Archive | August, 2012

Review: Seahawks 21, Raiders 3

31 Aug

It would have been better if we shut them out. Nevertheless I am extremely satisfied to write that the Seahawks defeated the Oakland Raiders Thursday night by a score of 21-3. The Seahawks finish the preseason a perfect 4-0 while the Raiders end the preseason at 1-3. There is a bit for me to touch on, and I’ll start with the brief play of the starting units.

Wilson showed signs of rookie jitters: Although Russell Wilson performed fairly Thursday night, there were a couple of plays I’m sure he would like to have back. There seemed to be a breakdown of communication on one play between him and Golden Tate. I don’t know if Wilson let the pass get away from him or if Tate ran the wrong route, but the pass sailed incomplete. It would have been an Oakland interception if there was a defender in the vicinity but there wasn’t. Another pass, which had me shaking my head, was a play-action rollout to the right. Wilson then targeted tight end Kellen Winslow and sailed the ball over his head. Winslow wasn’t more than ten yards straight ahead of Wilson, and it is a throw I’ve seen Wilson make numerous times in practice. I consider Russell Wilson’s 5/11 for 72 yards to be fair, but I would have liked to see the Seahawks get into the endzone. The only points registered in the first quarter were off a 25-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka. Wilson committed no turnovers which is definitely a plus. Since his interception in the Tennessee game, Wilson has gone three games without a turnover. That is great momentum heading into the regular season.

I call out Irvin, he steps up: When I posted the halftime score on Facebook, I noted that I wanted to see more involvement from Bruce Irvin in the second half. That is exactly what he did. Irvin recorded 1.5 sacks and had a quarterback pressure in the second half. His countermoves seemed to be working quite well but you have to take into account it was against Oakland back-ups. Like with Russell Wilson’s lack of turnovers, it is good to have momentum in his direction going to the regular season.

No notable stat lines at WR: No wide receiver overly impressed Thursday night. With the exception of running back Vai Taua catching balls out of the backfield, no receiver had more than two catches. Tight end Cooper Helfet scored his second touchdown of the preseason and Kris Durham had a nice catch heading towards the sidelines for 25 yards. No bubble receiver made significant strides to lock down a roster spot. Going off of this headline…

Running game was a huge point of emphasis: Although the ratio of run plays to pass plays was narrow, it seemed like the Seahawks were trying to run the ball as much as they could. In the second half for example, the Seahawks ran 22 rush plays and 13 passing plays. The Seahawks ran the ball 63% of their second half plays compared to 50% in the first half. Kregg Lumpkin got the bulk of the carries, running for 71 yards on 20 carries. It will be interesting to see how offensive plays are split up between rush and pass, especially when Marshawn Lynch is on the field.

Portis sees expanded playing time: Josh Portis entered the game with 1:27 remaining in the third quarter. Portis got double the amount of playing time I was hoping to see him get but he did not do as good of a job as I would have liked to see. Portis finished the night 1/6 for 10 yards in the air, and had 4 rushes for 23 yards. Those rushes were more like scrambles, as Portis did not seem to locate his targets very well. Portis stood in the pocket for a good amount of time and it didn’t look to me like he bailed from the pocket prematurely, but his rushes were definitely not designed. It is good to have another mobile quarterback in case of emergency, but Josh Portis has a long way to go to make the 12th Man comfortable, should he see playing time in the regular season.

Oakland as a whole did not look like anything special: For starters, I would have liked to have seen Carson Palmer attempt a pass but that was not the case. The starting offense only played one series and could not get anything going. I believe the idea that you don’t want to take too many risks in the final preseason game but any Raiders fan in attendance should have walked away very disappointed. Not only did Palmer not throw a pass, but Darren McFadden, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Denarius Moore all did not even suit up. The Raiders only managed three points in the final minutes; supplied but backup kicker Eddy Carmona (Sebastian Janikowski didn’t even suit up!). The Oakland depth is not very talented in my opinion. Their best performer was linebacker Nathan Stupar, who made 11 tackles. Offensively, Mike Goodson was the leading rusher (26 yards on 8 carries) and Eddie McGee was their leading receiver (3 catches for 36 yards). Both Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor looked rusty and/or conservative. In Pryor’s case, his best plays were made after he was flushed out of the pocket and was scrambling. Like I posted in my game preview, if the Raiders get hurt on offense they will definitely be in trouble this season.

