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Countdown to kickoff: Seahawks vs San Diego Chargers

Posted Aug 15, 2014

For the first time since the NFC Championship game in January, the Seahawks will play at CenturyLink Field on Friday night in their preseason home opener against the San Diego Chargers.

SEATTLE, Wash. - Greetings from CenturyLink Field, where THE SEAHAWKS ARE BACK!!!

OK, now that we have that out of our system, let’s take a closer look at a couple of the things that the coaches will be scrutinizing Friday night when the Seahawks host the San Diego Chargers in their preseason home opener – with kickoff and televised coverage on Q13 set for 7 p.m. PT.

Defense

The No. 2 unit: Improvement definitely is needed from last week’s preseason opener in Denver, when that group gave up a touchdown drive on the Broncos’ first possession of the second half and another in the fourth quarter. The defense yielded runs of 20 and 15 yards on the first scoring drive and the Broncos converted on third-and-6, third-and-10 and third-and-14 on the second.

“The second group did not play very well,” coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday during a radio interview. “They had trouble fundamentally. We looked terrible and we (the coaches) were really shocked. That whole thing didn’t feel right. The younger guys did not fit the scheme like they are supposed to, so (the Broncos) ran right through us. Technique-wise, we were off. We’ve worked hard this week to emphasize those things.”

After Thursday’s practice, Carroll revisited the topic, adding, “They’ve got to play a lot better. We played really poorly at the line of scrimmage last week and I was really disappointed that we looked like that. It was just technique-wise. You know, we get blocked and so I’m hoping that the line of scrimmage will start the chain reaction that we’ll play better when it comes to second-half ball.”

Offense

The competition between incumbent Tarvaris Jackson and Terrelle Pryor to be the backup quarterback: Russell Wilson is not only the starter; he is playing better than he did during his first two summers with the Seahawks. So the backup won’t be needed, until he is needed.

The coaches must trust that the backup can step in and not only run the offense, but give the team a chance to win. Jackson has that trust. Pryor is trying to gain it. Jackson was No. 2 against the Broncos, when he completed 5 of 7 passes for 47 yards. Pryor finished the game and, by Carroll’s count, got twice as many snaps as Jackson. He was 9 of 16 for 137 yards and also led the team with 28 rushing yards. But Pryor also had a chance to win the game, only to have his pass picked off in the end zone.

Against the Chargers, it is likely that Pryor will go No. 2 after Wilson has called it an early evening.

“Tarvaris has been really just steady as can be for quite some time," Carroll said. "Really been efficient and he had a great preseason last year. He’s off to another good start here. We have a lot more to learn about Terrelle, because we don’t know as much about him. He’s had a great offseason with us. He’s been really fun to have. He’s such a fantastic athlete and competes so hard at trying to win this job. He’s off to a really very encouraging start right now.”

It's Good To Be Home

But back to the Seahawks being back at CenturyLink – just think about the last two times we saw them in the state-of-the-art stadium that has become one of the toughest venues in the NFL to visit.

In January, they outlasted the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers 23-17 in the NFC Championship game – in a game that featured more drama and crucial plays than the Seahawks’ 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII two weeks later. It took Wilson’s thread-the-needle 35-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse in the fourth quarter – on a fourth-and-7 play – to give the Seahawks the lead in the NFC title game. It then took Richard Sherman’s “Immaculate Deflection” in the end zone on a Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Michael Crabtree that was intercepted by Malcolm Smith to ice the outcome with 3½ minutes to play.

And three days after that display of dominance in the Super Bowl, the Seahawks were back in CenturyLink – after a celebratory parade through the streets of Seattle and a crowd of 700,000 – to share the experience with season-ticket holders.

Magical memories, indeed, but every time the Seahawks emerge from the southwest tunnel, there is more magic waiting to happen. So sit back and enjoy the kickoff to another highly anticipated home season.