Backers, haters, recent detractors, today Tim Ruskell's creature is unveiled in near complete form. It's young and it's facing an opponent fit to rebristle its toothbrush with Seattle's short hairs, but the foundation, method and most of the defense of the future will be displayed today. Hold your breath.
Piecemeal and talent poor receiving corps
Some would say the laboratory exploded. Certainly the experiment hasn't been a grand success, but the poor play of Matt Hasselbeck didn't help. Whoever's to blame, I don't think Ruskell's philosophy of assembling a receiving corps with projects and castoffs is likely to change. It's taken some attrition, but two receivers have stuck: Koren Robinson and Kerry Colbert. Each is young, Colbert cost a pick and Robinson looks like a find so either could be around next season.
Three-headed power run game
Ruskell got his big back and well-rounded...eh...speedster, his thunder and lightning, now we finally see if a thumping lead blocker turns Seattle's rush game into something the offense can build around. I'm excited. I was as skeptical as anyone when Seattle drafted Owen Schmitt, but the preseason transformed my doubt into enthusiasm. The kid looks good. Schmitt looks like a unit changing force as a lead blocker, and after two weeks of sputtering against talented rush defenses, a running game revival is vital for Seattle standing a chance against the mighty Eagles.
Fast, small and hard-hitting defense
Yes, it's small. No, it's not that small. Ruskell isn't drafting a true Tampa 2. Sincerely, I'm still not sure what he's constructing. Whatever it is, it's expensive and it's young, with nine regulars drafted in the last four years: Two first round picks, three second round picks, two third round picks and two fourth round picks. Today, we see what if any production can be expected from developmental end Baraka Atkins. We see if Lawrence Jackson has refined his spin move, if he's getting it at all as a pass rusher and if he has legitimate hunger to improve. We see if Kelly Jennings can keep his feet and if Josh Wilson builds on his best game as a pro.
The creature might run amok. It might just suck. Whichever, win, lose or blowout, it's Tim Ruskell's team that takes the field today. I'm excited and fearful. Don't do us wrong Tim. This city's sports fans have suffered enough.