The League

Desmond Bieler
Occasional Blogger, Constant Blowhard

Desmond Bieler

An assistant news editor at The Washington Post

Seattle at Buffalo, Week One

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Sunday, 1 p.m.

The game features 24 years of NFL head coaching experience, 17 of them very distinguished. That would be Seahawks Coach Mike Holmgren's 16 years, plus the one time in eight season Bills Coach Dick Jauron finished above .500. Holmgren currently sits 12th all-time in wins, 11th if one counts playoff wins, and he has suffered just two losing seasons, during which he posted not-terrible records of 6-10 and 7-9. Jauron's high-water mark came in 2001, when he guided Chicago to a 13-3 mark. In his other seven seasons, including a five-game interim stint with the 2005 Lions and the past two with Buffalo, Jauron has compiled a 37-64 record. Although in fairness to Jauron, in four of his eight seasons he attained the not-terrible standard established just moments ago in this write-up. So he has that going for him. Nevertheless, we appear to have a coaching mismatch on our hands, ladies and gentlemen -- not to mention a bit of a mystery as to why Dick Jauron is still an NFL head coach.

We also appear to have a quarterbacking mismatch in Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck versus Buffalo's Trent Edwards. Hasselbeck is entering his 10th NFL season and is coming off his finest campaign; he had career highs in yards passing (3,966) and touchdowns (28) in 2007. Edwards also had his finest NFL season last year, but that's because it was his first NFL season. However, he showed plenty of poise, and his numbers (56.1% completions, 7 TDs, 8 INTs) are fairly respectable for a rookie quarterback, not to mention the fact that the team went 5-4 in his starts as opposed to 2-5 the rest of the time.

It would help Edwards's progression if he could get on the same page as star wide receiver Lee Evans, whose deep-threat style fits better with former starter J.P. Losman's bigger arm. It will help Edwards even more if and when he gets his left tackle back. Jason Peters is holding out for a new contract, and his game of chicken with the Bills' front office could have Edwards feeling like Chicken Little, except it would be opposing defenders rather than the sky falling on his head. Meanwhile, Hasselbeck is just looking for anyone to throw to. Veterans Deion Branch and Bobby Engram have been out with injury and backup Ben Obomanu just suffered a season-ending broken clavicle, leaving Nate Burleson as the go-to guy among a cast of unknowns.

The Seahawks might be tempted to lean on their running game, but whom they lean on is another story. Julius Jones, Maurice Morris, T.J. Duckett and maybe even fullback Leonard Weaver are around to divvy up the carries in a way sure to frustrate fantasy football players all season (although, it must be noted, not as much as Shaun Alexander frustrated some fantasy football players -- okay, me -- foolish enough to draft him in the first round last year. Aaargh!). This is where the mismatch favors Buffalo, which has a dynamic talent in Marshawn Lynch. Lynch's rookie campaign resulted in 1,115 yards rushing and seven TDs; but then again, he probably wants his left tackle back in a big way, too.

For his part, Jauron wants his 2001 mojo back, because this year, "not terrible" would likely result in "not employed."

By Desmond Bieler  |  September 4, 2008; 11:00 AM ET  | Category:  Week 1 Previews Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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