Friday, August 12, 2011

San Diego in Perspective

I didn't actually watch the game last night, so I won't pretend to offer any direct observations. I'm mostly relying on what everyone else saw, which seems to be a convenient consensus. But I do think there's a lot of perspective to be had.

* The first, applicable to almost everything, is that the lockout royally screwed Seattle. And any other teams in any kind of offensive transition or rebuild. The lockout was always going to favor established QB's and their schemes. All they had to do was knock the rust off their pre-existing system, whereas Seattle, St. Louis, San Franci...umm, yep, pretty much the entire NFC learning a new system and had very little training camp to do it.

The lockout was also bound to handicap incoming rookies. It shouldn't surprise anyone that James Carpenter might have a much longer curve to competence than most rookies.

So the fact that Philip Rivers looked well on his way to hanging 40 points on Seattle before hitting the bench...that shouldn't surprise or discourage anyone. The Chargers are a perennial offensive juggernaut. The Seahawks are midstream in their fording of the imposing river of offensive change, led by a brand-new QB. The first quarter between the two was quite predictable, and not necessarily predictive of the season at all.

So...chill pills.

* Tarvaris Jackson was also missing all his starting wide receivers, leaving him with Golden Tate and a bunch of (somewhat bright) camp scrubs. That should be included in our calculations, and it should mean something coming from me, Mr. I Don't Make Excuses For Quarterbacks, Take Charge or Sit Down.

* That said, some of the problems Jackson showed yesterday were fundamental, not circumstantial. You don't have to be equipped with Larry Fitzgerald, Lee Evans, Andre Johnson, and the Seahawks' 2005 O-line to know that you should step UP in the pocket when pressured - not back ten yards, right into the sights of that rampaging bull-rusher. Poor pocket poise, holding on to the ball, inaccuracy - let's hope he improves with more than a week's worth of practice time.

* For those bashing the Okung bashers...there IS such a thing as an "injury bust". It may not be his fault, but it doesn't make him any less a bust at this point. Let's see if he recovers quickly.

* Josh Portis shook off his nerves quickly and responded with an impressive performance. It was admittedly against third-stringers, and so should be taken with a grain elevator of salt. But it wasn't just a strong drive that he showed. Poise, downfield awareness, good timing on his throws, and just that indefinable air of being in command of the offense. The coaching staff should definitely keep developing this guy.

* The offensive line looks like what I expected it to - nasty and strong in run protection, iffy in pass protection. Nice pull block from John Moffitt to punch Leon in for his TD.

* Doug Baldwin is becoming this season's unanimous preseason hero. I'm skeptical by default of UDFA's, but stars do come from there - Tony Romo and James Harrison, for example. Good routes, good hands, good separation - nice find, Pete.

* The deep ball to Kelly Jennings wasn't all on him - Josh Pinkard blew his half of the coverage. Safety help is what you should be looking for every time a corner gets beat deep. But that doesn't stop the throw from being yet another verse in the long, slow song of Jennings' inability to cover any receiver taller than 5'10". When that's your #2 corner, you need an upgrade.

* Browner may be the answer. He looked great out there at game speed. However, he first needs to prove that he can play aggressive without drawing three pass-interference flags a game. If he's that undisciplined, the penalty yards he'll give up will make him just as much a liability as Jennings.

* Thomas Clayton reminds me of Julius Jones - no redeeming quality about his game, just a few big runs sprinkled between stuffs. The result is a YPC average that makes him look more effective than he really is.

* Leon Washington definitely being assimilated into this offense. That's big. His "orientation snaps" may be the only reason Justin Forsett sat out.

* Kam Chancellor built upon his solid camp performance. He needs to be starter-ready.

* Several defensive rookies stepped up. K.J. Wright, Malcolm Smith, Pep Levingston, and Pierre Allen made the most of their time, contributing decisive plays.

* Alan Branch was said by some to look slow and sluggish out there. That's one dude everyone should be keeping an eye on.

* SEAHAWKS WON! If you can't get excited about that, even in the preseason, there's something wrong with you.

(Whitehurst comments in a later article.)


  1. Doug Baldwin not Paul Baldwin

  2. The first thing that jumped out at me about this game is that Carroll is building the team he wants. It looks like the Seahawks are going to be good with the run, and stopping the run. Unfortunately, that probably means that they will do well when Nebraska and USC appear on the schedule. Then again, the unconventional approach does sometimes hit the jackpot.

    Carroll's rah-rah approach also really does well with the third-string players. Our camp fodder can beat their camp fodder. It is early, and I'm glad to see so many young and hungry stars, but it doesn't mean anything to me, yet.