The Seahawks closed an 0-4 preseason on Thursday. Still, the team's running backs and linebackers showed reasons for optimism.
It was an imperfect preseason.
And, in that way, the Seahawks’ 30-19 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Thursday was fitting. The Seahawks showed flashes of potential, but couldn’t finish the job. Seattle closed an 0-4 preseason with as much slop as substance.
Here are three impressions from the Seahawks’ uninspiring preseason finale.
Backup linebackers do their part
K.J. Wright said it best.
Or, if we’re being technical, he tweeted it best.
During the first half of Thursday’s game, the veteran Seahawk linebacker — who will likely miss several weeks because of an arthroscopic knee surgery — tweeted, “These Lbs are on (five fire emojis)”.
He was most likely referring to Austin Calitro and Shaquem Griffin.
Calitro — who is dueling with D.J. Alexander to back up Bobby Wagner at middle linebacker — produced five physical tackles on Thursday, including a sack where he chased down Oakland quarterback E.J. Manuel.
Griffin, who will likely start in Wright’s stead in the season opener at Denver on Sept. 9, led the team with seven tackles on the night.
In a radically different defense than a season ago, the Seahawks’ linebacker depth may be one of the team’s primary concerns entering the season. But on Thursday, at least, Calitro and Griffin looked capable of doing their part.
Running back depth shows up
Mike Davis closed the 2017 season as the Seahawks’ starting running back. He’ll likely enter next weekend’s opener No. 3 on the depth chart.
Still, Davis demonstrated his value on Thursday, carrying nine times for 45 yards and a touchdown in the first half alone.
If anything, Davis’ standing demonstrates the Seahawks’ improved quality depth at the running back position. Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and Davis are all legitimate options, and third-year back C.J. Prosise may sneak onto the team as well. J.D. McKissic — who is currently out with a foot injury — is also in the mix.
Carson and Penny may be the frontrunners, but the Seahawks understand more than most teams the need for multiple viable options in the backfield. After years of stagnant production at the position, there’s reason for optimism surrounding this fleet of Seattle running backs.
E.J. Manuel is not Tom Brady.
I shouldn’t have to say that.
That’s the problem.
The Raiders’ backup quarterback completed 18 of 22 passes on Thursday, throwing for 255 yards and three touchdowns in less than three quarters of work. He completed 81.8 percent of passes.
Seriously. I swear.
Granted, Seahawks cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin and Byron Maxwell didn’t play, nor did starting safeties Bradley McDougald and Tedric Thompson.
Specifically, Manuel threw a pair of 45-yard touchdowns, and each was the result of a Seahawk defensive back’s blown tackle (one from Justin Coleman, and one from Delano Hill). Second-year defensive back Mike Tyson also allowed a 22-yard touchdown to Raiders wide receiver Keon Hatcher in the fourth quarter.
In all, Hatcher — a rookie backup wide receiver — stacked up eight catches for 128 yards and three touchdowns.
Yes, it was the preseason finale. Yes, those were the backups. No, there also wasn’t much of a pass rush, as the defense produced one lone sack on the night.
But if any member of the Seahawks’ starting secondary stumbles on Sept. 9, the second wave didn’t instill much confidence that it can keep a quarterback — even Manuel — in check.