The Seahawks pressed three rookies into starting roles this week. While they made some key errors, they truly showed why they earned their starting roles.
The Seahawks made a bit of history, as they became the first team to start two rookie tackles and a rookie cornerback since the Visigoths crushed the Roman army in 378. Okay, maybe it hasn’t been that long, but it’s been a few years, for sure. Tackles Charles Cross and Abe Lucas, along with corner Tariq Woolen, proved they belong in the starting lineup for the Seahawks.
Did they have some hiccups along the way? Oh yes, they did, as you’ll note in Bob Condotta’s grades for The Seattle Times. Each of their starting rookies committed at least one key error. But you have to expect that from rookies. What’s more important, as I see it, is that they each shook it off and went on to the next play.
As you’ve heard many times – okay, probably on every NFL broadcast – you have to have a short memory when it comes to mistakes. All three Seahawks rookies have clearly learned that lesson.
Seahawks rookies balled out in season opener
After playing a near flawless game, Charles Cross gave up two sacks by Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb in the fourth quarter. The first of those very nearly spelled disaster as Geno Smith fumbled the ball on the hit. Cross kept his head in the game though and recovered the ball. The Hawks couldn’t convert on third down and had to punt.
But if Cross had given up on the play, Denver would have recovered the ball at the Seattle 36 yard-line at the least. Instead, the Hawks punted on fourth down and the Broncos took over on their own 20. Overall, Cross played far better than any rookie could be expected to play.
His counterpart on the right side of the center played even better. Yet Abe Lucas made one key mistake too. Rashaad Penny ripped a sweet run for 23 yards in the third quarter to put Seattle at the Denver 42 yard-line. Unfortunately, Lucas was called for holding on the play. So instead of first down in Broncos territory, the Seahawks faced second down and 16 at their own 25.
Yes, the Hawks got the first down, but later in that drive, Chubb sacked Smith and forced the fumble. Again, Seattle overcame the mistake. Lucas clearly held the defender, but it was one of those plays that officials often miss, too. One holding call for a rookie tackle mixed in with a ton of solid blocks is a great debut game for a rookie tackle.
Cornerback Tariq Woolen played a solid game as well. Yes, he was flagged twice for pass interference. The second of those penalties put the Seahawks in an extremely precarious state, as it gave the Broncos first and goal at the Hawks four-yard line.
But as they had all night long, Seattle’s defense came up big with what seemed like their seventeenth fumble recovery of the game. Still, Woolen prevented what would likely have been Denver’s go-ahead touchdown with that play. First and goal isn’t great, but it’s a lot better than giving up six points.
I can’t leave out the play by cornerback Coby Bryant. And by play, I mean his only play. Subbing at slot corner for Justin Coleman, Bryant tried in vain to break up a Russell Wilson strike to Jerry Jeudy. Jeudy made the catch, Bryant got his feet tangled up and fell, and safety Josh Jones was too far off to catch up to the Broncos speedster. That miscue gave Denver their only touchdown of the night on a 67-yard catch and run. Bryant will come back from this much better, I’m sure.
So yes, we saw a few mistakes here and there. But overall, each of the Hawks rookies showed much more promise than reason for concern. They confirmed just how good the 2022 draft was. I’m sure each will improve as the season goes on. Sure, they’ll make more mistakes, but they’ll make far more great plays. 12s, we have every reason to see the Seahawks future as very bright indeed.