RENTON — Tarvaris Jackson already made his preseason debut with the Seahawks.
Tonight, however, will be the first real chance for Jackson to show what he can do, and more importantly, for a drastically overhauled offense to show what it might look like in 2011.
While nothing definitive will come out of tonight’s game — remember, it’s a preseason game — it will give a lot more clues into what Jackson and this offense will be capable of compared to last week’s game in San Diego. Against the Chargers, Jackson and most of the offensive starters played just the first two series, and several of his top targets didn’t play at all. In addition to missing starting receivers Mike Williams and Sidney Rice, Jackson also didn’t have starting tight end Zach Miller, receiver Ben Obomanu and running back Justin Forsett at his disposal.
“You like to see all those pieces together and see what we can do,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “We did a nice job in the first drive (last week), and we didn’t really have all those weapons out there, so it’s going to be fun to have them.”
Tonight against the Vikings, all of those players, minus Obomanu, are expected to play, as is rookie receiver Kris Durham. Other than left tackle Russell Okung, Seattle should have all of its offensive starters on the field, and Carroll said the starters, Jackson included, are expected to play through the first half.
That makes tonight an important night for the Seahawks’ offense. At least as important as any game in August can be. With the offense learning a new system — excluding Jackson and Rice, who played for Bevell in Minnesota — and having less time to do it thanks to the lockout, this will be a good chance to spend an entire half working out the kinks.
“The preseason is very important, and we need it,” Rice said. “… We missed a whole lot of time this offseason, especially the rookies — most of the guys didn’t even get to get their playbooks. The preseason this year is definitely important for everybody.”
Even if the Seahawks had their full array of offensive weapons on display last week, it would have been tough for Jackson to get a lot done in just two possessions.
“It’s kind of hard because if you don’t have a good first series, it’s pretty much over,” said Jackson. “You’re going to get taken out soon. We had a couple big third downs that we didn’t get so that kind of limited my playing time, but it depends on how long the drives last in order to know how many plays you’re going to play.”
The offense Seahawks fans will see on display at CenturyLink Field will be about as different as the stadium’s name. Compared to the season opener last season, Seattle not only has a new quarterback, but a new starting receiver (Rice), tight end (Miller), left guard (Robert Gallery), center (Max Unger, who played guard last season), right guard (John Moffitt) and right tackle (James Carpenter). And don’t forget that starting running back Marshawn Lynch wasn’t here at this time last season. So with so many new faces on board, the Seahawks are excited to see how the offense takes shape, beginning tonight with the first prolonged test for the starters.
“Those guys will play,” Pete Carroll said. “Hopefully it’ll work out in the first half and if we can get that done we’ll feel like we’ve accomplished something. Last week was just, get them out there and then get them out of there. There just wasn’t enough time for any extended duty, but now we need to go for it and we have to jump ahead. We have to catch up a little bit here.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: email@example.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog