Rost’s Seahawks Takeaways: The good and the bad from preseason opener
The Seahawks’ preseason opener wasn’t pretty, but the biggest questions facing this team were never going to be answered in August.
There’s no quarterback battle in Seattle, unlike their divisional neighbors in San Francicso. Fans were never going to watch eagerly, clinging to an initial impressions of a first-round savior the way they were in Chicago, New York, and Jacksonville this past weekend.
Instead, Seattle’s greatest hopes are pinned to its veterans, most of whom weren’t on the field when the Seahawks fell to the Raiders 20-7 in the preseason opener Saturday night in Las Vegas. It’s a list that includes Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Chris Carson, Duane Brown, Bobby Wagner, Carlos Dunlap, Quandre Diggs, Poona Ford, and Jamal Adams.
Can Wilson and new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron elevate Seattle’s offense to Super Bowl-caliber? Can the defense get off to a quicker start in 2021 and improve against the pass? The Seahawks must answer both in the affirmative to climb back to their first NFC Championship since the 2014 season, but the clues won’t begin to trickle in until September.
That said, Saturday’s performances still carry weight. It’s not just a chance for young players to fight for a roster spot; it was also a chance for the Seahawks (and their fans) to see just how deep this team can be this season.
Their first chance to showcase that brought mixed results.
In the positive column were second-year defensive ends Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson, with the latter having a particularly good performance. In one of his best plays, Robinson worked his way around Raiders tackle Patrick Omameh and, as he began to swarm in on quarterback Nathan Peterman from behind, swatted at Peterman’s throwing arm. Peterman’s errant throw was swiftly intercepted by safety Ryan Neal.
Ryan Neal was right there to snag the ball for the interception!
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) August 15, 2021
“Those guys played a lot of football, and we’re trying to get them going, particularly Darrell,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said postgame, a reference to Taylor’s lack of playing experience prior to this season.
Both Robinson and Taylor played through most of the game. Additionally, former third-round pick Rasheem Green sacked Peterman on the Raiders’ first play from scrimmage and had a good night.
If you were expecting the up-tempo offense players have been referencing from camp, you didn’t see much of it Saturday. Carroll said showcasing that was never the plan and that Saturday’s preseason opener was “just about playing football.”
“We didn’t even try that, we didn’t even do that tonight” Carroll said of going up-tempo. “We were just trying to get out there and snap the ball. A minimal amount of opportunities did we even try to do it. We were working on just getting the huddle called and getting to the line of scrimmage and just playing some basic football.”
Unfortunately, there weren’t too many highlights to speak of. One worth mentioning, though, was a 43-yard touchdown by running back DeeJay Dallas (even better was that it came on fourth down).
Down the sidelines, @dallasdeejay was GONE 😮💨
Q3: SEA 7, LV 13
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) August 15, 2021
The defense allowed a few too many explosive plays from the Raiders. There wasn’t anything too egregious but there certainly were more 15-plus yard gains than you’d like to see.
Rookie left tackle Stone Forsythe had a tough welcome to the NFL when Raiders cornerback Nate Hobbs swooped in untouched on a corner blitz to sack quarterback Geno Smith.
Sheesh, @based_nvte 😵
📺 FOX5 Vegas | 📱 Raiders app pic.twitter.com/sjZqSBr7y9
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) August 15, 2021
“Yeah, we missed the look and should’ve keyed it and we didn’t do it right,” Carroll said when asked whether that was a missed blitz pickup on Forsythe. “It’s really a basic pressure that they ran and we missed it, and Geno got hit hard and that was a shame. I’m sorry for that.”
The aforementioned Duane Brown’s holdout puts the spotlight on Forsythe’s preseason. It might be easier for Seattle to call Brown’s bluff if Forsythe plays well, but it would be tough for any rookie to fill in for Brown, a veteran Pro Bowler who has been Seattle’s best and most consistent lineman since coming to the team in 2017. It doesn’t help the Seahawks’ case that Forsythe got off to a rough start.
Two injuries to speak of: Geno Smith left the game with a concussion, and guard Phil Haynes left with a knee injury.
“A little sore knee or something like that, but nothing serious,” Carroll said of Haynes. “So we’re very fortunate in that regard.”