What I’m looking out for tonight vs Chicago

August 22nd, 2014 | Written by Rob Staton

Marshawn Lynch will take some carries against the Bears

1. How will the refs call the game?
The new rules on illegal contact are incredibly frustrating. Who ever thought the NFL needed more defensive flags? Let’s hope it’s just the ref’s proving a point in pre-season. The Tharold Simon flag last week, ruling out a +100-yard pick-six, was a classic example of poor refereeing. It shouldn’t have been called and the league office have since admitted as much. Week three is the key game in pre-season, with the starters getting significant time on the field. It could also be the best gauge on how the officials will call the new rules during the regular season. The Bears have a productive passing game and Jay Cutler will no doubt take a few shots. Will the ref’s let the play flow? Or are we about to see what many are referring to as the ‘Legion of Boom’ rule having a significant impact on Seattle’s defense.

2. Can the pass rush slow down Cutler and co?
Last week Seattle’s starters shut down Philip Rivers in an encouraging display. Can they do the same to the Bears? Cliff Avril had a productive game against the Chargers and Michael Bennett could return. The competition between O’Brien Schofield and Benson Mayowa continues, with Schofield carrying a significant edge. There’s not much more to be settled on defense — but after losing Chris Clemons they need a third pass rusher to emerge. Schofield has really stepped up to the plate, impacting plays and coming close to 2-3 extra sacks. Mayowa had a nice edge rush last week but hasn’t had the same consistent impact. He’s running out of time.

3. Will the offensive line have another good week?
The O-line played well last week after a difficult game in Denver. Russell Okung could return. With James Carpenter and J.R. Sweezy earning rave reviews during camp and Justin Britt looking particularly impressive against San Diego, a potential problem area is looking more positive. That has to continue though. Can they provide big running lanes like the one that sprung Robert Turbin last week? Can they keep Russell Wilson clean in the pocket? The Bears D-line is transitioning after several off-season moves but this will still be a good test.

4. Turbin vs Michael, part three
Last week belonged to Robert Turbin. He was superb. Yet Pete Carroll made a point this week of highlighting Christine Michael as the teams most improved player. They clearly want him to take the next step — it’s up to Turbin to stay ahead in this race. Both players will get plenty of snaps even if Marshawn Lynch gets a few early carries. Turbin can probably win the race with another big display, but there’s still time for Michael to catch up.

5. Is it too late for Korey Toomer?
He’s been touted as a potential impact player for a while now. He ticks pretty much every box for a Seattle linebacker. Injuries have had a major impact on his career — and that’s been the case again this off-season. Carroll admitted this week he’s running out of time with cuts upcoming. It’s harsh, but he pretty much has to stand out in his one and only pre-season game this summer to have any chance. Even then it might be too late. Mike Morgan has enjoyed a terrific pre-season, Brock Coyle has impressed and Kevin Pierre-Louis isn’t going anywhere. Don’t rule out Heath Farwell making it again either. He’s a key special teams leader and he’s been written off before.

26 Responses to “What I’m looking out for tonight vs Chicago”

  1. redzone says:

    Well looking at tonight’s pre-season game my list of things to watch are as follows:
    1 the play of the o_line.
    Obviously getting back key players on the starting line will help this team out. My question is can they mesh quickly vand provide the running game with holes. I also like the battle for back up tackle so I will be watching that as subs come in.
    2 the line backers
    So many times we see players have surgery and then get injured in their comeback. I know Toomer is fighting for a spot but so are so many of the back up line backers. No Irvin means that a healthy Smith and Wagner make all the difference. I understand Wagner won’t play so we will see plenty of Coyle in there with the startes.
    3 turnovers
    On both sides of the ball I want to see the energy. I get frustrated when the offense gets the ball on a turnover just to punt it away our try the long field goal. I want to see then take full advantage of the short field. I also want to see the defense and special teams that lead the league last year create turnovers early and get this party started!


  2. Steve Nelsen says:

    That was a dominating first half. The offense used the run to set up the pass and was so efficient that they were unstoppable.

    Schofield looked good again. Earl Thomas flashed the punt return ability we had heard about but hadn’t seen. Christine Michael had a great half.

    • Steve Nelsen says:

      2nd half notes:

      It looks like the Hawks escaped without any injuries to starters. Brock Coyle had his ankle stepped on. He was walking on it afterwards so I don’t think it was too serious but I don’t think he played anymore after that. Heath Farwell had his best game of the season to keep the competition alive. But, it was KJ Wrigjt who got the start and I think he starts week 1 if Wagner isn’t ready. Apparently the Hawks are trying to sign Wright to an extension. That makes a lot of sense for both sides.

