Preseason, week 1

By Jared Stanger

God, how good is it that football is back?! Even if it’s as sloppy and undisciplined as we saw today…it’s still NFL football.

And a win is nice, too.

Before the game, I had a few things I wanted to watch for:

Zac Brooks, after dressing in pads and warming up pregame, did not play any game snaps that I noticed.

McEvoy gets the obvious nod today among the bubble WR for finishing 3×77 (25.7ypc) in 6 targets, including the game-winning Hail Mary catch where he simply boxed out the DB in the endzone. Lawler, McNeil, and Hunter each finished with 2 catches, each under 30 yards receiving.

Pinkins was hit and miss at SAM. I like his work moving backwards and flashing to the flat, but he mis-played at least two plays when failing to hold edge contain when up on the line of scrimmage. Marsh looked GREAT, but primarily at DE and special teams; while his SAM work was unmemorable. Cassius finished with 4 tackles and 2 QB hits. Regardless, I think the team can carry 3 at SAM.

Boykin gets a huge vote of confidence for leading the 4th quarter comeback. He finished 16×26 for 188 yards (7.2 ypa) plus the game-winning TD throw, and his 96.3 passer rating was 2nd amongst ALL quarterbacks in the game (behind Alex Smith).

The Seattle offensive player of the game has to go to Christine Michael, who played unbelievable football for the 1st quarter. 7 carries, 44 yards, 6.3 ypc and, most importantly, they were tough-running yards where CMike was REALLY careful with the ball. I had questions about his status before camp, but I was wrong. He is in a great place.

I’ll give the defensive (and special teams) player of the game to OSU rookie free agent Tyvis Powell for his INT, tackle, and punt return decleating of a KC would-be tackler. Powell, either because of the team’s careful management of his practice snaps, or simply just a rookie taking a slower progression through his first NFL camp, Tyvis has been fairly quiet to this point. Not today. And the fact that he was showcased a bit at CB, makes for a very interesting candidate to take one of the 10-ish DB spots on the 53-man.

Perhaps the best piece of news this entire game (other than coming out miraculously healthy, minus SJB, after going in kinda unhealthy), was that the starting offensive line gave up ZERO sacks and looked, dare I say, fucking great! Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But it’s meant as exaggeration in response to how exaggerated the fears about this OL have been the last 6-10 months.

The truth is, the parts of the 2015 O-line that were worst, might be the parts that are now gone. We really haven’t known what we have now because it’s all so new. The assumption is that it’d be bad (or “still bad”, I guess), but were we really being fair to THIS version of the OL? I certainly wasn’t being fair to Queso. I think his performance today showed he might be a very good center. I can wear that.

I also thought Sowell and Gilliam looked good at their respective spots. I thought Poole was fantastic as the backup RT. I’m a little concerned about what they will do as a backup LT, as Odhiambo really wasn’t cutting it outside. I think he was fine at guard…but let’s try to find some better depth at OT.

At TE, I think Vannett looked really good and I like the idea of being able to use both Vannett and Williams in short-yardage. I’m still waiting for them to show us Williams in some fullback snaps.

At WR, the incumbents (1-4) all looked fine in their brief usage. The pack behind them (without Kasen/Kevin/Foxx) are all fairly bunched together. McNeil has the edge on special teams. McEvoy is intriguing for his height. Nwachukwu looked very good. Hunter had a muffed catch on ST, but later caught both of his targets (including a nice 18-yarder).

At RB, there was a steep dropoff after CMike, but that is somewhat to be expected with 3 guys higher on the depth chart out. AC360 took the early 3rd down back reps, which is worth monitoring until some of the guys get back to health. He had a nice catch wiped out by penalty, too.

I thought the play of the DT’s as a whole was lacking. The Chiefs ran for 135 yards (4.7 ypc) and a TD. While Brandin Bryant flashed some of the pass-rush we’ve seen on tape, I could see some of the lack of discipline Pete talked about this week, when Bryant overly committed to pass-rush on plays that turned out to be runs. This could be mitigated somewhat if he’s used only on 3rd downs, but today roles were less specified.

I think the secondary depth didn’t play as well as has been advertised. I thought McCray had a few misplays while starting at SS in place of Kam. I’d like to see more of Browner in that spot, soon. Let’s drop McCray back to FS2. I only saw one series at CB for Tye Smith. I don’t know what to make of that. He looked fine on that series, but it seemed we saw more of Trovon Reed, Deandre Elliott, and Marcus Burley all game. Hell, Tyvis even saw more series at CB than Tye did. Kris Richard said this week we will start seeing Tye worked in as slot corner. Is that because of deficiencies from Burley? I’m also going to be watching Lane going forward, as he’s been seeming to get out-played by Shead (and often even Simon) every time I’ve been able to watch them live. Did Lane lose some of his hunger after getting his new deal?

Next week: Minnesota here at CLink for a primetime, Thursday game. Peterson will be a tough out for the DL that struggled against KC’s RB2-4 today. But I think the Vikings’ defense will be more vulnerable to Seattle’s offense. Short game gonna shred ’em at home.

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