Let's take a look at the
1. Tom Ashworth
- I've always admired the way the New England Patriots conduct business
under Bill Belichick, and I'm starting to think that one of the most admirable
coaching jobs in recent memory was whatever Pats offensive line coach Dante
Scarnecchia did to make Tom Ashworth a serviceable offensive lineman during
Ashworth's four years in Foxboro. Ashworth's first regular-season appearance
for Seattle came in the opener against the Lions last year, when he came in
for one play to give Walter Jones a breather at left tackle after Jones injured
his ankle. Ashworth immediately gave up a sack and was pulled.
While he did put forth somewhat
credible efforts in six starts at right tackle last year, Ashworth proved once
again in this game that he is an absolute menace on the left side. He gave up
at least two sacks (primary blown blocks), including one to Packers DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila which caused a Seneca Wallace fumble, which linebacker Nick Barnett
returned for a touchdown. Ashworth compensated for his abysmal pass protection
with pathetic run blocking - he was the goat on more than one Shaun Alexander
stuff. Walter Jones didn't make the trip to Green Bay due to a shoulder injury,
and he's probably done for the preseason. While this game was Ashworth's fault,
any more participation on the left side will be entirely the fault of Seattle's
2. Leonard Weaver
- Look, I like Weaver a lot. I like the fact that he's so mobile at
250 pounds. I like his old-school stiffarm. I like the fact that as a former
tight end, he could provide a receiving option out of the backfield, the kind
that Matt Hasselbeck hasn't had in a long time. (The kind that's especially
important when your offensive line is a joke). I first saw the undrafted free
agent out of Carson-Newman college in his rookie training camp of 2005, where
I promptly christened him "The Hydrant", after observing that he resembled
a fire hydrant with arms. I think that Weaver could be a great change of pace
back for Seattle.
However … there is
the small matter of Mr. Weaver's blocking. The thing about being listed as a
fullback is that they expect you to block. After Mack Strong's 2006, it's possible
that the Seahawks are expecting things other than blocking from their fullbacks,
but I’m guessing not. If Weaver is going to be a fullback in name only
like Dallas Clark is a tight end in name only, that's fine. I don't care. But
if that's the case, don't put the guy in there, have him hang in the backfield,
expecting any pass pro at all. Either that, or coach him up on the blocks. We
are still blocking, right?
3. Special Teams
- Well, there's "special" as in exceptional, and there's
"special" as in … shall we say … short bus. Given the
overall performance today, I'm guessing that the ST unit will be riding on the
latter for a while. At least four returns were eradicated by penalties (on one return, THREE
DIFFERENT SEAHAWKS were called for holding on the same play).
There was rookie receiver
Robert Ortiz' fourth-quarter punt return fumble (Technically, he fumbled, picked
up the ball and fumbled again). Ortiz caught a break when a Green Bay penalty
caused a re-kick, but he followed up his first return by bumping into his own
blocker, tight end Bennie Joppru. When another Green Bay penalty caused another
re-kick, receiver Joe Fernandez was the returner all of a sudden. Pretty much
typified the whole adventure. I think Fernandez's return was affected by another
penalty, but I started to lose focus at that point.
Clubhouse Presence" - I know it's just the second game of the
preseason, but have we seen any real results from the supposed "new secondary"
provided by veteran safeties Deon Grant and Brian Russell, not to mention new
secondary coach Jim Mora? I've been watching closely, and I'm seeing the same
number of blown coverages, missed assignments, and out-of-place defenders. Is
it possible that in going for veteran savvy and leadership, the Seahawks didn't
place enough of a premium on athleticism and coaching?
The returns are early, so
I'll refrain from making judgments just yet. However, I'm wondering how many
weeks we'll have the "Hey, they're all adjusting to a new system"
excuses if the secondary still struggles. Is that really acceptable? I mean,
if you throw out younger guys with more raw athletic ability in favor of supposed
leadership, shouldn't the training wheels be taken off sooner than later?
5. Maurice Morris - Shaun Alexander is the obvious incumbent
at running back, and Leonard Weaver is the Flavor of the Month, but let's not
forget about backup Maurice Morris. When playing behind a weak offensive line,
Morris might be the best option because he's not a patient runner by nature
- more of a Denver-style "one-cut-and-go" guy. He was also the first
running back to rush for over 100 yards for the Seahawks last year, after Alexander
struggled with the line and injuries.
