Russell Wilson's professional debut for the Seattle Seahawks didn't go as smoothly as he would have liked, and both he and his team need to make some improvements before their Week 2 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys.
After putting up big numbers in the preseason, Wilson was brought down to earth against the Arizona Cardinals on the road. He looked how an NFL rookie quarterback is supposed to look, and if he doesn't make some adjustments to the speed of the game it won't be long before Matt Flynn takes over.
Wilson wasn't the only member of the Seahawks that needs to step up this week, either. Let's take a look at how the Seahawks must improve heading into Week 2.
The thing I noticed the most when watching the tape on Wilson against the Cardinals is that his footwork was terrible at times. Wilson struggled with accuracy during the game, completing only 18-of-34 passes for 153 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
On the plays that Wilson's footwork was solid, he was accurate, but there were far too many instances where he threw the ball off balance, and the result was a barrage of ugly throws.
Here's a prime example. Wilson was looking left, saw that his receiver was covered and started reading through his progressions. Sounds great, right? The only problem with this play is that Wilson's feet weren't anywhere close to being in the correct position to make an accurate pass.
In this particular case, Wilson was fortunate that his errant pass wasn't picked off.
Furthermore, Wilson made bad decisions with the football. He threw into double and triple coverage a handful of times, and he's lucky the Cardinals only ended up with one interception.
Wilson played much tighter in Week 1 than I saw from him during the preseason, likely nervous for his first career start. He'll need to stay loose but play disciplined football this Sunday against the Cowboys.
If he doesn't, Pete Carroll may be forced to bring in Flynn—a move that will complicate matters in Seattle.
It won't matter how much Wilson improves if his offensive line doesn't play better in Week 2. There were numerous instances throughout the game against the Cardinals where the offensive line completely broke down in pass protection as well as numerous occasions where the line failed to get any push on running plays.
Russell Okung was particularly egregious, whiffing often in both the running game and as a pass-protector. He didn't move his feet well and often tried to handle his opponent without proper leverage.
Here is one sequence in the first quarter where Okung completely blew his assignment. This isn't a complicated play, and he should have been able to easily body up on Calais Campbell, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Rookie J.R. Sweezy also struggled, and he'll need to drastically improve heading into Week 2.
If the Cardinals were able to manhandle this offensive line, the Cowboys will destroy this group, and I'm particularly concerned about the matchup between DeMarcus Ware and Okung. Ware is coming off an impressive two-sack performance against the New York Giants, and he's got to be licking his chops for this Sunday's matchup.
The defense played really well throughout the game, holding the Cardinals to 253 total yards of offense.
What is more concerning?
I only have one gripe, but it's a big one considering that Tony Romo is coming off of a huge performance in Week 1, partly due to the failure of the Giants' front four to play disciplined football.
The defensive tackles must stay in their lanes. I watched John Skelton and Kevin Kolb get pressured on numerous occasions from the outside, but there was nobody in front of them. They were able to easily step up into the pocket and make a play.
This is something Romo will exploit to great effect if given the opportunity, so Alan Branch and Brandon Mebane must play with more discipline in Week 2.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78