What we learned from Seahawks preseason opener: Marquise Blair on fast track, Jaron Brown cements a role
Marquise Blair made quite an impression in Thursday’s preseason debut.
Actually, it wasn’t an impression so much as a dent in the chest of Denver receiver Nick Williams. His fourth-quarter hit summoned memories of Kam Chancellor who made his fair share of impressions around the NFL in general and upon tight end Vernon Davis in particular.
That’s where we’ll start our list of what we learned from the first of Seattle’s four practice games:
1) Marquise Blair is on a fast track to start.
His fourth-quarter hit on Denver receiver Nick Williams was (predictably) flag. The merits of that hit – not to mention the legality – have been (predictably) debated. There’s more to unpack from that hit, and the penalty it produced, but let’s focus on the rest of Blair’s game. He was on the field for 56 snaps on Thursday, most of any defensive back, and no one did more to improve their position on the depth chart than Blair. He showed he could tackle in open space in the first quarter. He showed he can come up and support the run, and while his attempt to rush the quarterback may have come at the expense of his coverage responsibility, Blair made a strong first impression. Despite being slowed by an injury this offseason, Blair may very well find himself starting in Week 1 alongside Bradley McDougald.
2) Jaron Brown will be one of this team’s wide receivers.
The veteran receiver isn’t on the bubble. In fact, he’s nowhere near the bubble. In fact, it’s (way) more likely that he will be starting in Week 1 than it is for him to be cut. That may come as a surprise for some considering he caught only 14 passes last season after signing with Seattle as an unrestricted free agent from Arizona. But that was more a product of opportunity than it was ability, and with Doug Baldwin retired, Seattle needs a receiver who does more than go deep. Seattle has that department pretty well covered, thank you, with Tyler Lockett, David Moore and rookie DK Metcalf. What the Seahawks need is a steady hand who can make plays in the middle of the field, especially on third down. Rookie John Ursua has a chance, but Brown is the team’s best bet and the fact he did not play in the preseason opener tells you how big of a role Seattle is expecting him to play in the preseason.
3) Seattle’s place-kicking showed improvement.
For the past three years, Seattle’s place-kicking has been the most consistently below-average component of the team, but Seattle’s freshly minted multi-millionaire kicker Jason Myers had everyone holding their breath on Thursday. He appeared to be aiming directly at the right upright on his first three field-goal attempts, one of which veered wide. That was his first attempt of the preseason, but it was also from 56 yards out, only 2 yards away from his career-long and he had plenty of leg so while it merited one raised-eyebrow of suspicion, there’s no reason to worry. Yet. He made a 55-yarder on his next attempt and capped it off with a 43-yard kick. He also made all of his point-after tries.