Well, it wasn't always pretty, but the Seahawks first preseason game is over and it ended with a victory, whatever that's worth. Obviously, the primary concern is that Russell Okung appears to have suffered his third high ankle sprain in twelve months, but more on that in another post. I'm going to break it down the easiest way I know how, player by player (of those who stood out to me).
Tarvaris Jackson - Jackson didn't look sharp, but I think he played better than we're giving him credit for. We all know that most of his targets were missing in action. Jackson's strengths: mobility and athleticism, wicked rifle arm, intelligence. Jackson's weaknesses, one by one:
A) Lack of confidence -- according to Scott Enyeart, he didn't have many open recievers down field (not a surprise given our 3s were going against the Chargers' 1s), but even still, there were times where he had a single high safety and man coverage that he did not exploit. Jackson seemed tentative and more concerned with not making a mistake than making a play.
B) Pocket presence -- it seemed lacking. I think Jackson relies too heavily on his athleticism to get away from defenders after they touch him, rather than sensing their presence and stepping up to avoid. If I'm a defensive coordinator, I game plan entirely around getting Jackson moving early and often to affect his accuracy.
C) Lack of timing and experience in this offense. It'll come, and I am confident that he knows the "offense" but there was no clear chemistry last night.
Charlie Whitehurst - He looked particularly poor in the first half, but actually flashed a bit in the second. Honestly, nothing seems to have changed much from last year with Charlie, from what I could tell. He doesn't inspire me, but he doesn't revile me either. I'll look forward to seeing both him and Jackson more in the pre-season. It was kind of embarassing that Charlie, a five or six year veteran, has the same sliding acumen as UDFA Scott Tolzien, but I suppose I'm picking nits a tad...
Josh Portis - QBOTF? Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Portis looked awful to start, but after the nerves were out following his first series, he came out and commanded the offense. Admittedly, it was the third/fourth string guys going against the same, but Portis showed poise in the pocket, better athleticism than Tarvaris, and even got through reads and progressions, which is nice to see from a young QB. Portis will remain an enigma, and during preseason will likely get a bit more love and affection than he deserves. Still, it is easier to see now what Pete Carroll has been raving about with this kid.
Zach Miller - My heterosexual lifemate didn't have much of a showing, though he was effective in run blocking from what little I could see. I'll be re-watching the game soon enough, and will focus a bit more on big #86. I believe his only target was well away from him.
Dominique Byrd - Well, hello there Mr. Byrd. I think that if anyone on offense really, truly flashed last night it was Byrd, who regularly found the perfect spot to sit in a zone. He was open almost every time I saw him on the field, and when ESPN mercifully opted to show more of the field than the QB's head, Byrd was either blowing past LBs or sitting in empty space.
Anthony McCoy - He had a touchdown, which is nice, and did a good job coming back into the play for Portis to get open. Also flashed a few times as a run blocker, which is important in this offense. His main competition for a roster spot is D Byrd though, and that's going to be tough competition, methinks.
Marshawn Lynch - This appeared to be more an exercise in proving that Lynch existed rather than having him do much. He had, what, three runs for 8 yards? I think at least two of them were power behind the two rookies, so, y'know. What do you expect? Still, he does exist, which is nice.
Leon Washington - Looking good, L-Dub. Expect him to see a lot more carries this year, especially with the absolutely terrible, stupid, no good, very bad kickoff rule.
Thomas Clayton - Had a nice run that was incredibly well blocked. Other than that 25 yard run, he had a poor night. Let's not get too excited about Clayton until someone can find a spot in our crowded backfield. Unless he can lead block, he doesn't make the team.
Golden Tate - Tate had a nice night. It wasn't flashy, it wasn't grand, it wasn't much beyond nice. That's what we need from him right now. Be consistent and reliable, prove you deserve to be out on the field, THEN extend a play with your freakass athleticism. He's on the right path. His routes looked night and day from last pre-season, and his hands seemed more reliable.
Doug Baldwin - Davis Hsu has been singing his praises, and Baldwin did flash at the training camp I went to, but he really showed up last night. Baldwin could be Mr. Reliable for the Seahawks, and appears to have some of the flexibility that has led Ben Obomanu to stick so long with this team. He had a 40-or-so yard kick return that significantly ups his stock, too, though the coverage on that kick was pretty embarrassing.
Isaiah Stanback - Got the start, looked alright, but almost made a freaky circus catch on a ball that was way underthrown by Whitehurst. That was fun (almost).
Chris Carter - Hawk Blogger's home boy looked good, and you've got to love the confidence of an undrafted free agent telling the head coach to throw a red flag. I believe Carter caught that non-catch, but the reviews were clearly not sufficient to overturn the ruling on the field. Had it been called a catch it would have stood, though.
James Carpenter - Carpenter is a huge mass of man. He was getting pretty good push in the run game, but needs badly to work on technique in pass pro. There was one bull rush where Carp stood up off the snap and was just dominated. Got to keep leverage, James. Plenty to like about his first time out of the gates, though.
John Moffit / Max Unger / Robert Gallery - The interior line looked okay, not great, not bad, just y'know, interior-y. Moffitt looked fantastic on the Leon Washington touchdown, pulling across with ease to set the whole play in motion. Not exactly the power we were expecting, but to mix power and finesse like that is a nice thing. I like where the line is going, so hip hip hooray.
Russell Okung - Damn it all.
Tyler Polumbus - Same as it ever was. I like Polumbus because he is versatile and fairly effective in pass pro when that's the focus. That's about it though. I remain hopeful that the Seahawks sign another veteran tackle, possibly from the Raiders...