Observations on the San Diego game

August 10th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

Just a handful of thoughts after watching the game twice (yes, I lead a very interesting life).

– Michael Bennett had a big day, and I’m surprised nobody is talking about him. He was getting off blocks, impacting plays. Whether he lines up inside or at end, he’s going to upgrade Seattle’s pass rush in a big way. He’ll draw attention if nothing else. It was a great start for Bennett and lets hope it continues.

– Ty Powell was probably the guy I got most excited about in this game. Seattle are using these hybrid linebacker/pass rusher types in pre-season and reverting to even more 3-4 looks. Powell looks like a perfect fit here. He’s mobile enough to drop and was roaming around at the second level. He flashed a few times as a rusher. He looks like a great, versatile athlete. I want to see more in the next 2-3 weeks. Powell has a ton of potential.

– The group of young defensive tackles all kind of blended in to one. Jaye Howard finished the game strongly but against an increasingly weakened San Diego line. Jordan Hill was hit and miss. A couple of times I saw him driven out of the play too easily, but then there were also times when he broke into backfield. Jesse Williams started well enough but tired. He’s one dimensional. But he was one dimensional at Alabama. He’s just a big body. I’m not sure anyone from this group really made a strong case to start next to Brandon Mebane in base.

– Byron Maxwell is wasted in Seattle (joking). He had one pick, almost had another. He looks like he’d probably start in Jacksonville (and a few other places) if he ever made it onto the market. Out of all the corners on the roster, he looks like a potential starter across from Richard Sherman if they don’t re-sign Brandon Browner.

– Pete Carroll talked after the game about his desire for a bigger receiver. It’s the reason we’ll keep a firm eye on Brandon Coleman this year. For the time being, Stephen Williams could fill the role taken by Braylon Edwards last year. He has the height, but also showed good control and an ability to create just enough separation.

– I hope they can find a way to keep Derrick Coleman on the roster. On one play he gunned down in kick-coverage to make a great play. He looked solid at full back and made a couple of plays in the passing game. You don’t often consider future full backs, but he has the range currently occupied by Michael Robinson. The special teams factor is crucial, so is the ability to make plays beyond just lead-blocking. If they can stash him on the practise squad, fair enough. Coleman is worth keeping.

– It’s very difficult to gleam anything out of the stuttering display of the starting units. Too many starters were absent on both sides of the ball. The Seahawks offense will be a different animal with Unger, Lynch, Miller and Rice on the field. The defense will be boosted by the return of Wagner, Avril and possibly even Clemons. So no need to panic.

28 Responses to “Observations on the San Diego game”

  1. Phil says:

    Rob – I’m surprised you didn’t mention TJack. As a former critic of his — primarily because of his holding the ball too long — I was pleasantly surprised by his performance. He looks like a better backup than Quinn.

    • Rob Staton says:

      He played well but was taking on second and third stringers as Seattle’s #3 QB on the night. He took the time usually given to an UDFA or late round rookie type. So I would’ve been disappointed had he not looked very good. But kudos to him for getting it done.

  2. Belgaron says:

    Thurmond is a above Maxwell for CB but he will need another contract as well next year.

  3. Zach says:

    Rob,

    What are your thoughts on Benson Mayowa? He seemed like another guy who could make a real strong push to make the 53?

    • Dan says:

      Him and o’brien schofield looked good out there.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Didn’t flash outstanding physical qualities or get off but still produced. My big question is whether he can do it against #1’s. He might be one of those guys who just has a knack of getting to the QB. We’ll see.

  4. Aaron says:

    Rob,

    I agree with you that the defensive line that was out there (albeit a shadow of the Seahawks full contingent) failed to distinguish itself in this small sample. To me, the biggest take away from this (exhibition) game is that Seattle ‘s most glaring weakness on defense is likely to remain interior pass rush, and specifically the 3 tech. While it’s true that the biggest stars of the D-line were not suited-up, it’s also the case that none of them is likely to significantly affect the interior pass rush (with the possible exception of Bennett.)

    I had the Seahawks drafting Brandon Williams in my pre-draft mock. While I can’t really argue with the drafting of Christine Michael (because it would be foolish for anyone to argue with PC/JS choices at this point) I do think it’s worth noting that drafting “out of the box” rather than for a clear team need does not come without its own trade-off costs.

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/ravens-insider/bal-big-night-for-ravens-rookie-nose-tackle-brandon-williams-20130808,0,579764.story

    To extend this point further, it seems likely that the biggest team needs the Hawks had last year, and going into the draft, (3 tech, Will LB, TE) will remain so in 2013. These needs have been exacerbated and further exposed by injuries. We shouldn’t underestimate the loss of Gregg Scruggs (who played some 3 tech). Anthony McCoy going down for the season leaves a gaping hole at TE that is not befitting a team of this caliber. (I was also lobbying for the Hawks to draft Travis Kelce, btw.) And the injury to Percy Harvin greatly diminishes the Hawks’ first round “out of the box” “draft pick”, if only temporarily.

