The calls on roster spots didn't get any easier at some positions following Thursday night's game.
The Seahawks’ exhibition opener is in the books, such as it was, a 19-17 loss to the Colts in which Russell Wilson and the first-team offense looked sharp but much of the rest of the night was a little ragtag. Seattle was outgained 265-195, managing just 59 yards on 24 plays in the second half while committing 10 penalties (and 12 for the game).
But with at least one game now to go on, here is our latest projection of what Seattle’s initial 53-man roster could look like.
KEEP: Russell Wilson, Austin Davis.
CUT: Alex McGough.
COMMENT: You get the sense the Seahawks would rather have McGough, a seventh-round pick, make the team than Davis due to a little cap savings and having someone to groom long term. But so far Davis seems the safer pick, though his interception in the end zone in the second quarter was a rough play. Still, Davis did lead a 68-yard drive until then. None of the six drives McGough guided in the second half went for longer than 20 yards. It wasn’t all his fault as penalties played a big role. But he’s going to have to show more for the Seahawks to get comfortable with the idea that they’d be one play away from needing him at quarterback.
KEEP: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, C.J. Prosise, Mike Davis, J.D. McKissic.
CUT: Gerald Holmes.
COMMENT: Penny and Carson are locks, but the other three could all be in some question, and especially Prosise if his latest hip injury — which sidelined him Thursday night — turns into an extended absence. Still, Prosise has shown just enough in his career that you get the sense the Seahawks really want to give him one more shot. Davis had some nice moments Thursday but he’s the one tailback whose contract puts him at a little risk with the Seahawks able to save $887,500 against the cap if he is released.
KEEP: Tre Madden.
CUT: Jalston Fowler.
COMMENT: Not much of a battle here at the moment with Fowler having been sidelined for a while and Madden the only healthy fullback. Seattle seems likely to keep a fullback this year given what it wants to do with its running game. But it’d be little surprise if Seattle also continues to look for other options at this spot.
KEEP: Ed Dickson, Nick Vannett, Will Dissly.
CUT: Tyrone Swoopes, Clayton Wilson, Kyle Carter, Je’Ron Hamm.
COMMENT: Dickson remains on the Non-Football Injury list and if his injury lingers then the roster makeup of the tight end spot could change. For now, Dickson/Vannett/Dissly look like locks with Swoopes a practice squad guy again and potential depth down the road.
KEEP: Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Amara Darboh, Jaron Brown, Marcus Johnson, Brandon Marshall.
CUT: David Moore, Tanner McEvoy, Cyril Grayson, Damore’ea Stringfellow, Caleb Scott, Keenan Reynolds, Malik Turner.
COMMENT: Some tough calls to make here for sure. Darboh may be the most intriguing at this point. As a third-round pick a year ago he represents a fairly significant investment that the team would like to see pay off. But the Seahawks have shown in the past they are willing to walk away quickly from mistakes. Darboh has had some good moments in practice, but he’s also missed a lot of time with injury, including sitting out Thursday’s game. Other than Moore, though, none of the other young receivers did much against the Colts to stand out. Marshall remains a little bit of a wild card — he was introduced as a starter Thursday and has had some great plays in practice. But the Seahawks still need to see he can handle a consistent workload, even if far limited from what he’s done in the past.
KEEP: Justin Britt, Ethan Pocic, Germain Ifedi, D.J. Fluker, Duane Brown, George Fant, Jordan Roos, J.R. Sweezy, Jamarco Jones.
CUT: Willie Beavers, Rees Odhiamo, Joey Hunt, Skyler Phillips, Isaiah Battle.
COMMENT: A few more really tough calls here, complicated at the moment by health situations. Jones suffered “a pretty legit” ankle sprain Thursday, according to coach Pete Carroll, and if he’s going to be out any length of time that obviously will impact what happens with his potential roster spot. But the way he had played in practice the last week made him just about a lock. Same goes with Battle, who suffered a sprained knee. And Sweezy is battling an ankle issue and Fant is still working his way back. So I’m hedging a bit here and going with 10 offensive linemen. The Seahawks would likely only keep nine and some of the pending health issues will undoubtedly help sort out the logjam. And for all the hubbub of late about Ifedi, the way the number one offense played and Carroll’s praise of the line for the time Wilson got to throw would seem to mean that for now, he’s not going anywhere, though the team will continue to make sure he gets the message about penalties.
KEEP: Jarran Reed, Frank Clark, Nazair Jones, Rasheem Green, Tom Johnson, Branden Jackson, Marcus Smith II, Shamar Stephen, Quinton Jefferson.
CUT: Poona Ford, Ricky Ali’ifua, Joey Ivie, Josh Forrest.
PUP: Dion Jordan.
COMMENT: Jordan’s situation gets a little more curious with each week and right now the best bet might be that he starts on the PUP list, which means he’s out for at least the first six weeks. That makes Jefferson likely a must-keep at this point. Ford has had some nice moments but barring injuries to others seems likely headed to a practice squad spot this year with Jones, Reed, Johnson and Stephen appearing to have the four interior tackle spots locked up.
KEEP: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, D.J. Alexander, Shaquem Griffin, Barkevious Mingo, Jacob Martin
CUT: Warren Long, Emmanuel Beal, Jake Pugh, Austin Calitro.
COMMENT: Of the six listed as keepers only Alexander would seem in question since he has done little so far due to injury. But when healthy he might be the best option as another backup inside — Seattle lists him as a backup in the middle to Wagner though we’ve seen little of that so far in camp — and the Seahawks like what he does on special teams.
KEEP: Shaquill Griffin, Byron Maxwell, Justin Coleman, Tre Flowers, Akeem King.
CUT: Neiko Thorpe, Mike Tyson, Dontae Johnson, Trovon Reed, Jeremy Boykins.
COMMENT: Griffin and Coleman may be the only two completely sure things though Maxwell has consistently been the other starter before missing the last few days and Thursday’s game with an injury not considered serious. Flowers played well Thursday and at this point would seem hard to waive and risk losing. King has also been a quiet standout of late and with others struggling or out with injuries he might be the darkhorse pick to make it (and remember that the Seahawks could save $1.85 million by waiving Thorpe.
KEEP: Bradley McDougald, Delano Hill, Tedric Thompson, Maurice Alexander.
CUT: Tevon Mutcherson, Lorenzo Jerome.
COMMENT: For now, the best bet is Earl Thomas will still be holding out when the season begins meaning Seattle’s starting safeties will be some combination of McDougald and one of the other three, most likely either Thompson or Alexander. Alexander, though, has practiced just twice due to injury, initially coming off shoulder surgery and then suffering a hip flexor. So he’s far from a given to make it, and if his issues persist the Seahawks could explore other options.
KEEP: Sebastian Janikowski, Michael Dickson, Tyler Ott.
CUT: Jason Myers, Jon Ryan.
COMMENT: It’s hard to see Dickson not beating out Ryan after what we saw Thursday night — a 50.0 average on three punts and 47.3 net and, well, a drop kick pooched kickoff on the final kickoff of the night. But it remains curious that Ryan has been holding for Janikowski — who looks like the favorite for the kicking job — and Dickson for Myers. It’ll be worth monitoring how the holding/kicking combinations continue to unfold over the next couple of weeks.
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