Please pardon my intrusion. I’m Jacson and I write for Field Gulls, the Seattle Seahawks’ SBN site. Mile High Report has agreed to swap "what to watch for" articles before Saturday’s game, so I’m here to offer a little overview on some things to keep your eyes open for from Seattle's side.
I realize that many of you may not be terribly interested in what to look for from the Seahawks, but take a moment to think about how similar our two franchises are;
*You guys had John Elway, we had Rick Mirer
*You guys won back-to-back Super Bowls, we’re the reigning division champs
*Your coach is named Fox, ours is a silver fox.
*You guys had a 2,000 yard rusher, we had Ricky Watters once
*You guys drafted Von Miller, I drink Miller Genuine Draft
You see, we’re not so different, you and I.
With that in mind, here are the key points from the Seahawks’ perspective:
The third pre-season game is unique in that it's the one in which you typically get the best look at what a team will be like during the regular season. During the first two games, Seattle's starters played one and two quarters, respectively. Head Coach Pete Carroll has said that the projected starters will play well into the second half of this one, so it's our best opportunity to evaluate the players that are likely to have the biggest impact on our season.
I, for one, am partial to the last pre-season game because I am utterly fascinated by the battles for the final roster spots, but that is another thing entirely. As far as Saturday's game goes, however, you'll be privy to watching a combination of Vikings West (WR Sidney Rice, QB Tarvaris Jackson, and OC Darrell Bevell) attempting to merge with Raiders North (TE Zach Miller, OG Robert Gallery, OL Coach Tom Cable). The Seahawks have created a culture of roster turnover in the first two off-seasons under Carroll and GM John Schneider, as the team transistions from the Mike Holmgren / Tim Ruskell era of gritty veteran presence the Carroll / Schneider era of high-upside playmakers.
Offensively, the Seahawks are an interesting case study in system adaptation. Carroll brought a distinct offensive formula to Seattle and, instead of trying to force a bunch of old, square pegs into his round holes (gross), he has brought in a bunch of guys that fit his system. Jackson is a mobile quarterback with questionable accuracy, but he knows Bevell's offense and is being asked to be more of a game manager than a game-changer. It will be interesting to see how he handles the precision necessary for underneath routes, and how often he goes deep to his main man Rice.
In the first two games, Jackson has spent as much time running for survival as he has spent in the pocket, as Seattle's brand new offensive line has had their issues gelling together. With Russell Okung nursing his ankle, Tyler Polumbus has had to fill in as a bookend. Seattle used it's first two draft picks this year on the right side of their line, picking OT James Carpenter and OG John Moffitt. Both have showed talent, but have also showed how big the difference between college and the pros is. I'm curious to see how they handle V. Miller and Elvis Dumervil.
Seattle has also loaded up their backfield, with ESPY nominee Leon Washington and the diminutive, I-Dare-You-To-Tackle-Me Justin Forsett backing up certified lunatic and author of one of the greatest post-season plays in history, Marshawn Lynch. With Lynch resting on Saturday, the competition for secondary carries will be fierce, as Washington appears to be back to the form that had him on track to be the Jets' future feature back and Forsett sports a mean 4.9 YPC for his career.
The wide-outs should be fun to watch, too, as towering split ends Rice and Mike Williams offer complimentary skill-sets (Rice as a deep-threat, Williams as a monstrous possession receiver). Their roles on this team are not in question, but it's the guys beneath them that offer intrigue. Golden Tate flashes Percy Harvin potential, but has thus far struggled transitioning from best-athlete-on-the-field in college to precise-route-runner and needs a solid performance to solidify himself as the #3 guy. Doug Baldwin and Ben Obomanu are poised to rip that title from him if he continues to falter. Bevell's offense seemingly favors a guy like Tate, who in a Field Gulls interview admits to having a running back mind-set despite being a wide receiver. Furthermore, the Seahawks now feature a potent two-TE offense with Z. Miller and John Carlson that reflects Carroll's preference while at USC but has gone into hibernation in the NFL.
Defensively speaking, the Seahawks are extremely young, as they--
You guys still with me? Some of you? Good enough.
The defensive line has potential to be very disruptive, and is the most consistent aspect of the Seattle team from last year. Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane represent some of the best interior line value in the league and the Chris Clemons / Raheem Brock are capable of providing off-the-end pressure when the guards and center are tied up with Bryant and Mebane. I don't know what shape the Broncos' tackles are in, but they should be well-tested by the time the game is over.
The 'Hawks linebacking core is a bit of a grab bag. You've got unheralded ball-hawk David Hawthorne, on-the-precipice-of-being-a-bust Aaron Curry, returning felon Leroy Hill, over-performing rookie KJ Wright, and a battle for the final one or two spots between USC rooks Malcolm Smith, Michael Morgan, and Rams transplant David Vobora.
For my money, the most interesting aspect of the Seattle team is the secondary. With Kam Chancellor recovering from one of those not-serious pre-season injuries, generally untested (yet promising) Josh Pinkard will be lining up at strong safety next to future Pro-Bowler Earl Thomas. Those two will be backed up by some combination of roster hopefuls Atari Bigby, Jeron Johnson, and friend of Field Gulls, Mark LeGree. The cornerback position is intriguing as well, as youngsters Walter Thurmond III, Richard Sherman, and Byron Maxwell compete with incumbent (and fan-punching-bag) Kelly Jennings for the starting spot opposite Marcus Trufant.
I have no idea how much any of this matters to you guys, but I hope it is a helpful aid as you watch the NFL foreplay that is pre-season football. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section and I'll do my best to answer them. Thanks for your time.
Cheers, and here's to everyone on both teams getting up after every play.