Final Seahawks gameday grades versus Chargers
By Andy Larkin
Summer is winding down which means a couple of things: Football season is here and it’s time to head back to school. In the spirit of both of these events I will be handing out weekly grades to the Seahawks various position groups based on their performances. Since Sunday was only the first preseason game, I will consider that a syllabus day of sorts. I’m not going to be exceptionally harsh this time around. It’s early. There are still 90 men on the roster, and oh yeah. . . the Seahawks beat the Chargers 48-17.
Let’s crack open the grade book.
Defensive Line: (A)
The defensive line looked strong against the Chargers. Guys were continually penetrating into the back field as well as applying pressure on pass plays. The Seahawks tallied three sacks and gave up just 72 yards rushing in Sunday’s game. Even though guys like Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril played limited snaps, the Seahawks showed their depth by controlling the line of scrimmage all night long.
I was encouraged by rookie Nazir jones and Christian French. They both jumped out to me at various times throughout the game. Jones impressed me with his ability to crash through the line and was regularly around the ball. French showed the ability to rush and was able register a sack. The Oregon grad also alertly fell on a fumble deep in Chargers territory setting up a score.
The linebackers played sound most of the night. Obviously Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright are two of the better backers in the league, so my focus shifted to other guys fighting for spots. Terence Garvin made waves with his first quarter pick-six. That play energized the Seattle defense and certainly left an impression. I also liked what I saw from Michael Wilhoite. He displayed sound technique and a nose for the football.
Defensive Backs (B-)
The most encouraging sign I saw in the secondary was Earl Thomas running around without hesitation. Thomas is as important as anyone on this team and seeing him be himself was a welcome sight. The starters were ok, but it was a little annoying to see the Chargers score a touchdown on that opening drive. It looked an awful lot like that 2014 game in San Diego. I’m not going to panic because of one drive, but I’d like to see Seattle adjust to the dink and dunk strategy opponents have found success with over the years.
I was also upset with Kellen Clemons throwing a bomb for a touchdown that went right over the top of the defense. Safeties simply cannot get beat deep. That needs to get cleaned up.
Offensive Line: (B+)
I liked what I saw from the offensive line. At the least, the line was serviceable. They kept the QBs upright for the most part and provided a good push on running plays. They have a ways to go before I’m sold, but I believe they appeared to be ahead of where I thought they’d be this early.
It’s worth noting that Ethan Pocic caught my eye. Pocic showed an edge that the group had been missing a little last year. The LSU product reminds me a little bit of a JR Sweezy stylistically. I liked the ability he showed and his willingness to mix it up.
Russell Wilson was 3-4 for 41 yards on the opening drive which finished with a field goal. Everyone knows what Wilson brings to the table, but the real story was Trevone Boykin. The second year quarterback out of TCU finished the night 12-15 for 189 yards and a touchdown. I was impressed with Boykin’s ability to keep his eyes down field and put the ball in tight windows. Last night was very encouraging for Boykin and I hope to see him build on it. One negative for Boykin was the interception he threw while making a bit of an ill advised throw deep downfield. He was under pressure, but probably could’ve lived to fight another day by taking the sack. Austin Davis also looked pretty good completing seven passes for 108 yards.
Running Backs: (B)
The backs looked good in game one, but there is room to grow. It’s pretty tough to judge a performance when guys are only getting two or three carries. I still don’t know how carries are going to be divided up between Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, CJ Prosise and others, but that should start to get sorted out over the next several weeks.
It was good to get a look at Chris Carson after hearing about him all camp. The coaches seem to be high on this guy and I saw flashes as to why. He should certainly push to make the squad.
Tight Ends/Receivers: (A)
Kasen Williams. That is all. He looked fantastic while hauling in four difficult catches. I would love to see Williams breakthrough and contribute this year.
Ok, I will say a little more. I loved Paul Richardson’s play making demonstration early on. Unfortunately, Richardson left the game with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder. It sounds like P-Rich will be out at least a couple of weeks. The guy has shown real flashes of being special when healthy.
Special Teams: (B+)
There have been a lot of nervous murmurs about the kicking situation throughout training camp. Blair Walsh looked very solid connecting on both of his field goal attempts as well as hitting all six of his PATs.
Jon Ryan was Jon Ryan and is the model of consistency as a punter. Kick coverage and returns were solid but can always be better.
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There you have it. These grades are reflective of a strong showing during the preseason opener. I will be reevaluating each week to see where each group sits throughout the season. Do you agree/disagree with these evaluations? Let me know.