Seattle Seahawks

 

Takeaways from Seahawks preseason opener - Aug. 7, 2014

Defensive end Cassius Marsh #91 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates a sack against the Denver Broncos during preseason action at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 7, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

by Curtis Crabtree
KJR reporter
Twitter: @Curtis_Crabtree

For the first time in over two years, the Seattle Seahawks lost a preseason game.

The Seahawks saw their nine-game preseason winning streak snapped in a 21-16 loss to the Denver Broncos on Thursday night in the first real audition for the 2014 season.

Ultimately, the loss has little meaning and it's how players performed that is the important aspect to analyze.

Here are a few takeaways from how Seattle performed against the Broncos:

1.) Don't overreact, positively or negatively, to what you saw Thursday night.

Preseason games are important. Yes. However, you have to look at the context of the situation to attempt to determine how much to read into it.

For instance, cornerback Byron Maxwell was picked on a bit as Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas hooked up for five catches for 52 yards, many coming at Maxwell's expense.

Is that because Maxwell isn't the player Seattle hopes he will be and they could have a serious problem replacing Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond? Probably not. These two teams meet again in just over a month in a game that will actually matter. Seattle played very basic, vanilla coverages that aren't as representative of the way they will play in the regular season. Neither team was going to show their whole playbook in this exhibition game Thursday night.

That being said, when the rest of the secondary includes Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, it does appear highly likely teams will target Maxwell instead when the real games start in September.

2.) Brock Coyle, Mike Morgan held their own with first-team defense.

Undrafted rookie Brock Coyle and veteran Mike Morgan started at middle linebacker and strong-side linebacker in place of injured starters Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin and Malcolm Smith.

Coyle and Morgan had strong showings on defense and in special teams duty, which will be important for both as they attempt to fit onto the back end of Seattle's roster.

Coyle was second on the team with five tackles behind Earl Thomas. Morgan made a nice stop of a Denver running back Ronnie Hillman for no gain after splitting tight ends Julius Thomas and Virgil Green.

3.) Paul Richardson may be more than just a home run threat.

Receiver Paul Richardson had a nice showing in his preseason debut as he led the team with four catches for 37 yards.

However, it was the type of catches he had that may have been more intriguing.

Richardson has shown his ability with his outstanding speed to run past a cornerback on a streak downfield. His play Thursday night showed he's a more polished receiver than maybe he's been given credit for.

His longest reception was just 12 yards as he showed he could find space in short, and intermediate routes as well as the ability to go over the top.

It's a strong early showing that he could be a complete receiver for the Seahawks.

4.) A.J. Jefferson continues his strong preseason.

Cornerback A.J. Jefferson drew praise from head coach Pete Carroll earlier this offseason for the way he's played since joining the team this summer.

Jefferson, who formerly has played for the Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings, had three passes defended and intercepted Denver quarterback Brock Osweiler in the fourth quarter.

Jefferson suffered a sprained ankle either on the play or in the ensuing celebration, but he may clearly be the fifth cornerback on Seattle's roster right now. He may even be able to supplant Tharold Simon, as the second-year player was ejected from the game for throwing a punch in the third quarter.

Jefferson and Simon appear to be separating themselves from the other cornerback options at this stage behind Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane.

5.) Justin Britt struggled with Denver's first-string defense.

Rookie right tackle Justin Britt had difficulties attempting to handle Denver linebacker DeMarcus Ware and Derek Wolfe.

It certainly didn't help that three-fifths of Seattle's predicted starting offensive line didn't suit up Thursday night. Russell Okung (foot), James Carpenter (calf) and Max Unger (groin) all sat out with injuries, leaving J.R. Sweezy as the only starter from the Super Bowl able to play against Denver tonight.

Britt, Seattle's second second-round draft pick, struggled to handle the Broncos pass rush. It's certainly no surprise. It was his first professional game and he's been abused at times in training camp by defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril in practice too. However, it could make the signing of Eric Winston even more appealing if Britt continues to struggle throughout the preseason.

6.) Other things of note from the first preseason game...

Defensive end Cassius Marsh had a strong debut with four tackles and Seattle's only sack of the game.

Safety Earl Thomas indeed took the first punt return of the game for Seattle. He's been at the top of the depth chart and the leader in the clubhouse to replace Golden Tate as the team's punt returner.

Other players to have positive nights... Tight end Cooper Helfet, defensive tackle Michael Brooks, running back Demitrius Bronson and quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson and Terrelle Pryor.

 

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