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Sunday, August 21, 2011
Three things revisited: Seahawks-Vikings

By Mike Sando

Looking back upon three things discussed here before the Seattle Seahawks' 20-7 preseason loss against Minnesota on Saturday night:

1. Tarvaris' timing: Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson didn't have much time to throw. More than once, he faced unblocked or barely blocked defenders coming free almost immediately. Sometimes he scrambled and threw on the run, once absorbing a hard hit that prevented him from finding a wide-open Zach Miller for what would have been a big gain. Jackson had time when throwing complete to Mike Williams for 17 yards to the Minnesota 2-yard line, but the drive ended on downs. Jackson completed only 11 of 21 passes for 75 yards overall. His underneath pass to Golden Tate appeared slightly behind its target, bouncing off Tate for an interception that Minnesota returned for a touchdown. The passing game hasn't hit stride yet. Jackson tried and failed to connect deep with Sidney Rice. The two connected on a couple shorter throws late in the first half. Backup Charlie Whitehurst had better numbers despite not completing a pass longer than 14 yards. Seattle averaged only 6.9 yards per completed pass, an unusually low figure.

2. Red Bryant's return. The Seahawks' best run defender from 2010 played for the first time since suffering a knee injury against Oakland last season. Minnesota ran only three plays in the first quarter, so there wasn't much to choose from early. Bryant had no tackles and few chances to make any. The Vikings ran or threw away from Bryant on a few plays when I was watching him exclusively. They averaged 2.8 yards per attempt on 10 carries in the first half. Linebacker Leroy Hill stood out most, making a couple strong tackles against Adrian Peterson. Bryant did deflect a Christian Ponder screen pass late in the first half. Pressure on Ponder affected the throw.

3. Pass protection. Don't be fooled by the stat sheet, which showed only one sack against Seattle quarterbacks. The Vikings hit Jackson repeatedly. They had 10 quarterback hits overall. There were some breakdowns in one-on-one matchups. Right tackle James Carpenter got away with a hold on one play. But there were also some issues that went beyond physical breakdowns. Defenders came free off the edge and Seattle appeared to have no one assigned to block them. Those things happen more frequently during preseason, when game-planning isn't a priority. The Seahawks were fortunate Jackson didn't suffer an injury. The Vikings slammed him to the turf with great force on the play when Miller, the tight end, was open in the right flat. Seattle will be better along the line once left tackle Russell Okung returns from injury.