personally.

Wahle also has a relationship with Mike Holmgren and Matt Hasselbeck, which can only help, and should be able to make the transition into the offense fairly easily. Having Wahle means the Seahawks don't appear likely to pursue Alan Faneca, the top lineman eligible for free agency, and Wahle certainly is more affordable as far as the salary cap than Faneca.

This is a big move for the Seahawks and might in the end be their biggest free agent pickup of the offseason, though we'll wait and see on that. Wahle has been compared to former Seahawks Pro Bowlers Steve Hutchinson and Robbie Tobeck, a couple of Pro Bowlers with Seattle who played with an attitude and some nastiness. Wahle isn't Hutch, but two Pro Bowls say something about the caliber of player the team is getting. The question will be how effective Wahle can be at age 31 after so many seasons.

The Seahawks have only one more coaching vacancy to fill -- running backs coach. Bill Lazor is officially in as QBs coach, the team confirmed today. Lazor was the Washington Redskins' QBs coach last season.


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Posted by Patrick F.

10:20 PM, Feb 14, 2008

I'm excited about Wahle. This is a huge addition.
Now they have to lock up Trufant and Brown.

Will the Hawks be looking for a running back in the draft? Is it possible that U of O's Jonathan Stewart falls far enough for us to get him?

Posted by No. 12

11:37 PM, Feb 14, 2008

I think Wahle will be very effective at left guard after 10 productive seasons, two of which were Pro Bowl caliber. Wahle's not much older than Hutch, and about the same as Faneca, whom everyone has been clamoring for as well. How can anyone complain about Wahle going on 31 with the Hawks having played Gray at age 38? Plus, Wahle's from Navy, so he has plenty of fight!

As for the draft, who knows what will happen there until draft day.

Posted by caineman

4:10 AM, Feb 15, 2008

Go Hawks... Super Bowl or bust!!!

Posted by AZ Hawk

5:29 AM, Feb 15, 2008

I think this adds excellent depth to the line. If Sims does lock down the RG spot - and, really, why shouldn't he? Then having Gray for another season or two as a backup and extra set of eyes during the game should only accelerate Sims' progress. And I think this gives Gray the ability to wind down his career nicely by getting some situational playing time.

I really don't know enough to understand what was happening (or not happening) with our running game. Was the OL simply getting beat or were they not directing the DL properly, not maintaining their blocks, missing assignments.

I'm excited at the prospect of regaining a rhythm and dominance in the running game. Now we need more competition at the RB position.

Posted by KitnaFan17

7:21 AM, Feb 15, 2008

I agree with Patrick F. about the pickup of Mike Wahle. Do you think Jonathan Stewart might slip in the draft or would Ruskell being willing to trade up to get him?

Posted by ken Brown

8:51 AM, Feb 15, 2008

Great addition! Now if they can only get Trufant to sign...I think it won't happen though with the money the league has been showing decent Conerbacks as of late. Oh well this looks to be a pretty good draft class for addressing any defensive issues.

Posted by Husky Fan In New York

9:05 AM, Feb 15, 2008

He's one of the best guards in the NFL. Here's a scouting report on him. Excellent signing and hopefully the Hawks will draft or sign a beefy DT in case Tubbs can't make it back:

-----Wahle has a very good combination of size, athleticism and experience. He has been extremely consistent over the years. He can play tackle in a pinch. He plays with good technique and body control. He is physical, nasty and tough. He is an excellent finisher. He plays with good bend, initial quickness and a flat back off the line. He has good lower-body strength and routinely creates movement at the point of attack. He gets good hand placement and has the strong hands to sustain his blocks. He stays square and understands body position and angles. He has the agility to slide off combination blocks and get position at the second level. He has the quickness and agility to pull effectively and will aggressively seek out a target to take out. He has a quick pass set and plays with a solid base and good balance. His technique and athleticism allow him to recover when beaten initially. He is stout inside and will help maintain pocket depth. He plays with very good awareness of line stunts. Wahle has few weaknesses, but he occasionally gets beaten by good double moves. He would have some trouble with speed rushers as a tackle.

