Countdown to kickoff

Greeting from Qwest Field, where the weather is a lot cooler and the opponent a lot better than it was for last week’s preseason opener.

Tonight’s opponent is the Green Bay Packers, who handed the Seahawks a 48-10 loss at Lambeau Field in Week 16 of the regular season last year. So it will present a bigger test as the starting offense and defense play longer than they did in last week’s 20-18 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

A few things to look for tonight:

Matt Hasselbeck and the No. 1 offense. The team’s starting QB was not happy with his performance in the opener, and neither were the coaches. Hasselbeck was 4 of 10 for 26 yards and produced three points in three possessions. As he put it during the week, the execution needs to be crisper and the focus finer. For more on Hasselbeck and what he’s looking for tonight click here.

Leon Washington. The running back who was obtained in a draft day trade with the New York Jets will test his right leg, which was severely broken last season. Washington has been displaying his speed and explosiveness on the practice field, but tonight he’ll be running into a real defense in a real game for the first time since October. For more on Washington from this click here.

Chris Clemons. The defensive end who was acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles had one of the Seahawks’ two sacks last week to cap his impressive training camp at the “Leo” spot in coach Pete Carroll’s defense. Tonight, he’ll be going up against Packers’ left tackle Chad Clifton, who will provide a good indication of Clemson’s progress in the second preseason game. For more on Clemons from this week click here.

The running game. The Seahawks averaged 3.1 yards on 28 rushes against the Titans in the first real test of the zone-blocking scheme. That’s simply not good enough. The linemen need to be better tonight, and so do the backs. Last week, Justin Forsett averaged 2.4 yards on seven carries (17 yards) and Julius Jones averaged 2.6 yards on five carries (13 yards). With Washington joining the mix, they need to make more of their opportunities tonight.

Walter Thurmond. He continues to wear a brace on his surgically repaired right knee, but the cornerback from Oregon also continues to make plays. He’s already looking like a steal of a fourth-round draft choice. If he keeps it up he eventually could push his way into the competition for the starting job on the right side that already includes Kelly Jennings and Josh Wilson.

Charlie Whitehurst. What does he do for an encore after completing 14 of 22 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns against the Titans? The QB who was obtained in an offseason trade with the San Diego Chargers likely will get less playing time tonight with the starters scheduled to play longer. For more on Whitehurst from this week click here.

We’ll be back later with more.


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