SEATTLE — No 12s, you’re not dreaming.
The time for football is now.
The Denver Broncos — minus Peyton Manning — arrive in Seattle on Friday to take on the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.
Yes, that’s right. We’re talking tailgating. We’re talking interceptions. We’re talking hard hits… hopefully hard enough to take the sting out of last year’s Super Bowl loss.
We’re talking football. Football, football, football. It’s not the regular season, but it’s a start. We’ve waited 194 days for our shot at redemption. Sure, preseason doesn’t count, but it’s an indicator of what we can expect this season as the Seahawks set out to wipe away that awful feeling we all had back in February, that cringe on everyone’s faces when they talk about Super Bowl XLIX, that urge to turn away from the TV every single time ESPN shows that play.
Before you tune into Q13 FOX at 6 p.m. Friday for all your pregame coverage, check out the five things you need to watch for as the glorious season of the pigskin begins to shine upon us.
5 Things to Watch for in Friday’s Preseason Game>>>
5. Russell to Jimmy… touchdown!
Ahh, Jimmy Graham. Not since Percy Harvin in 2013 have the Seahawks acquired such a heralded offensive weapon in the off-season. The 6’7” Graham has reportedly dominated training camp to a degree rarely seen. The blockbuster trade to get the tight-end – acquired for a first-round NFL Draft Pick – means all eyes will be on the tall pass catcher. As well as his partner in crime, Russell Wilson.
Fresh off a 4-year contract extension that makes him the second highest-paid QB in the league, people have grown accustomed to expecting big things from Wilson. The winningest QB ever in his first three years, Russell is undoubtedly happy to have a new weapon. Especially given how last year ended. The Super Bowl. The goal line. The interception. One imagines if the same situation arose this year, Russell to Graham would be the call.
4. The O-Line
For the past two years, the Seahawks offensive line has become a question sometime around October. Will the line hold up? Can they block for Russell?
On Thursday, only three spots on the line appeared set: Justin Britt, Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy. That left two spots in competition, which according to the Seattle Times, is heating up. Drew Nowak, Lemuel Jeanpierre, Alvin Bailey, Keavon Milton, Terry Poole, Garry Gilliam and others all remain in contention for the spots, the Times reports.
Yes, we admit that watching foot movement and blocking schemes isn’t always the sexiest aspect of a football game. But teams with strong starting lines often go deep into the playoffs. And better protect their quarterback’s knees. It would be nice to know who is protecting Russell’s knees.
3. The game… quite possibly from the couch in your living room
As ardent of fans as 12s are, one complaint can often be heard: Tickets to the games are very expensive.
The Seahawks are one of a couple teams in the league that have dynamic pricing structures, meaning the cost of each game depends on the quality of the opponent. With the cheapest regular season tickets hovering around $200, even life-time fans struggle to justify a trip to CenturyLink Field.
Turns out Friday’s preseason game ain’t cheap, either. According to SeatGeek, Friday’s tickets are more expensive than 90 regular season games for other teams. Meaning, you can find a ticket for a regular season game with another team cheaper than you can find a ticket for a Seahawks preseason game. Average resale ticket price for Friday’s game is $119. For comparison, the average resale price of a ticket to the Bills-Panthers preseason game is $9.
12s will certainly watch the game, and the stadium is sure to be packed. But with these prices, many prefer to watch from home.
2. Christine Michael
Everyone knows Marshawn Lynch is the Seahawks starting running back. But who will be his backup? With Robert Turbin having off-season hip surgery, all eyes should fall on Christine Michael, a third-year RB with much to prove. Coach Pete Carroll said Michael is having a stellar time in camp, but we’ve heard that before. With Central Michigan grad Thomas Rawls and Rod Smith nipping at his heals, Michael’s time to perform is now.
1. Kam Chancellor — or the lack of him — and those behind him, including his half-brother
At the moment it’s a little hard to watch Kam Chancellor. Why, you ask. He’s nowhere to be seen. Perennial Legion of Boom figurehead and hard-hitter extraordinaire, Chancellor holds out from training camp in an effort to get more money from the Hawks. While Chancellor is well-paid for a strong safety at $7-million a year through 2018, he argues that he is worth more to the team. An argument he’s paying for. The team docks Chancellor $30,000 for every day missed in camp, and he also stands to lose up to 25 percent of his $1 million signing bonus.
Among those to watch instead are Dion Bailey, DeShawn Shead and Keenan Lambert, Chancellor’s half-brother. The three all sit behind Chancellor on the depth chart, and have seen their playing time greatly increase in camp during his absence. Sure, they all say publicly they miss Chancellor and await his return. But one must anticipate big hits in the first preseason game from players looking to cement their spot on the team.