With the regular season on the near horizon, I wanted to document a few impressions from the pre-season. Since this is a .gif-free post, and I'm knocking off some blogger-rust, I figured I'd leave this as a fanpost. I'll just do this simple list style.
Preamble: This Community is About to Change
It's worth saying that a LOT of what there is to like about the Seahawks is the fantastic community of bloggers and fans connected to the team. I can't wait to show Field Gulls off to the inevitable flow of new folks who will wander by this season. With all the new focus on the Seahawks from the national media and fan bases around the league, all that attention many of us have pined for is right around the corner--win or lose. My sincere hope is that this community will respond to new visitors by simply continuing to be what it already is.
This O-Line Could Be Dominant, But It May Take A While
Onto the team. I am preparing myself for the distinct possibility that this offensive line gets off to a slow start. Carpenter has yet to be worked in, and everything I have heard from Pete Carroll strongly suggests that Carp is the starter at LG as soon as he is ready. McQuistan certainly hasn't made me feel like that would be a huge mistake if true. Add to that, J.R. Sweezy is still a "true sophomore" in his development. In terms of pass protection, Sweezy's not bad one on one. He is quite talented, has quick feet, and is country strong. His issues emerge when things get complicated. He's just inexperienced, and will have to play through mistakes. In many respects Carpenter has the same strengths and weaknesses on the left side. Russell Wilson has been able to overcome a lot of potential problems stemming from his height, but I think it's safe to say that, like Drew Brees, he needs a strong interior line to perform at his best.
The Short Passing Game
I think what we saw from GB--lots of twisting and blitzing--is going to be a common defensive approach to Seattle's deep passing game. Defenses know they are going to give up some big plays down the field. Baldwin, Rice, and Tate (and Williams for that matter) are all so good at
positioning for the ball down the field "owning the redline". Defenses, and I can't say that I blame them, will be even more aggressive and look to make their share of big, negative plays. Although Russell Wilson is great at extending plays, the next phase of his development has to be getting the pass away at the end of his drop. Part of the thinking behind signing Percy Harvin had to be developing the short passing game so that the offense is not quite so reliant on long passes. Jacson's second bullet point in his Green Bay game recap is a thought I have been wrestling with for a while.
Obviously, we will miss Harvin's ability to provide explosive runs from relatively easy-to-complete throws. But another way to accomplish that is with screens. This offensive line is athletic, and every tailback currently on the roster can do serious damage on screen passes. I really hope that Bevell is putting more screens into game plans. Another key to the short passing game, as any Holmgren disciple can tell you, is the tight end. We know what Miller brings to the table when he is healthy. Seattle featured the tight ends early in the past two pre-season games to good effect. I am hopeful about the depth.