I realized after posting the link to my story on the three things we learned in the Raider game that the story got cut quite a bit for space reasons. So I thought I’d run it in full here:
Thursday’s 22-6 Seahawks exhibition win over the Raiders offered us one last peek at the team before the regular season.
Here’s our weekly review of three things we learned:
[b] Steven Hauschka appears primed for a breakout year.
The Seahawks’ kicker has always been solid, making 49-of-57 field goals during his two years as Seattle’s starter.
But he’s never been known as one of the NFL’s strongest legs, with a career-long of 54 and a 4-10 mark beyond 50.
That included making just 1-of-4 beyond 50 last season, something Hauschka said he wanted to improve.
“I worked on long field goals all off-season, he said. “I felt it was a little bit of a weakness last year.’’
Thursday night provided evidence that it might now be a strength, as Hauschka made three field goals beyond 51 yards on a muggy, sometimes breezy might, hitting from 56, 51 and 53.
“I wanted to show coach (Pete Carroll) that I am comfortable (kicking from 50 and beyond),’’ he said.
Carroll got the message, saying later “I think his confidence going after the 50-yarders plus is definitely there.’’
Hauschka ended the exhibition season hitting 8-of-9, with the only miss coming on a 61-yarder at San Diego that hit off the crossbar.
“I think I kicked well all camp,’’ he said. “And my power is there.’’
[b] There’s no substantive reason to worry about Russell Wilson.
The play of the quarterbacks inevitably get the most attention in any game, and Wilson gets as a heavier spotlight than most right now with his every move being examined for any sign of the dreaded “sophomore slump’’ approaching.
Wilson, though, showed in a crisp opening drive of the game that he’s ready to pick up where he left off in 2012, completing all three passes for 68 yards and running once for 11, accounting for 79 of the 80 yards on Seattle’s six-play drive that ended in a Robert Turbin 3-yard touchdown run.
Wilson played the equivalent of about five quarters in the exhibition season, getting 87 snaps (the NFL average for a game last year was 64). In that span he completed 24-of-38 passes, a percentage of 63.2 that rivals last year’s 64.1, and a QB rating of 88.1, not far off the 100.0 of last season, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
He did that, though, without ever having his full offensive supporting cast (leading receiver Sidney Rice didn’t play at all, tight end Zach Miller almost none, and tailback Marshawn Lynch made only token appearances throughout) and with the zone-read game that Wilson so excels in kept largely under wraps.
It’s undoubtedly risky to ever read a ton into exhibition stats, especially of proven players. The main takeaway here is that any real assessment of Wilson’s sophomore year has to wait until the real games are played.
[b] The Seahawks won’t have an easy time cutting their roster to 53.
Like every NFL team, the Seahawks have to cut their roster from the 75 they played with Thursday, to 53 by Saturday at 3 p.m.
For the most part Thursday, the performance of players on the bubble only made the decisions harder, notably middle linebacker Allen Bradford (team-high eight tackles), fullback Derrick Coleman, safety Winston Guy (five tackles, two passes deflected) and defensive tackles Jaye Howard and Sealver Siliga.
Carroll said the game, and the team’s 4-0 exhibition record, only reinforced the thought of the team’s brass heading into the season that this is the deepest record since the Carroll/John Schneider regime took over in 2010.
Consider that the 110 points the Seahawks scored in the exhibition season were the second-most behind the 119 of the Ravens, and the 36 points allowed the fewest.
Carroll laughed that the period from the end of Thursday’s game, to the cutdown deadline would be “a lot of John and Pete time’’ while adding that it’s “it’s a very hard time for us, too, because these kids deserve to be part of this team and there’s just not enough spots.’’
One of those surely is Bradford, a player Carroll also recruited to play at USC.
Bradford, though, said he wouldn’t be losing any sleep the next few days.
His birthday is Saturday, and he recalled that the Seahawks also cut him on his birthday in 2012 before later signing him to the practice squad.
“If they choose to keep me on the roster it’ll be a pleasure,’’ he said. “If the numbers get a certain way and they’ve got to release me, I’ve got to go somewhere else. That’s what I’ve learned in this business that the logos change but the last name remains the same. … I’m just waiting for the call, but I’m going to enjoy my birthday either way.’’