In anticipation for tonight’s Green Bay Packers preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, I interviewed Keith Myers, the editor for the Seattle Seahawks FanSided site, 12th Man Rising. I put him on the hot seat and asked him questions about what we can expect from this year’s Seattle team.
Keith provides us with some great insight about the Packers third preseason opponent. Enjoy what he has to say, and get ready for a good matchup tonight between two NFC powerhouses.
Packers vs. Seahawks Q&A
1. The Seahawks finished second in the division last year and lost in the playoffs in the second round. They look like one of the better teams this year, but what do they need to do to get over that final hump and beat out the top NFC teams, like San Francisco and Atlanta?
The Seahawks were 34 seconds away from beating the Falcons, and they crushed the 49ers in week 16. There truly isn’t any separation between those teams and Seattle. Honestly, the idea that the Seahawks still have to “overcome” a team they beat 42-10 is a bit silly.
Besides, the Seahawks were only behind the 49ers last season because of the growing pains of a rookie QB early in the season. If Wilson had played the first 6 games the way he played the last 10, the standings would have been reversed.
The 49ers also lost a lot of talent in free agency this offseason. I know they replaced some of it, but it’s hard to have that kind of turnover with a team’s starters and not take a step back. I may be wrong, but I think the 49ers need to be more concerned about holding off the much-improved Rams for #2 spot in the division.
2. What has Seattle done this offseason to improve as a team and address any areas of weakness from last year?
The weakness of this team a year ago was the pass rush, and they addressed that by bringing in a number of players. Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, and Jordan Hill are just some of the changes made up front to try and address the problem.
Unfortunately, Clemons, Avril and Irvin have all been hurt, so it’s difficult to tell if the pass rush will actually be improved once the real games begin.
3. The Seahawks made the big trade for Percy Harvin this offseason, but now it looks like he’ll miss the entire season due to injury. How does this affect the team? What players need to step up to replace Harvin’s playmaking ability on offense?
The national media and those outside of Seattle have been freaking out about the Harvin injury, but those of us in Seattle know it doesn’t really matter. The Seahawks had the league’s #2 offense over the final 10 games a year ago without Harvin, and return everyone who played meaningful minutes from that team. They also added depth at WR, RB, and along the offensive line, so there’s no reason for all the worry.
There really isn’t anything that needs to be done to “make up for the loss of Harvin,” since the Seahawks never actually had him. They just need to do what they do: run the ball, throw off play-action, protect the football, and look for the occasional big play to someone like Golden Tate.
4. What is the best position battle happening in camp so far?
There really haven’t been any “good” position battles this time around. RG was supposed to be a good battle, but JR Sweezy won it early and Moffitt has already been traded. (Twice, actually.)
The battle for the backup FS job has been for those of use that watch the team closely, as has the battle for the team’s 6th WR, but these aren’t battles that will ultimately matter when the season starts.
5. Who are some surprise players in camp so far?
No player has been more surprising than offensive linemen Alvin Bailey. The undrafted free agent was moved from OG to OT, and has been one of the best offensive linemen in training camp.
Another big surprise has been DE Bensen Mayowa. Another undrafted free agent who looks like he has a chance to make an impact once the meaningful games begin. He’s taken advantage of the injuries that Seattle has had at their LEO DE position, and has made his mark by getting consistent pressure on the QB.
6. Russell Wilson had a great rookie season. What do you expect from him in year two? What part of his game does he still need to work on?
Wilson definitely had a great rookie season, but he can still get better. He needs to work on getting rid of the ball faster, and not putting so much pressure on the offensive line to keep the pass rushers at bay.
If he can improve in that area, there’s no way to know just how good he can be in 2013. He was already a top 5 QB as a rookie in almost every meaningful measure (YpA, TD/Int, 3rd Downs, red zone, etc.), so any improvement will place him among the very top QBs in the NFL.
7. What do you perceive to be the strongest and the weakest areas on the team this year?
The strength is clearly the defensive secondary. Every member of the Legion of Boom has been a pro-bowler or an all-pro in the last 2 seasons, and guys like Walter Thurmond and Antoine Winfield aren’t exactly slouches either. Just like last season, the back line of Seattle’s defense is extremely talented.
The weakness so far has got to be the defensive line. Chris Clemons still hasn’t returned from his knee injured suffered in the playoffs. Cliff Avril, Tony McDaniel, Bruce Irvin and Jesse Williams have all missed time as well. The result has been some serious struggles along the line, especially with the pass rush.
8. Any other thoughts or insights about the team you want to add?
One thing that is special about this team is its depth. I seriously doubt that the Seahawks starters will roll over the Packers like they did to the Broncos last week, but the 2nd half might be a different story.
The Seahawks have players buried on their depth chart that are good enough to start for other teams. In a way, this Seahawks team reminds me in that way of the Packers team from a couple years ago that won the Super Bowl. Injuries happen to every team in this league over the course of a season, and good teams have quality players waiting to step in and succeed.