The preseason has finally started – yes! Despite the game in San Diego just being a “scrimmage” (which doesn’t stop them from charging an arm and a leg for tickets), there were still some things to learn from it. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but here’s how I see things shaping up:
1) Brady Quinn is toast. It’s possible that he could do something dramatic in the next few games to change that, but don’t bet any money on that happening. The team will not keep both Quinn and Jackson. Neither one is going to unseat Wilson – the only way he’ll be looking over his shoulder is if he’s being pursued by opposing linebackers – but T-Jack looks like he is going to be an outstanding backup quarterback.
I for one am glad to see Tarvaris Jackson donning a Seahawks uniform again. He was never going to be the guy who would lead Seattle to greatness, but in the current situation he can be that gnarly veteran standing behind the young QB who can lead Seattle to greatness.
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2) Christine Michael will eventually be Beast Mode’s replacement. He looks like a solid NFL running back who will function at a high level in Tom Cable’s system. He can pound and break tackles, but he also has excellent burst and speed. I would expect him to start sharing the load with Lynch sooner rather than later. It’s hard to say how long Beast Mode will play at the level we’re used to seeing him play, but having a guy like Michael around carrying the ball too will increase the number of seasons that Lynch will remain effective. The running back position looks very strong.
3) Clipboard Jesus is playing exactly where he belongs – in San Diego.
4) If the Seahawks can get a credible pass rush going, they will be one badass team this season. Wilson didn’t take the offense down for a quick score against the Chargers, but they still looked far ahead of where they were at this same time last year. They let the neophytes play on the defensive line quite a bit, but the defense still looks like it can dominate.
5) There were lots of penalties at first, but that didn’t bother me at all. The flags were mostly thrown for being too aggressive and hitting too hard, but I prefer a Hawks team that has to tone down its aggression rather than desperately needing to step it up like in ’08 and ’09.
6) The Seahawks’ depth, in all phases of the game, dominated the depth of the San Diego Chargers. This dominance shows just how good Seattle has become. Under the guidance of Carroll and Schneider, the personnel on the team has become as talented and deep as any in the league. It must be noted that the Chargers have a new coach and are in the middle of installing new systems, but the new guys trying to make the Hawks’ roster don’t know Seattle’s systems all that well, either. They were simply better than the guys in San Diego.
7) Wilson to (Luke) Willson could still happen. The rookie tight end is raw, but he made a couple of good plays later in the game. Russell Wilson did try to feed him the ball early, but was unsuccessful. I’ll be watching to see how that plays out.
8) John Lotulelei, the rookie linebacker from Hawaii, is going to be a Seahawk. His all-out attitude on the field fits the team. Allen Bradford also played pretty well and is another young guy who may just stick with the team and contribute. The linebacker corps is of the few spots on the team in which there may be some opportunities this season for younger guys to step up and play.
9) Jaye Howard looked much improved and is growing in confidence. I think he will make the team and get plenty of reps on the d-line this season.
10) Speaking of guys brought in by Carroll and Schneider, Matt Flynn looked decent in his first preseason game as the Raiders’ starting quarterback. He fumbled the ball away one time, but overall he played pretty well. The only problem for Flynn was that third year QB Terrelle Pryor may have looked even better. It would be a hard pill for Flynn to swallow if for the second year in a row he joins a new team only to be supplanted by a young hotshot quarterback. Not that the Raiders would mind if Pryor ended up working out for them the way that Wilson has worked out for the Seahawks.