      Pryor threw his second interception of the preseason. Ware did not look good in limited action. I expect the Hawks to try to get Kiero Small through waivers to the practice squad in the first round of cuts. If that works, then I imagine they cut Ware, go with 1 fullback and use the 5th running back spot for a 3rd quarterback. Figuring out how to take advantage of Pryor’s obvious athletic ability is like an intriguing puzzle that PC and JS want some time to try to figure out.

      The Hawks depth showed up. The loss to Denver seems like years ago.

      Russell Wilson is in mid-season form.

      • Glor says:

        I thought ware looked decent, and we saw exactly why earl shouldn’t be out there returning punts when the hawks lit up the bears returner

        • OHawk says:

          I’m still torn as if he can flip the field like Tate could he should be out there fielding the punts. But with how chippy and in your face he can get on defense he just opens himself up to a guy blasting him on a fair catch. Don’t need him getting some Saint’s bounty BS on him either.

      • Steve Nelsen says:

        Heath Farwell injured his groin. He was walking afterward so it may not be too serious.

        Cooper Helfet got banged up pretty good (shoulder). He was the only guy who had played well enough to earn the third TE spot and the Hawks have started the season with two TEs before. Would it reawaken interest in Jermichael Finley if he can’t go?

        • bigDhawk says:

          I like Rashaun Allen. But you’re right; if it comes down to rostering him or Pryor, it’s probably going to be Pryor.

  3. JeffC says:

    You have to feel bad for Mayowa. He just can’t seem to finish the sacks.

    Most dominant preseason game I’ve ever watched.

  4. CC says:

    This is the offense I was hoping to see!

    Percy certainly makes a difference and lordy he looks good! And Marshawn – well, he looked very fast and strong!

    I have to say, for a QB who is too short and a game manager, who depends on his defense to win games, he played pretty well. That 141 passer rating is in the pre-season and doesn’t mean anything. I’m sure the Bears D just let him make some plays so he could feel better…

    Just go to it Russell – remember this stuff every game and just keep proving them wrong.

    I really liked what Lane and Maxwell did today. Yes, Cutler made some throws, but that pass defended in the endzone by Maxi was beautiful! He knows they are going to pick on him over and over – and he’s going to make plays!

    SEA-pete, Re-Pete

  5. Mylegacy says:

    In answer to your “5 questions”…

    1) the Refs were mostly absent form the game with (to my jaundiced eye) two major gaffs. One was on Lockette – for exactly what he won praise for last year – namely tacking a punt returner while going 343 miles per hour – this year that identical play nets him 15 big ones. If the call is correct – two thoughts – one – Lockette will have to slow down the millisecond before impact and two – perhaps Thomas might not be killed returning punts after all. The irreplaceable Thomas being “Locketteted” keeps most of the 12 up at night.

    The other call was the very weak call in the end zone that went our way when a feeble play in no way connected with any portion of the actual play going down on the field – was called against the Bears.

    Generally, i thought the Refs did NOT (on balance) over officiate too much. I’d give them a B+ on the night.

    2) Will losing Clemens, McD and Big Red destroy our rush? NO, is the short answer. But – if it were not for the inspired play of Schofield our pass rush would be only league average (with a four man rush). I had hoped Avril, Bennett, Schofield (or the recently deceased Mayowa), and Marsh would give us a breathtaking QB rush ability. Alas , it is not to be. It looks like three Ace rushers and Marsh. Marsh – he who might one day be able to become an Ace rusher from the 10 of clubs rusher he is now.

    3) The Oline – the “dreaded” “under performing” “not Championship quality” “loveable group of losers” Oline is showing SERIOUS signs of being ready for prime time. Several observations…Okung and Unger were QUITE effective in their brief series of downs (however, just looking at their faces they were both totally exhausted and gassed when they left the field). Clearly they are not in game day shape – but even so they were more than reasonably effective – I smell something very sweet happening. As to Sweeny – omg, lol, wtf, wow… (to quote my 13 year old niece from every tweet she’s ever sent) that man is very quickly becoming the man we hoped he might be! In addition, he is helping Britt out with on the field instructions and assistance that will make Britt better quicker. Speaking of Britt – clearly not there yet – but – equally clearly – he will be soon and when he is the Oline looks absolutely delicious. I NEVER thought I’d EVER say that about them when I was sober…and while I’m giddy with delight at how the team is playing none of the giddiness is chemically induced.

    4) Michael shows skills that are breathtaking. Turbin is stronger than god. DaBeast is – well – simply Beastly. I say – WOW! I’m predicting we keep these three and Coleman – freeing up a spot for Pryor (He who is so clearly not yet ready – but might one day be ever so delicious).

