seahawks

What to watch for? Seahawks first 4 games of 2012

5 things to watch

Typically a realist, I have trouble fighting my passion at this time of year. I try to approach every season with cautious optimism, this year is no different.

What is different this season, is the fact that my logic is telling me that this team has a chance to be special, if they can work out a few kinks.  

However, I am too jaded to let myself believe.

These are 5 things I need to see during the course of the first month of the season to allow me to fully believe the 2012 Seahawks are going to have a special season.

Quarterback

Last season the Seahawks were ranked 20th in the NFL in passing offense. Granted, we cannot place all the blame on Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst.

There is definitely a correlation between that ranking and the fact that neither quarterback is still playing in Seattle.

Monday Pete Carroll announced Russell Wilson as the teams starter, over free agent acquisition Matt Flynn, with mixed reviews from the 12th man as well as media members alike.

Russell Wilson is set to become the first third round rookie to be his team’s starting quarterback to launch the regular season in over 30 years.

There are usually huge voids in a 3rd round quarterback’s game.

Russell Wilson

For the first time in 30 yrs a 3rd round pick will start opening day. Can Russell Wilson lead the Seahawks to the promised land?

However, Wilson did not fall in the draft because of the typical reason. He fell all the way to the 75th pick because he was “too short”.

The “experts” were right, he is too short . . . too short to watch the game from the sidelines so Pete moved him a little closer to the action.

I cannot wait to see how this quarterback moves plays out during the first month of the season.

Offensive Line

Tom Cable has done an outstanding job coaching the offensive line in Seattle.

When he was brought to the team the unit was in disarray. They couldn’t open up any holes for the running backs, nor keep the quarterback off his back, in-fact the only thing they did consistently was get beat.

Proudly, the line became a nasty group that punished the opposing teams seemingly overnight, yet it took them until mid-point last year to catch their stride.

Left tackle Russell Okung and center Max Unger are the only two players on the offensive line who will start the 2012 season at the same position as they started in the 2011 campaign.

The Seahawks starting right guard, John Moffitt, underwent elbow surgery a couple weeks ago, and could miss the season opener (It was learned on Friday that he would be placed on the IR).

It is very possible that JR Sweezy, a rookie seventh round draft pick who played defensive tackle in college, could wind up starting the season in his place.

At right tackle, Breno Giacomini will be starting because last years first round draft pick, James Carpenter, is still trying to come back from a season ending ACL injury.

Robert Gallery, last year’s starting left guard, was released during the offseason (he signed with the patriots and later retired).  This year Paul McQuistan will be starting.

I want to see if the offensive line can pick up where they left off last season despite a couple changes.

NFC West will be fun this year

Defensive line pressure

Last year the Seahawks pass rush took a step back.

Raheem Brock came back down to earth, and was no longer able to create any pressure, making it easy for opposing teams to cheat protection over to Chris Clemons and slow down his pass rush.

Pete Carroll and John Schneider elected to pass up Melvin Ingram and selected Bruce Irvin to become their pass rush specialist.

So far this preseason Bruce has struggled to get going, nevertheless I have seen a little more out of him every game. I am not worried, just cautious.

As stout as they were against the run up the middle, the Seahawks have struggled to create pressure.

The addition of Jason Jones during the off season should drastically change that short coming. In my opinion, Jones is one of the leagues best pass rushers up the middle.

I want to see consistent pass rush from the front 4 by the end of the first quarter of the season.

That time frame should be more than enough for Bruce Irvin to get into the groove.

Schedule

Like every season, the Seahawks will have three road games against divisional opponents this year. The first quarter of the season Seattle will get two of those match ups out of the way.

They start the season on September 9, going to Arizona, then play in St. Louis on September 30, to finish the first quarter of the season.

As if those games aren’t important enough, the Seahawks face two NFC playoff contenders the two weeks in the middle, at home.

First the Cowboys come to town, sure they have their share of issues (especially diva receiver Dez Bryant), but if the Seahawks overlook the Cowboys, Dallas could make Seattle pay on the score board.

Over looking the Cowboys is a real possibility because the Seahawks host the Packers on Monday Night Football the following week.

The Packers could be a huge distraction if they let it become one.

The Packers game is the one I am looking forward to the most during the first month of the season. There are definitely all the connections; John Schneider, Ted Thompson, and Matt Flynn to name a few.

More importantly this should be a battle of two NFC powerhouses, and possibly a preview of the NFC Championship. (To be held at CenteryLink Field . . . I hope).

If the Seahawks are as good as I think they are, even with a rookie quarterback, I think asking for a 3-1 record in September is not out of the question.

Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

Can the power running game make the red zone trips a success this year?

Red Zone offense

One of the more frustrating things in football is watching a team march down the field with ease, then, once they hit the red zone they can no longer move the ball.

If the Seahawks continue to struggle with the passing attack in the red zone it doesn’t matter how good the running game is, they will struggle to see pay-dirt.

It will be very interesting to me to see if the Seahawks can accomplish this.

On paper they appear to have everything a team needs to convert.

They have two tight ends who can catch the ball like receivers (Zach Miller, Kellen Winslow), they have two big receivers who can go up and make plays (Sidney Rice, Braylon Edwards), a brutal power running game with backs who can catch the ball out of the backfield (Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin) and a quarterback who appears to be a dual threat (Russell Wilson).

I want to see the Seahawks scoring 6 more often then not when they get the ball in the red zone. Scoring less than 14 points in 5 different contests like they did in 2011 would be unacceptable.

These are 5 things I really want to see the Seahawks accomplish during the first quarter off the season.

How about you?

Feel free to post them below!

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About Brett Bivens

Born and raised in Spokane. Moved to Seattle in 2006. A Seahawks fan since he can remember, Seahawks season ticket holder for 5 years!. He blogs, tweets and bleeds blue and green. 12th Man For Life! Connect with Brett today!
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