NFL Preseason Preview - Seattle (0-0) at San Diego (0-0)
By John McMullen, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - Expectations are high in the Pacific Northwest these days
as the talented Seattle Seahawks prepare to open up the preseason against the
rebuilding San Diego Chargers.
If there truly is an arms race going on between San Francisco and Seattle in
the NFC West, it's currently at the height of Cold War levels because both
clubs have amassed enough power to obliterate just about everyone else.
After trading for star slot receiver Percy Harvin, signing a pair of
pass rushers in Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, and inking perhaps the game's
best nickel corner in Antoine Winfield, the Seahawks appeared to be entering
camp with few weaknesses.
That changed a bit when Harvin, one of the game's elite playmakers, was
diagnosed with a hip injury that required surgery, something that will keep
the University Florida product sidelined until late in the season.
Second-year quarterback Russell Wilson must press on, however, and is excited
to get a chance to play in he same stadium his late father, Harrison Wilson
III, toiled in for a short time as a member of the Chargers.
"I'm excited to get back out on the field," Wilson said. "I'm excited to go to
San Diego. That's where my dad played at one point. So just to be able to go
back there and think about those memories means a lot to me."
Wilson understands the pressure he and his teammates are under but has focused
on incremental improvement.
"If we can just get one more first down every game," Wilson said. "If you
think about, with 16 regular-season game, that's 16 more third downs. We
probably had a 190 or so third down plays last year, and if we can get just 16
more of those to be first downs. I think that's the way I'm looking at it
New Chargers coach Mike McCoy arrives in America's most Beautiful City as the
architect of the reclamation product called Philip Rivers.
Rivers is obviously talented but fell on hard times during the final season of
the Norv Turner era, quite possibly due to his porous offensive line. Losing
the team's best lineman, guard Louis Vasquez, to AFC West-rival Denver didn't
help and mission No. 1 in San Diego will be rebuilding things up front.
D.J. Fluker was the best O-Line prospect left on the board when San Diego
picked at No. 11 overall in the 2013 draft and general manger Tom Telesco bit.
Fluker will join veteran tackles Max Starks and King Dunlap as well as guard
Chad Rinehart as new options on the line.
Defensively, the spotlight figures to follow former Notre Dame inside
linebacker Manti Te'o, a great college player who fell in the draft because of
his strange "catfishing" scandal.
Injuries have already hurt San Diego badly with the latest coming earlier this
week when receiver Danario Alexander sustained a torn right ACL during
Alexander was coming off a strong 2012 campaign in which he established career
bests of 37 catches, 658 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in 10 games
after signing with the Chargers in midseason. The fourth-year pro had been
projected as one of the team's starting wideouts.
San Diego also lost outside linebacker Melvin Ingram, the club's first- round
selection in the 2012 draft, to a torn left ACL during OTAs in May. Reserve
inside linebacker Jonas Mouton suffered the same injury to his right knee on
the first day of training camp and was subsequently placed on injured reserve.
Thursday night's game marks the 12th all-time preseason meeting against
Seattle. The Seahawks lead the series, 7-4.
08/07 14:30:40 ET