Last season, the Seahawks marched to their first Super Bowl title on the legs of the No. 1 defense in the league and skill players who came up big in the clutch.
They overcame a below-average offensive line that was without its starting tackles for half the season, was using a rotation at left guard and was starting a second-year player at right guard.
The prevailing thought is that quarterback Russell Wilson will continue his progression in his third season and the defense will be at least as good as it was in 2013. On top of that, the Hawks' skill players -- running back, receivers, tight ends -- all seem to be better as a whole than they were last season.
The only unit that is still in question is the same one that was the weakness in 2013: the offensive line. And it sure was in the first preseason game as the Hawks played with a bunch of backups and had trouble sustaining any offense without the help of penalties.
Granted, it was the first preseason game, so there's no reason to get too concerned yet. But the Hawks really need to nail down their starting five as soon as possible so they can put together some meaningful series in the preseason.
Left tackle Russell Okung, recovering from offseason foot surgery, is expected to be ready for the season opener, but will he get any action before then?
Left guard James Carpenter had the best offseason of his short career, but he sat out the Denver game Thursday with a calf injury. He's back at practice this week, but injuries will always be a concern with him.
Meanwhile, the Hawks have a different veteran-rookie combination at right tackle in the wake of Michael Bowie's injury and departure to Cleveland via waivers. Justin Britt, the rookie, is battling Eric Winston, the veteran. Britt started against Denver and performed well for his first game, coach Pete Carroll said.
"He made the plays he had to make," Carroll told reporters. "For his first time out, he looked comfortable. He got more aggressive as the game went on. We’re real pleased at this point. First game, really couldn’t have done a whole lot more for us."
The Hawks likely learned from last season, when they were very inexperienced behind the starters, because they have a bunch of veterans in camp: Winston, 11-year vet Wade Smith, and fourth-year guards Stephen Schilling and C.J. Davis.
Carroll is stressing versatility.
When Smith and Cory Brandon were brought in Aug. 4, he told reporters, "These guys – Wade in particular – bring a lot of experience and tremendous flexibility. He has started at five spots, so that kind of flexibility might fit with us. They’re real good guys, and smart guys, so that helps us as we try to mold this thing together. We have flexibility in how we’re going to do it. We’re going to take our time figuring it out."
On Sunday, he said, "It’s extremely valuable to have guys that have flexibility. You know, when nine or 10 guys make the roster, guys have got to move around."
Guys also have to be healthy -- something that has not been the case so far.
If the Hawks weren't so used to this unit being a mess, it would be a concern -- even this early. But the fact is the Hawks won the Super Bowl with a bad line last year and figure to be at least marginally better up front this season -- once their guys return.
Here's a look at the roster entering the second preseason game: