The Seahawks are five days away from their season opener at Atlanta. Which is to say, there are still lots of good questions about the team and how the season will unfold. So let’s answer a few.
Q: @CEOofKobeFans asked: Do you think Shaquem (Griffin) gets called up sometime this season?
A: I do. To reset the situation, the Seahawks on Saturday waived Griffin in getting to the regular-season roster limit of 53. He went unclaimed and the Seahawks re-signed him to their 16-player practice squad Sunday.
But being on the practice squad this year puts you closer to being on the active roster than ever before.
In changes put in place as part of the new collective bargaining agreement between the league and players, two players off the practice squad can be called up to the gameday active roster each week without having to go through waivers — each player can be called up twice. That’s how teams can now have a gameday roster of 55 even though the basic in-season roster remains at 53.
Players called up off the PS on Saturday can then return to the PS on Monday (or whichever is the day before and day after the game). Players who get called up receive a prorated share of the weekly NFL minimum salary they would qualify for.
On Monday, coach Pete Carroll seemed to hint that Griffin could be called up to the active roster at some point in the first few weeks.
He also said the Seahawks gambled that Griffin wouldn’t be claimed off waivers last weekend in part due to a lack of preseason games, a shortened training camp and the requirement for players who change teams to clear a three-day COVID-19 testing protocol.
In fact, just 17 players were claimed off waivers following the initial roster cut down to 53 (including Seattle getting linebacker/rush end D’Andre Walker from Tennessee) down from the average of 41 over the past 10 years.
“We want him on our team,” Carroll said. “And so we were fortunate to get that done. You can see that this was not the year that people were claiming (a lot of players) and so it worked out well for us. He’s a good ballplayer, had a really good camp, worked hard the whole time, but just the way that the roster turned out this is where he had to start. He’ll be ready to play in Week 1, 2 or 3. Whenever we get rolling, he’ll be ready.”
Q: @c_e_sanderson asked: Had there been a preseason, which UDFA had the best chance to make the 53-man roster?
A: Seattle’s roster seemed to be so set in so many ways heading into camp that it was going to be difficult for an undrafted free agent to make it even in a regular season.
Also, the Seahawks lost only one player to injury who figured to make the 53-player roster, defensive end Branden Jackson. The Seahawks had only eight undrafted rookie free agents remaining when they had to cut to 53. And the lack of preseason games makes it harder than ever for us on the outside to assess the young players.
But if I had to pick one I’d go with defensive tackle Cedrick Lattimore of Iowa, in part because of his position. Seattle has just three listed tackles — Jarran Reed, Poona Ford and Bryan Mone.
Seattle has also reportedly reached an agreement with former Eagles defensive tackle Anthony Rush to join the practice squad.
Seattle has only three tackles on the 53-player roster, so it won’t be a surprise if Rush or Lattimore find their way onto the gameday active roster sooner rather than later.
A free agent I think would’ve become a fan favorite if there’d been a normal preseason is receiver Penny Hart, a 5-foot-8, 182-pounder from Georgia State.
Hart doesn’t strictly fit the UDFA designation since he’s in his second year — the Colts waived him at the cut down to 53 last year, and he then later signed to the Seahawks practice squad and had a solid camp.
Turns out, the Seahawks decided on Tuesday afternoon they thought Hart had had a pretty good camp, too, as he was promoted to the 53-man roster, with the Seahawks waiving John Ursua to make room.
Q: @Paisa7141: How far do we gotta make it to call it a successful season this year?
A: Given that falling in the divisional round — which is the furthest Seattle has advanced the last five years — has begun to feel like a failure, I’d say getting to the conference title game is the minimum at this point.
But then, nothing feels like more of a disappointment than getting within a game of the Super Bowl and not getting there.
So, maybe the real answer is getting to the Super Bowl.
Certainly, at this stage of Russell Wilson’s career — and Pete Carroll’s — I think they are itching to get back to another one and they themselves will probably feel that anything short of getting to that game will feel like a lost opportunity in a year when the Seahawks have made some major moves and the NFC seems pretty wide open.
Q: @SeattleDad Will the Hawks have a 6 OL set this year, like they did with ‘TE’ (George) Fant last year? Who’s likely to fill that roll? What kind of hands does he have….just in case?
A: The George Fant “eligible receiver” role was certainly a fun thing to watch the last few years as he regularly played 15 snaps or more per game in a sixth-lineman role.
Free agent Cedric Ogbuehi, who was a Bengals first-round pick in 2015, signed with the idea that he could take over that role — the same he played semi-regularly last year with Jacksonville (Ogbuehi even was given Fant’s old jersey number of 74).
But the Seahawks also have what looks like it could be one of the best tight-end groups in the NFL this year with the addition of Greg Olsen and the return to health of Will Dissly and are going to want them on the field as much as possible this year.
So the guess here is that you may see less of the eligible tackle role this year so the Seahawks can use more two-tight-end sets — and maybe even three at times with Jacob Hollister and Luke Willson also on the roster.
As for what kind of hands Ogbuehi has, I have to admit that’s one of the many questions that remains unanswered as this season begins.