Posted by free beer

9:32 AM, Feb 15, 2008

I'm so excited, I'm rum around in a circle spilling beer all over the place....time to get a grip! Sounds good, almost a home boy, wouldn't want meet him in a well lite alley!

Posted by Pete

9:35 AM, Feb 15, 2008

I love this signing. It allows us to lock down a solid guard finally after the Hutch disaster and at a much better price then if we had gone all out after Faneca. Now if we can sign up Locklear, Brown and franchise Trufant maybe in my dream world we have money left over to maybe land Asante Samuel... just a dream.
I dont think Stewart will be available for us at the spot we are drafting. There are just to many teams that need RB's ahead of us in the draft that will probably go and land him. Maybe if we get lucky a guy like Felix Jones could drop to us but we probably take Fred Davis TE from USC and finally get a TE that can catch the ball.

Posted by Patrick F.

10:47 AM, Feb 15, 2008

I heard rumor that Jeremy Shockey might be available in trade, due to the emergence of Kevin Boss.

Would the Seahawks make a move for an All Pro, hot head like Shockey? I think his talent would be worth it.

Posted by fish93

11:10 AM, Feb 15, 2008

Speaking of TE, Alge Crumpler got released today, he wouldn't be a bad addition.

Posted by Ziasudra

11:34 AM, Feb 15, 2008

Crumpler makes more sense - Ruskill has an aversion to hot heads (which suits me fine).

Posted by HAWKfan4lyf

11:37 AM, Feb 15, 2008

i think the seahawks should go after TE alge crumpler.he would be a great pick up to start at tight end position.

Posted by Patrick F.

11:52 AM, Feb 15, 2008

I just read the news on Crumpler. He's a stud, worthy of a contract from the Hawks. Definitely more so than Shockey.

Posted by yee haa

11:55 AM, Feb 15, 2008

Falcons release Crumpler. Come on Mora bring him here!

Posted by sean

12:04 PM, Feb 15, 2008

I like this signing as well. He is a tough, durable, quality linemen, that will be a big upgrade to our O-line for a cheaper price than a guy like Faneca. As for the draft, I think the depth of RB position, we should draft one in the second round and take TE Fred Davis in the first round, and pick up a guy like Rice, Hart, or Slaton in the second round.

Posted by Jonathan

12:21 PM, Feb 15, 2008

Any chance the Hawks can pickup ex-Falcons TE Crumpler who was cut today? I think that would be an easy answer to our tight end woes...

Posted by AZ Hawk

12:21 PM, Feb 15, 2008

Crumpler has that Atlanta connection and you know the Hawks go after players they have a good read on vs. hoping someone like Shockey fits into the locker room.

Hopefully we get an announcement in the next few days about our new stud TE!

Posted by Cranky J

12:32 PM, Feb 15, 2008

Alright people, here's how it's gonna go down. Crumpler will be a Hawk by Wednesday. With his experience in the West Coast offense and obvious connection to Mora that's a no-brainer. With AC in tow there's no need to draft a TE so Ruskell & Co. will turn their attention to RB, which is an exceptionally deep class this year. Hopefully they luck out and are able to land Stewart (my preference) or Jones, or maybe focus on the D-line if neither's available and then look to draft a RB in the 2nd round (Jamall Charles, Justin Forsett, Yvenson Bernard, etc.) and then show how "classy" they are by tellin' Shaun he's either comin' back at a reduced figure or not at all. Mark it dude ...

Posted by Seattle fan

12:45 PM, Feb 15, 2008

They must sign Alge Crumpler. He's a decent blocker who will help alot with whatever RB they end up with in the draft.

The Running Game is already improved with the signing of Wahle, and with a good blocking tight end the Seahawks will be able to do alot more with their offense (namely... start running for yards again).

Posted by hawksfannnnn

12:46 PM, Feb 15, 2008

Do you think it would be smart to go after Crumpler from Atlanta? He's as solid as they get, when he is healthy. I guess that's the big money question. We could offset our poor running game with some tight end production. Go Hawks!

Posted by stankoniaks

1:02 PM, Feb 15, 2008

Why was Crumpler released? Is this a salary cap move? 2 years ago he was by far the best TE in the NFC and top 5 in whole NFL.

