Are the Hawks ready for 2014?
Two Seattle Seahawks‘ preseason matchups are finished and we have two to go.
As difficult as it is to gain much of anything constructive out of preseason games, I do have a few thoughts as we cross the midpoint of preseason on our way to much more meaningful games.
I like the offense I have seen overall from Seattle. Most squads on that side of the ball have performed well. I especially like what we have seen from the wide receivers, in particular, Percy Harvin.
Harvin was quoted last week as, “finding gears I didn’t know I had” when asked about the health of his surgically repaired hip as it relates to his speed. Watching Harvin play, it’s hard to argue with his own personal assessment.
Harvin has been tearing up ground with blazing speed, the likes of which we haven’t seen from a Seahawks player in a very long time. The idea of him being available for 16 regular season games makes me just giddy.
Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and Paul Richardson have come into camp looking good. I was hoping we’d get to see more of Kevin Norwood, who is still nursing a foot injury. If Norwood can’t get out there and compete, you have to wonder about his future with Seattle.
Who winds up with the fifth WR spot or even the sixth WR spot if they go with six players in that position? Ricardo Lockette? Phil Bates? Chris Matthews? That will be a fun battle to watch for the next couple of games.
At running back Robert Turbin looks like a guy running for his life out there. Maybe it was the talk about “running back by committee,” the brief Lynch holdout or the threat of, and actual great play by, Christine Michael, but something has Turbin looking amazing out there this year.
Turbin looks more like Lynch out there this year. He’s running with tremendous power and anger.
Michael has shown an ability to cut and change direction that is very reminiscent of Barry Sanders. The one knock I’ll give Christine is his two fumbles. Turning the ball over is not something that will win you playing time and those two drops might give Michael another year of limited action.
Marshawn Lynch hasn’t played much at all, but it’s preseason — I wouldn’t read anything into that as he rarely, if ever, plays this time of year.
I still believe Tarvaris Jackson is the backup QB on this team despite some pretty exciting runs by Terrelle Pryor. At the same time, I think Pryor makes this team and Seattle goes with three QBs in 2014.
The one problem area that I see with the offense is pretty much the same one the Seahawks had last year — the offensive line.
Max Unger has been out with a groin issue. He’s expected to play in the third preseason game, however. I like Russell Okung at left tackle, assuming he can stay healthy. I even like most of what I have seen from rookie right tackle candidate Justin Britt.
Britt is still making mistakes, as you would expect from a rookie, but he’s also made a few nice plays. Hopefully that is something he can build on.
The guard position is where I really worry. James Carpenter looks better physically this year. He’s not quite the load he has been in the past. Still, though, I have see him whiff on a number of blocks so far.
JR Sweezy… well, my mom always said if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. I’ll just say I’m totally unconvinced of his ability to continue to play right guard for the Seahawks.
Since most of the stars on this defense are back this year, I’m not going to dive too deep into their performance. I think it’s sufficient to say that Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright, and Malcolm Smith have all played, or will be ready to play, well for the Seahawks this year.
I’m a bit concerned about Byron Maxwell. He got torched a bit by Peyton Manning in the first preseason game. He did look better against San Diego, however. Tharold Simon is making a case for more playing time too.
The biggest surprise on defense so far has to be O’Brien Schofield. Schofield was credited with three tackles, including a sack and another tackle for a loss, as well as four quarterback hits in the Chargers game.
That’s not bad for a guy who signed a big contract to leave the Seahawks only to fail a physical and have his deal with the Giants wiped out.
Schofield didn’t get to play a whole lot in 2013 with Seattle, but when he did, he was just like what we saw him do against San Diego. He’s a guy that is clearly ready to show just how wrong the Giants were to cut him loose. I could see him lining up on the opposite end position from Avril regularly in 2014.
The Special Teams
I’m pretty sure we know who will be returning kickoffs. Watch the Superbowl again if you forgot. That is Percy Harvin‘s job and nobody is touching it anytime soon.
Returning punts, on the other hand, is another story. With Tate moving on to Detroit, the Seahawks have given starting safety Earl Thomas the opportunity to return punts so far.
I love Thomas’s play on defense, but returning punts, I’m less than impressed so far. I’m hopeful to see Paul Richardson get a chance or maybe even Christine Michael if he can convince the coaching staff he won’t put the ball on the ground.
The Seahawks have more options when it comes to punt returners. Hopefully we’ll see some of them in the next two games.
Only two more of these glorified scrimmages, Seahawks fans! Bring on the games that count!