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Clayton: Seahawks have plenty of things left to settle after Week 1 loss

Jimmy Graham had just eight yards on three receptions in Seattle's season opener in. (AP)

The biggest reflection of the Seahawks’ 17-9 loss to the Green Bay Packers is that it looked like a rerun of some of the road struggles of last season.

Struggles persisted along the offensive line. A scrambling Russell Wilson was put in too many bad situations to generate touchdown drives. The offense couldn’t settle on one running back to post a significant ground game.

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Playing the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday should help much like it did last season in the third week of the season. The 49ers are rebuilding and got off to a bad start against the Carolina Panthers. Not only that, the game is at home where the Seahawks have confidence.

Let’s look back at five observations from Sunday.

• While the whole offensive line had an awful game against the Packers, problems continued at tackle. A year ago the Seahawks didn’t have the talent at the tackle position; they had Bradley Sowell and J’Marcus Webb. This season Sowell is a minimum salary backup with the Chicago Bears and Webb isn’t in the league at the moment. The next option was George Fant, who never played a snap on the offensive line before last season. Now the Seahawks have talent, but they really don’t know if it is going to work. Right tackle Germain Ifedi was credited with giving up a sack in Green Bay and left tackle Rees Odhiambo was credited with giving up 1 1/2. With 10 offensive linemen on the roster, Pete Carroll and Tom Cable might be willing to make changes quickly. They can’t let the problem linger too long. That’s why Carroll suggested rookie Ethan Pocic could be an option soon at right tackle. Matt Tobin could be tried at left tackle or maybe the team would move Luke Joeckel to his old position. The Seahawks would like some continuity along the line, but the bad start ruined those plans.

• The Seahawks came out of the preseason wondering how to sort their running back rotation. They enter Week 2 with the same uncertainty. It’s pretty clear Chris Carson was the most effective back in the preseason. He might just get the start against the 49ers; Eddie Lacy had no running room in Green Bay, as Packers defenders bottled him up in the backfield, giving him no chance to generate yards. Still, he looked slow getting to the line of scrimmage and was held to three yards on five carries. Thomas Rawls is expected back this week coming off a high ankle sprain. Overall, the Seahawks had 90 yards on 18 carries against the Packers, but backs had only 53 yards on 15 carries. Carson was good. He had 39 yards on six carries, including a 30-yard run. He’s earned the chance to start against the 49ers. You figure it might be a rotation of Carson and Rawls with Lacy getting a few chances. The Seahawks spent $4.2 million on Lacy to get some power into the running game, but one week into the season they can’t worry about the financial issues. They need to get good runs to set up better down-and-distance situations for Wilson.

• Pete Carroll didn’t mince any words when asked about tight end Jimmy Graham. He said Graham had a hard game. He caught three passes for eight yards, and he needs to bounce back. Last year coming off a torn patellar tendon, Graham went week to week not knowing how he was going to get through practice and games. He was a warrior fighting the pain and struggle coming off a tough injury. He had a Pro Bowl season and almost had 1,000 yards. You can see Russell Wilson tried to get him more throws in the red zone. More than any other player on offense, Graham needs a good game against the 49ers to bolster his confidence and quiet his many critics in the fan base.

• The defense is as good as was advertised. The addition of Sheldon Richardson worked perfectly. Less than a week after being acquired from the Jets, Richardson played 54 snaps, making a sack and a quarterback pressure. Even though the entire defense was fatigued being on the field for 82 plays, Richardson filled the three-technique spot perfectly. The Packers couldn’t run the ball. Aaron Rodgers had to make quicker throws. Rodgers came out looking good statistically, throwing for 311 yards and completing 28 passes, but he produced only 10 points on offense.

• Shaquill Griffin looks like the real deal at cornerback. As expected, he played the outside corner opposite Richard Sherman, but nobody expected the extra pressure on him that would come from Jeremy Lane’s ejection. Naturally Rodgers was going to attack him and test him often. Griffin closed well on the deeper passes. He was targeted 10 times, and though he gave up seven receptions, here’s the key stat: he was only beaten for 65 yards. Impressive debut.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.

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