Debut of Matt Flynn as Seahawks starter, and chance to see a couple of old friends, quarterbacks Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker, make Titans game watchable.
GAME: Tennessee Titans (9-7-0, 2nd, AFC South, 2011) at Seattle Seahawks (7-9-0, 3rd, NFC West, 2011). TYPE: Preseason. WEEK: 1. WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m., CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 2nd, preseason. STREAKS/TRENDS: Titans 2-2 final four in 2011, no playoffs; Seahawks 2-2 final four in 2011, no playoffs. HEAD COACHES: Mike Munchak, Tennessee; Pete Carroll, Seattle. LINE: No line. TV: Q13. RADIO: ESPN-710.
The Seahawks launch their 37th season Saturday night against the Tennessee Titans with a game that holds an unusual amount of intrigue for a no-counter. Seahawks fans get their first look at thenew quarterback, Matt Flynn, and Seahawks (and Huskies) fans get to rewind the days of Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker.
The Seahawks signed Flynn, who spent four years as Aaron Rogers’ backup in Green Bay, as a free agent last winter to compete with incumbent Tarvaris Jackson. The battle for the position became a three-way affair when the Seahawks selected Russell Wilson out of Wisconsin in the third round of the NFL draft.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday Flynn would receive the start against the Titans, noting that “we already know what Tarvaris Jackson can do.” Flynn is expected to play a half.
Flynn played in 34 NFL games, but only two starts. In his second, against the Detroit Lions in the 2011 regular-season finale while subbing for a resting Rogers, Flynn broke Green Bay single-game records for passing yardage and touchdown passes by completing 31 of 44 for 480 yards and six TDs with one interception.
In two career starts, Flynn completed 55 of 81 for 731 yards and nine touchdowns with two interceptions for a 123.0 passer rating.
“Im excited about it,” Flynn said. “Its not something that Im nervous about, or think too much about. Im excited I get the opportunity. This is kind of what I have been looking for and waiting for.”
Hasselbeck played 10 seasons in Seattle before the Seahawks informed him he was no longer wanted. When he left in free agency, he did so as the club’s all-time leader in passing attempts (4,250), completions (2,559) and yards (29,434), and second in touchdown passes (174).
The 36-year-old Hasselbeck signed with Tennessee for the 2011 season and completed 319 of 519 passes for 3,571 yards with 18 TDs and 14 interceptions and an 82.6 passer rting. His 3,571 yards were his most since 2007 with the Seahawks (3,966), when he made his third — and final — Pro Bowl as a Seattle player.
Locker, one of most popular players in University of Washington history, finished his career ranked second in passing attempts (1,147), completions (619), yards (7,639) and touchdowns (53). The Titans made him their No. 1 overall pick, eighth overall, in the 2011 draft.
Locker received limited opportunities in Tennessee as a rookie backing up Hasselbeck. He appeared in five games (no starts) and completed 34 of 66 passes for 542 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. In spot duty, Locker produced a 99.4 passer rating. He also rushed eight times for 56 yards and scored on a six-yard TD run against New Orleans Dec. 11, 2011.
In addition to getting their first game look at Flynn, the Seahawks are expected to start their first-round draft choice, DE Bruce Irvin, of West Virginia, with the 15th overall pick specifically to bolster what was, in 2011, a lame pass rush.
WR Terrell Owens, the veteran showboat acquired by the Seahawks as a free agent earlier in the week, will also suit up for Seattle but is not expected to play.
RIVALRY: This is the second preseason meeting between the franchises, with Seattle posting a 20-18 victory Aug. 14, 2010. Seattle also defeated the the Titans’ predecessors, the Houston Oilers, 20-10, Aug. 28, 1993 in Houston. In regular season play, Seattle holds a 9-5 record (3-1 vs. Tennessee) but dropped the last meeting, 17-13, in the 2009 season finale Jan. 3, 2010 in Seattle.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 3, 2010 (Week 17), Seahawks lost 17-13; Chris Johnson ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns, including the winning tally in the fourth quarter; Seahawks scored on a six-yard TD pass from Matt Hasselbeck to John Carlson and two Olindo Mare field goals.
2011 Seahawks: Finished 7-9-0, 3rd in NFC West; scored 321 points (20.1 per game), ranking 23rd; allowed 315 points (19.7 per game), ranking seventh; differential of +6 points ranked 18th. 2011 Titans: Finished 9-7-0, 2nd in AFC South; scored 325 points (20.3), ranking 21st; allowed 317 (19.8), ranking eighth; differential of +8 points ranked 17th.
