The story of the off season for Seattle has been injuries. Oh, and the utter collapse of Shaun Alexander’s career, but that one I sort of saw coming (more on that some other time).
Over the pre-season, guys seemed to be going down regularly. No where is this more apparent than with receivers. Not two years ago Seattle had too many receivers to throw the ball to. At the end of last season, Deion Branch went down; he’s still not back. After a long holdout seeking a contract extension, Bobby Engram came back, and went down. D. J. Hackett went to Carolina. This left Ben Obamanu and Nate Burleson as the only receivers with much experience. Obamanu went down in the preseason and is done for the year. Branch is week-to-week on when he’ll be back. This weekend, Burleson went down for the year. Yikes!
So, on to the game. Matt Hasselbeck, our plucky bald QB of Chunky Soup fame, has apparently developed a bad back, and didn’t play much in the preseason. It showed. The offensive line struggled with multiple guys out during the preseason. Coupled with a new running game (Alexander being gone, Julian Jones having been picked up from the Cowboys as a free agent) and well, the offense partly to mostly sucked.
The defense played ok; two of the touchdowns scored against the Hawks came on special teams. One was an sucker punch of a fake field goal pass to a defensive end who was so wide open even I could have caught the ball. The other was on a punt return on which I swear the Seattle coverage team looked like they were hoping the guy would just trip.
So as often the case when they go back east to play, the Hawks take the loss. I am slightly contented to remember that the Super Bowl season of ’05 they started the same way with a crappy loss in Jacksonville. We’ll see.
The next two games are at home against two of the poorer teams in the NFC, San Francisco and St. Louis. My prediction? If Seattle doesn’t beat both teams, and soundly, it is going to be a long year.
Coupled with the Washington State Cougs only taking the WORST loss in Pac-10 history, it was a pretty dismal football weekend. I think it can only get better. It better…