Winners & Losers posts are fucking played out, so fuck it, I’m doing something different (that’s really sort of the same, but whatever).
Last night, the Seahawks played in their first pre-season game of the year and lost to the Colts 19-17. The game was efficiently played through the first half, we saw a ton of different guys get out there and mix it up, and then the second half was a slog of mistakes, penalties, and absolute tom-fuckery that ended with a 3rd & 1 play just before the 2-minute warning. The Seahawks used their final time out in an attempt to get the ball back for a come-from-behind opportunity. The Colts ran the ball up the middle, Delano Hill (I believe) had a chance to stuff the running back for no gain, but he ultimately missed the tackle, leading to an Indy first down and a victory formation coming out of the 2-minute break. So, let’s get to the premise of this post.
What I’m Geeked Out About After One Meaningless Pre-Season Game
Okay, so first of all, caveats galore: it’s pre-season, it’s the first game of the pre-season, it’s against an Indy defense that probably isn’t all that good and probably wasn’t playing all their best players and probably wasn’t running anything but a vanilla scheme.
That having been said, I’m pretty fucking geeked out about the Seahawks’ #1 offense. All of it! Russell Wilson was on point! The running game looked strong! The offensive line gave Wilson all day to throw and opened up huge holes! Receivers and tight ends got open! The offense was crisp and efficient and was even able to overcome a penalty or two! It culminated in a touchdown pass to Nick Vannett and the major players were done for the night.
Why am I so geeked out about all this, with all those caveats I mentioned? Because this is what’s SUPPOSED to happen. This is how your #1 offense is SUPPOSED to look against the dregs of the league in the first pre-season game of the year. And yet, all too often in years past, under Darrell Bevell & Co., it’s been a fucking SLOG! Much like in regular season games, this offense tended to take a while to get going even in the pre-season. So, it was FUCKING refreshing to finally see these guys come out right away and ram it down the other team’s throat.
As always: Fuck You Very Much Darrell Bevell & Tom Cable.
Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Good Way)
Even though Vannett had a drop (that, on replay, might’ve been a tad thrown behind him, but still, something you should catch), I liked what he brought to the table. Any sort of production we get from the tight ends should be gravy (so long as they’re doing their jobs blocking), but if he can be a real weapon offensively, that’d be HUGE for our passing game.
There was a nice catch by Stringfellow and a couple good catches by Moore for the back-end of the receiving corps. All in all, I thought our targets looked good.
Rasheem Green is probably the talk of the day defensively. This pass rush looks as pathetic as I’ve ever seen it, and I’m sure he did most of his damage against backups, but nevertheless even THIS was more than I was expecting out of Green as a rookie. I kinda expected him to look lost and overwhelmed even in the pre-season, so to see him really stand out as the best pass rusher on this team last night is an encouraging sign for his first season in the league.
Also promising: Shaquem Griffin. He didn’t make every single play, but boy was he all over the place! He led the game with 9 tackles and had a tackle for loss mixed in as well.
I thought Akeem King really showed out in getting some extended playing time. He had a nice pass breakup, showed some really good coverage overall, and even though he had that helmet penalty on special teams, I really don’t think it was totally his fault! You could see on replay, he tried moving his head out of the way and leading with his shoulder, but the offensive guy lowered HIS head and yet it’s the defensive guy’s fault. I think that’s a collosal load of bullshit and something the NFL really needs to adjust. I’m with you 100% when it comes to getting rid of helmet-to-helmet hits and avoiding hitting guys in the head overall, but when it’s the offensive guy putting himself in harm’s way, I mean, how is the defender supposed to avoid it? We’re teaching all these defensive guys to see the play and keep his head up and all of that; why aren’t we teaching the offensive guys the same thing? I feel like a high percentage of these hits are the fault of the offense, and no one’s doing a damn thing about it.
Let’s Talk About Competitions
You know I love me a good punter competition! Of course, the main downside is that you’ve got to see the incumbent half the time (to keep up appearances, I suppose) and give him the first opportunity (because he is the veteran and whatnot). The other big downside is that you kind of have to root for your offense to totally suck, which obviously makes for boring football to watch.
I thought, you know, Jon Ryan was fine. I wish him well and I hope another team snaps him up and he punts in this league for many more years to come. But, I’m ready to just hand the keys over to Michael Dickson right now, because he was phenomenal! He’s got that ball BOOMING and it doesn’t even look like he’s trying all that hard! I feel like he could punt it the entire length of the football field, and at some point, when we’re backed way up in our own endzone, I want to see him unleash a furious hellscape of a punt that makes us all simultaneously cream in our pants.
