Preseason Recap Week 2: More Questions, Few Answers

A few weeks ago, I posed questions about the Seahawks’ quarterback position, the wide receiver position, and about the pass rush and linebackers. I wrote that these were questions that needed answers quickly if Seattle was going to have any success in the first few weeks of the season.

After week two of preseason, there still isn’t a starting quarterback named, (although I believe Pete Carroll will name that starter after Tuesday’s practice) wide receiver is in flux more than ever, and there has been almost zero pass rush generated by this team. The preseason is supposed to answer questions; not create more of them than you had when you went in. So, Seahawks fans … Where are our answers?

Anyone clamoring for Russell Wilson to start, or even to take first unit snaps during week three of the preseason, please stop now. Week three is the ‘dress rehearsal’ week, and is important to really gauge the progress a team has made. Not only that, but Matt Flynn, who IS your starter — Matt Flynn WILL be the starter on this team — absolutely needs those series, any series, every series with his starting unit so he can get the timing down. Because it’s far from being there so far. The first drive of the game against the Broncos was one of the most out of sync moments I’ve seen of any professional team. Golden Tate threw his hands up because he didn’t know where to line up. Terrell Owens didn’t know what routes to run, and it reflected in Matt Flynn’s final line. And for anyone clamoring for Russell Wilson to be the starter, keep in mind that it’s VERY rare for a rookie quarterback to be successful in the NFL. This includes Peyton Manning, who is one of the best quarterbacks this league has ever seen. Peyton threw more interceptions his rookie year than he did touchdowns, with only a 56.7% completion percentage. If you truly want a team that’s going to win THIS SEASON, Matt Flynn needs to have as many reps as possible with his first unit wide receivers.

Speaking of wide receivers, what is this starting unit going to look like? Let’s say Golden Tate, Sidney Rice, and Doug Baldwin are locks. That leaves ten guys fighting for three spots, including Terrell Owens, who I think showed us pretty much what we expected to see from him during his performance against Denver, Braylon Edwards, Deon Butler, Ben Obomanu, and a handful of others. I can see a spot on the practice squad for two receivers: former UW standout Jermaine Kearse, and U of O wideout Lavasier Tuinei. If the preseason ended right now, I would say your receivers would look like this: Rice and Tate starting. Baldwin is your slot guy. Braylon Edwards, Ricardo Lockette, and Ben Obomanu round out the rest of the corps. Kearse could bump Lockette out if he continues to shine in the last couple of preseason games. That will be a position battle to watch for as the preseason winds down.

Finally, the largest question mark on this team is on of all places, the defensive side of the ball. Where is the pass rush? Where is it going to come from? Who is going to step up? OK, that’s three questions. But seriously, without a consistent pass rush, there is a very good chance this defense is going to get shredded by the elite quarterbacks in the NFL, which Seattle has on the schedule this year. Gus Bradley needs to figure out how best to use Bruce Irvin, and how he’s going to get into the backfield and put pressure on the quarterback. More important than Irvin in the task of generating pass rush, will be Jason Jones’ production. But no matter who steps up, from the line, to the backers, to the secondary, Seattle needs to be a team that makes the quarterback uncomfortable in the pocket.

The questions we’re asking right now are the same ones we had a month ago, as training camp ramped up. Now we’ve got less than three weeks until the start of the regular season, and we’re still left scratching our heads, not knowing who this team is. How can a team know who it is, when it doesn’t even know who its quarterback is?? At this point, for me, … Flynn, Wilson, Jackson, hell, Portis!!! Just make a decision!!! Let your team rally around ONE guy, or watch it crumble while it searches for that continuity and leadership.

Or it’s going to be a very long season.