Random Thoughts: The highlight in the stands was a guy in the row in front of me and two seats to the left. He had just bought a new white Seahawks jersey and in the first quarter, the lady sitting next to us accidentally spilled her entire tray of nachos down his back. He seemed to be a good sport about it and they even exchanged phone numbers, as she wanted to pay to have the jersey dry cleaned. I felt really bad for him but initially I had a hard time fighting giggles. A couple sprays of Shout should get that gross pump cheese right out… Russell Wilson’s ovation was great when the offense was introduced. It was by far the loudest of any starter. I can only imagine what it will sound like in the regular season… Got two more autographs on the visor; linebacker K.J. Wright and long snapper Clint Gresham. My buddy Josh scored the best John Hancock between the both of us, as he got 3-time super bowl winning quarterback Jim Plunkett to sign his Raiders football… I paid $19 for two slices of pizza and a bottle of water inside the stadium. If anyone wants to argue why you think that is a reasonable price please give me your best shot. Absolutely ridiculous… Josh and I hung out at King Street Bar and Oven before the game. The beer was lukewarm and their house specialty the “Hawk Shot” is incredibly sweet. It was like drinking Kool-Aid… The weather was very comfortable. Not muggy up at the seats either. That was a nice change… Nobody overly annoying around us Thursday night, although the lady who spilled her nachos was not very knowledgeable, as she was cheering for starters in the second half, well after they had left the game… A couple of emotional thoughts from Thursday’s game: The Seahawks honored George Hickman before the national anthem with a moment of silence. Also, in the second half a deployed soldier surprised his family at the game and was greeted to a loud ovation. It was a great sight to see… Six Washington State Olympians raised the 12th Man flag. The most notable athlete was boxer Queen Underwood… I went on another Seahawks apparel binge after the game. I bought a new sweatshirt. It looks really really good on me (ladies)!

So that’s a wrap on the preseason. Tomorrow the coaching staff and front office have until 6pm to cut the roster down to 53 players. I am planning on having the roster posted tomorrow night and will explain my thoughts on who is staying and who is leaving.

The Seahawks will most likely take tomorrow off and will be at practice later this weekend as they start game planning and preparation for the season opener on September 9th against the Arizona Cardinals.

Advertisements

Raiders/Seahawks Preview

30 Aug

Image

Matchup: Oakland Raiders vs. Seattle Seahawks

Site: CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Washington)

Kickoff: 7:00pm

The Seahawks conclude the 2012 preseason Thursday night when the Oakland Raiders come to town to battle the Seahawks. This is the seventh straight year the Seahawks finish the preseason against the Raiders. The Seahawks have gone 5-1 against Oakland during this stretch. The final preseason game is meant for the backups fighting for a roster spot to show the coaching staff that they deserve to make the cut. This storyline is not the focus this year for the Seahawks however, as Russell Wilson has been named our starting quarterback and will start Thursday night. It is not known how much playing time he will see but I don’t expect it to be more than three drives. Here is what I will be focusing on Thursday night.

Russell Wilson will make his first start since being named the Seahawks starting quarterback. I do not expect him to play for long but I expect the offense to move the ball and be able to score points with Wilson leading the way. The Seahawks scored on each of their first six possessions last week against Kansas City. At home, the Seahawks should not have a big problem being able to move the ball. Oakland however has a very fast and talented defense. I want to see Wilson scramble and see what happens when that fast Oakland defense chases after him. In terms of the other quarterbacks, Matt Flynn will most likely play the bulk of the game. Some may not think it is such a big deal, but I am interested in seeing what kind of effort Flynn puts into his performance. He obviously cannot be happy that he will be backing up Wilson, so a lack of effort would have me concerned, especially if Flynn has to step in at some point during the regular season. Josh Portis will also see a little bit of playing time. For Portis, I want to see him throw more even if the situation doesn’t warrant it. Coach Carroll should give the 12th Man a taste of Portis’ arm.

Eight undrafted rookies remain on the Seahawks roster. The final preseason game is their chance to show the coaching staff that they deserve a spot on the roster, along with everybody else that is currently on the team. Of the eight undrafted rookies that remain, I believe the player in the best position to make the team is defensive end Cordarro Law. Law had a solid training camp has been involved in some big plays during the preseason. I’m not saying he is a lock by any means, but if there is only one spot open and it is going to go to an undrafted rookie, I believe that spot should go to Law.