WHAT’S NEW: Seahawks unveiled a new logo and colors April 3 in conjunction with a Nike rollout in New York City. While other teams underwent limited change, Seattle and Nike teamed up to alter the teams color scheme and jersey make-up. New colors: Wolf Grey, College Navy, Action Green (is there an Action Green crayon?)
SEAHAWKS STATS / NOTES
SEAHAWKS OFFENSIVE LEADERS (2011)
SEAHAWKS DEFENSIVE LEADERS (2011)
|Tackles||Chancellor 73, Hawthorne 72, Hill 68|
|Sacks||Clemons 11.0, Hill 4.0, Brock 3.0|
|Interceptions||Browner 6, Chancellor 4, Sherman 4|
|Passes Defensed||Browner 23, Sherman 17, Chancellor 12|
|Forced Fumbles||Chancellor 2, Thomas 1, Hill 1|
|Fumbles Recovered||Thomas 2, Curry 2, Lewis 2|
PLAN AHEAD: Fans are asked to arrive early at CenturyLink Field to avoid traffic congestion and delays due to the closure of SR 167 and SR 520. Road closures began Friday night at 7:30 p.m. and won’t reopen until Monday. There are plenty of transportation options for fans. Visit the team’s transportation guide at http://www.seahawks.com/gameday/transportation-guide/index.html
COACHES: Pete Carroll (47-49-0 career, 14-18-0 Seattle) is in his second season as head coach of the Seahawks. In 2010, he directed Seattle to the NFC West title, the Seahawks becoming the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing (7-9) record. Prior to joining the Seahawks, Carroll served as head coach at Southern California, where his Trojans won seven national championships.
Mike Munchak (9-7-0 career, 9-7-0 Tennessee): Became the 16th head coach in franchise history and the first who had been a former player for the team, when he was named to the post on Feb. 7, 2011. In his first season, he led the team to their first winning season (9-7) since 2008, and was one of only two rookie head coaches (Jim Harbaugh) to post a winning mark. Munchak has spent 30 years with the franchise as a player and coach. After a 12-year playing career as a guard for the Houston Oilers, he spent three seasons assisting the coaching staff. Munchak became the offensive line coach in 1997 and held that position for 14 years (1997-2010). Munchak was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
KEY DATES: Aug. 27 — 90-man roster cutdown to maximum of 75 players; Aug. 31 — Roster reduction to 53 players; Sept. 1 — Clubs establish practice squad of eight players; Sept. 9 — Start of regular season; Nov. 18 — Seahawks bye week; Jan. 5-6, 2013 — Wild Card Weekend; Jan. 12-13 — Divisional Playoffs; Jan. 19-20 — Conference Championships; Jan. 27 — Pro Bowl (Honolulu); Feb. 3 — Super Bowl, New Orleans. Feb. 20-26 — NFL Combine (Indianapolis); April 25-27 — NFL Draft.
COMING UP: Seahawks will play their next two preseason games on the road, at Denver Aug. 18 (first time they’ll see Peyton Manning as a Bronco) and at Kansas City (Aug. 24). Seahawks close out their preseason schedule Aug. 30 by hosting the Oakland Raiders.
2012 Seahawks Preseason Schedule
|8/11/12||vs. Tennessee||7 p.m.||Q13||—||—||—|
|8/18/12||at Denver||6 p.m.||Q13||—||—||—|
|8/24/12||at Kansas City||5 p.m.||Q13||—||—||—|
|8/30/12||vs. Oakland||7 p.m.||Q13||—||—||—|
2012 Seahawks Regular-Season Schedule
|9/9/12||at Arizona||1:15 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|9/16/12||vs. Dallas||1:05 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|9/24/12||vs. Green Bay||5:30 p.m.||ESPN||—||—||—|
|9/30/12||at St. Louis||10 a.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|10/7/12||at Carolina||1:05 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|10/14/12||vs. N. England||1:05 p.m.||CBS||—||—||—|
|10/18/12||at S. Francisco||5:20 p.m.||NFLN||—||—||—|
|10/28/12||at Detroit||10 a.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|11/4/12||vs. Minnesota||1:05 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|11/11/11||vs. NY Jets||1:05 p.m.||CBS||—||—||—|
|11/25/12||at Miami||10 a.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/2/12||at Chicago||10 a.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/9/12||vs. Arizona||1:15 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/16/12||*at Buffalo||1:05 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/23/12||vs. San Francisco||1:15 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/30/12||vs. St. Louis||1:15 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
* in Toronto