Five takeaways from the Seahawks third preseason game, the most important tune up.
Many people have been concerned about how this team will do without the likes of Michael Bennett, Richard Sherman, Cliff Avril, Kam Chancellor and…Earl Thomas. If this game is any indication, they will be just fine. The Vikings were statistically the best defense in the NFL, but we ran the ball well, and our starters beat their starters for three quarters. The Seahawks moved the football very well in the air and on the ground. The Vikings were the runner-up for the NFC last season and our defense stymied them, putting relentless pressure on Kirk Cousins. The Seahawks are going to be a good football team.
First things first: Michael Dickson is really good
I never thought I would start off by talking about a punter before any other player, but how do you avoid it? For those who doubted the Seahawks for taking a punter in the draft: Michael Dickson has shown he could be a weapon worth of the selection. Dickson is leading the NFL, albeit in the preseason, in net punting average. Beyond that, he placed two punts inside the 5 yard line last night. If that is not enough, what I have been most impressed with is his hang time. The coverage team is down field swarming the ball even on the booming punts because of that hang time. If this carries over into the regular season, Dickson may end up in the Pro Bowl as a rookie and our punting game will have strong coverage units.
Seahawks aren’t as deep as they have been in the past
I mention above we beat them for three quarters. We lost the lead when our third string couldn’t hold on to a lead against their third string. Now maybe we can say most of those guys won’t make the final 53, but what it did tell me is we aren’t as deep as we have been in the past. That is to be expected. We are getting younger, it will take time to stack the roster the way we had in the past. Attrition at key positions this season could be cause for concern. Hopefully, we can avoid any major injuries.
But our draft class this year is really good
Some prognosticators were down on our draft class, as always. However, Schneider and Carroll continue to do what they do and landed a group of players who are really going to be good. Penny didn’t play, but he has looked good when he has been in. Rasheem Green has been a revelation. He has shown the ability to shut down the run from the outside and inside, and has provided a consistent pass rush. Will Dissly has received nothing but praise for his blocking ability and soft hands. Shaquem Griffin has been a force, and it will be tough to keep him off the field. The Seahawks will be looking for ways to use him all season.
Tre Flowers is running with the first team and doesn’t look that bad. I have already mentioned Dickson. Jacob Martin has shown flashes of being an excellent pass rusher. Finally, Alex McGough has been getting better every week. You can definitely see what the coaching staff liked in him. The only player who I didn’t list is Jamarco Jones, and I believe if he weren’t injured, he would be pushing for that starting right tackle job.
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Seahawks offensive line is still a work in progress
Well, at least it is at right tackle. Germain Ifedi has been what we expected. A liability on pass plays and a capable run blocker. He is such a liability on passing plays that the Seahawks moved George Fant over to compete. Ultimately, I still see Ifedi as a guard only. He just doesn’t have the lateral movement and speed to stay on the outside. I do see him as a clone of D.J. Fluker at guard though. Fant looked decent for his first time trying the right side, I expect him to win that job not long into the season.
Happily, there are answers already in place
If he doesn’t, I could see the Seahawks shuffling Ethan Pocic outside to try it out. He showed last season that he was capable of playing anywhere on the line. He is athletically capable and has really shown up this season at left guard. I hate to break up a solid situation on the left side, but maybe Fant (because it would be the left side) and Ifedi are better guard prospects. I think the line will shuffle a few times this season before they settle on who plays where.
Coming out of this game, I was very impressed with our starters. They seemed fast and hungry. They were hitting hard and playing as a team. While there are still some holes, this team will be a lot of fun to watch.