Preseason: Here We Go Again

This is the spot where sports radio guys and everyone else with an opinion are pounding their fists and saying, “Why do we play so many preseason games?  They’re only good for getting your star players injured!”

Of course, there are more important players who’ve gotten injured in the history of preseason football than Russell Okung, with far more devastating injuries than an ankle sprain, but here we go again!  Let the injuries commence!

At least it’s somewhat minor.  At least it’s not a knee or a shoulder or something.  It’s just an ankle; hell, nagging turf toe injuries have had more of an impact than a sprained ankle.  Give it some rest, then give it some tape, he should be good to go.  That’s the hope anyway.  I don’t want this thing dragging out.  My worst nightmare is Okung becoming one of those guys who can’t make it onto the field because he’s always hurt.  This is a BAD omen.  He comes in late to camp, he makes it through one preseason game, then in the first quarter (on the first drive?  in the first play?) down goes Okung.

I’m going to fight the urge to say that nothing else in this game mattered, but I have five words for you:  Mansfield Wrotto, Starting Left Tackle.  If that doesn’t shake you down to your core, then you simply don’t have a soul!

Besides that – and I guess Kelly Jennings got a little banged up – we’ve gone two games and haven’t really lost all that much.  Still, the big test is next week, Game 3, when the starters tend to play into the 3rd Quarter for the first time.  Any football fan just hopes beyond hope that their team makes it through Game 3 unscathed; because Game 4 is even more pointless than Game 1.

As for the rest of the team, Matt Hasselbeck made a statement (11 for 15, 127 yards, 1 TD, 120.7 rating), as did Charlie Whitehurst, a statement in a different sense (9 for 20, 73 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 31.9 rating).  A couple of the receivers looked good:  Housh and Mike Williams had 4 balls apiece.

And the defense looked AWFUL.  The #1 Defense couldn’t stop a slug with a mountain of salt at their disposal.  Getting no pressure, giving up anything the opposing offense wants in the middle of the field, not making tackles, not getting off the field.  If we don’t get killed every week in Time of Possession, I would be shocked.

Now, is that a byproduct of it being Preseason?  A combination of players still coming together, learning the scheme, and not showing the blitz packages?  Maybe.  Or is this just Who We Are?  A defense that’s decent-to-good against the run, non-existent in pass rush, and getting consistently beat in the passing game not because the secondary is inferior (I still think it could be a strength of this defense), but because the line isn’t doing its job.

I choose to believe the latter until this team convinces me through its regular season play that it’s the former.

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