The Seahawks face off against the Chargers tonight in San Diego, and the long-awaited NFL season will officially be underway. The first preseason game is a glorified scrimmage for each team; a chance to evaluate their young players and start breaking in their systems. It gives the players a chance to hit someone not on their team and start getting used to full contact situations.
The starters will probably only play a series or two and the new free agents will see very few snaps. That means the majority of the game will be involving 2nd and 3rd string guys, and the rookies, undrafted free agents, and journeymen veterans will be fighting for a spot on that ever elusive 53-man roster.
Here's a list of players I'm looking forward to watching, per position:
I'm honestly a lot more interested in watching Charlie Whitehurst get some snaps than Josh Portis. I think Portis may have some potential down the line but I think Whitehurst offers more competition for Tarvaris Jackson this season. If Jackson struggles or gets hurt, it looks like Whitehurst is the guy so I'll be looking for him to look poised and comfortable in the offense. He likely won't look good with the shortened training camp and timeframe to install the offense, but that is something I'm looking forward to.
My guess is that Beastmode won't get a bulk of the carries today. More likely Leon Washington and Justin Forsett will split more of the carries and I'm particularly excited to see Washington in action. From what I've heard, he's got his speed back and has looked good in camp, so it's going to be fun to see how he's used.
Easy -- Doug Baldwin and Ricardo Lockette. I'm looking forward to seeing these two guys in game action. They're both bubble UDFAs and both have a real shot to make the 53 man roster. Lockette has elite speed and if he can improve his skills as a receiver he could be a dangerous weapon. Baldwin looks to be a slot guy with a lot of potential. He's wowed people in camp and it will be interesting to see if he can carry that into the preseason.
I'm also looking forward to watching Isaiah Stanback. He's big, physical, and hopefully still fast. The achilles injury is a tough one so I'm going to be looking for signs he still has burst and wiggle. He'll probably play some special teams too so look for that.
With Carlson and Miller likely sitting out for the most part, it will be fun to watch Anthony McCoy and Dominique Byrd. Byrd has impressed in camp and by most accounts has played much better than McCoy, and if he can play well in the preseason he'll make it very tough for the Seahawks to cut him.
The line is going to be a mess, let's be honest. Very little time to get on the same page and very little experience to boot. I'll be watching second teamers Tyler Polumbus and Mike Gibson the most, but also looking forward to seeing Paul Fanaika and Breno Giacomini in action.
This will be an interesting one. I'm not sure who they'll trot out there -- Kentwan Balmer is hurt and Alan Branch will likely not play. Jay Alford, Pep Levingston, James Wilkerson, and Pierre Allen are a few guys I'm looking forward to watching.
KJ Wright in the middle, Malcolm Smith on the weakside, and Michael Morgan at the strongside. These will be the three main players I will be zeroing in on. We've heard some good and bad on them in camp, so a game situation will be a goldmine of information (even though it's only preseason).
I haven't seen or heard much about this Neal Howey character but it will be worth looking for.
I'm particularly interested to see how Browner looks in game-action. I've heard good things about LeGree, Sherman, and Maxwell so that will be fun to watch. Ron Parker is a dark horse guy with a lot of athleticism that I'll be looking for. He'll feature in special teams likely, so pay attention on those snaps.
Here are the details:
Location: San Diego
Stadium: Qualcomm Stadium
Expected Temperature: Mostly cloudy. Lows 58 to 63. Light winds.
Time: 5:00PM PST
Radio: 710ESPN (AM Dial) / 97.3 KIRO (FM Dial)