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Five Seattle Seahawks Questions (and Answers) with Field Gulls

It's time we learn about the enemy.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

This week, the San Diego Chargers are taking on the Seattle Seahawks. In what has become somewhat of a tradition among SB Nation blogs, I sat down with Danny Kelly (@FieldGulls) of Field Gulls (SB Nation's Seahawks blog) and we exchanged five questions each about oure respective teams. I already answered his five questions about the Chargers, and now he's answering my five questions about the Seattle Seahawks.

  1. There's been a lot of hype around how the Chargers edge players have performed this preseason, specifically Melvin Ingram. I've heard Seattle is still trying to figure things out up front as far as the best 5 OL go. Has the line under performed to this point in your eyes?

    Danny Kelly:

    The fact that the Seahawks are still tinkering with their starting-five is concerning, to say the least. They don't yet seem to know who their center will be — it's come down to Drew Nowak (zero NFL starts) and veteran Lemuel Jeanpierre, but Nowak seems to be ahead of the more experienced Jeanpierre at this point. Meanwhile, Justin Britt started out the preseason at right tackle but has since been moved to left guard, ostensibly to make room for Garry Gilliam to get in on the starting rotation, as Gilliam had been playing well there with the second team. However, "demoting" (moving) your incumbent right tackle starter this late in the game is a bit troubling.

    Still, the early results were solid last week, with Britt looking natural and stout at left guard and Gilliam looking flexible and fluid at right tackle. This week will tell us more about the Seahawks' starting five, but suffice to say it's still pretty up in the air. Keep an eye on Alvin Bailey at right tackle this week too — he's been floating around as Seattle's swing tackle and sometimes-left-guard, so he still has a shot at this thing. Terry Poole is another backup rookie right tackle that may get some reps.

    Thus far, we've concentrated mostly on pass protection (because we don't want Russell Wilson to die on the field), but the run game has yet to really get going for the Hawks either. I'm sure it will be a focus this week for them.

  2. Everyone knows just how much of a mismatch Jimmy Graham is. Who has been the most impressive WR not named Graham so far?

    Danny Kelly:

    Tyler Lockett has really been making some noise in his first training camp and preseason. While Doug Baldwin is probably Seattle's best receiver not named Jimmy Graham, all eyes will be on the rookie Lockett out of Kansas State, who has already been drawing comparisons to Antonio Brown for his slippery, jittery style of play. He's not Antonio Brown, obviously, and making that comparison is highly premature, but he does have an exciting explosiveness to his game that makes you think he could be a big-time impact player even as a rookie. The Hawks have used him equally in the slot as they've used him outside thus far, and he's Seattle's #1 kick and punt returner. Keep your eye on Lockett on Saturday.

  3. Defensively, has there been any surprise standouts that Charger fans should watch out for?

    Danny Kelly:

    Frank Clark, Seattle's 2nd round pick this year, has looked very strong thus far. He only got 13 snaps last week after pretty much dominating Week 1, but that was because he was nursing a sore ankle. I'm guessing he'll get more snaps this week and should be a factor both in base downs and in nickel. He's a Michael Bennett type of player for the Seahawks — a five-technique strongside end on base downs then a nickel rusher from the interior on obvious passing situations. The early returns have been great.

    Also, in the absence of Earl Thomas (coming back from injury) and Kam Chancellor (still holding out), Seattle's group of safeties will be interesting to watch. Dion Bailey has been making some noise and is one of the more tenacious and fearless hitters I've seen in a while, and Ronald Martin, a rookie out of LSU, has also looked pretty good in limited action thus far. DeShawn Shead is a corner/safety hybrid that we may see some of this week, and Steven Terrell is trying to make the roster as Earl Thomas' primary backup.

  4. There's been some really good play early on with the expected hiccups you would expect considering there are essentially 4 new starters. How has the pressure up front been defensively?

    Danny Kelly:

    Seattle's pass rush group this year looks better on paper than it has in a long time. Assuming some level of health, the combination of Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Bruce Irvin, Cassius Marsh, and now Frank Clark could be pretty effective in 2015. Michael Bennett is damn-near unblockable at times, Cliff Avril has one of the quickest get-offs in the NFL in my opinion, and Bruce Irvin is highly athletic with still some untapped upside. Frank Clark looks beastly playing against guards thus far this year, and Cash Marsh has shown some nice quickness, though his finish has left a little bit to be desired.

    Jordan Hill is another guy that adds some depth to this group, and he could be a factor in this game as well. Overall, I'm excited to see what Seattle can do in pass rush situations, because their depth looks pretty good right now.

  5. What's been the most intriguing positional battle to watch this preseason?

    Danny Kelly:

    For me, it's probably at the receiver position. After Jermaine Kearse, Tyler Lockett, and Doug Baldwin, there are a lot of question marks as to who might make the roster. Chris Matthews broke out in the Super Bowl but separated his AC Joint early in the preseason so he's not been able to show us much in terms of whether that was a fluke or something we can expect going forward. Ricardo Lockette is a veteran at this point but is more known for his special teams gunning prowess than he is as a regular receiver. B.J. Daniels just made the switch from QB to WR and is still learning the ropes, though he's pretty intriguing as a playmaker. Kevin Smith has flashed some things thus far, as has Kevin Norwood and Kasen Williams. The receiver position feels pretty wide open at this point, and some of these guys could make a case for themselves in the last two games.

    Head over to FieldGulls to read my replies to Danny's questions.