Matt Flynn vs. Russell Wilson, Round 2
For all intents and purposes, it sure does look like Tarvaris Jackson is out of what has become a two-man race for the Seahawks' starting quarterback gig, as once again he won’t suit up for the matchup against the Broncos.
Pete Carroll has said Jackson essentially represents the control element in this experiment… or in other words, he is what we thought he was.
Last week versus the Titans, both Flynn and Wilson had their moments, with Flynn turning in an efficient 11-13, 71-yard passing performance with the starters.
While Wilson mopped up in the second half to the tune of an excitement-filled 12-16, 124-yard passing performance, including a 39-yard TD pass and a 32-yard TD run.
Both quarterbacks will play the same roles as last week, with Flynn getting the first half and Wilson getting the second half. At this point, it does look like its Flynn’s job to lose, as the coaches are giving him as much game time with the first unit as possible.
The question will be what if Wilson outperforms Flynn yet again this week? If that happens, we may very well see Wilson start the critical 3rd preseason game, which is looked at around the league as the dress rehearsal for the regular season. If Wilson manages to get that start, while it seemed very improbable a few weeks ago, he would likely be the one in the driver’s seat.
Terrell Owens Makes His Seahawks Debut
Everyone’s curious at this point to see just what T.O. has left at the age of 38, and this will be his first chance to really show it under NFL game conditions since 2010. If Owens is as good as he has been in practice, he should be able to put some of those concerns at ease. From all accounts Owens has looked good going up against a stellar Seahawks secondary, and is doing a pretty good job of being a good teammate. While his natural position is split end, he’s currently slated to play some flanker in the game this week.
There are a couple of questions that we’ll see answered during the game. First, how many plays will T.O. get? With his first game action in over a year, he’ll probably only get around 20 snaps if he’s lucky.
Secondly, how early T.O. gets that playing time will also be indicative of where he currently stands in the wide receiver pecking order. Carroll said he’ll get in the game pretty early; whether or not that means he’ll get to start isn’t clear, but it sounds like he’ll at least get some valuable playing time with Flynn and the first team. Hopefully, he’ll also get a chance to play a few downs with Wilson as well, just to gauge how well he clicks with both QBs.
Seahawks Stellar Secondary vs. Peyton Manning
With Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner, and Richard Sherman, the Seahawks sport arguably the best young secondary in the league. It will be good practice for these young stars to go up against one of the cagiest quarterbacks in the last 20 years, Peyton Manning. The ex-Colt great didn’t get much time last week, and undoubtedly will get to play at least a quarter in his second game action in more than a year.
By all accounts Manning still has his accuracy and most of his velocity; and he’s throwing to a pair of talented young receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. This will be the best test yet to make sure the secondary isn’t resting on their three Pro Bowl laurels from 2011, and are primed to make an even bigger impact in 2012 as the strength of an excellent Seahawks defense.
We should also get more clarity on the nickel corner slot, as veteran Marcus Trufant, the only holdover left from the 2005 Super Bowl team, and Roy Lewis battle it out for playing time.
Bruce Irvin Impact
Irvin played significant minutes in the first half against the Titans; yet he failed to register a sack, tackle, or assist during the entire game. There were times when Irvin appeared to get out of position, and for the most part he was handled by Titans star tackle Michael Roos. From what the coaches have said and observations made during training camp, Irvin continues to improve and impress; but we’re going to need to see that translate into having the type of impact expected during a game.
The Seahawks' pass rush as a whole was the team’s defensive weakness in 2011, and picks like Irvin and the signing of tackle Jason Jones was supposed to shore up that need. So far, the pass rush hasn’t looked great, and Irvin really needs to be the centerpiece of the improvement. If we don’t see a good rush come out in this game against a Broncos line that isn’t all that great, it may be time to worry a little, even though we still have two more preseason games to get it right.