Running back C.J. Prosise and offensive lineman J'Marcus Webb, each making their preseason debuts, are two key players to watch for the Seahawks against Dallas Thursday night.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll gave a swift kick Wednesday to the idea that much should be read into the results of games played in August when asked if he was concerned that the No. 1 offense has yet to score in the preseason.
“Nope,’’ Carroll said. “Nope. Preseason game.’’
So even as the Seahawks get set for their third preseason game — the one typically regarded as the most telling since the starters will play at least a series in to the second half — the focus on Thursday’s contest with the Dallas Cowboys at CenturyLink Field remains in assessing individual players and position groups.
Here are eight players particularly worth keeping an eye on:
RB C.J. Prosise: Much about Seattle’s running back situation is beginning to take shape. Thomas Rawls will be healthy for week one, Christine Michael has proven he can be a capable option or complement to Rawls, and Will Tukuafu appears ready to reclaim the fullback spot. That could leave the rest of the field competing for just one or two spots, led by Prosise, a third-round pick out of Notre Dame who has yet to play due to a hamstring injury. Prosise is healthy after a solid week of practice and has a chance Thursday to re-affirm the team’s believe he can step right into a key role as a third-down back.
OT J’Marcus Webb: The veteran free agent is also set to make his Seahawks debut after missing the last two games with a twisted knee. Webb was the starting right tackle when he was hurt. But Garry Gilliam has since been shifted there with Bradley Sowell taking over at left tackle. Webb will begin against Dallas at right tackle but could also play left tackle as the Seahawks look to see where he may best fit. The team seems comfortable with its three interior offensive linemen — center Justin Britt and guards Mark Glowinski and Germain Ifedi. But the tackle spots appear somewhat uncertain, though for now, the team seems to have settled on Gilliam as a right tackle and Sowell as a left tackle. Nothing figures to be set in stone, though, until Webb’s role is determined.
WR/TE Tanner McEvoy: The 6-6, 230-pounder was used at tight end in practice this week with rookie Nick Vannett sidelined indefinitely with a high ankle sprain and Jimmy Graham remaining in recovery mode. McEvoy was making inroads to earning a receiving spot and could significantly boost his chances by showing he could play tight end if needed, as well.
WR: Kenny Lawler: How many receivers the Seahawks will keep will be dependant in part on how many running backs and tight ends make it. But it seems a given Seattle will keep at least five. Figuring out who that is is another matter, especially if McEvoy ends up being considered more of a tight end. Kasen Williams, who appeared the front-runner heading into camp, will sit out again with a hamstring injury, and fellow UW grad Kevin Smith also has yet to play due to a hamstring issue. That has opened the door for Lawler, a seventh-round pick who has come on the last few weeks and could show the team he is ready to play this season, rather than maybe needing a developmental practice squad year, with a some more good moments in preseason games.
RB Troymaine Pope: While Pope was one of the heroes of last week’s 18-11 loss to the Vikings with 86 yards, he remains a longshot to make the roster with the tailback spot getting healthy. But his performance last week had some wondering if he has a chance to at least move ahead of fifth-round pick Alex Collins or seventh-rounder Zac Brooks on the depth chart. How and when Collins, Brooks and Pope are used against the Cowboys could be telling.
QB Trevone Boykin: Boykin had a rest day on Monday but is expected to be back in his usual role as the backup to Russell Wilson. Coaches will be looking to see Boykin gradually cut down on the major mistakes that marred his game last week to feel comfortable he can be the backup in the regular season.
DB Tyvis Powell: One of the stars of the preseason opener against Kansas City, Powell was quieter last week. He is now also getting significant work at cornerback as well as safety with special teams and versatility likely to be his route to earning a roster spot.
DT Jordan Hill: The four-year vet will see his first action after missing the first two preseason games with a groin injury. His roster spot seems secure, but the acquisition of Tony McDaniel will make getting snaps more competitive, as will the emergence of rookie Jarran Reed (Reed, though, won’t play Thursday due to a toe injury that has him out for an indefinite period).