Here's a look at five more things we learned Thursday's Seahawks preseason games, including items on Jarran Reed, Tony McDaniel, Brandon Browner, and more.
While it was readily apparent that the Seahawks’ offense remains in preseason form in Thursday’s 18-11 loss to the Vikings with a litany of penalties (six on the offense), dropped passes (unofficially four) and sacks (officially six), here are a few other things we learned.
1. The offensive tackle spots appear to remain wide open.
The Seahawks seem happy with their interior of their offensive line — center Justin Britt and guards Mark Glowinski and Germain Ifedi. The Seahawks again ran pretty well between the tackles with the first unit, particularly when Christine Michael was in the game. But the Seahawks struggled more on the perimeter, where Bradley Sowell started at left tackle and Garry Gilliam at right for the second straight game with J’Marcus Webb still sidelined with a sore knee.
Coach Pete Carroll came to the defense of the offensive line as a whole after the game, saying that QB Russell Wilson had to take some blame for his four sacks for not getting rid of the ball more quickly. But he also said of Gilliam that “it might have been a hard night for Gary a little bit.’’
And Carroll was non-committal when asked what happens once Webb returns — he could be back this week.
“We have film to look at,’’ Carroll said when asked where the tackle spots stand after the Vikings game. “We have a lot of work to do.’’
2. Tony McDaniel looks like he’ll make the 53-man roster.
The Seahawks brought the veteran defensive tackle back this week and he immediately made his presence felt by making two tackles, one for a loss, in 15 official snaps.
“He’s done a great job of getting ready for the opportunity,’’ Carroll said of the 31-year-old. “And he could help us as we move ahead. He’s a big, solid, run-stopping guy that we like.’’ McDaniel’s return helps mitigate that the Seahawks have not gotten anything out of free agent signee Sealver Siliga, who has battled calf injuries, and he appears to have moved ahead of undrafted rookie free agent Brandin Bryant, an early camp standout who had 29 snaps against the Chiefs Saturday but just seven against the Vikings.
3. Jarran Reed increasingly looks like the real deal.
The second-round pick from Alabama left in the second with an ankle injury that Carroll said didn’t appear to be serious. But in the 29 snaps he did play he made his presence felt with three tackles, one for a loss, and a quarterback hit while helping the Seahawks clog up Minnesota’s running game (albeit, one without Adrian Peterson).
“We felt like we were very much on point at the line of scrimmage and he is right in the middle of it all,’’ Carroll said.
Frank Clark was also part of that effort with another nice game, including Seattle’s only sack. But Clark playing well in the preseason has come to be expected.
4. DeShawn Shead started at right cornerback and Mike Morgan at strongside linebacker, and each may have the lead at those spots for now.
Shead has been competing with Jeremy Lane for the other outside corner spot opposite Richard Sherman. But Lane is also ticketed to be the team’s primary nickelback, which typically means he moves inside and Shead plays outside in a three-corner set along with Sherman. That means Lane and Shead will both have significant roles in the secondary no matter who earns the other starting job in the base defense. Tharold Simon continues to look as if he has the fourth cornerback spot.
Morgan started at strongside linebacker, and he increasingly looks like he may be the best fit for that role in the base defense. Cassius Marsh also is competing there and will have a definite role on the team this year, as well. Eric Pinkins got just six snaps against Minnesota and the SLB spot may now be down to a two-man battle between Morgan and Marsh.
5. Kelcie McCray continues to hold down the backup strong safety job, which makes it unclear what the future holds for Brandon Browner.
Seattle’s deep secondary will make for some tough decisions for the final roster spot or two. And at the moment, it remains uncertain if Browner — an original Legion of Boom member — will make it. Browner is transitioning to safety, officially listed at strong safety, where the starter is Kam Chancellor. With Chancellor out the last two games with a groin issue, however, Kelcie McCray has started and again earned plaudits from Carroll, who said that for now he is essentially the third safety, able to back up either Chancellor or Earl Thomas. “It’s great work he’s been getting the last couple of weeks,’’ Carroll said. “He’ll be the first guy to go in for either Earl or Kam.’’
That doesn’t rule out that Browner is still in line to earn a spot as a fourth safety — a spot for which Steven Terrell is also competing — especially with the idea that he could be targeted for some specific matchups against tight ends and bigger receivers, the kind of package the Seahawks might not want to reveal much of during the preseason.
But McCracy’s emergence as the primary safety backup means the Seahawks will have to weigh keeping the 32-year-old Browner as a specialty —and special teams — player at the risk of potentially losing a younger player such as undrafted rookie free agent Tyvis Powell. Browner played 11 snaps against the Vikings after getting 25 last Saturday against the Chiefs.