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How 5 players on the roster bubble performed on Sunday night

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Seattle Seahawks v Detroit Lions Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Seahawks dropped their first game of the preseason on Sunday to fall to 1-1 in August, with the Vikings seeing victory in a hideous 25-19 affair. Seattle’s second game of the preseason saw action on the periphery of the roster. Some on the bubble had repeat strong performances, others continued to struggle, while a couple players were unable to continue their promising start to August. Here’s who stood out on the roster bubble in the Seahawks’ loss in Minnesota, for better or for worse.

Kalan Reed

This is less about a good or bad performance from Reed, and more about (what was touted as) a three man competition becoming two. Entering Sunday, it seemed as though Reed was well positioned to push for the nickel spot, after earning Pete Carroll’s praise earlier in the week, with the head coach saying, “Kalan Reed has done a really nice overall job right now, pass coverage-wise. He’s done all that stuff well enough that he can hold his spot going into the week, but it’s up for grabs, and those guys will be rotating evenly throughout.”

That praise amounted to very little, with Reed seeing just six defensive snaps—the least among every active defender. Akeem King and Jamar Taylor, meanwhile, played 31 and 30 snaps respectively. The nickel competition will undoubtedly come down to the end of preseason, but Reed doesn’t seem to be involved any more.

DeShawn Shead

It’s now two (preseason) games back in Seattle for Shead, and two games that have seen him make a big play. A week after putting two points on the board as a result of a well timed blitz, Shead took an interception all the way back for six on Sunday. Shead is making plays, provides the defense with versatility, and saw time with the starters in Bradley McDougald’s place against the Vikings. At this point in the preseason, it would be more surprising than not if Shead wasn’t on the 53 come Week 1.

Bryan Mone

A week after being one of two standout UDFAs for the Seahawks against the Broncos, Mone continued his impressive preseason. Mone out-snapped Earl Mitchell and Al Woods—two veterans who are likely roster locks—but more notably out-snapped Jamie Meder, who’s his biggest competition for a roster spot at this time. The immovable 1-tech was rotated in during Minnesota’s first possession of the game, something that would seem to suggest he is in Seattle’s plans for the regular season.

Ethan Pocic

Like Mone and Shead, Pocic built upon his strong start to the preseason. Though he saw more time at center last week—one would assume backing up Justin Britt would be his main path to the 53—he looked solid playing heavily (46% of snaps) at left guard on Sunday. Pocic was moving really well, getting to the second level to seal off linebackers; at the line of scrimmage, he was moving defensive tackles off the ball. In his second year in a new scheme, with added weight on his frame, Pocic looks far more comfortable than the player who plummeted down the depth chart last season.

Austin Calitro

Calitro’s performance against Denver was promising: Not only did the linebacker pop up in the backfield a couple of times, on two occasions he stuck in coverage for a positive play. The latter represented an exciting improvement from last season, when he would regularly get exposed in space. Against the Vikings, he was again out of his depths in space. Granted, rookie tight end Irv Smith Jr. is a tough matchup for a large portion of starting LBs, but Calitro did not do himself any favors in Minnesota. The numbers are stacked against Calitro on the Seahawks, but even beyond Seattle, Calitro must improve as a defender in space if he’s going to become a starting linebacker in the NFL.

Players like Calitro will get one last opportunity to push for a roster spot next Saturday, against the Chargers in Los Angeles. After that point, most of the roster will be finalized and the preseason finale will largely be contested by players like Reed, who will be attempting to put together a little more good film to catch on elsewhere.