With final roster cuts occurring 18 hours between the end of Thursday’s game and the deadline, the players who get a good amount of playing time need to show they can contribute. Last season for example, Golden Tate was considered a bubble player who needed to prove to the coaching staff he belonged on the team. In last year’s Oakland game he caught 5 passes for 79 yards and kept his roster spot. I’ll keep the focus on wide receivers for this section. In my eyes the only locks to make the roster are Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin, and Golden Tate. Three or four spots are up for grabs and there are eight players fighting for them. Passes will come at a premium on Thursday night and the receivers must take advantage because if they don’t they will most likely find themselves on the waiver wire come Friday.

The Oakland Raiders enter 2012 much different than in past years. The 2012 campaign will be the first full season without the presence of longtime owner Al Davis, who passed away last October. The Raiders have also hired Dennis Allen to be their head coach. Allen, previously the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos, is the first defensive minded head coach in Oakland in easily four decades, as Davis was the primary signal caller on defense previously. The Oakland defense is led by lineman Richard Seymour. Along with lineman Lamarr Houston, linebacker Rolando McClain, and safety Tyvon Branch, the Raiders have the talent on the defensive side of the ball to make stops and win games.

I would expect a lot of Raiders fans to be excited about the offense. The Raiders are quarterbacked by former first round draft pick Carson Palmer, who was traded to Oakland from Cincinnati last season. Palmer is arguably the most talented and consistent quarterback the Raiders have had since Rich Gannon a decade ago. Along with Palmer, the Raiders line up Darren McFadden in the backfield. McFadden is an excellent running back who can be explosive but has been sidelined in prior seasons due to injury (I’ll touch on that next). Also on offense are wide receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore, among others.

The primary concern I see for the Raiders this season is health. If Carson Palmer and Darren McFadden can stay healthy there is no reason not to expect the Raiders to make a run at the AFC West especially since the rest of their division is pretty even. No team stands out more than another. If not, the Raiders will struggle. I do not see the Raiders making a huge jump but they will be significantly better on the field and I am predicting they will have a slightly better record in 2012.

Random Thoughts: The defense was introduced before the first preseason game; therefore the offense will most likely be introduced on Thursday night. I cannot wait to hear the ovation for Russell Wilson… I need to get my visor filled with a couple more autographs. It is a bit uneven still. Hopefully I’ll take care of that on Thursday… The Raiders game is always fun because it is tradition I take my friend Josh who is a huge Raiders fan. We always make a small friendly wager on the game and I have not lost a bet yet. Hopefully that continues this season… The guy who sits in front of me may or may not be in attendance Thursday night. Hopefully he is because I want to discuss fantasy football among other topics before the regular season starts… I want to be free of annoying people in the vicinity of my seats. The last thing I need is a headache on gameday… Looks like the Hawks Nest will be the prefunking spot again this week, but it will be brief as Josh is taking a half day off of work and we want to get into the stadium early for autographs… I like to make fun of Raiders fans. The best part? They are in OUR house; therefore they do not do anything.

Prediction: Russell Wilson leads two scoring drives; Matt Flynn takes over and leads the Seahawks to more points. I will win my annual wager with Josh and the Seahawks will head into the regular season coming off an undefeated preseason.

Seahawks 24, Raiders 7

I hope to have my review post up by Friday afternoon but bear with me because I will be packing for the majority of the day. I’m moving back to Seattle starting Saturday morning! Also I hope to post about our final roster cuts and which players I am surprised made or did not make the team. Thanks for reading!

Hawk Notes 8/27: Our Starting Quarterback, Tarvaris Jackson Trade Thoughts, Roster Cuts Follow-Up

27 Aug

75 Seahawks players remain on the roster and those 75 guys practiced today in preparation for the final preseason game against the Oakland Raiders. Last night Coach Carroll announced that Russell Wilson will be our starting quarterback and will start Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals. From my perspective it is amazing to think that a mere 4 weeks ago the view of the quarterback competition changed from “I hope to God Tarvaris Jackson is not our quarterback, Flynn better win the job” to “If Russell doesn’t win the job and Flynn is the starter, the 12th Man will be up in arms.” From what I have seen in practice and during our three preseason games, Russell has definitely earned the job. My only concern is the fact that he is a rookie and has no professional experience yet. We are in good hands if Wilson continues his play from these preseason games. What is even better is if Wilson struggles or gets injured, we are in very good hands with Matt Flynn coming off the bench.

