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NFL Pre Season Week One In the Books

It’s here (and it’s about time)! The pro football season officially got moving over the weekend with a full slate of preseason action. Even though the games don’t count in the standings, there is plenty happening on the field and on the sidelines that have relevance for the regular season – and for next week.

For instance, the Seahawks failed to cover against Tennessee, but they did get a win for new Coach Pete Carroll while rolling up 322 yards. Carroll had hinted all week that he wanted to win in preseason and QB Charlie Whitehurst threw for 214 yards. Carroll bolted from the edge of the field to the bench in the second quarter to congratulate the defense following a three-and-out stop in the second quarter. He had a hug for Whitehurst for his first TD throw. Who says preseason is meaningless? Not the emotional Carroll.

Of note is that Seattle’s pass defense was shaky, a problem last season, and pass pressure is still the biggest question mark on Seattle’s defense. With Saturday’s victory, Seattle now has won its past six exhibition games. Seattle was undefeated in exhibition games last season, which didn’t do much to prevent the Seahawks’ 5-11 belly flop in the regular season.

The Patriots got a win over the Saints after building up a 24-7 lead. The offense has new looks – not just with personnel, but with a slight change of strategy. Last season the Patriots relied heavily on wide receivers Randy Moss and Wes Welker to carry the offense. QB Tom Brady went to the shotgun a lot, too. Sports Betting at the Sportsbook

What they showed in the preseason opener is that there appears to be a slight change in philosophy. Brady was far more under center than usual and they used 2 and even 3 tight ends at times. Part of that was that they drafted two potentially talented tight ends in Rob Grankowski and Aaron Hernandez, while adding veteran TE Alge Crumpler.

The Patriots were a weak red zone team last season and it’s clear they want to spread the football around more, possibly run more and use the tight ends in an attempt to bolster their red zone efficiency. In the preseason opener, they were 6 of 13 on third down and very strong in the red zone.

What team looked the worst? Let’s call it a tie with the Lions, Rams and Bills, three bottom feeders from last season. The Lions lost 23-7 at Pittsburgh, though there was room for optimism. Detroit outgained the Steelers and held Pittsburgh to 3.3 yards per rush. With the starting defensive line on the field, the Steelers offense gained 12 yards.

The Rams got flattened at home by the Vikings and the big story was not Sam Bradford but the St. Louis offensive line, which looks as bad as ever. Bradford’s NFL debut consisted of six completions in 13 attempts for 57 yards and a passer rating of 58.8. But the real story came in all the hits Bradford absorbed by the Minnesota pass rush. Bradford was sacked four times and hit at least three other times. “We had some issues up front,” Steve Spagnuolo said. So, what else is new?

The Buffalo Bills’ backfield took a major hit as running backs Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch were hurt early in the 42-17 preseason-opening loss to the Washington Redskins. Jackson is believed to have a broken left hand, while Lynch hobbled off with an injured ankle. Jackson’s injury is the most serious as head coach Chan Gailey said Jackson will miss the rest of the preseason. Gailey has been demanding a tough, physical game, and it’s taking a toll as they are loaded with injured players.

The final word of the weekend goes to the Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff, who punished receivers by sending them to the toilet. Kansas City coaches hauled a mobile outhouse onto the practice field and told pass catchers to go in, have a seat and close the door. The port-a-potty was used for a unique kind of pass-catching drill that players, suppressing a laugh, hailed as effective in developing some quick hand-eye coordination.

The Chiefs, you see, led the NFL in dropped passes a year ago. Assistant head coach Maurice Carthon, who introduced the Chiefs to the port-a-potty drill, stood about 10 feet away and shouted to another coach when to fling open the door. The second the door opened, Carthon fired the pass and it was on the player to hang on.”It teaches you hand-eye coordination,” rookie wide receiver Dexter McCluster said. So if they bounce the football to them would it be a one-hopper in the hopper? Just asking.


Seahawks beat Titans, 20-18

There was a perfectly executed opening drive, a solid start for quarterback Vince Young, and some gritty play from the defense that was without several starters.

