It's no secret that the Seahawks were in need of some help defensively last year. During the offseason, we've been able to look back and reassess the causes of the problems last year: poor defensive line play, crappy schemes, short cornerbacks, Brian Russell, et cetera. Tim Ruskell clearly saw eye to eye on some of these concerns -- he went out and bolstered the defensive line with Cory Redding and Colin Cole, changed the scheme (okay, that was Mora, but still), and went out and signed Ken Lucas to a one-year deal.
Lucas has been named the starter at the Right Cornerback position and, in all likelihood, he will be the starter in Week One. However, Josh Wilson has made it clear that this disappointed him and he is looking to have a big role on this team. Don't be surprised if, in 2008 as in 2007, Wilson proves himself a competitor for the starting spot by mid-season.
Last year, Josh Wilson came out and took the starting job away from Kelly Jennings somewhat surprisingly. A lot of people have snarked that Jennings always stunk so this didn't mean much, but that's not true. In 2007, Jennings made a clear step up and had a very good season. In 2008, he lost his groove and Wilson was all too willing to step up and start. Further, he markedly improved throughout the year. Wilson has the speed required to succeed at this level, fluid hips, and a killer instinct when the ball comes his way. Yes, he gave up a lot of yards to Larry Fitzgerald and some of the bigger receivers, but so did practically every other cornerback in the league. His size hurts him, we get it, but the majority of starting CBs in the NFL are between 5'9" and 6'0". I don't think those three inches are as make or break as many others do.
Still, the battle for the RCB position will be a quiet one. It won't necessarily be won out on the field so much as on the practice field, it won't be dueling banjos like the RB situation last year (Jones starts, no Morris starts, wait Jones is starting, oh look Morris...). If Wilson can come out and be a) technically sound, b) effective at blitzing, and c) a ballhawk, look for him to threaten by mid-season for this job. This all starts in the Pre-season. The way I see it, Wilson's effectiveness as the nickel corner is going to alter our game plans. If he is competing as hard as he did last year, they are going to want him on the field. We need a fast, hard, aggressive defense and Wilson, though small, can provide that.
Beyond that though, Lucas was signed to a one-year contract. Will he be re-signed? Will we fill that role in the draft or free agency next year? Or will Wilson prove definitively this year that he deserves to be the starter for years to come? It all starts in training camp, and that all starts THIS. WEEK.