The Seahawks will host the Minnesota Vikings Saturday at 7:00pm and you can expect to see both teams' starting players get a little more action this time around. The first preseason game is typified by one or two series of hopefully NFL quality football followed by second, third, and even fourth team guys do their thing. Most fans tune this out by the end of the 1st quarter and turn the channel to Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. The second game, where we find oursevles, however, provides more entertainment to the masses as teams' starters are expected to play a half or more. People will still tune out after that because fantasy football hasn't started, but what can you do?
If you're a football hipster like me though and you enjoy watching some of the more obscure, unknown players try to make a name for themselves (while wearing a PBR shirt and drinking a PBR), fear not! Rest assured, the second week of the preseason caters to both types of fans and the scrubs will see a lot of action as well.
Either way, here are some players to watch for;
Tarvaris Jackson, after a forgettable two series last week against the Chargers, will look to build some confidence and get some fans on his side while simultaneously giving his old team the figurative (or literal) middle finger. He'll have more weapons to use this time around, and that should help, which brings me to my next item...
Mike Williams and Sidney Rice. Both players missed the first preseason game due to light injuries or lack of practice (or both) and should get some action in the first half on Saturday. It will be great to see them lined up opposite each other and we'll get a feel for how the Hawks plan to use them. The duo should give Jackson bigger and better targets than last week so hopefully he'll settle in nicely.
Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett. Lynch should get quite a few carries this time around, and Forsett will look to make an impact after sitting out of week one completely.
On defense, I'm going to key into the defensive line. Assuming Brandon Mebane gets some action, it will be fun to see if he can push the pile and cause some havoc for the opposing QB. Same goes for Alan Branch as well.
Leroy Hill will be one to watch -- in his first series last Thursday, the Seahawks had him playing in the Sam linebacker position so keep an eye on that. Aaron Curry was playing the weakside spot, a position that requires more versatility in coverage and greater range in tackling so it could really help to showcase his talents. I will be watching that very closely as well.
Watch how Kam Chancellor plays in pass defense. It's the big unknown at this point -- everyone knows that he can lay hat against the run but if he can be an all-around defender he'd be a star in the making.
Now, on to the hipster stuff. For the third and fourth string guys, a couple of intriguing roster battles are developing. Jeron Johnson had a pretty good game against the Chargers and overall has been a pleasant surprise during camp. However, the Seahawks just signed veteran S Atari Bigby which puts Johnson's roster spot in jeopardy. In the same boat are Josh Pinkard and to a lesser degree Byron Maxwell. Pay attention to how these guys all play because they will be vying for one, maybe two spots.
Pierre Allen, Pep Levingston, and Jameson Konz are all guys that I'll be keyed in on the defensive line. Each player has flashed a little bit in their own right, and all three are facing stiff competition at finding spots on the roster.
Josh Portis had a great first outing so it will be fun to see if he can follow up with an encore. I'm very intrigued to see newly signed RB Vai Taua. He'll likely get some carries late in the game. I'm also hoping to see FB/TE Ryan Travis get more involved in the passing game as well.
Receivers to keep a close eye on are Kris Durham, Doug Baldwin, Isaiah Stanback, and Ricardo Lockette. All in all, some really tight positional battles going into preseason week two and that's always a good thing for your team.
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