Young also threw an interception, however, and some guys competing for starting roles gave up some big plays.

In many ways it was a typical preseason opener. The Titans lost this one to the Seahawks, 20-18.

“I feel like we did all right out there,’’ Young said. “I made a mistake. … But as a whole I thought we did good for the first time out there.’’

Young was sharp on the opening drive and running back Chris Johnson scored a one-yard touchdown. Young completed his first five passes — including going 4-for-4 for 70 yards on the opening drive — as the Titans took a 7-0 lead just over five minutes into the game.

On the next possession, Young made a big blunder and Seahawks cornerback Josh Wilson intercepted a poorly thrown ball intended for Justin Gage.

Young was 5-of-6 for 78 yards in 13 snaps. Johnson was done after one series, 10 plays. He had five carries for seven yards — six of those on his first carry.

“It felt good to get back out there for a few runs,’’ Johnson said. “We got a couple of runs in there, but we still have some work to do together. I think we’ll get things going more and more as the preseason goes on, and we’ll be ready when it matters.’’

The defensive starters held Seattle to one first down on its first two possessions. But the defense gave up a number of big plays in the second quarter, and the Seahawks opened up a 20-7 lead after three quarters.

2010 NFL Preview: Seattle Seahawks

by Ryan Lester

Written on June 28, 2010

I expect Pete Carroll to be successful with the Seahawks…eventually. They just don’t have the pieces in place for it to happen right away.

Fantasy Playoffs Schedule: Difficult
The Seahawks take on the Niners in San Francisco in Week 14, then they play the Falcons at home. They have a nice matchup against Tampa Bay in Week 16, but it’s on the road. Plus, how many Seahawks are you going to rely on in the fantasy championship.

Five Star Fantasy Options

Four Star Fantasy Options
John Carlson — Somebody has to catch the ball. Carlson has been effective despite the Seahawks struggles, averaging 53 catches for 600 yards and six TDs the past two seasons.

Three Star Fantasy Options

Two Star Fantasy Options
Justin Forsett — For now, Forsett is probably the best option. If Leon Washington is healthy or Marshawn Lynch is acquired, you can all but write Forsett off. Until then, he’s the best option they have in the running game. He’s also a good receiver out of the backfield. Very quick and elusive.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh — Housh had a choice between the Seahawks and the Vikings last year. I wonder if he’d still go for the money if he could do it over again. He has good hands and size so he’ll have some moments. He’s just not in a good situation. He is playing with either an old or an inexperienced QB. There isn’t much of a running game to keep defenses honest. There aren’t a lot of other receivers to keep defenses from keying in on him.
Golden Tate — As long as he isn’t too tempted by late night snack runs, Tate should have some moments along the way, but consistency will be an issue.
Seahawks Defense/Special Teams — If Washington returns to form, the Seahawks will have a strong return game. Their defense should improve with rookie Earl Thomas’ arrival.

One Star Fantasy Options
Matt Hasselbeck — He’s old. He can’t stay healthy. He has very few options in the passing game. If you’re taking Hasselbeck as your QB2, you may be drafting the name.

Charlie Whitehurst — He’s going to get his snaps so Carroll can see what he has. It’s hard to gauge a QB that has never taken a snap at this level. When you have a bad line, non-existent running game, and limited options at WR, you can’t get too excited over his prospects.
Julius Jones & Leon Washington — Jones bores me to tears while Washington must prove his back from a horrific leg injury. Jones will have a few solid games if he gets 15-20 carries, but they will be few and far between. Forsett’s skill set is similar to Washington, which could limit his fantasy impact.
Deon Butler — Butler has good speed, but will likely be fighting for crumbs after Carlson, Housh, and Tate have been fed.

Half Star Fantasy Options

Louis Rankin & Quinton Ganther — Since the Seahawks’ RB situation is so cloudy, this duo should at least be mentioned. They could get meaningful carries at some point of the season. That said, You surely don’t need to draft them unless they ascend up the depth charts (unlikely) during Training Camp.
Deion Branch — Branch has had too many injuries to be a factor any more.

article can be found on Bleacher Report by Ryan Lester

Seattle Seahawks rebuilding checklist pluses and minus.

