Seahawks-Broncos and Laying Off the High Fastball
After finally getting to watch Seattle’s second preseason game (it didn’t air in Los Angeles until last night), I figured I’d throw my two cents out there. I think Seattle looked a lot better as an entire team this game and the defense held Denver in check while our offense failed to score touchdowns. The “death by a million field goals” offensive reality makes me incredibly uneasy, though. I focused in on Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson’s play this week and tried to put them both in context since stats can get distorted in preseason. All the Wilson advocates should look at his numbers and cut them back a little considering what he is generally playing against – third and fourth stringers. That being said, Wilson is showing in every game why Pete Carroll and John Schneider picked him and I couldn’t be happier.
First up is Matt Flynn. I thought he did a very good job against Denver’s defense. For the most part he took the plays that were available to him and did not turn the ball over or make costly mistakes. He even cranked it up a couple of times and threw some nice deep throws, one of which should have been caught by Terrel Owens for a touchdown. We did fail to score a touchdown in the first half which left me with a queasy feeling. Granted we didn’t have Sidney Rice, Zach Miller, or Michael Robinson, but I would really like to see more touchdowns.
Tyrell Sutton made a strong case for himself with several good runs. Kregg Lumpkin also looked good. Seattle certainly appears to have solid depth at the running back position which is nice to see. It will be interesting to see who gets cut over the next two weeks. Tai Vaua also looked good at fullback. However, Vuau has the unfortunate circumstance of competing against Seattle’s only offensive Pro Bowler from last season for a roster spot he is most likely not going to get.
Our defense kept the game manageable but our offense needs to provide more support. In general, I was once again not overly impressed with our receivers and tight ends. There were some good moments, but in general, it seemed pretty lackluster. Leon Washington and Robert Turbin both looked good, however. When Lynch takes a rest, the defenses won’t get one as Turbin will come in and continue to pound.
Russell Wilson once again looked very good. His poise and decision making were very impressive. The camera missed one play (I was getting the Denver broadcast) where Wilson somehow found an open receiver in a broken play and tossed it to him for an easy reception in a very ugly scenario. Wilson shows a lot of potential and I can see why he has such strong advocates. To me, though, he runs out of the pocket too much for me to feel comfortable. He can make something out of nothing but I don’t want that to be the de facto game plan. I also don’t want him to get hurt. I would like to see him to be able to read defenses better, as well. This all comes with experience which I have no doubt he is going to gain.
The best metaphor I have for thinking about Wilson is a high fastball. For those of you that have never played baseball (those that have will get this), the high fastball is one of the sexiest looking pitches a batter can see. It comes in at eye-level and your brain automatically thinks you’re going to crush it out of the park. Most of the time when the pitch is swung at the batter misses underneath. Once in a while, it may get crushed. The experienced players know this and force themselves to lie off and take the ball, which it almost certainly will be. Wilson is that sexy pitch. The brain sees it and thinks he’s going to crush opposing defenses, and there is a small chance he might, but the downside is a lot greater. If he starts and misses, it could set him back for years or permanently. I’d rather have him “over-ready” to start instead taking an unnecessary chance.
Lastly, our defense once again was very imposing. Three turnovers on a Peyton Manning offense, preseason or not, is always impressive. You could tell Manning was frustrated because he played the whole first half which wasn’t likely Denver’s plan going in. The Seahawks did not get to Manning as much as I would have liked (Irvin did blast him once) but Seattle’s defense did make it hard for Denver’s offense to be effective. In the second half, Bruce Irvin made a very impressive rundown of Brock Osweiler that I replayed many times. A guy that fast and that tenacious is going to be a force. Chris Clemons also was a solid anchor that couldn’t be moved by Denver’s offensive line. With speed to the outside and a massive interior, it’s going to hard to get much going against Seattle’s defense.
That’s my quick and dirty breakdown of thoughts and reactions I had during the game. I’m sure there are many that will disagree with me on the quarterback issue, but I keep telling myself “lay off the high fastball.” “Play the odds.” Over time, I have no doubt Wilson will move himself into the waist-high strike zone, in which case Seattle might have an offense as fast, dynamic, and potent as it’s defense.
Also, a quick update on a previous post I had written regarding Tarvaris Jackson being traded. That is now official and Jackson has also said that he is willing to restructure his contract in order to facilitate a trade. I’ve also heard rumors that Green Bay could be an interested party considering their backup situation is horrible for a Super Bowl caliber team (since the Seahawks now have their former backup) and a generally good relationship between the two franchises. Seattle is requesting a fifth round pick but could receive less.