Broncos at Seahawks: Five Questions with the Enemy

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Questions answered by the Seattle Seahawks experts over at Field Gulls.

Answers by Field Gulls author Danny Kelly. Follow him on Twitter @FieldGulls.

1. Since it's just preseason, how long can we expect the starters to play?
In PSW1, the Hawks' starters got two series of action. This lasted into the 2nd quarter because the Chargers had a long drive that ate up a large part of the first quarter, but I would guess that the starter playing time would be somewhere around two or three series (or perhaps just the first quarter and part of the second, depending on the number of plays they run). The first unit was a little sloppy though in San Diego, and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, head coach Pete Carroll, and quarterback Russell Wilson have all expressed disappointment with that and have a goal to really clean some stuff up this week. Obviously, that won't be easy facing one of the best defenses in the NFL in the Broncos, but I'd guess if things are shaky early on, Carroll might let the starters play a little longer to try and establish a rhythm.


2. Russell Wilson exploded onto the scene last year, what is he looking to improve on this year?
Wilson has stated explicitly that he wants to improve in the red zone and on third down (he did quite well in both of those areas as a rookie, but obviously he thinks those are two key metrics for sustained success), and specifically that he's constantly working on his footwork and pre-snap defensive reads. A couple of quarterbacks that he consistently mentions in interviews are Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, and Wilson tries to emulate them in work ethic and their scholarly approach to the game.

Wilson obviously shares Brees' height disadvantage, so things like sliding around in the pocket, finding passing lanes, and knowing exactly where all your receivers should be while knowing where certain defenses have weaknesses - these are the types of things I would imagine he's working on. Other things like improving chemistry with his receivers, timing, accuracy - these are all goals I'd guess he has now that he's getting all of the first-team reps in training camp and preseason. Last year, he didn't have that luxury while embroiled in a three-way quarterback competition until Week 4 of the preseason.


3. What are the most interesting and intense camp battles going on in Seattle?
There are some great battles going on at both the wide receiver and fullback positions on offense, and at the defensive end/outside linebacker and defensive tackle positions on defense.


With Percy Harvin set to miss at least the first half of the season on the PUP list following his hip surgery, that opens up a spot at receiver that a number of guys are vying for. Jermaine Kearse, Stephen Williams, Chris Harper, Bryan Walters, Brett Swain, Perez Ashford, Arceto Clark, Donavon Kemp and Brett Swain all looking for a spot on the roster behind Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, and Doug Baldwin.


Also on offense, incumbent Mike Robinson will look to hold off rookie Spencer Ware, second-year back Derrick Coleman, and now-converted WR Phil Bates at the fullback spot. Ware and Bates in particular are supposed to be getting a good amount of snaps so that will be a position group to monitor.


On defense, with Chris Clemons' health still up in the air and with Bruce Irvin set to miss the first four games of the season, guys like O'Brien Schofield, Mike Morgan, Ty Powell, Benson Mayowa, and Malcolm Smith are looking to lock up a spot on the roster at the Seahawks' LEO/OLB spot (similar in some ways to what Von Miller plays). On the interior of the line, rookies Jesse Williams and Jordan Hill are competing not only for playing time, but for 'starting' jobs in the base and nickel defense.


4. With Bruce Irvin out for a couple of games, who is going to step up in his place?
Like I mentioned, O'Brien Schofield, Mike Morgan, Ty Powell, Benson Mayowa, and Malcolm Smith are all factors at Irvin's position, and Cliff Avril is another guy that was signed over the offseason that will surely get a lot of action rushing from the edge. Seattle's hybrid 4-3 defense will ask their weak side defensive end and strong side linebacker to rush the quarterback or drop into coverage and it often looks like a 3-4 scheme, so all of these guys have to be versatile enough to do both. Schofield is a recent pickup off the waiver wires from Arizona, and Ty Powell and Benson Mayowa are two promising rookies. Mike Morgan and Malcolm Smith have both been with the team for a few years and offer a lot in speed and athleticism. It should be a very interesting battle - not only to see who ends up playing the most, but to see how exactly Seattle's new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn ends up using them.


5. Who should us Bronco fans look out for in the later quarters?
Chris Harper - a receiver out of Kansas State, is a guy that the Seahawks seem high on as a big, physical Anquan Boldin type of player, but he hasn't shown a ton in camp or in the first week of the preseason, and is facing pretty stiff competition at a deep position. He's a guy that may need to impress over the next few weeks to earn a soot on the team so he's a guy I'll be watching closely. Another rookie - an undrafted weakside linebacker out of UNLV - John Lotulelei, is also a guy that Seahawk coaches have raved about and he played very well in Seattle's first preseason matchup. He's easily recognizable as the guy with long, flowing Troy Polamalu hair coming out of the back of his helmet. Finally, Allen Bradford is a former USC running back whose former Trojan coaches - Ken Norton Jr. and Pete Carroll - have decided to move to linebacker. Bradford was a five-star linebacker recruit in high school and moved to running back in college (and was drafted as one by the Buccaneers), but is fighting for a spot as the backup at middle linebacker behind Bobby Wagner. He's one to watch as well.

Big thanks again to Field Gulls for taking the time to answer these questions! Check back with them for our answers to their questions later today.

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