With a five-week break between the last minicamp and the start of training camp, it might seem like a good time to offer judgments on the status of the Seattle Seahawks’ reconstruction project.

Better? Worse? Hey, I’m not laying down any chips while the dealer is still shuffling the deck.

When the PR staff put together a fresh roster before Wednesday’s minicamp practice, 42 of the 85 guys listed were new to the team. But by the time the list reached our hands, a couple more transactions had been made.

When he got into town last winter, coach Pete Carroll predicted as much. And because the team he was taking over had been 5-11, who would object to his eager rearranging of the furniture?

“We just want to get a new look and build off the strengths of what we have, and let’s see if we can keep pushing it,” Carroll said at the minicamp.

And the Seahawks are not done pushing; Carroll said he easily could imagine another half-dozen moves before the start of the season.

How has all this positioned the team for training camp that starts at the end of July? And where are the areas where the most ground needs to be gained?

The first big move Carroll and general manager John Schneider made was trading for San Diego’s third-string quarterback, Charlie Whitehurst. At that point, the team had so many holes to fill, we fairly asked: Was this the place to start?

Starter Matt Hasselbeck responded exactly as any new staff could wish, by solidifying his position and status as starter and team leader. By later adding former first-round pick J.P. Losman, the Hawks seem well-insured if Hasselbeck suffers further health issues.

Who’s No. 2, Whitehurst or Losman? If nothing else, the issue could enliven the exhibition-season schedule.

Who does Hasselbeck pass to? T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch missed much of the offseason and minicamps getting over surgeries, which leaves question marks. But Mike Williams’ career rehab seems to be progressing, and at 6-foot-5, he seems to be a great red zone target at the very least.

The wild card will be the progress of rookie Golden Tate, who may be raw in some respects, but has just kept proving himself as a guy who can make big plays, a quality all-too rare the past couple seasons.

The one man who has the most ground to cover before games get serious in September is rookie first-round pick Russell Okung, who has to take over for presumptive Hall of Fame left tackle Walter Jones.

The sixth player taken in the draft, Okung is being tossed into the deep end, and his advancement will be critical to whether the Seahawks can score more than their anemic 2009 average of 17.5 points a game.

Carroll has been non-committal on the running back issue, too, as the injury rehab of Leon Washington through camp will affect the Julius Jones/Justin Forsett balance of carries. Maybe this turns into a committee effort.

Who, if anybody, will generate a pass rush? To be determined in August.

At linebacker, will Leroy Hill get out of the doghouse for his off-field behavior? … Will Lofa Tatupu return to full health? … Will Aaron Curry approach his potential? If nothing else, voluble linebacker coach Ken Norton Jr. will be all over anybody not putting out enough effort at that position.

And will the Seahawks actually enter the season with the curious pairing of rookie Earl Thomas and 15-year-veteran Lawyer Milloy as starting safeties?

As Carroll warned at the end of minicamp: “We have a long way to go” before having to make the final cuts to 53.

He has a phrase he likes to use whenever the question of competition for a position is raised: “Let the games begin.”

Clearly, there will be plenty of the little games before the real and important ones begin in September.

Who next in Seahawks’ running back derby?

While many are presuming the Seahawks now must rush to add another running back to take White’s place, I’m not convinced that is the case. Running back was one area that was very deep with the addition of veterans White and Leon Washington.

Somebody wasn’t going to make it already from the group that also includes holdovers Justin Forsett, Julius Jones, Louis Rankin and free-agent signee Quinton Ganther.

Forsett and Jones were getting all the first-team reps ahead of White in practice anyway, partly because White’s attendance had been hit-and-miss and partly because Forsett and Jones are two guys who work hard and run hard and practice hard.

I’ve got a feeling the new coaching staff likes what it sees from those two and is eager to add Washington to the mix when he’s fully recovered from the broken leg that is expected to be healed in time for the start of camp in late July.