Seattle now has running
backs who can do different things. Alexander is making the big scratch, but
he'll be 30 when the season starts, and his lack of enthusiasm for blocking
and pass-catching is obvious. It's time to save his legs a but and rotate creative
options in more often. Mike Holmgren has to know that he no longer has the offense
he had on 2005, when he could set the play sheet to Auto-Pilot and run Shaun
25 times per game. If he does that this season, his star running back will be
on IR by Week 6.
6. Ben Obomanu -
The second-year receiver was one of the few bright spots today as he
continued his fine preseason. He made a great play on Seattle's first punt,
tackling returner Will Blackmon for no gain, and picked up two receptions for
24 yards. It would seem that he has at least the fifth receiver spot sewn up.
7. Brandon Mebane
- Based on his limited activity, I'm starting to think that Seattle's
third-round draft pick might be a great complement to Marcus Tubbs as a run-stopping
defensive tackle. He displays the ability to take on double teams, and he's
got the kind of short-area quickness required for tackles in traffic. The star
of Seattle's 2007 trainng camp is definitely one to watch.
8. David Greene
- In a word, Holy Crap. Greene needed a solid performance to validate
his status as the third-string quarterback, and to stop the ever-increasing
doubters' choir that seems to believe that the Seahawks would be better-served
by any other player in his position. After Seneca Wallace was pulled late in
the first half for his own safety, Greene came in and promptly threw the first
of two interceptions to second-year cornerback Jarrett Bush. His third pick,
stolen by Charlie Peprah, was more the fault of receiver Joe Fernandez, who
had a high but catchable ball in traffic. Fernandez simply allowed Peprah to
take the ball away.
That said, Greene will win
no awards for this performance, and the doubters will turn up the volume. There
are factors beyond Greene's own ineffectiveness - the Seahawks lost Matt Hasselbeck
to a knee injury for four games last season, leaving Wallace as the only real
option at the position. Many would like to see what Wallace could do as a receiver/returner,
but that won't happen if the guy at Greene's position can run an offense without
barfing all over himself. Based on the iffy accuracy and forced throws we saw
tonight, Wallace got no closer to being split wide at any time. Tbose who point
to Greene's relative effectiveness at the ned of the first half should go back
and watch the defense he was facing - full-on "retreat". Packers defensive
coordinator had The Napkin in full effect, y'all. There isn't a quarterback
in the NFL who can't look halfway decent against a two-minute prevent when the
defending team is up by four touchdowns.
9. Mike McCarthy
- Not only did Green Bay's coach pick up some heavy Steve Spurrier
Bad Karma Points for calling pass plays repeatedly at the end of this blowout,
but he won the Mike Martz Tinfoil Hat Award for challenging an A.J. Harris
fumble on a running play with four minutes remaining in the game. Holmgren didn't
seem too happy about that at all, and he was on solid ground.
The Verdict - Preseason
games are more about individual matchups and perfoirmances and less about the
score. I don't care one bit that the Seahawks got blown out; what concerns me
is HOW it happened.
Without Jones and Sean Locklear,
the offensive line is a mess. That's not a complete surprise, but I don't ever
want to see Tom Ashworth at left tackle again unless he's doing it for a division
opponent. Offensive line depth shouldn't be this much of an issue - with all
the personnel acumen in Seattle's front office, it's inexcusable. Seven sacks
overall tell a very sad story. The quarterback performances were almost completely
inconclusive because of that horrid protection, though Greene had better pass
pro and stunk up the joint. The special teams haven't been this bad since they
were run by Alleged Coach Mark Michaels before Bob Casullo's Reign of Loudness
(new man Bruce DeHaven has his work cut out for him), and the secondary looks
entirely too pedestrian for all the hype I've been hearing.
The Seahawks will next face
the public at home next Saturday at Qwest Field against the Minnesota Vikings.
Reunions with fan favorites Steve "Poison Pill" Hutchinson and E.J.
"It's not a late hit if it isn't called" Henderson will provide the
drama. The Seahawks need to provide the stability, and they can start by using
this game as a teaching tool for … well, just about everything.