Countdown to kickoff

SAN DIEGO – Greetings from Qualcomm Stadium – a.k.a. The Murph – where some of the Seahawks already are on the field preparing for tonight’s preseason opener against the Chargers that comes without an offseason because of the 136-day lockout.

The big question: How will the new-look Seahawks look like?

So many changes, so little time to prepare.

There’s a new QB (Tarvaris Jackson), a new wide receiver (Sidney Rice), a new tight end (Zach Miller) and a mostly new line – rookies James Carpenter and John Moffitt on the right side, veteran free-agent addition Robert Gallery at left guard and Max Unger at center after missing last season with an injury and playing primarily at guard as a rookie. Oh, and they’ll be working in a new offense under new coordinator Darrell Bevell and a new running game scheme under line coach/assistant head coach Tom Cable.

On the other side of the ball, there’s a new nose tackle (Brandon Mebane, the old three-technique tackle), a new three-technique tackle (Alan Branch), a new middle linebacker (David Hawthorne, who played there two years ago), a new weak-side ’backer (Leroy Hill, who hasn’t played since 2009) and a new strong safety (Kam Chancellor).

Even coach Pete Carroll admits he’s not sure what to expect after the oh-so-short prep period for this opener.

“We have no idea what’s going to happen,” Carroll said. “Fortunately, it’s preseason. So we have a chance to figure it out. That’s most important right now.”

And all those new faces that will be featured during the regular season won’t play a lot tonight, anyway. This will be a game for the even newer players on the current 90-man roster to begin stating their cases for spots on the 53-man roster.

Does great football await us in this nationally televised opener? Probably not. But this is a great chance for QB Josh Portis, wide receivers Ricardo Lockette and Doug Baldwin and linebackers Malcolm Smith and K.J. Wright and defensive backs Mark LeGree, Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell – all rookies – to announce their presence with authority, as “Nuke” LaLoosh put it in “Bull Durham.”

So sit back and watch the start of the preseason it seemed never would come, and learn something about this new-look team along with the coaches.


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