Seattle Seahawks: Immediate 53-Man Roster-Cut Predictions Post-Oakland Game
In a 41-31 loss in the final exhibition game of the year the Seattle Seahawks team that dominated its opponents the last two weeks was nowhere to be found. Oakland Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr completed 11 of 13 passes for 143 yards and touchdown passes of 36 and 11 yards to Denarius Moore and 20 yards to Mychal Rivera.
This all happened with 10:43 remaining in the second quarter. The Seahawks defense played a bit better once Carr left the game, but the inconsistency left nothing but worry about the team's depth. Perhaps the Seahawks simply didn't come ready to play for an exhibition game exactly one week before their season opener.
But several Seattle reserves needed stronger performances than they gave if they wanted to avoid being one of the 22 players cut by Saturday afternoon. Before the game we had a pretty good sense of where these battles were, but now it's time to decide the victors.
Cut: B.J. Daniels
For nearly the entire preseason one of the biggest position battles was for who would be the team's backup quarterback behind Russell Wilson and whether head coach Pete Carroll would carry three quarterbacks on the roster for what would be the second time in his now five-year tenure in Seattle.
Even with Pryor's strong start, the thought of him overtaking Jackson never took hold. However, Pryor has performed well for the majority of his time on the field, showcasing his improved decision-making and incredible speed in the open field.
Pryor managed to complete 11 of 17 passes for 134 yards and a 33-yard touchdown strike to Phil Bates. The young quarterback has had strong performances throughout the preseason and remains an intriguing prospect who will be too good of a value to be released.
B.J. Daniels was never really a contender in the race for second-string quarterback and will likely find himself in street clothes once next week rolls around.
On Roster: (4) Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, Christine Michael, Spencer Ware.
Cuts: Demitrius Bronson, Kiero Small, Derrick Coleman
The big news before Thursday's game against the Oakland Raiders was that running back Christine Michael suffered a tweak to his hamstring in practice and the team had re-signed Demitrius Bronson to help fill the gap, per Field Gulls' Danny Kelly.
Head coach Carroll gave his two cents on the matter before the game. Per The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta:
Christine Michael pulled up a little bit yesterday (Wednesday) in practice so we’re just insuring we have enough guys to run the football. He (Bronson) did a real nice job when he was here, but numbers just caught him at the cuts.
Now the question becomes, how many running backs will the team keep on its roster? Spencer Ware looked like the more explosive option over Bronson and performed well when given an opportunity. Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin and Christine Michael were locks from the moment the offseason started.
On Roster: (6) Percy Harvin, Jermaine Kearse, Doug Baldwin, Paul Richardson, Bryan Walters, Ricardo Lockette
PUP: Kevin Norwood
Cuts: Phil Bates, Arceto Clark, Chris Matthews, Morrell Presley
Percy Harvin, Jermaine Kearse, Doug Baldwin and Paul Richardson have held down the top spots of the receiving corp since the departures of Golden Tate and Sidney Rice, and they have done a wonderful job with each of their respective increased roles.
Kearse has been especially adroit throughout the preseason, being targeted as a deep threat fairly often by Russell Wilson. Placing Kevin Norwood on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list would mean he couldn't play until after Week 6, but he would not count against the roster and would be given more time to heal and learn the offense.
Bryan Walters and Ricardo Lockette offer special teams services. Walters has proved himself to be a quality return man on kickoffs and punts, despite his fumble against the Raiders, and would allow the team to keep Earl Thomas out of harm's way.
Lockette has improved significantly as a gunner from last year to now and is a solid depth receiver as well. Six week into the season, should Walters or Lockette not be performing up to a standard the coaching staff feels Norwood can, it already has a replacement within the franchise.
On Roster: (3) Zach Miller, Luke Willson, Cooper Helfet
Cuts: RaShaun Allen
The Seattle Seahawks aren't big proponents of using the tight end position beyond it being used for an extra blocker, but the tight ends on roster are quite capable receiving threats as well. With Anthony McCoy's season-ending injury, the team had just four players at the position last night.
Zach Miller and Luke Willson are clear locks to make the roster, while Copper Helfet appears to be McCoy's replacement this season. Helfet spent last season on the Seahawks practice squad and made a good impression this offseason.
On Roster: (9) Russell Okung, Alvin Bailey, James Carpenter, Max Unger, J.R. Sweezy, Justin Britt, Lemuel Jeanpierre, Eric Winston, Stephen Schilling
Cuts: Caylin Hauptmann, Nate Isles, Garry Gilliam
The Seahawks starting offensive line is still on the mend as Russell Okung works his way into game shape. Justin Britt may have won the battle for starting right tackle, but he's been far from impressive. The team ends up keeping four tackles on the roster.
Stephen Schilling and Lemuel Jeanpierre provide depth on the interior of the unit and plenty of insurance should the injury bug strike again.
On Roster: (9) Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, O'Brien Schofield, Tony McDaniel, Brandon Mebane, Kevin Williams, Cassius Marsh, Jordan Hill, Greg Scuggs
Cuts: Benson Mayowa, Jimmy Staten, D'Anthony Smith, Andru Pulu
One of the keys to the Seahawks' Super Bowl run was the quality depth and rotation of the defensive line capable of stuffing the run and pressuring the quarterback. Benson Mayowa's athleticism and rushing ability made him a promising talent the team kept on the roster all last season, but he hasn't performed well through this offseason.
The unit is pretty crowded as is and will likely remain that way heading into the season. The biggest surprise of the offseason has been O'Brien Schofield, who has been able to pressure opposing quarterbacks relentlessly and consistently.
On Roster: (7) Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin, K.J. Wright, Malcolm Smith, Korey Toomer, Michael Morgan, *Brock Coyle
Cuts: Kevin Pierre-Louis
The Seahawks have quality depth at linebacker. Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith not being a starter on his own team should be a pretty good barometer of how much talent the unit possesses. The Seahawks have some slight abnormal responsibilities for their linebackers.
The responsibilities require specific skill sets at each position that general manager John Schneider seems to have found without issue. Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Bruce Irvin are locks to start, providing the perfect combination of run support, leadership and coverage.
Brock Coyle provides depth at middle linebacker after a strong showing throughout the preseason. Michael Morgan, Kevin Pierre-Louis and Korey Toomer provide the rest of the depth at the two outside linebacker positions.
* Brock Coyle was initially mentioned in the article as a linebacker, along with Kevin Pierre-Louis. However, due to a typo Coyle was not listed as "On Roster." Changes were made to that affect at 8:17 a.m. PT
On Roster: (9) Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane, Tharold Simon, DeShawn Shead, Phillip Adams, Jeron Johnson
Cuts: Akeem Auguste, Steven Terrell, Terrance Parks
The secondary behind Seattle's top four corners played appallingly poor in coverage against the Oakland Raiders. Akeem Auguste was beaten soundly and often once the starting defense left the game, only being noticed for his poor coverage.
Phillip Adams was beaten for a score early but managed to turn things around as the game wore on. DeShawn Shead's versatility will make him too intriguing a prospect to let go, especially after his pick-six in Thursday night's game.
On Roster: (3) Steven Hauschka, Jon Ryan, Clint Gresham
This trio was with the team all last season with no apparent drop-off in sight. Hauschka made an incredible 94 percent of his 35 field-goal attempts last season, and Ryan averaged almost 43 yards per punt, landing about 38 percent inside opponents' 20-yard lines last season.
*All stats from ESPN.