Expect mistakes from this young Seahawks team. Two weeks into the first season under coach Pete Carroll, this still is the getting-to-know-you phase of 2010.
A team can’t turn over half its roster in one year and not expect to commit turnovers early in the season. A team that won a total of nine games over the past two seasons can’t build without bobbles.
Heck, the way the Seahawks have been adding to and culling from their roster this summer, there could be a half-dozen more waiver acquisitions this week.
This still is a franchise in transition.
There are going to be growing pains this season in Seattle. The Seahawks are young and new to each other and still learning a different system.
This is a construction site, equal parts hope and mess. These Seahawks are all blueprints and bruises.
Expect mistakes, like those that sabotaged Sunday’s 31-14 loss to Denver. They’re inevitable.
But against the Broncos, the wrong people made most of the worst mistakes.
Sure, it was a rookie, Walter Thurmond, who fumbled a punt at the Seahawks’ 13, leading to the Broncos’ first touchdown. It was a rookie mistake. A huge blunder in what could have been a winnable game.
But he shouldn’t have been back there in the first place. The mistake was Carroll’s as much as it was Thurmond’s.
“We wanted to take a look at him,” Carroll said.
August is the time to take peeks at players. The auditions for punt returner should have taken place during the exhibition season. You don’t ask a rookie to field his first punt in the second week of the regular season, deep in his own territory.
“We made it really hard on ourselves,” Carroll said after the Hawks had committed four turnovers. “You give the game away because you give up the ball four times.”
Carroll can turn the mistakes of his young players into teachable moments. But the majority of the errors in this game were made by players who should know better.
There was the false start in the first quarter by seven-year veteran Stacy Andrews on first-and-goal at the 1.
When asked about the penalty after the game, Andrews said … well, he didn’t say anything, because the offensive linemen aren’t talking.
One play later, there was the holding penalty on Sean Locklear, another seven-year vet, that cost the Hawks a touchdown and an early 7-0 lead.
By way of explanation, Locklear said … nothing.
“We can’t let that happen,” Carroll said of the penalties. “It was a huge issue for us. It makes you stutter so much that you can’t get going. It’s just really too bad.”
These Hawks should win more game than their 2008 and ’09 predecessors. They’re more athletic. They’re deeper. And the division is so awful, they have a legitimate chance to win the NFC West, even if it’s by default.
But the veterans can’t make the kind of mistakes that were made against Denver.
The veterans have to play smarter.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, a 12-year vet usually as reliable as the tide charts, threw a pair of head-scratching interceptions in the first half that doomed his day.
Hasselbeck took responsibility for his mistakes. He held himself accountable. He talked after the game.
“If you lose the turnover ratio like we did today, you’re going to make it very, very hard to win a game. I don’t care who you are,” said Hasselbeck, who was 20 for 35 for 233 yards, but threw three interceptions. “That’s what we did today. I turned the ball over and didn’t give us a great chance to win the game.”
On a second-and-goal from the Denver 16, after Locklear’s penalty, Hasselbeck underthrew a pass to Deion Branch. He should have thrown the ball away. The Hawks needed to get three points out of the first drive.
Champ Bailey, as good a corner as the league has seen, made the pick at the Denver 4.
“I probably should have conceded the field goal there,” Hasselbeck said.
In the second quarter, tight end John Carlson broke open, but Hasselbeck didn’t step into the throw and had it picked at the Broncos’ 9 by Brian Dawkins.
“I was probably a little late with the throw,” Hasselbeck said. “I think I can make a better throw and get him the ball. I didn’t think he (Dawkins) could get there, but he got there.”
As surprisingly opportunistic as they were in the Week 1 win over San Francisco, the Seahawks were equally self-destructive in Week 2.
“I know we’re better than this, Hasselbeck said. “It’s fixable.”