Observations from Seahawks' exhibition game

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Thoughts and observations on the Seahawks after watching the first half of their exhibition game against the Chiefs:

  • Brandon Mebane disrupts. The Seahawks need the third-year defensive tackle to get upfield quickly. Mebane did that effectively from the beginning in this game. His sack on Matt Cassel sent the Chiefs' quarterback to the locker room with an injury.

  • Tackling still shaky. The Seahawks' Leroy Hill, Lofa Tatupu and Josh Wilson all missed tackles on 31-yard Chiefs run to end first quarter. Individual players made a few nice plays for Seattle, but the defense as a whole wasn't consistent, struggling against the run. Holding the Chiefs to zero third-down conversions in the half would have seemed more impressive if Cassel hadn't left the game.

  • Kicking battle in focus. Olindo Mare badly missed two first-half field-goal attempts. Brandon Coutu, though shorter on his kickoffs, has never missed in preseason. Advantage, Coutu (although he has now missed one from 50-plus yards in second half). Update: Receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said the grass is slick and the holders were having a tough time placing the ball.

  • Running game picks up. Julius Jones started having success on the ground once Justin Griffith replaced Owen Schmitt as fullback. I thought it wasn't a coincidence. Griffith knows the offense and his presence on the field raises the team's football IQ, a point of emphasis for Seattle this offseason (also enhanced by adding Houshmandzadeh and running back Edgerrin James).

  • Matt Hasselbeck is heating up. The veteran quarterback strengthened his rapport with Houshmandzadeh and tight end John Carlson. He worked the 2-minute offense nicely before the half, finding Houshmandzadeh repeatedly and Deion Branch as well. Hasselbeck looks better than any quarterback in the division this summer. He also took a couple more awkward hits, including one in the back, without flinching. He has completed 19 of 25 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns through the first two-plus quarters. His lone interception came on a tipped pass early in the game.

Those are a few of the things I noticed in the first half and while writing this in the third quarter.