STACY ROST

Seahawks takeaways: Michael Dickson steals the show, David Moore makes his case at WR

Aug 24, 2018, 9:44 PM | Updated: 10:14 pm

Seattle Seahawks, Seahawks, David Moore...

WR David Moore is entering his second season with the Seahawks. (AP)

(AP)

The Seahawks’ starters saw their most extensive action of the preseason in Seattle’s 21-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Friday. While there was plenty to learn from those outings, it was a rookie punter and second-year wide receiver that had the biggest highlights.

O’Neil: Run game improves, pass rush doesn’t | Recap | Photos | Stats

Special teams moves paying off early

Punting was already a storyline heading into the game following the Seahawks’ release of their longest tenured player, Jon Ryan, earlier this week. Michael Dickson didn’t just show against the Vikings why Seattle selected him in the fifth-round this spring and made him the punter over Ryan. He stole the show.

Dickson’s first punt was a 57-yarder that went out of bounds at the Vikings’ 3-yard-line. The rookie was surrounded by cheering teammates after landing another inside the 5. For the night, Dickson averaged 53.6 yards on five punts.

As for kicking, Sebastian Janikowski nailed a pair of field goals, including a 55-yarder in the third quarter. Seahawks fans were clamoring for a move at kicker after Seattle’s ill-fated one-year marriage to Blair Walsh, but the signing of Janikowski was met with mixed feedback. Criticism was primarily attributed to his age – the 40-year-old Janikowski has been in the league for 18 seasons – and a back injury that sidelined him for the 2017 season. But the Seahawks’ decision to bring on the veteran is quickly paying off.

David Moore cements his role

Friday night’s game was another important tryout for several young wide receivers. It was a step forward for Marcus Johnson, who had a key 34-yard catch from quarterback Russell Wilson, and former Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who finished with 25 yards on three receptions. But it’s second-year pro David Moore that has made the strongest case yet for a roster spot.

Seattle’s receiving group will presumably consist of Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Jaron Brown, Brandon Marshall, Amara Darboh and David Moore. The advantage Moore and Amara Darboh have over other players battling for a spot is the draft capital Seattle has already invested in them (also an advantage for Moore is his health and ability to contribute on special teams).

But there’s plenty of young talent vying for time and, with the possibility of starters sitting out next Thursday’s preseason finale, a few big opportunities left.

A look at backup QB

Pete Carroll is typically hesitant to sound too critical of his players during press conferences, which is why his comments about rookie quarterback Alex McGough following practice on Aug. 3 were noteworthy.

“I think it’s been really hard on Alex to get going,” Carroll said. “He’s been struggling. It’s been hard for him. There’s a lot of offense in. We’re a very high-tech offense. There’s a lot going on and he hasn’t been able to get back to where he was in the offseason. We’re giving him a lot of work and it’s going to come. We’ve seen a lot of good stuff from him but right now it’s hard on him.”

Granted, Carroll followed up the next day by adding those challenges are “not anything (McGough) won’t be able to handle.”

McGough appears to have at least taken a step forward after those early struggles in training camp. Against the Vikings, he finished with 140 yards and a touchdown; however, he was also just 5 of 14 (35.7 percent) in pass attempts. There’s still plenty for McGough to refine, but the battle against Austin Davis for the backup quarterback position isn’t out of reach yet.

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Seahawks takeaways: Michael Dickson steals the show, David Moore makes his case at WR