On Thursday night, the Seattle Seahawks successfully closed out the 2009 NFL Preseason with a victory over the Oakland Raiders.
And for the first time in franchise history, the Seahawks finished the preseason undefeated, posting a 4-0 record.
Yet the exhibition season was not successful because of the record. As I’ve said before, wins are always nice, but they’re rather meaningless in the preseason. The Seahawks did, however, escape without any major injuries, and the starters look ready for September 13th against the Rams.
Against the Oakland Raiders, the starters saw minimal playing time, if any, as the team prepares for the regular season. The final preseason game was an opportunity for younger players to make their case for a spot on the roster.
Leave everything on the field and make plays.
Some players did, others didn’t. Here is a rundown of the good, bad, and ugly from Thursday night’s victory:
Mike Teel: Against the Raiders, Teel saw his first extended action as a professional quarterback. His performance didn’t blow anyone away statistically, but he managed the game well and minimized his mistakes. With the help of his receivers and the defense, he even managed a couple of big plays that kept the Seahawks ahead for good. Teel finished the night 11/19 for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
Ben Obomanu: Thursday night was huge for the wide receivers competing for a roster spot; it was obvious that Obomanu was up for the challenge. Not only did Obomanu flash skills as a wide receiver (58 receiving yards and a touchdown), he performed well on coverage units and improved his value to the team. Obomanu’s performance against the Raiders most likely guaranteed him a spot on the final roster.
Michael Bennett: Bennett continued his excellent preseason against the Raiders, constantly disrupting the opposing offense and making plays. The front office is facing a hard decision with Bennett, who has more than proven he can play in the National Football League. His versatility and playmaking ability probably guarantees him a spot on the 53-man roster.
Nick Reed: Like Bennett, Reed has surprised a lot of folks during the preseason. Against the Raiders, he was all over the field and has to be a lock for the final roster after his performances over the past four weeks. Reed seemed to be everywhere on Thursday, finishing with seven tackles, another sack, a recovered fumble, and several quarterback pressures.
Aaron Curry: Curry is everything he was advertised to be. Thursday night was Curry’s first playing time at Qwest Field and he didn’t disappoint. He started the night off by combining with David Hawthorne for a sack, and continued to shine throughout the game. He demonstrated great tackling, speed, pass-rushing ability, intelligence, and strength. Aaron Curry is the complete package.
Olindo Mare: The kicking job is up for grabs, and Olindo Mare may have won it for the second consecutive year after his performance against Oakland. After a miserable game at Kansas City, Mare bounced back and made his only field goal attempt against the Raiders. In addition, he showed great power on kickoffs, which will probably be the deciding factor for the Seahawks.
Jordan Kent: Kent didn’t have a terrible night, but he didn’t stand out over the other receivers. Ineligible for the practice squad, Kent needed a stellar performance against Oakland to help secure a spot on the final roster. Unfortunately, Kent’s touches were limited and he injured his ankle after a nine-yard reception. Instead of making the roster, Jordan Kent is probably on his way to the injured reserve.
Baraka Atkins: Similar to Kent, Atkins isn’t featured in this section because he had a terrible game; he is listed because he didn’t out-perform his competition. The Seahawks are stacked on the defensive line, and Atkins may be the odd man out to make space for rookies Bennett and Reed. Atkins has all the tools and has performed consistently, but lacks the playmaking ability of his competition.
Brandon Coutu: Coutu worked in the offseason with kicking great Morten Andersen to increase his power on kickoffs. Apparently, it didn’t work. Coutu is younger than Olindo Mare and shows great field goal accuracy, but will probably lose the job because he doesn’t have the strength on kickoffs. Coutu has talent; if the Seahawks cut him loose he’ll likely find a kicking job with another team in the NFL.
Lawrence Jackson: Does anyone remember Lawrence Jackson? The first round selection from the 2008 draft was supposed to rebound this season after an injury-riddled rookie campaign. That doesn’t seem to be the case, however, as Jackson was an afterthought while on the field. Despite playing a good amount against the Raiders, Jackson never stood out on defense and didn’t record a tackle.
Cameron Morrah: The young tight end isn’t ready for a roster spot yet. Mental mistakes, poor routes, and missed assignments describe Morrah’s preseason. He does have potential as a tight end in this league, however, and should land on Seattle’s practice squad once he clears waivers.
Marquis Floyd, et al.: The secondary was atrocious against the Raiders. Marquis Floyd gets the criticism here, but most of the cornerbacks and safeties were playing terrible all night. The Seahawks were plagued by pass-interference penalties, missed assignments, and poor tackling. Marcus Trufant’s injury becomes more worrisome now that the talent is obviously limited at his position.