On Saturday night the Seattle Seahawks continued their 2019 preseason by defeating the Los Angeles Chargers 23-15 in a contest that was not as close as that score would indicate. Over the course of the game several rookies had a chance to show what they could do, with some shining, and others showing those small shortcomings of rookies still transitioning from college to the NFL. In any case, here’s a quick look at how some of the rookies fared.
For starters, one of the big surprises so far in preseason has been Jazz Ferguson. Ferguson burst onto the scene with a big game to open preseason against the Denver Broncos, cooled down a little against the Minnesota Vikings, and was largely quiet against the Chargers. However, that “largely quiet” wasn’t completely quiet, as Ferguson was once again tested on a jump ball in the end zone.
As I looked at on Wednesday, in college Ferguson was phenomenal at coming down with a jump ball in the end zone, so the question would be whether he could replicate that performance in the NFL. Against the Broncos he hauled in the pass for a touchdown, while against the Vikings he came down just out of bounds. Would he get another shot against the Chargers? And if so, would it be successful? Well, with about five minutes left in the second quarter, Ferguson got a chance to show what he can do.
It didn’t go for a touchdown, but drawing a pass interference call is almost as good. While past Seahawks teams may have had issues about scoring from the one yard line, if this iteration of the team can get first and goal at the one with Chris Carson in the backfield, they probably feel pretty good about themselves. So, while Ferguson didn’t get any other targets on the night, that he was able to draw that penalty certainly shows that he may in fact represent the big bodied end zone threat Seattle has been seeking for years. One more game on Thursday for Jazz to show whether he deserves to be on the roster, and it could be a very interesting week.
The other rookie wide receivers
While Ferguson had a quiet night and second round selection DK Metcalf did not play following knee surgery earlier in the week, fourth round pick Gary Jennings finally hauled in his first catch of the preseason. A 12 yard reception just after halftime proved to be his only catch in the game, and puts him at one catch for 12 yards receiving on six targets through the first three preseason games.
While Jennings and Metcalf have combined for only two catches on ten targets for twenty yards thus far, seventh round selection John Ursua is making a case for himself. Ursua caught both passes thrown his way against the Chargers, ending the night with 52 yards. To this point in the preseason Ursua now has four catches for 100 yards and one rushing attempt for 11 yards as well. Obviously, anything can happen when it comes time for rosters to be trimmed to 53 next Saturday, but at this point it certainly seems as though Ursua has done everything he can to play himself into position to back up Tyler Lockett in the slot.
Stepping over to the defensive side for a few moments, fourth round pick Ugo Amadi led the Hawks in tackles with six and delivered one of the three hits to Chargers quarterbacks Seattle doled out. It wasn’t all quality from Amadi, though, as he did muff a punt midway through the third quarter, but teammate Jeremy Boykins bailed him out by jumping on the loose ball. Cody Barton recorded two tackles, while Ben Burr-Kirven, Jay-Tee Tiuli and Bryan Mone each added one of their own.
There weren’t a lot of flashy plays from the defensive rookies who played most of the second half, but they did get to face off against 2016 preseason darling Troymaine Pope who finished with 27 rushing yards on five carries.
Rookie running backs
While Carson and C.J. Prosise stole the show running the ball in the first half, Travis Homer and Xavier Turner found things a little rougher in the second half. Neither distinguished themselves much when they had a chance to show what they could do, and they’ll be down to their last opportunity this Thursday in the preseason finale.
It’s a quick turnaround for the Seahawks, who host the Oakland Raiders to close out the preseason Thursday, with roster cuts due by 4 pm on Saturday. It’s likely to be a news-filled, action packed week for the team. There are a ton of big decisions that must be made between now and next Sunday, and it will certainly be interesting to see how everything plays out.