Thursday, September 03, 2009
Qwest Field, Seattle, Washington
Play Of The Day: Deon Butler's 22-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown that gave the Seahawks an early 7-0 lead. This is an example of the type of tantalizing speed Butler brings to the offense, which makes it hard for offensive coordinator Greg Knapp to keep Butler on the sidelines when the ‘Hawks go with a three-wide set. Teel's covered all of 2 yards, with Butler's speed and vision in the open field doing the rest.
Handouts to the Standouts: It may have come against the backups of one of the NFL's least-talented teams, but Aaron Curry demonstrated tonight why draftniks were projecting him as the being worthy of the #1 overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft. Statistically, he recorded 1 ½ quarterback sacks, forced a fumble, and had four tackles. Not bad for one half of work, but statistics only tell part of the story. He was the only starter to play and was clearly the most physically dominant player on the field at all times. He used his strength & power to knock fullbacks and offensive linemen backwards in the hole and his speed while coming off the edge to put pressure on the quarterback. The possibilities are endless when he's out there with the likes of Leroy Hill, Patrick Kerney, Brandon Mebane, etc…
During the weekly "Roster Analysis" articles, I didn't have Ben Obomanu making the team. If the ‘Hawks keep five receivers, I still don't think he's the guy, as Courtney Taylor and even Jordan Kent have more value on special teams. Obomanu helped his cause tonight, catching a pair of passes for 58 yards and a touchdown and playing well on special teams, including returning three punts for 15 yards. Even if he doesn't stick in Seattle, Obomanu belongs on an NFL roster and he proved that tonight.
Butler had a short, but productive evening, catching two passes for 45 yards and a touchdown. He also returned two punts for 12 yards and didn't to make any of the rookie mistakes that tempered the positive things he's shown the previous three weeks.
Sixth-round quarterback Mike Teel completed 11-of-19 passes for 148 yards and a pair of touchdowns, which was far-and-away his best performance of the preseason. The Seahawks have found themselves a quarterback worth developing for the next few years.
Seventh-round defensive end Nick Reed finished his superb preseason with 7 tackles, a quarterback sack and forced fumble, and recovering the fumble Curry caused. Reed not making the 53-man roster would be a major upset. Along the same lines, undrafted rookie defensive end Derek Walker was a force, getting a sack and a forced fumble, and knocking down a pass at the line of the scrimmage.
Undrafted rookie running back Devin Moore carried the ball 22 times for 75 yards and had a nice 28-yard kick return. He also made a nice tackle on the punt cover team. Moore won't make the 53-man roster, but he has earned a spot on the practice squad.
Things That Made Me Go "Blech": Injuries to players on the roster bubble. Jordan Kent sustained a lower leg injury and Courtney Taylor had an eye issue. Courtney Greene mysteriously exited the game and sideline in the second half, and Derek Walker came up limping midway through the fourth quarter.
Maybe it was just because it was Raiders Week, but the Seahawks were penalized 12 times for 144 yards, after being penalized just 15 times for 109 yards in the other three preseason games combined. Included in that total was a pair of personal foul penalties, one each by defensive end Baraka Atkins and defensive tackle Michael Bennett.
Offense: Matt Hasselbeck and the first-team offense—minus T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Julius Jones—made brief appearances tonight. Edgerrin James did get first action as a Seahawk, gaining 11 yards on the first two plays of the game. Likely third-string quarterbacks Teel and Jeff Rowe took the majority of the snaps, with Teel throwing a pair of touchdowns. Diminutive running backs Justin Forsett and Devin Moore combined for 34 carries for 117 yards and a touchdown, with Forsett adding a team-high three receptions. Logan Payne, another player battling for a roster spot, had a pair of receptions for a team-high 63 yards. Payne's highlight of the preseason was his sliding catch of a Rowe pass at the Raiders' 10-yard line, and having the presence of mind to realize he hadn't been touched before getting up and sprinting into the end zone.
Defense: Unlike the offense, only one starter (Curry) even saw the field. There was no gameplan for the defense, so what was shown were mainly vanilla schemes, with a sprinkling of what Aaron Curry will bring to the defense. The negative was the Raiders averaging 6.0 yards per carry, with a lot of that coming on Louis Rankin's 45-yard touchdown run and in the second-half against the Seahawks second-unit, which played nearly the entire game.
Special Teams: Olindo Mare put an exclamation point on the preseason kicking battle, pumping four kickoffs into the end zone, two of which going for touchbacks. Jon Ryan continued his solid preseason, averaging 39.9 yards per punt, putting 3 inside the 20. Just three of his kicks were returnable. One area the team needs to improve, which should happen once the core special teams players are determined by the final roster cutdown on Saturday.
Random Note: This was the first undefeated preseason in Seattle Seahawks history.
Summary: Whenever I hear someone say that the fourth preseason game is "meaningless", I wonder what a player like Logan Payne thinks of that.
Less than a year ago, his football future was in jeopardy due to a torn ACL. With limited reps during the first three preseason games, he boarded the team bus on Thursday knowing it would take a remarkable performance, as well as injuries to a few of his friends, for him to crack the Seahawks' 53-man roster.
Judging by the height of the ball he spiked after scoring that touchdown, you can't tell me this game was "meaningless" to him. Ben Obomanu and Devin Moore, who each retrieved the balls from their touchdowns, weren't treating this game like it had no meaning. Or worse, ask Jordan Kent and Andre Ramsey about how "meaningless" their rides on the medical cart were.
Should NFL teams be charging full-price for these games? Of course not, but don't tell me these games are meaningless, because that couldn't be further from the truth.
The Week Ahead: The Seahawks will have to trim their roster to 53 by 3pm PT on Saturday. The 2009 regular season, as well as the Jim Mora Era, officially gets underway when Steve Spagnuolo and the St. Louis Rams visit Qwest Field on Sunday, September 13.
In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog and writes for FalconInsider.com on the Scout network. If you'd like to e-mail Brian, you may do so by clicking here.