Asked why he left rookie right tackle James Carpenter out on an island to fend for himself against a speedy Von Miller, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll’s answer was simple.
He’s still evaluating.
“Absolutely,” Carroll said. “That’s what we’ve been saying the whole time. Let’s give him every look at every guy he can see and to try and get him as much exposure as possible. That’s a really fast group. (DE Elvis) Dumervil flies, and Von’s crazy fast coming off the edge. Those guys, they would give anybody problems.
“So it’s all a learning process and we have a lot of ground to make up quickly, and in short order. So we certainly want him to see as much as we can, and that’s why we’ve been throwing him out there and just making him have to do it. We haven’t tried to take care of him, we’ve made him have to block the protections as they’re called for and he’s learning at every turn. It’s not just him, he’s just one of the guys.”
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Learning on the run is all well and good, but what happens if you’re quarterback gets hurt in the process? And what about establishing an offensive rhythm for your team to prepare for the regular season?
Tarvaris Jackson was sacked five times tonight, and had little time to get his feet set and make accurate throws down the field. The Broncos had 10 quarterback hurries tonight.
“It’s a tough balance,” Jackson said. “It’s kind a double-edged sword. You want to see what your guys can do, so you know their strengths and their weaknesses. But at the same time you want to win the game. So you want to do well, so we can get into a rhythm and get our confidence going.”
Carroll said because of Seattle’s struggles on offense, expect to see the starter more than the traditional one series next week in the team’s final preseason game against Oakland.
“We still need to play, “Carroll said. “We’ve got things we need to get done. So I don’t care about tradition in the fourth preseason game. That doesn’t matter to me. We’ll do what we’ve got to do.”
Doug Baldwin’s 105-yard kick return for a touchdown was one of the few highlights for Seattle.
But it almost didn’t happen.
Denver kicker Matt Prater initially booted the ball into the end zone for a touchback. However, the Broncos were called for offsides, and had to kick from five yards back at the 30-yard line, allowing for Baldwin to get in a return.
Baldwin’s return would be a team record if it had occurred in the regular season – four yards longer than Leon Washington’s 101-yard return for a score last year against San Diego.
Baldwin’s return was actually the first in Denver in two preseason games after 16 straight touchbacks.
Baldwin continued his bid to make the team with a 105-yard kick return for a score midway through the four quarter.
“The blocking was phenomenal,” Baldwin said. “It was easy once I hit the first hole. Those guys mowed everybody down.”Gallery unapologetic after cut block
The play probably looked worse than it was – Seattle offensive guard Robert Gallery peeling back to cut Denver defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley on a screen pass to Leon Washington for eight yards in the opening quarter.
Gallery caught Bunkley at the knees and he went down with a thud, needing assistance from team trainers to leave the field.
According to Denver head coach John Fox, Bunkley sprained his right knee.Gallery was unapologetic about the play afterwards.
“Look in the rule book – that was a completely legal block to me,” Gallery said. “The ref even said it. That’s football, man. I’d do it again. I don’t like that he got hurt, but that was a completely legal block, and I’d do it 100 times again.”
Bunkley wasn’t looking for an apology.
“It’s the game, man,” Bunkley said. “We’re in the trenches, and things like that are going to happen. I’ll be all right. I’m not going to say anything is dirty. That’s just the way the game is played.” Some tidbits
* Kelly Jennings did not play because of a hamstring injury. Carroll said there were no other injuries to report.
* Marcus Trufant led the team in tackles with six, including a quarterback sack of Kyle Orton on a cornerback blitz.
* Pep Levingston, Brandon Browner, Red Bryant, Kennard Cox, Aaron Curry and Atari Bigby all finished with four combined tackles each.
* Chris Clemons had an interception in his first preseason action, dropping out in the flat on a zone blitz and picking off an Orton pass intended for Brandon Lloyd.