Also yesterday, in the process of trimming our roster down to 75, the Seahawks traded Tarvaris Jackson to the Buffalo Bills. Reports indicate that the Seahawks will receive a 7th round draft pick in 2013 which could become a 6th round pick if Jackson is active for at least six games this season. I believe this is a great trade for the Seahawks for two reasons. First off, if we could not find a trade partner for Jackson we would have cut him, meaning we would not have received anything or anyone in return. Getting a 7th round draft pick is leaps and bounds better than straight up cutting him. Secondly, even though the draft pick is a late round pick, I have full confidence in Coach Carroll and John Schneider to turn that pick into a solid contributor for our football team. Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, and J.R. Sweezy are three examples of home runs hit but the front office in the later rounds of the draft. With another pick under our belt, we could potentially turn it into a pro bowl caliber player.

Yesterday I predicted which 15 Seahawks would be cut to trim the roster down to 75. Here is my list again with the players that did in fact get cut bolded:

  1. WR Terrell Owens (Already Cut)
  2. RB Tyrell Sutton (Already Cut)
  3. WR Jermaine Kearse 
  4. OT Edawn Coughman
  5. LB Kyle Knox
  6. CB Donny Lisowski
  7. SS DeShawn Shead
  8. WR Phil Bates
  9. TE Cooper Helfet
  10. C Kris O’Dowd
  11. OG Frank Omiyale
  12. LB Jameson Konz
  13. FB Vai Taua
  14. DE Cordarro Law
  15. CB Phillip Adams

I considered my predictions a success if 8 out of my 15 got cut. Unfortunately for my guessing skills, I only got 6 correct. Among those who did get cut, I am saddened to see Roy Lewis gone. Roy and I talked multiple times at camp last season and once this season. We particularly bonded over the University of Washington since he attended UW and I am currently attending UW. I will definitely miss his on-the-field contributions and his off-the-field humor.

The Seahawks have one more full day of practice tomorrow, preceding a walk through on Wednesday. See you guys tomorrow!

Roster Cuts Predictions

26 Aug

The Seahawks have until tomorrow afternoon to trim the roster down to 75 players. This means 15 players will be cut in the next 24 hours. Two players have already been cut; wide receiver Terrell Owens and running back Tyrell Sutton. The Seahawks now have to cut 13 more players. This post is going to be brief; as I simply list the 15 players who I believe will not be on the team going forward.

  1. WR Terrell Owens (Already Cut)
  2. RB Tyrell Sutton (Already Cut)
  3. WR Jermaine Kearse
  4. OT Edawn Coughman
  5. LB Kyle Knox
  6. CB Donny Lisowski
  7. SS DeShawn Shead
  8. WR Phil Bates
  9. TE Cooper Helfet
  10. C Kris O’Dowd
  11. OG Frank Omiyale
  12. LB Jameson Konz
  13. FB Vai Taua
  14. DE Cordarro Law
  15. CB Phillip Adams

To break it down a little, I have 9 offensive players and 6 defensive players cut in this round of roster cuts. From a guessing/predictions perspective, I will consider it a success if 8 of these players are cut. Remember these are only my predictions. I will briefly follow-up this post tomorrow in my “Hawk Notes” to see which players did indeed lose their roster spots.

Big Red’s Seahawks Fantasy Advice

25 Aug

Over the past few seasons, the Seahawks have not had many studs when it comes to fantasy football. You have to go back to 2006 where you had Shaun Alexander as a first round running back, Matt Hasselbeck as a middle-of-the-draft quarterback option, and guys like Darrell Jackson, Bobby Engram, and Josh Brown as end-of-draft roster fillers. This season things may be a little different and a little brighter for Seahawks players when it comes to fantasy football. Here is my two cents on certain Seahawks players and where I think they should be selected in your fantasy drafts.

