Good morning from Denver, where I am flying out about 2 1/2 hours after the Seahawks landed back home and noted this:
That is after a remarkable number of fired-up 12s were leaving SeaTac with me at 5:30 a.m. yesterday to travel here for, again, an exhibition game. Yes, this defense of the Seahawks first Super Bowl championship is going to be a season like none other in Seattle.
Quick impressions from last night's debut audition, before I board this flight back:
--The offensive line has a ways to go to develop the continuity and depth it will need to keep Russell Wilson -- and thus the offense -- upright this season. Then again, that's not a surprise. It's Aug. 8. And three starters were out last night. As coach Pete Carroll noted after the game, he had guys playing up front in the first half who had been practicing in positions for as few as three or four games. Wilson was sacked twice and hit one other time on the Seahawks' first, five-play offensive series. But the 45-minute lightning delay seemed to allow the line to regroup and get more coordinated. The protection was much better on the second drive, which game after the delay. Wilson got into his only flow of the night, had time to look for multiple receivers on pass plays, and the Seahawks scored their only touchdown, a 1-yard dive by Christine Michael that tied the game at 7 late in the second quarter.
--Brock Coyle did well in front of what the native of Bozeman, Mont., estimated to be about two dozen friends and family members, including his mother Tina plus his father Chris -- the latter flew in for his son's first NFL "game" from Connecticut. Coyle started at middle linebacker with Bobby Wagner still out with a hamstring injury, and he stayed in for the entire first half with the second-team defense, too. The former Montana Grizzlies captain and undrafted rookie showed good range dropping downfield in pass coverage, once hustling to make a tackle by peeling back into the secondary after a moderately deep catch. He also scraped off blocks and moved laterally to make a few of his five tackles. That's what he was officially credited for -- he affected more plays than that. A solid first start, which Coyle acknowledged with a shrug.
"Obviously, it was different out there," he deadpanned. "Lining up across from Peyton Manning, I'd never done that before."
--Terrelle Pryor made plays out of mostly nothing, and should have had the winning touchdown with 2:54 left, but Demitrius Bronson -- the rookie from Eastern Washington who ran the ball with power and zest -- allowed a flip screen pass versus Denver's all-out blitz to go through his hands inside the Broncos' 10-yard line. If Bronson makes that catch, he has no one in front of him to the end zone, the Seahawks win 23-21 -- and we are talking right now about Seattle's 10th consecutive preseason win and the game-winning drive Pryor made to raise his stock in his competition with Tarvaris Jackson for the No. 2 QB job.
Then again, if I had a zillion dollars I wouldn't be writing this right now, either.
“I’m used to playing football and making plays. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve made plays,” he said. “So that really doesn’t shock me, just to make plays. But what shocks me and what I’m really upset about is losing the game for my teammates. I just have to make better decisions. And next time, I will.”
As it was, Pryor led the Seahawks from their own 11 to the Denver 3 with a chance to win late in the game. That's what Carroll and his staff will notice more than the interception he threw into traffic on a tipped ball with just over 2 minutes left.