The Seahawks offensive line is not yet ready to face elite NFL defenses. Tarvaris Jackson isn't an elite NFL quarterback. These are the uncontroversial statements about last night's game that you're hearing from EVERYONE right now- Well, let me rephrase: What you are hearing from a lot of people is that the offensive line is hopeless, Tarvaris Jackson is too, and the 2011 Seahawks are doomed.
I'll grant there's very little to be excited about when it comes to the Seahawks' offense right now. The offensive line isn't anywhere near where it needs to be for the Niners game in two weeks, and that has spilled over to negatively affect every aspect of the offensive attack. Tarvaris Jackson's woes are intimately connected to the struggles of the O-line, but he's still taking too many sacks and having too much trouble getting rid of the ball. The running game appears to at least have the potential to improve sooner than the air attack, but even that is dependent of the O-line achieving competence, if not dominance. Our wide receivers and tight ends? Their grades can only be seen as "incomplete" as long as we can't even get the ball to them. Leon Washington is the offensive MVP of the preseason so far, and that's mainly because almost no one else has done anything of distinction against 1st-team opposition.
For Seattle to be successful in 2011, they have to be able to effectively run the ball- It will take pressure off Jackson, it will open up play-action opportunities to get the ball deep to Sidney Rice, it will help control the tempo of the game, and it will keep our defense fresh. This is ALL dependent on the offensive line "clicking" in a way it simply isn't right now- Things should instantly take a positive leap once Okung returns, but like every Seahawks fan I fret about his ability to stay on the field. Yes, there is reason to be concerned, but for now I'm willing to accept the idea that time, reps, and "coaching up" will eventually get the offensive line where we need it to be.
I guess I have to (again) address the Whitehurst thing- Jackson has been named the starter, and clearly needs as much preparation as possible for the opener down the coast on Sept. 11. It'd be deeply stupid, counterproductive, and distracting to open up the QB competition NOW. Frankly, if T-Jack DOES stink up the joint in September, Whitehurst will almost certainly be starting by October, and at that (theoretical) point I'll be pulling hard for Charlie to play great- But he won't make anyone think "If only we'd started him back in week 1, we'd be XLVI bound!"
Bottom line? If the offensive line play improves, Jackson will play better, and this little debate SHOULD take care of itself.
There was more good news from the special teams and the defense- Doug Baldwin likely nailed down a roster spot with his dazzling 105-yard kickoff return TD, and the defense overall looks way closer to regular-season form than the offense.
It's OK to be concerned about how the Seahawks are playing, but I won't start panicking unless/until they play this bad against a VERY vulnerable, weak Niners team on Kickoff Weekend- I still think we will win that game, and we'll survive until we start hitting our strides after our week 6 bye.
What do you think, sirs?