Friday, August 30, 2013

Bring on the regular season!

Seattle won it's 10th consecutive preseason game in a victory over Oakland last night at the CLink, going undefeated for the second strait preseason. Once again, the team looked dominant in all phases of the game.

Russell Wilson played only a single series but looked damn sharp. Wilson looks prepared for the season opener in Carolina, going 3 for 3 through the air including a 50 yard bomb to roster hopeful, Stephen Williams. He also scrambled for an 11 yard gain before his night was over.

Tarvaris Jackson is now entrenched at the backup position while Brady Quinn essentially
auditioned for a role with a quarterback-hungry team. Given the depth of this team at every position, it's impossible to think that Seattle would dream of keeping all three quarterbacks on the roster after Saturday's cut deadline.

Kickers are seldom discussed but Steven Hauschka has often been criticized for his ability to boot field goals beyond 50 yards. Hauschka silenced those criticisms last night, connecting on field goals of 22, 43, 51, 53 and 56 yards.

Snoop Lion and fellow Comptonite, Richard Sherman.
Capping off an outstanding preseason, Jermaine Kearse continued to show why he'll make this team with another great night. Kearse had a pair of receptions for 50 yards including a spectacular leaping grab on a pass from Brady Quinn for a 33 yard gain. Especially in Percy Harvin's absence, it's almost insane to think Kearse won't make this team.

The area of greatest concern has to be the defensive line. Seattle gave up 126 rushing yards last night in large part to the void left by Brandon Mebane, Tony McDaniel and rookie Jordan Hill. Jesse Williams will miss the entirety of his rookie season due to injury which leaves Seattle remarkably depleted at the defensive tackle spot. Some credit must be given to Oakland and their strong running game, but lack of experience really hindered Seattle's defensive front.

It didn't, however, seem to effect Seattle's pass rush. The Seahawks finished the night with 4 sacks at the hands of Chris Maragos, Bruce Irvin, Benson Mayowa and a shared sack by Jaye Howard and Ty Powell. Bruce Irvin seemed to really take to the transition from defensive end to linebacker, amassing 3 solo tackles and an assist. Meanwhile, Benson Mayowa continues to comfort me as the concerns of the availability of Chris Clemons, Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett for the season opener grow.

The position group that I am most interested in seeing who makes the final cut has to be the linebackers. Allen Bradford has shown tremendous growth in every game since making the unusual transition from tailback to linebacker. John Lotulelei is another player on the bubble who I'd love to see, at the very least, find his way to the practice squad.

The player I was most disappointed in last night was Chris Harper. Harper had two inexplicably dropped passes, one of which was a surefire touchdown had he held on to it, in a game where he desperately needed to separate himself from Stephen Williams and the other receivers trying to make the team. Since we drafted him in the 4th round, Harper has yet to prove his worth in a crowded receiver group.  I had initially hoped he would grab the final spot and slowly grow into a starting role over the coming seasons-- now I'm just hoping we can keep him on the practice squad.

How about Walter Thurmond? He looks, for the first time in his professional career, completely healthy and confident. Thurmond was all over the field last night and made some outstanding plays including a one-handed interception and a 29 yard punt return. Whether he beats out Antoine Winfield or not, it will be tremendous simply having him in the rotation.

The preseason is officially in the books and by Saturday afternoon we will know exactly what our 53-man roster will look like to open the season. One week from this Sunday, Seattle will begin this historic season in Charlotte, North Carolina to take on Cam Newton and the Panthers.

I like the idea of starting on the road against a tough but beatable team. Seattle should win, but the fact they are only favored by 3 points is a testament to how tough that game will be. Carolina is young but talented enough not to be overlooked.  Regardless, I think we're all ready for some (meaningful) football.

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