Saturday the Seattle Seahawks continued their preseason by hosting the Denver Broncos in a game that once again featured very few starters on either side of the ball for Seattle. With the Hawks offensive firepower resting on the sidelines for the second week in a row the team managed just a single score in dropping the game 30-3.
Looking past the loss - since the preseason is meaningless - it’s possible to evaluate some of the questions facing the team as they prepare for the regular season opener against the Indianapolis Colts on September 12. Thus, without wasting any more time, it’s possible to jump right to the takeaways from this contest.
DeeJay Dallas will make the 53 man roster
Lots of fans have spent the offseason putting a variety of backs above Dallas on the depth chart. Whether that is Alex Collins finding his 2017 form, Rashaad Penny coming back from injury or undrafted free agent Josh Johnson beating Dallas out for the final spot, there was no shortage of speculation that Dallas would be playing anywhere but Seattle in 2021.
However, after two preseason games, Dallas has been one of the few bright spots. He’s flashed on punt returns, shown good hands and vision in the running game and blocked a punt against the Broncos. At this point it would be a shock if he did not make the roster.
Through the first two games the Seahawks seem to have rested the players they are certain will make it past final roster cuts, and if the same was true Saturday night it could mean that Swain has all but secured a spot. DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Dee Eskridge are locks to be with the team, with a huge group of players battling for the three spots behind them. Swain is the most experienced of the youngsters battling for those final spots, and he looked sharp in the opener against the Las Vegas Raiders. That translated into him not see much time on the field against the Broncos, and could indicate that the fourth wide receiver spot has been claimed.
One of the things nobody wants to see during the preseason is injuries, but unfortunately for the Hawks it appears as though two players competing for depth were lost for the season. There hasn’t been an official prognosis, but Pete Carroll did not have a great update on either Ben Burr-Kirven or John Ursua after the game.
For those who were watching the NFL GamePass streaming broadcast, while the local broadcast went to commercial the stream showed the replay of BBK’s knee injury, and it was not pretty. It may or may not be cut out when the NFL releases the replay broadcast, but BBK’s knee moved the wrong way like he was one of the aliens in Men In Black with the knees that move backwards. Having watched it, it would be a surprise if BBK going onto IR isn’t one of the roster moves the team makes prior to the 4 PM New York Time deadline Tuesday in order to cut down to 80 players.
Who is going to play cornerback?
One of the big questions that the team needed to address during the preseason was to figure out which cornerbacks would come out of the competition the team spent the offseason putting together. Hopes were high for Ahkello Witherspoon, but he took a seat early against Denver and was playing special teams in the second half. That’s not exactly the look one hopes for out of the moderately priced free agent the team signed, and the fact that his entire $4M contract is guaranteed means that there are no cap savings for Seattle if they release him.
That said, if it’s answers that fans are looking for at cornerback, there weren’t a whole lot to be found at the position in this group. Witherspoon, Tre Brown, Tre Flowers, Damarious Randall, Gavin Heslop and the others all played, but who will earn the nod for Week 1 appears as though it may be just as big a question as it was when training camp opened in July.
Meaning the big takeaway is that the Seahawks need D.J. Reed to get healthy and for somebody, anybody, to step up and lay claim to the second starting spot.
Alex McGough or Sean Mannion?
Geno Smith backs up Russell Wilson for a reason, and that was on full display. Obviously even Wilson would have had difficulty executing with the offensive personnel the Hawks used Saturday, but that can’t be used to completely excuse the performance of the quarterbacks against Denver. McGough spent the first half demonstrating the opposite of ball security tossing two interceptions and losing a fumble. In the second half Mannion avoided turning the ball over, but might have given fans the impression they were watching Captain Checkdown Alex Smith at times.
The team must make five moves to get down to 80 players before Tuesday afternoon, and then the preseason finale against the Los Angeles Chargers will be played next Saturday.