So, anything interesting happening with the Hawks lately? What's that you say, Tarvaris Jackson's gone, Matt Flynn's not starting, and there was a T.O. sighting in Renton??!! That really got out of hand fast. Brick may have even killed a guy with a trident. I think I've seen more coverage of the Hawks on the 4-letter network the past week than they've had the last 2 years combined. We go into the Raider game on Thursday night with more buzz surrounding this team than there's been in quite some time. Let's take a look at the pros, cons, and Pete Carroll's hormonal fluctuations the last few weeks.
1. This defense is looking pretty darn good. Yes, I realize that's an Adam Schefter level statement of obviousness, but that's why it's #1. The turnovers they've been able to produce as well as their ability to stop the run make me feel better about some of the shortcomings that the offense may have. Is there any better way to start a preseason than Browner picking off Hasselbeck and returning it for a TAINT on the first play?
3. Special Teams. At times last year, the Hawks coverage on kicks left more than a little bit to be desired. Not so thus far in the preseason. I don't think Kansas City brought a kickoff back past the 20 on Friday night. Golden Tate pulled that maple bar out of his butt and was able to actually make a play and take a punt back for a TD on Friday night. It would be a pretty pleasant surprise if that were to be a regular occurrence at Seahawks Stadium this year.
1. The wide receiving corps. At this point, I'm thinking Sidney Rice is the only stone cold lock to make this team. With Pom Pom Pete and his Pint-Sized Pal at the helm, there's not one WR that would surprise me if they didn't make the trip down to the desert to start the season. Not one guy has stepped up and pronounced that they were ready to take the #2 receiver spot. Sure, Doug Baldwin probably makes the team. Yeah, I guess Obomanu is probably going to make it too. But are you willing to bet the eyeballs of your first born on it? Didn't think so.
2. Red zone offense. Particularly against the 1st team defenses, there's been a real problem punching the ball in when the Hawks get close. Is that a function of QB's not being on the same page as receivers? Maybe. Is it a function of the O-line not protecting very well? Yeah, potentially. But whatever the answer, that is a concern as you can't expect or ask your defense to continue to hold teams to 7 points or less. Just like with Felix, you need a little run support from your offense to make your defense that much better.
3. Running game. Ok, it's preseason. Ok, it's a team that still is trying to gel with the number of new faces. But apart from a couple late runs in KC on Friday, I am not being sold on Robert Turbin as a capable backup to Marshawn. Way too many 1-yard runs. This team, especially early on while the passing game matures, is going to have to run the ball efficiently. That issue may get worse if Marshawn gets suspended as a result of his inability to drive a white van appropriately.
I'll freely admit, I'm probably overly optimistic based on what I've been seeing so far. Why not be irrationally exhuberant? Why not see the glass as half full through rose-colored glasses? Yes, I realize that means you're setting expectations and we know how dangerous it is to do that with any Seattle team. You set yourself up for massive letdowns. Sure, we all know preseason records don't matter. Yes, I know that Detroit went 4-0 in the preseason and promptly went 0-16 in the regular season a couple years back. But let me ask you this, oh Negative Nancy, would you rather have been a Seahawks fan or a Chiefs fan at about 9:00 Friday night? Of course since there were about 15 people at Arrowhead I realize I may not get many people to cop to being Chiefs fans. Through the joy of I Heart Radio, I checked in on Kansas City sports talk this morning. Full panic doesn't come close to describing the aura surrounding that team right now.
The Elephant In The Room:
Not since the days of Hasselbeck and Dilfer have we had the kind of QB controversy we now find out at the VMAC. Show of hands for those who thought Russell Wilson would be our starting QB on May 1. Ok, put your hands down because you're a dirty fabricator. This decision may very well be the one that gets Pete Carroll a multi-year extension or finds him with a pink slip at the end of the year. If you're going to start a rookie QB, you better be darn sure. The last thing I want to hear is 40,000 people chanting for Flynn as they file out of a 35-3 loss.
Ultimately, let's be honest about one thing. Not one person on God's Green Earth knows what Pete Carroll is thinking. One minute, I think his brain is a Benny Hill episode with the music going and people chasing each other across the hallways. The next minute, his brain is like Homer Simpson's in the movie where they just show a monkey banging cymbals together. So, if we can agree on one thing as we head into this season, let's not try and get into the mind of Carroll. You'll be trying to inject logic into an illogical situation. Let's just enjoy what we're seeing and get excited for September 9th.
Coming up later this week: Part 1 of the irreverant season preview.