With the final preseason game now hours away, here are a few random thoughts to kill the time between kickoff….
— A busy/short week meant I didn’t get a chance to sit down and watch all of the replay until last night. One thing that really stood out was the play of Brock Coyle, who it could be argued won the game for the Seahawks. Among Coyle’s seemingly many standout plays was sniffing out the run on San Diego’s two-point conversion, which proved the difference when the Seahawks kicked the late field goal to win it. Coyle was one of the big stories of last year’s camp when he made the team as an undrafted rookie free agent. He’s been quietly even better this year. Pro Football Focus also cited Coyle for his play, naming him in its list of best linebacker play last weekend (an award that interestingly went to former Seahawk Malcolm Smith, who will be back in town tonight with the Raiders).
— I came away from watching the replay thinking that the offensive line played better than it had when watching the game live. Maybe it was from hearing Tom Cable’s strong vote of confidence on Tuesday. But it seemed like some of the passing plays that went awry weren’t really due to undue pressure but the rest of the passing game being out of rhythm, whether it was receivers not getting open, Russell Wilson not making the right throw or some combination therein. Wilson didn’t play his best game, to be sure, and as he noted, a throw like the one to Jermaine Kearse in the end zone is one he usually makes, and one that if he had would have made everything look a lot better.
— The Seahawks really did blitz a lot. It was interesting hearing Philip Rivers refer to it as “uncharacteristic” of the Seahawks during the in-game interview. You wonder if that’s really a precursor of what is to come, or if they were just trying out some things in the preseason.No doubt, it’ll always vary some based on opponent. One person they really brought a lot was Will Blackmon.Recall that Pete Carroll said last May that his ability to blitz was one thing they liked about him. There is some thought that Blackmon’s spot on the roster isn’t 100 percent secure. But judging by the way he was used against the Chargers, it seems like Kris Richard has some interesting thoughts on how to use him.It also strikes me that bringing a lot more pressure will also ask more of a secondary that could enter the season with some question marks, especially if Kam Chancellor isn’t back. But Seattle’s speed up front is undeniable. It will be interesting to watch unfold.
— Speaking of Blackmon and the nickel spot, that is quietly one of the more interesting positions to watch, as well. Marcus Burley was injured earlier in camp but is healthy now and I’d assume each could play a lot tonight as the Seahawks figure out which way to go there. Tye Smith has also been playing nickel but seems a distant third in that competition. But of the key starting jobs — which nickelback is in the modern NFL — that’s one of the few that really seems still up for some debate.
— I thought Tharold Simon played pretty well and he’ll be another interesting one to watch tonight. The team has invested a lot in Cary Williams and I think his veteran dependability is something the team regards as pretty valuable. But Simon could work his way into that discussion. At the least, as Carroll said the other day, Simon could emerge as a player the team will use in specific matchup situations, meaning you could see more rotating of the right corner spot than we have in years past when one player has been the sure thing starter there pretty much every play of every game.
— Speaking of San Diego’s two-point play, Phil Simms gave a, well, interesting reason for not liking the new NFL rule — that it gives coaches one more thing they have to think about. I think worrying about whether all the million-dollar-salaried coaches are given a little additional stress is about last on the list of reasons to not like the rule — just delegate it to the 24th assistant on the list if that’s the problem. That aside, it will be interesting to see how the new PAT rules impact things in the regular season. I don’t think we’ve learned much of anything in the preseason. There’s zero chance Mike McCoy would have made the decision to go for it at that point in a game that counted.