Seahawks Vs. Chargers Preview

Jason FliederContributor IAugust 12, 2009

CHENEY, WA - AUGUST 3:  Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Seattle Seahawks sets up a pass during training camp at Eastern Washington University on August 3, 2005 in Cheney, Washington. (Photo by Jeff T. Green/Getty Images)

Oh, August 15th, how I've waited for you.

Sure, it's just a preseason game, but with all of the questions regarding the Seahawks lately, this simple preseason game may answer a lot of them.

What to expect on offense:

I would expect Julius Jones to be used sparingly as he already, due to a lack of depth, solidified his starting position.  I think, at most, you'll see him in for one or two series.

Beyond that, Look to see Justin Forsett garnering the most play time to allow the coaching staff to see what he can bring to a real game-time situation, as well as a healthy supply of snaps to Devin Moore, the undrafted rookie out of Wyoming.

There will be a series or two for the three solidified starters (Housh, Branch and Burleson) as well, but at the receiving spots, look to see a lot of Courtney Taylor, Mike Haas, and Jordan Kent as these three compete for a roster spot. 

Additionally keep an eye out for Deon Butler, if only to see if his speed can transition into separation against a very quick secondary.

The most playing time given to a starting unit, in my opinion, will go to Seattle's offensive line, with Wahle out and a few questions on the interior line, look for Mansfield Wrotto, Rob Sims, Steve Vallos, and Max Unger to get a lot of time while Mora's staff works to decide who earns the starting job.

However, the most interesting thing to watch on the offense may be the amount of time Hasselbeck is given.  My money's on one series, but this will give as true a sense as possible of exactly how much faith Seattle's coaching staff has in their QB's health.  If he stays in for two series, perhaps there is something to this talk of a healthy Hasselbeck. 

If they use caution and take him out after one series, or pull him out if he takes too much pressure, there may be need for concern.  If he doesn't play at all, after missing as much time as he did last year, it would be a strong sign that the coaching staff really doesn't have as much faith in his health as previous statements had suggested.

What to watch for on defense:

While the starting unit is on the field, I'd guess minus one Patrick Kerney and plus one Darryl Tapp, look to see as many stunts and blitzes as Mora can throw at a strong San Diego starting line.  This is a coach that has previously preached his emphasis on "the attack."

Look for Ken Lucas to match up against the larger receiver, and underrated route runner, in Chris Chambers, testing his press coverage skills.

Beyond that, keep an eye on the depth at free safety, as this is the one position on defense that a backup (in the form of Jamar Adams or Courtney Greene) could very well jump into the starting lineup.

Match-up of the game: Seattle's offensive line vs. San Diego's defensive front

While Walter Jones sits out, presumably, watch tackle Sean Locklear's effectiveness against a strong right side of the front seven in Shawne Merriman and Luis Castillo.  Also important, as previously mentioned, will be the position battle for the interior line.

Whether Max Unger can step into a starting role could be an important sign for the future of a young interior line, as getting younger is never a bad thing.  Lastly, what better way to test the effectiveness of a newly placed zone blocking scheme, than against a strong attacking 3-4 defense?

Fantasy picks of the game: (were this during fantasy season)

1. John Carlson—with a newly unfamiliar receiving corps (remember the accumulated missed games last year) this will be Hasselbeck's outlet guy under pressure.

2. Darren Sproles—Until the FS position in Seattle is solidified, the dump off passes to a speedy, undersized back will, unfortunately, be effective against this Seattle defense.


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