Clayton: Takeaways from the Seahawks’ preseason win over Broncos
Welcome to flag football.
There were 26 flags thrown in the Seattle Seahawks 22-14 preseason victory over the Denver Broncos, 14 against the Seahawks. In the preseason, officials don’t hold back their flags and they do that on purpose — officials will throw flags to make sure everyone understands rule changes and play interpretation.
It makes for ugly football, but it’s just part of the preseason. It also caused the game to go three hours and 18 minutes.
Let’s review what happened on Thursday:
• If anyone thinks Geno Smith is a lock to be backup quarterback, Paxton Lynch may have changed some minds. Though it’s too early to make final judgments, Lynch outperformed Smith Thursday night with a huge margin.
Remember, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said the backup job would be determined by which quarterback did the best in the preseason games. Lynch completed 11 of 15 passes for 109 yards and put up 14 offensive points in the second half.
Smith was three for nine for 58 yards and took two sacks and put up on six points in the first half. The offense had only 93 total yards for Smith. Lynch had 208. To his credit, Smith played despite having a cyst problem in his left knee that is going to require a minor surgery today that will sideline him for seven to 10 days.
In practice, Smith has had the edge. Now, it’s close.
• Blitz, the mascot, has competition: Meet the new Blitz, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. Norton, who dialed up several blitzes to put pressure on Broncos quarterbacks and to stop running plays. Not only did he blitz linebackers, he also blitzed cornerbacks and safeties.
Adding blitzes to the Cover One and Cover Three schemes is a natural choice while the Seahawks sort out what they have for a pass rush along the defensive line. With all the changes along the line, it’s going to be hard for the Seahawks to start the season figuring they could rush four and drop seven.
Blitzes give Norton the ability to get pressure and take advantage of the man-to-man coverage skills of the defensive backs.
• Jacob Martin did the best among the Seahawks pass rushers, but Rasheem Green also had a nice rush. Barkevious Mingo should be a lock to make the team with his pass-rush skills. The overall pressure from the line wasn’t great, but it was a start.
• Ugo Amadi looks like the slot cornerback of the future, but he could be slot corner of the present, too. Amadi looked natural working the slot on pass plays and running plays. The competition is good. Even though he isn’t the tallest defensive back, he looks like a valuable defender in this young secondary.
• Cody Barton continues to excel as the team’s fourth linebacker even though he’s a rookie. Were it not for Bobby Wagner, Mychal Kendricks and K.J. Wright, he would be a starter on any other team even though he’s a rookie. He has natural skills getting to the play and studies hard.
• Linebacker Austin Calitro might have a hard time making the roster, but he’s a good linebacker and should make the team if there is a chance. He’s showed good blitzing skills and ended up playing 99 percent of the defensive snaps.
• I don’t know how the Seahawks cut down the roster at wide receiver. Undrafted receiver Jazz Ferguson looks good, John Ursua and Keenan Reynolds looked great in the slot, and Malik Turner has enough talent to make a roster.