Welcome back Seahawks fans to another addition of the Hawks Playbook Podcast! It’s our first regular season show of the 2018 season, and we start it off looking back to the loss in Denver’s home opener.  Seattle fell 27-24 to a not so special Bronco’s team, but they were good enough for 3 hours to hand it to our Seahawks.  Keep in mind that Denver really doesn’t lose much in September, and virtually not at all at home. This was Denver’s 7th straight win in home openers.  There were several standout performers for the Seahawks including Will Dissly, the NFL’s highest rated TE in week one. He posted 3 catches. 105 yards and 1 TD. His 66-yard reception and run were a thing of beauty for a 265lb human!  How about Earl Thomas and Bradley McDougald? The safety pair produced all three of Seattle’s turnovers and kept us in the game. We couldn’t go without mentioning Michael Dickson. He had an stellar debut for the Seahawks with 6 punts and a 59-yard Net average including a 59-yarder downed at the 2-yard line and a 69-yard punt that went out of bounds at the Denver 6-yard line.  He’s going to be a weapon all season….and we’re going to need him!

Of course, there were some low points as well in this game. Russell Wilson didn’t have his best game. Shaquem Griffin was thrown into the starting lineup in place of KJ Wright and did not fair well. Seattle’s pass rush was ranked dead last according to Pro Football Focus for week 1. Sabastian Janikowski missed a field goal…. two if you count the one just prior to it that didn’t count because of a penalty. It missed wide left as well.  Of course, there were other players or plays that didn’t quite make the mark, but one of the more important issues was the injury to Doug Baldwin. Looks like it has been diagnosed as a Grade 2 MCL Sprain and Doug could miss up to a month of football.  Consequently, Keenan Reynolds was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster. In the corresponding move, the Seahawks cut recently traded for safety, Shalom Luani.  He did clear waivers, so it will be interesting if the Seahawks elect to add him to the practice squad.

As we look ahead, the Seattle Seahawks face off against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. While Chicago does not appear to be a great team, they do represent some challenges to the Seahawks in a few key areas.  Number one, this is Chicago’s home opener and home field advantage should not be discounted here. This is a big game for Chicago.  2nd, Defensively, Chicago likes to try and stop the run and rush the passer. Khalil Mack is now in the fold to wreck backfields. There is Leonard Floyd on the opposite side and Akiem Hicks at defensive tackle to plug up the middle. Seattle will counter by trying to establish the run with Chris Carson and give Russell Wilson some up-tempo quick hitting passing routes to slow the defense at its strength.

When the Seahawks are on defense the will face 2nd year quarterback Mitch Trubisky. He likes to throw to Taylor Gabriel out of the slot and Tarik Cohen coming out of the backfield…. just like Philip Lindsay with the Broncos. Can Seattle defend the short passing game Chicago will try to execute?  How about stopping the run? Chicago will try to feed the ball to Jordan Howard, 3rd year pro. At 6’1” 224lbs, Howard is a load and Seattle needs to commit to stopping the run.  Seattle needs to do one thing well on defense, and they have the best personnel to be effective at stopping the run. Naz Jones and Poona Ford should be active this week to get that accomplished.  If Seattle can be effective at limiting Trubisky at taking shots down field and effectively shut down Howard in the run game, Seattle will win this game.

Check back in with us next week for a game recap of the Monday night contest and a preview of Seattle’s home opener vs the Cowboys on Sunday Sept. 23rd.  Please follow Bill and Keith on Twitter. Keith is @MyersNFL and Bill is @NWSeahawk.  Make sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or any of your favorite podcast apps from the Google Play store.

Until next time, Go Hawks!!