Monday Metatarsal Musings

Or footnote: A look at three things that went well in Saturday’s loss to the Vikings, and three things that need work as the Seahawks prepare for this week’s game against the Broncos in Denver.

What worked

The young defensive backs.“The kids,” as coach Pete Carroll calls them, came to play. Again. The group that includes cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell and safeties Josh Pinkard, Mark LeGree and Jeron Johnson kicked you-know-what and took names when they took over from the starters.

The biggest play – and best – was Pinkard poking the ball from the grasp of Vikings wide receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux at the 2-yard line to turn what would have been a touchdown into a touchback. But Johnson, who broke up a fourth-down pass in the end zone to ice the win over the Chargers in the opener, had three solo tackles; while Sherman had three total tackles.

Brandon Browner also can be included in the group. He’s 27, but also looking to get back into the NFL after playing the past four seasons in the CFL.

“Those guys continue to compete,” Carroll said, specifically mentioning Sherman, Browner and Maxwell. “They’re really in the mix. They’re more than just young guys getting a shot, these guys can play football and we’re really excited about what they’re adding.”

Charlie Whitehurst. What a difference a year can make. The team’s incumbent backup QB is playing with more confidence, which is allowing him – and the No. 2 offense – to play faster. Whitehurst completed 14 of 19 passes for 97 yards and the team’s only touchdown against the Vikings, after a 14-of-20, 115-yard outing in the opener.

He’s also completing 71.8 percent of his passes, which ranks eighth in the league after two weeks of the preseason.

“I feel more comfortable now, and it’s just a process moving forward,” Whitehurst said.

Red Bryant. The team’s five-technique defensive end didn’t play in the opener. He did on Saturday night, and the difference was more than noticeable. Bryant was not credited with a tackle, but his disruptive presence made things easier for those around him.

Just ask David Hawthorne, the middle linebacker who shared team-high honors with four tackles.

“Red was being Red out there,” Hawthorne said. “He was throwing people around. It’s good to have him back with us.”

The Vikings ran for 28 yards in the first half, with Adrian Peterson averaging 2.7 yards on six carries. After Bryant called it an evening, the Vikings ran for 114 yards in the second half.

What needs work

The pass protection. If not for his scrambling ability, Jackson would have been sacked several times. It is easy to blame the ineffectiveness of the No. 1 offense on Jackson – too easy. It’s also incorrect. The Vikings got 10 hits on the Seahawks’ QBs, including four by end Adrian Awasom. It would have been more without Jackson’s mobility and escape-ability.

“He was fighting for his life a little bit,” Carroll said. “They made it hard on him. I did see some very good things tonight – he showed again that he can get out of trouble and save plays.

“I’m not in any way disappointed in what he did. We need to protect him better.”

via Monday Metatarsal Musings.