I thought we’d take a quick look at what the Seattle Seahawks would like to accomplish in the team’s first exhibition game at San Diego.
Tarvaris Time: With longtime Seahawks’ quarterback Matt Hasselbeck now plying his trade in Tennessee, today marks Tarvaris Jackson’s first opportunity to show what he can do as Seattle’s starting quarterback. He likely will not play many snaps, but it’s important for him to look confident and in control under center. Expect head coach Pete Carroll to give Jackson a soft landing with some short, quick passes and a heavy dose of the running game.Own the line of scrimmage: Speaking of the running game, Carroll understands you can’t finish in the bottom third in the league in both rushing and stopping the run and expect to consistently win in the NFL. And he addressed the issue by drafting two offensive linemen with team’s top, two picks, along with signing free agent guard Robert Gallery. On the defensive side of the ball, free agent signings defensive linemen Alan Branch, Jimmy Wilkerson and Ryan Sims, along with the re-signing of Brandon Mebane and Junior Siavii, should help bolster the defensive line.
The bottom line is Seattle needs to rush for 100 yards today and hold San Diego under 100 yards rushing in order to begin to establish ownership of the line of scrimmage up front.
Better play at cornerback: The Seahawks gave up 31 touchdowns through the air last season, tied for third-worst in the league. They’ve attempted to address that issue by drafting rookie corners Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell, along with signing CFL standout Brandon Browner. Those three will compete for time with veterans Marcus Trufant and Kelly Jennings, along with second-year pro Walter Thurmond once he returns from a sprained ankle.
Carroll wants this group to play more physical at the line of scrimmage, and we’ve seen improved play at practice. Now they have to show that they can do it in a game situation. Debut of Thunder and Lightning: With veterans Lawyer Milloy and Jordan Babineaux gone, second year pros Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor get their first opportunity to assert themselves as playmakers and leaders in the defensive backfield. Dubbed Thunder (Chancellor) and Lightning (Thomas), both played well so far during training camp, so it will be interesting to see if they can transfer that success to the game.
Another kicking competition: The Seahawks signed 10-year veteran Jeff Reed to come in and compete for the starting kicker position with Seattle’s seventh-round draft choice in 2008, Brandon Coutu. The Georgia product did not have a strong enough leg to beat out Olindo Mare in back-to-back training camp battles, but with kickoffs being moved up 5 yards to the 35-yard-line, less emphasis will be on leg strength, which should help Coutu.