Marshawn Lynch: With many teams using committees in the backfield, Lynch is one of the few running backs who will get the grand majority of touches this season. Before he was arrested for DUI, I saw Lynch as a late first round selection. He has not been charged therefore has not been punished by the NFL. I believe that Lynch can and will put up similar yardage stats this season but will not score as many touchdowns. He will be a solid pick and I could see him slipping if people are still worried about NFL discipline. MY GRADE: 10-15 overall.

Sidney Rice: Rice is the highest rated Seahawks receiver on many websites. It all comes down to who will be the starting quarterback and if Rice can stay healthy. Since Rice spent the preseason rehabbing, he has not been able to show fantasy owners how he is clicking with his quarterbacks. Rice is a wild-card that should not be selected to be a starting wide receiver. I believe Rice is a fourth receiver at best in fantasy. MY GRADE: Round 10-11

Doug Baldwin: History proves that the Seahawks quarterback loves to throw to the slot receiver. Baldwin led the Seahawks in receptions and yards last season. Baldwin has developed good chemistry with Matt Flynn and has looked good in practice. Baldwin had fluid drained from his hamstring this past week but should be back on the field for the final preseason game. Like Rice, Baldwin may be a late round steal that could possibly start during one of your starting wide receiver’s bye weeks. MY GRADE: Round 13-15

Seahawks Defense: The Seahawks have looked amazing so far in the preseason and finished 9th last season overall. They are expected to crack the top 10 again this year and may even challenge to be a top 5 defense by season’s end. Red Bryant, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Brandon Browner all made the pro bowl last year and Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner, and Bruce Irvin could be pro bowl contenders this season. Defenses usually go later in drafts, but Seattle might be your best bet. MY GRADE: Round 12-15

Players to consider but will probably go undrafted: Golden Tate, Robert Turbin, Matt Flynn, Russell Wilson, Braylon Edwards, Zach Miller, Kellen Winslow, Terrell Owens, and Steven Hauschka.

Review: Seahawks 44, Chiefs 14

25 Aug

What a dominating performance. The Seahawks annihilated the Chiefs tonight in Kansas City by a final score of 44-14. The Seahawks improve to 3-0 in the preseason for the first time since 2009 and for only the third time since 1990. It is hard to critique this game in any way because of how well all three units played. Here are a few of the many thoughts I noted during Friday’s game.

Russell Wilson will start soon: Russell Wilson is my player of the game without a doubt. Wilson played an amazing three quarters of football on Friday night. Wilson ended 13/19 for 185 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 58 yards on the ground. After the game, Coach Carroll said that he expects the quarterback competition to stretch into next week with a starter named most likely a day or two after we play Oakland and for good reason. In my eyes this quarterback competition is as close to a photo finish as possible. Wilson proved that he was prepared and ready to handle a game situation with the starters on the field. “If you are prepared, there is no reason to be nervous” Wilson said after the game. Wilson’s preparation and execution this entire preseason has been an impressive strength that I believe could earn him the starting job. It will be interesting to see what kind of playing time the quarterbacks will get next week. If Wilson has another strong outing next week whether he is the starter or the backup, I am predicting he will be the starting quarterback against the Arizona Cardinals on September 9th.

No wide receivers went over the top this week: I think this is a good thing though. 5 wide receivers made catches this week. None were more impressive than Terrell Owens’s over-the-shoulder catch for a 40 yard gain. I am interested to see which (if any) wide receivers are cut during the first wave of roster cuts on Monday. If the coaching staff decides to part ways with a couple of receivers on Monday, I think it will be easier to predict which wideouts will make the 53-man roster. Last season in the last preseason game against Oakland, many believed that Golden Tate was fighting for a roster spot and needed to have a good game. He had a good game and kept his spot. Next week I believe all eyes will be on Terrell Owens. If he gets a good amount of playing time, and makes a few good catches I think Owens has a good chance to make the regular season roster. It was nice to see Sidney Rice back and his one catch for 8 yards was superb. Wilson looked Rice’s way immediately and if Rice can stay healthy and Wilson is the starter, expect that connection to pay dividends during the regular season. I noted that Ricardo Lockette did not see any playing time in the first half with the starting unit. To my memory he only had one target in the entire game; a streak down the near sideline in the fourth quarter on a pass thrown by Tarvaris Jackson. I am starting to wonder whether Lockette’s roster spot is in jeopardy. After Lockette has been praised by the coaching staff, you have to wonder why he would not get any looks with the starters.

