Its early, but Seahawks need more time
DAVE BOLING; STAFF WRITER
Because we developed Acute Football Deficit Disorder over the spring and summer, we will be hasty to over-analyze exhibition games, and be prone to snap judgments.
The accompanying delusion is that these practice games are more meaningful than they are. After all, to those who feared a future without football, even preseason games feel like the playoffs.
We should be reminded that these guys are in mid-May form right now. They haven’t learned each others’ names yet, let alone the full playbook. You can’t cook a stew in a microwave; it takes time to blend the ingredients.
So assessments of the Seattle Seahawks after two exhibitions are verdicts with scant evidence.
After a win and a loss, the first-team offense still hasn’t gotten the memo that the lockout has ended. However, if there was a league in which the second units competed, the Seahawks would be strong contenders.
A look at a few areas of concern and debate:
• Quarterbacks: Charlie Whitehurst has been the best quarterback. Or at least the best at passing against opponents’ backups. Props due: He’s playing decisively and with confidence, and the accuracy he lacked on some short routes in the past has been discovered.
Starter Tarvaris Jackson has thrown only 26 passes, mostly in the face of lousy protection, and his one interception was a ball that should have been caught. He hasn’t generated any points, but it’s not a fair sample size to scrap the depth chart.
• Offensive line: We expected the rookies on the right side to need time to ripen. James Carpenter and John Moffitt have predictably mixed the good with the bad. And the injury of Russell Okung has set back the unit’s melding process.
But most would have expected better of free-agent guard Robert Gallery, who has looked ineffective much of the time. He’s 31 and may need more time to play into shape.
Bottom line (if you will): This young unit was given a challenge on Saturday against Minnesota that was impossible to misinterpret. They had the ball with a first down on the Vikings’ 2.
If this team was going to be able to pound the ball the way coach Pete Carroll wanted, it was time to have all these high draft picks show what they could do.
Four running plays later, the Hawks gave the ball up at the 1. Consider that an embarrassing failure, even if it is early preseason.
• Receivers: Mike Williams went up high to beat double coverage against the Vikings, making the kind of reception the Seahawks are looking for out of him. Sidney Rice’s two catches thus far haven’t revealed much of his skills.
Some of the young guys have looked strong, especially rookie Doug Baldwin. But last year’s second-round pick Golden Tate seems on the verge of playing himself into irrelevance. He had two drops Saturday, including one that he tipped into a Vikings interception.
• Defensive line: When it was at its best last year, it was because Red Bryant was an immovable bully in there. Coming off knee surgery, he’s not yet returned to that kind of form. If he can before the opener, they’ll be fine.
• Linebackers: David Hawthorne won’t miss a beat filling in at middle linebacker for Lofa Tatupu. And rookies K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith are gifted athletes who are learning fast. The surprise has to be the play of the formerly wayward Leroy Hill.
Hill looks fit, squared away, and is making the kind of plays he used to, i.e: Closing on Adrian Peterson in the open field, wrapping him up and pushing him backward.
• Secondary: The size and athleticism of the young additions is startling. I expected 6-foot-4 cornerback Brandon Browner to be physical, but couldn’t envision him being able to run stride-for-stride with receivers.
So, on the upside for fans: Whew, they’ve got three weeks until they open the season for real.
On the downside for fans: Yikes, they’ve only got three weeks until they open the season for real.
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 firstname.lastname@example.org