Don’t sleep on Ganther, either, as he played for running backs coach Sherman Smith last year with the Redskins and is a versatile back who can play a little fullback and special teams as well.

None of those backs are as big as White, whose departure leaves the “running back by committee” shy on a short-yardage threat.

Marshawn Lynch, a former first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills, could be available in trade if the Seahawks are willing to pay the price. (Getty Images/Al Bello)

Thus the rumors that Seattle will be hard after a trade for Buffalo’s Marshawn Lynch. I don’t buy that one because of the same reason why White is no longer here. Lynch has had issues with the Bills. He’s a tough, talented runner and young at 24, but there’s a reason he lost his starting role to Fred Jackson in Buffalo.

He’s been suspended for three games by the NFL once already for a gun possession charge and had a hit-and-run situation with a pedestrian in Buffalo as well.

And while the Seahawks have shown they’re willing to look under every rock to add talent and give those second chances, you should note that the rocks they’ve turned over so far have been in the bargain-basement section, not the ritzy rock bin.

Outside of the trade for Charlie Whitehurst, GM John Schneider hasn’t been prone to giving up assets to obtain “gamble” guys.

The Williams’ receivers were both free agents that cost nothing. Same with Losman. White was acquired in by a trade that cost Seattle only a couple spots in the late rounds of the draft, as was Washington.

The one high-priced risk the Seahawks explored was Brandon Marshall, but they didn’t pull the trigger on that one.

The Bills had been asking for a second-round draft pick for Lynch. Unless their price has gone way down, Seattle won’t be interested.

That’s where the “why” Carroll gave up on White impacts the “what happens next” scenario. It didn’t cost the Seahawks anything to find out White hadn’t changed. But if they give up a valuable draft pick for Lynch and then learn he’s not “in” with the system either, it won’t be as simple to release him.

Justin Forsett

That’s why I don’t see Seattle going that direction. Frankly, the Seahawks have far greater needs than added depth at running back. Forsett seems the perfect back for Alex Gibbs’ zone-blocking system. His only question is whether he can hold up to the pounding of a 16-game season, but Washington’s addition provides insurance there.

Seattle’s issues are greater at defensive end and in the secondary. They need offensive line and wide receiver depth more than another running back at this point.

If they’re worried about having a bigger back in the mix, then bring in free agent Justin Fargas, a hard-running 220-pounder who was released in a salary cut by the Raiders.

Fargas played one year for Carroll at USC in 2002. He’s 30, injury prone and not an every-down back candidate any more, but he could fill the short-yardage role if that’s deemed critical.

Ganther and fullback Owen Schmitt are short-yardage options, but Carroll and Schneider do like competition, especially at the right price.

So while I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fargas get a look, I would be surprised to see a trade for Lynch unless he’s available at such a low cost that the risk is minimal.

As we’re learning, the Seahawks do have an open-door policy for players who’ve had problems in the past. But as LenDale White just discovered, that door swings both ways.

Losman agrees to terms to join Seahawks

Quarterback J.P. Losman agreed to terms with the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday, reports NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora, citing a league source.

Quarterback J.P. Losman agreed to terms with the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday, reports NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora, citing a league source.

Before joining the Oakland Raiders briefly last December, Losman led the Las Vegas Locomotives to a 5-2 record and the UFL Championship in the league’s inaugural season. He completed 62.1 percent of his passes for 1,386 yards, nine touchdowns and just two interceptions.

Losman, who was the Buffalo Bills‘ first-round pick in 2004, made just one appearance with Oakland and threw just one pass.

He joins the quarterback crew of Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Whitehurst and Mike Teel in Seattle.

The Seahawks released former Central Washington record-setting passing star Mike Reilly on Tuesday, two weeks after the team claimed him off waivers from St. Louis.

But does he have the stuff to compete?

J.P Losman career stats are 43 games started and 33 TD’S and 34 INT’S

But I think he will become the third string quarterback  and I think the Seahawks will release Mike Teel.