NFL Soup|Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Seattle Seahawks vs. San Diego Chargers: 5 Things We Learned 

Photo Credit – Football Schedule

The Seattle Seahawks, one of this year’s trendy Super Bowl picks, got their 2013 preseason kicked off Thursday evening when they came down to San Diego to take on the Chargers. The Chargers are hoping to shake the stank that Norv Turner left before he was fired, and have high hopes for former Denver OC Mike McCoy, whom they hired to be the new head coach.

So, did we see anything Thursday night that might’ve had fantasy implications?

Christine Michael!

Marshawn Lynch is still the guy you want to be taking in the first round of your draft, but rookie runner Christine Michael was very impressive on the field last night for the Seahawks. The former Texas A&M back carried it 16 times for 89 yards (for a very solid 5.6 yard-per-carry average). He’s a big, strong runner with a decent amount of quickness to his game, as well. Before you get too excited and go drafting him, don’t forget that he was putting up these numbers against the spares of the Chargers’ backup units, which looked absolutely awful. With neither Lynch nor Robert Turbin in the lineup, the carries were there for Michael and fellow rookie Spencer Ware, who finished with seven totes for 32 yards himself. The Seahawks have been super high on Michael throughout camp thus far, and it was easy to see the reason for such optimism on Thursday evening. With Seattle’s affinity for running the ball, there’s deep sleeper potential here.

Tarvaris Jackson…alive?

Tarvaris Jackson has been many things throughout his NFL career. None of those things have been “a good NFL quarterback”, however, which is the problem when your job is to play quarterback in the NFL. He signed on for a second stint with the Seahawks in June, largely as an afterthought. However, when he got into the game on Thursday, he was actually extremely good, completing eight of his nine attempts for 128 yards and two TDs without an interception. Much like with Michael, though, let’s remember that he, too, was putting up this impressive performance against a group of guys that may not even make the Chargers. Also, the only instance in which he’ll have any hint of fantasy relevance whatsoever will come if something happens to Russell Wilson. But the No. 2 job behind Wilson is up-for-grabs between Jackson and Brady Quinn. While Quinn wasn’t awful (6/11, 59 yards and a score), Jackson was the one that really stood out. So, if he keeps up his strong play throughout the preseason, there’s a good chance he’ll be handed the keys to the Seahawks’ offense if Wilson gets hurt at some point. Let’s just pray that’ll never happen, because we know what Tarvaris Jackson really is.

The Chargers O-Line Looked Decent

The Chargers come into this season with tons of question marks, not the least of which is the state of their seemingly porous offensive line. Excluding the longtime center and right guard, Nick Hardwick and Jeromey Clary, San Diego has tons of inexperience up front. They spent their first-round draft choice on Alabama right tackle DJ Fluker, who should be able to contribute a decent amount right off-the-bat. The left tackle position is completely in flux, with Max Starks battling it out with King Dunlap for the starting job. As Will Brinson said on Twitter, “You know you’re really screwed when “Max Starks and King Dunlap in a real battle for that LT position” describes your team.” I bring this up only because we also don’t really know what to expect from the Charger RBs in fantasy. Danny Woodhead was brought in as a scat back, and many see him playing a Darren Sproles-type role this season, which could obviously have major fantasy implications. The ever-fragile Ryan Mathews looked solid in limited duty Thursday night, carrying it three times for 19 yards in the first and only series he played.

Pass protection looked a bit leaky for the Chargers, however, especially once the second and third units came onto the field. The Seahawks were also sitting a few key players on their front seven, so it’s not like the San Diego O-line was going against the cream of the crop, either.

Philip Rivers Looked Sharp

Rivers only played the opening series with the rest of the starters, but he looked comfortable and delivered his throws with confidence. He went 5/6 for 45 yards on what proved to be an impressive opening drive for the Chargers that eventually stalled-out and resulted in a field goal. The loss of Danario Alexander to a torn ACL hurts Rivers’ group of weapons, but he still has enough decent talent around him to where he may be able to rebound from his consecutive unimpressive seasons. Mike McCoy’s offense should be a relief for Rivers, who looked bogged down and lost in the last two years under Norv Turner. Can Rivers reassert himself among the league’s elite QBs? I have plenty of doubts, but he’s got the talent to be right up there.

Manti Te’o Did Nothing

If you’re into the whole IDP thang, a tackle-machine like Manti Te’o was at Notre Dame is just what you’re looking for at a fantasy LB spot. Unfortunately, the initial reviews of Te’o on the field are rather unimpressive. Te’o started the game, but didn’t play much, and if you were watching the game, you wouldn’t have known he was even playing at all. He finished with exactly zero tackles, zero pass deflections…zero anything. There are obviously tons of MLB types that rack-up tackles you’re interested in taking for fantasy purposes ahead of a rookie like Te’o, but this first preseason game combined with his struggles in the National Championship Game against Alabama and his rather pedestrian combine output raises serious doubts about his abilities. He looked slow, and you can’t have your MLBs in a 3-4 being slow.

About the author: Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been with NFL Soup since its inception, and is a jack of all trades, helping with breaking news, fantasy football advice and NFL Draft coverage. Smith also heads NFL Soup’s live chats and radio shows. Taylor also contributes content to our sister sites, MLB Soup, NBA Soup and NBA Water Cooler. He lives in San Diego, where he also is a writer for the L.A. Clippers. Follow him on Twitter @NFLSoupTaylor.

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