Trevone Boykin, Garry Gilliam and Alex Collins are among the intriguing players to watch in the Seahawks' final preseason game Thursday at Oakland.
Expect Russell Wilson and the rest of Seattle’s starters to get a quick series or two at Oakland Thursday night (with Thomas Rawls possibly being on the field with them) and then take to the sidelines for the rest of the night.
That’s the traditional course of action for the final preseason game of the year and the Seahawks won’t handle this one any differently.
So other than seeing if Rawls really gets a few plays — Carroll coyly said everyone would just have to wait and see — the real intrigue exists in watching the last chance for some players to compete for either a starting position or a spot on the roster.
Here are few positions/players particularly worth watching:
1. The battle at right tackle.
While the other four starting spots on the offensive line are set, the right tackle spots remains open between Garry Gilliam and J’Marcus Webb. Gilliam has the edge, but Carroll sounded excited about the way Webb played last week in his first action with the Seahawks.
In some ways, though, the bigger picture is that each appears to be hitting their stride after missing time in the off-season and training camp with injuries.
“We have a competition at the spot, which is good,’’ Carroll said. “J’Marcus is doing a nice job there, too, and this game will be important again for those guys as they play. But we think both guys could play right now so we are in good shape right there.’’
2. C.J. Prosise.
Now that he’s healthy, there’s no doubt that Prosise, a rookie from Notre Dame, will have a role this season as a third-down back, if not more. But with only 16 snaps in the preseason, all last week against Dallas, Carroll said “he needs to play more’’ to get that much readier for the regular season. “We’re excited about him but he needs more game time.’’
3. Getting more playing time for Jordan Hill.
Carroll intriguingly also volunteered the fourth-year defensive tackle as another player who needs more snaps after having missed much of camp with a groin issue — he returned to play 12 last week against Dallas. Hill seems like a lock for the roster but the expected return from a toe injury soon of rookie Jarran Reed (he won’t play against the Raiders) and the recent signing of veteran Tony McDaniel adds to the competition at tackle.
“He needs to play,’’ Carroll said of Hill, saying to expect to see him more than most of the defensive regulars.
4. Letting Alex Collins get in a rhythm.
The fifth-round pick out of Arkansas has been one of the bigger mysteries of the preseason. After a good start to training camp he has just 37 yards on 12 carries and could be in a battle for the final tailback spot with undrafted rookie Troymaine Pope, who has 110 yards on 16 carries.
Collins is one of just three running backs in SEC history to gain 1,000 or more yards in each of their first three seasons — the others being Herschel Walker and Darren McFadden — and Carroll seems to be hinting the Seahawks will try to get Collins some consistent work to see if that brings out his ability better than the intermittent use he has gotten so far.
“He’s going to get a lot of turns so he can get the rhythm of it,’’ Carroll said. “He’s had some games where he’s had inopportune plays where we got knocked around at the line of scrimmage and he didn’t get a good shot. So this is a really good shot for him to show.’’ Carroll said the team has been impressed by Collins’ receiving and blocking but that “we’d just like to see him run the football a little bit more.’’
5. Seeing who is healthy enough to emerge at receiver.
The battle for the final receiver spot or two has been stunted of late by injuries to some of the key participants. Former UW Husky Kevin Smith was waived as injured earlier this week (he is now on the team’s Injured Reserve) while dealing with a hamstring injury. Fellow former Husky Kasen Williams has also had a nagging hamstring throughout preseason and has played in just one game.
And Tanner McEvoy, whose longshot bid for a spot on the 53-man roster appeared buoyed last week when the team also began using him as a tight end, also now has a groin injury.
Carroll said both McEvoy and Williams have a chance to play against the Raiders but it doesn’t sound like either will be 100 percent. That could leave a lot of snaps for the likes of Kenny Lawler and Douglas McNeil to make a last impression.
6. Getting one last long look at Trevone Boykin.
Boykin has appeared to do enough to earn the backup quarterback job behind Wilson. But he’ll have a last shot against the Raiders to sew that up with Carroll saying “he’s going to get a lot of plays.’’
Asked what he wants to see, Carroll stressed the importance of Boykin not making mistakes.
“Hoping he can continue to make positive steps and stay out of the trouble areas and show us just good, steady decision-making and all of that,’’ Carroll said. “I don’t have any problem with his ability, his movement, his throwing, his understanding of what we’re asking him. It’s just get out there live through the challenges and make good decisions.’’