Countdown to kickoff

Greetings from Qwest Field, where some players already are out and preparing for the Seahawks’ preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans on a hot – but gorgeous – afternoon.

This isn’t just another preseason game, it’s the first for Pete Carroll as coach of the Seahawks and he is amped to get things rolling in the right direction as he returns to the NFL after a nine-year stint at USC.

Two things to remember, however:

  • One, the Seahawks went undefeated in the preseason last year, and then won only five games during the regular season;
  • Two, they went 2-2 in the 2005 preseason, only to win a franchise-best 13 games during the regular season – including a club-record 11 in a row – on their run to the Super Bowl.

So much has changed from the preseason opener last year – and the regular-season finale, for that matter. How much? We dealt with that in a story that ran Friday.

Some of the primary questions entering tonight’s game are the same that we’ve been pondered the entire offseason:

How will the Seahawks generate a better pass rush, after registering 28 last season?

Who will emerge as the feature back in the new offense that has been installed by coordinator Jeremy Bates, and the zone-blocking scheme used by line coach Alex Gibbs?

Will the rebuilt left side of the line – with first-round draft choice Russell Okung at tackle and veteran free-agent addition Ben Hamilton at guard – do a better job of protecting Matt Hasselbeck?

How long will it take all the new parts to mesh into a team that has to be more competitive than the Seahawks were last season?

As good as things have looked on the practice field at training camp, tonight will provide a better gauge because, well, the Seahawks will be going against a real opponent.

Enjoy the game. We’ll be back later with quarter summaries, and complete coverage after the game.

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