Dominating Defense: In the first four Kansas City offensive possessions the Seahawks forced 3 three-and-outs. In addition, Earl Thomas returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown and Cordarro Law forced a fumble deep in Chiefs territory. Back during our NFC West dynasty years when the opponent was facing third and long it was almost a sure thing that the Seahawks would stop them and force a change in possession. Watching this game I feel the same way I did a few years back. I have full confidence in our defense to make sure we do not allow significant yardage on third down.

A fulfilled desire: In my preview yesterday, it was my hope to see the Seahawks amp up their pass rush. I called for a minimum of two sacks in the first half. Thanks to Greg Scruggs and Mike Morgan, the Seahawks were able to sack Matt Cassel twice in the first 13:42. Unfortunately we could not get to the quarterback after the first quarter but the defense as a whole made enough big plays to make sure the Chiefs did not come relatively close to touching our lead. My hope was satisfied but I want to see more pressure but the pass rush specialists next week.

Special special teams: The Seahawks special teams looked great Friday night. Three big points coming from special teams. First, I only counted two kickoffs that were returned past the 20-yard-line. We did a great job tackling and closing running lanes on kickoff coverage. Secondly, Golden Tate may have earned the punt return job this season. Tate returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown. Third, Jon Ryan did not have his first punt until the 13:20 mark in the fourth quarter. Ryan only had two punts total Friday night which speaks volumes to the efficiency of both the offense and the defense.

Kansas City outlook: If Friday night is any indication, the Chiefs may struggle mightily this season. Although the weapons are there, it didn’t seem like Matt Cassel clicked with any of them consistently. I realize the AFC West has been deemed wide open by a lot of people but with terrible play like on Friday night, the Chiefs may be heading towards the cellar and a high draft pick in 2013. The best player for Kansas City Friday night was Dexter McCluster. McCluster, who apparently has been converted into a slot receiver, led the Chiefs with 7 catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. If Cassel’s reads are all unavailable, expect a lot of checkdowns to McCluster this season. Even for a secondary option, Cassel seemed most comfortable when throwing McCluster’s way.

Random Thoughts: I spent a lot of time talking about the “faithful” Chiefs fans and the atmosphere of Arrowhead Stadium this week. I understand it is the preseason but it was pathetic to see well over half the seats empty. The Chiefs are the hottest ticket in Kansas City and even for a preseason game they should be able to draw more fans than what showed up Friday… Golden Tate wins the award for most entertaining player this week. Tate was shown stumbling around like a sloppy drunk after his punt return due to shortness of breath. He was struggling to find an oxygen mask. Later in the broadcast Tate was shown picking his nose. I wonder if he found some buried treasure… It is safe to assume the white jersey/gray pants combination will stick around. The combo actually looked pretty good on the field… The Seahawks escaped in great health once again. The only injury of note was cramps in the calf of cornerback Brandon Browner. He will be fine… Penalties really hurt Kansas City. Tamba Hali was called for consecutive roughing the passer penalties and multiple pass interference penalties. The Seahawks surrendered only 37 yards worth of penalties tonight. A great improvement compared to the Denver game… The Twitter hashtag #RussellMania was trending in Seattle during the first half. It is good to see the 12th Man getting excited for this kid whether he is our starting quarterback or not. Had two pints of Mac & Jack’s tonight. Delicious. Need I say more?

Upcoming: Look for a brief Seahawks fantasy outlook this weekend and I will also post my predictions for the first round of roster cuts. I will choose and explain my choices for which 15 players will be cut on Monday. Expect the fantasy outlook post on Saturday and the roster cuts prediction post on Sunday. Thanks for reading everybody. Go Seahawks!

Seahawks/Chiefs Preview

24 Aug

Image

Matchup: Seattle Seahawks vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Site: Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Missouri)

Kickoff: 5:00pm

The Seahawks travel to Kansas City this Friday night to take on the Chiefs in week 3 of the 2012 preseason. The Seahawks enter this game at 2-0 on the preseason and are coming off an impressive 30-10 win over Denver last week. The Chiefs are 1-1 in the preseason and are coming off a 31-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams last weekend. Here are some things I will be keeping an eye on this week.

