Well, game time is finally here for the Seattle Seahawks. Even with all of the recent roster moves, head coach Pete Carroll believes this team can win now, so will see if that’s true.
Here are five keys for Seattle in the team’s pursuit of a win over a pretty good team in San Francisco.
Keep Gore in check: Frank Gore ran for 207 yards in San Francisco’s first game against Seattle last year, then inexplicably only touched the ball nine times for 25 yards at Qwest field as the Niners decided to air it out. But the Seattle defense understands that San Francisco head coach Mike Singletary wants to ground it out, so they will have to keep Gore from breaking big gains.
Ball control: The Seahawks’ offense did a nice job of managing the game during the preseason, as the first unit did not have a single turnover. However, veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will have to take some risks too if Seattle wants to put some points on the board. Winning the turnover battle and stealing a possession or two from San Francisco’s offense is critical.
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Protect Hasselbeck: With Tyler Polumbus likely starting at left tackle, Seattle needs to make sure they slide the protection to his side, keep a tight end to his side or do whatever they need to do to help him. I don’t expect a lot of play action or five-to-seven step drops for Hasselbeck, but quick stuff to get the ball in Mike Williams and Justin Forsett’s hands in space.
Score early: The Seahawks really struggled to get on the board early in games last year, so putting some point up early will be key in controlling game tempo and staying close. I don’t think this team is built for comebacks.
Get the crowd involved: With San Francisco starting two rookies along the offensive line, the 12th Man could play a role in making things uncomfortable for left guard Mike Iupati and right tackle Anthony Davis. Expect the Seahawks to bring some blitzes as well to test the inexperienced offensive line.
In my story today, Seahawks general manager John Schneider says he received some early training for his gig by using football cards to create imaginary trade scenarios as a child. Schneider also explains the team’s philosophy and his working relationship with Carroll.
Dave Boling of The News Tribune wonders if the Seahawks will match San Francisco’s physical intensity.
Greg Johns of Seattlepi.com offers five things to look for in today’s game.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com previews the game here.
Dan Pompei of the National Football Post reports that according to his sources former Seahawks offensive line coach Alex Gibbs clashed with offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates and did not agree with some of the personnel moves the team made.
Les Carpenter of Yahoo Sports profiles Carroll and his official return to the league today.