Injuries have kept the bubble inflated

Logo -- PreseasonWe’re halfway through the preseason, and injuries along the Seahawks’ roster have prevented coaches (and us) from seeing all of the contenders for roster spots.

The depth issues figure to affect their roster decisions on Aug. 31.

Everyone knows pass rush is the weakest part of the team, which explains why Pete Carroll and Ken Norton Jr. are working on so many different blitz patterns. But they also have injury issues at running back, wide receiver, offensive line and defensive back that probably will affect their decisions at those spots.

Will it also affect their game strategy Saturday in Los Angeles? Will Carroll choose to keep his starters in for only a half so he can keep them healthy and give the bubble players more of a shot?

We project 41 locks and 25 bubble players for 12 open spots — No. 2 QB, No. 4 RB, No. 5 & 6 WRs, No. 3 TE, No. 9 OL, No. 9/10 DL, No. 6/7 LBs, Nos. 8-10 DBs. And, of course, John Schneider will make a trade or two or three to fill some of these spots.

QUARTERBACK
Lock: Russell Wilson.
Bubble: Paxton Lynch, Geno Smith.
Cut: J.T. Barrett
Situation: Lynch had made strong strides to take the No. 2 spot, but he was victimized by the line injuries in the second game and did not take a further step forward (instead getting concussed near the end of the game). The backup spot is still wide open, but Smith has a chance this week to take the lead again, as Lynch will not play.

RUNNING BACK
Locks: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, Nick Bellore.
Bubble: Travis Homer, J.D. McKissic (foot), Bo Scarbrough (hand, groin).
Cut: C.J. Prosise, Xavier Turner.
Situation: Behind Carson and Penny, the tailback picture is a mess. None of the guys have been healthy enough to show much. Scarbrough looked good against Denver before getting hurt and seems to be the favorite out of this group of backups. But it wouldn’t be a surprise if Schneider found a totally new back to be No. 3 after cutdowns to 53. At this point, it wouldn’t make much sense to keep more than four backs.

WIDE RECEIVER
Locks: Tyler Lockett, Jaron Brown, David Moore, D.K. Metcalf (knee).
Bubble: Jazz Ferguson, John Ursua, Gary Jennings.
Cut: Terry Wright, Keenan Reynolds, Amara Darboh, Malik Turner.
Situation: Brown looks like he will be used a lot more than he was in 2018 — a good sign. Metcalf’s knee surgery means he won’t contribute early in the season. That could make the coaches more inclined to keep six receivers. Ferguson and Ursua seem like the favorites (Jennings has done nothing and seems destined for the practice squad).

OFFENSIVE LINE
Locks: Duane Brown, Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker, Germain Ifedi, Ethan Pocic, Mike Iupati (calf), George Fant (ankle), Jamarco Jones (hip).
Bubble: Joey Hunt, Marcus Martin, Jordan Simmons (knee surgery), Phil Haynes (PUP/sports hernia).
Cut: Jordan Roos, Elijah Nkansah.
Situation: This unit is banged up, with three of the top five guards hurt and Fant out indefinitely. As long as Jones can step into the sixth spot, though, they should be able to weather Fant’s absence. Pocic seems to be playing well in place of Iupati — and can play center as well. Haynes seems destined to stay on PUP, and Simmons’ injury tendency has shown itself again, meaning the veteran Martin might make the club through pure attrition unless Hunt is the ninth lineman.

TIGHT END
Locks: Will Dissly, Nick Vannett.
Bubble: Ed Dickson (knee surgery), Jacob Hollister.
Cut: Wes Saxton, Jackson Harris.
Situation: Dickson is hurt for the second straight camp, so Hollister (now healthy) should have every chance to knock him off the roster. It wouldn’t be a shocker if Saxton or Harris claimed the third spot — they have been available, after all. And it wouldn’t be a surprise if Schneider scooped up an entirely new tight end after cutdowns on Aug. 31.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Locks: Poona Ford, Quinton Jefferson, Cassius Marsh, Al Woods, Earl Mitchell, Jacob Martin, Ziggy Ansah (groin), L.J. Collier (ankle).
Bubble: Barkevious Mingo, Rasheem Green, Branden Jackson.
Cut: Jamie Meder, Bryan Mone, Jay-Tee Tiuli.
Injured: Nazair Jones (knee), Demarcus Christmas (PUP).
Suspended: Jarran Reed.
Situation: The defensive tackles are set, even with Reed suspended, and the Hawks will hope Ansah and Collier return in early September to perhaps help the nonexistent pass rush. Mingo and Green have shown little, so edge rusher is a spot where Schneider might try to make an upgrade via trade. It’s easy to see Schneider making a couple of moves here around the cutdowns.

LINEBACKER
Locks: Bobby Wagner (knee), K.J. Wright, Mychal Kendricks, Cody Barton, Austin Calitro.
Bubble: Shaquem Griffin (knee), Ben Burr-Kirven.
Cut: Juwon Young.
Situation: Barton is getting a lot of good learning time during preseason, but he will take a backseat (except perhaps for special teams) once Wagner and Wright start playing. It will be fun to see the W’s and Kendricks play together. Griffin and BBK could both make it if Carroll does not keep 10 linemen.

SECONDARY
Locks: Bradley McDougald, Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers, Tedric Thompson, Marquise Blair (back spasms), Akeem King, Neiko Thorpe.
Bubble: DeShawn Shead, Ugo Amadi, Lano Hill (hip), Shalom Luani, Jamar Taylor, Kalan Reed.
Cut: Jeremy Boykins, Justin Currie, Simeon Thomas, Jawuan Johnson, Jalen Harvey.
Situation: Carroll probably will keep 10 defensive backs — with Shead, Amadi and Hill the favorites for the final three spots. Taylor has ascended to No. 1 on the nickel defense, which means he could be challenging one of those three — or Carroll might keep 11, which he has done before. Maybe Schneider can trade Luani or Taylor for help elsewhere (running back, tight end, pass rush).

SPECIAL TEAMS
Locks: Michael Dickson, Jason Myers, Tyler Ott.
Situation: This trio is set for the next few seasons.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s