Three things we learned
1. Things might get worse for Seattle’s offense before they get better.
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 with 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 nothing else to do now but work, wait and maybe see if a veteran like Paul McQuistan can be a temporary stopgap. There are signs Seattle will run the ball better this season, but that’s not saying much since the Seahawks averaged 89 yards rushing last season, fourth lowest in franchise history. And there’s now three weeks worth of evidence that pass protection is going to be a major problem. There’s no way to fake either continuity or experience on the offensive line, and Seattle doesn’t have much of either.
2. 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 was so thoroughly off balance at one point that Miller was able to shove him with two hands in the chest and knock the 325-pounder back. What we don’t know is how much the Seahawks planned to leave Carpenter alone against Miller and Elvis Dumervil to give the right tackle an idea of the kind of quickness he would go up against. 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 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. How did he feel by the time he reached the end zone? “Exhausted,” he said. “I was exhausted. But I tried not to get in the oxygen tank. That was my mindset when I came back to the sideline.” Mission accomplished. He needed no oxygen after a kick return that took everyone else’s breath away, too.
Three things we already knew
1. Quarterback is not the biggest question on Seattle’s offense.
Seattle’s fourth-quarter touchdown drive showed one thing quite clearly: Starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson can cut up a second-string defense just as efficiently as Charlie Whitehurst 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, and while that’s tied for eighth-most of all NFL teams in August, it doesn’t give a true indication of the pass pressure that has been constant and unrelenting.