SUMMARY That was fun. Way more fun than I expected a pre-season game to be. The top overall reaction was “solid.” The team played a sound game all the way around. The offense was predictably off-kilter, but was not dreadful, especially considering the offensive line shuffling that’s gone on. The defense and special teams were good, and sometimes great. The overall depth of the team stood out to me. There were talented guys playing into the fourth quarter. It’s felt like a snoozer the past couple of years by that point in the pre-season games.
BIGGEST SURPRISE – Mike Teel I didn’t really know what to expect of this guy, and was really happy with what I saw. When’s the last time the Hawks drafted a QB with a strong arm? We always seem to draft these “winners” who throw horrible wounded ducks and look totally lost in the power and speed of the NFL. Teel looked remarkably poised for his first game. Brock Huard might be the last QB draft pick to come in and impress like this so early. I can’t stress how important it is that we eventually have a QB controversy in Seattle. If it doesn’t happen in the next two years, we’re looking at a few more 4-12 seasons until we find Matt’s replacement. Kudos to the org on finding someone interesting that late in the draft at a key position.
BIGGEST IMPACT – Nick Reed Wow. I mean….wow. Love the guy, and he did it against LJ Shelton, a starter in this league who is a *big* man. My question here is, “is he really better than Jason Babin?” Babin was everywhere last year in pre-season (a sack, or more, in nearly every pre-season game and many plays against the run) and was undersized like Reed. Is Reed really a different player? I realize it’s fun to feel that way, but what matters is whether he actually is. It certainly would be fun to see David beat Goliath every week.
BIGGEST RELIEF – Offensive Line The defense was getting to the QB every snap of the training camp practice I saw. It was not good. Knowing how we tend to play against the Chargers, even in pre-season, made this a cause for concern. They were solid against the pass and mediocre against the run. I’ll take that this week. Our QBs were almost untouched, and left the game with zero sacks.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT – Aaron Curry I realize this isn’t a popular move, but I’m not too concerned with popular opinion. Curry, even knowing he just got back to camp, was not impressive. His pass rush was predictable and weak. His coverage was below average-to-bad. Most concerning was his general lack of speed. People talk about his size/speed combo, but so far I’ve just seen size. These may be harsh criticisms of a rookie just reporting, but this is the #4 pick in the draft at a position we already had strength. He needs to be special to justify that selection. Watching a new crop of shutdown left tackles get drafted around him with ours nearing his retirement, adds even more pressure.