Step up time
The Seattle Seahawks are headed down to University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday to take on division foe Arizona to start the regular season. Many feel it could be a trap game given the rookie factor surrounding this Seahawk team as well as the injuries the team has sustained.
With so many questionable players, it is hard to say exactly who will play in week 1. The ones lucky enough to get to start will have a lot to prove.
After yet another partial offensive makeover in the offseason, these new players are looking to establish themselves not only as starters on the Seattle Seahawks, but to establish themselves in the division and around the league.
These are 5 guys I believe must impress in week 1 versus the Cardinals.
For obvious reasons, Russell Wilson has to impress the most on this revamped Seahawks offense. Pete Carroll took a huge gamble on naming him started over Matt Flynn and needs Wilson to make his decision look legitimate.
After spending $26 million to get Flynn, the Seahawks were looking at him as the next starter. Even after the drafting of Wilson, most still believe Flynn would be out starter. Throughout preseason, though, Wilson consistently outplayed Flynn to steal the starting job.
His leash will be tight and he WILL need to impress in order to get people to stop calling for Flynn as starter and to keep his job early on in the season.
Sidney Rice was probably the most heralded free agent the Seahawks snagged in last year’s preseason. He had an injury prone career in Minnesota before coming to Seattle and hopes were high that he would shake the injury bug and go back to prime form. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and he spent most of last year injured once again.
Everyone says he’s 100% healthy now and ready to go. He’s going to have to be, because this team is lacking a true #2 receiver to coincide with him and the Seahawks need a tall player who has deep threat capabilities to back up the defense and take some pressure off Wilson.
Rice needs to have a breakout year or else he will basically be a bust in Seattle. This week is as good a time as any to make his mark immediately against a pretty weak Arizona Cardinals team.
Another player the Seahawks were excited to get last preseason, Zach Miller actually played the season, but the expectations were much higher than they should have been.
After his past success in Oakland, Miller made himself a hot commodity. He was a good checkdown option with good hands who could get you a few yards when needed. More importantly, though, is the fact that he is a good blocker.
Last season, Miller was used as a 6th lineman essentially because of the poor offensive line play and never really got to go downfield and make plays. Because that is what everyone was expecting, he is widely known as a poor choice of free agency money.
He should get many chances this season to actually become a receiver and a game against the Cardinals might be just what he needed to prove he can still be a Pro Bowl caliber tight end.
I was initially skeptical of the Braylon Edwards signing for pretty obvious reasons. As camp progressed and preseason started, it was evident that he still had plenty of gas left in the tank. His hard work and dedication has made him a positive story in Seattle when many thought it would be opposite that.
With his career winding down, Edwards need to prove to himself, to the Seahawks and to the NFL that he is not done yet. And as I’ve been saying, using the weak Arizona Cardinals as a stepping stone is the perfect way to start silencing the critics, haters and doubters.
The depth chart may be jumbled, but Edwards will get his shots in the game and needs to make the best of them in order to make the move to bring him in a smart one on the part of PCJS.
Another rookie who impressed, Bobby Wagner came right in and went straight to work. His work ethic, intelligence and love of the game were evident from what his coaches and teammates said about him. And he has shown it so far.
He played so well that it made one of the Seahawks’ offseason acquisitions, Barrett Ruud, expendable and he was traded.
This opened the door for Wagner to get the starting spot.
Shoring up a linebacking corps that was a little bit shaky with some big gaps is a big deal in this Gus Bradley defense and he will need to step his game up and hit some Cardinals really hard this weekend.
A lot of people were scratching their heads when the Seahawks drafted Wagner, but he is looking to start proving them all wrong in Arizona.