As for the kickers, way too early to tell. I want this battle to go to the bitter end. Janikowski made both of his extra points; Myers made his 43-yard field goal.
Finally, I’m just going to bypass all the more interesting competitions (I thought all the RBs looked good, except of course for C.J. Prosise who – SUR-PRISE SUR-PRISE SUR-PRISE – missed the game with an injury) and talk about the backup QBs. Austin Davis is almost certainly going to win that #2 job, and he moved the ball pretty well on his first drive of the game, but GOD DAMN did that interception in the endzone leave a bitter taste in my mouth. I was thrilled to see him on the sidelines coming out of halftime.
As for Alex McGough, he was definitely Captain Checkdown, but what do you expect from a 7th round QB playing in his first NFL game? I thought the backup offensive line did him no favors. He showed good mobility, but all too often I found myself SCREAMING at him, “THROW IT AWAY!” He ultimately took two too many sacks when he had clear opportunities to throw it out of bounds and live to fight another day, and that’s ultimately on him.
He also had that one scramble play that went for a HUGE gain to Stringfellow (who was erroneously flagged for offensive PI – which, I guess you have to say it was pre-season for the refs too, because they looked pretty bad on occasion), which goes to show you this kid has moxie and a lot of potential to be maybe a Doug Flutie type of player. I still think Davis has the clear lead, but I’m not TOTALLY going to write off Mr. McGough.
Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Bad Way)
I was disappointed in something I thought would be a strength for this team: its depth. Coming out of the draft, I thought – even though our top-flight talent wasn’t what it was in this team’s prime – we at least had much better guys on this roster from players 54-90. But, that proved to be wishful thinking on my part.
Obviously, a number of starters were out injured (notably Frank Clark, Dion Jordan, Byron Maxwell, and Doug Baldwin), but I pegged this as a team that would dominate the 4th quarters of pre-season games (i.e. our third stringers are better than your third stringers), and that just wasn’t the case last night.
I thought the pass defense was a little lacking, for good reason. Tre Flowers was the starter opposite Shaquill Griffin, and he had predictable rookie mistakes. He showed some promise, but he was also getting picked on pretty regularly. The good thing is, he’ll likely have ample opportunities to grow through some of these pains the next three weeks.
I saw a ball get completed in front of Shaquill Griffin that I can guarantee you Richard Sherman (if healthy) would’ve broken up. Look, right or wrong, I’m going to be comparing every play that goes his way to Sherm in his prime; I’m sorry, that’s just what happens when you replace a legend. What’s His Name had to replace Dan Marino when he retired, and look at where he is now! (forgotten). Other than that one catch, I thought Griffin looked fine, but it’s something I’m going to monitor very closely.
I thought our linebackers looked pretty terrible in that first quarter, as you saw the Colts throwing to WIDE OPEN running backs on the regular. K.J. Wright got beat, Bobby Wagner got beat; guys looked like they were out of position; and quite frankly guys looked like they were ill-prepared for a quarterback coming off of a year-plus out of football for a shoulder injury. I mean, what did you expect? Andrew Luck to sling the ball 50 yards down field? OF COURSE he was going to throw quick, short passes! We should’ve been on top of that.
I also didn’t love what I saw out of Austin Calitro, backing up Bobby Wagner, but you know, he’s an undrafted rookie playing behind an All Pro, so I won’t get my panties all in a wad. He has a long way to go; I just pray to the high heavens that Wagner never gets injured.
As I predicted, this team kind of got pushed around on 3rd/4th downs early in the game. The Colts were ultimately held to field goals most of the time, but nevertheless they were able to put up some pretty sustained drives throughout (especially their starters). Need to find a way to get off the field.
The backup O-Line looked as miserable as I remember from the last three years. While the starters looked GREAT, the backups leave a lot to be desired. It also doesn’t help that our two backup right tackles – Jamarco Jones and Isaiah Battle – left the game with some serious-looking injuries. One to the knee, one looking to be a high ankle sprain. These were the two guys pushing Germain Ifedi for that starting right tackle spot, so this is probably the worst news of the night. Ifedi might be better than he was last year, but I still don’t like the idea of him winning the job by default.