Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Glowing Endorsement for Lasik

As a receiver at the University of Washington, there were times when Jermaine Kearse made spectacular catches and game-changing plays. There were also times where, inexplicably, Kearse would just plain blow it. This consistent inconsistency was the main reason the young Husky, who also played his high school ball in the state of Washington, went overlooked in all seven rounds of the draft before the Seahawks signed him as an undrafted free agent.

So why is Jermaine Kearse having such an incredible preseason?

That's a complicated answer.  You have to imagine that part of it has to do with having a full camp to build rapport with quarterback Russell Wilson.  Another major factor has to be the time he spends in the close-knit receiver group with veterans like Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and now Percy Harvin.  Perhaps he's just older, wiser and more confident after getting called up from the practice squad last season.

Arguably the biggest source of Jermaine's seemingly new found reliability has to do with a procedure he had last February to correct his poor vision.  Kearse underwent Lasik, commonly referred to as laser eye surgery, which is a type of refractive surgery for the correction of myopia, hypermetropia, and astigmatism.

Kearse would occasionally wear contacts while playing at Washington but found them problematic.  Now, he's seemingly free from those distractions and able to focus solely on his in-game responsibilities.

Kearse had a 12-yard touchdown reception from Wilson in the first quarter and followed that up with a 107-yard kickoff returned for a touchdown.  With Harvin out for the foreseeable future-- there's a job opening for a return specialist.  Kearse, who hadn't performed return duties since he was at Lakes High School, has definitely made a case for himself.

Seattle put a 40-10 beating on Peyton Manning's Broncos, who themselves, like the Seahawks, are being touted as significant Super Bowl contenders. In the first extended viewing of the first stringers, Seattle's starters shined with an air of dominance unlike any other Super Bowl hopeful this preseason.

Having displayed tremendous secondary depth this offseason, many had wondered if Brandon Browner would retain his starting job with the emergence of guys like Walter Thurmond, Jeremy Lane, Byron Maxwell, Will Blackmon and recent draft pick Tharold Simon.

Browner answered those questions with dominance last night.

Yeah, he's probably the slowest defensive back on the team, but that's not the aspect of his game that he relies on-- that would be his brute strength.  Browner ripped the ball out of the arms of Broncos tight end Julius Thomas for one of the three Seahawk turnovers.  He followed that up with a 106-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

The Seahawks defense once again looked incredibly tough. Kam Chancellor was in on 11 tackles and had a fumble recovery, Bobby Wagner put a lick on Peyton Manning, O'Brien Schofield forced and recovered a fumble with a sack, John Lotulelei continued to impress while flying all over the field and DeShawn Shead came up with a late interception.

You'd think that having let go Leon Washington while losing Percy Harvin to injury would devastate the Seahawks special teams, but outside of a botched extra point by Steven Hauschka and a missed field goal from back up kicker, Carson Wiggs-- the special teams unit looked outstanding.

Almost every kick and punt return was stopped in it's tracks, and the one that Trindon Holliday broke for 73-yards, was deprived of a touchdown by punter Jon Ryan and Perez Ashford. Conversely, every player that took on return duties for Seattle seemed to find success, including Golden Tate, Jeremy Lane and, of course, Kearse.

The offense looked spectacular from the top down.  Russell Wilson went 8 for 12 tossing a pair of touchdowns and breaking a 10-yard run.  Spencer Ware and Robert Turbin both ran hard and hungry; combining for 89 yards on the ground. Tarvaris Jackson continues to be the favorite as Wilson's backup throwing for a touchdown and rushing for 23 yards.

Vying for that extra receiver spot created by Harvin's absence, Stephen Williams caught another big touchdown, a 38-yard bomb from Jackson.  Williams gives Seattle a tall, outside threat that can get down field in a hurry. In a talented but crowded group of pass catchers, Williams brings something a little different to the table.  Sidney Rice is the only player that comes close to William's 6 foot 5 inch frame and given Rice's injury history, it's not a bad idea keeping both of them on this roster.

Having watched portions of all of the preseason games around the league, I can confidently say that the Seahawks look to be the best, most dominant team in the league.  Seattle, unlike all of the other teams in the Super Bowl conversation, have consistently impressed from top to bottom.

If you're one of those people that still thinks that the road to the Lombardi Trophy will come through San Francisco-- you are delusional.  The 49ers only put up a measly 6 points against these same Broncos and barely escaped defeat against the worst team in the league last season in Kansas City. While the Seahawks added to their already incredible roster, San Francisco seemed to only lose pieces from their Super Bowl team.

Brock Huard, who has been terrific in color commentary for Seattle's preseason games, put it best-- "Well, if anybody wanted some of the hype and expectation to diminish with your Seattle Seahawk team-- it's not gonna happen. In fact, I think all you're doing is fanning the flames of excitement with what you're getting out of your special teams, out of your offense out of your play-making tonight."

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