STACY ROST

Seahawks Preseason: What’s real, and what are overreactions?

Aug 22, 2023, 10:57 AM

The Seattle Seahawks are two games into the preseason with one more to go. It’s always hard to figure out what you can take from a preseason game, particularly with such limited snaps for starters.

What the Seattle Seahawks are showing that’s different on defense

After a month of training camp and two exhibition contests, here’s a quick glance at what we’re probably overreacting to, and what we’re not talking about enough.

Kenneth Walker III not getting reps in the preseason

Verdict: Overreaction

The second-year running back sat out the first portion of camp with a minor groin issue and fans are eager to see him hit the field. So what gives with the lack of snaps?

“There are some people who think he needs to touch the football, and I get it,” Michael Bumpus cautioned on Monday’s edition of Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy. “But what happens when Walker’s not out there? You get to see more of Zach Charbonnet, and you get to see some of Sa’Roderick Thompson, who can get some film out there. But when it comes to running the ball, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s one of the most natural, athletic positions in all of sports. You get the ball and you run. I’d love to see him out there, don’t get it twisted, but he’s going to be fine.”

Devon Witherspoon missing time with a hamstring injury

Verdict: Not an overreaction

On paper, Witherspoon feels like a natural fit for Seattle’s secondary. The first-round rookie is undersized compared to the lengthy cornerbacks that head coach Pete Carroll has typically coveted, but he packs a punch with a physicality that this defense craves. Unfortunately, he’s missed time this preseason with a hamstring injury.

The Seahawks have every reason to be overly cautious with their No. 5 overall pick, but Week 1 brings a unique challenge.

Here’s what I said during Monday’s conversation with Bump:

He was competing both on the outside and at nickel. Credit to ESPN’s Brady Henderson, who pointed this out with us: you know who you’re facing in the slot Week 1? (Rams wide receiver) Cooper Kupp. Am I going to feel absolutely great about Witherspoon without any playing time taking on Kupp in that nickel role? No, I’m not. This isn’t me saying he’s a bust — that’s ridiculous — nor is it me saying he’s not going to play. All this is is me saying, ‘Hey, we’re less than a month away from the start of the season and your No. 5 pick isn’t practicing.’

Don’t press the panic button, but it’s fair to start wondering how much prep the rookie can get before the start of the season.

Cornerback struggles against Dallas

• Verdict: Not an overreaction (but just barely)

Michael Jackson had a tough night Saturday against Dallas. You’d normally feel fine about that since most starters weren’t playing, but Jackson is supposed to be exactly that — a starter, or at least in the thick of the competition. Also included are Witherspoon, who had been getting work at nickel prior to sitting out, and Tre Brown.

“These are names fighting for spots,” Bump said. “We haven’t seen Riq Woolen out there, we haven’t seen Devon Witherspoon. If the season were to start today, I think Riq would be out there, but that other side is up for grabs. So when you see Jackson not have the best preseason game that he could have, there’s room for concern. But then also lean on what he did last year and what he means for this team. Everyone has their days; you get beat sometimes. But I think there should be some concern — just a little bit. A little bit.”

Seattle Seahawks could have one of the league’s best WR groups

• Verdict: Not an overreaction

Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s arrival is a bit different from DK Metcalf’s as a rookie. Then, Metcalf impressed with his sheer size and speed. Smith-Njigba is a bit more subtle — he’s smooth with his routes, but isn’t afraid to make a physical, contested catch. He rounds out a trio led by Metcalf and Tyler Lockett that could be one of the best in football.

The question now, however, is how long Smith-Njigba’s wrist injury that needed surgery early this week will keep him out.

Listen to the full conversation from Monday’s Bump and Stacy in the podcast at this link, or in either the video or audio players near the top of this post.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

Video: Most Intriguing Seattle Seahawks – No. 5 Jamal Adams
Video: Wyman’s instant reaction to Seahawks’ preseason win over Cowboys
Starters sharp in limited action as Seahawks beat Dallas 22-14
Seahawks rookies JSN, Charbonnet make big plays vs Cowboys
Bump & Stacy’s bold predictions for Seattle Seahawks and rest of NFC West

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Seahawks Preseason: What’s real, and what are overreactions?