First Impressions – Seahawks @ Broncos

| August 30, 2011

The Seattle Seahawks entered the night with the same question that have been asked since the beginning of training camp; will Tarvaris Jackson prove that he is finally ready to lead a team? As expected, the answer was no, as the only thing that Jackson proved on Saturday night, was that he (and fellow quarterback Charlie Whitehurst) could efficiently carve up a second-string defense.

The opposing Denver Broncos continued to make their mark on the defensive side of the ball, by unleashing rookie linebacker Von Miller upon the Seattle’s offense, as he accumulated four tackles, two sacks and four quarterback hits on the night. The Broncos also showed the ability to effectively run the football on offence, something they struggled to do in 2010.

Lets take a look at what more both teams had to offer.

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Broncos – Three Things of Note

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Knowshon Moreno’s stellar preseason continued, as he rushed for 47 yards on 10 carries. While he outrushed Willis McGahee for the third straight game and has averaged 4.9 yards per carry this preseason, Moreno was nowhere to be seen in goal line situations. To date, Moreno has had a very average NFL career, as he has never gotten 1000 receiving yards in a season, nor has he ever had complete faith in his offensive coaching staff. Former Head Coach Josh McDaniels’ staff felt that they had made a mistake by drafting Moreno in 2009, and they quickly labeled him as a “wimp” and “not a great clubhouse guy.” With that being said, John Fox and his staff have been praising Moreno throughout the preseason, so it will be interesting to see if he will finally warrant his first round selection.

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● The addition of Head Coach John Fox and the return of Elvis Dumervil from injury both appear to be major pieces in a defensive turnaround. Having surrendered 400 points in three out of the last four seasons, the Denver Broncos did not only need to change up their personnel, but their scheme as well. I know that it may only be the preseason, but when a team has only allowed 183 total yards to their opponents, it must be taken seriously. Giving up 18 points a game during the preseason is nothing to gaff at either considering that Denver’s more aggressive defensive approach gives opposing offenses more opportunities to make big plays. Another thing to note after Saturday night’s game was the emergence of linebacker Joe Mays, who against Seattle and the rest of his preseason opponents, has shown that he could be a an impact player in the middle.

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● For everything Denver did right during this game, the only negative thing that stood out to me was the pressure that their offensive line surrendered. Giving up four sacks is a little concerning, even if they weren’t all given up by the first unit. The Seahawks managed to record sacks from all three levels, as Marcus Trufant registered a sack from the secondary, Malcolm Smith came in from the linebacker position to record one, and Lazarius Levingston recorded two sacks from defensive end. Backup quarterback Tim Tebow took three of the four sacks the Broncos allowed, so look for him to do a better job at getting rid of the football quicker.

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Seattle - Three Things of Note

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● Seattle’s special teams unit ended up being one of the few highlights from Saturday night’s game. With kicker Olindo Mare leaving in the offseason, it was important for the Seahawks to find an adequate replacement for him in free-agency. Former Pittsburgh Steeler and San Francisco 49ers castoff Jeff Reed displayed that he still has a lot to offer, as he made two field goals from both 52 and 53 yards away. With the swirling winds at Invesco Field, Reed still managed to boot his kickoffs half way through the end zone and return man Doug Baldwin capped off an impressive special teams performance with a 103-yard kickoff return that all but solidified him a spot on the 53-man roster.

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● Cornerback Brandon Browner is going to have a spot on this team and will even make a push to be the permanent replacement for the now departed Kelly Jennings. Browner started in the place of Jennings (who sat out this game with a sore hamstring) and made the most of his opportunity to impress the coaching staff. He faired well against the ever so impressive Brandon Lloyd, who finished the night with only two catches for 32 yards. In addition to that, Browner had four tackles and one pass defended and was above average in coverage night. While he is by no means a shutdown corner, Browner’s stature allows him to be physical and get in your face off the line. Whether he gets the starting nod when the season begins remains to be seen, but Saturday night gave the Seahawks a small sample size into what the former Canadian Football League cornerback can do.

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● To put it simply, Seattle’s offensive line’s performance against the Broncos brings up many reasons for concern, as they gave up five sacks and 10 total quarterback hits. It appears as if rookie James Carpenter is not ready to be left alone without some sort of help, whether that help comes from a halfback or a tight end. Most were surprised that Carpenter was even selected in the first round, and Von Miller proved that he was no match for him, as Miller finished the game with two sacks. The return of Russell Okung should help solidify Seattle’s offensive line, and don’t be surprised if they add one more veteran tackle before the start of the season.

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Putting up 183 total yards in a game is unacceptable, especially if your staring quarterback played well into the fourth quarter and the Seahawks should expect more from their offensive line, as well. These issues will need to be addressed before the season starts, or it will be a long year in the Pacific Northwest. If you are a Broncos fan, then things seem to be headed in the right direction, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
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