SEATTLE - AUGUST 20: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks looks on during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field on August 20, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Vikings defeated the Seahawks 20-7. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Last night I put together a less than 100% accurate and less than 100% serious piece on the game so today I wanted to give some real thoughts. Pete Carroll was pretty morose about the whole thing during his post-game press conference, which I thought was sort of curious. The master of positivity and enthusiasm noted that there 'weren't too many bright spots' and whether he means that or is just looking to motivate, I'm not sure. I was frankly pretty surprised with that reaction, as I left feeling ok about the game, but my guess is that he's most keyed in on the first team and their lackluster performance. The starters have yet to put points on the scoreboard and the offensive line looked a little lost at times, but I think there are some things to take away from this game to build on. I haven't gone back and re-watched it yet, but at first glance here are some things I noticed.
The first team defense:
The defense held it's own in the first half. I'm not saying they looked awesome but they managed to keep the Vikings out of the endzone. They didn't give up many big plays outside of a 17-yard pass from Donovan McNabb to Kyle Rudolph and a 23-yard play to Jim Kleinsasser on back to back downs at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. They managed to limit the Vikings to a 36 yard field goal with 6:37 in the 2nd and a 34-yard field goal with less than two minutes in the half. The Vikings defense capitalized on a pick-six but I'm ok with the defense giving up a mere 6 points against Minnesota's starting offense, especially when the Seahawks offense wasn't clicking.
In general, they limited scheme and responsibility breakdowns and that's something you can take away and work with.
This will be a tight end oriented offense.
The Seahawks tight ends caught 9 passes for 67 yards. Dominique Byrd had 4 catches for 32 yards, Anthony McCoy, 4 for 24 and TD, and Zach Miller caught 1 pass for 11 yards. The Seahawks wide receivers combined to reel in 10 passes for 78 yards. Whether this trend continues remains to be seen and you have to take into account the first team's pass protection struggles when looking at these numbers, but I think it's safe to say the Hawks will be utilizing the, arguably, most talented position group on the team prominently.
Dominique Byrd is doing his best to convince this front office that he deserves a roster spot and Anthony McCoy has looked pretty good in the first two preseason games. You forget that these two guys are the Hawks fourth and fifth options (assuming Cameron Morrah's injury isn't long-term) and, most likely, will be roster bubble players. The Hawks could keep four or five tight ends on the 53-man roster - Zach Miller, John Carlson, Anthony McCoy, Cameron Morrah and Dominique Byrd, but many people think it will be four maximum. I suppose this is a good problem to have, though I'm not looking forward to them making cuts here.
The safety position is shaping up to be an interesting roster battle.
Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are the two main locks. Mark LeGree would mostly likely have a spot on the roster after being drafted in the fifth round but that doesn't necessarily protect him from missing the cut. Jeron Johnson has played well in the preseason and is making a case for himself to make the final roster. Josh Pinkard is his main competition most likely and both Johnson and Pinkard caused fumble turnovers in the game last night, further strengthening their causes on a team whose motto is "it's all about the ball."
With the newly added Atari Bigby in the action now, there's going to be an odd man or two out. Past those players Ron Parker, Rickey Thenarse, Roy Lewis and few others will be competing as well. Again, it's a good problem to have and you have to take your hat off to John Schneider and Pete Carroll for creating these kinds of roster battles. We'll have more on this later this week for sure.
I know it's preseason, but the Seahawks need to cut down on penalties.
The Hawks false-started three times in the first half alone (Miller, Williams, and Moffitt), and had a few other boneheaded plays, most notably Aaron Curry ripping off Viking Ryan Cook's helmet and tossing it to the sidelines. My initial reaction to this play is that if it were during the regular season, I'd be mad, but since it's preseason, I actually kind of liked it. I don't want to say it's tone-setting, but considering it looked like Cook started it, Curry sure finished it. He was penalized but I like the idea of our defense having some attitude. I'm probably wrong to do so, but I found myself smiling when he did that. It's not that I want James Harrison style cheap shots, but nurturing the dirtbag culture on defense is ok with me. Now is the time to lay out that 'don't take shit from no one' type of attitude, while the win and loss columns don't matter.
Regardless, the Hawks finished the game with 10 penalties for a loss of 84 yards. That's simply way too much, but something that will likely improve with time. The offense still isn't totally on the same page but you can't be having false starts so often, especially while at home. Discipline will need to be addressed this week.
That's all I got for right now. I'll dive back in and revisit the game very soon and I'm sure I'll have a lot more to offer.