SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 12: Taima the hawk (an Augur Hawk) of the Seattle Seahawks poses for a photo during the NFL season opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Qwest Field on September 12 2010 in Seattle Washington. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 31-6. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Seattle made 181 roster moves this off-season. Some were welcome, some were thrilling, many were trifling and some were controversial. The sheer number of roster moves may have created the impression that an entirely different Seahawks team would take the field in 2010 than had in 2009. That's not true.
Among Seattle's 22 starters, only five, Tyler Polumbus, Mike Williams, Chris Baker, Chris Clemons and Earl Thomas, were new. 13 substitutes and backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst were also new. Seattle changed its depth, maybe improved its depth, but most of the principle talents were holdovers. Seattle didn't win because it cut T.J. Houshmandzadeh or traded Rob Sims. It won because it was the better, better coached team, playing at home.
Seattle won in week one much like it won in week one of 2009: At home, against a division rival, and in lopsided fashion.
Matt Hasselbeck started the 2010 season like he started the 2009 season, with an interception. Matt turned the trick on third and long against the Rams, but wasted no snaps in turning the ball over in 2010. Matt heaved a floater into coverage on his very first attempt. Mike Gibson was beaten back, but Hasselbeck was not under serious pressure. He just misread coverage and made a poor throw.
Bad start, but Seattle survived.
The presumed difference between the start of the 2010 season and the start of the 2009 season, is the quality of the opponent. The Rams lost their next six, including blowout losses to the Packers, 49ers, Vikings and Colts. That's the problem with week one. We only have one data point to judge both the quality of the Seahawks and the quality of their opponent. When Seattle lost by 12 to Jacksonville in week one of 2005, fans were bummed. As it turned out, the Jaguars finished 12-4. When Seattle dominated the Rams in week one of 2009, fans were excited. As it turned out, the Rams finished 1-15.
The 49ers host the Saints in a Monday night matchup Seahawks fans should be interested in. A loss is still preferable, but a respectable loss is even better. We do not want the 49ers to be good insomuch that they are a rival for the NFC West. We want them to be good insomuch that it reflects on the quality of the Seahawks. Whatever Seattle does next week, whatever the 49ers do next week, we will have magnitudes more information to analyze the 2010 Seahawks with.
We will have two weeks of performance from the Seahawks; two weeks of performance from the 49ers; two opponents faced, and two opponents faced by opponents faced. We will have a better grasp of how good San Francisco is, Denver is, Jacksonville is, Minnesota is, and through that, we will better understand how good Seattle is. It'll be a start anyway.
Until then, let's get elbow deep into the nitty-gritty of this game.