Consider it natural that the Seattle Seahawks would be tuned in and fully focused when taking on Green Bay at home in prime time in the nationally televised NFL season opener.
So they stomped the Packers in what, at times, looked like a scrimmage against the jayvees.
But what happens now?
The Seahawks made it fairly obvious that they still have the talent and manpower to dominate a highly regarded opponent.
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They’ve proven they’re back. They’ve flexed their muscles.
But that makes today’s game against San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium a test of a different sort.
Do they stay hungry? Do they stay driven? Do they stay awake?
The Chargers had a nice run last season, winning five of their last six games. They’ve got Philip Rivers, a five-time Pro Bowler at quarterback who can get hot and burn defenses.
But the Hawks are expected to win by a touchdown on the road, which will not be unusual this season, as they’re likely to be heavy favorites almost every week. They have that kind of talent.
All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, for instance, has been so dominant that the Packers didn’t even try to throw to his side of the field.
“It’s still taking me (time) to understand that,” Sherman said this week. “You want to be a part of the game; you want to make plays and help your team win. If that means you’re not doing anything, apparently, then that’s what I’ve got to do.”
Today’s game will be a good early barometer of how well the Seahawks can sustain the drive that led them to their Super Bowl runaway and 13-win 2013 season.
Human nature tends to mandate a drop in adrenaline production for games like these. But the Seahawks are a team that practices so intensely, even in the offseason, that they get fined by the league.
The sight of different-colored jerseys alone should trigger excessive salivation.
A number of defensive players have said they want to be considered among the best in the history of the game. Going on the record with that sort of thing should keep the pressure high.
Safety Earl Thomas goes around every day carrying a look like the magicians who used to try to bend spoons with the force of their stare.
And quarterback Russell Wilson is cyborg programed to disallow any reduction in effort or concentration.
But here’s a thing about such highly competitive players: They hate being unchallenged or uninvolved.
The offense seemed to have more facets against Green Bay, as Percy Harvin had seven catches and four rushes. But those seven catches were 37 percent of the team’s 19 completions. Last year’s leading receiver, Golden Tate, finished the season with 64 catches — 24 percent of the team’s completions.
Doug Baldwin had three catches against Green Bay, Jermaine Kearse just one. It seemed like light duty. Everybody’s happy when the team wins, but receivers, particularly, are hungry for the ball.
“You design it up and try to get it to go to certain guys and make sure you get everyone involved,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “But the luxury we have is, I’m happy wherever it goes.”
Because of coverages, packages and defensive schemes, the ball doesn’t always go to a play’s primary target, Bevell said. That’s hard to control.
“I want to make sure all of those guys are involved,” Bevell said. “I don’t want us to rely on one thing so much that the defense knows it’s coming and they can take it away. If they want to take Percy Harvin away, that’s fine. We have three other guys that we’ll gladly give the ball to.”
Thomas discounted the idea of any Seahawks getting bored on game day.
“(Sherman) was just talkin’ to make you guys laugh,” Thomas said. “He’s never bored out there.”
It doesn’t seem likely of this team, but spreading the action around could become an important part of managing the team this season.