On Friday, the Seahawks played their all-important third pre-season game. The official tune-up to the regular season, where the starters play into the third quarter, and we all set this up to be a preview of what the games will look like when they start to count (while keeping in mind that it’s still the pre-season, and as such things aren’t going 100 miles per hour like they will be in two weeks). The Seahawks had a fancy matchup in Minnesota against one of the elites of the NFC, so this test was particularly enticing. The starters left the game with a 13-6 lead, however 4th quarter shenanigans resulted in the Vikings winning 21-20 as the backup defense couldn’t stop a come-from-behind touchdown/2-point conversion in the closing minutes.
What I’m Geeked Out About After Three Meaningless Pre-Season Games
So, go ahead and put me in the train conductor’s seat of the Chris Carson Bandwagon Express, because I am FULL SPEED AHEAD on this guy! You have no idea how high I am on this kid; I think he’s absolutely going to kill it (if he stays healthy). I’m 2 for 2 in fantasy leagues drafting this kid; in one league, he was a steal because outside of Seattle (this was a random standard league I joined for practice) no one is expecting him to be anything, so if you’re in a league full of non-Seahawks fans, you can sit on him and get him for a song. In my other league, though, I took him with the first pick in the fifth round which … is maybe three rounds too early? Maybe five rounds? I dunno. All I know is he was a REACH, and I was suckered into taking him that early because my brother was in the room and kept telling me he was going to be his next pick.
Here’s the thing though (I should really be saving this for my fantasy column later this week, but whatever), by the time you get to the 5th round of any fantasy draft, all the elite running backs are gone. So, you’re sifting through promising rookies, running back committees, injury concerns, and handcuffs. Here’s the bottom line: of all the running backs who were taken after I went after Carson – in order through the end of the 6th round, they were Jordan Howard, Jerick McKinnon, LeSean McCoy, Joe Mixon, Alex Collins, Derrick Henry, Jay Ajayi, and Lamar Miller – I believe Carson will be better from a fantasy perspective than ALL of those guys. He’s earned the starting job out of the pre-season – thanks in part to Penny’s finger injury, but mostly due to his utter dominance – and I think he’ll run away with it in the regular season.
It’s my firm belief that Chris Carson will be the Beastmode replacement we’ve all been waiting for, and I’m willing to risk my fantasy football happiness on it.
Also, this needs to be in the geeked out category, because OH MY GOD MICHAEL DICKSON IS MY NEW FAVORITE HUMAN!!! Just, watch all his punts again, over and over, on a loop, forever in my dreams.
Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Good Way)
The offensive line was absolutely spectacular. This week, George Fant moved from left to right to start pushing Germain Ifedi, and Ifedi responded with – I want to say – his greatest game as a professional. I don’t know who is going to come away with the starting job in week 1, but the line as a whole will be a lot better just having Fant competing for that spot. He’s easily the 6th best lineman on this team – if not the 5th – so it’s much more important getting him work on the right side, rather than exclusively backing up Duane Brown.
Brandon Marshall had his best game as a Seahawk, catching all 3 balls thrown his way, including a nifty 20-yard pass where he boxed the defender out and went up high to snag it. He easily looks like the best veteran re-tread we’ve brought in here, and should be the first one to actually make the team.
David Moore keeps looking better and better every time I see him. He caught a 36-yard TD pass from McGough in the second half on 3rd down, and he brought a punt back to the house (that was called back for the world’s most bogus holding penalty you’ve ever seen).
The defense was still a little shaky, but the run defense returned to form, holding the Vikings to 58 yards on 24 carries. That’s going to be huge for this team.
Let’s Talk About Competitions
It’s far too early to call the Ifedi vs. Fant matchup, but I saw Fant get a shot with the #1 offense starting with the third drive of the game, so it’s legit. Honestly, I think they both looked pretty good – and I was really focused on Fant when he went in there – so it very well might come down to this week’s practices and this game coming up on Thursday against the Raiders. All Ifedi has to do is hold his own and I think he has the edge. But, if he slips up and reverts back to his crappy ways, Fant could easily slide in there and steal the job.
Boy, do I need to not see Austin Davis as this team’s backup QB. I think we will, just because what team is going to stuff McGough on its 53-man roster as a 7th rounder who’s looked okay, but is still a real project? The Seahawks should have no trouble whatsoever sneaking McGough onto the Practice Squad. That having been said, Davis is a disaster. He was 2/3 for -1 yard on his 2 drives (both 3 & Outs). Considering he was 1/3 for 6 yards against the Chargers on his 2 drives in that game, and a mighty 4/5 for 51 yards and a mind-boggling interception in the endzone against the Colts (across, again, 2 drives), and you have to ask: what has Davis done to earn a job? He hasn’t even looked COMPETENT, let alone good! I’d rather roll the dice with a playmaker in McGough at this point. He could struggle, sure, but his upside is off the charts compared to Davis. Plus, if we’re risking our season’s chances on anyone outside of Russell Wilson, then the season is already a lost cause as it is, so might as well give the youngster some experience.
Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Bad Way)
I thought Russell Wilson just looked sort of okay. He had all day to throw, but somehow was only 11/21 for 118 yards. I suppose some of that is on Minnesota’s defense, as they have one of the best in all of football. I nevertheless have to believe that if we had Wilson finish this game, we would’ve won it.
The talk of this game has to be what the Vikings did on 3rd & 4th down, as they converted 13 of 22 combined. I’ve been harping on that endlessly as the main key to this Seahawks’ season, and it’s not going away any time soon. The Seahawks tend to get much better pressure on 1st & 2nd downs, with key blitzes getting to the quarterback; then, on 3rd down, we go super vanilla, the QB has all day to throw, and he picks us apart. Time and time again! It’s like we rely on the QB making a mistake, vs. actually forcing him INTO one. What I’m trying to say is, maybe we should start blitzing more on 3rd down and getting the fuck off the field!
That having been said, we were a lot better after the first quarter, when they had the ball for all but a couple minutes. But, that brings us to our other main problem on defense: not forcing turnovers.
No picks. One fumble that bounced Minnesota’s way. That’s a week after the Chargers played a clean game. We have 1 fumble recovery (against the Colts) in three games. If that holds through the regular season (1 turnover every 3 games), we’re in trouble.
Finally, zero sacks on Kirk Cousins. Like I said before, some blitzes got home, but nothing that did any damage. Part of stopping teams on drives is getting to the QB when you’re using just a 4-man rush, and the Seahawks couldn’t hack it.
This week, the most meaningless of all pre-season games (except for those guys a the back-end of the roster). We won’t have Tanner McEvoy to kick around anymore, as he was rightfully cut for being no good, so the WR picture gets a little more clear.