Seahawks Camp Preview: Nickelback

Publically, Mike Holmgren has put Kelly Jennings' job up for auction. Privately, the idea is near absurd. Like last year's tactical challenge of Sean Locklear, this is more about a good player being challenged to get better. Not a condemnation of Jennings' play or a true solicitation of a replacement.

Seattle's nickelback spot is much less settled. A recent rumor circulated by Pro Football Weekly has stirred speculation that Kevin Hobbs could be taking over Josh Wilson's dime spot. In reality, both are competing for the nickel spot. The rumor itself should be ignored. It has all the hallmarks of bullshit. Nebulous source: team insider. Weird timing: July 16, when nothing team related is happening. Misguided quote: "I definitely see him possibly grabbing the ‘dime' role from Josh Wilson, whose best plays have come from having to use his athleticism to recover from all the plays he keeps missing." Wilson had 4 non-special teams tackles last season and not a single pass defense. I can't for the life of me remember a "best play" to speak of. But Wilson did begin to supplant Jordan Babineaux by very late in the season and should be considered the favorite for the nickel spot.

The reasons for that are simple. First, he's a Tim Ruskell pick, and good or bad we know that comes with some protection. Ruskell has aggressively promoted his own picks and largely sloughed off Holmgren era holdovers. He's also easily the most talented of the three corners in serious contention for the position. The man ahead of Wilson, Babineaux, was nearly benched by the end of the season and likely would have been benched if Wilson enjoyed a single prolonged period of health. Wilson also had a good mini-camp, and it must be recognized that "most improved" tags are commonly assigned hard-working roster fodder. One must improve from something to be most improved, and Hobbs was already released once by Seattle. He could be much improved and still only adequate, but, then, Hobbs is only 25, so marked improvement is possible. Possible.

And that's the fun part. Kevin Hobbs improving, challenging Wilson and Babineaux for the nickel spot is a win-win. Competition is a quickening that spurs greatness. Hobbs, Wilson and Babineaux should each push each other, and with any luck, the best will be selected to man the nickel. Be it Hobbs, be it Wilson-

Anyone but Babs.

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