NFL Preseason: Your All-Access Guide to the Seattle Seahawks' 1st Preseason Game
It's almost here, people! On Saturday evening, the Seattle Seahawks will play their first football game of the 2012 preseason, debuting those new Nike uniforms.
Cutting edge style won't be the only new thing that Seattle shows, however. The new quarterbacks in town, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson, will get to strut their stuff along with draft picks like Bruce Irvin and Robert Turbin.
Additionally, there will be some painfully familiar faces on the field Saturday night.
Anyway, let this article serve as your all-access guide to starting lineups, storylines and everything else you could ever want to know about the Seahawks' preseason opener.
Let it begin!
Notable Bench Riders
Marshawn Lynch, RB
Pete Carroll detailed in this press conference that Beast Mode is getting the day off on Saturday. Before you panic: No, he's not injured. Carroll is sitting him for safety reasons, which is a reasonable thing to do. Most Seahawk fans should understand that there is absolutely no necessity for Marshawn to play much during the preseason.
Terrell Owens, WR
Carroll stated in that same press conference that TO won't play Saturday due to the fact that "he hasn't been here long enough." Owens, like Lynch, has no reason to risk his body, especially while he still learns the offense.
Sidney Rice, WR
Rice's shoulders are still healing from offseason surgery, and though he practiced in team drills yesterday, the Seahawks' front office is not willing to risk a valuable veteran in a meaningless preseason game. Look for Rice to be ready for the regular-season opener.
Doug Baldwin, WR
Baldwin pulled a hamstring in practice last week and is nursing it back to health. He has been able to run routes in individual drills but does not wear pads and does not participate in team drills. This is yet another conservative safety move by Pete Carroll and John Schneider; don't expect Baldwin to be out for long.
Tarvaris Jackson, QB
According to the aforementioned press conference, Jackson will be seeing very little, if any, action in the first game. He is a known commodity at this point, and Carroll wants to see how Flynn and Wilson perform in real-game scenarios.
Speaking of Flynn....
Matt Flynn will be your starting quarterback against the Titans, at least for the first half. Russell Wilson will take over in the second half.
Here's the rest of your Seattle Seahawk starters:
RB: Robert Turbin
WR1 (Flanker): Braylon Edwards
WR2 (Split End): Golden Tate
WR3 (Slot): Deon Butler
(Note: all WR positions are subject to constant rotation)
TE1: Zach Miller
TE2: Kellen Winslow (potentially could be resting his knees, in which case, Anthony McCoy would get the nod)
LT: Russell Okung
LG: Paul McQuistan
RG: Deuce Lutui (filling in for John Moffitt, who is going to undergo elbow surgery)
RT: Breno Giacomini
LDE: Red Bryant
RDE: Chris Clemons
DT: Brandon Mebane
DT: Alan Branch
Weak-Side (Will) LB: Leroy Hill
Middle (Mike) LB: Bobby Wagner
Strong-Side (Sam) LB: K.J. Wright
LCB: Richard Sherman
RCB: Brandon Browner
FS: Earl Thomas
SS: Kam Chancellor
Nickel Safety: Winston Guy
Nickel Corner: Roy Lewis
Nickel D-line: Bruce Irvin, Jason Jones, Clinton McDonald, Chris Clemons
Who's Coming Back
There are a multitude of familiar Seahawks/ Washingtonians coming to town this weekend. Here are a few of the most notable.
Matt Hasselbeck, QB
The best quarterback in Seahawk history is coming to CenturyLink Field for the first time since the 7-9 Seahawks upset the defending Super Bowl champion Saints in the 2010 Wild Card Game. Hasselbeck should get an uproarious ovation from fans, and there will be thousands of No. 8 jerseys around the stadium.
Jake Locker, QB
The beloved University of Washington grad will see significant playing time during the game. Many Seahawk fans wanted to see the team draft the athletic QB in the 2010 draft, but the Seahawks were decidedly out of position to do so with only the 25th overall pick.
Jordan Babineaux, Safety/Cornerback
"Big Play Babs," as he was sometimes know, was an overall inconsistent player who somehow made the biggest plays when they mattered most. Many fans will remember him for making the botched snap, game-saving tackle of Tony Romo against the Cowboys in the 2007 Wild Card playoff game.
Steve Hutchinson, LG
One of the best left guards of all time once belonged to Seattle. When paired with the incomparable Walter Jones, Hutchinson formed one of, if not the best offensive line in all of football. Hutchinson is bitterly disliked by fans due to his "poison pill" contract that landed him in Minnesota, and the boos from fans on Saturday will attest to that.
Storylines to Follow
Flynn vs. Wilson
Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson should each play about one half against Tennessee. I expect both quarterbacks to look good; however, my fear is that Russell Wilson will go off against third-stringers, convincing many that he ought to immediately be the starter. Keep in mind that if both quarterbacks look good, Flynn will face a starting defense (and some second-stringers), while Wilson will face the bottom of a team's depth chart.
Hasselbeck vs. Locker
Seattle isn't the only team currently caught in a quarterback competition. The young gunslinger Jake Locker is trying to win the starting job over the wily veteran Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck will start the game, but Locker will most likely see the majority of playing time.
Which WRs make the roster?
Doug Baldwin, Terrell Owens, Sidney Rice and Ricardo Lockette won't play in this game. That means that Braylon Edwards, Golden Tate, Deon Butler, Kris Durham and Ben Obomanu will each get opportunities to perform in this game. With Rice, Baldwin and Tate most likely being locks, there should be about three spots open on the final 53-man roster. The preseason is going to be huge in determining who wins those spots.
Bruce Irvin, DE
It's time for the first-round pick to show why he was chosen over defensive players like Melvin Ingram. Irvin has been generating rave reviews during camp, and his speed is nothing to scoff at. Whether he's in nickel packages with the starters or replacing Chris Clemons with the second unit, Irvin figures to be a constant blur. The raucous BRUUUUCEEEE cheers will be subsequent to any plays he makes.
Bobby Wagner, MLB
Wagner is really the only defensive player battling for a position, his competitor being Barrett Ruud. Wagner's strength is coverage, while Ruud's strength is tackling. Look for Wagner's 4.4 speed to be a major factor in the game.
Robert Turbin, RB
Turbin is getting the majority of reps this weekend, which means that explosive plays are on the horizon. Already a fan favorite, Robert Turbin combines the ability to make a quick cut with incredible power, not to mention biceps the size of cantaloupes. Barring injury, Turbin figures to steal some carries from Marshawn Lynch this year.
Rishaw Johnson, G
With John Moffitt lost to arm surgery, the right guard spot is pretty much wide open. Deuce Lutui will get the starting nod, but Rishaw Johnson should see ample playing time. Johnson has generated positive reviews coming out of camp, and the hope is that linemen guru Tom Cable can mold Johnson into a solid starter.
So, there you have it. Everything you want to look for come Saturday evening. Any further questions or comments are welcomed below.