I recently discovered that cellular phones are capable of communicating with each other without actually having to dial anyone's number. Instead of talking to the person, you just type to them. I'm told this phenomenon is called text-messaging, or "texting" for short. This discovery is life-changing, as I really don't like talking on the phone and the ability to respond when/if you feel like it is exhilarating. I may never have to speak on the phone again, which would be great because I have a terrible, Ray-Romano-with-marbles-in-his-mouth telephone voice.
Anyhow, I used this advanced form of communication to schedule this post with Danny. He'll be posting something similar as well, called "The Danny Edition" or some such derivative. For now, however, it looks like I get to fire the first shot across the bow.* Unless of course Danny posts first, in which case, I hope this piece isn't redundant.
*Is that a nautical term or an archery term? I'm going with nautical. Does nautical mean water?
Following the jump are a few things I'll be looking for tonight.
*Tyler Polumbus. I don't list him first because I feel his performance is the most important, but his role could be crucial. Like everyone else (besides, I'm sure, Polumbus' family, friends, and people who drafted him in fantasy football), I hope that Polumbus is not our left tackle this season. He provides nice offensive-line depth and versatility, but he most assuredly is not Russell Okung. I am optimistic that Okung will be the guy at LT this year, but if his ankles keep him out, Polumbus will likely be the one to fill that role. I am hoping to see capability, if not outright talent, from him against the Vikings.
*Running back time-sharing. As it stands, Seattle has three good RBs (and two ESPY nominees) in their backfield that I believe are worthy of regular touches. Marshawn Lynch is the man and arguably my favorite Seahawk for life. Justin Forsett has garnered appreciation from Seahawks fans, initially for not being Julius Jones, and remains a tough between-the-tackles-runner. Leon Washington looks healthy and capable of becoming the guy the Jets fell in love with before he Theismanned his leg. I don't see Lynch losing his spot as Big Dog, but a healthy Washington deserves the ball and got a variety of touches against San Diego. Forsett might be the odd man out, so I'm curious to see the approach to the time share against Minnesota. For what it's worth, I project a regular season distribution along the lines of Lynch (50%), Washington (30%), Forsett (15%) and other people picking up the remaining carries.
*Leg humping. Against the Chargers, Pete Carroll was borderline stoic when it came to bro-hugging his players after good plays. It must've killed him not to. He was like a dog who's been trained not to jump at the food in your hand but is trembling with the anticipation of doing so.
*KJ Wright. Wright made a big impression last week, notching nine tackles and always seeming to be within a few feet of the ball. The dude is huge and it's fun to project huge players. I'll be watching Brandon Browner for the same reason.
*Tarvaris Jackson. I don't care much about what he did last week with an unprepared substitute left tackle, an O-Line playing together for the first time, and without four of his top five receivers. This week should provide a better barometer. As excited as I am to see the Minnesota-West connection of Jackson, Sidney Rice, and Darrell Bevell, I don't care much about the former-team grudge angle that announcers and pundits are sure to overplay.
*Josh Portis and Charlie Whitehurst. We saw both extremes of the first-NFL-game experience from Portis last week. His first two throws were abominations that spat in the face of every nine-year-old who's ever tried to learn to throw a football. After that, he looked like an absolute stud. I'm hoping this game provides some clarity, because it's always fun to have someone buried on the depth chart that makes you wonder if he could be All-Pro if given regular reps. For Whitehurst, I want to see things that won't make me think the season is hopeless if Jackson gets hurt.
*Sidney Rice. He was the best free agent wide receiver available -- and we got him. Also, he looks like Antoine Dodson with dreads.
*Golden Tate. Tate remains the Seahawk whose development I am most intrigued by.
*Adrian Peterson. I am a fan of sports; I am also a fan of sports greatness. I relish any opportunity to watch the best in the world do the thing that they are best in the world at. If Peterson busts an 80-yard TD run, I will be more happy than sad.
*Defensive back depth. Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Marcus Trufant, Walter Thurmond III, Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman, Atari Bigby, Mark LeGree, Jeron Johnson, Josh Pinkard, Ricky Thenarse, Kelly Jennings, Marcus Brown, Kennard Cox, Byron Maxwell, Jesse Hoffman, Ron Parker. Nineteen DBs, only 10 of which I see making the Final 53. Thomas, Chancellor, and Trufant are locks. Bigby, Thurmond, and Sherman are whatever is one level below a "lock." That leaves 13 players vying for four secondary spots. Johnson and Browner looked great last game, but it'll be fascinating to watch the scramble for those last few spots on the roster.
*Commercials. Is it too early to hope for good new football commercials? They don't even have to be football commercials, just great commercials that air during football games. I will be at the game, so I won't see those commercials, but I'll DVR the game and I'll want to see which advertisements ran while I waited for an opportunity to wedge myself in at the urinal trough. I'm looking at you, Anheuser-Busch.
*John Moffitt and James Carpenter. I was thrilled that Seattle used it's first two picks in the draft on offensive lineman. I'm a big believer in building from the ball outwards and without a clear franchise quarterback candidate available, I'm all in favor of making the landing for that QB as comfortable as possible when he does arrive. I just hope these two are the right two.
*The defensive line. Everything I'm hearing about Brandon Mebane from camp assures me that the great dragon in his soul has been awoken. It's the players around him that give me pause. I'm especially interested in seeing what the first string D-Line does against Minnesota's starters.
*Special teams. Tate was the starting return man on kicks and punts last week. I wonder if Washington gets reps there or if he's become a strictly offensive player. Jon Ryan has forever earned my love and I'm not concerned about him (plus he's from the city with the best motto in the world). Of course I am also interested in the place-kicking battle between Brandon Coutu and Jeff Reed, but that one represents a great inner-struggle within me. Furthermore, professional football aspirations are often made or broken by a fringe player's performance on special teams. The battles for those last few roster spots are to me more fascinating than the battles for starting jobs. So few ever get a chance to even fight for a chance to live the NFL dream, and fair or not, a handful of special teams plays often represent the fulcrum upon which a dream balances. Whether that player you've never heard of keeps his lane assignment on coverage can be the difference between him having the NFL career he's worked so hard for and searching Craigslist for a new job.
*Big plays. I love big plays. Pete Carroll is committed to bringing in play-makers and I want to see something awesome happen. Whether it's a safety blowing someone up, a defensive lineman abusing a blocker, or a ridiculous reception, I want my jaw to drop at least once.
*Seeing the 12th Man at Century Link Field. I will be meeting up with a handful of Field Gulls readers whom I've never met to tailgate on 3rd Ave by the Outdoor Emporium. I would love to see as many FGers as possible. It is my sincere hope that we can start a tradition of Field Gulls readers meeting up to party before home games. You can find me @JacsonBevens on Twitter to meet up if you'll be at the game tomorrow. Would be thrilled to see you.