Russell Wilson starts at quarterback for the Seahawks this week and as a fan, I am a mix of nervous and excited. I know Wilson is competing for the starting quarterback job with Matt Flynn but in my opinion he has very little to lose. Not many people including myself gave Wilson a good chance of winning the job. A strong performance by Wilson this week could potentially earn him the job but if he struggles he will most likely earn the backup quarterback job, the position that I thought he would win from the start. I am most interested to see Wilson’s on-field chemistry with the starting wide receivers and how he handles increased speed and pressure coming from Kansas City’s starting defense. One of the highlights of Wilson’s play thus far is his pocket presence and ability to keep plays alive. What I hope does not happen is Wilson trying to do too much, meaning he will force passes into tight holes or tuck the ball and run prematurely if the pocket collapses. Kansas City does not have the best defense in the league. They do not have the worst either. This is a very solid test for Wilson and if he performs well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start next week against Oakland and to see the quarterback competition stretched into next week.

Bobby Wagner has locked down the starting middle linebacker job. With all the uncertainty around that position battle behind him, Wagner can now concentrate on calling the first-team defense and building a rap with the rest of the starting defense. On defense this week, I am most interested to see if the Seahawks can finally establish a steady pass rush. My goal for this game is at least two sacks in the first half. I do not care if it is Bruce Irvin or Chris Clemons or even Red Bryant getting to the quarterback. I just want this unit to show us fans that we can be dominant in both aspects of the defensive game plan. So far, that has not happened even though the run defense and the secondary have done an exceptional job in proving dominance. One last defensive element I would like to see this week is the handling of the no-huddle offense. Last week Peyton Manning was very successful in picking our defense apart when running out of the no-huddle. If Matt Cassel and the Chiefs run no-huddle Friday night, I want to know we can stop them. We need to make sure the right personnel are on the field and make sure we can get stops, especially if the Chiefs are passing.

Special teams is gradually becoming an area of concern for me. We gave up a punt return touchdown in week one and had two Jon Ryan punts blocked in Denver last week. My worries would be eased significantly if we make sure there are no big returns by Kansas City return men and if we make sure any holes along the line are filled on punt coverage. I am not sure if Dexter McCluster will be returning kicks this week but if he is we have to be solid because McCluster can be a very explosive threat if he has daylight in front of him.

The Chiefs will be playing on offense this week with full health. After winning the AFC West in 2010, Kansas City fell into last place last year, primarily because of their losses on the offensive side of the ball. Last year they lost quarterback Matt Cassel, star running back Jamaal Charles, and up-and-coming tight end Tony Moeaki; all of whom are healthy to start the 2012 campaign. The Chiefs have a new head coach in Romeo Crennel and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has just ended his offseason holdout. When you also include free agent acquisition Peyton Hillis, the Chiefs have the weapons to be an explosive offense this season. I will be looking to see how all of these players click under a new head coach in the first half.

On defense, the Chiefs are led by stud linebacker Derrick Johnson and safety Eric Berry who has returned from a knee injury that sidelined him for the majority of the 2011 season. Russell Wilson needs to make sure he is spot on with his throws because if not, Johnson, Berry, and the rest of the Kansas City defense will make him pay for his mistakes.

Random Thoughts: Like I blogged about on Wednesday, the Seahawks have a difficult time playing at Arrowhead Stadium. They have never played there under Coach Carroll therefore I am curious to know whether the team will do anything differently in preparation and during the game to handle the raucous red sea… The Seahawks announced that they will wear white jerseys and gray pants this week. In my opinion that may be the strangest of all our possible uniform combinations… One person who may be split on who to root for this week is actor Rob Riggle. Riggle is a diehard Chiefs fan and graduate of the University of Kansas. However, Riggle made an appearance at Seahawks training camp last season because of his friendship with Coach Carroll. My guess is Riggle will be pulling for the Chiefs. POW!… I will be watching from home on Friday. My dad offered to buy a growler of Mac & Jacks and of course I will never turn down beer as fine as that while watching a Seahawks game!

Prediction: Russell Wilson will do a decent job but not good enough to extend the quarterback competition for much longer. Matt Flynn will come in to play most of the second half and will completely dominate the Kansas City backups and the Seahawks will escape Arrowhead with a rare victory.

Seahawks 31, Chiefs 17

As always my review post will most likely come Saturday afternoon. Thanks for reading everybody. I greatly appreciate your comments and support. Go Seahawks!