Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Preseason is OVER-- Seahawks 23 @ Raiders 21

Seahawks wrapped up another NFL preseason and escaped relatively injury-free.  That is, with the exception of the cases of preexisting injuries with Thomas Rawls and Jimmy Graham. Other than that, Seattle is poised to make another deep playoff run this year-- and it all starts against the Miami Dolphins this Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

The Seahawks first had to trim their roster down to 53 players before the regular season commences. The team did end up adding a fullback to their roster, former Washington Huskies player, Tani Tupou. I have to admit, I didn't feel great about the possibility of entering the season, this team's first Marshawn-less season in a long time, without a fullback even on the roster.  How good Tupou will be remains to be seen, but it should be a good safety net for this team's uncertain backfield.

Seattle added Garrison Smith to their defensive line rotation after claiming him from the 49ers. Additionally, the Seahawks added 8 players to their practice squad. Defensive end Tylor Harris, receiver Kenny Lawler, linebacker Kache Palacio, guard/center Will Pericak, receiver Kasen Williams, receiver Rodney Smith, receiver Marcus Lucas and linebacker Jordan Tripp will be a part of this team's practice squad moving forward.

There were a few players I was somewhat surprised to find left off the 53 man roster and practice squad. Kam's brother, Keenan Lambert, was someone I thought could carve out a special teams role. Wide receiver Antwan Goodley was another preseason standout that I thought looked promising. Troymaine Pope, the feel good story of the summer, was snagged by the Jets before Seattle could stash him away on their practice squad.  It's unfortunate, but we have a crowded backfield and precious little roster space as it were.

Seattle is now focused on their first match up of the new season.   The Dolphins have a new head coach in Adam Gase and high expectations for their young quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. The Seahawks will need to make certain that Tannehill has difficulty getting comfortable in the pocket, while preventing Arian Foster from building any momentum in their ground game.

The Seahawks cannot afford another slow start to the season.  Pressure is on the offense to be productive early in the season and that starts with being productive early in games.  Seattle has spent the vast majority of their salary cap on their vaunted defense.  This should allow them to win every close game, but it doesn't work as well if you're constantly playing from behind.  If Seattle can score early, it will give them the leeway to experience some of the growing pains you would expect from a brand new (and young) offensive line and sort out exactly how this crowded (and young) backfield is going to play out over this season.

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