Seahawks preseason game offers huge tests, opportunities for Packers
Stephen O'Brien, Packers contributor
Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The preseason game Friday night against the Seattle Seahawks will act as the best preparation for the coming season that the Packers could hope for.
The Seahawks destroyed the Denver Broncos in their preseason match up last Saturday night, 40-10.
The Packers won’t take this preseason game too lightly, as it will be the best test for the team to see if they can address some issues with a team very similar to the ones they have been planning for all summer.
Datone Jones and Vince Young might play on opposite sides of the ball, and Ted Thompson may have brought them on board for different reasons, but in different ways, they're both helpoing the Packers defense understand and combat offenses with mobile quarterbacks.
The NFL has become more focused on mobility by signalcallers, and we saw this to devastating effect in the playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers last year.
The game against the Seahawks gives Mike McCathy and Dom Capers a chance to see how the team fair dealing with a mobile QB.
Russell Wilson was electric during the 2012 season. He had a relatively slow start, not that anyone would have noticed with all the hype around his two other draft QBs Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.
In the second half of the season, he posted incredible numbers that helped him take the Seahawks to the playoffs, breaking the record for passing yards by a rookie in a playoff game with 385 yards against the Falcons, a record that stood for 75 years.
Wilson’s ability to roll out under pressure and find an open receiver is exactly what the Packers need to experience before they face Colin Kaepernick in week one and RGIII in week two.
Even if RGIII doesn’t take to the field due to his injury, Shanahan will still run a potent offense with the very able Kirk Cousins at the helm. Last season, the Redskins had the most yards per play in the NFL with 6.2 yards.
Both teams will likely give their first team proportionately more playing time in this second last preseason game and we will get to see how the defense can contain Wilson.
The Seahawks QB aired it out last week against the Broncoos with two TDs. The coaches will likely let their first teams play two quarters to see how their planning and unit is coming together.
They will then spare the risk of injury by not letting them take too many snaps in the last preseason game, which is a match up for the Packers against Andy Reid’s Chiefs with a familiar face in QB Alex Smith.
Special teams will also have a big test here, and it will be a way for periphery players to impress.
The Seahawks have a raw talent in Jermaine Kearse, who scored a 107 yard kickoff return against Denver.
The second and third string players will look to contain Seattle’s special team’s outfit, stopping a playmaker in Kearse who many wrote off as just another raw, volatile free agent.
With the league focusing more on improvisation and creativity, the special teams unit has to be on their game to prevent falling to the same fate as Denver did last week.
The Seattle defense will also keep the Packers backup QB's honest.
Former Wisconsin Badgers defensive end O’Brien Schofield returned a fumble for an astonishing 106 yards against the Broncos and this punishment will mean that the backups really cant turn the ball over without losing heavy yardage.
It will be the closest to regular season pressure that the backups will get and the experience will be paramount to flushing out what order the Packers should place Harrell, Coleman and Young behind Aaron Rodgers.
All in all, preseason games can be taken with a pinch of salt, but this will be the closest comparison we can get to seeing how all the work Mike McCarthy and his players have put in over the past few months has panned out.
It will allow the first string players to flex their muscles in protecting against a mobile QB and will give the backups a real taste of the speed of the game and what is required to ensure they don’t give up easy yardage or silly turnovers.