Firstly, I made an appearance on VSiN to talk Seahawks yesterday, please check out the video below (and like it on YouTube). The more views for these the better!
Here are my quick notes on the Vikings game…
— I’m glad the starters didn’t play. The NFL has become increasingly attritional, even as some of the physicality is taken out of the game. Losing a key player in a meaningless contest would be incredibly frustrating. I’d happily not see any of the main starters in these three games (and I’d rather do away with pre-season altogether frankly).
— Derrick Hall made a really nice first impression. Stunts are a bit overrated for impact and praise but he did them well. He flashed quickness and energy plus some power. He drew a penalty on a hold. This was a great start and suggested he should be able to work into the rotation quickly for some rush impact. Pete Carroll spoke glowingly about him after the game and rightly so. He’s a terrific talent with a great attitude.
— Boye Mafe was also really active off the edge. He missed a key tackle (as did Tre Brown) which led to YAC but other than that he looks quick and busy. You could see the athleticism both Hall and Mafe possess and that’s a good sign.
— Generally I thought the defense was too easy to play against and we saw a repeat of the same issues from last season. Gap discipline was poor. They couldn’t set the edge consistently. They were getting moved up the middle and the linebackers couldn’t key into gaps. For a stretch it felt like the running game was always there for Minnesota. Seattle also gave up the frustrating ‘check down for a first down’ on 3rd and long. I think they’d added talent to their defensive personnel but I continue to have major reservations about the D-line depth and coaching staff.
— Coby Bryant made an impression at safety with a nice big hit, speed across the secondary and he showed he’s able to come up to the LOS and lay a hit to set the edge. Tre Brown, though, still looks rusty. It’s a shame but his serious injury seems to have stalled the really encouraging progress he displayed in year one. He was beat for the Vikings touchdown, mistiming his attempted PBU.
— It was great to see blog favourite Jake Bobo making plays. We said it all throughout last year, the guy just finds ways to get open and get things done. I would protect him on this roster, he just has ‘it’. He scored a nice touchdown, made other key receptions and almost had a brilliant play in kick-coverage on the goal-line. He ended the day as Seattle’s leading receiver. He has a future in the league.
— I liked Seattle’s physicality. There were some solid hits, runners like Zach Charbonnet delivered some punishment on contact and overall this felt like a performance with some juice.
— Levi Bell made some plays on defense and I also thought Tyreke Smith was busy enough. Jordan Ferguson had a nice sack. I still think there’s a glaring issue up the middle on this defense though.
— I find it difficult to assess Drew Lock. We all know he’s mobile and has an arm. However, he gives off a constant erratic vibe like he might make an error at any moment. Maybe he just needs reps? His interception was tipped so there’s not a huge portion of blame there (could his processing be quicker?). His first touchdown throw needed all of his arm to deliver into a tight window (it was well caught by Easop Winston) and he found Bobo for the second score. I’m in the ‘need to see more’ category with Lock and I hope he continues to play most of the next two pre-season games. Holton Ahlers, meanwhile, ran around well but he was incredibly fortunate that his touchdown (a lob and hope) wasn’t picked off.
— On the subject of QB’s I watched some of Houston vs New England and Davis Mills played very well. I still like the look of him and wonder if a smart team can do a deal with the Texans there.
— Really hope Cade Johnson is OK after a reported head/neck injury. A great guy who was a lot of fun to interview after the Senior Bowl and it was good to touch base with him again in Munich last year. Fingers crossed it’s nothing too serious and he makes a quick recovery. Carroll’s post-game report was relatively encouraging, suggesting it was a concussion and nothing more.
— Cam Young has a calf injury. The Seahawks are already thin up front and an injury like this only highlights it further. They are not deep enough on the D-line and it needs rectifying. I just don’t know what they can do at defensive tackle to solve this problem.
— Overall I think the way the team played with toughness and the flashes from several younger players made this a satisfying opening to the pre-season. Concerns about the defensive scheme and ability to defend the run, however, certainly linger.