The offense started hot and a few rookie pass-rushers made an impression in the Seahawks' preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts.
After the first quarter ended, there wasn’t a lot to see.
There may have been an absence of riveting action after the starters exited in the Seahawks’ 19-17 preseason-opening loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t lessons to be learned from the heavy monotony.
Here are three impressions from the Seahawks’ preseason opener.
A positive first impression
Granted, the preseason means almost nothing.
But the Seahawks’ offense might be on to something.
In their only drive of Thursday’s 19-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Russell Wilson and Co. drove 75 yards on 12 plays, before ultimately punching in a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Nick Vannett. The ever reliable Wilson completed 4 of 5 passes for 43 yards, while tacking on 14 rushing yards with a few improvisational flourishes.
The running back tandem of Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny was on full display, with a 12-yard Carson rumble immediately followed by a nifty Penny 6-yard gain.
Sixth-year wide receiver Jaron Brown — who signed with the team this offseason — capped a 9-yard reception with a cruelly indifferent stiff arm. Then fourth-year pro Tyler Lockett wiggled free across the middle and hauled in a catch for 14 yards.
Vannett — a previously erratic third-year Seahawk — had two catches for 20 yards on the drive, showcasing his potential as presumed starter Ed Dickson stood on the sideline with a groin injury.
The Seahawks threw it, ran it … and went for it. On 4th-and-1 from the Indianapolis 33-yard-line, Carson fell forward for two yards to extend the opening drive.
True, it was a limited impression for first-year offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. But what more could a Seahawk fan hope to see?
The true challenge will be to do it next week, and then the next week — and not just in the opening drive.
The Seahawks entered Thursday’s game in search of a penetrating pass rush.
After all, Michael Bennett was gone. Cliff Avril was gone. Sheldon Richardson was barely there in the first place. Frank Clark was standing on the sideline, still recovering from a hand injury.
In other words, there was plenty of room for Rasheem Green.
A third-round draft pick this offseason, the 21-year-old Green earned the start at defensive end, alongside defensive tackles Jarran Reed and Tom Johnson and defensive end Branden Jackson. And it was Green who made the biggest impact — swallowing Andrew Luck for a sack on the second drive of the game before sharing another with fellow rookie Jacob Martin in the third quarter.
The 6-4, 279-pound Green finished with four tackles and 1.5 sacks. First-year Seahawk outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo — a former Colt — added another sack as well.
The player most suited to start at Green’s defensive end spot, Dion Jordan, continues to be limited by a stress reaction in his shin, and his availability for the regular season opener at Denver on Sept. 9 remains in doubt.
Because of Jordan and Clark’s continued injury issues, the Seahawks may be forced to rely on their rookie defensive ends, even if they are a little — wait for it — green.
The punter competition continues
Forget the end result.
Did you watch that football fly?
Early in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s preseason opener, standing at his own 7-yard-line, rookie punter Michael Dickson wound up and unleashed an arcing spiral, booming a 59-yard punt as 68,418 fans at CenturyLink Field marveled at its beauty.
Of course, cornerback Akeem King capped the play with a 15-yard penalty for lowering his head and initiating contact, largely nullifying an otherwise impressive field position flip.
But truly, this is why the Seahawks used a fifth-round 2018 pick on an Australian punter out of the University of Texas.
Now all he has to do is win the job.
Dickson averaged 50 yards with three punts on Thursday, dropping one of those punts inside the 20-yard line as well. Not to be outdone, 13th-year pro Jon Ryan averaged 46.3 yards with three punts.
It should be noted, too, that Ryan served as the holder for lefty placekicker Sebastian Janikowski, while Dickson held for righty Jason Myers. Janikowski is the perceived favorite to become the Seahawks lone placekicker, and it’ll be the duty of the punter to hold for whoever wins the job.
Dickson’s potential is undeniable, but it’ll take more than one pretty punt to secure a roster spot.