The Seattle Seahawks finished their final preseason practice Wednesday morning, packed their packs and headed to Oakland to take on the Oakland Raiders 7:00 p.m. PT in the final preseason match up before the home opener on Sunday September 11th against the Miami Dolphins. Thursdays game will serve as a last chance for some players to show the coaches they can help the team. Time is of the essence for the fringe players as the team must trim its current roster of 75 players to 53 on Saturday September 3rd by 1 p.m PT per league guidelines.
Here are three things to keep an eye on during Thursdays preseason finale.
1. Offensive Line.
This is where the rubber meets the road for the Seahawks offensive line candidates. Justin Britt has solidified his position as the starting center and rookie Germain Ifedi ( right guard ) and Mark Glowinski ( left guard) look to be keepers at the respective guard positions. Garry Gilliam, J’ Marcus Webb and Bradley Sowell are three players battling for two positions. Sowell started at left tackle and Gilliam started at right tackle during last Thursdays 27 to 17 win over the Dallas Cowboys. All three players had a good week of practice with Sowell apparently gaining the edge at left tackle, leaving Webb and Gilliam battling for the right tackle spot.
“We have a competition at that spot, which is good,” head coach Pete Carroll said of the right tackle battle.“This game will be important again for those guys. We think both of those can play right now, so we’re in good shape there.”
Like any well seasoned and successful coach, Carroll would not divulge any more insight as to what we will see on Thursday until Thursday. The game in the game will be to see where, when and how long Webb, Sowell and Gilliam play.
2. Running Back
Thomas Rawls looks to be fully recovered from his injury and Carroll was smug about the possibility of Rawls seeing some action on Thursday night. What is clear is that Rawls will be ready for the opener along with Christine Michael who has matured on and off the field into a professional running back in the NFL. The coaches has said all along that they love the short term progress from Michael and just need consistency.
With Rawls and Michael looking like they are capable and ready, the question that will need to be answered will be who will back them up. Rookies, Troymaine Pope Alex Collins and C.J. Prosise are vying for a spot in the backfield and will be looking to impress the coaches when their number is called Thursday night. Pope’s number has been called and he has answered the call by gaining 110 yards on 16 carries.
Collins and Prosise have the biggest hurdles to overcome. Collins has gained 37 yards on 12 carries. The lack of production does not fall squarely on Collins however according to Carroll.
“He’s had some games where he’s had inopportune plays where we got knocked around at the line of scrimmage and he didn’t get a good shot. So this is a really good shot for him to show.’’ Carroll said. ” He has had a really good camp and been good on pass protection.”
Prosise’s situation has been a little different in that he has been hampered by a hamstring injury and saw his first action in last week in Dallas game. Like Collins, Prosise will get plenty of action on Thursday night to show his worth.
” We are gonna get a good look at guys in this game, and C.J. needs to play more football so he will get out there “, said Carroll. “C. J. has done nothing but positive stuff, everything he has done looks good and we are excited about it, he needs game time.”
Thursdays game will be the 11th-straight year the Seahawks will end their preseason facing the Raiders. In the eleven game stretch, eights games have been in Seattle and three Oakland.