Good morning from Mile High country. Just arrived in Denver for tonight's exhibition opener against the Broncos (6 p.m., channel 13, 710AM/97.3 FM). Sunny and warm here now, but a chance of thunderstorms by early this evening.
I was astounded at the number of buzzing Seahawks fans inside SeaTac Airport this morning heading here -- in full-on, regular season-caliber 12th Man regalia -- for a preseason game. If I had been more alert, or if it hadn't been 5 a.m., I'd be posting pictures on here for you of the scene.
My game advance in today's News Tribune profiled Brock Coyle, who has gone in months from undrafted rookie free agent from FCS Montana to the starting middle linebacker for the Super Bowl champions matching wits with Peyton Manning tonight.
That advance also has the game-day box detailing how Pete Carroll is going to play the kids tonight.
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"It's that time," as Carroll put it, "for opportunity."
Expect the starters to play about a quarter, depending on the length of possessions early. That could leave the final three quarters for Tarvaris Jackson and Terrelle Pryor to quarterback. B.J. Daniels, the roster's fourth QB, has "tweaked a groin" in the coach's words and may not play.
A lot of discussion here on the blog about how Pryor is going to have to blow the doors off Jackson this month to win the No. 2 job behind Russell Wilson, with many of you rightly noting Jackson's guaranteed contract of $1.25 million for this year. I see the Seahawks as likely to keep both Pryor and Jackson on the regular-season roster, so games like tonight likely indeed boil down to jockeying for position behind Wilson in time for the opener Sept. 4 against Green Bay. After that final exhibition at Oakland, backup quarterbacks aren't going to get a ton of practice snaps to impress.
I'm interested in seeing how the Seahawks' tackling is tonight. Following the injury-prevention trends around the league, Seattle hasn't done any live hitting in training camp, with Carroll saying he and his staff are specifically preserving the players to be in peak condition to impress in these four exhibitions (including next week at home versus San Diego, Aug. 22 vs. Chicago and Aug. 28 at Oakland).
As for the guys Jackson and Pryor will be throwing to, watch for the chances Phil Bates, homecoming rookie Paul Richardson and former UW Husky Kevin Smith get tonight at wide receiver with Kevin Norwood and David Gilreath out injured.
Marshawn Lynch is listed on the team's unofficial (not from the coaches, for the media) depth chart for this game. But Curt Warner may be more likely to run the ball for Seattle tonight than Lynch.
--Colleague Dave Boling explores the fact that the Seahawks' recent unbeaten streak in the preseason over multiple summers isn't by accident, nor going unnoticed within the team.
--For more on Coyle's background as a ski racer at his local Big Sky resort near Bozeman, Mont., read this great profile from this week by The Herald of Everett's John Boyle.