Posted by KG

1:10 PM, Feb 15, 2008

I agree, the Wahle move was good - lets just hope it doesn't turn out similar to the Ashworth move. We were excited about getting him from New England but he was a bust. I'm a bit disappointed that this will probably take us away from trying to get Faneca, but as other bloggers pointed out, may be good for salary cap reasons.

I would love to get Crumpler and it makes sense. He knows the west coast offense, and thrived under Mora. I'm sure he would love to play for him again and for a good QB like Matt.

I don't think Trufant is going anywhere - he'll be franchised so I don't think we have to worry about that. Plus, Ruskell won't make that mistake again (as he did with Hutch).

I think Sean Locklear becomes a priority, we can't let him go. Hackett is probably gone and who knows whats up with Josh Brown. But I'm pretty optimistic right now with getting the LG and possible TE situation under control. Allows us to focus on a big DT or backup RB in the draft. I still think we need a #2 CB...Jennings is more a #3.

But hey, we have to be optimistic thus far - hopefully, the stars will align for Holmgren's last season - it sure would be nice for him to retire after a Super Bowl...I know, I need to calm down and not get carried away. But I'm already crazy excited for September.

Posted by NJ Hawk

1:16 PM, Feb 15, 2008

I dont want a Duck from Washington coming back and playing RB for this City's pro team...sorry.
Shockey is poison...Giants only won w/o him...we dont need him to make matt a head case...he is already close enough on his own.
Hart would be a good pick in Draft.
Crumpler and a draft pick TE would be great.

Posted by James

1:20 PM, Feb 15, 2008

The move to sign Wahle was excellent in terms of the quality of player were bringing in and salary cap space left. I hope we can get the running game going again. #37 needs to play the team leader role al la Brady or Payton and restructure his contract to get talent. We need a a TE, be it Alge or someone else who isnt a hot head and can catch the ball. I also wouldnt mine seeing a big boy get drafter for the DL if we get enough of them some have to be healthy during the playoffs. Also hope we get a RB, be it Stewart or some undrafted gem like Grant of GB. Looking forward to September!

Posted by UW alum '06

1:48 PM, Feb 15, 2008

I hope the hawks pick up crumpler! He would be a perfect fit for us. Then all we have left to do in the offseason is cut alexander draft a stud RB and resign Trufant and Brown!

Posted by Cranky J

3:43 PM, Feb 15, 2008

Once they reach the NFL the school an athlete comes from is irrelevant (in terms of rivalries). I rooted for Stevens (UW) when he was here and I still root for Trufant (WSU) and Morris (UO). The NFL is all business and if the players can check their college allegences/rivalries at the door then fans should too. As long as a player is able to come in and make a positive contribution to the team -- both on and off the field -- I could care less if he'd from U-Dub, Wazzu, Oregon or Deleware St.

Posted by bp

4:09 PM, Feb 15, 2008

To answer the questions of why Crumpler was release, I think there were two factors: cost and concerns about health. Atlanta is in a huge bind with their salary structure especially with the Vick bonus situation not resolved yet.

As to the health issue, he had nagging knee issues this season and his production dropped. He just turned 30. If he comes back full strength, you can likely expect another couple years at near pro-bowl level. If he doesn't fully recover, he could be in his end of days.

The Crumpler we all know would seem to be a nice fit. He was the main receiving threat but also part of the line that was consistently at the top of the league in rushing during prior to last year.

Posted by Pete

5:24 PM, Feb 15, 2008

Why do I see so many putting Hart up for us? I love his attitude and skills but he dosent have that break away speed and he has way to much wear on his legs.
It would be great to see if we could get Crumpler and finally have a pass catching TE for a few years.

Posted by free beer

8:48 PM, Feb 15, 2008

God, it's really nice to see some Hawker life out there....I was getting lonesome posting against my own post.....their aliiiiive!

Posted by hawkiner 1

6:10 PM, Feb 18, 2008

THe hawks need to resign Trufant, not worry about Josh Brown as kickers come a dime a dozen...sign Crumpler, and finally address RB via the draft..best fit would be Mendenhall from Illinois.

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