It’s stating the obvious but this was a vast improvement (well, they won 27-0, duh).
More importantly than any score or victory though was the fact there were legit positives to come out of the performance.
Firstly, some praise for Pete Carroll. I feared he would play key starters in this game after two sloppy, god-awful outings in the first two weeks. He hinted at it after the Denver game and it was concerning. As bad as Seattle were against the Raiders and Broncos, there was absolutely no reason to risk any stars against LA.
Just look at the JK Dobbins knee injury earlier in the day for a case in point.
It was a relief to see Carroll, who has started key players in virtually all of his pre-season games previously, resist the temptation — and be rewarded by those who did play.
The main positive for me was Darrell Taylor. He had an early speed-to-power rush that resulted in a pressure. Then he came screaming off the edge, rounding the tackle for a big sack. Later on he showed great effort to chase back to a pressured QB to share a sack with Kerry Hyder.
This is what everyone has been hoping for. Nobody could be blamed for wondering whether Taylor would ever see the field in Seattle, let alone perform if he did. In this game he looked like a player who can cause opponents problems.
Forget the SAM — they have enough money to go and get KJ Wright and still should do that. Get Taylor off the edge on key downs and let him be in attack mode.
Don’t do what you did a year ago, making Alton Robinson inactive so Luke Willson can be active for zero offensive and special teams snaps. This guy needs to play.
Taylor showed enough in this game to warrant a big role as a specialist pass rusher.
It was also good to see another recent second round pick, Dee Eskridge, looking quick and explosive. He was fluid with the ball in hand and made one typically eye-catching grab (the type he used to make in college all the time). I was a big fan of Eskridge going into the draft and there’s no doubt he can be a very exciting player for Seattle if he stays healthy.
There was actually a running game this week, which was extremely pleasing to see. Alex Collins in particular was agile, explosive and physical. For me he should’ve sealed the RB2 position with this performance, ahead of Rashaad Penny. Collins looks like a player who should be getting a sizeable role to limit the wear and tear on Chris Carson. In fact he looks very capable of leading the rushing attack if needed.
I liked the way Seattle blitzed in this game. I’ve not studied it closely but on first view the timing and variety was pleasing. One big blitz by Cody Barton obviously led to a touchdown for Marquise Blair.
There may be others I’m missing, writing immediately after a first condensed viewing, but I thought Joshua Moon played well.
Overall defensively they made the Chargers look as bad as the Seahawks did in the previous two weeks, so that was a big improvement.
There are three issues I want to discuss too.
I’m not sure why referee’s decide annually to take over pre-season games but someone needs to tell them, finally, to stop. The number of penalties was ridiculous and even watching in a 40-minute condensed replay it was painful at times.
If avoidable injuries are reason #1 to finally get rid of pre-season, then refereeing nonsense is a close #2.
It remains a big mystery why the Seahawks over the years have been unable to find a backup quarterback of even middling ability. Geno Smith, as fun as his scrambling around in this one was, isn’t good enough. Sean Mannion isn’t good enough.
John Schneider arrived in Seattle talking about drafting quarterbacks regularly and yet in the Carroll/Schneider era they’ve selected just two in twelve drafts. One of those, of course, was seventh rounder Alex McGough — cut last week because he’s even worse than Smith and Mannion.
Perhaps Russell Wilson’s consistent availability has made it a moot point? Yet it’s a little surprising that in well over a decade they haven’t drafted a solid, decent backup that you might actually be excited to see in an emergency.
If Smith or Mannion has to start for Seattle, it’ll be ugly.
I’m also not sure we learnt that much about the cornerback position in this one. It still looks like a weak area that will need to be further addressed.
Seattle has plenty of cap space. It’ll be interesting to see what strings they have to pull before week one to ensure Duane Brown and Quandre Diggs take the field.
With Brown, there’s simply no alternative other than making this right.
With Diggs, I’m not sure that’s the case. Seattle has depth at safety and they can’t have every player who is moderately displeased holding out. They don’t want to set that precedent. Calling his bluff might be best. Or even considering trading him. Especially if you can get an upgrade at corner in return.
Quick draft thought from the weekend — I only watched some of one game. UCLA vs Hawaii. If you want a name who shone in that one, check out UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet. He’s 6-1 and 220lbs and ran with explosion, power and quickness. He’s a former four-star recruit who has transferred from Michigan.
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