Off and running
Seahawks cap perfect preseason with rout of Raiders
SEATTLE – Ah yes, preseason game No. 4, the most boring of the preseason games. It’s a night for starters to make a brief cameo, for roster hopefuls to try to make a final impression before cut day, and for Pete Carroll and his players to pal around with a hip-hop legend.
Yes, Snoop Dogg, who had a show nearby later in the night, was on the sideline in a Marshawn Lynch jersey before Thursday’s game, which the Seahawks won 22-6 over the hapless Oakland Raiders. And no, Snoop’s appearance had nothing to do with the game, other than perhaps to serve as another reminder that the Seahawks are a popular team these days, but his quick hug with Jon Ryan did bring up an important question: is there a better premise for a buddy-cop movie than “Snoop and the Canadian punter?” No, there isn’t.
Did we already mention that the fourth preseason game is a little hard to get into?
Anyway, result of the game may not have meant much, other than that it was Seattle’s ninth-straight preseason victory (pop the bubbly), but there was plenty at stake for a lot of people involved. So let’s look at who made good and bad impressions Thursday night.
• Bruce Irvin appears to be adjusting very well to the move to linebacker. He made a few nice plays in space, none better than when he chased down speedy Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the open field for a sack after initially pursuing a running back off the play fake. Of course the unfortunate thing for Irvin and the Seahawks is that this was his last game action for a while, as he now must serve a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs. Even so, it’s encouraging for the team in the long run that Irvin, a natural pass rusher, is showing this versatility.
• Rookie tight end Luke Willson was in no danger of being cut before this game, but his four catches for 45 yards, all of which came early in the first half, showed that he just might be a big part of the passing game.
• Stephen Williams, who left the game with a concussion, will be on this team unless that injury is one the Seahawks fear will have long-term ramifications. Williams was injured making yet another contested catch on a deep ball, this one going for 50 yards to set up an eventual touchdown on the Seahawks’ only drive with the starters on the field. Williams finished his preseason with seven catches for 236 yards and four touchdowns.
• While Williams only strengthened his case to make the team, fourth-round pick Chris Harper, who has not had a great preseason, may have lost any chance at making the 53-man roster. Harper made exactly the type of strong-handed, contested catch the Seahawks want to see from a big-bodied receiver, but he followed that with two pretty bad drops, including one in the end zone. Another roster hopeful, Bryan Walters, made the type of catch in traffic that the Seahawks were hoping to get out of Harper this preseason but rarely did.
• Walter Thurmond not only continues to impress as a cornerback – that one-handed catch down the sideline was a play few receivers could make, let alone defensive backs – he also looks like a legitimate option for the Seahawks at punt returner if they don’t want starting receiver Golden Tate taking those extra hits.
• The second-team offensive line has some work to do still. Not only was there little push in the running game, Tarvaris Jackson was frequently scrambling like he often had to do back in 2011.
• Safety Winston Guy had his work cut out for him to make the team, and he helped himself with some impressive play in the second half.
• Defensive tackle Jaye Howard, who could be needed with several injuries taking their toll on the interior line, was in the Raiders backfield quite frequently, even if he didn’t put up big numbers on the stat sheet. Howard showed promise last year, too.