NFC West: Seahawks-Chargers

Seahawks observations vs. Chargers

August, 26, 2008

Posted by's Mike Sando

The Seahawks' third exhibition game produced a few more clues heading into the first wave of mandatory roster reductions Tuesday. A few things I noticed:

  • Justin Forsett's campaign for a roster spot hit a rough patch in this game. Forsett used poor judgment with a fair catch inside the 10. He carried four times for nine yards, losing a fumble after running into one of his offensive linemen. Forsett averaged 18.3 yards on three kick returns and five yards on one punt return.
  • Veteran running back T.J. Duckett carried six times for 46 yards, his first significant contributions of the preseason. He looked much better in this game.
  • Jordan Kent caught four passes for 47 yards and one touchdown. Mike Holmgren talked about "force-feeding" the ball to other receivers in this game, but Kent still led the team in receptions and receiving yards. Courtney Taylor was next among wide receivers with three catches, but he gained only 24 yards and appeared to be shaken up.
  • Rookie defensive end Lawrence Jackson appeared to have some problems against the run. He seemed to drift too far inside, sometimes for no apparent reason. This happened three or four times that I noticed and I'm not sure why. Jackson lined up at right defensive end and wound up on the other side of left defensive tackle Rocky Bernard on one play. The Chargers ran the ball well when this happened.
  • Patrick Kerney played extensively at left defensive end. The work was presumably good for Kerney, who has missed time with a calf problem. But he wasn't a factor as a pass rusher when I was watching him.
  • Linebacker David Hawthorne hits people hard. He broke up one pass with a violent hit.
  • Right tackle Ray Willis continues to look pretty good most of the time. He had a false-start penalty in this game, but Seattle can function with Willis subbing for the injured Sean Locklear.
  • Left cornerback Marcus Trufant appears to be gaining momentum as the season approaches. He played aggressively and effectively.
  • Third-team quarterback Charlie Frye looked much better tonight. He threw the ball more accurately and commanded the offense more effectively. The injury he suffered late in the game will be worth monitoring.
Seattle must release five players by Tuesday. This first cutdown should be easy. The choices become much tougher on the cutdown to 53. On the injury front, Frye and Lofa Tatupu are scheduled to undergo MRI exams for knee injuries. Holmgren told reporters the Seahawks think neither injury is serious. They expect to find no ligament damage, but Tatupu was reportedly on crutches after the game.

The night ahead

August, 25, 2008

Posted by's Mike Sando

I'll be watching the Seahawks-Chargers game on TV tonight. Our own Bill Williamson will be filing reports from the game from a Chargers perspective. I'll revisit pertinent roster issues Tuesday as the Seahawks and Rams comply with the 75-man limit.

NFC West quarterback roundup

August, 25, 2008

Posted by's Mike Sando

Arizona: Kurt Warner might be the logical favorite to start for the Cardinals after Matt Leinart's three-interception game against the Raiders, but coach Ken Whisenhunt hasn't announced a decision. ESPN's Chris Mortensen, citing a source, said the Cardinals are "expected to" name Warner the starter. Whisenhunt denied that he had made a decision, not necessarily what that decision was expected to be. If Warner starts, Leinart becomes the No. 2 quarterback, although third-stringer Brian St. Pierre has completed 23 of 30 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns during the exhibition season.

St. Louis: Marc Bulger enjoyed a strong performance in completing 18 of 25 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns against the Ravens on Saturday night. Bulger still hasn't found a rhythm with Drew Bennett, but he appears to be rounding into form. Trent Green remains firmly established as the No. 2 quarterback. Brock Berlin has completed 22 of 28 passes for 247 yards during the exhibition season, making him the apparent favorite over Bruce Gradkowski for the No. 3 job.

San Francisco: J.T. O'Sullivan enters the regular season as the starter, with Alex Smith second on the depth chart and Shaun Hill third. The long-simmering quarterback competition has finally ended, but coach Mike Nolan's handling of the position remains topical. Nolan has yet to say how much each quarterback might play in the next exhibition game.

Seattle: Matt Hasselbeck didn't make the trip to San Diego for the third exhibition game tonight. He continues to rest a sore back. The team thinks he'll be fine for the regular season. Seneca Wallace is well established as the No. 2 quarterback, but Charlie Frye is getting most of the work. That will continue tonight against the Chargers. The reps are valuable to Frye this summer because he joined the team in September 2007, after training camp. The Seahawks will consider using Wallace as a receiver and/or punt returner if Frye gains the staff's confidence.

Posted by's Mike Sando

Matt Maiocco of Instant 49ers answers questions about Alex Smith's present and future with the organization. Smith says he wouldn't mind playing in the same offense for a while.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Smith could learn from J.T. O'Sullivan's approach.

Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle sees receiver Ashley Lelie and fullback Moran Norris as "on the bubble" heading toward the 53-man roster reduction date. I would be surprised if either veteran made the cut.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says he, too, expects the Cardinals to name Kurt Warner as their starting quarterback. But no team sources are saying the decision has been made. As Somers notes, it's only a matter of when, not if, Warner gets the call.

Scott Bodrow of the East Valley Tribune says the Cardinals have no choice but to name  Warner their starting quarterback. 

Mike Kahn of quotes secondary coach Jim Mora on second-year cornerback Josh Wilson: "He's much more consistent as a football player in every phase of the game. This year Josh is much better out on the edge as a corner, his footwork is better and his technique out of his break is better. When we move him inside to the nickel position, he's very solid in there. He understands all the coverage now, the route concepts, and he knows where to fit on the run. This is how to become a complete player."

Brian McIntyre of previews the Seahawks-Chargers game tonight, singling out a few position battles to watch. He wonders how Seattle's young receivers will fare against a Chargers secondary stocked with high draft choices.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer looks at the Seahawks' young receivers through the eyes of Nate Burleson. Years ago, Burleson emerged somewhat unexpectedly in Minnesota.

Frank Hughes of the Tacoma News Tribune says Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will watch the team's game in San Diego tonight from Seattle. Charlie Frye gets another chance to get comfortable in the offense.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams are pleased with Chris Long and fellow defensive lineman Adam Carriker. Carriker does a "great job" eating up blockers, freeing up linebackers to run sideline to sideline, coach Scott Linehan said.

Also from Coats: Rookie receivers Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton looked good Saturday night. Leonard Little remains on pace for a bounce-back season. The linebackers seem to be coming together. On the down side, cornerback Tye Hill suffered through a rough game.

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says the Rams are pleased with their offensive line. Adam Goldberg started the most recent exhibition game at left tackle, allowing Orlando Pace to rest an apparently minor injury.

Also from Korte: a progress report on the Rams' Long, who has yet to turn effort into production.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders if Avery and Burton might become a formidable receiving tanden for the Rams. Both showed promise Saturday night.

Jose Romero of the Seattle Times sees the Seahawks carrying both kickers past the 75-man roster cutdown Tuesday. Neither Brandon Coutu nor Olindo Mare has won the job convincingly.