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Seahawks-Chiefs: Post-game observations

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks triumphed in the regular season dress rehearsal, beating the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 26-13. The starters came out flying on both sides of the ball for Seattle, playing with the tempo and fire that we’ve become accustomed to from a Pete Carroll team, even in the preseason.

With the starters playing into the second half, there were interesting things to note from both the offense and defense. Here are some quick fire observations following the Seahawks victory tonight.

Nazair Jones’ Eventful Start

A hyped preseason through two weeks led to rookie Nazair Jones getting the start tonight against the Chiefs, and the first drive was certainly an interesting one for the rookie.

On an early second-and-short, Jones was pushed off the ball badly, allowing an easy first down for Kansas City. On the next play, both Jones and Rubin were pushed off the ball, although Jones would recover and get in on the tackle a few yards downfield.

Following a penalty for a neutral zone infraction, Jones worked laterally really well on a first-and-ten stretch run from Charcandrick West and made the tackle. To end a noteworthy first drive for Naz Jones, he almost got to Alex Smith for a sack with great penetration following a rip-and-swim move, only to be picked up by Chiefs’ fullback Anthony Sherman.

Finding the Fourth Passenger for NASCAR

Seems like Seattle is using this preseason to figure out who will play where on obvious passing downs along the defensive line. At times there was: Cassius Marsh at defensive tackle with Marcus Smith at defensive end, David Bass at defensive tackle with Smith at defensive end, Garrison Smith getting looks inside with Bass at defensive end. As of August 25th, Frank Clark, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are locked down. Who gets the majority of snaps with them will be interesting and seems to be undecided.

J.D. McKissic has Never Done Anything Slow, Ever

If J.D. McKissic is going to win a roster spot, it’s going to be on the back of his special teams play. He had his second muffed kick tonight, on just eight returns this preseason. Everything McKissic has done this preseason has been at full speed, but it’s going to be hard to justify keeping him as a fifth running back over a fullback - especially if Tyler Lockett is going to retake return duties. He had some fast, hard runs during the fourth quarter against the Chiefs - and was seemingly met by Richard Sherman, Doug Baldwin and Earl Thomas after each - but his value as a runner will be a small factor into whether or not he’s on the final 53.

Offensive Line

  • The first-unit offensive line protected really well all-in-all, especially in pass protection. After some penalty trouble early on, they got into a groove during the second drive of the second quarter. Rees Odhiambo in particular, was really encouraging. The run blocking still left something to be desired, but the drive still culminated in a Tre Madden receiving touchdown.
  • New Seahawk left tackle Matt Tobin came in with the second-unit offensive line, and performed really well. He was isolated one-on-one against veteran Frank Zombo for most of his first three drives, and won the majority of his battles. He’ll be one of the players I’m most looking forward to seeing more of next week, and looks like a real option at left tackle moving forward. He and Odhiambo may not be great options, but their play tonight was encouraging.
  • Ethan Pocic came in with the second-unit as well, getting playing time at center. He looked totally comfortable (as expected), and although he doesn’t project there long-term in Seattle, his play tonight gives credence to the idea his versatility makes Joey Hunt expendable.

Defensive Wrinkle in August, Likely Not Around in September

I noticed an interesting wrinkle tonight that I’ve never seen out of Seattle’s defense before: early in the second quarter Frank Clark was roaming around the second level of the defense, behind four down linemen, before coming on a delayed blitz and getting to Smith forcing an incompletion. Later on in the third quarter, Marcus Smith did the same thing, again coming on a delay and again affecting the pass. The preseason is a curious time to unveil a new wrinkle if it’s something we’ll see throughout the season, but interesting nonetheless.

Kasen’s Climb Isn’t Over

Kasen Williams’ sudden lack of action tonight could be perceived in two ways:

  1. He did play with the starters, so maybe he has the fifth receiver spot locked down and thus got the looks of a fifth receiver in the Seahawks’ offense (one target). Or:
  2. He’s right back into the thick of the competition at receiver, and tonight was a step back in his effort to finally remove himself from the practice squad.

I’m going with a mixture of the two. If pressed to say, I still think Williams has a roster spot come week one, but Tanner McEvoy, David Moore and Amara Darboh (if healthy) will be there competing against him every step of the way.

Chris Carson is Perfect

I wrote about it earlier this week, but again it needs to be said: Chris Carson’s lateral agility for his size and frame is ridiculous. He has had some devastating tackle breaks through three weeks, but he’s had a couple devastating ankle breaks too. Another 90 total yards for him tonight, and he may just start in Green Bay.

Alex Collins is not

Heading into tonight’s game, I thought Mike Davis had surpassed Alex Collins on the team’s depth chart. And he has. But Collins has seemingly disappeared after more fumble trouble, not even getting onto the field today. Davis will ultimately fall victim to the numbers game in Seattle, but he’ll be going out having looked a helluva lot better than Collins.

David Ba(da)ss

David Bass looks every bit like a Seattle defensive lineman. He’s lined up both inside and outside - something Marsh, Bennett and Clark do regularly - and has been effective running loops inside from the defensive end position. Perhaps even more Seahawk-y was the pursuit he showed to chase down Patrick Mahomes and force an incompletion on a third down tonight. The defensive line is crowded heading into the final preseason game, but Bass is doing everything in his power to be on the 53-man roster come week one.

That’s all the observations I have coming off the win over Kansas City, give us your thoughts and observations in the comments or on Twitter.