The Seattle Seahawks have not played in 11 days. That will change Monday night. In the meantime, I've taken another look at the team's most recent game, a 31-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 13. Five observations with implications for the future:
No fear from Tarvaris Jackson. It's still unclear how Jackson went from struggling to play with a torn pectoral to flourishing as though healthy. He ran with the ball on the Seahawks' first drive and dove forward instead of sliding. Jackson attempted only 16 passes against the Eagles and has now had an extended period between games. He should be even better physically against St. Louis.
Cole-Okung undercard. The Seahawks lost left tackle Russell Okung to a season-ending pectoral injury when Eagles defensive end Trent Cole threw Okung to the ground in frustration late in the game. That incident had been building. Cole and/or defensive tackle Mike Patterson threw down Okung just 35 seconds into the game. Marshawn Lynch was finishing a run up the middle when Okung rallied to his assistance. The whistle had blown three times as one of their shoves sent Okung toppling over a pile.
Giacomini might have a future. The Seahawks drafted James Carpenter to play right tackle and would like to see him play there in the future. The next few games could reveal whether Carpenter's injury replacement, Breno Giacomini, might be worth keeping in that spot. Such a move would make sense only if Giacomini played well and the team felt good enough about Carpenter at guard. When Lynch broke free for his improbable 15-yard touchdown run, Giacomini was laying on two Eagles defenders in the backfield. He plays with attitude and adds toughness. Would a left-side pairing featuring Okung and Carpenter be worth investigating next season? A thought.
Defense feasted on bad QB play. The Seahawks picked off four passes against Vince Young. They'll be facing Sam Bradford or Tom Brandstater on Monday night, Caleb Hanie, Alex Smith and John Skelton or Kevin Kolb in their remaining games. The defense has a chance to keep the turnovers coming. The San Francisco 49ers' Smith has done a very good job avoiding them this season, but Seattle gets to face him at CenturyLink Field, an advantage for the Seahawks.
David Hawthorne's valiance. Hawthorne made it through the game despite continuing knee problems. His game-clinching interception return for a touchdown helped him emerge as the defensive player of the week in the NFC. His knee problems raise questions about long-term durability, however. Hawthorne has limped through the past couple games at less than full strength. I'd list linebacker among the team's needs heading into the offseason even though Hawthorne, Leroy Hill and K.J. Wright have played well at times. The team needs to restock its depth after deciding Aaron Curry wasn't a fit.
The day is only beginning. I'm heading over to CenturyLink Field shortly and will report from there. It's looking like weather should not be a problem. Temperatures are expected to be in the 30s, with no rain.