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#HawksMailbag - August 13
Welcome to the third edition of #HawksMailbag here on Seahawks.com. Here's a look at what came through our inbox over the last week...
The Seahawks' depth was on display at multiple positions last week, as the club received production from several second and third string players to power a 31-10 victory over the Chargers. But more production is needed from the Seahawks first-team offense and first-team defense.
Although the sides were only in the game for roughly one quarter of play - and in some cases less than that - head coach Pete Carroll admitted the first unit was a little sloppy. The Seahawks did not score any of their 31 points with Russell Wilson in at quarterback, and while the defense was able to hold Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers to a field goal, the San Diego offense marched down the field fairly easily.
Carroll counted just 19 total plays for the first-team defense and even less than that for the first-team offense. To judge the team's performance off of that small sample is not the fairest route to take. The second preseason game should provide a much better measuring stick of what to expect out of the first unit, as Carroll has said the two sides will play "considerably more" against the Denver Broncos.
Marshawn Lynch actually did take a snap. In fact, he took two snaps. They came in the Seahawks' first offensive series, as Lynch hung in pass protection on the first and lined up as a receiver on the second, running a quick out to the flat.
Lynch didn't receive a carry, but that's to be expected. It's preseason. The number one goal with Lynch is to keep him healthy until the regular season kicks off. Lynch knows the offense, as he proved last year when he racked up a career high 1,590 yards rushing and produced 12 total touchdowns. The club feels comfortable with where Lynch is from a football standpoint, both mentally and physically. The Seahawks are better served dishing out their preseason carries to second-year pros Robert Turbin and Derrick Coleman, as well as rookies Christine Michael and Spencer Ware, to get a feel for what kind of runners they have behind Lynch.
It remains to be seen exactly who will be available for this weekend's contest against the Denver Broncos, but a few of the 18 players who missed last week's preseason opener could be available.
Wide receiver Sidney Rice has returned as a full participant in practice after his non-surgical knee procedure in Switzerland. Running back Robert Turbin is off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and set to be the No. 2 man behind Marshawn Lynch. Tight end Darren Fells and offensive tackle Mike Person recently returned to practice this week and could see their first preseason action against the Broncos.
Rookie running back Christine Michael, who carried 16 times for 89 yards against the Chargers has been sidelined with a back injury and could miss time this week. Linebacker Bobby Wagner (shoulder) practiced on August 11 for the first time since July 31, but was once again sidelined when the team took the field on Monday, August 12.
Defensive end Cliff Avril and cornerback Ron Parker remain sidelined with hamstring injuries, while offensive guard James Carpenter (foot), linebacker Bruce Irvin (groin), defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (groin), wide receiver Bryan Walters (hamstring), cornerback Byron Maxwell (ankle), linebacker Ty Powell (thigh), and defensive tackle Jaye Howard (shoulder) are also on the mend.
And of course, wide receiver Percy Harvin (hip), defensive end Chris Clemons (knee), defensive tackle Greg Scruggs (knee), cornerback Tharold Simon (foot) and tight end Zach Miller (foot) remain on the PUP list, while linebacker Korey Toomer (knee) remains on the non-football injury (NFI) list.
Mike Morgan has continued to earn reps at defensive end with the No. 1 unit while Cliff Avril and Chris Clemons remain sidelined, so I would expect him to get the start again when the Seahawks take the field against the Broncos.
O'Brien Schofield is listed on the team's depth chart at outside linebacker behind Malcolm Smith and Bruce Irvin, but has said he considers himself a pass rusher first. That much was evident against the Chargers, when despite totaling just one tackle Schofield showcased an ability to affect the quarterback - forcing throws or forcing a scramble outside the pocket - something defensive coordinator Dan Quinn covets out of his edge rushers. Remember, Schofield was claimed just two weeks ago from the Arizona Cardinals, so he may be behind some of the other pass rushers when it comes to grasping the club's defensive schemes.
Morgan and Schofield lined up as the right and left defensive ends in the preseason opener against the Chargers, rushing the passer at the same time. So just because Schofield might not get the start, it doesn't necessarily mean he won't see an extensive amount of work.
"He accelerates a lot faster," Smith said of Michael, when asked to compare him to starter Marshawn Lynch. "Just a different type of runner. But still that physical style. He’s got speed and he’s got power, so he gives us a combination of both."
Smith said Michael needs to work on the mental aspect of the run game, something head coach Pete Carroll echoed in his postgame press conference against the Chargers. Carroll noted Michael missed some early reads and cuts, but was able to adapt and excel as the game went on.
I apologize to our #HawksMailbag readers for @O_Capone's slip of the finger in his first tweet, but do appreciate his follow-up correction.
Now, be wary of putting too much stock into the official depth chart released by the club, especially in preseason. Competitions at multiple spots - both starters and backups - are ongoing, and there will be a lot of movement until the roster is trimmed down to 53 players to start the regular season.
Your observation of Christine Michael getting first crack at kick returns is the perfect example, as Will Blackmon, Jeremy Lane and Bryan Walters were listed as the top three options on the depth chart. That trio remains in place at kick returner on this week's depth chart against the Broncos, but Walters (hamstring) has been sidelined, and Robert Turbin has started to get in on the return game in recent practices. We should know more about who will garner the first reps at kick returner when we hear from head coach Pete Carroll later this week.
Former Seahawks kicker Josh Brown holds the record for the longest field goal in franchise history. Brown cracked a 58-yard attempt through the uprights in a game against the Green Bay Packers on October 5, 2003.
While we're on the topic, I like that you brought up Steven Hauschka, who holds the club record for longest field goal attempted. Hauschka tried a 61-yard kick that came well short of its mark in a 2011 game against the Atlanta Falcons. But if you saw last week's preseason opener against the Chargers, it sheds a little light on head coach Pete Carroll's thinking to have Hauschka make that attempt two years back. Hauschka tried another 61-yard field goal against San Diego and this time the ball bounced off the goal's crossbar and into the front of the end zone - less than a yard short of three points.
Hauschka has been a consistent leg for Seattle since 2011, nailing 49 of his 57 field goal attempts. The knock on Hauschka has been his leg strength - he has connected on just three of eight attempts from 50-plus yards out and his career long sits at 54 yards. Hauschka has continued to showcase consistency through training camp and last week's near-make of a 61-yarder should help put any questions over his leg strength to rest.