I’m a person who sincerely enjoys pre-season games. All four of them. Yep, it’s true. Everybody tunes out once the starters are taken out. That’s when I settle in.
The position battles of pre-season are too priceless and entertaining for me to ignore. Players fighting for their passions, their livelihoods. To prove to everyone back home who said they would never make it, that they really are undervalued. That they’re secret gems. Diamonds in the rough just waiting to twinkle under the CenturyLink Field lights.
Many fans are looking for Seattle to have a huge bounce-back year this season. Many pundits disagree. The only thing that is certain is that this year’s outlook is anything but.
Training camp started today, FINALLY, and the roster in no way resembles the hodge-podge list of scrubs Seattle began with just two short years ago. The difference this year, is that there isn’t much difference; not between last year’s team anyway. The core of this unit is in place. A tough, bruising defense. A running back who just LOOKS for people to run over. And an offensive line coach that wants this team to be unmercifully nasty upfront.
But beware the unknowns of this football team. This is a team with the quarterback position, at least for the moment, still in flux. A team without a clear-cut second starting wide receiver. A team with a rookie and a second-year player projected to start at linebacker.
I sincerely hope Pete Carroll and his staff resolve quickly that Matt Flynn is the best option at quarterback. Unless he comes out this first week and plays like — enter bad Seahawks QB here; I’ll go with David Greene this time — he needs to be named the starter. A new quarterback is going to need as many reps as possible with a new team, especially with the receiving corps in doubt. Which brings me to the receiving corps.
Oh, receiving corps. This assembly reminds me of the young Seattle Mariners hitters: a group of inexperienced but talented players, each with their own skills and attributes, of which any could emerge as a superstar. But for this offense to be successful, somebody’s going to have to step up. The receivers won’t be counted on every play, but they’ll be essential to keeping the chains moving on third down, and if they stretch the field well, they’ll help open up the running game.
This team is young. It’s no accident, however, it’s by design. And I think it’s a good design. But in order for the youth to mature in a way that translates into consistent play and wins, it needs to be groomed and molded. Roles must be defined with as much immediacy as possible, and expanded upon quickly.
It’s going to be one of the most exciting pre-seasons ever. Tune out once the starters are taken out? I dare you to try.