Week 3 of the preseason brings us to Arrowhead Stadium, and the talented Kansas City Chiefs. Here are 5 things to keep in eye out for as we near the Regular Season….
1) It’s Russel Wilson’s Job to Lose
– With the announcement that Russell Wilson is set to start this ever important 3rd preseason game, Seahawk fans found themselves both perplexed, and baffled. When the Seahawks signed Matt Flynn in the offseason, it was thought that he was brought in to be the heir apparent. This all changed when the ‘Hawks drafted Russell Wilson in the 3rd round of the draft. Since Day 1, Coach Carroll has maintained that this was an open competition, and Wilson would have his chance to start. Well, with 2 solid performances thus far, it’s finally his job to lose. With another stellar performance, this time against a very good 1st team defense, then it’s almost certain that Russell Wilson ends up as the Week 1 starter. If the Chiefs defense can rattle Wilson, and his rising star falls back to earth, then we can expect to see Flynn annoited the starter, and Wilson will develop as the backup. For as long as I can remember there hasn’t been a preseason game that carried such weight, and importance as this. When the game is over, Seahawk fans will finally have an indication of who their starting quarterback for 2012 will be.
2) Eric Berry and Earl Thomas. The Dynamic Duo.
– When the Kansas City Chiefs were on the clock in the 2010 NFL Draft with the 5th overall pick, Eric Berry was the consensus selection by most draft pundits. However, some evaluators had another safety, Earl Thomas out of Texas, as the better prospect. When the Chiefs did select Berry, it was a no-brainer for the Seahawks at 14 to select Earl Thomas. Both picks have worked out well for their respective teams. Both have made the Pro-Bowl, Berry as a rookie (though it could be argued that Thomas warranted a nod his rookie season as well), and Thomas last year while Berry sat out the season with a knee injury. It will be fun to see both #29’s out there flying around on the same field, fueling the argument of which was the better pick. So far, I think everybody’s a winner here. 2 of the best safeties to come out of college in years, both in the same draft mind you, wearing the same number, playing the same ferocious style of ball-hawking, game-changing effort we’ve grown to love. Exciting stuff 12th Man, should be fun to watch.
3) Sid Rice is Back!
– Since his arrival, Seahawks fans have been excited to see Sidney Rice healthy, and have a season like the one he had in 2009 with Brett Favre. His 1st season in Seattle he started out injured, returned and showed flashes of his true self, then fell victim to the ever-growing ailment that are concussions, ending his season. While he was sidelined, Sid, and the Seahawks medical staff, thought it would be a good time to clean up another lingering injury, his shoulders. Both of them. Now we’re at Game 3 of the preseason, and Mr. Rice is cleared to go. It’s going to be interesting to see how much game action he gets, as well as the type of routes the coaching staff will send him on. I doubt we’ll see him cross the field on an in-route, or enter Eric Berry territory on a skinny post. Let’s just give him a couple hitches, maybe a streak route, or 2, and call it a day. There’s no reason to do anything with our #1 Wide Receiver than knock a bit of the rust off, and stretch out those game legs. Welcome Back Sid. We missed ya.
4) ‘It all starts up front…’ : Part 2
– This will be a great litmus test as to where the ‘Hawks truly are with both their Offensive, and Defensive lines. The O-line looked pretty solid last week as the Seahawks amassed over 200 yards rushing, while the pass blocking was good at times. However, the penalties for holding and for roughness piled up ceaslessly. Coach Tom Cable has done an outstanding job gelling this unit together. If one guy goes down, another steps in without missing a beat. They’ve even adopted a bit of the nastiness he looks for in his hog-mollies. But let’s keep it between the whistles, and play smart. Penalties killed at least one touchdown drive, and had the offense in 3rd and long a couple other times. In this final dress rehearsal before the season begins, let’s hope the offensive line rotation we’ll see thoughout the season takes that final step, and we see smart, sturdy, violent play from the big boys up front.
5) Preseason or Not, Where’s the Pass Rush?
– I’ll start by conceding that yes, it is the preseason. Teams don’t generally like to doing anything exotic, or indicitive of their plans for the regular season when it comes to blitzes, and pressures. I get that. But what concerns me is the Seahawks overall inability to get even close to pressure on opposing teams starting QB’s. Last week against Peyton Manning was borderline frustrating. Snap after snap ‘The Sheriff’ was given what seemed like hours to throw the ball. If it wasn’t for some key drops, it could of really looked pretty ugly. We know the ‘Hawks have the talent and depth up front to really put a hurtin’ on opposing QB’s, and their passing attack, but let’s not bask in the vanilla stew that is the preseason pass rush. It’s time to ramp up the design, and unleash the likes of Bruce Irvin, Chris Clemons, and the rest of our talented front seven. Give Matt Cassell a lesson in the collapsing pocket, and enter Week 1 with the swagger that comes with breaking an opposing QBs spirit on a well designed blitz.