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NFL Preseason Preview - Tennessee (0-0) at Seattle (0-0)
By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - The Seattle Seahawks have a new star in town, but fans attending the team's preseason opener with the Tennessee Titans shouldn't be getting their popcorn ready just yet.
Saturday's showdown at Qwest Field was expected to be highlighted by the close quarterback competitions that both teams are engaged in, but those subplots have been greatly overshadowed by the Seahawks' headline-grabbing acquisition of Terrell Owens on Monday.
The polarizing wide receiver was signed by Seattle following a stellar workout in which the 15-year veteran reportedly ran under 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash while displaying excellent agility as well. Owens hasn't played in the NFL since a 72-catch, 983-yard season with Cincinnati in 2010, with the well- traveled 38-year-old's most recent stop being an eight-game stint with the Indoor Football League's Allen Wranglers this past spring.
Though Owens was out on the field on Wednesday for his first practice with his new team, the six-time Pro Bowl honoree won't be active for Saturday's game.
Owens' sudden signing came less than a week after the team also added experienced wideout Braylon Edwards, a possible indication that Seattle isn't counting on much of an early contribution from No. 1 receiver Sidney Rice this year. Rice, who inked a five-year, $41-million free-agent contract with the Seahawks last season, was limited to just nine games in 2011 due to various injuries and is working his way back from multiple shoulder surgeries.
Seattle's new-look receiving corps might also be without Doug Baldwin this weekend, as the club's leading pass catcher from a year ago has sat out a number of recent practices with a sore hamstring.
Owens' absence will temporarily put the spotlight back on Matt Flynn, Seattle's other prominent free-agent offseason acquisition who seems to have surged ahead in the three-man race to be the No. 1 quarterback. The ex-Green Bay backup has been tabbed as the starter for the opener after showing a good command of the offense in camp.
"Matt has done a fantastic job so far," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said. "He's learned the system. He's on it. He can make all the adjustments, all the calls. He sees the defense really well. I love that he's moving well in the pocket. All of the things we're asking him to do he's fit that together so far. Now I need to see him in a situation where now he takes over and see what that looks like."
In a bit of a surprise, rookie Russell Wilson will take over after Flynn departs, with 2011 starter Tarvaris Jackson third in line in Saturday's order.
Titans head coach Mike Munchak held his decision as to who will take the first snap under center until Thursday, which illustrates how tight the battle is between former Seahawk Matt Hasselbeck and athletic youngster Jake Locker, Tennessee's first-round choice in last year's draft. Hasselbeck will get the nod to begin the contest and is believed to get two possessions of time, with Locker to take over the offense for the remainder of the first half.
Hasselbeck started all 16 games for the Titans in 2011, the 36-year-old's first season in Nashville following a outstanding 10-year run in Seattle in which he made three Pro Bowls and guided the Seahawks to six playoff appearances. The franchise's all-time leader in passing yards, Hasselbeck will be visiting Qwest Field for the first time since leaving the organization as a free agent.
Wilson, Seattle's third-round selection in this past draft, is one of a number of rookies in this game who could be in line for key roles during their debut season. Tennessee wide receiver Kendall Wright, the 20th overall pick back in April, will draw the start opposite returnee Nate Washington, while Seahawks second-rounder Bobby Wagner is competing with veteran pickup Barrett Ruud to emerge as the team's regular middle linebacker. Running back Robert Turbin, obtained by Seattle in the fourth round, figures to get a long look in the preseason as a potential fill-in for 1,200-yard rusher Marshawn Lynch, who's at risk to begin the regular season on a short suspension for a DUI arrest over the summer.
Wright will be taking the place of Kenny Britt, the Titans' most talented receiver who is still rehabbing from an ACL tear that cost him most of last season. Starting center Eugene Amano is already out for all of 2012 after tearing his triceps last week, with reserves Fernando Velasco and Kevin Matthews competing to take over.
This will be the third preseason meeting between these franchises, with Seattle prevailing in both previous matchups. Seattle posted a 20-10 road win over the then-Houston Oilers back in 1993 and dealt the Titans a 20-18 defeat at Qwest Field in 2010.
08/10 10:23:07 ET
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