Protect the quarterback: Whether it’s Tarvaris Jackson, Charlie Whitehurst or Josh Portis, Seattle’s offensive line has to prove they can give the quarterback enough time to make the proper reads and push the ball down the field. Both James Carpenter and Breno Giacomini likely will see time with the first unit, so tonight’s game against Oakland could go a long way to determining who will be the starting right tackle next week against San Francisco.
Raiders reunion: Offensive line coach Tom Cable, guard Robert Gallery and tight end Zach Miller will be playing against their former team for the first time since moving on during the offseason, so that should serve as added motivation to look crisp in the opening quarter of this game.
A Golden opportunity: Expect second-year receiver Golden Tate to start and be targeted often tonight, as the Seattle Seahawks give him every opportunity to prove that the Notre Dame product can be a regular contributor for this team offensively. I expect we likely will see Tate on returns as well. With rookies Doug Baldwin, Kris Durham and Ricardo Lockette playing well, Tate needs a strong performance to solidify his role as the No. 4 receiver on this team.
Safety dance: Another good battle is emerging for the backup spots at safety, with Josh Pinkard, Atari Bigby, Jeron Johnson and Mark Legree all battling for a spot on the final roster backing up Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. I think special teams will play a major role on which of these players make the roster, so watch how each one performs on the coverage units, along with the defensive personnel rotations.
Who starts at corner: Now that Kelly Jennings has been traded, CFL product Brandon Browner has gotten most of the work at cornerback with the first unit. But don’t count out Walter Thurmond or rookie Richard Sherman. And Seattle’s other rookie, Byron Maxwell, continues to impress on special teams. Tonight should help sort out what kind of rotation Seattle would like to use there.
Other players to watch: QB Tarvaris Jackson, WR Doug Baldwin, TE Anthony McCoy, RB Justin Forsett, RB Thomas Clayton, LB David Vobora, LB Matt McCoy, LB Mike Morgan, DT Pep Levingston, DE A.J. Schable, FB Dorson Boyce, WR Chris Carter and DT Clinton McDonald.