Seahawks Insider Blog

5 things to watch for in Hawks vs. Broncos

I expect Russell Wilson to play at least a quarter against Denver tonight. And after last week’s performance, expect the Seattle Seahawks to look crisp on offense today.

Specifically, having Max Unger back should help up front. And I think we might see Marshawn Lynch carry the ball a few times this evening. Also, the addition of Robert Turbin should help offensively, particularly on third down.

Talking to reporters earlier this week, Wilson said he’s looking to get into a rhythm this weekend.

“Well obviously when you have more reps, you get more plays throughout the game and you get more of a rhythm,” Wilson said. “So I think that is the biggest thing for us is, ‘Can we get into a rhythm and stay in a rhythm throughout the game?’”

That said, let’s take a closer look at five storylines to watch for this evening.

Can Jordan Hill earn a starting job? Pete Carroll praised Hill’s performance in practice this week, and he’ll get the start next to Brandon Mebane at defensive tackle. With Jesse Williams (knee) and Tony McDaniel (groin) dealing with injury issues, it will be interesting to see if Hill can take the job and run with it. A third-round pick in this year’s draft out of Penn State, Hill was initially considered as part of the team’s third down rush package. However, he’s proven better than expected against the run, which gives Hill an opportunity to earn playing time on first and second downs.

Who’s rushing the passer, take two: DE Benson Mayowa stood out last game against San Diego’s backups, so I’m interested to see if he’ll get a chance to play against Denver’s starters. Also, with Bruce Irvin, Chris Clemons and Cliff Avril all out nursing injuries, O’Brien Schofield needs to step up and claim his role as one of the edge rushers that can be counted on for this team.

Turbo time: With Lynch likely playing just a few snaps in this game, and Christine Michael limited due to back spasms, Turbin will get his first opportunity at lengthy playing time this preseason. And with the way Michael played last week, Turbin needs to perform well to solidify his role as the team’s No. 2 back.

Competition at right guard, take two: After hearing Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell talk about the competition at right guard, it appears that J.R. Sweezy is ahead of John Moffitt. A more interesting development has been Michael Bowie and Alvin Bailey getting reps at left guard in practice, opening the door for someone like Paul McQuistan to move to right guard if James Carpenter cannot get healthy from his foot issue. Bottom line – there’s still some things to be sorted out at both guard spots for Seattle.

Return game: Carroll said that Golden Tate will get first opportunity to return punts, and Jermaine Kearse will be the first one back to return kicks. Walter Thurmond, Will Blackmon and Perez Ashford all had good returns in the punt game. Kearse is an interesting choice as kick returner. He has some wiggle, but I wonder about his long speed. I think Carroll is looking for someone to seize that kick return job so the team can start developing some consistency in the return game.

Other things to watch: I expect QB Tarvaris Jackson to continue to play well, putting pressure on Brady Quinn to match his performance. ... WR Stephen Williams needs to build on his performance last week, and you might also see him on special teams. Bryan Walters also gets a chance to work back into the battle for the last couple receiver spots. ... It will be interesting to see if Phil Bates gets any reps at fullback. ... The competition at long snapper continues between Clint Gresham and Kyle Nelson.