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Seahawks Learn Something About Possible Starters

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Christine Michael ran for 89 yards in the Seahawks' first preseason game against the Chargers. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images).
Christine Michael ran for 89 yards in the Seahawks' first preseason game against the Chargers. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images).

The Seahawks comfortably won their first preseason game 31-10 Thursday night against the San Diego Chargers.

While it certainly wasn’t an indication of how the season will go, the performance offered some interesting perspectives on a few players who might be in contention for starting positions. 

All three quarterbacks got a chance to strut their stuff. Russell Wilson only played in the first quarter, but he showed good overall mobility in and out of the pocket. Veterans Brady Quinn and Tarvaris Jackson had their fair share of reps with the twos, with each player flashing backup potential. Quinn and Jackson are definitely not a threat to Wilson’s starting position, but need to be at least serviceable if Wilson ever gets hurt. Jackson might have gained the edge over Quinn after going 8-of-9 for 128 yards and two touchdowns.

Pete Carroll wanted the rookies to get a feel of what it means to play in the NFL. “It was a cool night for the rookies," the coach said. "We kind of dedicated this game to them. It was the first time they’ve ever played NFL football and they did a good job.”

Two rookies who could really play a big part in the Seahawks' battle to the Super Bowl are running backs Christine Michael and Spencer Ware. Ware, a former standout at LSU, ran for 32 yards on seven attempts, topping his great night with a six-yard touchdown. Ware showed enormous potential in short-yardage situations, as well as blocking and preventing sacks. The same goes for  Michael, who showed off his speed and intelligence in finding the right edge. He finished with 16 carries for 89 yards and a couple of big blocks in his own right. If Michael keeps playing like he did against the Chargers, Marshawn Lynch will have serious competition. 

As usual the Seahawks ran the ball more than they threw it — 29 rushes vs. 26 pass attempts — but the team was more successful finding the end zone through the air (three touchdowns). Carroll was more interested in testing his young receivers. 

There’s been a lot of talk about who should take Percy Harvin’s spot now that he’s out for the season. Stephen Williams impressed with his speed and reach. He had two long receptions for a total of 89 yards and a touchdown. Jermaine Kearse also had some positive plays, highlighted by the 11-yard TD reception from Quinn. Look for Sidney Rice and Golden Tate to play more minutes in the second and third preseason games. They are expected to lead the receiving unit, with Kearse and Williams as designated backups. After releasing Early Doucet, the Seahawks signed Donovan Kemp to fill in the empty roster spot. 

Some of the most positive and comforting notes came from the defense. After allowing the Chargers to score a field goal on a 13-play, 74-yard drive, they were almost perfect. Who knew Allen Bradford could play so well? The newly re-invented linebacker showed speed and size. While nothing can take away Bobby Wagner’s starting spot, Bradford would give them great depth. The best player on defense was Benson Mayowa, an undrafted rookie out of Idaho. He's going to play an important part in pass-rushing in Chris Clemons’ absence. His swift decision-making earned him 1.5 sacks and two tackles against San Diego. 

This might not have been a regular-season game, but the coaching staff must feel good knowing that their backups can play. The Seahawks suffered some crucial injuries during the playoffs last season and had a hard time recovering. This year’s Seahawks seem to have what it takes to go all the way.