O’Neil: What we learned from Seahawks’ preseason loss to Chargers
Halfway through Seattle’s preseason schedule means that we’re halfway to being called upon to name the 53 players for the regular-season roster.
Below is a look at the three biggest lessons from Saturday’s preseason game in San Diego, which was most notable for the way the Seahawks’ starting offense fizzled when it got close to the end zone.
Three things we learned
Brandon Marshall is making this team.
Wait. Better knock on wood. (Raps knuckles against skull.) Because injury is the only thing that will keep that from happening. After being limited for the first week of training camp, the 34-year-old Marshall has steadily escalated his workload and was playing deep into the second quarter in San Diego on Saturday night. He drew one pass-interference penalty in the opening quarter and failed to make a third-down catch in the second period, but he pretty consistently makes one big play per practice. After being limited to five games last season because of injury with the Giants, the six-time Pro Bowler is not only back but could figure in as a significant target for Seattle’s offense.
The running game is not necessarily fixed.
First, Seattle lost the running back it chose in the first round (Rashaad Penny) and he is out for the rest of August after suffering a broken finger. Then, the running back the Seahawks drafted last year (Chris Carson) did something he never did in college at Oklahoma State: he lost a fumble. That happened in the second quarter on Saturday, and just as bad, it came on the second play at the Chargers’ goal line. The Seahawks didn’t get much of a push on either play as they tried to punch the ball in. Throw in the fact that Seattle opted to pass on third-and-2 on its next possession and the past seven days didn’t do much to convince anyone that the Seahawks would be better at running the ball this season.
Quinton Jefferson has flashed.
That’s NFL scout-speak for exhibiting a characteristic or trait that merits further attention. In Jefferson’s case, that trait is his pass rush. It’s the reason the Seahawks drafted him in the fifth round in 2016, citing specifically his knack for providing an inside pass rush. He appeared in a total of nine games over the previous two years and didn’t make the team coming out of training camp last season when he was still dealing with a knee injury. He ended back up with Seattle after a stint on the Rams’ practice squad, and on Saturday he was credited with half a sack in the second quarter on a particularly impressive pass rush. Rookie Rasheem Green has deserved the accolades he has gotten for his three sacks in two preseason games, but Jefferson’s efforts should be noted, too. Especially since Seattle’s pass rush is the single biggest question mark on this team.