Some quickee thoughts after two preseason games (the skeleton of my Monday morning column in the Trib):
I think those of us who suffered from Acute Football Deficit Disorder over the spring and summer, are prone to over-analyzing preseason games, and will tend toward snap judgments. So I'm trying to take some deep breaths and remember the context.
After a win and a loss, the Seahawks first-team offense still hasn’t gotten the memo that the lockout has ended. However, if there was a league in which the second units competed, the Seahawks would be strong contenders.
Charlie Whitehurst has been the best quarterback. Or at least the best at passing against opponents’ backups. Props due: He’s playing decisively and with confidence, and the accuracy he lacked on some short routes in the past has been discovered. Starter Tarvaris Jackson has thrown only 26 passes, mostly in the face of lousy protection, and his one interception was a ball that should have been caught. He hasn’t generated any points, but it’s not a fair sample size to scrap the depth chart.
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But it surely is cause for fair debate. What if we're heading into the Sept. 11 opener and Charlie's passer rating is still 93.1 and Tarvaris' is still 45.0?
On the offensive line: We expected the rookies on the right side to need time to ripen. James Carpenter and John Moffitt have predictably mixed the good with the bad, but there's an awful lot to like. And the injury of Russell Okung has set back the unit’s melding process. But I expected better of free-agent guard Robert Gallery, who has looked ineffective much of the time. He’s 31 and may need more time to play into shape. But it warrants watching.
Bottom line (if you will): This young unit was given a challenge on Saturday against Minnesota that was impossible to misinterpret. They had the ball with a first down on the Vikings’ 2.If this team was going to be able to pound the ball the way coach Pete Carroll wanted, it was time to have all these high draft picks show what they could do.Four running plays later, the Hawks gave the ball up at the 1. Consider that an embarrassing failure even if it is only early preseason.
Mike Williams went up high to beat double coverage against the Vikings in the kind of reception the Hawks are looking for out of him. Sidney Rice’s two catches thus far haven’t revealed much of his skills. Some of the young guys, especially rookie Doug Baldwin, has looked strong. But Golden Tate seems on the verge of playing himself into irrelevance. He had a drop and tipped a ball that was intercepted against the Vikings. When the defensive line was at its best last year, it was because Red Bryant was an immovable bully in there. Coming off his knee surgery, he’s not yet returned to that kind of form. He needs to in the next three weeks.
David Hawthorne isn't missing a beat filling in at middle linebacker for Lofa Tatupu. And rookies K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith are gifted athletes who are learning fast. The surprise has to be the play of the formerly wayward Leroy Hill. Hill looks fit, squared away, and is making the kind of plays he used to, i.e: Closing on Adrian Peterson in the open field, wrapping him up and pushing him backward.
The size and athleticism of the young additions in the secondary is startling. I expected 6-foot-4 cornerback Brandon Browner to be physical, but couldn’t envision him being able to run stride-for-stride with receivers.
So, on the up-side for fans: Whew, they’ve got three weeks until they open the season for real.On the down-side for fans: Yikes, they’ve only got three weeks until they open the season for real.