    5) Is it too late for Toomer? Perhaps – closer to yes than perhaps – perhaps. What an interesting crop of LBers – a lot of guys I’d like to keep for a year – and see what they become next year.

    AND – I offer a 6)th and 7th) point(s)…

    6) Was Sherman drunk? There were plays where Sherman was SO FAR off his man I could only think he was actually toying with the receiver and the QB or was chemically reduced in his visual skills. Part of me even thinks he was – on purpose – playing SO loose that he wanted Green Bay to look at that film and think they can beat him – leading to him intercepting 43 of Rodgers passes.

    7) Mayowa – looked good a few times – never looked great – looked like too little too late. Schofield’s got him beat like a Salvation Army drum.

    • Hay stacker509 says:

      That’s funny you mention the Sherman playing loose. After the game my buddies and I re watched it and can only think he was doing that to bait Rodgers and Co. He has to know that the way he plays qbs are going to play him like revis and Nnamdi (in his prime) and just not throw to their side. He’s so athletic and a competitor he’s “stepping” his game up and now is going to try and bait qbs more. Just a thought

      • cha says:

        I wouldn’t be surprised at all if that was the case with Sherman, trying to bait the opposing teams with some “bad” game tape.

        If that’s the case, the Bears perfectly obliged, coming right out of the gate and throwing at Sherman 2 or 3 times in their first series, as if to say “we’re not afraid of him.”

    • CC says:

      The refs were wrong on that offensive PI call on Marshall, but earlier in the game, he did push off on Maxi – and Maxi was telling that to the ref. Not a make up call – but rather a reminder call to Marshall. Either way, this whole LOB rules seems to be affecting every other team but the Seahawks!

      Agree with you on Sherm – but I think Hay has a point – a method to his missing that play? I guess we’ll see soon.

      Really good game by the Seahawks!

      • williambryan says:

        If you look at danny Kelly’s (of field gulls) twitter account, he has the video and explanation of the Marshall interference call which was the right call. He was blocking Sherman, on a pass play… I thought Sherman was fine, Marshall and Jeffery are just physical and push off very well without getting called for it.

    • CHawk Talker Eric says:

      Disagree about Okung. He was ok on run plays, but in pass pro he got beat several times, one of which led directly to a sack. Also disagree about Britt – a least in terms of “clearly not there yet”. I thought he was the best OT on the field last night for either team. His pass pro needs improving, though it isn’t bad. His run blocking is excellent. At this point, I’m starting to prefer him over Giac – plus he seems less penalty prone.

      Hard to disagree about Mayowa, and I’m really trying to like his game. He plays the run pretty well, but his pass rush is almost nonexistent. Obi-Schofi on the other hand has really come on.

      • CC says:

        Obi has something to prove – and he is doing it every game so far. He had a nice special teams tackle as well.

  6. Hay stacker509 says:

    A TE we should maybe bring in is
    Blake Annen. The eagles just cut him.

    2013 ALL-AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM (COACHES): TE Blake Annen, Cincinnati, Sr., 6-5 250, Upper Arlington, Ohio/Upper Arlington,…Annen aided the offensive line in the league’s best running game but also added a threat in the passing game. The senior reeled in 15 catches for 177 yards and two touchdowns, which are all career highs. – Cincinnati football

    He was also the number 1 TE out of ohio his senior year. Something to ponder on perhaps?

  7. Hay stacker509 says:

    Something else to ponder is with the raiders injury to lb, and we seem to have a good friendship with the front office with the Pryor trade; instead of cutting one of our lbs we know won’t make it threw the wire why not trade him and get something?!

    • Arias says:

      Well for one because none of the bubble linebackers are proven. Two, because why would the Raiders trade anything for someone that’s going to be cut anyway? They’ve got high priority on any waiver wire claim.

    • Arias says:

      Yeah I saw that too. Blocks on the 2nd level are something he struggled with in college, so that was always going to take some work for him. I’m more concerned about him getting consistently beat on the inside and pushed back into the pocket on pass pro. He’s still got a steep learning curve ahead of him.

  8. Ukhawk says:

    Still concerned about the pass rush…. Trade for Brandon Graham?

  9. Steve Nelsen says:

    One guy I will be watching for in cuts by other teams is LB Brandon Watts in Minnesota. John Schneider mentioned him after the draft as “one that got away.” He looked good in camp and early preseason action. Most Vikings observers have him targeted as making the roster. But, he missed the 3rd preseason game with an unspecified leg injury so I am thinking that Minnesota may be trying to sneak him through waivers to the practice squad or IR and redshift him in favor of a veteran backup. Coach Ken Norton and this kid would make a great combination.

  10. Hay stacker509 says:

    Be to the rams aren’t happy they got rid of Kellen Clemons or picked up Bradford’s last year after the season hahaha