Game Preview: Broncos at Seahawks

After a fine outing in "Cheese Country", the Seahawks (1-0) host the Denver Broncos (0-2) in their second exhibition game of the preseason.

What: Preseason home openerWhen: Saturday, August 21st, 7:00 pm (PST)
Where: Qwest Field, Seattle, Washington


--------------------------------------------------

Broncos Key Players:

QB Jake Plummer: Plummer has looked uninspiring to say the least in his two short stints leading the Bronco offense. So far, with two games played, Plummer is 8 of 19 with 64 yards passing and three interceptions. Last week against the Buffalo Bills he played for a quarter and half and was not able to move the team at all. Plummer is likely to play the entire first half as head coach Mike Shanahan wants him to get into a comfort zone before the regular season.

RB Quentin Griffith: The second-year running back out of Oklahoma has been the only bright spot offensively for the Broncos so far this preseason running for 90 yards on 15 carries (6.0 yard average) and overall has been explosive. Griffith is barely 5'7" and his weight is somewhere around 195 lbs, but he plays bigger than that. He runs well between the tackles but also has enough burst to get outside the tackle and pressure the defense on the edges.

WR Ashley Lelie: Lelie has not caught a pass so far in the preseason but nevertheless he is the most explosive receiver on the Bronco's roster. Entering his third season in the NFL he has played in 32 games, starting 11, catching 72 passes for 1,153 yards and four TDs. Lelie has deep speed but is not the best route-runner. He has strengthened his frame, adding 15 pounds of muscle since being drafted and the Broncos expect Lelie to be their big-play man on the outside.

LB D.J. Williams: Over the last three seasons the Broncos have lost several outstanding linebackers to attrition, retirement, and free agency. When Williams was available with the 17th selection in April's Draft the Broncos were giddy with excitement. All Williams has done since coming in to camp is start at the weakside linebacker spot in the Broncos front seven. Williams leads the team with 12 tackles in the first two games. He plays with abandon, hits like a ton of bricks and makes plays from sideline-to-sideline. Williams could be a Pro Bowler very soon.

CB Champ Bailey: The Broncos have been searching for a shutdown corner who can seal off one side of the field for the opponents' offense and they feel they have found that player in Bailey. Bailey was acquired in what is widely considered the biggest trade in the NFL in some time when the Broncos traded outstanding RB Clinton Portis to the Washington Redskins in order to acquire the services of Bailey. So far Bailey has started both games and has not been tested. Bailey is arguably the premier pass defender in the league and QBs do their best to stay away from the area he is occupying.

--------------------------------------------------

Key Matchups:

Bailey vs. Seahawks WR Darrell Jackson: Jackson played well in the opening game against the Packers and Bailey's superb 1-on-1 skills will be a test for him. Jackson is an excellent route-runner and the Seahawk offense is geared to allow wideouts to exploit zone coverages. Bailey will do his best to deny the Seahawks' most consistent big-play receiver and he will be Jackson's shadow all night.

Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander vs. Broncos Front Seven: The Broncos have an active front seven with big, quick lineman and fast linebackers. DL Trevor Pryce is their best lineman and he plays the run just as well as he rushes the passer. Williams and MLB Al Wilson are sure tacklers who play the run very well. If Alexander can generate some good runs early it will open up opportunities for the Hawks' offense behind the linebackers.

TE Jerramy Stevens vs. SS Kenoy Kennedy: Rumors around camp are that Stephens is having an excellent preseason. He played well in the Hawks' first game and he will look to continue that momentum against the Broncos. Kennedy is a better run-stopper than a pass-defender and he will have his hands full with Stephens who is a mismatch for any safety in the league. Look for the Broncos to bracket Stephens and backup Itula Mili as they try to prevent the Seahawks from passing on them at will.

Griffith and the Broncos Offensive Line vs. Seahawks Front Seven: DT's Cedric Woodard, Marcus Tubbs, and Rashad Moore were very active in their first outing in Green Bay and defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes expects that trend to continue. The Bronco offensive line is known to stretch the blocking rules on the interior line and this will be a good test for the talented yet inexperienced DT rotation. Seahawks LB's Chad Brown, Anthony Simmons, and Solomon Bates will be expected to hit gaps and wrap up the underrated Griffith when he gets to the line.

Broncos WR's vs. Seahawks Secondary: Corners Marcus Trufant and Ken Lucas have been outstanding in training camp and they continued to play well against the Packers wideouts. They are reading routes well, coming up quickly to play the run and overall just wreaking havoc in the passing lanes. Lelie and veteran Rod Smith will test the youngsters as they hope to connect more with Plummer and get the offense untracked.

Players vs. Injuries: Again, besides good execution, this is the most important aspect of the game. The Seahawks came out of the Green Bay game relatively unscathed in the injury department (only two injuries that will have players missing practice) and the hope is that trend will continue.

--------------------------------------------------

News and Notes: The Broncos lead this series 17-33 and they are 6-0 versus the Hawks in preseason contests; On August 8th former QB John Elway became the first ever Bronco to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame; Bailey has been lobbying Shanahan to see some time at wide receiver…and Shanahan is ready to let him; Seahawks kicker Josh Brown is getting better depth on his kickoffs and he attributes that to less work under new special teams coach Mark Michaels and slowing down his approach to the ball; The Hawks have won their last 11 games (including preseason) at Qwest Field dating back to the final regular season game of 2002.

--------------------------------------------------

Injuries:

Denver: LB D.J. Williams Neck (Probable); DT Dorsett Davis Finger (Out); RB Tatum Bell Finger (Questionable); CB Lenny Walls Foot (Out); LB Jashon Stykes Knee (Out); LB Terry Pierce Knee (Doubtful)

Seattle: CB Kris Richard Ankle (Probable); WR Koren Robinson Hip (Probable); C Robbie Tobeck Calf (Questionable); OT Wayne Hunter Wrist (Questionable); DE Grant Wistrom Foot (Out); QB Brock Huard Back (Out); QB Trent Dilfer Back (Out); OG Steve Hutchinson Calf (Probable)

--------------------------------------------------

Prediction: Seattle 27 – Denver 13

.NET Reporter Scott Eklund writes for Seahawks.NET every week. Feel free to contact him at sctthawk@yahoo.com.

SeahawkFootball.com Top Stories