Jclombardi previews Seahawks preseason game.
Guest senior writer jclombardi @ http://lombardiave.com
Basics: Packers (0-1) vs. Seahawks (1-0) at Qwest Field in Seattle on Saturday at 9 p.m. You can watch on the NFL Network.
Injury report: Packers – S Bigby (ankle) LB Matthews (hamstring), RB Lumpkin (hamstring), CB Harris (knee), RB Starks (hamstring) and LB Joseph (thigh) are not expected to play. LB Hawk (ankle) and DT Harrell (personal) are questionable.
Things to Watch:
1. Defense–No. 1 defense looked shaky in pass defense last week against the Browns. This will be a severe test of the defensive line’s ability to stay on its feet. The Seahawks’ offensive line coach Gibbs is the architect of the zone blocking system. It will be a good test for a defensive line trying to dominate in the run game.
2. Backup CBs–While two-time Pro Bowl CB Harris may be returning to practice on Monday, the Packers are still wanting to get long looks at young CBs Lee and Underwood who are competing for the fourth cornerback spot in the dime defense and could be serving as the 3rd CB in the nickel if Harris isn’t healthy enough to go in the Sept. 12 regular-season opener at Philadelphia
3. Key rookies–How well will rookies S Burnett, OL Bulaga, DE Neal, OL Newhouse, RB Porter, and TE Quarless play in their second game, especially S Burnett, who had an ok or up-and-down first game? The rookies must improve in their second game.
4. 3rd receiver–How goes the competition between WRs Jones and Nelson for 3rd receiver?
6. Offensive Protection–last week, the Packers faced a Browns defense that blitzed an inordinate amount for a preseason game including 10 of QB Rodgers’ 13 dropbacks. The Seahawks could bring more of the same, although they didn’t during their preseason-opening victory over Titans.
7. Special teams–the same old special teams problems cropped up last week, including penalties and coverage issues. As the Packers get closer to the regular season, Slocum hopes to identify his No. 1 units and let them show what they can do with that process starts tonight.
8. KR Blackmon returns–Blackmon returned to practice this week and looked good returning kickoffs and punts. Can he answer the bell tonight, and will his knee withstand the rigors of all that cutting and stress?
9. Running game–how well RB Grant, RB Jackson, and rookie RB Porter do to get a decent running game going in the game?