Fans across the country, and even fans in Edward Jones Dome, may not notice. The casual Seahawks fan is unlikely to notice. People, though, that are in touch with Seahawks past and future will certainly notice. Russell Okung is set to take his first snaps of an NFL regular season game on Sunday.
This is a player who showed enough in a single pre-season game to have fans and media salivating over his potential. Teams rarely find Pro Bowl-level left tackles. Finding two of them back-to-back would be pretty darn impressive. But before we get too far ahead ourselves, the guy has to play in a game.
Some might say that his first game, played on the road, should not be used as a strong indicator of his future. Almost any rookie who missed the first week of training camp (holdout), played one pre-season game, then sat out almost 6 weeks with an injury would not distinguish himself in this game. That's the fun part.
What happens if Okung overcomes all of those challenges and plays a solid or good game? There is another past Seahawks left tackle that showed time and again he could miss an entire training camp without a noticeable drop-off in his play. Okung is not Walter Jones, but playing well on Sunday would go a long way toward proving Okung is a special talent in his own right.
It is easier to picture false starts, slow feet and blown assignments. Just making it through the game healthy is job one. A spot in the starting lineup would be a statement by itself. One thing is certain: I have not been this eager to watch an offensive lineman play since Walter graced us with his presence in 1997.
Good luck on Sunday, Mr. Okung.