Football is back! The Seahawks are back! I am back! You should be very excited about two of those three big time returns.
Tomorrow night, the Seattle Seahawks play their first football game since New Year’s Eve, and here ‘s what you should watch for.
How will the Legion of Boom 2.0 fare against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts’ first team offense?
Seattle’s defense, especially the secondary, will look very, very different from years past. With the retirement of strong safety, the Enforcer, Kam Chancellor, and the likely departure of All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas, we are entering a new era of Seahawks football. Oh yeah, and you may have heard of a guy named Richard Sherman. He’s now a San Francisco 49er.
The defense will heavily rely on younger, inexperienced talent such as Shaquill Griffin, Tedric Thompson and rookie safety-converted-cornerback, Tre Flowers.
Look for these three names when Andrew Luck and the Colts’ offense is on the field tomorrow night.
Will the new-look offensive line be, well, less offensive?
Another position group that will look pretty different than it did this time last year is the offensive line. Last year, Seattle’s offensive line ranked among the worst in the league. That must change.
Seattle locked up Duane Brown, and signed guards DJ Fluker and JR Sweezy this offseason. Brown should be a staple at left tackle, and Fluker and Sweezy are expected to compete for a starting job at right guard. Justin Britt should hold down the center position, and the left guard position seems to be Ethan Pocic’s to lose. The only legitimate question mark at this point is right tackle.
Pete Carroll and the Seahawks hoped third year man Germain Ifedi could make a massive jump this year and be the quality right tackle they believed they drafted in the first round in 2016. So far, Ifedi has looked like a bust. He led the league in penalties last year with 20. TWENTY. In training camp, he was even pulled during a mock game for excessive penalties.
Unless Seattle signs or trades for another tackle, the right tackle position remains open for the taking. Can Germain Ifedi finally chill out on the false starts and grab the job, or will someone else step up and take it? Isaiah Battle and rookie Jamarco Jones have reportedly both played meaningful time at right tackle in training camp. One of them just needs to step up and win the starting job. The coaches don’t care who it is, they just want someone to play right tackle at a high level.
Which young receiver can stand out and make a name for himself?
The wide receiver position seems to be a crowded one on the depth chart. We all know what Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Jaron Brown, and Brandon Marshall can contribute, but what about the lesser-known guys vying for a roster spot?
Amara Darboh is a name I am interested in watching tomorrow night. He played very limited snaps last year, and we didn’t get a great sample size. Darboh has great size and speed, and if his Michigan tape is any indication, he can be a play-maker in this league.
Keenan Reynolds is another name that comes to mind. You may not have heard of Reynolds. He is a reserve officer in the United States Navy, and has been making plays in training camp thus far. The all-time leader in FBS rushing touchdowns, Keenan Reynolds isn’t the biggest man on the roster. But at 5’10”, the speedy receiver can definitely find himself a spot on this roster if he continues to make big things happen.
Who takes the upper hand in the backup quarterback competition?
For right now, Austin Davis seems to have a comfortable lead in the backup quarterback race, but as is the mantra every year, always compete.
As fans, we hope to never see the backup quarterback play significant snaps. The only time we’d welcome that is in a blowout win, while resting the starters. However, as we’ve seen over the past couple of years, Russell Wilson is not invincible. The backup quarterback needs to be able to come in and play efficiently in the unfortunate event Wilson goes down.
We should see plenty of Austin Davis and Alex McGough tomorrow night, as the starters are not expected to play more than one drive. Davis is more of a conventional, safe dropback quarterback. McGough, a rookie out of Florida International University, plays a lot like Russell Wilson. He is mobile, is good with extending a play, and makes a lot of big plays happen. However, McGough has struggled lately in training camp.
Austin Davis is the favorite to win the job, but Alex McGough won’t go down without a fight. This should be an interesting battle to watch throughout the preseason.