Pete Carroll is ready for the season. But his roster isn’t quite.
After the Seahawks finished off their first winless preseason ever with a mistake-filled 30-19 loss to Oakland, Carroll said, “I’m excited about getting to our 53. We’ve got roles for guys to take over. We’ve got a real clear thought about what we’re doing with a lot of stuff.”
Carroll and John Schneider still have some tweaking to do to get to the 53, though. They already have upgraded at backup quarterback, adding Brett Hundley, and you can bet they will be looking for help at a few other places — perhaps safety, corner, tight end and edge rusher.
Ahead of Saturday’s 1 p.m. cutdown deadline, here’s our final roster projection:
Keep: Russell Wilson, Brett Hundley
Why: Alex McGough has certainly improved, but he will end up on the practice squad. Austin Davis put together a decent final game for Seattle and will simply have to hope another team is interested. John Schneider told 710 ESPN that Hundley is already in Seattle and should have an easier transition because the verbiage of Green Bay’s offense is similar to Brian Schottenheimer’s terminology.
Keep: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, Mike Davis, J.D. McKissic, C.J. Prosise
Why: Before the Vikings game, Schottenheimer made it sound like Prosise is a keeper. And, even though he did almost nothing this preseason, he’s probably a keeper for at least as long as McKissic (broken foot) is out. The Hawks probably will keep McKissic on the 53 through waivers and then possibly stash him on IR, expecting to bring him back after the requisite six weeks. They also could just keep him as one of their weekly inactives instead. With Nick Vannett playing fullback here and there, it seems like the Hawks are going to go without one, at least to begin with.
Keep: Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Jaron Brown, Brandon Marshall, David Moore, Keenan Reynolds
Why: Amara Darboh could be headed to IR. He was expected to play vs. Oakland, but doctors didn’t clear him. It’s possible the Hawks go with just five guys here, but Reynolds, the former Navy QB, seems like the most deserving of being No. 6. He showed good rapport with Wilson vs. the Vikings, making a couple of first downs, and he seems like the kind of savvy multifaceted player Carroll likes. Damore’ea Stringfellow scored on an 81-yard pass play vs. Oakland, but that seemed only to validate his worth as a practice squad player.
Keep: Nick Vannett, Will Dissly, Ed Dickson (NFI)
Why: If Dickson remains on NFI, as seems likely, it would come down to Tyrone Swoopes or a waiver pickup for the third tight end spot.
Keep: Duane Brown, Ethan Pocic, Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker, Germain Ifedi, George Fant, Jordan Roos, Joey Hunt, J.R. Sweezy, Rees Odhiambo, Jamarco Jones
Why: The Hawks will need to keep Jones on the initial 53, until waivers process, and then can put him on short-term IR. Carroll said Sweezy (ankle) will be ready for the opener, and he might be needed if Fluker (hamstring) remains injured; Sweezy or Roos would start at right guard. The Hawks also could cut Sweezy to avoid guaranteeing his salary all season and then bring him back after Week 1. Hunt never seemed a likely keeper because he has been a one-trick pony, playing center only, but he played all over the line against Oakland and Carroll called him “a terrific player for us.” But it’s hard to see the Hawks keeping two backup guards and a reserve center who just recently started playing other spots, especially when Pocic can play center. It’s also tough to see the Hawks cutting former third-rounder Odhiambo. We’ll go with 10 linemen and Jones on IR after waivers. Ifedi suffered a sprained ankle, so we’ll see if that is serious enough to vault Fant into the right tackle spot in the opener. Either way, Fant is pushing for playing time, Carroll said. “It’s good for Germain to know somebody’s breathing down his neck.”
Keep: Frank Clark, Jarran Reed, Nazair Jones, Rasheem Green, Tim Johnson, Shamar Stephen, Quinton Jefferson, Branden Jackson, Poona Ford, Erik Walden, Dion Jordan (PUP)
Why: The top seven or eight are set. Jordan probably will remain on PUP and the Hawks likely will keep Walden unless they come up with a better pass rusher and/or Walden (hip) is just not healthy. They also seem likely to keep Ford, who has earned a spot even if it means keeping four run-stopping tackles.
Keep: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Barkevious Mingo, Shaquem Griffin, Jacob Martin, Austin Calitro
Why: Calitro started and played perhaps his best game of preseason, recording seven tackles and a sack vs. Oakland. We though he made the roster last week, but this should have sealed the deal. Carroll praised both Calitro and Griffin (eight tackles) for their play vs. Oakland. Maurice Alexander played weakside linebacker the entire second half, getting some reps to back up Griffin in case Wright is out. “He really seemed to take to it right off the bat. He looked comfortable,” Carroll said. “I really need to see the film to see what there is to uncover there, but he did a good job for us.”
Keep: Shaquill Griffin, Bradley McDougald, Justin Coleman, Tre Flowers, Dontae Johnson, Tedric Thompson, Delano Hill, Maurice Alexander, Akeem King
Why: Carroll likes his corners — Griffin, Coleman, Johnson and Flowers — and it sounds like Johnson will start at RCB at Denver. “Without (Byron Maxwell) having a chance to compete for it, Dontae did really well,” Carroll said. “He’s bought into the system and all that. He’s right in the middle of being able to start the game for us next week.” Maxwell (hip) was injured all camp and could be headed to IR. Same with Neiko Thorpe (wrist). Meanwhile, the Hawks might look for safety help — assuming Earl Thomas doesn’t ride in on a white horse next week. Hill has not been very impressive this preseason; against Oakland, he whiffed on a tackle that turned into a 45-yard touchdown. The 2017 third-rounder is probably safe, though. We put King back in as the fifth corner, but the Hawks might add someone off waivers or via trade. “The thing that’s going to be different is the (lack of) experience on the back end,” Carroll said of his defense. “The emphasis will go back to watching what’s going on in the deep end and how much can we hold up back there and play good football.”
Keep: Sebastian Janikowski, Michael Dickson, Tyler Ott
Why: Janikowski and Dickson came down a bit from their stellar performances against Minnesota. Janikowski missed two PATs — shades of Steven Hauschka in 2016 — and Carroll said he was too pumped against his former team. Dickson tried a few different punts and drop-kicked a kickoff, with mixed results. But he already has proven he is going to be a big weapon.