By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — The Seahawks have plenty of goals they’d like to accomplish in preseason game No. 2. For starters, they’d love to come out of the contest healthy. And yes, despite the fact the outcome doesn’t count, Pete “Win Forever” Carroll still wants his team to win its seventh straight preseason game.
But among the many things the Seahawks want to get done tonight against the Denver Broncos, a few stand out as most important. For the starting offense, getting in a rhythm early would be nice after a rough go last week. For the starting defense, facing Peyton Manning — if only for a series or two — will provide a good challenge. And for the many backups who showed well in helping the Seahawks pull away for a 31-10 victory over San Diego last week, this is a chance to back up those performances.
Seeking a quick start
As good as the end result was for Seattle, the fact remains that the starting offense — albeit one that was missing several key players — didn’t get a lot done in limited playing time against the Chargers. The Seahawks had two possessions with their starters in the game, and managed just three first downs before each series ended with a punt. Russell Wilson completed just 2 of 6 passes for 23 yards.
“We didn’t get off to a good start,” Carroll said. “We had a couple of penalties and just didn’t quite hit it right, so we’d like to see — this is a very, very good defense, they gave us a hard time last year — we’ll see if we can get moving on them. We’d like to get them out there and get a little feel for staying on the field more so than last time.”
The good news for the Seahawks is that the offense has looked better in practice this week, and having wide receiver Sidney Rice back also should help.
“We are scoring a lot of touchdowns during practice,” Wilson said. “Hopefully that translates into the game and usually it does.”
A test for the D
Like the starting offense, Seattle’s No. 1 defense wasn’t at its best in the preseason opener. San Diego’s one possession with No. 1 QB Philip Rivers on the field was a 13-play, 74-yard drive that ended in a field goal. Of course, that’s too small of a sample to worry about a defense that gave up the fewest points of any in the NFL last season, but the Seahawks still expect to be better this weekend.
“I think we’re prepared, I think we’re right where we want to be as a team and as a defense,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “Obviously you always have little things to clean up, but the continuity from last year is there, the chemistry is there, and the execution is there, you just need more and more plays out there. I think last week we got 10 plays, and it’s kind of hard to show anything in 10 plays.”
Preseason or not, facing a Peyton Manning-led attack is always a good test for a defense. Carroll said facing Denver’s up-tempo attack can help the Seahawks prepare for a season in which more teams than ever are likely to push the pace.
“This is a really good opportunity for us because they do play up-tempo, and he’s as good as you can get,” Carroll said. “We hold that in high regards. This is a very important opportunity for us to work on our no-huddle defense and see how that goes.”
Prove-it time for youngsters
Plenty of young players had impressive preseason debuts — hence the second-half blowout — but now the question is: Can they back it up? Several looked ready to contribute, from rookie defensive tackle Jordan Hill to receiver Stephen Williams, and undrafted rookies such as defensive end Benson Mayow, linebacker John Lotulelei and tackle Alvin Bailey all looked like they have a shot to make the team. But ultimately, whether players are fighting for a starting job like defensive tackles Jesse Williams and Hill, or just for a spot on the roster, they’ll have to build off the success they had last week.
“We’re dying to see consistency,” Carroll said. “Anybody can do something good once. Can you come back and do it again? There are a number of guys, the young guys all have to come back and prove it, and they’re going to have to do it for four weeks in a row to make the team and be part of it.”
The NFL’s new bag policy
A reminder to fans, the NFL has changed security procedures this year, and that means, starting with today’s preseason game, you’ll be much more limited in what you can bring into the stadium. Fans are allowed to carry in a clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bag that does not exceed 12 inches by 6-12 inches, or a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag. Small clutches, without a strap, also are allowed. That means no backpacks, large purses, camera bags, diaper bags, etc. The Seahawks will offer three bag-check areas outside of the stadium, two at the north entrance and one at the southwest entrance.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.