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BREAKDOWN: Packers at Seahawks

Matt Hasselbeck of the Seattle Seahawks

Image via Wikipedia

Midway into the exhibition season and already there’s concern about Seattle’s revamped defense.

The Seahawks surrendered three touchdowns on four possessions at the start of games against Tennessee quarterback Vince Young and Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

The starters have just one sack, which is a painful reminder of last season when Seattle accumulated just two sacks in the final five games.

The retooled defensive line has failed to generate a consistent pass rush and too often last week the ends failed to contain Green Bay quarterbacks who escaped outside the pocket.

The linebackers, one of the best groups in the conference just two years ago, appear in disarray. Second-year pro Aaron Curry has just one tackle and is slow adjusting to new pass-rushing responsibilities, David Hawthorne is out with a hip injury and three-time Pro Bowler Lofa Tatupu, who missed 11 games last season due to injuries, hasn’t played because of a sore hamstring.

Marcus Trufant, who is playing like he did in 2007 when he was selected to the Pro Bowl, has been a pleasant surprise. Still, Kelly Jennings has yet to secure the other cornerback spot and rookie free safety Earl Thomas is prone to gaffes, such as the one that resulted in a 56-yard reception last week.

Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley acknowledged mistakes the first two exhibition games, but he sees improvement in a defense ranked 24th last season in yards allowed.

“Last week we had some busts,” he said. “Some coverage busts. Some alignment busts. We’re really stressing this week our communication on the field. That’s more important and once we get those things down, hopefully we’ll be more solid.

“It’s preseason and our focus is on us right now, like making sure our coverage principles and our pressure principles are all in place. It’s really a race for the next couple of weeks before that first (regular-season) game to improve in those areas.”

Next up: Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings.

“You know he’s back there,” rookie defensive end E.J. Wilson said. “You know he’s in the game and everything that he’s done in the game, but it doesn’t matter when the game starts. He’s a quarterback just like any other quarterback and it’s our job to get to him.”

Veteran strong safety Lawyer Milloy said facing the 40-year-old Favre, who holds every significant NFL passing record, is the perfect situation for the Seahawks.

“Obviously there’s things we have to correct,” Milloy said. “For me it’s stopping teams on the first drive. That’s just all attitude. It’s getting to some of these young guys, getting to some of these new players and making sure they know the defense needs to set the tone and be focused when we get out there.

“Because when we settle down, you see what we can do. But in this league, you’re not afforded the time to settle down. Minnesota is a perfect situation for us because with their quarterback and their running back (Adrian Peterson), that’s a good test for us.”

Notes

• Despite the absence of two starters on the left side of the offensive line, coach Pete Carroll said QB Matt Hasselbeck will play into the third quarter against a Minnesota defense that led the NFL in sacks last season. OT Mansfield Wrotto and G Mike Gibson are replacing rookie Russell Okung (high ankle sprain) and Ben Hamilton (sore knee).

• LB Will Herring will start in place of David Hawthorne (hip), who will not play.

• TE Cameron Morrah (flu) returned to practice after missing two days.

• On the final play of practice, DT Quinn Pitcock drew several oohs and ahhs from teammates when he dropped into coverage, deflected a Hasselbeck pass before making a diving interception.

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