RENTON, Wash. – The third exhibition game is the NFL equivalent of a dress rehearsal. And to see the Seahawks’ performance in Denver on Saturday, they’ve got a lot of work before they’re ready for prime time.
Here’s a look at what is becoming apparent about Seattle, and the questions that still have to be answered:
Three things we learned
1. Quarterback is not the biggest question on Seattle’s offense. Seattle’s fourth-quarter touchdown drive showed starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson can cut up a second-string defense just as efficiently as Charlie Whitehurst did the first two exhibition games. The question is whether this offensive line can give anyone enough time in the pocket to have a reasonable chance of success this season. Seattle has allowed eight sacks in three games.
2. Rookie tackle James Carpenter is not ready to be on an island. That was demonstrated quite clearly by Denver’s Von Miller, who showed why he was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. Miller went around Carpenter. Repeatedly. Miller got Seattle’s rookie so thoroughly off balance at one point that Miller was able to shove him with two hands in the chest and knock the 325-pound tackle backward. A regular-season game plan might have included a good dose of help from the tight end, but Saturday showed Carpenter has a long way to go in terms of pass protection.
3. It would be very hard to leave receiver Doug Baldwin off this team. The undrafted rookie from Stanford leads the team with eight receptions in three exhibition games, and then all he did on Seattle’s first – and only – kickoff return Saturday was return it 105 yards for a touchdown.
Three things we’re trying to figure out
1. How will Seattle’s pass protection be functional by Week 1? The Seahawks made their decision to start from scratch on the offensive line. New position coach, two rookies on the right side, new left guard and new position for Max Unger. That’s over and done with. The question is how many lumps they’ll have to take before that results in an improved line. There’s no way to fake either continuity or experience on the offensive line, and Seattle doesn’t have much of either.
2.What is Golden Tate’s role going to be? This is the second time Tate entered a training camp with expectations and hopes for a big season and failed to produce much of anything in the exhibition games.
3.Where does Kelly Jennings fit in the secondary? He did not play on Saturday because of a hamstring injury. Brandon Browner started in his place, and played well. Seattle not only re-signed Jennings to a one-year deal, but paid him a six-figure signing bonus. It’s getting harder to see exactly where he fits in the Seahawks’ secondary.