    The need that we have the best chance of papering over this season with scheme, it seems to me, is the Will LB. By using Bruce Irvin at SAM and the “Spinner” role, moving KJ Wright over, and platooning some low to mid-level talent at that position, we might be ok there, but even that remains to be seen.

    I’m not over-reacting to one pre-season game by any means. Just identifying a possible theme to keep an eye on. I do think the Seahawks are a much improved team from last season. We’ve further improved on many of our strengths. But when you look specifically at our weaknesses, I’m not sure we’ve improved in those areas. The one exception I see to that is our run defense. I think a revitalized Red Bryant, and the addition of Antoine Winfield, plus Hill and Williams could make a huge difference there.

    • Dan says:

      I agree with most of what you’re saying. The FO didn’t focus on weaknesses in the draft. But you said it yourself, Michael Bennett is going to be the interior pass rush for THIS YEAR. Plus after watching that preseason game, I’d say the Hawks have plenty of athletic hybrid “linebackers” in their system.

      But I agree, the Hawks still need that every down interior pass rusher at the 3-Tech. Bennett will always be a pass rush specialist.. But in JS’s defense, it’s pretty damn hard to find a d-lineman that’s stout against the run AND has the athletic ability to rash the passer. If I were in his shoes and I have my choice of a hit or miss 3-Tech or a running back that I believe will be a star in the making, I’m taking the running back everyday.

      • Aaron says:

        Christine Michael does look like he could be a star in the making. I think there’s a strong possibility that he could be a game-changing pick for this franchise going forward into the future. (So I acknowledge that my argument becomes largely academic). I love this stable of backs we have with Lynch’s relentless and punishing running style, Turbin’s ability to catch the ball, and Michael’s home-run potential.

        Ultimately, what I’m saying is that I’ll be watching our interior pass rush closely, because I see it as key once again this year. A big year by Mebane could go a long way toward taking the defense to the next level. That would be a welcome surprise. And I actually liked some of what I saw from Hill. He does seem to have more “wiggle” to him, as Brock Huard put it. I’m hopeful, but remain skeptical.

    • glor says:

      Don’t cop out like this “because it would be foolish for anyone to argue with PC/JS choices at this point”

      You can absolutely argue about PC/JS choices. Case and point, Whitehurst, Carpenter, Moffit, (Irvin to a certain degree), possibly Turbin (I wasn’t that impressed last year with him).. just because they have hit on some good picks, it doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes.

  5. HawkTease says:

    No mention of Bradford, Lotulelei, Smith, Farwell? I feel like linebacker is suddenly one of the deepest positions on this squad.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I thought Bradford did well. His performance is perhaps getting more props because of the conversion from RB to LB. Lotulelei did what was expected of him. I think he got credit for a couple of plays that were on other people. I don’t know. Kind of feel that while they both did well, there’s been a bit of an OTT reaction with both. That’s not meant as a slur. Just maybe a little too much praise.

  6. Aaron says:

    Rob,

    You mentioned that Byron Maxwell would start for the Jags.

    Brock Huard also hinted at what many others have been talking about – the possibility of trading a couple of our talented DBs (that we’ll be unable to keep), for the primary purpose of keeping them out of the hands of the 49ers. Do you think this is likely, and/or a smart move?

    • Rob Staton says:

      It’s a tricky one. Essentially it might be impossible to get common ground with another team. They can say, “Well he hasn’t started much, you don’t need him” and Seattle can say, “You do need him and we’re not going to gift wrap a starter for you.” I have a hard time finding a situation where everyone gets value. So it’ll be tricky. Seattle will probably have to cut guys they’d rather not lose this year which is a shame.

      • Aaron says:

        Maybe there is value for the Seahawks in gift wrapping a starter (that they will lose regardless) if it ensures the player goes to a team other than our arch division/conference championship foe. That strategy at least gives you the power to choose exactly where the player ends up. How about a low-level AFC team like the Titans for example, or maybe throw a bone to our old friend down in Jacksonville.

        It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Obviously a nice problem to have. :)

      • Christon says:

        I could see the Hawks trading a secondary player for more depth at TE…For example, Tony Scheffler of the Lions might not make their final roster and they areadly have Pettigrew so they could call before the final cuts …I could see Pete making that move to get deeper at an important position in this offense that we are pretty week at if Miller isn’t ready for the first game.

        • Aaron says:

          You referencing the Lions in terms of a potential trade gives me the opportunity to once again mention my guy Joseph Fauria, UDFA Tight End out of UCLA. (I have a minor obsession with this player.) I was really hoping the Hawks would spend a late-round draft pick on him. The Lions signed him after he went undrafted, and he received one of the biggest signing bonuses of any of the UDFAs.

