Seahawks Insider Blog

Morning links: 5 keys for Hawks vs. 49ers

Good morning from here in San Francisco. Dave Boling and I are going to take off for Candlestick in a couple hours, and we’ll have an inactive list for you as soon as it is made available.

We’ll also be conducting a live chat during the game, so stop by and join us for the game this afternoon.

And, as always, here are five keys to Seattle’s contest against San Francisco.

Jackson on the run:

I think quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has done a nice job of being patient in the pocket and letting things develop down field during exhibition play. Maybe too much. But playing behind an inexperienced offensive line, I think this afternoon it’s important that Seattle’s offensive coaching staff put him in positions to make some plays with his feet outside the pocket to threaten the perimeter of the defense in order to help the offense move the chains. I’d like to see some bootlegs and rollouts, especially in the red zone, and for Jackson to run for at least 40 yards today.

Miller the security blanket: There’s a reason Zach Miller caught 60 balls, five touchdowns and made it to the Pro Bowl last season – he’s a reliable target in the middle of the field, on third down and near the red zone. So expect Jackson to find Miller when he’s under duress, similar to what Jason Campbell did in Oakland last year.

Play free: The Seahawks could have up eight players making their first start with the this team today so it will be up to Pete Carroll to use his expert motivational skills to get those guys in the right frame of mind, so they not like a deer in the headlights at opening kickoff. He’s already done that trough the media for linebacker K.J.Wright should David Hawthorne not be available today by praising the Mississippi State product every chance he gets. Even though they are the NFC West champs, the Seahawks are 5.5-point underdogs and very few people expect them to win this game, so they should play free today.

Play smart: That said, in the first game of the season expect the team that has the least penalties, turnovers and mental mistakes to win. So Seattle needs to value the ball on offense and be assignment correct, and then defensively get after Alex Smith with some pressure in his face and create some turnovers to get the short field for the offense.

Stop Frank Gore: The 28-year-old running back has averages 148 yards a game against Seattle when playing at Candlestick park, including two, 200-yard performances in the last five years. Seattle needs to control San Francisco’s running game to have a chance.

Dave Boling of The News Tribune looks into his crystal ball for some early indicators to look for, including expectations for the offensive line, Tarvaris Jackson and Mike Williams.

My story today focuses on the fact that the Seahawks will have a new voice in the defensive huddle in the team’s season opener for the first time in seven seasons, with David Hawthorne taking over for Lofa Tatupu.

Christian Caple of offers five things to watch for in today’s game.

Clare Farnsworth at previews the game here.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes that Carroll usually has his team’s ready to play at the beginning of the years. He’s 4-1 in season openers as a head coach in the NFL.

John Boyle of the Everett Herald takes a closer look at how the Carroll-John Schneider collaboration has worked for the Seahawks.

Scott Johnson of the Everett Herald continues his series on former Seahawks most memorable games with a look at Sam McCullum.

Former Seahawks’ defensive end Nick Reed predictably has worked his way up the depth chart for the Chicago Bears.

Mike Silver of Yahoo Sports shares this story of New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin serving as a calming influence for his son, talking with him on the cell phone while he escaped the second of the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, as we honor the victims of that terrorist act on the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

San Francisco

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News writes that Jim Harbaugh has mystery on his side in his NFL debut.

Matt Maiocco of writes that San Francisco could have a few tricks up its sleeve, including second team quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the Wildcat quarterback.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle offers these keys to the game.