In the wake of Seattle’s 21-16 loss to Denver Thursday night, here are some quick thoughts on each position group.
Two quick caveats — it’s 1 a.m. as I do this and I haven’t seen a replay.
It’s also not fair in a preseason game to do grades when there is little real gameplanning and pretty vanilla stuff being run on each side of the ball
Consider this instead more of an immediate reaction piece, just throwing some quick thoughts out there as discussion.
Hard to judge a lot with the way they all were running for their lives behind the makeshift offensive line. But in the battle for the backup job, it’s unlikely anything happened to change the depth chart. Tarvaris Jackson was solid and steady. Terrelle Pryor had some spectacular moments, but also the interception at the end on a pass he admitted was a bad decision. In the tough-luck department, he may never had needed to throw that pass had Demitrius Bronson been able to hold on to the screen on the previous play. But as Pryor said later, the one thing coach Pete Carroll told him to make sure to do during the timeout prior to the pass to Bronson was to take care of the ball. That was four-down territory so Pryor needed to make sure to live for another play.
The numbers for Robert Turbin (five yards on four carries) and Christine Michael (16 yards on seven) were underwhelming and neither did much to separate themselves from the other. But in fairness to each, the OL issues obviously played a role. More troubling in Michael’s case were the fumble and the chop block penalty. Seattle will want to see improvement there. Carroll volunteered being impressed by the play of Bronson (5-22) and he again showed the quickness we’ve often seen through camp, and also had a nice block on a Pryor run. Too bad he didn’t make the catch at the end.
The standout was rookie Paul Richardson, who had a team-high four catches on a team-high five targets. The other regulars didn’t play much (Percy Harvin just the first play and then he got out of there), but Doug Baldwin had a nice 18-yard catch and Jermaine Kearse an 11-yarder. Of the vast group trying to claw their way into a spot, Bryan Walters may have done the most on just one catch — a 26-yarder from Pryor in the third quarter. Ricardo Lockette also had two catches and a nice tackle on special teams. Phil Bates, an early camp star, didn’t have a catch or a target, but he has been suffering from an illness this week and that might have contributed.
Cooper Helfet might have had the play of the day for the Seahawks, a 20-yard reception from Jackson to pick up a third-and-20 in the second quarter. It’s the kind of play Helfet has made all camp. RaShaun Allen (25-yarder) and Morrell Presley (16-yarder) each also caught the only pass that came their way. Helfet and Allen, in particular, seem to making an impression.
Lots of trouble here all night long with the Seahawks playing without starters Russell Okung, Max Unger and James Carpenter, and with J.R. Sweezy playing just the first quarter. Justin Britt played the entire first half at right tackle and had his struggles. But that’s also to be expected in this setting. One thing to keep in mind is how much Seattle’s OL relies on teamwork. The patchwork nature of the line Thursday night obviously led to some issues in that regard. Sounds like Unger and Carpenter will be back next week and Britt will have a game under his belt and some of the other newcomers another week of work. That should lead to a fairer evaluation after the San Diego game.
I sensed some concern on Twitter and elsewhere over the pass rush. But keep in mind the rather vanilla defensive approach, and that Peyton Manning is pretty darn good at getting rid of the ball quickly. Hard to really judge much on two series for the starters. You might have hoped to see some more out of some of the backups. The only one who really stood out was Cassius Marsh, who had Seattle’s only sack and should have had another.
Another spot where injuries made the spot look different. The big story here remains the emergence of undrafted free agent walk-on Brock Coyle from Montana, whose five tackles were second for the game and who didn’t seem in awe by the atmosphere or being a starter. Nothing happened to alter the idea that Seattle has a tough decision looming between Coyle and veteran Heath Farwell — a special teams standout — for the backup MLB job. K.J. Wright and Mike Morgan also had some good moments early.
Peyton Manning’s strategy in this one seemed pretty obvious — throw as often as possible at Demaryius Thomas when guarded by Byron Maxwell. Thomas had five catches for 52 yards with Maxwell usually the defender. That’s not a surprise, with Richard Sherman on the other side, and Manning and Thomas have done that to a lot of people. But there’s little doubt that opponents will likely target Maxwell early and often this year. Of the backups, the disappointment was the short night for Tharold Simon, thrown out for striking a Denver player early in the third quarter. Having the best night of the backups was cornerback A.J. Jefferson, with three pass breakups and an interception. If Seattle keeps five cornerbacks, he’d be the fifth right now, you would think.
Not a lot to note here, especially since there are no battles at kicker, punter or snapper and return chances were minimal. But worth noting that Earl Thomas got the first punt return chance, though he had no room to work and got no yards. Walters got a kickoff return but that’s obviously a job that will be primarily Harvin’s in the regular season.