Ah preseason Week 3, the most important of the unimportant preseason games. Where starters play into the second half, the threat of injury is terrifying, and just a tiny bit of game planning occurs. This is the most meaningful action until the official start of the season, and will go a long way to determine the starting 22 on Week 1. Here is where you should be looking on each side of the ball.
I know, I know, this is the deadest of horses I’m beating. Post-mortem equine assault aside, this is a critical week for the Seahawks offensive front five. All through training camp Gary Gilliam was the starting left tackle. However, an injury to J’Marcus Webb at right tackle has caused a shuffle. Gary Gilliam has returned to the right tackle position, where he played last year, and Brady Sowell has been anchoring the left side. That may change this week, as Webb has a chance to return.
Here’s what’s not totally clear. The starting offensive line has actually played pretty well in the first two games. If Webb returns, will that change the starting lineup? I expect you will see a rotation throughout this game. Justin Britt at center and Germain Ifredi at right tackle should stay where they are. But throughout the game expect to see Gilliam at both right and left tackle, Sowell at left tackle, Webb at Right tackle, Mark Glowinski and Jahri Evans at left tackle, all as the potential starting lineup. You might need to buy a program to keep track.
While the offensive line may be loaded with questions, the secondary has almost too many answers. DeShawn Shead has come a long way since joining the team as an undrafted free agent in 2012. His steady play and reliable execution have him as the early favorite to start opposite Richard Sherman. He also has experience at safety, demonstrating the versatility the Seahawks covet.
Jeremy Lane came back last year after suffering several severe injuries in the Super Bowl the year before. Now that he has had a full offseason to recover Lane is expected to bounce back in a huge way. He should get a look at outside corner in the game as well. That said, he’s at his best covering the slot, an increasingly important role. A big game could get him in the starting lineup, so keep an eye on number 20.
Tharold Simon enters his third year with high expectations. At 6 foot 3 inches he has the size the seahawks are known for. In addition, is the most athletic corner on the team, even over star Richard Sherman. Sherman has gone on the record repeatedly that he believes it’s only a matter of time before Simon supersedes Sherman as the best corner on the team. While that remains to be seen, there’s no doubt he will get a long look, and has them most upside. Simon earning the starting role would be a very compelling development.
There you have it. As you watch the third preseason game keep your eyes on the offensive front, especially the tackles, and the defensive backfield. Once the dust settles, and the rosters trim down, these are the guys who will be on the field making the plays once the season actually begins.