I’m getting ready to head off for Kansas City, but before boarding the plane I thought I would provide a few keys to this Saturday’s contest against the Chiefs.
Run to win: The Seahawks have averaged just over 3 yards a carry in their first two preseason games. That needs to change on Saturday against Kansas City. Expect a heavy dose of Julius Jones and Justin Forsett as Seattle attempts to get the running game going, led by the team’s new zone blocking scheme.
Keep Hasselbeck clean: Seattle gave up three sacks in the first half alone against the Broncos. The sacks did allow the veteran quarterback to know that he is indeed healthy and can take a hit. Now that he has found out, the team probably is better off with keeping Hasselbeck upright, with either better pass protection or the quarterback getting to his check downs quicker.
Pressure the QB: So far the Seahawks front four has struggled to get consistent pressure on the quarterback. The Seahawks need to change that on Saturday, particularly with cornerback Marcus Trufant still out. A consistent pass rush up front will help better protect a vulnerable secondary. And if the team does decide to blitz, they need to get there.
Wrap-up: The Seahawks have not looked good tackling in the open field the first two games and need to do a better job both of wrapping up and taking the right pursuit angles to the ball carrier. Opponents have been racking up yards after the catch against Seattle so far, leading to some extended drives against the first-team defense.
Get the return game going: So far rookie Deon Butler has struggled returning kicks. Part of that has to do with the rule changes that do no allow four-man wedges. Seattle has struggled making the blocks with the two-man wedge so far in the preseason, while Butler also has hit the hole tentatively.
Ryan Divish reports on quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and the rest of the offense using this week’s game against Kansas City to get a little more comfortable and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp’s system.
Ex-Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander still believes he can help somebody if given a chance. Greg Johns of Seattlepi.com has the details here.
Jim Moore of Seattlepi.com profiles one of the surprises in Seahawks camp, defensive end Nick Reed.
Former Seahawk Dave Wyman provides some keys to the game for Seattle heading into Kansas City this weekend.
Brock Huard does the same thing here.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com reports the Seattle’s back-up linebackers can get the job done if called upon.
Clark Judge of CBS Sports previews the Seahawks.
More cool shots from Rod Mar at Seahawks.com from the Broncos game.
KJR’s Mitch Levy had his first Seahawks roundtable discussion on Thursday, with Hugh Millen, Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times and Dave Boling of the TNT. The group talked about the differences between Mike Holmgren and Jim Mora, along with thoughts on the team beginning the season. Check out the audio links here and here.
I did a spot with Ryan Jones of the KC Chiefs blog previewing this weekend’s game, which you can check out here.
Kent Baab of the Kansas City Star reports that running back Larry Johnson has changed his attitude after the new regime change which has resulted in a renewed focus on winning.
San Francisco 49ers
Ray Ratto, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, says the 49ers must get beyond head coach Mike Singletary being the face of the franchise. Here’s an except.
When the coach/general manager/owner is the face of the franchise, the players aren’t good enough, and when the players aren’t good enough, the Earth’s crust is the limit.
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Shaun Hill, who the team recently named the starter for the season, should be ready to play against Dallas on Saturday after suffering a strained back.
Scott Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that the 49ers are down to two offensive tackles heading into the Dallas game, as Marvel Smith will not make the trip due to personal reasons.
UPDATE: Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat is now reporting via twitter that there’s a strong chance Smith may retire.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says this weekend’s game against Green Bay will provide a chance to measure how the team’s defense is doing heading into the regular season.
More Somers: Some keys to the game against the Packers tonight.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com reports the Cardinals are not concerned that the starters have only scored three points so far in two preseason games.
St. Louis Rams
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Rams got their second preseason victory, a 24-21 win over Cincinnati.
Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the win was a positive step for new head coach Steve Spanguolo.