What we learned: Seahawks at Broncos
Posted by Danny O'Neil
|Denver Broncos 23, Seattle Seahawks 20
Exhibition Game No. 3
SATURDAY, AUG. 27 | SPORTS AUTHORITY FIELD
|Three things we learned|
|1. Things might get worse for Seattle's offense before they get better.
The Seahawks made their decision to start from scratch on the offensive line. New position coach, two rookies on the right side, new left guard and new position with Max Unger. That's over and done with. The question is how many lumps they'll have to take before that results in an improved line. There's nothing else to do now but work, wait and maybe see if a veteran like Paul McQuistan can be a temporary stopgap. There are signs Seattle will run the ball better this season, but that's not saying much since the Seahawks averaged 89 yards rushing last season, fourth lowest in franchise history. And there's now three weeks worth of evidence that pass protection is going to be a major problem. There's no way to fake either continuity or experience on the offensive line, and Seattle doesn't have much of either.
|2. James Carpenter is not ready to be on an island.
That was demonstrated quite clearly by Denver's Von Miller, who showed why he was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. Miller went around Carpenter. Repeatedly. Miller got Seattle's rookie was so thoroughly off balance at one point that Miller was able to shove him with two hands in the chest and knock the 325-pounder back. What we don't know is how much the Seahawks planned to leave Carpenter alone against Miller and Elvis Dumervil to give the right tackle an idea of the kind of quickness he would go up against. A regular-season game plan might have included a good dose of help from the tight end, but Saturday showed Carpenter has a long way to go in terms of pass protection.
|3. It would be very hard to leave Doug Baldwin off this team.
The undrafted rookie from Stanford leads the team with eight receptions in three exhibition games, and then all he did on Seattle's first -- and only -- kickoff return Saturday was return it 105 yards for a touchdown. How did he feel by the time he reached the end zone? "Exhausted," he said. "I was exhausted. But I tried not to get in the oxygen tank. That was my mindset when I came back to the sideline." Mission accomplished. He needed no oxygen after a kick return that took everyone else's breath away, too.
|Three things we already knew|
|1. Quarterback is not the biggest question on Seattle's offense.
Seattle's fourth-quarter touchdown drive showed one thing quite clearly: Starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson can cut up a second-string defense just as efficiently as Charlie Whitehurst the first two exhibition games. The question is whether this offensive line can give anyone enough time in the pocket to have a reasonable chance of success this season. Seattle has allowed eight sacks in three games, and while that's tied for eighth-most of all NFL teams in August, it doesn't give a true indication of the pass pressure that has been constant and unrelenting.
|2. Brandon Browner is going to have a spot on this team.
He started at right cornerback in place of Kelly Jennings, who was out with a sore hamstring, and while he was penalized once for illegal hands to the face, he acquitted himself quite well against a Broncos' offense headlined by the productive tandem of Brandon Lloyd and Kyle Orton.
|3. Seattle's offensive line isn't going to win any friends.
The Seahawks employ the cut block, and while the tactic is legal, it also makes defensive linemen mutter bad words. Seattle is on its fourth offensive line coach in three seasons in Tom Cable, but the common lineage of these three seasons is that the blocking scheme has employed the cut block.
• Block on Bunkley uncalled for says Bronco | The Denver Post
|Three things we're trying to figure out|
|1. What is Justin Forsett's role?
He started in place of Marshawn Lynch, who sat out with an ankle injury. Forsett didn't run poorly, gaining 23 yards on six carries, but it looks like Leon Washington might be targeted for the scat-back role on third downs. Not only that, but when Seattle faced third-and-1 in the first quarter, Thomas Clayton was brought into the game for the short-yardage situation. Forsett has been too productive to think there's not a role for him to fill.
|2. 2. How is Seattle going to pressure the passer?
The Seahawks had four sacks in the game, two by rookie Pep Levingston in the fourth quarter. But Kyle Orton had as much time as he could ever want on several plays in the first half, which was alarming. The Seahawks did not make any moves to upgrade its pass rush. They might not need any additional help if veterans Chris Clemons and Raheem Brock can replicate the career years they enjoyed in 2010. Clemons played Saturday, his first exhibition game after undergoing three different procedures on his ankle this offseason. He played well -- and also intercepted a pass -- but there were times when Seattle was totally unable to pressure Orton on Saturday.
|3. What is Golden Tate's role going to be?
He didn't see the field in the first half as Ben Obomanu made his exhibition debut, and was the slot receiver in Seattle's three-wide packages. Then Baldwin went and scored on a kickoff return, which is another way Seattle sought to utilize Tate. This is the second time Tate entered a training camp with expectations and hopes for a big season and failed to produce all that much of anything in the exhibition games.
Dec 24 - 6:10 AM Looking back: Revisiting Sunday's scouting report
Dec 24 - 1:09 AM Seahawks' scoring binge
Dec 24 - 1:01 AM Video: Summing Seattle's victory
Dec 24 - 12:58 AM Video: Russell Wilson post-game comments
Dec 24 - 12:21 AM Rookie passing roll call