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Three things to watch when the Seahawks are on offense against the Chargers

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

It is one week until all 32 NFL teams must trim their rosters down to 53 players, and it will be a busy week for the Seattle Seahawks with two preseason games in that timeframe. The first of those two games is Saturday, when the Hawks travel to Southern California to take on the Los Angeles Chargers at 7pm Pacific Time. With that in mind, here are three things to watch for when Seattle is on offense Saturday evening.

Germain Ifedi vs. Melvin Ingram (and/or Joey Bosa)

It was against the Chargers in the 2018 preseason that Ifedi had an extremely rough night. Ingram worked Ifedi to the tune of seven pressures on just two dozen quarterback snaps. It was a performance that led many to call for Ifedi to be benched, traded or released, but he obviously recovered from the outing enough to man the starting right tackle position for the Seahawks for regular season. That regular season performance included facing off against the Bolts again in Week 9, where he allowed only three pressures over an entire game as opposed to just a half.

For those who may have forgotten how bad it looked in Week 2 of the preseason last year, here’s a reminder of one of the plays from that game that caught the attention of many.

Rashaad Penny vs. Chargers front seven

Through the first two games of the preseason Penny’s been unable to generate production when running the ball. The Hawks coaching staff seems intent on getting him work running between the tackles, a skill that has been lacking for him so far in his brief career, and the Chargers present a formidable run defense. Los Angeles had a top ten run defense by DVOA in 2018, with former Seahawk Brandon Mebane helping clog the middle. It’s likely that when the teams face off on Saturday night we’ll get a chance to see whether Penny can find his groove between the tackles, or if his struggles continue.

Are there any healthy wide receivers on the roster?

The wide receiver position has been a question mark for the team since the spring when it was reported that Doug Baldwin wanted out and the team acquiesced his request and granted him his release. That went a long way towards explaining why the team drafted three wide receivers in the draft in April, grabbing DK Metcalf in the second round, Gary Jennings in the fourth and John Ursua in the seventh.

So far, Jennings has been pretty quiet through the first part of camp, Metcalf had surgery Tuesday and may or may not be ready for the regular season and Ursua has looked good when asked to perform well, but has seen only five targets so far. Add in the shoulder injury that David Moore suffered in practice on Thursday, and all of a sudden the position is even more of a question mark than it had been.

If there was any doubt about Jaron Brown’s status as a lock to make the roster, that has been cleared up completely with Moore’s injury. With Moore out for Week 1, moving on from Brown would leave the Hawks with Tyler Lockett and a whole lot of question marks behind him. Thus, the unquestioned starters at the position are Brown and Lockett, but who is the third receiver when Seattle goes to three receiver sets? Is it Jazz Ferguson, who the team has made a concerted effort to see perform in the preseason? Is it Jennings in spite of how quiet he has been through the first two games? Could they give the start to Amara Darboh, back from injury, back from the New England Patriots and seemingly back from the dead? Is it Malik Turner who played 42 offensive snaps and caught two passes from Russell Wilson in 2018?

Or could the coaching staff make a surprise move that catches fans and observers off guard? As soon as the team parted ways with Baldwin in May, Lockett became the unquestioned starter in the slot. However, what if with both Metcalf and Moore on the mend, the three receiver configuration the Hawks feel most comfortable with involves keeping Lockett on the outside opposite Brown and starting another player in the slot? Could Keenan Reynolds, Terry Wright or Ursua get the nod in the slot the first time the Seattle offense comes out with three wideouts?

Whatever combination the Seahawks coaching staff chooses to go with, it should be interesting and provide some sort of insight regarding which receiver has the inside track heading into cuts next weekend. Add in the two receivers who will miss the game due to injury, and there should be plenty of snaps to go around for the youngsters competing for the roster spots on the bottom half of the Seattle depth chart.