With the Super Bowl champion Seahawks set to open their preseason against the team they beat in the Super Bowl, coordinators Dan Quinn and Darrell Bevell share what they want to see in Thursday night’s game.
As Russell Wilson completed a short pass to Doug Baldwin, rookie middle linebacker Brock Coyle was in position to make the tackle – but didn’t, because the Seahawks don’t tackle during their training camp practices.
As Wilson was preparing to throw another pass to Baldwin, defensive end Cliff Avril got around rookie right tackle Justin Britt and reached in with both hands to indicate he was going to sack the quarterback – another thing the defense is not allowed to do in practice.
So it’s not surprising what’s atop Dan Quinn’s want-to-see/need-to-see list in Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Broncos in Denver.
“The No. 1 thing that I’d like to see is where we’re at tackling,” the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator said. “For the whole spring and training camp, you’ve really had to use your imagination on, ‘OK, what kind of tackle is going to happen here?’
“So this is our first chance to really go and get the tackling in.”
And it comes in a rematch with the team the Seahawks took down 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2. Nothing that happens on Thursday night can alter the significance that victory had on franchise that had waited 37 seasons to win its first Super Bowl; or soften the impact of the loss for a Broncos’ offense that was the highest scoring in NFL history last season.
But it is the next needed step for two teams that are again among the favorites to represent their conferences in the championship game next February.
With that in mind, we asked Quinn and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell what they needed to see, what they wanted to see and a player or two they’re eager to see on Thursday night:
Wants to see: “I want to see us move the football and score points,” he said.
Too simplistic? Hardly, because that’s what offensive football is all about, especially for an offense that has the benefit of the Seahawks’ stingy defense.
Needs to see: “I need to see us be efficient,” Bevell said. “Obviously for the first game, I want to make sure that procedurally we handle everything the way we need to – making sure we’re staying on side, substitutions. Those kinds of things, because those are some of the things you worry about.”
Eager to see: Paul Richardson and Britt. The Seahawks selected both in the second round of May’s NFL Draft. Richardson, who played at the University of Colorado, brings the kind of speed that was missing from the wide receiver group last season. Britt has the mental makeup and no-nonsense approach that line coach Tom Cable looks for in his blockers.
“I’m excited to see how our draft picks do,” Bevell said. “I want to see how Britt does. We’ll be up early. And obviously Paul will get a chance to play for the first time.”
Bevell, as well as everyone else, also will get looks at running backs Robert Turbin and Christine Michael, because leading rusher Marshawn Lynch just reported to camp last Thursday and likely won’t play against the Broncos.
Wants to see: “The tackling,” he said. “As you know, for us, that’s one of our goals. We want to be the best fundamental team in ball, and that’s a lofty challenge. So it starts with tackling.”
That quest will start without some cornerstone starters. Middle linebacker and two-time leading tackler Bobby Wagner is out with a sore hamstring, so Coyle steps in. All-Pro strong safety Kam Chancellor just returned to practice this week, and on a limited basis after having offseason hip surgery, so Jeron Johnson will start against the Broncos. Mike Morgan will be the strong-side linebacker because Bruce Irvin and Malcolm Smith are sidelined following offseason surgery.
“I cannot wait to see some guys who have not played with us yet out there,” Quinn said.
Needs to see: “I’d like to see us play fast and physical, without the hesitation,” he said. “I think that’s really when we’re at our best.”
Which the Seahawks were more often than not last season, when they led the NFL in average points and yards allowed, as well as interceptions and turnovers.
“And I’m anxious to see, can we attack the ball?” Quinn said. “Because you know how important that is to us.”
Eager to see: Tharold Simon. A fifth-round draft choice last year, the 6-foot-2 Simon has the size and length the Seahawks like in their cornerbacks. But he spent his rookie season on injured reserve, so this will be the first chance to see if Simon can play as well in a game as he has been in practice.
“I can’t wait to see Tharold Simon play,” Quinn said. “I can’t wait to see him. It’s time for him to show the benefits of the work he put in during the offseason.”
Seahawks looking for coordinated efforts against Broncos.
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