OFF THE CUFF
Quarterbacks do not impress
Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson all struggled to make consistently good choices followed up by physically sound throws. Jackson appeared to have the most command of what was going on, which is expected, but still held onto the ball for achingly long periods of time, and made some bad throws into coverage, including a pick-six for Richard Sherman. Flynn showed more arm strength that I expected to see, especially on intermediate routes up the seam, but his accuracy was off on a number of throws. I’m eager to see him throw to the starters tomorrow. Wilson has a great arm, but the idea that his height is not an issue needs to go out the window. He consistently had to wait for the pass rush to wash by him before he threw the ball, indicating some trouble seeing down field. He was also a little quick to tuck and run. He flashed some talent on timing patterns like out routes. The defense was playing well, but the results would have been different if Matt Hasselbeck was out there throwing. That’s not crying over spilled milk. It is just meant to indicate that the level of quarterback play is still lower than it was when Hasselbeck was on the roster.
Pass rush is much improved
Bruce Irvin, Dexter Davis, Jason Jones, Jaye Howard and Cordarro Law all demonstrated consistent pressure on the passer. A large number of offensive plays would have never happened in a real game where defenses are allowed to hit the quarterback. Irvin was not unblockable, but was in the lineman’s heads, leading to at least one false start for Alex Barron. Some of this could be attributed to poor offensive line play, but I saw a line last year that was far worse protect the quarterback far better in practice. Pass rush could conceivably go from a weakness to a strength this season.
Expectations are high
The size of the crowd. The light heckling of Jackson and Wilson. The mass of fans staying late for the chance to get a single autograph. All of these things point to a team that is operating with expectations. It felt different today.
STAND-OUT NEW FACES
Rookie DE Cordarro Law
Law is an undrafted free agent out of Southern Miss. He is not big at only 6’1″ and 254 lbs, but he is lightning-quick off the edge. He was in the backfield on three consecutive plays at one point. He should push Dexter Davis for a roster spot and playing time. He is an early practice squad candidate as well.
DT Jason Jones
This guy literally stands out. You don’t see many 6’5″ defensive tackles, but that’s exactly what Jones is. Do yourself a favor and watch him the next practice you attend for at least a few snaps. He slices into the backfield with regularity.
Rookie DE Bruce Irvin
Irvin did a lot of linebacker drills, and was on an odd substitution pattern that had him playing with the first, second and third stringers. It almost seemed like they were protecting the 2nd string offensive tackles, and pitting Irvin against veteran Alex Barron–who was playing with the 3rd string–on purpose. Can’t wait to see this guy play in a game.
THINGS I NOW KNOW
- Bobby Wagner is #1 on the middle linebacker depth chart. He ran with the starters all day.
- Doug Baldwin is getting some reps on the outside.
- Byron Maxwell looks to be in trouble. He was running with the last group in drills, and did not get on the field for team drills from what I saw. There may be an injury issue, but he appeared fine and was not wearing a red jersey.
- Ben Obomanu, Goldent Tate, Doug Baldwin, and Deon Butler all got some reps with the starters on the outside. Rotations will change once Rice is back full-time, but it looks to be between Tate and Obomanu at this point.
- Deuce Lutui likes to dance
There is no way you can watch Russell Wilson drop back and not have serious questions about his ability to consistently play in this league. Things are happening so fast, and the windows are so tight. I realize he has succeeded despite his height in other places, but I’ll need to see it before I believe it at the NFL level.
Ricardo Lockette had the best practice of anyone on offense.He caught everything thrown his way, and demonstrated great concentration on a couple of deep balls. The players above him on the depth chart could be feeling some pressure if he piles up a few more practices like that.
The secondary is just filthy. Telling you more about Kam Chancellor, Sherman, Brandon Browner and Earl Thomas does not make a bunch of sense. These guys are great, and they know it. Roy Lewis and Marcus Trufant joined them a few times and played well.
Phil Bates made a few nice plays, and Golden Tate made the most of the few opportunities that got sent his way.
Robert Turbin did not stand out, but judging the run game is nearly impossible at these events. Marshawn Lynch looked to be in great shape, and was running hard.
Zach Miller dropped a couple of passes. Kellen Winslow Jr. was okay, but not great. Cameron Morrah looks to be Winslow Jr.’s backup and Anthony McCoy looks to be Miller’s backup.
These are thoughts after a single practice. It will be easier to make more confident assessments after seeing them a few more times.