Several Questions to be Answered
The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Tennessee Titans in their preseason opener this past Saturday 27-17.
We all know preseason scores are utterly meaningless. However, it is still encouraging seeing your players make plays and score touchdowns.
The preseason is a glimpse at your team’s progress from this past season to the upcoming, and the first time seeing rookies and new acquisitions in Seahawk-blue making plays.
New jerseys, new quarterbacks, and new receivers all bode optimism and anticipation for the 2012 preseason, but there are still several questions to be answered after the week one victory.
With the quarterback battle highlighting the Seahawks training camp, the run game as been somewhat of an afterthought.
Constant debates regarding who Pete Carroll should start at QB buzzing the northwest have shown the fan base’s natural assumption that the running game is going to be successful.
How couldn’t it?
The Seahawks are built to be a power-running team with a great defense and a conservative quarterback who manages the game (essentially the identity of the 2011 49ers).
With Marshawn Lynch sitting against the Titans, fans were going to get a solid dose of rookie running back Robert Turbin. This excited me, a huge Turbin fan, having the opportunity to see him use his size to stiff-arm linebackers to the turf with his best Lynch-impression and make a name for himself in the NFL.
Unfortunately, Baby-Beast-Mode never made an appearance.
Instead, Leon Washington started the game off with three consecutive runs of over 8 yards, and then was soon replaced by a Turbin who seemed to be running through the motions.Washington ended the game with a solid outing, posting 26 yards on 5 carries.
Turbin led the team in carries with 10, yet posted a mere 24-yard-performance.
In Denver this coming week I hope to see the Robert Turbin I saw at Utah State, punishing defenders for attempting to bring him to the ground. Not the 2.4 yard-per-carry sally we saw Saturday night.
Bruce Irvin, Where You At?
First-round-pick Bruce Irvin has been proving the doubters wrong all summer with his fantastic performances in training camp. Showing off his speed bursts and flying off the line, he quickly has been showing why the Seahawks took him with the 15th pick overall.
I went into Saturday night expecting a bittersweet outcome, assuming Bruce Irvin was going to destroy the opposing quarterback, and that the opposing quarterback was going to be our beloved Matthew Hasselbeck.
I accepted it. I said my prayers, hoping Hasselbeck would remain in one piece.
Maybe Bruce Irvin could wait to really turn on the burners once former Washington Husky Jake Locker took the reigns.
I could watch him get hit a few times by my boy Bruce. (Go Cougs)
To my dismay, Bruce Irvin did not record a single tackle, let alone sack, the entire game Saturday night. He was constantly being held up by blockers, not finding his corner, and flat out being outplayed by the offensive line.
Granted, the Tennessee Titans have outstanding pass protection. They finished top five in sacks allowed and penalties last season, while boasting two great tackles in Michael Roos and David Stewart.
Unfortunately it doesn’t get any easier for Irvin, going against a solid offensive line in Denver. Not to mention that the quarterback being protected is Peyton Manning, who has arguably one of the quickest releases ever from inside the pocket.
Hopefully Irvin can surpass the odds, and put Peyton on the turf. Let’s find out how that neck is holding up, eh Bruce?
Okay, Okay, Let’s Talk Quarterbacks
The highest anticipated battle going into the game, the quarterbacks, put out the performance I think everyone expected.
Matt Flynn started the game, leading the first-team offense on a 9-minute drive, completing short-to-intermediate passes the entire drive. He showed the calmness and poise in the pocket that he is known for, and did not take any risks down the field.
Flynn ended up 11-13 for 71 yards and an interception.
Flynn should not take all of the blame for the interception. It was a busted play from the beginning, Turbin went the wrong way on a play-action, leaving the linebacker in coverage instead of stepping up to stop the run.
The same linebacker dropped back and intercepted Flynn’s throw intended for Ben Obomanu.
Meanwhile, Russell Wilson showed why Pete Carroll has had a school boy crush on him the entire training camp. The guy is exciting.
It was obvious the Seahawks have adjusted their packages to fit Wilson’s play. He looked much like he did at Wisconsin, rolling out of the pocket on bootlegs and making accurate throws on the run.
Wilson had the two highlights of the game, throwing a 39-yard touchdown pass to newly-added Braylon Edwards, along with a naked bootleg that turned into a 32-yard rushing touchdown.
The touchdown pass to Edwards was a jump-ball in which Braylon made a fantastic play. But the ball was still thrown where it needed to be, and the receiver stepped up and made the play.
The rushing touchdown just shows how dangerous Wilson can be, and shows speed at the quarterback position that the Seahawks have never had (besides Seneca Wallace).
The question is which quarterback do you start come this Saturday? If Carroll believes Flynn is his starter, he has to put him out there with the first team again.
If Wilson’s play-making ability gained ground in the QB battle, then maybe Carroll will throw him out there with the first-team.
With these questions yet to be answered, one fact remains. Tarvaris Jackson will not be the starter come week one, so Seattle fans can exhale.
We have our answers now. Here’s are @NWSBQ ‘s tweets from the just finished Pete Carroll post Tuesday Press Conference.
Pete Carroll quotes “Basically will be first half second half kind of thinking again w/ regards to the QB sitch. Flynn will start” #Seahawks
— Q Smith (@NWSBQ) August 14, 2012
— Q Smith (@NWSBQ) August 14, 2012
Pete Carroll quotes “Emphasis right now is to get Matt and Russell the gametime to get a body of knowledge on them” #Seahawks
— Q Smith (@NWSBQ) August 14, 2012
…is the Popcorn Ready Yet?
Terrell Owens did not dress down for the preseason opener. He was not ready, we were notified, nobody was surprised. Will he be dressing down in Denver?
The reason I think he should, and will, is he is losing ground in the receiver battle for that number two spot.
The spot opposite of Rice is up for grabs, and Braylon Edwards took the lead when he reeled in that 39-yard touchdown pass Saturday night.
When Braylon Edwards came to Seattle, nothing really changed in my mind. He was just a receiver oozing with talent, who never provided the every-down discipline to be an elite receiver.
When Owens came to Seattle, numerous emotions ran through my body. Excitement, fear, where’s-my-phone-so-I-can-re-tweet-this, these kind of emotions. But I assumed he was going to occupy that second spot over Braylon because, well, he is TO.
After seeing Edwards go up for that ball over the Titans defender and ripping it from his hands, the battle is wide open. Braylon seems to have the lead, so Owens better find his way onto that field this coming Saturday.
Will this Defense Be as Great as We Think?
This defense is the most exciting part of this team, I don’t think anybody can deny that. With more youth than Sandusky’s – I’m just gonna stop it right there – they’re young. They’re talented, crazy talented.
The secondary last year sent three players to the pro bowl.
Should have been four, considering Kam Chancellor‘s stats blew Adrian Wilson’s out of the water, but the popularity contest that is the pro bowl struck again.
Nevertheless, the secondary is fantastic. And they showed that Saturday night, starting the game off with a pick-six by Brandon Browner (weird, I know) and later an interception by Richard Sherman (weird, I know).
Browner (the Pro bowler) and Sherman (Who believes he’s a Pro Bowler) proved that last season was no fluke, and that they are here to stay.
They will be facing one of the top quarterbacks of all-time in Peyton Manning.
The most exciting match up of the game, if you ask me, is how our young secondary reacts to the great quarterback.
Will they fall for his look-offs? Will they leave a sliver of room for Manning to thread a needle through?
Or will they continue their ball-hawk mentality and embarrass the veteran quarterback in front of his new fans?
I’m voting for the latter.