1. Pete Carroll’s return to the NFL. I know it’s not the regular season, but it will be the first time PC and many new players will be taking the field. This will be Okung and Thomas’ first impression of the 12th man as well. I am excited to see Carroll on the same sideline that Mike Holmgren once stood and begin the process of measuring him up to the status I once grew accustomed to during Holmgren’s run. I am most excited to see the “no void” filled my the former coaching staff as well.
2. Nick Reed’s chance to lobby for more playing time. Let’s face it. Our pass rush didn’t seem to improve a whole bunch on paper. During last year’s pre-season, Nick Reed was one of the bright spots. This kid had 29 1/2 sacks at Oregon which is a school record. Last preseason Reed had 4.5 sacks and 2 Forced Fumbles. I’m not saying he’s a starter tomorrow, but he’s worth keeping an eye on today.
3. Leon Washington’s rehabilitation. If he is able to become the player he once was, we may win at least 2 more games than we would without him deep into the regular season. He is an aggressive runner with bursts of speed and a shiftiness that can shake even the most savvy veteran. I hope he gets at least a few carries on Saturday. He is a long way from 100%. I don’t think we will really be able to see what he can do until about week 10 or 11 which may be the afterburner we will need at that point of the season.
4. The Deon Butler and Golden Tate show: Word is that these two have been putting on a show at camp. I have always been a fan of Butler’s. For a smaller guy, he plays with a hell of a lot of moxie. One of my biggest frustrations last year was the lack of development concerning the younger players, and Butler was on the top of that list. I have a feeling Carroll is going to fall in love with this guy, and so will you. Fans have higher expectations for Tate. He was a steal in the draft, and has an excellent chance to really make an impact his rookie season. He should end up at the number 2 spot, and could really benefit from having Houshmandzadeh opposite him drawing coverage.
5. The Football Family. By far one of my favorite things at the games is the comradery at the stadium and especially within my section. About half of the people in my section don’t live in Seattle including myself, so the games are the only time we get to see each other. You couldn’t pick a more professionally, socially, or mentally mismatched group as as ours, but Football is the tie that binds us, and we’re all in it for the long haul. Here’s to the Hawks. My expectations going into this season are to make the playoffs and see what happens. Let the games begin.