The Seahawks arrived back to team headquarters in Renton in the middle of the night following the kind of wild, 41-31 loss at Oakland in the exhibition finale. That game proved this:
*The starting offense -- particularly Russell Wilson and the passing game -- couldn't be flying higher entering Thursday's opener against Green Bay. Eleven scores in 13 preseason drives, the empty trips between the very first drive at Denver Aug. 7 when the offensive line was missing three starters and Wilson was just running to stay upright, and last week against Chicago when Steven Hauschka had a 53-yard field goal clang off an upright. And that's with Marshawn Lynch getting just three carries in ione exhibition game all month.
*The defense wasn't getting home on the pass rush, but is still missing DE Michael Bennett (hamstring) and DT Tony McDaniel (sore knee) plus pass rusher Bruce Irvin (offseason hip surgery). The linebackers were flying around impatiently last night and the Raiders took advantage with patient, cut-back runs that stung.
"We just have to be patient, clean up the little things," middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said in the cramped, visitor's baseball clubhouse last night (75 dudes in a baseball clubhouse plus staff with football equipment strewn about is a unique sight, by the way -- love my old workplace, the trusty Oakland Coliseum).
Wagner looked great running sideline to sideline after missing three weeks with a hamstring injury this month. He said he feels fully healthy and ready for the Packers.
DE O'Brien Schofield finally got slowed down after seven quarterback hits in the first three exhibitions -- but he was still far better overall this month than Benson Mayowa was at the weak-side, pass-rush DE spot. I think Schofield wins a roster spot at Mayowa's expense. DT Jordan Hill made a late push one of the final roster spots with 12 tackles; the third-round pick last year from Penn State said afterward that he had a bad first half but played more to his capabilities after halftime.
Raiders rookie QB Derek Carr made one of the better throws I've seen against CB Richard Sherman, a third-down, back-shoulder throw to which Sherman reacted but couldn't get to on an Oakland first down during its 12-play touchdown drive early in the first quarter. Sherman also batted down a deep ball on the drive. After Denver and San Diego just didn't throw his way to start the preseason, Chicago and Oakland had success throwing in front of him, stop routes, short outs and back-shoulder throws. That may be the recipe the Packers and Chargers try in the first two regular-season games. A reloaded pass rush would help Seattle against some of those throws.
--Here's my game story from late last night for today's News Tribune, a rush job after a three-plus-hour game.
--Here is the Seattle Times' story. Bob Condotta and I were the only print writers covering the Seahawks who were there last night.
--Here is what a guy who knows Terrelle Pryor better than I do, my pal and former Raiders beat-writer colleague Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group, thought about Pryor giving Pete Carroll something to consider between now and final cuts tomorrow afternoon.
Carroll was noticeably blah when I asked him "What impressed you about Terrelle Pryor's performance?" It admittedly was a leading question, yet he didn't go far at all down the praise route. No specifics, either.
"He made some plays," Carroll said. "He battled really hard to give us a chance."
It was as non-effusive as he's been all month about Pryor. And that was after he went 11 for 17 with a touchdown on a well-engineered, 2-minute drill at the end of the first half. Peculiar, I thought. Really not sure whether the Seahawks keep three quarterbacks, but I still am leaning toward Pryor making the team based on Carroll's love for athletic ability and faith in being able to harness every player's best traits to help the team.
--Paul Richardson is something -- something far more than just a speed burner. His leaping catch at the sideline while keeping his toes inbounds on a lean was veteran, Pro Bowl-like. It extended the drive that ended with Pryor's look-off-the-safety TD pass to Phil Bates.
--Many people wanting to sound alarms about Percy Harvin missing three straight days including last night's game to tend to what the Seahawks say is a "personal matter." Consider this: The team allowed him to be away Tuesday and Wednesday, meaning he wasn't with the team for its Wednesday afternoon flight. The Seahawks are off from practice today and Saturday. It would have stuck in Harvin's craw to have to fly on his own to Oakland for a game he was going to play maybe for snaps, if at all, only to be off again for the next two days. So he didn't come, one of 10 Seahawks who didn't.
When asked about Harvin after last night's game Carroll said only that his star WR stayed back and that "we had a lot of guys stay back."
If Harvin isn't at practice Sunday, the first full prep day for Green Bay, then it becomes more of an issue. On my end, when a team says a guy has a personal matter I usually give that some latitude for a couple days and not press -- especially in the preseason. If he's not there Sunday, the question is definitely inbounds then.
--The coaching staff and personnel executives led by general manager John Schneider are now huddling to determine the final, 53-man roster. Seattle must trim 22 players off its roster before 1 p.m. tomorrow.
Boarding this flight back to Seattle now.