The Seattle Seahawks open their 2016 preseason schedule against the Chiefs in Kansas City at 1:30 PM PST on Saturday, but not everyone will be available to play and start shaking the gameday rust off: Head coach Pete Carroll announced a considerable list of key players who won’t be playing this week, few of which should come as a surprise.
Among those sitting out are tight end Jimmy Graham (knee) and running back Thomas Rawls (ankle), both of whom just came off the PUP list this week. They’ll be joined on the sidelines by J’Marcus Webb (knee), C.J. Prosise (hamstring), Zac Brooks (hammy), Kasen Williams (hammy), Kevin Smith (it’s the hammy), Deshon Foxx (stop: Hamstring Time), Kam Chancellor (groin), Jordan Hill (groin), and Sealver Siliga (calf).
The starting offensive line with Webb out will be Bradley Sowell at left tackle, Garry Gilliam at right tackle, Mark Glowinski at left guard, Germain Ifedi at right guard, and Justin Britt at center. While Webb being out is not surprising, the fact that they trust Sowell to be on the left side and not Gilliam may be even more telling. Newly signed Pro Bowl guard Jahri Evans will play but not with the first string, which is expected to get more time on the field than usual for a preseason game.
The problems at running back mean that Rawls, Prosise, and Brooks will all be out, giving more opportunities for a group of “depth” guys who suddenly look difficult to bury on the bench or release in a few weeks. Christine Michael, who may be putting up an argument to start over Rawls to open the year, probably won’t get much playing time on Saturday, if at all; they know what he can do. Instead look for Alex Collins, who is trying to somehow carve a place for himself to get carries on offense this season despite such a loaded backfield, to get a heavy look early on followed by Troymaine Pope, who was signed just this week, Cameron Marshall, and DB-convert George Farmer.
When final cuts come around, I pretty much expect at this point that every running back released by Seattle will get picked up somewhere else.