|Veterans Grant, Russell bring stability to Seahawks secondary|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 21 August 2007 15:06|
``I had a double glass of wine that night,'' Marshall said.
Marshall can rest easier these days with Grant and Russell patrolling the back-end of Seattle's defense. Last year, Seattle's safeties only went to add a few more white hairs on Marshall's head, as the Seahawks secondary was prone to blowing coverages and giving up big plays.
So, a makeover was ordered in the offseason.
Free safety Ken Hamlin was not pursued in free agency and ended up going to Dallas, while strong safety Michael Boulware was demoted to the second team. Following the April draft, Seattle cut veteran cornerback Kelly Herndon, confident that second-year pro Kelly Jennings could handle the responsibility, with new second-round draft pick Josh Wilson backing him up.
Only cornerback Marcus Trufant returns as a starter in the secondary, and the centerpieces of the entire change are Grant and Russell.
``They want to win and that's probably the No. 1 thing,'' Marshall said. ``They're both winners and they want to win. They're very, very well enough prepared. I really can't say enough about them, they're both true professional guys.''
And those qualities were just what Seattle was looking for, with Grant and Russell at the top of the Seahawks want list in the offseason.
Grant is the vocal, energetic, outgoing personality in the secondary. Since missing the entire 2000 season after being placed on injured reserve with a hip injury, Grant has started 96 consecutive games with Carolina and Jacksonville.
Despite his new location, Grant has easily made the transition. Always talking, either to his teammates or the offense, getting comfortable with his new team wasn't a problem.
``I'm a people person,'' Grant said. ``I can talk with the most big time celebrity out here, or I can talk to the guy who's a nobody. I can get along with everybody.''
Compared to Grant, Russell is soft-spoken, but equally dependable. Over the last four seasons, Russell has started every game he's played in, only being sidelined for the final four games of last year by a staph infection.
In Cleveland, Russell's responsibility was to make sure the Browns' defense wasn't beaten deep. That led to some boring games with only a few passes thrown his direction.
In Seattle, the requirements are similar, but he'll also be asked to blitz and help in run support - much like his first three seasons in Minnesota. Getting a more varied opportunity, and the chance to get back on the West Coast, sold Russell on Seattle.
``On my trip up here, I let them know that I wanted to get to a place where I had done all those things in the past,'' Russell said. ``They said that's how you will fit for us.''
Both are revered for their reliability and fundamentals. That's not to say neither is going to play conservatively or bypass a chance at an interception or big hit. Russell believes that will come with time, as both he and Grant learn the tendencies of each other, along with Jennings and Trufant.
``Once you get those things down, then you can take calculated risks as a secondary,'' Russell said. ``You just don't want to jump all sorts of things, trying to make big plays, (and) the ball goes over your head. Last year in Cleveland, I knew those guys, we got it together. Here, three new starters, I think you'd be fooling yourself if you didn't have to work out a few kinks.''