          It does seem likely that the Lions will have an extra tight end that they will either try to trade or simply cut. I made a point of watching Fauria in the Lions’ preseason game. He showed some really good run blocking on one play, and dropped a pass the only time they threw it to him. (That’s ironic since, everyone says he’s a passing specialist who can’t block to save his life.) I would love it if the Lions ended up cutting him, and we picked him up. We could certainly use him now, even moreso than before the draft, since McCoy is out for the season.

          I’d be happy to see a trade for any tight end really. I’ve been thinking about that possibility alot myself, since we have DBs to burn. Obviously Pettigrew would would be considered even better than Fauria, so if that happened, I’d be happy.

  7. James says:

    Did Alvin Bailey at LOT look as good to you as he did to me? Not exactly going against Lawrence Taylor, but his movement/slide skill on pass pro was shockingly good….I could hardly believe what I was seeing.

    • Rob Staton says:

      He looked very good, I should’ve included him in the write up. Big positive and great depth because he can play guard and tackle.

      • Turp says:

        Thanks for answering that one, he was my favorite player from this game.

        Rob, also love the non-homeristic look at things :). Good stuff.

  8. kevin mullen says:

    Was at the game, noticed our depth compared to San Diego’s was more than evident. Hands down, our 2nd/3rd stringers can start for San Diego, their depth is atrocious. DJ Fluker looked like a reach at this point for San Diego, good run blocker but terrible pass protector. Manti Teo’ was non existent too, looked flat footed throughout game. The local radio down here is overall pleased with what they saw from their team, giving them B+ grades. I shake my head as I see this team not really competing with much in their division. I’d say that Oakland might be in better shape, slightly.

    Loved me some Christine Michael. Man if there’s a dude to replace BeastMode, this is the guy. Runs very hard at LOS and doesn’t fall backwards, always forwards. Excited for Kearse and hopefully Stephen Williams, I really want a jump ball guy for Russ. At the ProBowl, when Russ was in and at the goaline stance, he threw an 8yd jumpball TD to Vincent Jackson, thought this was the missing piece to the puzzle. We need that 6’5”, 6’6” type receiver.

    Little disappointed in our middle coverage area when the 1’s were in, Rivers kept throwing these 10yd or less passes, really exploiting our LB’s coverage awareness but it’s definitely an area of improvement from here on out.

  9. Bruce M. says:

    I would love to see Bailey against number ones in the exhibition season. At RT :) Because watching that guy play I thought of two things: first, he moves like he has been playing tackle a lot longer than….not at all, since he was a guard in college! Second, he seems like a better, more natural athlete that our current RT by a significant margin. I know, I know, it’s too soon, and all that. But I started dreaming of a line of a possible future–Okung, Carp, Unger, Sweezy and Bailey. All healthy, still young or young-ish, and loaded for bear….

    • Nem Beselek says:

      “But I started dreaming of a line of a possible future–Okung, Carp, Unger, Sweezy and Bailey. All healthy, still young or young-ish, and loaded for bear….”

      Maybe a future line of Okung, Carpenter, Unger, Bowie, and Bailey.

      The hawks have the best problem in the world, they have too many young good players. The league either needs to expand the opening day roster to 80, or we need to start trading players for draft picks.

  10. A. Simmons says:

    I was disappointed by the interior defensive line. I didn’t notice much push up the middle. Jesse Williams looks strong and doesn’t look physically overmatched. He didn’t have much get off and didn’t fight off blockers very well. Jordan Hill was easily neutralized. And no one else stood out with the ones. I hope to see the defensive line improve. I’m assuming with Jesse and Jordan playing with the ones, they are expected to provide immediate help on the line. I hope Quinn can get them coached up and productive come the start of the season.

  11. SES says:

    It’s great to be back talking football about our beloved Hawks! A few brief opinions / observations based on just ONE viewing of the game…
    The hype around Thurmond seemed miss placed. Nothing as a DB stood out. (I feel there will be at least one young CB will be traded, and one or more released / stashed. You know there are a lot of teams out there waiting to jump on Seattle’s wealth of talent.)
    IMO, Paul McQuistan is Seattle’s best OG at this point. Carp is always hurt, I don’t see Moffit worthy of a second contract, and Sweezy is still raw.
    The difference between SD & Seattle’s ST was staggering!

    Looking forward to more views from you & the regulars. Man, do I love this time of year!

  12. Eran Ungar says:

    Thurmond looked to be always a step or 2 behind his receiver. He did tackle them after they got the ball but my feeling is that Winfield won’t let them get open at all.

    Your take rob?

  13. Brandon says:

    I thought Thurmond disappointed. Much like you said Rob, you can’t tell much from the broadcast camera angles, however, he gave up quite a few catches, and most of those catches were made with Thurmond at the LOS, manning the guy up. And he wasn’t getting beat by the Chargers best receivers. I’d chalk it up to the fact the guy hasn’t played much in the past two years, so there’s going to be rust, but I didn’t see the guy pushing Winfield like training camp reports have indicated.