The Seattle Seahawks went down to Qualcomm stadium last night and put on a show. They defeated the San Diego Chargers 31-10, and seemed to physically dominate almost the entire game. If you look at the box score, you'll see a 21 point win, and nothing more, but these preseason games are about much more than just W's and L's(unless you're Different Doug Baldwin). These games are where people make a name for themselves, seize opportunities, and don't look back, a la Russell Wilson. But for every Russell Wilson there are multiple Nick Reeds, players who flash with the 2's and 3's, making the team, and flaming out once we get to Sundays. Last night showed some potential Wilson's, some potential Reed's, and some team wide surprises.
Knocking Off the Rust
2 plays for Marshawn Lynch with 0 carries, 2 completions for Russell Wilson for 23 yards, and 2 first team offensive drives that didn't make it into San Diego territory. After listening to 710 Seattle this morning, it sounded as if it was week 10 and we were playing offense like the 1976 Bucs. I understand that we all wanted to see the 50 burgers the Seahawks were throwing down against Buffalo and Arizona last year, and just see the offense pick up where it was in September, but that is frankly outlandish to expect, especially in the first pre season game. This offense is built to run the ball, control the clock, limit turnovers, and come from behind when it has to. This is also a time when teams are still trying to get in sync as a whole, and missing your number one receiver in Sidney Rice and number one tight end in Zach Miller certainly doesn't help that. It is much to early to be worrying about the first team O. If this continues the whole preseason, then panic, but for now, lets pump the brakes.
We Are Watching Future Jaguars
After watching the ones perform below their lofty standards, the two's and three's came in and just flat out took over. The two rookie backs in Christine Michael and Spencer Ware did not disappoint in their first NFL action. Michael had 89 yards on 16 carries, showing great burst, decisive cuts, and a flashy spin move. Surprisingly, 89 yards surpassed an of Michael's game totals from his senior year at Texas A&M. Spencer Ware didn't sit back and let Michael steal the show either. He showed tough running inside and decent pass pro for a rookie, even setting up a T Jack TD by chipping just enough on a SD LB. The secondary looks like the single deepest unit in all of football. The LOB is as advertised, but the second teamers are what were the most impressing. Byron Maxwell had a great break on a Clipboard Jesus deep out and got the pick. Walter Thurmond was seeing his first action in a while, giving up some completions, but quickly making the tackle and never really getting beat. There are going to be some difficult decisions when the first roster cuts come, which will have coaches like Gus Bradley down in Jacksonville circling like a vulture, waiting for much needed secondary talent.
New Look Defense?
Upon the re-hiring of Dan Quinn from the Florida Gators to take over the defense, some changes were to be expected up and down the defense. He is more aggressive than Bradley, but a disciple of Gus nonetheless, which is why the look of the Seattle D on 1st, 2nd, and obvious run situations was surprising. The Hawks went almost exclusively 3-4 in these situations while switching to a base 4-3 on 3rd downs. While in the 3-4 hybrid, Big Red, Mebane, and rookie 5th round pick Jesse Williams had their hands in the dirt, providing a formidable mass of girth for an opposing o-line to move. I expect to see Tony McDaniel to be starting over Williams at that spot when he is fully healthy and ready to go. Aside from the Leo (Mike Morgan in this case) standing up, it didn't operate much different than the 4-3, but it was a very different look for the Hawks.
UDFA's Paving Their Ways To Roster Spots
Alvin. Friggin. Bailey. Wow. A right guard, A RIGHT GUARD, during his RS Junior year at Arkansas, Bailey just dominated during his time at left tackle last night. If you go back and watch the drives in the 3rd and 4th quarter, you can see why that's where Christine Michael gained most of his yards. Granted it was against 2's and 3's of a rebuilding San Diego team, but it was still exciting to watching another PC/JS UDFA gem start to shine. If he duplicates his performance and remains consistent, he should get a look with the first team somewhere along the line. Carroll and Schneider have not shied away from throwing a rookie into the fire, and Bailey looks like he could be up to the challenge. The ultimate test would be against the Green Bay OLB Clay Matthews in week 3 of the preseason, but lets see how he does next week first.
Benson Mayowa was the defensive equivalent of Bailey last night. He gave plenty of examples of why he received the moniker "Baby Clem" from some of his peers on the D-line. He has a good enough get off, but used his hands well for the most part, which is difficult for most rookies to grasp coming from college to the NFL. Mayowa was credited for 1.5 sacks (He should have a full 2), and pressured Clipboard Jesus on multiple other occasions. With how thin the Leo position suddenly has become with Avril & Clem hurt, Mayowa shows promising signs of being able to lock down a spot on the D-line. Like Bailey, Mayowa should get a look with the 1's at some point if Carroll continues to like what he sees from the Idaho product.
-If you had any doubts about T Jack when Quinn was put in the game first after Wilson, Jackson put those to bed with a stellar performance
-Steven Williams benefited form Jackson's lights out passing show, hauling in two deep balls of 40+ yards to make up for a drop earlier in the game.
-John Lotulelei played like a cliche; he moved literally like his hair was on fire. He flew all over the place, sometimes over pursuing the play, but mostly showing good instincts and a nose for the ball.
-Nobody separated themselves in the return game, but Thurmond had a nice long return and Will Blackmon showed some great moves on a return in the second half.