The first night back at the CLink in 2014 felt an awful lot like all of the days and nights here in 2013.
Sure, it was just a preseason game. But that’s all we have for now. And undoubtedly this was a much better effort than the opening game last week at Denver.
As coach Pete Carroll said afterward: “We had a real nice night tonight.”
Hard to argue as the Seahawks righted a lot of the wrongs from the Denver game, as noted here in my game story.
Here are a few other notes, quotes and observations:
— Russell Wilson could hardly have been better, and you saw a glimpse early of what this offense could be like with Percy Harvin, as well. He was involved enough to get four catches in just a little over a quarter. I think it can’t be overestimated the impact he might have on this offense this season.
— Carroll said the plan was to play Wilson the entire first half, just as he did in the second preseason game in 2013 (the big win over Denver).
— Yeah, Carroll questioned the penalty on Tharold Simon. Here’s what he said:
“I can tell you that the official said, that he had his hands on him seven yards down the field instead of five. I’ve got to see it again, but I thought it was a perfectly executed two-hand jam and press and turned and rolled with the ball and made a great play and we’ll see if it was seven yards down the field. I don’t know. If it was it was a legit call.”
— And when asked if he thought the call was part of the new emphasis on illegal contact, Carroll said:
“Yes. I think it’s pretty obvious and I know we talked with the official during the game, too that I hope that the league office will be open to the conversation — they are, they are. I’ve already heard from them. They are open to the conversation about the way it’s going. It doesn’t seem quite right. It seems like there are too many calls being made and too many incidental calls that seem to be affecting the game so we will see. They are going to do a thorough job of it and they really are tuned in and it’s obviously different. .It’s obviously different and then the question is it if’s better. I don’t know. Hopefully we will have a good conversation about it.’’
— No doubt it was a better night for Robert Turbin than Christine Michael in the battle for the backup tailback spot. Michael had a fumble for a second straight week, and that obviously won’t cut it. Asked afterward if the fumbles are a concern, Carroll said: “Yeah. Both of them have been the same — tacklers got underneath him. And he was low in both cases. But they got the helmet to the football and he needs to protect it more. That’s not something we have practiced. We have not been in that situation and I’m hoping he will learn from that. He allowed the defender to get underneath him where the ball was vulnerable — they knocked it out. He needs to fix that.”
— Carroll said he planned to get Tarvaris Jackson in the game, but that the game was running so quickly he wanted to let Terrelle Pryor play more. And then he wanted to get B.J. Daniels in the game some, too, so he went straight to Daniels. He said Jackson will play with the second unit next week against the Bears.
— Pryor was spectacular running but was 1-4 for 10 yards passing with a 39.6 rating. But as Carroll said, the game was going quickly when he was in there and it was hard to get much of a real rhythm going in the passing game at that point.
— The offensive line unquestionably looked better, and the return of James Carpenter made an obvious difference, as did simply getting better play across the board. Justin Britt got beat a time or two by Melvin Ingram. But he also had some good moments, and right now you’d think he continues to lead the battle for the right tackle spot. Also seemed like Alvin Bailey played a lot better, and Lemuel Jeanpierre was steady at center playing in place of Max Unger. Unger and Russell Okung got lots of work in the pre-game and the line continues to look on track to be whole in a week or two, and certainly for the regular season, which is the real key.
— Brock Coyle had another solid night, with a game-high-tying seven tackles. At this point, he looks like a lock to make it.
— Cliff Avril might have been the best defensive player on the field. As Carroll said: “it was great to see Cliff Avril get off the rock so well a couple of times.” Mid-season form for a player that if you recall, missed the entire preseason a year ago.
— O’Brien Schofield had a nice night, credited with a team-high four quarterback hurries. He looks to be ahead of Benson Mayowa in the fight for a pass-rush job, though Mayowa also had half a sack in the second half, as well.
— As for Turbin, here’s what Carroll said about his long run: “ “It was a real nice read. He cutback great against the flow of the play and he got out in the open I loved the finish. I’ve been trying to get Turbo to straight arm somebody since he got here and he had a domiant straight arm. He finally used one in big a fashion. I was really fired up for him A great read, a great run and then a great finish too. It was a helluva of a play.”
— Paul Richardson didn’t have a catch and didn’t play much early. Not sure why other than maybe wanting to see more of other players.
— Marshawn Lynch was on the field for the first two plays and then took the rest of the night off. But expect to see him more next week.
— Earl Thomas had two punt returns, fair catching one and returning the other for five yards. Then Bryan Walters took over and had two for 33, including a long of 22. Walters also got three kickoff returns. Maybe Walters can sneak on the roster as the final WR with a dual role as a returner. Certainly, the jury still seems to be out on who will be the punt returner.
— Steven Hauschka looks as good as ever, including booting a 55-yarder. That’s longer than any regular kick (high is 54) though he had a 56-yarder in the pre-season last year against the Raiders.
— And had to like the night for Jon Ryan — no punts at all.
— Finally, here’s a good overview of what it looked like from the San Diego side.